Slay

The world has ended, and vampires have taken over the world. These aren’t your typical Twilight vampires, though—they’re hideous creatures that usually have two heads and make unbearable hissing noises, and they want every last human dead. The government has hired vampire slayers to take care of the infestation and keep the vampire populations under control. Fourteen-year-old Ethan is one of these, the very best in the U.S., and things are going pretty well until rumors start to circulate about the Vampyre King, the biggest, most vile vampire the world has ever seen, whom all of the vampires are born from. And since Ethan’s the best vampire slayer, he’s being sent to kill it. With the help of his companions, his best friend Aaron; his idiotic mentee David; and the beautiful, temperamental Ariella, will he be able to survive and stop the spread of the vampires? Or will the Vampyre King get the best of him?

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1. Ethan the Vampire Slayer

"Now, don't let it notice you," Ethan whispers. "You must be very, very quiet."

 

"Is this quiet enough?" David whispers back, very loudly.

 

Before he can finish, Ethan clamps his right hand over David's mouth. "No, but this is."

 

"Okay," David mmmphs. Ethan wonders why in the name of heaven he had to get stuck being the mentor for this dweeb. All his friends got promising candidates for vampire slayers, but Ethan had to get stuck with a kid who would probably get the both of them killed.

 

"Now you have to wait for it to be off guard. You see how the vampire looks tense right now? That's because it senses danger."

 

"Us?"

 

"No, the trees. Of course it senses us. It doesn't know where we are, though. Let's keep it that way."

 

"What if I distract it?"

 

"No, that would be a very bad-" It’s too late for this. David springs up and runs out in front of the vampire. It hisses and begins to chase him around, its two heads looking very, very angry. Ethan doesn’t want to save David; he figures he should die for his stupidity, but he knows that if David dies in his care, chances are he would be put to death. Ethan sighs and reaches for his rapier, severing both of the vampire’s heads. He grabs David and hides him before the deadly blood spurts all over him.

 

“You just killed a vampire!” David says in awe. “You’re so cool!”

 

Ethan isn’t as happy. “Never do that again!” he snaps, grabbing David by the collar of his shirt. “Do you want to get yourself killed?!”

 

“But I didn’t get myself killed.” David’s awed look disappears.

 

“That’s only because you were with me. You know I’m the best vampire slayer in the nation. If you hadn’t been with me, that thing would have sucked out all of your blood and left your corpse there, and you wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?”

 

David looks terrified now. He shakes his head.

 

“Now, you do exactly as I say, or I will have you removed from the training program, do you understand?”

 

He nods.

 

“Good. Let’s go find another vampire to practice on.”

 

---

Ethan and David return to the slayer’s base by the time the sun starts to peek over the edge of the horizon. Ethan signs them both out and watches as David runs outside to his bike, throwing a “Later, Ethan!” over his shoulder as he leaves. Ethan is about to do the same when the secretary stops him.

 

“Ethan, the Head Slayer wants to see you,” she says in her monotone secretary voice.

Oh, no, Ethan thinks. I’m not going to be fired, am I? If he’s fired, he’ll have to go back to school. Ethan hates school. There are big, burly dudes who slap his books out of his hands and mean girls who snatch his glasses and snap them or rip the tape off the bridge and stamp on them. Back when Ethan was in school, before he applied to be a vampire slayer at his P.E. teacher’s suggestion, his glasses were a collage of metal, glass, and Scotch tape. Now, Ethan still needs a new pair every few weeks or so because they fall off a cliff or into water, or they break during a particularly nasty encounter with a vampire, but it’s better than watching girls stomp on them. And contacts are out of the question; all of the raw material for contact lenses was destroyed during the Singularity. Life isn’t fair for Ethan’s people—first robots nearly destroy the world. Then, once they’re finally rid of the robots, the vampires come.

 

Without saying anything, Ethan slowly walks down the long corridor to the Head Slayer’s office, dreading what the old codger is going to say. He slowly opens the door, only poking his head out behind it.

 

“Welcome, Ethan.” The Head Slayer has a friendly smile on his face. Is this what everyone sees when they get dismissed? “Have a seat.” He gestures to the chair across the desk.

 

Ethan remembers the first time he was in here, back when the Head Slayer was telling him he had been accepted into the training program. “You have great potential,” he said. “It’s not the big, muscly kids we’re looking for. It’s kids like you who have plenty of skill and can easily fit through tight spaces.”

 

Ethan sits down. “I’m being fired, aren’t I?”

 

The Head Slayer laughs. “Fired?! You’re our best man! I’m not going to fire you! I’m sending you on a quest, my young man!”

 

Ethan’s mouth drops open. “A quest?”

 

“Yes, Ethan. A quest.” The Head Slayer pushes his circle glasses up his nose. “We have discovered the source of the vampires: a giant, nasty one known as the Vampyre King. If he is slayed, it will stop the spread of the rest of the vampires.”

 

“Will I have to go back to school once it’s dead?”

 

The Head Slayer notices the fear on Ethan’s face. “Of course. But I promise you it won’t be like it was before. You’ll be viewed as a hero, Ethan. The boy who killed the Vampyre King and stopped the infestation. Doesn’t that sound good to you?”

 

A hero? Ethan wonders what that would be like. It definitely wouldn’t involve getting a new pair of glasses every week. He nods.

 

“Moving on. You can’t accomplish this feat by yourself, so we’ve made a team of three others.”

 

“Who are they?”

 

“First is your friend Aaron. We thought that since his skill is almost as good as yours, he would do a fine job of keeping you and the others safe.”

 

Ethan is relieved to hear this. He doesn’t want to work with strangers.

 

“Secondly.” The Head Slayer pauses. “We want you to take your mentee David along. It would be a good training experience for him.”

 

“No,” Ethan says simply. “We can’t take him. He will get us all killed.”

 

“How so?” Ethan is always surprised at how patient the Head Slayer is.

 

“You know what that moron did today? There was a vampire right there, and I was going to show him the proper way to kill it. But of course, he wants to do his own thing. He thinks we should distract the vampire, so he jumps out in front of it. If I hadn’t been there, he would be dead!”

 

“The Vampyre King will be a long way from your starting point, which is here. There will be plenty of time for him to grow up.”

 

“Okay, fine. I’ll take him. But if he dies during the quest, I’m not taking the blame.”

 

“Of course you won’t. It would be a vampire that kills him, not you.”

 

Ethan rolls his eyes.

 

The Head Slayer ignores this gesture. “Your third and final companion is someone you haven’t met. Her name is Ariella, and she’s the most skillful female slayer in the nation.”

 

“How come I haven’t heard of her?”

 

“You know why. They didn’t start having female slayers until very recently, and they still aren’t discussed very much. But Ariella is very skilled. Better than you, I might add.”

 

Ethan doesn’t want to get in any more arguments. He just wants to go home and sleep. Rescuing David was tiring enough. “When do I leave?” he yawns.

 

“Tonight. The others have been informed of this already.” Ethan wonders why David didn’t say anything about it. It sounds like something he would be excited about. “Now go home and rest. You’ll need a lot of that.”

 

Ethan stands up. “Thank you, sir,” he says.

 

“You are welcome.”

 

Ethan leaves the building and gets on his bike, pedaling hard for home. He stops his bike in the front yard and lays it on its side. Once he’s in his room, he flops on his bed, clothes and all, and goes out like a light.

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