But all too soon the urges come back, take over you and your original self is once again possessed, screaming for your body to stop. But you never stop. Vampires are evil demons, put on this world for no apparent reason but to cause havoc and unimaginable anguish wherever they go. They express no remorse, feel no love and relish in the pain of others. I should know, because I am one of them.

Issy lives with her family in a remote town in the English countryside. It was just like any other small town: boring and uneventful. Every day was the same: the same people, same routines, same surroundings. That is, of course, until the Vampires invaded, and everything turned upside down.


8. Frozen

Johnny had to practically drag me home. I was in a weird state of nothingness: my mind seemed both blank and filled with the same one thought at the same time; my limbs were frozen and heavy; my mouth was dry, my breathing shallow and my eyes wet. My eyes were locked forward, not looking at the surroundings but staying fixed to the same place; I saw my surroundings but never really acknowledged them, never took any new information in. It was like my mind was frozen.

Johnny pulled me up the path to my house and knocked on the door. A few seconds later my mum appeared in the doorway, looking frantic and worried.

"Oh my God, Issy! Where the hell were you? We heard about the mass attack on the news, I thought you had been killed!" The water brimming her eyes spilled over and she grabbed me and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug. I could tell she was hugging me, but was not able to sense her touch. I could tell she was warm but all I felt was ice cold. It was as if I was cut off from the world. Maybe this is my punishment. For letting Nathan walk off into the darkness. I wouldn't mind - I deserved it. It would kind of make me feel better about the whole situation, knowing that I wouldn't get away with letting Nathan go and get himself... no. I couldn't think like that. There was always hope. It may be extremely unlikely, but there's still a chance.

Over the course of the evening I sat in my armchair in the lounge, hearing the conversation going on around me but not fully taking it in. Mum called Johnny's parents to let them know he was alright - she didn't want him walking to his house by himself. Mum put a blanket over me and gave me a mug of hot chocolate, which I didn't touch. I didn't deserve any luxuries.

After what felt like hours I slowly stood up and let the blanket fall to the floor, cutting off the conversation that had been going on between my mum and Johnny. I walked with slow, heavy steps out of the room, up the stairs and to my bedroom. Once I was inside I slammed the door as hard as I could - the first proper physical action I had done since Johnny returned. I fell face-first on the bed and lay there for hours and hours, hating myself and reliving that horrible night. At some point I fell asleep and drifted into a relay of nightmares, one after the other for what felt like an eternity.

* * *

I woke up screaming into my mother's face as she tried to console me. 

"Issy! Issy you're fine - it's ok! It was just a dream." I noticed that I could feel the warmth from her hand rubbing up and down my arm - I was back to normal. Great.

As my breathing gradually returned to normal I noticed that I was squinting my eyes, and looked toward the window: it was far too bright for it to be 6:30. Shouldn't I be in school? Mum seemed to read my mind.

"I thought I'd let you sleep in. After everything you've been through I thought it would be best."

"Okay, thanks. I'll go get ready for school then." Mum left the room and I brushed my hair, changed into my school clothes and brushed my teeth - I couldn't be bothered to take a shower. I grabbed my bag, walked downstairs and said goodbye to mum before leaving the house.

I walked to school with my head down for the most part. People were giving me weird looks as they wondered why I wasn't in school already. I finally approached the big doors of the school, walking into an eerie silence as everyone else was in lessons. I signed in at reception, saying that I was ill, and walked to my 3rd lesson, English.

I walked into the classroom and was met by silence and stares.

"Sorry, I was ill but now I feel better." I said to Mr Light. He just nodded and gestured for me to take my seat. I walked over to the spare seat next to Amy, giving her and Johnny a smile. She just gave me a questioning look.

"I overslept." I said with a wink, trying to act normal.

"You okay after last night?" Johnny said tentatively, peering around Amy.

"Better. I was just shocked." I decided to take a long shot. "Either of you seen Nathan today?"

They both just gave me sad looks. "I'm sorry, Issy. No." Johnny said. My heart sank.

I gave an unnaturally forceful nod and gave what must have been the most fake smile in the history of the world. I gulped against the lump in my throat that always builds when I'm about to cry - I would not cry here. "Okay." Amy gripped my hand reassuringly.

I decided to ask the burning question that's been bothering me since last night. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answer, but I took a risk. "So what exactly happened last night, Johnny?"

"Well, I was walking through the woods when this Vampire jumped me and started sucking my blood - creep. Anyway, I was sure I was gonna die when I saw Nathan running towards me from the corner of my eye, and suddenly the Vampire was off me, running away. I got up and turned around to thank Nathan but he was gone too. I looked for him, Issy, I did. But I couldn't find him." He bowed his head. I could feel my eyes starting to get wet and knew I couldn't pull off saying anything, so I just nodded.

"Miss Hamilton, Miss Keily and Mr Rand." Mr Light said loudly, referring to me, Amy and Johnny. "Would you care to tell the whole class what you were discussing, since it was so important that you felt you had to ignore this lesson?"

"Um, no. Sorry Mr Light, it won't happen again."

"First you're half an hour late, then you interrupt my class. Don't let it happen again - you're on thin ice Miss Hamilton."

"Yes, sir. Sorry." We went back to our work and didn't talk for the rest of the lesson.

* * *

The next lesson was my favourite: Art. I loved being able to express myself creatively, and I struck lucky because we were allowed to make any piece we wanted to express our feelings. I grabbed an easel and canvas, and got started.

By the end of the lesson I had a big mess on my canvas of blacks, browns and dark blues, streaked and splattered across the surface. It certainly expressed my mood.

The bell rang for lunch and we all filed out of the classroom toward the canteen. I walked in, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. I started shuffling toward the tables, trying to think of an excuse to say to the others about why I didn't have any appetite, when something across the room caught my eye: chocolate brown hair, styled up slightly at the front. I did a double take and took in the perfectly crooked smile and chocolate brown eyes staring right at me. I had thought that I was better today than last night, but now I'm not so sure as I felt my frozen body and mind thaw out, and my taught face stretch into the biggest grin I could muster. I walked, slowly and calmly, up to him; trying to control whatever I was feeling, I couldn't make out what it was. I approached him and for a moment we just stared at each other, smiling stupidly. Suddenly he pulled me into a big bear hug and I felt the sparks and warmth rush through me that I had yearned for so much over the past day. 

We pulled away awkwardly. "Nathan! Nathan oh my God I thought you were..."

He laughed. "Nope, I'm still kicking. I thought you were!"

"What? Why?"

"Because I hadn't seen you since I left and you weren't in school this morning. God I was so worried." He said shyly.

I tried to suppress my grin at his words. He queued up with me to get my lunch, even though he'd already bought his, and I didn't have the heart to refuse so I decided to force it down. He sat next to me at a table with Johnny, Amy and a couple of his friends, Brian and Matt. I couldn't stop smiling for the whole hour, but tried to hide it as best I could. I don't think I've ever felt so relieved in my whole life - it was like I was holding my breath ever since Johnny returned by himself, and was only able to breathe again once I'd found out that Nathan was ok. God this guy had a serious effect on me.

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