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.


4. Karen

I rushed into the form room, and was thankfully just on time. Every pair of eyes turned to me, and I tried not to think about the warm blood that would be coursing through each of my classmates' veins. I went over to the back of the classroom where my usual seat, in between two of my best friends, Johnny and Amy, was waiting for me. I gulped, hoping they wouldn't notice anything different about me. 

"Hey guys!" I said, sitting down in between them. I tried to put as much distance between us as possible, but the best I could do was avoid touching legs or arms.

"Hey!" They said, giving me a smile. I returned it and tried to stop thinking about the guy from the hall. I didn't recognise him, he must be new.

"I still can't believe about Karen. It's so sad that she was Turned... she was the sweetest girl ever." Johnny said, his blue eyes filling with sadness. He's above average in height, about 6 foot, and so usually had to hunch his shoulders over to not tower over everyone; but this time there was a sadness in the way his shoulders slumped.

"I know. I just can't believe that they say she's been a..." Amy lowered her voice, "Vampire" she raised it again, "for like weeks. Just trying to live normally, blend in; trying to trick anyone she can into trusting her and then..." She took a breath. "It makes you think, you know. I mean how many other people, who seem just like you and me, have actually been Turned and are living in secret among us?" I gulped.

"To think that for weeks she's been a Vamp. And we only found out on Saturday when the Force saw her sneaking away into the woods. Too bad they didn't manage to catch her; she's still sneaking around now - Who knows where she could be?" I could tell that this news had taken a toll on her; of course it took a toll on everyone, but you could really see it on Amy. She usually always made sure her hair was perfect, her make-up was correct and her clothes were precisely in fashion, but today I could see she hadn't made as much of an effort in any of those areas. I could see dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep, and I could see panic written in her eyes. Of course, Amy being Amy, she still looked amazing.

"M-Maybe we should change the subject. You know, not focus on the sad stuff..." I said, trying to keep my voice steady. Their stories were getting way too close to the truth. I'm the only one who knows exactly what happened on Saturday, and I want to keep it that way. Thinking of that horrible day brought all the memories flooding back, and I couldn't help but relive that life-changing, and life-ending, experience.

I was walking through the woods that border our small town. It was 11 in the morning and Karen, my best friend since Year 1, had texted me, asking me to meet her there. This wasn't unusual behaviour: we have this special spot in the woods, a clearing in between the tall, broad trees that's filled with bright green grass, beautiful flowers and colourful butterflies. The top branches of the trees surrounding it bend over it slightly, so they intertwine together, leaving an opening in the centre which lets the golden sunlight through - something which seems almost heavenly. It's our special place, we found it when we were out exploring when we were 7, and regularly camp there - our version of sleepovers. It would have seemed like a perfectly normal request 3 weeks ago, but now we were always being told by the Force the stay out of the woods, since the Vampires came. That's what I should have picked up on. Vampires are excellent at seeming perfectly normal, perfectly in place with whatever surroundings they happen to be in - similar to a chameleon, you could say. So a perfectly normal request, too perfect, should have at least raised alarm bells in my head, and encouraged me to be alert - Like we are told we always should be nowadays. But it didn't - it was my best friend, I wouldn't have suspected for one second that she would be one of them. Or what she would do next.

I walked into the clearing to see her sitting on the fallen log, waiting patiently to meet me. Her long, red hair was scraped up into a ponytail, which I noticed was odd because she almost always wore it down. She had on baggy layers of clothes and an overstuffed bag at her feet. Our eyes met and she sprung up, even more excited than usual to see me.

"Issy, you're here!" She exclaimed, running up to me. She wrapped me in one of her bear hugs, and I laughed at her greeting. 

"Someone's happy to see me!" I said, hugging her back. But now something was different. She gripped onto me tighter, and it became very clear that she didn't want to let go. I'm about average height and Karen is slightly shorter, so her face was buried in my neck, and I swear I could feel her smelling me, as weird as it was. That was the second sign I should have noticed: After the normality, the weirdness. The acting strange or obsessed, seeming disoriented with their mind clearly focusing intently on one thing. That's what the Force taught us to look out for - part of the little advice they could give us about doing the almost impossible job of spotting a Vampire before it's too late. But once again I failed to pick up on what should have been tell-tale behaviour. I pulled back, which I had to do with some force, and held her at arms length, looking into her eyes. 

"Karen, are you okay?" I asked as tentatively as I could. She was staring just below my head, her mind clearly elsewhere, but she managed to form a reply.

"No." She sniffled, breaking up her sentence, and her green eyes brimmed with tears. Her focus seemed to switch to me as a whole, instead of just below my head. "No I'm not, I haven't been for a while now. That's what I called you here to talk about."

I was confused, worried about the obviously horrible information she was about to pass on to me. "Okay. Go ahead, you know you can trust me with anything." I tried to give her a reassuring smile. She looked away and began her speech.

"Issy I'm tired. So tired of all the lies, the secrets, holding it back. I can't do it any longer, I can't withstand it - I'm not strong enough. So I'm leaving - I have no choice. I have to, for the safety of everyone I love. I came here to say goodbye, Issy. I love you, and I'll never forget you; and I'm so sorry that things have to end this way between us. You're my best friend. I'm so sorry, Issy." She looked down, unable to meet my eyes.

"Karen... What are you saying?" I didn't want to hear it. It couldn't be true, it wouldn't be true.

"Issy, I'm..." Don't say it. Don't. "I'm a Vampire." I felt like I couldn't breathe. "I have been for weeks now. I got Turned in the first mass Vampire attack and I thought I could carry on as before but I can't. It's impossible and I have to go."

"P-Please don't leave." I struggled to talk against the tears welling in my throat. "We can work this out! Come on, I promise I won't tell anyone, we can keep this a secret. Carry on living normally!" I knew it was desperate, but I couldn't think of any other way to make her stay. Her only reply was to wrap me in another hug, and I could sense the finality in the way she held me, the unspoken goodbye in her touch. I buried my head in her shoulder, and she buried hers in my neck. It was then that she drew back, slowly and steadily, and looked at me with a pained look on her face. I could see the struggle, could sense that though she never left there was a different person, different being, standing in front of me now. Her jaw was taut and her eyes dark. That's the third sign, which I actually did pick up on, but it was too little too late.

"I'm sorry, Issy. I'm so sorry." Her expression changed to one of immense sadness. I'd never seen her look that sad apart from when her mother died in that freak accident several months ago. All at once her fangs slid out and she leaped at me, knocking me to the ground and burying her face in my neck for the third time that morning. I felt the sharp pain as her teeth pierced my skin, and then a weird, numb feeling as the blood was being sucked out of my body by my best friend. I lay there helpless, weak and unable to fully process what was going on for a good 15 minutes while she sucked the life out of me. She only stopped once we heard voices, and seconds after we could see the beams of light from torches far off in the woods. The Force. Karen leapt up and ran, not taking another look in my direction. The last thing I saw before I died was my best friend in the whole world running away from me.


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