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.


16. Permanent

I walked into the school grounds the next morning, tired from yet another restless night. I had a nightmare that kept me up most of the night - it involved a lot of blood. I still couldn't shake that spine-tingling feeling of a dream that seems so real and sticks with you, at the back of your mind, for the whole day. It was going to be a long day.

I stepped through the double doors and took the familiar route to my locker to get my books for the first two lessons. I grabbed the tiny little key from my jeans pocket and unlocked my locker, careful not to cause an avalanche as I opened the metal door. I routed through the crumpled up papers, battered books and random pencils until I found my physics textbook and Spanish folder.

"Issy!" I spun around, my skin already tingling from hearing his voice.

"Nathan, hey!" Every time I was around him my mood always increased so much, and I didn't know why. I hadn't seen him at all yesterday, but I felt like it had been much longer than one day. A lot can happen in a day. I thought as I remembered everything from the incident with Alice to my little pact with Mr Light. The tiredness that left me when Nathan came up came flooding back as I thought about all the problems I was stuck in. I felt like a huge weight was on my shoulders, crushing me.

"Woah, you okay?" Nathan asked as he approached. "You look so tired."

"Yeah, I'm fine, just... emotionally exhausted, y'know?" I hoped he would think I was referring back to the whole evacuation thing that happened a few days ago, when in reality I was referring to that and what happened with Alice and the situation with Mr Light and how I'm struggling to control my urges and my whole Vampire thing in general and how I feel like my chest is contracting every time I see him. God my life is a mess.

"Yeah, I know." He said, and I noticed the dark circles under his eyes that probably mirrored my own. For a brief moment I wondered what was bothering him, but I didn't want to be nosy. "So, I came over here to ask if you wanted to have lunch with me and my mates today?" He asked shyly. My chest contracted even more - God, if he so much as smiled at me now I would probably die from a heart attack; it was actually starting to become slightly physically painful. My head felt dizzy as I struggled to comprehend the intense wave of emotions flooding through me: I felt ridiculously tired and stressed but now I also felt excited and.. some other emotion I couldn't put my finger on. Whatever it was, it gave me a fuzzy feeling in my stomach. I liked it and hated it at the same time.

"Uh, sure." I smiled, earning one from him in response. Ow, okay if my chest contracts any more I swear I will not be able to breathe. I was apprehensive about taking him up on his offer because 'human' food was becoming harder and harder to stomach.  For the past week or so I had managed to avoid having lunch with Johnny and Amy, telling them I had homework to do in the library. But I didn't want to make him feel bad and say no, and besides I was sure I could stomach just one meal. So far my excuses about homework had worked and Johnny and Amy hadn't bothered me about always going to the library, but I could tell with each day I blew them off that they were getting more and more frustrated and most likely suspicious. I felt bad because I hadn't been hanging with them at lunch, and in registration and the lessons we had together I was aware that I had been very distanced and cut off from them. Maybe I should try to communicate with them more?

"Would it be okay if Johnny and Amy came along too?"

"Yeah sure, it'll be nice to see them again." Nathan answered with another smile - this guy was so nice, and noticing this started up that weird feeling in my stomach again. Even though Johnny didn't seem to like him, he didn't blink before allowing them to come along.

"Okay, great thanks." I smiled in return.

"Well, I'll see you at lunch then." He said before giving me a wave and turning to walk away. I couldn't control the little smile that crept onto my face as I thought about meeting him at lunch. I felt oddly excited.

* * *

"It'll be nice to actually have lunch with you for once, Issy." Amy joked, nudging me in the arm with her elbow. I could see the look in her eyes that told me that statement was a little more than just a joking comment, and I made another mental reminder to make more of an effort to spend time with my friends. Amy, Johnny and I were walking from our lockers to the canteen, and I had just told them about the plan to eat with Nathan and his friends. They seemed happy to sit with them, even Johnny, for which I was glad.

"Hi Issy; hi Amy and Johnny." Mr Light was just passing us in the corridor. He gave me that intent look that was asking if I was alright. I gave him a small smile in response.

"Oh, hey Mr Light." Amy said, and Johnny gave him a smile. 

"I'll see you guys in class." He smiled and walked off. We all shared a look. 

"Since when did Mr Light ever acknowledge a student's presence outside of class?" Johnny said, pointing out what I had hoped they wouldn't notice. Johnny and Amy did not - and could not - know about what Mr Light and I had discussed yesterday. Amy and I shrugged our shoulders in response, and we kept walking towards the canteen. 

As we walked into the loud room we spotted the table where Nathan was sitting with a group of his friends, and walked over to meet them. Nathan looked up as we came near and smiled, standing up. I felt the vague pain in my chest at his genuine smile.

"Hey guys! Uh, these are my friends: Brian, Cory, Matt and Sam." He said, gesturing to each one in return. I had met Brian and Matt before, when we all had lunch together the day after the Halloween dance, after I had found out Nathan didn't die because of me. That was a good day.

"Hey." I said with a smile, and Johnny and Amy did the same.

"Hey, nice to meet you." Sam said with a warm smile.

"Nice to see you again." Brian said.

"Well, us three still need to go get our lunch, so we'll be back in a sec." Amy said, and we all dumped our bags on the spare seats. We all walked over to join the end of the queue to get hot food, and luckily it wasn't too long.

It was only about 5 minutes until I plonked down in my seat opposite Nathan, my cheese and tomato pasta sending a warm flow of steam up to my face from where it was placed on the table in front of me. This was one of my favourites - or used to be, I should say. I could smell its strong scent and was instantly reminded of how delicious I thought this meal was; I almost missed human food. My urge for pasta wasn't nearly as strong as my urge for blood, however, and that simple little reminder sent me crashing down from the little high I was on from being with so many people I cared about in this moment. It came as a harsh reminder that no matter how much I wanted to or how much I tried, I was not like anyone else sitting at this table, and that stung.

"...okay?" My head snapped up from staring down at my pasta like a lunatic, and I noticed everyone's eyes on me. 

"Uh, sorry what?" I said, feeling embarrassed.

"I asked if you were feeling okay?" Nathan said, his eyes filled with concern.

"Oh, yeah I'm fine." I lied, faking a smile. I still couldn't shake that stomach-drop feeling from when I realised that my being a Vampire was permanent. Of course I knew that before, but I hadn't properly registered it until just then. I felt a little sick. This was it, for the rest of my life.

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