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.


12. Promises

We walked up the worn path which led towards the big, double doors of the Town Hall, but instead of entering the old building we turned left and walked along its perimeter. It was very dark, but the little metal doors in the ground were easy to find - there was a big group of people scrambling to get through them. Everyone was hysterical, trying to get themselves and their loved ones into the safety of the bunker underground. Somehow the Vampires had never found out about the communal hiding place; being in such a small town, gossip and information usually spread like wildfire and any secrets always ended up getting out. But it seemed everyone was so frightened they never dared to speak of it - for which I was glad.

Most people were preoccupied, but some turned towards us as we approached and saw mum's limp body in Nathan's arms; they gave us sympathetic looks. Mum wasn't the only one hurt; everywhere I looked there were people limping, grimacing in pain, or even unconscious like mum. I felt my throat tighten as I struggled not to cry. Back in the woods I put up a wall and tried to force down my emotions. I barely spoke on the walk up here. But here, seeing everyone looking so scared and fragile, my wall came tumbling down. A tear slid down my cheek, and I subtly wiped it away before Nathan could see. I refused to cry - I needed to be brave.

We stood waiting at the edge of the mass of people. Nathan didn't say anything; we didn't speak since he asked me if I was all right back in the woods. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence, he just knew that I didn't want to talk. Eventually there was a gap and Nathan nudged me to go through. I sat on the ground and dangled my legs into the darkness. My feet fumbled blindly until I found the cold, hard step and I proceeded to walk down the stairs. A few steps down I turned to help Nathan get into the bunker by helping hold mum. We stumbled ungracefully down the steps and into the room.

It was very dark - we weren't allowed to use lights in case they alerted the Vampires of our presence. I could see many pairs of eyes glinting in the little light coming from the moon outside. There was a constant murmur: everyone was whispering but I could tell from the tone of their voices that they were voicing their worries or comforting others. Names were being called out from every direction: people calling to see if their loved ones had made it. It was very hot down here, since there were probably hundreds of bodies in this one room. I hoped everyone would fit.

It stank of blood. I felt my stomach turn, but I forced myself to focus on mum and nothing else. It was hard, but I managed it.

Nathan nudged me with his elbow to grab my attention and I clung onto his upper arm as he walked further into the room, my mother still in his arms. 

"Linda? Issy?" I caught the sound of those two words being repeated over and over. That was my dad's voice. Thank God.

"Nathan, that's my dad over there." I said in a rush, my emotions overwhelming me. He looked down at me and nodded, needing no further request. With me still holding onto him he steered us towards the sound until I saw the two figures of my dad and Alice stood huddled against a wall.

"Alice! Dad!" I let go of Nathan and rushed towards them, until I suddenly remembered about mum. I stopped in front of them and Nathan caught up, looking up at them with sad eyes.

"I'm so sorry, sir. I hate to meet you in such horrible circumstances."

Dad let out a quiet cry of desperation and reached out to stroke mum's hair.

"Is she..?"

"No. She has a pulse. But.. it's bad." I said, hating to be the bearer of such bad news. Dad took mum from Nathan and cradled her. Alice just stood there in shock. I walked over to her and knelt in front of her. Her big, brown eyes looked into mine, and I saw the fear in them. I felt my chest tighten. 

"Alice, hey, it's gonna be all right. I promised you it was going to be all right, OK?" I put my hands on her shoulders. "Have I ever broken a promise to you before?" She shook her head. "OK. Well I'm not going to start now. Mum will be fine, I promise." I hugged her and she nestled her head in my neck. God, I hoped I was right.

"Doctor! Is there a doctor anywhere!?" My dad called out. Moments later a man in his mid-thirties walked over, with a black, leather bag in his hands. "I am a doctor, sir." He looked at mum in his arms. "What happened?" Everyone turned to me. I took a breath.

"We were going through the woods and a Vampire just-just attacked her. She sucked bl-blood out of her until she went unconscious." I said with difficulty. 

"And then it just left?" The doctor asked.

I gulped. "Uh, yeah."

"Ok. I've just finished treating someone with a similar problem." No one dared to ask whether he was successful. He put two fingers to her neck to feel her pulse. They came back bloody and I gulped as I felt my stomach tighten. "OK." was all he said. 

Dad laid her down gently on the floor and the doctor leaned over her body. He examined her neck and then got a stethoscope out of his bag and listened to her heartbeat. We all waited with baited breath. Dad broke the silence.

"B-because she was bitten, would she come back Turned?" He asked hesitantly.

The doctor let out a breath. "That depends. Vampires can choose to let out a venom when they suck a human's blood. If they don't, then the victim usually dies because of the blood loss, but if they do it causes them to be Turned." Is that what Karen did to me? Somewhere deep down, did she care about me enough to release the venom? I didn't know which was worse: being Turned or killed. "This lady hasn't lost enough blood to pass away yet, but her condition is serious. Considering the condition she is in, I would suspect the venom hasn't been released, as otherwise the effects of what happened would be much less." I turned away and was surprised to see Nathan standing just behind me - he stayed. I felt my heart warm, but it froze over just as quick as I turned to look back at mum.

The doctor was working on mum for what felt like forever. During that time the doors to the bunker were closed, and their loud slam echoed through the room and brought a hushed silence with it. Everyone outside wouldn't be able to get in, and everyone inside wouldn't be able to get out. Several times there was panicked knocking on the doors, sending loud thuds travelling through the room, but no one opened it. We couldn't afford to in case it was a Vampire, I understood that, but that didn't make it any easier to just sit there and listen to them panic. 

The doctor informed us it was going to be a while. He was prodding her and injecting her with things, asking dad about her usual health status and blood type. Dad told us that we should get some sleep since we wouldn't be allowed out until morning and that there was no point in us just waiting and watching. Alice yawned in response. Nathan squeezed my shoulder and I looked up at him. No words were exchanged but I could tell from the look in his eyes that he was telling me that everything would be okay. I just nodded feebly. He walked off into the mass of people, and I presumed he went to find his own loved ones. The fact that he stayed with us for so long would have started the butterflies up in my stomach in any other circumstance, but right now they felt dead inside. I laid down and Alice snuggled up next to me. I put my arms around her and got as comfortable as I could on the cold, concrete floor. Every few minutes there were screams coming from outside; some far away and some uncomfortably close. I knew I couldn't sleep through this.


I woke up to my dad shaking me, and realised that somehow I had managed to fall asleep. I sat up groggily, my limbs aching from the hard floor. Alice sat up next to me, rubbing her eyes.

"Guys, mum's fine." Dad said with a big grin of relief. His eyes were sparkling. 

"What, really!?" I exclaimed, crawling over to where she lay on the floor. She still looked unwell and limp, but her eyes were open and she was smiling.

"Mummy!" Alice said, hugging her.

"Take it easy." The doctor said. "She's still very weak."

"Hello my darlings." She said, smiling. I grabbed her hand and squeezed it. I promised Alice it would be all right, and it was.

"How did you..?" I began to ask the doctor.

"I kept her vitals going with some injections, and about half an hour ago the doors were opened for everyone to leave. My colleagues from the hospital brought blood donations and luckily there was one that matched your mother's blood type: O-negative." I didn't say anything, I just smiled the biggest smile I had in a long time and breathed a sigh of relief.

"OK, well we better get everyone home. Mum needs to rest and recuperate." Dad said, picking her up gently. "Thank you so much, doctor. I really can't thank you enough."

"You're more than welcome."

The bunker was about a quarter full now, as most people had left when the doors were opened. We walked through the people that remained and up the steps.

We walked out of the bunker and into the sunshine. I squinted my eyes. I could see people milling about everywhere, and the town was a mess: windows were smashed and bins and signs were kicked over, and although I couldn't see any I could smell that there was blood somewhere near. I told myself to focus on my happiness and ignore the smell. I looked around saw people smiling with relief but I also saw people with tear-stained faces and sad eyes. They looked at us with envy as we walked out with mum in dad's arms, alive and well. I didn't blame them. We began to walk up the path when I saw Nathan out of the corner of my eye, leaning on one of the walls of the Town Hall.

"Uh, guys I'll catch up." Dad looked over, saw Nathan and nodded, giving me a look that he understood. I felt my cheeks go red and turned to walk towards Nathan.

"Hey." I said feebly as I approached.

"Hey." He said. There was a moment of silence before I flung my arms around him and buried my head in his chest. After hours of holding back my emotions they all came flooding out. He stroked my hair as I cried into his shirt. I cried with sadness about what happened to mum, I cried with happiness about how it turned out, and I cried with sorrow for all those people who weren't as fortunate as we were. 

"Shh, it's okay." He said, still stroking my hair. "It's over now, it's fine. Everything's fine, I promise you." And I believed him.


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