Don't go down the underground past ten...

Originally this story was for the Holly Black competition but as its too long I left it on my profile instead. I never thought I'd ever write a vampire story but an idea prompted me to write this and see where it goes.

Eighteen year old Scarlett accompanies her sister, Lily, to Regent street to meet Tom, a guy her sister met online through a friend of a friend for their first meeting. Remembering herself having their mum trail her on her first date she lets Lily go off by herself despite a nagging that something isn't quite right...
When her sister doesn't meet her at their spot at seven she knows something is seriously wrong and after a phone call confirms it she discovers a world far beyond anything her imagination could have conjured up and she will have to venture into the underground past ten into the forbidden hours....

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1. Meeting Tom

They say don't take the London Underground at night. You could get killed. You could be raped. Just don't take the tube after ten under any circumstances, stay away and take a taxi. It's safer that way. Gangs, Bullies, murderers and rapists lurk in the tunnels underneath the city, they tell you, real bad guys that will take away your innocence faster than you can say help me please. But what they don't tell you is why so many go missing at night during twilight. Where do the bodies end up? Do they simply vanish into another life after side stepping the crazies down there? Do they simply not want to be found, are the bodies thrown on the track by the predators down there and destroyed or is there something else that is down there taking people from the street?

I travelled from Oxford Circus to Regent Street on the tube at midday. It was a Saturday, an unusual one at that. The sun reigned against the clouds that threatened an overcast sky and was at least 25 degrees, warm by English standard. I even wore denim shorts and a guns and roses tshirt with my green converses. I sighed and the weight on my lap shifted. I looked down and smiled.

My little sister, Lily, had her head laid on my lap asleep. Trains always made her sleepy, it was the motion and my mum's secret to getting her to sleep when she was a baby. You'd think she was only six or something like that but no, she's twelve but has a baby's mind. Must be younger sibling syndrome. Her eyes fluttered in her dreams now as she adjusted her head, her shiny brown wavy hair down and splayed across my thighs shifted slightly and her arched eyebrows knitted together as if she was having a nightmare. My hair was a fraction darker than hers and I happened to gain Dads freckles that splatter across my nose and cheeks. Her eyes are blue, mine are green but you can always tell we are sisters just by looking at us, same features and body shape excepts Lily's is the minature version.

I saw the red, blue and white Regent Street sign come into view, and I nudged Lily awake. She groaned and sat up bleary eyed. I gave her a gentle shove forward and followed her to the door to step off onto the shiny marble floor. The smell of asphalt and train fuel immediatly hit my senses with the added mix of perspiration as crowds rushed around us. Why would anyone want to lurk down here I wondered, it was dirty, dusty and dangerous with the live thousand watt tracks running thorugh the tube maze.

The thoughts swept away as I caught Lily rushing forward into the surge of jostling people, some tourists, some workers, I used my elbows to drive myself towards her just in time to see some boy embracing my sister at the top of the stairs as the last of the rush to get the train we just escaped from attempted to catch it. I quickly marched up the steps and waited for them to untangle their arms.

They stepped back from each other. I eyed up the boy warily taking in his loose fitting blue jeans, white chunky airwalk trainers and black t shirt along with his blonde hair that touched the bottom of his neck and streaked into his eyes, which looked a very dark brown. So this was Tom, the guy that she's been talking to for months, a friend of a friend, her supposed first boyfriend. This believe it or not is their first meeting and on the condition I go with her to make sure that he's not an asshole and that its on Dad's territory so if anything happens we go straight to his.

So far I'm not sure.

Lily's cheeks are a furious pink and she gestures to me "Tom this is Scarlet, my sister"

He holds out his hands in an almost formal way and I hold back a snort. "Nice to meet you, I'm Tom" He says in a ridiculously deep voice that I think he can't be thirteen. "Lily's told me about you"

I take his hand, its cold despite the heat but I stamp it down to air conditioning. "Nice to meet you too"

A small awkward silence blossoms before Lily says "Scarlet's going to do some shopping..." her eyes meet mine which are drawn into a frown. "...Some new shoes for work and its her boyfriends birthday tomorrow which she forgot about"

I caught her drift and felt them both watching me. I still wasn't sure on this guy but I knew what it was like at that age and she's fortunate she didn't have mum trailing her on her first date like I did. I told myself it would be fine despite the nagging in my stomach but she had her phone if she ever needed anything. "Yes I do" techinically I did have to get Nate a present for his birthday and I figured I could meet him for lunch or dinner. "I'll see you back here at six, seven at a push just let me know"

Lily gave me a small smile of thanks and waved "See you later Scarlett"

I turned halfway before turnning back and called after her. She stopped and gave an annoyed look. "Text me where your going if theres anywhere new and when your on your way back here"

"Okay" Lily huffed before walking off next to Tom.

I thought I saw him smirk, his eyes hard and...menacing. I shook it off your just paranoid, scarlett, she's fine, headtstrong just like you were. Whats the harm a thirteen year old can do?

Hours later I was contemplating the same thing. I sat in a cafe sipping hot chocolate at six thirty with Nate my boyfriend of two years who lived nearest my Dad's. He dressed in dark levi's, a tight black shirt showing off his muscles and biker boots he always wore after riding his Harley. His dark brown hair fell into his eyes and it always curled under his ears when it grew long. He pushed it back now still making my heart leap revealing those dark blue eyes that watched me worry. He was stupidly gorgeous and I still didn't know why he was attracted to me after I tripped in front of him when we first met at the bowling alley. He had helped me up, laughed and brought me a drink. The rest is history.

I checked my phone the millionth time. The digits flipped to six forty five and I drowned the last of my hot chocolate before standing. I called Lily, it went straight to voicemail. Panicking I re dialled and found the same 'Hey its Lily, leave a messeage'

"Damn it Lily" I muttered.

Nate was already standing and eased his hand into mine making me calm a little. "Come on. I'm sure she's fine" he whispered in my ear. "I'll walk you there and make sure I see you both off. And give this Tom an ass kicking"

I sighed and pushed the phone in my pocket. "Okay" I breathed.

Walking hand in hand we made it to the tube station in ten minutes and waited at the top of the stairs just like I said. People ran past, some walked very quickly but there was no sign of Lily or Tom.Trains shuttled though tunnles below and air puffed up from the vents to blow in my face. I checked my phone again and my stpomach lurched, it was seven thirty. Oh she was in so much trouble. At this rate we would be staying at Dad's, there was no way we were riding the tube past ten. I shuffled side to side on the balls of my feet feeling antsy and my heart pounded in my chest. Nate tried asking poeple if they had seen her or staff but no one had.

Suddenly my phone buzzed out Avril Lavigne rock n roll, it was Lily, I almost slumped in relief. "Lily, where the hell are you? Its seven thirty!" I yelled. "Where are you?"

"I'm okay" Lily giggled, my heart froze and I gripped the phone in anger, She sounded drunk. "Its fine, I'm with Tom, say Hi Tom. He's taking me back we are in the tunnels" then she whispered "Underground with the monsters, He's showing me some abandoned underground tunnels..."

"What!" I schreeched in horror. "Where are you?"

"Near youuu" she sang "Just in the dark abandoned onessss nooot in ussee!"

"Put Tom on the phone!" I screamed "Lily Get Out"

I heard the phone click and switch person. He spoke before I did and the blood curdled in my veins "She will become one of us, you will see her again just not quite how you remember"

I yelled at him screaming for him to explain but he had clicked off and my screams fell on empty ears. I cursed catching a sharp glare from a woman in a pinched suit and tried her again but there was nothing, not even a dial tone.

Tears streamed down my face and my knees felt like liquid crumblking me to land on the floor. Nate crouched down in front of me, concern etching his features and I thought I saw a hidden horror hidden beneath his endless blue eyes. His hands ran in soothing motions up and down my thighs, and he pulled me into his arms then eventually to my feet. He held me there for a while till my rational mind caught up with me and I squeezed his hand gratefully.

"I need to go after her" I said looking at Nate "I need to go get her out of these tunnels away from that freaking psyhcopath. She could be killed. I should never have left them alone"

"Its not your fault" Nate told me "We will find her" he let out a long breath and stabbed a hand through his hair. "First we need to head back to mine theres something I need to show you, something about me I never wanted you to see"

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