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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2. Vampire Hunters

Nate lived in a small apartment above a small but expensive cafe at the end of Regent Street with two other guys Rod and Callum. They worked in the Apple store with blue shirts that said genius but believe me they were far from it, they regurly got trashed even turning up at work with the mother of all hangovers. I meet them every time I come over and they greet me with a groan or grunt or sometimes if I'm lucky a 'Hey'. Its not that they don't like me its just that their usually too out of it to care.

Right now after Nate unlocked the red door, I heard the gentle duo snoring from the closed rooms and smelt alcohol and smoke immediatley as I stepped past the threshold. I wrinkled my nose and followed Nate to his bedroom. His walls were plain white with posters of metal bands and motorcycles. His bed sheets black and neat on top his metal bedframe, his computer light blinked from the desk in the corner and a few shirts littered the fake wooden floor. He bent down and reached under his bed. I heard a schreech and a moan before a large wooden box came into view. He unlocked the lock with a key on his set and lifted the lid with a loud creak.

I gasped as I stared at the contents of the box. Knives, wooden stakes, even a crossbow lined the inside and on closer inspection, a hand gun. A few cloves of garlic were scattered about the inside too like the ultimate vampire kit from a movie.

I stared at Nate. He looked grim as he fished out a holster and placed it around him self sealing it off with a buckle. He started to load up with stakes, knives and sheathed the crossbow on his back. Lastly after checking the mag he clicked the slider back and placed the hand gun in his side. Only then did I see his tattoo which I already knew was there from the first time I met him wearing a vest top, peeked out from under his sleeve, the swirling bold letters VH. He always told me it was a drunken accident now I'm thinking something more.

He straightened up and paced one, two, three times. "This seems pretty crazy, I know" he muttered as if he was talking to himself "I wish you never had to know about the other world threatening mankind below us but I hope you understand. Believe me its the only way to save your sister"

"What is it Nate your scaring me? What does VH really stand for? Its not a drunken mistake right?" I asked him feeling my blood run cold round my body. "What is this other world?"

"Scarlett" He said quickly shutting me off and his eyes snapped to mine, I'd never seen him so conflicted. "We are going down in the tunnels tonight after the last tube has run its course and the power is shut off. We will be going into the heart of their territory, its most dangerous but there will be more of us and you willl be armed"

"Who's we?" I asked my voice rising a notch almost hysterical. "Whats down there? Nate?"

He looked me right in the eye when he spoke and he said it with a mixture of bitter hate and dread, only one word, one syllable but enough to make me freeze.

"Vampire"

"Vampires!" I squeaked. "Are you being serious?"

He just looked at me and I knew deep down past the wall that didn't want to belive him, that told me it was bogus, almost laughable knew that he was telling the truth.

I let my mind reel for a minute before managing to compose myself and swallow "Vampires stole me sister? Why?"

"I don't know" Nate admitted stabbing a hand thorugh his hair. "They never usually take someone and keep them alive this long or let anyone know unless..." He gave me a very grave look and my heart pounded in my chest making it hard to breath "...they want you to follow them. They want you"

I struggled to breath and I managed a small gasp "Why?"

Nate shook his head taking a step closer to me closing the gap to mere centimetres "I'm not sure, I would ask you to stay here but I know you won't do that. But I will never ever let anything happen to you, I can promise you that"

I nodded breathing out and glanced up at him "What about you? Can you promise the same about you? I'm not leaving you down there"

Nate looked dismissive, his eyes almost closed off "Its a part of the job, Vampire Hunter, you kind of learn that you could die on any hunt"

I went to say something but he stepped back shutting me down again and went back to the box. He pulled out another crossbow and some small wooden stakes then handed it to me. I held it gingerly and he came up behind me his hands on mine as he explained how to fire, load and reload. I took a few practice shots on his dartboard hung on the back of his door before he placed a leather strap across my back and sheathed it on top. Next he loaded my wasit up with stakes and a long knife the length of my arm from elbow to my hand in a holder at my waist. Instructing briefly he showed me how to attack and defend - block with lower arms and elbow then strike with the knive, always leave yourself an out make sure you don't give them an oppertunity to strike or bite you.

He dragged out a trenchcoat from under his bed and shrugged it on and I remembered something he said.

"There are others, you said? More Vampire Hunters in the city?"

Nate nodded "Not just the city but worldwide. There are hundreds maybe thousands of vampires living under our old tunnels ready in waiting to end humanity as we know and spread vampirisim leaving a few human cattle to be trapped under their deadly reign forever, we stamp them out at the source. Why do you think I'm so cranky sometimes in the morning?"

I caught his small smirk and quirked a smile myself "I thought you weren't a morning person"

He laughed deep and soft "That too" and he gave me that serious look again "I have a feeling they want you for something big, something significant, this could be the start of their epidemic. Humans are vulnerable, we are vulnerable but we have to fight to stop it"

I nodded slowly. He cupped the back of my neck with his hand and kissed my forehead roughly before facing away. I saw him pull out his phone and dial a number. He spoke quietly and quickly and I didn't catch much just the urgent "Regroup, Regent Underground, be armed and ready"

He clicked off and put it away. "Scarlett, Are you ready?"

"Yes" I whispered.

He went to one of his drawers, pulled out a grey jumper and handed it to me. To my confused look he said "To hide your weapons, we're not invisible to eveyone else, Scar"

I took it and pulled it on. It fit like a snug short dress and smelt of him, musty fruit and leather. "I don;t know I thought you vampire hunters would have some kind of power"

He smirked "I wish"

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