“Vampyre hunters. You guys are actual, real, vampyre hunters. And no one thought to tell me?” My mind was nothing more than a black haze as I stared at my parents. My mother was sitting on the couch with her head in her hands, her long black hair tied up in a very messy bun, while my father paced around the room.
“It’s not that simple.” My father said quickly, but didn’t elaborate. My body was numb. Oh, God, they actually were going to kill me! When they eventually find out that I fucked up and got myself killed, they really would put a stake in my chest. This was it. This was the end.
I looked at my mom, eyes wide. She glanced up at me for a moment and sighed, as if she had felt me staring at her, and sighed. “We were going to tell you, sweetie, it’s just… It’s Hunter tradition to pass down the family title when your child turns 18.” She explained, her voice soft.
“Woah, wait, so Dyl knows?” I exclaimed. My sister was 20 and in college, but we were always very close. We told each other everything. Well, I guess we didn’t. I didn’t tell her that I was the walking dead and she didn’t tell me that she was Blade so I guess we were even.
“Yes, your sister chose to join us on her 18th birthday.” My mother responded, and I shook my head. My life was complicated enough without my parents having a literal wall of weapons made to kill me.
“So, what about me? You were just going to tell me I was born to kill vampyres and then what? Train me? Have me willingly become one of you, without a second thought?” Honestly, I probably would have thought it was cool if I weren’t a member of the group they were trying to kill.
My father finally stopped pacing, putting his hands on the couch behind where my mother was sitting. He sighed, shaking his head a little. “No, of course not. You have a choice.”
“Oh, and you, mom, and Dyl all just chose to be murderers?” I shouted.
My father frowned, almost looking angry. “We are not the killers, Oliver. They are. We protect humanity by going after the things that threaten it.” He responded almost curtly, clearly trying to tone down his anger at me.
“Yeah, sure, calm down, Batman. I’m still not joining your boyband.”
“Oliver!” My mom snapped, and I backed down immediately. Whoops. That was out of line.
“Sorry, Dad. I didn’t mean it like that.” I droned, sighing and throwing my arms in the air. “But this is… This is crazy! I’m not a Hunter! I’m not like you and Dyl- or mom. I don’t want to be a hunter.”
“You can’t. You’re 17. You’re far too young to be a Hunter. Mordain wouldn’t even agree to train you.” My father told me, his expression grim.
I frowned. Wait, what? I wasn’t allowed? How come? Was I not good enough for them? I would have them know, I am A + vampyre hunting material! I know all their weaknesses! Rude. “Well, now I know, so you can’t stop me if I change my mind.” I said defiantly.
“Actually, we can.” My dad said monotonously.
“What? How? You’re lying.”
“I’m not. Hunters keep their identities very secret. You can choose to not be a hunter, but you will have to be…” Dad stopped, looking at Mom like he needed help.
Mom stiffened, looking even more upset. Her blue eyes swelled with tears, and she rubbed at her already red nose as she sniffled, trying to keep herself together. “They will have to erase your memory of all things related to us being Hunters.”
I slowly leaned forward, my eyes wide. “So… my choices are either join you, or forget everything?” I asked slowly, my voice suddenly calm. I probably stopped yelling because of how shocked I was, if I was being honest. I couldn’t even be angry at them, I was just so… surprised.
Mom reached up and placed her hand on top of my fathers, looking up at him with a sad expression on her face before turning back to me and nodding, refusing to say anymore. She stood slowly, wiping the tears from her eyes and taking a breath. “Let’s not talked about this now. It’s dinner time. I’ll go make us something nice.”
“Wait, mom, I’m not-”
“Oliver, I think that’s enough for the night.” Dad said coldly, following my mom into the kitchen as I sat on the couch motionless, trying to wrap my mind about what had just happened. It couldn’t be true. It had to be a dream. There was no way my parents were actually vampyre hunters, right?
Dinner was awkward. No one said a word. Not even when Dyl got home. In fact, when she came in- happily declaring her presence- she quickly picked up on the mood and shut up. And then, food was eaten- begrudgingly on my part, since everything just tasted so gross without blood in it- and everyone went their separate ways.
I laid on my bed, my eyes glued to the ceiling. They were hunters. They were actually hunters. Why was my life so fucked up? A little knock came to the door, and Dylan poked her head in. She had a sympathetic expression on her face, her black hair - the same as out Mom’s- tied up in a ponytail that was falling over her shoulder. Her brown eyes sparkled with concern, but I just glared at her. “What do you want.”
She came in uninvited, slowly closing the door behind her. She was already in her pajamas- which was just a tank and some fuzzy pink shorts- so I didn’t know why she didn’t just go to bed. “To talk.” She said simply, walking over my bed and sitting down next to me. I made no attempts to sit up.
“Then talk.” I said childishly, still staring at the ceiling. She lied to me. I had nothing to say to her.
She sighed, accepting that it was probably going to be a one sided conversation. “I know how you feel right now. It’s… it’s a really big deal. When they told me, I didn’t know what to think at first either. But… I know that they only kept it from me to protect me.” She explained, trying to reach out and touch me, but I turned and shrugged off her hand.
“Yeah, well I’m not you.” I basically hissed. I was mad. I had every right to be mad. Maybe if I had known, I wouldn’t have gotten myself turned. Maybe I wouldn’t have been that stupid.
I heard her sigh behind me, and I felt the bed quake a little as she stood. “Ok, I get it, you don’t want to talk right now. But whether you like it or not, the time will come for you to make your choice. And you have to be ready for that.” I didn’t respond as she slowly left my room, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
Staying awake had been a mistake. I was up for most of the night feeling sorry for myself and blasting my music as loud as I could in protest. In retrospect, it was a sitty idea. It was 15 minutes before class and I was bolting out the door- starving and without any time to actually to to the cafe.
Which was how I ended up in the one three blocks from school.
It was risky. Really, really risky. But I had no choice. I had to have at least half a cup to get through the school day without turning into Vampyre BBQ. I downed half the cup and shoved it into the bio waste bin before running out of the cafe and glancing around to make sure there was no one in sight who knew me.
I turned a corner into an alleyway and took off my jacket, peeking around the corner for a moment and checking again just to be safe. I sighed with relief when I didn’t notice anyone and stepped out. Oh, that was close.
I made it a few steps before I heard someone call my name. “Oli! Hey, Oliver! Wait up!” Matt ran up next to me, a grin on his face. “Dude, what’s up? I never see you take this route in the morning.”
My body almost froze, tensing in fear. Had he seen me? Oh, God, please, tell me he didn’t see me. My day could not get any worse than it already was. “Oh, I - uh… I woke up late. Decided to take a shortcut today.” I said, not really elaborating as we made it to the school
“Well, if it’s a short cut, how come you don’t always take it?” Matt asked, clearly not amused by my answer.
I shrugged, not having a good enough excuse. It wasn’t like I could just tell him that I had to get up extra early to walk 20 blocks just to get blood. “I like taking the scenic route.”
“The scenic route? Bro, this is the city.” Matt rolled his eyes as he pushed open the door to the school. “Besides, you look way too terrible to be exercising that much. Seriously, what is going on? You look even worse than yesterday.”
I didn’t look at him, choosing to watch the floor as we made our way through the building. “Another all nighter. Really need to finish this essay.” I said quickly. I was a little snappy when I was hungry, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I didn’t want people to figure me out, so I never carried snack packs with me- which were like bags of chips, but they were for vampyres so they were filled with blood.
Matt shrugged. “Ok, whatever dude. But if you still look this awful tomorrow, I’m making you do to the doctor.”
I rolled my eyes at him. “Whatever. I’m fine. Seriously.”
We walked to the classroom together - since we had homeroom together. We always tried to get as many classes together as possible, since we were pretty close and - who am I kidding? We totally cheat off each other. But we like to think of it more like “joint learning.”
When we entered the room full of people, and I sucked in an almost pained breath. Yeah, just one cup had not been enough. I could hear all of their hearts beating. The blood rushing through their veins like rivers. It was overwhelming. I wanted to dig into their necks and drink all of them dry.
Of course, I wasn’t going to.
I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment, my hands clenching into fists. Matt snapped his fingers in front of my face. “Hey, Earth to space cadet. Are you sure you are ok? You look like you’re in pain.”
I jumped slightly, my breathing a little labored. I forced a smile. “Yeah, I’m good. Headache.” I said slowly, tapping my head. Matt looked at me suspiciously.
“Ok. Fine. I won’t ask. But you’re going to have to tell me what’s going on one day, Oli.” Matt said as he sat down at his desk.
I frowned. What? Just how much did he know? “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m fine!”
Matt rolled his eyes. “You and I both know that you’ve been weird ever since the party at Selina’s beach house Freshman year. But whatever. You don’t have to tell me, I guess- if you don’t trust me.” He clearly looked annoyed as he took his stuff out of his bag, not looking me in the eyes.
“Matt-” I began, trying to explain - or make excuses, but the teacher cut me off.
“Oliver. Take your seat, or I’ll mark you tardy.” Our more than a little bit annoying teacher marching in and I grumbled, slowly following his command and taking a seat.
Our teacher, Mr. Emerson, began his boring lecture by taking out a stack of papers and passing them out to the people in the front of the classroom to pass behind them. “Today, we will have an in class assignment.” The class groaned, but Emerson actually looked happy.
Matt was about to hand the papers back to me - we rigged the seating chart so we would be neach each other - when he winced. He pulled his fingers away from the papers, watching as a little stream of blood swelled out from the little cut. “Ow. Fuck.” Matt cursed under his breath.
The smell hit me like a ton of bricks.
I couldn’t even think. Oh, God, I never even realized how starved I was. Most vampyres had to drink 5 cups of blood per day to stay healthy, and I wasn’t even drinking half that. I felt my eyes gloss over a little as there was a sharp prick in my gums as my fangs shot out of my gums.
I stood, trying to walk over to the front and grab the hall pass as calmly as possible, but my entire body was stiff and riged. I snatched the hall pass from the front, keeping my head down and ignoring Emerson as he yelled at me for going to the bathroom in the first five minutes of class. I picked up the pace, making it out the door and then bolting.
I needed to splash some water on my face. I needed to sit in front of a fan or something- anything! As long as I just… Calmed the fuck down. Why did it have to be me? Why did I have to be the stupid one? Why did I have to get myself turned? I shoved open the door to the boys bathroom, going immediately over to the sink and splashing water on my face.
I took deep, ragged breaths. It almost felt like I was about to cry or something- but of course, that wasn’t the case. It was more like someone just set out a dish of your favorite meal and set it in front of you, when you hadn’t eaten in three days, but you weren’t allowed to have any or someone would probably kill you.
Or things would just get really, really weird.
My hands gripped the edges of the sink, shaking from the force of my grasp. COunt to ten… Count to ten… Count. To, Ten. One. Two. Three. My breathing slowed a little bit, the pounding in my head subsiding a little bit. Four… Five… I relaxed my grip on the sink a little, regulating my breath so I was no longer hyperventilating. Six, seven, eight… Almost there. Almost there.
“Oli?” Matt’s voice drifted into the bathroom as he stepped inside, and my head snapped over to look at him. A bandage covered the cut on his finger, but I could still smell it. Hell, I could even see the little dot of dark reddish brown bleeding through the ten color of the Band Aid.