I stare at the night sky through reinforced windows. The air is heavy outside. My eyes trail to the streets. I see a man dressed in a full black ensemble, holding a rifle. I watch as he checks his phone. The hunt has begun. My eyes gaze up at the full moon in the sky. Its white light illuminates the eerie darkness. There’s no denying it. Tonight is a special night.
The world was never like this. It used to be a peaceful world. A full moon used to carry a different meaning. Now, the meaning behind it is so much more ominous. It’s changed so much since the discovery of vampires and werewolves almost twelve years ago. I vaguely remember the original broadcast announcing the discovery, even though I have nightmares about it every so often.
My mother enters my room, distracting me from the once beautiful light of the moon. “Katherine, honey, please get away from the window.” Her voice, though full of concern, is commanding. I have no choice but to obey her wishes. I draw the curtains, ultimately covering the window and the moon.
“Are you going out tonight?” I ask her, even though I’m almost certain of what her answer is.
My mother sighs, “Yes. It’s become a civic duty to protect our country from these creatures. You know that. Pretty soon your father will have you out there with us.”
I roll my eyes, “Being a Hunter isn’t mandatory, it’s a choice. And I choose to stay home.”
My mother fashions a military issued guard around her neck, “It’s not a choice for you. It’s required. Are you sure you don’t want to come with us tonight? You could get a little experience before the academy classes begin.”
“No thanks.” I say, shaking my head, “Not tonight.”
I remember what it used to be like. I remember being able to lie in the grass and stare up at the glow of the moon and the bright, shining stars. In the year 2030, it all stopped. The government started safety protocols by enacting a mandatory curfew for all citizens. Soon after that, they began to impose other safety measures. Less than a year after the curfew, the United States Military created a new division. It was known as the W & V Extermination Forces, or Werewolf and Vampire Extermination Group. They named my father as the commander of the division. My twin brothers, Alec and Nicholas, enlisted the first chance they got. Word is (according to them at least), the training process is a combination of the Marine Corps and the Navy Seals. Hardly anyone could pass it. It does make me slightly curious as to how my brothers managed.
After the division was created, President Ophelia McEnroe urged Congress to enact new laws. The first few were very simple:
1. All citizens of the United States must undergo safety classes on how to protect themselves should they encounter a Werewolf or a Vampire.
2. All citizens will receive monthly scans to ensure the wellbeing of the nation
3. As of 2032, all citizens must undergo random home inspections.
4. As of 2035, it is illegal to knowingly and willingly harbor a Vampire of Werewolf in a dwelling. Crimes committed under this act will be punishable up to five years in a special prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
It feels like new laws are enacted every day. Those were just the harsher ones. So far this year, I’ve attended eight safety classes (the government requires one each month for all citizens, but two each month for potential hunters due to the constant influx of information coming in about the Werewolves and Vampires). In the Hunter’s class they issue military grade neck guards, and uniforms lined with silver. Then, a sign-up sheet for the academy goes around. Since my mother went with me to my first safety class, she forced me to enroll. She parroted the instructor to guilt trip me. She talked about how being a Hunter was a civic duty, and with my father being the head of the division, it would bring them a lot of joy for me to become one too; Family bonding at its finest.
I’ve heard from other Hunters that the academy is rigorous, but it becomes a stable job (and a good paying one at that). Against my wishes, my parents have already begun my physical training; along with some fighting techniques, but nothing beyond what the academy will teach me. My father has told me countless of times that more people need to sign-up. The division is still in its infancy and they can’t handle the workload due to low enlistment rates.
“Juliana! Are you ready?” I hear my father yell.
My mother is fastening the last of her silver-lined cuffs around her arm. “Just about!” She responds.
“Are you going far?” I ask, still slightly hesitant because I don’t want her to try to convince me to go with them.
She shrugs. “We’ll be thirty minutes away. The people living in the Dominions have requested Hunters. They suspect that a Werewolf or Vamp is lurking around there.”
I see my brothers, dressed in the same black ensemble, rush past my room. “You better hurry. Thor and Captain America over there seem eager to leave. You think they’d be sick of it since they’re already in the division.”
My mother chuckles at my comment. “You really should be going too. It’ll be great practice for the Academy.”
I sigh. “Mom, please. Don’t start this shit again.”
“Katherine Isabelle Krei, what has gotten into you? You’ve been acting very rebellious these last few weeks and I certainly don’t appreciate it.” The tone of her voice shifts easily to a stern one.
“You need to watch your tone. Your father is a respected member of the military, you should be proud that he’s serving our country.”
I roll my eyes. She tells me this every time we have a disagreement. “I don’t know why I bother arguing. You don’t listen anyway. Sharks and lions kill people from time to time but there isn’t a division to exterminate them.”
“Katherine, that is completely different and you know that. These creatures are a threat to the human race. They hunt humans.”
“Well, what if there are good vampires and werewolves?”
“Honey, there is no such thing as a ‘good’ vampire or werewolf. They are all monsters.” She scoffs.
“What if I became one? Would I be a monster?” I say with a “matter-of-fact” tone.
“Katherine, please. Stop it. You wouldn’t become one of those things.” She says as she heads for the door. “Do you remember the rules?”
Another sigh leaves my lips. “Don’t invite anyone that I don’t know inside.”
With a bored tone, I annoyingly recite my script to her satisfaction. “Silver bullets are in the closet downstairs with a scanner and if someone knocks, ask for an ID and request to see their teeth.
She hums in approval before kissing my forehead and bids me a goodnight.
Through the window of my room, I watch as my family climbs into their SUV. Their spotlights blind me as they back out of the driveway. I look around my room. There isn’t much to do now. I can watch the occasional Hunter walk up and down the street, or I can watch TV, where I’m almost positive, will have an educational reciting everything I told my mother earlier. Either way, I have nothing to do. My last option is to brush up on my class schedule for the academy. I can learn my where my classes are, or do some research on my teachers (from my dad’s secret government issued computer that he doesn’t know that I know about).
I wish I could lie in the grass and look up at the moon. I would give anything for a moment like that again. For now, I am forced to watch the moon from by bedroom window.
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