I was about five. I was lost.
I wasn’t scared. That is very vivid in my mind, I remember that I was not scared or even worried. I was playing with the animals, or... I thought they were animals. I’ve never seen anything like them since, not in books or on TV, nothing. There wasn’t any other way to describe them, they were just... little animals. They led me through the woods, laughing and playing with me.
I remember the wolves. They didn’t scare me either though. At the time, I just thought they were big dogs. Their fur was so coarse, but I didn’t mind and neither did they. I remember falling asleep out there. The animals built something like a little nest, leaves and grass and soft feathers. They all curled up around me, the wolves stayed awake, almost like guards surrounding me. In the morning, I woke up on my grandparents porch.
“Did you have fun?” I remember them asking.
As I got older, I’d tell my friends and even write stories about it, but nobody believed me. It was chalked up to an active imagination, a dream that a kid had. After a while I just stopped telling anyone. At first I was a bit sad that no one believed me, that everyone thought I was just making it up or that I’d dreamt it, but... I realized that it was a cherished memory. Something only I knew about, only I had experienced it. It was mine alone.
As I grew up more, entering adulthood, sometimes even I would wonder if it was maybe just a dream. My grandparents never spoke about losing me as a kid. I knew I was lost, even though I was just a kid, I was fully aware that I had wandered away from... where I was supposed to be. If I had truly been lost though, wouldn’t my grandparents have been more upset? Wouldn’t someone be looking for me? So... Maybe it was a dream, but I couldn’t really convince myself of that.
“Ah shit,” I muttered. I rolled over and grabbed my phone from my nightstand. It was dark out, the screen was almost blinding as I turned it on. I was late. I had a closing shift at the restaurant, but my “twenty minute power nap” turned into a full two hours. I was groggy, still tired somehow, and now I was being bombarded by text messages from my boss.
The phone rang, my boss’s name spelling my doom on the screen. I scrambled out of bed, grabbing my uniform, trying to pull it on as I answered. “Hello?” I asked as casually as possible.
“‘Hello’?!” Eric’s voice came through, angry as he repeated my one word. “That’s all I get? Where are you? You should’ve been here an hour ago! You literally just have a four hour shift tonight and you’ve managed to miss a whole hour of it!”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I grumbled, “I forgot to set an alarm, I’ll be there in a few.” I pulled the phone away from my ear as I got dressed, knowing he was going to be launching into a shouting fit. He could yell as much as he wanted, deep down I knew he was just a big teddy bear. I’d get to work and crack a couple jokes and he’d be smiling at me again.
After getting dressed, I raised the phone again and caught the tail-end of his rant. “Should’ve just stayed home!” he was shouting.
“Me or you?”
“Kellyn!” he growled. “I’m not in the mood!”
“You’re no fun,” I said as I slipped my heels on. Thank God it’s just a block, I thought as I stepped out the door. “I’ll be there in a few, I told you, ‘kay bye!” Without waiting for him to say anything else, I hung up on him and started at a half-jog.
I rounded the corner to get into the elevator, letting out a little cry as I bumped into a wall. I thought I was going to fall backwards, I hit it so hard, I even squeezed my eyes shut and braced myself.
I didn’t fall... and it wasn’t a wall...
Two strong hands gripped my arms, holding me up, my face still pressed into... Holy shit, muscles? I pulled back a little to look up. I’d run into the human equivalent of a brick wall, apparently. He was at least a foot taller than me, if not more, his arms thick, his torso thicker. His eyes were a golden brown, his hair brown with flecks of blond. Is this guy even real? He looked like some kind of body builder slash model.
He was looking down at me, an eyebrow raised. “You alright?” the man asked.
“Uh...” I started, not sure what to say. Finally, everything clicked back into place and brought me out of my daze. “I’m late!” I said quickly. “I’m sorry! I really have to go now!” With that I pulled out of his grasp and ducked past him into the elevator. I tapped the ground floor button a few times, praying for it to hurry.
It seemed to take an eternity. It was as if time was frozen. The stranger I’d bumped into was still looking at me, his eyes seemed to look... through me. I felt exposed, small, an uneasy feeling sinking into my stomach. What’s this guy’s problem? I wondered. Did he want another apology? I opened my mouth, but in that moment the elevator doors shut and he was out of sight.
I shook off the strange feeling and carried on. I hurried out of the building and walked as quickly as I could, cursing whoever decided that our female uniforms had to include heels.
I didn’t make it to the restaurant.
The car stopped right in front of me, inches from hitting me, and I couldn’t even flinch. A man stepped out, keeping the door open, leaning against it. I couldn’t make out his face. He was bald, he was wearing sunglasses, very stereotypical goon.
He nodded, satisfied with my stammering answer. He got back into the car, before he shut the door, I heard him say the words, “Grab her.”
It was then that my fight-or-flight finally kicked in, my body finally reacting to the situation. Run. I turned, but before I could even make it more than a few steps, one of the heels slipped and my ankle was bent painfully as I fell to my knees. “God fucking damn it!” I shouted. If I survive, I’m never wearing heels again. Those were my last thoughts before I was grabbed, a hand covering my mouth, an arm wrapping around my upper body. He pinned my arms to my body, all I could do was flail my arms and fists, my legs kicking and trying to move my head so my screams wouldn’t be muffled. He lifted me to my feet, still struggling, when another man came over.
He gave me a soft smile, as if he weren’t a kidnapper. He raised his hand, holding a syringe. “Don’t worry, this won’t hurt,” he said. With his other hand, he grabbed my wrist, holding my arm easily, as if my struggles meant nothing.
My muffled screams were turning into panicked sobs as it really set in. This is happening, I’m being kidnapped, this is... bad.
It was so much worse than I’d thought. I tried to compromise a little, letting them know my grandparents were dead and there was no one who’d care enough to pay ransom. It soon became clear they were not after ransom though. I was always blindfolded, I could hear other girls around me, but I didn’t know how many. Mostly, there were whimpers and screams and worse noises that I didn’t want to think about.
They’d drag me to my feet a few times a day. At least, I thought it was a few times a day, it was hard to tell when I couldn’t see or sleep. I didn’t know what they wanted, what they were looking for. I could feel the needles constantly going into me, pushing something in or pulling blood out. Every protest was met with violence, with the constant taste of blood in my mouth, I decided it was best to just be quiet.
After a while I felt as though I was in a constant daze, not fully conscious, not unconscious. I was always thinking of... everything. Were people worried about me? How much trouble would I be in with Eric? When were they going to kill me? Were they going to kill me, or was I going to be in a constant state of torture?
After a while I couldn’t hear the other girls. Or rather, it was gradual, but eventually they stopped making any noises. I had no way of knowing if they were being taken away or if they were just giving up. Finally, I found out when it was my turn. I was grabbed and yanked forcefully up. My legs were weak, I stumbled, but was kept on my feet by a strong hand. They were yelling at me, but I couldn’t make out their words. My mind felt like there was a fog, like something was blocking me from understanding. They pulled and pushed me until I was lifted and then dropped roughly into what felt like a plastic storage tub.
Well... Guess I’m dying here, I told myself. The only clear thought I’d had in a while. My mind finally sank into full unconsciousness.
I was brought back by a lot of noise. My mind a bit more clear, as if all I’d needed was a bit of rest. There were... shouts. A lot of shouting. A lot of the shouting being cut short. Are those gun shots? Yes. Lots of them, hitting metal, hitting walls. I curled up more in my container, breathing heavily. It certainly didn’t help, soon enough I was grasping at the sides, trying to claw my way out, but my hands couldn’t get a grip. I heard voices approaching and I went quiet. I held my breath, chewing my lips, trying to force down the whimpers. Were they here to rescue me or were they my kidnappers?
“What you think they got in here?”
“Proper grammar please.”
“Shutup. What do you think they have in here?”
My container moved a little, as if they were pushing it around. Their voices were very... distinct. Unlike the men I’d heard since being taken. One of them sounded... French? A slight draw to his words. The other one... I couldn’t make out his accent.
Another voice came through. Rougher, but still not anyone I’d heard before. “Who cares? We’ll check back at our place, let’s get out of here before reinforcements come.”
The container was jostled and I clamped a hand over my mouth. I could feel it moving, but something was... strange. It was moving a bit too smoothly. I could feel we were moving fast, but there wasn’t as much jostling as before. I couldn’t focus much though, holding my breath and trying to stay quiet was making me feel sick and light-headed again. Who are these guys? Where am I going now? Those were the last thoughts that crossed my mind before I passed out once again.
“That’s not what I was expecting.”
My eyes opened slowly, my vision blurry, my mind trying to work its way back to consciousness and figure out what was going on. There was light, something I hadn’t seen in a while. As my vision cleared, I could see three men standing over me. They all had confused expressions.
“Hey,” one said, snapping his fingers. “You okay?”
I recognized his voice, he was the gruff sounding one from before. I flinched as he snapped his fingers, the sound seemed to ring through my whole body.
Another voice from before, the French accent, spoke. He smacked the other one’s hand away. “Stop that, asshole,” he hissed, “you’re just going to scare her.”
“Yeah, man, I thought you were supposed to be smart,” the other growled. He was the last voice. His accent was still odd... Scottish? Kind of, but... Different at the same time. As if he’d tried to suppress the accent but couldn’t quite leave it entirely.
“I am smart, excuse me,” the snappy-one replied. “I wasn’t expecting there to be a girl in that container, we should’ve smelled her. Besides they kil—“
“Hush!” the French man said. “Don’t...”
I was looking between all three of them, trying to figure out what was going on. I opened my mouth, trying to talk, but... it ended in a bloody cough.
Something seemed to shift. They all froze, their eyes... Even in my dazed state, I saw it, their pupils dilating. I was moved quickly, suddenly, making me groan with pain. I was suddenly out of the Frenchman’s arms and into the Scottish one’s.
It dawned on me now how much bigger than me this man was. My mind was racing now, trying to make sense of everything. He was so big. Not thick with muscles, but tall, lanky, his arms were strong and held onto me with an iron grip. Not that I could struggle much anyway, but even with my arms meekly pushing against him, I could tell he was strong.
“Cin, stop!” the third man shouted.
He held me against his chest as if I were some sort of precious treasure. His mouth opened, his green eyes glaring at the other two, his face framed by wild, red hair like fire. When his mouth opened, it was like a dog baring its teeth at a threat. I let out a soft gasp, as his lips pulled back, I could see his two canines protruding, longer and sharper than they should be. He let out a low growl, a warning sound. This isn’t happening, I told myself. Was he one of those guys who files their teeth? No... That question was answered as I saw his teeth growing right in front of my eyes.
They were acting like he was a dog, trying to talk him into giving back something he shouldn’t have. Except that something was me.
“Let her go, you just ate, you animal,” the French one hissed.
The one holding me, Cin, growled again. Then, without anymore warning, he pulled me up more. My hands pushed against his chest to no avail. One of his hands gripped the back of my head. God, his hand was as big as my head, it felt like. I couldn’t do anything against him, he pulled my head to the side roughly and suddenly...
I let out a gasp as those two sharp canines sank into the soft skin of my neck. It hurt for a little bit, just the initial penetration, but then it suddenly felt as though I was sinking. It was... Like my body was floating, I felt light, and for the first time since I’d been kidnapped, I actually didn’t feel scared. If anything... I felt... good? What’s happening to me? My body responded to him, his touch. My hands stopped trying to push him away and instead I gripped his shirt tightly. Something else was happening...
Am I horny?
A wetness was spreading between my thighs. My mouth opened again, but I didn’t want to scream or cry for help. I felt euphoric, happy... Part of my mind was shouting what the fuck, what the fuck, but the rest of me was melting into this stranger... the stranger who was biting me. I could hear him swallowing. Was he drinking my blood? That can’t be real...
The rest of the world was sinking away, turning to blackness. It was such a surreal feeling. It was as though I was high, but I’d never heard of any drug that could do this. This was... so different. I felt as though my strength was returning, even as I felt my blood being drained. I wanted this guy... to really destroy me. I’d never felt something like that before. Whatever he was doing to me, it was making me want him desperately. Images of wild, animalistic things were coursing through my mind. Rough, wild sex, screaming, cursing, crying, being trapped under this giant as he took me...
“You’re taking too much!” one of the other men was shouting. His voice sounded distant.
“Felix, something... is odd,” the other man said.
“I know, but we can deal with that after we get him off her!”
And suddenly we were broken apart. I would’ve let out a whine if I’d had any strength in my throat. The world returned and I could see that the man, who I assumed was Felix, had Cin in a headlock. I was back in the Frenchman’s arms, he held me protectively, as if ready to block me from another attack.
Cin leaned forward, jerking the other man’s body forward with him and flipping him over. Felix landed on his back with the big redhead standing over him. He was panting, his shoulders heaving, his hands held like claws, ready to fight. As he breathed, he seemed to calm down. His pupils returned to normal, he straightened, looking less like an animal with its hackles raised and more like a regular, albeit mega tall, guy. He looked around, as if he’d been broken from a dream.
“Oh shit,” he gasped, wiping my blood from his mouth. He looked at me, then to the other two men. “I’m sorry, I just... it... she just smelled so sweet, I couldn’t...”
“I felt that too,” Felix called up from the floor. “Honestly... not your fault. The girl’s lucky we didn’t all latch onto her at once. If anything, you broke Jean and I out of it.”
He approached me again. He was definitely a couple feet taller than me. He looked apologetic, extending a hand, but before he reached me... My mind went blank again. I hadn’t even felt it coming this time. I had felt better in fact, but... my body seemed to give in to exhaustion again.
I woke up to see all three surrounding me again. This time, I was much more comfortable, I was laying in a bed, soft and warm. There was even a teddy bear in my arms, clutched tightly. “Uh...” I started.
“Girls like stuffies,” Cin said pointedly, as if trying to justify the bear.
The bear is not the problem.
“Are you... okay?” said the one that I figured was Jean.
Panic started to set in again. Being kidnapped, waking up surrounded by strangers, having one of said strangers bite me and drink my blood? Everything came rushing at once. “What? No! Who are you? Where am I? What the hell is going on!?” I shouted.
None of them looked surprised by my reaction. They didn’t even flinch as my voice rose.
“So... We found you in a box. You were kidnapped right? With a lot of other girls?” asked Felix.
“Okay so... first and foremost, we’re not kidnappers, we’re... Uh...”
“This is going to be a lot to take in, little one,” Jean said. He reached forward, going for my hand. I flinched and pulled back. He stopped, raising his hand and pulling away. “We’re not here to hurt you. We... unwittingly saved you.”
“My name is Felix, that’s Jean, that’s Cinaed,” explaining Felix, pointing to each of them.
“That’s nice. If you’re not going to hurt me then take me home!” I demanded. I pointed to Cinaed. “And that one tried to eat me!”
The big redhead chuckled a bit. “Ah... you seemed to be enjoying it.”
My cheeks blazed red as the memory flooded back. The hot, crazed feeling I’d gotten as he bit me... “Shutup! Take me home!”
They all exchanged a nervous look. “We... don’t think that’s a good idea,” Felix said softly.
“Well... those people who kidnapped you...” he paused, as if unsure how to continue. “They... were experimenting on you, right?” He grabbed me, he was so quick he didn’t even give me a chance to pull away. Unnaturally fast. His grip was strong, yet he pulled my arm gently and turned it. There were track marks, bloody spots and bruises. He ran a finger along my arm, looking a bit confused, but the look returned to one of concern.
“Don’t.. touch me,” I said, but my voice was weak. His touch was warm and nice...
He let me go though and sighed. “They know where you live, where you work, your friends, family, everything. If we take you back, they’ll just kidnap you again,” he said. “Did they say anything? Do you remember anything?”
“N-no, they... kept me and the other girls pretty drugged up.”
Felix nodded. “We don’t know why but we do know that... they were transporting you for some reason.”
“Well, what about the other girls? Did you save anyone else?” I asked.
They all exchanged a look again. “We’ve been following these men for a while,” Jean explained, “they... typically discard what they don’t need. Do you understand? That’s why it was shocking to find you. Especially in a sealed box like that... We don’t typically find... complete... um...”
It dawned on me what he was trying to say. They were killing those girls. Why me? Why didn’t they kill me too?
“They needed you,” Cinaed said, as if he’d read my mind, “and... as much as we’d like to take you home, we don’t want them to get you, get what they need.”
“I can’t stay here, I don’t even know who you guys are! Can’t I just do... witness protection or something?”
“This is... beyond government control.”
“What? Who were those men?” I asked.
“Hunters,” Felix replied.
I raised an eyebrow. “Hunters? What the hell kind of hunters kidnap girls... I mean... well, you know what I mean!”
“That brings us to another difficult explanation,” Jean said with a soft sigh. “They hunt... things like us.”
I looked at them, my eyes stopping on Cin for a moment before turning to Jean. “What does that mean? What are you?” I asked, even though I certainly had a good idea of what the answer would be. Blood drinking, sharp teeth, being hunted. Like a cheesy romance novel.