The lights glared down on Danielle, pressing into her head with the worst migraine she'd ever felt. Everything was blurred, tears were welling up in her eyes. Danielle heard her heart pounding in her chest, and felt a burning on her hand.
She gasped at the sudden pain and the sight of smoke rising from her open palm. With a jerk, Danielle tore her hand to her chest and cupped it with her other hand, massaging away the pain. Before she knew it, the pain was gone and with it any vestige of burn marks.
What the hell is going on?! she thought as she trembled away from where her hand had been burning.
She could smell food from the floor below as if it were in front of her, and it felt that every nerve in her body was on overdrive. Everything was brighter then the last time shed opened her eyes, and it was all clearer too. How Danielle got into the hospital was beyond her at the moment, the strange things that were happening to her were scaring the hell out of her. Danielle was panicking, but she never panicked over anything...What was wrong with her? Had they drugged her?
Danielle took a deep breath and tried to focus on how she got here and why she was in a hospital. She remembered walking down a dark alleyway in her native city of New York, and that she'd been coming back from a friends party a tad tipsy.
Then she remembered it all, like the shroud that had been covering her mind was suddenly lifted away, and instantly she regretted even trying to remember.
Two nights before...
"Okay, okay, mom! Chill out, it was just a party, " Danielle said softly, trying to calm her over protective mother down, "I'll be home in like fifteen minutes."
"Hurry home, sweetheart," Danielle's mom said in a way that made Danielle know that she was smirking, "The sooner you get home, the sooner I can take away that gorgeous new phone your using right now."
"Really, mom? Why the phone? Why not my T.V. or my laptop?" Danielle pleaded in a soft voice.
"If you don't hurry home in fifteen minutes, it'll be all of the above, sweetheart," Danielle's mom said in a sing-song voice.
"Fine," Danielle sighed, "You know I love you mom, right? I'm sorry I blew curfew, I'll see you soon."
"I love you too, sweetheart, " Danielle's mom said, followed by the muffled deep bass voice of Danielle's father, "and Dad loves you too!"
With a half smile on her face, Danielle hung up and stuffed her phone in her military-style jacket and continued down the long alleyway. The familiar sounds of stray cats, police sirens, and cars passing on the street filled Danielle's ears. She breathed in the same scent of pollution, fast food leftovers, and coffee and let loose a long drawn out exhale. She knew that her parents loved her with all their hearts and that they didn't like to punish their only child. But it still stunk when it happened.
Danielle crossed her arms over her chest against the cold, and shivered quietly. The end of the alley was visible now, the street at its exit shining with melted snow, and the the lights of a Chinese takeout place glowed in neon green on the far end of the road. There was a taxi idling at the curb across from it, it's white exhaust rising from it's tailpipe in a small cloud blown by the slight breeze.
Then a loud and startling clang sounded behind Danielle. With a gasp of shock, she whipped around and looked down the alleyway. She looked at the fire escape and caught sight of the blurry figure falling in a blur for the ground, spinning end over end before landing with a stomach churning crunch as the figure landed on his head and right shoulder. Danielle rushed to the figure's side and dropped to her knees.
"Oh God..." She whispered, "Oh God, oh God, oh God..."
She pushed away the shaggy black hair that covered the figures face, and Danielle saw his beard was covered in blood that slightly oozed out of his mouth and nose. His strong jaw was slightly opened, his hazel eyes empty of life. The way that the man laid sprawled on the ground told Danielle that he was dead, so did the bump the pushed against his skin, which was a part of his neck. Danielle nearly vomited was she grasped at her jacket for her phone to dial 911.
But she didn't get the chance to do anything before she felt a needle plunge into her neck. Danielle turned around just before the sedative dragged her into unconsciousness. She saw a tall man kneeling behind her, wearing a leather jacket and black T-shirt. He had a angular jaw, strong cobalt eyes, and swept up dirty-blonde hair. Then the world went black.
It was probably an hour before Danielle, groggy and bleary-eyed, lifted her head. She was laying on a soft and comfortable couch. She propped herself up onto an elbow and rubbed her neck where the needle had punctured her artery. Danielle looked around the room. There was a fireplace with burning logs illuminating the old fashioned furniture. The room looked as if someone had taken it from a civil war mansion. Books lined the walls, a tray of alcoholic drinks was on the coffee table in front of the couch Danielle was laying on. Every piece of furniture was leather cushioned and built of dark wood, accented by brass. There were two chairs on the far side of the coffee table.
Danielle sat up and looked around for anyone else. When she looked behind the couch she heard a strange, breeze-like sound behind her. She whipped around and nearly screamed at the sight of the two men were in the chairs in front of her.
"Hello, Danielle," said the blue eyed one in a mellow voice, "My name is Nick."
"But your dead," Danielle said, stunned as she laid eyes on the shaggy haired man, "Your neck was friggin snapped!"
He just smiled, "We have a proposition for you, Danielle. You have a choice to make. No pressure, but it's mostly life or death at this point."
"The choice is between these two vials," Nick said smoothly, revealing a vial of a red viscous liquid in each hand, "One will grant you eternal life and many...gifts. The other is a poison that will put you to sleep and then kill you."
"What the hell is wrong with you!?" Danielle screamed, jumping to her feet and running away, looking for an exit.
Suddenly, the room was filled with the same strange sound Danielle had heard in the alleyway. Then, in a flash of blurs, all doors were covered by two people. All of them were standing with legs shoulder width apart and arms crossed over their chests. There were six of them in all, their faces locked in a emotionless expression. Of the six, two of them were girls. The men were built and muscular, jaws set with tension, and their eyes looked hollow. The girls looked no less deadly then the men, one had her curled brown hair pulled back into a pony tail with high cheekbones, and the other let her straight blonde hair spill out onto her shoulders. When Danielle ran as fast as she could for one of the doors, she was quickly thrown back into the room.
This is the worst nightmare ever, Danielle thought as she slowly went back to the couch, defeated.
Danielle plopped down onto the couch, her arms hugging her chest as she eyed the two men in front of her with distaste.
"The one that's in my left hand is vampire blood. You drink that, then you will become one of us. The other's the poison that will bring you death. You have to choose, or my friends will have a nice dinner party with you..." Nick said, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his thighs.
"Vampire blood?!" Danielle exclaimed, "What's wrong with you people? You take innocent people off the streets into a creepy mansion just to make them choose between life and death? And life is vampire blood, well, news flash: Vampires aren't real. What did I do to any of you anyway?"
"We've been watching you, Danielle. Everyone here has been chosen to join us, because we all showed potential." responded Nick
"Who's this 'us' you're talking about?" Danielle asked confused.
"All in due time, Danielle," Nick said patiently, "Speaking of time, you have about five minutes left before my friends make it for you."
"So the only way I can get out of this is if I become one of you? I can't just leave?" Danielle whimpered, willing herself not to look to scared.
"Yes," the shaggy haired one said, "That's it."
"I...I...don't want to die," Danielle said, her breath caught in her throat. Then Nick shrugged and rose from his seat. He slowly made his way around the table between them and sat next to Danielle, a solemn look on his face.
"Remember, Danielle, we gave you a choice, okay?"
"Neither option sounds particularly fun, Nick," she said hitting his name with as much distaste as possible, "But I'd rather drink blood for the rest of my life then die..."
With a small nod, Nick placed the vial in her hand. Danielle held the test tube like vial in her palm and tipped it over, watching at the blood slosh around. It slightly glinted in the light spilling from the fire. Danielle took a deep breath and unscrewed the cap to the vial. Danielle looked over to the two men, the two vampires, before her. Nick was watching intently, like he was on the verge of jumping to his feet. The other one was eyeing her passively, a fist under his chin. Both seemed interested in the moment when the blood would slip past Danielle's lips. She was scared, and breathing heavily. All she could think about was the blood in her hands, the smell of iron causing her to wrinkle her nose slightly. Then, as she trembled slowly, Danielle drew the vial to her lips and tipped it up, swallowing every drop...
Danielle blinked. She'd snapped back from her revere. She was breathing raggedly as she sat up, drawing her knees in and hugging them. The smell of blood next to her enticing her gaze. There was a patient beside her, blood stained clothes folded on a table next to his bed. There was a blood bag hanging from a stand and also on the table next to the clothes. Danielle rose slowly, sluggishly stammering towards the bag, everything else blurring besides it. Danielle couldn't stop herself and reached for the bag on the table.
But before she could rip into the warm, enticing blood, Danielle heard foot steps coming towards her room. Danielle dashed for her bed as fast as could and before she knew it she was in it, she was a blur just like those vampires had been.
A hospital nurse knocked slightly, then entered with a smile on her face, "How are you, miss Johnson?"
But Danielle couldn't hear her over the sound of the nurses blood pulsing in her veins. Before she could think, Danielle blurred and sunk her teeth into the nurses wrist. The nurse's scream was muffled by Danielle's hand as her blood was drained. Then Danielle looked her on the eye.
"You will be quiet. And you wont be afraid of me," She said with conviction.
"I wont be afraid," The nurse softly repeated.
Then Danielle bit down on the nurses neck. Letting the blood gush into her mouth as she closed her eyes. At first it tasted of copper, metallic and sharp, but as soon at the second gulp was down, it was the most delicious thing that Danielle had ever tasted in her 17 years of life. When Danielle opened her eyes, her gaze fell upon her reflection in a mirror across the room. At the sight of her, Danielle dropped the nurse, who was lightheaded and sat onto the empty bed, and blurred to it for a closer look.
The whites of her eyes had become the deepest of reds, her icy blue irises standing out completely. The skin under her eyes had a web of dark, apparent veins which pulsed randomly. Then a pain like the worst tooth ache in the history of the world hit her where her canines were. Danielle whimpered and moaned with the pain, which started to wear off. Then Danielle heard the sound of bone sliding and opened her eyes again. Her canines were replaced by long needle-like fangs. Her mouth and chin were dripping with blood, her breath came out as ragged, animalistic growls. Her eyes were still the same. The only word that seemed to sum up what she felt about herself was: monster.
Danielle sobbed at what she was seeing happening to her, everything that was wrong seemed to wash over her as she fell to the ground and sobbed. She crawled slowly to the nurse, and drew herself up to sit next to her. She was a small thing, with small arms and flowing brown hair. She had black eyes that held no fear, she didn't make a sound.
Danielle looked into her eyes with the same conviction, "You are going to bring me six blood bags and put them in your purse. Then you are going to give me your purse. When you are finished sit back down next to me."
"I'll be right back, okay?" The nurse said cheerfully.
"Oh, and dress your wounds before you go," Danielle added.
"Okay!" The nurse said placing a large bandage on each of her bites. Then she left the room acting the same as she had as she'd entered. Danielle hugged her knees again, and felt the worst pity for the nurse and guilty for how she'd used her. A pit had formed in her stomach as she realized there was still the blood bag on her bed. Danielle suddenly was happy as she took the bag, ripped of the cap, and drank from it. The taste washed over her and she let out a long breath of satisfaction. Danielle squeezed every last ounce of the bag out and threw it away from her when she'd finished. She stared at the empty blood bag at her feet.
Did I really just enjoy drinking blood? Thought Danielle, stunned to silence.
She had just drank a bag of blood like it was the best smoothie in the world. Danielle shook her head in disbelieve at what she'd done, picked up the empty bag between her thumb and index finger, then dropped it in a nearby trash bin. Danielle wanted to throw up due to the fact that she had blood in her stomach, but she didn't feel like it. She thought of the taste of the blood and suddenly was craving more, far more then just one blood bag. All she could think about was blood. It's taste, smell, how it flowed, what it looked like, how it felt. Her thoughts were cut off by the nurse entering the room.
"I'm back, sweetheart," The nurse said, walking in with three blood bags in each hand and her purse slung on her shoulder. She slid the purse onto the bed next to Danielle, and placed the blood bags next to it, unzipped the purse before sliding the blood bags into the leather bag. After that, the nurse promptly slid next to Danielle, just where she was before she'd left, and placed the purse in Danielle's lap. The nurse looked expectantly at Danielle, her eyes still holding no fear.
"Now," Danielle begin with the same conviction, "you will sign me out of here and when you see me leave, you will forget this ever happened. The bites were from a stray dog."
"Well," The nurse said happily, "It looks like you healthy enough to go, sweetheart."
"That's great!" Danielle said, picking up her clothes from the foot of her bed, "Shall we?"
With a nod, the nurse started towards the door, Danielle in tow. They were at the front desk before Danielle realized, and soon she was out the door. The daylight was fading, and so was Danielle's headache. Her teeth weren't in pain, the blood she'd drunk had filled her like a buffet. She felt powerful, strong and fast, it seemed that everything was enhanced. Danielle heard a conversation about football to her left, but when she looked the two men were thirty yards away. Despite the distance, they sounded as if they were right in front of her. She could see perfectly in the darkness, as if someone had turned the brightness of everything up to maximum. The slight breeze carried the scent of beer, and when Danielle followed the scent like a bloodhound, she found it close to four blocks away from where she had started. Danielle felt ecstatic at the realization of her new abilities. She tried running as fast as she could from one side of a fifty foot strip of concrete and instantly covered the distance. Danielle was giggling now, thanking whatever did this to her.
Suddenly, Danielle sensed someone behind her and whipped around in a blur. She gasped at what she saw. There, standing before her with arms crossed and a smirk on his face was Nick. He wore the same leather jacket as the last time she'd seen him, and a pair of dark blue jeans.
"Have you fed yet?" Nick said, his face suddenly flush with seriousness.
"Fed? That's what you call drinking human blood like a vampire?" Danielle said sounding a tad upset.
"Well," Nick said, "You are a vampire now, Danielle."
"Wha...What?" Danielle whispered, all the limited knowledge of vampires flashing through her mind, "What does that mean for me?"
"You'll never grow old, which is one of my favorites," Nick said, listing them off with his fingers, "Also, you have to drink blood to live. Sunlight kills you, stakes to the heart, too. I could go on, but I need to get you to your new home."
"But what about my family? My home?"
Nick looked at Danielle with a serious, compassionate face, "You're dead, Danielle."