“There is no remedy for memory. Time doesn’t heal anything, it only desperately creates new memories to try to hide the old scars.”
~ Hazel Dawson
I slowly woke up in soft bedsheets. I shuffled around and buried the side of my face into the pillow that smelled like fresh detergent. The gentle fragrance of roses filled my nostrils.
Ugh, what year is it?
I squinted and blinked open my eyes. Before I could even realize that I wasn’t in my room, I saw a familiar figure by the desk, staring at me with sheer amusement on his face.
My eyelids dropped once more, then snapped open all at once.
“Zach! What am I doing? Where am I? What happened?”
His shoulders violently shook as he suppressed his laughter. He closed the book he had in his hands and stood up.
“Are you wearing glasses?” I asked when I got a good look at him.
“My ability messes with my eyes sometimes.” Zach threw the glasses back on the desk and strolled over. “How are you feeling, princess? You’ve been out for a quite a while.”
“How long?” I sat up slowly and brushed my hair out of my face. It was the first time that my hair had been so smooth even when I just got out of bed. I could get used to this.
“No idea. There’s no sunlight in the mansion, and I don’t bother with clocks.”
I patted my jeans and was relieved to find my phone in my pocket. I checked the date; it was Sunday morning. “I can’t believe I slept through the entire weekend.”
“Yeah, this is the only bed in the whole house, and Harv refused to let you sleep on the couch.”
I froze in the middle of my stretch at his name. Harvick was my biological uncle, but what did that matter? He was practically a stranger to me. I didn’t know of mom’s brother or her nephew. It’d take me a while to accept this. Right now, the only uncle I had was Arthur.
Everything I felt began to rush back to me. I didn’t know what face I was making, but it affected Zach.
“It’ll be alright,” he said, hesitantly placing his large hand on top of my head. He removed it as soon as he patted me, and his hand was icy, but he relieved me.
That was all I needed to get by for a little bit longer.
“Thank you,” I hummed genuinely. He hummed back in response.
I then recalled the number of times people stressed about the fact that I was a hybrid, and by any small off chance, I wouldn’t have even been born. Hailee once mentioned that upon awakening, I’d have an extremely potent and never-seen-before ability. As soon as my thirty days were up, that power would partially unleash.
“Zach,” I asked while drumming my fingers on my arm. “Why are hybrids especially powerful?”
I watched as he opened his mouth, then closed it again. His eyebrows knitted together for a second before he reached out his hand to me and said, “Give me your phone. I can’t recite the literal definition.”
I rose an eyebrow while handing him my phone. “I thought human technology was too weird for you. Want me to search it up?”
“No, I can do something as simple as this.” Zach tapped away on my phone for about three seconds; then, he was dumbfounded. I doubt he knew where to even go on the web. I wordlessly reached over and tapped on the icon.
He muttered, “I would’ve been able to find that myself.”
I snorted. “Yeah, in ten years.”
Zach tossed me a glare. After what seemed like ten minutes, he straightened up and read aloud, “Heterosis, also called ‘hybrid vigor,’ involves the offspring of two different breeds or species thus inheriting superior traits from its parents, and is frequently used in agriculture and animal husbandry.”
I cringed in the middle of his sentence. “I regret asking. Now I feel like a mixed breed of a cat or something.”
“I envy you,” Zach hummed. “You have infinite possibilities and zero limitations.”
“Please take this life. I’d gladly live in ignorance and bliss as a human.”
He rolled his eyes and tossed my device back to me. “Since you’re awake now, shouldn’t you be heading home?”
“Responsibilities await me, but yes, I do need to head back.” I hopped out of bed. I briefly made the bed by tugging at the corners of the blankets until it was flat, then checked myself quickly in the bathroom mirror.
When I got out, I caught a glimpse of the vase on the spacious window sill. The view outside the window was nothing but pitch dark, but somehow, the white roses still stood as tall and healthy as the last time I saw them.
“I didn’t take you for a flower type of guy,” I commented with a small, teasing smile.
Zach immediately showed me to the door with a light growl. His reaction reminded me of an angry puppy not getting his way. I was surprised that the first thing I visualized was a cute puppy instead of a vicious wolf, as I did before.
“Bye,” I said before he shut the door behind me. I zoomed down the hallway and soon arrived at the elevators. My teacher would surely make me do my history test the moment I went back, so I’d better use the rest of today to study.
While I was halfway home, I recalled that Harvick asked Zach to protect me, and I never heard his answer nor did I remember to ask. I shook my head lightly.
He probably said no. After all, I’m such a nuisance.
After finishing my makeup history test, I arrived in math class with Sophi. I expected the school to buzz about the fact that two vampires attended here, but surprisingly, everything seemed normal. A few people waved to me in the halls earlier today with nothing out of the ordinary.
Before I could speak, Sophi perked up at the sight of me and lit up. “Dawson! Oh my gosh! You look so cute! You’re finally back. What kind of flu did you catch? You missed like, two tests and three assignments.”
I was even more confused. A noticeable trait about Sophi was that she would always shrivel and go silent with anything vampire-related. While knowing that Hailee, a girl that she befriended, was a vampire, how could she be so bubbly?
“Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. I just recovered yesterday morning.”
Just then, two girls who often hung around Hailee and acted as her lackeys sat down quietly in the back row. Those two were often obnoxious and proud. Sophi chuckled. “Not so fancy now that their queen is gone, huh?”
“Huh? Where did Hailee go?” I asked.
“She transferred suddenly because her dad got a new job in Australia,” Sophi replied, then grinned at me. “Now, now, when did you do your hair? It’s a fantastic look for you. I never thought jet-black would suit you so nicely.”
“Thank you. I went to a salon on Friday. I just thought that a new hairdo was overdue.”
“I see what you did there!”
Soon, class began, and I shifted my gaze to the board.
During lunch, I sat alone on a bench in the corner of the atrium since both Kaydence and Sophi were busy. I didn’t mind my solitude and used the time to think.
I can see why hiding the truth from the public would be the best. Students and parents would panic if they knew not one, but two vampires attended school here undetected.
“Are you at school, Hazel?”
“Yup,” I replied right away. I’d gotten used to Hailee’s telecommunication. We chatted for a little while, and I informed her of the situation.
“That’s good. Anything new about you?”
“Yeah, I found out yesterday that ordinary knives can’t harm me anymore.”
“Oh, wow. How did you find that out?”
“Let’s just say I’m a mess in the kitchen, yet I insist on cooking.”
Hailee’s laughter rang in my mind.
All of a sudden, a loud shriek resonated from the center of the atrium. Alarmed, I whipped my head in the direction the scream came from, as many others did.
“What happened?” Hailee asked as she sensed that I was startled.
“Oh, God. A girl is holding up a fruit knife against a guy’s throat, and she’s screaming some pretty colorful words at him.”
“What the hell? Why would you risk getting yourself arrested for some dude? I recommend slapping him off public property. It’s a great stress reliever, trust me.”
I almost laughed out loud at her first reaction. I stood up from my seat, dropping my lunch on the bench, to get a better look. A crowd formed around the duo, some murmuring and some taking videos, but none of them were intercepting.
Well, of course, no one is trying to get stabbed, here.
Some teachers and janitors gathered around, trying to get the girl to calm down. She only gripped on the boy’s collar tighter, spewing that he cheated on her twice and played her. The boy shook and whimpered, crying for help.
“Hazel, I know you’re this do-gooder, but don’t intercept with that no matter what, okay? The police will arrive soon and take care of it. You just said so yourself, a normal knife can no longer cut your skin, so if that girl decides to slash at you, you’d be exposed while surrounded by people,” Hailee quickly advised as I joined the on-looking crowd.
“Yeah, you’re right,” I responded firmly. The last time I didn’t listen to Kaydence, I got into trouble. I needed to stay out of other people’s businesses.
The girl screamed, “Oh, so now you’re sorry?! Where was your apology when you cheated on me the second time?! What do you take me for? I’m not going to tolerate this for any longer!”
I retold everything the girl said to Hailee. Hailee expressed pity and sympathy, but still warned me not to get involved. I gulped and glanced back at the school gates. The police were taking their sweet time.
“Come on, Claire! It was only those two times! They mean nothing to me. I’m committed to you, I swear!” the guy stuttered pathetically. I sighed.
“What a pig,” Hailee commented.
“You...!” Claire huffed out in exasperation and heartbreak. I watched as her hand visibly began to shake, and the blade drew closer until it was pressing against the side of his neck. Her grip on his collar trembled and grew tighter. He started to yell in fright.
“This is getting out of hand.”
“Don’t you dare!”
“Claire, stop right now!” a science teacher demanded. Claire flinched. Tears continued to flow down her face.
In that instant, I got a sense of what Claire was feeling. She desperately wanted someone to be on her side instead of hollering at her to stop. In the mind of a frustrated and heartbroken person, such things as logic did not exist.
“Hazel, stop!” Hailee commanded once more as if she knew what I was about to do.
I dashed out of the crowd, pointed at the guy and accused, “You pig! How could you do this to someone? Do you even consider yourself human?”
Everyone shut up for a second and stared at me. Claire halted her actions in fright. I ignored them the best I could and went right up to the boy and jabbed at his chest. “You cheated not once, but twice on this girl. What do you even have to say for yourself?”
“Hazel, get over here!” my math teacher shouted, livid.
“Y-Yeah! What do you have to say for yourself?” Claire stammered, then quickly joined in. She retracted her hands in the heat of the moment.
I pushed him hard on his chest, making him stumble backward. “What do you take girls for? Little toys? I don’t think so! You’re disgusting, you hear me?”
My heart rate increased in nervousness as I ran out of words to say. I jabbed at his chest the whole time and glanced up and down with my eyes, trying to signal him to back away more. He finally got the hint and acted as I pushed him away.
“That’s right! Ever thought of that, you asshole!”
When the guy was far enough and closer to an adult, I spun around and took Claire by surprise. Twisting her wrist behind her back, I forced her to drop the knife, then kicked it away from her. Then, using a choke I learned in self-defense, I wrapped one arm around her neck and the other over that wrist to secure a tight grip. Within a few seconds, she fainted.
I made sure I used a lot less strength, so my vampire muscularity wouldn’t choke her to death. I gently laid her head on the ground and wiped my brow. That was intense.
“I took care of it. Don’t worry; I’m not exposed.”
I forgot about all the people around me. Unexpectedly, the student body broke into thunderous applause and cheers while the faculty staff desperately tried to contain them. Like a deer in headlights, I jolted and tensely scanned around me. A lot of phones were out. Hailee was right; if I didn’t show up in cameras now, I would’ve been instantly exposed.
The police finally arrived and took care of the rest. I, however, was called to the principal’s office.
“No surprise there,” Hailee hissed.
“Who knows what Claire would’ve done? He’s a douchebag, but harming him would’ve severely affected the girl’s future.”
“I’m glad you didn’t say ‘he didn’t deserve death.’”
I sat in the principal’s office alone, waiting for whatever punishment awaited me. Hailee criticized me for acting rashly but didn’t deny that the guy had things coming to him.
Half an hour later, Arthur was driving me home. The principal didn’t say anything to me. She only called and conversed with Arthur. His features tensed when he saw me, probably from my appearance, then stayed quiet for the ride.
I stared out the window. I realized that Arthur took a turn and was driving the long way to my house. He began with a cough, and I shifted my gaze to him.
“When did you dye your hair?”
“Uh, Friday. I felt like a change would be nice.”
“I see. It’s a good look for you,” Arthur commented, then got to the point. “What happened today? Your principal gave me a summary, but I want to hear it from your perspective.”
I told him exactly what happened. Arthur nodded in understanding, then said, “Ah, you see, your principal only told me that the couple was experiencing some minor relationship issues and that you didn’t need to interfere. But now, I know that he was a complete douche.”
I giggled, and he realized that he was supposed to be parenting me, so he added hastily, “Still, don’t do it again. It’s, uh, bad.”
I finally laughed at my heart’s content. Following my example, Arthur also grinned from ear-to-ear. A couple of seconds later, he began, “What I do realize, though, is that a lot of shenanigans go on in your school. Are you sure you despise the idea of a bodyguard?”
“Yes, I do. Please don’t hire me a bodyguard.”
“I don’t know, Hazy. I’m starting to feel like I have no choice.”
“Please? I promise I’ll stay out of trouble from now on,” I pleaded. I didn’t need a six-foot-five bodyguard following me around everywhere.
He sighed and reluctantly complied.
I got Arthur to drop me off at an ice cream shop near my house, and he sped off, going back to work. I ordered cookies and cream. As I made my way to the door with the ice cream in my hand, I spot a familiar face. Alecx’s training partner stood in the corner, scrolling through his phone.
I forgot his name.
I was about to ignore him and walk out, but unfortunately, he lifted his head at just that moment and caught my eyes. The instant he waved and strolled over, I knew I had no escape.
“Hazel!” He called out as if greeting an old friend. “Remember me? I’m Jeremy, Alecx’s training partner.”
I smiled back. “Yeah, I remember you. No practice today?”
Jeremy stuck out his tongue. “I skipped.”
“Oh. That’s not good,” I commented, not knowing what else to say.
“Being a vampire hunter isn’t all that important to me, anyway.” Jeremy’s words surprised me. All I’d been hearing were traumatic experiences leading to passion. I guess I forgot that there were people who treated a vampire hunter as a mere occupation, too, just like a police officer or construction worker.
“All my comrades have some sob story, but I just applied because I didn’t know what else I was good for.” Jeremy sighed, then ruffled his hair. “Oh, well. Are you heading home?”
“Yeah. I just stopped by for some ice cream.”
He nodded once. “I see. I’ll see you around.”
I hesitantly waved to him as he exited the shop. He appeared distraught. Maybe he had something on his mind. People were sometimes more willing to confide in strangers.
That night, I decided to text Alecx while I laid lazily on my bed. We chatted for over an hour. He spoke about his training progress, and I filled him in on what happened today. Then, I told him I dyed my hair.
I was beginning to think that he thought I’d look weird when he sent another message.
‘I bet you look great. Can’t wait to see you again.’
That sent a tsunami over my heart. I quickly thanked him and changed the topic to save myself. In the middle of discussing an image change, Kaydence’s all-caps text interrupted. She demanded to know if what she heard was true.
‘I CAN’T BELIEVE MY SHY BESTIE GOT THEM KARATE MOVES!’
‘DID YOU GO LIKE HI-YAH?!’
I couldn’t stop grinning widely at my phone. Small moments like these reminded me that blood wasn’t the thickest bond.
‘It was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but I applaud you for your effort.’
‘Aww, I was hoping for some ching chong walla walla ping pong action!’
‘Stop being racist,’ I added a laughing emoticon.
‘I’m the coolest kid you know, man.’
‘You’re so cool that you live in the North Pole.’
‘You’re so salty that you’re the dead sea.’
I dropped my phone flat on my face for laughing too hard.
I then realized that I left Alecx hanging for nearly ten minutes now. I tapped back to the chat with Alecx and saw his last text was asking what kind of image makeover I thought suited him.
‘You’re pretty darn perfect the way you are now. Don’t change.’
‘Alrighty, if you say so. I believe you.’
‘It’s getting late. You should go to sleep. You have school tomorrow.’
Alecx was the sweetest boy I’d ever known, but sometimes, he could be a bit too nice. It wasn’t even 9 o’clock, and I wanted to talk for longer. Perhaps I was selfish. He needed to sleep early, too.
I used the night to catch up on school work and mentally prepared myself for all the judging eyes tomorrow. I had a random thought that a lot of unusual events began to occur since my eighteenth birthday.
It’s like I’ve become some form of danger magnet.