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Chapter 1 - book sample - now on sale

As I look into the mirror I plait my strawberry blonde hair before wrapping it up into a bun on the top of my head. I’m trying to look mature, professional and well put together for the first time in my life. I don’t feel like myself, my Jade green eyes stare back at me wet with the tears I refused to let fall today. I refuse to let myself cry all the time, I have to be strong, my Mum wouldn’t want me to fall apart. I take a deep breath as I look at myself and I finish doing my hair,

I look like a regular human, at least that’s what I try to reassure myself. I tell myself it’s easier for me now that I’m alone. It’s a lie that I tell myself most days so I don’t feel the pang of sadness in my heart every moment of the day.

I am alone but I’m safer without my Mum’s supermodel good looks getting us unwanted attention. She told me that I would need to keep it at the front of my mind when she was gone. That I’m safer when I blend into the crowds. She told me she’d always be proud of me, as long as I do what feels right in my heart. That I should always remember that not everyone is bad. Nor is everyone good but everyone deserves free will and for their voice to be heard.

The thing is while I may look human I’m not, I’m a part of an ancient race, similar to vampires and witches called the Ameris. This means ‘child of the moon’. I’m not immortal although my life expectancy is higher than a humans. Five hundred years or so but I doubt I’ll ever get to that age. Yes, I do drink blood but the thought of drinking it from a human makes me feel physically sick. I find that drinking out of a blood bag from a hospital is far less cringey. I mix it with my drinks and food so that I can convince myself that I’m not eating or drinking it. It works for me and has done since I was thirteen years old. Well, I think that’s how old I was. My Mum never told me and now she’s long gone so I’ll never know.

She’d gone to a shop while we were in Spain and she never came back. I knew she was dead when after a few days she didn’t return and I felt it in my heart. I knew that I was alone and that it was all up to me after that.

I know that I’m going to make her proud, I’m going to live and make sure that I don’t hurt anyone. I’m going to live my life the way she would have wanted me to even if that means fearing my own kind. Humans are safe. Well, ish. In the same way that my kind are monsters and yet some of them aren’t. It’s too dangerous for me to try and find who is safe and who isn’t. So the best thing for me to do is avoid them all and keep to myself.

I take a deep breath and try to stop myself from remembering that day. When she didn’t return I followed all the steps that we’d agreed upon in case it happened. And I ran. I ran as though the devil himself was chasing me. I guess I still had hope that she was here. Because I left her signs so that she could follow me if she was still alive, things that only she’d know to look out for.

I moved a lot after that. Always making sure I never stayed in one place more than I had to. Always making sure I didn’t get too much attention and I learned how to blend in on my own. It was harder when I was younger as people seem to notice more if you’re a kid out alone but I soon got used to it. I soon got used to being alone and keeping myself on the run and safe. Well, that’s a lie. But again, a lie I tell myself to keep me sane.

I taught myself how to play guitar a few weeks after Mum had first gone. I had loved to learn and it had seemed a good idea at that moment in my life. I busk a lot to get money and I’m not too bad if I do say so myself but I still have to be careful not to get too much attention. I can’t risk looking homeless and I like to write songs about how I feel. Or about how much I pray that one day I’ll find somewhere safe. I will find a family and a home. And how I will always keep them safe when I do find them.

Even if I have to spend my whole life running, I must stay hidden. I had promised my Mum that much. She told me that I had to hide, until the right time. I didn’t understand back then and I don’t understand now. I don’t know if that means one day I’m going to be safe. I hope so but I can’t live on hope and I do actually need to eat and for that I need money.

I’m sixteen years old and unfortunately now I’ve run out of money, go figure, life’s expensive. Even if you stay in youth hostels or sleep under a bridge, even if you’re scared, cold or alone. You always need money, which is what today is about. Which is why I’m standing in front of this mirror trying to make myself look more grown-up. I’m trying to make myself seem older and more mature, as if I don’t fear for my life, as if I don’t know that I will be gone soon. Quicker than anyone can even dare to learn my name. Busking is fine but it only gets me enough to eat and some days not even that much. It also gets me unwanted attention that I could really do without.

I have never been to school. So I have no qualifications to speak of. Although, I can still speak; English, Greek, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese and French. I haven’t got any of that on paper and humans kind of need that. I know my math skills are behind. Who am I kidding? If it’s more than adding and taking away simple numbers then I’m completely lost without a calculator.

Today, though, I have a job interview in a little cafe in France near the Eiffel tower. And something tells me that it’s important for me to get it. The same feeling I got when I decided to come here even when I found the random ticket to France in my guitar case. Someone gave me it instead of money, possibly a mistake, they might have just dropped the wrong thing but I used it. It hadn’t felt like a trap. It had felt like all this was meant to happen. Like my whole life has been leading me towards this one moment in time.

Which is possibly why fear has now set in, I know that everything happens for a reason. I hope that one day everything will be okay. I have lived through so much in my sixteen years that most of my kind don’t go through in five hundred years.

I hope that I get this job even if I don’t get to work there long. It’s a job I can do and with all the tourists no-one will stay around long enough to get to know me. The tips will be good as well, more than good. Having money to save up will make the future easier instead of going from one bad situation to the next. I smooth down my dress as I look at myself in the mirror. Still, I had bought this dress specifically for this interview, hoping it was suitable.

I always watch humans and this seems like the kind of outfit that they wear to these things. Taking in the time on the wall, I try not to panic, I can’t risk being late, I need this job.

I walk the little way through the streets of Paris. Leaving the house that I am staying in with an elderly couple who rent out rooms to students. Something I have convinced them I am. I walk a little way and reach a cafe, I go in and sit down and wait as I know there are other people with interviews before my own. The cafe is currently closed so the only people in here are the ones applying for the same job that I’m applying for. When my name is called I panic and have to resist the urge to flee but instead I stay put.

“Ally Lune,” he calls again,

“là” “Here.” I force myself to say and then I make myself get to my feet and follow him into a little private room.

Straight away he asks me about my qualifications, experiences and references. I should have made some up, I know that but I find myself freezing. I am kinda hoping that if I’m honest and try to be myself then I’d get the job but now after seeing all of those people. I doubt that will ever happen. There are already too many lies to keep track of without adding any more.

“I’m afraid I don’t have any qualifications currently as I was home-schooled.” I find myself admitting to him in French, telling him the truth.

“Do you have any grades? Are you even old enough to work?” He asks me in French.

I know I look young. Hell, I am young but I’m more than old enough to clean tables and make drinks, surely. I take in the man, he’s a nice-looking plump man with grey hair that is slightly balding. I can tell from his office that his cafe means everything to him. He has flour down the front of his trousers and he smells of freshly baked cookies. He has a friendly face. His eyes, the lightest shade of blue and still holds a sparkle almost like he can still see the best in the day. If that’s a real thing and not just in my head. He is not trying to challenge me or belittle me. He’s just trying to give me a fair shot and it’s not up to him if I pass or fail this interview that is all down to me.

Maybe it’s my lack of family. Maybe it’s the fact that he looks like he would make a lovely grandfather. Or maybe the lonely child in me is wanting someone to care about me now that my mum isn’t here. I don’t know this man but something in me wants to get to know him. I look at my feet and take a deep breath, trying to find the confidence to go on. I’m not used to talking to people. I keep to myself and live in the shadows of their world.

I am just one girl. I am just me. Alysa Lune, as my mum used to call me whenever she needed to use a last name for us. Lune as in “Child of the moon,” as in Amaris. I know it’s just a play on the fact that we are Amaris but it worked. And it’s the same surname that I’m using on this job application.

The man seems to wait a while and then scribble into a notepad, I am blowing this interview I know it. I really want this job, more so I need this job. The other people here may need it too but they can always have it in a few months when I move on again. At least I’d be able to save money and earn more. I’d be able to see what life is really supposed to be like. There’s really no harm in it. My heart tells me that this is where I’m supposed to be. That it’s time to settle and make a life that will make me happy, at least for a few months. Something tells me it’s time to try now. I have a strange feeling that this time, this time I can stay a while. But in order to do that, I must get this job.

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