It was finally their training class that Bart had finally annoyed Rena enough to get her to tell him what Hope’s problem was. “Okay Winchester! I will tell you if you just stop pestering me.” Rena huffs out as she throws a punch towards his face that he narrowly dodges. They had been placed to spar in hand to hand combat.
“Finally!” He kicked high which she blocked with her arm.
“Honestly I can’t believe you haven’t gotten any of her hints. ” She rolled her eyes managing to punch him in the chest. “She wants you to ask her to the dance idiot.”
“That’s it?” Bart threw two punches quickly which were blocked and then went low, sweeping her legs out from her with a swing of his leg. He wiped sweat off his head with his arm and then grabbed her hand to help her back up. They both went into form again. “Why doesn’t she just say something then? We already all talked about the dance, she could have said something then.”
Rena chuckled and shook her head “She would never outright ask you Bart” She waited for him to make the first move “Girls want the excitement of a guy asking them to stuff like this. It’s sweet or whatever.”
She blocked his attack and took a step back panting “Look, just think about it and if you’re up for it, ask her. She’ll definitely say yes.”
“Girls are so complicated.” Bart shifted his feet.
“That they are Bart. That they are.” A voice came from behind his. Mr. Parkinson has been doing his rounds and came upon them. “You seem to constantly be moving Bart.” He said observing his form. “Always shifting from one foot to the other. This is good, just make sure you don’t sacrifice your balance with it.” He looked at Rena studying her up and down. He walked to her and nudged the inside of her leg with his foot outward. “Little Bit of a wider stance, gives you more power. Good form Ms. Beasley.”
Bart felt like a show dog as Mr. Parkinson observed then. “Now that that’s out of the way you can relax.” Bart and Rena looked confused but relaxed their stance. “I have heard rumors that you went after the beast last night. Leon is a great loss. Nevertheless, that was brave if you. But I must advise you to never do that again.”
Rena shot Bart a ”I told you so" look. “Are the rumors true that you got an arrow on him?”
Bart felt a little uncomfortable under his professor’s gaze. “Erm, yes sir.”
There was a hint of pride in Mr. Parkinson’s expression. “I think you’ll do well on the team Bart. If you still have that arrow, could I have it? As you know I’m trying to catch the beast and it might help.”
Bart went and grabbed his quiver and pulled and arrow out that had feathers ripped off the top - a way Bart marked so he knew which arrow he had shot.
“Here you go Sir.” He examined the arrow, although there was nothing on there. “Just as a I thought. We are indeed dealing with a vampire. You see how there is no blood?” He showed the arrow to Bart and Rena. “You hit him where? In the torso? Any other creature and there would be blood, but vampires are curious creatures. They have no blood. That’s why they feed on it.”
“No blood huh?” Trevor took a bite out of his pizza while listening to Bart and Rena’s conversation with Mr. Parkinson. “That’s pretty weird. I guess it makes sense though. When I bit him there wasn’t any blood either.”
Rena pursed her lips in thought before snatching a piece of pepperoni off of Trevor’s pizza “So what do we do now? We know we’re up against a vampire but with Parkinson hunting it we’ll have a harder time catching this thing ourselves.”
“Should we be trying to catch it?” Hope said, setting her bottle of root beer on the table. “I mean, your dad made it pretty clear he doesn’t want us doing anything.” She gestured towards Ali. “And especially now that everyone knows what it is, shouldn’t we leave it to them?”
“Right. I mean, I think they can handle it, don’t you? A vampire seems like it’d be a little above our weight class.” Ali picked at a plate of fries. “I remember when we actually focused on our school work or stronghold..you know, kid stuff!”
“You’ve rarely focused on school work.”
“Piss off, Garrett.”
Sor nodded her head in agreement “I agree with Ali. Maybe hunting this thing down isn’t a good idea Bart.” She of all people knew the dangers of trying to hunt a vampire.
“Three families are now mourning the loss of their children.” Bart pushed his plate away. “And there’s no closure for them because the thing that killed them is still out there killing. Say that we do nothing, and it keeps killing, probably to the point where the school gets shut down. I’ll just speak for myself and say I don’t think I could live with that. With knowing what we know and not doing anything. Because I know what it’s like to mourn over family and not have closure. Imagine if it got one of us next. Imagine how the people in your life would react. Your dad,” he pointed at Ali. “Your brother and your parents.” Towards Rena. “You get the point. The truth is that it would destroy each and every one of us at this table.”
“Well what do you expect us to do Bart?” Rena questions “We’ve never hunted a vampire before, we’re not even trained enough for it. Hell most of us here are only first years!” She sighed and rubbed her forehead tiredly “Look the university has people on it, head masters I might want to add, they can handle it. I understand where you’re coming from, we all do but we’ll get ourselves killed out there. We don’t know what we’re up against.” She glances around the room hoping someone would back her up.
“Bart, boy, I think you’re alone in this one. We can’t possibly take this thing on and come out alive.” Ali speaks up with a shake of his head.
“When I was 6 my parents made it my brother’s responsibility to teach me how to swim. They went out of town the day he was going to teach me and so he had free reign on how he was to do it. He threw me into out 9 ft deep pool without and flotations and waited for me to figure it out. If I went under, he’d pull me out, let me breathe and then try again until I learned to keep myself afloat. If we don’t try, we’ll never know.” Bart looked at Rena calmly.
“And as for no one here having any experience with vampires, that’s not entirely true.” He folded one leg over the other as he leaned back in his chair. “I happen to know someone who grew up her whole life with a family who trained her about vampires.” He looked expectantly at Sor.
Sor’s eyes widened “Bart I..I don’t know if I can be much help. The only reason I even managed to kill a vampire was to save my own life, I’m not sure I’d be able to do it again. I wouldn’t even know how to begin tracking it.” She fiddled with her fingers again nervously.
It’s been awhile since she’s had to deal with vampires, the thought of encountering one again terrified her.
“Wait.” Hope stared at Rena in aw. “You killed one? How? When?” Bart was taken aback by this as well. “What do you mean to save your own life?”
Sor sighed and sat down, knowing there was no way she could get out of this “Look it was when I was around 14, my father had taken me on a hunt, one of the few I had been on. A couple of vampires had been terrorizing a nearby town and He sent by OMA to...exterminate them, so he asked me to tag along.” She tugged nervously on her sleeves “We somehow found their hiding spot in an abandoned home, my father left me alone with wooden stakes as protection while he investigated the rest of the house.
That was obviously a mistake because next thing I knew I was being chased by one those things. It managed to corner me, holding me by my throat. I thought I was going to die, the strength that thing had...was unnatural.” She shuddered in thought “I did the only thing I could think of, I shoved a wooden stake in its ′heart′ and made the kill by snapping its neck. My father found me lighting it’s body on fire to really dispose of it.”
She crossed her arms with a scowl “So see, that was an extremely lucky case, I’m not some expert or trained hunter.”
The group went silent, all eyes on Sor. Trevor was the first to break the silence. “Why the heck are you not on the Stronghold team?”
“Yeah, why is that?? We would be infinitely better!” Ali said in amazement.
Sor blushed under his gaze “Oh I’m just not a stronghold player. I’d rather watch.” She offered him a small smile.
“This is exactly the point I’m making.” Bart said, still a little stunned. “She was 14. luck or not, now she has that experience. She was thrown into the deep end so-to-speak and did what she had to do.”
Sor shuffled from one foot to another “.....I don’t know Bart.” She glanced over at Ali and Rena for help, hopefully one of them can sense she was terrified.
Ali leaned back in his chair, tilted his head back and exhaled. “I’m not doing it, lad. Pap already said they would get a handle on it.”
Rena stepped protectively in front of Sor “The group doesn’t agree why can’t you just accept it Bart?” She crossed her arms and sighed, “We just don’t want you to get hurt. We’re not ready for something this big.”
Bart looked around the table for any support. Hope has a sympathetic look on her face. “You’ve been unusually quiet, Trevor. You’re the only other one who’s actually fought against this thing.”
Trevor shifted in his seat uncomfortably. “Look man, I’ve always got your back, no matter what but.. you can’t force others to go into such a danger. It has to be willingly.” Bart nodded his head at Trevor. He wasn’t mad, but he couldn’t deny that he was disappointed.
He felt confident in his friends. He was just as terrified but he knew in his heart that he couldn’t just sit back and watch. Not after his nightmare. “Fine. I understand. And I hope that you all will understand why I disagree with you, but Trevor is right. So, I’ll do it myself.”
“Bart no. You can’t go after that thing by yourself. That’s suicide.” Hope’s voice was full of concern.
“I don’t know what part about this you guys aren’t getting. People. Are. Dying.” Bart’s faces was getting hot.
“You think we don’t know that Bart?” Hope’s voice was turning stern. “We understand. We know why you want to do this. We know about your family and what you’ve been through. But you can’t act rash.”
Hope took a deep breath as if calmly herself. She put both palms on the table in front of her as if trying to calm it. “How about this, Mr. Parkinson is already hunting the vampire. He’s the best of the best, give them until Christmas break. That’s 2 months, they should be able to catch it by then.”
Bart crossed his arms. “And if they don’t?”
“And if they don’t.” She took a long pause. “If they don’t catch it, then when we get back from break we will all try to help get rid of it. Together.” She looked at the group for agreement.
Rena threw her hands in the air in annoyance “Fine. 2 months.” She pointed a finger at Bart threateningly “But that means you don’t do anything stupid until then.”
“You’re a fool, lad. But if it comes to it...I’m with you.” Ali held out a fist, awaiting the bump.
Trevor shook his head. Garrett shrugged indifferently, as usual.
Hope turned towards Bart looking at him expectedly. “Well?”
Bart sat with his arms crossed for a few moments then sighed “Alright, that’s fair. 2 months.” He reached across the table and bumped Ali’s hand. “Oh and I don’t do stupid things.” His voice got a little louder.
Rena raised an eyebrow at him. “Stupid things just happen to come across my path.” He said in a much lower voice as he sat back in his chair.
Rena rolled her eyes and went over to the couch mumbling something about how boys are extremely stupid.
“Now that’s out of the way. Trevor threw his trash away. “I believe that there’s a bet that will be fulfilled this week now that Bart’s on the team.”
Rena beamed at Trevor from her spot on the couch. “You’re right Trev. I can’t wait to see Bart get his butt handed to him.”
“Yeah okay. Never going to happen.” Bart sat at his desk and pulled out a knife. There were a bundle of straight sticks on top of it.
Rena opened her mouth to protest but Hope stopped her “Oh don’t worry about it Rena, let him think what he wants, he’s in for a rude awakening on Sunday.” She smirked and leaned over her own desk working on her latest project.
“You wanna bet?” He turned to hope. “Rena and Trevor have their bet going, what do you want to put on the table huh?”
Hope went silent, as if she didn’t know what to say. “How about this.” Bart had a mischievous grin. “If I win, you have to do my History of the Unknown World homework for a month.” Bart actually liked this class, but he knew Hope didn’t like cheating very much. She never let her friends copy off of her.
“But you like that class, why wou-”
“I like it when Mr. Parkinson is teaching it. I have no idea how Professor Morty will be.”
Hope hesitated, as if calculating the chances. “And what if I win?” Bart glanced at his friends. “If you win, I’ll tell you what 1960s musical your brother secretly watches and sings along to.” Hope’s eyes went wide looking between Bart and Trevor.
Trevor shot up from his chair pointing his finger at Bart. “DUDE YOU PROMISED.”
Bart chuckled. “Yeah well that was before you started betting against me so all is fair game dude.”
Trevor wanted to protest but knew it was no good. “Deal!” Hope looked ecstatic. “You’re on Bart. And you.” She turned to her brother. “You are sooooo gonna regret when you called me bug eyes when I had that allergic reaction to honey.”
Rena covered her laugh with her hand “Really Trev? A musical?”
Trevor flares at Bart who was trying not to laugh. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He denied
“TRADITIOOOOON” Ali belted before breaking into laughter himself. “Aye, this is priceless. What else are you hiding, boy?”
Rena grinned “Whatever you sat Trev.” She leaned over whispering so only he could hear “I’m pretty sure Bart is deathly afraid of spiders. Use the information as you will.” She shot him a wink and sunk back into the couch.
“Well there is that bottle of lotion that he keeps on hi-”
“BART I WILL KILL YOU.”
Hope stuck her fingers in her ears “La la la la I don’t want to hear that la la la la”
“OOOH YOU’RE A RIGHT CHEEKY LAD THEN HUH?”
Trevor shot Bart a murderous glare. “Okay okay I’m kidding, I’m kidding.” Bart was cracking up. “That one was a joke.”
“Oh leave him alone guys.” Sor chuckled looking up from her book she was reading on a plush chair, she kicked her foot out, the tip of her shoe tapping Ali’s head “You too Ali.”
Ali shrugged. “I mean he wouldn’t be the first”
“Why are you like this?”
Garrett just shook his head in agreement with Ali.
Sor scrunched her nose up in disgust “You guys are gross.” Her attention turned to Bart who was now hunched over his desk. “What are you doing Bart?” He had started carving the sticks that were on his desk. He looked up as if to say ”who? Me?"
“Oh ummm, carving wooden arrows.”
Everyone gave him a confused look. “Okay if I’m not going to be hunting the stupid vampire then I’m damn well going to be able to protect myself. And I would prefer to not be close enough to it to stab him with a stake.”
Rena stared at him in disbelief “You’re idiotic.”
“You know that it’s not the wood that makes the stakes dangerous to them right?” Sor looked at Bart as if he should know it. “Wooden stakes have simple enchantments that only bind to wood that make vampires vulnerable to them. Even if you made 100 wooden arrows they wouldn’t be any better without the enchantment.”
“But.. I already made like 30 of these dude.” He spilled open an extra bag onto his desk. Wooden arrows piled onto it. “You guys can enchant them right? This took like 3 hours”
Sor stood to her feet making a tsk sound “You’re lucky my father taught me the enchantment spell.” She gathered all the stakes together trying not to laugh at his poor craftsmanship, these things would break the second he tried to stab it into a vampire.
Shutting her eyes she began muttering words in another language, a few seconds later a dark blue hue began to flow out of her hands and sinking into the wooden stakes.
After a few moments she grabbed a stake inspecting it before throwing it at the wall adjacent to her, lodging it deep into the plaster. She smiled and turned to at Bart who was staring at her with an open mouth.
Where the heck did her strength come from?
“There, instead of breaking into pieces it’s now sturdy and can paralyze a vampire long enough for you to escape.”
“Yeah. Escape, right. That’s what I need them for. Thanks a lot Sor.” He chuckled nervously making the blonde raise a brow in his direction.
“We should probably get going. Mr. Parkinson said that the new curfew is being implemented tonight until they find the vampire.”
Rena groaned rising from the couch “Ugh I hate curfews.”
Sor chuckled and threw her things in her bag as the group got ready to leave. Trevor picked up his bag. “Me too but I hate creepy creatures that suck your blood more.”
“Huh? Oh, what? No, no.” He answered distractedly as he sat on the edge of his cot.
“Then a what’s up.” Bart got into bed and pulled his blankets up.
“Do... do you think that Rena likes dancing?”
A laugh burst out of Bart before he could control it. “Beasley? Dancing? I don’t know but that sounds hilarious. Why do you wanna ask her to the dance or something?” Bart said jokingly.
Trevor’s expression looked glum.
"Oh." The smile fades from Bart’s face. “Oh you do. Sorry dude, I didn’t mean anything by it. I mean, I never really have thought of her that way you know.”
Trevor sighed. “Yeah I know.”
Bart had to fix this. “Look, I mean she seemed to like the idea when Hope brought it up. I mean, today she was giving me advice on askin-” Trevor looked up at him. “O-on asking Mr. Parkinson for more training time. Sorry random thought, not important.” Bart tried to recover quickly not sure how he’d react to Bart wanting to ask Hope to the dance. “Maybe you should ask her dude! You’re a good guy, any girl would be lucky.”
Trevor still sat there a little glum but he seemed a bit better. “Thanks. anyway, g’night.”