I stared blankly at Emmett and Alicia, my brain trying to process the words I’d just heard.
“He was one of them.” Emmett cast his eyes to the floor; the distress of the news was clear as a summers day on his face.
It couldn’t be right, but yet the growing sense of despair that filled the quiet air begged to differ.
The weight of loss crashed down like a ten-tonne weight falling from the sky as silence surfaced its ugly head. They say silence is golden, but right now, it was far from it, the silence was the most deafening sound of all.
The stillness meant it was real as the blood drained from our faces, tears pooled in our eyes, and our throats began to close.
Another attack on the townspeople, another four dead, and one of them was our friend. One of them was my best friend’s cousin. While Mahala may have had a slight air of distaste for her cousin, I knew she loved him.
Our friend was killed by them, drained of blood and burned by fire in an attempt to make it look like some party gone wrong.
My heart appeared as if it was being crushed between two large hands as I struggled to breathe, realizing what it meant.
I would never hear him call me Silver again, with that spirited smirk that I found both charming and annoying. I would never be able to bite back with silly retorts or curses in Japanese as he joked around with me. I’d never see Mahala roll her eyes and shake her head at her cousin’s actions again.
I’d never see him win the football final he was so determined to win. I’d never been keen on football, but Zach convinced Masato, and I go to support him in the finals. However, now, we’d never get to do that, and I found myself wishing I’d made an effort to go to the matches before.
We’d never see him stride down the halls, laughing and smiling with his buddies. He’d never get the scholarship to Princeton he’d been working so hard towards for the past four years of High School.
He’d never get his dream of playing college football and graduating from his Electrical Engineering studies. He told me how he wanted to be behind the next most significant breakthrough in technology and find ways of making lighting and heating more sustainable.
All that potential he held and that caring soul he had underneath his tough exterior was gone in a blaze, the same way a fire had taken my home and coven.
A life lost, along with three others as if they were meaningless under the hands of my kind. I was running out of digits on my fingers and toes to count those I’ve lost to them. Vampires.
This was the reality of them. Ones like Emmett, Alicia, and myself, you came across them once in a century, if that.
However, the reality was, this is what Vampires were at the core, soulless creatures who paid no care to human life. They only cared about their next meal, their next victim, not for the person they killed.
The truth crushed me further when I thought about how I was one of them. I was only half a Vampire, but I was still a Vampire nevertheless.
The monster that did this to Eric and his friends lived inside me, too; I just learned to shut him away and gain control of the beast. I feared that one day, I might lose control of the inner beast.
The pain I felt in my chest ripped at me, tearing me apart in every which way. I wanted it to go away, but I couldn’t make it leave. It lingered like an undesired guest.
“They’re dead,” Zach growled, getting up from the couch and charging towards the door. The red static charged around his fingers and his face, one of fury and pure loathing.
“No, Zach, don’t!” Emmett moved quickly, grabbing Zach from behind him in a bid to stop him doing something foolish.
A burst of energy ripped from Zach as he sent Emmett flying and crashing into the glass table.
The glass shattered under him and Emmett snarled in pain. The noise of the glass shattering and Emmett’s roar snapped me onto planet earth.
“Emmett!” Alicia cried horrified, with her eyes wide in terror as her hands clapped over her mouth.
“Zach, stop!” Masato stood up, throwing his hand out in front of him as he threw up a wall to block Zach’s exit.
“They killed him!” Zach turned, and the ferocity was clear as day on his face. “I already had to watch those blood-sucking assholes kill my parents and my home! Now they’ve killed my friend! I’m going to kill them! They’re all the same; they don’t care, all filthy blood-sucking dirtbags.”
Zach’s words cut me like sharp blades, the pain of the loss, of seeing Emmett with glass through his chest, dangerously close to his heart and his words. The pain was unbearable. “Zach...”
“You take that back! You know they’re not all the same! Look at your fucking sister, at Alicia and Emmett, too! You want to take your anger out on someone, then come on, you and me. I won’t let you upset Hallie, or hurt Emmett more than you have, or Alicia. I won’t let you put yourself at risk and make Hallie lose two people she cared about today! So you want to take out your rage then come on, give me all you got.”
Masato looked completely different from his soft, kind self. He was angry, the red lighting playing around his hands as he and Zach stared at each other.
“Let the wall down, Pope."
“Not a chance, Davenport.”
“I guess I’ll have to make you then.” Zach raised his hand, the electric flickering faster as Zach readied to attack.
“STOP!” I screamed and flew in front of Masato, but I was too late. The lightning struck me, causing me to dive back into Masato.
“Hallie!” Alicia screamed, leaping to catch us before we hit the wall.
“Shit, Hallie! What the hell did you do that for?” Masato recovered himself and hovered over my body on the floor. The pain radiated through every part of me from the blow I’d just taken. “Baby, please tell me you’re okay.”
“I’m okay.” I nodded, pulling myself up. The pain still radiated but began to subside, the Vampire half of me healing me at a rapid speed.
I looked over to Zach, who stood there, stunned. “Hallie...I-”
“Let me get one thing fucking straight Zachariah James Davenport, you listening?” I upbraided. “You’re pissed, angry, and upset, believe me, I get it! I want to tear that clan to shreds too, but you know we can’t just storm in there! You fucking hurt Emmett, and then you went to cast that on Masato, who was trying to defend us and stop you from getting yourself killed! Be angry, Zach; I get it, I’m fucking mad too, he was my friend! But you can’t do this! If this is how you’re going to act, then leave. This is not the brother I grew up with and loved. He’d never have thought about hurting his family.”
“Zach...” Masato started, and I turned to him.
“And you Masato David Hayawaka Pope! Don’t think I’m not pissed you challenged Zach like that. I get why you did it but not the most helpful thing you could’ve done!”
Masato closed his open mouth as his eyes cast to the ground, like a child who’d just been reprimanded.
“Look, we figured this might happen, that’s why we brought you here to tell you before you heard elsewhere.” Emmett pulled himself up, gripping onto his chest, where he was wounded. “We called the police as soon as we cleaned our prints and left the area. It’ll be all over town shortly, but we figured it was best if we tell you.”
“We understand you’re angry, Zach, and you’re allowed to be,” Alicia spoke firmly, but her tone had an air of sympathy as she looked at Zach. “But don’t take it out on us, especially your sister. If you want to think Emmett and I are nothing but filthy blood-suckers, fine. But remember, when you group us all into one like that, you include her in that group.”
“I’m...sorry.” Zach fell to his knees and sobs engulfed him like raging waves taking someone lost at sea into the current.
“You okay, Dad?” I moved in front of Emmett; the wound was mere inches from his heart and ran right through. I knew he’d heal on his own, but I couldn’t leave him like that.
I hovered my hand over the wound, clearing out any small glass shards and watched as it repaired in a second.
I walked myself over to Zach and sat in front of him, wrapping my arms around him. “It’s okay, Zach.”
“No, Hallie, it’s not. I’m so sorry.” He pulled me tight to him and buried his head in my shoulder.
“It will be okay.” Although, somehow, not even I believed my own words.