3. He is a Vampire
I follow a herd of students into the dining hall.
As I pass the threshold, a powerful scent assaults me. It smells distinctly of old cleaning water and reheated cafeteria food.
The dining hall is large and noticeably modern with updated furnishings. Round, white tables are scattered throughout, and vending machines span the length of an entire wall, housing all sorts of snacks. Inspecting the machines further, I notice that some of them are lined with bottles upon bottles of red drink.
To my left, a queue is quickly forming, so I hurry to secure a spot. Grabbing a juice pouch, I wait patiently for my turn, anxious to dig into a warm meal. A quick scan of the service counter leaves me wanting more−the options are seriously lacking. No yogurts or side salads, or even a single vegetable in sight.
The line gradually inches forward, and when my turn comes, I’m handed a stainless steel tray filled to the brim with ground beef and pinto beans.
Frowning down at the plate, I silently thank God that I’m not a vegetarian.
If I were, I’d be screwed.
I shrug it off and search for a seat away from the others. Nestled in the corner of the dining hall by a row of windows is a perfectly isolated table. I hurry over to it excitedly and plop down. Leaning forward to scoop some food onto my fork, I notice a heavy downpour of rain. The rolling dark clouds compel me to think about all the bizarre events that have happened since I’ve arrived in Scarenville.
Confused, I pinch my nose. What have I gotten myself into? The cryptic warnings. A meddling landlord who reverts into a middle-aged woman overnight.
The thoughts make my stomach churn, and the food in front of me suddenly looks a lot less appetizing. Hunger gone, I push the tray away in disgust. Thunder booms dangerously close to the school; the deafening silence from the students heightening the noise.
I stare at the rain for quite a while and probably would have continued to do so throughout lunch-hour if a voice hadn’t interrupted my musings. "I can't, you know how much I hate frozen blood," someone whines.
Stunned, I discreetly turn my head towards the voice, using my arm to hide my face from the crowd of students. My eyes lock on a table in the middle of the cafeteria where three people, including Damien, are sitting. I notice that they are all holding the red bottle I’d seen previously in the vending machine.
Wait a second, does that mean...?
Appalled, I throw my unoccupied hand over my mouth to stifle the scream itching to come out, a last-ditch effort to preserve my anonymity.
"Too late−you’re already super pale,” Damien replies, causing those at the table to shake with laughter. Glancing around the cafeteria to see if anyone else is as shocked as I am at the revelation, I realize that they are all pointedly looking away from that direction, whispering among themselves. Focusing back on the trio, I nauseously watch as fangs sprout from their mouths as they drink the dense lifeblood from the bottle in their hands.
I should probably run right now.
But I don’t. Instead, I wisely stay put and watch the scene in horror, color draining from my face. Every bone in my body begs me to move, to scream, to do something. In the past, I may have done just that−but I’m not the person I used to be. Acting meant garnering attention, and this was definitely not the time for that.
Damien finishes drinking the blood and tosses the bottle to the ground, causing it to break into a thousand sharp pieces. "I am the head of this place, and yet I still have to resort to this," he hisses through clenched teeth, glaring at the offensive bottle.
A small "oof" sounds from the service counter. Unable to see who uttered it from my vantage point, I turn to the window, using the reflection to find the source of the noise. A chef stomps towards their table with hands on his hips, muttering, “At least they didn’t eat anybody,” under his breath as he swoops down to pick up the pieces with his bare hands.
His words echo in my head over and over again. At least they didn’t eat anybody.
The few students who turn to look at Damien’s uproar, visibly flinched and hastily turned back to face their meals. Damien and his friends resume their conversations in a foreign language, acting none the wiser.
How can they do that? How can they act like nothing happened−like this is normal?
I watch closely as Damien passes a tongue over his lips, licking away the stray droplets of blood that stained his mouth. His beauty did nothing to quell my fears. If anything, it made my heart beat faster and my palms clam up with sweat.
I need to run. I need to run. I need to−
His eyes meet mine through the reflection, an odd glint shining through. I gulp and shoot up from the seat to face Damien directly. He looks much more horrifying in person. His fangs, which barely peeked past his lips before, were fully elongated and the short, manicured nails he once had are now grizzly claws. He smiles at me menacingly and starts walking towards me.
Turning tail, I flee. Running as fast as I can away from the cafeteria, I fly through the corridors in search of somewhere to hide. Finding the girls washroom, I hurry in, closing the door behind me. Catching my breath against the door, I cry out, “What the bloody hell is happening?” Unable to hold myself up anymore, I stumble to the sink and hold on to the sides of the slab. Hysterically laughing, I exclaim, “Oh God−they’re vampires!”
Scrubbing my face with cold water, I take a second to inspect my appearance and see fear. Unwanted and unadulterated fear. I close my eyes and lean my forehead against the pane.
This can't be happening, why me? Why always me?
My thoughts are cut off as a shiver travellers down my spine. It is the same feeling I had yesterday when I was resting near the tree.
A warm breath fans over my neck. Terrified, I contemplate ignoring it, but against my better judgement, I cautiously peel open my eyes. A pair of golden eyes meet mine. It’s Damien. He must have followed me here. Bending to meet my ear, he whispers "you forgot to lock the door."
Speaking up, I yell "Leave me alone!"
"Now why would I do that, gorgeous?" he says playfully
I try to push him away, but he doesn't budge. It’s like his body is made of steel. Running out of options, I do the next best thing− I go wild. And I mean totally ape shit- jumping around, thrashing his chest with my fist, anything to get him to step far away enough to slide past him. I run into the nearest stall and lock it behind me. "Ha! Take that!" I scream triumphantly. Damien snorts, but says nothing and leaves.
I remain in the stall until the last bell rings, waiting until I could no longer hear footsteps in the halls.Once the coast is clear, I slowly get up and unlock the door, peeking outside to make sure everyone is gone. I quickly run out of the bathroom and into the empty corridors… Making a quick stop by my locker, I grab my belongings and sprint out of the school. Within minutes, I reach the apartments, completely out of breath.. Entering the apartments quietly, I find no one. Strange− I half expected Amora to pop out and ask me how school was but she was nowhere to be seen.
Not giving it too much thought, I use the elevator and head into my room, locking the door behind me. I take a deep breath and calm myself down.
Ok ...everything is gonna be okay.
I rush over to my laptop, sitting on my bed with the determination to escape on my mind.
I open up Google and search Scarenville. After all, the only way I could escape was by learning everything there was to know about my new home. . As I got the results, I click on the top result and begin reading.
After a while, I huff in frustration and close the laptop.
Nothing! I found nothing!
All it included was irrelevant information for instance the cold weather or how rude people were. Bits of information I already knew. I lay on my bed, tired of all the running. I reach over and grab the remote beside me, switching on the TV, letting the sound fade into the background. I get lost in my own thoughts, as my mind replays the things I had seen earlier. on.
Damien, vampire, blood...
"....found dead today"
The sound of the news instantly gets my attention. I glance at the TV, focusing onto the person speaking. A frown appears on my face before quickly turning into shock. My driver...
"Yesterday night a body of a young driver named Brad J was found dead in the forest, information was that he was assigned to drop his passenger at Scarenville. No more information has been found yet."
He is dead. His words run in my mind. He was right and I hadn't listened to him. Tears pool in my eyes as the blame for his death slowly sinks in.
This is all too much for me. I need to escape. A plan then slowly comes into my mind as I remember the rules. Students are not allowed to leave their home after 7pm. I make my mind up - planning to make my escape after 7 so no one can find me. Not wasting time, I rush to my feet to start packing my bags. It was either now or never.
Once I pack everything, I look at the luggage, just my bag, I wasn't planning to pack much… Because it would probably be hard to sprint and hide if there were too many luggages. I sit on my bed with anticipation as I was getting ready for a run. I was never much of a runner but today I will be. After a lot of waiting and stressing the clock hits 7 and I grab my bag, walking towards the door. I pull it open and gasp when I’m greeted by a smirking Damien. My eyes widen in shock as my body freezes in place.
Why the hell is he here?
"Going somewhere, Rosy? I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to leave the apartment after curfew.” He cocks his head towards me, expecting an answer.
I quickly unfreeze and snort, "I don't give a damn about your rules!"I quickly look sideways to check if there was an opening to escape, but he was blocking every exit.
"Oh no, no, no, no, you aren't running while I am here," he said, reading my expression.
So that's it−I guess I am going to die today.
"Start with it," I said, dropping my bag in utter hopelessness and bracing myself for the pain that’s sure to follow.
"Start with what?" he said, a frown appearing on his beautiful face.
"Start with all the killing." My voice broke as I avoided his gaze. "You are gonna kill me aren't you? I mean that's what you probably do, right?"
His face goes completely emotionless, and his eyes turn to steel, "Is that what you think I do?"
"I mean, you probably killed my driver didn't you?" I whisper slowly, afraid of the answer.
His face remains steel as his eyes bore into mine. His lips pursed together in a thin line, clenching his fists beside him. Could his reaction mean that I was wrong? I shake my head.
Stupid me. Stop pitying a vampire.
I zoned out of my thoughts just as Damien brushed past me, walking into my room as if he owned it.
"HEY!” I yelled, following him inside. “You still haven't answered my questions yet!" I step further into the room, expecting to catch a glimpse of him. I froze in the centre of the room, as the deafening silence kicked in. There was no sign on Damien anywhere. My eyes searched every corner of the room, whilst my brain tried to formulate a rational explanation for the situation.
Where the heck was he?
"Damien?" My voice trembled as the lights flickered off. The only light now coming from the corridor lights, illuminating the outline of the furniture. There was no response. I press my eyes shut and count to three in an attempt to calm myself down. All of a sudden a warm breath fans over my neck, sending shivers down my spine. . The fans graze over my skin as my heart pounds inside of me. I refuse to open my eyes, keeping them tightly pressed together and find the courage to whisper into the silence. “What are you doing?”
Within a second, he pulled away without responding. The loud thud of the door signalled his exit, startling me as I jumped in surprise. My eyes flung open, meeting nothing but darkness. I spun around, about to switch the lights on, but stopped dead in my tracks when golden piercing eyes glowed in the dark. The beads of sweat formed along my forehead, causing the loose strands of hair to stick to my forehead. My heart pounded inside of me as my mind screamed at me to run; a command which my legs were unable to follow. I gulped audibly, knowing in that moment that the worst is yet to come.