“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I sighed in frustration, gently tapping the steering wheel with my thumbs as I navigated my way through the rain puddles on the highway. In the murk of the rain ahead of me, I could barely make out the glowing red lights of my uncle’s truck. Rising high up on either side of me were tall, towering pine trees. Despite the heavy rain, I rolled my window down a hair, letting the sweet, rainy smells enter the car.
I couldn’t believe that I was being forced to move to Forks, Washington. When my uncle suggested it to me and my twin brother, Rhys, I couldn’t help but laugh. I mean, seriously? Vampire central? I couldn’t say for sure whether or not vampires and werewolves existed in Forks, but I did know that if there were any there, then the game was changing. My family and I are worse than any supernatural baddie. After all, we hunted them.
It was mid-September when we finally moved into Forks. My uncle and brother were in the old pickup truck ahead of me, while I followed behind in my ’69 Mustang. The windshield wipers struggled to keep up with the rain, and distantly I could hear thunder booming. I shook my head and grumbled, turning the volume down on the radio so I could focus better. Having lived and hunted in the southwestern U.S. for most of my life, it was pretty clear I didn’t have much experience driving in the rain.
My phone rang from the passenger seat, and I shut the radio off to answer. “Yo,” I said.
“Pull off at the next exit,” Uncle Jack said.
“Is it Forks?” I asked, both hopeful and with dread. I really didn’t want to do this, but I didn’t want to drive in the rain today anymore, either.
“Yeah,” he said.
Thank God, I thought. “You know,” I started, “I’ve gone this long without public school. Do I really need—?”
“Ivy,” Uncle Jack groaned. “We’ve been over this. You’re not going to school just for an education.”
I sighed. “I know, I know,” I complained. “It’s an opportunity to make new friends. I have friends,” I grumbled as an afterthought. Rhys and I were homeschooled when we were growing up, having done little to none public school. I mean, growing up as hunters didn’t make going to school too easy for us. We constantly moved around, going from one hunt to another. Rhys and I didn’t really mind all that much. Not only have we completed a good majority of our schooling, but we also earned some college credits.
He laughed. “Other hunters don’t count.”
I sighed again. “I need gas,” I said. “Lead me to a gas station after we pull off.”
“You know,” Uncle Jack started, “you’d have more money for other things if you had a different car.”
I gasped in mock horror. “How dare you!” I exclaimed. I ran my hand lovingly over Baby’s steering wheel as I said, “That is blasphemy, Jackson Montrose.”
He laughed. “Yeah, I’ll take you to get gas,” he said. Then he hung up. I tossed my phone onto the seat beside me, cranking the volume up as Disturbed’s “Are You Ready” started to play.
Half an hour later, we were pulling out of the gas station. Baby’s engine roared as I followed Uncle Jack down Main Street. Forks looked like any typical postcard town, with the old-fashioned buildings and everything. My tires slipped on the wet roads, and my heart jumped into my throat. Truth be told, I would much rather hunt a nest of vamps than drive in this.
After a few minutes, we turned down a road, where houses sprung up on either side. My uncle pulled into the driveway of one of these houses, and I parked on the curb.
I stared at the house as I stepped out of the Mustang. It was a nice two-story, with chipped, dark blue paint. The yard was thick with weeds and tall, uncut grass. I had no doubt that either my brother or I would be tasked with the chore of mowing the lawn. I didn’t even know how to operate a lawnmower!
Uncle Jack waved at me, and I waved in return. I moved to the back of the car, opening the trunk and pulling out my duffel bag. I slung it over my shoulder, then fell in step with my brother.
We had some similarities, mainly our long, dark eyelashes and ice-blue eyes. Other than that, though, we were completely different. Rhys’s eyes were wide and round, while mine were almond-shaped. His skin was fair, while mine was tanned. He had black hair, while mine was platinum blonde. I was more muscular than he was, too. I preferred to be hunting out in the field, where Rhys’s area of expertise lay in research.
“Welcome to our new casa,” Uncle Jack said, smiling as we stepped up onto the small porch. “Go ahead and fight over which room you want, but leave the master for me.” He grinned at us then opened the door, and we stepped inside.
There was a small hallway, which led to an open area. On the left was a living room, while on the right was a kitchen and dining room. The hall continued past the two rooms, splitting in half. On one side of the far end of the hall was a set of stairs leading up, while on the left was another small hallway that led to some doors. Later, I would learn that one door led to the basement, while the other led to a full bathroom.
I made my way up the stairs, relieved to see that there were four doors. A bathroom and master bedroom on one side, with two smaller bedrooms on the other. Rhys grabbed my shoulder, and I shot him an annoyed look.
“What?” I asked.
He grinned and held up a fist. I glared at him for a second, then raised my own fist. Three pumps later, and my scissors beat his paper.
“Dammit,” Rhys cursed. I smirked, then stepped into the room closest to the stairs. It was simple, with a single window overlooking the side yard, and the woods beyond. There was a small closet, and enough space to live comfortably. I dropped my duffle bag on the floor, then lowered myself to the ground. I lay on my back, crossing my ankles and folding my hands behind my head. I stared up at the ceiling, taking a moment to collect myself. It was Wednesday. My uncle, brother, and I would spend the rest of the week moving in, and tomorrow, we’d start school.
When Rhys and I first started school, our father had sent us to public school. Rhys had made friends, but I was picked on from the beginning. According to the other little girls, I wasn’t pretty enough, or my clothes were too boyish. After coming home crying for what must have been the millionth time, my dad finally pulled my brother and me from public school, and then he started to homeschool us.
I missed Dad. He was firm, but he wasn’t abusive. He loved my brother and me, and he did all he could to prepare us for the life while teaching us how to protect ourselves at the same time. He had taught me everything I know about hunting, and he was the best hunter the world had ever seen. But, like all hunters, he met his end early.
I was sixteen, and we were clearing out a vampire nest. We thought we had killed all of them, but then all of a sudden, one remaining vampire lunged at my father from the shadows. I was too far away, and by the time I had reached him and chopped off the vampire’s head, Dad’s throat had been ripped out.
I shut my eyes tightly, fighting back the tears that threatened to escape. No, I thought. I wouldn’t cry. I had spent too much time focusing on that night, on how I blamed myself for his death. If I had been right beside him, I could have saved him…
Stop it! I furiously told myself. I sighed, focusing instead on what I would do tomorrow for school. I knew, without a doubt, that tomorrow was gonna be hell.