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JDcat4

Exercise One
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Preface

She was the one.

I stared at her pretty, pale face and her shimmering scarlet eyes and I knew at that moment she was the one. Our eyes didn’t usually shimmer, but hers did.

Her long mass of ebony hair flowed down her back.

She got up, leaving me all on my own, lying on her bed. She walked over to her mirror and I watched, waiting for her to return to me. She looked in the mirror and then decided she was quite pretty.

Pretty! She’d been pretty when she’d been a human and then she’d only thought of herself as plain. How negative she was! She was almost dazzlingly beautiful. My precious looked at me, starting to walk back.

“Hey, beautiful,” I said to her as she did so, but she ignored me.

“What do we do now?” she asked me. The answer was on my lips straight away. It was hanging on my tongue and boiling in my blood. I’d been ready for this for a whole year.

“We kill Kat.”


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #2 

Chapter 1: The Start of Things

I walked down the blue painted corridor to my classroom.

“Hi, Zephyr,” a husky female voice said.

“Oh, hi, Zéphine,” I said, turning around.

“What are you doing today?” she asked me.

Zéphine was a short girl with brown hair that went just past her shoulders. That seemed to be how long most girls had their hair these days. I walked with Zéphine, slowing down to her pace so she didn’t have to jog to keep up with me.

In the classroom, people said “Hi, Zeph and Zeph.”

Ugh. Zeph and Zeph indeed! That would get confusing. Why couldn’t they just call us by our names rather than shorten us to Zeph. And anyway, Zeph wasn’t really correct for Zéphine. E and é were different letters.

I sat next to my girlfriend, Kathryn. She was wonderful, my Kat was. Far more beautiful than any of the other girls in my school, including pretty little Zéphine. Just by being with Kat, I was the envy of the other boys in my class and I’d broken quite a few girls’ hearts – clearly, they liked me.

“You two are inseparable, aren’t you?” said Miss Faraday.

“Yeah,” said Kat. “Joined at the hip.”

I chuckled.

Me and Kat had exactly the same lessons every day of the week and today was Friday. We had Art. I loved Art. Me and Kat made a competition of whatever we were doing in Art – who could paint the best cat or whatever it was we were painting, who could produce the best oil pastel drawing, etc. Everything was a competition Kat usually won. I’d only won a couple and I suspected it was because Kat let me win. She went easy sometimes, or maybe she just lost her competitive edge. I didn’t know. It was always fun though.

After school, me and Kat went our separate ways and I ran straight upstairs, stomping up the staircase in my shoes, and watched whatever rubbish I could find on my TV. I didn’t know why I was watching rubbish just for the heck of it, because I wasn’t enjoying it. It was just something to do.

“Zephyr!” my mother called, “dinner!”

“I’m coming!” I called and got up off my backside.

“I’m surprised Kat isn’t here,” said dad.

“I’m also surprised you haven’t invited her to your party.”

It was my birthday tomorrow. I’d be fourteen.

“She couldn’t come,” I told them. “She’s got something on.”

“I never see her eat anything when she is here anyway,” said mum.

“Yeah, I don’t know why that is,” I said.

“What’s for dinner?” I asked as I got to the table and sat down.

“Fish,” replied mum.

“Nice,” I replied.

After dinner, I went upstairs and made a racket on my guitar.

“ZEPHYR! TURN THAT AMPLIFIER DOWN!”

I turned it down a bit.

I went through different tunes, some well-known ones and some that were a bit obscure, perhaps – certainly not mainstream anyway.

I loved playing my guitar. It was a copy of a Fender Strat. It had a beautiful, sleek black body and an ebony fretboard. Since I’d had it for Christmas when I was eight, it had given me hours of pleasure learning and playing on it. It was my main instrument, but I did a bit of singing as well. I wasn’t yet fourteen and my voice had gone very deep already. I think it broke when I was about twelve. But I never had a high voice before my voice broke. It had always been low, but now it had broken, it had plummeted.

It was getting late, so after I finished the song I was playing, I put my guitar back on its stand and went to bed.

The next day, I got up and looked in the mirror. I’m not ashamed to say I looked a total wreck. I had sleep in my eyes and they were watering like I didn’t know what. I looked like I’d been crying. Well, I hadn’t. They were all red and wet apart from the blue rings that looked somewhat bruise-like that seemed to be there permanently.

I washed my face and got dressed, although I left my hair as it was. My hair wasn’t too bad – it just looked tousled, which was how I liked it. Then I went downstairs.

“Hello, Zephyr,” said dad.

“Morning, dad.”

“Happy birthday,” he said.

“Thanks.”

“Fifi!” he said to mum.

“What?”

“Now or later?”

“Later. We can surprise him when his friends come.”

I got myself breakfast and went back upstairs.

I played on my PlayStation.

Three hours later, I heard knocking on the door.

Mum opened it and let in whoever was there.

I heard the same thing happen quite a few times in just ten minutes. It must have been my friends arriving. I switched my PlayStation and TV off.

“Zephyr!” dad called. I went downstairs and mum stopped me in the hall. She covered my eyes with her hands and led me into the kitchen.

When I was in the room, she uncovered my eyes. I saw Zéphine, Georgie, Matt and Louis standing behind the table and a fairly big pile of presents on the table.

I went over to the table and opened all my presents.

The tag on the first one read: To Zephyr, happy birthday from Louis. It was games and controllers. Matt’s was a PlayStation 3 – the better and newer version. I only had a stupid old PS2 that was packing up and on its way out.

“Thanks, Matt, you’re a lifesaver.”

He chuckled.

Georgie had got me socks. Zéphine had got me chocolate. Now, there were still more presents, so opened them next.

Just cards and money I’d got from a few relatives, others gave me chocolate, which I had a pile of. Well, not literally, but I still had a lot of it. And lastly, I opened a parcel from my parents. It was a long black cloak which looked like something Count Dracula might wear. It was mostly black, but with a red flame pattern on it.

“Dad,” I said, “it’s perfect. Thank you.”

The next day, I spent the entire day eating my chocolate.

On Monday, I saw Kat again, of course.

“Come to my house after school,” she said.

“OK,” I said, so I followed her to her house after school and she took me to her room. She knocked me down on the floor.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Shush, my precious,” she said, from the other end of the room.

“I’m sorry I missed your birthday,” she said. “Was it fun?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Good,” she said. “What’s it like being fourteen?”

“Alright so far,” I replied.

Seconds later, I felt someone digging teeth into my wrists. It was horrible.

“Bye, my precious,” said Kat, and she was gone.

I looked at my wrists. They bled horribly and they burned with something Kat had on her teeth.

I screamed. This was the end.


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #3 

Chapter 2: Good News

When everything eventually stopped, I got up, still in Kat’s house without a clue what day it was or how long I’d been there. All I knew was it had taken a long time.

“Kat!” I called out into the vast sky. I was quite in the middle of nowhere. “Where are you?”

“I’m outside,” she replied.

I got myself out of her house and met her outside.

“I bet you’re thirsty, aren’t you?”

My throat was slightly dry, but what was she talking about?

“Come on, we’ll get you some people to drink.”

I followed Kat into a nearby town. There, she snatched any humans she saw and I watched in horror as she bit their necks and drained them of their blood.

Before they all died, I saw their lives flashing before my eyes. Innocent blood spilled. Lost and scattered.

“Come on, Zephyr, I’ve saved some for you,” said Kat.

“No,” I said feebly. I wasn’t becoming a murderer.

“Coward!” she said.

This was the life Kat lived. She didn’t love me. I thought she loved me when I was a human, but now I knew she didn’t. There was someone else.

I ran off, crying. She’d pretended to love me, viciously turned me into a monster and torn my heart in two.

I found myself in a park. Some children were playing there. A boy and a girl were on the swings, another boy was climbing up a ladder, about to go down the slide and another boy was on the monkey bars. They were singing, laughing and chatting to each other. I saw their smiling faces and they saw my unhappy one. Raging with bloodlust, I killed them all. I felt terrible.

“Oh, Kat, what did you do to me?” I wailed, then I sobbed into the nearest tree.

Two days later, I was on my way home, but not for long. I deliberately went when I knew both mum and dad were at work. I packed up a suitcase with as many of my clothes as I could fit inside it and put some more stuff in a couple of rucksacks. I put my cloak on, then left. I travelled for miles. I was somewhere in the northern part of the Catling Woods, still in Holgeirine, but only just. I stopped in the middle of a street in a little village. In the street, there were tiny little bungalows, a couple of which had been extended. There were only two proper houses in the entire street and they looked about as tidy as the bungalows did – whatever village I was in, this was clearly its cheap side, its slums.

I lay on the path and using one of my rucksacks as a pillow and my cloak as a blanket, I slept.

I slept rough for three nights. During the daytime, I just wandered about aimlessly, crying sometimes, other times looking around places, familiarising myself with the quiet, picturesque little village. I didn’t mind staying here.

On the third night I went back to the slums, the house I slept opposite from I heard the door open. It shut a few seconds afterwards, and I heard footsteps up the street, walking towards me. It was an old gent, coming to talk to me.

“Alright, kid?” he said. “I noticed you sleeping out here a few nights now. Got anywhere?”

“Nowhere,” I replied.

“Thought so,” said the old gent, “well, now you do. Myself and my family are moving out tomorrow. I’ve got a new job and now I’ve been able to get a house – I’m away from this shoddy place.”

“Thank you,” I said to the old gent. One more night sleeping rough. I had a place to crash now. He needn’t have told me though. He was someone else whose thoughts I could hear. I’d have to keep an eye on it – I could be psychic. First Kat, now that old gent.

He went back inside and I went to sleep, bundled up in my cloak for one last night.

The next day, I waited until the family were gone at eight o’clock that morning and moved straight in. I left my suitcase in the hall and looked about the place. It was all very poor. The worst rooms were the original bungalow. They were the front room and the two smaller rooms behind it, a study and a utility room. Well, I could wash my cloak and anything else that needed washing. I went back in the hall from there. Down the back of the hall was the kitchen and a dining room.

Back in the hall, and up the stairs. There was a bathroom, a separate toilette and three bedrooms. The furthest on the right was the master bedroom, where the old gent and his wife slept. Next to that was the boy’s bedroom and on the left was the girl’s bedroom. I’d have the boy’s bedroom. I brought my suitcase upstairs and put it under the bed. I wouldn’t use the drawers. I’d just live out of the suitcase.

I had a nap until I was woken up by a vision of someone knocking. Ugh. Now I was having visions of the future. That was going to get old pretty fast. Well, I just had to hope they didn’t start giving me headaches.

I looked at my clock – ten o’clock.

I got up and went down to the hall, waiting for the knock.

As soon as I heard it, I opened the door. The old man from my vision was there. He wore a flat cap and carried a walking stick.

“Hello,” he said. “You’re the new neighbour, are you?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Zephyr Daniels.” I didn’t shake his hand.

“Carson,” he replied. “Edward Carson. Pleasure to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too. Cup of tea?” I asked him.

“That’d be lovely, young sir.”

I let him in and took him through to the kitchen. I put the kettle on and got two mugs out. I didn’t know if I could drink tea, but I’d give it a go.

There was a black mug and a white mug that I’d got out. The old family did me a few favours, leaving a few bits of furniture and utensils behind – not that I needed them.

“What do you do, Carson?” I asked.

“I do gardening. I look after all the gardens around here. You want to get yourself into school, laddie. There’s a good one down the road – Magakin Row – it’s an academy. If you want, I can phone them up, see how many places they have spare for this year.”

“No, thank you, Carson. I’ll go next year. I have things I need to sort out, things I have to do.”

“Alright, laddie. I’ll leave you to it. Just call round when you want a chat. I’ll do your garden every Saturday for you and I’ll help you with the house if you need it. Just give us a bell – I’m next door.”

I thanked Carson for visiting and he went back to his house. I drank my tea, and to my immense surprise, I liked it. It didn’t upset my changed stomach. I was glad. But I was sketchy about food in general.

I decided I’d avoid food just in case I couldn’t eat it.

In true vampire fashion, I slept by day and came out at night. I was after Kat. I kept up my pursuit for several months, but I wasn’t catching her. I came to realise I couldn’t get her on my own. She was impossible to catch. Over time, I learnt more about being a vampire, and more importantly, was getting used to being psychic. My gap year was up. I’d go to school in September when the term started again.

It was bad that I hadn’t caught Kat, however it was good that I was getting used to things and I’d be doing something. Things might actually be getting better.

 


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Reply with quote  #4 

Chapter 3: First Sight

I’d been sent a list of subjects I could choose from at the Academy – I’d be in the 14+ year. Carson had got it for me. Good thing too. It would look odd if a fourteen-year-old went to get it.

 

Magakin Row Junior Academy

14+ Subject List

The following is a list of subjects you can choose to study for the next two years. Please choose at least one subject from each list. You may choose up to six subjects. Alternatively, if you choose Magical Training, you may only choose four additional subjects. A fifth can be taken to study at night. Dance, Sports, Maths plus hour-long lessons of Vampire Studies and Sidhe Studies are mandatory.

A                         B                       C                            D

Charms                   Myths                  Potions                     Charms

History                   Music                   Divination                 Literature

Dance                    Literature               Sports                      Divination

Cookery                   Potions                  Cookery                    Art

French                   Art                      Politics                     Music

Politics                   French                  Myths                      History

 

Will you be studying Magical Training? Yes/No

 

 

 

 

The subjects I chose were Charms, Music, Divination, Potions and Art. Happy with the subjects I’d chosen, I gave the filled in list back to Carson.

“Thank you, Mr Daniels,” he said.

That’ll keep the young lad busy, he thought.

Yes, it certainly would. And hopefully, I’d make some friends too.

This was the literature the school had on the subjects that I’d read before I’d made my mind up:

Dance [mandatory]

In Dance, pupils will be learning a variety of dances from around Vampyreland, beginning with Idirian dances until October half term, Monalian dances from November until the spring holiday, Holg dances for a few weeks, then other dances, including Felix Liexis, Vamps’ Row and freestyle in the last half of the summer term.

Sports [mandatory]

Pupils will be doing a variety of sports and games throughout the year, including basketball, netball, hockey, swimming, trampolining, rounders, athletics, gymnastics, martial arts and tennis. Pupils will require plimsolls, shorts, a polo shirt, tracksuit bottoms and a jacket or jumper and a spare t-shirt. Socks and trainers are also a good idea.

Maths [mandatory]

Pupils will be studying the four rules of number, problem solving using the four rules of number, fractions, decimals, rounding and algebra.

Vampire studies [mandatory]

In vampire studies, pupils will be studying the anatomy of a vampire, vampire physiology and will study from various pieces of vampire literature.

Sidhe Studies [mandatory]

In Sidhe Studies, pupils will be learning about the anatomy and physiology of Sidhe, water fairies and fairies, and magic.

Enough with the mandatory subjects, I moved on to the descriptions of the subjects I’d chosen.

Charms

Pupils will learn what charms are and their uses. They will also practise using charms.

Divination

In Divination, pupils will be learning about the different forms of Divination, such as tea leaves reading, palmistry and using tarot cards and crystal balls.

Art

In Art, pupils will be painting, using oil pastels and colouring crayons. They will recreate paintings of famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and will also do a tapestry project and a project of their own choice.

Potions

Pupils will be learning the magical properties of potions ingredients, the use of potions and brewing various potions throughout the two years of study.

Music

Music will see pupils playing and learning about a variety of instruments in different styles and genres and learning music theory.

Magical Training

In Magical Training, pupils will learn about mythical creatures, magical arts such as charms, potions and divination, magical spells, myths and ESP. The school offers textbooks and revision guides on these subjects for the small sum of twenty Vampyrelandish Pounds and twenty sickles.

On my first day, I got my timetable. I was in Miss Malfew’s class in one of the Potions rooms. It didn’t take me long to find where that was.

 

Day/Lesson

1

b

2

l

3

4

Monday

Charms

b

Maths

l

Divination

Art

Night 1

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

[Aft. HT] Vampire Studies 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

 

Tuesday

Dance

b

Potions

l

Potions

Art

Night 1

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

Myths 8pm-9pm

 

Night 2

Sidhe Studies 6pm-7pm

Music 7pm-9pm

 

Wednesday

Sports

b

Sports

l

 

Vampire Studies

Night 1

Music 6pm-7pm

Dance 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

 

Thursday

Dance

b

Divination

l

Art

 

Night 1

History 6pm-7pm

Myths 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

 

Friday

Maths

b

Potions

l

 

 

Night 1

Magical Training 6pm-8pm

[Aft. HT] Potions 7pm-8pm

 

Night 2

Potions 7pm-8pm

 

Homework

 

Homework

 

Clubs

Choir  Wednesday lunch and lesson 3

Clubs

Rock Band  Thursday lesson 4

Clubs

Extra lessons [ad hoc] Friday lunch, lessons 3 and 4

 

 

They’d be long days, some of them, but I had breaks here and there.

I made my way to the Potions classroom a bit early. I sat at the front. Everyone else came in later. They all sat at the tables behind me. As they passed me, people said hello to me and I said hello back. At the back of the classroom, girls were talking among themselves, prattling obsessedly about me. Back in my old school, Holgin Woods, only Zéphine had her eyes on me, or so I’d noticed, but here, it was all the girls in the class. It looked as though I’d be quite popular. If being a vampire made me this handsome, then I suppose it was a good thing. But all the girls being obsessed with me was going to get old. I’d just ignore them.

A minute later, Emli Malfew came in.

She introduced herself and asked us our names. Some, like Charlie Ruck, a shabbily-dressed young boy who had been made Head Boy and was also a prefect, otherwise known as Charlie of the nine patches, and three of the girls in the class, Emmeline, Chloe and Zara, she knew from previous years.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door.

“Come in!” Miss Malfew said.

A very short girl with dyed black hair dressed entirely in black came in and stood at the door, still holding the handle.

“Hello,” Miss Malfew said.

“Miss Malfew?” the girl said. She was a bit shy, but I had a feeling she’d come out of her shell soon enough.

“Yes, dear. And you are?”

“Josienne Hawkes.”

“Come in. You can take a seat next to Zephyr over here.”

She sat down next to me.

“Hi,” she said. Well, I might as well try to be friendly.

“Hello,” I said. “I’m Zephyr Daniels.” Oh, look, I’d done a better job of introducing myself than Edward Cullen already. He was a rubbish vampire anyway. Dracula was the best, although he was evil.

“I’m Josienne Hawkes. Call me Josie if you want though.”

I’d call her Josie.

“I get called Zeph,” I said. Well, I used to, and it was a bit annoying actually, because Zéphine got called Zeph as well. Why further abbreviate an abbreviation?

Then Malfew did the register.

“What lesson do you have first?” quiet little Josie said in her low voice.

“Charms,” I replied.

“Same here.”

Like I didn’t know.

“I’ll walk you there,” I said. “The teacher’s name is Iona Mallory. Mrs. Iona Mallory. But you always call her Miss.”

“How much Charms have you done?”

Some in my old school – up until last year. Not that I’d be telling her that. I had to think of something quickly.

“Well, this is my first time at an academy,” I lied. “My father taught me stuff… until last year, when I… er, took a gap year.”

Josie believed me, though I was lying through my teeth. Wow. How gullible she was. But I had to keep things secret. Not even Carson knew everything about me, though he was a good friend of mine. She noticed my hesitation, but she took it as not wanting to tell her what I did in my gap year. A very wise decision, I’d say.

“I was taught at home until this year,” she said. It was the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth.

“Cool,” I said.

It wasn’t cool really.

Josienne was a catling. This accounted for her quite frankly being a midget and her not being anywhere near any other people – other than her parents, that was – until now. She was fourteen. I should be fifteen, but I was fourteen forever. Being a catling didn’t mean she was dangerous, necessarily. She’d just been kept away from the public eye to avoid any humiliation or embarrassment. Ling-hybrids had human parents and were born as whatever animal they were. They could shapeshift from whatever animal that was and human. These transformations were spontaneous from birth until the age of ten. After that, the hybrid could transform at will. Josienne turned into a cat, making her a catling. Being a shapeshifter gave her a split personality, though she wasn’t quite like Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Rather than being so distinctly different as to make you believe the human and the cat Josie were two different beings entirely, the lines got blurred on both sides. I could tell she had some cat-like qualities as a human and I’d bet it worked the same way, pretty much, as a cat. She was quite a peculiar creature.

Josie was currently musing about my story, or what she knew of it. She considered hers utterly boring. Mine was far more exciting, in her opinion, an opinion that had me chuckling a little. Yes, being a vampire and living the life of blood and lies that went with it was very exciting.

“Zephyr, you are rather pale,” she said as we walked to Charms class. Oh, please! No! She wasn’t starting to notice, was she?

“Yeah, it’s just my skin colour,” I said through clenched teeth. I hoped she hadn’t noticed my fangs. Apparently not. We continued walking.

“Here we are,” I said after another minute and we stood outside the classroom, “and here’s the rest of the class.”

A tall blonde woman let us in.

“Go in, class,” she said.

We all went in. Me and Josie sat at the front.

“Welcome to the Magakin Academy. My name is Iona Mallory. Most teachers will either want to be addressed as Miss or Sir, depending on their gender, but I have no problem whatsoever with you calling me Iona.”

She showed us a picture on the whiteboard of a highly decorated Charms book she’d put together herself. This was how she’d learned when she was a kitten. Now, if we were using that analogy, then Josienne as a kitten and me as a puppy had better resources than handmade scrapbooks that were falling to pieces.

She spent the entire lesson chatting to us. What a waste. Although it was intriguing to know about the others in the class – not. I knew it already.

We had homework as well.

We went our separate ways to Maths.

 


__________________
E. J. O.
JDcat4

Exercise One
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Posts: 556
Reply with quote  #5 

Chapter 4: At Night  

Maths. Boring, boring maths. Not exactly my favourite, but I wasn’t rubbish at it either. I got the same sort of score as most people in the test we had to do. Josie, on the other hand, along with Charlie of the nine patches and a few others, was in the bottom set, having got a six.

Afterwards, I made my way to the school canteen. It was bound to be a busy hub of people at lunchtime, plus I wanted to look as normal as possible.

Josie sat at a table all alone. I sped over to her.

“May I sit with you?” I asked. She had her head in the clouds and I’d made her jump.

“Zephyr! You startled me.” She thought I’d just randomly appeared out of nowhere. How absurd. I didn’t laugh though – it’d be mean to question her sanity – well, I didn’t need to really. Josie thought she was crazy anyway.

“Certainly,” she said, pulling a seat out for me. I took it, smiling.

“You’re not eating?” she asked.

Ugh… this was a dodgy question. I answered it anyway though.

“Um, no, I don’t really have an appetite at the moment.”

What a liar I was. The truth was I couldn’t eat – or at least I thought I couldn’t eat. Oh, and I’d done better than Edward Cullen again, who was “on a special diet”. At least I could sound normal without hinting or saying too much.

“Did the maths test upset you?” It was a proper question, at least, and something conventional to ask.

“No, I did alright in that, actually. Yourself?” Yeah, I only did alright as opposed to absolutely brilliant because I didn’t cheat. I was finding I could ignore or not use my psychic powers. I had no idea how.

Josienne got a six. Boo-hoo. When she said it, her tone was sheepish, like she was expecting me not to be happy with her for not being good at something. Or maybe she just didn’t like to admit it.

“What do you have next?” she asked, keeping up the conversation.

“Divination, then Art. This evening, I have Magical Training.”

Josienne had cookery all afternoon and she’d be joining me for Magical Training this evening as well. She said it, though she had no need to. But she didn’t know. If one day I ended up answering someone’s thoughts rather than their words, I’d kick my leg off, or less dramatically, probably give myself a bad bruise on whatever leg I kicked. This wasn’t going to be easy, was it?

I’d take her to her lesson in ten minutes. She was grateful.

The conversation then moved on to what we’d be doing at home. Josienne was half-expecting her dad to bombard her with questions about her first day at school – nice of him when she’d be utterly shattered. I would most likely be reading. My book collection was small and it eventually got boring when you could see how the plot was going – this meant I got up to a certain point, never finishing a book, but I knew how it was going to end. No fun at all. When I told Josienne about my reading habits, I tried to sound as unsarcastic as possible, despite wanting to sound sarcastic – it was how I felt. I read books up to where my psychic powers got annoying because I simply had nothing else to do. What a bore.

Josienne was staring at my eyes. Bad idea. I stared her down until she had her eyes on my chest – a safer place for them to be. I’d never deliberately hypnotised a human before, and I didn’t plan to, but my eyes were so powerful that just by looking at my eyes for the short time she had been, Josie would be mesmerized for a while. How long, I couldn’t say. It was obviously bad – she couldn’t take her eyes off me and started worrying she was becoming like Bella Swan, although I was hardly Edward. I chuckled, which woke her up for her lesson, snapping her out of it temporarily, and when she went home, she was exhausted and couldn’t eat, full of butterflies. I may have to tell her about my eyes one day, although having read Dracula countless times, I found it very hard to believe she didn’t know. She must have forgotten or she was being very daft or a bit stupid.

In Magical Training, we met our teacher, Eleri Minnarde, and we began a little on ESP. My only exchange with Josie was “that was good. We aren’t doing vampire studies yet.” Good, in my opinion, for obvious reasons.

I then made a dash for the door. Fun, but it turned out to be a mistake. Josie noticed. Before, in the canteen, she’d thought I’d appeared out of thin air, but now she’d seen what was actually behind that absurd thought, and she still thought she was crazy. I could only hope she didn’t go digging too much.

At home, I slept like a log – not that I’d been working like a dog, but still, I was tired.


__________________
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Chapter 5: Mystery

Josie was noticing way more than she should be. It freaked me out. She hoped she was over-thinking stuff, but she couldn’t help thinking about the stuff she’d seen. I only found out to what extent she’d been digging later on though.

She’d definitely noticed the super-speed, that was for certain. She’d noticed my skin was paler than her own ghastly complexion, though hers was through living indoors most of her life. She was wondering how the hell I could possibly know my way around the whole academy when it was my first week there. She had two options. They were, A, that I was lying, or B, that I was psychic. She thought she was insane for coming up with B though. It played on her mind in registration, which got her a stern, cold glare from me. I wished she’d stop thinking about it. But she was thinking about it so much, I just knew she’d unravel the mystery at some point. With shivers down her spine, she realised she was in trouble. Heaps of trouble. She’d well and truly lost her marbles. Where Is My Mind…? played though her head. I didn’t know she was a fan of The Pixies. In Dance, the teacher noticed she was out of sorts and she admitted she had stuff on her mind, but thankfully, she didn’t say what. She hated to think of anyone else getting into trouble. If she was in trouble, that was. It all depended on how much she found out and what I felt like doing with her. But I’d wait and see how things developed before I thought about what I might have to do. I’d wait and see if she sussed it or if it remained a mystery, although I doubted that would happen.

Josie didn’t go to History. She just went home and slept as a cat, thinking the cat could hide her emotions. How wrong she was. How very wrong indeed.

Over the weekend, Josie was trying to get on with her work, play with her toys, basically doing anything that would distract her from me and it worked for a while. Reading any of her usual haunts would be asking for trouble as well, although Jekyll and Hyde I’d say would be a safe option. She’d only be reading about herself, not me.

Monday morning, Josie was having a nightmare. A nightmare which involved me. I flashed in front of her eyes. It was the canteen scene again. She’d noticed my eyes – their deep scarlet colour burning as she looked at them. Then I disappeared, playing with the holes in her knowledge. She was at the teeth. She’d figured it out – fangs. She’d guessed my secret and now she was scared as hell.

At school, she didn’t look at me and sat as far away from me as possible without moving seats.

“Josie?” I asked sorrowfully.

She thought she was imagining it at first.

“Josie?” I asked again, louder this time.

She now knew it wasn’t her imagination and she turned to face her worst nightmare. I hoped she’d get over her fear. There had to be a way I could show her it was completely unnecessary.

 


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Chapter 6: Shiver and Shake

“H-h-h-ell-l-lo, Z-Z-Zeph-phyr,” Josie choked over the words, hoping I wasn’t going to talk about something, probably what she was scared about.

“Josie, are you alright?” I asked, my concern genuine. Josie went from looking absolutely terrified and quite shaken up to looking confused and outraged in a matter of seconds. I didn’t exactly have the emotional range of a teaspoon, but this was just weird. Josie was very emotionally volatile, maybe even vulnerable, sometimes. Was she crazy or was this part of her split personality? Was this her “Hyde”, so to speak?

Outraged was a good word. Josienne was livid, absolutely shouting the lyrics – or some of the lyrics – of Shiver and Shake, a song by The Cure, which Robert Smith wrote to express his frustration at another band member’s constantly being in such a drunken state, he was little use in the recording studio. Josie was shaking in her seat, she was that scared. She was also wondering what the hell I was doing in a school full of innocent humans I was just going to murder. Oh dear.

Well, I wasn’t going to murder anyone in this town, forget this school. That would be monstrous. And I was in half a mind to laugh at my own black humour. Oh, and if any of the girls had been noticing, they shouldn’t be worrying about Josie anymore, not from this show of emotion at least.

Then she started thinking about the vampire stuff. This was where I had to talk to her.

“Josie, you’re shaking like you’re absolutely terrified of something. What is it?” I said calmly. Heck, if someone was going to be seriously volatile, one of us had to be calm.

She thought I’d seduce her into following me off somewhere so I could kill her. Oh, and I suppose the other kids in the class were collateral damage, were they? Not at all. She was being perfectly ridiculous.

“Do you want to talk about something, Josie?” I asked, still calm. She seriously wasn’t expecting me to be anywhere near as calm as I was. I was just perfectly blasé about the idea of talking to this human I’d only just met a week ago who was sitting there hating me about vampires. Oh, if the DCMC knew, but then what did they know? Nothing.

“I’m – I-I… I’m alright t-thanks,” she said and tried to ignore my existence. Oh, nice. Absolute terror, confusion, rage, more rage mixed with fear, back to fear again and now she was giving me the silent treatment. Well, sort of.

I couldn’t drop it. This was important.

“Come on,” I said, “you and I need to talk. I know a good place we can go.”

No, not just us, Josie was thinking. She’d rather have a witness to her murder. But she let me lead her away, pondering whether I’d need a spare bag or not.

Charlie of the nine patches sat behind us.

“We’re going to be a little late for Charms,” I said, though he wasn’t listening.

I took Josie to the library. I knew she loved books – of a certain type anyway – plus it was a quiet spot.

Sadly, many kids here were illiterate.

I took her over to the blue chairs.

“Take a seat,” I said, then followed my own advice. Typical. She sat too though, although it was probably because she was expecting something nasty.

I was still killing Josie, was I? You’d think she might have realised I wasn’t going to do that by now.

“You know what I am, don’t you?” I said.

“Yeah,” she said.

Ugh. Queen of cowardice, Josienne was.

“And you’re scared of me.” I knew that much.

“You are psychic! Yikes!”

That as well.

“Yes, but you have nothing to be scared of.”

Monster. That was what Josie was thinking.

Monster, monster, monster. Ugh! I hated the word.

“I’m not a monster, you know. I don’t want to be a monster.”

Then there was a knock at the door.

Charlie of the nine patches came in and asked us why we were skiving, basically. I told him we both couldn’t go to Charms. The reason was Josie was way too unstable.

“You saw me move fast in the canteen, didn’t you?” I asked, turning my attention back on Miss Volatile.

“Yeah.” Another simple, one-worded, monosyllabic answer.

“That didn’t shock you?”

“It did… a bit,” she admitted sheepishly. Why was she so sheepish over things she couldn’t help? It made no sense. My cold skin wasn’t doing Josie any favours. I gave her my jacket. The navy blue looked nice with her black clothes.

“Thanks,” she said.

Josie seemed to have calmed down, but I knew she still had her doubts about me.

“You’re really not going to kill me?”

“No. Why did you think that?”

What? She thought, I know what you are. Isn’t that kind of a problem? I don’t know much about vampire law, but aren’t you supposed to keep yourself a secret?

“I’ll explain later,” I said. “All you need to know is I’m not going to kill you.”

“What are you going to do with me?”

“Nothing. I’ll get you a book to read.”

That should calm her down. I chose Jekyll and Hyde. She could do with reading about herself a bit.

“Changes the subject a bit, doesn’t it?” I asked, but I knew straightaway she didn’t get the double meaning in my words.

“Are we off to maths then?” I said when Josie was clearly stuck in the book and very nearly towards the end of it – only a few chapters left to go.

“Oh, yes!” she said, picking up her bag and running off.

“Bye,” I said.

“Bye,” she returned, and we went our separate ways.

No one seemed to notice what a wreck Josie was – it had stayed strictly between me and her as Josie’s “Jekyll” came out and masked it before she went to maths. Gosh, I was glad I didn’t have a split personality. It must be driving her crazy. All I had was a good imagination, a long black cloak, black clothes, dark hair, and a black sense of humour. I wasn’t even remotely bad, hardly even interesting, really.

 

 

Back at home, Carson was mowing my lawn. I went in and put the kettle on for him. I’d recently got a packet of biscuits for him. He’d like them. Plus, it meant I could pretend to be normal around Carson.

When Carson had finished, he came in and I got the biscuits out for him and two mugs. It was alright. I could eat food, but not a lot of it. It wasn’t like I could eat food instead of drinking blood. I wish it were true, but it wasn’t and I just had to live with it.

“The lawn’s looking good,” I said. “Thanks, Carson.”

“You’re welcome, laddie. Just doin’ me job, you know.”

I smiled pleasantly.

“Take a seat, Carson.”

He sat and I brought the mugs of tea over, then the biscuits. They were shortbreads.

“Thank you, Zephyr. My favourite biscuits, these are.”

It was handy being psychic sometimes.

I smiled, and we chatted about school, Carson’s grandkids, who were messing about and failing at school. His eldest grandson, Darwin, had to resit his 14+ exams and he was still a layabout.

After Carson left, I washed the mugs up, ate another couple of biscuits, put some clothes in the wash and went upstairs, where I did any homework I had to do and went to bed.


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Chapter 7: Vampire

I woke up in a state of terror. It was a strange sense of déjà vu. I’d had a bizarre, alarming vision. It was about Josie. Gosh, my mind knew how to play tricks on me. I’d had the most horrible vision and now I’d woken up with the most horrendous headache I’d ever had, and in my human life, I could count the number of headaches I’d had on one hand. I hoped this wasn’t going to become a regular occurrence – nightmare visions followed by headaches. It felt like I’d been under a strobe light for hours on end, or I’d been out in very strong sunlight for hours on end – my eyes stung like hell. I bet they now looked a mess as well from having them on the pillow and rubbing at them a bit – if vampires’ eyes could look bad. A vampire looking like a zombie, now that was a fine joke… not! The vision had been strange, but it was Josie having a nightmare about me… and… and her. She was in it. Just wearing jeans and a T-shirt, a bizarre outfit for a vampire temptress, I must say, but it was her alright. I knew her face, her hair, her figure. Everything about the scene was all so fresh in my mind, I suddenly felt a surge of hatred and my desire for revenge was just as strong as it had been before, though I knew I couldn’t catch her.

The scene in Josie’s nightmare was my transformation, where I lay on the floor in Kat’s house, bitten only twice and left to writhe in agony for five days. That was where the déjà vu came from. My screams echoed in my head, all of them, but worst of all was the one that woke Josie up. There was a scream from somewhere that woke her up. Her dad asked if she was alright, then she realised she’d just screamed.

In school, Josie and I both had dance, but we were in separate classes.

Josie had done her Charms homework, so handed that in and made an excuse for not being in yesterday’s lesson. Her excuse was that she’d overslept because it was the first thing she could think of. She wasn’t very creative. On being told to split into pairs in Potions, I decided to make an impression on Josie. I hoped we could be friends.

“Want to work with me?” I asked.

I didn’t have high hopes – I’d become Lord Voldemort overnight, apparently, despite having told her yesterday I wasn’t going to kill her.

Josie looked around – she’d go with anyone but me, but it turned out we were the only two left.

“You and Zephyr,” said Miss Malfew, “table number seven in the middle over there.”

Damn it! thought Josie.

At our table, I examined the chemistry set. It looked like it could possibly be the ESP Potion or a very powerful sleeping draught, depending on how many of the ingredients we’d be using and what they were. There was definitely bubble-dream fluid – hence the sleeping draught being a theory. However, when Malfew mentioned the other ingredients, I knew straight away it was the ESP Potion.

We took it in turns, drawing, writing and making the Potion. Very little conversation passed between us.

I was disappointed.

 


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Chapter 8: ESP

At lunch time, I followed Josie to the canteen and sat next to her. I ate a bit, she ate loads.

“I’m eating today,” I said.

“I have noticed,” she returned, and that was all she said. She kept going back for more food because it was an excuse not to talk. She was properly giving me the silent treatment. What had I done to deserve this?

Back in class, we continued with the potion. Again, no conversation passed between us. Until I decided to bring up the topic of the potion. It seemed like it was the only thing that might possibly get Josie talking to me.

“I know what it is,” I blurted out.

“Going to share?” she asked.

Why not? It was a fair exchange for hearing Josie’s voice.

“It’s a potion to create the effects of ESP in someone who isn’t psychic. We made a load of it because our lessons are going to be reliant on it, pretty much. It’s simply called an ESP potion for that reason.”

“Thanks,” she said.

Did I see a smile play on Josie’s face briefly? It would be typical of my mind to be playing tricks on me yet again!

“I’ve got myths next,” Josie informed me dully. She liked myths. She just didn’t like me.

“Well, I’ve got politics. Enjoy the monster stories.”

And that was our conversation at a dead end for now.

In Magical Training, I made another attempt to talk to Josie.

“Hello, Josie.”

“Hello, Zephyr,” she returned, but that was all.

“I see you’ve brought a load of potion.”

The potion again! OMG!

“Is it too much?” she asked.

“No, it’s enough,” I said.

Then we had our instructions – to take the potions in our pairs and describe the effects.

“I don’t need this potion, of course. You know that.”

“So it’s all for me?”

“Yes. But we’re not going to do the task now. I will use it on you, but not now.”

“Then what are we going to do?”

“We both describe what we think the potion might do. Make it sound as realistic as possible though. That’s how you’ll get your marks.”

I told Josie exactly what to write. She obeyed. There was a reason we weren’t doing the potions thing like we should. Obviously, I didn’t need it. It would be no use, so it was for Josie, but giving her two bottles of it in school would be just crazy and it would be too much for her.

I noticed Josie doing her homework on vampires.

“Can I read that?”

Uh-oh! she thought, but she let me read it anyway.

“That’s all correct.”

“Thanks.”

“I’ll keep these,” I said, putting the bottles in my rucksack. I invited her to my house on Friday. Josie had been looking at my eyes again, until I averted my gaze. She agreed, but as soon as I left, she came to her senses. She went home thinking she was utterly insane. Where was Josie’s mind? But it was maddening to me too.


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Chapter 9: Mess

The place was a flaming mess and a half!

I deliberately took a load of time off to sort my lair out. It wasn’t quite castle Dracula, but it still got incredibly messy.

I got to work cleaning the kitchen, wiping everything down and doing a pile of tidying up, before Carson’s next visit.

Then I sorted the utility room out, then the lounge, dusting everywhere.

Then I went upstairs and walked into the next big mess: my bedroom.

Clothes strewn everywhere – in the suitcase, underneath the suitcase, on top of the suitcase, on the floor, on my bed, underneath my bed.

The lamp was knocked over and the pillows were on the floor and the bed a mess from last night’s nightmare. Ugh, nightmares messed up my bedroom as well as my head. Stuff needed sorting out. So the house and my homework took all weekend. Nice. No weekend. Not that I did nowadays anyway.

It wasn’t like I was a little human boy back at home who could play on his Xbox or play his guitar all weekend. I missed my guitar. I hadn’t been ready to kiss anything of my old life goodbye, least of all my guitar. I could still see Zéphine, pretty little Zéphine, walking down the school corridor with me, chatting about nothing in particular until… until she turned up.

I cried.

Flaming hell, Zephyr Daniels, pull yourself together! I was being pathetic.

The nightmares continued, probably because someone I knew was having the same old nightmares.

On Friday, Josie was skiving. It was her way of cancelling my offer to visit after school. Just as well, really, with the place being a mess and all, but she was still avoiding me.

She’d named her instruments Beastie, Bellatrix and Draco. I knew where Bellatrix and Draco came from, of course. Beastie was just made up though, because her bass was a beast. Ha ha.

At the end of the weekend, I realised she was avoiding me for good. What the hell was I going to do? Jolly well try and make some new friends, that was what. Trying to be friends with Josie had failed.


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Chapter 10: Avoidance

Charlie of the nine patches was out – Josie was talking to him. Listening in on people’s conversations and their thoughts, as I did sometimes, I learnt some interesting, but unuseful information and some completely worthless information.

The interesting stuff was Josie’s and Charlie’s conversation. They were talking about school, their favourite subjects and their interests a bit. But what use was it when I’d never get a chance to talk to either of them? The other thing was I was going to be a loner for the rest of my existence probably. The boys were just jealous of me and the girls were just obsessed with me. Totally boring and uninteresting.

At least I knew Josie wasn’t getting anyone else in trouble. She barely spoke about me. Only when she was asked about me and then she said very little. She wondered why she was the object of so much idle gossip and why I was popular as well. In any lessons she shared with me, where she used to sit at the front, she now sat at the back, hoping no one brought up that stupid, loathsome, evil Zephyr Daniels, that monstrous sod. I left the room and cried.

When I came back in, I was still upset.

All of a sudden there was a cry from the back of the room.

“Bannatte Zephyr!”

 I couldn’t believe she just did that. I felt weak. I felt useless. I felt like the monstrous sod I didn’t want to be. Josie hated me and she was glad to be rid of me.

On Wednesday morning, I confronted her. It was about time she told me what she was doing and what she meant by upsetting me so much. From what I knew, she really believed I was a monster. I felt the tears in my eyes already.

“Josie?” I asked to get her attention. She didn’t look at my eyes – she must have remembered about them, or re-read stuff, but I didn’t know.

“What do you want, Zephyr?”

“Would you mind telling me what this is about?”

Being reliant on Josie speaking to me was not good. Without being in her head, I couldn’t know if she was lying or not. I’d just have to assume she was telling the truth.

“It’s called not letting my guard down,” she snapped, then walked off, but not before she saw me crying.

Two whole weeks went by before she finally lifted the banishing spell she’d put on me and let me in her head again. She told me about her nightmares, and everything else, but, if I wanted to be friends, she decided, she would damn well try.

Everything was good, or I hoped so anyway.


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Chapter 11: Zephyr’s Story

It was the weekend. I now knew I had Josie’s trust – she’d sorted out her problems with me – ugh! That was great. I hoped we could be good friends. I couldn’t always trust the future though – things changed.

Carson came round on Saturday. He’d mowed the lawn and was sending one of his sons round to look at the windows and the woodwork on my house one day in the week. I’d have to stay off school. I’d kind of had a bad few weeks anyway. I just slept through all of Monday and Tuesday, oh, and about half of Sunday as well. This was what nightmares did to me – made me exhausted.

Carson’s son, James and two lads – friends of his – came on Wednesday. Most of the day was spent chatting and doing very little. By the time the windows had even been mentioned, I decided there was definitely no point in going to school. Thursday and Friday were a mixture of sleeping and messing about. The weekend was positively dull. Absolutely nothing to do at all as far as I could see. On Friday evening, I went back to school, only hanging around the gate. I climbed up a lamp post, waiting for Josie. She wouldn’t see me. I was way up in the trees. I’d have to climb half way down when she came out. I whistled to myself until I saw a familiar mop of messy black hair by the school gate, further up. She was by the steps. I swung down as she approached, making a high screeching noise on the pole.

“Boo!” I said, almost jumping right out at her, grinning like a Cheshire cat, with my fangs on show. Josie jumped back an inch. I’d frightened her.

“Zephyr!” she gasped.

“Come on then,” I said and laughed.

My throat burned. I hadn’t hunted in ages, but it wasn’t even the full moon yet! Ugh! This part of being a vampire I hated with a flaming passion.

“Where have you been all week?”

“All in good time.”

The answer was where I was taking her – my house. It was more than a mile from the school, a few streets away from Josie’s house.

As far as Josie was concerned, I was taking her off somewhere to kill her. She was a funny girl, Josie was. She was making an honest effort to be friends with me, yet she still thought I was potentially a baddie. It was somewhat amusing and somewhat maddening.

Cheap side, said – no, thought – Josie. Well and truly cheap side.

Yes, it was, but it was all I had.

“This is mine,” I said finally.

“You live in cheap side?”

“Yeah, it’s not exactly a mansion.”

“Or your average townhouse,” she countered.

“No, but it’s home.”

My excuse of a home. But still, it was all I had.

Josie was wondering what my family did – an innocent enough question, but I still didn’t like to think about them, even after over a year. I was going to have to tell Josie about myself – and my past life – now and that wasn’t going to be easy.

I took her inside and showed her around the boring old place.

“The hall and these three rooms here – the front room, the study and the utility was the original bungalow. There was a family living here until recently. They added the kitchen and the dining room and the upper floor. Then, upstairs, we have the master bedroom, the bathroom, that was their boy’s room over there on the right, and this room here was the girl’s room. Now it’s where I crash.”

“How recent is recent?” she asked.

“About a year and a half or so now.”

Josie decided to ask me no questions if I didn’t want to talk – a good decision of hers. I wouldn’t talk, I’d think.

“This is my room,” I said, taking her into the old family’s boy’s room.

“It’s – er –”

“Simple, I know. I haven’t had time to decorate the place since I’ve been here. I don’t like how plain the place is either.”

What did my room look like? Wooden floor, wooden bed – no coffin. Some vampire I was, eh! Josie thought as much. There was also a chest of drawers and a wardrobe that I didn’t use.

Nothing said I’d been here any length of time. It all looked to neat, like I’d only just moved in. I hadn’t only just moved in, but it just went to show I spent ages cleaning the place.

Josie noticed the bottles on the chest of drawers.

“You still have those from weeks ago?” she asked.

“Yeah. Here you go,” I said, passing them to her.

“Zephyr, what’s this supposed to do?” asked Josie. She was curious and a bit worried. She suspected it might make her do something crazy. No, it wouldn’t. Well, not exactly.

“Let you inside my head,” I replied. It was the easiest way to explain. There was a lot of hurt, a lot of trouble and a lot of sadness. If I spoke, my voice would betray me. “I know you don’t think you can trust my mouth, but you can trust my head, I promise you.”

That was my excuse, but I realised it was true. Josie was still learning to trust me. It was possible to lie with your thoughts, but not very easy – especially not for me. Josie would see everything.

She drank both the bottles – she’d go to sleep very easily later.

I started at my house. I was discussing plans for my birthday party with my parents. I was going to invite Matt, Louis, Georgie and Zéphine.

Next, I was walking to class with Kat. I kissed her sometimes. What a mistake she was.

Josie recognised her, but she didn’t know where from.

Then, it was my party.

Then, I was with Kat again. Walking down that dastardly, unfamiliar street, all the way down to the dead end. My memory brought up all the bad things all too well. I’d tried to forget this. I didn’t want to remember all things that gave me – and Josie – nightmares. But my mean old mind would never let me forget. Never.

Kat’s house was the second house in the dead end. In an upstairs room, it happened. I felt like crying as the horror was laid out for Josie to see.

“You’re such a weakling!”

Kat’s voice echoed round and round inside my head. The tears, the fear, the pain of that night was as clear as a crystal ball. I even remembered my useless falsetto scream.

Next was a hunting scene. It was what Kat did on a regular basis. Killing innocent humans, for blood, and for sport. I ran off, crying, until sometime afterwards, I was in that park… those kids I killed. It was like on a whim. I was so thirsty. They were the first humans around me since I’d ran off from Kat and I just killed them all. Afterwards, I ran off again, still crying.

Then I was packing all my things up.

I moved to Josie’s village. I’d run to what was clearly a quiet, ugly part of the village. The old family moved out, I moved in, and there I was.

I spent the majority of the year hunting Kat, until I realised I couldn’t do it on my own. I’d given up after that and then I’d gone to school and met Josie. Kat was in Josie’s nightmare. She remembered that now.

“Go home, Josie,” I said. I was no longer safe for her to be around. I’d hunt all week. She went home and I turned into a bat. The Killing Moon shone in the black sky, filled with ominous, grey clouds. I flew off into the night, getting my fur soaking wet.


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Chapter 12: Cat Instincts

 

Out in the night sky, it was cool and breezy. I could feel the wind blowing on my leathery wings.

The full moon shone brightly in the blackened sky, shining with all its might through the thick, grey clouds. I flew for miles, beating my wings against the wind. It shook me, but I kept on flying until I was well away from home.

I was in a smallish town somewhere. I wandered the cold dark streets alone, like a stranger in a long, dark alleyway. My cloak billowed out behind me and I was getting soaked, but I didn’t care.

Around a corner, I came across a boy and a girl, lovers by the look of it, walking together, hand in hand. They didn’t seem to be bothered about the heavy downpour either. I grabbed the girl first. I swiftly wrapped one arm around her small frame – it wouldn’t matter if I broke any bones. She wouldn’t last long. I dug my fangs into the girl’s neck and sucked the life out of her.

“Help! Vampire! Murderer!” shouted the boy, but I trod on his foot, making him unable to move.

Some people saw the boy.

“Thank you, Seth. In calling for help, you’ve just made my life a little easier.”

“How did you – psycho!”

“Tut, tut, tut. It doesn’t matter how I know your name. It’s useless information anyway.”

Then I finished Seth off. His girlfriend’s name was Rosie.

I ran a little, sneaking up on a few humans further down the street. They were both dead before they even noticed me, but they’d heard Seth calling for help and calling me a psycho. I’d had it before.

I had to wander a little further for more blood though. I tried a shopping arcade, where the few remaining shops that weren’t closed down in it had a few people in them and a couple of cashiers. It was not long before the shops would be closing. I took down all the humans in the shops. With a decrease in customers, loss of staff in one night, I’d probably got the shops in some sort of trouble. Still, I was only hunting.

Next, I walked past some houses, where some kids were out walking. They wouldn’t be going home either. I was starting to get bloated, I’d drank so much in one night. It was like I was an alcoholic – well, sort of. I found a quiet corner on an empty street and slept. It had been more than a year and a half since I’d slept out on a street, but I didn’t mind. I wasn’t going to fly home just yet.

In the morning, I felt horrible guilt. I felt like the monster people saw in me. But, I told myself, I had to survive. I was getting used to it – hunting only once a month, sometimes not every month, feeling terrible the day after I’d hunter – or the next few days afterwards, hunting for another day and flying back home to survive another lonely month in my horrid little house. Although the company had got infinitesimally better in the last couple of months or so. I wasn’t like Count Dracula. I didn’t enjoy being a psycho and a murderer. I didn’t like that I had to kill every month. Not at all.

Over the next few days, I was hunting on and off until around mid-day the following Saturday when I flew home. I could take a bit of a break on Sunday before school.

Only a few streets away, I was able to tune into Josie pretty easily. She’d been kind of worrying if I’d been avoiding her, but on a lighter note, she’d been having a lot of fun. She’d spent a lot of time in her cat form. It was quite amusing to find out what her weekends had been like. It also showed another side to her personality as well. Cat Josienne could think like a human and had human emotions and could do a range of things in a rather strange way, such as walk all over a keyboard and still pick out a tune, however, it wasn’t without difficulty.

On seeing that I’d returned, Carson brought a load of newspapers for me to read. They told news of what was clearly a vampire on the rampage. Strings of murders, love torn apart. I knew what it meant immediately. It was Kat on the rampage, hunting poor, innocent teenage boys, like she’d tricked and tortured me. I was angry again.


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

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Chapter 13: Bad News

My abysmally bad mood didn’t escape Josie’s notice at school. I told her the bad news at break time.

“Kat’s at her old game again, by the look of things.”

“What?” asked Josie.

“There’s been stories in the news about disappearances – they’re all boys about my age. They’ve had a girlfriend and disappeared one day. Also, there’s been reports of a string of murders in the areas these boys all lived. It’s exactly the sort of thing Kat does.”

“Exactly what she did to you as well,” said Josie.

“Yes,” I said sadly, at which point, Josie hugged me.

“Aww… thanks, Josie,” I said, rubbing my eyes – ugh! Why they had to water so much I didn’t know. I was crying a little, but they watered a lot, like Josie’s.

“Not like they give you headaches,” I said in response to Josie’s thought.

“We could go after Kat. We could stop her.”

What? That was uncharacteristically positive of Josie. It wasn’t quite optimistic, but Josie was usually quite the pessimist.

“How?” I asked. Josie was no use to me human, and she knew it. “You wouldn’t…”

I was starting to worry about Josie.

“What?” she asked anyway.

I ignored her and asked a question myself.

“You think I’m cursed, don’t you?”

“Well, you are, aren’t you?” was her responding question.

“Er… sort of,” I said, the brought us back to the original question. The question of me turning Josie into a bloodsucking monster, a vampire.

“But when you say we could go after Kat…”

“Yes?”

“I can’t do it on my own.” That much was true. What I wanted – Kat dead – I couldn’t achieve alone.

“I’ve been chasing her for the best part of a year.”

Josie just looked at me blankly. It wasn’t like she didn’t know what I was talking about. She was thinking about something, but she didn’t want to give anything away. “And I’m not sure how much use you’d be human – you’re very vulnerable in fact.”

“Well, I… er… I don’t mind if I have to become like you.”

I gritted my teeth. Was Josie suicidal? Was she deliberately putting her life in the hands of a vampire who could quite easily kill her? Surely, having read the books she’d read, she realised how dangerous I was?

I didn’t know how I could not kill her. When I hunted, my instincts just took over. I had to let them otherwise my mind would have me in a very dark place indeed. Probably in as dark a place as Josie was in now for whatever reason. Was I capable of not getting frenzied and murdering my best friend? I didn’t know. Was I prepared to take risks with the unknown? Not exactly, no.

Let’s just say I did manage it, it would be painful for Josie. I wouldn’t want to see her in that much pain. At the moment, I couldn’t tell how she was feeling or make sense of what she was thinking much – she was kind of in a mixed state and she was being very reckless as well.

“I’ll think about it,” I said finally. “You think about it as well. There’s no going back, you know. I’m in this forever.” And forever was a long time.

Josie was thinking it through, and in her thinking, confirmed my worries. Miss Volatile was depressed and Miss Volatile was putting her life in the hands of someone potentially very dangerous. Miss Volatile also didn’t care whether she got killed or not. Josie’s Hyde was definitely out, with Jekyll nowhere in sight. Furthermore, she was leaving everything up to me! The monster! It was a good thing I only looked like Count Dracula and pretended to be like him in some ways without being evil, otherwise goodness knows what would have happened to Miss Volatile. It was really quite scary.

Nonetheless, I still thought about it.

“How much do you like being a catling, Josie?” I asked. The only way to completely avoid taking that away from her was by not turning her into a vampire. I didn’t know if she’d still have the power or not.

“Not that much, really.” Oh, good. She wasn’t that bothered.

“Being able to turn into a cat and the cat instincts are OK, I’d say, but I live a pretty miserable existence.”

“And you think I don’t? You’re my only friend, Josie.”

“You’re my only friend, Zephyr.”

That wasn’t strictly speaking true, but the people Josie had been talking to she’d only just met then.

Then, I noticed Josie had slipped out of my loose grip, and I shook with fear of Kat. She was quite a few inches away from me now and I didn’t like it one bit.

I grabbed Josie and held her as tight as I could, close to my chest. It was easy to see how much taller I was than Josie, but it showed how very short she was – I was average height for my age.

“Zephyr,” said Josie, “you seem to like holding me a lot.”

“Yes,” I said. “I don’t want you to move at the moment.”

“Why?”

“Because if I let you go, I start shaking.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I know what Kat’s like, Josie, and I’m scared for both of us. She probably doesn’t know that I’m after her – she doesn’t stay in the same place all the time, but still, she’s evasive and as crafty as a fox when she needs to be.”

Josie shuddered at my description of her and clung on to my back as tightly as she could.

“Are you sure you want to be a vampire, Josie?”

Or did she just want to be dead?

“I’m letting you decide whether you’ll do it or not,” she said, “I’m hardly the vampire expert. But I don’t mind. I’d like to be of some help if I could – stopping Kat is obviously something you want to do. At the moment, the best part of my life is being able to turn into a cat, which is pretty miserable.”

“You’d rather turn into a bat, would you?”

“What about being a newborn?”

“I’d keep an eye on you.”

Pretty little Josienne would make a beautiful vampire, if I was able to do it. I caught her staring at my eyes and turned away before she could get too mesmerized. She was doing this quite a lot. She clearly didn’t know that I could potentially end up hypnotising her and possessing her. Not that I ever would – it was a bit too much of a Dracula-ish thing to do.

“Don’t stare at my eyes, Josie. You might end up being possessed.” I chuckled after I’d said it though. Josie guessed that I was joking.

“Yes, I was joking. But still, you should do that really – unless I tell you. I wouldn’t make you do anything bad.”

I looked at Josie a couple of times. After another minute, I made up my mind.

“I’ll do it, then we can go after Kat. After that, you can do whatever you want.”

“Thanks, Zephyr. When do you want to do it?”

As soon as possible, really, with Kat on the rampage.

A little more blood ought to stop me killing Josienne.

“Tonight. I’ll be at yours around six-ish. I’ll excuse us both from potions – Malfew will understand. Is that alright with you?”

“Yes,” said Josie, “I’ll see you then.”

I smiled, then let her go.

I hunted not far out of the village so I could get back in time to turn Josie. Three humans were enough. After that, I flew back home and walked to Josie’s house. I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to go.


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

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Chapter 14: Blood and Venom

Josie was worrying about how I’d enter her house.

It would be more vampire-like to just fly through her window and it would make sense. Josie wouldn’t care, but the worry was her dad. This was the very reason I was planning on using the door, Josie’s dad, Martin Hawkes. He might not like me using Josie’s bedroom window. Plus, it was totally playing the Count who could only enter a person’s house for the first time on invitation, but after the first time, he could then visit whenever he pleased, invitation be damned. For me, it wasn’t the case. Like I say, I could just fly in and out of Josie’s window whenever I pleased.

Knock knock.

“Oh, here he is,” said Josie to her dad. “I’ll let him in.”

She dashed to the door – gosh, she was eager.

The door opened.

“Come in, Count Zephyr,” she said.

Now I was Count Zephyr, was I? Very fitting.

I chuckled and entered.

“Hi, Zephyr,” said Martin. He had a high tenor voice. Totally unlike my bass voice.

“Hi, Martin,” I returned.

“I’ll take your cloak for you.”

I took my boots off and gave my cloak to Martin.

Josie put my boots next to hers.

“Thanks, Martin,” I said.

On the way upstairs, Josie noticed my fangs slowly coming out. It was like I was hunting. I could hear Josie’s heart beating furiously inside her chest. We were both a little anxious.

“Did I have to invite you in, or was that you pretending to be like the Count?”

“I could have come in your window but I was being Count Zephyr. Besides, I thought it would be more polite.”

“You know I’m not bothered, so I’ll just go with the Count Zephyr stuff – you’re not exactly like Dracula, you know,” said Josie.

“I know. I’m a good version of him – or a bad version of Edward.”

Josie chuckled.

“Yes, I know you read Twilight as well. And have you been turning into Hyde recently?”

“What? I’m not an evil black cat, thank you. Though it’s a split personality or an alter ego – whatever – it’s not like I drink a potion an I’m either Jekyll or Hyde, now is it?”

“True. Sorry I used that analogy.”

Josie wasn’t exactly like Jekyll and Hyde, but it was close enough. It wasn’t like her human self was Jekyll and her cat self was Hyde. That kind of distinction didn’t exist with Josie. They were both Jekyll and Hyde at the same time. It was weird. Hyde Josie was emotionally volatile and often crazy, but the Jekyll Josie, although much calmer and certainly not as volatile as Hyde Josie by any means, was sometimes driven mad by the madness of the Hyde Josie – this was where the lines got blurred, also in both forms. I pitied her. It made the extremely different Jekyll and Hyde sound almost good in comparison, or shall we say, more easily dealt with. She both was and wasn’t like Jekyll and Hyde, like I was like Count Dracula… but not.

Josie was much calmer than before, other than being anxious about the vampire thing. She was Jekyll Josie at the moment.

In her room, she sat on her bed and by this time, my fangs were fully protracted – it was like they knew they had a neck to bite.

I sat next to her and grabbed her as she lay down. I ran my cold hands down her neck. She jumped a little at the shock of my cold touch, but she didn’t seem bothered after that.

Well, I’d found her jugular vein alright – her pulse was still a little high. It was alright though – a higher pulse meant my vampire venom would move faster.

I held Josie tight, my hands pinning her close to me, then I bit her neck hard. I was surprised Josie didn’t scream. I screamed. It was embarrassing.

While I was doing this, Josie had her eyes closed so she wasn’t looking at me. I licked the open wound shut on Josie’s neck and bit the other side. Then I bit her all the way down her arms. That ought to do it I rolled Josie over – or rather Josie rolled herself over so I could look at my handiwork and also prove she could still move. That wouldn’t be the case for long though.

I’d done a good job.

For some reason, we got chatting and my horrible, torturous transformation was, unfortunately, the first topic of conversation. She could have asked me before, but, oh, well, I suppose now was as good a time as any other.

She thanked me for not doing to her what Kat did to me then cuddled me.

“How are you able to move?” I asked, utterly gobsmacked.

“I can put up with stuff,” she said.

Wow. I felt even more embarrassed.

Then I bit her neck and a few spots on her arms too.

“Why?” she complained. Now she wasn’t as brave. I’d killed her bravery.

I then explained to her what she should already know, then let her stare at my eyes – this was when it was useful.

Then, the Hyde cat thing came up again. Ugh! What a maddening subject!

I used my eyes’ hypnotic powers to knock Josie out. When she woke up, I was messing about on Josie’s guitar and singing.

Then Draco flew back to his stand. I was good at moving inanimate objects.

“How did you do that?” asked Josie.

“Psychic,” I said, tapping my head.

“But – that… you just…”

“Psychokinesis,” I said. “That’s part of it.”

“Could I do this, do you think?”

“Probably not. It’s not very common.”

“Oh?”

“Not for it to happen just out of the blue anyway.”

“Right, OK.”

The venom from my fresh bites was hurting Josie again, so again, I knocked her out. When she woke again, I said, “you’re a vampire now, Josie.”


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E. J. O.
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Chapter 15: The Killing Moon

Josie smiled. She could help me now.

Josie was the one.

I stared at her pretty, pale face and her shimmering scarlet eyes and I knew at that moment she was the one. Our eyes didn’t usually shimmer, but hers did.

Her long mass of ebony hair flowed down her back. She got up, leaving me all on my own, lying on her bed. She walked over to her mirror and I watched, waiting for her to return to me. She looked in the mirror and then decided she was quite pretty.

Pretty indeed! She’d been pretty when she’d been a human and then she’d only thought of herself as plain. How negative she was! She was almost dazzlingly beautiful. My precious looked at me, starting to walk back.

“Hey, beautiful,” I said to her as she did so, but she ignored me.

“So am I Jekyll or Hyde?” she asked.

“Neither,” I said, “you’re just you. That was a stupid thing to say anyway – you’re only a tiny bit Hyde when you’re a cat.”

Josie could still turn into a cat, much to both of our astonishment.

“You’re a vampire catling,” I said. “Cool.”

“I didn’t think that’d happen,” she said when she was human.

“Me either.”

She turned into a cat again. Cat Josienne was still the same. Only vampire Josienne was different. Josie walked all over Bellatrix just for the heck of it.

“Oh, poor Bella!” I said.

Cat Josienne scoffed.

Not poor Bella at all!” she thought. She’s Bellatrix Lestrange! My keyboard’s a Death Eater!

I laughed at that.

“Well, it’s still poor Bella, you cheeky little cat!”

Josie sat on Bella and purred loudly.

“Can you play it?” I asked.

Um… sort of, she answered in her head, there’s not much you can do with paws.

She switched forms again so she had hands, although her hands were sort of like paws themselves – they were only small things.

I played Draco, like I always did, and Josie played Beastie. He’d been left out recently.

I sang, and Josie did as well, but she meowed grumpily whenever she tried – and failed – to sing any high notes. What a dis-ah-ster, darling! was what she thought about it.

Neither of us went to school for a while, but I helped Josie with the work we were both missing, so it wasn’t so bad – we’d just hand it all in when we went back to school. We played and wrote songs a lot. Josie seemed to like that.

Then one day, The Killing Moon was in the sky. I read the newspapers and watched TV a lot, particularly the news. By the look of things, Kat was travelling further north. When Josie asked me what I wanted to do that day, the answer was hanging on my tongue and boiling in my blood. I’d been ready for this for a whole year.

“We kill Kat,” I said. We’d meet her not five miles south of where we lived. We turned into bats and flew off.


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Chapter 16: Fate Up Against Your Will

“Where?” she asked me when we landed.

“Shush,” I said – “quick, behind this bush!”

We’d got lucky. She hadn’t been past us yet, but she was approaching.

Shortly after hiding, Kat made her appearance. I waited until she was more or less in the middle of the square so she wouldn’t see me, then trotted out behind her. I stood still behind her. This was where the terror would end.

“Long time, no see, Kathryn.”

She turned around.

“Zephyr Daniels. What are you doing here?”

“Ah, stupid question, Kathryn. What would I be doing here? Saying hello? Ran across you for a quick chat? You must know why I’m here.”

“You’re no match for me.”

She did know. That was good. She couldn’t expect that I was happy about her antics.

“Oh, but I am. Josie!” I called.

Josie ran out of the bush and stood beside me.

Two on one – this would be easy.

“Ha-ha! A little midget! Where did you meet her?”

Kat laughed manically as she said it.

“At school,” I said, cutting off Kat’s laughter. I’d surprised her.

“You don’t go to school. You stopped going to school and living with your parents over a year ago.” She then cackled again. Well, that showed how much she knew – stupid vampire temptress.

This was actually rather funny, this conversation. The last conversation she’d ever have with anyone.

“I moved, not five miles from here,” I continued. “Dear old gent and his family moving out of a house in cheap side and they give it me. I don’t hunt nearby – I go far away. Spent the bulk of the year chasing after you!” I yelled, bringing us back to my target, Kat.

“Epic fail!” she said.

“Yeah, I know,” I said. I found I was still having too much fun talking. I wasn’t bored enough to kill Kat yet.

“So I went to school, where I met Josie. And I’ve got something you’ll never have – a friend! And when I was human, I had friends!” I yelled, my temper rising yet again.

Kat laughed. She seemed to be enjoying my rage.

“And I took ‘em all away from you as well as your old miserable life! You should be thanking me, Zephyr.”

Oh, dear… what a git Kat was.

“Well, you have one friend – if you miss having friends that much, why don’t you make some?”

“I won’t damn people, Kat.”

“You’ve damned Josie!” Kat countered.

“Nah. She asked for it.”

“Did she now? Why was that, then?”

Then Josie decided to have some fun, tearing Kat’s hands off.

“Ow!” Kat complained.

Josie laughed.

Now we were having as much fun as Kat was. Before she could find her hands and somehow reattach them to herself, I kicked her over and pulled her head off. With a bit of help from Josie, I tore the rest of Kat to pieces.

I was glad I’d chosen to dismember her rather than simply stake her.

“I kept an old cigarette lighter my dad gave me,” I told Josie, giving it to her.

She burned the pieces of Kat. Now she was well and truly dead and we’d had a whale of a time killing her. We left Kat’s ashes there.

“Well, let’s go hunting then,” said Josie.

“Yes, let’s go hunting,” I agreed.

We turned into bats again and flew off again, flying miles away from the site of Kat’s death, and we finally stopped in a small market town with people looking around several stalls selling various things.

“Here?” asked Josie. “We’d have to wipe out everyone here.”

“It’s enough for the both of us – these’ll last us about a month.”

“Alright,” said Josie, and we killed all the humans in the market. None of them paid any attention to what was going on, which made it really easy for us.

Kat dead, us full of blood, we flew off back home.

I went back to my house in cheap side and Josie went back to her house. Prowling about the house as a cat, Josie soon noticed her dad wasn’t there. She put it out of her mind for now, and went to bed.


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E. J. O.
JDcat4

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Chapter 17: In the Snow

When I woke up in the morning, it was snowing. I got up and got dressed and made the most of the snow, throwing snowballs in the air and watching them land in the middle of the road – I wasn’t exactly aiming anywhere in particular – building a snowman, which I named Django. Don’t ask why. I also made snow angels – or snow demons – ha ha.

Later on, I went back in the house and had a bath. I’d done what I wanted to do in the snow and I’d been out for hours in it. I now needed to warm up. I was freezing.

After about half an hour or so – maybe forty-five minutes actually, I got out, dried myself and got dressed – into clean, dry, non-snowy clothes, obviously. I’d put my cold, wet, snowy clothes in the laundry. Good thing too – there was a knock on the door soon afterwards.

I went downstairs and switched the heating on. I also lit the gas fire in the kitchen. Then I opened the door. Guess who it was? Carson.

“Come in, Carson,” I said. He’d just mowed my lawn yesterday, before it started snowing that evening, and continued snowing most of today.

Carson came in.

“Alright, laddie?” he asked.

“I’m OK thanks, how are you?”

“I’m grand, thanks, laddie.”

“Do you want a cup of tea?” I asked.

“Yes, please, laddie. It’s chilly out there what with all that snow. I wonder the school’s not closed.”

“They never do, do they, unless you live right up north – they’re axing loads of schools up there, snow or no snow, it’s berserk!”

“Aye, yer right there enough,” said Carson.

I put the kettle on and emptied the teapot. I only had a small teapot – if it was only me and occasionally Carson, there was no need for a big teapot. I got a fresh packed of biscuits out – my old ones had all been scoffed. Nuff said there, I think… they were chocolate biscuits too. Definitely enough said.

I gave Carson biscuits and not me – I still felt a bit guilty.

Carson hadn’t been up to much. He’d injured his leg playing football on Wednesday and was currently hopping about gingerly. He’d be getting a walking stick soon.

After he’d drank his tea and ate his biscuits and I’d told him how school was going, he left.

Shortly after Carson left, I went to my parents’ house. I still checked they were still alive from time to time. They were usually there, watching TV whenever I’d seen them. This time was odd though. My parents weren’t there. There was also a strange scent, from someone that had never visited the house before. The scent was familiar somehow, but I didn’t know where from. I tried following the scent, but it, as well as my parents’ scents, disappeared not far out of the street – whoever it was had a car waiting, and had kidnapped my parents. Well, there was no point in keeping a look out for them. I went back to the place I now called home and went to bed.

 


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Chapter 18: Zephyr’s News

At the weekend, I flew back to my parents’ house and back home again. The house was still empty.

At school, I saw Josie again. She noticed how worried I was pretty quickly.

“Zephyr?” she asked.

“I’ll talk to you later,” I said and we went through the day’s lessons faking normality as much as possible.

At lunch time, Josie chatted to her friends, but they soon started asking dodgy questions. Josie was having a hard time getting out of some of them and she wasn’t a good liar. She stormed off eventually, and sensing her foul mood, I jumped out at her from around a corner.

“Alright?” I asked.

“Zephyr!” she gasped.

“Hey, Josie. Alright?”

“No, bunch of gossip-heads.”

“Oh, I know. See if they can keep quiet for a bit, then go from there, I’d say.”

“They noticed I wasn’t eating anything.”

“They would do if they paid attention,” I said, and immediately, my face fell into an ugly frown, but it wasn’t quite a scowl.

“You ate once.”

“I remember it,” I said. Then I told her we could eat sometimes, just not all the time, and not a lot either. I told her what would be best to eat if she was going to eat and said that I rarely bothered, unless for some reason, I really missed it. It happened occasionally. That was why Josie had seen me eat once. Since then I hadn’t eaten. She thanked me and we went back to our lessons. At Josie’s house, I sniffed everything and sighed.

“What?” Josie asked me. I’d tell her what!

“Have you seen either of your parents?” I asked her.

“No,” was her answer.

“Me either. They’ve been kidnapped and their kidnapper left their scent. It’s the same person. We need to do some digging.”

“What do you think it could be?” she asked.

“No idea,” I said. “It’s familiar, but I can’t think from where. How long has Martin been missing?”

“This week at least. Same with mum. I have checked.”

“Someone’s out to get us,” I said as I left.

The next day at school, Josie asked me what I wanted to do about our parent’s kidnapper.

“We’ll do what we did with Kat – keep an eye out for clues and strike when the culprit’s close by.”

We went to our lessons and pretended to be normal again.

Later on, Josie told me her friends were digging us up again. They’d got as far as our red eyes, which was bad enough, but a minor detail in comparison to what else they might have discovered.

“Let’s hope they don’t say anything else,” I said, worried.

“Could they know?”

“The way things are at the moment, it’s best not to, but if they find out, they find out. It wouldn’t bother me too much if they did find out, but we’d have to tell them to keep quiet.”

“Yeah,” Josie agreed.

I’d tell her the way things were later.

 


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Chapter 19: The Way Things Were

At home, I was sitting around, bored. Bored, bored, BORED! Josie was talking to her rather bemused father who had mysteriously returned.

I heard their entire conversation in Josie’s head.

“What’s up, dad?” Josie said, on seeing her dad looking bemused for some reason.

“Ah, nothing. What do you want to eat?” Martin said to Josie.

“Nothing,” was her reply, naturally.

“Oh, yeah! Of course! Silly me. Is Zephyr coming later?”

“Yeah, probably. Why?” asked Josie.

“Just wondering. Haven’t spoken to him in a while.”

This was the short conversation that had Josie worrying and fretting like mad. It was like when I went to Josie’s house for the first time, to turn her into a vampire.

It was the door issue yet again! I’d properly played the Count and pretended I couldn’t go in Josie’s house without her inviting me in. It was a load of old tosh that I’d knocked purely for her dad’s benefit.

Josie went upstairs and opened her bedroom window.

I left the house shortly afterwards. I was at Josie’s half an hour later because Carson had stopped me for a chat as soon as I’d left the house.

Half way down the street past mine, I turned into a bat. It was from there that I flew to Josie’s, right through Josie’s window, and I didn’t stop. I kept on flying and deliberately crashed on to Josie’s bed. I’d intended it to make her laugh, but it seemed to have the opposite effect – she was worried about me now. Maybe I’d been too convincing…

“Zephyr? Are you alright?” she asked, definitely worried. She looked at me as if trying to determine if there was anything wrong with me. The way I’d been flying as part of my act, with one wing flapping slightly gingerly, and holding it sort of crookedly, it would be reasonable for her to assume I’d hurt my wing somehow. But when she looked at me, she saw that I looked mostly OK, deciding that I may be a bit disoriented.

I crawled off Josie’s bed, which was odd – you never saw a bat crawling – so it probably added to the injured bat illusion, which I was just winging anyway – ha-ha! Then I changed forms.

“Of course I’m alright,” I said. “Did you honestly think I’d crashed?”

Yes, she had. We both laughed about it.

“You worry too much,” I said.

“What were you doing when you, um… er… fake crashed on my bed by the way?” Josie asked.

“Well, since you were worried about your dad and the door thing, I decided I’d try and make you laugh.”

Josie smiled.

“I don’t think your dad’s that bothered, to be honest.”

“So, what do you want to do?” asked Josie.

“Well, I think you want to know about the way things are with vampires at the moment and I suppose I should have told you ages ago. I’m sorry about that.”

Yes, I should have told her ages ago – the moment I knew I’d be turning her into a vampire, in fact – but, oh, well, better late than never.

“OK, well, how are things?” Josie asked.

“Well, the whole story is a rather long and somewhat tedious and boring one, unfortunately, but in short, the answer is bloomin’ ridiculous.”

“Well, I don’t mind hearing the whole thing. How long is it?”

“It depends how much about politics you know.”

“So it could take all night then,” Josie said jokingly.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Well, we have all night. That’s plenty of time, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” I replied.

Josie didn’t know much, but she knew more than some. It was pretty laughable how Vampyreland was ruled, basically, but somehow, it worked.

She knew our monarchs’ names, Lunax and Lucas Blue and that they were fairies, which sounded damn rubbish for running a country. It was. Well, it would be, if not for a group of kids and a group of mermaids. And the kids were all nutters – sounded like a recipe for disaster already, didn’t it? Well, it wasn’t. Having kids who were lunatics for politicians and mermaids to help them actually worked rather well. She knew only a little about The Madhouse Council. She didn’t know much about mermaids either – only that they spoke Mermish. And that was about as much as she knew.

Well, I had plenty to tell her. I’d have to tell her more about The Madhouse Council, I’d have to tell her about the DCMC – she didn’t know a thing about them. She wasn’t even sure if they existed. I’d have to tell her a lot about them. She seriously didn’t have a clue. But it didn’t matter much. I’d tell her how useless they were. Yes, I certainly had loads to tell her – it would take all night – ha ha!

“Well, you know more than some,” I told her, then went on to tell her about The Madhouse Council.

“Yes, The Madhouse Council did have nine members – Lyra and Raelle McKinnon, Lily and Ray d’Aro, Jacques Lim, Louis Virr, Mortishia Moraine, Stanley Chatsdon and Kimi Narla. Kimi Narla is the one who got kicked out. Then a boy called Caius joined them – back to nine, then Mortishia’s brother, Mordred joined and Caius’s friend Adrianeon joined them a few months ago, I think. So they’ve grown a bit. Two of them – Lyra and Mordred – can speak to the mermaids, and the mermaids know rather a lot. Some of The Madhouse Council are mad, yes, but they’re all quite funny. They’re about our age as well.”

“What about us?”

Yes, everything that’s classed as a mythical creature has laws kept by something separate from the monarchy and The Madhouse Council – the Department for the Control of Mythical Creatures. They’ve been around for ages, and little has changed over time – just literally that they’ve expanded their territory – and their uselessness.”

“How?”

“They’re based in Vamps’ Row. The original Department only governed the mythical creatures in Vamps’ Row, so they mainly dealt with vampires. Because of their small territory and its populations of vampires and humans being more or less even – give or take a hundred or so – they made up their rules based on that, which worked for them – and us – at the time. Mavericks and miscreants were dealt with efficiently and those who abided by their laws were rewarded.”

I needed no prompting from Josie to go on. The rant flowed freely now, particularly as I was getting to the corruption of Vamps’ Row. It was like I was letting off a lot of built up steam over a heated subject I was passionate about. I didn’t care much about politics, but when it came to how vampires and other mythical creatures were treated by our government, that was when I cared what was going on and at the moment, I was glad I was having a chance to air my views.

“As time went by,” I continued, “there were more and more problems elsewhere. The DCMC’s resolve was to rule over their territories as well. But they soon discovered the monsters often weren’t to blame – it was other things, so they changed who they ruled over. Mermaids are exempt from these rules as there are only one group of them and they belong to The Madhouse Council, and by extension, the monarchy. This is the ridiculous bit, where they no longer work – they haven’t changed the laws, so they are still based on Vamps’ Row’s population of mythical creatures and they think they should work for all of Vampyreland. Of course it doesn’t!”

At this point, as wrapped up in my rant as I was, I realised I was talking too fast, but Josie seemed like she was following – she was thinking about it. She didn’t think much of the DCMC, but then, I suppose, I’d kind of made her think of them badly. I didn’t exactly think of them very fondly. Every bit of what I was saying was negative, against the DCMC. What a hateful boy I was.

When I began speaking again, I slowed right down.

“The Madhouse Council do deal with stuff to do with mythical creatures. They know a lot of the uproar there is in Vampyreland caused by mythical creatures is actually in protest against Vamps’ Row’s harsh rules and as of six months, maybe less than that, ago, they started keeping an eye on us and have only acted when things have got seriously out of hand. They’ve just been very, very lucky that Vamps’ Row have been slow to notice stuff. Most of the time, though, they’ll just have a word with whoever’s causing a riot. I believe they are working to change things as well, and I also believe a few members of the DCMC either are very lenient sometimes and don’t always keep people at the top informed or are actively protesting against things as well. But basically, the whole system’s completely kaput.”

“Sounds like it,” said Josie, “but it’s good The Madhouse Council are starting to take things into their own hands, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, they’re the good guys,” I said.

“If they base their rules on regional populations, what are the rules then?”

Rant time again! I launched back into my anti-DCMC speech with increased enthusiasm.

“Because of the more or less even numbers of vampires and humans, the vampires are only allowed to be in areas where there is a slight shortage – they have an exact number of vampires they think can go unnoticed by humans. They’re obsessed with secrecy, Vamps’ Row are.

There are three main areas of Vamps’ Row – the region, I mean, not the DCMC – and I think twenty are allowed to live in the smallest part and sixty are allowed to live in the biggest part of it – they’re very strict. The vampires who live there are not allowed to draw attention to themselves or other vampires living by them if they can help it and another thing they’re very strict on – ridiculously strict on, in fact – is humans knowing about vampires. They are insistent on humans being kept in the dark as much as possible, but obviously, people aren’t stupid, and you get some who find out. But, fortunately, the vampires do get a say here – it’s the vampire’s choice what they do with the human.”

Josie once again took full advantage of the fact that I wasn’t saying anything by asking another question. She needn’t say it out loud, of course, but she did anyway for some reason.

“What? So, ages ago, when I thought I was in trouble?”

I cut her off at that moment.

“We don’t live like that for a very good reason. You would have been in trouble with them, of course, but they wouldn’t have found out. You never needed to worry about me. I don’t exactly stick to the rules – well, most vampires out of Vamps’ Row don’t, in actual fact.”

Josie continued along this grim train of thought. I didn’t know why. I thought she’d be glad to put this particular topic to bed, but clearly not. She’d asked me about what trouble she’d be in if she was still human and her next few questions all centred around the same thing – what would a vampire do with a human who knew they were a vampire?

“So, what would you have to do then?” was her next question. Lovely question, Josie, really lovely. Not my favourite subject at all, but I supposed I had to tell her.

“Well, you could just be a monster and kill them – you probably would anyway if you just existed for blood.”

“Well, we kind of do, don’t we?”

“I used to think that and I hated it. I refused to hunt at first, but I soon realised it was the only way to survive. No, what I mean is there are vampires like Kat who will just murder and murder… They sleep in their beds – or coffins, wherever – and their whole existence is killing people. We’re not brutes like that – we do stuff. Like this for example –” I played Josie’s guitar.

“So you could kill humans – or?”

“Turn them. Only us over here don’t stick to that rule.”

“Vampires around here don’t want to kill every human they see, or every human that either does or might know what they are just to stop them blabbing, nor do they want to damn them.”

“Damn – Zephyr, what are you talking about?”

“That’s the way some vampires see it anyway.”

“You’re not damned. It’s not possible.”

I changed chords anyway. From E minor to C major. I knew what I was playing. Josie didn’t. She should. I banged on about it enough every time there was a full moon. I had a flipping thing about the full moon – it was when I hunted, for one, although, really, I suppose you could argue that that was insignificant. So remarkably insignificant, it was hardly worth talking about, you might say. It was only The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen.

Then Miss Macabre asked another question.

“Zephyr, if the DCMC are so obsessed with secrecy, why are people taught about vampires and whatever at school over here?”

Oh, not bad, Miss Macabre, not bad at all, I thought.

“Because things over here are completely different, and to be honest with you, I’m glad whoever came up with the idea of it being taught in schools did – it’s badly needed.

It’s impossible to apply the same rules over here and it doesn’t make any sense to – that would mean there’d be an enormous shortage of vampires everywhere else. At some point, whoever’s running the DCMC in Vamps’ Row is going to be kicked out because it’s just not fair.”

“What if the DCMC has to be shut down?” asked Josie.

I liked that question. That was a good question to ask.

“It could happen. I wouldn’t mind it, but then, is it right to chuck the responsibility of keeping an eye on all the creatures in Vampyreland on The Madhouse Council?”

Gosh, I was getting all philosophical now. I must be going mad!

“Oh. Yeah. I didn’t think about that.”

“Let’s not worry about that anymore – let’s just be happy that we’re us and we just do what we want.”

“Yeah,” said Josie in agreement.

 


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Chapter 20: Martin’s Story

“I need to ask my dad something,” said Josie. Yeah, she did.

“Go on then,” I told her. She needed to ask him where he’d been.

She ran downstairs to where her dad was in the kitchen. I heard the conversation in their heads.

“Is Zephyr here?”

“Yes, he is, but I need to ask you something.”

“Fire away,” said Martin.

“Me and Zephyr went hunting about… well, almost a week and a half ago now and when we came back, you weren’t here. Where were you?”

“I’d been kidnapped by this vampire called Skylar. He said he’d kidnapped me – along with your mother and Zephyr’s parents – because he thought we might know something about someone called Kat. None of us knew anything, of course. He said something about Zephyr knowing her. Then his parents burst out that Zephyr was dead. Skylar laughed. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to tell them, Josie, but then I was afraid I’d get Zephyr into trouble. This Skylar loves Kat, whoever she is, and apparently, she loves him. He’s looking for her, Josie. He only let us go after we’d all told him a hundred times we knew nothing.”

“Oh, jeesh! Zephyr – and I – are in trouble!”

“Josie, what is it?”

“Yes, Zephyr did know Kat. He was at school with her when he lived with his parents over a year ago. Kat was an awful vampire – she made victims out of human boys who fell for her charms and she murdered loads of humans.”

“Kat did this stuff? Where is she now?”

“Thanks to me and Zephyr, Kat is now a pile of ashes by a bush in a town five miles south of here. She was on the rampage. I helped Zephyr find her and get his revenge.”

“Oh, well, you have something to tell Zephyr then.”

“No, I don’t. He’s psychic. He’ll already know pretty much everything we’ve said.”

“Oh, OK.”

Martin’s story was both scary and sad. Scary because he’d been under threat because of some bad luck I had over a year ago, and apparently, was still having. That bad luck just kept on coming back, like it circled around a few people, eventually making its way back to its original target – me. Oh, if only I hadn’t known Kat! But it was too late for that now, much too late. Sad because my parents were involved and they’d told Skylar I was dead. Oh, I wished I was!

When Josie came back upstairs, she found me wailing. She had nothing to say to me as a human, so she turned into a cat. The cat could comfort me, the human didn’t know what to say. Or the vampire didn’t know what to say. Whatever, it was still slightly human-like.

Cat Josie walked up to her bed and jumped up. She was Jekyll Josie at the moment. She meowed, rubbing herself against my side. She meowed again and lay down next to me. I tickled her head and she purred. Josie then rolled over and stretched her paws out. I stroked her again and she continued to purr.

“Aww… Josie… you funny little catling,” I said.

I sat up and propped up one of Josie’s pillows and leant against it. Josie then walked over to me, padding her paws silently across the bed, and curled up on my lap. I put my hand on her back.

“We’ll let this Skylar come for us and we’ll be ready,” I said to Josie. “I don’t believe Kat had a boyfriend – she wasn’t able to love, I don’t think. But, then, she must have been a very good actress.”

Over the next few days, we looked at any newspapers we found – regional ones and The Vampyreland Chronicle. On the first day, we looked at The Vampyreland Chronicle and the Holgeirine Gazette. The next day, it was The Vampyreland Chronicle again and Hybrid News. On the third day, we looked at the Holgeirine Gazette and Catling Woods News. There was nothing in the headlines, which were the obvious places to look for monstrous vampires – Kat was all over them. We looked through the rest of the newspapers, scanning through the articles, just in case, but there wasn’t anything to suggest he was making a scene – Skylar was keeping an annoyingly low profile. We were entirely reliant on my knowing Skylar’s scent. We had nothing.

“Skylar… Skylar… the name doesn’t ring a bell. I never knew anyone called Skylar… so why is his scent familiar?”

You never saw him with Kat or smelled him around her? Josie asked me.

“I never saw him, no, but it’s possible that Kat’s and his scents crossed.”

Well, we had a mystery on our hands. A mystery and no small amount of trouble.

Do you think Skylar knows you?

Did I think Skylar knew me? Well, it was likely.

If Kat was his girlfriend, he may know me.

“Well, if it’s true that he knew Kat, then he will do – I don’t think she’d have kept all her victims a secret from him if she was his girlfriend, do you?”

No, I don’t either, Josie thought. Nor did she think her dad would lie about something – or someone – so terrifying.

Josie curled up tight on my lap, leaning on my belly.

“It’s alright, Josie. We’ll sort this Skylar out like we did Kat. Then no one will be under threat.”

Zephyr, you poor thing! It’s been coming at you from all sides since you were fourteen! Josie thought.

“I know,” I said, “all because I had a girlfriend once.”


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Chapter 21: Questions

“Zephyr?” she asked. She’d turned back to a form that could speak, her vampire form.

“You have some questions for me,” I said. “Fire away.”

“How long did it take you to turn me into a vampire?”

“Only a day. It would normally take at least two days, but I made it not last long at all so we could have got Kat sooner than we would have otherwise.”

Josie smiled.

“How did you turn me?” was her next question.

“Vampire venom – my fangs are coated in the stuff – and now yours are too. Please tell me you’ve not forgotten pretty much the most important thing about the vampires in Twilight?”

“No, I’ve not forgotten.”

“Good. Next.”

“What were you like as a newborn?”

“Not as wild as most newborns are, but wilder than I am now. You’re not a wild little newborn yourself. You’re quite tame in fact. Next?”

“How did you meet Kat?”

“At school. She was in the year above me. She was fourteen, really, same as you and me, but she was quite tall and didn’t look fourteen, so got away with pretending to be in the year above me.”

“I bet a lot of boys were jealous of you.”

“You can’t imagine it – although I wish I could just go back there, find out if they’re still alive and tell them they had nothing to be jealous of.”

“Well, at least Kat won’t be breaking any more hearts - or spilling anymore innocent blood.”

“No, she won’t.”

“How long have you played guitar for?”

“Six years.”

“Cool.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you miss your old friends?”

“Of course I do. But what could I do but leave them when I’d thought I was a monster?”

Josie agreed with me.

“Zéphine, Matt, Louis, Georgie. I miss them all. What wouldn’t I give to see them again… if I could know they were still alive…

I miss my parents too, of course. I miss all my old life – but if they knew about Kat, or any of this – it’s horrible for them – they’ve thought I’m dead for months on end. Five months or so after I disappeared from them, having not seen or heard from me, and no one else having seen me, they gave up hope of finding me. It’s terrible for them, not knowing – because I – or my body’s not been found. That’s what they know. I’d like to be able to tell them everything one day, but I just don’t know. I don’t know how or when I’m going to do it. It would probably scare them to see me. I can’t bear the thought of upsetting them anymore than I’ve had to.”

“How can you live in that dodgy little part of town you live in?” was Josie’s next question. “Don’t you hate it?”

“It’s certainly not pleasant, and the house is bog-standard and a hideous tip, as you’ve seen, but you know, it’s… well, let’s just say I’ve got a roof over my head.”

“Have you ever considered asking Martin if you could live with us? I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”

I chuckled.

“No, I haven’t. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be a burden.”

“Zephyr, you’re not a burden.”

“Thanks, Josie.”

“What do you want to do now?”

“Nothing,” I replied.

“Nothing?”

“Absolutely nothing at all,” I said, staring at Draco. I brought it over to myself and grabbed it when it was close enough for me to hold it. Then, I started strumming a pretty, romantic melody. It was time to tell Josie how I felt.

“You’ve asked me a load of questions. Now I have one for you.”

“Go on then.”

I sang.

“Furry black coat and leathery wings, silky soft voice, a pretty young thing. With lips like sugar, I dive into my wildest daydreams, and her eyes that show me worlds I’ve never seen before.

Gently padding paws, she curls up on my chest, her eyes a-glitter with shiny rainbows and she purrs in purrfect harmony. With lips like sugar, I dive into my wildest daydreams, and her eyes that show me worlds I’ve never seen before.

As I swim through the blue, blue ocean of my darling’s pretty young self, I must ask her, baby, tell me, can you live with this?”

 


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Chapter 22: Zephyr’s Love

He could not be serious! Thought Josie.

Indeed, it wasn’t my best work by a long shot.

Josie was flattered, but she wasn’t that impressed. I could have just simply told her I loved her rather than play a silly, overly dreamy, sissy old ballad.

“You’re not serious,” Josie said at last.

“I’m perfectly serious.”

“Right. OK.”

Josie didn’t reciprocate my feelings, I didn’t think. She knew I loved her, and she knew I was bonkers. She didn’t know how she felt though and that sucked.

Josie’s dad told me about Josie’s mum and how she and Josie were different creatures entirely when it came to romance. Josie thought I was daft, but she didn’t want to say it. Lovely. Well, heaven knows I’m miserable now.

“How long have you loved me?” she asked.

“A while.” There was no point saying since when.

“But it doesn’t matter – it’s not like you love me. You can say I’m daft if you want to, Josie.”

“You – ugh. Men.”

Then, she had a row with her father.

Afterwards, she came back in, lay on her bed and cried.

“Josie?” I asked.

“Oh, leave me alone, Zephyr,” she said, still irate.

I left her, sobbing into her pillow.


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Chapter 23: Skylar and Kat

“Zephyr?”

I was at school and we were in Charms class.

“Later,” I said. How the heck did I know what Josie was going to ask me about and that it wasn’t an appropriate time to ask it? Josie was being stupid. I laughed.

“Something funny, Mr Daniels?”

I shut up.

“Would you like to share it with the class?”

Ugh, she had to pick on me, didn’t she? Well, I supposed the pictures on the wall would be something to laugh at. They were suitably ridiculous.

“Er… I was laughing at the pictures on the wall,” I said.

“I see,” said Iona Mallory. Did she? I don’t think so. I’d done well. Josie was thinking about my excuse and how stupid she thought she was. Did she ever think anything positive? She also knew today was going to be a funny day for some reason.

Why didn’t he tell the truth? She thought, but then answered her own question – everyone would be freaked out. However, if they knew I was psychic, I might not have so much grief from people and I might have a few more friends… or at least a bit of sympathy. Josie almost wished the curse of knowing the thoughts of everyone around you on other people, but then laughed at how horrible she was being.

“And what are you laughing at, Miss Hawkes?” Iona Mallory rounded on her.

“Er, nothing,” she said, still laughing hysterically. She had nothing. But she kept on laughing. She wouldn’t stop. She was having a proper laughing fit.

We went outside.

“Calm down, Josie!” I said when we were outside.

“I can’t!” she panted breathlessly.

“Josie, just breathe.”

She eventually calmed down. I patted her back.

“Can we just skive?” she asked.

“No, get back in there.”

There was nothing wrong with either of us. Josie was strictly speaking Jekyll, but her Hyde had driven her a little mad. We were both in good places though – we had no dark things.

By the end of the lesson, I’d written a paragraph and Josie had only written half a sentence, which she scribbled out.

Then we both had Maths, which we were both skipping. Josie told me psychically.

“So am I,” I said from behind her and dashed around her before she could turn around to look at me, meaning she saw a red and black blur.

Then, Josie ran off to the other end of the corridor.

“I can appear out of thin air too,” she said.

Well, that’s what it’d look like to a human who wasn’t paying attention. We just ran very fast.

That evening, in Magical Training, I’d remembered what we were talking about, and for some reason, it upset me. Naturally, being as sensitive as she was, my sudden sadness failed to escape Josie’s notice.

“Zephyr, what is it?” she asked.

“Vampires,” I said, before she could take things the wrong way..

“Yeah?” she said.

Apparently they’d been doing vampires for a few weeks. Oh, heck, we’d missed a lot! We’d been going to school on and off since Josie was turned into a vampire. Hyde was starting to drive Jekyll mad – I worried about Josie a lot. There had been a couple of times when Hyde had well and truly shown his ugly face with Jekyll nowhere in sight. Plus, Mr Psychic, as Josie was now calling me, hadn’t been paying attention. No, I hadn’t. I’d had enough of weird. So much so that I spent more time than usual blocking out the psychic stuff and pretending to be normal. Josie was feeling sorry for Alice Cullen. Ugh. I laughed.

“Mr Psychic,” I said, still laughing.

The psychic stuff was certainly annoying sometimes, though at other times it was fun.

The first day we met, I’d pretended to be normal and Josie hadn’t suspected any trickery. Showed how observant she was. Then she found out I was psychic, and what I was, though I’d asked her, rather than just said it. Plus, it was almost all the time around humans. I pretended to be normal a lot.

“So, do you think I’m stupid then?”

No, she didn’t.

“Thanks, Josie.”

She didn’t blame me for not paying attention to everything, but if I’d not paid attention to the more important things in our lives, she dreaded to think what would happen! Well, she knew one thing – Kat would still be on the rampage, and she could speculate what else, but she wasn’t going to get morbidly obsessive about all the horror. I was glad.

It would just be mad, Josie thought. Mad, mad, mad.

I patted Josie’s back.

“Everything’s mad,” I said. “Until we’ve sorted you-know-what out, I don’t think things are going to stop being mad.”

“Silence!” Eleri Minnarde said to the babbling class.

“Did you all do your homework? Apart from Zephyr and Josie who weren’t in?”

“Yes!”

“Good.”

They’d been talking about slaying vampires. Ugh. Needless gore and probably more people digging us up. Now we were moving on to myths and stories. Great. We copied some notes off the board and we wrote down everything correct about vampires. Most other people got stuff wrong though.

“Very good, Josie and Zephyr. Well done.”

Rachel, a girl who was obsessed with Twilight, was convinced vampires sparkled in the sunlight. Both me and Josie felt like sneering at her and laughing at how stupid she was! Ugh! Sparkle, indeed! A boy called Tom mistakenly believed most vampires to be psychic and Eleri Minnarde was being picky. Extremely picky, which was bad news for those two. After that, we didn’t go back to school until Friday. It was the weekend. Hopefully, we could sort Skylar out soon. But we had no clues. Yikes!

 


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Chapter 24: Skylar’s Note

Saturday. Josie was curled up on her bed and I was flying as fast as I could towards her window with another bat following me. Josie got up and changed forms, knowing she needed to speak. I kept on flapping, beating my wings as fast as I could. I think I’d lost the other bat now, but still, I kept on flying. I changed forms the minute I landed in Josie’s bedroom and told her the bad news.

“Shut your window!” I panted. “I’m being followed.”

She immediately shut the window and made sure her dad was in. She wondered if she should tell her dad stuff. It could have been absolutely anyone following me. It could simply have been another bat. That definitely wouldn’t have been a problem. It could have been another vampire. This wasn’t necessarily a problem – the only slight issue there was Josie’s dad, who was human. But, if it was another vampire, it may well be Skylar, and that definitely was a problem. But we didn’t know, and we weren’t taking any chances with the unknown in this case. Josie’s dad would have a right to know about Skylar since Skylar had kidnapped him, his ex-wife and Josie’s mum, and my parents and simply let them go afterwards. The illogicality of it made Skylar more dangerous. He was completely unpredictable. Surely, he’d have made us seek him out or killed his captives. But no. He was unpredictable and untraceable. Ugh. I’d rather kill Kat all over again, and so would Josie.

Then we had a bit of a discussion about what to do. We concluded – or rather, I concluded, that me and Josie would stay in and Josie’s dad would have to lock us in whenever he went out. Josie’s dad had to work and besides, for all we knew, Skylar might just be the worst daywalker on the planet. In fact, it’d be just like Skylar to do that because you wouldn’t expect it. Usually, we vampires were nocturnal. We didn’t burn in the sunlight, but we preferred the night. We weren’t called children of the night for nothing. As me and Josie went to school and blended in with humans, rather than stood out, we were daywalkers, but we lived by our own rules and therefore did what we wanted. We both had pretty bizarre sleeping patterns, Josie in particular.

Footsteps came up the landing, then Josie’s bedroom door opened. I dashed towards Josie and armed myself with Draco, Josie’s guitar. The door downstairs shut. The footsteps continued in the office part of Josie’s room and up the stairs. Now they only had to open the door and they’d have us. Josie was cowering under her duvet.

The door slowly creaked open, and I realised who it was.

“Martin?”

“Hi, Zephyr. Where’s Josie?”

“Oh, she’s under her duvet. Josie, it’s not Skylar. It’s only your dad.”

She came out.

“What’s going on, you two? You look scared as hell.”

We told him the situation and what our plan was. He agreed. A few days later, Martin gave us a not he’d found outside. It read:

Zephyr and Josie –

Come and meet me outside at midnight.

– Skylar.


__________________
E. J. O.
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