“Let’s go, Ethan.” I said nervously as I grabbed Ethan’s arm and tried to pull him away from the strange man with the silver eyes. He approached us slowly and there was something about him that put me on edge. I considered screaming for help, but I didn’t know of anyone that could possibly help us.
“It’s time to go, Ethan.” The man said with a sneer as he stood in front of us. I couldn’t help but step back from his sudden appearance directly in front of us. I didn’t even see him move. I saw Ethan react the same as me from the corner of my eye, but he didn’t look afraid. The man turned his silver eyes to me as he glanced down at where I was holding onto Ethan’s arm. “You’re in the way, girl. Piss off!”
I didn’t even see him swing until the back of his hand was connecting with my chest. The sudden impact forced the air out of my lungs and sent me flying backwards with a grunt. Ethan’s eyes met my own just as I slammed into the wall of lockers lining the corridor with a crash that echoed down the hallway. Ethan stared at me in disbelief as I felt my body begin to slide down the wall. The sudden burst of pain from the impact was still registering in my mind as my vision flickered and began to grow dark around the edges. My body slumped to the side and I watched in amazement as a pool of red liquid began to steadily grow around my head.
“Jenna?” I heard Ethan gasp out as the darkness took over.
“Time to go,” I heard the deep voice of the man state coldly.
Then, I heard Ethan screaming out for help. I tried to force myself to move, but my body wouldn’t respond. My eyes opened enough to see that the man and Ethan were gone, but Ethan’s screams still echoed in my head.
“Justin!” Ethan’s voice sounded for away as he cried out for help. “Help me, Justin!”
Ethan was gone, and there was nothing I could do about it as the pool of warm blood continued to grow. Then, Justin was kneeling in front of me. His emerald green eyes were filled with fear as he looked at me closely. His hand felt hot as Justin touched his hand to the side of my face before pulled it back to reveal that it was covered in blood.
‘That’s my blood,’ I thought in fear as the puddle continued to spread out from my body.
My ears were ringing, so I wasn’t able to hear what Justin was saying as he crouched next to me. He pulled out his cell phone and his fingers flashed across the screen before he had it up to his ear. I saw the tears beginning to streak down his cheeks as he talked hurriedly into the phone. Justin reached out with his free hand and touched my forehead. Everything flickered for a moment and I was suddenly faced with the memory of the first time I had met Evan Bentley.
I was seven years old; the new kid in school. It was the first day and I was scared as the yellow bus stopped in front of my house. My mom hugged me tightly.
“Just be yourself, Jenna.” She reassured me. “You’ll have tons of friends by the end of the day. I promise!”
I nodded briefly as the door squeaked open, and my mother gave me a gently push towards the vehicle. The driver was an older woman, gray hair, glasses that hung on the tip of her nose. She was friendly though as she welcomed me. She gave me a seat number to sit in, and I was surprised to find a black-haired boy with bright blue eyes already sitting in the seat. His gaze was focused on the window, and he jumped when I slid into the bench seat next to him.
“Oh, hi.” He said nervously before he quickly pulled his backpack onto his lap to give me more room. “Sorry.”
“Thanks,” I said quietly.
He smiled shyly at me; his thin pink lips turned upwards at the corner of his mouth only for a brief second before he looked afraid again.
“Are you okay?”
He shrugged without really answering me.
“I’m Jenna,” I said as I decided to introduce myself to the boy. “This is my first day.”
“Really?” He asked me in a timid voice. His fear seemed to abate slightly. “I’m Evan. It’s my first day, too.” He added quietly.
I couldn’t help but smile.
“I’ll be your friend, if you’ll be mine?” I offered as I held out my hand to him.
Evan looked stunned before he suddenly smiled, his blue eyes seemed to flash with happiness. He took my offered hand and shook it gently.
“I’d be happy to be your friend, Jenna.” The blue-eyed boy told me before he suddenly hugged me. I felt my entire body freeze, and Evan quickly pulled away with a blush. “Sorry. My mom told me that I need to stop doing that so much.”
“It’s okay,” I told him hurriedly. “My dad works for the CIA. He just transferred to a new office. . .”
“My dad, too.” Evan interrupted me with a quick smile before he blushed again and dipped his gaze towards the window. “I mean, he works for the CIA.” He said softly before he turned his attention back to me.
“I’ve just never had a friend before,” I said truthfully. “We move around a lot. I just hope we actually stick around this time.”
“Me, too.” Evan said in agreement.
Then, the image flickered in front of me.
Lights were flashing past above me as somebody moved me. I saw the worried expression on Justin’s face as he leaned over from the side. I watched in a daze as I saw his lips move, but there was no sound in the real world. There wasn’t even any pain anymore. I looked into Justin’s eyes. The green eyes that Ethan had fell in love with. The eyes that neither Ethan nor I would ever see again. I wanted to apologize to Justin. I wanted to tell him how much I regretted the fact that he would never see Ethan again. There was so much I would never be able to tell anyone. . .
It was dark.
Impossible to breathe.
I could feel the faintest hint of pain on the edges of the darkness that surrounded me, but there was nothing else. Only silence and darkness. I wanted to open my eyes, but no matter how many times I tried, I wasn’t able to push against the darkness that held me down. I couldn’t even form enough of a coherent thought to figure out what was going on. There were more images.
The faces of people I knew throughout my lifetime.
I saw my mother and father, and I saw the way that I was certain my death would affect them. My mother would never be the same, much like Ethan and Evan’s mother Cynthia. I hoped that my mother would be strong enough to carry on without me. As I brooded over the different people I was leaving behind, another strange thought occurred to me. The man with the silver eyes had said something strange to Ethan.
“Especially, when it comes to you and your brother.” The man had said, his eyes were nearly glowing.
“You’re a little late, fella’.” Ethan replied with a snort. “Evan’s dead, and he has been since January.”
“Is he now?” The man asked expectantly.
The man’s words caught Ethan off guard, and he froze as he stood next to me.
‘Is Evan really still alive somewhere?’ I asked myself. ‘Did the CIA fake his death?’
The darkness pressed in tighter against me and I had no choice but to give in to its call.
I felt a nudge after a while. There was no other way to describe it, but it felt like somebody had taken their finger and pushed against my brain. I felt the gentle push again a moment later. I wanted to search for the cause of the strange sensation, but the darkness wouldn’t give no matter how much I tried. The nudge came again, and it brought a warming sensation along with it that seemed to fill my mind. For a moment I felt afraid until I heard a familiar voice deep within the darkness – a voice I had not heard in a very long time.
“Evan?” I asked in disbelief. “Where are you?”
“Relax, Jenna.” Evan’s voice came back with a hint of a chuckle. “I’m still trying to get used to my new ability.”
“You were always so weird, Evan.” I replied dismissively. Then, I was certain that I had figured out why I was hearing Evan’s voice. In order for me to move on, I needed to confess to him what had happened to his little brother. “I have to tell you something, Evan.”
“It can wait until I make you better, Jenna.” Evan said firmly.
“No, Evan.” I replied with a choked sob. “It can’t wait. I’m not going to get better.” I had saw the blood as the darkness settled in upon my mind. Nobody survived that much blood loss. Especially, when it was a head wound. Then, the darkness seemed to lighten slightly.
“There,” Evan said proudly. “I’m almost getting it.”
“And, I’m hallucinating from the lack of oxygen to my brain.” I stated. “That’s beside the point, though. I have to tell you want happened to Ethan. It’s important, Evan.”
“I’m sure it is, Jenna.” Evan said. “But I’ve almost got this. Just a second.”
Then, the darkness lifted, and I was seated on a small sofa in a white room. Evan sat across from me on another white sofa. He was dressed in all black which made his skin almost blend in with the walls around us. The only thing that stood out was his bright red eyes. I swallowed nervously against the sudden fear that I felt as I remembered Mr. Hunter’s class.
“You’re a vampire,” I said without any question. Evan smiled and nodded. “I’m definitely hallucinating.”
“Wrong, Jenna.” Evan stated without losing his smile. “This,” he motioned to the small room around us. “This is very real.”
I couldn’t help but laugh and shake my head in disbelief.
“Vampires don’t exist, Evan.” I scolded my old friend.
“You obviously haven’t been listening to Mr. Hunter very closely, then.” Evan scolded me. “I hope Ethan has been paying better attention.”
I stared at him in disbelief. He clearly didn’t know why I had been surrounded by darkness. That only reminded me that I needed to tell him about Ethan.
“Evan, I have to tell you something.” I forced the words before he could stop me again. “Ethan was kidnapped.”
“Bullshit!” Evan stated as his red eyes went wide.
“No,” I said quietly. “It’s true. I was attacked by the same man that took your brother. He slammed me against a wall.”
Evan squeezed his eyes shut tightly as the room around me flickered to darkness like a strobe light. Evan forced his eyes open and the image of the white room solidified once again.
“There’s nothing that you could have done, Jenna.” Evan said calmly. “Now, there’s something I need to tell you, Jenna. We don’t have much time, so please listen closely.”
I nodded at my friend. I was still in disbelief that he was seated across from me. He hesitated before he continued.
“You’re dying, Jenna.” Evan finally told me in a monotone voice. I couldn’t help but gasp out in disbelief. “I’m here to offer you a choice, though.”
“Yes, Jenna.” He told me grimly. “A choice between Death and eternal life.”
I couldn’t stop the laughter from bursting from my lips until I saw that Evan’s expression didn’t change.
“You’re fucking with me, right?”
“No, Jenna.” Evan said. “I’m not fucking with you. You’re on the very edge of death as we speak. Unless, you choose to join me.”
“Join you?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yes,” Evan replied. “I want you to join my family.”
“What are you talking about, Evan? How am I supposed to join your family when I’m dying?”
“I can save you by turning you into a vampire, Jenna.” Evan told me seriously. My pulse quickened as I considered the implications of Evan’s words as he continued to gaze at me with his red eyes. “I’m being very serious about this, so please give it some deep thought, Jenna.”
I stared at him in confusion.
“Vampires are real?”
“And this?” I motioned to the room.
“It’s all real, Jenna.” Evan replied calmly. “Everything that Mr. Hunter ever told us was true. And now, it’s time for you to decide whether or not you’re going to join me on my adventure.”
I looked at him for a moment.
“Life or death? I asked. “That’s the choice?”
“Yes, Jenna. That’s the choice I’m giving you,” Evan said. “The same choice that I wasn’t given.”
I could hear the regret in his voice, but he never dropped his gaze from my own.
“What would you do, Evan?” I asked him softly.
“After everything that I’ve been through,” Evan began hesitantly. “I believe that I would choose life, Jenna.”
“Does it hurt?”
“Yes,” Evan chuckled. “It hurts more than you can imagine, Jenna, but it is all worth it.”
I thought about it for a moment before I nodded.
“Then, let’s do this.” I stated. “My choice is to live.”
“Good,” he stated with a smug grin. “Now, relax and let me do my thing. Just don’t panic, Jenna. You’ll only have to deal with the darkness for a few more minutes. The rest is an adventure that you will never forget.”
“Okay,” I said in a worried tone.
Evan smiled again before the white room vanished and I was enveloped in darkness once again. I felt sluggish and trapped again, but there was something else happening to my body.
I was beginning to get warm.
“It’s done,” I told Mr. Hunter as I stepped back from Jenna’s prone form. I could still taste the medicine laced blood on the corners of lips, I could feel the warmth where some of her blood had spilled down my chin and onto my neck. The monster didn’t want her blood, though. It smelled and tasted bad.
“Morphine and other pain medications will make the blood taste bad, Evan.” David stated when he noticed the look on my face.
“It was the same way when I changed Tatum,” I told him as I gazed down at the brown-haired girl that had been my best friend since we were little kids. Now, she was going to be one of my children. “The only reason it was difficult to let go was because I was a newborn.”
“You’re still a newborn, Evan.” Mr. Hunter pointed out with a chuckle. “Granted, you’re nothing like I’ve ever saw before, but you’re definitely still a newborn vampire. Now, let’s get back to Lulu’s Hideaway, Evan. Jenna is going to start screaming soon, and I don’t think we want that kind of attention.”
I nodded at his statement before I pulled the different monitors and IVs from the girl’s arm. Then, I picked her up and slung her over my shoulder as Mr. Hunter went over to the window.
“You go this way, Evan.” David said with a grin. “Just remember that she is still human, and Jenna can still die if her heart stops before the venom reaches it.”
I nodded in acknowledgement before I took a glance out of the window. The sun was still beginning to crest over the eastern horizon, and the city street below was beginning to come to life. It was just dark enough that if I moved quickly, nobody would be able to see me.
“I’ll meet you at the truck.”
“No,” David said calmly. “Meet me at the park that’s six blocks west of here, Evan. Try to stick to the alleys, though. I saw some cars driving past.”
“See you soon,” I said before I slipped out of the window with Jenna still lying over my shoulder.
“Stay safe, Evan.” I heard David say as he closed the window behind me.
I bent my knees once my feet hit the ground, to help absorb the impact for Jenna. The, within a minute, we were hiding in the nearby park and waiting on Mr. Hunter to pick us up. While we waited, I thought about what Jenna had told me while we were in her mind together. Ethan had been kidnapped. That was the entire reason she had been in the hospital with her head smashed in. Jenna had gotten between my brother’s kidnapper and my brother.
“Don’t worry, Jenna.” I said, doubtful that she could hear me. “I’ll help you get your revenge on whoever is responsible.”