“It’s time to hunt!”
I looked up from the book that I had been reading at the sound of Jon’s voice and easily caught the black leather jacket that he tossed at me.
“What’s with this?” I asked curiously.
Jon grinned at me.
“We’re going somewhere special, and you need to blend in.” He explained.
Jon and I had actually become friends over the prior week, and it helped me get used to the fact that I had been turned into a monster. Tatum visited every day and sat in the observation room while we talked or watched a movie together. I loved my cousin and it was killing me to see him waste away.
The bell chimed throughout the facility and my throat began to burn again. As I rubbed my throat, Jon chuckled at me.
“Yeah,” he stated with a smug grin. “It’s definitely time to hunt.”
Once we were outside of the tunnel, Jon turned south, and I followed along behind him. The ground was still covered in snow and there was a chill in the air, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. Jon kept up a decent pace as we ran across a moonlit field – the snow glistening in the silvery light. I breathed in deep of the different scents and couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my face as we ran for several miles. We were about one mile from a small town when I caught the scent of a human nearby. The monster growled with delight and I let my instincts take over.
The hunt was on. . .
The man was a farmer whom happened to be checking on a disturbance in one of his horse barns when Jon and I found him. He didn’t even notice me sneaking up behind him until I had my arms wrapped around his body and my teeth were sinking into his flesh. He screamed and fought against me of course, but the monster would not be denied his opportunity. The man fought until almost the very end of his life which pleased the monster to no end. The man was dead, and I was still thirsty.
Jon and I made our way into the small town where we were lucky enough to find a group of people standing outside of a bar smoking cigarettes and enjoying themselves. As we watched them from a distance I noticed another figure standing in the shadows beyond the bar hoppers. He had a sour look on his face and his blood red eyes were focused directly upon me. The man appeared to be in his thirties, and he wore a long black trench coat that hung down to his ankles. He had a black shirt underneath and black jeans to match. His entire demeanor seemed to carry a hint of hostility with it, but his expression seemed more curious than anything. I nodded my head briefly at him and he nodded once in response. I motioned towards the group of people and he shook his head as if he had said ‘no’.
“That was interesting,” Jon said casually as he watched our exchange.
“How so?” I asked curiously.
“Normally, Dante doesn’t let newborns have his hunt.” The wolf explained. “He’s a very possessive vampire and has probably been watching this group since sunset. He has murdered many vampires for trying to take his hunt away from him.”
Then, Dante smiled and walked towards us cautiously. I shoved my hands in my coat pockets as we waited for him to join us. He stopped when he was ten feet away and bowed almost respectfully at me.
“Good evening, Chosen One.” Dante greeted me. His voice was deep and had a slight rasp to it as if he had just finished smoking a carton of cigarettes. He nodded politely to Jon as well. “Good evening, Agent Wells.”
“Good evening, Dante.” Jon returned the greeting. “I apologize for bringing Evan here into your territory. I didn’t know you had moved into the area.”
“It is of no matter, Jon.” Dante said dismissively. “I was only passing through and happened to spot these youngsters.” Dante turned his attention back to me then. “Evan is it?”
“Yes, sir.” I replied meekly and held out my hand to shake his. Dante looked confused before he smiled and briefly shook my hand.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Evan.”
“You as well, Dante.”
Dante briefly looked me over and smiled at Jon.
“I never thought I’d get to meet the Chosen one, Agent Wells.” The older vampire stated with a smug grin. “He truly is amazing.”
“He turned out better than anybody expected,” Jon said. “Would you like to hunt with us? There’s clearly more than enough to go around.”
I glanced at the group of people to see that two young men had separated from the remainder of the group and were headed in our direction. I could feel the heat of their bodies as they approached us and the monster growled.
“I’m not certain that he feels the same way,” Dante chuckled. “But I would enjoy a light snack.”
Jon chuckled and shook his head. I was more interested in the two men that were about to become my next meal. They turned down a side street and the monster snarled greedily. The next moment I had one of the men in my arms while Dante grabbed the other one. We both sunk our fangs into their tender flesh at the same time and I shivered with pleasure as the hot blood ran across my tongue. Dante finished shortly after I had and dropped the lifeless body next to the one I had drained. We grinned at each other for a moment until Jon joined us.
“I called HQ,” the wolf informed us. “They’re sending someone to clean up our mess.”
I turned to the end of the street and saw another body lying on the cold concrete. Another shiver ran up my spine as I realized that four people had been murdered in my presence that night.
‘What would Ethan think?’ I asked myself in disgust. ‘There’s gotta be a better way to feed myself.’
We were only a mile from the tunnel entrance when I caught the musky scent of dogs mixed with a heavy scent of dirt and mold. I stopped in my tracks at the edge of a forest clearing and growled deeply. Jon and Dante stopped on either side of me as four naked men stepped out from the other tree line. Their skin glistened in the pale moonlight and their muscles rippled with every movement of their bodies. I swallowed against the venom that was pooling in my mouth and tried not to growl as Jon put his hand on my arm.
“Let’s see what they want first, Evan.” Jon told me under his breath. “Just be ready for anything. You’re going to be their target if they attack us.”
“They’re looking for a fight,” I muttered. I could tell by how they carried themselves.
“Let me handle it,” Jon growled at me before he took a step forward.
“Good evening, gentlemen.” The blond-haired man said with a sneer.
I heard Dante hiss from beside me and my muscles tensed up.
“I thought you were dead, Paul.” Jon returned the greeting in an annoyed tone of voice.
“Not yet, Jon.” Paul stated with a smug grin as three werewolves stepped out from the tree line. Their thick fur was shaggy and gray, and they were the size of a human man. All of them had pointed ears sticking up off of the top of their heads, and they had yellow eyes that stared out at me over their long snouts. “You’re not going to be lucky enough to catch me off guard this time. I’ve brought back up.”
Jon grinned smugly and crossed his arms across his chest calmly.
“What do you want, Paul?”
“It’s not me, Jon.” Paul explained with the same smug grin. “It’s the Lady Sonya that has requested the death of your companion there.”
A chill went up my spine at the sound of the werewolf’s words. Paul turned his gaze to me.
“I’m sorry that we have to meet under these conditions,” he said with a brief nod.
I shrugged indifferently. Jon began to shift into his wolf form beside me. I could hear his bones cracking into their new forms and his muscles sounded like a thousand rubber bands being stretched out beneath his skin. The only sound that Jon made was a slight grunt.
“Watch out for their teeth, Evan.” Dante warned me.
I nodded as the four men shifted into their wolf forms. Two of them cried out in pain and I cringed. Paul shifted as easily as Jon had and was soon leading the charge towards us.
“I’ve got the back row,” I stated with a growl before I launched myself into the battle.
Paul’s yellow eyes went wide as I easily jumped over him just inches above his head and landed on the ground behind him. I heard him growl in surprise right before I launched myself at the werewolf behind him. I narrowly missed the creature’s closing jaws as I grabbed the scruff of his neck and used his own weight to pull myself against him. I wrapped my arms around his neck and squeezed until I heard the bones break. Then, I pushed myself backwards off of him and grabbed the wolf behind me. He snarled and fought against me, but I was able to slip behind him and break his back.
Another wolf slammed into my side and it knocked me several feet away. My body flipped around until my feet faced the ground, and I launched myself back towards the monster. He yelped in surprise and pain as I punched him in the throat. Then, I used my other hand to grab his bottom jaw and tear it from his face. The werewolf cried out with an agonizing sound of pain until I snapped his neck. Jon was busy fighting Paul and another werewolf while Dante had his own two wolves to deal with.
I decided that Jon could handle himself and I ran towards Dante. I slammed into one of the wolves and knocked him off of the older vampire. It was enough to distract the other werewolf that was attacking Dante and he was able to kill the wolf with a silver knife that he had hidden up his sleeve. Dante ran towards the wolf I had knocked aside while I made quick work of one of the creatures that was attacking Jon.
Jon finally wounded Paul enough that he shifted back into his human form, and Jon pinned him to the ground before he too shifted back. Paul gasped for breath as Jon pressed heavily against his throat.
“Don’t worry,” Jon stated smugly. “I’ll make sure that you’re dead this time, Paul.”
Paul’s eyes went wide as he tried to struggle from Jon’s grip, but he was too far wounded to be able to do anything to save himself.
“Please, don’t kill me!” Paul managed to plead. “I’ll do anything.”
“It’s too late for that, Paul.” Jon said before he glanced over at Dante who had finished off the other werewolf. “Would you mind letting me borrow your blade for a moment, Dante?”
Dante handed the dagger to Jon who quickly sunk it into Paul’s chest. The man gasped slightly before the light left his blue eyes and his body went limp. Jon cleaned the blade before he passed it back to Dante with a nod of thanks.
“Well, that was interesting,” Dante stated calmly once Jon had called in the attack to Section-9 so they could clean up the mess. “I really wasn’t expecting a fight like that tonight. How many werewolves did you kill, Evan? Every time I looked at you, you were attacking a different one.”
“Four, I think.” I replied with a shrug.
“Simply amazing,” Dante stated with a grin.
Jon just chuckled and shook his head.
“I need to report this to Dominick,” Dante said. “I’ll see you another time, Jon.”
“Be safe, Dante.” Jon warned the older vampire. “There are dark times ahead.”
“Good thing we have Evan on our side,” Dante said in awe. He bowed slightly to me. “It was pleasure to hunt and battle with you, Chosen One. I look forward to our next meeting.”
My thoughts were all over the place as Jon and I walked through the empty corridor that led back to my suite. We were nearly to the door that entered into the observation room when I noticed the sounds of someone crying from nearby. I stopped where I was and cocked my head to the side as I tried to figure out which room the heartbreaking sound was coming from. I glanced ahead to see that there was a door open down on the left side of the hall.
“Please, Tatum.” I heard my uncle’s voice whisper softly. “Don’t give up yet. I’m so close to finding a cure, son!”
I could hear the strong rhythmic sound of my uncle’s heartbeat but there was an even fainter sounding heartbeat behind it. I took a step towards the open door and Jon grabbed my arm firmly. I glanced at him in surprise, but his expression was filled with worry.
“Are you certain that you can control yourself, Evan?” Jon asked me in concern. “You’ll never forgive yourself if you kill your uncle or your cousin.”
I glanced back towards the open doorway before I took a deep breath through my nose of the air around me. I could smell my uncle’s cologne and I could almost feel the heat of his body, but the monster remained quiet. He had been satisfied for the time being.
“I’ve got this,” I stated confidently.
Jon nodded once and let go of my arm.
“After you then. . . “
I walked down the hall and entered the door that was open. I gasped as my eyes took in the sight of all of the medical equipment that was placed around the small bed in the center of the room. My cousin was lying in the center of the bed, and his face was even more pale than the other day when he had visited me. Tatum was on the verge of death. I glanced back at Jon and he nodded once at me before I stepped into the room.
My uncle had his head bent over in prayer as he sat in a chair next to the bed and held Tatum’s hand in his own. He jumped slightly at the sound of my voice, but he refused to take his eyes from the dying form of my cousin.
“How much time does he have?” I asked gently.
“A day. . . An hour. . . ” My uncle’s voice cracked as he answered. I could tell that he had been crying for a while. “I’m afraid that Tatum’s time with us has come to an end, Evan. It’s best that you say your goodbyes now.”
“But. . . There’s got to be something that you can do, Uncle Mason!” I suddenly shouted out as the realization came crashing down upon me that modern medicine had completely failed my cousin in his hour of need. Ethan would be devastated if Tatum died. I would be devastated if my cousin died right in front of me. The monster was growing angry and I tried to think of some way to save my cousin, but there was only one thing that I could do. The one thing that he had begged of me. “There has to be something else. . . “
My chest heaved with sobs, but there were no tears to be shed by my vampire eyes. I moved around to the other side of the bed and sat on the edge gently. Tatum’s chest was barely rising as he struggled to stay alive.
“I’ve tried everything, Evan.” My uncle replied with a choked sob. “I’ve failed my son. I broke my promise to him that I would do whatever it took to keep him alive.”
I delicately took Tatum’s hand in my own and covered it with my other hand. I smiled slightly when I saw goosebumps race up his arm. He had practically begged me to save his life by changing him into a vampire. All I had to do was bite him, and he would live. Ethan would still be alone, but that couldn’t be helped. There was no way to reveal that Tatum was still alive without announcing my own presence as well. Was I even capable of saving Tatum’s life?
‘What would Ethan do?’ I asked myself but I already knew the answer.
“I’ll. . . I’ll try, Uncle Mason.” I said softly as I felt the blood struggle to pass through Tatum’s veins beneath his skin.
“Go to your room, Doctor Bentley.” Jon stated from his spot by the door.
Uncle Mason nodded briefly before he turned his attention to me. I glanced at him to see a man that was broken from his sense of failure. He reached out and touched my arm hesitantly.
“Good luck, Evan.” He stated softly before my uncle left the room.
Jon sat down in the chair across from me.
“Do what needs to be done, Evan. But remember, there are two lives that can be saved tonight if you make the right choice.”
I frowned at his cryptic warning and looked down at my cousin. I gasped slightly when I saw that his blue eyes were open, and he had been staring at me. I forced myself to smile at him as I reached out and touched the palm of my hand to his cheek.
“Are you absolutely certain about this, Tatum?” I asked him one last time.
“If you don’t,” he gasped for breath before he continued in a quiet voice. I could barely make out what he was saying. “I’m going to ask Jon to change me into a werewolf instead.”
“I’ll do it, too.” Jon said smugly. “He’s too young to let die.”
I was taken aback by Jon’s statement, but it didn’t surprise me that he would keep Tatum alive if it came down to it. No. I couldn’t let Tatum suffer that kind of torment for the remainder of his life on the face of the Earth. It had to be me. I pulled his wrist to my lips and Tatum smiled nervously.
“Don’t scream, Tatum.” I warned him without even looking at his face. My own eyes were fixated on the weak pulse just beneath his thumb on the underside of his wrist. I traced my finger along it for a brief moment and felt his blood flow beneath the skin.
“I love you, Evan.” Tatum said in a near whisper before I sunk my teeth into his flesh.
He grunted as my mouth was filled with the bitter taste of his blood. The doctors had Tatum on so many different medications and I didn’t even consider how it would affect the taste. Tatum whimpered quietly as his heart slowed, but he didn’t scream or even cry out like some of my victims had. I heard voices coming from the corridor as I fought against the urge to drink my cousin dry. I focused on pushing as much venom into the wound as I possibly could.
“Do you smell the blood?” A young male voice asked. It sounded familiar but I couldn’t figure out where I had heard it before.
“I wonder what’s going on,” a woman replied curiously. “Are you going to be able to control yourself, Dylan?”
The name sent a child own my spine. I suddenly knew exactly where I had heard the voices before. These were the vampires that had been involved in my accident. It was Dylan whom had single handedly caused the entire thing though. It was Dylan who had to pay for taking me away from my brother.
“Yes, Leslie.” I heard Dylan reply calmly. “I’m not the one you need to be worried about, though.”
I removed my cousin’s wrist from my mouth and placed it gently across his stomach. I watched as tiny red lines raced up the veins of his arm and began to spiderweb out across his smooth chest. Tatum was only fifteen and I was turning him into a monster.
Ethan would have done the same thing. . .
The memory of Ethan reminded me that there was someone else that I needed to deal with. A moment later I was standing in the corridor with Dylan pressed against the wall. Leslie screamed in surprise, but Dylan just looked ashamed of himself. His red eyes never left my own as I growled angrily at him.
“You took everything from me!” I nearly shouted. Dylan didn’t even flinch. “You took everything away from my little brother! He looked up to me!”
I couldn’t hold back the frustration any longer, so I let loose with a scream of rage that shocked even myself.
“Please, don’t kill him, Evan.” Leslie stated in a near whisper. “Dylan is one of my most precious children.”
I glanced over at the blonde-haired woman that had pulled me from my car. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her red eyes were filled with fear and concern.
“I know you were put through a very traumatic experience, Evan, but it wasn’t completely Dylan’s fault.” I glanced at her in surprise. “That night was Dylan’s first night out as a newborn vampire, Evan. He was on his first hunt. I’m certain that you can remember what it was like to lose all control over yourself in your hour of thirst. If you want to blame Dylan, then you’re going to have to blame me as well. I am his Creator, after all.”
I frowned and turned back to Dylan.
‘What would Ethan do?’ I asked myself.
Dylan began to look nervous when I had the thought, which caught me off guard. I was about to slam him against the wall again and force him to tell me his secrets when I remembered that I was surrounded by creatures that could kill me. I swallowed against my anger and released my grip on the front of Dylan’s shirt. He was so fucking lucky. . .
Dylan nodded once and I narrowed my eyes.
‘Can you hear me?’
He grinned bashfully for a moment before I heard Tatum cry out in pain from the room behind me. I quickly returned to his bedside and pulled his wrist into my hands again. The bite mark was healing rapidly as the venom spread out from his major veins into the smaller capillaries that ran directly beneath skin. My little cousin was turning into a vampire. . .
I heard Nikolas whistle from the doorway in disbelief. Jon had never moved from his seat at my cousin’s bedside.
“I knew that you would make the right choice, Evan.” Jon stated quietly with a smug grin.
Nikolas was wearing jeans with a gray t-shirt that fit his body snugly. He was smiling at me and he looked rather amazed.
“I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it for myself, Jon.” The shaggy haired vampire stated in awe. “A newborn vampire giving up a fight that easily. . . I wouldn’t even be able to fathom it, honestly. Especially, after he had just finished changing someone.” Nikolas shook his head in disbelief again. “I knew that you were going to be special, Evan, but I didn’t expect this.”
I smiled nervously and nodded at his statement.
“You should have been there earlier tonight when he killed four werewolves after sharing a hunt with Dante,” Jon informed Nikolas.
Tatum’s heart was beginning to beat faster and I grimaced at the staccato sound of it. He would be in agonizing pain until the change was completed. I stood from the side of bed and took one last glance at Tatum as his body quivered from the pain of the burning sensation caused by the venom. I felt bad that I had decided to put him through that much pain, but I knew that it was for the better in the long run.
“I think he’ll be fine for now,” I stated calmly. I couldn’t believe that I had turned Tatum into a monster. “Jon, can you keep an eye on him, please? I think I need to be alone for a little bit.”
“Of course, Evan.” Jon replied. “I’m certain that Doctor Bentley will be in here the moment that you’re locked in your room. Would you like me to walk with you?”
“No,” I said quietly. “I’ll be okay.”
Nikolas stepped back out into the hallway as I approached the doorway with my head held low. I felt like a monster more at that moment that I had while I murdered innocent people. Now, there were going to be two of me.
The door to my apartment clicked shut behind me and I immediately pulled the curtain closed to the observation room. I had left my jacket hanging in the observation room and the blood covered shirt I had been wearing had been discarded on the floor. I didn’t want to spend the day dealing with the smell of werewolf blood and human blood from my night of adventures. I went over to my bathroom and turned on my shower. Jon teased me relentlessly about my need for a shower, but to me, it was the only piece of my humanity that remained. I had murdered four werewolves, changed my cousin into a monster, and killed two people all in one night.
My shoulders shook slightly as my tearless sobs were muffled by the sound of the running water.
‘Please forgive me, Ethan. . .’