Just so we are clear, I hate being the new kid. But my parents don’t really enjoy living in one area for too long. This time was a little different. We have returned to the family manor, located in a small, rather quiet town called Rosewood Valley. It's a place I have never seen before. FYI, my family, and I are also vampires.
You may ask how could creatures like us possibly be real? I think it’s safe to tell you. Stories such as the one you’re about to hear, have never been proven as fact, only fiction. Besides, any proof you might try to dig up is already gone.
Anyway, the keepers of our history tell it like this: an alchemist found the secret to becoming immortal. He closely guarded his formula and erased all evidence of it having ever existed. But he could not keep it from his own wife. He had already taken a vial of the silvery substance himself. Others in this line of work had their suspicions, but nobody got anywhere near to discovering the secret.
Their children were the first to show side effects of the potion. They were much paler in appearance. Certain foods could no longer be stomached. Their senses and reflexes had been enhanced. Wounds miraculously healed within seconds. They were stronger. They could run like the wind.
Animals seemed to be very wary of them and tried to get out of their way whenever possible. Even some plants were toxic. There was also a disturbingly strong urge for blood. Inevitable that the alchemist decided he could create a new race. His most trusted friends and their families became the original vampires.
Discretion and order were two of the main priorities within this close-knit community, so a group of vampires formed the Council of Elders. They alone would be judge, jury and executioner if something went wrong and the chance of exposure was too great. The Elders made contacts with many hospitals where blood donations were kept.
Someone would occasionally step out from the shadows to influence a decision or two, when it came to human authorities of all kinds. But usually, they let the mere mortals do their thing and watched over us immortals very carefully. Hunting humans has officially been banned for a hundred and fifty years.
The Santiago bloodline began about four hundred years ago. My ancestors didn’t meet until their engagement party. This was not a love match. Maria and Desmond still made a go of it and even grew fond of each other. Their partnership lasted longer than most and brought forth five children: two boys and three girls.
By the time I was born, arranged marriages had definitely become a thing of the past. Gender preference wasn’t such a big deal anymore. My sister Caitlyn married her girlfriend Stacey last November. It no longer mattered if a vampire partner was born or turned either. Transformations are and always will be asked for and approved by the Elders. I’ve heard of vampires choosing human partners who didn’t want to change.
No, I am not hundreds of years old. I’m only seventeen. I have black hair and pale blue eyes. I sometimes wish I were taller. I don’t have abilities like telekinesis, shape shifting, flying, or manipulating the elements. Maybe the oldest of our kind have these powers, but I have yet to witness them myself.
I do catch snippets of peoples’ thoughts every now and then, but so does every vampire in existence. It’s rather annoying and I try my best to tune them out. My eyes change color depending on how long I have gone without feeding. When that first craving for blood hits, it can be awful. But I was prepared, and I learned how to control my thirst. Human blood nourishes best, but animal will do in a pinch.
“So yeah, my name is Christina Santiago. I moved here with my family and the plan is to finish my education, before I start taking steps to join the company my father Adrian built from the ground up. I don’t mind having this part of my life sorted out, provided I have freedom elsewhere.
Reading books is a main hobby of mine. I enjoy dancing. I dabble in art and I seem to have a knack for photography. My grandmother taught me how to play the piano and the violin. I think Music will be one of my favorite things about this school. I guess that about covers it.” “Thank you, Christina. You can take your seat now.”
The girl on my left whispered to me. “Hey, I’m Samantha Caine, but everyone calls me Sam. Welcome to Rosewood Valley High.” She looked kind of small for a seventeen-year-old. Her hair was dyed a bright purple and she wore glasses with sparkles on them. “Thanks.”
I felt someone else staring at me and glanced to the other side. A boy. I already had the sense that he would ask me out before the week was over. I reluctantly shook his hand. “Michael Bradford.” He seemed a bit annoyed that I wasn’t more impressed with him.
Sure, he had messy blonde hair, green eyes, a suntan, and a cheeky smile. However, he was clearly the type to, what is the expression… Love them and leave them? That kind of treatment I can do without. Miss Simpson put the book we were going to read on my desk, and I flipped open the cover.
Next up was Maths. Not my strongest suit. I usually manage to just scrape through with a passing grade. Recess came and went. Third class was Science. Sam and another girl Hayley Smith were in this class too. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have any other classes with Michael.
But as I walked into the Art room, I was disappointed. He saw me. Forcing myself to be friendly, but not encouraging, I let him guide me to a stool. While I set up my workstation, Michael began asking me questions.
My replies were short and to the point. “Where are you from?” “All over the place.” “Do you have any siblings?” “Three. I am the youngest.” “Are you wearing contacts? I don’t think I have ever seen that shade of blue before.” “Natural eye color, it runs in the family.”
Finally, as I predicted. “Would you like to go out?” “You’re really not my type, so no. Sorry.” “Shame. We could have had some good times.” “Whatever.” Mrs. Johnson told us to paint the first thing that came to mind. I was thinking of my older brothers.
Twins in a vampire family are not as common as they once were, so it was a surprise for my mother Sierra when she gave birth to them. Carlos saved a theatre company from going bankrupt and it eventually found its’ feet again.
Damon went travelling, trying various jobs along the way. Antiques fascinated him. So, he opened his own business. The two of them remained close as only twins can be. They sent my sister and I presents all the time. Both were shockingly still single.
In the cafeteria at lunch time, more people were approaching me to introduce themselves. I summed up very quickly those whom I could be friends with and the ones I should avoid. I also caught the scent of another vampire, which was strange.
I wasn’t aware of any other people like us who were living in this town. The reason why became clear the longer I studied him. He was newly made. He stopped in his tracks to look at me. I may have to keep an eye on him.
Sam popped up by my side. “That’s Louis McKenna. I’ve known him since we were little. He used to be a nice guy, but something has changed recently. I can’t put my finger on it.” I didn’t feel all that hungry, which is normal, although Sam insisted on sharing her chicken burger. I managed to choke it down.
Final class was Phys Ed. Today basketball was on the agenda. We played mixed teams. My hand-eye coordination could not be faulted. I moved instinctively, but not too fast. My team won. The teacher Mr. Reynolds asked me if I ever thought of playing professionally. “You definitely have the skill set to take it further.” Maybe in another life, I would have.
I soon settled into a routine. Kind of boring I know, but I blended into the human population without much effort. My own personal family history waited for discovery. Sam and her circle of friends had grabbed my phone at the earliest opportunity and typed in their numbers. Michael did not ask me out again. In fact, he seemed to forget all about me, which was good.
Just when I was wondering whether I should say anything to Louis or not, he came up to me. We walked away from the humans to talk in private. “You’re a born vampire, right?” “Yes, and someone turned you. Were they given permission to do so by the Elders?” “Of course. Joanna Crowley is her name.”
“It kind of rings a bell.” “I am getting worried. I haven’t seen her for days now, which is odd. I haven’t been able to reach her, not even through our sire bond. She isn’t home, so I’ve been hiding at school. She’s always nearby just in case I accidentally draw attention to myself. I sometimes struggle with my cravings.”
“That’s part of being a vampire my friend, but I promise it will get easier.” “I hope so. Could you or someone you know help me?” I thought it over. “My dad would be the right guy to talk to. His business is all about safety and security for us.” We planned to meet after the day was done.
Sam assumed something else was going on, that maybe we were secretly dating. “The two of you were talking for what seemed like ages.” I gave away few details which only convinced her even more that she was right. Unless she by some miracle figures out the truth, I shouldn’t really be concerned with what she thinks. Still, you can’t be too careful when you hang around with humans.
My father took in all the relevant information that Louis could provide and sent people to track Joanna down. Her last movements led them to a safe house that had been burnt to the ground quite recently. They found three unrecognizable bodies.
A thorough check with our version of forensics revealed that Joanna wasn’t amongst the dead.
So, she was still on the missing list. Days passed and more vampire corpses were turning up. We could rule out fellow creatures for sure. They never bothered us. There had been rumors of the Blackfire Hunters, an organization dedicated to killing off anything that was of supernatural origins.
I used to think the stories were made up to scare the young ones. But maybe there was more to it. I guess only time will tell what we are up against. Until then, we must be on guard and do everything we can to protect both ourselves and others. After all, danger is nothing new to vampires.