I woke up at seven forty-one in the morning. The sky was pink and it was cold out.
I was going to have to wear a sweater. Or I could just not go to school, I thought. I mean I was already running late so why not just skip school completely.
Then I remembered that right after school I had a “get-together” with Angela, Samantha, and Jessica to plan out the birthday party that I was so not looking forward to—my birthday party, I sighed.
I was running late and I had no time. I flew down the stairs to eat my breakfast, the floorboards creaking in protest as I went down.
“Hey mom,” I called.
“Morning honey,” she said, blushing as I caught her with her mouth full. I rolled my eyes at her.
I sat on the black leather chair and quickly choked my eggs down. My throat burned like I was shoving flames down my throat. I drank my orange juice to the last drop, the cold juice calming the fire that the eggs had provoked.
My mom looking at me asked, “Why are you in such a hurry honey you still have time.”
“Mom, look at the clock I’m running late.”
“Mom, I have no time to argue,” I said interrupting her.
I hastily left for the driveway. I heard my mom running behind me, but I didn’t turn to look. I got into my Civic Sedan Ex, stepped on the gas pedal and drove for school. I didn’t want to get a yet another tardy, although the last few tardies had been Jessica’s fault. But still, Mrs. Dietrich wasn’t going to listen to any excuses, so I might as well get there on time.
When I stepped through the door in a rush, the bell rang. I cussed under my breath and started running like mad; but no one was walking to their classes. This is weird. Then I caught a look at a clock as I ran.
I stopped and groaned. We still had about 5 minutes left.
All that running and rushing for nothing. Then I remembered that my clock at home was like ten minutes ahead the usual time. I would seriously have to tell my mom to fix that.
I saw Angela and Samantha; I made my way towards them gasping for air. Before I got too close, I caught a glimpse of the boy I’d had a crush on since I came to live here in Chicago. And I was disappointed that like always, he didn’t notice me. Actually he didn’t notice girls much. Not even those that made it pretty obvious that they wanted something with him. The perfect example was Brooke Willkie.
Everyone knew that she wanted to be Alec’s girlfriend but he didn’t even look at her, not one bit like she wanted to. Like every girl wanted to, myself included. Brooke was one of the prettiest and wealthiest girls in the school; no one ever said no to her, Alec Vorkiev was so far the only one. That’s why whenever she caught a look at him, her face twisted in anger and desperation. It was quite fun to look at. But even then she didn’t give up and always tried to talk to him although all he did was nod and smile in a way that showed his disinterest.
And even though it seemed like he was completely oblivious of the effect he had on most girls, I was pretty sure that he was well aware of all the things around him. Like the fact that people started whispering when he walked by (mostly girls), and all glances turned to him.
But that might also be because was the most glorious person in the entire world. He had the palest skin ever; it looked as white as sheet, which was quite a contrast to his black hair. His full pink lips perfectly shaped. His hard jaw line, and easily seen muscles, made him even more perfect. It looked like every inch of his body was pure perfection.
Sometimes I believed that he was just a figment of my imagination. But whenever that thought occurred to me I was sure that my imagination was not capable of creating such a glorious image. His liquid blue eyes looked like a mysterious universe, and I had the feeling that if I looked straight into them I would get lost in their deepness.
I walked in a daze like every time I saw him. People talked to me and I paid no attention to them. I ignored the Hi Sophie’s and ”looking great” and only thought about Alec.
When I stopped fantasizing about stuff that would never happen, not in a million years, I made my way to my friends. Jessica wasn’t there which was odd, because she was all for throwing a huge party and usually came to school to plan every single detail of it.
“Hey, guys… where’s… Jessica?” I said out of breath from running.
“Hey Fifi,” Sam said. “Thought you were running late again?” I shot her an angry scowl. “I mean, not that this happens often we just saw you running towards class and we just assumed you thought you were late again.”
“Okay, Sam,” I said annoyed at her. “Where’s Jess?” I turned to Angela.
“Oh she’s ‘sick’, you know. She called from her cell. Said she didn’t feel like coming to school today. Which is weird because you know her, she never misses a chance to talk about a good party.”
“She called? Did she say anything else?” I said, filling my mind with false hope.
“No, she didn’t say anything else. She actually just called me to ask— well beg really—if I could call the school pretending to be her mom. After I told her that I would she hung up. She seemed in a hurry.” She said, making a face of confusion.
“Sophie leave your hopes, the meeting is not getting canceled for the last time! How many times do we have to tell you this?” Sam said. You could leave it up to Sam to ruin my hopes, weak as they were. But I wasn’t about to let her have the satisfaction of thinking she got me.
“FYI Sam, I was not hoping the meeting would be canceled. I long ago gave up my hopes.”
“Really?” was all she said.
“Yes, really. “ I said calmly, but in a voice that challenged her to disagree with me.
“I just don’t get how you can be popular and hate parties Sophie,” she still said, and I just rolled my eyes at her and sighed.
“Guys,” said, Angela. “Would you two get to class the bell is about to ring in a minute.”
I decided to listen to Angela I didn’t want to start anything with Sam, which really happened often. I don’t even know how we came to be friends since all the time we spend it fighting with each other and getting on each other’s nerves.
Right then the bell told us to get to class. I hurried off not wanting to think about Samantha for now. I instead thought about Alec, who sat right next to me. But the problem was, he hardly ever talked. I rarely got to hear the sweet melody of his voice that even when he was done speaking; it still rang in my ears.
I hurried to my seat and caught a glimpse of him from the corner of my eye. He was writing down the everyday English journal we had to complete for Mrs. Dietrich. I got my own notebook out and started doing the reflection.
I was on my way to Trig and I really was in a bad mood after having a very unpleasant accident in lunch. I hurried to my seat but as I was moving down the aisle the thin little chain on the side of my bag, got caught on the corner of a desk. I was already mad from lunch so instead of calmly unhooking it, I started yanking at it, and to my great distress all of my books fell out.
“Ughhh,” I said. And I knelt to pick them up. As I was picking up my trig book I saw another pair of hands trying to help me, I looked up to see who it was and to my great and utter surprise it was none other than Alec Vorkiev.
I was not expecting him at all, I could have believed the moment if it had been someone else who was helping me. We both reached for the same book at the same time and our hands touched. His was cold as winter against my warm skin. And he pulled his hand away so fast it took me by surprise.
“Umm… thanks,” I said.
“No problem.” And he gave me a smile that made my heart gallop at a million miles per hour.
I started turning red, I felt like he could hear the pounding of my heart against my chest just as I heard it pounding in my ears. I just stood there like an idiot, completely hypnotized by him when he pulled my chair for me. I looked down embarrassed, and sat down and he took me by surprise again by sitting next to me.
“So,” he said. “What have you been up to?”
I blinked, his question took me by even more surprise, especially the way he was talking to me, like we were two people who were friends since childhood and had lost contact, and now all of a sudden they had reunited.
“Umm…nothing, really,” I said with hesitation. “Just school and my birthday party.” I had no idea why I mentioned the party; I mean I didn’t even want the stupid party in the first place. It just came out of my mouth of its own accord. But soon I realized why I had done it.
I was talking about the party hoping that he would ask about it, and so then I would just find myself with the opportunity to ask him if he’d like to come.
“It’s your birthday?”
“Yeah.” I said at loss of anything else to say.
“How old are you going to be?” he asked seemingly interested.
“Eighteen,” I said. And before I even thought about it I heard myself blurting out, “Maybe you can come?”
His eyes seemed thoughtful for a second then they seemed to sparkle just like his smile as he said, “Yes, I think I can make it.” He said, and as I looked at him I got the feeling that he was trying not to be too elated.
He started asking me questions about me and I answered him in delight not wanting the magic that was between us at the moment to slip away.
I heard a throat clearing from the front of the class. But I didn’t pay any attention to it until I heard a voice say “Miss Goldsmith I’m sorry to interrupt what I’m sure is your very interesting conversation, with Mr. Vorkiev. But unless you two would like to continue your conversation at the Deans office I suggest you pay attention.”
I started to sit straight when I realized how close I was to Alec. He turned towards the front and looked down, I did the same and from the corner of my eye I could see that he was silently shaking from laughter. I started smiling and Mr. Tanner caught me.
“Am I missing some sort of joke?” He said with a stern look that made me want to laugh even more.
I turned serious—well as serious as I could manage to—and looked down just like Alec. After Mr. Tanner’s back was turned I looked to look at Alec and he was looking back at me. We were both smiling and after a few seconds we each fell into a fit of silent laughter.
* * *
I was standing on Jessica’s front steps along with Sam and Angie, ringing the door bell. We heard a loud thump from inside. The three of us looked at each other in confusion. Sam shrugged.
Suddenly the door opened and Jessica was standing there in front of us looking like a mess.
She smiled, “Hey you guys I totally forgot you were coming over after school.”
I was the first to speak, “Jess, are you okay? You seem…” I paused looking for the right word. “Agitated,” I said at last.
“Me? Oh I’m alright. I was just, uh sleeping and I was having a nightmare.”
“Hey what was that thump we heard from inside?” Sam asked her.
“Yeah.” Angie said.
Her face seemed to go blank for a second and then she answered quickly. “I . . . just fell off my bed when I heard the doorbell.” After a moment she added, “I told you I was sleeping.”
“Guess it explains why your hair is all messed up,” said Samantha. As we stepped inside she added smiling, “And since when do you wear booty shorts?”
“Since forever, where have you been?” she said offended.
“Where should we go to plan this?” I asked. “Should we go to your room or—“
“No! Not my room!” Jess suddenly burst out. We all looked at her puzzled. She looked to be on the verge of panic.
“Jess—“I started, but Sam stepped in front of me and turned to Jessica.
“Why?” Sam asked as we she and Angie looked at Jess weirdly, I was looking at Jess with what I was sure a suspicious look on my face. I think that Jessica could sense it because it seemed to me like she was avoiding looking at me.
Jessica finally said after a long period of hesitation, “It’s just that, well my room is a mess and trust me you do not want to go in there.”
“Okay,” Angela said. “Well let’s get to the living room.”
I followed behind Angie. We entered the living room and sat on the black leather couch. We set blank papers on the old oak coffee table that Jessica’s mom loved.
I sat down with a deep breath. “Okay Jess what’s going on. Don’t give me that look, I know something’s up,” I said when she faked a confused look.
“I know you, and I know that something’s going on. First, you don’t go to school, and we all know that you never, ever miss talking about a party, especially one that you’re throwing. Second of all, you stayed in bed all day long ‘sleeping’ according to you. And it’s not like you at all to forget that we were coming over. Plus I could tell you made this whole ‘sleeping’ thing up. So you want to tell me what is really going on?”
“Fifi nothing is going on. I think you’re just imagining things,” she said but I thought her voice sounded a little shaky.
“Don’t give me the ‘you’re imagining things’ crap Jess. Don’t you trust me? Just tell me what’s going on.”
“I can’t Fifi. I really can’t.” She said pleadingly.
“Fine, but don’t you dare get yourself in trouble Jessica, because I swear I will not help you get out of it. I don’t fucking care what it is, I swear it.” I said with anger spilling through every word. It wasn’t that I was overreacting, I knew I wasn’t. It was just that it pissed me off that Jessica didn’t trust me enough to tell me what was going on—and I definitely knew that something was up with her—while I always told her everything.
She nodded and looked at me one last time. I didn’t look at her I just grabbed the remote and turned on the T.V.
The three of them sat down close together and started talking about things for the party. I decided to forget about Jess. It probably really wasn’t anything, and I just made a big deal out of something stupid. So I instead started spacing out and thinking about Alec and our conversation and of course how hot he was.
I was at the beach looking at the beautiful sunset and holding Alec’s hand when
I woke up with a jerk as the music from the news started. I guess that I had fallen asleep and the Alec fantasies had turned into dreams. I looked around and when I looked at the clock it was 5:30. I must have fallen asleep for a long time.
I turned to Jess, Angie, and Sam. They were close together around the table.
“Hey guys—“Right then the news interrupted me.
“On other news,” the newswoman, Kyra Phillips was saying. “The police have been receiving constant reports of brutal attacks all over the country. Many dead bodies have been found in different places like in garbage cans or simply dumped on the streets.
“These killers don’t seem to care about leaving the bodies in dangerous places because so far they have not left a clue as to who they are. Not a foreign fingerprint or a single lock of hair has been found in any of the murder scenes or the corpses. Some of these corpses have been torn into unrecognizable pieces.
“Another thing that the police, and certainly the medical examiners have noted is that every single one of the recognizable bodies has had their blood drained completely from their body. Some only have two small puncture wounds on their neck, while others suffer from cuts all over their bodies. How the killers managed to drain the last drop of blood from these corpses is still a mystery to everyone.
“The police are worried that these killing streaks will continue if not in greater numbers. After all the possible investigations, there does not seem to be any reason behind all these brutal killings and that is something that is worrisome. The police have been considering this to be some kind of national gang activity; they think that maybe more gangs all over the country have come together with other gangs to commit these crimes.
“We really do not want to consider the possibility that this is only a small group of people, because it is certainly difficult to believe that anyone would travel across the country to kill random people just for the thrill of it. Especially in two weeks kill more than a thousand people. We hope that the police will find at least a clue as to who is responsible for this.
“But, well moving on to much happier news, Paris Hilton and Doug Reinhardt finally set a date for their wedding. The happy couple revealed to us that. . .” Kyra droned on.
“Oh—My—God, guys did you hear that?” It was Angela who spoke; I was still too in shock about what Kyra had said to say anything.
“Oh come on you guys, you seriously don’t believe all that crap that stupid bitch said do you?” said Jessica.
We all looked at her incredulously. How could she not believe what they had said on the news, most of all, why would anyone lie about deaths in staggering numbers?
“For God’s sake Jessica it’s the news, why would the news lie, especially about something so serious, it’s not April fools you know. And besides that why would they want to scare the crap out of so many people, they know that it would probably cause major uproar,” I said.
“Oh please. You seriously believe what she said don’t you? Come. On. I mean two small puncture wounds on the neck, their blood drained from their bodies; don’t get offended but it all sounds to me like a stupid vampire story.”
We didn’t say anything. “Don’t tell me you guys are worried those killers are going to get to you.” She looked at each of us and sighed, “There’s a one in 300 million chance that those killers would get to you so stop worrying.”
* * *
I was standing there outside of Jessica's house. I listened to what she was telling her friends. How ironic that she, the one person that wasn’t worried, the one person that thought it was all a story, was the person who had just been with one of those “evil killers”.
She had no idea that I had only even looked at her because she simply smelled delicious; the scent of her blood had been enough to almost drive me crazy. But it was nothing compared to the smell of that friend of hers. What was her name? Oh, yes Sophia. Yes, that was her name. Her scent really was irresistible I could only contain myself because I had such strong self-control, but every strand of my being yelled at me to get in the house and drink her blood……