I laid in bed staring at my ceiling fan. I was too excited to sleep. In the morning we were going to go on vacation and it would be the first time in my fifteen years that I had actually gone to another state. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York. I’ve been to a couple places within New York but just to visit relatives and stuff. Now I am finally getting my chance to leave New York and see what the rest of the world is like. Tomorrow I get to go to Chicago for the first time.
I can’t wait. I love cities. I never pass up the chance to go into downtown Buffalo. I just love watching all the commotion. It’s going to be so great to experience another, larger city. It wasn’t actually a true vacation. My dad works for this ad agency and they are sending him there on business. They’re going to put him up in some great hotel and he is allowed to take my mom and me with him. He’s going to have most nights and a weekend to spend with us so it should be fun.
The morning finally came and I was anxiously waiting by the door with all my bags. The company was sending a car over to take us to the airport but it hadn’t arrived yet. My dad kept telling me to calm down but I was too ecstatic about the trip. My first time on a plane, my first time in Chicago, my first real vacation with my parents. It was going to be so awesome. I had a great relationship with them. We were a very close family, me being an only child I was afforded all the affection any kid could want growing up. I know some kids hated to be seen with their parents as teenagers but mine were so cool to be with. I loved them very much and enjoyed the time we spent together.
Mom did some volunteer work with a bunch of different agencies. She never really had to work for money cause Dad was pretty successful. We weren’t millionaires or anything but we lived more than comfortably. Most summers Mom would stay home and take my friends and me where ever we wanted to go. She was pretty cool about it. Some times when I had a bunch of friends over she would just take off for hours, knowing that I wanted to get into a little bit of mischief. They knew I wouldn’t do anything real bad. I never got into drugs or tried to steal any alcohol from the cabinet or anything. Hell, I’ve never even smoked a cigarette.
I hung out with a pretty good crowd in school. We were all a bunch of band nerds just trying to fit in. I wasn’t really a geek or anything but we all had our own special quirk. I played a baritone saxophone, which put me in the same section as the tuba players. One of my better friends, Keith, weighed about two hundred-fifty pounds and fit the jolly fat-guy roll to a T. I called him the Tuba-man for obvious reasons. I also hung out with a couple of the drummers, and everyone knows how they can be. They all came over last night to bid me a good trip and all asked me to bring them something back.
I sensed my dad was getting agitated by me pacing in front of the door so I took a seat on the couch with him. My knees were bouncing as I sat and watched some morning talk shows. “You’re not eager to go or anything are you, Tyler?” He asked me. I just smiled back at him.
A short time later I heard a car door shut out in the driveway and looked at my dad out of the corner of my eye. I saw him turn to me with an over-exaggerated look of excitement. I had a feeling he was going to try something and I jumped off the couch to run to the door. Just as I left the couch I was pulled back onto it in a heap of laughter.
“Where do you think you’re going, Mister?” He joked.
“Dad, come on! Lemme go!” I was laughing and whining all at once as he pinned me to the couch with one arm. Not that I’m a weakling, but my dad is a pretty strong guy. I do work out with him quite a bit and have even developed a nice six-pack, but I was no match against him.
“Honestly, I don’t know how I’ve survived with two boys living in this house.” My mom said as we wrestled on the couch.
I finally broke free, or more likely he let me go, and raced to the door. I didn’t waste time greeting the driver, I just grabbed my stuff and ran out to the car. I heard my dad talking to him while I packed everything in the trunk. “Hey Sam, how’re you doing today?”
“Well I’m good, but I think your son is doing better, Dave.” He joked.
“Yeah, he’s a little excited about the trip. First time and all.” My dad said.
“Can I help you with your bags?”
“Oh, no thank you, we’ll get it. You’re doing enough just driving me to the airport. I really appreciate it. Tyler! Come get your mothers bags.” He bellowed.
“Coming Father!” I yelled sarcastically, as I ran up to the porch to retrieve the suitcases.
Mom and I got in the back and Dad road up front with the driver, Sam. He and my dad talked while we made the trip to Buffalo Niagara airport and I got the feeling that Sam wasn’t just a driver. We cruised north on interstate ninety and I just zoned and stared out the window. I was thinking of all the stuff we could do during the next ten days. The more I thought the less time it seemed we had. Ten days was a lot considering the company was putting us up but with all I had in mind it wasn’t enough.
With morning traffic it took us about twenty-five minutes to get to the airport. Sam pulled up to the curb and we all got out of the car. My mom and I went to the trunk and started to pile our bags on the sidewalk while Dad was talking to Sam at the front of the car. After all the bags were out I went to stand next to my dad.
He and Sam shook hands and then Sam went to the drivers’ door. “Ok, call me if anything comes up. Hell, call me anyway so I know if we made the dough, all right? Good luck, Dave.”
Sam left and we gathered our stuff and moved to the long line in front of the US Airways ticket counter. “Dad, who’s that guy? I thought he was just a driver from the company.”
“No, he’s no driver. Sam’s my boss actually. He offered me this trip to Chicago and wanted to see me off personally. If things go well, this could mean a lot of money for the firm and a big promotion for me. So cross your fingers.” I had no idea it was such a big deal. I was just so hyped up about the vacation part of it I guess I never realized.
It took us almost twenty minutes to get through the line. I was so bored. When we finally got to the counter the lady gave my dad a hard time about our seat assignments. I guess we couldn’t get a full row like we were supposed to. One of us was going to have to sit alone and the other two seats were three rows back and on the opposite side of the plane. It wasn’t really a big deal, just annoying I guess.
I got to watch all the people as we made our way to the security checkpoint. People watching is one of my favorite pastimes. I think everyone should try it. Just observe how people act when they walk down a sidewalk or through a mall. It can tell you a lot about a person. I took off my backpack and set it on the conveyer to be x-rayed. I stepped through the metal detector and the thing beeped at me. The lady asked me if I had anything in my pockets and I said no. She made me step back through and the stupid thing went off again. I had to be frisked because of it, which I found amusing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for security at the airport, but I don’t think a fifteen year old, blond haired, blue eyed, white kid that was all of five foot six inches and could push a hundred and thirty pounds after a good meal, really fit the description for a terrorist. After this fat security guard whose shirt was too small frisked me, I joined my parents at the end of the hall and we walked to our gate.
Of course it was all the way down at the end of the terminal. It took us almost as long to get to it as it did to get through line. We all sat in the grimy airport chairs and waited for our flight to be called. We still had about fifteen minutes before boarding and I got bored quickly. My mom started reading some Danielle Steel book and my dad was looking over papers in his briefcase. I decided to get up and look out the window to see what was going on down on the tarmac.
There was so much commotion down there. All these people running around doing different stuff. Some people drove food trucks, some drove fuel trucks, others sped around with the baggage carts. It was so cool to watch. Then I noticed the wheels on the airplane. Have you ever realized how small they are? I mean, they’re bigger than car tires no doubt, but considering the size of the vehicle they carry, they seem tiny. I watched a guy walk over to one and check the inflation of it. Good to know that’s being done I guess.
Then came the sound I’ve been waiting for, “Now boarding flight 1767 service to Philadelphia. Please have your ticket and a photo ID ready as you board the aircraft.” We had to go through Philadelphia and then get on a connection to Chicago.
She went on about which seats were first and all but at that point I didn’t care what she was saying. I ran back to my parents and they were putting their things away and sorting out the tickets. “I want to sit by the window, did we get a window seat, Dad?”
He looked over the tickets and then back to me. “Well, the lone ticket is a window. You sure you want to sit by yourself?”
“Yeah, It’s not like I’m scared or anything.” I looked to my mom and could see her apprehension. “Oh come on Mom, I’m not a kid here. I just want to enjoy my first time on a plane.”
“I didn’t say anything. If you want to sit by yourself, please by all means, Lord knows I’ll be crushing your fathers arm when we take off.” My dad rolled his eyes and my mom smacked him playfully on the arm for it.
“Ouch, that hurt.” He said while rubbing his arm. “Here’s your ticket. Just wait for us before you get off okay?”
“Sweet!” I grabbed my ticket and looked at it to see where the seat was. I noticed that my name was on the ticket. I forgot that they assigned you seats by name at the counter. I didn’t think about it till now. “Hey, my name’s on this one.”
“Well duh! You didn’t think I would put you anywhere else did you?” He had it planned the whole time. I should have known.
We got in line to get on the plane when our seats were called and Mom got picked for the random screening check. She had to go and dump out her carry-on bag and get checked with one of those hand-held metal detectors. After that was finished we all walked down the gate and onto the plane. I found my seat and had to climb over some old guy that was already sleeping in the middle seat. His wife was next to him in the aisle seat.
I stared out the window for the entire takeoff. It was cool seeing the ground leave you. Everything got smaller and smaller as we continued. I actually liked the sensation in my ears. It wasn’t much different than diving to the bottom of a pool really. I forced myself to yawn a couple times and everything equalized. After we got to our cruising altitude the scenery got stale. The tops of the clouds were definitely cool to look at but after a few minutes it all looked the same.
I snatched my bag out from under the seat and took out my book. I was just starting on the second book of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. It’s called The Vampire Lestat and so far it’s a good book. Not that I believed in any of that stuff, but I love reading sci-fi stories.
After the flight attendants had passed out the drinks, my dad stopped by to see how I was. “What’s up, Sport? Having a good time?”
“Yeah I guess so. How’s your hand?” He made a face at me and stuck his tongue out as he rolled his eyes back. I laughed and said, “Tell Mom I’m fine and that she can stop worrying. I’m not a baby anymore.”
“I know, you just try telling her that.” He motioned his head back towards my mother as he turned to go sit with her.
After a while I felt a pop in my ears again and felt the plane start to descend. I put my book away and gazed out the window again. It was cool watching the ground slowly reappear through the fog of the clouds. Everything started to get bigger as we descended. It was such a different view on stuff, seeing all the cars driving around and the little people walking from above. I watched the whole time until we touched down and taxied across the runway. The man next to me finally woke up after we were at the gate. I waited for my parents to get up to me before I got off the plane. We only had fifteen minutes to get to our gate that was across the airport for the connecting flight. We walked at a brisk pace all the way there and got there just as our seats were being called. This time we all got to sit together. I still got the window though.
My mom practically broke my hand during the takeoff. She let my dad and me know just how much she hates takeoffs and landings by squeezing our hands till the circulation was cut off. This flight was a little longer than the last. I took a short nap but some turbulence woke me up so I read a little more. When we started to land I turned back to the window. The city came into view and the collage of buildings and parks and houses was breathtaking. I scanned the ground trying to see everything and remember it all at the same time. My mom even looked out once but she squeezed my hand even harder when she did. The plane landed in O’Hare with a slight bump and the flaps on the wings went back, slowing us down.
When we got to the gate my dad stepped into the isle and let us out before everyone tried to rush for the door. We exited the plane and followed all the arrows to baggage claim. We retrieved our bags from the carrousel and went outside to the awaiting shuttle that would take us to the rental car place. While there my dad got directions to the hotel and we were on our way.
I took in the sights from the back seat. Looking at all the tall buildings growing out of the scenery as we made our way into downtown Chicago from the airport. I didn’t hear where we were actually staying so I asked my dad if the company put us up in the Holiday Inn or something. He answered, “Not exactly.” And left it at that. I guess he wanted to surprise us.
We finally made it into the city and I marveled at all the old statues and works of art on the sides of the road. We went under what looked to be a bridge. My dad said that it was actually the “L” an elevated railcar that ran throughout the city. Sounded cool enough. We went over a small bridge and two huge towers came into view. I saw a sign for The Hilton but surely we couldn’t be staying there. My dad pulled in and put the car into park and said, “We’re here!”
“The Hilton?” My mom said in amazement.
“Pretty nice huh? They really went all out for me this time. Said that I need to be in a good environment so that I can close this deal properly. We even have one of the executive rooms reserved in case I need to have some meetings here.”
“Wow, this place looks really nice.” I said as I exited the car and looked in through the glass doors. My dad popped the trunk and I went around to unload the bags but a guy in a red jacket moved passed me with a baggage cart.
“Please, Sir, allow me.” He said as he began to put our bags onto the cart. Another man came out and handed my dad a valet parking slip and got in the car to drive it away.
We followed the guy with the cart to the front counter and checked in. Our room was on the twelfth floor so we got on the elevator and headed up. The room was amazing. It had a huge living room area with a separate bedroom. The couch was a pull out and I guess that’s where I’d be sleeping. There was even a phone in the bathroom. I mean how busy can you be that you need to talk on the phone when in the bathroom? We had a great view of Lake Michigan and there was also a park in between us and the lake that looked really nice.
It was after one by the time we got settled in and since my dad didn’t have anything to do today we decided to walk around for a while. We went out of the hotel and walked across the street to the park. It was called Grant Park and looked like it could be a lot of fun. There were all kinds of flyers giving notice to a free music festival that was coming up. There were soccer fields, baseball fields, volleyball courts, tennis courts, you name it, it was here.
We kept walking passed the park and strolled down a sidewalk with all kinds of shops and stuff. I don’t know how far we walked. I was just trying to take everything in. It was such a cool place. I don’t know what it is about cities that I like so much but I was enjoying myself immensely. I think we had been walking for about an hour before my mom finally found a store she wanted to go into. It was some fancy dress store and my dad rolled his eyes and said that just because we were staying in a Hilton didn’t mean we were rich. She ignored him of course and walked in. We stayed outside and waited for a while before we decided that she wouldn’t be coming out anytime soon. I saw a CD shop not too far down the road and I told my dad that I was going to check it out.
I walked in and started looking over the selection of music. One of the guys that worked there came over and asked if I needed any help but I told him I was just looking, but thanks anyway. I found it odd that he had a big C drawn on the back of his hand but I didn’t mention it. He seemed like a nice enough guy. I looked around for a while before my dad came in to retrieve me. He said we were going to catch a cab back to the hotel and then go out to dinner somewhere.
The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful. We settled on some restaurant that had tables out on the sidewalk where we sat and watched everyone go by. We walked back to the hotel and crashed on the couch for a while. I was sitting in between my parents slumped down on the couch. I saw my dad look over at me and then back to the TV. I knew he was up to something. He looked at me again and a second later a pillow slammed into my face. He jumped up and started to run away into the bedroom so I grabbed a pillow from the couch and followed him. As soon as I stepped into the room I caught sight of a white object moving towards me from the corner of my eye. I ducked just in time to miss it this time and backhanded him with my pillow. I jumped onto the bed and we started to wrestle around for a while, smacking each other with pillows. We heard a loud, “Boys!” come from behind us and we turned in unison to be greeted by an onslaught of pillows being thrown at us by my mom. This continued for about fifteen minutes before we were all exhausted and we lay in a heap on the bed.
“All right, Bud, time for me to go to sleep. Big day for me tomorrow. I’ll try to be back at around six, we can all go out then.”
“Cool, whatever, Dad. See ya tomorrow. Night, Mom.”
“Good night, Tyler.” She answered. “Don’t stay up too late watching TV.”
“Claire, leave the kid alone, he’s on vacation.” My dad said mockingly.
“Yeah, leave the kid alone.” I added as I walked out of their room.
“Watch it, Kiddo. You’ve got to spend the day with me tomorrow.”
We all said good night again and I closed the door as I walked out. I got the pullout couch ready and flipped through the channels as I tried to sleep. The next morning I woke up just as my dad was leaving.
“Dad?” I said, still half asleep.
“Hey, sorry, I tried to be quiet.”
“No problem, good luck today, Dad.”
“Thanks, Ty. Have a good time with your mom. I’ll see you guys tonight.”
I went back to sleep for a while before Mom and I hit the town. The next few days were about the same. Mom and me would go around town and visit all the various museums and art galleries (her thing, not mine) during the day and then we would all go somewhere at night. One day we spent lying around the indoor pool at the hotel. We just vegged all day, it was great. We found Navy Pier while walking one day. It was only a couple miles from the hotel. We went out to the end and enjoyed the cool breeze coming off of the lake. We took my dad back there one night and had dinner and then caught a show at the Imax theater.
Friday morning finally came and Dad was really tense. He was supposed to close on the deal today. I could understand why he was so nervous about it. This is what he has been working for all week. He’s been pitching ideas for these people and working against other ad agencies hoping to get the job. I was also eager for him to get it because if it didn’t work out then he would be miserable all weekend and we were supposed to do stuff. Plus it could be bad for his career and the firm.
He was supposed to know by noon whether he got it or not. Mom and I waited around the hotel room all day, anxiously waiting to hear back from him. At about half past twelve we heard a noise from the door and both jumped up to meet him. He walked in with a slouch in his shoulders and a grim look on his face. I looked at Mom and she put a hand up to her mouth with a concerned look. When I looked back to my dad I saw a smile start to grow on his face.
“I got it!” He screamed and wrapped a hand around both of us, lifting us into the air and spinning around. We all hugged and cheered as we danced in the doorway.
“Don’t do that to us, David.” My mom said humorously.
“Oh come on, I got you guys good.” He said in a laugh.
“I knew you’d get it all along.” I claimed.
“You did huh? Well why didn’t you tell me? I’ve been sweating bullets all day.”
After we finished celebrating we started to make plans for that evening. Dad called Sam and played the same prank. When he finally couldn’t hold back his laugh anymore he told him how it had actually went. I didn’t hear the other side of the conversation but Sam seemed very pleased.
Dad made reservations at some fancy restaurant and then relaxed for a while down by the pool. At about six we all got into some nice clothes and went down to our awaiting car. We drove for a while and passed by the restaurant a couple times looking for a parking space before finally giving up and settling on a parking garage about two blocks away.
We walked down the sidewalk towards the restaurant chatting about what we would do all weekend. It was pretty dark out by now but the streetlights helped us find our way. I looked down an alley and saw some people sleeping next to a dumpster. Something caught my attention just past them at the end of the alley but I couldn’t make out what it was. There were three people standing there but there was something strange about them. I almost stopped to stare but my dad pulled me along. It almost looked like their eyes were… glowing. Weird.
A table was ready for us when we got to the restaurant. I was surprised that there was actually a place that could take a reservation and actually live up to it. It was a pretty fancy establishment. There was one of those big fancy chandeliers hanging over our table and the waitress came out with a bottle of complimentary wine and proceeded to fill our glasses. When she got to mine she kinda looked to my dad and he nodded to her. He told her that we were celebrating a big event and that it would be ok this one time. I only got half a glass but it was the thought that counted.
Dinner was excellent. Everything came out right on time and it was all cooked just right. Better yet, the waitress actually kept our glasses full (After the first glass of wine I was switched to Coke). That’s about the best thing you can do for me though. My biggest pet peeve about dinning out is when my glass sits empty forever. I guess when you paid fifty bucks for a meal the drinks weren’t that big a deal though huh? We sat and talked for a while after finishing our meal. We thought it might be cool to see a show later and asked the waitress what was good. She suggested we check out the music festival at Grant Park. I had seen flyers for it all week but never thought about going. I just didn’t think my parents would be into it. It was right across from the hotel though so maybe they would go.
We thanked her and my dad tipped her really well, considering this meal was paid for by Sam. We walked out and started for the parking garage when I got a feeling that we were being watched. I turned and saw a group of three men walking about twenty feet behind us. I looked around and noticed that no one else was on the road, which seemed really odd for a city at this time of night. I kept walking but glanced back every so often to see if they were still there. I couldn’t get over this feeling though. I looked back once and one of them gazed up at me. His eyes glowed a bright yellow and when he smiled I could have sworn I saw fangs. What the hell was going on here?
“Dad, Dad, I think those guys are following us.” I said nervously.
“Don’t be silly, Tyler. This is a big city, I’m sure they’re just going the same way as us.”
“Yeah but,” What was I supposed to say? The one guy has glowing eyes and fangs. That would get a good laugh out of them. Before I continued I turned back again and they were gone.
“But what, son.” He stopped walking and turned around to see what I was talking about. “Who’s following us?” He wasn’t mad, he had a concerned tone to his voice, but it almost seemed like he was mocking me.
I turned again and then looked back to my parents. “Nothing, I guess I was just seeing things. Sorry. OH SHIT!”
I screamed out as I jumped backwards. Just as I turned to face them two of the men that had been following us fell from the sky and grabbed my parents flinging them into an alley. They threw them like they were rag dolls. The whole time I stood paralyzed by fear. I yelled after them but didn’t hear any calls in return. Everything happened so fast. I was about to run after them when I felt myself being lifted up and my body was propelled forward. Before I knew what had happened I crashed down into the cement, banging my head on the ground. I grasped at my head and tried to turn so that I could locate my attacker. Before I could do anything, a strong grip was around me and I was pushed back to the ground. A hand went around my mouth and another reached around my chest securing my arms. He turned my head and I saw my parents. The other two men were crouched over them and they had their mouths nuzzled against their necks. I saw a stream of blood coming from the side of one of the assailant’s mouths as he chewed at my mother’s neck.
I tried to scream but the moment I did there was a sharp pain in my neck. My body tensed and I squirmed as much as I could but the more I fought that weaker I became. My neck began to feel cold and I could hear a distinct slurping sound. His grip on me loosened and his hand slipped from my mouth. I was too exhausted to cry out though. He probably knew this. One of the men stood over my father’s body and wiped his mouth clean of blood. He had a pleased look on his face. I glanced down at my dad and I could tell that he was dying. He stared right at me and mouthed my name. I could only do that same and hope that he knew what I was thinking; hope that he knew I loved him.
I felt my body fall to the ground but there was no pain. My body was limp and I found myself unable to move. I looked up to the sky and wondered what had happened. There was no ready explanation for what had just taken place. A form appeared above me and blocked my view of everything else. He stared down at me with glowing red eyes, they looked so evil, as my blood dripped down from his chin and landed on my face.
“That should teach you not to stare, kid.” The man growled. He said this and immediately looked over his shoulder. He gave a hiss at something and scampered off towards the back of the alley.
I fought to keep my eyes open. It hurt so much to breath. There was an excruciating pain coming from my neck. Each time I closed my eyes I fell into an abyss of blackness, not knowing whether or not I would come out of it. Many thoughts went through my head while I lay there. I couldn’t help but feel like this was my fault. They attacked us because I stared at them. That’s what the man said. My parents must be dead or dying also and it was all because of me. Nothing made sense though. How did they do it? Why were they so strong? Why did their eyes glow? Lastly, why did they run?
Someone must have saw them killing us. Maybe it was the police. Where were they? How long have I been sitting here. It felt like an eternity. Perhaps it was only a few seconds. I kept struggling to keep my eyes open but it seemed like a loosing battle. Even when my eyelids were open my eyes would slide to the back of my head. I still had no control over my body but I could feel a coolness dripping from my neck to my shoulder and down my back a little. It pooled under me. The only thing it could be is blood. The thought terrified me to no end.
I heard the ground pounding under me. It sounded like footsteps but it was amplified many times. Muffled voices filled the alley. “Those bastards, don’t they know not to feed around here?”
“They’re animals, they don’t even try to blend. Assholes, took out a whole family this time.”
“What a shame.” I could hear the talk but it didn’t make sense. If they were cops why weren’t they helping me? I was so scared. I could feel myself slipping out of this world and I was powerless to prevent it.
I worked up as much energy as I could and croaked out two words. “Help me.” I’m sure it wasn’t loud enough. I could barely hear it myself.
“What was that?” One of them questioned. Did they hear me?
I tried to speak and again it came out as a whisper. “Please… help… me.”
“Holy shit. Max, come here. This one’s still alive.” A female voice spoke this time and she seemed to have a very worried tone. I guess it must look as bad as it feels.
“What? Look out Jen, let me see.” I felt a hand touch my arm and I wrestled to keep my eyes open long enough to look at him. “Shit, he’s drained pretty bad.”
“What do you want to do with him?” Asked the female.
“I don’t know. There’s not much we can do.” He said hopelessly. I felt myself slip closer to death with each word that they spoke.
“Please… I don’t want to die.” I whined. I’m not sure my lips even moved this time. Maybe I was just thinking it. I had to try harder.
“Don’t try to talk kid. We can hear you just fine if you think it, okay?” He spoke lightly and with much concern in his voice. I didn’t understand how they could hear my thoughts but I didn’t really care, it made it easier to communicate. “Shit man, this is messed up. Why would they leave him like this?” He touched my chin with two fingers and tilted my head to the side. He examined my neck and then turned my head back so that I was looking straight up again.
“What are we gonna do, Max?”
“I don’t know, Jenna. I mean look at him. There’re only two things we can do at this point.” I felt that they were giving up and tried to interject.
“Please, help me! I don’t want to die! Please!” I thought.
“You don’t know what you ask!” He screamed. I felt a tear drip from my eye and shifted them so that I was looking to my left. I saw my mother and father lying just past the feet of the female. I wonder if they’re ok. “They’re gone already. There’s nothing I can do for them.”
I let my eyes close and felt an urge to give up. What was the point? My family was dead. I was dying. Did I want to live? I opened them again and I was still looking at my parents. I shifted my gaze to the girl and was instantly inspired. She was breathtaking. She had the bluest eyes I had ever seen and the prettiest blond hair that flowed to her shoulders. Her face was so clean and smooth. I almost felt bad that I made her worried. She must look so nice with a smile.
A half-smile grew on her face and she blushed slightly. She shook her head and spoke to the guy. “We can’t leave him here, Max.” She said softly.
“Damn it Jen, what do you suggest? Take him back to the lot? I’m sure Bryson would be thrilled with that. I don’t think he’d last anyway.” Just then a small boy came up behind him and started to tug on his sleeve. “I thought I told you watch the street, Kid.” He yelled. The boy merely tugged harder and pointed to the front of the alley. “Fuck, Dylan, go check it.”
I saw another boy go running towards the street. He was younger than me, but older than the kid that had come running up. I looked back up towards the guy that was kneeling beside me. They called him Max. He was about my age. He had black hair that was a little longer than the girls, they called her Jenna. I tried to follow what was happening but I’m not sure it was much use. I was dying. I could feel it. I was getting so cold. It was so hard to concentrate now and my eyes were getting exceedingly heavy.
I used my last remaining strength to reach out to him. My arm was numb and I didn’t really know if it was moving. I saw him look down and I clamped my hand around his wrist. “Max, please, I don’t want to die, help me,” I thought. “Please.” I said aloud with a scratchy voice. I could no longer keep my eyes open and my hand fell back to the ground. I heard two sets of footsteps running back towards us.
“There’s a lady down the road, she’s talking to the cops, saying that she heard someone scream from the alley and that she saw four kids go running in.” said the older of the two boys.
There was a moment of silence and I knew my fate was being decided. I didn’t know why they were so scared of the police. Maybe they could help me. Why didn’t they want to tell them what had happened? They did see our attackers.
At length Max spoke. “All right. We’ll bring him back to the lot. Bryson can decide from there what to do with him. If he makes it that long.”
I felt myself being lifted from the ground. My limbs hung limply as we ran through the back alleys. It felt almost like I was flying. I could feel the wind against my face but the rest of my body was numb. I fought as hard as I could to not loose consciousness but some time into our flight I slipped into a dark void.
I slowly became aware that I was at rest again and lying on something soft. My mind began to replay the events that had occurred and I was instantly petrified. I couldn’t seem to work my eyes so I just listened to a conversation that was taking place next to me.
“I still don’t see why you brought him back, Max.”
“Well, I did Bryson, so let’s just deal with it. Okay? Can we do it?” Said the now-familiar voice of Max.
“Don’t you think he should be asked?” Said Bryson.
“He’s not really in any condition to make such a decision. He begged me to save him in the alley. You weren’t there. You didn’t see his eyes. Ask Jen, she was there.”
There was a small pause and I wondered if she was there. I remembered her beautiful face and it brought some life back to me. “He did ask to be saved. And his eyes, they were wonderful.”
“Oh Christ, don’t tell me,” Bryson started. He stopped abruptly and I heard movement and then felt as though everyone was staring at me. “Well, he’s awake now, why don’t we see which path he chooses when he knows the truth.”
“Tyler, can you open your eyes? I know you’re in pain right now but you have to try and open your eyes so that we can talk to you.” Max said.
I swallowed hard and only half realized that he knew my name without me telling him. I don’t remember telling him anyway. I took a deep breath, as deep as I could with the pain in my neck, and let it out slowly. I struggled to open my eyes but the pain was quick to stop me. “Just relax. Let them fall open. Relax your entire body and let your eyelids fall open.” Someone coached. I never heard of eyelids falling open. Falling closed, maybe, but falling open? “Just trust me, relax everything, and let them open.” He continued.
I tried to relax myself but the panicky feeling began to grow. I had no idea where I was. I had no idea who these people were. I had no idea if I was going to live. And I had no idea what happened to my parents. “This won’t work if you don’t trust us. Open your damned eyes so that we can talk, or you will die.” Bryson commanded.
My eyes surprisingly sprung open in fear of what he had said. It was almost automatic, I didn’t even think about it. I looked around the small room and saw four people. Max and Jenna, who I had seen before, where standing on either side of the bed that I was lying on. Bryson, who I was seeing for the first time, was standing at the foot of the bed, staring down at me. With the conversation I had heard so far, it seems that he is in charge. He didn’t look much older than me. He had a small patch of brown hair on his chin that wasn’t quite a goatee but it didn’t really make him look older. His hands were crossed in front of him and there was a smirk on his face. The fourth person was sitting in a wheelchair in the corner of the room.
“All right, that’s better. All your questions will be answered, don’t worry about that. There is something you need to know before we get into things though. Do you think you can stay with us for a while, or do we have to tape your eyes open?” Bryson, asked.
With hesitation I answered. “I’ll try, but please, tell me what happened to my parents. Are they okay?”
He looked to Max who wore a grave look. “They didn’t make it, I’m sorry.”
I don’t know what I felt at that moment. The agony and pain and despair all mixed together. I felt a few tears fall from my eyes. “You’ll have time to grieve later. I don’t mean to sound callous, but we have some things to tell you.” Bryson said. He paused and after a moment I caught his gaze but said nothing so he continued. “You must listen carefully because you don’t have long to live. You’ve been poisoned. We were able to slow it down, but you will die, one way or the other.”
“Poisoned? What do you mean? I don’t,”
“Just listen!” He interrupted. “Do you remember what happened to you in the alley?” I nodded and we went on. “The men who attacked you were vampires. I know that is hard for you to believe and I hear your mind questioning it all ready but please, let me continue and then you can make your decision as to what is real and what is not. Think of the events logically and you will see that what I say is truth. They had great strength, excessive speed, glowing eyes, they sucked blood from your neck. It should all add up.
“The one who bit you stopped drinking before your heart was drained. He was going to leave you to suffer there in the alley. A vampire’s bite is lethal though, even if he doesn’t fully kill you right off. There is nothing we can do to save your life. Your choice is to simply die, or to become one of us.”
He stopped there and let his words sink it. It wasn’t something that was easily believed. I can admit that everything that happened in the alley was a bit strange, but vampires? “Having trouble accepting it?” He asked.
I looked around the room again not able to accept what I was being told. “So what are you guys, a ‘Lost Boys’ sequel or something? Going around fighting vampires?” I asked. My pun of the movie wasn’t taken as lightly as I’d hoped.
“Not exactly,” Max said. “We’re vampires also. The only refuge we can offer you is to become one of us, like Bryson said.”
Become one of them? Become a vampire? They’re all vampires? I felt my body begin to shake and my anxiety level rapidly increased. I wanted to jump off the bed and run away but I had no use of my limbs. A fearful look grew on my face and I clenched my teeth so that I wouldn’t scream.
“Go ahead, scream, it’s only natural to be scared. But realize that if you’re scared, you believe what I’m telling you. Also realize that if we wanted you dead, we would have left you on the sidewalk.” Bryson added.
“Try and relax, Tyler. We were able to slow the effects of the poison but it won’t last as long if your adrenaline is up.” The boy in the wheelchair said.
“Why can’t I move? What have you done to me? What the hell is going on?” I yelled.
“You’re were drained of a lot of blood. Doc made it so that you can still think and talk, but the rest of your body is pretty much useless.” Max answered.
“It was the best I could do.” The wheelchair kid added.
“As for your second question, we didn’t do anything other than help you. I understand your apprehension of the situation but please try and calm down, we don’t have long.”
“Tyler,” Jen began. She reached out and grabbed my hand but I couldn’t feel it. I was disappointed that I couldn’t feel her touch. It may have brought me some peace. “You have to make a decision. You have to decide if you still want to exist. It’s not like what you read in those books, not entirely anyway. It can be better than that. It’s not so bad an existence if you spend it with friends.”
“You’re asking me to become vampire? I just… I don’t know.” I said with dismay.
“All right,” Bryson started. “I’m gonna be the straight shooter here kid. You’re parents are dead and you’ll be right behind them if you don’t make this choice. It’s not an easy one, I know, but it’s the hand you’ve been dealt. Do you want to continue on as one of us, or do you want us to let you die.” He let his question hang in suspense for a moment before adding, “Doc, how much time?”
“Ten, fifteen tops.” He stated.
“You’ve got ten minutes to make your mind up, kid. We can wait outside if you like.”
I didn’t answer right away. I closed my eyes and let them rest for a minute. My struggle to keep them open was truly painful. Everything was quiet. No one else spoke but I could feel all eyes on me. I felt the throb in my neck pulsing ever weaker. It was so hard to concentrate. I tried to think about everything that had happened but it was so confusing. I pried my eyes back open and looked around the room. The one kid still sat in his wheel chair in the corner of the room. He caught my glance and looked down to his watch, then back to me with a concerned look. Max’s look was unreadable. Bryson stood with his arms crossed and looked almost annoyed at me being here, like I asked for it. Then I turned to Jenna and she smiled down at me. What a beautiful smile. I turned my gaze to my feet and let things turn in my head a little longer.
“If I do this,” I asked. “Would I have a chance to get them? To get the ones that did this to me?”
“I’m not sure you would want to do that,” Bryson began.
“But you guys know who did this, right? It wouldn’t be impossible.”
“Not impossible, impractical maybe, but not impossible.” Max interjected.
That was really enough for me. I’m not sure what made me do it but I came to the conclusion that revenge would be my purpose for survival. It may not be healthy to exist for the sole purpose of vengeance, but that’s what I would do. I made a vow to avenge my family. I decided then that I would join this group. For better or worse I suppose. As these thoughts crossed my mind I caught mixed looks from this group.
“Retaliation should not be your sole reason to join us, Tyler.” Bryson said.
“How do you know,”
“It’ll be explained later, you have to be sure though. This is nothing that can be reversed. Your life will be over. A lot of the things you’ve heard about vampires are true. You’ll have to accept it all in order to continue. I can’t stress enough how serious this is.”
“I understand. I’d like to do this. I want to.” I stated. I coughed and an immense pain came over me. I winced for a moment as the soreness receded and did my best to focus.
“Not long now, if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to do it now, Max.” Doc said.
I felt woozy all the sudden and started to see black spots. It dawned on me that I was dying. A sense of anxiety rushed though me and my sense of survival kicked in. “Please, I don’t want to die, please help me.”
“I’ll do what I can to help, if that’s what you want to call it, but you will die.” Max said coldly.
His words were confusing but I had no time to contemplate them. I began to feel extremely tired. My body was numb now, the only thing I had control over were my eyes. Max took position over my body and peered down at me. He grabbed onto my head and turned it to the side. I used my peripheral vision to watch his next movements. He was unsure. I could see it in his eyes. It wouldn’t do me any good to tell him again that I wanted him to do it. He needed only to make his own choice. My life was in his hands. He was the sole being that controlled whether or not I continued my existence. I felt a sharp pain come from my chest and moaned in agony. I used the last of my strength to gaze up at him. I blinked once to try to give him one last sign of my desire. I saw him when he made his decision. It seemed almost as if it pained him to do so but I could tell he was going to do it.
He reared back his head and I saw his fangs. They grew down from his gums, they looked so sharp. He stared down at me one last time and I saw his eyes glow a beautiful golden color. He struck so fast I didn’t have time to react. I knew I had asked for it but that didn’t make the pain any less. I heard him tear into my neck and slurp out the blood from my artery. The sound was similar to when you get to the bottom of a glass and keep sucking out of the straw hoping to get more to drink. The only thing that saved me from the excruciating pain was that most of my body was already numb. I felt my eyes clouding over and I began to lose the fight to keep them open. A black ring slowly encircled the outside of my eye. It began to grow until I completely blacked out.
The last thing I remember thinking was, what if. What if we had never come on this trip? What if my dad hadn’t beaten the competition and we had no reason to celebrate? What if we had picked a different restaurant? What if I hadn’t stared at them? What if I was supposed to have died along with my parents? What if this was all wrong? What if I never wake up? What if Max screws up and I die anyway? What if I do wake up and can’t find the ones that did this? What if I kill them? What if? Too late now I guess. Only time will tell what happens to me next.