By DJ Jones
I guess you could call me a vampire hunter, in that, for the past six months, I have been hunting for vampires. Every night, in fact. Never mind that this period of time sliced right through the hardest, coldest stretch of winter that Chicago has to offer. No matter how frigid or snowy the night was, I never skipped out. It’s become an obsession really. I can’t say what will happen if I do find these vampires again. I’ve gone over every scenario. Made plans for every possible problem. I’ve drawn maps and divided the city into sections and zones. I’ve been on most of streets, ridden on most of the trains, visited every city park. I’ve spent hours upon hours on the pier. Watching and waiting, but I always end up back home empty handed.
It was Friday, November 13th, the first time I saw them. I was walking home from the library at a little past nine, when something caught my attention, from the corner of my eye. At first it looked like a simple mugging. A scuffle in the alley. I took shelter in a shadow, just inside the alley, and watched. There’s something about a fight that makes it hard to walk away. I don’t know if it’s some morbid fascination, or what, but it gets your heart rate up, and grabs your attention.
It didn’t take me long to realize what I was seeing, was not a typical fight. It looked like two young teenagers were teaming up against a much bigger, adult man. Whatever this guy tried to do, he was regretting it now. These kids looked like real pros, as they circled him and attacked with damaging precision. It didn’t even look like they were trying. Just toying with him and breaking him down. Laughing and taunting. He was huffing and puffing, his arms tangled in the sleeves of his coat, punching at empty air.
What I saw next, changed everything. One of the boys got in real close to the man, lazily ducking under his pathetic punches. Then he leapt up and bit right into his neck. The man attempted to scream, but the boy covered his mouth with his hand, muffling the sounds of his blood-curdling agony. Moments later, he lost his footing and collapsed onto his back. All the while, the boy kept his mouth firmly locked on his neck.
The other boy crawled out from somewhere in the shadows, and placed his hand on the twitching man’s stomach. He delicately placed his other hand on the man’s knee. Then he lifted his head up and looked me right in the eyes. I don’t know how he saw me, but he had me dead to rights. I felt a fear come over me like nothing I had ever felt before. I was frozen. He tilted his head slightly and presented a crooked smile. As I tried to find my legs again, so I could run like Hell, his eyes started to illuminate a deep crimson. His smile suddenly displayed razor sharp fangs, and he broke his gaze from my frightened eyes, to bite into this man’s inner thigh. His leg started to shake violently, as his body was being drained of its life-force.
I stood there in horror, knowing I had to get out of there as quick as possible. My body still had not caught up to my brain, so I kind of stumbled my way out of the alley. I quickly spotted a coffee shop across the street, and walked briskly toward it. I went inside and sat at a table near the front window. Hoping like Hell, that these guys wouldn’t come looking for me when they were done in the alley.
I sat there a good fifteen minutes, trembling in fear, but no one came out of the alley. Some lady came by and told me to get out if I wasn’t going to buy anything. I didn’t have any money, so I had to go. As I stood up to leave, and plan my escape, a big black car pulled up to the alley. Two well dressed, large guys got out and disappeared into the darkness. A few minutes later, they emerged from the alley, tossed something into the trunk and drove away.
Logic told me to run the other way, by my stubborn curiosity wouldn’t allow me to do it. I slowly edged my way back across the street and tiptoed my way toward the alley. I hesitantly peered around the corner expecting to see the carnage that took place only a short time ago. I was shocked to see nothing. No sign of any disturbance. I walked to the exact sight of the murder, and saw not even a drop of blood. What the Hell was going on here? It didn’t make any sense.
Having no reason to hang around, I flung my backpack over my shoulder, pulled my hoodie over my head, and resumed my walk toward home. The entire way there, I struggled with what I saw, and how it could just vanish so quickly. Was I losing my mind? Did I make the whole scene up? How could it seem so real? It had to be real. It just had to be.
As I rounded the corner to my block, I got this strange feeling that I wasn’t alone. Like I was being followed. Stalked. I picked up my pace a little bit, a sense of panic and and dread consuming my mind. If I was being followed by the two boys I had seen earlier, I knew I didn’t stand a chance. I could see my house in the distance. I was so close. The flickering street light on the other side of the road, flashed shadowy silhouettes, keeping pace with my panicked stride. Was it really there? Or just a manifestation in my terrified mind?
I turned sharply up my driveway, and climbed the steps to my front door. It took me longer than usual to fish my house key from my pocket. I was panting at this point, a film of sweat, seeping down my brow. My shaking hand took forever to line up with the key slot, but I eventually managed to match them up. I turned the key and opened the door just enough to slide my slim body through.
As I turned to close and lock the door, I took one last glance. And that’s when I saw him. Standing in shadow, next to the street lamp directly across from me. He wore an emotionless, blank stare. The glow of his inhuman, ocean blue eyes, illuminating the features of his androgynous face. High, sharp cheekbones that tapered to a soft, narrow chin. A small, button nose that trailed to a thin set of penciled in lips. All of it wrapped in a flawless ivory skin, and shrouded by straight blonde hair that reached for his chin.
He was undoubtedly the same boy I saw biting into that man’s leg. But seeing him now, like this, made it seem that much more impossible. He looked like a harmless, angelic child. No older than my own fourteen years of life. How could someone who looks this fragile, be capable of such brutality? After a lengthy standoff, he lifted his left arm from his side. He showed me his open palm, like a motionless wave. I blinked my eyes and lifted a corner of my mouth, in an uncertain smile. He copied my half smile. I quietly latched the door, and immediately pulled the flimsy curtain over, to steal another glance out the window. He was already gone.
I moved into the living room, next to the front door. The tv was on and my dad was sleeping in his chair. A pile of empty beer cans scattered around his feet. I grabbed the overflowing ashtray off the armrest, and set it back on the coffee table. A nightly ritual at my house. Somehow, whenever he dumps the cigarette butts all over the floor in his sleep, it’s my fault. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a Sprite out of the fridge, and took an almost empty bag of tortilla chips out of the cupboard. I headed upstairs to my room to eat my dinner in private.
It was nearly ten o’clock, which means my mom won’t be home for another couple of hours. She works as a second shift nurse at a county hospital. My dad is a security guard at one of the big office buildings downtown. My mom is usually gone by the time I get home from school. She takes a long train ride to and from work. My dad doesn’t get home with the car until after she starts. Sometimes I think my dad should take the train, so my mom can use the car. I get nervous with her riding the trains by herself late at night, but my dad has never been known as a reasonable man. He pretty much gets home and drinks himself to sleep every day. My mom gets home and helps him to bed.
As an only child, I have to more or less take care of myself. I can’t think of a time ever, when he’s made us dinner. Once in a while, he’ll come home with Chinese take-out. My home life is very boring and unsettling. If my old man happens to wake up from his chair, he usually slings insults at me, and sometimes gets a little rough. I’ve learned to be quiet as a mouse, and isolate myself to my bedroom. He’s usually too lazy to come up and hassle me. After my mom gets my dad to bed, she always comes into my room to check on me. I almost always pretend I’m asleep. She runs her fingers through my hair, and kisses me on the forehead. Then she leaves.
I went upstairs and pulled my chair up to my window. I scanned as much of the street as I could see. I spent almost an hour looking around, and saw nothing. I couldn’t get my mind off of the insane events I saw tonight. My mind raced in so many different directions, but it always lead back to standing face to face with the mysterious boy vampire. At that moment when we were locked into each other’s eyes, I did not feel scared. I could tell he didn’t want to hurt me. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just knew. We had some kind of connection. If he had wanted to kill me for what I had witnessed, he had many chances to do it. At any time on that walk, he could have dragged me away and done it. He followed me home. The entire way. Then he let me see him. He has something else on his mind, but what it is, I have no idea.
Giving up at the window, I moved over to my bed. I propped myself up against the wall and grabbed my sketchbook and a couple artist pencils. I did my best to sketch a drawing of this boy, while his image was still fresh in my mind. Amazingly, it didn’t take long to produce a drawing that was an almost exact match. I grabbed my color pencil set, and completed the drawing. I stared at my creation and fell into pit of melancholy. I needed to see him again. I needed to talk to him. I had never before in my life, felt this kind of urgency. It felt as though my life depended on it. I pulled my drawing from the tablet, and tucked it into my desk drawer. I turned off my light and drifted off into dreamland.