The story begins…
Pounding, pounding, pounding…
What the hell is it with that racket??? Can’t a guy wake up naturally without all this noise?
It was hard to pull myself out of my daily sleep. I ws sluggish, stiff, still ice cold. My goddamn BRAIN wasn’t even fully working yet, and some idiot was over there pounding his fists against the wall. In fact, as my consciousness became more clear…it sounded like a bunch of fists pounding the wall, not just two. It was annoying the piss out of me. Not only that, but my earbones started rattling a bit with the sounds of shouting. Cries for help. What the hell is going on? Did somebody leave the tv on or something?
I rolled over onto my stomach, trying to tune out the ruckus as my body melted back into reality again. My senses began to fire up. My sense of touch, of sound, and the foggy awareness that something was suddenly very different from the way I usually wake up in the evening. In fact, where was my pillow? My comforter? My mattress, for that matter! As my eyes slowly fluttered open, my vision still blurry…I found my cheek pressed against the ice cold surface of a concrete floor.
“HELP!!! SOMEBODY HELP US!!! CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME???” Shouted a young voice n the room.
“HELLO??? IS ANYBODY OUT THERE???” A female voice rang out from another side of the room.
No. This is wrong. This is backwards. Just what the hell is happening here? I finally found the ability to slide my arms up under me, and I shook my head as the dizzyness from my sun drenched sleep began to wear off. My eyes began to focus, and my hearing returned to normal. Ugh…I must have taken too many hits to the head at the fighting arena last night. A few gamblers told me that I was pushing myself too hard. Twelve fights in just one night? What the heck was I thinking?
I turned over and sat with my back against a nearby wall. It ws at that moment that I realized that I didn’t recognize this place at all. There were just four blank metal walls and a ceiling, made of thick iron, and a concrete floor. I also happened to notice something else that you might find somewhat important….I wasn’t alone. There were seven other vampires in the room with me. Varying ages from 14 to about 16 I guessed, five boys, and two girls. And me…Jackson Pierce. Known only as ‘Voodoo’ to those betting on me in the fighting arenas around town. The last thing I remember was coming home after beating the odds on my twelfth consecutive match over at the ‘Chop House’ arena on the south side of town. The guy I was going against was a big MEAN mother fucker! He had bashed one of my light brown eyes in, and ripped out a handfull of my medium length blond dreadlocks. Completely screwed up the whole teenage skaterboy image I was going for. Of course, the hair grew back overnight…but I wasn’t looking forward to having to twist it up into a dread again. Still, all bullshit aside, I had to focus. Had to get my mind straight. I’ve always had a hard time trying to wake up from daytime sleep. My body just didn’t adjust to the darkness as easily as it did for most vampires. I never understood why, really. It’s like trying to get by on three hours of sleep after a long night of pounding back boilermakers at your local gin joint. Everything made my head hurt. Especially the pounding and the screaming. Couldn’t concentrate. Couldn’t think. Where the hell am I?
“You’re awake!” One of the girls said, and she walked over to me in a hurried frenzy. “Listen…what do you remember?”
“Huh?” I said, rubbing my eyes. “What the fuck are you talking about? Remember about what?”
“About coming here! What do you remember?”
“I don’t even know where ‘here’ IS! What’s going on?”
“Shit!” She said, and looked over at the others. “He doesn’t know either. He’s as lost as we are.”
Another boy stood up, a snotty aura practically jumping right off of him just by the look on his face. And he stood in front of me with his hands on his hips. “Do you have any idea who I am?”
“Should I?” I asked him.
“I am Roland DeMaisse! Do you have ANY idea who my sire is! When he finds out what’s happened to me, he’s going to bring this whole damn operation down to it’s KNEES! If you know something, you’d better start talking, or else!” A rich boy. Better yet, a boy with a rich sire. Great. Just what I needed to improve my already throbbing headache.
“Why don’t you run along and go play somewhere else, huh?” I told him.
“EXCUSE ME??? Who the hell do you think you’re TALKING to?” He had this preppy styled sandy blond hair, and pouty lips, slim hips, and soft pale skin. I’ve seen his kind before on the arms of the big gamblers at the arena. Boys taken from their homes by rich vampires, and turned to be a houseboy for some wealthy bastard. They’re practically delusional prostitutes that believe their sires would still give a damn about them if they weren’t so damn pretty. Or that they’d be able to stay in the lap of luxury if they suddenly stopped ‘putting out’ for their adopted husbands. They can be a frustrating breed, believe me. “I DEMAND that you release us from this place immediately!”
“I don’t know if you noticed it or not, but I happen to be locked in here WITH you, dumbass. I hardly think I’m in any position to call the shots, and neither are you. So go bug somebody else.” He was so angry that he looked like he wanted to take a bite out of me right then and there, but he really didn’t have any way to argue. His money couldn’t buy his way out of this box any more than I could knock the wall down with my bare knuckles.
“Look, something had to happen to get us locked in here. We just need to settle down and figure out what’s going on.” Said another boy from a different corner of the room. He had a pair of thick glasses with tape in the middle, and a haircut that let you know that he must have been turned some time in the 50′s. He had this weird Buddy Holly appearance to him at just 15 years old, mixed with modern day clothing that showed off his tall, lanky, frame. He looked awkward from a distance, but he carried himself with ease.
“I laid down to sleep with my girlfriend just before dawn, and now I’m here. I don’t remember anything else.” Said the girl who had spoken to me first. She had light brown skin and a short haircut, almost bald. You could tell by looking at her sleeveless arms that, while she wasn’t bulky, she worked out. She had smooth elegant muscles, well defined, stretched out under her soft skin like the athletic muscular workings of a panther. Not to mention a physical appearance that looked like it could from beauty to beast in a split second if you were unlucky enough to piss her off. “Does anybody have any clue what happened?”
“Obviously, someone must have taken us during the day while we slept. The question is…why? And are the people we laid down to sleep with alright?” The voice came from a small boy with jet black hair and a deep auburn colored tint to his skin, the small traces of a Mexican accent in his speech. He was quite possibly the calmest person in the group next to yours truly. He was sitting in the center of the room, legs folded underneath him, elbows on his knees, quietly studying the workings of the room without getting flustered. He stood out among all these people frantically tearing their hair out.
“What does that mean? You think they hurt the people we were sleeping with?” The other girl in the room asked. “I was in a room full of people when I went to sleep. My entire BAND was in that room!” It made sense that she would be a performer, she had the look. Frizzed out multicolored hair, flashy clothes that attempted to look ‘casual’, and a face that carried a certain sex appeal even through her somewhat questionable beauty. I’d say a female off shoot from a Ramone’s cover band or something similar. No matter what her style, I’d be willing to bet my heart and liver that she’s jumped around on stage shouting ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ on numerous occassions, probably as a finale to her act. “I can’t fucking believe this! We’ve gotta get out of here. I’m gonna search the walls for a weak point or something.”
“Don’t bother.” The other girl said. “I’ve already tried that.”
“Well we’ve GOT to do SOMETHING! We can’t just sit here!”
The rich boy mumbled, “Somebody tell this bimbo to take a chill pill. We’re STUCK! Don’t you get it?”
Naturally, the comment didn’t go over well. “You gotta problem with me, fancy pants? Because I am MORE than ready to handle that for you!”
“Please, stop fighting. We need to calm down.” The boy in the center of he room pleaded.
“Calm down? What the hell are we calming down for? We need HELP!” She answered, and began to scream. “HELP!!! SOMEBODY!!! HELLO???”
“Nobody can hear you!” Came another voice from the darkest corner of the room. It was a young voice. A boyish voice. Just from the tremble and uncertainty in its tone…you could tell he was practically a newblood. We all looked over, and saw what looked like a true to life ‘angel’ sitting there. Curled up in a little ball with his knees up under his chin. He had been crying, his cheeks blushed red, his sweet kissable lips quivering as if he were sitting in a giant freezer. He had light blond bangs that shimmered even in darkness, and ice blue eyes. The bluest I had ever seen on a 14 year old boy. I don’t necessrily believe in love at first sight…but he was the first one to ever make me tingle inside at first glance. “I was awake before any of you. And nobody’s coming. Nobody’s gonna save us.” He sobbed. “None of you are gonna leave here alive.”
There was another boy sitting next to him. Someone that I was hoping a praying wasn’t his boyfriend. A kid a year or two older, wearing a high school sports jacket with the name ‘Saul’ on the sleeve. He tried to comfort the boy, but it was no use. The vulnerability o the situation had already taken control. Seeing him like that made me weak in the stomach. I had to speak up.
“Alright…look, people. It’s obvious that we’re locked in here together, and there’s no way that we’re gonna fight our way out. But I’m thinking if somebody went through all the trouble to take us from where we were and lock us up where weare…it wasn’t just for kicks. Am I right?” I looked around the room, and while most pretended not to be listening, I could tell that they were absorbing every word. The gorgeous boy on the floor was the only one that looked up and stared at me with some level of hope. At least I knew I had a grateful audience of ‘one’ in this place. “Why don’t we all just…relax for a few minutes and see how this plays out. Ok? We’re not gonna solve anything by knocking each other around.” I walked over to the girl with the short haircut, and put my hand on he bare shoulder. She tensed up slightly and gave me a look. Obviously the kind of reaction someone that lives in constant ‘danger’ would have. I’m guessing she was a raider at one time or another. “My name is Jackson. Jackson Pierce. I fight in the underground arenas downtown. They call me ‘Voodoo’.” I started.
She was reluctant at first, but with a soft roll of her brown eyes, she lightly pushed my hand off of her shoulder and presented herself to he group. “Minx. My real name is none of your business. Raider. And don’t give me any shit about it, because I’ll beat your ass!” She said through gritted teeth. Nice to know I had her pegged right.
It was the Buddy Holly boy that stepped forward next. “My name’s Rodney. Um…nothing special about me really. I was having a swell time hanging out with some friends. I met up with some cute boy, had a little ring-a-ding, and the next thing I know, I was waking up here. I guess…I guess that’s it.”
“This is so pointless! What, are we playing ‘It’s Your Life’ now?” That brat was really getting on my nerves.
“Maybe YOU’D like to actually add something to this situation other than your aggravating comments and lack of a personality.” I scolded him, and was surprised that he didn’t fire back with some kind of useless threat. Instead…he actually began to cooperate. I guess he wanted to get out of this box just as soon as we did. Maybe even faster, so he can get home to ‘daddy’.
“Roland DeMaisse. My sire is Rueben French, one of the wealthiest vampires in the city. He has clubs all over the North and East sides that each pull in over 4 million in profit every quarter…”
“Ok, ok…we got the idea.” I said, cutting him off. “You. How about you?”
The other girl turned to wipe a tear away from her eye to keep herself calm. “My name is Lauren. I’m the lead singer for a vampire rock band called ‘Fuck Daylight’. I’m 16 years old, with 7 years in darkness.” She sniffled. “And I just wanna go home.”
The boy in the middle of the room uncrossed his legs and stood up. “My name is Vaso. I’m practicing to be a psychic. I’ve got the gift with my extra, but haven’t gotten the principles right just yet. I see omens sometimes, but I can’t really decipher their meaning. I was being tutored by another vampire when the dawn approached. I fell asleep and then…ended up here.”
“Ok…ok good. Now we’re getting somewhere.” I said and looked over to the boys in the corner. I was almost afraid to speak to the blond angel, so I addressed his friend first. “Your turn. What’s the deal with you?”
“I…I don’t know. I was just huddled up with my girlfriend in the basement of an old theater. It used to be an operational sanctuary, but…I guess all the vampires there had moved on and gone elsewhere. The dawn was coming quick, so we decided to stay.” Girlfriend? I can’t believe how thankful I was to hear that this vampire was strictly hetero. “My name’s Saul. I woke up shortly after Hayden here. I’ve been trying to keep him calm ever since.”
“Hayden? That’s…you, right?” I asked, my breath being taken away by the splendor of his light blue eyes. He nodded gently, and as another tear slid down his cheek, he buried his face in his knees again and sobbed softly to himself. Wow, he was just a baby in darkness. If he was more than two years in darkness, I’d be amazed. He was a delicate boy, with a tenderness in his heart that was breaking right in front of my eyes. He was hardly built for a situation like this.
“I don’t wanna die here…” He wept.
“Hey…hey, nobody’s gonna die. Ok? We just have to stick together and find out what’s…..” But before I could finish there was a thunderous roar all around us! The walls began to vibrate and the sound of gears turning flooded the room!
“WHAT’S HAPPENING?!?!?! WHAT’S GOING ON???” Lauren screamed, and I felt the floor rumble slightly as it felt like the entire room was being lifted.
Minx moved towards the wall, slamming it with her fist and kicking at it as though her determination alone could shatter the metal walls and free us all. Vaso, however, returned to his position on the floor, sitting Indian style as he closed his eyes and tried to keep his mind open to solutions and closed to fear. Even Roland was showing signs of being rattled by the helplessness of it all. I backed up against the wall, and held on tight. The others followed my lead once they saw what I was doing, and we stayed still as the room kept rising. And then, it began to slow down. Slower and slower. Finally coming to a stop at ‘ground level’. And the second the walls stopped vibrating, there was a high pitched beep from the wall in front of us…and a red digital display appeared near the ceiling. The number started at 5:00…and suddenly, with a blip, went to 4:59…
“What is that? What the fuck IS that?” Roland yelled out.
“It looks like…” Rodney started, but the rest got caught up in his throat.
“A countdown.” Minx said.
“A countdown? A countdown to WHAT?” Lauren began to let her fear get he best of her again.
“We don’t know that it’s a countdown. We don’t know that.” I said.
“We know that it’s counting backwards! We know that! What happens when it reaches zero?” Roland asked.
“Let’s just try to keep our heads here.”
“Keep our heads??? For all we know that could be a countdown for a fucking BOMB!!!” Roland shouted, and that sent Lauren into a fit of shivers.
“Oh god…oh god, oh god, oh god….no no no…” She cried, pacing back and forth.
“That doesn’t make any sense. Who would bring us here just to blow us up?” Rodney asked.
“ANYBODY could! I don’t know about you guys but I feed pretty regularly. And I’m quite certain that in all my years of darkness, I’ve pissed off a lot of family members who can’t figure out why they’re favorite uncle didn’t come home from the bar one night!” Roland backed as far away from the counter as he could, pressing his back against the wall.
Ok…I admit, I didn’t really have much to offer in the way of comfort. But seeing Hayden in the corner, needing someone to stand up and be strong for us all…I knew that I had to conceal what I was feeling and just work on getting some sort of plan together. “Shit….alright, listen up! Everybody come back here, and get as close to the back wall as possible! Do it!” I said, and they rushed over without question. Even Vaso sprung to his feet when I called out to him. I witnessed Saul trying to get Hayden to get up on his feet, but he was too scared to move. They wrestled for a bit as more tears slid down his face. And then, he looked up at me…and it was like my heart melted at that very moment. He put his faith in me, his trust. This beautiful stranger…needed me. He finally let Saul help him up, and they both ran over to join the rest of us. Hayden ran directly to me, his wiry arms wrapping tightly around my waist as he pressed his pretty blond head to my chest and squinted his eyes shut. Don’t worry, boy…I’m gonna protect you the best way I know how.
Two minutes. Two more minutes. I could feel the tensions rising in the air around me. I could hear their knuckles crack, and their knees trembling, muscles straining while holding tighter to the wall. And yet, through it all, all I could think about was the beauty clinging desperately to my waist. The smell of his hair was so sweet. It reminded me of freshly picked fruit in the summer sun. The very warmth of him was comforting, his tiny quakes and trembles running through his body. Dare I say that it was….cute? Can you even BE cute when you’re scared that you’re about to be blown to bits? Instinctively, I wrapped an arm around him to shield him further from the situation, and for some reason that I couldn’t understand, I felt the need to kiss the top of his head. As though THAT was gonna do us any good. He didn’t open his eyes, not even to look at the timer. But when my kiss touched his head…his grip loosened slightly. It was only for a moment, but I felt it…and I hope it brought him a split second of peace. Just in case it was his last.
Shit…this was it! It’s coming! Everyone braced themselves. Roland tried to inch his way behind my shoulder, as though a bomb blast could possibly hit me first and leave him untouched. Everyone was cringing, even Vaso, who had demonstrated such a mature sense of rationality before. I’m not exactly sure how much damage a vampire’s body is able to withstand without being able to regenerate in a few sleep cycles. If the heart survives…and that’s a big ‘if’…then we might be able to crawl away from here with just a few missing limbs. Doesn’t THAT sound charming? Still…even if we were damn near invinceable and were able to live through this…we could still feel pain. And I’m willing to bet that being ‘blown up’ is a much more painful injury than merely saying “Ouch!” could cure. I SO wish that I was dreaming all of this instead.
“Alright everybody, hold on!”
“This is IT!”
“Close your eyes, kid…” I whispered, and waited for the last number to hit zero.
There was a loud banging noise in front of us, and then the sound of giant locks and bolts being twisted and cranked and finally…with a squeal…we felt the coolness of night air rush into the box shaped room. I had to open one eye, and remind my body to start breathing again. There was a crack in the top of the wall behind the timer, and suddenly, the entire wall dettached itself from the room, and fell forward.
We….we were free.
It took a moment for everyone to regain the ability to move again. We had reducred ourselves to a huge consolidated lump of tears and gritted teeth. It was a challenge to untangle ourselves again. Looking forward, I saw what looked like an entire forrest worth of trees, leading off into pitch black darkness. I’m not sure exactly where we were, but a good old born and bred city boy like me knows that a forrest would indicate that I was a long way from home.
“Anybody recognize this place?” I asked. But the room stayed completely silent. No help from the peanut gallery, I suppose. “Vaso?”
“If you’ve got any good ol’ fashioned psychic tricks up your sleeve, I could certainly use one about now.”
“I’ll try.” He took a step forward and closed his eyes, spreading his arms slightly and turning his palms up to face the ceiling. It looked like he was straining a bit, but didn’t move. “Unhh…I see….water. Lots of water. A boat. And a…um…it looks like…..” He opened his eyes. “…A dagger.”
“A dagger? What do you mean?”
“I…I don’t know. It was a golden dagger. It just…appeared.” He said. “I’m sorry. Like I said, I’m still learning how to read the images. I can only see the omens, I can’t interpret them.”
“It’s alright, Vaso. You did good.” I told him. We all waited in silence for a moment or two, not wanting to move, listening to the sound of our own heartbeats pounding away in our chests. But after about five minutes of that, I knew I had to move forward. We couldn’t stay locked in this box with our backs against the wall all night. We wanted out…we’re out. “Watch my back, huh?” I said, as I slowly walked forward. It took some minor struggles, but I was able to temporarily pry Hayden from my chest. I didn’t know how tight he was actually holding me until he let go. No wonder I couldn’t breathe. I stepped to the edge of the room, and peeked outside. I could faintly hear the sounds of water lapping at the sides of the shore. Oh yes, Voodoo, my friend. You are definitely not in Kansas anymore. I looked back to see everyone else holding their breath, watching me move forward. And as soon as I took one step out of the box and put it on the sandy ground beneath us…a barrage of blinding searchlights clicked on and flooded the entire area around us!
I jumped back into the box just in case, but we soon heard a dark voice talking to us over a loud speaker. “Don’t be afraid. Not yet.” It said, an heavy English accent in its delivery. “Come out. Step forward.” It was like a bad flashback to the Wizard of Oz. “Trust me, if I wanted to hurt you this easily, I would have done so from the start.” I suppose he had a point. I inched my way closer, and saw a few others from the box come forward to join me. Minx being the first of course, looking to rip into anyone who gave her the opportunity. As we stepped out onto the ground, a large hologram appeared over our heads. “What you are seeing, boys and girls, is a map. I suggest you take this time to study it carefully, as this will be the last time you will see it during your stay here. As you may have noticed, you are no longer standing in your protected urban or suburban areas. You are, in fact, on an island. You are very far away from home indeed.” The voice continued. “Marked on this map are several pathways, all leading to a dock on the other side of the island. Waiting for you at that dock is a boat that will take you back to the mainland, and eventually will lead you home. Where you will, no doubt, go back to preying upon helpless children and viewing the human population as an endless buffet of goodies.” The holographic map lit up in several places. “These highlighted areas on the map are sanctuaries. Underground bunkers that each of you can use to protect yourselves from the sun’s harmful rays if necessary. I assure you, if you step inside the sanctuary, you will be safe. Step outside the sanctuary…and you’re fair game?”
“Far game?” I shouted up at the speaker. “Fair game for what?”
“Each of you has committed the despicable act of murder time and time again, for the sake of remaining young forever. Sustaining your immortality by feeding on the mortality of others. You’ve preyed upon mankind without mercy, without conscience…and you’ve no doubt forgotten about the families you have destroyed in the process. Now the tables have turned.” The voice told us. “You’ve been brought here to play a very entertaining role in a little game that I’ve personally set up for the people whose lives each of you has ruined. They are related to some of the precious ‘meals’ you’ve feasted on in recent years, and are going to sit back and enjoy watching you squirm for my enjoyment.” The map began to fade away slowly, as Rodney and Lauren quickly tried to draw a copy of it in the dirt below before it was gone. “There is only one simple rule for this game….fight to survive. There are seven of you, and there are seven of us. All human. We are trained professionals. Make no mistake, your night vision and enhanced strength and reflexes are not going to be as much of an advantage as you think they’re gonna be. We are watching you. And we’ve made sure that this little game is as fair and even as possible. We do, however, have a great deal of surveillance equipment as well as a variety of weapons. But we need them. We are, afterall….the ‘weaker’ species. Are we not?” The voice said with a taunting tilt in its tone. “We’ve collected an equal amount of brains and brawn among you all. If you work together, getting out of this alive might actually become a possibility.”
“How do we know that there’s really a boat at the other end of the island?” Minx yelled up at the speaker.
“You DON’T! And that’s the beauty of the game, isn’t it? No matter how hard you fight…there’s still a chance you’re gonna end up dead anyway! Just like my son did, a year and a half ago! Go figure!” The voice replied. “For now, all you have to go by is my word. You make it to the dock in a week’s time, you get to go home. If you make it safely to one of the aforementioned sanctuaries on the island, you get to rest easy. We give you our word, we will NOT hunt you during the day. This isn’t a slaughter….it’s a sport. Man versus vampire. For once…we are standing on equal ground. And I can guarantee you…ALL of you won’t be going home. Not even half of you will survive. Which ones live and which ones die….will be left up to you.” We all looked at one another, not finding any answers. “Let the hunt begin ladies and gentlemen! We’ll be watching. Oh, one more thing. I suggest you actually try to find the dock and the boat. There will be traps on the way, and we will be doing our best to murder each and every last one of you…but I guarantee you that it will be your best bet. It’s a long swim home folks! To think that you could do it before sunrise is a million in one bet! You try to leave the island in any way other than the provided transportation…you may find your ashes being spread out at sea!” With that, the map disappeared, and the lights began to fade. “The game begins NOW, bloodsuckers. Make this a challenge, will you? We’re paying a lot of money for this opportunity! Happy hunting!”
We were left standing in the dark, all of us looking to one another for some kind of answer. As Lauren cried and the others stood in shock…I tried to think back to anyone who I might have fed upon that would have the resources to do something like this. I thought about what it might take to actually reach the other end of this so-called island, and what might be waiting for me there when I arrived. Not only that, but as I looked at the rag tag crew around me…I counted ‘eight’ of us…not seven. Does that mean someone has already been targeted to die before we even begin?
As Hayden gently took hold of my hand, a look of fear and vulnerability in his eyes…I wondered if I should walk right into their trap by playing the game and getting hunted down like a dog. Or if I should refuse the game and find another way off of this rock. Whatever I choose, it wasn’t going to be pretty, and I didn’t know if I could get the others to follow me. But I HAD to choose. And I had to choose NOW!
WHERE WILL THE STORY GO FROM HERE???
That will depend on YOU!!! The stage has been set, and I know you guys have some ideas (and aren’t too damn CHICKEN to try your hand at finishing the story your way! Hehehe!) So, how does it all turn out?
Will Julian fight for the love of his life? Will he fight to stay? Will he fight to escape? Will he sneak out with Glenn on his shoulders before they try to do him some harm? Can the Nosferatu defect be cured somehow? Or will Glenn wake up and turn on his boyfriend, beginning a horrible massacre with his own sire? Will julian be forced to slay his one true love? And if so, will he do it before he wakes up? And are Julian and Glenn really who they say they are? Or are they hiding something from everyone else? There are endless possibilities, and the only limit is your imagination! So give us an ending…and do it your way!
All submissions will be proudly displayed right here on the “GFD: Blood Bank”, and all authors will be given full credit for their work and ideas! I know how I plan to end it…but let’s see what you come up with first! 🙂 Seezya then!