Een short story die ik voor een Engels opdracht heb geschreven.
- Grof taalgebruik
- Blood en gore
- Geweld, I’d say.
Ik dacht, ik geef 't van tevoren even aan. Ik gok niet dat iemand hier misselijk van wordt of zo, maar hey; je weet maar nooit.
Short, dark hair, gelled up int the middle into a fauxhawk, light eyes, relatively tall and not exactly scrawny. On first glance, Bryce Logan seemed like a relatively, if a tad shallow and directionless, average guy. Not invisible, not someone who’s stand out in any crowd. But definitely someone who’d blow his money meant for school on booze if he had any of that.
And very much not a vampire.
Actually, it was only when Bryce smiled wide enough that his identity was visible. Two razorsharp teeth, only slightly longer than the rest and designed to consume blood. Something that had taken him some time to get used to.
His eyes were now closed and he was lying on the old, worn couch in his apartment, fast asleep. The navy blue, faded curtains were closed to prevent the sun from decorating his slightly pale skin with third to fourth degree burns. Bryce wasn’t too fond of third to fourth degree burns.
Around the couch there was quite a number of empty bottles that had been filled with alcoholic beverages of various kinds until the night before, though some of them were probably already a couple of days older. Cleaning up after himself wasn’t Bryce’s forte. His carpet had all kinds of stains on them. Some only a bit darker than the mossgreen carpet itself, others almost black. It wasn’t the kind of place you’d spend more time in than absolutely necessary, unless hygiene wasn’t at the top of your priorities list.
At night, he’d go out, during day-time, he’d sleep, like was doing now. Combined with the fact that he fed on blood since he still identified too much with humans to feed on them, Bryce lived a relatively harmless lifestyle, if a lonesome one. He had his friends, human ones, guys he’d go out with, hang with, but it was mostly superficial. He knew a few other vampires, but never really had a connection with most of them. The younger ones usually didn’t really agree with his lifestyle and still tried to live normal lives, the older ones had lost their humanity so long ago that Bryce could not even begin to understand the way they looked at humans. To them they were prey, food. To Bryce they were still the people he hung out with, friends even. Friends of the most superficial kind, but friends regardless.
A persistent, annoyingly high-pitched ringing woke him up, early in the evening. Bryce yawned, stretched and rolled off of the couch with a lazy groan. Staggering slightly, still not having fully recovered from the copious amounts of alcohol he’d consumed the previous night, he walked over to the spot where the ringine seemed to be coming from; a pile of clothes, magazines and a lost blanket. It was his cellphone, but God, where was the damn thing?
He sighed and started to search lazily through the pile, finding clothes he didn’t even remember he had in the process. Just before he found the phone, the ringing stopped. He picked the small device up and looked at the screen. One of the few vampires he spoke somewhat regularly had called. He stuffed the phone in his pocket. The guy would probably call back soon enough if it was of any importance.
He didn’t, so Bryce kind of forgot about it. He decided to try and tackle the mess in his living room, but after having moved a few clothing items from one spot to another, he quit. It wasn’t like he was going to fold that shit and put it nicely in a wardrobe.
He walked over to his fridge. As morbid as it sounded, he kept a bit of a stock whenever possible.
It was rather surprising, how easily he drank blood by now, since at first it had thoroughly grossed him out, despite the fact that essentially, it was not much different from eating the same animal’s meat, if you thought about it, with wich he’d had no issue as a human.
He fed on what had the label ‘pig’ on it. There was an interesting black market for this kind of thing. With the severe lack of transparency in the meat industry, getting your hands on loads and loads of pig and cowblood wasn’t all that hard. It hardly took more than a few bribes to make the right people look the other way, and it made good money.
After this light and somewhat disturbing snack, his cellphone rang again and he picked it up this time. It was the same guy again, Howard Cain.
“Sup?” Bryce asked, absentmindedly. He nudged a sweater lying on the floor with his foot and yawned unabashedly.
“Bryce! Are you alright?” the voice on the other end of the line said in a tense tone. He suddenly had Bryce’s undivided attention. The young vampire frowned, worriedly.
“Woah, easy there dude, what’s wrong?” He asked, confused. A nasty feeling grew in his stomach.
“They topped fucking Kael, that’s what! How the hell’d you miss that?” Howard replied, agitated and nearly yelling the words.
Who was Kael again…? Wait… Topped?
“You are joking, right?”
“I’ve seen his head. Seperated from his body.”
“You’re not joking.” Bryce sat down on the couch and rubbed his temples, trying to comprehend what had just been shared with him.
“No, I’m not. And you and I could be next, Bryce.”
Bryce froze. What?
“Why? What do you mean? Calm down for a second man, and start from the top,” he said quickly, feeling suddenly very, very uncomfortable. He and Kael hardly knew eachother, how the hell was his death, tragic as it was, going to affect Bryce’s life?
He heard Howard inhale deeply, trying to calm himself.
“Apparently, there’s some vampire hunters active again. They somehow traced Kael and killed him. They left a message that they wouldn’t leave it at that. It was signed with a cross.”
Bryce closed his eyes. Fuck. Vampire hunters. Splendid. Just fucking splendid. He muttered a curse.
“What?” Howard asked. Bryce shook his head, even though the young man on the other end couldn’t see that.
“Nothing, nothing,” he quickly replied, impatiently. “So, now what? I mean, we’re not gonna just sit here and wait 'till out heads roll as well, right?” he said, taking a deep breath. As all of this was slowly downing on him, he grew more and more disturbed. His life as a vampire had been a bit rough at first, but all in all, it had never really been something you’d expect from a monster. Not something you’d see in a fucking nightmare.
“You remember Beth Rackham?”
“More or less, yeah, why?” Bryce said, while trying to attach a face to that name.
“She and her husband, Will, say they want to try and form a front against these guys. They want us to meet them at their place. I have no idea how many of us are gonna show up, but something tells me this shit is going to be big. And not in a good way,” Howard explained.
“Alright, the Rackhams, as soon as possible. Shouldn’t be too hard,” Bryce answered with a deep sigh.
“Aight, take care man,” Howard said quietly. Bryce smiled bitterly.
“Yeah… You too…”
He hung up and tossed the phone aside on the couch. Resting his elbows on his knees, he put his head in hands and breathed in and out deeply. Shit.
He couldn’t help but feel nauseous. He got up and started pacing restlessly up and down the living room. The idea of people being out there that only wanted his head to be seperated from the rest of his body was, to say the least, terrifying.
If Bryce had been the kind of vampire not above killing it probably would not have upset him this much, but as much as he liked acting tough, murder was something he’d never been this close to. Brawls, yes, he knew those well enough. A black eye, a bleeding nose, that kind of stuff. Things that would heal and hardly even leave a mark, not even a mental one. But this, downright murder. This was something entirely different.
He held still, tried to focus. If he was going to rush over to the Rackham’s, he probably didn’t need much.
It wasn’t much later that he had packed a small backpack with the things he absolutely could not do without, such as blood packages, a few spare clothing items, his phone and his wallet. Even if he’d be away for a few days or end up on his own, it should suffice.
He left the house and held still, taking in a deep breath, trying to fight the dawning sense of despair.
He started walking, hastily and looking around as if the hunters could show up at any time. His heart pounded in his throat and more than ever he wished for a normal life. Without even really realizing it, he started running. He felt nauseous, sick even. With every step he took, the anxiety and fear grew. But there was no turning back and he wasn’t going to just run away.
He crossed the dark, cold streets faster than he ever had. Through the centre, where almost all shops were closed and then through a few streets of luxurious mansions.
When he finally reached the outskirts of town, he was exhausted. Even a Vampire had his limits and running through almost an entire town, even when fuelled by adrenaline, was not exactly a walk in the park. He coughed and kept walking, in a slower pace now. The farm couldn’t be far.
Every sound made him jump. Even a startled bird got him more nervous than he had gotten that bird. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down.
Were those footsteps? He looked over his shoulder, but all he heard was his own sped up breathing and he shook his head. He’d gotten paranoid.
The farm came in sight, broad and low, with a flat roof and a thin chimney. Dim light came from the window and it had never looked so welcoming. Bryce breathed a sigh of relief en started running again, down the street, up the porch and now every step closer made him feel closer to the closest thing to safety he was going to get tonight. Finally, he was at the door on which he knocked hastily. His own heavy breathing was the only sound he heard besides his knocks. His hands were shaking and every second with his unprotected back turned towards the open fields behind him was one too many. He heard the sound of a key being turned in a lock and Howard opened the door.
“Beat you to it,” he said with a faint smile. Bryce grinned briefly, then brushed past the guy. Inside, he hung up his coat and immediately walked into the cosy-looking living room.
On a old, dark, leather couch said a woman who appeared to be in her mid-forties. Her thick, braided hair was a rare, white blonde and her eyes, highlighted by a subtle eyeliner, were even brighter than Bryce’s. Yet they still had a warm expression, even though Beth’s expression was now one of worry.
She stood up and walked over to Bryce across a beige, dark red and green carpet.
“Glad you could make it,” she said brusquely. Howard appeared behind Bryce, who quickly looked over his shoulder.
“Easy, Bryce, I understand your nervousness, but you’re safe here.”
Bryce looked at her.
“How can you be so sure?” he asked straight away.
“Will’s done some witchcraft. They should not be able to track us down that easily,” Beth said. Bryce nodded slowly, not entirely convinced. Some invisible was going to stop those guys? Really?
He bit his lower lip and looked around. A door on the other side of the living room opened and a man roughly the same age as Beth entered. He was bald and his skin was quite a few shades darker than Beths and his nearly black eyes were the complete opposite of hers. His smile, however, was just as warm as hers and he too walked over to Bryce.
“Welcome, Bryce, our house is your house,” he said, giving the young vampire a firm slap on his shoulder.
“Thanks, Will,” Bryce said and he smiled, feeling a little better for a moment.
“Have a seat boy,” Beth said and Bryce sat himself down on a comfortable looking mossgreen chair with wooden, richly engraved armrests. He slumped and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to collect himself.
“Who else are you expecting?” Howard asked Beth, as both vampires sat down on the leather couch.
“Regina Neumann, though I expect her to be on the late side, the Oxfords, along with their kids…”
If it hadn’t been for the fact that Bryce had been told once the Oxfords had adopted several very young vampires, he would probably been just as confused as Howard seemed now.
“…the Queenslands, Jodie McOak, Bertrand Williams and I hope Karl Slate can make it,” Beth finished. Bryce nodded. Quite a list of people.
Slowly, he started to feel more at ease. It was not much later that, speak of the devil, the last on the list arrived.
“Bryce, this is Karl. Karl, Bryce, I don’t think the two of you have met before,” Beth said and the two vampires shook hands.
Karl was a relatively short but incredibly buff man wearing nothing but a pair of jeans, old boots and a plaid jacket that had clearly seen better times. There was some dark stubble on his chin and his hair was on the thin side.
“Nice to meet you,” he said in a rather heavy voice. When he smiled, Bryce couldn’t help but notice the one missing fang in the corner of the man’s mouth.
“Likewise,” he said.
“Always good to see new faces,” Karl said, roughly giving Bryce a pat on the shoulder.
Soon, the Queenslands arrived as well. Them Bryce had met before, if only once. They were both of Latin-American descent and kept their hair short. As Tim Queensland had once told Bryce; They want you dead. Rather yesterday than today. Give ‘em nothing extra to grab onto.
Apparently, they were quite the notorious pair for having ruthlessly killed nearly every hunter that came after them.
Bryce wasn’t going to lie; he was glad to have such people around. He hoped it would not get that far, but if it would, capable people would defnitely come in handy.
It was allready a few hours of talking, drinking and discussing strategies – wich all ended in ‘let’s just see what happens and fuck their shit up’, since there was more angry bravado than actual tactical talent in the room – when an extremely skinny, elderly woman arrived. Her long grey hair was tied up in an elegant bun and she was dressed rather formally. Jodie McOak. She had a certain kind of authority about her, despite being several heads shorter than Bryce.
“So, what’s the plan?” she asked, as she sat down on the couch as well. Will was busy dragging some chairs from the dining table to the living room, so that there would still be enough room if more were to arrive.
“We don’t really have one,” he said calmly and he send the small woman a bitter smile. “I’ve used a handful of spells to protect this place, but that’s all we could do when it came to precautions. We don’t know how many of them there are, we don’t know with what they’ll be armed. All we know is that it’s gonna be them or us, eventually.”
He sat down on one of the chairs and stretched his arms in front of him. It was right after that that something hit the window with a loud bump. Bryce jumped up, startled and looked at the rest. Will and Karl both slowly rose to their feet.
“What was that?” Howard asked quickly.
“Everybody, stay calm,” Will said, but his voice betrayed that not even he was going to be able to stick to that advice. Bryce’s heart was pounding in his throat. Was this it?
Beth left the room and next thing they heard her footsteps up the stairs. The tension hung thick in the room as they waited.
When she came back, her face was ashen. Bryce wasn’t sure he wanted to know what she’d seen.
“Bertrand is not going to make it inside,” she said with a quavering voice. Her insanely bright eyes shimmered. Will immediately walked over to her and wrapped and arm around her shoulders.
“What do you mean?”
“What they threw against the window… It was him…” She fell silent and Bryce felt the blood drain from his face.
“It was his head.”
In the dead silence that followed, they heard cheers come from outside. But those cheers hardly scared Bryce as much as the expressions on the faces of the Queenslands. At once the young vampire understood their notority. They meant business. This action was an invitation to them, and they wouldn’t be late to the party.
“That’s it,” Karl said, his voice even lower than before and his face grim. His lips formed a tight line and his eyes were ablaze.
“Their heads are going to roll next. Will, what have you got?”
“Two shotguns, a shovel, an axe, a chainsaw and some kitchen knives, I’m afraid that’s all. The rest of you?”
Bryce looked around. He swallowed nervously when Tim Queensland reached behind his back and pulled out a shiny, silvercoated pistol.
“Not quite a machinegun, but I’ll be sure to send a few of them to their graves,” he said grimly and he grinned in a way that sent chills down Bryce’ spine.
Karl too drew a gun, a simple black one.
“It’s quite powerful,” he said with mock modesty.
“Alright,” Will said shortly. “I’ll handle the chainsaw. She’s a bit of a difficult one to handle if you don’t know her. Howard, you and Beth take the shotguns. Jodie, you show them how you wield an axe.”
It wasn’t much later that they were fully equipped. Beth and Howard had disappeared upstairs.
The voices outside rose in volume. Bryce felt a shiver go down his spine. Will had handed him the shovel and gave him a pat on the back.
“It’ll be fine boy,” he said, but Bryce wasn’t stupid. A guy’s severed head had been thrown against the window. Couldn’t they use the fucking doorbell? He looked at the shovel in his hand. Yeah, that was going to be a weapon of mass destruction. Not that he was so hellbent on performing acts of mass destruction, but he did not feel particularly safe with this piece of garden equipment as his primary weapon.
A bang. Shattering glas and curtains waving wildy. A brick lay still in the middle of the room, surrounded by pieces of glass and it had nearly hit Karl, who looked at it for a brief moment, after wich his squinted eyes shifted to the now broken window, through wich a stream of chilly night air entered the room. Bryce didn’t need that cold to have shivers running down his spine. The shouting outside had become more provocative. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Nobody ever told him that this was the kind of things you had to deal with as a vampire, aside form the slightly odd diet and lack of vitamin D, obtained from that fire ball up in the sky.
An extremely loud bang disrupted the cheering from outside.