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Life Among the Unknown
No one else knows about the tunnels, where they are or where they go, but I know them well. I also know what lives in them. I have seen everything with my own eyes. And it was completely by accident that I came upon them, both the tunnels and the people that live in them. It was about three years ago and I was 15. I was walking in the forest, none of the trails in sight, and I found a small shed. I found that it had a trap door, leading to the tunnels. Now I spend most of my time there.
“Airreyona, where are you off to in such a hurry?” my mother asked laughing.
“Same as always Mom, exploring the forest,” I replied.
“You are going to have those woods memorized by the end of the summer, if you don’t already. Alright but be careful and be back before dark.” She said.
I was out the door in seconds. Most people would be afraid of the tunnels and the creatures in them, like I was at first, but I found them peaceful after I got to know a few of them. I had memorized the way through the trees away from the trail leading home to that little shed deep in the forest. I ran the whole way. I got to the tunnels and entered slowly, so I wouldn’t be startled by the people again. “Airreyona!” Jeremy shouted. “I missed you. Come on we are missing the party. Lets go!”
I didn’t move fast enough. He grabbed me and took off running through the tunnels. When he stopped, I started the round of hugs. I always felt at home with them, even if they were vampires. They were my best friends and often a second family. You just had to know when to leave so you wouldn’t become a meal, they fed at night. “Welcome back Airreyona. We have missed you the last few days. What have you been up to?” asked Maria, Jeremy’s adoptive mother.
“I had finals to study for. I have to keep my grades up or my mother will stop letting me explore the forest.” I smiled, “I would miss you guys too much if that happened.”
“That’s a good idea,” Jeremy said, then whispered, “A better idea is just turn you so you’ll never have to leave.”
“Oh yes, there’s a grand idea. Turn me into a vampire so everyone in town will go looking for me and come across the shed above. That is such a tempting idea. I would love nothing more than to spend forever living in tunnels.” I said sarcastically.
He just stared at me. His eyes were full of such pain I had to wonder if he felt something more than just friendship. The thought made me shiver. It would never work so once again I shoved the thought out of my mind but went to sit next to him. “You have to admit, it would be better if you never had to leave.” He whispered as I sat down, “and I could turn you if you wanted me to.”
I said nothing as I took his hand in mine. I loved every one of them. I looked at Jeremy in a way to tell him I wish I could stay in the tunnels but there are too many people that know me in the world above. We both remained silent. Slowly he moved my hair away from my neck and kissed under my jaw. “Jeremy, don’t. Everyone here could get killed if anyone comes looking for me. I can’t have that happen. I would feel horrible.”
“She is right honey. Just wait. If it’s meant to be it will find a way,” Maria said. “Airreyona will let you know when she is ready and we will take her to some other place. We’ll have to do that soon anyway.”
I stared at her in awe. Would she really give everything up just for me? That was nice of her, but it still wouldn’t matter. Jeremy couldn’t turn me because of my mother. She would hire some investigator to find me. If this would even have a chance of working I would have to find some way for my mom to think I was already dead. The only one that would disagree with that would be Rachel; she is all for preserving the humans as much as possible.
“Do you have a plan? I mean I could come up with several ways for you to appear like you are dead that finding your body wouldn’t be needed. We could even turn you before we fake your death,” Jeremy stated, pausing to look me in the eye. “You have to know how I feel by now. You’ve been coming to the tunnels for three years now. I know you don’t like leaving and its not because you like the dark. You don’t like to leave because of me and we both know it. So, please say you’ll stay.”
I only nodded. What he said was true though, so I left the tunnels to get a few of my things. I had to think of a way to explain was I was back in the house. I decided that some of the truth would be best. I didn’t want to lie to my mother the last time I’d see her. “Hey mom, you’ll never guess what I found. There is a shed in the middle of the forest! It’s so cool. I just came back to get my camera.”
“That’s great honey. Have fun and remember to be back before dark. There are wolves in that forest.” Perfect, I’d fake my death by a wolf attack.
I was happy I wouldn’t have to leave Jeremy again but depressed about leaving my mother. I convinced myself it was for the best and ran back to the tunnels. I ran into the wolves about half way there.