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The Unsuspecting Gifts
The grass tried to sway in the slight wind, as it was stiffened by the frost. The full moon was shining as she looked out the window of her California house. The night made it impossible to sleep. There were noises outside that would not subside. Her feet hit the ground as Hazel slid off her bed and walked slowly to her bedroom door. Her door creaked as she slowly opened it, revealing the straight hall that leads to the front door. Looking to her left, she saw her brother’s bedroom door. Hoping that he had not heard her, she crept slowly across the hall, the wooden floors groaning with each step she took. Peeking out of the front door’s peephole, she thought she saw a shadow but then it suddenly disappeared in a flurry into the night.
The door clicked as she unlocked it and complained as she opened it. She felt a shiver run up her spine as the cold night air rushed into the house.
“Hello?” She called out raspily. Nobody was there. Before she had shut the door completely, she spotted red roses and a chocolate box sitting on her front doorstep. Bending over to pick them up, she paid close attention to her surroundings. Clutching the box of chocolates in one hand and the roses in the other hand she slowly turned around.
“Oh my god,” She yelled, jumping in a fright. “You scared the living hell out of me!”
“Sorry.” Her younger brother, Lupus, said sassily, grabbing the package from her. “What’s that?”
“Nothing!” Hazel yelled, grabbing the package back and dodging him to get back inside. Right as Lupus was pulling the door closed, a shrill cry echoed through the hills surrounding their home. Locking the door behind Lupus, as he always forgot to lock the door, Hazel peeked out the window beside the door straight into the eyes of a shadow.
She walked down the hall and turned left to where the chaotic kitchen was and set the roses and the chocolates down on the countertop.
“I’m soooo going to bed.” Lupus said, again with his sassy, grumpy voice. Ruffling his dark brown hair he made his way down the hall to his bedroom. Hazel listened as his footsteps became distant, his bedroom door creaked, paused, then creaked again. There was a bumping noise as he jumped onto his bed.
In the spur of a moment, Hazel saw the same shadow, the shadow of a boy about her age as everything seemed to go dark.
Waking up, Hazel stretched as her toes touched the woven carpet beneath her couch. Remembering the earlier hours, she did not recall making her way to the couch. Looking around, she saw another note on the kitchen counter. Picking it up gingerly with her fingers, she almost heard his voice as she read, “Sis, I went out to hang out with some friends today. Don’t expect me until sundown. Love you. Lupus.”
Hazel placed the note back down on the countertop. A sudden ring echoed off of the walls of her house as she went to answer the door. She unlocked the door with a fumble and opened it. Looking down automatically, she saw an awfully big parcel waiting for her on the doorstep. Bending over to grab it, she felt its weight. It was pretty heavy, and as she picked it up, her knees knocked beneath the total weight they were holding up. Stumbling, she took a few steps and set the package inside of the door. Turning around, she saw a black wisp of a shadow pass her and her hair moved slightly with the rush of wind from whatever this was. She tried to shrug it off, but whatever that was, it couldn’t be good.
Finally, she had heaved the package into the living room, where she set it down in front of the couch. Her toes felt the soft carpet as she went over to the kitchen to grab a knife to open the package. Picking it up, she carefully walked over to the couch and sat down. Listening to the satisfying slicing sound as she slid the knife between the layers of taped cardboard, she got a bit excited wondering what the package was. Opening up the stiff cardboard package, she looked down in disgust. There was a ziplock that had a fang that was human-sized, except for the fact that it was about an inch long.
Hazel picked up another ziplock bag and to her dismay, it made a sloshing sound. SHe pulled it out of the box. It was a bag of blood from the blood bank nearby. “What the-” Hazel was mumbling. “What the HELL is this?” She pulled out a few more blood bags and then she picked up a round, perfect stick that was about a foot and a half long, an inch in diameter, and sharpened on one end. She set that carefully on the side of her coffee table across from the couch. She didn’t exactly plan on dying anytime soon. Then, she found out that she had missed a letter that was supposedly sitting on top of all of the stuff in the package. It read,
I am just trying to help you understand. I am not trying to scare you. I just want to help you.
Take the hint. I will see you soon.
Remember your parents. Think of the way your father died.
As Hazel read this, she was breathing carefully. Her father had been found drained of blood. Her mother had disappeared. She had found her father. She doesn’t know where her mother was. But that was when she was 12.
She decided to tough it out and keep opening the box. There was a ring. The gem on the top was red and rectangular. The sides of the ring were wide and they got smaller the further down. She traced the delicate work of lines on the sides of the ring. Then there was a small vial of a herb. Thinking that it was probably drugs or something, she opened it and smelt it gingerly, careful not to touch the substance. It smelt kind of like roses, lavender, and another herb she could not name. Finally, she looked at the bottom of the box and pulled out an old, brown frame with a picture of a mother, father, son, and daughter resting gingerly inside of the glass. Touching the handiwork of the frame, she felt a tear trickle down the side of her face. A sudden whoosh of air snapped her out of it.
“Hello, Hazelmere.” Said the figure. He was a tall boy whose blonde hair was stiff and messy. “My name is James… Don’t… Please don't be frightened!”
Hazelmere was slowly backing away, still clutching the frame in her sweaty fingers.
“Go away!” She yelled, grabbing the stake and the vial, prepared to fight. He suddenly disappeared in another swoosh, or so she thought. She turned around and there he was again. He pushed her down onto the couch and sat down next to her, grabbing the weapon and vial from her. Hazel was too astonished to say anything.
“What are you?” Hazel said in a failed attempt to sound brave.
“A vampire,” James said, “But relax, I don’t drink human blood.” As he said this, he grabbed one of the blood bags, popped it open, and took a sip.
“Is that how my parents died?”
Hazelmere reached over for the ring and put it on. Vampires can’t go out into the sunlight… She hopped up as fast as she could, grabbed the vial, and opened the curtains. James did not flinch.
“The ring protects me from the sun,” He said, “and I could not tell you that if I did not trust you… Therefore you should trust me.”
“Wow… Okay?” Hazel said, beginning to trust him a bit more.
“Carissa…” He said.
“You know my mother? Is she alive? Where is she? Why has she not come back?” Hazelmere yelled, forcing questions towards him. She clutched the vial tightly in her hand.
“She is alive… But really she is as good as dead,” He said with a small tone of sadness in his voice. “She is the one who killed your father. And now she is after you.”
“What?” Hazel was not scared. She was ready. Her moth- No. Carissa had killed her father and it was time for revenge. “Let her come.” She said simply.
“We can’t do that,” James said, “Let’s go.” He grabbed her arm and all of a sudden she felt as if she was going 100 miles per hour. Her hair blew in her face and her head was held back by the force of speed. Good thing she had slept in her clothes last night.
They finally stopped.
“Sorry,” James said, letting go of Hazel and rustling his blonde hair, “I probably should have warned you.”
Hazel felt too sick to talk.
There was a sudden crunch coming from nearby. Hazel hopped up with the vial and stake in hand, ready to fight.
“You can’t simply fight her! She’s a vampire-”
Hazel crept over towards where the noise came from, a great oak. Her limbs were shaking with what was more nerves and excitement than fear. There was a beautiful woman standing there. Her skin gleamed in the morning sunlight and her dirty blonde hair shone.
“Hello, my darling Hazel,” She said, “I see you finally know what I am.”
“You- you killed my father!” Hazel yelled. With no mercy, she attempted to charge towards Carissa. Of course, as Carissa was a vampire, Carissa just went around her.
“You coward!” Hazel cried.
James suddenly grabbed Hazel and moved her behind him in a protective stance as she dropped her weapons, and for the first time since before her family was parted, she finally felt safe. She felt like she was in a different moment as she rested her forehead against his muscular back. She was finally safe.
This moment lasted for only a short time because then she heard James scream in agony as he was stabbed with the wooden dagger she had dropped.
“JAMES!” She yelled, her heart wrenching.
“All he wanted to do was protect me,” Hazel yelled louder, “How could-”
Abruptly, Carissa dashed right next to Hazel and grabbed her by the neck. Hazel screamed as Carissa bit her neck abruptly right on her jugular vein. Hazel’s neck was numb, but she was sure she still felt pain. Her head rushed and her limbs went limp. Hazel looked over at James and felt hope. He would want her to fight, she was sure of it. Realizing she still had the vial in her hand, she undid the top of it with clambering fingers and dropped it on the ground. Struggling to lift her arm, she poured the contents of the vial onto Carissa’s head. She fell onto the grassy, frozen ground in screaming agony. Hazel gasped for air and crawled over to James, pulling the wooden dagger out of his heart.
She then stood up and looked over at Carissa.
“No mercy!” She yelled, driving the branch through the woman’s heart. She saw the look of betrayal in her eyes, but Hazel continued to push the stake all the way through her abdomen. Carissa fell limp onto the cold, soft ground, motionless.
“James… James…” Hazel mumbled, falling to her knees and crawling over to him. Salty tears rolled down her cheeks as she cried her heart out over his dead body. He had only wanted to help her. She touched his silky hair and rubbed her thumb against his soft cheeks.
She thought she heard a soft cough come from his mouth, but she was sure it was her imagination. Hearing it again, Hazel’s heart fluttered with hope, and possibly love.
“J-James?” Hazel murmured into his ear.
“Hazel?” He said raspily.
“I’m so sorry… Did she hurt you?”
“She only bit me-”
“Noooooooooooooooooo,” James yelled in grief, “She… She couldn’t…” He grabbed Hazel and looked at her wound on her neck. “I can’t let this happen… No no no no…”
“It’s really quite alright…”
“That’s not what I was going to say.”
“Than what were you going to say?”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
All of a sudden, a flurry of vampires came out of the bush.
“We heard what happened,” One of them said. She had the same structure of face and hair as James, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine… but Hazel is a vampire.” James said with a tone of monotony in his voice.
“It’s alright,” the girl said, “We can help her.”
Some of the other vampires had a look at Hazel and James, finally realizing that they were okay. Hazel’s neck and James’s abdomen had healed. Only stopping at Lupus’s house to leave a note, they left without a trace, and Hazel began her new life as a vampire.