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Dark’s the name. Drew Dark. To most people, the name announces a mysterious boy with black hair and pale skin that comes and goes. And leaves a path of destruction in his wake. I hate what I am. What he made me. I destroy people’s lives to live. I’m a parasite of the worst kind.
I wasn’t always this way. I was actually human at one point. In the early-1600s, a baby boy named Drew was born to John and Mary O’Connell. Father was a farmer. Mother was a seamstress for the nearby families. We lived comfortably on a small farm in the English countryside. I couldn’t go to school. We didn’t have the money and I had to help on the farm. Mother taught me to read and write. She was from the city and had come from a well-off family that had wanted their daughter to be the best that she could be. Why she married Father, I’ll never know, but I’m glad she did. They gave me everything that they thought I would ever need in life. Everything was perfect until I turned 13.
A man came to our farm in June. I was just about to head out and help Father after morning studies when I spotted the stranger walking down the footpath to our house.
“Ma! There’s a man walking towards the house. Do you want me to send him off?” I yelled towards the kitchen to my left. She looked out the window in front of her. The color in her face drained away.
“No. Go get your father. Hurry!” She shoved me outside and I ran as fast as I could towards our field to find Father. I found him checking on the corn that had just begun to sprout about a week before.
“Pa! There’s a strange man coming to the house!” His head whipped around to find me. Then, taking in the meaning of my words, he sprinted back to the house. I followed, unaware of the sight that would scar me forever.
When we got back, the door was open and the man was nowhere in sight. Father raced into the house and sprinted to the kitchen. I lagged behind, drained from the running. Upon reaching the kitchen, I saw Father seething with rage in the doorway, Mother on the ground and the man standing over her sucking some wispy white light out of her eyes. It looked as if she had fainted, but her eyes were open wide.
“You monster!” Father bellowed and threw himself at the stranger. The man anticipated it. Faster than it seemed possible, he drew a dagger from his coat pocket and stabbed Father directly in the lung. Father crumpled to the ground and gasped for air. His wheezing continued on for a few short minutes before falling into silence. I watched as the man continued to draw the strange light out of Mother. I noticed things about him during my brief paralysis, like his wavy dark brown hair, his unnaturally pale skin, and most importantly, his huge blue eyes. The blue color had taken over his entire eye! The spell on my frozen body broke as soon as he finished. I ran to her side.
“Mother? Ma wake up!” She didn’t move. The everlasting, silent laughter in her eyes was gone. I was filled with an unsurpassable rage. Father was dead. That was clear from his lack of breathing. Now my mother was too. Wanting nothing more than to kill this murderer, I flung myself at him. I clawed, I kicked, and I even tried to snap his neck like Father had done to a fox once. He did nothing! He just stood there and took the beating! His non-reaction and the exhaustion from everything else, took over. I slumped in defeat and fell unconscious next to Mother. Terrifying dreams came and went.
I was awakened by movement. I seemed to be swaying back and forth, with no effort on my part. I looked up to see the stranger’s face. It was then that I comprehended that fact that his arms were cradling me like a baby. I began to struggle.
“Stop that!” He hissed. I stopped. Even if I hadn’t witnessed his act of murder, that voice would’ve sent me running.
“Listen boy, you better start showing some respect. I could kill you just as I did your parents.” I remained still and silent. “Good. First point to get across is that I am a vampire. I do not feed on blood. Only the leeches that make up the lower class vampires do. I feed off of emotions.” I did nothing. He cleared his throat “Anyway, your mother was one as well.” I gasped. My sweet caring mother? “It’s true. We met in London about 50 years ago. That is where our government has been for the last 300 years, our government being the vampire society.” He paused to make sure I was following. I nodded. “Your mother, Mary, hated being a vampire. She was one of the few that did. She had gone to our leader, Francis Malone, to seek approval to search for a cure for vampirism. He denied it. See, our government is very much like England’s. Malone was like a king. Whatever he said went. Since he denied her permission, Mary was not even allowed to think about a cure.” He sighed. “But she did, constantly. After that, things begin to get unclear. She went on a trip and disappeared without a trace. Nobody could find her. That was about 30 years ago. I’m guessing that, during that time, she found the cure. It obviously worked well. She got married, had you, and neither you nor your father noticed a thing.” I was beginning to fall asleep. The story was so long and reminded me of the fairy tales Mother used to read to me before I went to bed.
“Mr.….” I realized that I did not know his name.
“Dark. Edric Dark.”
“Mr. Dark, if Mother found this cure and didn’t tell anyone, how did you find her?” He chuckled.
“Now, that’s a really long story. To sum things up, one of your neighbors recognized her from an old painting done of the royal vampire families. They sent a message to the VSA, the Vampire’s Secret Association. I was sent here to dispose of your mother and anyone who stood in my way.”
“That’s why you killed Father.” I whispered.
“And others. Your family and friends are very loyal to you Drew O’Connell.” Oh no.
“What did you do to them?!” He smirked but revealed nothing. My imagination was running wild. Did he torture Grandpa? Did he hurt Mrs. Dane from down the road? Did he steal Baker John’s emotions too? Then something dawned on me.
“How do you know my name?”
“I never said that all of this happened in a week.” I gasped in surprise and fear.
“You’ve been stalking us.”
“Very good lad. Now can you answer this question, Why are you still alive?” I couldn’t think of a motive. “Okay. I’ll give you three reasons. You tried to fight me despite seeing me overpower your own father. That takes courage. You didn’t cry at all, unlike most people. And you are Mary’s child.” I was confused.
“What does my mother have to do with anything?”
“I promised your mother that I would take care of any children she might have. Not that I believed she would, but I promised nonetheless”
“Oh” It was just then that I noticed I was still being carried. “You can put me down now Mr. Dark.”
“You won’t be able to walk to where we’re going.” He chuckled.
“Where are we going?”
“To New York City.”
“What’s a new york?”
“I forgot to mention that I can time-travel didn’t I?” My mouth fell open. “And this is going to hurt.” I looked at him curiously. What’s going to … I didn’t get to finish the thought before I felt an intense pain in my right arm. I gritted my teeth and looked at my arm to find his claw-like nails digging into my skin. Blood was starting to pour out of the new wound. He lifted his bloody hand to his mouth and licked my blood of off his hand. Starting to feel a little lightheaded from the sudden blood loss, I didn’t see him cut his hand, but I tasted his blood. He held his wounded hand up to my lips and told me to drink. I did so happily. Its sweet aroma reminded me of the cookies Mother would bake once in a while. It wasn’t long before I felt a jolt of lightening go through me, shocking pain that held me in its grasp for a lifetime. The pain was too much to handle. I blacked out.
When I woke up, I found myself in a strange room with glass circles in the ceiling and black box on a wooden chest in front of me. I heard a lot of commotion coming from outside, I decided to investigate. I got out of the comfortable bed and looked out of a square hole in the wall where light was coming in from. It looked like a window. One look and I fell backwards. Outside, there were giant shiny carriages of all colors making geese sounds at each other on a black trail. There were also enormous crowds of people walking on a white path next to the shiny carriages. There were more people on 1 square of white path than there was in a whole village! After getting over the shock, I went back to the window to see what else was in this strange new world. I held my breath as I peeked out once more. The sheer number of people! Then I looked across the black path. There, on the other side, was the tallest thing ever. A huge building made out of silver panels, taller than anything I had ever known to exist. I gaped at it. There was nothing else to do. It’s size! The people! The carriages!
“Good morning Drew!” I whirled around to find Mr. Dark in a doorway. “I see that you have caught a glimpse of New York.” I looked out the window. New York? “Yes Drew. We are in New York City!” He beamed, a real smile. It was a nice one too.
“Where is New York City?” I wanted to know which dream I was in so I could wake up.
“Why New York of course!” I gave him a look. “Okay, okay, In the New World, America!” The New World? I had only heard rumors of it.
“What year is it?” I felt the need to keep up with my age.
“2011.” I gasped. 400 years later? At that moment I felt someone coming down the hall outside the door that Edric had come from. I can’t say I heard him or saw him. I just knew he was there. My legs brought me to the door. Outside, there was a man leaning against the wall. He had his ear up to a black box and was arguing with it.
“Yes I have the stuff. Ten bucks a shot. No more negotiations! You’ll drive my business right into the ground!” He pressed a button and slipped it into his pants. He turned around and saw me. “Hello little boy!” His voice was as slimy as a snake. I continued to stare at him. Eat. Kill. Something repeated over and over. Eat. Kill. He started to back away. “Hey, little boy? What’s wrong with your eyes? What are you on?” Eat. Kill. I stared into his fear filled eyes. I could feel all of his emotions, terror, confusion, pain. I felt my body gaining strength. Wispy white light floated around my peripheral vision.
“Drew!” I was snapped back into reality by Mr. Dark. I turned around.
“Sorry sir. I hope my son wasn’t giving you any trouble. He tends to wander away sometimes. Teenagers you know.” Mr. Dark put a hand on my shoulder.
“No not at all, just snuck up on me. No harm done.” The man took off running.
“Drew! You can’t do that in public! Someone could’ve seen you! Or worse!” He pulled me back into the room.
“What did I do?” I was confused. How did I get outside the room? Why was the man running?
“You were feeding.” I stared at him in horror. I was what? I couldn’t have! “Yes you were Drew. You’re a vampire now.” I couldn’t breathe. A monster? He made me a monster! “C’mon Drew. I couldn’t have taken care of you if you grew old and died. And now that you’re a vampire, you can have a whole new life!” I didn’t want a new life. “I’ll even let you pick your new name.” I liked my name. “You can be whatever you want to be.” I want to be a farmer. “What do you say?” He tried to smile for real. It didn’t work.
“I want to be Drew O’Connell.” His fake smile faded.
“I’m sorry Drew, but you’ll have to change your last name at least.” I turned away. “I know! You can have my name! That man already thinks you’re my son. How about Drew Dark?” Oh well. If this is forever then I guess I’ll get used to it.
“Okay.” He smiled at me then turned towards the door. “Edric? Why are you so happy? Not that you weren’t happy before, but you know, you actually smile here.” I was so scared, but I needed to know if he was crazy or not.
“I was born here.” He stated while walking out of the room .He didn’t come back until late at night.
We stayed in New York for about a week. Edric and I would stay out all day. He taught me how to handle my hunger fairly well. Sometimes I just couldn’t control it and that’s when it got ugly, it only got really bad one time though. I would rather that memory be left in peace. When we weren’t eating, Edric was pounding the rules of being a vampire into my head. There were so many rules!
“Don’t look a human in the eyes. Don’t let anybody catch you feeding. Stay in the shadows. If you have to walk, walk fast. Don’t notice their stares. They know you’re different. Remember all of this; it may save your life.” All the while walking down the street somewhere. He really meant walking fast too. I usually had to run to keep up. We usually fed on the lowlifes of the city. There were a surprising number of drunkards and prostitutes. It also amazed me how little emotion you could live on. Just walk down the street, look that business man in the eyes take a drop of angry or fear. That would last about a day. Edric could last 2 days! The only reason he fed was to show me how. But every night, without fail, he would disappear. I never knew where and I didn’t dare ask. When I was lonely enough, I opened the window and listened to the city. It’s amazing how well the sounds carried. One time I heard a strange squealing sound, and I saw red lights flashing. When Edric came back, I asked him about it. He told me that they were fire trucks that were sent to put out fires. I was fascinated. The people didn’t help each other? They could put out fires without getting burned? Everything was so “cool”. I think that was how the kid used it. I especially took an interest in cars. Edric told me about them on our second day. The goose sounds were horns that people used instead of yelling at each other. I got a few magazines about cars and read those at night too. The week passed by fast. Before I knew it, we were at the front desk and Edric was handing the man the card that opened our room. After we left, Edric threw our clothes in a dumpster.
“We won’t need them where we’re going.”
“Where are we going next?” He wouldn’t tell me. I kept pestering him until we were hidden in an alley. Then he took my hand. I was almost skipping out of excitement. I wasn’t conscious the last time we traveled through time so this would be the first time I would get to see how it was done.
At about our 328th year together, while visiting New York again, he disappeared. He said that he was going out to feed and never came back. I remember our conversation perfectly.
“Hey Drew, I’m going out to feed.” Edric yelled as he got his coat and made his way out.
“Didn’t you just feed a couple days ago?” He stiffened.
“Yes, but I’m getting old. One feed does less for me now. I also have some business to attend to.” He had been making a lot of jokes about his age ever since I turned 300.
“Alright. Just be back before Sunday.” That was the last time I saw him.
I think he found the cure. If it’s one thing I’ve learned about Edric, he hated being a vampire just as much as Mother. I think that’s why he changed me. He was one of the rare vampires that hated what they were. He must’ve known that I would hate being the very thing that killed Mother and Father. Now, I just go wherever the wind takes me, not really caring anymore. Just a few days ago, I decided to take the biggest step in all of my long life. Edric told me that doing this step means coming to terms with being a vampire and becoming a true man. I’m going to visit my old home, in England.