Chapter 1 : Nature At Its Most Brutal
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So, I was walking down a street.
I think I must have been in Cardiff, because the people around me spoke in funny accents and I vaguely recalled having been here before. Only a few times, mind. I didn’t want there to be any chance of someone reporting me to the police. I’d had my face all over the news once before, and I wasn’t keen on that happening again.
I inhaled once, enjoying the amazing strength I felt coursing through my limbs, despite the fact it was broad daylight and I preferred to be nocturnal. I could hear my own heart pounding in my chest, increasing as someone brushed against me for a moment in hope. I ignored it. I had to choose right.
No, he’s too big - might be tricky to dispose of.
I don’t want a big group - someone might escape and that would not be good.
She’s too small for me. I don’t want to have to do it twice.
People kept glancing at me as I strolled aimlessly down the street, my purple eyes flickering from one person to another, sizing them up. Most women looked uneasy when they saw me, and I wondered if they could sense how different I was to them. But the men seemed to be drawn in by my large, sparkling purple eyes that seem to frighten children, my lithe, slender figure, my blonde curly hair and my pretty face.
“Callum, where you goin’?” I didn’t have to strain my ears to hear the conversation on the other side of the busy street between a group of three young men. They looked to be about twenty something, and I paused hopefully.
“I’m just gonna take a leak in the alley,” he said, ignoring the looks of disgust passers-by gave him at those words. “I’ll catch you up.” And he headed off down a side alley by himself.
Perfect, I thought with satisfaction and headed across the street through the crowds of people, trying to ignore the distraction of their pounding hearts and focusing on the figure heading into the shadowy alleyway. It wasn’t too difficult - people unknowingly gave me a wide berth and I slipped through their midst like a ghost. I glanced around the busy street one more time then entered the alleyway.
The first thing I noticed was how much it stank. “Fucking humans,” I muttered to myself, covering my nose in an attempt to deaden the smell. It didn’t really work very well. I walked fairly quickly along the disgusting alleyway, watching Callum’s disappearing form. I waited until I was certain there was absolutely no one around before shouting, “Excuse me!”
He turned around to see me. His mouth opened slightly in surprise as he took in my rather stunning appearance before he collected his wits and said, “Um, can I help you?”
“Are you Callum?” I asked. Of course, I knew he was Callum, but this always worked much better if they were worried or scared.
“How did you know that?” he said, suddenly alert.
“I know exactly who you are, Callum,” I said in a soft, sing-song voice, and my purple eyes suddenly seemed very inhuman to him. He backed away slightly. “Callum, Callum, Callum,” I sighed.
Something about me scared him, and suddenly a flash of silver appeared in his hand. I giggled quietly. “You going to knife me, Callum?” I taunted him in a whisper that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. “Gonna stab me through the heart?”
“Stay away from me!” he warned, a note of panic in his voice.
He was almost there, almost frightened enough to be ready for me. Just one more little push. “Callum, why so frightened?” I asked with a sly smirk on my face, and took a step towards him.
He turned and ran. Sprinting for his life down the alleyway. I sighed, and it took less than a second for me to be standing in front of him, looking bored. He skidded to a halt, fear and shock in his gaze.
“What are you?” he breathed as I pushed him up against the wall, my breath cold against his neck. He struggled, but he couldn’t break my grip, not while I was like this. “What are you?” he shouted louder, but there was no one around to hear him.
I could feel his pulse between my fingers and my lips touched his neck. “Vampire,” I whispered, and sank my teeth into his throat.
His body was the same temperature as mine when I finished. I whimpered as I felt his hot blood burning through my body, searing through my veins and I staggered back against the concrete wall of the alley. It was always like this.
As I waited for the wracking agony to cease, I let my mind wander.
My name is Kelsi Heath, and I’m sixteen years old. I’m an orphan, and have been for eleven years since my parents died in a plane crash on their way to America in search for a cure to my vampirism. Instead of being put into care, I ran away and have been on my own since.
Another shudder of pain shot through me as his blood continued to thunder through me. I clenched my fists so tightly that tiny cuts opened up on my palms and my silver blood welled up, glittering in the faint sunlight that was beginning to break apart the clouds.
I’d been doing this since I was five years old. Sure, I felt guilty at killing so many people, but was it really any different to a human killing a pig for meat? Yes, it was. It was better. A human doesn’t need bacon to survive - they can survive without meat. I can’t live without blood. And although it hurts to drink it, I have no choice.
Vampires are distinguishable by their purple eyes and pale skin, as well as their good looks. We possess many advantages that make us perfect for preying on humans - we can move extremely fast, our senses are extremely heightened, we are slightly stronger than the average human and are mostly nocturnal. But I’d discovered that going out in the daylight helped keep my identity secret from the magical community.
It was a myth that we burnt up in the sun. In bright sunlight, I tended to feel slightly dizzy because the light would ruin my perfect vision that was adapted for darkness, but it was manageable.
“Shit!” I swore as another wave of agony swept over me, and the burning inside me became even hotter. I was going to reach my climax soon, then I would be much stronger once the pain had gone. I just had to hope no one else came along the alleyway in the meantime.
My face was famous across the UK as well as many other countries. I was the five-year-old runaway orphan, whose disappearance from the grip of Ministry Officials had rocked the nation. Of course, nobody besides my parents and I had known that I was a vampire, so they had been shocked that a ‘normal’ child had been able to elude them.
An animalistic hiss slipped out of my lips as the pain swept up a notch, then slowly dissipated, leaving me with nothing but a slight tingling all over my body. I got to my feet cautiously. It wasn’t rare for there to be a short lull in the post-feeding agony, only for it to return stronger than before minutes later. But it seemed gone.
I bent over the pale body of Callum and closed his staring eyes, my fingers brushing over the mark on his throat where my teeth had pierced his skin. It was a shame that he had to die like this, but I had no choice, did I? It was that or die myself, and it was an agonising death for a vampire to starve. I knew - I’d been without blood for a while before and the crippling pain was a nightmare.
I normally have to drink every two weeks or so, although I can leave it for three weeks if I’ve had a large feed before. And it has to be from a live human - I’d stolen from a blood bank before, but the blood was cold and still, not burning and pounding like it was in my victims. And the more frightened they were, the more chemicals were released into their bloodstream, which helped to strengthen me even more. If I scared them enough, the feed might last for another three days.
I glanced up and down the deserted alley then pulled a lighter from my pockets. This was one of my father’s that he would use to light his pipe in the evenings. He’d have been disgusted to know what I used it for now. It was magical, of course - my father was a wizard, my mother a squib. I didn’t know if that made me a pureblood or a halfblood, but I didn’t particularly care either way. I didn’t use my magic at all.
The flame was a deep red that glittered in the grey light as I held it up against Callum’s clothes. It took hold with what sounded like a gust of wind and there was nothing left except a few ashes that separated and floated into the air.
“Fly high, fly free,” I whispered as what was left of Callum joined the rest of my victims in floating around the sky. Then I turned my back on the now completely empty alley and walked away.
A breeze lifted my blonde curls off my shoulders for a brief moment as I pushed open the squeaking gate into the graveyard. The noise sounded out of place and wrong among the dead.
I walked to the far corner, where under a blossom tree that stood with bare branches in the chilled November evening, my parents lay. I stood for a moment in front of their grave.
Tears spilled down my cheeks silently and I let them fall, hitting the ground with a thud that couldn’t have been heard by a human. But then, I wasn’t human. I wasn’t normal. And I never would be.
“I need you, Mummy,” I said softly, my voice hitching in the middle. “I can’t do this anymore. I need you to hold me, and tell me everything is going to be okay. Please don’t make me be alone anymore.
“Daddy, please make everything be okay. You could always make my world better just by smiling at me. Please smile down on me. I need you now. I need you both so much.”
I was barely coherent by the end of this speech, and the tears were burning my freezing skin as they slid down my cheeks. But I persisted in my monologue.
“I miss having somewhere to belong. You know that’s why I ran away from the Ministry Officials when you died. I wouldn’t belong with them. I belong more to myself than I would ever belong to them.” Suddenly irrational anger rose up in me and I wiped my eyes furiously, the hot tears burning my hands as I wiped them off. Everything felt hot to my cold skin.
“You left me!” I yelled at the white marble headstone.
Perry Heath, born 15 August 1938, died 14 November 1965
Cassia Heath, born 13 January 1939, died 14 November 1965
You live on in every beat of our hearts.
Ironic, wasn’t it? That they lived on in every beat of our hearts, when my heart hadn’t beaten for twelve years. They were dead. And always would be.
“I needed you! I needed you to help me!” I shouted, looking at the sky because I couldn’t bear to read the inscription anymore. The grey clouds were breaking apart above me into blue as the last feeble rays of the sun shone down. It was nearly dusk. “But you left me! I can’t deal with this anymore…”
“While you sleep eternally, I have to live on with myself, deal with my problems by myself. Do you smile when I hurt someone else? Does it make you proud of what I’ve become? I hope not. This is all your fault. It’s your fault I’m like this.”
When I was four years old, I had been bitten by an adult vampire in the fields where I used to play with the other magical children of the neighbourhood. While I’d been lying in the field of wheat, my parents had been searching for me frantically. My neck had been bleeding copiously, but the vampire had the strength not to continue drinking my blood. I don’t know who he or she was, and I don’t know why they’d chosen to convert me, but they had. By the time my parents discovered me, it had been too late to halt the conversion.
We’d moved house from the wizard neighbourhood to a tiny cottage in the countryside where my parents tried to find cures or at least satiate my thirst. Their compromise was to take me to Azkaban - my father worked as an administrator there - and I would be able to feed off several prisoners at a time, leaving them alive but weak from losing so much blood. It was only because I was so young I’d been able to stop feeding part way through. Now I was older, it was impossible to rip me from my victim until they were entirely bloodless.
What, you didn’t think prisoners in Azkaban died of just insanity, did you?
But then they’d died, I’d been left alone, and I’d spent the past eleven years moving swiftly around the country, never staying in one place for very long because my feeding habits tended to draw attention.
It was the anniversary of my parents’ deaths today, and here I was. The darkening sky overhead, the dying grass at my feet and the bare-branched blossom tree showed the return of another winter. I sank to my knees and laid the bouquet of stolen roses I’d brought on their grave.
“I miss you,” I whispered and my fingers caressed the roses as I stood up, swinging my battered rucksack onto my back and preparing to leave.
“Kelsi Heath,” someone said and I turned around way too fast for a ‘normal’ human. An old man stood there, a joyous smile on his lips and a sparkle in his blue eyes. “It is you.”
“Who are you?” I said harshly, baring my teeth slightly in an attempt to try and make myself feel more comfortable. This was a wizards’ graveyard, and I’d never taken down a wizard before, but hopefully it wouldn’t be too bad.
“Albus Dumbledore,” he said cheerily, evidently hoping I would recognise the name. I didn’t.
“Kelsi Heath,” I said hesitantly, although it was obvious he already knew my name. “Who the fuck are you?” I knew his name, but that wasn’t any real indication of who he was.
“I am your Godfather, Kelsi,” he said kindly, but there was a note of transparent sincerity in his voice that made me refrain from laughing at the ridiculous statement.
“I have no family,” I said coldly and he frowned.
“It seems I have been too forward with you, Kelsi,” he mused, and stepped closer to me. I backed away, standing beside my parents’ headstone. “But I must say, it is wonderful to know that you are alive.”
I said nothing. If this guy wanted to pretend he knew me, he was welcome to it. And he was damn lucky I’d fed only that afternoon, or I’d have taken him down there and then.
“Oh, I know what you’re thinking,” he said airily, and I froze. He knew I was a vampire? “You’re wondering how I know you, and why I’m your Godfather.”
Hmm. Maybe he didn’t know that much about me. “Maybe I am,” I said ambiguously. “Or I might be wondering why a random weirdo had intruded on my grieving to tell me he’s my Godfather when I haven’t seen him before in my life. You decide.”
He laughed, which surprised me. As far as I knew, what I’d said had been pretty rude. But then again, it proved that he was crazy. “Ah, Kelsi,” he smiled. “You are much more vivacious than many of my students.”
“Students?” Oh crap, I hadn’t meant to sound intrigued. But he seemed pleased I was taking an interest. I decided not to mention that I didn’t know what ‘vivacious’ meant.
“I am a teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, my child,” he said, and I frowned. Hogwarts. I knew that name, although it had been a lifetime since I’d last heard it.
“The school for young wizards?” I asked, thinking out loud. The one I should have gone to six years ago.
I didn’t know why I was talking to this random old man I’d met in a graveyard. Maybe it was something to do with his wizard robes and his strange spectacles, but there was something about him I trusted implicitly. Did he have this effect on everyone he met?
“Why are you talking to me?” I said finally.
“I’ve been searching for you for eleven years, Kelsi,” he informed me and the surprise must have shown on my face, because he smiled and continued, “As have your other Godparents, Mr and Mrs Potter. Do you remember them? As I recall, you were fairly good friends with their son, James, when you were a child.”
James…that name rang a bell. I vaguely remembered a short woman with dark brown hair and dark blue eyes that always smelt of home-baking, with a wide smile, and a muscled yet tall man with messy black hair. James was my best friend back then, but that was years ago. I hadn’t thought about any of them for years. “I remember,” my voice sounded like it was coming from far away, I was so caught up in memories.
Dumbledore chuckled. “I’m sorry to laugh, my child, but I’m just so happy to finally find you,” he said with a gleeful smile that didn’t quite fit with his distinguished clothes and solemn appearance. “If I take you to the Ministry, we can have you taken off the Missing Persons List, and you - ”
“I don’t want to go to the Ministry,” I interrupted, and he stopped to listen to me. “That was why I ran away when I was five.”
“You wouldn’t have to stay there, my dear,” he said, looking slightly insulted. “Do you think I would make you stay with the Ministry? No, of course not. You can come and stay at Hogwarts for the rest of the school year. You’ve only missed two months of the year.”
“But I don’t know anything about school,” I put in, rolling my eyes at his stupidity. “I’ve never done magic.”
“Kelsi, my dear, don’t you think that I’ve thought about that?” Dumbledore cried, sounding playfully outraged. “I’m sure that you will be a quick learner, and I would be delighted to teach you myself. In the meantime, you could sit in the back of lessons and listen to the teachers to try and pick it up.”
I considered my options. I could follow the weird madman who seemed so pleased to see me, or continue my depraved existence of preying off humans every fortnight. I smiled at Dumbledore slowly. “I suppose I might accompany you.”
I should have told him that I was a vampire. But it was a secret I’d guarded for so long, it seemed stupid to throw that away to an old wizard in a graveyard. So I let him take my arm gently and disapparate.
My new life was going to begin.
You know the drill...please review and tell me what you think! Too gruesome, not gruesome enough? Is it clear? Thanks for reading :)
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