• By Moonlight
    {Chapter 1: Nightmare}

    It had been one of those days where everything that was inconvienient happened. From your alarm clock going off 7 minuetes later than usual, to having to go to every single in town to find the right kind of instant noodles that one of the kids could eat. The only store that had it was the one all the way across town! The side of town I had never been to before and for good reason!

    The store was just a block away from the "red light" district. So I hurried in and grabbed everything on Tsuruga-san's list as fast as I could do and got the hell out of there. Of course, trying to fight my through a current of people going the opposite direction was more difficult than it had looked. It was made all the more difficult when people were trying to feel up your backside!

    When I had turned around to yell at one of the scumbags, I ran right into another one. The impact was so strong that I fell on my butt and all of my bags went flying. I mumbled a quick apology as I got on my knees to make sure all of the food didn't get stepped on, but the weird thing was, there wasn't anything around me.

    I looked up and my grocery bag was floating 10 inches in front of my face! As you could imagine I was pretty surprised to see it hanging in mid-air, but then I noticed there was a hand holding it. My eyes followed the arm attached to it up to the face of the man who held it for me.

    The amazing thing was, that he didn't look like most of the men here did. Pretending to be business men trying to have a good time after a hard days work. This man looked as if he could use a good shower and a shaving, but that didn't mean he was bad looking. Hell, he was actually pretty hott for an older guy!

    I stood up and took the bag from him, and looked inside. Everything was were it was supposed to be. How was he able to get everything in the bag so carefully in so little time? He must have superhuman speed to be able to do that!

    "How did you do that?" the question slipped past my lips before I had realized what I was saying.

    "I'm afraid I do not know what you mean", the man said with a small smile. He had a deep honey velvet voice. That probably would have made any other girl melt. The ladies on the other streets would be happy to have him.

    "You are unable to move through the crowd?" the man asked. Usually I would have made a smartass comment at this point but I was to dumbfounded by the smoothness of the mans voice so all I could say back was "yeah"

    "I'll help you", the man grabbed my hand and pulled me through the crowd. The mans hand was cold as ice. Was he homeless? But if he was this good looking he would have been able to make it as a model by now wouldn't he?

    I looked around looking for the bus stop as I was pulled past buildings with neon signs and a few Live houses. We eventually did pass the bus stop.

    "Hey, we passed the bus stop", I said pointing out this fact

    "I know of one up ahead that will come before that one", the man said. I had checked the bus listings before I had left, but knowing me I probably missed one. So I continued to allow the beautiful man to pull me through the streets.

    Eventually there was no one near us anymore. The sidewalks were cracked and the nearby buildings were boarded up. I started to become nervous now, even if they were a scumbags at least if I was on a crowded streat someone would be able to hear me scream!

    "Are you sure there is a bus stop here?" I asked taking a sad attempt at hiding the nervousness in my voice.

    "Positive", the man answered and his grip never slackened. It actually became tighter as he took a sharp turn into an alley that the dim streat lamp's light couldn't reach. When we were just within the darkness he let go off my hand and stumbled father into the alley.

    I wasn't sure what to do. I wanted to run, but he could have been sick, or hurt, or... or anything but what he was.

    "I don't usually go for high school girls", the mans voice seemed to become slured.

    "Excuse me?"

    "But seeing as you lost me my pray for the night, you'll just have to compensate."

    And before I knew what was happening I was slammed into one of the brick walls that made up the sides of the alley. My arms were pinned and I had dropped my bags where I had been standing before. The mans grib was so tight that it was cutting off my circulation.

    "Get off!" I tried to yell through gritted teeth. At the same time I heard a slow intake of breath. When I looked over I was starring straight into deep crimson eyes. The one thing my mind had not wanted to note was his eyes. They were wild and hungry, like a rabid animal's. I couldn't hear anything but the voice in my head screaming for help, but the words didn't even make it to my throat, because protruding from the mans mouth were long, sharp fangs that looked sharper than a butchers knife. Suddenly, there was only the sound of blood pounding in my ears for me to listen to.

    The man leaned toward my neck, snickering against my skin before going for the kill. I heard the hissing sound of his mouth opening and waited for the pain. I felt the p***k of his teeth against my neck, and the warmth of the single drop of blood that ran down my neck. He licked that up slowly his tongue playing against my skin. Then he opened his mouth once more, this time I was ready. I closed my eyes, bracing myself for the intense pain the was sure to come, but suddenly he was no longer holding onto me.

    I heard a smart smack and opened my eyes. The man was crumpled on the ground next to the wall opposite me. A long crack running up it explained the sound, but it continued to climb all the way up to the roof. I was so shocked and petrified that it had taken me a while to realize that we were no longer alone. There was a boy about my age standing in front of me. His black hair was visibly messy even in the dark, and he wore a black leather jacket and jeans.

    I was transfixed by the faceless boy. He didn't look strong enough to throw a full grown man with the strength to cutt of circulation across and alley with the force to make a crack the size of a canyon run up a wall. Could he be another... thing, like the man who was starting to stand up?!

    He lunged himself at the boy with his arms outstretched. I heard a blood curdling scream, but the man had stopped just inches from the boy before I realized I was the one screaming. The man slumped up against him, and when the boy moved aside the man crumpled to the ground with a sharp wooden stack sticking out from the heart.

    I could feel the tears well up in my eyes and realized that not only were my hands shaking, but I had slid down the wall and curled myself up into a ball. I stared at the man in fear. Hoping he wouldn't get back up like he had last time. Then I looked up at the boy, the terror not ebbing away.

    He was stood staring at the man for a minute, before he looked at me. I felt my eyes widen as even more horror over took me. I was vaguley aware of the tears that were now spilling out of my eyes, and the boy took off before I could do anything else.

    I stared into my hands before my crying became sobbing and I was continously wiping away the tears. That was when I caught a glimpse of something shiny out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and saw a golden cross necklace with a red stone in the center. Where had it come from? It hadn't been there before and it certainly wasn't mine. I stupidly looked up trying to find something on the roof's but even if there had been someone up there. My eyes were to blurred with tears to be able to see them clearly anyway.

    I looked back at the cross and for the first time that night a felt the slightest tinge of relief.

    I sat up so fast that my head started to spin. I had to fall back down on my pillows I was so dizzy. All I could remember was a lot of screaming and darkness. It was the first time I had had such a terrifying nightmare in a long time. I sat back up again looking around the room I shared with Momo (my six year old room mate). Making sure I was were I woke up every morning.

    My name is Kaorumara Norima (Nori for short). I have lived at Tsuruga Orphange my entire 16 years of life, and not once have I had a family consider me for adoption. I suppose it's because of my unusual hair color. That's right, I was born a redhead, yet I am entirley Japanese. Or at least the owners of the home I was found in had been entirley Japanese (we assumed they were my parents).

    I rolled over in bed and turned of the annoying buzzing of my alarm clock. I looked at the time (7:45 AM). I shot up in bed once again yelling, "Crap! I'm going to be late!"

    I fly across my bed to the chest of clothes I kept at the end of my bed, pulled out my uniform and threw my nightshirt onto the floor in my haste to get the uniform on right. I grabbed my brush and book bag and hurried down the stairs brushing my hair. I went flying into the kitchen as I asked, "Where's Momo and Tsubasa?"

    "They already left", Tsuruga-san answered as I stuffed a peice of buttered toast in my mouth so I could pull the two braids hanging at the front of my face back behind my head.

    "Wadda ya mean dey weft alleady!?" I yelled through a mouth full of bread. I grabbed it out of my mouth as I ran out the door.

    I ran into the classroom just as sensei was starting her lesson. "Kaorumara! Hallway!"

    Yeah, that's right. I had to stand in the hallway holding a pail of water! How old fashioned was that? Couldn't she just have given me a detention or something?! I shifted my weight and felt something move in my skirt pocket.

    Wait, I hadn't put anything in my pocket this morning had I? I shifted the pail to one hand, and reached the other inside my pocket. I felt a delicate chain. A chain? I pulled it out and looked at it closley.

    It looked familiar. It was a golden cross with a ruby like stone set in the center. It looked as if it could have come from Europe during the middle ages or something. It reminded me of the face from my dream. A face I never wanted to see again.

    I know where I've seen this before! It was from the dream I had the night before! But why would it be in my pocket? It had been a dream hadn't it? The boys face flashed through my mind again. The blood on the boys face glimmered in the moon light and was the exact color as one of the boys eyes. The other had been chocolate brown. It had only been that one. What was he?
    I hoped to never find out.

    I shoved the necklace back in my pocket. If the necklace was here then had it not been a dream after all? But then that would mean that vampires had to be real. No! Vampires weren't real! How could I think like a child? It was only a coincidence. Like a premonition.

    "When are you going to stop agreeing with yourself and take your seat?"

    I hadn't realized I'd been nodding to myself until that moment. Sensei was staring at me with her eyebrow cocked and her arms folded across her chest. I blushed furiously and set the pail down to hurry inside.

    The strange occurances seemed to be flowing with abundance today. At lunch I sat on the roof eating the bread I had to spend my remaining money on because I had forgotten to grab my lunch in my hurry to get out the door this morning. As I ate and thought some more about the dream (I would not think of it as reality) a voice asked, "Do you mind if I sit with you?"

    I looked around and saw the Captain of the girls Soccer team, Kiomo Shina. She was notorious for having a quick temper and turning into a monster when someone challenged her. Whether they ment to or not.

    She seemed to be in a good mood though, so I nodded. She sat down next to me with her bento. I watched her enviously as she ate her little hotdogs. She was actually prettier than I had originaly thought. I had never been this close to her though. Her hair was blonde, not bleached blonde but a natural blonde. Something we must have in common. It just reached her shoulders and was pulled into a low pony. Her skin was flawless but slightly tanner than my own. Her childish face made her smile even more brighter and innocent than it should originally look.

    "Did you happen to find a gold cross necklace?" she suddenly asked.

    I stared at her for a moment. She seemed genuinly serious about the question. "No", I answered and went back to my bread.

    I shouldn't have to answer a question if I couldn't answer where I had found it. I couldn't say I got it in a dream and I deffinatly couldn't say it had just appeared in my pocket.

    "Are you sure? Look I have something like it in my pocket. Here look", she pulled a necklace out that looked exactly like the one that was in my pocket. Except it had topaz in the center instead of a ruby colored stone.

    I swallowed my mouthfull of bread and asked, "Does it have a red stone in the middle?"

    "Yeah, that would be the one!" she seemed so excited her dark brown eyes lite up instantly.

    "Haven't seen it."

    "You must have though! You see it was my friends and he dropped it. It was really important to him!" her expression went from happy to distressed in less than a second. Either she was a really good actress or she was an open book.

    I rolled my eyes and pulled the necklace out of my pocket. "Here. Tell your friend to take better care of it 'cause I'm not picking it up next time."

    "You should give it to him. I think he would be happy"

    My mouth fell open. What kind of guy would be so desperate to get a necklace back? "What is this necklace anyway?"

    Shina stopped to consider answering my question. I could tell, she was an open book. "Can you keep a secret?"

    I stared at her. She took a deep breath then continued, "The necklace is proof that you have been apointed by one of the archangels as a gaurdian. The gaurdians job is to help anyone in trouble. Sort of like a super hero. If you talk to Shiro-chan he could explain it better than I could. He tells me I don't take my job seriouse enough"

    First vampires now angels? What the hell was going on in this world?! Were we going to hell or something?! And what job? Last I knew, Shina worked at her families shrine as a shrine maiden, not as some gaurdian.

    She grabbed my arm and started to stand up bringing me with her. "Come on. I'm sure we could make it in time for sixth period."

    But then the bell rang and she lost grip on me. I took that chance to get away. I ran all the way back to class hoping that the girl known as "lightning" wouldn't try to catch me. I was the first one back to class and then the grumbling mob poured in.

    I spent the rest of the day trying to avoid Shina during breaks. She would come each time and I would take off to the bathroom or do an errand for the teacher. Hoping she wouldn't look for me anywhere else.

    When school finally ended I had all my things in my bag already and I dashed out of the room to the lockers, slipped on my shoes and put my school shoes in the locker. I checked to make sure Shina was out of sight, then dashed out of the school towards the front gates hoping against fate that I would be able to make a quick get away.

    "Nori!" I heard someone behind me call in a murdrous voice. I was stupid enough to look behind me, I could have guessed who it was. Shina was gaining on me and fast. I sped up my pace about a hundered fold and almost made the turn toward the park that I cut through as a shortcut to the orphanage.

    Shina caught me just as I was half way through the turn and grabbed hold of my collar and pulled me the opposite direction at full speed. I swear the entire student body hear me yell "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

    Shina me all the way back to where I had been the night before. No, I mean where I had been in my dream. Although at this time of day there were no crowds and it wasn't exactly a "red light" district. It seemed to be more of a shopping district. It had the Live Houses of course, but it also had restraunts and clothing stores. I guess the fine line between them and the ones from my dream was the streat that sperated them from eachother.

    Shina walked up the steps to a small coffee shop with a hanging sign that read "The Pinto Bean: Open from 4 AM to 11:30 PM"

    I followed. What choice did I have? It's not like I could walk across town on my own and not get lost. Inside the shop was was smaller than the outside suggested. It had a stage set up against he right wall. There were boothes to my right as well connected to the wall below the long continous window. In front of my was a long bar with stools without a back lined up in front. The counter curved into the wall to the right, and next to it were white table and chairs that I would have had to stand on tip toe to lift myself up into them. Behind the counter there were shelves holding all kinds of different cups, a chalk board with the different types of coffee listed and the random pasteries that seemed to change daily. But they weren't the only things behind the counter.

    There was a young man in the waiters uniform behind the counter as well. He seemed to be cleaning one of the cups. He had longer hair than most, but not extremely long. It was slightly disheveled and he looked like he could use a good night's sleep, but none of this made him ugly. His dark hair suited his face and made him look more handsome than he would have been without it. Which was still pretty damn good looking. You could only describe him as a bishounen!

    It was my second time seeing one in person! There had been one at the orphanage that I had become friends with, but he was adopted a few years after he came to us.

    "I have kidnapped the victim, boss", Shina said delightedly saluting the boy behind the counter. I can't say the word "victim" made me feel any better about coming here.

    The boy looked up at me. My mouth fell open for the second time today. I pointed at the boy. He was the one with the face I never wanted to see again. My only clues: The glaring chocolate brown eyes and scowling mouth.