• Vampire's Song
    Chapter 1: Troubled Soul

    It was difficult for Aiko to get any rest at night. The last few days had been nothing but sheer torture for her. Only a few days ago, Aiko had gotten into a nasty confrontation with a vampire hunter. With having been attacked rather severely, pain had been surging throughout her entire body. The pain pushed away any comfort that she desperately wanted to feel. Since the attack, Aiko had been bedridden. As she lay on her bed staring at the ceiling, she couldn’t help thinking, “I shouldn’t have let my guard down. I thought he would’ve left me alone when I told him that I wasn’t a vampire.”

    She was referring to the moment when she was on her way home the previous week. Since it was almost dusk, Aiko thought she would take a shortcut through the woods home. As she entered a clearing, Aiko encountered a mysterious man standing there. He was facing her direction. It was as if he had been waiting for her to arrive. He had chocolate colored hair that framed his face. His light emerald eyes were narrowed at Aiko. An evil grin spread across his face as he tightened his grip around the deep sapphire hilt of his blade.

    “So,” he began in a low tone with satisfaction. “I see that you have finally come out of hiding.” The man then smirked. “You may have been fortunate to escape your execution twice, but you won’t be so lucky this time. You know what they say...Third time’s a charm.”

    “What?” a confused Aiko wanted to know. “What execution? What are you talking about?”

    “My family has been hunting you and your kind for many generations. You have massacred many people and tormented countless others,” he said, “but your reign of terror ends here tonight.” Aiko, now confused, was at a loss of words. She remained motionless while watching the mysterious man raise his sword. Without saying a word, he lunged at Aiko. Fortunately, just as Aiko’s attacker neared her, she jumped to the side right as the blade came down beside her. As Aiko tried to regain her balance, her attacker quickly spun around struck her. The blade easily tore Aiko’s shirt and pierced through her skin. The wound wasn’t deep, but a six-inch long gash had been produced in her left side from the attack. When Aiko grabbed her side, she felt blood seep through her fingers. She fell to the ground as her body grew numb from pain. “That was too easy,” he said with smugness in his voice. He stood over Aiko with his blade pointed at her, ready to strike again. “I thought you would’ve put up a better fight, vamp,” the man said, sounding rather disappointed. “I guess I was wrong.”

    “I’m not…a…vamp,” Aiko struggled to say.

    “That’s what they all say,” the man laughed. As he stood over her, one thought stuck out in his mind. “Not that I believe her, but...What if she isn’t a vamp? But why does she look so much like…?” The man shook his head as he took a step away from Aiko. His blade was now resting at his side, dripping blood. Not wasting anymore time, the man turned and left. His abrupt departure meant that Aiko was forced to fend for herself. “Vamp or not, there’s something strange about that woman,” he said to himself. “I will find out what it is…No matter what sacrifices have to be made.”

    After remembering that incident, Aiko opened her pale sapphire eyes. “I didn’t realize how bad I was injured until Kenichi cleaned away the blood and saw the laceration on my side,” she thought as she carefully sat up. “It’s just a good thing that he arrived in time to protect me from winding up dead.” Then Aiko took her long brunette hair out of a ponytail and pushed the covers aside. “Did he attack me because my boyfriend is a vampire and he thought that I might be one too?” the brunette asked herself as she stared at her legs. They were a bit more pale than usual. As Aiko buttoned up her black nightshirt halfway, she wound up answering her own question. “No, it’s because of that lie she spread about me. I did nothing to Misaki to deserve the way I’ve been treated since then.” Then Aiko glanced over toward the window. “Some friend she was.”

    Before Aiko tried to stand up, she sat on the edge of her bed for a moment. Her feet were resting upon the cool beige carpet. Just as Aiko was about to get out of bed, there was a light knock on the door. She turned back as the door opened. Aiko was unable to make out who it was until her visitor took a step forward.

    “I understand that these last few days have been difficult for you, Aiko,” he began, “but you have to try to clear your mind of that ordeal or you’ll never get the rest you need to heal properly.” It was her boyfriend, Kenichi. Aiko felt a sense of relief when she laid her eyes on him. From where he was standing, the bit of moonlight that shone through the partly opened curtains made his deep violet eyes glisten in a way that was quite beautiful. He was wearing a black work shirt with the top three buttons undone and regular dark blue jeans. Kenichi’s jet-black bangs covered his right eye slightly. The rest of his short hair was brushed rather neatly. Then he sat down on the edge of Aiko’s bed next to her. “Drink this,” Kenichi told his girlfriend as he handed her a white mug.

    “What is it?” Aiko wondered as she took the warm mug.

    “It’s a special herbal tea that should help you regain your strength,” Kenichi explained. “My grandmother used to make this for me all the time. She gave me the recipe and I thought I would make some for you to try.” Aiko stared at the black tea, letting the steam warm her face. Not knowing what Aiko doing, Kenichi raised one eyebrow in confusion and told her, “It’s okay. It’s safe for humans to drink.”

    “I know,” Aiko replied softly, not looking up at Kenichi. “I was just...smelling it.” As Aiko went to take a sip, there was a light aroma of mint that she was able to pick up. After taking a few sips, Aiko handed the mug back to her boyfriend, who then placed it on the nightstand. Although Kenichi told Aiko numerous times not to touch her wound, she still did anyway. She ended up flinching when the coolness from her hand made contact with her bruise, and she wound up shoving her knee into Kenichi without realizing it.

    “How many times have I told you not to touch your side?” Kenichi told her with sternness in his voice. Aiko quickly pulled her shirt down and glanced back up at her boyfriend. He now shook his head and smiled. “Let me see your side,” he said. “I want to see how well your wound is healing.” Aiko was hesitant at first, but she finally gave in and lifted her shirt up again far enough to reveal the wound on her left side just below her rib cage. “How bad is it bothering you?” Kenichi asked as he lightly smoothed his fingertips over Aiko’s wound. Just by the way Kenichi touched her, it hurt and tickled at the same time until he stopped.

    “I wish it would heal already,” Aiko mumbled under her breath. Aiko sighed as she put her shirt back down and placed her hands on her lap. Without saying anything else to Aiko, Kenichi placed his hand on top of hers. As strong as Kenichi was, he held Aiko’s hand with such gentleness. “Thank you for helping me,” Aiko mentioned softly. Kenichi responded with a smile. When Aiko turned her head away, the vampire’s smile faded.

    “I know a lot has happened, Aiko,” the vampire began, “but just know that you’re not alone.”

    Aiko smiled weakly and said, “I know. Thanks, Kenichi.” Then the brunette fixed her eyes on Kenichi's. The longer she stared into his shining orbs, the more Aiko felt weak. Just then, Kenichi wrapped his arms around Aiko. Right after he did, he pressed his lips against Aiko’s in a passionate kiss. “Despite all the troubles I have, being with Kenichi just makes them all evanesce,” Aiko thought as their kiss slowly came to an end. The couple sat there for a moment until Kenichi finally spoke.

    “Try to get some rest now,” Kenichi told his girlfriend. Aiko gave a weak nod in response. Before Kenichi rose from the bed, he gave Aiko another kiss. Aiko kept her eyes on him the whole time as he made his way to the door. Then Aiko was left alone in her room again.

    “How am I supposed to rest when I have so much going on,” Aiko said to herself as she slid her feet into her soft, and warm, black slippers. Then she staggered out of bed. Being that she had been bedridden for a lengthy period of time, her legs were weak and felt like jelly as she walked only a few feet over to her window. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt if I stepped outside for a while to get some fresh air,” she said she pulled back the curtains. The bright moonlight illuminated the room, eliminating most of the darkness instantly.

    Aiko rubbed her neck as she stepped out on the cool roof of the large Victorian-style home. It had belonged to her boyfriend’s family for many generations. She sat there with her legs stretched out in front of her and her hands behind her. Aiko filled her lungs with air as she tilted her head back. She stared into the dark midnight sky. Thousands of stars were shining brightly. There were no clouds in sight. “It definitely feels like spring is coming,” she said out loud. As she sat there, she watched as a few bare trees swayed in the light, cool breeze. Aiko’s hair flowed freely about her. When she sat back up, a few dead leaves and flower petals fluttered past her face. Her eyes followed the brown petals until they were out of sight. Just as she tilted her head back up to stare at the stars, she felt a few drops of water on her leg. After wiping the water droplets away, Aiko stood up and decided to go back inside.

    Once she was back in her room, she shut the window and locked it. “Maybe I’ll leave the curtains open some,” Aiko said to herself. “I’m starting to grow tired of being in the dark all the time.” Allowing the curtains to remain partially open, Aiko went back to her bed and sat on the edge. She slid off her slippers and then laid back down. She wrapped her white blanket around herself and tried to get some rest, as her boyfriend suggested. However, there was something on her mind that wouldn’t allow that to happen.

    “How am I just supposed to forget about that day?” Aiko whispered as she stared out the window. “All because of Misaki, my life has been nothing but a living hell.” Then she rubbed her eyes before saying, “I haven’t been able to trust many people. However, I have been fortune enough to have friends who have felt the pain I’ve been through. The only difference is...they are vampires...I am merely a human.” Aiko took a deep breath and glanced at the clock. It was almost midnight. “Ever since that day, I’ve had to watch my back and not place my full trust in anyone…Even today.” One of her horrible memories was about to replay itself in her head. “I can’t believe I made that exact mistake some time ago…Even after my brother had warned me.”

    When Aiko was only a child, she grew up in a small neighborhood in Aomori. “There were many children in my neighborhood that were around my age, but they wanted nothing to do with me. I just thought that they were nervous to talk to me,” she thought as she turned over on her left side, now facing the window. “But by all of the evil glances and stares I was given, it was obvious that they were more than nervous.” Remembering that alone was enough to make Aiko grow upset. She grabbed her left side as it began to throb. “I remember when I overheard someone tell her friend that I wasn’t normal. Word spread and after that…everyone avoided me. The other children would stare at me…and some even went as far as to try to beat me up. My brother was the only one that would protect me from them. He was more than my brother…He was my best friend.” That’s when Aiko grabbed an extra pillow and wrapped her arms around it. As Aiko drifted off to sleep, she remembered the days that led up to the night when her life took a turn for the worst.

    One evening, Aiko, who was only fourteen years old, entered her quiet home. Once she had shut the door, Aiko stood there and tried to catch her breath. “I hate this,” she groaned. “Why is everyone being mean to me? This isn’t fair.” The young girl had just escaped from getting pummeled for the second time that week. “I would be able to defend myself if only I was strong enough,” Aiko mumbled under her breath. After she had finally managed to pull herself together, Aiko went to her room to straighten up.

    While she was in her room, Aiko stood in front of her mirror and stared at her reflection. There was a small hole in the knee of her jeans from when she had lost her balance while running through the woods. Aiko tried not to cry as she tried to brush away some dirt from her black shirt. Since she was unable to remove most of it, she had no choice but to change. She went through her dresser and found a pair of khaki shorts and a simple midnight blue shirt. Aiko took her old clothes and buried them in the bottom of her basket, only so her brother wouldn’t notice them right away.

    Aiko then took her hair out of her ponytail and brushed it. She felt that her hair appeared fine being down and didn’t bother to pull it back up again. “I wonder what time it is,” Aiko thought out loud as she placed her brush back on her dresser. When she realized that it was going on eight, she said, “He should be home soon. Maybe I’ll go downstairs and wait for him.” After the young girl gave a heavy sigh, she made her way downstairs to wait for him to return.

    When Aiko made it to the bottom of the stairs, she heard him say, “There you are, Aiko-chan.” Aiko picked up her head and saw her brother, Kyou, standing in front of her as he put his keys back in his pocket. Kyou was Aiko’s brother, who was nine years older than she was. Kyou’s deep blood-red hair went down to the middle of his back. It was almost always kept in a braid. As Kyou stood there, he kept his chocolate colored eyes on his younger sister. “What’s bothering you, Aiko-chan?” Kyou wanted to know. “Is everything all right?”

    “I’m fine,” she replied in a sad tone.

    “No, you’re not,” Kyou said as he walked over to Aiko while lighting a cigarette. Kyou was always able to sense when something was bothering his little sister. “Something’s troubling you. I can see it in your eyes.” Feeling nervous, Aiko raked her fingers through her hair and remained silent. “Don’t lie to me, Aiko,” Kyou said as he stood in front of her. Kyou then took his cigarette out of his mouth. Aiko's hands remained at her side. That’s when he noticed that Aiko’s hands began to tremble. Even though the young girl had her head tilted down slightly, Kyou noticed that Aiko’s eyes began to swell with tears. “Aiko?” Making sure that her eyes didn’t meet Kyou’s, Aiko went over to the sofa and sat down. Kyou placed his cigarette in the ashtray and followed his sister. His eyes came across the scrape on her knee as he knelt down in front of Aiko. Kyou rested his hand upon Aiko’s and tried to get the truth from her. “Aiko, how long has this been going on? How long has everyone been threatening you?” Aiko was surprised when her brother had asked her that. She kept silent as she sat there and tried to shield her eyes. Aiko didn’t know how to respond.

    “Oh no,” Aiko thought. “What am I supposed to tell him? How do I tell him? I’m afraid he’ll be angry with me for not telling him sooner.” Aiko took her left hand and wiped her eyes. When she picked her head up, she saw the expression on Kyou’s face. It was not one of anger, but one of concern. Aiko finally gathered herself and tried to inform her older brother of what has been happening to her once realizing that Kyou wasn’t angry with her. “I don’t know how to put this,” she began in a sad tone, “but…everyone has been spreading rumors about me and have tried to hurt me.”

    Kyou was at a loss of words before he finally asked, “How long has this been going on?” Aiko turned her head away and only shrugged her shoulders. “Why didn’t you inform me of this sooner, Aiko?” Kyou wanted to know. Again, Aiko didn’t know how to respond. Kyou didn’t know what else to say to his younger sister, so he sat next to Aiko and put his arm around her. “I’ll do whatever I can to find out how this started and make it stop, Aiko,” he said as he kissed her on the forehead. “I’m not angry with you. I just wish you had come to me sooner. That’s all.” Aiko closed her eyes and rested her head against Kyou’s shoulder. “But tell me, what has everyone been saying about you?” Aiko took a deep breath as she opened her eyes and glanced back up at her brother.

    “They said that I look like…some vampire from a long time ago,” Aiko replied, finally answering Kyou’s question. “I think they mentioned her name, but I don’t remember what they said.”

    “A…vampire?” Kyou thought. “How in the hell…did they come up with something like that? Why?” Just as Kyou was about to ask Aiko if she knew who had started the rumor, she stood up and walked to the door.

    “I’m going outside to get some air,” Aiko told her brother as she slipped on her shoes. “I’ll try not to stay out too late.” With having said that, Aiko was out the door.

    Aiko walked down the quiet street with tears in her eyes once again. She was heading to the park. “It’s getting dark out,” she thought as she wiped her eyes. “I hope nobody is at the park now. I really hope no one found my secret hiding place.” Once Aiko had made it to the park, she carefully scanned her eyes around the entire area. “Good,” Aiko said under her breath as she walked over to the stream. “No one else is here. Now I don‘t have to worry about being bothered.” When she sat down, another thought crossed her mind. “I guess at night is the only time when I’ll be allowed to be outside alone.” Not wanting to think about getting attacked anymore, Aiko just stared at her reflection in the clear water. With the bright light from the full moon, she was able to see her features more clearly. “Why are they saying that I resemble a vampire? Is it my eyes? My hair? The fact that I stay to myself? What?” Now frustrated, Aiko took her hand and splashed the water, distorting her reflection. She then took a deep breath in hopes of calming herself and rose to her feet. All of the sudden, Aiko heard the snapping and crunching of branches behind her. Aiko was surprised at who she saw when she turned around.

    Only a few yards behind Aiko was another girl who appeared to be a few years older than she was. What stood out the most to Aiko was the girl’s kimono. Her kimono was a rich shade of violet with pink and gold flower petals on it. The girl’s long dark brunette hair was flowing in the warm, gentle breeze. Then she brushed her bangs away from her sapphire eyes. The two girls stood there and stared at each other in silence for a moment before Aiko’s visitor finally broke the silence.

    “Why are you all alone?” the girl asked as she walked over to Aiko. “Don’t you have any friends?” Aiko just sighed and shook her head. Judging by the confused expression on the girl’s face, Aiko could tell that she didn’t understand. “What do you mean?” she wanted to know.

    “Just…what I said. I don’t have any…friends,” Aiko replied softly.


    “I…don’t want to talk about it.” That’s all Aiko said as she turned back around and sat down. She just sat there with her back to the blue-eyed girl. “Who is she?” Aiko wondered. “I’ve never seen her before. She doesn’t seem like she’s from around here.” As Aiko sat there, she began to realize something. “She must not be from this area if she’s still standing there behind me,” she thought when she heard her visitor walk closer to her. Aiko was growing annoyed. “Why can’t I just be alone right now?” Bringing her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around her legs, Aiko thought, “Maybe she’ll get a hint and realize that I don’t feel like talking right now and go home.” However, she thought wrong. “What does she want from me?” Aiko asked herself as she narrowed her eyes.

    “I’ll be your friend,” she said with politeness in her voice. Surprised, Aiko’s eyes shot wide open. Aiko slowly turned around and glared at her. Not knowing if Aiko heard her, the girl repeated herself. There was a smile on her face as she said, “I will be your friend.” Aiko’s eyes were fixed on her as she walked closer to the stream. “My name is Misaki,” she said as she sat down next to Aiko. “I may have only been here for a few days,” Misaki began, “but I’ve seen the way you’ve been treated by some of the other children.” Misaki knew that she had just brought up a sore topic when Aiko turned her head away. Misaki quickly thought of something to say. “You need someone that can protect you. If you want to be my friend, I can watch out for you.”

    “But…my brother…”

    “I can watch out for you whenever I’m here in Aomori,” Misaki said with a smile spreading across her face. “What do you think?” Aiko didn’t know what to say in response, so she just replied with a slight nod. “By the way,” began Misaki in hopes to change the subject, “I told you my name, but you haven’t told me yours yet.”

    “My name is Aiko,” she said as she stood up and brushed herself off. That was when Misaki stood up next to Aiko and put her hand on Aiko’s shoulder.

    “I’m sure we’ll be great friends,” Misaki started to say. “Despite what anyone says.”

    “I understand that she’s trying to be nice, but…for some reason, I have a…bad feeling…about this,” the fourteen-year old Aiko thought. Before the situation grew more awkward, Aiko said, “I have to go home now. I told my brother that I wouldn’t stay out too late. I don’t want him to worry.”

    “I understand,” Misaki said as she stretched her arms out in front of her. “Let’s meet back here tomorrow night, so we can talk more. Do you think your brother will allow you to?” A faint smile appeared on Aiko’s face as she nodded. “Okay. Well, I guess you had better get home. I don’t want you to get in trouble.” After Misaki told Aiko that, the fourteen-year old girl headed for home. “Hey, Aiko!” Misaki called out before Aiko was too far ahead. Aiko stopped and faced Misaki. “I’ll see you tomorrow!” Aiko waved and hurried home. When Aiko had disappeared from sight, Misaki’s sapphire eyes narrowed, but her smiled remained. “What a naive girl,” Misaki laughed under her breath.

    “If only I had known then what I know now.”

    The next night, Misaki stood at the stream by herself. “I wonder if she’ll show up,” she thought to herself. “Maybe she doesn’t trust me…If that’s the case I’ll have to try harder.” That’s when Misaki began to laugh. Just then, her laughter stopped. “But wait…She said she has a brother. What if he doesn’t let her come out tonight?” Misaki’s thoughts were then interrupted when she heard someone calling for her.

    “Misaki!” Misaki turned around and saw Aiko walking toward her. “Sorry I’m late,” Aiko apologized.

    “That’s all right,” Misaki mentioned as the two girls sat down. “I must admit, I didn’t think you were going to come.” Aiko sighed as she raked her fingers through her hair. The young girl was about to dip her hand in the water when he noticed something strange.

    “Why is the…reflection red?” Aiko thought. Confused, Aiko glanced up into the sky. What she saw surprised her. The moon had turned a deep shade of crimson. “Why is…the moon red?” Aiko asked aloud, not realizing that the question had slipped from her lips. However, her words were spoken softly enough that Misaki didn’t hear her. “I’ve never seen it like that before. Oh well,” she mentioned quietly as she dipped her hand into the warm water. “I’m sure it isn’t such a big deal.” After a minute of nothing being said, Aiko took her hand out of the water and focused her eyes on Misaki. “Are you from around here?” Aiko wanted to know. Misaki shook her head.

    “No, I’m not,” replied Misaki. “I’m from Osaka. I came here to visit my cousin for a few days, but I have to leave tomorrow.” Aiko nodded her head once to show that she understood. “You don’t talk very much, do you?” Aiko just shrugged her shoulders and remained silent. As Aiko turned her head away, Misaki kept her sapphire eyes on her. “Why is she so quiet?” Misaki wondered. “How is she able to control herself on a night of the full moon? She’s too young to have learned how to control those urges. What is she hiding? If this girl isn’t the Vampire Queen...Is she somehow related to her? I have to find a way to prove it!” Just the thought alone was enough to irritate Misaki. “Damn it,” she groaned under her breath. Aiko heard Misaki curse and slowly picked her head up, focusing her eyes on her. “I’m sorry,” Misaki apologized as she rose to her feet in a hurried manner. “I-I have to get home. My cousin will worry if I don’t return on time.” After saying that, Misaki ran off. “I’ll see you around!” she called back. Then Aiko watched Misaki until she was out of sight.

    Two years past since Aiko last spoke to Misaki. She hadn’t even seen her either. “I wonder where Misaki has been,” Aiko thought as she walked through the park one night. “I hope I didn’t do anything to annoy her…She was the only friend I had.” As Aiko made her way to the stream where she first met Misaki, several thoughts crossed her mind. “Maybe she’s just been too busy. Oh well. She must have more important things to do.” Aiko stood by the stream with her eyes closed. The light breeze made her brunette hair flow freely about her. Then she took a deep breath. “I don’t know why I continue to come here,” she thought. Just as Aiko was about to head for home, a familiar voice stopped her.

    “Where are you going, Aiko?” Aiko turned around and glanced behind her. The voice had been that of Misaki. “Sorry I haven’t been around for a while,” Misaki apologized as she brushed her dark brunette bangs away from her sapphire eyes. “School has been keeping me extremely busy. I was transferred to a school in Kyoto.”

    “I understand,” Aiko said quietly. However, the expression on her face said she didn’t quite believe what Misaki had just told her. That’s when Aiko noticed that Misaki had something in her possession. “Why do you have a bow and arrow with you?" a curious Aiko asked.

    “My cousin has been giving me archery lessons. That’s all,” replied Misaki, lying through her teeth. Though Aiko wasn’t completely satisfied with Misaki’s answer, she accepted the response anyway. “It’s really none of her business,” Misaki angrily thought to herself as she grasped the arrow in her hand tightly. Then she smiled. “Now why am I getting upset over such a trivial matter? Even if I do tell her my real objective, I’d kill her before giving her the chance to convince me otherwise.” When Misaki focused her attention back on Aiko, she saw that she was now sitting down. Her eyes were partially closed. “You seem as if you’re tired,” Misaki said as she held the arrow behind her. “Maybe you should go home and get some rest. It is getting kind of late.” Aiko said nothing as she slowly rose to her feet. She smiled faintly and waved at Misaki before she made her way home. “You might want to try to enjoy this last week with your brother…For it will be your last.”

    The following week had passed with no problems for Aiko. No one had tried to attack Aiko whenever they noticed her outside. During that week, Misaki never made her presence known to Aiko. For the last few days, Aomori seemed to be at an eerie calm. However, that was all about to change.

    “Good night, Aiko,” Kyou said to his younger sister as he kissed her on the forehead. As Kyou stood up, he thought that Aiko would’ve lain down. However, she remained sitting. The expression on her face was blank. “What’s wrong, Aiko?”

    “Have you ever had the feeling that something bad might happen?” Aiko asked without even giving it a second thought while staring at Kyou now. A baffled Kyou didn’t know how to respond to the question. “Uh…Never mind,” Aiko mentioned as she shook her head. “It’s nothing. Good night, Kyou.” Aiko laid down and closed her eyes. Kyou brushed his blood-red bangs away from his eyes and kissed Aiko again before leaving. Once Kyou had left, Aiko fell fast asleep.

    Several hours had gone by before Aiko was disturbed from her deep slumber. A strange commotion outside forced her to open her tired eyes and sit up. Just as Aiko was about to get out of bed and glance out the window, Kyou burst into her room. He hurried over to her and grasped her hand tightly, pulling his sister out of bed.

    “Kyou, what’s going on?” a startled Aiko wanted to know as she and Kyou ran down the hallway. Kyou didn’t respond to his sister’s question. Aiko’s heart was now racing in her chest. “Kyou, answer me! What’s happening?” Again, Kyou didn’t speak a word. With Aiko’s hand still in his grasp, Kyou led her downstairs and down to the end of a hallway. He opened the door to the basement and pushed Aiko in. She spun around and grabbed Kyou’s shirt. She was now stricken with fear. As she opened her mouth to speak, her brother cut her off.

    “Stay here and don’t make a sound!” whispered Kyou, trying to remain quiet. After it sunk in that they were in a serious situation, Aiko finally let go of her brother’s shirt. Kyou kissed Aiko on the forehead one more time before saying, “Don’t worry. Everything will be just fine.” Then Kyou stepped back and shut the door tightly. Aiko heard her brother run back down the hall. After a few seconds, everything grew silent. Aiko stood against the door with her ear pressed on it, trying to see if she was able to hear anything more. Nothing.

    “I want out,” Aiko said softly, her voice wavering. “It’s too dark. I can’t see anything.” Aiko was normally excellent in finding her way around in the dark. However, Aiko found it difficult to focus in her state of panic. She tried to feel her way around, but to no avail. When Aiko took a step back away from the door, her foot slid off the top step and she wound up tumbling down the stairs. Aiko landed with a thud at the bottom. She groaned as she turned over on her back. Both of her arms were at her side and sore. Her left knee had twisted and was bruised. A minute passed before Aiko was able to fully regain herself after having the breath knocked out of her. When Aiko managed to sit up, she heard shouting and yelling.

    “The Vampire Queen must die!” Aiko heard a woman shout. Aiko’s tear-swollen eyes shot wide open. Before Aiko tried to stand up, she heard the same woman again shout, “We have to protect ourselves from the Vampire Queen! We must not allow her to ruin anymore lives!” That was all Aiko was able to make out.

    “Why does that…voice…sound familiar?” Aiko thought. “No…It…can’t be.” Not wanting to believe it was Misaki, Aiko forced the thought from her mind. However, with how strong it was, it pushed its way back in. She couldn’t take it anymore. Despite the pain flowing through her body, Aiko got to her trembling hands and knees and crawled up the stairs. Once she had made it to the top, everything had become dead quiet. Aiko had no idea if anyone remained in her home. Aiko then slowly pushed open the door and glanced around as she limped down the dark hallway. “Something…smells,” she thought. The aroma of blood was heavy in the air. That’s when she saw it. There was a small pool of blood on the floor of the main room, but no one was there. Next to it was a dagger whose blade was half covered with blood. Inches away from the dagger was the silver ring that Kyou always wore. Aiko made it to the middle of the room before she fell to her knees and burst into tears.

    When Aiko finally ceased crying, she wiped her eyes and glanced around. The sight was too much for her to bear. She could no longer stand being in the house. Aiko took the dagger and ring and wrapped a cloth around them before placing the items in her back pocket. She then wiped her eyes as she rose to her feet. Aiko then ran from the place that was her home and never looked back.

    “Why would she?” Aiko screamed in her head. “How could she? I trusted her!” Anger began to consume Aiko as she ran through the woods. Her vision had become blurred once again. As she entered the clearing, Aiko’s foot slid under the root from a tree that had uprooted from the ground and tripped, spraining her left ankle. Aiko sat up and rubbed her sore ankle. When she picked her head up, Aiko noticed a river a few yards ahead of her. She carefully stood up and limped over to the river. As soon as she made it to the riverbank, she fell backwards and just sat there. Despite the terrible event that Aiko had just gone through, she listened to the sound of the flowing water of the river while gazing up at the thousands of twinkling stars in the night sky. “What did I do to deserve this?” asked Aiko under her breath. "Where am I supposed to go now? I can’t go back home. Not with what just happened.” Then Aiko sighed. She closed her eyes and tried to relax. Just then, Aiko felt another presence not too far from where she was sitting. Aiko opened her eyes and was surprised at who she saw.

    Standing several yards away from Aiko was Misaki. Her long hair was flowing behind her. By the way she stood there, Misaki acted like nothing had happened. What made Aiko’s eyes open wide was when she noticed what appeared to be an expression of satisfaction on her face, no matter how hard she tried to hide it. Misaki cleared her throat before focusing her attention on Aiko. That’s when she finally spoke.

    “I just heard about what happened, Aiko-chan. I am so sorry,” Misaki said, trying to sound apologetic. Aiko couldn’t believe what she had just heard. Her eyes flashed both hurt and anger as she glared at the girl who she thought was her friend. Only then had it become obvious to Aiko that Misaki was trying not to laugh. “I didn’t want to tell them,” Misaki said as she grabbed her left arm. “It was only a matter of time before everyone found out the secret that your family has been hiding for many generations.”

    “Shut up!” Aiko screamed at her as she jumped to her feet. “I don’t want to hear your s**t, Misaki!” Tears had begun to swell in her eyes. “Why did you believe those rumors? How could you believe them? I thought you were my friend!” Aiko’s fists were clenched and started to tremble. She could no longer bear to look at Misaki. “I can’t believe you did this to me. My brother might be dead because of you.” Aiko picked her head up and stared angrily at Misaki. Tears streamed down her face as she screamed, “He was the only family I had left!”

    “I never meant for anything like that to happen,” Misaki tried to explain.

    “You’re lying!” Aiko snapped at Misaki.

    “I have no reason to lie,” said Misaki calmly. “You should’ve known by now how people react when your kind tries to blend in with the human race. For people like me, it’s our duty to rid the world of you. Your kind has taken the lives of many people for hundreds of years…Some of those belonging to my family.”


    “Enough!” shouted Misaki as she held her hand up, stopping Aiko from saying anymore. "I've heard enough from you. Your words cannot sway me from my true feelings.” Then Misaki sighed. “I have nothing left to say to a vamp.” After speaking those words, Misaki slowly lowered her hand and grinned. Suddenly, everything went black.