Black, all I saw was black. I opened my eyes and saw myself in a mirror, floating amongst black waves. It felt like hours, to days, to a week I had been in this dark sea. My ears were fuzzed off, my senses dull, my heart short breathed. I knew, yet I was clueless. I saw my body’s spirit sloshing back and forth with the waves of blackness, in and out of the light. Where was I to go? How far had I come? Is this it? Then…warm….a very warm flow rushed in my veins…too warm…hot…very hot! Burning! I’m burning! I’m on fire! Put it out! PUT IT OUT! I began screaming, wrenching, begging, wanting, wanting death to end the pain. This unfathomable, feeling, this torture, I want death! I want it now! End it! FINISH IT! I DON’T WANT THIS! HELP ME! MAKE IT STOP! PLEASE! Numb the pain….please….pleas…plea…pl…p… I couldn’t speak.
Calmness, a heavy sigh, my world came to a standstill. But then….I heard a buzz, I heard a drip, I felt someone’s breath, I smelled everyone’s scent. I waited to hear something…a sound that gives a ray of light….hope from a feared dream…the beat of life….but I heard stillness…silence…I heard nothing….I was frozen…frozen alive…was I dead? Am I? Or am I not? That was the question...and if not…what am I? My eyes opened fast, and startled. Startled to see my father, with a vile in his hands, on the vile it said,” HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAORI! WELCOME.” And I could see print, a print tinier than what I could read before….it read,” vampire venom.” I rushed to the mirror, broken at the sight of my blood red retina, and my pearl white teeth. My face no more pale than before, and my throat dry. I turned to my dad, sadly but acceptingly, telling him,
” I am what I am. On my 12th birthday, I am one of you.” He smiled lovingly, saying what I’d remember for the rest of my existence,
“Welcome to the coven.”
I couldn’t believe this was happening. Of all the unfortunates, this one took the cake. Sure when I explain the dilemma, it won’t seem so complicated. But that’s when your own feelings turn it all around and it becomes an omen.
“This is so stupid! She keeps pulling the same act every time! ” I thought to myself as we were driving to our new home.
“You’re going to love it here sweet pea!” my mother said with an annoyingly peppy tone.
“I can’t wait for you to see the new house! Your brother here has already gotten used to my work schedule, it’ll be a breeze for you!” she said with a slight comfort in her tone. Mom always had a short cut to life, be it in work or at home. It would’ve driven her mad if she had to take the long way around, just get there and you’ll be fine.
“Mom, if you don’t mind I’ve got a headache. It really hurts to listen right now.” I was always using that as my scapegoat, more like a means of sanctuary whenever there was a topic I didn’t want to discuss. If you haven’t figured out my dilemma already, I might as well tell you now. I’m moving from sunny southern California, to the agricultural/ winery core of the golden state. San Luis Obispo County. This wouldn’t be my first trip up here, every year the three of us would come up to celebrate thanksgiving or Christmas with our grandmother. I had just got back from camping in Wyoming, and I could already tell that this was going to be a harder mission than I thought. Yes three, my parents separated when I was 10, my little brother Yasu was 8 at the time. My mom and my brother didn’t like to dwell in the topic, my dad and I on the other hand loved dwelling on past events. It was one of our misfortunate traits, which we’ve come to know and hate the curse it brings. And I really mean a curse. School started in three days, and my head throbbed at the thought of going into a public school.
“Templeton dead ahead!” my brother exclaimed with the joyful thought of being in his room again. During the day the tiny town didn’t seem so bad, in fact it felt kind of cozy. But at night it was deserted, a ghost town, way too quiet. “Oh please like I could fall in love with this place or anything in it! Besides it’d be way too risky.” I said shaking my head at the pointless thought.
Pulling into our own personal garage (for the first time in 3 soon to be 4 years), we started to unload our suit cases and walked in this quiet mysterious building soon to be called “home”. The house seemed small on the outside, but when you went in the new home was ten times bigger than our old moldy apartment. Exhausted from the drive up I went straight up to my room, and collapsed on my bed.
“Oh my gosh! An actual bed!” sighing from the pleasures the bed emanated, I started to drift off. The weekend went by in a flash, and the twilight of our summer had arrived. The dusk filled sky of fall had appeared. Back in O.C. it was still summer until late October, early November. I loved that, I longed for that, I missed that. It may sound like I’m complaining but I have no intention to do so, going into public school wasn’t as big of an omen my feelings made it out to be. It was just…..unavoidable.
I slept like I’d never slept before that night. It was Sunday afternoon and my mom needed help washing her new BMW. The sunset skies always bewildered me, how can such a tiny place have something so beautiful? Giant Valley Oaks and vineyards covered the golden lit hills, maple and sycamore trees started to change color, and air as fresh as a spring rain. The entry to our street has a small ramp on the blacktop, and kids from all over the neighborhood rode down on that ramp, kids my age or younger, riding on bikes, scooters, and skateboards. I watched them for awhile, envying their luck. Their luck of having a life long friendship, a rooted bond, a time where they knew you better than you thought a loyalty.
“Most of these kids have grown here their whole lives…I...-gasp-“One of the kids (a blonde boy, bout my age or so, he was an intriguing human) caught me watching them, I turned my head around and focused on getting mom’s new baby washed (yup that’s what she calls her new car…). Seeing the unity and friendship those kids possessed and showed exhausted me. I did my good night routine and lied in my bed. I dreamed like I never dreamed, for some reason this tiny little western place had some kind of calming effect on me. And that did me a lot of help, for there’s something about me that not even my mother nor my brother know. It began again….my subconscious replayed who I am, and how I came to be…I felt it, I felt it all….I wanted it to stop…and then….BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP!!!!!! My alarm went off, signaling a loss that every kid hates to endure, the dreary end of summer vacation.
The one thing I hate most about the school year is having to wake up early. I never was a morning person, my ruling hours were always in the dead of the night. The total of the kids at my old school (pre K- 8th was 250-300 students, it was a private school) made up the same amount of all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the middle school I was about to attend. I heard that TMS had the same rules and regulations as RHLS, but I was pretty sure that the Middle school’s curriculum was going to be way different than what I was used to.
“Good luck Kaori, I’ll come pick you up after school. Meet me by the bus stop area.” My mother looked like she was about to cry, so I tried to lighten up the mood.
“I’ll be here. And Ma, I’m not a Pre-K kid ok? I’m in 8th grade.” She smiled, and it seemed to have worked. Yesterday (before we washed her car) my ma took me around the school, just to get a feel of what my new school’d be like. I found the office no problem, same with the gym. But my other classes were a different problem altogether, almost every classroom looked the same (on the outside anyway).
“Let’s see, 1st period……P.E. Dang. Right off the bat, well I guess I’d better go find my class (wherever it is…).” As I went down the stairs to the level of the basketball courts, I saw a tall and exceedingly shy redhead. She seemed lost and asked for help, my help.
“H-hey, do you have Reynolds?” she said speaking timidly.
“Ummmm, yeah! Are you new?” That might’ve been a little…..forward. Seeing that the girl was so shy, she stuttered to get her thoughts out. I guess my question didn’t really help her out.
“Yes, are you?” Well that was easy, an newbie like me!
“Mmmmhmmm! I’m Kaori.”
“I’m Suzuki…pleased to meet you.” She seemed to look relieved when I told her yes. I couldn’t blame her; she was just as new as I was. And we had no clue what this school was about. And what we were about to get ourselves into.
“I’m guessing that was the bell, funny I’ve never heard a bell like this before. Did your school bell sound like this Suzuki?” I wanted to start up a conversation with her, ya’know make her feel more at ease, even if the conversation started with a stupid subject like that.
“I don’t really know, oh! I think this is the locker rooms.”
I was so relieved,
” Whew, well let’s head over there!”
We get outside, and I meet my new P.E. coach……it was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. I normally don’t bash on a teacher’s appearance, I only revise my opinion based on their actions and temper.
“This guy……how on earth did he become a P.E. teacher?” I thought.
He wasn’t very tall; you could tell he’s had a few years on him. Not to mention a few beers as well, and his attitude enhanced the stench of apathy this school wreaked of. Nobody cared about how they did, they walked when they were instructed to run, they talked when he was talking, and so much more! All I knew is that I’ve got to try, and keep my grades up as much as possible this year. I was way more optimistic than anticipated.
My next class was practically on the other side of the campus.
“Health. Sounds easy enough.” I felt a little proud when I saw some of the classes I was assigned to. And everyday it was the same thing, and not knowing who was who, my nose was practically stuck to this piece of paper.
Kozakura, Aura, Kaori
1st per: P.E. Reynolds
- 1st semester: Health, Shudd
- 2nd semester: Life skills, Cho
3rd per: Algebra A, Naylen
4th per: American History: Delta
5th per: Advanced Art: Yuktri
6th per: Language Arts: Devanio
7th per: Science: Mendoza
“Glad you could join us, Miss Kozakura.” Miss Shudd said aloud. I wanted to die then and there. I won’t lie and say I hate attention, but I don’t like to be put on the spotlight when there’s no stage beneath my feet.
“I’m sorry I’m late Ms. Shudd, traffic was terrible.” I looked around desperately trying to find a seat, nada. But I did see a seat next to a familiar looking boy;
“I think I had my P.E. class with this kid, I’m not sure, there were more kids in that class than the kids who made up my 7th grade last year.” I didn’t have time to chit chat. So I deliberately sat in the seat next to him.
I also noticed another boy, the boy who was riding on my street that one night. His name was Haruki. ” Wow who would’ve guessed? He probably wouldn’t recognize me. Besides as far as he’s concerned I’m just a newbie….well that’s my assessment anyways.” Out of the corner of my right eye I could see that the boy from P.E. looked very uncomfortable, I could’ve sworn he was leaning away from me. He looked as if he wasn’t breathing. I (subtly) started to smell everything on my upper body.
“No, I’m good. But even if I smelled a little weird, he could at least cut me some slack considering we both came from P.E.” I turned my head just an inch to get a good look at his face, he was very handsome, and that was saying something considering the limited variety in males up here. I turned again, but he caught me in the act….I jerked my head away as fast as I could, he’d given the most spine chilling glare I’d ever seen. His eyes were pitch blackish brown; it looked as if his iris grew and covered over his retina. And I could’ve sworn I heard a low growl. Oh wait that was my stomach. My bad.
“What did I do? Oh, maybe I stole his desk because he’s so used to sitting here alone….That had to be it! And if that wasn’t it, why would he be mad at me? I just got to this school, there’s no way he’d build a vendetta against me in the amount of time we had together. A legitimate one that is…” Curiosity stirred within me about this one boy, asking twenty questions at a time. I couldn’t help myself; I had to look at him! I peeked through my hair (that I threw over my right shoulder) and found an opening, he seemed strong too. He had the darkest of brown hair, not so much sleek as it was shiny. And his skin tone was a pale olive- like color….a type I’d never seen before. He wore the TEMPLETON MIDDLESCHOOL FOOTBALL jersey. Green and White were the school’s colors…but most people wore green…it was too much. But he pulled off the jersey quite nicely. It suited him.
“Uggg I’ll never get used to that.” I mumbled irritatingly. I headed outside of the classroom and packed up my stuff, I noticed he was packing up at the same time I was, he finished faster and headed off. I found a nearby table.
Eating my snack I rushed to my 3rd period, the classroom became smaller with all of the student desks’ filling the spaces. And all I saw was monkeys. This woman had a monkey everywhere she could put one, not real ones, mostly plushies. Everyone found a seat and fast, there was one seat that wasn’t too far back nor up in front either.
“Hey! You must be new! I’m Kimiko, what’s your name?”
“I’m Kaori” honestly, do people get a kick out of meeting a new student here?
“Kaori….ok. Welcome to Templeton Middle! See anything you like?”
“Umm….I don’t know” It’s been a long time since anyone was this friendly to me; in fact…I don’t remember who was.
“Okay Kimiko enough socializing, you had that chance during break. Hello class, I’m Mrs. Naylen. As we can see we have a new student, and I expect her to be treated fairly. Any who starting off with how I run my class……”
I was shocked at how many people took up this one class too. And at how many stared at me, scrutinizing my appearance.
I looked around to see if there was anyone I knew in this class….sure enough there he was. Sitting in the darkest corner of the classroom, the mystifyingly beautiful boy was in my class again. But why was he in the dark corner? Shouldn't that be my spot?
“That’s 3 out of 7 periods I have with this guy! What is up?” I thought hard, so hard I almost didn’t hear the bell.
I picked up my things and headed to the adjacent room….History.
The boy, who was in my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, went to my 4th period class! I was astounded and baffled at how someone who really seems to hate me sure was spending a lot of classes with me! Then again I wouldn’t blame him for hating me; the people at my old school avoided me. And they had good reason to; I can safely say that I wasn’t someone you should be around when I lose it. Or maybe he just thought I was an annoyance…I had no clue; the boy was a total mystery to me. The way my teacher placed the desks and his stuff made Mrs. Naylen’s room look like krill, extremely spacious, covered in American history posters, quotes, and pictures. Not to mention all of the newspaper adds with the High School’s star champions by his desk. Mr. Delta didn’t introduce me to the class like my previous teachers, and I was thankful for that…..or so I thought.
“Okay, what we’re going to do is tell us your name, age, birth town, and where you grew up. Considering all of the new faces I’m seeing, I figured this’d be easier. Starting with you.” Luck was not on my side today, for I was the one he pointed at….I found my voice in the nick of time.
“I’m Kaori Kozakura, I am 13 and a ½ years old (I turn 14 in Oct.), and I was born in Glendale, and grew up in Castaic, O.C., and now here.” I was surprised that I got that all out, I hadn’t rehearsed or role played this type of situation so I had no clue as to what I was going to say. That wasn’t going to give me away.
“Oh, well welcome to Templeton. I’m sure you’ll love it here! Do you like the school?” I hesitated trying to find the right words. Its not that I hated the middle school, I just hated the unnecessary attention. And the rude behavior.
“It’s very new to me. This is my 1st year in a public school.” It was more a-matter-of-fact statement than a reply. Everyone stared, and one of the kids asked,
“You’ve NEVER BEEN TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL BEFORE?” The kid looked like he was going to explode if I didn’t answer right away.
“N-no.” It was unbelievable; these kids were as nosy as my old school busybodies.
“O M G”
“Text language, how original.” It was true though. I grew up in a Christian home, and lived that lifestyle. Recent events have exposed me to what the world is like outside of that shelter. Many events….events that’re a secret…and will stay that way. In time I began to relax my opinion about things, because now I could understand why things were the way things were. Everyone had a turn, and then it was his turn…..
“My name is Daisuke Kisho. I am 14 years old, I too was born in Glendale, and grew up here, and I didn’t start this school til 7th grade.” He glanced at me, probably wondering if I took all of that into account. In a way I did, but I had other things to focus on….or at least that was what I was trying to think. Everyone had their story in Templeton, and I still have yet to tell mine.
Unfortunately for me, Daisuke was in the far back, in (yet again) another dark corner. So no, I couldn’t peek at him like I wanted to, but I could feel glances at me from all over the room. Glances that weren’t his alone. Again, I don’t mind attention but this was getting ridiculous. Mr. Delta had a very quiet voice….so it was very easy to space out, or fall asleep in class. We weren’t even doing anything, and a majority of the students didn’t even hear the conversation. The bell rang.
“Where to now? And will he be in my next class as well?” I sighed beneath my breath, so low that no one could hear. Art was my next class, and oddly enough he wasn’t in my next class. The art room was on the same level as my P.E. class, and my other classes went by in a flash (he wasn’t in any of those either). But I was even more startled in science. These two girls called Hallie and Sandy (popular girls from the looks of it) saw me and started interrogating me like I was on trial for a crime I didn’t commit.
“Hey, are you new?” Hallie asked chewing her gum. Hallie had deep brown hair that grew to the center of her back. She wore a boutique yellow blouse, a very short skirt (that showed her thighs at a very uncomfortable place…not just for her but for me) and tan flip flops.
“uh huh.” I replied being as polite as I possibly could, while trying to keep up in science.
“So do you like any of the boys here?” Sandy implied. Sandy was smaller than Hallie...and me. In fact she was shorter than a lot of people in the class. She had short dirty blonde hair, peach white skin, a blue shoulder cut top with a large necklace, shorts, and silver embroidered flip flops. She seemed the nicer one of the two. And she just asked me what?!
“Nope.” I said that firm and flat. For it was the truth, no boy was likeable up here…not like like anyway.
“What?!” Both of them nearly shouted, almost getting them and me in trouble.
“Is that a bad thing?” I asked.
“No…it’s not but…no one?” Hallie pried.
“Nuh uh.” Again flat yet firm.
“Whoa...” Sandy whispered shocked at my dislike in any of the guys.
“Oh! Maybe its cause she has a boyfriend!” Hallie told Sandy, sounding like she hit the jackpot. They were way off.
“No, it’s not that either.”
“Well do you have a boyfriend?” Sandy said, She almost sounded appalled that they didn’t get it, but they loved the “what is this girl’s love life game?”
“Nope, never had one.” I didn’t. For years at a time no boy wanted to have anything to do with me. Even the boys I did like. And I never had a chance to share the thing they were about to ask next.
“Never?! Have you even kissed a boy?” Again both said in unison.
“No.” I said that with a little more sadness than I liked. I had never kissed any boy outside of my own family. And I didn’t even bother with relationships, if I could barely hang on to a crush there was no way I could manage a relationship. Hello, I'd use him as a snack! Believe it or not vampires can get crushes too. But in some subtle way, I did envy those who had their real 1st kiss. My want to know what that passion felt like made me quiver, for I knew it’d never happen and I didn’t want to bother.
I left science and headed for the bus stop. I found my mom and my grandmother (my dad’s mom) both at the spot where I was supposed to meet Yasu. My mom’s mom lives in Bend Oregon along with my mom’s step-dad. When I was coming out of my infant stage I looked a lot like my Grammi. She and papa moved to Oregon when I was 4, they only come down when my mom’s sister is having an event of some sort (a family one that is).Mom took me, my brother, and my grandma all to our home.
“Okay, so now I have 4 out of 7 periods with Daisuke, and he seems to hate me and won’t give me any hint as to what or why. Templeton Middle is a very strange school, a lot of nice people, and a very handsome boy.” So many thoughts made me restless that night, and I had a lot of other things to worry about as well.
“Kaori?” Grandma called with a faint cry. A cry only I could hear.
“I’m in here Grandma.” Elanie Michi Kozakura Marker. She and my dad don’t talk to each other nowadays. In fact their relationship is pretty shallow. They’ve never gotten along without someone brining something up about their past. I loved her though, and she (besides my dad) knew who I was, and was the same thing.
“Ah! There you are. I swear I never get used to your mother’s changing mind. She hops around from place to place just like a nomad.” She said shaking her head in disgust as she entered my room, and sat on my bed next to me.
“Yeah? Well you don’t have to live with it and sickly love it at the same time grandma.” I spoke rolling my eyes in agreement to her statement. She laughed.
“True…so how did it go?” She asked specifically, seriously, and cautiously. I knew what she meant.
“It went as planned. I wasn’t thirsty today. But the people here”-shaking my head-“how on earth did you manage? They’re so nosy. And the one guy who sorta peaked my interest, Daisuke I think, treated me like I was kryptonite! A disease! I didn’t even bite him! What the heck gave him any?!” I was nearly shouting at the top of my lungs, had it not been for my Grandma’s silencing technique the whole neighborhood would’ve heard me.
“Kaori, honey its okay. Listen; believe it or not, this is where you’ll finally set your roots.” WHAT?! Is she trying to be funny?
“You’re kidding right?” This was unbelievable; my mom had moved me around (not a lot but enough for me) more than enough. And whenever I started to think I could finally settle down, she moved us! So why the heck would she decide to?
“It’s not because of her; it’s because of what you said.” She looked at me as if I knew what she meant by that. My grandma had ways of reading my mind…because it showed plain and clear on my face.
“What I said?”
“What you just told me now.” She had me, and then she lost me.
“Honestly Kaori, no wonder no boy had asked you out, you’re so clueless!” It finally hit me like a lightning bolt. She meant Daisuke!
“YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT MY WHOLE ROOTING HAS TO DO WITH SOME GUY WHO’S GVING ME THE SILENT TREATMENT?!”
“Kaori...” Crap I did it again.
“Sorry Grandma, but are you sure your circuitry is wired right?”
“Kaori I may be 261, but I live as if I was the human 25. My insights are just perfect.”
“Yes but there’s a reason as to why you have long jeopardy.” Sheesh need we go over this again.
“And throughout my years of existence, “-talking with a stern listen now tone-“I’ve come to know that when our kind has even the slightest spark of infatuation with a human, we can never let go. Your father would know this perfectly well.” My head snapped up to meet her gaze with my maroon red eyes, I started to growl.
“You said you’d never talk about that!”
“Kaori honey, I know and I’m not. I’m just telling you that this boy...Daisuke…is going to be him.”
“The once in an existence opportunity with our kind, this is how we grow.”
“What? It’s true?”
“I am not reproducing with him!” EWWWW! I was appalled that my own grandmother would be this crass! And here she is looking at me as if I shouldn’t be shocked, yet here I am. I’m extremely immature when it comes to this discrete subject. Always have since I was 12.
“I’m not talking about the human act of reproduction you blonde; I’m talking about our dietary expansion.” With that she smiled a malicious smile, showing her perfectly white and sharp incisors.
“You mean? Daisuke is going to be my…my…1st bite? My 1st vampirism venom bite?”
“It’s a possibility, you are the daughter of Kenta Kozakura, and he had incredible control over his venom. There’s a high chance of you possessing the same finesse.”
“G-grandma….no…I don’t…I don’t want to do this! I never had a choice! He does! And You’re telling me that I’m going to steal this innocent boy’s reason for living! I am not going to! NO NO! Noooo….” I broke into sobs, I barely even knew Daisuke…but I was never going to damn him to an empty existence! He has a choice! I didn’t! I was born into a world where my dad’s side were vampires and my mom’s side were humans! I was doomed to be a vamp! I was the 1st born! I won’t! I’ll never!
“It’s not for sure yet, you have to tell me what goes on with this boy, and when. I’m going to do some investigating, in the meantime…enjoy the fun.” Giggling like a mischievous school girl, she vanished into the night. I wiped my tears and closed my eyes, from all of the excitement and pain I became extremely thirsty; I got up, inhaled and gave in to my instincts. The night was young and trailed. I was still there, watching…waiting from the sidelines of my mind….hoping this will come to pass soon.