by Brooke Hemingway, Age 12, USA
How I Became a Vampire
Gone, gone, gone. The thought pounded in my head as I sprang off the stone wall of my house and dashed for the forest that backed up the yard. My heart pumped, every inch of my body trembling with the rhythm. I ran blindly through the forest, ignorant of all paths, only aware of the tears cutting through my vision. Mud splattered all over my black skirt, branches ripped my black tights, and wetness splattered onto my leg that may have been blood. I didn’t care. Everything was ruined anyway, so why should I care about ruined clothes?
Faster and faster, harder and harder I ran. A cramp clawed at me like a rat, and the wind howled into my face, blowing strands of black hair everywhere.
I stopped running in the middle of the forest. Sadness filled my body until I could barely stand. My father was gone, my mother unresponsive, and my visits to the forest led to my dropping grades. A scream burbled out of my throat, pushing and pushing out of my mouth. The scream wanted to be free, just like I wanted to be free from being a human.
“Agh!” I screamed aloud, the sound sounding too loud in the silent air. “Stop it! Stop, please!”
Like an answer from the heavens the skies broke open and rain came down in sheets. My clothes were plastered to my skin, and rain dripped down my back. Lightning flashed briefly in the sky and then disappeared, making the world so dark I could only see grayish outlines of trees beyond the path.
A branch fell a couple inches away from my feet, splattering mud everywhere. I stood perfectly still, the branch turning into a velvet curtain, the dark muddy path turning into the oaken stage of a theater. And then, I was caught into the past. The past of three weeks ago, when my actor father had taken his final bow.
I remembered all too well–my father bowing and smiling in the stoplight, people standing and applauding for him.
I remembered too well the sickening crack that could be heard over the applause. I remembered the velvet curtain falling down to the stage, the heavy wood frame folding inside of layer after layer of heavy velvet fabric, until it crashed to the stage with a booming thud. I remembered the pool of red that spread out on the stage.
My father was gone, leaving behind a grieving daughter and wife.
I lay down on the quicksand-like path and curled up, hugging my knees to my chest. Silver, sparkling tears rolled off of my brown eyes and splashed onto the torn tights, mingling with the rain drops that dripped down from the branches above. My father always comforted me, and now he was gone, gone, gone. Gone forever, and was never coming back. Then, there was a voice.
“Stop that infernal noise, human.”
I held my breath, tears and rain still trickling down my face. Like no voice I had ever heard before, it was raspy. Like a growl was being mixed with words.
“Stand up, or I’ll do it for you.”
My heart was filled to the icy brim with dread. I was sure I was getting kidnapped. A pit of fear opened up in my stomach. Squishing steps came towards me, and hairy hands lifted me up off the ground. Long claws pricked my back, but I didn’t cry out, I was to afraid. The hands lifted me to a standing position, and when the hair fell back from my face, I gasped.
Two figures stood in front of me. One was a girl with pale skin that was bright even in the storm and had the tiniest pointed teeth peeking from under her blood-red lips. She wore a cloak that mingled with the shadowy trees behind her, and stared at me with a curious gaze in her piercing red eyes. I knew she was a vampire. The other figure was about six feet tall, and covered with shaggy fur. When looking at his inhuman face and body, I stepped back into a tree. With slim legs with inch long talons, he rose up, filling the sky. His face was pointed and curved like a wolf’s, with sinister glittering black eyes and curved teeth. A werewolf!
“What are you doing here, human?” the werewolf said. Lightning split the sky, and I saw his face. The mildest word to describe it was murderous.
I didn’t answer, only fingered the silver charm my father had given me long ago. He said it would keep me safe, said it would protect me from things that were far above my understanding. My father had always been mysterious like that, ever since he lost his memories years ago, appearing out of this very forest.
My father had always been wild, like me.
The vampire girl stepped forward, her fangs growing in front of me until they were five inches long.
“Answer our questions, human girl, before I drink the life right out of your body. Stand still,” she ordered, as I turned the bullet charm thrice in my hand. A corner of it poked from my fist, and the vampire looked down at it.
The vampire stepped back, her gaze suddenly fearful. As her fangs shrank drastically, she elbowed the giant werewolf, and whispered something into his ear.
The werewolf gasped and looked at me. “Show us the thing in your hand.”
I opened my palm so they could see.
“Here you go,” I said, voice shaking. “It’s just a silver bullet.”
“Just a bullet?” said the vampire, eyes wide. “So, you don’t know, do you?”
“Know what?” I said.
The vampire just stared at me. The werewolf narrowed his black eyes. Thunder boomed in the distance, and lightning split the sky once more.
“Wait, Sylvia,” he told the vampire. “You’re just guessing.”
“What other possible explanation is there?” she wailed. “How can a human have it if they’re not his daughter?”
“What does the bullet say?” asked the werewolf.
I looked down at it. In gentle, loopy writing engraved in the silver it read: Joseph. My father’s name.
“It says Joseph,” I told them. The vampire girl burst into tears, and the werewolf gasped.
“What’s going on?” I said.
The vampire, with tears coursing down her face walked towards me. Her cloak was no longer flapping in the wind, but slick with rain, sticking to her body.
“That bullet is my father’s,” the vampire said. “He used it long ago to leave the Vamperwolf world and to marry a human.” She took my hands, and we looked at each other. “You’re my half-sister.”
“What?” I said. “Dad was a… vampire?”
My sister nodded sadly. “He chose a human over my mother, chose humans over vamperwolves. That bullet is what turned him into a vampire, and in the end,” she closed her eyes,” a human as well.”
“I have a sister?” I said, my voice raising at the end. “A vampire sister?”
The vampire and I embraced. I had never hugged anyone really before, and it felt wonderful to know someone loved you, someone besides parents.
The vampire straightened and turned to the werewolf. “We’re bringing her to the committee. I am not leaving her now.”
The werewolf nodded and looked like he was biting his lip.
“Okay,” he said. “They will probably accept her, but does she even want to?”
The vampire looked steadily into my eyes. “Do you want to become a vampire or werewolf?” she asked me. “Be careful with your choice, because you can never go back.”
I paused and I remembered all of the emotions I had felt being a human, I remembered everything I wanted to be ridden of. Mom would miss me, would suffer after losing Dad, but this was too good of a chance to turn down.
We walked through the mud until the mouth of a dark cave loomed before us. My half-sister, Sylvia led the werewolf, Dak and I down it. I could hear faint drips of water all around us, and my stomach was full of butterflies.
After what seemed like a mile, Sylvia stopped walking. She was facing a stone archway, and knocked five times on the left side of it. With a sound like nails on chalkboard, it opened, and a white-faced vampire like Sylvia walked out. It nodded to her, and let the three of us in. I wondered why he let me in until Dak leaned over me.
“They smell the Vamperwolf blood in you veins,” he told me in the same raspy voice he had in the forest. “That’s why no one has killed you yet.”
“Vamperwolf?” I asked him.
“That’s what we call ourselves,” he said. “To signify the union between vampires and werewolves.”
I nodded and looked in awe at my surroundings.
The floor was ebony black and hard for my shoes to grab hold. We walked down a tunnel with no light bulbs, only a faint green glow coming from the walls themselves. Sylvia turned the corner, and everything brightened instantly. I gasped. Now the world was full of light. The room we were in was about the size of a football field. Bats flew through the air, often landing and turning into vampires. Werewolves ran and bounded everywhere, and caves lined the room. Looking into some of them, I saw sleeping dens and barrels of blood and meat in others.
Sylvia grabbed my shoulder and pointed to a cave right in the middle of there room. Without speaking, I knew it was where I would go to become a vampire. Sylvia led me there, and Dak stood outside the door like a bodyguard.
The Vamperwolf committee consisted of four vampires and four werewolves, sitting around a stone table. We burst in unannounced, and Sylvia spoke rapidly to all eight astounded creatures.
“Vamperwolf committee,” she said. “I found my sister.”
There was silence. One vampire, the eldest of all them all stood. She wore a beautiful white robe, and walked unsteadily towards us.
“You are Joseph’s human daughter?” she said.
I nodded, and withdrew the silver bullet from my pocket.
“This was his,” I said, handing it to her.
She turned it around and around in her hands in wonder. She looked at me.
“I am your grandmother,” the vampire said. “Call me Nana.”
“My name in Della. I came here to be part of the Vamperwolf world.” I paused, wondering if I should say something more. “It is the deepest wish in my heart to become a vampire.”
A werewolf on the committee snorted, and Nana smiled, withdrawing another bullet from her robe pocket. She breathed on it, and I watched as an unseen hand traced the name Della on it in loopy, cursive writing.
“I will turn you into the creature you desire to become,” she said. “Get the gun,” she told the other committee members.
I gasped. Were they going to shoot me? Sylvia gasped my arm.
“Don’t worry,” she laughed. “The bullet has magic in it, so it won’t hurt you.”
I was just relaxing when Nana came up to me, a sleek silver and black revolver in her hand.
“Ready?” she asked.
I nodded. Nana inserted a silver bullet like my father’s in the gun and placed it on my forehead. There was a click, and there was a sharp pain that immediately disappeared. I touched two sharp teeth protruding from my upper lip with my tongue and had a thirst for something unknown.
My grandmother smiled and took a goblet from the committee’s desk. It was filled to the brim with blood. I reached for it and drank it all. After finishing, I looked into the empty silver goblet, and saw the glint of my red eyes reflecting off of the bottom. I was a vampire.
Brooke says: “I am an avid reader of children’s fiction and am working on a novel this year. In school I love math, science, and not Language Arts class.”