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Search for the Cold Ones

Summary:
The year is 2079. It’s not so different now to what it was in the past. Medical and scientific advancement has been frozen for the last seventy years and the globe is stuck in a rut. A new craze has just hit the world. A saga, unlike any other, has evoked the imaginations of thousands around the planet. It’s last June and it’s unseasonably cold for this time of year. The film ‘Eclipse’ has just hit the box office and everyone is caught up in the vampire frenzy...


Notes:


1. Chapter One: Transformation

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Search for the Cold Ones – Chapter One: Transformation

As soon as his teeth sunk into my shoulder I forgot all about my human life. All those little ups and downs that had meant the world to me numbly slipped away as his venom scorched through my veins. I had read all the books, seen every film and even fantasised of becoming one of them myself, but now my time had come, I could think of nothing other than wishing I could die. The pain I felt now was beyond anything – too much for any human to bear. It wasn’t possible. They weren’t even real! Vampires. They were just stories. Just things made up to scare children over the centuries. I clung desperately to this assumption as my body was set on fire, the flames licking my skin like a scorching caress. How could this be real? It must have been in a dream, almost faded from memory now, where I first saw that mystical man with the blood red eyes.

“Funny. Must be yet another obsessed fan...” I had thought to myself as I had passed him on the sidewalk early in the dream. Yet, though I was sure they were merely contacts, his brief gaze had pierced me and I had shudder as a cool breeze hit my side. In my dim mind, I remembered turning down a quiet road, quickening my pace as I realised how late it was. Then, as it only can in dreams, the impossible happened. As I glanced ahead, I was stopped dead in my tracks as I was confronted with the eerie man that I had passed but moments ago, just paces in front of me. I glanced behind wondering how I could have missed him as he had passed by, before shrugging myself further into my thick anorak and taking off again, aiming to skirt around the stranger. But, as I approached, he made no effort to move aside. He stood like a statue, not even a fraction of movement, his crimson eyes watching me. Just as I made to side-step around him, a huge, sinister smile stretched across his face and he gripped my hand. I tried to flinch away from his stone cold grip, but I could not escape his grasp. My heart trembled and my brain stuttered to itself, trying to make my mouth move, as he circled around me, stopping directly behind, my hand still in his. Suddenly, I found my lungs and tried to scream, but his free hand clamped over my mouth before any sound could come out. Then, as thought growing impatient, he released my hand and frantically pulled at my coat and scarf until he had exposed the soft, warm skin of my neck and shoulder underneath. I heard him chuckle to himself under his breath as I shivered, petrified.

“Impossible...” I breathed through the fingers that crushed against my mouth. Then it ended. The dream was over and all I could feel was a scorching fire burning me from the inside. But try as I might, I could not pull myself far enough away from my unconscious state to try and extinguish it. Though I could swear my encounter with the strange mind was a dream, the pain left no shadow of a doubt in my mind that it was real. This fire coursed through my veins making me was to cry out. Although my vision was black, I was very aware of my limbs flailing away from my body, trying desperately to get away from the unrelenting pain. After what seemed like a life-time of horrendous torture, I felt a cool hand pressed to my arm. Cool. I thought I would never feel coldness again after I had been scorched by the burning venom.

My eyes flew open wildly searching for the owner of the hand. My gaze fell on my mysterious man and, before he could register my frantic expression, I grabbed his hand of stone and tried to pull it over me and press it against my burning forehead. He went to pull away, gently constricting the muscles in his arm, trying to shrug me off. It caught me off guard as I saw past his skin to the muscles underneath and my grip on his arm loosened minutely. He saw his chance and went to pull away again. Without warning, I felt the air in my lungs bubble up my throat and push a low, warning growl through my clenched teeth. The cold man jerked back suddenly, confusion in his vivid eyes. I released his hand and blinked, his confusion becoming mine. Though I still refused to believe this was no more that my over-active imagination, I was sure that this wasn’t right. I felt sure the books had said that the human body burned with venom for about three days before the heart stopped and a new vampire awoke. A growl was a vampire’s trait, not a human’s. And these characteristics were only assumed after the human heart had faded away, not before.

I sat upright, still staring back at my attacker. My hand fumbled to my chest, ripping the buttons of my blouse open so I could press it against my skin, manically trying to feel the thump of my heart, though I could already hear it. Slower than a normal human’s, true, but still very much there. Apparently, my vampire attacker could hear it too. “How...” he began, before trailing off. Through my racing mind, I felt myself smile. I thought vampires were never at a loss – always had the upper hand to their prey. My creator obviously mistook my slow smile for something more threatening and backed away from me slowly. Now I laughed out loud. Where was the feral instinct the stories had told me about? The inability to feel fear and the instinct to fight to the death? I got to my feet feeling my new power over my own body and this more experienced vampire. I laughed again. This couldn’t be real. I brushed my right hand along the back of my left out of curiosity. Sure enough, it was hard as granite under my light touch, yet silky smooth, just like it was described in the book. The book! I was obviously deranged. Nothing from a story book was ever real! I laughed once more, the musical sound made harsher by a crazed note as I felt sure I had just lost my newly acquired sharp mind.

That was enough for my awestruck companion. This obviously went against everything he had ever known and his muscles twitched. Then, in a second, he flew off, disappearing from my sharp eyes quicker that I thought possible. All alone, I couldn’t help but shudder as each of my slow heartbeats reverberated in my ears. I realised then that the fire inside me had gone and I felt strangely hollow. I also became aware of the dry itch in my throat, whose burn reminded me slightly of the venom’s, which flared whenever I swallowed, like I was desperately thirsty. Maybe this was a dream. A small piece of logic told me that it was not humanely possible to feel everything I had felt tonight. But then, I wasn’t human anymore. This was getting ridiculous! All the stories were not real! Not an ounce of truth in them so this must be a dream! Yet a very vivid one. My subconscious mind could not possibly have imagined the burning venom by itself or the itch that now raged in my throat. Which brought my back to the start. That this, in horrifying truth, was real.

And unnecessary breath jarred in my throat and hiccupped as I was hit with the realisation of it all. I had lost everything. Not just my mum, my dad, my friends, all those things that had made me smile, but my whole life. Frozen in time, never to move forward again and all alone. As another wasted breath hiccupped in my throat, my perfect, thought saddened mind, recalled a passage from ‘Breaking Dawn’: “My eyes felt strange and dry; they blinked against the uncomfortable feeling. I bit my lip. When I took my next breath, the air hitched in my throat, like I was choking on it.’ I was exactly the same now, and though no tears fell from my eyes, I knew I was crying. In my mind, time seemed to stretch on into eternity, being sucked toward a black how at the invisible end, grey and empty. Walking along a thin thread that stretched between the present moment and the merciful end was myself, my features pulled back into a heart-broken grimace. Gazing at my own tortured face in my mind’s eye, my thoughts flickered to another subject. So, the easily distracted thing was true also then. Was it all fact? “Not all,” my mind added, as I remembered the gentle thudding in my chest. Strange, how my heart continued beating yet breathing brought no relief and appeared useless. If I held my breath now I was sure it would make no difference at all and my painfully slow heart would continue beating until the end. With that, my mind flickered back to my other bleak thought. Me, standing in the grey nothingness of time, but now, try as I might, I could not see my own face. Was this book, which I had deemed fictional until mere hours ago, right about another thing? The vampires in the saga had all be perfectly beautiful; “Everything thing about me draws you in. My voice, my face, even my smell” as Edward had once claimed in the first movie. Would I, too, now have been reborn as an immaculate sculpture? All this time, I had been standing stock still in the little alley my creator had dragged me down, never feeling the need to move. Before I even thought about it, my legs started moving, heading me towards the opening of the narrow backstreet.

I could feel that now I moved with an unnatural grace, as I would have expected if I were holding a story as my Bible now. But what surprised me was the ease of it all. I could hardly feel the muscles in my legs pushing and pulling as I paced even faster. Before I knew it, I was out of the dark alley and surrounded by the orange hue of the sodium street lamps. Thankfully, the road was deserted as I caught the faint scent of the most delicious smell in the air and another involuntary growl gargled up my throat. It set my throat alight, sparking the most desperate thirst I had ever felt. “So that’s what food smells like now,’ I guessed to myself, trying to calm down. I guess it wasn’t so bad; it smelt exquisite, it was just the ferocious itch in my throat that annoyed and petrified me now. Swallowing, and trying to puss the thought of food to the back of my cavernous head, I headed off down the road, towards the main shopping district. I knew there would be a large chance of me encountering a human there, but I had to see myself.

Thankfully, when I arrived, I saw that even the normally busy night clubs had already closed for another night and the street was empty. The delectable smell was stronger her, more recent, and once more I forced it to the back of my mind adamant I would not be side-tracked. The majority of the shops had metal shutters pulled across the glass frontage to stop troublesome youths from damaging them over night, but a few lay unprotected. I hurried to the closest reaching it in less than twenty steps, even though it had been half a street away from my starting place. As I brace myself to look at my reflection in the glass, I feared that I would not be able to see in the hazy, orange glow and my trip would have been futile. But, to my pleasure and shock, I could see myself perfectly clearly, my precise eyes adjusting immediately.

I gasped aloud, the noise echoing down the silent street. Staring back at me was a flawless beauty – a pale, perfectly oval face surrounded by a mass of luscious (if slightly messy from my wild thrashings earlier) ash-blond curls. It almost did not look like me. As Bella had done in the world of make believe, I tried to pick out things in my face that I felt sure were my own. My small, pointed nose now perfectly straight down the middle of my face. My pleasantly shaped lips that now sparkled with an inviting coral red, through no blood moved around my body and I wore no makeup. My slightly flat hazel eyes... I gasped for a second time. My eyes had totally changed, all shred of their previous colour gone. Though they were the same shape, the apex curving up slightly at the outer edges, the irises now positively glowed with the most vivid red I had ever seen. As I continued to stare, they appeared to smoulder, as though trying to burn holes in the reflective glass with their fiery colour. Yet, at the same time, though I felt panic shoot through my still veins, I could not look away from the beauty I saw. Without the flaming eyes (which were devastating in their own way) my new, enhanced face reminded me of a 1950’s pin up model; classy, yet unbelievably desirable. Again, my subconscious flickered to a passage from Twilight. “I stared because their faces, so similar, were all devastating, inhumanely beautiful.” In my silly, human mind, I had imagined a fairly attractive group of people, much like movie stars, who seemed blessed with good looks. Now, I realised, it was much, much more than that. This was true beauty. True, hit-you-in-the-face, make-you-want-to-die, desecrating beauty. I knew in my previous life I would have trusted the woman in the glass with my life just by looking at her and done anything she had asked of me. It would have been a bad move for me, as I now knew the secret behind those magnificent eyes and I would have ended up dead. Even more so than I was now.

Thinking of food, the burning in my throat flared again. But this time, as I tried to ignore it but taking a deep, cleansing breath, it just gripped me further. The air had suddenly filled with the most intoxication scent, alerting every muscle in my body and yet making me feel heady with pleasure. As I clenched my fists, swallowing, trying to blot out the memory of the amazing scent, the girl came round the corner...