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Emme: Blood Gaiden
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By Yuki Rosemoon and Andrew Perron
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#1
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On a windy summer day, a ten year old girl was sulking on a bed in a hotel room.

"Well, now all I have to do is find another kind, intelligent, creative, funny, sensitive GOD DAMMIT" I threw a pillow at the door.

"Hey, it was your choice," said Tyler, passing by the gloomy room.

I jumped and looked daggers at him. "You don't have to remind me! I know! I remember!"

He shrugged, and left.

I sighed. Shouldn't yell at him – he was right. I flopped on the bed and stared at the wall, thinking about the times we'd spent together. Outside, it started to rain. That must have been why my face was getting wet.

I rolled over, pulled my suitcase out from under the bed, and opened it up. Digging through the extra outfits, I pulled out an old, yellowed envelope. I flicked open the flap and thought back to the day it arrived...

~~{}~~

It was shortly after the accident. I was lying in bed, feeling sorry for myself and trying to remember something, anything. I heard the doorbell ring, but I put a pillow over my head and kept tossing myself against the impenetrable brick wall between now and the past.

After about ten minutes of that, I heard my door open and took the pillow off. Tyler, the friend of my father's who'd been taking care of me since the accident, was holding out an envelope. I took it. There was nothing written on the outside except for my name. I opened it up and unfolded the letter...

"Emily,

    Our lawyer has instructions only to give this letter to you after we're dead. Hopefully, you'll never have to read it, but in this world, you have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    First: We love you. We always have. We always will.

    Second, the hard part. (There have been five drafts of this letter so far, trying to put something indescribable into words. We decided just to cut to the chase.)

    You are a strong, beautiful person. Use that strength to bring that beauty to the rest of the world. We know you can do it.

Your Loving Parents"

"..."

I took a deep breath, tossed the letter on the bed, and stood up.

"Where are you going?" asked Tyler.

"To make a difference."

~~{}~~

I felt a hand on my shoulder, a voice saying, "It's alright." I relaxed for a second... until I realized – it wasn't Tyler's voice. I turned—

No one was there.

"Hello?" My voice echoed through the empty room.

I walked around to see if anyone was in the bathroom, under the bed, in the closet, but nobody, not even Tyler. I felt a blast of cool air and turned. "Who opened the window? It's friggin' cold in here!"

No one responded to my complaints. I slipped out of the room, grumbling, and went downstairs to see if Tyler was in the lobby. But it was completely vacant. Nobody behind the desk, nobody walking around... I ran down the hall, knocking on doors as hard as I could. Nothing.

I whispered, "Hello? ...is anyone here?"

I opened every door I could. Just as before, completely vacant. I felt another light brush to my skin. I turned around... no one. "Hello?!"

I took a step and suddenly fell over. "Aah! ...what was that?" I turned around to see nothing that could have tripped me. "...strange..."

"That's a rude thing to say about someone." I turned around to see a boy about fifteen years old.

"Who are you?" I whispered.

"Well, I know you," he said. "So you don't need to know me."

"Why?" I said taking a step back, ready to run.

"You are not going to get away while I'm with you," he said, as if reading my mind.

"Creep!" I yelled, turning to run away. "Gaah!!" Something tripped me, and I fell flat on my face.

"I told you, you're not going anywhere," he whispered into my ear.

I got up, annoyed by this guy. He was a foot and a half taller than me, with dark chocolate-brown hair and blue eyes.

"What is your name?" I asked once again.

"You don't need to know," he said once again.

I protested. He backed me into a wall and grabbed my wrists. He towered over me. I kneed him in the nuts.

As he fell down, I took my chance, running to the door. I touched the doorknob and got a shock. "Ow!" So I kicked the door open.

He began to get up, so I started running and didn't stop until I saw a crowd of people. I ducked into an alley and used my powers to transform. My hair became short, white-blonde and curly, my skin went pale (well, paler), and a black tube top with silver jeans appeared. One thing concerned me, though; I can't change my eye color. I hoped for the best and disappeared into the crowd.

I heard the doors to the hotel open and slam shut. I dashed through the crowd and onto a side street. Then, yep, I tripped again, over a rock. I tried to get up, but my legs went limp.

"Why does this always happen to me?" I whispered to myself. "Creepy, controlling guys... is it my lip gloss?"

I licked my lips, lusting for blood. "Dangit. Why do I have to be hungry at a time like this?!" I looked up, hoping for someone to help me.

I was alone. I sighed and accepted my fate.

Turning around, I found an odd-looking store. I crawled to the door and propped myself up against the wall. I opened the door to see... odd-looking people— no, creatures walking around like it was normal.

I walked over to the counter and asked, "Excuse me, but what is this place?"

He turned around to say, "Well little lady, are you allowed to be here?"

"Um... excuse me?" I leaned heavily on the counter.

"Well, Miss, are you something other than human?" he asked.

"...well, uh, how do you mean?" I dodged the question, not quite ready to reveal my true identity.

"Are you or are you not something other than mortal?!" he said, his voice raising dangerously.

"Well..." I still wasn't ready, but did I have another choice? "...Yes, I am a vampire."

"Then you are welcome to stay here," he said, smile reappearing on his face. "Open until ten o'clock PM!"

"But where am I?" I questioned.

"You are at Le Grande Perplexite, the best immortal restaurant in the Underground!"

"Where?!" I almost shouted. Everyone looked at me.

"The Underground!" he said.

I sighed. I'd heard of the Underground before, in stories and rumors. People get transported there from time to time. It was sort of like a rip in time and space where people had moved in and gotten comfortable.

Unfortunately, It was the exact opposite of where I was supposed to be. But at least it wasn't in an empty hotel with a psycho, right?

"Excuse me, but can I hide— I mean, stay a while?" I asked.

"Of course, but only until ten." He handed me a menu. "Also, as a gift to a new customer – and since you look so tired – the house will provide a free glass of blood," he said kindly.

"Thank you!" I replied, smiling.

I sat on a stool and looked around at the crowd. There were a whole bunch of different creatures, many of them looking as human as I did. I gazed around until my eyes landed on a boy with girls all around him trying to get his attention. I really hate guys like that – such an ego! He had blond hair and blue eyes. I found myself glaring at him. He noticed me and smirked. He was probably a vampire, or a demon, or another of those annoying "darker-than-you" types. I turned around, but I felt someone's stare drilling into the back of my head. Idiot.

"Here, Miss," the maitre d' said, handing me a glass of blood.

"Thank you," I whispered. I gulped it down and immediately felt better. I hadn't realized how thirsty I was.

I remembered I had my little purse on me and decided to wash my face. I headed to the bathroom, washed up and put my makeup on. Much better.

Once I got out, I heard someone down an empty hallway saying, "Come here." I walked down curiously and saw that boy from before – the one with blond hair. He said, "I saw you looking at me." He smirked. "Wanna kiss?"

I slapped him and said "No friggin' way!!" Huffing, I started for the door— until I saw that psycho from earlier.

He stormed in and said to the maitre d', "Did a girl with curly red hair come in here earlier?!"

"Don't remember anyone like that," the man replied.

"You are lying!!" he said and slapped the maitre d'.

"Security!" he yelled. Two large weird-looking men loomed up at the dark-haired weirdo's sides, but he grabbed their arms and, in a single motion, swung them end-over-end. Everyone stared. He drew his gun and shot it into the ceiling.

Then someone said, "He's got a gun!"

Someone else said, "He can't kill us, we're immortal!"

"Hey, yeah, that's a good point! Let's get him!"

"Stop!" the psycho yelled – and everything did!

The world around us was frozen. It seemed that he and I were the only ones who could move, but I tried to stay in position, blend into the background— until I saw it. The thing that scared me the most, the bloody ghost of my nightmares. For years, I'd woken up, screaming in middle of the night... (...but that's a different story.)

I saw the ghost take a step forward and I couldn't hold back a whimper.

The boy's head snapped around. "There you are."

"...no..." I whispered, taking a step back.

Tak, tak, tak. His footsteps came toward me. Tp, tp, tp. I stepped backwards as he stepped forward until my back hit the wall.

I looked to the side and saw a long corridor. I dashed through it, and he was right behind. As I ran, I felt my control over my body slip; my curls shrank and turned dark red, and my clothing became a white dress with a black corduroy jacket.

I hit the glass door, opening and slamming it right in the boy's face. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I kept running. The season outside had changed; it had begun to snow, but before I'd stepped inside, the sun was blazing down on the world.

I kept running as the snowflakes hit my face. It was getting colder, so I grabbed mittens from my jacket and ran faster. I didn't dare look back as I ran through the white storm.

I slowed down slightly, trying to catch my breath, and suddenly realized the lack of footsteps behind me. I whipped my head around, but couldn't find the boy in the white snow. I stopped and looked around to see nothing but a white blanket and a few evergreen trees.

"Where am I?" I asked, nothing higher than a harsh whisper. I opened up my vampire senses, looking for anything moving within the space of a few miles. Then I caught it – a faint scent of life a couple miles away. I aimed myself in its direction and spent every last ounce of strength running there.

It was an old mansion, but to my disappointment, it looked like it had been vacant for years. I sighed, but it had to be warmer than it was out here, so I went inside.

"Hello?" I shouted, just in case. My voice echoed hollowly through the room.

Suddenly, footsteps! My head snapped towards the top of the staircase. I saw another boy, about the same age as the psycho, but he had blondish-brown hair and yellow eyes. He trailed down the staircase, and didn't seem not noticing me. I stared at him to see if he would react. He looked familiar, but I couldn't pinpoint where I'd seen him before.

"Wh-who are y-you..?" I stuttered.

His eyes landed right on me. Then he jumped from the stairs, shouting "Emme!!" and gave me a great big hug.

"C-can't...breathe.." I said while being squeezed.

"Oh, sorry!!" he said.

"Who are you?" I asked once again, eyeing him. He looked suspicious, or maybe I'm just too naive.

"Don't you remember?" he questioned.

"Remember what?" I said in confusion.

Something strange happened next. He hugged me lightly and started rubbing my back. The sound of wind chimes floated through the air, and soft laughter. I started to drift into dreams...

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