This wasn’t going to be an easy task. Jasmine already felt outside of her comfort zone. So many heartbeats, blood rushing in veins. So much temptation. Vampires never go crazy at the sight of (or of knowing that there is) blood like the stories say, but when they’re hungry, it could be a different story. And she had to be here all day. It made her nervous. She’s never had to hide her identity from so many people. Just stay calm and remember what the General told her.
“You need to pass yourself off as human,” he’d said, “Your name is Penelope Oliver and Ulric is your older brother, Dennis Oliver.”
Penelope came off as a gross name. It didn’t sound the least bit attractive. She hoped this assignment only lasted for the predicted month.
“What’s so special about the disappearances? It could’ve been a human killer,” she had pointed out at yesterday’s briefing.
“The first young lady to be found,” Tammie had answered, “was found dead with her stomach looking like it burst open from the inside. Incubus all over.”
Jasmine remembered learning about the incubus. A kind of demon that lured unsuspecting women, put them under a spell to fall asleep, then got them pregnant. Some even go so far as to date the woman, but either way the end result is pregnancy. Sadly, after a few months, the baby decides to come out it’s own way by ripping through the stomach ultimately killing the mother in the process.
She looked around. Room Seventy-eight was the homeroom class she needed to be in. The door was on her right. Holding her hand in front of the knob, she took a breath. Stay calm. There were twenty-seven heartbeats. She closed her eyes. No need to worry.
“We need to have these forms turned in,” said the teacher from the front as Jassie opened the door. “Oh, hello,” she said, smiling.
“I’m Penelope Oliver,” Jasmine said, looking right at the teacher. Was everyone staring? “I’m new,” she added quickly.
“Yes, yes,” she said, tucking a few gray strands of hair behind her chestnut hair, “I’m Mrs. Stanson, if you’ll just take a seat over there,” she pointed to a chair in the second row from the back, “I’ll be right with you.”
Walking to the back of the room, she felt the stares focus in on her. Could they tell she wasn’t a full human? Were they able to see right through her act? This wasn’t the way to start. Quietly she took her seat.
* * *
Ulric relaxed in his third period class. This study hall wasn’t so bad. As the Nightmare Chasers headquarters they taught the kids all of the general subjects like mathematics, science, and history and extra subjects like art and technology, but never this. Hr could learn to love this. Tipping his chair back, he lifted his arms and rested his head on them, closing his eyes.
“Hey,” whispered a voice, “Hey, new guy.”
He opened an eye and looked to the right where he saw a husky, but well muscled boy. “What’s your name?”
He pushed his chair down and scooted closer to the boy, “Dennis. And you’re…?”
“Andy,” he said, running h hand through his short blonde hair, “Heard everyone’s excited about you and you’re sister being here, and it’s not even lunch yet. How’d you do it?”
He chuckled, “I’m not really sure, myself.”
“Stick with me, Denny. By lunch everyone will know your name, I swear.”
“Sounds pretty cool. I’m in.” Ulric’s face then turned serious, “Andy, I’ve heard some pretty odd rumors, myself. Like, real odd, man.”
“For one, about all the girls that have gone missing recently.”
“Oh yeah! Some people think it’s a crazy killer who lives in the neighborhood across the street from the school. The police are all over it. So no need to worry about your sister, man.”
“Have you heard the rumors about it being a supernatural thing?” He hoped he wasn’t being too blunt or coming off weird.
“Andy covered his mouth and laughed in his hand, then said, “Yeah, but that’s all bull. The people who say it’s ghosts or vampires or whatever are just obsessed.”
“You don’t believe in that junk, then?”
“Nah. That’s the paranormal club’s department. It’s full of those losers.”
He forced his best spiteful laugh, “Sounds like the freak brigade to me.”
If only he knew the truth about it all. That paranormal club seemed worth looking into, but now he couldn’t be seen anywhere near them. He needed to keep up this charade, and after calling the paranormal club the “freak brigade” he couldn’t walk in without some backlash. How could he throw away this perfect setup? His mission was to find out what the students were saying and find some leads. What better way to see what everyone’s saying when he’s with the biggest social crowd? The bell rang, and Andy sprung up from his seat.
“What’s your next class?”
Ulric looked at his schedule and scowled, “Chemistry.”
“I hate it, too. Know where the cafeteria is?”
“Yeah. Saw it on my way in.”
“Meet me by the doors. I’ll introduce you to some friends.” He said, then walked out of the classroom.
As Ulric was walking to the cafeteria after chemistry, he saw Jasmine by a locker. He smiled and decided to tell her the news he had.
“Hey there, little sister, whom I love and cherish,” he said casually as he slung an arm over her shoulders.
She looked confused, even a little afraid and said, “Is something wrong with you?”
“Not at all, my darling sister.” She obviously didn’t know what acting was, nor did she seem capable of doing it.
“Well,” she started, sounding unsure, “I was going to eat lunch.”
“I know, silly,” he squeezed her shoulder hard, digging his nails in. She was going to blow it. “But I found something out you may like.”
“The paranormal club! I know you love to talk about those ghosts and ghouls.”
Two girls snickered and stared at her as they walked by and Jasmine’s cheeks turned red. Then:
“What!? Is that how it is!?”
He couldn’t hold his anger back. As soon as he saw no one was coming, hr grabbed the collar of her shirt, pushed her into a locker and hissed, “You are going to see what this paranormal club knows, got it?”
“Sure thing,” she said through what sounded like clenched teeth.
Once more he pushed her into the locker, then turned on his heel and walked off.
Remembering their cover, he turned his head and said, smiling, “I will see you later, my sweet sister dear.”
Calling her his sister made him want to brush his teeth. This may not be as easy as he thought.
* * *
Jasmine sat in the empty hall. All those people. She couldn’t even show her fangs, they had to stay hidden at all times. Why was it so hard here? And why did Ulric have to make it worse? The paranormal club? Of course he’d ask the half vampire to hang out with them. Half of their facts were probably wrong anyway.
“Who’s she?” came a girl’s voice.
“Not to sure,” said another, “lets ask.”
Oh, great. More humans.
“Hey, girl. What’s your name?”
Jasmine looked up to see two girls and three guys looking down at her. Slowly, she stood.
“I’m…Penelope.” She was grateful that wasn’t her real name.
“I’m Mariah. Nice to meet ya,” her smiling hazel eyes were sincere.
“You should come eat with us,” said Mariah.
“Oh,” this caught her off guard, “I don’t do big crowds of people I don’t know.”
“It’ll be just us. Outside in the courtyard, ya know. Come by if you’d like.”
Mariah smiled and walked off. Jasmine just cringed. She didn’t need all that.
“Ya know, the whole point of this is for you to talk to people to see what’s up. Not be antisocial cause you’re different.”
Startled, she turned to find Otto in a janitor’s uniform, pushing a bucket with a mop in it.
“Shhh” he cut her off, “You’re thinking too much to notice your surroundings. I’m Clyde the janitor by the way. Just making sure everything is good out here. Tons of kids making out, out here.”
“Great!” He said a little too loudly and walked off slowly, “Remember, you weren’t asked to make friends, but be social. Get talking.”
“There’s always tomorrow,” she breathed, and slid back down to the floor.
She’ll talk to that paranormal club and see what Mariah knows tomorrow.
Interval Four Interval Six
Hey, I just wanted to say, sorry for the delay. I’ve been a bit busy, but I’m working out a schedule to make sure everything gets done on time. 😦