Jasmine walked into the training room to find it empty. Cornelius was supposed to meet her here half an hour after sunset. It wasn’t like him to be late, unless a mission came up. Walking to the middle of the room, she figured it wouldn’t hurt to pratice some on her own. She pulled her hair into a ponytail…something moved behind her. Instinctively, she turned and balled her hands into fists. Sharp claws raked down her back.
Crying in pain she turned to see Cornelius standing in front of her. The long claws extending from his fingertips dripped with her blood. Looking up at him, she noticed his pupils were dilated and the red irises covered any trace of the whites. He growled and lifted his arm. As it came down, she ran to the left, his claws just missing her. He drove his other hand forward and she dropped to the floor before it could pierce her. Jassie quickly crawled between his legs and stood up behind him. Taking a breath, she lifted her right leg and swung it to kick him in the side. With immense speed he turned, and grabbed her leg before it hit him. A smile crept across his lips, showing his fangs as he effortlessly lifted her and threw her across the room.
The half vampire stood, feeling stiff. If he thought that was going to stop her, he was very wrong. She sprinted toward him as fast as possible. As soon as she was within his personal space, she made a fist and punched him in the stomach. Her other arm lifted, ready to hit him in the nose. Before it got it, he grabbed her wrist, then seized her other one that his him in the abdomen. He lifted her raised arm over head, turning her around, and left it by the back of her neck, then he pushed the other arm into the lower part of her back. Jassie tried to pull free, only to feel his grip tighten. He kicked her in the back and let go of her so she fell to the ground. Rolling to her back, she rotated her arms, trying to lessen the pain. His shoe came down on her right arm as his claws went straight for her heart.
They stopped right before puncturing her skin and retracted to his nails. He removed his foot from her arm and grabbed her by the upper arm, lifting her to her knees. Kneeling in front of her, looked right at her, revealing his normal red eyes.
“Good job, but you’re still using too much control.”
How could he suggest…? Her eyes widened, “I can’t. I’m only half vampire.”
“You can still let that side take the driver’s seat while you fight. I know you can control it.”
“I won’t. I won’t be what took my family away from me.”
“A vampire?” He asked, his face a little closer to hers.
“A monster.” She stood up. Enough was enough for one evening, “If I give in to my slightest instinct, I could hurt the team more than the enemy. It may not be as strong as a full vampire’s, but it’s close. I still like my humanity.”
She started to walk away after Cornelius didn’t say anything. A hand gently rested on her shoulder. Jasmine turned her head to look at him.
“Let me humanize it for you,” he paused, then said, “Humans need to eat food. They may wait until they’re really hungry, when their instinct tells them to eat so they can survive. They still need to control how much and how fast they eat or there will be consequences. Think of it like that…for fighting, and feeding,” He smiled at her.
He had a point, it was true. Instead of saying anything, she removed his hand from her shoulder and walked away. Tomorrow was school and the day the paranormal club met afterward. She needed to be ready, and very human.
* * *
The day went by surprisingly quick for Jasmine. She went to her classes, ate lunch, and listened to Mariah and her friends talk about normal things, and then she ran off to find the club after the bell rang. Despite her unwillingness to join the club, she was quite curious about it. How many people were in it? What did they talk about? What was real or fake to them?
She spotted the small paper that read “paranormal club here” on the door. Taking a deep breath, she slowly opened the door. Twelve people turned to look at her. More then she expected, or liked.
“Hi,” she said quietly, closing the door, “I’m new here and just had to join your club.” That sounded so much better in her head.
Looking around she noticed that including herself there were only four girls in the room. A boy about her age with light brown hair came up to her.
“Welcome,” he said politely, “I’m Jared, the president of the club. What’s your name?”
“Very nice,” he put his arm over her shoulders and walked her to the front of the classroom, “Tell us, what do you believe and why.”
He sat down, leaving her alone at the front
Unsure of what to say, she shrugged, “Oh, the usual. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, all that.”
“How about zombies?” Asked one boy.
“Aliens?” Asked another.
“What about sasquatches?”
Did that person really make “sasquatch” plural? Jasmine put on her best thinking face to have some more time to consider her answer. There was only one sasquatch, and she knew he was indeed real. Of course there’s also one big foot, one yeti, and one abominable snowman, Genetic accidents, really, all related, but instead of getting into all of that she should say something simple.
She decided to go with: “If you give me proof, I’ll believe.”
“Do you believe in tree octopi?” One of the girls asked.
That caught Jasmine by surprise, “Wasn’t that a hoax?”
“Oh, OH!” one boy started, “How about slenderman? If we’re talking myths from the internet…”
“What!? What’s that?” Seriously, she never heard of that, but probably because it wasn’t true.
Jared stood up, “Guys, guys. Calm down. Don’t overload the poor girl. She’ll be with us during meetings now.” He looked at her, “Come, sit down.” He waved at his seat.
She sat in his empty chair as he now stood in front of the group.
“Last week we talked about signs of whether an alien life form was good or bad…”
Jasmine decided it was safe to tune this out. No one could tell if an alien was peaceful or hostile until it landed and showed it’s intentions. Deep down, she knew that listening to all of this misguided information would feel like a few hours.