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I ain't gonna be a normal girl anymore

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“Into every generation, there is a Chosen One. One girl in all the world. She alone will wield the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer.”

Egypt

8th Century 

A girl walked alone in the dead of night. She was young, probably in her mid-adolescent years. She was dressed in clothes that covered most of her body, including a thin piece of cloth around her head, but her black long hair was visible. The only source of light in the pitch-black darkness came from the moon in the skies. Torches of fire were only small dots in the distance as she made her way to a temple on the outskirts of her village. For the past few days, people had disappeared, only for them to turn out dead later. Many said it was animals. That it was animals that killed the people, but she knew the truth. She knew what was really killing the people.

She reached the temple, a faint light coming from inside of it. She inhaled and touched her weapon hidden in her skirt. With one final sigh, she began to climb up the stairs to enter the temple. She noticed there were no guards or anyone protecting the entrance to this sacred place, which meant she was in the right place.

As soon as she entered the temple, the strong smell hit her nose, a smell she was well familiar with, the smell of death. She walked through the shadowy corridors, noticing that while there were some torches alongside the walls that were still lit, most of them weren’t. She kept following the main corridor, her senses on alert, trying to figure it out where the people could be, and she silently prayed to the gods that she could save them.

The corridor split into two, but it wasn’t hard to know which one to take. At the far end of the left path, she could spot a body lying on the floor and even with the low light, she could see the pool of blood around it. She approached the corpse carefully, prepared to face what killed the man. She turned the corner swiftly, but there wasn’t anyone on the corridor. At least, not anyone alive. Besides the man near her feet, more laid across the floor of the corridors. She recognized them as the guards by their garments. The creature had already disposed of the ones meant to protect this place. She could only hope she wasn’t too late to save the priests who had no protection anymore.

She walked faster down the corridor, the smell of the carnage left behind becoming stronger and stronger. The way wasn’t difficult to figure out as bodies and blood led her to a chamber, fairly more lit than the rest of the temple. Atop of an elevated altar, she could see it; the creature, as it fed on one of the last priests, the other ones already dead and scattered around.

<Vampire!> She screamed in her native tongue and advanced towards the stairs that led to the altar.

The creature turned around, its face still buried in the priest’s neck as it looked at the new arrival with its demonic yellow eyes. The vampire gave one last deep drink, making the priest draw his last breath, and let go of the body that hit the ground dead.

The girl looked at the vampire. She was familiar with the demonic face they would take when they fed, but as soon as the vampire had finished draining the priest, it assumed the face of the human it once was. She couldn’t help to be intrigued by what she saw. The vampire was a man, a young one. His skin was pale white, probably due to the lack of sun, but she could tell the man was from the lands up north. He had little darker spots along his face, especially on his cheeks. His hair was long and deep red, and his eyes now were a shade of green. He dressed in clothes she had never seen before.

<One that comes willingly to me,> The creature said and laughed. His language was different from the girl’s. <And a young girl, no less.>

She ignored the foreign words and reached for a weapon, raising a carved wooden stake from her clothes. She looked straight into the creature’s eyes with her deep brown eyes, showing no fear. She positioned her body in a defensive stance, studying carefully her opponent.

The vampire looked curiously at the girl. She had a stake and he could sense no fear in her, which meant she knew what he was. Most of his victims never knew what he was, but she did… A girl. Something in his mind seemed to want him to recall an important information about this situation, but he was more interested in the girl who seemed to want to fight him.

<You desire to face me, girl?> The vampire asked, truly interested at the fact she clearly wasn’t afraid of him like the men he had just killed were. Her face didn’t change, and he regarded her more intensely. <You cannot understand me.>

The girl didn’t move an inch of her body, only her eyes as they followed the vampire slowly descending the stairs. The creature held his chin as his piercing light colored eyes stared at her. His eyes traveled up and down, as if he was studying her, but in a different way than she was doing the same thing to him.

He climbed down all the stairs, leaving her field of vision and standing behind her. He smoothly tried to touch her back with one hand before she yelled, surprising him, and turned around with impressive agility. She grabbed his hand, twisted enough to bend his arm and swept him off his legs with a low kick. She quickly stood on top of him, raising the wooden stake and dove to pierce his heart.

The vampire grabbed her hand and used his foot to throw her away from him as he stood up with amazing agility and grace. The girl too stood up on her feet and now took a more offensive stance as she began to circle him. He was impressed. Never before had he encountered anyone who fought like that. No men had faced him, much less women.

Before he could think more about it, she rushed to attack him again, delivering a strong punch to his jaw. He blocked another attempted punch and hit her face with his opened palm, making her take a few steps back. Once again, he was surprised that hadn’t broken her nose. Who was this girl?

She sniffed and brushed aside the pain from the attack and moved forward again, slicing the air with her wooden stake, making the vampire dodge away from it. She got close enough to him to kneel him on his stomach, which seemed to cause him pain. Taking the opportunity, she elbowed him in the face with all her strength, causing him to step back. She didn’t stop and continued to attack, now with a high kick to his face, planning to hurt his face enough to make his vision impaired. He tried to swat her with his arms, but she jumped and twirled above him, landing behind him. She moved quickly and buried the stake on his back, but he had moved, preventing her from actually hitting the heart. The vampire screamed in pain.

<You pest!> He turned around, back slapping her hard enough to make her lose focus and grabbed her by the neck. She tightened his grip around her neck, but while she was obviously in pain, her expression had not hint of fear. Grunting, he threw her away in the air, making her hit a wall hard and fall to the floor.

The girl coughed and touched her neck with her hand as she used her other arm to rise from the floor. She watched as the vampire reached behind him and took out the stake, groaning as he did. He looked at it in disgust and then at her, throwing the stake away. She couldn’t see where the ceremonial stake given to her by her late mentor had gone, but she had to get up quickly as the vampire advanced on her furiously.

As she rose to stand, she grabbed a small dagger hidden in her sandal and slashed away as he was inches from her. She cut his chest, making him yell. She maneuvered the dagger in her hand for a stabbing position and proceeded to attack him again. She leaped onto him and grabbed him by his hair, stabbing his shoulder. He yelled once again and didn’t stop as she twisted the dagger inside him. He grabbed her face with one his hands and tried to pry her out of him, but she clung to him. He used his other hand to rip the veil from her head and pull her hair, making her lose her grip. He used his strength and raised her high in the air before smashing her into the floor.

She rolled a few inches from him, her body completely in pain as she heard him speaking in his tongue with a furious tone. She tried to crawl away, her eyes searching for the stake, but no sign of it. She headed to the nearest wall as quickly as she could, hearing the vampire approaching her. She slightly touched the wall, before he pulled her up from the floor by her hair aggressively.

<You have caused enough damage, vermin!> He said as pulled her face next to his. From the corner of her eyes, she could see his fangs as he plunged them into her neck. She couldn’t help the scream that came from her throat as she felt her blood being drained. <Your blood! The taste of it…why is it so…intoxicating?>

She took advantage of the quick moment he stopped drinking from her to reach in front of her. She closed her hands around a thankfully lit torch and shoved into the vampire’s face, burning some of her hair in the process as he began to drink again. The vampire yelled as fire consumed his face. She stumbled away from him, covering her wounded neck with one hand. She used her strength to break the torch into two with one hand. The two pieces fell on the floor and she lowered herself to grab the unlit end, her eyes never leaving the frantic vampire who tried desperately to put out the fire from his face.

Strange. She thought. She had slain vampires before by simply setting them on fire, but this one for some reason only had his face burning, not turning completely into ash. Not intending to lose the opportunity, she walked to him, preparing to stake him. She took her hand from her neck, used it to grab him, and raised her other hand. She raised the stake and drove it in the direction of the heart, but the vampire used one of his hands to block it, making the stake penetrate his palm. He screamed more and kicked her aggressively away.

She fell, feeling weak and dizzy, but her eyes bulged as the vampire rose from the floor and levitated into the air. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. No vampires before had this ability, none of the ones she had ever faced or studied about… but her mentor had told her about more powerful vampires, ones that had different abilities than the rest of their kind. Could this vampire be one of them? He certainly was more resistant to fire and could rise from the ground. Her head felt lighter as she tried to focus on what to do now.

The vampire, on the other hand, was already recovering. His face was no longer on fire, but there were burns from it. He yanked the piece of wood from his hand and watched from above the girl on the floor. He could tell she wasn’t going to last longer, and her blood had made him feel a rush of power and adrenaline. He descended on her, grabbing her from behind. He could hear her whispering words in her native language but paid no attention to it. She was most likely praying to her gods. Pathetic. He plunged his face into her neck, continuing to drink her mysteriously tasting blood.

The girl felt her body growing colder as the blood left her, but she kept speaking the words her mentor had taught her. She had trained for her life calling, her destiny, but he had taught her more. He wasn’t simply part of the old order that trained her legacy, but he was also talented in the occult arts and he had passed knowledge of it to her. The one in particular, only to be used in an extreme case if she found herself fighting against a fiend that she knew she wouldn’t be able to slay, but as her duty, she could not leave it to walk away unharmed.

He continued to drain her even as she kept murmuring. Every drop of blood kept sending a surge through his body. He never felt anything like this before. He could feel her life fading as his insides burst with energy and…and…something…no. Something felt wrong. His insides felt completely wrong!

He dumped the barely alive girl to the floor as he walked away from her. He looked at his hands as felt his skin dry and his bones weaken. He looked at the girl on the floor, looking at him with almost closed eyes, at death’s door, but with a small smile on her face. The words she had said, they now echoed in his mind, over and over. The language unknown to him started to become understandable as if he somehow learned the meaning of it from drinking her blood.

<What did you do to me?!> He yelled as his insides kept twisting. The words he produced seemed foreign, like the girl’s, but at the same time, he could somehow comprehend them. He fell to his knees at the entire strength he felt draining her seemed to evaporate.

<I couldn’t kill you,> She said. Once again, his ears didn’t recognize what she said immediately, but his mind did understand her. <Yet, I will not allow you to walk this Earth. A vampire like you. You are different. You deserve a different punishment.>

She… did she… He looked at his hands again, now they were wrinkled, like of an impossibly old person, his nails yellow and spots covered the back of his hands. Glancing at his hair, he saw white instead of red. The body mass he had now reduced to a thin layer of dead flesh over his fragile bones. He could feel no strength in his body. He didn’t need a mirror to see what the girl had done to him. She had cursed him! His body now cursed to age, probably to the age he was supposed to be since he was turned. Over a hundred years. A few minutes ago, he still had the appearance of the young man he was when his sire turned him. Now… he was comparable to a walking corpse.

<You sorceress!> He tried to move, but his body didn’t respond to the way he wanted. He hadn’t turned to stone, but he had no agility anymore. <You will pay for this!>

The girl managed a laugh followed by a cough of blood. <You won’t have your revenge with me. Death has come to me, and you, a cursed vampire to be this undead abomination who will never cause death to another. I will not be the one who kills you, but the next one after me, she will.>

The next one…? Then, it came to him, what he should have noticed from the start, who this girl was. She was one of them, the one that for so long hunted his kind and other demonic creatures, created long ago. He understood now the difference in the blood, but this girl cursed him. In addition, the next one would… no…no!

He forced himself to get up and walk away from the temple as fast as he could manage, blurring nonsensical words as he difficultly made his way out of the chamber. He gave one last look at the girl… the one who had cursed him. Him, the Lord and future King of the vampires. No, he refused. She was wrong. He would have his revenge.

The girl watched him leave as the life left her body. She tried and failed in killing the creature, but now, he lived with the curse. The line would continue the moment she left this world. If not next, then the next, or the one after that, it didn’t matter. She knew, deep in her heart, that one of hers would slay him. One girl, one day.

--

Britain

16th Century

A castle stood atop of a hill as a storm formed in the skies. Inside, in a tiny room, a young girl, possibly at the age of fifteen, dressed in noble clothes, sat in a chair, her face distraught and confused by what she had heard the man tell her.

“I cannot!” The girl said in despair.

“You know you must!” An old man, seemingly also a noble like the girl, was kneeled next to her. “She has died, and now, you are Called. There is only one, and you are the one.”

“Why?” She still didn’t understand. “Why me?”

“Because you it is your destiny.” The man said simply. “Why do you think I came here? I am to be your Watcher, to train you, to teach you how to fight them. The vampires and the other forces of darkness.”

“But,” She said still unsure. “I’m just a girl.”

“No!” He gripped her hands with one of his. “You are much more.”

From one of his pouches, he pulled a very ornamented stake and placed in her hands. She closed one of her hands around it, feeling the fit. She slowly raised it to her eye level. Something inside her, as memories of a forgotten past, feelings she couldn’t call ever feeling, they all rushed into her very being. The power. Her destiny. The calling. Her mission.

“You are the Slayer.” Her Watcher proclaimed.

With that, she lifted her stake above her head as lightning stroke outside.

--

Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

April 1996

A pom-pom raised into the air, soon followed by several other ones. A group of cheerleaders danced and cheered in a closed basketball court as a game was in progress. The group of girls kept cheering and shouting as their team from Hemery High kept scoring more and more.

Among the girls was Buffy Summers, a long-haired blonde, green-eyed 15-year-old freshman. She looked petite but she compensated that with a graceful beauty, strong presence and born athletic prowess. She smiled and moved her pom-poms around, clearly enjoying it and being clearly good at it.

One of the players, one Jeffrey Kramer scored the last point, which made their victory guaranteed. The crowd of students from Hemery High applauded as the cheerleaders screamed and kept cheering in excitement. Buffy, overtaken by the hype, did an impressive and flawless standing backflip. The other cheerleaders looked at her impressed. She smiled widely and giddily. Her eyes suddenly locked with Jeffrey’s and he suavely winked at her. Buffy blushed and giggled, unable to resist the charms of the tall, curly blond haired with soft blue eyes and lean built junior athlete.

With the game ended, the girls started to pack their things to head out as the crowd of students had almost completely cleared out of the court. Buffy was busy hydrating herself and putting her pom-poms in her bag when one of her fellow cheerleaders came right next to her.

“Don’t look now, but Jeffrey Kramer is like totally checking you out!” The girl who told her that was Nicolle Bobbitson, an African-American cheerleader with one of the sweetest personalities one could find in a cheerleader and a fashion taste to kill.

Buffy turned around and saw Jeffrey talking with some of his teammates. They made eye contact again. He smiled and waved, which Buffy eagerly responded. Some of the other cheerleaders that had gathered around her giggled with her, with one insisting that she should go talk to him. Before one of the girls practically pushed her into doing it, Buffy took a few steps into the court before another player came up to her.

“Hey, Buffy!” Tyler Slater said. Another junior, Tyler had basically the same height Jeffrey was. His build was slightly more muscular than Jeffrey’s leaner one. He had dark brown hair with light blue eyes to match. He was giving her his perfect teeth smile.

“Tyler.” Buffy said indifferently. She was so not in the mood to talk to him now, like, at all.

“I was wondering if you are free now, after the game, you know,” Tyler asked, clearly hoping for a positive response from Buffy. “So, I was wondering maybe we could grab some milkshakes, and go to the park, or maybe grab some funnel cake and walk by the pier.”

“Sorry, Tyler, but I have girl-time with the girls, you know,” Buffy said almost as if she hadn’t paid any attention to what Tyler had just said. “Bye!”

She turned around before he could say anything and followed the other cheerleaders out of the court. Tyler, while clearly hurt by her response, also seemed very angry as he stormed to the showers.

--

Buffy, alongside three other girls from the cheerleading squad, walked around the busy mall during the afternoon. The four girls wore the latest fashion designs, somewhat similar to each other, but each with their own personal taste. They walked around, seemingly aimlessly as they window-shopped, already carrying some bags.

“Gosh, Tyler is such a creepo!” Kimberly Hannah, a redhead Junior, commented, even after Buffy clearly had said she didn’t want to talk about it. “Why is he always following you around, I will never know!”

“I don’t know,” Nicole said. “I think he’s kinda sweet. A little bit on the stalky side, but sweet nonetheless.”

“Come on, girls,” Buffy pleaded. “Let’s just drop it, okay?”

“I just don’t get why you get so much attention from him,” Kimberly noted with somewhat of an attitude. “I mean, you are just a freshman!”

“A freshman who is part of the main cheerleading squad!” Nicole explained like it was obvious. “Don’t be so sore, Kimmie! Plus, Buffy is totes cool to hang out with us juniors!”

“Totally cool!” The third girl, Jennifer Walkens, agreed. She was almost as short as Buffy and had long, curly dark brown hair, but a sharp look from Kimberly made her shut up.

“You are not even a junior, Jenny!” Kimberly scoffed. “You got stuck with the held-back rejects and the sophomores, remember?”

Jennifer seemed hurt by the remark but said nothing, just like the other girls. They were already used to bitchy Kimberly. The girls then decided to check the next floor, took an escalator, and moved their chat to something else.

“So, Buffy,” Nicole asked. “How was that history test you were wigg’n about?”

Buffy rolled her eyes and scoffed. “Mr. Howard is so heinous! He’s always giving me a hard time! I get a C+ in a test, and he tells me I’ve no sense of history. I have no sense of history?! He wears a brown tie!”

Kimberly laughed. “You gotta a C+? I can’t believe it!”

“Excuse me for not knowing about El Salvador, like I’m ever going to Spain, anyway.” Buffy reasoned as the other girls giggled.

The girls kept moving from window to window while still chatting. From the floor below, a middle-aged man watched them from afar. He had a large build, gray hair and a very thick mustache that covered his upper lip. He was dressed impeccably in a classy suit. His eyes seemed fixated on the younger blonde girl. He hummed to himself as he moved away from his spot.

Buffy stopped after locking eyes with a jacket on display inside a store. She produced a long oh with her mouth and skipped towards the store, the others girls already in tow. She dropped the few bags she was already holding to have a better look at the yellow leather jacket that was just calling her name.

“This is so lush!” Buffy said as she turned the headless mannequin around and put her head above the jacket. “Wouldn’t you guys love me in this? And wouldn’t I look so edible and nutritious?”

Kimberly and Jennifer didn’t seem to pay attention to Buffy until Kimberly turned to her sighing. “Guys, what’s the sitch? I’m bored!”

“What do you guys think?” Buffy asked the two girls.

“Puh-lease!” Kimberly scoffed with her arms crossed. “It’s so 92!”

“Yeah!” Jennifer agreed, rolling her eyes dramatically.

“Oh.” Buffy said disappointedly. Since Nicole said nothing, she must have also agreed with Kimberly, so Buffy decided to let it go, after all, the other girls surely knew better. With one last look to the jacket, she left the store.

Hours had passed, and the girls, now filled with more shopping bags, walked to leave the mall. Some of them wore new outfits clearly bought during their shopping spree while Buffy simply took off her denim jacket and walked around in her red with white flowers mini-dress.

“What are we doing now?” Kimberly asked checking herself as she passed a mirror.

“Uh, I don’t know,” Buffy tried to think of something that all girls would enjoy. “Hey, why don’t we go see a movie?”

“Well, where?” Kimberly asked everyone, but especially Buffy.

“Omniplex?” Jennifer suggested.

“Oh! Nee sitch, no way!” Nicole laughed as she played with her nails. “They don’t even have Dolby!”

“And no THX.” Buffy added.

“Beverly Center!” Kimberly said.

“Oh, please no!” Buffy made a disgusted face. “They show previews for pornos and foreign movies!”

“Oh yeah.” Kimberly remembered.

“AMC?” Nicole suggested.

“Bogus corn!” Buffy and Kimberly said at the same time.

“Totally stale.” Buffy elaborated.

“And the ushers are like the acne patrol.” Kimberly concluded which made the girls laugh.

“Totally!” Jennifer said wanting to give her opinion as well.

The girls arrived at an elevator and Buffy pushed the button, taking a few steps back as an idea came to her head. “Okay, okay, I’m thinking… Pavilion! Sitch?”

The three girls looked at each other and nodded in agreement.

“Sounds toasty!” Nicole said.

“Excellent, we’re going Pavilion!” Buffy cheered. She started to look for her jacket in one of her many bags.

“What’s playing there?” Jennifer asked.

The door opened and Kimberly immediately walked in and bumped into the middle-aged man who was watching them from downstairs. “Excuse much! Rude or anything?”

The girls walked around him with Buffy not even looked at the guy. Once they entered, she found her jacket. “What’s wrong back there?”

“Nothing, just some old rando with no manners!” Kimberly sneered.

Buffy glances at the now closed elevator doors, a strange feeling taking over her like she just missed something really important but she just shrugged and let it go.

--

The movie theater wasn’t completely packed, but there were quite a lot of people in it, especially for a cheesy horror slasher movie, which the girls decided to pick. All four sat in a row in the middle, they all had diet sodas, but the four shared the same pack of Twizzlers. The movie didn’t seem to interest them as they kept talking amongst themselves.

“Jeffrey is so into you!” Nicole said to Buffy, not even bothering to lower her voice. “You should totes give him a chance. Invite him over!”

“Yeah,” Jennifer said, also not lowering her voice. “Aren’t your parents like always going out at night?”

“Yeah,” Buffy said a bit down but quickly recovered. “It’s just not that simple, you two. I have a brat for a little sister, remember?”

“Oh, that’s right. Bummer.” Jennifer commented.

“Why don’t you just leave her at one of your aunts’ place so you can have the house just for yourself?” Nicole suggested.

“I thought your aunts didn’t live in LA anymore.” Kimberly remembered.

Buffy shifted in her seat, completely not comfortable with the subject. “No, just my Aunt Lolly. She moved away when I was eight.”

Kimberly nodded indifferently.

“Well, you still have one who lives here, right? Trust me and give it a shot,” Nicole insisted.

Before Buffy could respond, the person sitting behind her kicked her seat and a popcorn hit Nicole right in her cheek. “Will you guys shut up?”

All girls turned to see two older boys sitting right behind them. One of them was taller with a lean but athletic build, his skin a tone of brown and his black hair spiked, with poorly kept facial hair to match. He was dressed completely in black with black shirt, pants, boots and an overcoat. The other boy was shorter and thinner, with pale skin and long, clearly unwashed dirty brown hair. He was dressed in typical punk attire, complete with suspenders and Doc Martins. The two stared at the girls back.

“It could happen.” Buffy said with a sneer and threw her half-eaten Twizzler at the one dressed in black.

 The two answered by throwing more popcorn at them. “Wrong answer.”

“Back off, you freaks! Isn’t there a hygiene rule in here?” Nicole shouted back.

“God! Take a chill lozenge.” Jennifer commented.

“Like we don’t have rights too!” Kimberly laughed.

“Ignore them, okay, ignore them.” Buffy said.

The shorter boy seemed angry and kept shaking his head. “Nah! I can’t believe these people! We paid money to see this!”

As he shouted this for the rest of the movie theater to hear, the taller one grabbed him by his jacket, whispering. “No, we didn’t.”

“Oh, right.” He whispered back. He was still pissed off though. “I still want to know what happens!”

Buffy turned back to them, a smirk on her face as she eyed the two. “Everyone gets killed, except for the innocent blonde girl in the nightie. She kills the assassin with a big machete and escapes, but he didn’t die really die.”

The boys stared at her with their mouths agape as she sat back, smiling to herself for being able to shut them up.

“Oh my god!” Jennifer whispered loudly. “Is that true? Is that what really happens?”

Buffy shrugged a shoulder as she started to pay attention to the screen. “Probably. What movie is this again?”

--

The sun had already set when the girls left the movies. The four walked around, looking at the stores opened close to the Pavilion, when Nicole elbowed Buffy and motioned to her who was waiting at the parking lot. Leaning against his parked convertible was Jeffrey and two other members of the basketball team Buffy recognized as Andy and Grueller. Jeffrey waved coolly at her and Buffy made her way to him.

“Hey Buffy,” Jeffrey smiled. “Funny running into you here.”

“Right,” Buffy smiled back, not believing this was a coincidence. “What brings you here, Jeffrey?”

“Well, we didn’t get to talk this afternoon after the game,” He explained as he gave her his best eye game. “I was wondering if maybe you wouldn’t like a drive home and we could have that delayed talk.”

“That’s sweet, Jeffrey,” Buffy brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. “But I gonna have to pass.”

“Well,” Andy, one of the other guys, who always hanged around Jeffrey approached her. “Maybe I could give you a ride, what do you say?”

Buffy laughed and pushed Andy away with her arm, strongly enough though that he almost fell back and had to use a signpost to hold on. “Get real, Andy. My daddy is coming to pick me up. Besides, I didn’t know you had a car.”

Jeffrey laughed at Buffy’s snarky remark, while Andy said nothing, dusting himself off and trying to ignore the fact that a freshman girl almost threw him on the ground. The other boy, Grueller, seemed bothered by the display.

“Guys, come on! Enough with this sick lovey-dovey chit-chat!” Grueller said. “Look at that rad full moon! We gotta go out and do something! Party!”

“You know, if you would spend more time at home sleeping, you would spend less time sucking at the court, man.” Jeffrey told him. “You were a bone out there today. Again.”

“Whatever!” Grueller rolled his eyes and looked at Andy. “Later for you then. I’m blowing. Andy, coming?”

Andy shook his head. “Nah, I’m… hitching a ride with Jeffrey.”

He saw Buffy hiding her smile behind her hand.

“’Shyeah, I’m outta here!” He said as he walked away, heading towards a park.

The other three girls stayed back and watched as Jeffrey and Buffy kept talking. Nicole smiled at Jennifer while Kimberly just kept rolling her eyes and checking her watch.

--

Grueller walked through the path inside the park. He was alone and there was no one in sight. He was whistling as he walked when he heard a rustling behind him. He turned around to check but saw nothing. He could swear he heard his name. Maybe it was just the wind. He resumed his walking, going deeper into the park.

He passed close to a turned off Merry-go-round when he heard the rustling again, this time louder and someone definitely doing some heavy breathing. He stopped walking.

“Look, I’m so not in the mood for this!” He yelled without turning. “You really don’t want to mess with me, man. When I turn around, there’s better be no one there.”

He turned around to see no one there. He looked around the area but could see nothing but the trees and bushes. He sighed, clearly annoyed. At least he wasn’t going to need to knock someone out. He turned on his heels and almost jumped out of skin when he saw a younger teenage boy standing right there.

He recognized the boy. Wally Bessel was a ninth-grader that Grueller liked to torment from time to time. The boy was short and skinny, wearing clothes that were for men much older than he was. He had huge eyeglasses and he had oily black hair, combed in the nerdiest way possible that Grueller could imagine. He was a pale kid, but he seemed almost white chalk now.

“Bessel!” Grueller yelled. “What the hell are you doing here? Was that you back there?”

“Hi, Grueller.” Bessel said with a very weird tone. His smile was down right predatory.

“What are you grinning at?” Grueller asked, not liking it at all the way the boy was looking at him. “You think you scared me?”

“Could be.” Bessel answered smiling.

Grueller grabbed the smaller boy by the shirt and lifted him off the floor. “Listen, you little worm! I could beat your head to a pulp for ya, got it? Got it?!”

“Got it.” Bessel answered.

Grueller let go of the boy’s shirt, but Bessel had his hands tightly around Grueller’s arm. The older boy looked at them and noticed the grown and pointy fingernails on the fingers as well how cold Bessel’s hands were. He turned to face Bessel, only to see the boy’s face twisted with a bumpy forehead, yellow eyes and his mouth with a set of razor-sharp fangs. Before Grueller could scream, Bessel dove into his neck, spilling blood on the floor as both fell down.

--

Buffy exited her father’s Jaguar carrying a couple of bags of take-out. She waited for her father, also carrying some bags, to open the door. Most of the house seemed to be dark, except for the light coming from the TV in the living room. Hank Summers turned the lights on to find his other daughter sitting there and watching TV, with a plate of pizza in her hands.

“Dawn!” Hank gave the rest of the bags to Buffy who carried them to the kitchen with no problem. “You are eating pizza? I told you mom I was bringing Chinese take-out.”

“Uh,” Dawn looked at him weirdly. “No, you didn’t. Mom said since you weren’t coming home soon, she was just gonna order some pizza.”

“What about me?” Buffy asked as she came back to the living room, crossing her arms.

Dawn rolled her eyes, shrugged both her shoulders and turned back to the TV. “She said you were out with your friends. I guess she assumed you were going to eat with them.”

Buffy scoffed at her nine-year-old sister attitude and went back to the kitchen with her father following her. “Guess mom didn’t get you message.”

“Yeah.” Hank said. “Do you mind eating by yourself, honey? I’m going to bring some to your mother and see if everything is okay.”

Before Buffy could answer, her father gave her a kiss on the cheek, took some of the bags a couple of plates and silverware, and headed to his room. Buffy watched him go and sighed. She opened one of the boxes of the Chinese takeout and started eating with a plastic fork. So much for a family dinner.

--

Italy

14th Century

The inn was almost empty. A large and voluptuous barmaid worked behind the counter. She dressed in clothes that would attract more male customers and give her good tips. Her black hair was long and curly and her tanned skin made her light eyes stand out.

There were very few patrons at this time. The only ones were a passed out drunk on the counter, a small table of three large men who spoke completely drunk, making the barmaid wonder if they understood each other, and finally, a couple that sat far away from the bar. A knight sat talking to a scantily dressed girl, who seemed to sweet talk him as he laughed drunk. The girl, however, didn’t seem to have had any drinks. Those two were the ones the barmaid had her eyes fixed. She kept working normally but always checked the two.

One of the three large men approached the bar and threw some coins while he hit his mug on the counter <More ale, wench!> He said in Italian.

The barmaid grabbed the coins and the mug and reached under to grab the ale. She got up and filled the mug while the large man seemed to be trying to talk to her. <Some plague, we are having.>

She ignored him and looked back to the corner where the two she was keeping an eye was and her heart started pumping fast. They were gone. She looked around and through the window, she could see the two already walking away. Swiftly, she moved under the counter and produced a large wooden stake from it. With another quick move, she jumped over the counter and gave chase to the couple, almost taking the Inn’s door off its hinges as she burst it open. She looked around the empty streets. She decided to walk with a quick pace towards what she believed was the direction they were going. She walked almost aimlessly through the streets until she heard a faint scream coming from a dark corner.

<Found you, leech.> She whispered to herself. She ran towards the place her senses told her the scream had come from.

She arrived at a dark alley and saw the two embroiled together, with muffled screams coming from them. She pushed the girl away from him, only for her to surprise the barmaid she was the one with the marks on her neck. The knight was the monster, not the girl!

<Help me!> The girl begged.

The knight approached the two. His true face now revealed with the deformities and the yellow eyes. He hissed, showing his bloody fangs. <Now two tasty wenches. What a good night this is turning out to be.>

The barmaid punched him with a left hook that took him by surprise and made him stumble back. She remembered he had drunk the ale and they were not immune to it. She turned to girl and yelled to her to run away, which the girl immediately did.

<Strong one, aren’t you?> The vampire lunged forward, but the barmaid ducked and rolled, making him hit the opposite wall of the alley. He fell to the floor and seemed confused as he tried to get up.

She kicked him hard in his face, making him more disorientated. She crouched on top of him and raised her wooden stake, ready to kill him, and then she realized that while he had no armor or helmet, he had a thick chain mail covering his chest. This wasn’t good.

The vampire, now somewhat recovered kicked her away. She hit her back on the other wall of the alley and the impact made her lose her stake. Before she could try to look for it, the vampire was already on her, his fangs dangerously close to her neck. She summoned all her strength to push him off and ran out of the alley, so she could have more space.

As soon as she got out of the alley she saw a passing by knight, who unlike the one she was fighting, had himself completely armored up, but most importantly, he had a sword with him. He opened his helmet and looked at the barmaid covered in bruises. He was about to ask her what was going on, but she quickly took his sword from him and turned to go back to the alley before the vampire ran away. The knight, however, grabbed her arm.

<What in the Lord’s name do you think-> With a quick punch to his exposed face, the knight was down and she turned back to the alley.

The vampire, however, didn’t wait for her to come back and was already making his way towards her. She gave a battle cry and ran full speed at him, jumping and kicking in the face, throwing him back inside the alley. The vampire fell on his back, his face in quite some pain. The barmaid was standing right on him when he finally could focus his vision. The last thing he saw was her swinging the sword through his neck, ashes now covering the floor where the once a knight was.

She walked around the alley for a few minutes before finding her stake again. She gripped it tightly and made her way back to the Inn, not before leaving the sword next to the still knocked out knight. She doubted she would have any problems. What knight would say a barmaid punched and stole him?

She kept walking towards the Inn, but before entering it, she caught a glimpse of something standing not too far from her and clearly, looking at her. The figure stood unmoving, covered completely in dark robes with even his face unseen by a dark hood. She felt unnerved by the vision, but took a few steps forward, ready to face this dark creature if necessary.

<The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away,> The creature said with a hollow male voice. “Ashes, ashes. All fall down.”

<Who are you?> The barmaid asked.

<My messenger.> The barmaid turned around, stake rose, but fangs already covered her neck. She couldn’t even see the vampire draining the blood from her veins. All she could see was a glimpse of a long hair, which was white, but it had a very faded tint of red. She tried to scream, but her voice didn’t obey her. It didn’t take long before all her blood was gone.

The last image she had was a vampire with the long red turning white hair, dressed in strange clothes with a cape. His face was one of an old man, with wrinkled skin, but he stood tall in perfect posture. The hooded figure stepped next to the vampire and took off his hood. She only had time to see another pale vampire face before dying.

--

Buffy woke up with a startle. Her body shivered and sweat covered her face. She looked around her dark room for a few moments, before closing her eyes and sighing. She was really tired of these nightmares. She sat up, wiping her forehead, and looked at the window, watching the night skies. Something in her mind, she could feel… She shook her head. She reached under her mattress and pulled out a black notebook with a pen stuck to its side. She opened the notebook, sighing again.

This one was different. She thought as her eyes passed through her scribbles on her notebook. It was like a dream journal, actually, more like a nightmare journal. She had these violent nightmares with girls fighting monsters ever since she could remember, but whenever she woke up, she could only remember snippets of it. After a while, she decided to write down whatever she could remember from the dreams, not really sure why. Yet, this one she just had was different.

The previous dreams, she felt like a spectator, watching them like a movie through a very dirty screen. The girls, while she felt a strange connection to them, she only watched them, but she never was there with them. She knew the girl in her dream was someone else, like the others, but she felt like she was experiencing the dream as if she was there, watching it happen almost like it was real. It was so weird. She wrote what she remembered on her notebook, which was a lot, compared to the others before where she could only remember vague details of them. She felt shaken up by this one.

The only thing that made her glad was that this dream wasn’t the one she had almost a week ago, where she wasn’t watching dream, she was living it. She was the girl in the dream, fighting those things that reminded her of mummies. She didn’t feel like herself, she felt like she was another person, that girl, that she knew everything she knew and felt everything she felt. The punches she delivered and the bruises she received. It was like they were one. Then… the girl in her dream died, and Buffy woke up feeling like she had died too. Ever since that night, the dreams had stopped until this one. The dream where she was the girl… she hoped it was the last, and of course, while she knew they were just dreams, something inside her felt like it had died when the girl she was in the dream died. She brushed her fingers through the page she had written about that particular dream and the name India Cohen.

She shut the notebook closed and glanced at her alarm clock. She needed to go back to sleep. She shoved the notebook back under her mattress and put her head on her pillow, her memories of the dreams fresh. Sighing, she snuggled to a stuffed bear, hoping to go back to sleep as soon as possible.

--

The following day, Buffy walked through the hallways of Hemery High, glad classes for the day were over. By her side, three other girls followed her. They all looked and dressed very similar to Buffy. They were all blonde even. These girls, Mimi, Giselle, and Liza, unlike the older cheerleaders, were from Buffy’s year, and in their heads, hanging out with Buffy who hung out with older students, made them have a shot at being just as popular as Buffy was.

The four talked and laughed as they approached the main exit of the school. Buffy spotted someone at one of the lockers and told the other three to wait as she made her way to them. An older girl, a Senior, was going through her locker when Buffy tapped her on the shoulder, she turned to see it was and a smile from the younger girl greeted her. She was slightly taller than Buffy and dressed way more conservative than Buffy did. She had a quite pale complexion that made a stark difference from her dark brown, almost black hair that had a short cut and somewhat old-fashioned style.

“Hey, Cassandra!” Buffy said friendly.

“Hello, Buffy.” Cassandra Wagner said back with the same friendly tone. The two seemed genuinely friendly and nice to each other.

“I was just wondering if we could reschedule our tutoring session?” Buffy asked with an apologetic tone. She knew Cassandra wouldn’t like it.

Cassandra seemed to not like the idea, giving Buffy a disapproving look, but nodded. “Okay, Buffy, but just today, okay?”

Buffy nodded. “Of course, of course. Thank you so much, Cassandra!”

Buffy gave the older girl a quick hug and leaped back towards the three girls smiling. The three regarded Buffy strangely for her behavior with the clearly not popular girl. Buffy looked at them and then back at Cassandra. She blinked and then laughed. “What?”

“Why were you talking to her?” Giselle asked with disgust in her voice.

“She’s my tutor, duh.” Buffy answered, grabbing a lollipop from her jacket and unwrapping it.

“So?” Mimi asked still surprised.

“Why were you so nice to her?” Liza inquired.

Buffy looked at the three for a moment before rolling her eyes and snorting. “Really, you three need some serious head check. I was being ‘nice’ because I need her to think I’m her friend and she ends up giving me all the answers instead of making me worry my pretty head about it. Got with the program?”

The girls looked at each other before saying oh together and laughed. It made sense.

Buffy smiled and waved at Cassandra as they resumed walking to leave the school. She liked Cassandra. She really did but what would the others think of her if she were actually honest about it? Her acting wasn’t so bad, so she could fool the girls. Either that or the girls were just too airheaded to actually fall for Buffy’s story. In any case, they were already talking about their previous subject.

The four girls exited the school building. The sun shone brightly and dozens of other students walked around the front yard. The four resumed their conversation as they climbed down the stairs.

“So, I’m like ‘Dad, you want me to go to the dance in an outfit I’ve already worn? Why do hate me?’” Buffy scoffed as she and the girls kept walking away from the school’s entrance.

“Is Tyler taking you?” Giselle asked curiously.

Buffy gave her a stare. “Where were you when I got over Tyler? He is of the past. Tyler would have to crawl on his hands and knees to get me to go to the dance with him…which actually he supposed to do after practice, so I’m gonna wait.”

“Okay.” Giselle nodded as Buffy gave her lollipop another suck. “See you later!”

“Bye!” Liza said as she and Mimi left with Giselle.

“Call me! Call me! Call me!” Buffy told all three as she waved them goodbye.

“I will!” Mimi called back.

Buffy climbed a few flights of stairs, lollipop back in her mouth and looked around, noticing a strange car with its windows blacked out in the distance, but she dismissed it. She took her pink jacket off and sat on the stairs, looking around at the other students as she prepared herself to wait for Tyler. She didn’t notice a man walking up to her as she distractedly looked around.

“Buffy Summers?” The man asked. He was the same middle-aged man who was watching her the previous day at the mall.

She looked at him, taking holding the lollipop in her hand. “Yeah? Hi! What?”

“I need to speak with you.” He told her seriously.

Buffy looked a little alarmed. “You’re not from Bullock’s, are you? Be-because I meant to pay for that lipstick.”

“There isn’t much time.” He ignored her. “You must come with me. Your destiny awaits.”

Buffy looked at him funnily and slightly shook her head. “I don’t have a destiny. I’m destiny free, really.” She said dismissively as she put the lollipop back in her mouth and looking weirded-out by the man.

“Yes, you have.” He insisted. “You are the Chosen One. You alone can stop them.”

She took the lollipop out. “Who?”

“The vampires.” He said completely serious.

Buffy regarded him for a few seconds, her face showing that she was trying to process what he had just said.

“Huh?”

--

Somewhere, in downtown LA, inside a very impressive studio flat, a smartly dressed man walked in. He had short curly brown hair that was beginning to bald in the front. He had a face one could associate with a comedian but his expression now was far from it. He was serious and his eyes were ones a television anchor would describe belonging to a serial killer.

He walked a straight-line right into a very ornate coffin on top of an altar in the middle of the room. He looked at it for a moment before slowly opening the lid. Inside, a man lied. He was dressed in what looked like clothes from the Victorian Age. He looked to be in his 40s or even in his late 30s. He had thin appearance, almost as if he was sick but he didn’t look to be really dead even though it was clear he wasn’t breathing.

“The time is almost coming, my master.” The man said to him. He ran his fingers through the seemingly sleeping man’s long red hair. “Soon, I will have sired enough to find her and you will walk in this world like a king once again.”

He laughed maniacally and loudly but the man inside the coffin didn’t move. He closed the coffin and turned away from it, walking towards one of the windows. Very thick and black drapes covered them all. He raised his chin as if he could look at the streets outside through them.

“Soon, girl,” He said to himself quite seriously. “You just wait and we’ll come for you.”

--

Morocco

9th Century

The sky was dark, as night had fallen. A lone girl ran through the trees, looking back to see if someone followed her. There was no one after her, but she kept running. Her body ached and her bones complained because of the exhaustive run the girl had done for what were probably hours now. He found difficult to breathe and after running a few more steps, she collapsed to her knees. She tried to catch her breath as she looked around, fear evident in her eyes. The creatures, the vampires… where were they?

She grabbed the nearest tree for support, trying to force her legs to stand. She leaned her back against the trunk, giving herself a brief moment to rest. She knew, however, she couldn’t stay there too long. They were coming for her, there was no question about it. The last words of her mentor echoing through her mind, telling her to run. There were too many, and while she managed to end a number of them, they had outnumbered her, taking her mentor from her.

She heard footsteps approaching and she darted her eyes into every direction, the darkness making hard for her to see them, but she knew they were there. She forced herself away from the tree and slowly started moving. She didn’t know where they could come from, she didn’t know if she could fight them as she didn’t know how many were there, and she had no weapons, only her already bruised hands.

A noise coming from her left made her head the opposite direction. She tried her best to walk faster, but her legs were too tired, almost failing her, but she had to keep going and find some help, somewhere. She turned around a tree and her face received the impact of an arm. It was so sudden and strong that she fell on her back. She tried to move as quickly as possible, but they were already on her. Two grabbed both her arms and hoisted her up as she felt more grabbing her legs as well as her stomach. She tried desperately to break away, but there were too many.

She grunted, but they held her steadily in place. She wondered why they weren’t actually attacking her, biting her. They were simply holding her. Why? Then, from the shadows in front of her, she saw a figure making their way towards her slowly but surely. Something inside her told that whatever it was, she needed to run. She tried again to set herself free, but no avail. The figure was getting closer.

Finally, she could see it. It was an old man, an impossibly old man, dressed as she had never seen before. His long white hair covered half of his face, but she could still see the skull-like face the old man had. He seemed fragile enough to break with a single punch, but as he got to her face, she saw he was a vampire too. Before she could say or do anything, one of the other vampires holding her pulled her head and exposed her neck, allowing the old vampire to bite her. She screamed as the vampire took its time draining her blood. It felt like an eternity, but she eventually couldn’t fight back and felt weak. Finally, she could no longer feel her body and her eyelids closed as she died and her body went limp and completely empty of blood.

The vampire took a few steps back and looked at the body of the girl dropped on the floor by the other vampires. He felt her blood inside him. It felt different from a regular mortal’s blood. Her blood, as he had theorized, would be different. He didn’t feel much difference, but his body seemed to obey him more than it had for over a century. Draining the girl, one of them, had changed him. Cured him? No, but it was a start.