When Tom was twelve, he experienced the most surreal dream. It involved blood shed, but not really a nightmare. He was a bit terrified though.
It was a moonless autumn midnight.
He had forgotten since when he started the hobby of wandering the city in the still of the night, but he could clearly remembered the time when the glimpse of a crack first appeared on the relationship between his parents. When they were busy firing at each other or just sulking in the corner of the house, Tom would take the time to slip out the insufferable tension by using excuses as "I want to go to the convenience store to buy some milk" or "Luke needs some help and I'm heading over", not like his already gloomy parents would care much as long as he could return home by two in the morning. Sometimes he didn't even say anything before he sneaked out.
And that was one of the nights.
Walking down in the quiet street, Tom lost in his thoughts. Once again he realised that there was no turning back with what happened in his once happy family. He couldn't help with anything but to watch his parents falling apart and constantly run away from reality, just like what he was doing now. He sighed into the cold air. The young boy could feel his eyes heated up with tears as he tried to hold back them.
And then there was a faint sob could be heard in the quiet street. Tom paused and frowned. He was quite sure that it was not come from him. Some other vague sound came from what seemed to be not very far away. He stood still and listened to it cautiously. He didn't like the thought, but that sounded like someone — or something — was sucking and eating on a moist substance. More disturbingly, he heard whimper.
The boy continued walking carefully, finding himself more and more closed to whatever the wierd noise was.
When he came to an intersection of an alley, he decided — which was a bad idea — to peek into the dark alley.
He knew it. It was the sound of sucking and eating and biting and chewing but only that was...
Blood and flesh.
Crimson all over the man's face, neck and lifeless body. The creature who was hungrily enjoying the fresh blood and flesh abruptly stopped, sensed someone was watching.
Tom gasped. His heart pounding at an insane speed. He felt like he was sticked to the ground that prevented him from moving a tiny step.
The creature, appeared to be in a male human form, slowly rose his head and fixed his piercing gaze on Tom. His birght red eyes flickered with annoyance and anger. Thick blood of the same shade coated his mouth and chin contrasting strongly to the very pale skin. He gritted his pointed fangs which was dripping the juice of his juicy food.
The creature snarled as a voice came out of nowhere yelled,
Tom finally found back his strength to do so. He ran down the street as fast as he could ever be. He heard the angry snarl of the creature further and further behind him and there seemed to be another unique male voice arguing with him, but he didn't even dare to look back. He just kept running and running to save his dear life.
Tom didn't really remember how long he had been running, or how did he manage to get back home.
He was panting like an old cow and sweating like having been in the shower by the time he got home. He went straight to his room and immediately threw himself on the bed. The soft matress and the familiar scent of his own bed soothed his nerves. Calming down gradually, he snuggled into his pillow and drifted to sleep.
When he woke up in the next morning, he barely remembered what exactly had happened.
From then, that confusing sight in the midnight alley seemed rather vague and illusory, like a ridiculous dream. That bit of the memory slowly faded into a fantasy and the strong sensation of seeing such terrifying scene as well fainted bit by bit.
To his surprise, nothing significant happened after he fled from a crossed man-eating creature.
When Tom was sixteen, his parents had divorced for almost four years. The divorce wasn't shocking, frankly, but Tom did not feel good about it either.
They had a bit struggle with whom to stay with Tom at first. They at last sorted out that he would be living with his mother in the house while father moving out.
Time passed slowly. Life went flatly.
Tom was zoning out with his eys fixed on the tv screen, not paying attention on neither the morning news nor his breakfast.
"Tom, stop dragging your feet and eat your food," his mother had to pull him back from space or she believed that he'll just sit there untill afternoon. "You'll be late."
"Oh, um, sorry." The boy's blue puppy eyes glanced at his mother apologetically and relunctantly shoved the food into his mouth.
He quickly swallowed all of his breakfast and got ready to school. Kissed his mother goodbye, he walked to the street as usual. He somehow couldn't wait to meet his friends at school to lighten his mood and keep himself busy with the stupid things his friends always dragged him in.
He walked slowly as he sensed something went wrong with the intense vibe on the street. Something bad happened.
As he got nearer to the school area, several police cars appeared in his sight proved his gut was right. There were poilce walking around with solemn face. The boy prayed silently in his heart for not having somthing serious happened at his school.
He walked passed a few puzzled and curious students to finally got to the main entrance of the campus. There, through the crowd of the students and passers-by, he could see the front gate was blockaded by cordon tape. That explained why all the students got stuck here at the entrance. He had to peep from shoulders and heads to see what was going on there.
The appear of ambulance means that someone was injured — or worse — dead. Tom couldn't help but pray again in his heart, more intense this time.
Someone suddenly grabbed his arm and nearly scare the shit out of him.
"Oh geez! God dammit, Luke."
"Yes, good morning to you too." Luke smirked at the adorable reaction his friend just given him, sacarstic in his tone. "What the bloody hell had happened?"
"I don't have a clue." Tom turned back to the mysterious scene at the school entrance and tried to get a better view by jumping and tipping toe."I can't see anything."
"Well, let's get a front seat then."
Luke started squeezing through the crowd like a rugby player squashing his way to the goal, but wait, he is a rugby player. Tom sighed and followed his friend before he could vanished from his sight. The way they passed through the crowd drew some "hey" and "watch your way" that Luke didn't give a damn, while Tom tried his best not to touch anybody and keep saying "sorry, excuse me".
Then, they eventually got to the front of the crowd and they could see the scene much more clearly. There were cops that wearing an ID on their necks just like what you see in a criminal drama. To what Tom and Luke belive, there were also forensics. They were all wearing gloves and duscussing and inspecting.
"Holy shit, this is serious. But I believe the crime scene is not here at the entrance, right?" Luke said in awe. Tom had to comprehend the situation for a few seconds before he could form a reply. "Um, yeah, I think no, I mean I don't see any corpse or blood or something like a crime scene—"
Tom froze when he just saw it. Two staff transported a dead body covered with white cloth on a stretcher, a hand dropped and dangled from under the cloth.
Oh gods, wasn't it something only happens in films or dramas? Why would a bloody corpse's hand always dangle out unreasonably while transporting to let the whole bloody world know how the man died in a horrible way?
Tom could clearly saw the bite marks on the blood-soaked arm. It seemed the man had been eaten alive that some flesh had been chewed away on that arm. It was disgustingly unnerving, like the victims you see in a zombie film, only that this one was not a special effect make-up.
He couldn't imagine the whole tragic picture of the corpse. The face and body would be a lot messier, perhaps ligered with tissues and internal organs...wait... Oh, hell, he could imagine — just like the one he saw when he was twelve in the midnight alley—
Luke pratically yelled in his ear to make Tom flinc and pull back from his thoughts. His blue grey eyes met Luke's concerned ones.
"You alright? You look very pale."
Some police pushed the crowd backward to keep them a distant from the school, while shouting some commands in a speaker.
"Did you see it? The corpse? God, there was too much blood on it. Is it a homocide?" Luke muttered to Tom.
Tom wondered if Luke noticed the abnormality of the corpse's wound.
"Listen up, students, gather up at the playground orderly now. Do not move around or touch anything or we may consider you as a suspect."
The crowd gasped in surprise and satarted grumbling, but they slowly obeyed without any argument and moving to the demanded destination.
Luke glanced at Tom's pale face that looked like he could throw up at anytime.
"Are you really alright, mate?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, of course."
No, he was not.
Tom was much more relief when he knew that the poor victim was not one of the students.
The police refused to give a tad of information about what had happened inside their campus. All they knew was that someone's dead, and there had been no one arrested as a suspect yet, maybe even that was not a homocide at all.
But somewhere inside Tom strongly believed that it was not that simple — something's wrong.
With all those nasty bite marks — some were even deep enough to the bones — how could this possibly be normal? Don't say that's it's a bloody stray dog ate a human alive and decided to dumped him in someone's campus.
The police said they have to throughly investigate the whole school in case there were some remarkable evidents for the case. The school had no choice but to cancel the day's schedule and let everyone go home, exept a few teachers and students had to stay behind for a little longer to help with the investigation.
"Oh dear, what happened?"
Tom came home to meet his mother's worried look. She padded out from the living room to his son and ran her hands through the boy's golden curly locks.
"Mom, aren't you supposed at the—"
"Don't worry about that. Boss was considerate enough to let me hurry back home after I had got the message from school."
"So you know what happened then."
"The police sealed the school off, yeah."
Tom flung his backpack on the sofa and as well plopped himself on it. He waved his mother's over-concerned expression wearily.
"It seems like they found a corpse there."
"Um, yeah, but not a student of us," he quickly added. "I don't know, maybe it's just a fatal accident. They wouldn't tell us anything. They are investigating."
"I see," his mother nodded, felt less anxious but still frowning.
"Look, if you need me to stay here with you I can — "
"Mom, I'm fine, totally. There's nothing to worry about. Go back to work and stop being so stressed."
She ran her hand through Tom's curly locks again and kissed his forehead. She then grabbed her bag and hurried out the door.
And then Tom was alone. He kept telling himself not to think of the dead body, the man-eating creature and the coincidence of them appearing at his college. Feeling tired from this situation and his paranoia, he couldn't fight the urge to close his eyes and fall asleep on the comfortable sofa.
Tom's blue-grey eyes flung opened.
He heard noises, again. He swore he heard something.
He sat up from the soft cusion, feeling his muscles stiff from the pose he held for a long time. The sky was darkening. He glaced at the clock, already five in the evening. His mother still hadn't returned, maybe another busy day.
He looked around cautiously and tried to identify the source of the noise. But wait, hadn't he learnt the lesson of not to be so curious about the strange noise when he was alone? The noise stopped and everthing went silent. Even a pin dropped would be heard clearly. He struggled whether or not to check on the sound that seemed like coming from the kitchen.
What if it was the man-eating creature again?
What if that thing came here for Tom bacause of what he saw four years ago?
The boy clenched his fists, the different voices in his head was fighting vigurously.
Ah, fuck it!
He grabbed a broom as a weapon as if the thing that could eat a man alive would afraid of the thin stick.
He took his steps towards the kitchen, slowly and cautiously, and peeked inside —
His palms were sweating. His heart was pounding violently. It must be ouside of the backdoor in the kitchen then. The door led to the backyard of the house and whatever thing it was, it must be there.
Tom had already made up his mind. He was a brave young boy, wasn't he?
He walked towards the door with the broom held tight in his hand. As he opened the door and nervously dashed out of it, trying to be fast and sudden to frighten the creature, he nearly tripped over the thing lying on the ground.
He gasped and looked down, didn't quite expect what he saw.
A raven-haired man was lying on the ground with his arm supporting his upper body, obviously injured. There was blood leaking out from between the fingers when he was pressing the wound on the waist. Otherwise, it would be a bit hard to notice the blood on the pure black suit.
He huffed and lifted up his gaze to meet the boy's. His eyes were a beautiful shade of crimson red — the boy immediately stepped back and held up the broom — they were just like the man-eating creature. The man's face was full of distaste.
"How could you not see me here? I'm a vampire, not a ghost."
His voice was soft, yet the tone was strong enough to make the boy fear. Tom couldn't form a word from his trembling lips.
What? Did he just say "vampire"?
He huffed again and stood up painfully while pressing his hand on the bleeding wound. Tom was startled by the fact that the man could still stand up and immediately stepped back more, ready to use the broom to strike.
"Don't come any closer."
The raven-haired man — vampire — stared at him. He found the boy's attempt of defense was amusing.
"Oh, that will definitely beat me." He chukled darkly. The vampire's crimson eyes flickered with the glim that mixed with proud and a hint of unknown pleasant.
Just as Tom wanted to retort, the vampire suddenly raised his hand to cut him off. The smirk vanished and his face darkened with alert.
"He is coming," the vampire muttered as he raised his full guard to the surrounding with a very intense look. This stressed the boy even more.
"Get in the house. Now. Turn off all the lights and don't you dare make a sound. Also lock the door." He demanded in a very low voice as if afraid someone would hear him.
Somewhere in Tom's mind clicked. That tone. That manner. That voice. It's like two film with the same image overlapped. The scenes sent chill down Tom's spine.
That was him in the alley!
Tom forced himself to move and rush to the backdoor. Getting inside safely, he closed it with the last glance of the tall, mysterious vampire with long black curly hair, who just swung out two pionted daggers. Whoever was coming, he was ready to fight.
After making sure all the lights were turned off as the vampire told, Tom walked back to the kitchen as quiet as he could. He knew what happening outside that door was dangerous, but he just can't stand himself curling in his room comfortably while the vampire outside was fighting for him.
It is for him, right?
Tom leaned against the cold hard wooden door carefully to prevent any slightest sound. He covered his mouth and nose to make the breath as low as possible, although he felt like he almost choked himself. Through the thin door, he heard the vampire talking to another man.
"He is not here, Brother."
"Well, how can you be so sure?"
"Trust me. I have checked."
"Trust you," the other man puffed at the vampire's remark."Of couse I trust you, my dear brother."
A pause of silence. Tom had his heart in his mouth as it seemed they had heard his too-loud heartbeat and too-hard breathing.
But they carried on their conversation. The other man's low and gruff voice spoke first.
"Why are you helping him?"
"I am not helping him! " The vampire gritted on every words like he was spitting the sentence out. His voice dark and deep with rage, unlike the soft voice he spoke to Tom before."I'm just doing what a civilized man would do. Not killing everyone can solve problems, you oaf!"
"Yes, not killing everyone. But he is the one who turn us in to the —"
"It was NOT HIM!"
"Again, HOW can you be so sure?"
They were yelling now. Tom could feel the door vibrate with their roar.
"I— I just.... I just know."
"You are rediculous, brother. Plus, this is the thing should have been done long before when he saw me.... consuming. " The man's voice calmed. "I just couldn't understand why did you stop me. I still can't. "
The vampire heaved out a heavy sigh.
"First thing of all, you let a child see you consuming and this is your carelessness. It's your own damn fault!"
"Mother has died because of him!"
Tom flinched at the particular ear-splitting roar of the vampire and gasped uncontrollably. He hadn't got the slightest clue of what they were talking about him. How could that man Tom believed he didn't even know him, but got extremely furious at him? If that was because he saw him "consuming" , by what he called, then why was he comimg after him after so many years? What had he done?
As Tom was drowning in all those confusing puzzles, he didn't realize the two man out there had gone silent.
"What was that sound behind the door?"
"Loki, HOW COULD YOU!!"
Tom pulled himself away the door with his shaky hands covering his mouth. He must have gasped too hard, how stupid!
The next thing he heard was the sound of metal clinking and the bellow of fighting, seemed like Loki was pulling a fight with him to stop the man from breaking into the house.
Tom was desperate. He had no idea how this would end up. He had the urge to ran through the damn door and stop them from hurting each other.
And then the door shook abruptly that it nearly shattered. "I know you are in there!" The man roared followed by the handle being jerked violently.
The door was locked so the man was banging on it and rocking the handle with great force.
The boy was frozen completely by fear.
"Thor, stop this!"
The door was strong enough for this one attack.
But not this one.
The wooden door broke opened, a large muscular man with stunning long blond hair raised his large hammer at the trembling boy who's blood was drained out on his face.
He opened his mouth to announce the boy's death, only to find that no words came out but a sharpe inhale.
The blond's bright red gaze looked down to his chest in shock, two blades were piercing through the flesh.
It was his brother, he wasn't surprised. The dark-haired vampire pulled out his daggers ferociously from the blond's back before blocking in front of the boy from his raging brother, arm in the mid-air as protecting gesture.
"Nice try Loki, you know that can't kill me."
"Don't you lay a finger on him,"the dark-haired vampire said deeply between his hasty breath.
"What are you, why are you hiding him?"
"Just being wise. Stop this nonsense now before the true responsible person has his way."
"If you insist this little human is not the person, prove it."
While the blond was speaking to his brother, his bright red eyes was staring at Tom with a fierce gaze the whole time. He gritted his teeth and a pair of long pointed fangs showed up.
Of course this man was also a vampire.
"I can't at this moment but I will. Just give me some time."
Tom didn't want to look at the blond's terrifying face, so instead he fixed his gaze on the dark-haired vampire's tall and gorgeous figure in front of him. His black straight hair was draping on his shoulder, with the tip of the locks slightly curled up. His body was slim, yet the perfect lines and shapes of his back and waist proved that he was also muscular. Tom knew it was not the right time, but he just couldn't help himself not admiring this vampire, who was currently protecting him from great danger.
"One week, or you will face your death with this little boy you are so in love with."
"Hey, I'm not—"
But the blond vampire had already spread open his wings and disppeared in a second.
The raven-haired vampire put away his weapon and buried his face in his hands and groaned disturbedly.
"See what you have gotten yourself into," he suddenly sprun around to meet the boy's blue-grey watery puppy eyes and grumbled. "This is totally madness."