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The City That Never Sleeps

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Eiji rubs his right eye, his eyes burning from staring at his laptop all day. He had to finish writing an absurdly long essay before midnight, and he was almost done. Eiji turns his head up to the ceiling and closes his eyes, pressing his palms against his eyelids, giving his eyes some much needed relief. Just then, his sister, Naoko, comes bounding down the stairs and into the living room. She practically crashes into the couch, her black hair bouncing as she rights herself and crawls over to the other end of the couch to Eiji.

"Oniisan! Oniisan!" Naoko calls excitedly as she flops onto his lap and fumbles with her phone, her stomach pressing against the keyboard of Eiji's laptop, filling the screen with gibberish.

"Naoko, my laptop!" Eiji says, letting out a frustrated sigh. He pulls the laptop out from underneath her and leans over her to set it onto the coffee table. Naoko grins as she shoves her phone into Eiji's face.

"Watch this!" She says, kicking her feet up and down against the couch cushions. Eiji frowns and pushes her hand away from his face. He takes her phone from her hand and stares as a woman wearing a gray and white suit starts to talk about the news.

"Good evening, everyone," The woman on the screen says, her hands folded neatly on the curved, gray table. "This is The Daily Paranormal News Network."

Eiji rolls his eyes and starts to set the phone down. "Naoko—"

Naoko stops him from putting the phone down, a mischievous grin on her face. "Just watch!"

Eiji rolls his eyes, but complies.

"Recently, many journalists have started to investigate the possibility of vampires existing in the real world."

"This is silly," Eiji says, amused by the report already, a small smile forming on his face.

"Shush!" Naoko hushes, pushing the phone closer to him.

"Evidence supporting the existence of vampires has always existed," The woman says in steady Japanese, staring into the camera with conviction. "But just yesterday, a body was found in New York City and authorities still haven't determined the cause of death. All the blood from the body was drained, and a circle of small, teeth-shaped holes were on the man's neck—"

Before the pictures of the corpse can show up on screen, Eiji sets the phone down. Naoko tries to protest, but Eiji cuts her off.

"Vampires aren't real, Naoko," Eiji says as he sets the phone down onto the table. He pushes Naoko off of him, making her fall onto the floor from a couch. She lets out a small yelp of pain as he continues. "I don't understand why you're so into this paranormal stuff. It's all clearly fake. Besides, you shouldn't be watching such inappropriate content anyways."

Naoko pouts, indignantly sitting up on the floor and grabbing her phone from the coffee table. "I'm fifteen! I'm not a baby anymore! I can handle it!"

Eiji rolls his eyes, grabs his laptop, and sets it onto his lap. A smirk forms on Naoko's face.

"Besides, vampires are real," Naoko says, tapping away at her phone, the cute orange cat keychain hanging from the hot pink phone case shaking as she taps. "Why else would that guy not have any blood in his body?"

"It could be the work of a serial killer," Eiji says, typing on his laptop.

"What about the bite marks? How would a serial killer manage to drain all the blood from the person's blood from a bunch of small holds in the victim's neck?" Naoko counters, talking fast without stumbling over her words.

"It might not have taken long for the blood to drain," Eiji shrugs.

"It would take hours for the blood to be completely drained, and the victim was found in an alleyway. No murderer would stick around for that long out in the open."

"They could've drained the body somewhere else and then dumped it in the alleyeay."

"Okay, let's pretend that's the case. How would human teeth be able to pierce human skin? Our teeth aren't even close to strong enough for that! And—"

"They could've used a knife to poke holes into their skin—"

"But the holes in the victim's neck were shaped like teeth, Eiji, teeth—!"

Eiji closes his eyes and sighs, cutting off his sister as he pinches the bridge of his nose.

"Naoko, just because a murder seems illogical for a human to do, that doesn't mean there's a supernatural explanation behind it," Eiji says as he types on his laptop, his brows scrunched together in annoyance. "Detectives investigating murders never know any of the answers at first. Do they immediately turn to vampires for the answer?"

"Hmph," Naoko pouts, crossing her arms. Suddenly, she gets up onto her knees and pumps her fist into the air.

"Someday, I'm going to be an investigative paranormal journalist who hunts down demons and paranormal stuff and I'll prove that vampires are real!" She shouts, pointing at Eiji, her eyes fierce. Eiji just lets looks up from his laptop to roll his eyes at her and let out another annoyed sigh before looking back at his laptop screen. Their mother pops her head into the living room.

"Naoko, keep your voice down!" She scolds without any real anger.

Naoko blushes and whispers. "Sorry!"

Their mother goes back into the kitchen.

"What an airhead," Eiji mumbles. Naoko sticks her tongue out at Eiji before turning from her side onto her back. She becomes preoccupied with her phone and Eiji continues to type away at his essay. A couple of hours pass by before Eiji finally submits his essay just a few minutes before their deadline. Eiji lets out a sigh of relief and slouches in seat, a wave of exhaustion rolling over him. Naoko was watching some anime on her phone, but even she looked a bit tired. Just then, their mother walks into the living room with two glasses of water in her hands.

"It's late," She says, setting the glasses onto the coffee table. "You two should go to bed."

"No!" Naoko says, failing to stifle a yawn. Her next words come out as a soft murmur. "I don't even have school tomorrow."

"You woke up very early today," The mother says, crossing her arms. "You can't just stay up all night. And that includes you too, Eiji."

"Okaasan..." Eiji trails off, letting out a soft yawn.

"Just because you're nineteen now, that doesn't mean you can stay up all night," She says. Eiji closes his laptop and stands up. "Plus, you'll have to get up early tomorrow to visit your grandmother."

"Yeah," Eiji half-heartedly responds before leaves the living room with his laptop. He sets his laptop down on the white, wooden desk in his bedroom before going to the bathroom to brush his teeth.

Eiji collapses onto his bed, which felt like heaven after being up since early in the morning. His sheet were soft and pillow and mattress were fluffy and plush. Eiji sinks into the bed, wrapping his blanket around him. Thoughts of his day roam through his mind. A strange, foreboding feeling lodges itself into Eiji's stomach and before Eiji finally drifts off into sleep, Naoko's voice echoes through his mind.

Vampires are real.