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charismasantora @ 07:49 pm: The World You Love-Chapter One
So I definitely just put off a bunch of really important homework because I decided I would rather be editing this. It's just the first part of Chapter One, so it doesn't have a name...yet. My next post will probably be quite a bit longer.
The sun had set by the time Maddie left her boyfriend’s house. At the sight of the darkening sky, she quickened her pace, dreading what her parents would say when she arrived home over an hour later than she had promised she would. She hadn’t meant to stay with Brian for so long, but sometimes when they were together they just lost track of time...
It was a cold September night in Brooksdale, and Maddie shoved her hands deep into the pockets of her hoodie, glad, not for the first time, to be dating someone who lived so close. Her last boyfriend had lived over a mile away from her, and before that she had dated a guy from all the way in San Francisco.
She couldn’t deny that her attraction to Brian had definitely had something to do with his proximity...in a perfect world, of course, she would be dating the gorgeous boy next door, and it would take her all of five seconds to get from one house to another. But he was older than her, and almost always had a girlfriend. She sighed as she turned the corner; for now, she would just have to be happy with Brian, which wasn’t hard considering he was a very attractive and popular quarterback.
Maddie didn’t notice when her own footsteps were joined by another, nearly inaudible, set, following her at a few yards’ distance. She kept her eyes to the ground, kicking dry leaves as she walked, which made it slightly more difficult for her follower to keep his footsteps exactly in time with hers.
When she was about halfway down the block, she heard a slight movement to her left, but it was only a cat. However, as she turned her head for the source of the noise, she saw something else out of the corner of her eye...something much bigger than a cat.
Her pursuer, knowing that he had been seen, decided that now was the time to act. He took a few quick steps toward Maddie, but she didn’t wait for him to get any closer. She broke into a run, her heart suddenly pounding hard and fast, as though it were trying to break free of her rib cage. She could hear the man catching up to her as she neared the end of the block...Should she run into a stranger’s house? Or call for help? But what if the man had a gun?
Just as she stepped into the street, Maddie felt a cold hand close around her wrist, and that was when she decided to throw caution to the winds.
“Help!” she cried, “Somebody help me!” She swung out her foot and felt it make contact with a shin. She was able to wrench her wrist free, and her attacker let out a snarl that didn’t even sound human. She ran again, and she could now see the light from her own porch, just a few houses down...
She was running faster than she had ever run in her life, but it wasn’t fast enough. She had just reached the driveway of her house when the man caught up to her again, and this time he took hold of her by the shoulders. He was much stronger than her, and as he pulled Maddie in close to him, she screamed again. fear flooding her, eyes filling with tears. She was going to die, she just knew it...
There was a loud thud, and the man’s grip on her was released. She stumbled forward, landing on her hands and knees on the sidewalk. Gasping with tears, Maddie looked up in time to see another girl being thrown through the air, landing on the ground right in front of her. A mane of brown hair obscured Maddie’s vision for a moment, and then the other girl was back on her feet. Maddie stood up as well, shaking from head to foot.
“Get into a house!” the other girl yelled at Maddie, but as their attacker approached them once more, Maddie found herself paralyzed with fear. “RUN!”
The second it took Charisma to turn her head and address the crying girl cost her a blow to the head. She staggered backwards, dazed, and the younger girl seemed to take the hint. She turned and ran into the nearest house, leaving Charisma to deal with the vampire.
When Charisma managed to regain her balance and look up, she saw that her opponent was merely feet away. She was quite certain that her face was as pale in fright as the vampire’s was in death, but she tried not to let on any fear. She stood facing the demon, gripping the sharp wooden stake in her left hand, preparing herself for the attack.
The vampire moved fast. One second it was standing out in front of Charisma, and the next it was upon her. Charisma only just had time to stick out a hand instinctually, catching the vampire in the chest. Unfortunately she had used her right, weaponless, hand, and as the vampire caught her by the wrist and pulled her in, it was all she could do to keep her head clear through the fear. The hand gripping her was cold as ice, and as the vampire bared its long, sharp canine teeth, Charisma felt an immense shiver run down her spine.
As the vampire inclined its head toward Charisma’s neck, thirsting for the blood that was pounding within, Charisma wrenched her captured hand away with all the strength she could gather, then plunged the stake in her other hand deep into the vampire’s chest. The demon immediately pulled back, shock all over its paper-white face, and then it crumpled to the ground at her feet.
Relief swept through Charisma immediately, replacing the mind-numbing fear. She looked around, letting her body relax, and suddenly realized where she was.
“Chris!” A dark-haired boy was walking down the front steps of the house in front of her. Charisma found herself unable to say anything; she also found that she was trembling from head to foot, and not just from the cold.
The boy reached her, and without another word pulled her into a hug; Charisma knew she must look quite awful for James to be showing her such affection.
“I don’t really feel the need to ask what happened...” James said, releasing Charisma and looking down at the body between their feet. Charisma felt like she should speak, but her voice was completely failing her. “Do you want me to take care of him?” James’ voice was soft and sympathetic, and Charisma gave into that voice, nodding her head mutely. Never mind that it was James’ night to rest, that this had been her kill and, therefore, her responsibility to dispose of the body. He was offering, and from the tone of his voice she could tell he meant it.
“Let me give you a ride home.” Charisma nodded again; she wasn’t really in the mood to walk the six and a half blocks back to her house. “Give me a hand, will you?” James was bending over at the head of the vampire, preparing to lift it off the ground, and Charisma obliged, grabbing the feet and helping carry the body over to the silver Prius parked at the curb. James pulled his keys out of his pocket and opened the car. They pushed the dead vampire into the backseat, then got into the front seats themselves.
The first half-minute of the drive passed in silence, with James watching the road and Charisma not really watching anything, just twiddling with the black plastic cross pendant hanging on a chain around her neck.
Finally James said, “Must have been pretty bad...” He was peering into Charisma’s face, which was still rather pale, with a look of concern on his own features.
Charisma finally found her voice. “He was fast.” She kept her gaze on the dark, quiet houses beyond the passenger window; it appeared that most people were asleep, and she realized that she had no idea what time it was, nor did she care much.
A few more moments of silence, then: “How’d you find him?” James was intent on keeping up a conversation with Charisma; her silence was unusual, and possibly cause for worry.
“Heard screaming. He was attacking some girl-“ Charisma stopped talking as her stomach gave a sudden lurch. She had completely forgotten the other girl, forgotten to make sure she was all right after being attacked. “I think she went into the house next to yours...”
“Skinny blonde?” James asked, and Charisma nodded, barely recalling. “Yeah, that was probably Maddie, she lives there...probably on her way home from sucking face with her asshole of a boyfriend.”
Something clicked Charisma’s brain. “Wait, Maddie? Sophomore Maddie, who’s going out with Ace?” The revelation was accompanied by a vague disgust.
“That’s the one,” James answered. Charisma made a face.
“Gee, I wish I had known, I might not have saved her...This town could do with one less preppy brat.”
James was relieved to hear her joking, but all he said was, “Don’t judge a book by its cover...”
“Can I judge a book by the dickhead it’s dating?” Charisma asked, smiling, and James couldn’t help but smirk. Charisma’s personality was certainly still intact, and she seemed to be making a quick recovery.
They turned a corner and the body in the backseat shifted slightly, creating a soft thudding noise. Charisma turned her head to look at the paper white face, with its eyes and mouth still slightly open. Her eyes grazed the rest of the body: dark shirt and leather jacket, the former of which sported a hole from Charisma’s stake, but hardly any blood; black pants with more of a flare at the bottom than was usual for the twenty-first century; very dirty dress shoes.
“I don’t recognize him,” she said to James, without moving her gaze from the dead thing’s face.
“Probably from out of town,” James replied, glancing over at the repulsed look on Charisma’s face as she regarded the vampire.
“Old, too, by the looks of his clothes,” she said, finally tearing her eyes away from the back seat and turning to face the road in front of them. They had almost reached her house.
“Explains why you had such a hard time with him.”
Charisma couldn’t keep herself from smiling at this comment as James pulled up in front of her house.
“Night,” James said as Charisma opened the door.
“G’night,” Charisma said back, getting out of the car. As she turned to close the door, she leaned her head into the car and said, “Thanks for the ride, and... everything.” She gestured with her head to the dead body in the backseat.
“No problem.” James smiled at her. “See you tomorrow.” And with that Charisma shut the door and he drove off.
Charisma walked tentatively up the path of the small, cream-colored house in front of her. The flickering light of the television was visible through the front window – that meant Damien could still be awake. Charisma walked around to the side of the house, stopping at the first window, which had been left open. She reached up to the windowsill and pulled herself through the large frame. When her torso was fully above the sill, she swung her left leg over and felt it come into contact with the wooden bench inside. She pulled over her other leg and landed softly on the carpeted floor, soundlessly kicking off her Converse as she shut the window behind her.
It was pitch dark inside, but Charisma didn’t need any light to maneuver around the grand piano in her room to the door on the opposite wall. She opened the door silently and peered out. A loud snore reached her ears, and she felt all the tension drain from her body as she opened her bedroom door wide, no longer bothering to keep very quiet.
She walked out into the living room to find her brother lying on the couch, asleep, his mouth hanging open, the light from the TV playing on his face. She walked around the couch to the coffee table, picked up the remote, and turned off the television. Leaving Damien in his position on the couch, Charisma went back in the direction of her room. Instead of entering, she walked by her own door, and over to the room two doors down.
She opened the door without making a sound, and her eyes fell upon a small figure sleeping soundly under a powder blue comforter. Charisma moved over to the bed and pushed a few light brown locks off of her sister’s face. She leaned over and kissed the soft cheek, murmuring, “Love you, Deels.” Then she left the room, taking care to shut the door quietly. She had already said good night to her little sister, but after an incident like the one that had occurred tonight, she always found it reassuring to visit the girl one more time.
Before heading back to her own room, Charisma glanced into the room at the end of the hall, or through it, rather; the door to the room beyond Damien’s was open, and she could just see the white sheets of the bed within. The bed was clearly unoccupied; Charisma let out a tiny sigh and then finally went back to her own room.
She didn’t bother changing, as she was already wearing sweats. She just climbed up to the top of her mismatched bunk beds – only to find that there was already someone sleeping there. She recognized the skinny form and straight black hair, though; it was only Alex.
Charisma climbed all the way into her bed, ready for a good nights’ sleep after the very draining experience of nearly dying; but as she was getting under the covers she felt something hard in her pants pocket: her cell phone. She pulled it out, realizing that she had almost forgotten something important.
Charisma opened the phone and started a text message. It wasn’t a long one, just an equals sign followed by a right parenthesis, making a happy face. She sent the message to the contact Mark <3, waited for the “Success” memo to appear on the screen, then shut her phone and threw it onto the floor below.
Finally satisfied, Charisma wormed her way under the covers, snuggling up to the body next to her, and fell asleep almost instantly.

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