by: Shiryu

Nick knew, he just knew, that he would regret going on that trip. And what did he do? He went anyways.


            He always thought too much, he decided, as he looked out the window. The sun hovered on the horizon, teasing. At times like this, he wondered if the sun would ever rise for them again.


            Sighing, he pulled out a metal container from under the black and white marble counter, lining the contents up on the smooth, glassy surface. The whole sequence of events was nothing but a line of dominoes, waiting to topple with the slightest quake, he mused, as he tapped the first white piece in the line he had set up, watching with black eyes as it fell.


            (His gut was a lot more accurate than he gave it credit for, but he preferred thinking with his head. His heart had steered him wrong too many painful times.)


            However, he knew there was something wrong when Tina went to bed earlier than usual one night, pale, with a wild gleam in her eyes. But she acted the same, talked the same. And Mr. Mcfall had just told her to go lie down – perhaps the dinner and cruise had made her seasick. So he just passed it off as nothing. Nothing at all.


            (To this day, none of them knows who turned Tina. But they all know how it went from there.)


            Maybe, just maybe, it had been a bad idea to have Sonya and Tina rooming together.


            The next domino clatters slightly before gravity tugs it down upon the next one.


            (Sonya doesn’t blame Tina, she can’t blame her, the gentle girl who still almost refuses point-blank to drink human blood. But even Tina must give into the temptation when nearly every movement sends her wild, fangs gleaming and silver eyes shining with the intelligence of a predator. Sonya can’t pretend the nightmares don’t exist, though.)


            Nick knows what happened to Sonya – she woke up to find Tina’s teeth embedded in her neck. After shoving the other girl off, she pinned her against a wall, but Tina was almost crying, panicking from the fact that she turned someone, someone she knew. Sonya just hugged her afterwards, but when she got up the next morning and nearly bolted after opening the windows, the sun burning her as it had never before, she knew that she had not woken up in time to halt her own change.


            With an almost inaudible click, another domino smoothly knocks over the next.


            (And she wonders if there was something they both could have done to stop it, to resist the hunger, but they all know it’s a useless question with a useless answer. It doesn’t stop them from asking.)


            Sonya and Khue remember the next part vividly. A newborn vampire always needs to feed immediately, if they wish to survive and to stop the horrendous hunger from overriding all else. And the next domino fell when Sonya had somehow managed to knock Khue to the ground during a spar, pinning her to the ground. Laughing that her friend seemed to have gotten stronger overnight, she fell back to the floor with the lightest of chuckles. She choked when a burning sensation seemed to grip her throat, and with wild panic, realized what had just happened. Like Sonya had, she threw off the other girl (vampire?) with a cry, before falling back to the floor. And when she hadn’t bled to death, she stared at the other. Reflected in Sonya’s now-green eyes were a sharp pair of gold. And she knew as well, what had happened.


            Another ivory block came crashing down.


            (Nick hates the next part of the story, but even he can’t help but be fascinated by the fact that none of them had fed on any others, when it could have just as easily been somebody else.)


            He really, really should have known that provoking Khue into another quick and crazy slapping match during a musical was a bad idea, but he just couldn’t resist. Not even after Mr. Mcfall had warningly but playfully tapped him across the back of the head to stay quiet. So he sat, bored, until he finally decided that it would be entertaining to slap Khue on the arm. He should have known something was wrong when she didn’t respond, just sat, tense, watching the musical.


            Her eyes were gold. He thought she had just gotten a pair of contacts to freak him out – she’d done stuff like this enough times for it to not be surprising. So he tapped, and tapped. Sonya and Tina were no longer watching the play, instead focused on Khue and the growing stillness that was displayed by a hunter before the final kill. They exchanged panicked looks, but Nick, finally deciding something was seriously wrong, laid a hand on her arm and flicked lightly, just to get her attention.


            Pissed off, eyes gleaming, her mouth opened slightly to reveal sharp pointed fangs that were sunk quickly into his wrist. Hissing, he dragged his arm out of her mouth – but the damage was done. Khue paled suddenly, bolting from her seat, blood dripping from her mouth. Sonya nearly dashed after her, but Tina quickly dragged her down in her seat. Mr. Mcfall had not missed her quick exit, and made to ask the two girls what had happened.


            “Food poisoning,” Tina muttered.


            “Yeah,” Sonya agreed quickly. But both were eying Nick with the dangerous intensity of a hawk. When he looked up, his eyes were black as midnight.


            And the final domino teetered, first one way, then another, before landing with an echoing thud of finality upon the marble counter. Nick stared at it for another few moments, before sweeping the pile of dominoes into the box. Setting it down, he looked out the window.


            The sun was gone.