Vampires in our Midst

If I don’t tell this story, the world would never know what’s happening in the world. I am not a writer, but circumstances have forced me to share my story in hope that others can be saved. From what? Vampires. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. They’re not real! Most people don’t believe in vampires. Neither did I. Boy, was I wrong. You probably won’t believe me. Heck, I wouldn’t either. A scary dracula-looking guy that kidnaps you and sucks the life out of you. Well…I hate to break it to you, but real-life vampires are much different. Anyway, that’s a story for later. For now, let me take you to my life in 8th grade. 

A new specialized science high school on the other side of town had just opened its doors to poor students. It was a special gifted private school that cost parents tens of thousands of dollars to send their kids to school. All of the wealthy downtown wished for their kids to be educated there! Yet, not everyone got in. They had so many applicants every year, that they were forced to create a hard exam as gatekeeper. So not only did you have to be rich to get in, you also had to be smart! I was neither. I was broke and dumb. When my parents heard the state council was forcing them to accept kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, they raised hell in our house. As an only child, the pressure was on! I had to take the test and get in, no ifs, buts, and whys. So you see, my parents were poor but they sure as hell were not dumb! Okay, maybe only financially dumb. They had no money but they were highly educated people who just didn’t have luck on their side. My dad was a pharmaceutical engineer. He helped make medicines for old people that have trouble remembering their names. I think it’s called Parkinsons. Or Alexhemier’s. I can’t remember. I don’t have access to the internet, I’m writing this story on paper under the light of the moon in the middle of the forest. If you’re reading this story, someone has found my manuscript and has decided on sharing it. Maybe out of the goodness of their heart or maybe for money. Either way, I’d be more than happy if people would learn what I know. Okay, back to my parents. My mom was an amazing award-winning elementary school teacher. They both were smart and had good jobs. So why were we poor? Well, that’s what I decided to ask my dad one day when he refused to buy me a new game for my console. He went silent for a minute then told me an elaborate story of how he spent all his wealth to create a drug on his own that would eliminate the desire of druggies to take drugs. It was a huge breakthrough and right before it went to market, the cartel showed up. They threatened him and my mom to not go to market with the medicine otherwise they would kill them. My folks, being the scaredy cats they are, abandoned the idea. Till today, they are paying loans that they took out to make the drug. They had to sell their house downtown and move to the shabby area we lived in now. So that's why we were poor!

Two months in advance, my most hated studies began. Biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, history, literature. Two months of torture. I had no life but middle school and coming home to hours and hours of endless child abuse. No, not what you’re thinking, my parents never raised a hand on me. More like reading and studying numerous books late into the night. I would have preferred a beating! I hated every minute of studying! 

Alas, the day of the test came. I thought of failing on purpose. The idea of scoring a zero to drive my parents nuts and get revenge for their months of force-educating made me smile. They would send me for adoption!! That thought alone made me throw that idea back into the dark parts of the brain it came from and I gave the exam my all. Lo and behold, a few months later I received that I passed and got into this prestigious school, on full scholarship. Kids, hard work pays off!

Middle school was fun. I was popular. Me, and my three friends: Ivan, Ethan and Joey, were a force to be reckoned with. We have been friends since 1st grade. Nothing and no one was able to separate us or hinder us from our fun evil ways. We were every teacher's worst nightmare. The pranks we threw! From gluing our teachers to their seats to “borrowing” their phones to text weird shit to everyone in their contacts, we were quite a bunch to deal with! And the best part of it, we never would get caught! I mean, we always did get caught, but nothing was ever proven against us. We would blame each other like rascals! 4 fingers pointed at each other. “Now 4 people can’t text at the same time”, argued my mom. The other parents agreed, sitting in the principal’s office. Ms.Chamel, the principal, was forced to let us go. Well none of us were actually off the hook. We still had to deal with our parents. The beating I got from my dad! Oof. It wasn’t pleasant. But nothing deterred us. After 1 week we stole the same teacher’s phone again and sent another mass text.

“I’m sorry. It actually was me that sent that pic. I tried blaming it on 4 of my students. I feel so guilty about that now. Wished to clear things up!”

Little did we know Ms.Chamel was on that list! By the time I got home that evening, my parents were apologizing to me! That was a first. Ms.Chamel had called and told them the teacher had confessed to lying via message and Mr.Chamel fired the teacher. To our delight!

This incident made us infamous and the most feared people in school! Or shall I saw in the entire town! Students, teachers, parents, everyone thought we could do anything to ruin anyone’s life! We gained respect. Or that’s what I thought at the time. In reality, it was just fear. Wherever we went, people moved out of our way, as if royalty was passing through.

As I am older now, I realize this was the start of my destructive walk into the world of evil. If I hadn’t become so brave doing bad things, perhaps I never would have done what I ended up doing in high school. As you can probably tell from my way of writing, I never completed high school. After what happened, I had no choice but to lead a life away from books and the world of education. My fate took a turn into the dark underground, hidden alleys of the world and I started on a trek I couldn’t turn back from even If I wanted to. I will get into all of this as we progress. For now, let's get back to my days of schooling! The last days of happiness of my life.

We were all sitting on Joey’s steps. “How will you ever like it at Kennedy’s?” Joey asks. He’s referring to the wealthy highschool i've gotten myself into.

“I’ll hate it man! How could you guys ever think I freely made the choice to go to that rotten highschool?? You guys know my parents!”

Ethan laughs, “come on man. You could have bunked the test on purpose, no one would have known.”

“Ethan, I'm going to throw you off these steps. You know what my dad would have done to me if I failed. He would’ve known it was on purpose!” I retorted.

Now Ivan couldn’t hold in his resent and gave me a shove. “Shut up Dust! You are not that scared of the old man. You just want a different life man. At least be honest with yourself!”. Dustin was my name, but my pals would shorten it.

Ivan wasn’t wrong. I did want a different life. “I want to become rich guys. And maybe I’ll learn the secrets of the rich from those rich brats. I don’t want to be broke like my dad is. Heck you’re all broker than me, perhaps you guys should strt thinking about your future too. Do you guys want to be like the secretary Joey’s mom is, or the mechanic Ethan’s dad is, or the junkie Ivan’s dad is. Us four don’t have a chance in this fast paced world if we stay together and keep our antics up.” I don’t know what had gotten into me, I was never this mean or brash with anyone in my life. But it was like a voice inside me spoke, one I had no control over. One that wanted me to drift apart from my friends. Perhaps, one that wanted to make me alone and vulnerable. As soon as I spoke the words, I knew this friendship was over. The hurt on my friends' faces was enough to let me know no amount of apologies would fix us. And for some reason, I didn’t even try to apologize. I just got up and left. And that was the last I would see of my friends for a long time. Until recently. In much worse circumstances. Which I will get into.

My folks were undoubtedly proud of my accomplishment. They lifted all chores I normally would’ve done off of me once they read the acceptance letter. My dad was ecstatic. Said I would officially become part of the educated Pratt family. He wanted me to become a doctor. A doctor…mmpphh. … little did he know….

I think secretly they were more proud of my friendship breaking apart. They loathed Ivan, Ethan, and Joey. When they saw I wasn’t hanging around them, they naturally grew happy I wasn’t around “those troublemakers” as my dad liked to call them. My mom asked one day”Dustin, how come Joey and the others don’t come around anymore?” I told her what happened and she hugged me as I cried in her arms. Later I heard her overtalking with my dad. “Good riddance. Those boys were nothing but trouble. They’ll probably end up in jail or in some junkhouse like Roberto.” Roberto was Ivan’s druggie dad. Her mentioning him infuriated me, and I didn’t talk to her for months. Looking back, if I did, perhaps I wouldn’t be in the same predicament as I am now. She surely would have talked me out of joining the ranks of the underworld.

Safe to say, that was the most boring summer I've ever experienced. Nothing out of the ordinary happened in those two dead months. Except one strange thing.... We lived in the middle of the hood. A very busy hood with a small town feel. Everyone knew everyone. Our dinner tables were always full with neighbors and friends. Everyone liked everyone, or at least they acted as if that was the case. But there was one lady. That no one really knew or talked to. Yet everyone was scared of her. She had one of those old scary woman vibes. Small, yellow-dyed hair, hairy face, looked like she never showered. She would be seen in her garden every night, plucking some weird fruits and herbs. Everyone called her “the witch”. Everyone knew her husband, Mr.Kempler. I remember him coming to our dinners when I was small. Very small guy with a huge mustache. He was a local  subway train driver. He was always smiling, talking pleasantly to any of his passengers that would wander into the engineer’s lounge. If asked about his wife by the curious neighbors, he wouldn’t disclose much. Actually nothing at all. He would always say she does her own thing, I do my own. And leave it at that.

When an old scary woman pays no attention to anyone, but randomly talks to you one day, believe me, you freak the heck out. And that’s exactly what happened. I couldn’t sleep for 2 nights after that incident.

I was playing football with Ms.Carlson, the postlady, who always stopped her work to play with me for a few minutes every day in the summer. She said she couldn’t see my lonely self sitting on the stoop staring at nothing. She had lost her only daughter a few years ago. No one knows what happened, but in a small town, rumors spread. The cause of death was pronounced as “natural death”. What 12-year old girl dies a natural death?? Obviously people were going to talk. Some said she poisoned her own daughter, others said she had cancer that no one knew about, and others said suicide. No one knew and Ms.Carlson wouldn’t talk to anyone about her daughter. If anyone was brave enough to ask, they would only be met with silence and drops of tears before Ms.Carlson walked away. And this was the reason I made up my mind to never bring up her daughter. 

Since I was little, Ms.Carlson and I were always friends. She would shout my name, pick me up and swing me upside down till I grew too big for her to pick up. She had a large frame, but she wasn’t very strong. She had pains all over, as she would always complain. Something about rheumatoid eating up her joints. But she would always find time to play with me. 

So that day, close to the end of the summer, Ms.Carlson came later in the day to deliver mail. Once she was done with the block, I threw her the football. We started playing and chatting about the weather getting a bit better from the past few days’ heatwave. Before I knew it, I missed a catch and the ball flew into the Witch’s backyard. Straight into her garden, where she was bent over, plucking some orange grape looking weird fruit. The ball fell right in front of her. Without delay, she grabbed the football, raised it in her hand, and stood up straight in a flash of a second, and threw the ball hard at me. Straight into my chest, knocking me over, kicking the wind out of my lungs. I laid on the floor for a few seconds, till Ms.Carlson, who had walked over to me, helped me up. I stood up and looked at the witch, Ms.Kempler. Standing there, she never looked scarier. I can't recall if I wet my pants when the ball hit me or when I saw her staring at me after I got up. Her eyebrows were curled up in shock, and her eyes peieced right through my soul. A deathly stare. She pointed at me and ran to her picket fence in lightening speed, still pointing at me. Any old frail woman couldn’t possibly move this fast, but the witch did. I almost fell back down when she reached the fence. Ms.Carlson put her arm around my shoulder to steady me, probably noticing my fear. I dared not look away from the witch, but I could feel Ms.Carlson’s breathing very hard, and knew then she was just as scared as I was, even if she didnt show it. 

“Dustin Pamon, I’ve been waiting for centuries for you to come visit me. You’ve come a decade earlier than I expected and that has changed the course of destiny.” Her voice, shrill and crackly, made me shake in my boots. I started shaking violently and fell to the ground again. I don’t know what happened but somehow I have zero recollection of the events after that. I woke up laying on the couch in my living room with my parents and Ms.Carlson hovering over me, both her and Ms.Carlson crying. 

By the time summer of 8th grade had ended, I was actually looking forward to going to the new school and hoping for new friends to end my boredom and depression. I hadn’t had such a boring summer in all 13 years of my fun existence in this world. No one to talk to but neighborhood brats whom I never liked. No one to prank or fool. No one to impress. Friends are important. I constantly wished I hadn’t broken up with them. But let bygones be gone. To a new existence.

School started and boy was I in for a surprise. A school full of people who resented every atom of my poor existence. They all hated me! From the teachers to every single student. I was the talk of the town.


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