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Journal Entry #2
It took seventeen weeks to reach my full maturity, that of a seventeen year old. If you’ve done the math, you figured out that’s one week for each year. No one knew why I stopped aging at this point. The theory was that my mother was seventeen when she had me, therefore that’s the age I’d be frozen at for eternity.
Because I’m not a full breed of either my father or my mother, I was able to eat food or consume blood. My choice was, and still is, food. But it didn’t provide me with everything my body needs. If I went too long without blood, I felt weak, as if I was fading out. I despise this part of me.
Just thinking about piercing someone’s skin and sucking out the warm red fluid made my stomach turn. For a long time, my meals were provided for me. I often refused the blood, unless I got to the point where I couldn’t function. Then I’d only take the smallest amount to build up my strength again.
The coterie took special precautions and kept me under constant watch for a long time. Our group was all men. I don’t know if the reaction was overprotectiveness or distrust, but they were suffocating. I was a risk, an unpredictable variable. I wasn’t one of them. Not only was I half human, but I had the hormones of a teenage girl constantly running through me.
Then one day another coterie that had also come from England joined our group. It was easier to track the feeding in the new world and control those who were tempted to endanger our existence if we were together. The other coterie had some women. Things were about to get better, or so I thought.
I quickly made friends with Sarah who was changed at the age of nineteen. That was over two hundred years ago. Her golden hair and glowing pale skin made her look like a magical fairy. But the girl was fierce. She could fight better than half the men in our group and was wicked fast. To be honest, she scared me, a lot! I figured I better make friends because I sure didn’t want her as an enemy.
“I’ve got your back,” she would say. “As long as you don’t stab me in mine. Then all bets are off and you better hope I never find you.”
The men eased up on me a bit. But the one thing they insisted upon was that I practice finding my own food, with a chaperone of course. Sarah volunteered. She taught me how to find food I could eat in the forests. Despite her constant attempts to teach me how to track and hunt for blood sources, I continued to resist.
“I get that this is hard for you. It was hard for me at the beginning. Even after all these years, it still sometimes feels like my body wants food. Then I eat something and remember the hell I go through every time I forget. It happens every fifty years or so,” she said as we walked through the forest gathering berries.
Eating food for her is like drinking poison, only it doesn’t kill you. I’ve heard stories of those that wished they were dead the entire time the food worked through their system. The pain is excruciating.
“You’re lucky you have the option,” Sarah said.
I could hunt every day for a thousand years and not be as good as she was. Her speed and agility were astounding. But the most shocking part to me was that she never killed or changed anyone.
“If I kill, a food source dies. If I change, same problem. It’s self-preservation.”
There’s was something more to it, but I never pushed for obvious reasons, my self-preservation.
I finally relented and agreed to try hunting. For our first few lessons, Sarah showed me how to track and what to do when I found a palatable source. My senses were weakened because of the dilution of my heritage. It took me a long time to distinguish the scent of my group from human scent. The mixture of both in me threw me off.
One night, she decided to try a different strategy. The fog was dense and hovered over the forest floor among the trees. There would be a heavy concentration of humans in one area because they were all in their settlement for the night. They rarely wandered off alone in the dark. The heavy moisture in the air would hold the scent of the movements they made throughout the day and lead me right to them. This was a training exercise, not an actual hunt.
We set off into the forest after I quickly picked up on a familiar smell. A large yellow moon peeked through the branches of the trees, creating an eerie glow through the mist. The scent became stronger and my pace quickened. Sarah’s footsteps crunched the leaves as she followed me, but all I could think about was the mouth-watering odor flowing through the air.
A breeze brushed against my heated cheeks and carried a concentration of the aroma into my nose. Musk entwined with sweet fruit mixed with soothing lavender and undertones of an irresistible fragrance I couldn’t identify. My muscles tensed. It was inches from me now. A few more steps and I would find whatever drew me.
A strong hand grabbed my arm and halted me before I could step around the bush that concealed my obsession. I pull to escape from Sarah’s grip, not caring if my arm ripped from my body. She whipped me around to face her.
“That’s not for you. It’s almost finished.”
“What are you talking about? Can’t you smell that? It’s the most wonderful…”
“Echo, you can’t go any closer. I don’t know what’ll happen.”
“I just want to see what’s making that smell. It’s fantastic, don’t you think? I can’t believe I finally tracked a human.”
My body twisted quickly out of her reach and I stepped around the shrub. I gasped at what I saw in the clearing. Laying on a bed of dried pine needles was a naked man smeared with blood. Wounds on his neck and arms were scarred over. A few dark curls stuck to the sweat on his forehead. He groaned and rolled onto his side, curling up into a ball.
I stepped back, but couldn’t tear my eyes from him.
“What’s wrong with him? Was he attacked by an animal? Is he sick? He doesn’t smell sick. At least I don’t think he does,” I said.
“He’s not sick. He’s transmuting,” Sarah said.
My eyes widen. It wasn’t a human I was tracking after all, well not exactly. It was a human who was changing into one of them.
In just a few weeks, I will be opening up the story for reader input. In the meantime, all comments and suggestions are appreciated. Thank you for joining me on this journey.