It was a regular sunny day in the quiet small town of Colville, and four teenaged friends were having lunch at their favorite fast-food joint, Fries.
“Nothing good happens here!” complained Anya, a girl with long black hair and bright brown eyes, as she played with her French fries.
“What’s your definition of good?” questioned a tall black-haired boy in glasses.
“Get a life! Eric,’’ said Carl to his bespectacled friend. Carl passed his hand through his own brown curly hair. “Don’t be serious all the time.”
“Anya, can I have your burger?” asked Susan. Without waiting for an answer, she picked up Anya’s half eaten burger and put it on her empty plate. Anya looked as Susan gobbled up the burger. “Don’t you ever get fat?”
“Nope,” Susan answered casually, brushing her blonde hair out of the way.
“I’m getting bored,” said Carl as he suppressed a yawn. “Let’s go out for a walk.”
“Nah! Can’t do that,” Eric replied. “I’ve got some work to do in the garden.”
The three of them watched as Eric walked out of the restaurant without saying another word to them.
“We have been together for nine months and still he doesn’t feel easy around us,” said Anya in disbelief.
“He’s complicated,” said Susan with a smile. “With his parents moving from country to country. It must be tough.”
Eric lived alone in his house, and his parents were abroad. The three friends felt that Eric was lonely all by himself in the house at the age of fifteen. They never asked him about his parents, about what they do and why they never came to meet him and he never mentioned them himself either.
The friends talked about Eric as they walked towards the town’s forest. It had its own stories about witches and magical creatures that supposedly lived inside.
As if, thought Anya as the friends reached the forest. I have been living in this town my whole life and I’ve never encountered anything out of the ordinary.
Colville was a quiet town and everyone minded their own business. Wishing for something exciting to happen was like wishing pigs could fly. But all of that was about to change. Something sinister had already entered Colville and the teenaged friends were oblivious to it as they walked further into the forest.
“What is he doing there?” questioned Anya. She pointed at a known figure.
“Eric!’’ said Carl walking towards him. “You told us that you had work to do in your garden.”
“So I did,” answered Eric. He was sitting on a rock, just a little into the forest, looking at the trees.
“You could have told us,” said Susan. “We’re your friends you know!”
“And so you are,” said Eric. He was still looking at the trees with a strange expression on his face.
Anya gave Suasn a look that clearly meant, ‘He-is-impossible.’
“As we all are already here,” said Carl talking to the group at large. “Why don’t we explore?”
“I have to clean my room,” said Eric getting on his feet.
Anya felt that that was Eric’s kind way, of saying ‘I’ve got better things to do’. And he was right. Anya had explored the forest more times than she bothered to count and she too was not in the mood to add another exploration trip to the total.
“Lame excuse, my boy,” smiled Carl and he put an arm around Eric’s shoulder.
“Come on,” urged Susan. She looked at Eric and Anya. “It’ll be fun.”
“Ok, fine,” replied Eric as he adjusted his glasses and sounded bored. “Let’s go.”
I would rather go to the mall, thought Anya. She saw Susan looking at her and sighed. “Fine,” she answered and Susan smiled.
The four friends walked further into the forest with Carl in the lead. The trees, the rocks, everything was just as Anya remembered, old and creepy looking. After a while they reached the caves. Even the caves were rumored to be magical. There were three caves inside the forest and the friends had searched each of them as thoroughly as they could. There were many stories about strange monsters living in the caves, but that was all they were, stories, told by the town’s people to scare little children from wandering off alone. Or so, the friends had thought.
“Want to go inside?” Carl asked with a smile.
“We need a torch! A flashlight!” said Susan and looked at the others. “Anyone got one?”
“I have one,” Eric replied and he took out a flashlight from inside his pant’s pocket.
“Then let’s go!” said Carl.
They walked into the cave in the middle. The walls looked strong and the roof was quite high. Just as it always is, thought Anya as they walked a little further into the cave and the light began to dim.
“Stay close!” said Eric and he switched on the flashlight.
“We shouldn’t be going too far in,” warned Susan. She felt Anya holding her hand.
“Getting scared?” she whispered to Anya with a smile.
“Yeah, sure!” she replied rolling her eyes and immediately let go of Susan’s hand.
Anya didn’t know why she was getting the feeling that something bad was about to happen. She began to feel uncomfortable walking in the cave with her friends even thought she had done it plenty of times before. She looked at her friends, they seemed calm. Stop it! Anya scolded herself. Nothing bad is going to happen.
“What’s that shine?” asked Carl.
“It’s all around us,” said Eric. He flashed the beam from his flashlight all around himself.
The four of them were looking at a sparkle coming out from the cave walls; it was giving a beautiful shine.
“I’ve never seen that before,” said Anya confused. She looked at the beautiful green shine. It was if the cave walls had turned into green emeralds.
“What is it?” questioned Carl and he got closer to the walls.
“Don’t touch it!” said Eric, looking worried.
“It feels kind of funny,” said Carl as he placed his finger on the cave wall to his right. “It feels so wonderful.”
The friends watched as Carl placed his palm on the wall.
“Are you all right, Carl?” asked Eric.
Carl’s face was giving an expression as if he was in a wonderful dream. The girls stood still, silent.
“I can’t resist it!” replied Carl. “It wants me! I’ve to go!”
“Stop him!” yelled Eric and he grabbed Carl by the arm and pulled.
“What are you doing?” he screamed trying to break free from Eric’s grip.
Anya rushed forward and grabbed Carl by the collar and pulled. He was still trying to reach for the cave wall and was yelling a lot, trying to throw the two off him.
Then everything happed in a flash. There was a loud bang and a lot of green light, the sound of someone screaming and the four friends found themselves lying on the ground.
“What happened?” questioned Carl as Eric helped him up on his feet.
“You don’t remember anything?” asked Susan worried for him.
“I do remember feeling wonderful and happy,” Carl replied. He looked confused.
“What made that loud bang, anyway?” Eric asked cleaning his glasses.
“I don’t know,” Susan replied. “But I know one thing and that’s not to come here again.”
“I agree,” said Anya. She brushed dirt off her shirt when suddenly her eyes noticed something.
“What’s that?” she asked looking at Carl’s hand.
Carl lifted his hand and looked afraid as well as confused. His palm was giving a faint pink glow and it felt wet and cold.
“We need to show this to a doctor” said Susan.
“There are no doctors here,” said Eric looking at Carl’s palm. “He’ll have to go out of town.”
“Guys, I know this means nothing,” said Carl trying to be cool. “Let’s just get out of here.”
The cave walls were still glowing green and none of the friends felt comfortable staying there after what they had just been through.
Eric, Anya and Susan still worrying about Carl, followed him out of the cave. They walked towards his house and waved him good-bye and then each of them left for their own.
The next day, Anya was applying makeup just for fun when the phone rang.
“Anya! it’s for you,” came her mother’s voice from downstairs.
“Coming!” she yelled back to her mother. I seriously need a phone in my room.
She put her nail polish back on her vanity and went downstairs. Her mother was watching some soap on the television.
“Anya speaking,” she said, answering the phone in the kitchen.
“Anya,” answered a familiar voice. “It’s Susan.”
“Nothing, just getting bored,” Susan replied. “Want to go out?”
“Just a walk around town with the others,” said Susan. “We are to meet outside Carl’s.”
“Count me in,” said Anya. “See you all later.”
A few minutes later, after going outside, Anya saw Eric and Susan standing outside Carl’s house, they looked a bit worried. Eric was talking to Carl’s mother;
“He said that he was going out with you,” said Mrs. Smith.
“He wasn’t with us,” said Eric. “We haven’t seen him all day. We came here to pick him up.”
“Well, he is going to be in trouble,” said Mrs. Smith sternly. “Find him for me, dears.”
“We’ll send him home,” said Susan. They both waved at Mrs. Smith and walked away.
Anya walked towards her friends. “What happened?”
“Carl isn’t home,” Susan replied. “He went somewhere on his own without telling his mother.”
“You have any idea where he might have gone?” Anya asked. This was an unusual thing for Carl to do.
“I’ll go and check our common hangouts,” said Eric. “You two check the forest as well as the cave.”
“We’ll meet you in the forest!” yelled Susan as Eric ran away. The girls saw him give a nod and then he ran out of sight.
“He couldn’t have gone in there,” said Anya, thinking of the cave and what they had faced yesterday. “Am I right?”
“It’s Carl, we are talking about,” said Susan. “Going to creepy caves is his idea of fun. Now Come on!”
The two girls made their way through the forest, looking in every direction for any sign of their friend. Finally they stopped outside the caves.
“You don’t reckon?” asked Anya watching the caves mouth. The same cave they had been in a day ago.
Susan nodded and went into the cave holding Anya’s hand in hers.
“I don’t think he’s in here,” said Anya in a different voice from hers. There was no need for a flashlight as the cave was emitting a light greenish glow.
“We have to check either way,” said Susan. “Stay close.”
The two of them walked on a little, hoping to find Carl and getting out of the cave as soon as possible. Suddenly the girls found themselves surrounded in a strong green glow and Anya saw a figure some feet away of her.
“Oh! My God!” Anya explained in a high voice.
“Carl!” said Susan. “Are you okay?”
She ran forward and grabbed Carl who was lying on the ground. He was wearing a cloak so Susan couldn’t make out the face.
“Blood!” said the figure in a deep voice.
“Carl, get up,’’ said Anya inching forward with reluctance. She was having the same feelings she had yesterday inside the cave. “What are you doing lying on the ground?”
Susan placed her hand on his shoulder. He turned around to face her and Susan screamed as he yelled, “Blood!”
He stood up. His face was horrifying. His eyes were blood red and had cat like slits for pupils, his teeth were two inches long like a vampires. The creature had claw like nails on long fingers and looked hungrily at Susan who stood frozen with fear in front of it.
“Carl?” said Susan in a weak whisper unable to move.
“Blood!” said the cloaked figure hungrily.
In a second he jumped on Susan and pinned her to the ground.
“Get off!” yelled Susan fighting him.
It took a long sniff and lowered his head towards Susan’s neck giving a small laugh as he saw the blood running through her veins.
Unable to do anything, Susan closed her eyes waiting for the pain but it never came. She looked up and saw that Anya had grabbed the creature by the neck. It gave an angry yell and threw Anya four feet away in the air and turned his attention to her. It got up and slowly walked towards Anya, ready to strike, but suddenly it dropped to the ground.
“Anya!” said Susan helping her friend back on her feet. “Are you all right?”
“Just go!” Anya answered. She grabbed Susan’s hand her hand and ran towards the caves mouth without looking back.
“Guys?” came Eric’s surprised voice as the two reached the exit. “What happened?”
“Carl!” Susan replied in a hurry. “Vampire… Tried to bite me…He’s a vampire…must get out…NOW!”
“Hold on,” said Eric grabbing Susan’s shoulders and shaking her a little.
“But Carl’s a vampire!” said Anya out of breath.
“What are you talking about?” asked Eric confused. “I met Carl in the forest a while ago. He was just roaming around.”
“Then where is he?” asked the girls together. They both looked behind Eric, as if to see Carl. “Where is he?”
“He’s at home,” he replied calmly. Anya saw Eric then look at Susan in a strange way. “Why do you look worried?” he asked looking straight at her.
“No…I’m all right,” said Susan. “Let’s just go home.”
They started to walk out of the cave but Anya stopped Susan.
“What is it?” she asked as Eric continued to walk away.
“I believe what I saw!” Anya replied. She was close to tears now. “I’m going to keep an eye on him from now on.”
“Are you girls coming or not?” came Eric’s voice from ahead of them before Susan could answer Anya.
“Coming,” said Susan and she walked towards Eric and Anya followed confused about what she had just encountered. Colville had just begun to change for the worse.