Cave of Terror
My sixteenth birthday totally sucked. Instead of having a rockin’ party, I was initiated into a vampire clan. Nothing like finding out your parents are blood suckers on the most important day of your life. I mean, how had they hid it for all those years? And why the heck had they not told me until now?
I’ve always considered myself to be a logical person living in the real world where Dracula exists only in the minds of wacko writers. Sure, the movies are good for a laugh and an occasional scare, but they aren’t factual.
Vampires don’t really exist.
Well, apparently they do and I’m one of them. Nice. Somehow, the excitement over getting my driver’s license faded in light of this new development.
Instead, I was focused on more life altering thoughts like would I be able to walk in the sun or would I have to actually drink blood? Or would I have to sleep in a coffin? I’m claustrophobic, so that wouldn’t be the greatest sleeping arrangement for me.
After thinking about it, I realized both my mom and dad go out in the daylight hours. They have normal jobs after all. My dad works for a computer software company, and my mom teaches psychology at my school. Yet, we never really spent extended hours in the sun, and we’ve never had a family vacation that included the beach. Whenever the beach subject was brought up, it was quickly changed. Next thing you know, we’re vacationing in Colorado—in the snow.
I think I would know if they slept in a coffin or drank blood. Wouldn’t I? Every night they had wine or at least a liquid that appeared to be wine. It’s not like I ever took a drink or anything. Surely, they wouldn’t be gulping down the DNA of another human right in front of me. That’s just plain nasty.
Can you imagine all the crazy thoughts going through my head? One minute I’m a normal teenager turning sixteen, and the next I’m being led into some kind of ritualistic coming-of-age gathering full of vampires congratulating me on reaching maturation. So much for thinking my parents had planned a sweet sixteen party all my friends would envy.
My mom and dad had promised to answer all my questions after the induction. And questions they did answer. I don’t think they knew what hit them. One thing was for sure, everything I thought I knew about vampires went straight out the window. Well, almost everything.
Sunlight won’t burst vampires into flames, reducing them to a pile of dust. Thank goodness for small favors. There’s no such thing as the living dead. Vampires are very much alive with a beating heart and everything. Sunday morning church congregations included vampires. Holy water is just blessed water. Vampires put on their make-up in front of a mirror like everyone else. Garlic is a tasty addition to many dishes. Crosses make nice fashion accessories. Coffins aren’t part of a vampire’s bedroom set. And wooden stakes aren’t any more deadly than other weapons, which brings me to a rather disturbing and disappointing fact.
Vampires aren’t immortal.
They live longer than the average human, heal abnormally fast, and aren’t plagued by human diseases and ailments, but they don’t live forever. Talk about a bummer. Immortality was the one bright spot in the whole situation.
I had saved the one big question for last. Was I expected to go around biting people and sucking their blood? I mean, wasn’t that what vampires were supposed to do? My mom laughed and my dad shook his head and grinned. I didn’t get what was so funny.
My mom explained that centuries ago, before the convenience of modern technology, vampires didn’t have a choice but to take nourishment directly from humans. I shuddered. I mean, how gross is that? But, over hundreds of years, vampires have evolved. They no longer needed long fangs to pierce skin. Eye teeth shortened and now only extend when a vampire is threatened or angry. Or when a vampire doesn’t feed regularly and goes into a full blood lust. I didn’t even want to go there. Blood lust? No, thank you. I was quite happy to find out I would be able to continue eating the same foods I’ve always eaten. I would just have to start supplementing my diet with, you guessed it, blood. Yick!
I did find out something rather cool. Every female vampire acquires a special ability unique to her physical make-up on her sixteenth birthday when she reaches maturation. I couldn’t wait to find out what special power I had. I just hoped it wasn’t something too weird or too noticeable.
It’s hard enough to fit in without being a freak. Since I’m a gymnast, I spend five hours a day in the gym training. I don’t have much time for a social life, so that makes me a big enough freak as it is.
I’ve never had a boyfriend to speak of. Not unless you count the cute boy in kindergarten who rubbed sun block on my back on water day. I don’t know if boys are afraid to ask me out because I don’t have the time to devote to them or if it’s because I could quite probably kick their butts with little or no problem. That’s what five hours in the gym gets you.
What can I say? Gymnastics is my life. I’ve been doing the sport since I could walk. I don’t plan on quitting now, so some silly boy can drool all over me. Ain’t gonna happen.
I couldn’t wait until I got back in the gym, so I could check out how my vampire status would affect my gymnastics. Let’s just say that what you see is what you get. It’s all me. I guess it would have taken all the fun out of it if I had an unfair advantage over everyone else. So, it’s all good.
Anyway, I spent the rest of my birthday waiting for my special ability to show itself. It never did. I went to bed very disappointed and frustrated, thinking that I must not have any powers.
I was a powerless vampire. And I still had to drink blood.
Where was the silver lining? Where was the something good to go along with the whole bunch of bad? It just didn’t seem fair.
The next day at school, during a biology fieldtrip, everything changed. This is where my story begins.
Before you turn the page, I think it’s only right to caution you. If you are faint of heart, stop now before it’s too late. This is no Cinderella story. It’s a true account of my life and will forever change how you see the world and the creatures that live on it.
You have been warned.