An inexplainable murder...Otherworldly creatures veiled by mankind's own exterior. Vampires, Werewolves, Angels, they all exist. They dwell in the shadows of our neighborhoods, a masquerade in humanity. I was hidden from their existence, I was told they didn't exist. Until that Hell Angel brought me into his world.

    .:{{And We're Off...}}:.

    Crap. Nobody told me some little kid tormented my alarm clock for entertainment. That brat set it for the p.m. and not the a.m.! Who could mess that up?! Whatever, I've got more to worry about. This is my last year of High School and I can't afford to mess up my first test of the year. I'm a Senior, I should know this stuff. But, alas, when you're stuck in an orphanage at 17 years old with only one other girl your age (whom of which is a dropout) and about 30 other kids aged 5 months to 12 years...it gets complicated.

    I managed to drag myself to the front door and jump into my school shoes. Luckily I was smart enough to label my own shoes, since we can't wear them in the house. Japanese tradition, taking and leaving your shoes off the instant you walk into a home. I wouldn't call this place home though. It's just more like a shelter. I peeked at my watch and started panicking internally. I opened the front door wide.

    "I'm late, leaving, bye!"

    I ran out of the front door of that orphanage, leaving no regrets behind of closing the door. I knew somebody would shut it once they all leave for a little city trip going on later that I can't attend because I'm graduating to have a life. Chi, the dropout that's my age, and also my best friend, wouldn't be too happy, being the oldest person on the field trip. I told her not to drop out last year but she claims being a Senior is "soooo overrated". Sure it is, but I really don't want to stick around at that place anymore.

    I fondled around with my belongings. I pulled out the textbook I grabbed out of pure luck because I had left another at the orphanage that I didn't think I would need. Okay, Chemistry. One of my weakest subjects, but I'm pent up to passing this test today. I found the right chapter and studied the materials I never worked on, praying it will work. My heart said otherwise.

    Somewhere along the way, I lost my focus and stumbled into what felt like a statue. I ignored it at first, thinking it was a building my klutzy feet led me to, but I noticed something different about that statue. I turned around, not wanting to face the man I had caused my own physical pain in my shoulder from.

    "I'm so sorry, sir!" without looking up from my textbook, I apologized and made my way back to studying.

    I rolled my shoulder and it ached subtly. Jesus, that guy had a hard shoulder.

    "It's okay," the man said cooly, barely audible.

    I sighed and focused back onto my textbook while sitting myself next to the typical, frail, cigarette-smoking chick that sits at the same spot every morning. She huffed and puffed on that cancer stick and I am the second-hand smoke witness. Disgusting. I'm not one to hold many grudges...except for against smokers. Most other things...I just get agitated about them. During that time I was holding a grudge against the puffer, I could have sworn I saw the guy I ran into pull out a camera or something and take a photo of something in my general direction. I shrugged it off and let it go.

    Yeah right, I think to myself, who would want a picture of me anyways?

    The city bus pulled up finally and opened its doors. Before they were completely open, I had pushed my way though the crowd and hopped onto the dirty bus first. Now off to school to make my first Hell Day of the year...


    I slouched over in defeat and sighed greatly. I knew I failed that test, I can just feel it in my stomach. I kicked and screamed at myself internally for intentionally thinking 5 minutes of material I never worked on would let me pass that test. How could you be so stupid, Arisa Kurabashi? Sure, you've got brown hair and purple eyes, but how could you live so much like a blonde-hair with blue eyes? Why did you have to be so stupid? (Writer F.Y.I. ~ Sorry if that little "blonde" part offened anybody ^_^ wink

    I managed to make myself climb onto the bus. I don't know why, but I had that stupid feeling in my stomach that everybody on the bus knew about my failure. I keep thinking people can see right through me. I searched quickly for a seat and was lucky enough to find an empty one. I sat down angrily and did the same with my backpack next to me on the aisle side of the seat. I always like window seats, along with everybody else in the world, but right now I needed some alone time to reflect on what I could have missed on that test.

    The bus jerked forward only to stop again. Late passenger, I assumed. Curiously, I turned my head to the front of the bus. I noticed some middle-aged women gaping at the sight of him. Tall, thin body, finely built, black hair that's somewhat spiky in the back, a long fang earring on the left ear with about 7 other little hoops on the same ear, a big silver clamp-looking thingy on the right ear with two other hoops, pale pasty skin, and deep blue eyes. I found myself gaping too, not because of his astounding beauty, but because...he was the guy I had run into earlier. I recognized it was him because of the shirt color. I know, how could it possibly be him? Some other guy could have the same color of shirt, but whatever.

    He calmly looked side to side in the aisle, looking for a seat. I assumed he wanted to sit alone because every woman that timidly removed her purse for him to sit by her, he rejected. He snuck a quick peek in my direction and I ducked my head. I don't know why I was embarrassed at him seeing me. I didn't feel this way when I ran into him, so why do I feel this way now??

    I nearly started kicking myself physically once I realized the empty seat next to mine on the other side of the aisle. It was right there, just waiting for him to sit on it. Of course. It's almost like a reserved seat. Some beautiful people always get their own seats and this guy is too much of an exception. But why does it have to be next to me?!

    He calmly sat himself in the empty seat next to my personal seat. I wished deeply that I had a magazine to cover my ugly face with. I felt horrible compared to him. I was so lost in thought that I didn't even pay attention to the suddenly-moving bus. I tried hard to keep my attention to the passing world outside of my window, but I could help but turn my head the slightest bit, just to sneak a peek at him. And, of course, with my luck, he happened to look at me at the same time. He curled the corner of the right side of his lip coyly into a smirk. Oh, good God, I was blushing, I could feel it. I felt the heat rise from my toes to my cheeks too quickly for me to catch on. I quickly looked away and kept telling myself to think of something else. Don't pay attention to him! Don't pay attention to him! Dont pay attention!

    Just my luck! The bus finally pulled up to the orphanage and opened the doors that I couldn't be more grateful for. I grabbed my bag and quickly made my way off the bus. I couldn't believe I got myself all worked up for some guy that came on the bus. Sure, he was unbelievably beautiful, but it's not something I could help. Actually, it was something he couldn't help. He was born that way. Poor guy, having to go through every day of your life with women of all ages all googly-eyed and stalking you. Luckily I wasn't the stalking type. They creep me out...not that I've had a stalker...or been a stalker. I'm not interested in relationships, so why would I bother? I wouldn't see the likes of him again.

    My stomach continued to churn at the thought that he smirked at me on the bus as I entered the orphanage. It was empty and quiet. So, they were all on the field trip. Where could they have gone this time that was "so fun"? Poor Chi. I would hate to be in her position right now. I shuddered at the empty howl that haunted the orphanage as I made my way to my room I share with about 5 others, icluding Chi. I've been kind of a claustrophobic all my life...as well as an aquaphobic. I'm pathetic in many ways, including klutzyness.

    I couldn't stand this hollowness in the hallways. Hopefully they would all be coming back soon. I want to speak with Chi, tell her how lucky she was now for dropping out of school last year. We had a couple of classes together but we didn't really start talking until I arrived at the orphanage a year ago. My parents were murdered for a reason I don't know. About half a year before that, my twin, Aya, had died of lukemia. They couldn't find any cure for her "odd blood" so they just let her lie and die.

    I stopped myself, realizing I hadn't removed my shoes. I sighed and slipped them off slowly, preparing myself for the cold wood floor my feet would soon reach. On days like these, I almost wish I were a Vampire so I would be prone to the cold that lingers in these halls. Vampires...


    "Arisa! Earth to Arisa Kurabashi!"

    Groaning, I woke up and cleaned up the remnants of the drool pool on my face as well as on the couch cushion. I sat up and found myself facing Chi, who I assumed had woken me up. I rubbed my eyes drowzily and yawned.

    "What time is it, Chi?"

    "It's dinner time. We came back about 45 minutes ago. You're lucky you weren't there on the field trip."

    "You're lucky you weren't at school," I confronted her. I was deeply hoping she wasn't wishing to be at school...especially afterwords. I didn't want her to see my reaction from the guy from earlier. How embarrassing.

    "It's sushi and miso soup. We'd better hurry before it goes cold...er."

    I laughed quietly to myself at that. Even if some of Chi's jokes could be somewhat lame, I knew it would make her happy to see me smile. She had been here since she was about 12 years old, so I don't understand how she's the one consoling me when she hasn't even been adopted after all those years. I shook the thought out of my head and we went into the cafeteria.


    "What is this book about again, Chi?"

    "Vampires. They sound gross, don't they?"

    "Yeah. And they show no mercy in this book. They suck people bone dry. How could somebody ever do that?"

    "Thank God they're not real...that we know of,"

    Chi and I laughed quietly about that under her covers with a flashlight shining dimly on the novel she had checked out during the field trip. I hadn't known I was reading about my fate. If I'd had known, I'd have closed the window before reading that novel with Chi. But I knew it was much too late as soon as we heard a creak come from the windowsill. I pulled down the covers and saw the silhouette of a very familiar man...