Adric notched his key into the lock, surprised when the light force pushed the door inward. He stared at the widening gap in confusion. It wasn’t like his parents to leave without latching the front door. He stepped over the threshold, his step faltering when the scent of blood hit him.
Normally it would be appealing, maybe even triggering a hint of hunger, but this blood was wrong. It was strong enough that he should have picked it up from the sidewalk. It smelled of family and magic. He gasped, his keys clattering to the wood floor as he clutched at his chest.
He’d been uneasy since second hour, his usually docile powers sloppy and on edge. So much so that he’d decided to skip cuisine club after school rather than risk something going wrong. His safety-conscious parents were staunch supporters of initiatives promoting a peaceful image of their people; messing that up would be unacceptable. He’d hoped his dad could help him trouble-shoot the problem.
He closed his eyes and grasped for the magical bond they shared, the enchantment that ensured he had complete control over his power and his nature despite the volatility of youth. He lurched against the wall when he found nothing of the familiar magic. He knew what waited in the other room and was vaguely aware of his fingertips sinking into the gypsum wall as he gathered strength for what had to be done.
Shaking and queasy, he pushed himself away from the dented wall and took slow steps down the hall to the living room entrance. His breath stuttered as he took in the scene. Papa’s newspaper had fallen to the floor, open to whatever page he’d been reading. Mama’s teacup lay on its side, its contents spilled over the table and mixed with her blood. There was so much blood, seeping into the couch, congealed on the floor, spattered across his parents’ waxen skin.
The next moment, there was a buzzing in his ear. He was crouched just inside the living room, half behind a chair, with no memory of having moved. He shook his head, trying to clear it.
He stared at his cellphone wondering when he’d pulled it out and who he’d called. “Uh… sorry. What?”
“This number is registered to an Adric Herzmeister. Are you Adric?” the woman asked. Her voice was unfamiliar, but calming.
“Yes. Yes, I’m Adric.” His head felt cobwebby, like waking from a long sleep.
“This is 911 emergency, Adric,” she explained. “Is there a reason you called? Are you all right?”
He moaned, realizing they needed complete information so they came prepared for everything they were going to have to deal with. But he wasn’t sure he could say it out loud. “It’s my parents,” he forced out. He took a steadying breath and realized there was garlic in the room, probably stuffed in his parents’ mouths. His suddenly shaking hands gripped the phone to avoid dropping it.
“Is there something wrong with your parents?” she prompted.
“Uh-huh.” He squeezed his eyes shut. “They’re dead. Uhm. Permanently dead.” He gasped and let himself slide fully to the floor, curled on his side around his phone.
“Permanently… Adric, are your parents a human subspecies?”
“Yeah,” he mumbled, drawing his long limbs in tighter. “Vampire, western European variant.”
“Okay,” she said. “Can you tell me if you’re bound to anyone other than your parents?”
“Not bound,” he whispered, his throat tight. “You need to send someone who can control me if…”
“It’s okay, Adric,” she interrupted, businesslike. “You’re not going to lose control.”
“I’m sure this is scary. But I’m going to send a team out to help you,” she said, her voice optimistic yet firm. “Can you tell me where you are?” When he didn’t respond right away, she prompted again. “Adric, are you at home?”
“Yes,” he whimpered. “I’m in the living room.”
“And your parents, where are they?”
“On the couch.” He was barely audible. “Mostly.”
“Can you tell if there’s anyone else in the house?” she asked. “I want to make sure you’re safe.”
He shook his head, his canine teeth digging in to his bottom lip. “No one’s here.” He hesitated. “It… it smells like it happened hours ago. And my powers got touchy this morning when I was at school, so… it was probably… then.” He felt hot, and wet tears were drizzling across his face.
“It’s okay, Adric,” the 911 operator murmured. “The team is on their way, and they have a warlock to help you. I’m going to stay on the phone with you until they get there. Just try to focus on my voice and remember we’re here to help you.”
Check out part 2.