Feeders & Bleeders
Chapter 1 (Nightwalker Series: Book 0)
It sucked entering a new school in the middle of the year. What sucked even worse was entering your senior year of high school in the middle of the second semester. Setsuna Yuunagi couldn’t agree more as she stood in front of her homeroom with a permanent blush staining her cheeks.
“My name…my name is Yuunagi Setsuna. Um, douzo yoroshiku, um, I mean nice to, uh, meet you.” She gave a low bow as her face burned.
A boy in the back of the room yelled out, “I couldn’t hear you.”
Mr. Verner cleared his throat as Setsuna was still bowing. “This is Setsuna Yuunagi. She transferred late in the year due to a mix up with her transcript. Ms. Yuunagi is still becoming familiar with our language. Please treat her kindly and help in any way should she need it. Ms. Yuunagi you may take your seat at the empty one in the back row.”
Setsuna jerked up, only to give another slight bow to Mr. Verner, before quickly making her way to her new seat. Just as she was about to reach it a foot shot out tripping her. The Japanese girl managed to catch herself on her desk before she face-planted. Looking up, her glowing blue eyes met the glowing red orbs of a boy. He was sneering at her.
“Watch yourself, bleeder. Wouldn’t want to hurt your pretty little face.”
She flushed even more but nodded slightly. Mr. Verner’s voice rose above the laughter and snickers. “Mr. Troy! Apologize, this instant!”
Damian Troy smirked at the teacher before mumbling out an apology. Mr. Verner sighed. “Please take your seat, Ms. Yuunagi.”
Setsuna placed her backpack on the floor beside her desk before folding her arms and burying her head within them. This was horrible, she thought. Damian sat in front of her, and she could already hear him snickering with his friends while the announcements were on, probably plotting ways to make her life hell. Sometimes, she really hated being a bleeder, a vampire that produced excessive amounts of blood naturally, as opposed to a feeder who drank blood to live. It made her prey to them more so than humans. A human would only last a minute while a bleeder could last a lifetime. If it weren’t for the House of Caeruleus, the bleeder’s organization of representation in government, putting out sanctions and passing laws it would be like the old days where bleeders were nothing more than refillable blood bags. Setsuna shuddered at the thought.
The bell, to end homeroom, couldn’t ring fast enough. She was the first one out of her seat and out of the door before Damian could pull another prank on her. Despite being the first out, she managed to get lost on the way to her second class which she soon found out was at a building on the other side of the school grounds. After several frustrating encounters, where she was forced into playing some strange form of charades with other students when she asked for directions, Setsuna managed to make it to her second class of the day just as the tardy bell rang. Luckily, her history teacher took pity on her and didn’t make her introduce herself. The blue-eyed girl sunk slowly into her chair and proceeded to studiously take notes, not only of what the teacher was teaching about but also notes of the words used by the teacher that she didn’t quite understand.
Setsuna was a top ranking student back at her old school in Tokyo, which was how she managed to qualify for the International Student Course Track that her old school offered. She had worked hard at her English classes once her parents decided to send her to America. Despite having an above average grasp of written formal English, Setsuna still struggled speaking it. It also didn’t help that she would become too embarrassed, by the way her voice sounded speaking the foreign language, that she would clam up in the middle of a conversation.
“Ms. Yuunagi do you know the answer?” her history teacher, a woman she didn’t remember the name of, suddenly asked.
Setsuna looked up at the board, and although she could read the words, a lot of them didn’t make sense due to her lack of context. Instead of answering she simply shook her head. The teacher nodded as if she expected such a response. “Please try to pay attention.” Turning back to the board, she continued to drone on about Africa.
The Asian girl furiously took notes until the bell rang signaling the end of class. Once again, she began her mad dash to make it to her next class. This one was thankfully closer, and she made it in time to introduce herself to the teacher before too many students showed up. It was Advanced Calculus, and although she was better at math than English, it still wasn’t her best subject.
Her calculus teacher let her sit without making her introduce herself, and once the last bell rang, class began. It was about fifteen minutes into the class when the girl sitting next to Setsuna tapped her shoulder. The Japanese girl jumped slightly and turned to meet the apologetic smile of the blonde.
“Hello. I’m Sam.”
Setsuna gave a slight head bow. “I’m Setsuna.”
Sam smiled. “Do you want to sit with me at lunch?”
The blue-eyed girl was shocked but nodded at the kind offer. Sam smiled and turned back to listen to the teacher. Once class was over Sam linked arms with Setsuna and led her to the cafeteria.
“So, you’re a bleeder? That is so interesting! You have to tell me all about it.”
Setsuna blushed at having attention brought to her apparent difference. It was considered impolite to ask such direct questions in Japan, but she was quickly learning that not only were bleeders viewed differently in America, but people seemed to have a strange fascination with them. For some reason, people would even stop her on the streets just to ask if it hurt. When she asked them what they meant, they would reply, “Does getting bit hurt?”
To which she would profusely blush, and apologize, before walking away. The truth was that she had never been bitten before. Bleeders regularly donated to get rid of the excess blood their bodies produced. The source of her embarrassment at their question, though, was because the most common reason for a bleeder to voluntarily be fed from, to her limited knowledge, was during sex. She didn’t know the exact reason for this, but she had her suspicion. One of which, was that by sharing their blood, a bleeder was bound to the feeder in some way, but it was just a guess.
That annoying blush was once again staining her cheeks as Sam dragged her into the cafeteria and up to the food line. “Um.”
“Oh my gosh! I totally just embarrassed you, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I was just so curious. We only had one other bleeder in our grade, but he transferred out last year due to some family problems. I spent three years with him but never once got the chance to ask him any questions. He was kind of unapproachable if you know what I mean. But you’re like, so not.”
“Domo — ”
“What does that mean?”
“Um, thank you.”
“Oh, don’t thank me! Just answer me one question.”
“Does it hurt?”
Setsuna stuttered before looking away. “I rather not answer that question.”
Sam frowned but shrugged. “It’s okay. Oh, come on, the line is moving.”
They went through the line, and Setsuna realized that even the food was strange and different than what she was used to. She ended up just getting an apple and a salad before Sam led her over to a table towards the left of the room. There were six or seven other kids around it, and Sam introduced them all, but Setsuna couldn’t keep track nor pronounce half of their names, so they went in one ear and out the other. Several of them tried to ask her some question, but she wasn’t able to understand a lot of the words they were using, and she realized they were using a lot of slang.
Eventually, they left her alone and moved onto other topics with their friends. Setsuna was only too glad to no longer be the center of attention and took the respite to munch on her apple and glance around the cafeteria. It was much different from her school back home in Tokyo. It was louder for one thing, and the food was different than what she was used to, but overall it was relatable. A loud shout drew her attention over to a group of boys a few tables away from her. It included Damian Troy, as well as several other people with red eyes. Feeders, Setsuna thought. She would have to watch out for them. They couldn’t drink her blood outright, but she had heard horror stories of feeders attacking her kind and sucking them dry. Setsuna frowned and continued her inspection of the room.
Her eyes were captivated with the pale red of another feeder’s. It was a girl this time, and like most feeders, she had their unnatural beauty. Her face was ghostly white with purple bruises under each pale red eye. Her hair, a dark chocolate brown, was spiked in every direction as a chaotic pixie style. What really caught Setsuna’s attention, though, were the crisscrossing silver scars that ran across the girl’s wrist when she reached up to run a hand through her hair. Setsuna couldn’t help thinking they must have been deep to have scared so harshly. The girl smirked, and the bleeder couldn’t help the shudder that ran through her as her heart stuttered in her chest. She gasped as her blood began to stir and quickly looked away. What was that about? She thought.
“That’s Dominique Faye.”
Setsuna jumped slightly and looked over to Sam who had spoken.
Sam frowned. “Yeah. Most people call her Dom. She’s dating the guy next to her. His name is Declan.”
Setsuna looked back to see a red-haired boy next to Dominique. She was not only shocked at the size of him, but also by the fact that he was human. Never had she seen such a muscular person. “Declan?”
Sam sighed. “He’s such a cool guy. He’s really funny too. Dom isn’t good enough for a guy like that, but apparently, they’ve been together for like, ever. You know?”
Setsuna frowned but nodded. Her chest felt tight for some reason. Must be fear. Who wouldn’t be afraid of such a strong looking person? Sam turned to the boy next to her and Setsuna went back to quietly munching on her apple. She just wanted this day to be over with already.
After lunch, Setsuna had Anatomy and Physiology. It was in this class that she officially met Declan Webber. She entered and went up to her teacher who sadly made her introduce herself at the front of the classroom. Setsuna stood in front of all the curious stares of her classmates and once again stuttered out an introduction.
This time it was Declan that interrupted her. “What’s your name? I couldn’t hear you.”
“Ano…Yuunag….Ah! It’s Setsuna Yuunagi.” She caught herself mid-sentence, remembering that in English, the forename came first.
“Setsu- what? Nagi? What kind of name is that?” The other students began to giggle.
“Mr. Webber, hold your tongue. We will not have any of your smartassery today.”
He smirked. “I know you think it’s my ass that’s smart, Mr. Bane, but it’s actually another part of my anatomy that has all the brains if you know what I mean.”
“I’m talking about my head by the way,” he said and winked at Setsuna who frowned. What else could he have meant?
“Mr. Webber, do you want another detention?”
“If it’s with you, then sure? I need to brush up on my anatomy notes.”
Ms. Bane’s face turned bright red, and she yelled, “Get out of my classroom! I don’t care if you are at the top of the grade this year. You will not make a mockery of my class. Go to the principal’s office!”
Declan shrugged and stood. Everyone in the classroom was watching him as if to see what he would do next. Setsuna got the impression that this wasn’t an unusual occurrence. He saluted after picking up his backpack and walking to the exit. Just as he was about to close the door behind him, he turned back. “On second thought Ms. Bane, the only girl allowed to teach me all about Anatomy and Physiology is my girlfriend, and I think she might beat me up if I had detention with you. Could some other teacher give it to me?”
“Out, Mr. Webber!”
“Just thought I’d ask.” He laughed and shut the door.
By this time, the whole class was laughing. Setsuna took the moment of distraction to take her seat in the empty desk next to Declan’s, while Ms. Bane tried to quiet everyone down. She didn’t know whether to be thankful or shocked by what had just happened. She was thankful because her introduction was cut short and the attention was off of her, but she was also very shocked by the rudeness of the boy that had just left. Such a thing was unheard of at her old school.
To disrespect one’s teacher in such a way was disgraceful. One problem was that, although it was obvious that what Declan had said was disrespectful, Setsuna wasn’t quite sure of how exactly. The words he used had a hidden meaning to them, she grasped that, but it was hidden in the speech. The girl would need to go over what he said later. She pulled out her little blue notebook, with a flower in the center of the cover, and quickly wrote out the phrases he had spoken. Soon, the class had quieted back down, and Ms. Bane began her lecture. Setsuna once again set about jotting down everything that the teacher said on the subject. Declan didn’t come back to class.
Setsuna was only too happy when the last class of the day rolled around, but she was also dreading it. It was Advanced English. She walked into the classroom, and her teacher let her sit without the formal introduction. Just as Setsuna took her seat, there was a loud bang causing her to nearly jump out of her chair.
Her teacher, as well as several students, ran out into the hallway just as the sprinkler suddenly turned on. The teacher yelled to be overheard, “Everyone get in line for a fire drill. Follow me out calmly!” Just as she finished speaking, the alarm blared to life, making several people scream.
Some students quickly grabbed their backpacks while others rushed to get into the line. Setsuna was one of the ones that grabbed her backpack. Her future was within it, after all. It took her a minute to get her things together, and the other students, as well as her teacher, had already left the room. Setsuna was jogging out into the hallway when a flash of red and brown caught her attention. She looked in the direction but there was no one there.
Turning around she paused when her eyes fell on something black. Suddenly, the hallway seemed to come into clearer focus as she took everything in. A few feet away from her there was a pen. Now, most people wouldn’t think much about a pen on the floor of a high school, but this pen was directly underneath the sprinkler that was pouring out water. The other sprinklers hadn’t been set off yet, and if that pen had anything to do with anything, then there probably was no fire. Setsuna put her bag down, and preparing herself, she raced under the spray to grab it before jumping back out.
Pushing her wet bangs out of her face, Setsuna inspected it. “Just as I thought,” she mumbled.
The tip of the pen was cracked and pushed inward. Setsuna looked up at the sprinkler. Most sprinklers were made with a small vile of liquid, that once broken, usually by a fire or heat between the temperatures of thirty-eight to sixty-sixty degrees Celsius, would release the flow of water. The tip of the pen was covered in an oily substance. She pulled her hand away. It was unlikely, but not unheard of, that if a person were to shoot something, such as the black pen she was holding in her hand, between the red dot and the metal part of the sprinkler then they could break the vile and set them off. The school must have an older system because the alarm was set off shortly afterward. Setsuna thought this over as she walked over to the trashcan further down the hallway. Pulling off the lid she looked inside.
Setsuna reached in and pulled out a small green plastic elastic gun. The kind kids used to shoot pens and pencils. She was about to place it in her pocket when a voice interrupted her.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Setsuna whirled around coming face to face with a smirking Dominique Faye.
“Faye-san!” the name came naturally almost as if she had always called this stranger as such.
Faye tilted her head curiously. “I will allow you to call me that.”
“You can call me Faye. Only you, though. And drop the san. We’re not in Japan anymore, kid.”
Setsuna nodded as she studied the pale red eyes that seemed to be looking into her very soul. It could be said that Faye was a very intense girl. She could already feel her blood moving restlessly in her veins under such an intense stare.
“As I was saying, though. You shouldn’t take that with you unless you want to be blamed for this prank.”
Setsuna frowned, but nodded, and dropped the toy gun back into the trashcan replacing the lid. Faye smirked. “I’d drop the pen in there too if I were you.”
Setsuna blushed and quickly tossed the pen in the trash as well.
“Dom, where did you go?” Declan called out as he rounded the corner. “There you are!”
Faye nodded and turned to greet her boyfriend. “We should be getting outside.”
“Damn straight!” He chuckled before taking notice of the other girl.
“Hey, Setsuna, right?”
Setsuna nodded. He walked over and patted her on the back. She was expecting for it to hurt but he was surprisingly gentle. “Sorry to embarrass you earlier. Ms. Bane is a harpy, and it pissed me off that she made you introduce yourself like that. I hope I was able to make you laugh at least.”
Setsuna smiled politely. “I didn’t really understand, honestly.”
Declan frowned while Faye chuckled. “I think you’ve met your match, Declan.”
He grinned. “I think I have a new goal this year.” He turned to Setsuna. “I’m going to get you to laugh at some of my jokes or at least understand them.”
Setsuna nodded before glancing around. “Shouldn’t we be getting outside? Will we get in trouble if we stay here longer?”
Faye smiled. “You go on ahead. Declan and I have to go out the other end to meet up with our classes.”
Setsuna made to move but paused. “I don’t know where to go.”
Declan laughed and pointed to the stairwell in front of them. “Just follow that outside, and you will find your English class. Your teaching is probably having kittens after finding one missing during the headcount!”
Setsuna gulped, before taking off towards the stairs. She took them as fast as she could. By the time she reached her class, she was out of breath, and her teacher then proceeded to scold her about how her life was more important than her school books. Setsuna nodded so much, that she felt like a bobblehead before she was allowed to enter the line of other students, while they waited to be called back into the school. She was at the end of the line closest to the curve, and after checking that her teacher wasn’t in sight, she took a seat on the cold concrete and pulled out her small blue book.
A few minutes later, she had recounted all of her findings and the reasoning that led her to find out how the prank had been committed. Now the problem was to figure out who committed it. Setsuna looked around at the other students lined up in the parking lot before a flash of red and brown caught her eye. Declan had somehow snuck into his line unnoticed, and Faye was currently speaking quietly with her teacher. Who just so happened to also be Setsuna’s English teacher. Why hadn’t she just followed her out to the line if they were in the same class? Did Faye not know?
If the Setsuna remembered correctly, she had also seen them for a brief moment before Faye interrupted her. Had Faye and Declan been the ones to commit the prank? But why? Setsuna scribbled her hypothesis down in her book before snapping it shut. She would need to do more investigating. The bleeder couldn’t help the bubble of excitement that filled her. She had always been a fan of mysteries. Even as a small girl, she had a natural talent for following the logic of a crime and reverse engineering it back to the culprit. The only other problem was finding the evidence to prove her hypotheses afterward. Whether Faye or Declan liked it or not, they now had a critical eye on their every move.