I piled books into my locker, trying to kick my brain into functioning through the fog of sleep. I yawned widely, not bothering to cover my mouth, peering into the dark depths of the locker, trying to locate my maths book. Knowing my luck, it wouldn't be here, which meant that maths with Miss Ker was going to be a nightmare. I should probably introduce myself. I'm Lucius O'Brian, seventeen year old kid trying to make his way through the education system.
I located my maths book hiding under my lab coat just as a small mass of hyperactive teenager barreled into me. I yawned again, looking down at Marco. When I say 'looking down', I don't mean that Marco's a short-arse. I'm just very tall. I stand a good head over most of the student body. Anyway, I looked down at Marco, wearing his ever-present grin. I groaned.
"I swear, Polo, you need to get off the coffee in the morning," I complained, slamming my locker shut and shouldering my school bag.
"If I need to get off it, buddy, you need to get on it!" Marco retorted. I shook my head. Marco was difficult at the best of times. In the morning, he was just plain impossible. I have no idea how he does it! I mean, he gets up at five in the morning to do all his chore before getting to school for nine. I crawl out of bed like some sort of primeval ooze about ten minutes before I'm supposed to be out the door! Whenever i ask him, he just shrugs and says that's what he's been a morning person and an early riser all his life. I guess that's kind of true since his parents breed horses for a living. That's actually how he got his nickname. He used to play polo, and it was all to easy to link his first name to Marco Polo. Unoriginal, I know, but hey, who cares?
Marco continued his 100 mile an hour jabbering as we started to walk down the corridor. "You hear about the murder on the news last night? Five people were found with all their blood drained and bite marks all over them." He leaned in conspiratorially. "It was probably vampires!"
I quickly shushed him, looking around in case there was a teacher or an RO around. You see, two years ago, the world was turned upside down. A journalist stumbled upon a colony of vampires living in London and wrote an article about it. Half the world cried hoax. The other half started to sharpen their stakes. In an attempts to avoid widespread massacre, hundreds of colonies of mythical creatures revealed themselves. They'd been living alongside us for thousands of years, undetected by the humans. They weren't a danger. Did we just learn to deal with the knowledge that we weren't alone? No. The colonies were firebombed. Massacred. Destroyed. Nearly 95% of the MC population killed in the space of a week. Within a fortnight, every single person had to be checked by a doctor and issued with an identity card to prove that you were who you claimed to be. Not carrying it with you or presenting it on demand was considered a crime. Three weeks later, the world's governments set up the Trackers, a supposedly secret organisation with the aim of destroying everything linked to MCs. Statues, toys, literature and the MCs themselves, public or private property. ROs answered directly to the Trackers. ROs are what we call Reality Officers. They're supposed to be anti-terrorist police making sure that we're all safe. That's what the government claimed MCs were. Terrorists. Normal human terrorists. The government had to bomb a colony of vampires? It was a suicide bomber. Werewolf pack in a forest? There was a group of extremists hiding in there. Coven of witches in someone's basement? It was a bomb-making factory and imprison the people harbouring the MCs. We had cameras saturating every single public place. ID cards. ROs. We're watched 24/7 for any kind of suspicious activity. It's a thought to put you right off kissing your girlfriend in what you thought was a secluded corner.
Polo rolled his eyes at me. "Come on, Lucius, you can be such a pansy sometimes!"
"Trying to play cool with the law is not being a pansy," I muttered in response.
"On a less illegal train of thought, have you seen the new hottie in the school?"
"Male or female?" One of the common inside jokes between me and Polo was the fact that you always had to clarify whether Polo's newest crush was a guy or a girl. In case you haven't worked it out from that, Polo's bi. As far as I know, I'm the only one in the school who knows for sure. Nice to know he trusts me that much.
He rolled his eyes again as we flashed our IDs at a passing RO. "Female, of course. I wouldn't be talking to you if it was a guy! For a start, you wouldn't be interested. Anyway, this girl is smoking, I swear!"
I had to admit that Polo was right. The maths teacher was presenting her to the class, but I barely listened to her. The new girl looked like a bit of a rocker: baggy combat-style trousers,simple t-shirt and fingerless gloves covering the hands that gripped the strap of her messenger bag tightly. The ends of her converse peeked out from beneath her trousers and the tip of a swirling tattoo showed beneath her sleeve. She looked a little lost, her gaze fixed firmly on the ground, locks of dark red hair that had escaped from her plait falling across her face. I managed to bring my mind back to the present long enough to hear the teacher say her name. Angela. I watched her as she walked past me to take a seat at the back of the class. Polo had definitely been right. Despite how baggy her trousers were, I would tell that she had one fine backside. Everything in me that was male begged me to talk to her, to ask her out. I knew I wouldn't. I couldn't. That was a girl who would be dating the captain of the rugby team, not the winger. Sighing heavily, I turned back to my books and tried to focus on the equations in front of me.