Katey O'Donnell was enjoying a happy life in a small town in Wisconsin when a nest of vampires attacked her home and killed her parents. Everything quickly snowballed after that, leading to her becoming a strong woman and vampire hunter with much more than her share of heartache, horror, and danger.
This is a re-writing of the story Monstrum Venator.
Story One--Culture Shock
Chapter One--A Happy Life
I was ready to crash in my bed. It was late, almost curfew, and I had been playing basketball all evening with Lilly, Jenna, and Madelyn. The four of us wanted to join the Freshman basketball team when we got to high school next year, so we played whenever we could. It had been a fun night. Madelyn, the tallest of us, had gotten close to dunking, and Lilly had made almost all the free-throw shots. True, we had been playing in Jenna’s driveway and the hoop was a little bit lower than a regular basketball hoop, but we didn’t have any other place to practice yet.
After it had gotten too dark to play, we’d headed inside to chat until our parents came to pick us up. Jenna had talked about her first kiss with Kevin, who she’d had a crush on all school year, and Lilly had talked about her latest celebrity crush. Madelyn and I had argued about the benefits of height in basketball; she was quite a few inches taller than me and would probably reach six feet tall by the time she stopped growing, while I was the shortest of the group.
Mom had picked me up half an hour before curfew, which was at eleven because it was Friday night, and it had taken her almost twenty minutes to drive us both home. One of the disadvantages of living in the center of a small town while having friends who lived on farms at the edge of town. Dad was watching some cop show on TV when we got home, and even though I was tired I plopped onto the couch next to him, curling up against his side.
Dad had a good job as the owner of the only gas station in town, and the only time I got to see him was in the evenings, when he was tired from standing all day. Evenings were always the family TV time, when we could enjoy each other’s company, and chat during commercial breaks.
“Did you have fun?” Dad asked when a said commercial break interrupted the show. I smiled up at him, and tiredly related how Madelyn and I had won against Lilly and Jenna, and how I’d gotten better at dribbling. He had always been pleased that I’d decided to take up basketball. He’d been the senior basketball star during his high school days, and while he’d hoped for a son to play basketball like him, I knew that he loved me just as much as he would have a son.
When the show came back on, I talked with Mom about all the girly gossip the three girls and I had shared, shushed occasionally by Dad who was engrossed in finding out who the killer was on his show. After I finished telling Mom, I leaned back up against Dad again, and the three of us watched the ending in companionable silence.
I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew Dad was carrying me up the stairs and into my bedroom like a little kid. He deposited in my old four-poster bed strewn with lacy pink curtains—remnants from my princess phase that I hadn’t had the heart to get rid of—and sat on the bed next to me. Mom stood behind him and pulled my shoes off carefully, and I smiled at them.
“I’m not a little girl anymore, you know,” I said sleepily. Dad chuckled, and Mom gave me that sad smile she always did when she saw me doing something grown up.
“Do you want me to turn on your night light?” Mom asked. I nodded, half my face buried in my pillow. The night light was the only thing I still needed, though I had grown out of every other childhood thing. I had always been scared of the dark, and I hadn’t seen the need to face that yet. I wasn’t in high school yet, my friends all were the same so I didn’t need to worry about teasing, and the night light had been a gift from my grandmother. It was shaped like an old fashion glass lampshade in cream and blue, and it reminded me of a lamp that my grandmother still had in her living room.
“Good night, pumpkin,” Dad said, brushing aside lock of my thickly curly, orange red hair and leaning down to kiss my forehead. He’d called me pumpkin probably since the day I was born with a shock of pumpkin orange hair.
“G’night,” I mumbled, closing my eyes. I felt the bed shift when he stood up to leave the room, and then shift again when Mom sat down in his place.
“Sweet dreams, Katherine,” she said. I opened my eyes and smiled at her, one eyebrow raised.
“It’s Katey,” I said. She smiled knowingly, and brushed my cheek. I had always preferred being called Katey, but Mom always called me by my full name. Maybe some day I’d use it every day, but I was still thirteen and Katherine sounded like an older person’s name.
The bed shifted again when Mom stood up, and I closed my eyes, curling up tightly under the covers and tried to fall asleep.