We were traveling again.
Our weakest time to a point, because of all our burdens; we would drop everything and run if we had to. That is, if we were attacked. But there doesn't seem to be much of that lately. And it worries me.
Hiking through forests isn't very memorable. Time seems to pass quickly by at times, and others it will simply drag out as long as it may.
Now, it was barely noticeable and walking five more miles didn't feel like it took half an hour. But I knew better, the sun had moved along with our feet and I guessed it was late afternoon before we reached an old pavement path.
The road lead us several hundred more yards before it entered an abandoned settlement, maybe thirty or so years old.
We kept in the forest, following the road, but never stepping upon it. Roads are too clear and in plain sight to be safe, no matter how reliable.
We just set up camp inside an abandoned permanent facility. It was flanked on one side by the trees we all had learned to see as our home, a protected atmosphere, a haven. The retired facility was larger than usual and easily encircled our Band in its promising perimeter. Everyone was more than satisfied at our new place of stay.
I walked the perimeter; scouting to see if it was safe, no road bombs, trip wires, that sort of thing left over from the war. I was the only one who really cared enopugh to do it; who always did it, though I knew anyone would be eager to tag along if I asked.
I wasn't normal around here, more an outcast within the Bands and a legend among Seekers. My Band is immensely grateful for my protection-relieved that I would choose to stay with my dead family's Band and not leave to go fight with the Grey-but at the same time they're frightened of me.
They're afraid of what I can do, what I'm capable of. Whether I'm unstable…and whether I’d leave...or be captured.
They never dream of me dying, it's not comprehendible to them with my abilities, but well an option. Especially to me.
They keep their distance, and we exist in a begrudging peace. The elders aren't satisfied that I can’t be controlled though. So I continue to do what everyone has already seen, live. Because they're waiting for me to fall, and I am too. Being alone like this, I can't help but think sometimes, would it be better to die? Well, as of now, I wouldn't know.
The wards around the place were still just standing. They're from the Unknown time, which of course didn’t sway my caution a cenimeter. My band doesn’t have any real elderly, but plenty of people old enough to, what they say, retire, which, kind of worries me.
This is only a two generation Band. They have that regulation for safety only; any older, and the band would become too vulnerable and most likely not be able to protect itself.
Families who have elderly inside a Band migrate to the concentration camps set up for the people too old to roam to live out the rest of their life and die in peace; none of us were nearly that close yet.
The concentration camps were originally designed for the whole of humanity when the existance of Seekers was released publicly world wide. Of course by that time, Seekers had spys planted tin many governments and they devised a plan, evil and dangerous. Unfortunately, before the camps could be finished, they found us and destroyed our progress on some of them; they also took some of us with them.
That indefinitely made them stronger. It's hard knowing that people you might've used to know, are now trying to hurt you.
At least, that's what I've heard. All my family is dead anyway. It's better that I don't have to deal with that vulnerability, of being connected to things.
Seekers came to be about the time after the stock market totally crashed and blew up. The government was at that time had no way to rebuild, so it disappeared. All the computers and weird technology stuff just suddenly shut down; humanity didn’t have enough money, energy or power to build it back up. So they tried life from where it was, which was a lot like how things had looked a century before the present time.
After probably twenty or so years of peace, content and humanity finding the meaning of happiness and life and whatnot again, the disease came.
It couldn’t have had more superb timing, with everyone content, loving and forgiving; studies showed that crime rate was down for a starling world record that surpassed the statistics of the nineteen-sixties.
The disease came silently, wiping out the worlds' already cut down population from three billion to barely one billion and declining. It left many heartbroken, homeless, orphaned, and given up at the time. Crime rate sky-rocketed.
Many accepted it and moved on, while others became mad with their gods and religon. Besides everyone else, there were a group of scientists. The disease was leaving the world after it ravaged for a decade, and things were close to almost settling down, but these wise guys had studied and undergone research on the entire profile of the disease, named vampirism, and had kept some of it, planning on studying and experimenting with it.
It got its name from startling similarities to a fictional race called vampires. Most books, novels in particular were lost in the world; some remembered from earlier times stories they had heard, meant to keep you up at night.
When you first caught the disease, you were fine, better than fine actually. It hardened your cell membranes and increased your strength capacity. The catch was that while making you basically super human, it also killed you, by building up your own body with your own blood. Taking it from you from the inside out, and when there was no blood left of which oxygen could travel to the brain or pump through the heart, the heart stopped, and you died.
So these scientists had vampirism, and they reasoned that if the body had a blood supply to feed off of other than its own so it couldn't suck itself dry, that it would be enough and the disease would either drown itself, or just stop.
So they got blood. Using their enhanced abilities, they took animals, and consumed their blood; it killed them obviously.
They found that it sustained them, but only for a while. They needed more. Others with the disease joined their methods and work, trying to find a cure for vampirism, trying to live. So that the many left in the world still withholding the disease could be cured.
After years of running in circles with this sustained life, and disease, was found that while hunting for, or waiting for blood that thirst for it became strong. Animal instincts awakened, the survival section of the brain took over into literal bloodlust.
They had to keep killing, until one day something happened; one of them mistook a human for an animal in his irrational thirst, and drank their blood, inevitably killing them as well.
He was horrified at what he’d done, and starved himself so he may die too, but the death never came. It seemed that the scientists were right; the disease did drown itself, but only in its own blood.
Upon hearing about this discovery, the scientists were appalled and gratefully partook in this method. They acquired donated blood, and their dying process stopped.
This ‘cure’ kept them alive, but it also did something else. It completely stopped the bodies’ growth in its tracks in exchange for having the superhuman abilities. Even though the vampires were saved from death, the scientists continued their research on their condition of somewhat immortality.
And they still had a thirst, and found that with regular feedings over time from human blood, made them even stronger, and that animal blood did nothing to subdue the bloodlust, but made them slightly stronger as well.
Also, if one regularly feeded from blood, that stopping, turned back on the survival genes, and made them, somewhat weaker.
Other 'vampires' heard of the discoveries, then the world wide killing started. Blood became a luxury if you were a 'vampire'. Many people couldn't pay for it in the first place, so they killed, or hurt a human. With all the injuries and blood loss, it began needed more in hospitals and urgent care. Transfusions became a very regular practice for nurses and doctors alike. And with blood in high demand, prices rose even higher.
It was a matter of life or death, people with and without vampirism fighting for their lives. Some humans who were partners willingly gave up their blood to keep their love alive. Those were the peaceful stories.
It's absolutely disgraceful. How can you say you have a soul, when you just murdered your comrade? Technology became a myth, and the world only became more corrupt with the fight for man kind.
And in all the frenzy, the disease began spreading again. It seemed that humans who had been fed off of, but not completely drained and left alive, were turned into vampires as well. And the circle continued with the newly turned needing blood as well.
The disease was found to live in carbon dioxide supposedly, and that vampires obtained venom, a sort of paralyzing mutated concentrated form of the original disease at after a certain amount of time continually feeding on humans.
The disease was an airborne chemical traveling in CO2 only reactive to certain genes in people. Somehow, the CO2 in the blood that vampires consumed along with other poisons obtained in the bloodstream are combined with a particle of vampirisms genetic makeup and their own blood, to make another, more painful version of vampirism hiding in the upper canines of vampires and released when biting with the purpose of drinking. This action is set off by the survival part of the brain, which when studied years later, was found to be severly altered by vamirism.
Altered, and unable to be repaired.
Basically, it makes your values and reasoning change to about the equivilancy of a wolf's, or another predatory animal's at the top of the food chain. And with the human capacity of empathizing, emotional response, learning and adapting, the outcome as you can see is very bad.
So people were killed, turned, hiding, fighting and running. While vampires were burned at the stake, killed, and in some religious cases, worshipped and followed with the promise of transformation and a new era of better human beings.
Time went on this way for a while. Not many know much of what happened after that, history was lost, and most humans went into hiding. Some now, don't even care what's happened, they only know that they have to live, if not for a greater purpose. For some it was too late to protect themselves and the world was put into utter chaos. The years stopped being recorded, and indefinitely, we come full circle.
I don't even know why I care about what happened. But at least I care to remember.
Some of the concentration camps were finished and immediately made active. But it was all favored. If you didn’t know someone important, or weren't sick or injured or disabled or mental est. you usually wouldn’t be let in. Those who could fight had to.
I'm definitely not going near any of the concentration camps anytime soon; unless I get hurt that is very unlikely.
Plus, I have no need, or want, to; I could take care of myself. Very strange for someone my age they say. Teenagers are normally 'happier in one place with friends', I know of no such thing thankfully.
I’m only fifteen, but probably the strongest Runner in all the class two Runner bands. No one hardly ever sees class ones anymore. They mostly consist of retired service men and women, used to survival. Rumors flit around about how they built their own concentration camp, or that they crossed the Long Waters to the Forbidden Lands, but those are the most wild. The most rational are that the Band Counsel put in a request for them to either separate into the class threes for more protection, or convert to Grey for better offense.
I am Ariana Draco of the White Wolves, and an orphan. We crossed the White Lynxes just weeks ago across Waterfall territory, they haven't been attacked recently either. It's unreasonable that some are rejoicing, and strange that this seems to be a reaccuring pattern among Runners.
That’s also a rule, we are the White, Seekers are referred to as Black, but not in the racist terms. Those don't exist anymore.
It's a new world they say, that I grew up in. And not one more pleasant. Elders are having difficultly adapting. I say, when an old world is destroyed, learners inherit it, while the learned find themselves perfectly equipped to deal with a world that doesn't exist. I found that in an old library I stumbled upon just before we were attacked once. It was a caption under a picture of beautiful flowers that I think are called poinsettas, taken by a dude named Lawrence Raymer. I don't know who he was, but he's smart.
You see, there are many others whom don’t live with Seekers or Runners, they are the Other, undefined. But that’s just for the ‘living’. No one knows if there are Other Seekers, and no one really cares to know or think about these things.
There is also the Grey. Grey is man kind's current army. They usually are scouting out and attacking large Seeker populations. They fight, kill, capture, torture; mostly trying to give humanity a lead on outnumbering the Black. It is comprised of both men and women. Some come from the class one Bands or have served in too many battles, or have some sort of score to settle.
I looked to the sky; fading streaks of bloodred sunlight still stroked the far white clouds on the horizon. I had almost come half-way around the facility now; I was taking my time, I needed time to think away from my people.
People question that, if you can’t grow, are you still living, or still with soul? A very good question I suppose. I pulled my billowing hair in the strengthening breeze into a ponytail as I thought about it.
I don’t really care, as long as I don’t have to think about it, I just kill, I thought. It’s what I want to do to save humanity. My race. It's what we have to do, protect our own. There’s no other option at this point in time. And even if there was, I still don't know if I'd take it.
I sighed and gazed out into the surrounding forest without really seeing it. There was alot of information I didn't need to have, but I didn't care; it was apart of my story.
Girl names are decided for themselves at the coming of their first moon bleed, but boys are named Rightful at the coming of the teen years. I earned mine when I was ten. I had started even earlier, but it was a rule for you to be in the double digits for a chosen name. Ariana means Silver, the nuetrel color above black and white. Draco is 'dragon' in another language, the strongest and most honorable creature ever to exist. I took care in searching for my name. My parents never got to see my moon bleed, because they were taken when I was six, later enough for me to remember a lot more than I want to.
I finished scouting around twilight, thoughts swirling endlessly around in my mind. Twilight was the most hope giving time for us; the end of an old day, the beginning of a new. It's also the most fear giving time; the time where people start to glance behind themselves; not that they shouldn’t be doing that anyway.
The beginning of night and the promise of another day, somehow they don’t go well together. Even if beauty and menace always seem to dance.
I walked back to everyone; some glanced at me, others wre to tired to care. That suited me fine. I went a small ways away from the general group and sat facing the trees long enough for me to get bored. So instead I started over to an abandoned swing set a couple hundred yards away.
There are probably more than forty members of my Runner band, somewhat above the normal for Band numbers; the average was thirty at the most. My Band could be alot to keep up with, but it’s my job. And I do my job.
I sat down in the rubber seat and closed my eyes, sighing. We hadn’t been sought or attacked in four months, and as people started to relax, I only get tenser.
This was not their way.
We usually get attacked at least twice every month on a normal basis. This was unnatural, and would probably end in a hunt. The past four months have been quiet, scary. Yes, that was the only logical explanation, I thought. A hunt.
I squeezed my eyes shut tighter; hunting was a game for them; running, fighting, and hiding for us.
They sometimes hunted a certain band as a test to see if there were any worthy candidates to add to their population. Or army.
Like I said, life's game to them, they're immortal. Until they get annoyed or hurt of course, then they capture, get revenge.
That’s worst case scenario; we became trained warriors ever since the Confirming. That's when the world came together and agreed that for man to survive, then we had to learn to fight.
Runners just don’t look for the fight, that’s the Grey’s job. Humans need every advantage we can get.
I started to swing; swinging always relaxed me for some reason. Maybe I just felt freer in the air, or maybe because mom had always loved to swing with me. The swing creaked slightly but I didn't care; everything seemed better with the wind in my face, blowing through my hair, back and forth. I could just feel my mom's long brown hair brushing up against my cheek, and I inhaled, sad. My hair was the same color as hers. It seemed like happiness didn't visit me anymore since damn vampires took her away.
Then someone screamed.