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New Year Eve (3rd Prize - 16-18 years)

March, 2013
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New Year Eve

When people ask me if I blacked out that evening, I say that I did. I tell them that I don’t remember anything. I got weary of people asking me what happened and I realized that telling them my story would only aggravate the situation. Or I might end up in a mental institution. But the truth is that I remember everything as it was yesterday. Even though a year of sleepless nights and fret filled days has passed. And I know I’m not crazy.

It was New Year Eve, but streets were gloomy. For me it still felt peculiar how New Years Eve in China is not celebrated. In my country at this time of the year city would be alive, pulsing, filled with exhilarated and boastful people. Fortunately our home was not as grim as the whole outside world. Scarlet toys were shinning on the Christmas tree. People were amiable and chatting to each other while my dad was walking around replenishing glasses of champagne. Clocks hit the last hour of 2011 and an empty sheet of 2012, of everybody’s life was about to begin.

The beginning of the end started with something unexpected, I would say. The peace of the evening and light jazz music was disturbed by a holler coming from the kitchen. Of course nothing can ever go without mishaps. My mom was standing in the middle of the room and something swampy that just a second ago was a jar with caviar now was covering the ground. In the next five minutes I was induced to go to the grocery store to get a new jar of caviar. Nobody cared about the sulky expression on my face, but when passing me the money, my mother awarded me with a look filled with gratitude and said I could keep the change. She even told me that she would go shopping with me on the next day, but I needed to hurry and I could not tarry. She really wanted this night to be perfect.

I missed the real winter. Even though back home the snow would be really soggy and grubby most of the time, I missed it. My warm Ugg kind of shoes were brushing the asphalt and that was the only sound I could hear since wind made everything else inaudible. The weather was bone-chilling. I hitched my jacket tight around my body and neck and hugged myself while resenting my mom for sending me out in a such a cold night. I kept on walking and the store was behind the corner when I noticed something. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I noticed movement a little further from me. I slowed down and peered through the thick darkness. I could not see a thing. If there was any snow it would reflect the light and I could see, but now I felt completely blind. Swearing the snowless winters in Beijing in my mind I rushed behind the corner where warm grocery store’s lights were supposed to welcome me.

But they didn’t. Windows were shut and the door was locked. A dirty, years ago white, but now mucky grey sticker said that the store closes at 11 pm. With my shaking fingers I took my phone out and checked the time. It was 11:21pm. I needed to get home promptly or else I’ll be in trouble. I turned around on my heel to dart home.  In the next moment few things happened. My heart stopped in my chest. I gasped and my phone slipped out of my fingers smashing to the ground loudly.            

There was a boy leaning on the wall few steps away and observing me. He was a little taller than me and my age, or a year older. I was just standing there gaping at him not sure what was going on. There was something about him that made me feel wary of him. He was so pale, almost luminous and the contrast of it and his eyes dark as night surrounding us made my skin crawl. He broke the silence by telling me that he’s sorry and that he didn’t mean to scare me. I noticed how even the wind stopped blowing. It got exceedingly quiet and calm. Too calm. He walked closer and stooped to pick up my phone. He handed it to me and I grabbed it without even worrying to check if the screen didn’t crack again. My dad was going to kill me if it did, but that was the last thing I worried about at the moment. “Thanks,” I whispered and cleared my throat since I could barely hear myself. Then continued “I have to go now, sorry.”.

My heart was racing when I turned around the corner and rushed home. I could still feel his eyes burning my back. Usually I’m more of a really placid person. Nothing gets me worried or nervous easily, but this time my palms were sweating and my vision was getting blurry because of the tears collecting in my eyes. Halfway home, few more minutes and I’ll be safe… safe? Safe from what? What was I so scared of? No need to worry, there was no need… sudden tug on my arm made me turn around. Same eyes again, meeting mine, but this time, they were two inches away. His voice was so gracious and his words melted on his lips as he spoke “Your deportment, young lady, is not so pleasant. Just running away like that, huh? Maybe you would like to have a walk with me, it’s not so chilly, is it?”. In a split second I freed my arm out of his fingers and started  running without pondering.

My heart was pounding and I could barely see a thing. Bright windows of my living room were showing already. I looked back and it seemed empty and calm. maybe I overreacted and he wasn’t chasing me. Maybe my mind was messing with me? Well, I was wrong. Before I could turn my head and look ahead again I bumped into something hard. I rebounded and lost my balance. I was almost on the ground when I got caught by my shoulder and put back on my feet. How did?.. this didn’t make any sense, who… Same eyes. Same eyes on me and that smile, with perfect teeth even whiter than his skin. “Rushing somewhere, sweetie?” words froze in the air. Horror filled every cell of my body.

Any human being couldn’t be this fast. Nobody could be this fast and quiet. My instincts were telling me to run, but my shoulder was locked in his palm. I tried to quickly dive under his arm. Wrong move. He grasped my shoulder even tighter and sound of something cracking reached my ears. It was so unusual because it almost seemed that I didn’t hear it, but felt it. And then I really felt it. The pain so strong I even felt the sweetness on my tongue. Later on I found out that he broke my collarbone then. The realization that he broke my bones hit him. He seemed surprised and let go of my shoulder.

That was the moment I was waiting for. My legs felt feeble because of the terrible ache spreading in my chest, neck and arm, but I still shot forward leaving him behind. I understood how pathetic my effort to escape seemed. In less than few seconds I was caught from behind. His arms wrapped me pushing the air out of my lungs and few more cracks followed. Last thing I remember was him ripping my scarf off and sticking his teeth in my neck. Then everything started melting and darkness swallowed me leaving the one and only reminder of reality – smell of fresh blood.

I revived in hospital three days later. I had my collarbone and three ribs broken. Also, I had lost half of my blood. Some random people decided to go outside right before midnight to shoot some fireworks and found me on the ground. They said they saw somebody holding me but that somebody was gone before they could understand what was it. I had police asking me what happened, but even with my head spinning and five kinds of different medicine being pumped trough my veins I was conscious enough to understand that nobody would ever believe me. I said that I couldn’t remember anything since I was halfway back home. Then watched my dad quell the investigation by chasing them out with an ominous expression on his face.

A year of sleepless nights and fret filled days has passed. My body healed. And I know I’m not crazy. On the New Year Eve when the world was welcoming 2012 I was fighting for my life. I was attacked by a vampire.

 

By Emilija Antanaviciute

Canadian International School of Beijing

 

 

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