Just remember, even if someone narrates a story, it does not guarantee their survival in the end.
By Tommy Bell
I ran to the edge of the tree branch and jumped to the ground, landing, as always, on my hands, into a full flip onto my feet. I ran over to the door of the home of my best friend, Jeremy. I knocked on the door, and looked around.
Buildings around me were crumbling to the ground, but after a while, I rarely noticed it. Now that I thought about it, Jeremy's house looked a little rough, too. The walls were leaning, and only one of the windows wasn't broken or cracked.
I hadn't seen him in a while, and, even though they were extinguishing humans for destroying the world with their pollution and waist, they couldn't have taken Jeremy away. He was my friend. They couldn't take me away because no one, not even doctors could confirm or deny that I was human.
My parents were the most unique couple I'd ever seen, a half-human-half-demon for a father and just a vampire for a mom. because I was born, aging and yet immortal, I baffled doctors. None of them knew what I was, so the fleets of soldiers I'd seen a few times that took humans away didn't even bother with me.
Mom said she'd change me into a full-vamp when I turned eighteen, which would take a lot longer for me than you, because for every five years I live, my body ages one.
No one answered the door, so I sat down a couple of feet away from it.
"Joker," I said to the tiny plastic clown in my hands. I'd named him after this villain in an old moving-picture show with this guy named Batman. "You need to get your stuff together, man. ANOTHER arm-rip." I had often damaged parts of Joker during my rough play, and this was the twelfth time I needed to repair him. In fact, one of his eyes was a piece of candy from one of those necklace's you could by from any grocery store in town. And, his right leg was a ripped sleeve of my old sweatshirt I'd grown out of.
"Lucky for you, I've still got some dumpster-shirt left." I ripped off the last sleeve, and pulled some thread out of my pocket. I'd learned to cut a tiny hole into a splinter of wood, and make a needle to sew on my Joker's needed body parts.
After I finished repairing my only toy, I started getting bored. Jeremy had to come home from wherever he and his family had gone soon. I mean, he can't spend that much time away from home, even if it was a really small home, much smaller than mine, or my neighbors.
"Marshall!" I heard my mother's voice call from our house. "Marshall, it's time for lunch, Dear."
"Comin', Ma," I called back. Reluctantly, I got up and walked back home for my meal.
When I got inside our shack, I saw my brothers already sitting at the table, anticipating the filling of their aching bellies. When was the last time we'd eaten? Two days ago? To you this might seem like a big deal, but we found that we were a lot like wild animals; we don't eat as much as humans. One meal a day was usually enough to get us by, and eating once every two days wasn't uncommon for even normal kids.
My older brothers, twins Dean and Derek, and Christopher, were always side by side. The twins were eight, and Chris was only a year younger (in our years, that also makes him eight). They liked to scheme together; pick-pocketing from the rich, old people who would come to the slums to deliver fake reports about how poverty didn't "affect" us as much as it really did, and how we were "making progress" with our economy.
Cerberus had pulled out a seat, just for me, on his right. Cerberus was the Derek to my Dean, the youngest twin. We were closer than two brothers could be, and looked like clones. The only person that could tell us apart was our mom, and even she made mistakes about our identities. All my greatest memories involved Cerberus.
And, finally, the little toddler Mercurius. He was only four, but even then, Merky, as we called him, was a bit of an outcast. Derek, Dean and Christopher had each other, and I had Cerberus. Merky didn't even look like us. Where we were tall and gangly, with high cheekbones, he was short, and had the slimmest face of us all. We looked like our father. Mercurius didn't look like anybody.
My brothers and I were filthy, bruises and dirt everywhere. The older ones taught me that the difference between being adorable and being less-than-average looking was like the difference between getting your next meal and starving. People just didn't give spare change to beggars who weren't appealing to the eye. Having good looks was something you kind of needed when you were begging for things from complete strangers.
"What's for lunch?" Cerberus and I said at the same time. Contrary to popular belief, we didn't drink people's blood, or eat babies. My mother had raised us on more of a human-food diet. Like extra-rare steak and lots of meat.
"I got some duck from the market for y'all today," she said. "And I'll just eat some of the leftover squirrel Daddy caught." The war had hit the economy, and us, hard. Meat and proper food was hard to come by, and I hadn't yet considered how lucky I was that I could still eat meat, and had not yet been reduced to scrounging for wild fruits outside of town.
She ate the small meat hungrily, and still looked famished after cleaning her plate.
"Ma?" I asked her. "You want the rest of my duck?" My mom had told me that's what'd separated us from humans. We offered our leftovers to those who had nothing at all. She said they could feed a starving world with what they threw away, and we threw away nothing.
She nodded, and happily shoveled down what I didn't need.
"Ma," I started. I had a question for her.
"Where do you think Jeremy and his family went?"
Mom looked surprised at my question. "What?" her eyes widened.
"Where do you think Jeremy and his family went?" Why can't Mom seem to answer the question? I annoyingly thought.
"Um," Mom looked uncomfortable. "Honey." She took me out to the hall and sat me down, and it looked like she was about to give me some sort of serious talk. "Do you know what this war is about?"
"Um," I thought for a moment. I was pretty clueless about the whole thing. "People are fighting with each other?"
"People are starting to realize that humans are doing something terrible to the planet, and the only way to save us, is to make sure they never do this again." I didn't understand this too much, either. "They're letting some of them live around us, but to save the world, less humans need to be in the cities with us. Your little friend is probably living at one of the containment camps, where they are given jobs, and food, but they can't hurt the rest of us. Do you understand why we need to do this?"
I looked at my feet. We need to get rid of some people to help everyone else? That doesn't seem fair, but Jeremy was in a containment camp, and Mom said those things were a great place to live, so they were alright, right?
Wrong. What I later learned was that the Grand War of 14521 wasn't a containment for the dangerous, it was the extermination of a species. The entire planet caught in a pit of senseless violence, while a group of innocent people were being wiped out with only a few of them left to live.
Even though I didn't quite get it, I still said, "Yeah, I guess."
The day that I found out what really happened to Jeremy, I promised myself that I would never get attached to someone, especially someone who could die. It was weakness, and weakness opened you to becoming broken. Never before had I felt so human.