Slayer Instinct

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The hunt was life. Never did Darrin Hammond feel more alive than when his heart was pounding, blood pumping through his veins, and adrenaline lighting his body. He reveled in stalking his prey, luring it into a false sense of security before delivering the final blow. And as the thrill died, he'd bask in the satisfaction that another monster was destroyed.

At seventeen, Darrin was the youngest and most gifted slayer. During training he had astounded his mentors with his determination. They were also scared of his recklessness. But whatever it took to destroy filthy bloodsuckers that murdered innocents.

Vampires knew no boundaries or limits. They destroyed wantonly. Human lives were meaningless to them. Darrin saw no reason why he should be bound by silly rules in order to stop them. Whatever it took to preserve human life was worth it.

"Darrin, honey, the bus will be here soon. You don't want to be late."

Darrin's mother's voice pulled him from his dark thoughts. Muscles ached as he padded around his bedroom and dressed. Pain jolting up his leg paused him. Blood had soaked through the bandage wrapped around his thigh. Kicking off his jeans, he poked his head out his bedroom door. His mother sounded like she was busy in the kitchen. He darted to the bathroom and redressed the wound. The welts looked red and angry. Another quick dash and he was back to his bedroom.

"Hurry up, Darrin," his mother warned.

"Coming, Ma!" he shouted, hopping as he tugged on his pants. He jogged through the house to the kitchen, grabbing an apple and shining it on his shirt.

"You're going to eat more than that, young man," his mother scolded. "How about some oatmeal?"

Darrin knew better than to argue, taking a seat. He scarfed the food down and bolted to his feet. Pain shot through him. He hissed.

"You okay?" His mother scowled.

"Yeah, great." Darrin forced a smile. He jabbed a thumb over his shoulder. "Better get going. Love ya, Ma."

"Love you too," she called after him. "Have a nice day!"

The walk to school was short and cold. Darrin enjoyed the quiet, planning tonight's hunt. Last night a vampire had gotten away. He was determined to get it tonight. He just had to lure her in...

But that would have to wait now. Once he was on campus, he put hunting out of his mind. Good grades meant his mother didn't bother him and he could sneak out easier. He chatted with friends, laughing and joking. Excitement was in the air, everyone ready for spring break in a week. Darrin was too, but not because he had plans of sunshine and fun. His break would be spent planning new hunts.

If only his friends and classmates knew. He wondered if they would understand. He was saving them from evil. They were worth it––even the bullies who picked on those who were weaker.

The bell rang and everyone headed to class. Darrin took a seat in the middle of the room, kicking his feet out. A girl stood by the teacher, Mr. Allen. Her back was to him, but something about her seemed familiar. She had raven hair that was braided and twisted up to reveal a pale neck. Her skin seemed almost too white. It made his stomach flop.

There was no way a vampire would be out during the day. The sunlight would kill it. This girl was standing in a sunbeam.

But Darrin wasn't one to ignore his instincts. He watched the girl with narrowed eyes. She turned around. Her skin was like a porcelain dolls, and her eyes were blue as the ocean. Pink tinted her cheeks and her lips were ruby red. Her smile lit her face. A silence fell over the class, all eyes on her. Even Darrin couldn't tear his gaze away. She stood with her hands clasped before her like she was praying.

"Class," Mr. Allen's voice broke the spell hanging over the students. He motioned to the girl. "This is Pandora White. Why don't you tell us a bit about yourself, Pandora?"

Pandora's cheeks turned red and she ducked her head. "My family and I moved here from Canada. I'm an only child and I look forward to making many friends here." She smiled, showing perfect, straight teeth.

Darrin shuddered.

Mr. Allen directed Pandora to the seat next to Darrin. She smiled at him and another shudder rolled through him. Class began, but Darrin's attention was riveted on the girl next to him. He knew he was looking at a vampire, but couldn't deduce how she had done it. Why wasn't daylight destroying her? This changed everything. If humanity lost sunlight as a protection then they were doomed.

Discretely, Darrin pulled his backpack onto his lap. He never went anywhere without a stake. The familiar wood called his racing pulse. He gripped it tightly. When he became a hunter, he vowed to protect humanity. He pulled the stake and lunged at Pandora.

At any cost.

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