Hi, this is Tabitha. Last time I wrote a blog entry, people seemed to like it and asked me to write again someday. So... today is the day, I guess. I've decided that I'm finally going to start talking about the past... how I went from having a relatively normal life to being a feral vampire, living in the woods and fleeing for my life from both vampires and vampire hunters.
I don't talk about my human life very much. I've never written about it on the blog (although Clare mentioned it vaguely,) and I don't really ever talk about it offline, either. There are a couple of reasons for that. For one thing, of course, it's kind of painful, especially how it ended. But the bigger thing is, it feels... done. Distant. I remember it, of course, but a lot of it feels like it happened to someone else. Everything changed so much when I became a vampire. It almost seems like a different life. A lot of the time, it's just hard to see the relevance. I'm starting to realize that attitude is not entirely healthy, though. It may even be a form of denial. So I'm going to try talking about it, and I hope it'll help my past and my present "lives" feel more connected.
I think the main reason my parents decided to get married and have a kid is that everyone else in their small town was doing that. All their friends were coupling up and becoming parents, so they did the same thing. It didn't go very well. Before long their marriage was in trouble, and they were having trouble finding the motivation to take care of me. They asked my grandpa and grandma to look after me for "a little while"; I actually ended up living with my grandparents from age two to age fourteen.
I was generally pretty happy with them. They were kind, took good care of me, and I knew they loved me. Sometimes it was hard to fit in with my peers, though. I was the shy, quiet kid who lived with two elderly people. (I know the "shy and quiet" part will be difficult to believe for those who have seen me as an out-of-control vampire, but seriously, I was.) My grandmother always had me dress in very old-fashioned clothes, because she was from a different era and she thought it was more proper. I got made fun of a lot at school, and I didn't have the easiest time making friends. A lot of my best memories are of time I spent with my grandma and grandpa, or alone, rather than with kids my own age.
There's an exception to that, though. After I was turned into a vampire wasn't the first time I met some of the Greens. My grandparents lived next door to some of our other relatives (my great-aunt and great-uncle, I think?) and those relatives would have their relatives come visit. Among the visitors at first - usually twice a year - were Kirsten, Felicity, and Molly from one family, and Bree from another. After a couple of years, there were some changes; Bree's parents had a falling-out with the rest of the family, so she stopped visiting. Then Charissa was born, and I got to know her, too. Yep, we're all related!
It was really fun to watch the Green family grow as they added more members. Sometimes I was jealous of how much fun they seemed to have, but I wouldn't have wanted to leave my grandparents. I really looked forward to visits from the girls twice a year, though, and we had a lot of fun together, playing when we were little and then just hanging out more as we got older.
The last time I saw the girls like that - on a visit, with life still normal - was December 2010. Shortly after that, things fell apart for me. And that's where the story starts to get tough.
I never really thought of my grandparents as old. They were just the people I lived with, the people who took care of me. They were a generation older than the other kids' parents, though, and over the course of that winter and spring, their health started to get worse. My grandpa had to go into a nursing home, because he needed more care than me and my grandma could provide - and then just a couple of months later, my grandma had to go live there too.
I guess I had always kind of thought of myself as an orphan - but I wasn't, really. Both of my parents were still alive, and they came to visit now and then. Awkward, stiff, painfully polite visits where no one had much to say to each other. By the time my grandparents had to go to the nursing home, my mother and father had gotten a divorce, and my mother had gotten remarried. I went to live with my mom and my stepdad, but it was incredibly weird and uncomfortable after spending my whole childhood up till that point living somewhere else.
My mom had to work really long hours, and she wasn't home very much. I rarely saw her. My stepfather had taken early retirement after being injured at his job, so he was home all the time, and that was... awkward. We fought a lot. I didn't really know him, and he didn't want a kid - especially a teenager who wasn't his biological child. He and my mom were already having problems, and me being there added to that. My behaviour wasn't the best, either. I was really struggling with the situation, and I was acting out. He got more and more frustrated with me. First he started yelling at me, and then later, he started hitting me when he was mad.
One time he bruised me up pretty badly, and my teacher noticed. She called Child Protective Services, and I got sent to a foster home while he took anger management and he and my mom did parenting classes. I didn't particularly want to go back, but I didn't have much choice. The social worker said once they completed what the court ordered, I'd be living with them again.
I thought about running away, but I didn't... which ended up being kind of ironic, because what did happen had the same effect, and the police still think I ran. If I'd run away then, my life would have been a lot different. In the long run, it probably would have been worse, though. It all worked out for me eventually. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
My foster parents lived in kind of a bad part of town, and I hated having to walk anywhere after dark. My foster mom sent me to the store to buy milk one night, and on the way there I noticed a couple of people following me. That didn't look like a good thing, but there wasn't a lot I could do about it. I pulled up my jacket collar and started walking faster, hoping they'd lose interest or I'd get to the store before they got to me.
Neither of those things happened. They cornered me on one of the empty back streets, and dragged me into an alley. I knew they had something bad in mind - but it wasn't what I assumed. The one guy pulled down my coat collar, and sank his teeth into my neck. What happened next was... bad. The transformation was painful. I think I eventually passed out.
When I woke up, I was in the woods. Alone. With no idea where I was, or how I'd gotten there, or where the people had gone, or what had happened to me. It was dark, but I didn't know if it was still the same night or if a whole day had passed. I didn't really know what to do. In school they teach you that when you're lost in the forest, you're not supposed to go anywhere - you're supposed to wait to be rescued. That sounds good in theory, but it didn't seem to apply in my case, because I wasn't even sure anyone would realize I was missing, and if they did, they weren't likely to start looking in the woods; I had to be miles and miles from my foster home, to be in such an isolated area. Location aside, I'd been attacked by (what I thought at the time were) crazy people, and for all I knew, they were going to come back and hurt me again. I started walking, hoping to find a road or a house or something.
As I covered more ground, though, I realized I was thirsty. Really thirsty. My plan changed to finding a stream or a creek or something instead. Once I'd had a drink, I would just follow the flow of the water, because another thing I remembered from school was that this will usually eventually lead you to human habitation. When I wasn't so thirsty anymore, it would be easier to keep walking until I got there.
I eventually found a stream, and drank from it... but it didn't help in the slightest. My throat felt just as parched, and my stomach felt just as empty. I felt weak, my limbs were tired - but I also felt strangely agitated, like there was something I needed to do. After an hour or so of following the water, I smelled food. I thought maybe it was a campsite or something, and maybe they'd give me something to eat. (Or I could steal it. I know that sounds awful, but I wasn't feeling a lot of moral compunction about taking stuff at that point.) As it turned out, it was a campsite. But that was the moment I realized I wasn't human anymore.
Instinct took over. I killed the campers for their blood. I felt horrible afterward, standing there with my red-stained hands... but what made it even worse was that I knew I wouldn't be able to stop myself if it happened again.
My instincts also told me that I needed to avoid the sun. I would travel during the night, and during the day I would find someplace to hole up and sleep. I wasn't really thinking clearly at that point - but the drive to survive is strong. I slept in a cabin (fortunately empty for the off-season) and then started walking again once night fell. I didn't really know where I was going. After what happened with the campers, I knew I couldn't just walk back to town and resume my ordinary life. I was something different now. A monster. Unfit for human society. I walked because my animal brain was telling me to keep moving, and my higher-level thinking didn't have any better options to suggest.
Within a couple of hours of nightfall on that second night, I realized I was being followed. I sped up my pace, and did my best to stay out of sight. I'm pretty quick, agile, and light, so that came naturally to me. (Although having red hair doesn't help when you're trying to camouflage yourself.) By the following night, I figured out that the vampires who had turned me were after me again - I had guessed what they were as soon as I started craving blood - but I couldn't figure out why they'd pursue me now.
I mean, they'd had me completely in their power when they cornered me and bit me. I even passed out. I was a helpless target. I hadn't had a chance to escape because I was unconscious; I was apparently just dumped in the woods. So why were they now chasing me?
It took me another full day and most of another night to figure that out. They were hunting me for fun. They had made me into a vampire for this express purpose - because they wanted to chase something, and humans didn't provide enough challenge. That made me all the more resolved not to let them catch me.
They never did, although there were a few more close calls. (And unfortunately, three more campers crossed my path, and again the thirst took over and I lost control.) After a few more days, though... now I was purposely avoiding civilization, not seeking it out... suddenly there was another group in play. Humans, deliberately following our trail. At first I thought they were just hunting the hunters, but then after a near miss with them too, I realized they intended to kill me also if they found me. They were less sneaky hunters than the vampires - but they also had gear. It was the human hunters who set the bear trap that nearly ripped my leg off, but somehow in my panic I managed to fight my way free and get away again.
The humans who were hunting us built a huge fire at their camp, and I knew it was a threat - a threat of what they would do to me if they found me again. It was intended to be a funeral pyre.
Things didn't work out that way, though. The vampires who were chasing me gave up because they were scared of the human group, but I realized there was now a third group of people after me. Great! This was really not how I envisioned life being at age fourteen. I went deeper into the woods, doing my best to hide, but they followed me - and they were the ones who found me.
That is... fortunately they were the ones who found me! Because the third set of pursuers turned out to be the people who would become my family.
I didn't make it easy for them. As a matter of fact, due to how violent and feral I was by that point, I came to my new home heavily sedated and locked in a shipping container, for my own safety and the safety of my fellow passengers.
My new family was patient, though. They rehabilitated me. They taught me self-control. Now I can be around humans without hurting anybody. I don't know how to say it, how to put into words what they did for me, but I can never thank them enough.
Sometimes in my nightmares, I'm out in the woods again. Scared. Running. Hunted.
I hope I'm never out there again. I hope when I'm in the forest, it's camping with my family, not fleeing for my life. My life has changed - I have changed. I have blood on my hands that I can't wash off. But I think I finally belong somewhere again, in spite of my past.