Hi,guys! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Tatum the Vampire Slayer. Hopefully, you enjoy the second just as much!
Later that night, long after their families were asleep, Tatum and Danny were still talking on the phone, both of them in their respective bedrooms. After Kendall died, Tatum told Danny everything–about being a Slayer, killing vampires, all of it–and he was still having trouble processing it. His reaction reminded Tatum of how she had felt in the weeks after finding out she was a Slayer. “You’re telling me that that guy was a vampire?” Danny asked. “And that’s what killed Kendall?”
“Yes,” said Tatum. “But he wasn’t just any vampire. If he was, she would’ve been turned into one of them. He was much stronger, and much more venomous. The venom of the bite must’ve killed her.”
“But the M.E. said that she died from blood loss,” Danny protested. “He said that the puncture wounds were deeper than they looked.”
“That’s because he’s human. If he knew anything about the supernatural world, he’d recognise this as a vampire attack,” said Tatum.
Danny didn’t ask her to elaborate on her knowledge of the supernatural world; he just changed the subject. “Tay, was that your first time fighting a vampire?”
“Yes,” Tatum whispered, so quietly that Danny barely heard her.
“That must’ve been terrifying,” said Danny. “Were you scared?”
“Of course,” Tatum told him. “For the last month, I’ve been dreading the day when I’d finally have to face a vampire. And now Kendall’s dead. I’m even more terrified now than I was two days ago.”
“Don’t be scared, Tay. You saved my life today,” Danny replied.
“I can’t help being scared,” Tatum said. “Every time that I actually think about what I’m doing, I get scared.”
“Don’t be scared,” Danny said. “I mean, you are kind of saving the world. What about that is scary to you?”
“I’m scared that being the Slayer will force me to face my worst nightmare,” Tatum said. “I’m scared that everything is going to change, and not in a good way.”
“Everything has changed, Tay. Kendall is dead. And before you were the Slayer, you were just this meek little girl, and now you actually have a spine,” Danny said.
“That doesn’t mean that I can’t be scared,” said Tatum. “Everyone’s afraid of something, even if they don’t want to admit it.”
“I guess that you’re right,” Danny said. “But you, my friend, don’t need to be scared. You’re one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and you need to own that.”
“Thanks, Danny,” Tatum said. “It means a lot that you’d say that.”
“I’m not just saying it, Tatum, I mean it. Don’t be scared. You don’t need to be. You might have to encounter some freaky crap every once in a while, but I highly doubt that your worst nightmare will be in that category. Besides, isn’t your worst nightmare being trapped in a vat of gummy worms that slowly kill you?” Danny asked her.
“You promised to never bring that up again,” said Tatum. “But yes, that is the worst nightmare I ever had.”
“What kind of person dreams about being murdered by candy?” Danny inquired. “It’s a tad weird, don’t you think?”
“Aren’t you the one always saying that I’m a tad weird?” Tatum shot back.
“Oh, right,” Danny said. “That makes sense, now that I think about it. But that wasn’t my point, Tay. My point is, you’re amazing. You don’t need to worry about a thing. I think that you can handle anything that comes your way. Remember that, Tatum.”
It had been three months since Kendall had died. Every day, Tatum heard Danny’s voice in her head, telling her that she could do anything if she set her mind to it. Most days, Danny’s voice was what got her through training. Danny’s voice was what gave her confidence.
One afternoon, after school and training, Tatum was sifting through a pile of old books in her family’s basement when she came across a heavy book that seemed oddly out of place among the Stephen King and Agatha Christie novels. The book’s title was obscured by a thick layer of dust, but Tatum opened it up anyway.
The book’s layout was reminiscent of a Disney movie, but the content resembled a Grimm story. After flipping through the book, Tatum spotted an illustration of a girl who looked exactly like her. Tatum wanted to think that it was mere coincidence, but then she noticed the girl’s eyes. They were exactly the same as her own: one iris was brown, and the other iris was brown, with the exception of the patch of green next to the pupil.
Intrigued, Tatum read the text next to the picture. It was in an unfamiliar language, but the English translation was clear to her. The text read, At fifteen years old, the Slayer will come face to face with her worst nightmare, although she will not be aware of the threat that this nightmare poses. After realizing the danger that she faces, the Slayer will fight this nightmare. The consequences will be dire for…
Tatum shut the book quickly as Damian walked into the room. “Whatcha reading, Tatum?” he asked, sitting down next to her. “Anything good?”
“Just flipping through Carrie. What about you, Damian? What’s up?” Tatum spoke way too quickly than she normally did. She hoped that her face was indifferent, because her mind was racing a thousand miles a minute. Why did her family have that eerily prophetic book? Did her fathers know that she would eventually become a Slayer? And if they did know, had they always known the truth about her? Or did they only recently find out?
Damian’s face was just as neutral as Tatum’s, which was strange. Damian smiled constantly, and Tatum couldn’t remember a time where he wasn’t smiling. Then again, she had only known him for a few years. “I was actually looking for you, Tatum,” he said. “Dinner’s ready.”
“Okay,” Tatum said, standing up. She hid her hands behind her back to cover up the fact that they were shaking. Stop it, Tatum, she thought as she and Damian made their way back into the house. You don’t need to be so nervous. This is your father. He loves you. No matter what he and Daddy may be hiding, it’s because they love you. It’s not like they’re the ones who decided your destiny. Unless…oh crap. What if they are the ones who decided this? Okay, Tatum, now you’re just being ridiculous. Why is it that you insist on coming up with the most ridiculous scenarios? Ms. Green is probably the true owner of this book, especially if she’s my Watcher.
The urgency of Damian’s voice broke Tatum from her thoughts. “Tatum, watch out,” said loudly, grabbing her by the arm and making her halt in her tracks. She had almost walked into a wall. “Where were you?”
“Standing right next to you,” said Tatum lightly. She rolled her eyes at herself. Of course, my voice does little to convey my emotions now. “I’ve been standing here for a full three minutes, Damian,” she joked.
He rolled his eyes, too. “Not funny, Tatum. You nearly face-planted into that wall. I’ve always been dreading the day you started dating, or even started talking about boys other than Danny, but I never expected your first kiss could be with a wall,” he said, steering her away from the wall and into the kitchen.
“Now look who’s joking,” Tatum replied. “And implying that I have low standards. I mean, Damian, a wall? Really?”
“Am I missing something?” Adam asked when Damian and Tatum entered the kitchen. He had just sat down, after placing their plates on the table.
“Nothing major,” said Damian as he slipped into the seat next to Adam. “You almost missed your daughter’s first kiss, which was almost with a wall.”
“Tatum…is there anything you’d like to tell us?” Adam asked, a twinkle in his eye, which was almost as rare as Damian not smiling. Adam and Damian were polar opposites: Adam was sincere and serious, and Damian was goofy and fun. They didn’t even run in the same social circles. Tatum was still confused about how they’d met, never mind the fact that they’d ended up married.
Only that I’m a vampire slayer, and in the past three months, I’ve killed nineteen vampires. Including the one who killed Kendall. And, oh yeah, I lied to the police about her death, like a lot, and then I forced Danny to do the same. Also, I think I found a book that predicts my future, only I didn’t have time to read it, since Damian rudely interrupted me, Tatum thought. “Nah,” she said instead. “Nothing to tell here. Unless you’d like to talk about my changing body.” After fifteen years of living with her fathers, Tatum had learned that the best way to get out of talking to them was to bring up puberty.
“Well, Tatum, since you asked, I guess that we can,” said Damian lightly.
“I was kidding, Damian. Gross,” Tatum said, wrinkling her nose. “Thanks for ruining my appetite.”
“It was my pleasure,” Damian said, smiling sweetly at her. Then he turned to Adam, saying, “You won’t believe what happened at work today.”
After that, Tatum allowed herself to depart from the conversation, or at least mentally. She found herself thinking about the book she’d found in the garage, and little else. She felt attracted to it, almost like it was a magnet. She couldn’t explain how or why. It’s literally just a musty old book, Tatum thought to herself.
It’s more than that and you know that, Tatum answered herself. That book was predicting your future, and you know that it’s right. How many other fifteen year olds with heterochromia are vampire slayers? Oh, that’s right. None, Tatum. None. Literally no other fifteen year olds are vampire slayers with heterochromia! This isn’t crazy, Tatum. You know that.
The book might not be crazy, but you definitely are, Tatum retorted internally. News flash, Tay–you’re literally talking to yourself right now.
“I am, aren’t I?” Tatum said out loud. Damian and Adam turned to her.
“Are you okay, sweetie?” asked Adam.
“I’m fine,” Tatum replied. “Um, may I be excused?”
“Tate, you’ve barely eaten any of your dinner,” Damian pointed out. It was true. She’d mostly moved her food around on her plate. Her fork had made exactly one trip to her mouth. “Are you sure that you’re okay?”
“I’m fine,” Tatum said quickly. Craptastic, she thought to herself. “I just got to the good part of my book and I want to see what happens next.”
“What book?” Damian asked.
“Um, The Perfectionists,” Tatum said. Hopefully her dads didn’t pay as much attention to her reading material as they did to the contents of her phone. She had read–and finished–The Perfectionists a year ago. “I think that they’re about to find out who the killer is. Personally, I think that it’s Caitlin. How convenient is it that she’s the only one with a prescription for the drug that killed Nolan? Or that Nolan practically killed her little brother?” You idiot, Tatum thought. Why would you start babbling like that? Do you want to get caught?
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this excited to read a book,” remarked Adam. “It’s kind of funny. Go ahead and read your book, Tate. I expect full disclosure, though.”
“Of course,” Tatum said, but her mind was on autopilot. She could barely see straight as she placed her plate in the sink and walked to the garage. She actually did walk into a wall this time, but the blow to her head made her focus.
Once she was seated and had pulled out the book, Tatum had no trouble finding the page where she had left off.
…for both the Slayer and her nemesis. The Slayer will manage to defeat her nemesis, and at first, she shall feel victorious. This victory will be short-lived, and after the joy of winning wears off, she will feel the pain.
“Feel the pain of what?” Tatum wondered aloud. “After defeating my nemesis, will I feel, like, remorseful about it?”
“You just might, Slayer,” someone said from behind her. “I mean, I’m quite amazing. You’ll probably feel a strong pang of regret if you defeat me. Plus, that would mean such a sad ending for Daddy Dearest over here.”
Tatum whipped around, ready to fight her mysterious nemesis. Now that he had threatened her father, this guy was going down. Tatum would strangle him with her bare hands if necessary.
As Tatum took in her nemesis, she realised that his identity wasn’t so mysterious at all.
Her nemesis was Damian.
As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, he had come into the room covered in blood. Please, please, let Daddy be okay, Tatum thought. She hadn’t heard any screaming or painful moaning, so maybe Adam was doing fine. Well…maybe he was injured, but that was beside the point. All Tatum wanted was for him to be alive. She didn’t care what condition.
“Damian,” said Tatum slowly. “Holy freaking crap.” Now that Damian had revealed his true self to Tatum, his face looked pale, blank, and emotionless. It almost reminded Tatum of the Michael Myers mask, but Michael Myers had never scared her this much.
Damian looked disgusted. “Really? That’s all you’ve got?” he scoffed.
Despite the fact that she was freaking out, Tatum never let her eyes stray from Damian. “You’re a monster,” she hissed. “How could you do this?”
“It was quite easy, actually,” Damian said. “ I mean, I am a vampire. I don’t actually have feelings, but I am one brilliant actor.”
Tatum cocked her head to the side. She had to keep him talking, or at least keep talking herself. That was the only way that she could formulate a plan. One part of her really wanted her to just let him get away with everything, now that she knew who he was. “You definitely had me fooled. But why? Why did you do this? I mean, if you had this book, then you’d know that I defeat you.”
“And if you had completed a full year of training, like most Slayers do, you would know that unless a prophecy is literally set in stone, it may or may not come true,” said Damian. “The whole point of this was to preserve my life, Tatum. I don’t know about you, but I happen to enjoy being a sociopathic immortal.”
“That’s funny,” Tatum snapped. “I happen to enjoy snapping the necks of sociopathic immortals.” As she said that, she remembered that she was wearing a cross necklace. It wasn’t much, but she knew that it was a start.
“Well, gosh dang it, Tatum, I’m not sure that I can let you keep doing that,” Damian said. As he spoke, Tatum unclasped her necklace and looked around the garage for anything else she could use as a weapon. The only other thing she could think of was her house key, but she wasn’t sure if she could actually hurt Damian with that. “You see, I enjoy my psycho tendencies very much. There’s something about bloodshed, torture, and plain old manipulation that really excites a guy.”
“What?!” exclaimed Tatum.
“Nothing,” Damian replied quickly. “It’s beside the point, which is, I can’t let you go on slaying vampires. Most importantly, I can’t let you slay me.”
“Damian, you have literally been around for like, ever. Letting me kill you would be a favor.”
“Who said anything about you killing me?” Damian scoffed. “That’s so not in the book.”
“Um, hate to break it to you, sweetie, but you’re the one who told me that if it’s not set in stone, it can change. I can kill you.” Her voice grew stronger as she spoke, once she realized that her words were true. Damian had crossed an unforgivable line when he hurt her father.
“No, you can’t,” Damian said.
“Wanna bet?” said Tatum as she stuck him across the eye with her necklace. He let out an agonized moan. She knew that the cross would blind him, even if it was temporarily, and she was counting on that to get her to the kitchen, or even to her purse, so that she could grab a butcher knife or a stake.
Then she could kill him.
As Tatum ran through the house, she hoped that she had made the right choice. If Damian had chosen to hurt Adam instead of fight Tatum, she’d never be able to live with herself.
“You…can’t…hide…forever, Tatum!” Damian grunted. It was an effort for him to keep up with her, since he could only see out of one eye. Tatum made an effort to speed up, not even bothering to calmly sift through the contents of her purse. She just threw everything in every direction, aiming for Damian whenever she picked up a bottle of holy water.
“Hurry up, Tatum,” she mumbled to herself. Finally, she found what she was looking for–a wooden stake. She was just in time, too–Damian had just caught up with her. “Don’t you dare take one step!” she said, wielding the dagger. “Or I swear that I will kill you, right here, right now. No regrets, and no hesitation.”
“I doubt that,” Damian replied. Tatum narrowed her eyes at him. He was blind because of her. This was no time for him to doubt her.
“You’ll regret that,” Tatum said.
WIth only a moment’s hesitation, she plunged the stake into Damian’s chest. He was right. No matter what he did, Tatum would always be attached to him. One stab was more than enough for her. At the same time, she couldn’t compel herself to put the stake down. She stood up and went into the kitchen to call the police. Before they showed up, though, she would need to look like a girl who hadn’t just stabbed her stepfather to death.
She went into the bathroom and locked the door behind her. “I won,” she said to her reflection. “He thought I couldn’t. He thought that he’d beat me, but he didn’t. I won.”
She was so caught up in the moment that she didn’t hear Damian get up and walk towards the bathroom. She didn’t hear his voice say, “Don’t get too cocky, Tatum.” She didn’t even hear the bathroom door open.
When she did, she didn’t have time to scream. Neither did Damian. As soon as he stepped foot in the bathroom, she lunged at him, aiming the stake directly at his heart. This time, she wasn’t going to let him get by with one stab. Also, she planned on doing a better job of making sure that he was dead.
“Damian, you said that you enjoy torture, so I thought you’d enjoy this,” Tatum said. She had lugged his body out onto the street. “I hope that you rot in hell, Damian,” she said, lighting a match, and dropping it on his body.
She didn’t hesitate for a second.
It had been three days since Tatum killed Damian, and nothing even remotely supernatural had happened. Or if it had, no one had told her. She wouldn’t have cared, anyway. She had been sitting vigilantly at her father’s bedside for thirty-six hours.Even after he’d gotten discharged from the hospital, three weeks later, she kept a close eye on him, staying out of school to take care of him.
Now that she’d almost lost her father, she wasn’t ready to leave him, even to go to school. She couldn’t let anyone get between them. She wouldn’t let anyone get between them. Tatum promised herself that. Losing him would kill her, and so she would do anything to make sure that wouldn’t happen.
For a while, she was able to make good on that promise to herself. That is, until her junior year: the year that changed everything for them.