Hi, folks. How's it going? Right now, I am standing over the body of someone I just killed. And quite frankly, I'm disgusted. The weird things that happen in this life never cease to amaze me, folks. Seriously. Even being who and what I am, the freaky stuff is a little much. My name is Thomas James Guillaume and by all appearances, I'm a rather wholesome young man of Haitian-American descent. Six feet two inches tall, broad-shouldered and bulky, with dark brown skin, pale bronze eyes and long black hair braided into neat cornrows. I play varsity soccer for the University of Waltham in the small Massachusetts town of the same name. Up until recently, life was good. Then I met the wrong bunch of people. That's when everything started to go wrong.

I really wanted things to go smoothly this year. Last year, a lot of crazy shit happened. We had a Pride War. A Pride War occurs when members of different Prides fight each other over resources, vengeance, honor, or some other reason used to justify bloodshed. As a male member of Pride Harosh, I had my work cut out for me. Oh, shoot. I think I may have gotten a little ahead of myself now. Sorry. Sometimes I forget that you humans don't know about us. And we want to keep it that way. Which is why I'm using an alias to tell the tale. There is a secret society out there which you know nothing of.

Not everyone you see in the streets or at your job is one hundred percent human. My kind have existed long before humans came along and we plan on being here long after you're gone. We look exactly like you. However, genetically we couldn't be more different. We're somewhat stronger and a bit faster than you are, on average. Not by too much, though. However, we tend to last a lot longer. We are immune to disease and the aging process in our bodies is slowed a great deal thanks to our regenerative abilities. Also, we have very sharp senses of sight, smell and hearing. It's not uncommon for some of us to live thousands of years. We only die if we're beheaded. Short of that, nothing can destroy us. At least not permanently.

Worldwide, there are a couple million of us. Living peacefully among human populations. And nobody has ever suspected us of being anything other than ordinary people. We've lived in peace and prosperity for centuries. All that came to an end last year, thanks to a Pride War. My grandfather, Alexander Guillaume, is the leader of Pride Harosh. He foolishly joined forces with the leader of Havok Pride, a headstrong and charismatic young woman named Helen Wilkins. She had succeeded her father as the leader of Pride Havok. Helen Wilkins wanted to unite the most powerful Prides to do the unthinkable. She wanted to conquer the human race. Yes, there seems to be a nutcase hell-bent on world domination pretty much everywhere you look these days. I thought I was done with the politics of the Pride. I'm a liberal-minded young man in a deeply conservative community. That's why I left my Pride's native territory of Haiti and sought my good fortune elsewhere.

I thought I had found my Holy Grail at the University of Waltham. The newest member of the NCAA Division One. A small private university originally founded in 1977. Thirty two years later, it had become one of the best schools in New England. With forty thousand students spread over campuses in Waltham, New Bedford and Woburn. I applied there and got accepted. My last school was the College Notre Dame Du Perpetuel Secours, an all-male private Roman Catholic school located in the major city of Cap Haitien, Haiti. I was an excellent student and a good athlete, excelling at soccer, basketball and wrestling. I loved that school. Many of the students were the sons of superhuman families like mine. It was the only place that ever felt like home. Unfortunately, I had to leave.

The University of Waltham was impressed with the fact that I had helped my old high school win a championship in varsity soccer. So they offered me a student-athlete scholarship. I was pleasantly surprised, to tell you the truth. My American cousins told me that soccer doesn't really rank high among the list of popular collegiate and professional sports, unlike Football, men's and women's Basketball and men's and women's Ice Hockey. The University of Waltham was a school which took intercollegiate athletics seriously. They sponsored Men's varsity Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Swimming, Water Polo, Ice Hockey, Football, Tennis, Wrestling, Rugby, Volleyball, Lacrosse and Golf along with Women's varsity Softball, Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Swimming, Ice Hockey, Field Hockey, Equestrian, Tennis, Rugby, Water Polo, Lacrosse, Golf and Volleyball. And they gave full scholarships for all student-athletes. How about that? Without really trying, I had landed the jackpot.

I moved into the University of Waltham's flagship campus. It was a big change. I honestly think I'm the only non-human at the school. Most members of my species prefer to live in warm climates. Places like Florida, New Mexico and Arizona are ideal. Anyhow, I had done what many thought was impossible. I had won myself a student visa to America and escaped the yoke of responsibility which my family cast over me. I tried my best to forget that young men and women from various Prides in Haiti were fighting and dying. All this over differing beliefs. Some members of the most powerful Prides believe that open warfare with the humans is imminent. And they actually think they can win such a war. I respectfully disagree. There are maybe five million of us living in various countries around the globe. There are seven billion humans on this planet. You do the math. It doesn't favor us. Yet among members of my Pride, I would have been executed for uttering these words. Tyranny is such an ugly way of life, folks. Like a virulent disease, it pops up everywhere. I'm told people are immune to it in America, the supposed land of the free. I hope so, for all our sakes.

At my new school, I majored in business administration. I've always had a head for numbers and I'm pretty good at reading people. I can see myself as a big-shot executive for some multinational corporation. Why not? It cannot be more difficult than watching my back from the treacherous and envious men and women of my own Pride. I thought of my parents, and sighed. My father, Francois Guillaume is the next in line for leadership of our Pride. He's the oldest among my grandfather's offspring. Among our kind, the oldest of a Pride leader's offspring become his or her successor, providing there's no challenge for the throne. I think my father will be challenged when the day comes that he has to assume the throne. A mighty challenge will come. But it won't be from me. My sister, Adrianna Guillaume, is the one person most likely to go after daddy dearest if and when he becomes the leader of one of the largest and most powerful Prides in our community.

How to describe Adrianna? A six-foot-tall, caramel-skinned, long-haired and bronze-eyed sistah with the beauty of an angel, the brains of a genius and all the conscience of a serpent. She's always been my father's favorite because deep down they're the same kind of people. He's ruthless, pragmatic and manipulative. You don't get to live as long as he has by being soft. Not in community of ruthlessly ambitious genetic wonders who see themselves as right below God Himself when it comes to might and right. Me? I've always been the mellow cat of the family. Cerebral, easygoing, sensitive and thoughtful. My other siblings are vicious, treacherous and deceitful. My brother Luther is personally responsible for over a hundred deaths in our hometown. He's my father's enforcer. And my father only answers to my grandfather, who himself answers to no one. With such warm and fuzzy people as my immediate family members, is it any wonder I wanted to put a continent between them and myself?

I thought I had it made at Waltham University. But I was wrong. What did I have to fear? The one thing every member of my species fear. A human who senses something different about you and wants to expose you, without fully knowing who or what you are. A young man named Theodore Morrison. Six feet tall, lean and muscular, with blond-white hair and pale, icy blue eyes. Captain of the varsity football team. The only son of James Edward Morrison, Provost of the University of Waltham. We weren't roommates but we lived in the same residence hall. The first time he laid eyes on me, he stared. I don't know why but the guy made me feel uneasy. He stared at me a little too intensely. I just knew he was going to be trouble.

For the most part I kept to myself on campus. I didn't date. It's not because I didn't feel like it. I wasn't preparing to be a monk or nothing like that. However, I had reservations about dating a human. There were quite a few handsome men and sexy women on campus. Still, they were only human. Limited in strength, speed, power and knowledge. My kind are discouraged from mingling with the humans for fear of discovery. We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they would hunt us down like cattle if they knew we existed. He or she who lets the humans find out about our species, deliberately or carelessly, will be hunted down by all the Prides. It's our one sacred rule. Besides, did I really want to get involved with a human from this land anyway? In Haiti, my kind were respected and revered. We had been the protectors of the Haitian people during the days when they fought against the French Empire's oppression and brought an end to slavery on their island. If I were to take a human as a lover, it would be someone from back home. Not someone from around here. Never mind that I had pretty young white women as well as some young men fawning over me, thanks to the fame I acquired with my prowess on the Men's Soccer team. The last thing I wanted was to get involved with one of them, though. More trouble than they were worth, thanks to false accusations of anything from sexual harassment to assault. Yeah, I didn't want that kind of attention. No thanks. I'm good.

I was doing alright. Then, one day, my cover was blown. I saw an old blind guy and his dog crossing the street one night. This drunk woman came barreling down the street in an SUV. The old man and his dog were directly in her path. Responding to a sense of decency I would have denied if asked about it, I rushed. Moving with superhuman strength and speed, I snatched the old man and his dog and rushed them to the sidewalk. The drunk woman's car crashed into an empty restaurant at eighty miles an hour. Later, I found out she was dead on impact. Before the old man could say anything, I was gone. Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished. Someone had seen my act of misguided heroics. That someone was college football star Theodore Morrison. He saw the whole thing, and took off like a missile. I took off after him.

I didn't know what I was going to do. Maybe I could reason with him, explain that if he exposed me, he'd be exposing both of us to danger. He made a mad dash toward the campus. He was fast. But he was only human. I'm naturally faster. I caught up with him. He stared hard at me as I held him against a building wall. Giggling, he told me that he always knew there was something wrong with me. I was too secretive. He laughed, and said he was going to tell the whole world about me. That's when something inside of me snapped. I couldn't let him do that. Expose my entire community all because of my mistake. I had saved a human life, and now my act of kindness was going to destroy my species. I couldn't allow it. So I snapped Theodore's neck. His limp body slumped in my arms. I stood over him, shaking my head. It didn't have to be this way. My kind and his didn't have to be enemies. Unfortunately, he made his choice. And I made mine. I guess it's something I will learn to live with it. Eventually.

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