Vampire & Phantom

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He's like a vampire, always stalking the night. She's like a phantom, haunting all the places she doesn't belong. Together, they make an unlikely couple. Mainly because Veronica's already dead. He's like a vampire: sensitive to the sun, always working night shift, locking himself up in the house all day and drinking. She's like a phantom: mysterious, unemotional, and haunting. Vlad has admired Veronica all throughout high school, finding her the only one he could look up to. But they never had a chance to meet--until the sudden day she died. When he's given a note and the key to her house, Vlad decides to take the chance to learn all about the girl he admired from afar. But why did she invite him? Did she even know he existed? As he sifts through the dust of her abandoned single-floor house, Vlad can't help but shake the feeling she's still there. Alive in all her notes, all the clues she left behind, all the posters, books, CDs, and clothes... and even more confusing, still alive through him.

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Chapter 1


I’d never been to her house. Her eternity is one I’d never grasped—just admired from afar like a celestial body. A cosmic gathering glowing in violet. I was in my own, freakish universe. I mainly loitered about my house, acting morose and leafing through any books that dared pass my glance while the silvery moonlight bit at my skin. Everyone teases me and says I’m a real vampire—they don’t know the brunt of it.

My skin’s inhumanly sensitive to sunlight, so I became nocturnal. The darkness is more soothing, anyway—its embrace is a chilling caress, confiding but haunting but seductive. I’m used to it, of course, and am grateful for places that hire night shift. But, despite my ailment and dislike of my pessimistic nickname, I dress in black robes or other vampiric clothes just to get a kick out of it and because loose, flowing clothes are comfortable—I have to admit. Also, my name is Vlad.

My world and life is a simple one of chasing interests and burning away time casually like a candle melts away its wax. One would think it would be difficult—maybe even impossible—to create a set of principles for life that are so vastly outside the norm, but I just list off the things I’m grateful for, such as stores that are open 24 hours and the recording system on the DVR. And blinds. Truthfully, I live my life just like everyone else does, and it’s really just simple. It’s comforting to drive around while the world sleeps and to wake to the sky bursting with stars. It’s like the universe is my own, and the brightest star from high school was the center of my microcosm I’d set for myself.

But then the star fell. The school raged with a flurry of talks on the news—frantic or depressed or confused or in denial or calm. Mine, unfortunately, was calm. My star I had admired from afar was named Veronica Caubert. She wasn’t famous. She didn’t own a Maserati. She didn’t live in a big house. Her father wasn’t a doctor or a lawyer. Her mother wasn’t a big volunteer for the school. Her grades weren’t perfect. Her smile wasn’t infectious. Her style wasn’t precise. She wasn’t up on all the trends. She wasn’t different or eccentric or unique and didn’t make herself to be that way. But she had spirit.

The one thing I admired about her more than anything I had ever witnessed in any human being was her resilience. Nothing knocked down her mood or strayed her course. Sure, she was sad—but not depressed. Upset, but not violent. Lax—but definitely not lazy. She may not have been the top girl in anything or popular with the boys or the envy or friend of the girls, but she was the sun I revolved around. The ideal I sought. And her loss was enough to crack the school in half.

And, as much as I wished, our stars never met—our paths never crossed. And even now, I realize I really knew nothing about her. Nothing at all. That is, until this anonymous letter came to my doorstep. It was attached to a key which dragged the paper about like a servant, weighing the words down with purpose. The key to her house. She asked me to visit. To clean up her home for her after she’s departed. To put to rest all the rumors and the phantoms that surround the skeletal abode and herself.

So, of course, I mouthed “yes” and saddled on my shoes and stepped into the quiet night.

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Uju Edekobi: I have read almost all your stories and i love love love them ❤️❤️❤️❤️

K. S. Ryder: Very well written collection of stories. A few small errors in spelling but nothing too distracting. Keep writing!

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