My eyes are open again. I’m not in Hell and I’m not in Heaven. I’m looking up at a ceiling, while lying on a comfortable mattress. I’m in my own bed, in my own room. Around me are my own familiar belongings, in our apartment on Sullivan Street, just half way up the block from Main Street, in Sangreville.
The room is dark. Outside the window it’s also dark, except for the streetlights. The house across the street has its lights on. I hear traffic moving along Main Street. A dog is barking. A car drives along slowly with its headlights on and radio blaring. Kids speed down the street on skateboards, while laughing and shouting. That means it’s now early evening. Everything is just the way anyone would expect; comfortingly normal.
What is most comforting for me is my knowing that I’m not dead. What’s most discomforting, is wondering why I’m not dead, or in a hospital room.
My door is shut. I hear my mother speaking, but her words are a soft, distant mumble. The television is on. It’s also mumbling.
I reach out and switch on the lamp on the end table beside my bed, then push the blanket off of me. All I have on are my panties that I’d put on yesterday morning. Was that yesterday? I stand up, putting my feet in my comfortable soft slippers; walk over to my vanity table and look in the mirror. As always, my hair’s a mess. I also have a very large, flesh colored, antiseptic bandage taped across the narrow wound between my boobs. What I no longer have is pain from the wound or any difficulty moving.
Wait! Just one single large bandage? How long was I in the Hospital? Was I in the Hospital?
I now comb my hair, to at least look reasonably neat. I put on a pair of shorts, along with a blouse to hide the bandage. Are my carefree, publicly bare boob days over, when they’ve hardly even begun? That’ll depend on just how bad the scar between them looks, once the bandage is removed.
I open the door and step out into the hallway. I hear my mother in the kitchen, talking on her cell phone.
She’s saying, “Elaine’s wound wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it looked; hardly more than a scratch. The arrowhead was stuck in the cross dangling on the necklace she borrowed from Diana. That took most of the force, so it didn’t penetrate Elaine’s flesh more than a few centimeters.
“That’s right Jo. It looks like God really does look after fools and teenage girls, who think that they can, ‘get away with anything, while they’re living on a hellmouth’.”
I step into the kitchen, where my mother’s seated at the table, talking on her cell phone.
She looks at me and says into the phone, “She’s up. I’ll call you back. I hope you hear something about Paula soon.”
Then she clicks off the device.
“I haven’t gotten away with anything,” I tell her, “and neither did Paula. If they want to find Paula, they should look inside the Demons Gateway Cavern. There’s a good chance that’s where they’ll find her remains.”
“Her ‘remains’?” Mom shudders. “My niece is dead?”
I nod. “She was standing right next to me, just outside the entrance, when she was shot with an arrow through her boobs. She was shot by one of mine and Diana’s classmates, who’s named Roxanna. Roxanna is one of those people who worship Vampirania. She killed her as an act of sacrifice to Vampirania.”
“She was not wearing a cross, or anything that could shield her Mom, so she was killed.”
“But isn’t she already dead, or ‘undead’?” She says, “Isn’t your cousin Paula a Vampire?”
I exclaim, “The arrow’s shaft was a wooden stake driven through her heart! That’s all you need to put an end to any vampire! Totally and for all time! That’s including the heart of Sangreville’s own Vampire Staker Vampire!”
I sit down at the table. We say nothing for about a minute or so.
Then my Mom asks, “Are you hungry? Would you like me to fix you an evening breakfast?”
“Good. I’ve got some blood in the fridge. Would you like me to warm it up for you?”
I’m caught totally off guard by that question.
“What did you say Mom? Blood?”
“Oh. You haven’t realized it yet.”
“You haven’t yet, come to the realization, that you, my daughter who I love, are now a vampire.”
This statement causes another long moment of silence.
I ask, “I am?”
She nods sadly. “You now have fangs.”
“I do?” I lick my tongue along the edges of my teeth. I am able to extend my fangs, which now stick out from between my lips. “Right. I do.”
“That’s why you were in such agony when Aunt Josephine and I found you. You’re a vampire who was suffering from being out in the daylight.”
I again do not have any idea what to say.
My Mom explains. “You died after you were bitten and sucked out by a vampire.”
“No I didn’t.” I shake my head. “I fainted, during the fang bang, but just for a few moments. Then I didn’t have fangs after I revived, and I was able to walk around in the daylight.”
“I’m not talking about the fang bang. It happened last night.”
“Last night? Right. I was also killed by Roxanna, who shot the arrow that struck me, as another sacrifice to the demon. It cracked through the cross I was wearing and stabbed me straight through the heart; so I should still be completely dead like Paula, instead of undead.”
“I don’t understand it either.” She shakes her head. “But whatever the cause, I’m glad my daughter is still alive.”
“Not ‘alive’. It’s called ‘undead’ Mom.”
“Whatever you call it; God is more powerful than any demon; than any multitude of demons; and He has truly blessed both of us. I will continue to think of you as ‘alive’.”
I tell her, “I’m not sure if I’d call it a ‘blessing’ Mom. Just before Roxanna shot me, she said that since I was the only one standing beside the Staker Vampire when she died, the next Staker Vampire of Sangreville would be me.”
I nod. “She thought she’d put an end to that by shooting me, and that I’d stay dead; but now that I’m undead, I’m expected be the next one who enforces the Truce. Now here’s one thing that I’m sure about Mom. Being the next Staker is not a job that I want.”
We are both silent again.
Mom gets up from the table, goes to the refrigerator and takes out a plastic container, containing a red liquid. She pours some of the contents into a coffee mug that she places in the microwave oven, and heats it up for 2 minutes.
Then she takes the mug out, brings it over to the table and places it in front of me.
“Here you go.” She says, “Enjoy your breakfast.”
I look inside the mug, at the warm and nourishing, bright red liquid.
“Blood?” I ask.
“I’ve been told it’s not human. I’m not really sure about that, but I’ll take the butcher’s word on it.”
I pick up the mug, put it under my nose and smell the warmed up liquid inside. The aroma is very pleasantly appetizing. I put the mug in my mouth and begin drinking down the very tasty and refreshing meal, while thinking,
One thousand one! One thousand two! One thousand three!…
Mom asks, “Would you like something to eat with that? I mean if that’s any kind of a possibility.”
I look up. “I don’t know if it’s a possibility Mom. I’ll ask around about it. Right now I’ll just stay with this.”
…, One thousand nine! One thousand ten!
I’ve finished my liquid blood breakfast.
“Thank you Mom.” I tell her, “I feel very refreshed; a lot more than I expected.”
She smiles, “That’s good to know.”
“And I have a very strong feeling of energy, and my mind is suddenly clear.”
“Why that’s wonderful!”
My mind is clear. I’m not telling my Mom what I’ve been thinking about. What I’ve been thinking about, is what I might do as the next Staker Vampire. I’ve been thinking that the first vampire, who I might stake, might be Roxanna. Now that I have fangs, I might also be the one who bites her.
No. My mind is clear. Whoever bites her won’t be me; and I won’t be the one who stakes her either.
I tell my mother, “Now I’d like to go out for a walk.”
She cheers. “That’s my girl!”
I get up and go to my room. I fix my hair and makeup.
Now I notice a booklet on the end table beside my bed. It’s a devotional booklet titled “Messages From God to You”, which contains Biblical quotations without commentary.
I now remember what happened when Paula was shot. I dropped the Bible I’d just read from. I don’t remember seeing it beside me when I woke up outside the Cavern. As a not entirely repentant Christian, I am going to need its guidance.
Now, for the first time since I arrived here in Vampire Town, I get down on my knees and pray.
“Lord.” I pray, “What do you want me, Elaine Harris to do?”
Do Godly things. Do Righteous things.
“Could you narrow that down and be specific?”
Begin by confessing your sins.
“Okay. I have committed carnal sins. I have fornicated. I have been drunk. I have…? I’m trying to think of other sins. Oh yes. I’ve behaved shamelessly, and as a result, I am now a vampire with fangs. Do I have to go into detail about every other sin? You know all my sins.”
Are you really being repentant?“Whether I am or not, I want to know. What do you want me to do about Roxanna, Vampirana, and all these other evil things that are going on here in Sangreville?”
I pick up the 24 page booklet, flip it open with my index finger and come upon a passage titled, “Love Your Enemies”.
Among the passages I read:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I shut the booklet, and put it back down on the end table.
Okay. I’ve decided to stop thinking about biting and staking Roxanna. I should let God handle the vengeance. Is she gonna get a pile of burning coals dumped on her head?
I pick up my handbag, come back out of my room and return to the kitchen.
My Mom tells me, “Instead of you just going for a walk, I think it’d be better for you to head over to the High School. You should re-enroll for night classes, just like your cousin Diana and all the other teenage vampires have done.”
I tell her. “That’s a good idea.”
“I’m glad you agree.” She asks, “Is Nathan enrolled too?”
“Forget it Mom!” I remind her, “I’m not attending any more fang bangs!”
“Is that still possible?” She asks, “Now that you’re a vampire?”
Lord, I pray silently, have mercy on me a sinner.