The Monday after we'd arrived in Sangreville, I stood waiting beside the teacher's desk in Classroom 317. This was my first morning as a new student in Sangreville Senior High School. I'd spent the entire first period in the Office, getting properly enrolled.
I'd been given my class schedule and locker number. Then I'd come straight here, carrying a brand new notebook. I'd moved along with the crowds of students as they changed classes between periods. I noticed that most of the girls wore very short tight skirts, hanging less than half way down their thighs, or very short shorts, revealing the full lengths of their legs. Many of them wore tight, skimpy halter-tops. Others wore very tight and very thin mesh tee shirts with nothing else over their boobs; so their nipples could be clearly seen.
I also noticed that an unusually large number of girls had bandages on their necks; so did an unusually large number of guys. None of the guys wore revealing garments.
I was dressed in a short sleeved blouse, a skirt that hung to the tops of my knees, and flat-soled shoes. That's how we dressed back in Parmelton. Totally out of style, at least here in my new High School. I was definitely going to have to get myself an entire new wardrobe, and go on a little bit of a diet.
As I went past the lockers in the corridors, I noticed that some of the boys were looking me over.
I thought, Good-bye Larry. Hello whoever my Sangreville boyfriend will be.
Here in classroom 317, like in any classroom anywhere, there were blackboards, with chalk writing, and bulletin boards where many posters and other paper or cardboard items were tacked. Through the windows I saw the top floors and rooftops of neighboring buildings. In the distance I saw the burned out ruins of what had been the High School.
The school I was now in was located in an old office building that had been renovated to be the community's temporary Secondary School, until the construction of a new High School was completed.
The 11th Grade History teacher had not yet arrived. The desks were about half full of students; most of who had bandaged necks. More were coming through the doorway. Most of them looked at me with curiosity.
Somebody said, "New girl."
My cousin Diana was very a shapely girl with long brown hair. She sat at one of the desks dressed in a short, tight yellow skirt and matching halter, and had a fresh pair of bandages on her neck. She waved at me smiling.
I heard her say, "That's my cousin Elaine. They've just moved here to Sangreville."
She got up from her desk and began to come over to me, when the teacher entered the room. Diana backed away from me and sat down at her desk again, as did the other students who continued talking.
The teacher was a woman in her early thirties, with a good figure, but wore no revealing garments, and had no hickey or bandage on her neck. She wore a simple dress and sensible shoes. The woman also wore glasses. She came over to the desk carrying a briefcase, while looking at me without smiling.
She asked, "Are you a new student?"
"Yes." I handed her a form I'd been given at the office.
The woman sighed. She seated herself behind the desk and looked over the form.
"Your name is Elaine Harris?"
"You may call me Ms. Collins."
The bell rang. All the students were now in their seats, continuing to talk.
Ms. Collins called out, "Class!"
Everyone quieted down.
The teacher went on. "I want to introduce to you a new member of our Class. She is Elaine Harris."
The woman spoke to me. "Please tell us where you are from Elaine."
I told them all, "Parmelton, New Jersey."
Ms. Collins told them, "I want you to all welcome Elaine from Parmelton, New Jersey, to Sangreville, California High."
The class called out in unison, "Welcome Elaine from Parmelton, New Jersey, to Sangreville, California! Hi!" Then they all laughed. I grinned nervously.
The teacher told me, "I'm sure your classmates will do their best, to make you feel welcomed. You may take a seat Elaine."
Diana pointed to an empty desk directly to her right. I went over and sat there.
I heard a guy at a nearby desk say softly, "I'd like to make her feel welcomed with my (deleted)."
I acted like I hadn't heard him, and didn't glance in his direction.
Diana said, "Elaine. This is Roxanna."
She indicated the girl seated at the desk to her left. Roxanna had long, light brown hair. She wore a tight blue halter, with a very short skirt, along with an un-bandaged hickey in her neck.
I wondered, Are bandaged necks part of this School's dress code?
Then I noticed that Roxanna wore a necklace, holding the silver idol of a vampire bat with its wings extended, hung between her breasts.
Up at the front desk Ms. Collins checked the attendance.
She called out, "Does anybody know if Annabelle is absent, or is she just late?"
"Absent from life!" Roxanna called out smugly from her desk. "Right now her corpse is morphing into a vampire, and she's getting her fangs on! She was making out with a vamp at a fang-bang on Saturday night, and they had an accident!"
All the kids in the class chuckled.
Roxanna continued, "So she won't be attending classes any more, at least in the daytime."
"Oh that's too bad." said the teacher. "Well I hope the rest of you will be careful, when it comes to making out, especially with vampires."
The kids chuckled again.
Now Diana leaned over and spoke to Roxanna with a grin. "How far'd you go with that vamp guy you were making out with?"
The girl leaned toward her, also grinning, and replied. "He nibbled me and I fkd him."
"Same with me and my vamp guy. Just like everyone else at the fang-bang. I'm surprised that Annabelle was the only one of us who had a fatal accident."
"All right everyone!" Ms. Collins called out, "Open your textbooks to page…"
During lunch period, I stepped out of the kitchen into the Cafeteria, carrying a tray filled with that day's lunch. I was nervously looking around for an empty seat.
"Hey Elaine!" Dianna called out, "Over here!"
I went over and sat across the table from Diana, and Roxanna who still wore the vampire bat idol on her necklace. I began to eat, while continuing to feel very uneasy.
"Hello again Elaine." Roxanna asked, "So how do you like Sangreville High so far?"
"Well." I spoke cautiously. "The classes and the curriculum aren't all that different than they were at my old school. I'm just not sure about anything else."
Diana asked, "Like what?"
"Well…Sangreville is supposed to be some kind of Sodom and Gomorrah."
"Actually," Roxanna told me, "It's mostly Gomorrah here. Very little Sodom."
I told them, "There really are vampires in Sangreville, like all those stories you hear, and the town actually isright on top of a hell mouth."
"That's true." Roxanna nodded with a smile, while fingering the chain around her neck, where the bat-like figure dangled. "You can get away with anything you want, when you're living on a hell mouth."
"That's the problem." I said, "Just how long should I expect to be actually ‘living’, in Sangreville? That is instead of 'un-living'."
Roxanna told me, "That really isn't as much of a problem as you think Elaine, as long as you take some simple precautions. All you've got to do is wear a cross or a sprig of garlic on a chain around your neck, and hang a sprig of garlic or a cross in your window; and never invite a vampire inside your house."
Diana added, "Or inside of you."
She and Roxanna both giggled.
I smiled. "Well I'd never do that with any guy I'd just met. I only did it with my boyfriend back in Parmelton, and we'd been dating for a good amount of time, before I let him come inside."
Diana told me, "Nothing wrong with that."
"Another thing." Roxanna went on. "When you go out in the evening, don't go anywhere alone."
"I see." I said, "Well that all sounds like good advice, but is it really enough? I remember the news stories about the disaster that happened when a mob of vampires attacked the Homecoming Dance that was being held in the original Sangreville High Building. More than a dozen students were killed and the entire school was destroyed. That's why they're holding classes here, in this old office building. You can see the ruins of the old High School from the classroom windows. So I can't help but wonder. Just how safe is it really, here in Sangreville?"
Diana said, "It's actually a lot safer than it was before the attack on the school."
"You see." Roxanna explained. "The destruction was so terrible, it just made everyone in town stop and take a look at what we were all doing. A lot of people, both living and undead asked, 'Can't we just get along?' And that's just what we've been doing."
"'Getting along' with vampires?" I asked, "How is that possible?"
"Compromise. We give a little, they take a little."
"A little what?"
"Blood." Diana explained, "There is an agreement. According to its terms, we let vampires nibble our necks and sip out a few mouthfuls. About as much as you'd put in a coffee mug. They drink just enough to satisfy their thirsts, but not enough to kill us. That's how we got these hickeys."
"Oh. Is that what was going on, on Saturday night, at that ‘fang-bang’ I've been hearing about? Everyone was making out with vampires?"
"That's right. 'Enough to thrill us, but not to kill us'."
"But I heard about the girl who did get killed."
Roxanna told me, "That was an accident, and Annabelle was known for being careless; but you don't have to worry. When you get nibbled, just make sure that as soon as you start to feel light headed, tell your vamp to stop sucking."
"When I 'get nibbled'?" I asked, "You expect me to take part?"
"Well, you are now a resident of Sangreville, and everyone giving his or her neck, along with about a coffee mug's full of blood, is part of the agreement."
"What if he doesn't stop sucking?"
Roxanna said, "That means he's being thoroughly inconsiderate."
"But how would I know if a vampire is or isn't considerate, ahead of time?"
Diana said, "It's okay Elaine. We’ll introduce you to some really cool vamp guys. There's one guy who's just right for a newbie like you. All the girls here call him 'Mr. Goodbite'.”
"Oh." All I could think of to say was "Thank you."
I continued eating my lunch, not knowing what else to say, or what to think about the school where I was now enrolled as a student, about the vampires, especially "Mr. Goodbite”?
Then I finally thought of something.
"I've been seeing the way all the girls are dressed around here. It's very different than what we wore back in New Jersey, in the wintertime. I'm obviously going to have to get myself an entire new wardrobe; and it's gonna be very expensive."
"No problem Elaine." Diana said, "Roxanna and I'll take you over to Main Street after school lets out. There are some shops with a lot of good stuff, that isn't too expensive."
"Thank you." I said, "I really appreciate that."
"Oh and while you're on Main Street," Roxanna said, "I think it might be a good idea for you to pick up a copy of the 'Vampire's Handbook'."
"There's a Vampire's Handbook?"
"Yes. 'Everything a New Vampire Should Know', along with what a vampire's newbie date should know too. You can find them in a Main Street magic shop, that's called ‘Dark Arts R Us’."
"Oh yes." I told my cousin and my new buddy, "I've seen the place. Haven't gone inside. Thank you again. I hope."