Sandy was in the hallway, obsessing over her chin. Caleb had promptly made his excuses the second Dr. Goth had arrived. He said he would be in touch. Sandy hoped that April’s unusual behaviour that evening hadn’t put him off. Her face still needed fixing after all and she had rather enjoyed the company of the quiet young man.
So she was ever so slightly disappointed when he called her himself that morning to tell her he thought it best she find another doctor. She had taken it out on Travis, who just happened to be walking by, and who was now too terrified to walk past her again so had been hiding in the bathroom for three hours.
Now she was calling every doctor in Del Sol Valley. Unfortunately, news about her treatment of Dr. Caliente, a well-respected figure in the city, had travelled fast. After dialling the fifth number she was starting to wonder if it was too early in the year to be wearing a turtleneck. As she idled at her reflection, considering her options, she was rudely disturbed by the blood-curdling sound of April screaming.
Whether it really was some deeply buried love for her only daughter, or just the worry the neighbours might hear, Sandy rushed towards the landing where the scream had come from.
Much to her surprise, April was standing on the landing, seemingly fine. Sandy approached her, anger hot in her cheeks. Did April not care that she had a reputation to uphold and an image to maintain?!
Something about her daughter stopped Sandy in her tracks. April looked different, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Was she wearing… acrylic?
“Everything OK, Mother?” April asked. “You look ever so flustered”. Her smile was sweet but her voice dripped heavy with insincerity. Sandy recognised that combination, she had practically created it.
“I… I thought I heard a scream.” Sandy whispered. Where has my fight gone?
April smiled; her soft voice seemed to float through Sandy. “Everything’s fine.”
Almost like her mind was not her own, Sandy nodded at her daughter and turned to head back down the stairs.
April watched her mother go, not quite sure what had just happened, but relieved all the same. She headed towards her room, her steps light and chin high. The pain had completely subsided and she felt great now. Maybe it was just a virus after all.
The early afternoon sunshine broke through her window and she felt her head throb with the brightness of it. Drawing the curtains she reached beneath her bed and pulled out her stolen library book. She again ran her fingers over the softly embossed words on the cover Encylopedia Vampirica.
When the book had first been suggested to her, she had laughed. Vampires? There’s no such thing. It certainly wasn’t the kind of answer April had expected when she had asked how she might live forever. Vampires, as well as being fiction, weren’t even alive, were they?
She didn’t really know why she decided to search for a copy of the book online, but her interest was certainly piqued when the only mention she could find of it was in a list of books sold at auction to Windenburg Library in 1992.
She traced her fingertips down her face, her neck. She didn’t feel any different. She didn’t really know how she was supposed to feel, truth be told. She had wanted to ask Caleb so many questions that night but it had all gone so wrong. She had been so stupid, so awkward.
She turned again to the article about the Vatores. She had read it so many times the words rolled from her tongue even before her eyes saw the text.
Vampyre Infestation Finally Exterminated
Wilbert Wangshaft, renowned vampyre slayer, this morning presented to the townsfolk of Windenburg five decapitated heads belonging to the last remaining members of the known vampyre families: Straud and Vatore. The heads will be on display to the public until the next full moon, whereby they will be ceremoniously destroyed by holy water and fire. Tickets 1d.
She sank back on to the plushness of her bed, the book opened on her chest like a butterfly. Her mind wandering back to Caleb. Oh, he was so mysterious. What was his story?
She fantasised about meeting him again, about what she would say. Images fluttered through her head. Her imagination was vivid, so often her only escape.
They could run away somewhere together. Neither of them would ever have to be alone again. Her mind was drifting back to that night; the way he had held her, the way he had looked at her.
…The way he had taken her.
A different kind of fantasy started to emerge. April closed her eyes and allowed the scene to knit together in her mind. Lost to her thoughts, the heavy book slid to the floor beside her.
She didn’t even notice.