Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 28

Vampire Boys Of Summer Main Page

CHAPTER 28: Guidance Counselor & A Dangerous Lunch
If I thought the rest of the school day would be without event, I was mistaken. After the bizarre attack from the math teacher, Chinatsu wandered off down the hall, and Mrs Thomas went back to her office, leaving Angela and I alone. We watched the other students eye us warily and go to their classes.

“That was a good kick,” I finally told Angela.

She grinned. “I don’t know what came over me. Good thing I’m not in his class.”

“Yeah, me neither.”

“I don’t know what’s weirder, him eating a rat or trying to attack you. What’s he have against you anyway?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. I didn’t say as much, but I felt it was connected to last night’s assault. That’s not what puzzled me though. It was the few words he said to me. Icarus. This wasn’t the first occasion I’d heard it, but this time It had sounded almost derogatory. Was he calling me a name, or was it a code word, a clue to the vampire master’s identity? What did Icarus even mean anyway? And why did he say soon it would be my turn? My turn for what? The slave and master thing didn’t sound too promising either. After all, I didn’t think he was talking about Fifty Shades Of Grey.

“Things are definitely getting strange in Chelsea Valley,” Angela said, as we headed to our classes. Her Spanish Class was on the second floor so we climbed the stairs, neither of us very anxious to get there.

“What do you mean, strange?” I asked.

“Just people. Acting all funky and weird and shit. Guys hanging outside my house.”

I stopped. “What?”

She shook her head. “Yeah. Last night there were like three guys sitting on the low wall across the street. Just chilling. They kept looking up at my house like Lana Del Rey lived there or something. I looked out the window one time and they even waved at me. I shot them the finger and they all laughed.”

“Do you know who they were?”

“No, never seen them before. They were older, like college guys or something. Normally, I’d find that inviting, but last night it was creepy. The last time I looked out they had come off the wall and were in the middle of the street. Then this other guy came walking down the street and they took off. I guess they didn’t want anyone but me to notice them. Bunch of freaks.”

“Yeah, that’s freaky.” I wanted to tell her what had happened to me but I couldn’t. I felt like I would regret it later, but I had to keep my silence.

“But hey, my night was nowhere as bad as yours,” Ang added.

“What do you mean?”

“You know, your dad.”

I hung my head. “Yeah, it doesn’t get much worse than that.”

But actually it does. A worse notion is an invasion of evil vampires taking over the school and all of Chelsea Valley. I was hoping that Haru and Ryo were having some luck today finding Bram.

While Angela was stuck in Spanish Class, I had to endure Art. Normally it was one of my favorite classes, but I couldn’t quite concentrate on the assignment. The class was halfway over when Miss Thomas came looking for me and asked that I accompany her to her office.

Once there, we sat for a few moments in silence, her at her desk, me in the sofa chair across from it. Finally, she sighed.

“I am so sorry about your father, Nora. You and your mother have my deepest sympathies.”

“Thank you.”

“If there’s anything I can do…”

“No, I think we’re okay,” I said , trying to head her off from the typical spate of condolences that come at time likes this.

She nodded her head and seemed to be contemplating saying anything further. She picked up a pen and nervously twirled it between her fingers. After a moment, she set it down and said what was really on her mind.

“Mr. Sharp has been taken into police custody. He will be taken to the hospital to be evaluated. Detectives will want to question you eventually, I imagine. Are you okay with that? “

“Yeah, no problem.”

“The school will have to notify your mother as to what happened. But before we do, is there anything you’d like to tell me? Something the school should know?”

“No.”

“You don’t know why Mr. Sharp attacked you?”

“No. He’s not even one of my teachers. I’ve never spoken to him or acknowledged him in any way before. I mean, I know who he is. He’s a popular teacher, but I wasn’t aware he knew me.”

“So what exactly happened?”

“Angela and I were walking down the hall. We saw some people outside the classroom and when we got there and looked in, he was at his desk foaming at the mouth. Then he got up and attacked me.”

She nodded, picked up her pen and jotted something down on a notepad in front of her.

“Did he say anything to you ?”

“No, mam,” I lied . I didn’t think she’d understand any of his words to me. There was no point in divulging them to anyone except my Asian vampire friends.

She made another note. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

She sighed as if she knew I was lying. “Anything else unusual about him?”

“No.”

“Eating a rat isn’t unusual?”

I didn’t look at her. Instead I tried focusing my attention at the window, wishing I could will myself out of the room.

“Look, Nora. You can talk to me. It’s okay. You can trust me.”

I wasn’t so sure about that. I mean, could I really trust her enough to say there were vampires in Chelsea Valley? No, I didn’t think so. It was best that the less she knew, the better off she would be. Ignorance is bliss.

“I know the things you go through as a teenager,” she continued. “I was there myself once. I know that the culture may be different than when I grew up, but the feelings are the same. I will understand anything you tell me and try my best to help you through it.”

I doubted very seriously she’d understand anything I was going through, but I decided to go out on a limb.

“What does Icarus mean?” I asked .

This threw her off big time. “Excuse me?”

“The word, Icarus. What does it mean?”

She still seemed thrown off, as if she couldn’t understand what my question had to do with anything, let alone teen insecurities or problems.

“Well…um….Icarus I believe, if this is what you are referring to…he was a figure in Greek Mythology. He flew too close to the sun. Um, I never was much into mythology myself. Perhaps you should ask your history teacher about it. I believe they may….”

“Okay, thank you,” I replied, heading her off from rambling even further. I didn’t think she’d be much help, but she had asked for me to talk, so there you go.

I got up from my chair. “Is that all? Can I go back to class now?”

“Yes, that’s it for now. I’ll talk to your mom about the incident soon.”

I didn’t know if she meant it as a threat, but it didn’t scare me half as much as the thought of evil vampires running up and down the halls.

“Okay, I’ll tell her,” I replied, and headed for the door.

“Uh, Nora?”

I stopped, but only half turned to her. “Yes?”

“See you in summer school.”

“Yeah, great.”

I didn’t know it, but it would be the last time we’d have a somewhat friendly conversation.

At lunch, I met up with Angela and told her about Miss Thomas calling me into her office like she was the principal or something.

“Does she think you did something to make Sharp attack you?” She asked. “Because that’s stupid.”

“I don’t know, Ang. She was like trying to be my friend and stuff. It was kind of weird, the more I think about it.”

“She always seems weird to me. But then again most teachers do.”

That reminded me of something Miss Thomas had said. “Hey Angela, you seen Miss Lazenby today?”

She looked at me and frowned, as if the mention of our history teacher was another bone of contention between us. “No. We had a substitute first period. Probably stuck up Ryo’s ass.”

“Yeah I saw her there the other day too,” I agreed.

“I don’t know what he sees in her,” Angela lamented. “She’s moved in with him. I mean, Jesus, she may be dressing like she’s twenty these days, but she’s old enough to be his mom.”

I wanted to tell her I wasn’t so sure about that assumption, but I shut up and let her talk. The relationship between Lazenby and Ryo obviously upset her, even though I didn’t think there was anything to it. From my viewpoint, she seemed more like a servant or helper than a lover. But knowing Ryo, who could tell?

“I went by there this morning,” she continued. “He hadn’t called me since I went over the other night. The night you and I argued.”

“How did that go?”

She smiled. “Oh, he was gracious enough. Walked around shirtless most of the time. Yay for me.” She grinned and leaned close. “He has an awesome tattoo on his chest.”

Part of me almost told her I had seen it before, but that wouldn’t have turned out too well. I could tell she had fallen for him big time.

“Unfortunately nothing happened,” she said in a disappointed tone. “We watched some TV, talked about school and living in Chelsea Valley. I tried to snuggle up close, but then Miss Lazenby came in with some sodas for us and she kissed him.”

“She did what?”

“It wasn’t on the mouth or anything. But she kissed him on the neck and put her hand right on his chest. I could have killed her. The only thing that made me feel better was the irritated look he gave her. He said something to her like, ‘I have a guest,’ and she backed out of the room as if he said he was going to rip her head off or something. It was weird, but I got the impression something was going on between them. Still, the night went pretty well afterward. I just wish he would have made some kind of move on me. I mean hell, I was wearing my slutty best.”

She sighed as if remembering the night and all the things she had hoped that would happen but never did. “Anyway, I haven’t heard from him since then, so I went over before school. I didn’t make it past the door. She was there. I can’t compete with an older woman. Especially when she looks stunning in her low cut vampire dress.”

“Her what?”

Angela frowned. “Yeah, she was dressed like Morticia from The Adams Family, but revealing a lot more skin. Not what I wanted to see this morning.”

I didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry, Ang. I know you really like him a lot.”

For a moment I thought she was going to cry. “He’s a freaking dream,“ she said. “I just wish he would notice me as someone other than a guest.”

I felt bad for my friend. I knew she had it bad for him, but if Chi was right, Ryo was quite loveless, just like his tattoo said. I couldn’t tell her this though. I couldn’t dash her dreams like that. “Give it time,” I said. “He’ll come around eventually.”

“I hope so. I won’t be young and insatiable forever.”

I grinned. Now this was sounding like Angela again. I reached over and patted her hand. “You’ve got nothing to worry about. You are fun to be around, you have a loving heart and a rocking body, and you don’t give up, and…”

She pulled her hand away, a fake shock look on her face. “I knew it! The rumors are true. You are trying to hit on me!”

I laughed at her joke. “Don’t you wish!”

“What does she wish? That she could be as hot as she thinks she is?”

We both turned to the new voice. Someone had obviously approached the table while we were having our laugh. But neither of us were smiling now. Before us stood The Trumps, all three of them. Amanda grinned.

“I couldn’t let the school year end without returning a favor,” she snarled, right before her fist connected with my face. There wasn’t time to avoid the blow, but her aim was off. Instead of getting me in the nose like Chi had done to her, her fist met my eye.

The world spun and threatened to go dark for a second. I saw Angela try to get to her feet, but Amanda’s cronies shoved her back down in her chair. I shook my head, trying to throw the pain and dizziness off of me. Out of my good eye, I saw Amanda lean down until her face was level with mine. I noticed her nose was still a little off, as if it hadn’t quite healed right.

“I hear you are a cutter,” she whispered, so no one else could hear. She grabbed my arm and with a sharp jerk stretched it out on the table. “So, let’s cut.”

I tried to pull my arm away, but she kept it pinned to the table. With a devilish grin Amanda pulled something out of her back pocket. At first, I thought it was a knife, but I quickly realized it was something worse. It was a jagged piece of metal that had apparently been broken off of something much larger. As a result, it had a jagged edge and I could imagine the damage it would bring if it should slice through the skin of my arm. I feared not only the painful and bloody mess it would make, but also the possibility of infection, like tetanus or something.

I struggled against her grip. She had the advantage, as I was seated and she was hovering over me, allowing her full weight to come to bear on holding my arm in place.

“No, don’t,” Angela pleaded on my behalf.

The weapon hovered over my arm.

“You can beg for mercy,” Amanda snarled at me.

“You wouldn’t give it,” I replied between clenched teeth.

She laughed. “You’re right. I wouldn’t.”

My other arm was still free, but the positioning of Amanda’s body prevented me from reaching her with it. Instead I gripped the edge of the table, intending to shove my chair back in hopes I could break free of my assailant.

Chrissie Trump prevented me from doing so. While her cousin Kari had hold of Angela’s struggling form, she grabbed my free arm pulling it behind my back and holding it there. I grimaced from the pull of the muscle in my shoulder. Pain erupted in my arm and back, and it felt like it was shooting straight for my head and the already hurting of my punched eye.

I wondered why no one was helping me. Maybe I’d gotten used to being rescued, but I found it odd no one was coming to my aid. Haru had promised to protect me, to make sure nothing bad happened to me, and yet here I was fighting for my life with an insane for revenge Amanda Trump. And where was Chi? Luhan? They both had been looking out for me during school, so why was I now on my own?

As I was being held in place, and Amanda taunted me with the prospect of opening up my arm from wrist to shoulder, I managed to twist my head around. I noticed nearly everyone had scattered to the four winds. While a few onlookers remained, those who would grow up to be the kind to stop at fatal car crashes and gawk, everyone else had made themselves scarce. It reminded me of the old westerns dad used to watch. Bad guy walks into the saloon and everyone backs out of the way or hides behind something so as not to get struck by stray bullets.

“Not going to beg?” Amanda hissed, bringing me back to the immediacy of my plight. The jagged piece of metal hovered over my arm.

“No,” I muttered weakly.

I felt the sharp metal touch my arm. It rested lightly against my flesh, not cutting into it. Yet.

“How about now?”

She leaned closer and I could almost hear Angela whisper in her head for me to go ahead and beg. But I was done with this. I was tired of living in fear of the Trump bitches. They had terrorized the school, and I was determined my days of running and hiding from them were coming to an end right now. I shook my head and mumbled something anguished under my breath.

With an evil grin and a vain flip of her long blond hair, she leaned so far down her ear was nearly at my mouth. She laughed between gritted teeth. “What did you say? I don’t think I heard that.”

“I said, bite me,” I spat and turned my head towards her, sinking my teeth into her scrawny little neck.

She screamed and let go of my arm, trying to pull away. Chrissie let me go too, backing up enough that I could scoot my chair away from the table. I reached up with my once imprisoned arm and grabbed the slut by her hair, pulling her towards me. I bit down harder. I felt the tearing of her skin. I tasted blood in my mouth. It was pretty nasty and I spit it out, back onto her mauled neck. I let her go and shoved her away from me. She had dropped the jagged metal on the table top. I picked it up and pounced on top of her in an animalistic rage. She was holding her bloody neck with one hand and started to shriek at the top of her lungs, “Help! She’s killing me!”

I felt someone grab my arm and try to pull me off of her. It was Angela. “Don’t do it, Nora,” she begged, and managed to twist the metal shard out of my hand.

Something collided with my head. Kari had picked up one of the cafeteria chairs and hit me with it. The room spun and threatened to go black.

Amanda was still screaming her head off when I fell over, my head hitting the cold school floor. I could hear footsteps running towards us. Looking up, I discovered someone had finally come to save me, but with my fading vision I couldn’t tell who. I couldn’t even find the voice to declare they were too late. Through my hazy view I could see Angela, dumbfounded and maybe a little angry, looking at me as someone knelt by my side. Their features were a blur, but the concerned, worried look told me Haru had come to save me at last.

I closed my eyes, knowing I was safe now. He wrapped his protective arms around me and cradled my head to his chest. I could feel his heart beating against my ear, but it didn’t sound right. The beat was off slightly, sounding stronger than I remembered from our intimate times together. I managed to open up my good eye as he scooped me up and cradled my body to carry me away.

“Haru?” I asked.

He smiled. I could see his beautiful white teeth through the haze. His intense dark eyes. His long black hair with the purple streak through it. It wasn’t Haru. It was Ryo.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017, 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Article about Amazon Books

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/5/19/15596050/amazon-buy-box-publishing-controversy

The above article was pointed out to me, so I thought of sharing it. If you have books available for purchase through Amazon or you are considering publishing soon, this may be worth the read. If anything it may enlighten you to changes in how books get promoted and who is getting paid for your hard work. 

On a personal note, this is one of the reasons I abandoned most of my efforts to write for a living. It’s crazy out there for authors to make a buck. Though I’d love to be paid for my work, I have become content at the moment with just sharing my writing with those who like to read. On Amazon, you practically have to give books away to get readers anyway. Hopefully things will change in both the publishing world and my attitude about my place in it 😉

Rest In Peace Chris Cornell

No poetry today. No stories. Just devastation over the death of Chris Cornell, one of my favorite singers of the grunge era. We have lost so many of these amazing artists. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Layne Staley (Alice In Chains), Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Andrew Wood (Mother Love Bone), just to name a few off the top of my head. Adding Cornell to the list was unexpected, and like other fans I’m in shock. Today I won’t be writing . I’m too numb. Instead I will be listening to Chris’ bands, Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, and Audioslave, as well as his amazing solo work. For in the 90s he helped provide the soundtrack of my life and moved me on a deep, emotional level. Rest In Peace, Chris.

A Real Neat Blog Award :)


A huge thank you to https://ambroseandelsie.wordpress.com/ for this nomination. 
The rules

Put the award logo on your blog.
Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Please Answer the Following Questions

If you could apologize to one of your characters, which one would it be and why? Do you think they would accept your apology or would they go nuts throwing heavy, breakable things at you?

Cole Winter, the lead character and narrator from “Advocate For The Dead.” I put him through every loss imaginable on his way to redemption. I’m not sure if he would apologize or not. That was a lot of abuse 😉

Which post and/or character are you most proud of?

This is like the impossible question as I am proud of a lot of my characters. Part of my storytelling process is changing characters. Bringing them to a point of redemption, forgiveness, or anything that will make them better than how they started. So, in that sense I have favorite characters in all that I write. As for a favorite post, I’m most recently proud of the final post for “Time Of Our Death”. Not only did it complete my 2016 NANOWRIMO project, but it was also very satisfying to me as a reader discovering my own story for the first time.

How would you describe your writing style?

First person, straight forward, as if I’m sitting amongst friends telling them something that happened to me.

If you could change one thing about your blog, what would it be?

I have no idea, lol….more visits maybe 😉

What is the best comment you’ve received on your blog?

If someone even takes the time to comment , they are the best. I have some regular readers who comment on my writing and that helps propel me along in what I’m trying to do here. I take every compliment, praise, critique, or opinion as wonderful things. I just feel blessed that I get a comment at all. 🙂

Do you think your writing style has improved since you started blogging?

I would like to think so, but I’m the worse judge of my own work. Often I have written something I think is crappy and it turns out to be someone’s favorite part. But yes, I guess I do feel like I have gone through changes in my writing style. I just can’t pinpoint what they are. 

And, for the sheer random fun of it, if you had to be stranded on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be? And which one of your characters would you dread being stranded on a deserted island with?

Again, this is one of those difficult questions, despite it’s fun quality. I could pick characters from every story I’ve written to answer this , but I’ll try to get it narrowed down. Right now at this point in writing, Haru from “vampire boys of summer” would be my pick of who to be stranded with. He seems to be honorable and straight up, someone you could trust. Now, as for one I would dread to be stranded with. Definitely The Kaledioscope Killer from “Advocate For The Dead “

Sleeping Gods in poetry and prose

Today I thought I would try a little experiment. Consider it a challenge or prompt if you’d like. The challenge to myself was to write a short poem or rhyme, as well as a short piece of prose or free write. Both pieces had to cover the same subject or theme, and would allow the reader to see it in two different ways. I don’t know if I succeeeded in this, but here’s what I came up with. Hope you enjoy.

SLEEPING GODS

We are the dreams of the sleeping gods 

Peacefully adrift on oceans of time

Wondering if there is more than this

Being a mere fragment of the mind.

+ +++++++++

Once, when I was young, I dreamed I was a dream, and at any moment the gods would awake and I would find myself drifting off into nothing, my whole life amounting to just a figment of heaven’s imagination. In this, the futility of growing up became apparent. For after all, if we are but a dream in the minds of the gods, then nothing is permanence. At any given moment, our very world could change, even to the point where the gods wished to dream of us no more.  

Vampire Boys Of Summer Chapter 25 

Vampire Boys Of Summer Main Page

Chapter 25: Dad’s Gone, But Tomoko’s Here

If it were near silent before, now all sound seemed to have dropped away. They say it’s something that occurs with shock, as if the entire world has collapsed beneath your feet and you are on the precipice of becoming nothing yourself. The news of my father’s death wasn’t met with disbelief. The moment she said it I knew it was true. I didn’t need the discarded phone on the bed to tell me the hospital had called.

For a few moments there was nothing but this big chasm between mom and I, and then I was holding her, letting her clutch me close, my tears and tortured cries meeting her own. All kinds of thoughts ran through my head. Feelings of remorse and regret. Anger and sorrow. Confusion and moments I would never get back.

When I found my voice, I asked the inevitable. “What happened?”

Mom couldn’t say. On the first attempt she choked up. “He hung himself.”

“Hung himself? But why? He was fine yesterday.”

“They said he left a note that said he couldn’t take the ridicule anymore and the effect his paranoia had on us.”

I pulled away from her so I could see if she was being serious or not. That was not dad at all. I didn’t want to say as much to her, but it was more believable he had hung himself out of the fact he had lost his wife and would never see home again as it once was. And yet even that didn’t ring true for me. In fact, I couldn’t see dad hanging himself at all. It was just so out of character, distressed or not.

I tried to wipe the tears from my face, but despite the questions that were now rising up in my mind, the loss of my father demanded my sorrow. It also told me I needed to be here for mom. Different things would hit her soon enough. When she had time to reflect, I imagine her thoughts would lead her into all the things that had went wrong between them, and how if they had handled things different, he may not have taken his life. And that thought in itself returned me to my suspicions.

“I’m going to get us some tissues,” I said.

I got up and stepped out into the hall. Taking a deep breath, I tried to clear my head. It was no use. I went into the bathroom and closed the door behind me. I sat on the toilet seat and put my head in my hands, letting go of my tears and voicing my anguish with a cry to the ceiling. I knew mother could hear me, but I didn’t care. This was my own personal sadness. No one understands how the loss of a parent is to a child. Even more so when that parent had the biggest hand in raising you. This was not an “everything’s going to be alright” moment. This was the end of all things, or at least the beginning of it.

By the time I had composed myself and grabbed some extra tissues for mom, she was already on the phone calling whatever relatives my father had. I had never met anyone from his side of the family, but he had mentioned an estranged brother once. I always had the impression that my dad was and had been a loner most of his life. In the few years before his vampire troubles, he hadn’t been sociable with co workers or neighbors. No backyard barbecues, baseball games, or bowling nights. He was as a man without friends. That had never occurred to me then, but now with his death I began to see just how alone he had been. Did mom and I make him lonelier? Was this the life he had wanted? These were not the burning questions however. The biggest mother of all questions at this point in time was if he really killed himself. One look at his past might suggest yes, but after yesterday’s visit, I would say no. In fact, yesterday he was convinced someone was coming for him. Vampires.

I left the extra tissues for mom and headed to my room. I needed space to breathe and think. I also needed to retrieve dad’s vampire kit. After all, if vampires had come for him, it was a possibility they might come here next. And something told me it wouldn’t be Haru or Ryo. It was beginning to look like there might be some truth to dad’s colony theory, and if so I needed to prepare myself.

The vampire kit wasn’t very elaborate. An old battered briefcase stuffed with things dad had felt would be useful in event of an attack. There were two stakes, one wooden, the other made from heavy steel. The steel one contributed most of the weight to the case, and appeared to be an old railroad spike, the kind they used to nail the railway ties to the ground. There was a bible, a crucifix, vials of what I could only guess was holy water, and a sealed Tupperware container. I didn’t have to pop the top of the container to know what was inside. Garlic. I wasn’t sure how much protection the garlic or any of the Christian items would provide. I didn’t even know what kind of vampires we were dealing with, but I felt certain the stakes would come in handy.

With the kit laid out on the bed, I debated on what to do. Stay here with mom or return to the safety of Haru’s. I wasn’t sure how I could coax mom to go over there without telling her what was going on. I couldn’t tell her the truth, and yet I didn’t know a good enough lie to get her out of the house and away from the fact dad was gone. Tears threatened to come again at the thought of my father, but they were interrupted by a knock on the door. Not at my bedroom, but at the front of the house. Loud and insistent, it was a banging that was both urgent and menacing at once. I grabbed the wooden stake from the kit and went to see who it was.

“Coming!” I heard mom yell. She was already descending the stairs towards the door.

At the top of the steps I screamed, “No mom! Don’t!”

It was too late. She was at the front door and opening it. I sprinted down the stairs as fast as I could and crossed the room, stake raised. I shoved mom out of the way so I could confront the visitor. A strong hand reached through the open doorway and grabbed my wrist, keeping me from using the stake.

“I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t swing this so wildly as if it were a toy. It can cause considerable harm to an individual.”

It was Haru’s uncle, Tomoko, dressed in his usual pin stripe suit and wing tip shoes. He smiled and released my wrist. Breathing easier, I lowered the weapon.

But mom was furious. Having regained her footing from where I had shoved her aside, she nearly spun me by my shoulders to face her. “What the hell is wrong with you, Nora!”

Before I could answer, she noticed the stake in my hand. “And what is that?!” She looked at Tomoko in the doorway. “Oh my god, I am so sorry. I don’t know what’s gotten into her.”

“It’s quite alright. I have a teenager at home too.” He winked at me, and something in his eyes told me I should just play along.

I didn’t get the chance to however, as mom commanded me to go to my room and “put that damn…whatever it is…away.”

Tomoko put his hand gently on my arm in a gesture that said don’t go anywhere.

“Actually, I came over to invite both of you for some late tea and perhaps a movie. Haru is gone out for the night and I do get so lonely without him in the house.”

He rolled his eyes, but mom didn’t notice. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.

“I don’t know if it’s a good time, Mr. Tomoko,” mom said. “We just received some very bad news and…”

“That’s the best time to be with friends,” he interjected. “And It’s a wonder how tea can soothe the spirit, and a movie can take your mind off your troubles.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” I said, believing Tomoko really wanted us to come with him right away. I was out the door and on the porch before mother could protest much.

“Well, let me just change real quick. I guess we could come over for a little while.”

“There’s no need to change,” our vampire neighbor replied. “You look great.” He flashed her a smile that was all pearly white teeth and invitation. I couldn’t see his fangs, but knew they were there somewhere. For a brief moment, I wondered if the friendliness he showed my mother was so that he could sink his teeth into her, but that suspicion passed quickly. Tomoko was a true friend and could be trusted. I don’t know how I knew it; I just did.

Days ago mom would have blushed at his compliment, but now with dad’s death so fresh in the mind she just nodded. Stepping out on the porch with us, she closed the door behind her. “Oh wait, I don’t have my keys,” she said.

“I have mine,” I told her, now concealing the wooden stake in my back pocket, before she told me to take it back inside. “Come on, let’s go have some tea.”

We followed Tomoko down the steps and into the yard. Heading across the grass, I linked arms with mom, and she glanced at me. I gave her a reassuring smile. She seemed to like the fact that I was concerned for her, and it made me feel good to act as her protector. It kept my mind off other, darker things. For a moment, my mind turned to someone else I cared for and wished to protect: Angela. I glanced over to the Winston house. There were a few lights on. Ryo had left in a hurry too. Had Angela been over there when he was summoned to join Chi and Haru? Was she over there still? Or was she home, completely oblivious to events swirling around us? I made a mental note to try and call her once we were safely inside the house.

It was then I noticed the car. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it before. It was sitting at the curb right in front of our house. It was a small black Mazda, and I could see people inside. A flame from a lighter flickered and lit up the driver’s face. Oddly enough, he looked a lot like Charlie Simpkins, my very first boyfriend. I hadn’t seen him much since the seventh grade, and though that was a couple years ago, his face had changed little. There was no mistaking it was him, for he grinned that crooked smile that had first endeared me to him.

Another flame sparked in the back seat. Through the dim light of the flame I saw trouble. Devin McCullough, Amanda Trump’s boyfriend. He too grinned at me, but his look was not endearing at all . He looked like he was fighting the urge to snub his cigarette out on my face.

“Nora,” Tomoko said. “Come on.”

It wasn’t a suggestion, it was a command. I could feel it swirling around in my head, compelling me to forget the car and cross over into the safety of his yard. I had no choice but to follow. Still, the car and its occupants bothered me. When we reached the back porch, I dared to look back. The car was still there, like a sentinel watching and waiting.

We sat in the small kitchen waiting for Tomoko to prepare our tea. He and mom were engaged in a conversation about local politics, something I had no interest in whatsoever. Right now my interest was in the boys sitting outside my house in the black Mazda. What were they doing there? Did Amanda send them to intimidate me? It wouldn’t surprise me if she had. Nothing was beneath her in order to get her revenge. But to send along my very first boyfriend was definitely a flair of genius I didn’t think she had.

I got up and went to the window. Parting the curtains just a bit, I looked out. The black Mazda was still parked outside my house next door, but now it was joined by two others, a gray VW and a blue pickup. In the bed of the pickup sat about half a dozen boys. Normally it would have looked like they were all lining up for a tailgate party, but tonight it took on the appearance of something more mischief minded. In fact, as I stood there watching, the boys climbed out of the pickup, and the gray VW emptied its passengers as well. They started across the lawn, and I noticed some carried baseball bats. They definitely weren’t selling candy bars for the football team to go to camp.

I turned from the window and saw that both our host and my mother were gone. On the table sat a couple cups of tea. One appeared to be half empty, the others untouched.

“Mom?” I called out. “Uncle Tomoko?”

I left the kitchen and walked into the hall. “Mother?”

The hallway was dark, but up the steps I could see a dim light on the landing. I put a foot on the stairs and called out again.

“She’s sleeping,” a voice said from behind me, and I jumped, my hand reaching around for the stake in my back pocket.

“It’s okay, “ Tomoko said. “I gave her something to knock her out. It’s best if she sleeps through this.”

“Through what?” I asked nervously.

Before he could answer, there was the sound of shattering glass from the kitchen. He gripped my arm.

“Don’t worry, it’s just a rock,” he said.

A pounding began on the front door. It was so loud it nearly shook the house. Soon it was joined by another assault on the back porch door. I heard the splintering of wood as if someone was tearing up the deck outside board by board. More shattering glass, this time deeper within the house. I want sure if it was a rock or someone coming in.

“Go up the stairs,“ Tomoko whispered. “Your mother is in Haru’s room. Don’t attempt to wake her. She’s been poisoned.”

“Poisoned?!”

“It won’t kill her. But it will kill them if they attempt to drink from her.”

“What do you mean, drink from her? They aren’t vampires. They go to my school!”

“Well, I guess school is just about out then. Now, go!”

He shoved me towards the staircase and I knew better than to argue. I bounded up the steps two at a time. I didn’t look back until I reached the landing.

Tomoko stood at the foot of the stairs, blocking it from anyone who would follow. I saw a shadow emerge in front of him. The figure brandished a baseball bat and took a swing. The bat shattered against Tomoko’s open hand. His other hand shot out and grabbed the shadow’s throat. He lifted the figure in the air and shook him one time. It was so fast I barely saw the motion, just the outcome. He let the shadow go and it collapsed to the floor. At first, I thought he had killed him, snapped his neck right in two, but then I realized he had just shook him so fast and hard it had sent the assailant direct into unconsciousness.

Tomoko looked up at me. His eyes were red and I was afraid to look at him for long. I bolted down the hallway towards Haru’s room.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.


Writing Prompt: Put Down That Book and Fight Me

Here we go with another writing prompt to get the creative juices flowing. Today’s task is to write a short story beginning with the phrase, Put down that book and fight me. 

If you want to participate, it’s easy. Just start writing 😉 Feel free to share what you write in the comments, or provide a link to your blog so others can see what you’ve come up with.

Have fun! 🙂

+++++++++

“Put down that book and fight me.”

The old man in his easy chair didn’t look up. “I admire your tenacity, but I truly must finish this chapter.”

“To hell with your chapter. Stand up and defend yourself.”

“Ones defense is not determined by some notion to get up from your reading chair. Now if you don’t mind, I only have a few paragraphs left and you are interrupting my solitude.”

“You can have solitude when you’re dead,” the young assassin exclaimed. To prove his point, he swished his sword back and forth as if he were cutting through the very air. 

The old man ignored him and continued to read. So intent he was on the written word, his killer could have trashed every shelf in the library and he wouldn’t have budged from the comfort of his chair. In this, the newly arrived Intruder would have to take more drastic measures with his intended target.

“I will give you to the count of five to put your book down and fight. After that, I will kill you where you sit.”

Still, the old man read on, as if the assassin’s voice was nothing but the whisp of a memory echoing in the room. He turned to the next page of his book, and continued to take in each word. A slight smile crossed his face in the same way we ourselves might exhibit when reading a particular clever passage in our favorite tome.

The killer, shuffled from one foot to another as he counted. “One…”

He waited a beat. “Two…”

The old man’s eyes glued to the page, as he nodded in satisfaction.

The killer gripped the hilt of the sword tighter. “Three…”

He took one step forward. “Four…”

A breath. He raised his sword, preparing for the deadly swing. 

Crack! An excruciating pain in his ankle. He staggered back on his other foot, looking down unbelieving at the damage. He hadn’t even seen the old man move, and yet his his leg had shot out from him in deadly precision to strike the breaking point of the killer’s ankle. The rest of him had not moved, and in fact still sat in the high backed leather chair engrossed in his book.

“Oh, you are so dead,” the assassin snarled and charged forward, his sword swinging forward in an arc towards the chair. Before he reached it however, it was flipping backwards, the old man still in it, tumbling over twice until the avid reader was buried under it.

The sword had missed its mark and struck only fabric, enraging the killer. With his good foot, he tried to sweep the chair over on its side so he could see the old man, but the chair was too big and he staggered and swayed off balance. Regaining his footing, he thrust the point of the sword through the chair. 

Thunk! The tip of the sword didn’t meet flesh and bone, but the solid wood of the floor. The old man wasn’t under the chair. 

Looking up, he spied him right away. He was standing by the fireplace. In one hand he held a hot poker, just removed from the embers. In the other, the book he had refused to put down. He raised the volume to eye level and began to read again. 

Angered to the point where the broken ankle no longer mattered, the assassin charged, the arc of his sword swishing back and forth in crisscross movements before him. 

Holding the book out at arms length, the old man brought the poker to bear, gray ash flying off its tip. Sword met poker with a clang. The metal vibrated in their hands, but neither dropped their weapon. Instead, they parried back and forth, the old man taking the lead by driving the young killer back, while the would be assassin himself couldn’t believe the elderly gentleman in coattails still had not put down the book, even while fighting.

This distraction was too much to bear, and the old man with one swift twist of the poker, disarmed his attacker. The sword flew across the room, too far away to be retrieved. With a roundhouse movement , he swept the legs out from under his younger opponent. 

The youth landed on his back hard, the breath nearly knocked out of him. The hot poker was inches from his chest as the old man leaned over him. But the victor was not gloating, nor was he even paying attention. On the contrary, he was still reading. 

He nodded his head, smiled, and put his heel upon the young man’s chest to let him know he was not to get up. He snapped the book shut. He took a deep, satisfactory breath and tossed the poker away. Leaning down, he looked in the young man’s nervous eyes.

“The true reader doesn’t allow anyone to interrupt the tale,” he said.

The fallen warrior shook his head. “I can’t believe you beat me,” he whined.

“I was finished with the chapter.”

The old man reached down with his free hand and helped his student to his feet.