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Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 5

 

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5: Puzzle Freak

The first thing I noticed as I stepped from my yard into theirs was the absence of noise. It was like I had stepped into a vacuum, where even sound was afraid of being this close to vampires. I couldn’t hear the light breeze through the trees, though I could see them swaying. No birds, no creature made a sound on this property, and I have to admit it made me a little nervous.

Still, I went up the front porch steps and raised my hand to knock. I hesitated, wondering what I thought I was doing. I had just gotten home from school. What little make up I started the day off with was now gone, my hair was a mess, and I was in jeans and t-shirt; not exactly following the ‘how to meet hot guys’ guidelines. I shrugged and knocked anyway. For a moment it didn’t make a sound, and I thought maybe I should just give this up, but then I heard the noise of my knuckles rapping the door. No matter that it came about thirty seconds after I actually knocked. I listened close, hoping to hear footsteps or a voice telling me, “wait a minute, I’m coming.” Anything to tell me there were no vampires here; that I had been wrong. But no one came. I debated whether to knock louder, and in the end I decided to try the door handle myself.

I put my hand on the door and it was ice cold. Perhaps the AC was running overtime in there, but I didn’t think so. There were no window units and I didn’t see central air units outside anywhere. I tried the knob but it was locked. I decided to go around back, maybe knock there.

The backyard was spacious with a concrete patio and in-ground pool. A row of hedges lined a back fence that separated our properties, but the shrubs were barren, and sure enough I could see mom lying out in her bikini in our back yard. I could tell by the rise and fall of her breasts that she had fallen asleep as usual. Part of me wanted to scream her name just to see how drunk she was, but before I could I saw I wasn’t alone on this side of the hedge. A man was sitting at a glass topped table on the patio working a jigsaw puzzle. A large umbrella was mounted in the center of the table, shielding him from the bulk of the sun’s rays. He didn’t seem to notice me at first, but when he did, his head came up so slow it made me think of those old automaton gypsy fortune telling machines they had at the fair when I was like nine. He stared at me with a curious look, his eyes dark and intense, half hidden by stringy black hair that hung down in his face. He tilted his head one way and then the other, before beckoning me to him. My head was screaming not to do it, but something bolder inside made me approach his table. He held up a puzzle piece and handed it towards me as if he wanted me to place it for him. His smooth pale skin made him seem almost unnatural, and I hesitated. With an impatient jerk of his hand he shoved the piece at me. I took it from him and looked down at the puzzle he was working on.

It was bizarre, like something out of a nightmare. The unfinished image clearly suggested a view of hell, with writhing, tormented bodies, some entwined in reckless abandon, others twisting in the talons of demonic figures. At the center, a tall dark presence drank the blood of several people at once, all of them held fast in his gaze and grip. Where the puzzle piece was missing there was a young girl about the same age as myself . Her body was turned towards the terrifying figure, and she must have been looking up at him rapturously, but she didn’t have a head. It was the missing piece.

I looked in my hand and turned it over. Sure enough, the piece I held was the girl’s head, and looking at it I saw in her eyes a look of adoration and helplessness. I looked at the man behind the card table. His Asian eyes held no malice, but something within told me this guy did not wish good things to befall me. A slight sneer crossed his thin lips. His mouth began to open. He made a sound in his throat but it wasn’t speech. It was a guttural kind of moan and his lips seemed to curl back to show me the only teeth he had were two pairs of fangs. His sneer turned into the scariest smile I had ever seen. I dropped the puzzle piece and bolted.

I ran across the yard and to my front door as if the devil were on my heels. I didn’t even bother with my book bag. I slammed the door behind me and threw the deadlock in place. I kept waiting to hear the man’s body slam into the solid oak of the doorframe, but he never did. I wasn’t even sure if he got up from the table. I didn’t care to look back. I’d been too freaked out.

I went through the dining room towards the back of the house. Looking out onto our patio, I saw mom was still sleeping one off. The guy next door was nowhere to be seen, but his macabre puzzle was still on the table. Thinking he was on his way over, I ran upstairs and locked myself in my room; my dad’s vampire kit laid out and open on the bed. If anyone came through that door they were going to get hit with a one two punch of holy water and wooden stake. But no one came. I sat on the bed as the night began to fall. I heard mom come in and rumble around in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure if she was fixing dinner or a new drink, but I wasn’t about to come out my room to find out. I was waiting for pitch dark so I could go stake that puzzle working, blood sucking freak.

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

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Vampire Boys Of Summer (Revamped) Ep. 3

Missed an episode? Find your place on Vampire Boys Of Summer (Re-vamped) Main Page

 

3: Tramps & Trumps

“Out of the way, sluts,” said several girls at once. We knew this wasn’t like our playful banter, this was The Trumps. Every school has a trio like them. The prima donna divas of the school hall. You can always spot them by their haughty, self assured walk, or the way their expensive clothes set the weekly trends of high school fashion. They always play with their hair in class, flipping it back and forth to be noticed, whether it is blond, ginger, or brown this week. And with one look they can stop a conversation or create a new one that everyone wants to hear. Girls either fear them or want to be part of their clique. Boys want to sleep with them, or at the very least, get to second base, which I’m told is pretty automatic. If you are good looking enough to get a date, it’s not going to be a wasted night.

We called them The Trumps because they acted like the rich elite of the whole school. Seeing themselves as Goddesses or something, they made like they were better than everyone else, and if anyone, boy or girl, went against them, the retaliation was vicious. Bullying was an art with The Trumps. In fact, rumor had it Amanda Trump had bullied Samantha Connor into attempting suicide last year. Sam’s only crime had been that she had unsightly burns from a house fire on the right side of her face and arm, which meant just about everybody could pick on her and get away with it. In addition, she had bright red hair, which just added to the ridicule as everyone teased her with the name “firestarter.” Amanda Trump of course, with not a sympathetic thought for anyone, went a little further and tried to set her on fire every time she saw her in the hall. When Samantha walked by, she’d run up behind her, flicking a lighter and attempting to ignite her clothes. On the outside, the girl seemed to ignore the taunting, but apparently it wasn’t like that on the inside. One night Samantha Connor took an overdose of sleeping pills and set her bedroom on fire. Maybe she thought she was just finishing the job the fire should have done years ago, but she survived the attempt and her parents promptly moved the family far away, claiming the school officials dragged its feet on the bullying issue. But since Amanda’s mom was on the school board, and no one could prove Samantha’s attempt was a result of being harassed by a student or students, everything was swept under the rug. Personally, I think Amanda should have been beaten with the rug.

The other Trumps, Chrissie and Kari, were actually cousins and they absolutely hated anyone that Amanda told them to, which at that moment in time happened to be Angela. It wasn’t her fault; just like Samantha Connor, she just happened to be the wrong person in this life. And she also happened to be the ex-girlfriend of Amanda’s current boy toy, Devin McCullough. What was silly about that was that Devin and Angela had been going together in the sixth grade and that was like four years ago. You would think if Angela still wanted him she would have made her move by now. Of course, try to explain that to The Trumps.

After shoving Angela into me, Amanda, with a self assured flip of her strawberry blond hair, gave her a look that said, “I dare you to say something.” I helped my friend steady herself as the girls passed by. Chrissie and Kari, both mimicking Amanda with a similar toss of the hair, snickered like the trained monkeys they were. You have seen this very scene in teen movies since the dawn of time, and if you think its all make believe, you’re wrong. This happens all the time. And unlike the movies there would be no one riding in to save the day. There were no heroes here, just cowards and villains. As if to prove that point, Colin Deeds, the biggest coward of Chelsea Valley, came up to us and handed Angela her math book, which she had dropped.

“You shouldn’t tangle with them,” he said, trying to sound like he was offering solid advice. But like Samantha, Colin was one of those kids whom no one seemed to associate with, or even wanted to. He had unkempt, greasy brown hair. Acne dotted his face, marking his cheeks and planting one unsightly pimple on the side of his nose. His clothes were always mismatched, nothing going together, not even the color of his socks, which you could see because he wore his pants so high. If there was a nerdiest geek in school, Colin was it.

Because of this, I gave him a look one reserves for an irritating gnat that has managed to reach places you’d rather they hadn’t.

“What do you know?” I said and jerked the book out of his hands.

Angela was still embarrassed from the push Amanda had given her, but I knew it was an even bigger embarrassment knowing a nerd boy like Colin had been witness to the whole event.

“What do you want, Colin?”

The boy looked at Angela and stammered out his answer. “I…I just wanted to help.”

“It would help if you’d get lost,” she said.

“Oh. Oh, okay.” He hung his head for a moment and started to walk away. He reminded me of a pup that had been beaten, but with the devotion of a pet, he looked up and said, “Have a nice summer vacation.” Then, he moved off down the hallway, his book bag slung over his shoulder, nervously running his fingers through his never combed hair.

As Angela and I started off in the opposite direction, I looked at her. “Maybe we shouldn’t have been so mean to him.”

She shook her head. “He’s a pest. He’s been crushing after me since grade school.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, he lives right down the street from me. Sits outside on the curb waiting for me to come out. Rides his bike in the alley behind our house. He even buys me stuff and gets one of his nerd buddies to give it to me. I mean, some of it’s cool stuff, but I don’t like him like that, and I swear to God I never will.”

“Hey, no God swearing.”

“Oh. Forgot about your God thing.”

Angela knows I believe in God. She doesn’t put much stock in it though. It’s not something that affects our friendship. I just think she’s been taught not to believe by her parents and teachers alike. It’s that kind of world now and something we just don’t talk about.

As if to prove that, she changed the subject. “I don’t think I want to go to sixth period.”

Knowing that one of the Trumps was in that class, I didn’t blame her. But also knowing we couldn’t leave campus, I was at a loss. “What do you want to do then?” I asked.

“I got a couple smokes.”

I smiled. Her mom smoked these cocktail cigarettes she kept in this fancy flat box. They were rolled up in pretty colored paper and had a stronger scent than your usual blend. I think you were only supposed to smoke one, and then only with your favorite after dinner drink. We didn’t have any alcohol, but we did have a bathroom stall that had an air vent overhead to blow the pungent smoke up into. I knew I’d have to walk part of the way home just to get the smell off my clothes but that was okay. I was never in a hurry to get home most days anyway. But then again, most days up until now didn’t include trying to introduce yourself to the vampire next door.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D. Aronson.

Keep Reading Episode 4

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamp) Ep. 2

A/N: Since its New Year’s Day , I thought I’d celebrate with another episode from the new revamped serial version of “Vampire Boys Of Summer.” Episode 3 should arrive before the week is out 😉

Need to start from the beginning? Episode 1: Nora & Miyavi

Episode 2: Angela

There’s a saying that everything looks better in the morning. Whoever said that probably had someone special to wake up with, but in my world waking up just meant I was still here. It also made me remember the fact a vampire had moved in next door and needed to be dealt with. Lucky for him I wasn’t the vampire hunting professional of the family. That would be my dad, though I truly don’t think that he’s dispatched anyone either. Oh, he tried. Two years ago he was arrested for attacking the night clerk at Chandler’s, the local supermarket. He was convinced the guy was a vampire, but the Police didn’t think so. Now he sits in a psychiatric hospital looking out a lonely window in the same manner that I do, perfectly hopeless.

I fixed my usual breakfast; eggs over easy, two pieces of bacon, and coffee. I know a lot of my friends’ mothers fixed their breakfast for them, but I’d starve if I had to rely on mine. By the time I was off to school each morning, she was already three drinks into her day.

I ate quickly, barely tasting the food. I had overslept, thanks to Miyavi, who had kept scratching at the window for me to let him in and out all night. I sometimes wondered if that cat was a vampire himself, the way he slept all day and prowled all night. I’d had him since I was little. Dad had brought him home one day, telling me I needed a companion since I never went outside to play. He became more of my father’s cat though, sticking close to him and rubbing against his legs all hours of the day. When dad got locked up, Miyavi just gravitated to the next available person who would feed him. Me. This morning he ate pretty good, as I set my plate down on the kitchen floor and let him finish what was left.

I slung my school backpack over my shoulder. It was custom made, meaning I had taken my dad’s old military backpack and drawn on it with bright neon markers the names and logos of my favorite J-Rock bands: L’Arc En Ciel, Acid Black Cherry, Luna Sea. Only a few kids at my school knew who they were, but that was okay by me. I always prided myself on being different. I didn’t need to be marching to the beat of Taylor Swift or Maroon 5, when I had L’Arc En Ciel blaring “Ready Steady Go” in my earbuds every morning.

With my tunes in place, I stepped out into the morning sun. I glanced over at the house next door. It didn’t really look like anyone had moved in. For a moment I was tempted to skip school and investigate, but I thought better of it. My grades were bad enough; I didn’t need to make it any worse by cutting classes. Still, it was pretty tempting. I looked up to the second floor of the house. Directly across from my own second story window was a widow’s walk that encircled the whole house. A door on the walk led inside, perhaps to the attic or a bedroom. I entertained the notion of leaping from my windowsill to the tree that had scraped my window the night before and onto the neighbor’s widow’s walk. It was possible. It could be done, but one false move and I’d be cracked on the pavement. I shook my head at these thoughts and mumbled under my breath, “Get your ass to school.”

I turned my music up and the brisk, rock rhythm was just what I needed to catch the bus in time.

“Nora Williams,” the teacher called out, and I raised my hand to show my presence. Mr. Franks was a little old man with graying hair and black plastic framed glasses he wore so close to the end of his nose I often wondered if he could even see through the lenses. Still, he made a note of my raised hand and moved on to the next name on his list. This was fifth period English class one week before summer vacation, and even though it was the end of the school year I was still waiting for the inevitable; a new student who just happened to look like my new neighbor. But he never showed. And of course he wouldn’t; it’s daytime and he’s a vampire. Duh.

The image of him on his front porch staring up at the sky just wouldn’t leave me alone. While everyone else followed the teacher as he wrote our assignment out on the chalkboard, I found myself sketching a lonely, nocturnal figure in my notebook. Even though I didn’t get a close look the night before, I drew in the features anyway, or at least ones that hot vampire boys should have: piercing dark eyes, full pouting lips, slightly flushed cheeks. My drawing, and imagination, showed an average build on him. If I’d drawn him without the school uniform he would have been well built, but not too many rippling muscles. His shirt was parted just enough at the top so you could see his chest was hairless and his cute boy nip…just then, while I was contemplating nipples and navels, my bestie Angela, who sat next to me in almost every class, passed a note. I glanced over at her before opening the folded paper. I looked down at her handwritten scrawl. “OMG, who is that?” it read.

I grinned and shook my head, trying to let her know it was no one. Angela had known me since fourth grade so she knew I wasn’t being entirely truthful. She flicked her long blond hair out of her eyes and gave me a look that said, “confess.”

I guess I could have confided in her about the vampire boy next door, but if I was going to have to kill him I knew she’d try to talk me out of it just so she could flash her blue eyes at him and get his number. I don’t mean to give the impression that she’s boy crazy or anything, but the truth of the matter is…well, she is boy crazy, what can I say? It’s not like she’d steal your man or walk down the street in her bikini to make guys stop what they’re doing and stare. No, she was more like closet boy crazy. She tried to play it off as much as she could, but she reminded me of one of those construction worker guys who doesn’t say anything when a pretty girl walks by, but their heads turn and eyes follow their movements as if such a gaze would make the girl fall all over them. Angela was like that with all the hot boys. And now she was doing just that, focusing her gaze and trying to see what I was drawing. One would have thought she was waiting for him to leap off the page and say to her, “hey there, blondie.”

She made an impatient nod of her head to let me know she was waiting for me to tell her who it was. I pointed to my head to try and convince her it was all from my imagination. She gave me a smirk and turned in her seat away from me as if she were pouting and offended. I knew she wasn’t. She’d catch me the moment I was in the hall after class. And sure enough, that’s what she did.

“Okay, Give. Who is he, you tramp?” she demanded in a playful tone, grabbing hold of my arm as I exited the classroom.

I laughed. “Nobody, tramp. I made him up.”

“Bullshit.”

“Okay, maybe not totally made up. I saw him on an anime.”

She gave me a curious look and I knew I had her. As much anime as I watch I’m bound to try drawing storyboards myself. After all, she had seen my room and all the sketches plastered on the wall.

“Damn,” she said, a little disappointed. “You drew him pretty damn fine. And if there’s an Asian boy at school, I want to know. They are crazy about blondes I heard.”

In Angela’s world everyone was mad for blondes. But at the moment the only one I was thinking of had been on the porch next door last night, and when I left school today I was going to march right over and find a way to introduce myself.

“So what was the anime?” She wasn’t being nosy, she just loved playing the question game. To prove this she launched right into “Was it on Crunchy roll? Funimation? Netflix?”

“Netflix.”

“Cool. Titans? Fairy Tail? Sword Art?”

“Nope.”

She put her finger to her chin as if to emphasize she was thinking this one out. “Rosario? Elfin? Ouran High School?”

Before I could answer, someone shoved Angela and she stumbled into me.

 

Ep. 3: Tramps & Trumps

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D. Aronson.

Missed an episode? Main page is here  Vampire Boys Of Summer (Re-vamped)

NaNoWriMo 2017 Final Update

I don’t like how the term ‘final update’ sounds, but as November is over so is another National Novel Writing Month. I didn’t finish as well this year, but I did give it a push and made it to 20,000. That was roughly 40 pages, so I shouldn’t be too disappointed. I wrote as steadily as I could, but I didn’t get in as much writing time as I did last year. I also found it hard to stay focused on the novel I was originally writing and ended up slipping into other stories. But again, I am happy that I accomplished what I did and though I couldn’t write for very long each day, I did write which is what NaNoWriMo is designed to do. 😉

The story i was working on is not ready to begin being serialized yet, which is something I always try to do, but I hope eventually to share it with readers here. I am itching to get back into blog posts again though, so expect some short writings, flash Fiction, maybe some prompt writing in the days ahead. Perhaps by the start of the year I’ll have a new novel serialization ready to start sharing, or will have begun to get back into “Vampire Boys Of Summer.” I am feeling a little vampire obsessed these days. Big thanks to everyone who encouraged me last month in my writing. Whether you posted a comment in my updates or just a put a like on them, that helped push me along and make the progress I did. It is greatly appreciated my friends.

And Perhaps this is nothing more than a teaser, but here’s one thing I had trouble with in NaNoWriMo this year. Since I generally write in first person, I had trouble with some of the descriptions of my characters. It’s a lot different when you are not making first person observations and instead must provide more details for the reader. So here is how I first introduce my main character in November’s novel attempt. It’s basically just how the person is dressed, which has always made the fashion illiterate within me cringe. But anyway, hope you enjoy this little paragraph.

The stranger walked across the lot towards Glenn, who was leaning against the wall outside Millie’s Quick Mart. His long black cloak spread out behind him In the early evening breeze, and his long dark hair almost seemed to dance in that same air. Beneath the cloak, he wore a burgundy and black Victorian style trench coat, which would have made him fit in with the other patrons of Steampunk Charlie’s. Barely discernible under the coat was a white ruffled shirt, pleated, with gold buttons. Glenn noted the way the top button seemed to shine brightly, as if it had been buffed to a finish, and the thief within him considered the fact this guy was probably loaded, and not with alcohol. Offsetting that idea however was the fact the stranger was walking and not being chauffeured in a fancy limo. Still, it didn’t seem he had been walking long, for his boots looked brand new. Made of leather, there were no marks or creases in the material. Black laces ran up the side, wrapped around silver buttons at intervals until tapering off at the top in a small knot. Rounding off the ensemble was the fact the stranger was wearing gloves, which appeared just as new as the rest of his outfit. Perhaps the costume is a rental, Glenn thought, just as the stranger reached him.

NaNoWriMo update 10 days in…

Okay, as I said I would do, here’s an update on my National Novel Writing Month progress. Unfortunately, my progress seems very slow for this year’s event. Here we are at Day 10 and I’m sitting at just under 5,000 words. My personal goal is 1,000 words a day, so we can see I’ve only accomplished half of that. The NaNoWriMo website has a goal of around 1700 words a day in order to complete a 50k novel. It looks like I might not even hit half of that this time. But hey, the good news is I’m writing.

Several factors have impacted my output. One is I have two little babies to help take care of which limits the time and length at which I can write. I am writing literally a few sentences at a time. Another factor is I’m writing outside my comfort zone. While I’m writing under a similar theme to my Vampire Boys Of Summer , I am attempting several things I have not done in the form of a long story. One is that every long form story I’ve written to date has been told in the first person. The gender may change but the pov is always first person. For NaNoWriMo I have decided to throw that out and try a different format. I find I’m spending more time on writing just a few sentences because of that.

Still another factor has played into my slow progress. A current event happened a few days ago in the news that took me by surprise because it had similarities to something I had planned for what I’m writing. It kind of upset and discouraged me and I briefly considered abandoning this whole project. It took those couple of days to decide to keep soldiering on. I may change some aspects of my plot because of it, but I still feel I have a worthwhile story in there somewhere.

Anyway, that’s all my excuses for my poor output so far this month. I guess there’s still time to turn it around, so wish me luck. Hopefully, next update will sound more promising. Until then, I leave you with this piece of encouragement if you are currently struggling with a project: There is no wrong way of writing. As long as you have pen to paper you are a writer. And there is no correct way to tell a story. Be a rebel, break rules, step outside your comfort, have your characters make you cringe. Whatever it takes to impact the page, just do it. If you have to, attach a note to your mirror that says, “today is my best writing day ever” and then challenge yourself to make that so.

See you next time 🙂

Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 27

Vampire Boys Of Summer  Main Page

Chapter 27: Angela & Rabid Arithmetic

As I dressed for school, Haru gave me the rest of the details of my father’s murder. After all, that’s what it was. Cold, calculated murder designed to send the message: Those who hunt vampires will die. They had strung up my father in his room, looped the rope up through the ceiling and wrapped it around the heating duct. According to Haru, they had also bit him in the neck and wrists in order to bleed him out, but they didn’t drink his blood. This made me think of my jigsaw man dream days ago with dad hanging on a cross in the school auditorium. In the vision, vampires had drunk from the students but wouldn’t touch his blood, as if it would leave a bad taste in their mouths. It was then I thought of Mom in a dead sleep having some of her blood sucked out by Jake.

“Where’s my mother?”

“She’s okay,” Haru replied. “Tomoko stitched her up. Told her she took a fall.”

“How do you pass off vampire bites as a fall?”

Haru grinned. “My uncle’s powers of persuasion are unmatched.”

He didn’t need to explain further. If Ryo could almost get into my head and make me do and feel things, then the older vampires probably had it honed to an art.

“She won’t become a vampire, will she?”

Haru raised an eyebrow, as if to say, what’s wrong with being a vampire, and then smiled. “No, she’ll still be human. They didn’t take enough blood from her. She might be physically weak for awhile, but it will pass. I can’t say the same for her attacker.”

I shuddered at the memory of Jake exploding when the vampire poison had passed to him through my mother’s blood.

“You should shudder for Ryo,” Haru said. “He’s the one who had to clean up the mess.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault, Nora. You’re not the one who sent them after you.”

“Who did?”

“We don’t know yet. Finding the master of a vampire clan is not always easy.”

I looked at him. “Well, they found your uncle Tomoko easy enough.”

He smirked. “He’s not the master of our clan.”

I was surprised. “Can I ask who is?”

He hesitated a moment, as if weighing his options. “It’s best you don’t know. The name could be coaxed out of you by your father’s killers, and then we’d all be in jeopardy.”

I was disappointed he couldn’t trust me with this, but I understood. I sat on the edge of my bed and laced up my Chucks. I wondered what in the hell I was doing. I mean, dad had just been killed by vampires and I was getting ready to trudge off to school as if it were nothing. I wasn’t even sure if mother would let me out the door considering the circumstances. She wasn’t aware I had bad bloodsuckers after me, but despite that I needed time to mourn. Everyone who has ever lost someone knows it takes time before you can move beyond the death and carry on. Perhaps Haru had seen so much of it that it was just another day to him. Maybe death didn’t faze him or his kind for they had cheated it.

I tried to tell him how I was feeling. He seemed sympathetic to my feelings of loss, but he did take mild exception to how I perceived his family. “We didn’t cheat death. No one does. It catches up to us all one day.”

“Your vampirism doesn’t give you immortality?”

“It gives us the illusion of it. I will die someday, of this I’m sure. Perhaps it may be at the hands of enemies, or maybe even my own, but the truth is no one lives forever. Through our curse, death is held at bay, and we live longer than humanity should allow, but God will not be mocked. Our judgement will come eventually.”

I didn’t know what to say. I guess I assumed Haru, Ryo, and the others were eternal creatures. To know they would all die one day made me sadder than I had been before.

“Oh don’t fret for us, Nora. In this sense we are just like you and want to live life to the fullest.” He approached me on the bed and knelt in front of me. He took my hand in his. “I’d like to live mine with you , if you don’t mind.”

My breath caught in my throat. There’s a certain tone that overcomes his voice when he is talking of romantic things. I can’t explain it, but it sends a rush through me, a warmth that courses through my body, making me want his kisses more than anything.

“I want that, too,” I whispered. I closed my eyes and welcomed his gentle kiss. Going to school was forgotten. You see, time stands still for lovers, even if they are on the brink of their own destruction.

I did make it for the last day of school, but I was a little late. Time may stand still sometimes, but it speeds to catch up eventually. Because of that, I missed the bus. I probably could have gotten mom to take me, but Haru offered to give me a ride. I don’t think he was worried I would run into trouble on the way. I think he just thought it was the gentlemanly thing to do. He may have embraced a modern attitude about some things, but he still had this old world way of thought. I really liked that about him. It was a quality that no one else had, not even Ryo.

Haru kissed me when we pulled up in front of school and told me I didn’t really have to be here if I didn’t want to. We could just as easily go back home. He seemed to understand the dilemma of going to classes the morning after a parent had died.

“No,” I told him. “I need to do this. Dad wouldn’t want me to be sitting around and moping. He’d want to me to be preparing for the invasion he was talking about. We need to know if anything else happened last night and if any of the others involved in the attack show up for school.”

He smiled and nodded. “You always impress me, Nora. Your resilience and strength is to be commended.”

“I wouldn’t be strong without you,” I replied, getting out of the car. I walked around to the driver’s side and leaned inside his window. “A kiss for luck, please.”

He obliged me, his lips full upon my own. With Haru’s kisses I felt like I could face anything. But it made me wonder what he was going to face.

“What are you going to do today?” I asked.

“Ryo and I are going grocery shopping.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Grocery shopping?”

“Yes. It’s time to find that Bram guy your dad was talking about. It all started with that confrontation. If we can find him, maybe we can find the one behind your father’s killing and the attack on you.”

“Please be careful.”

“I will. Say hello to Angela for me.”

Angela. In all the madness of last night, I had forgotten about her. Last time we had spoke it hadn’t ended on good terms. I hadn’t wanted her to go see Ryo, but she had misunderstood my reasons. Even now though, I thought my reasons had been stupid. I wanted to protect her, but I should have stayed out of her attempts at a love life. Maybe I was jealous in a way. Maybe for once I had wanted to be the one to have a boyfriend, and for her to be the loner. I needed to stop being selfish and let her do exactly as she wanted. She’d find out Ryo was a vampire soon enough. How she handled that when the time comes would be up to her.

I smiled at Haru. “I’ll tell her hi, but I don’t know if she’ll show up today. She’s notorious for skipping.”

“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that.” He turned his head towards the school and nodded.

I followed his gaze and saw Angela come out the front doors to stand at the top of the stairs, as if she had been waiting for me to arrive. I gave Haru a quick kiss and walked around the car to start up the walk towards her. She came down the steps, a sympathetic look on her face. At first there were no words, just a hug followed by tears. I cried in her long blond hair, and she in turn wet the side of my cheek.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “Mom saw it on the news this morning.”

I didn’t know what to say. “Thank you,” was all I could come up with.

“I should have been there for you,” she continued.

I pulled away from her. “I should have been there for you, too,” I replied, wiping my tears with the back of my hand. “I was a jerk to you the other day. I’m sorry.”

“I was a bigger jerk,” she replied. “Forgive me?”

“No, you forgive me first,” she insisted.

“Uh-uh, you first.”

She grinned. “No way, bitch. Forgive me first.”

We both laughed at our playful argument and knew there was no forgiveness necessary. We’d always be besties. Nothing was going to change that, not even boys.
Entering school together, we both noticed something was off. I mean we knew it was the last day of school, and some of our peers and classmates would be trying to start summer break early, but there was now a large number of students that were absent. I knew the most likely reason for this, but I couldn’t confide in Angela about it, bestie or not. I had promised Haru I’d keep their secrets.

The first ones we noticed missing were the football team. Of course, I knew that at least some of them had been part of last night’s attack on Haru’s house, but today the whole team was absent, including the coach and his assistant.

“That’s weird,” Angela said, and at first I thought she was talking about the jocks, but she pointed down the hall to Mr. Sharp’s math class. A bunch of students were standing out in the hall talking in curious, worried tones, strange bewildered looks on their faces. A few of them, girls mostly, looked like they would hurl up their breakfast any moment. We hurried down the hall to see what was happening.

Maneuvering through the crowd in the doorway, I managed to get a look inside the room. Mr. Sharp sat behind his desk. On your average day he was a well dressed, perfectly groomed kind of man. Suit, tie, clean shaven, not a hair out of place. Young and good looking, he was popular with the female students. Today however, he was different. He looked rough. Clothes disheveled, hair a mess as if he had pulled clumps of it out, unshaven beard with what looked to be bits of food clumped in it. But perhaps it wasn’t food in the normal sense, for he sat there with a half eaten rat hanging out of his mouth, gnawing on it like a ravenous, rabies infested dog.

“Oh My God,” Angela whispered under her breath, coming up alongside me. “What the hell is wrong with him?”

“I don’t know,” I muttered in reply, but all I could think of was Renfield in Dracula. Had Mr. Sharp been turned into a vampire’s servant? Or was this the ugly process of turning into a bloodsucker? First rats, then humans?

As if he knew my thoughts, the math teacher looked up and made eye contact. His pupils clouded over and a slow grin began to spread across his face. “Nora,” he garbled, his voice sounding like he was drowning in water.

“Uh oh,” I said and backed out of the doorway, just as he leaped on top of his desk. With a big gulp, he swallowed the rest of the rat and jumped off the desktop, heading for me. Students screamed and bolted in every direction. He came out into the hallway, snarling and foaming at the mouth. Angela shoved me out of the way and snarled back at him, like you would a dog that had run out of its yard to chase you on your bike. He was distracted long enough for me to get my back pack off and swing it at him. Laden with books, it connected with his head. The force was enough to knock him off his feet. He nearly did a somersault on his way to the floor. Angela took several steps towards him, her short black skirt swirling about her legs. She put a well placed kick right in his groin, and while it may have slowed him down, he soon recovered and was getting to his feet again.

“Icarus,” he growled in a tone of contempt, pushing her to the side and launching himself towards me again. This time however, he was taken down by two teachers who had come running up the hallway. They tackled him and pinned him to the floor. He writhed and squirmed in their grasp, snapping his teeth at them. I figured it wouldn’t be long before he was up again and coming for me. The teachers were strong, but there was no holding a madman. He needed a sedative and I didn’t think the school nurse had anything like that. Still, she came running, along with our guidance counselor, Miss Thomas.

“What is going on here?!”

I turned to answer Miss Thomas, and the rabid math teacher broke free. Flinging the other teachers from him as if they were fifty pound weaklings, he was at me before I even knew it. He grabbed me by my shoulders and shook me. “Soon it will be your turn,” he snarled in a low voice only I could hear. “You will be the slave, groveling at the feet of my master.”

“Your master is a coward,” a voice said from behind him. Before anybody knew what was happening, the speaker wrapped their arms around Sharp’s head and squeezed. His eyes started to roll up in his head and he let me go. Chi tightened her grip, enfolding him within her arms so much you could barely see his face. You could almost hear the air escaping his body in a gasp for breath. Within seconds his body went limp and he collapsed in her arms. She eased him to the ground where he lay still and unconscious. Chi wiped her hands on her skin tight leather pants and with a toss of her long shimmering tresses said, “You’re getting to be high maintenance, Nora.”

Everyone in the hallway was stunned. Rendered mute, they all just stared at Chinatsu, until finally she shrugged and explained with a playful smirk, “I watch wrestling on the weekends.”

Miss Thomas regained her composure and began to take charge, telling the students to go on to their classes, now that the excitement was over. Then she approached us, her eyes taking in Chi in a suspicious manner.

“Thank you, young lady,” she said. “That was some quick thinking and a very brave thing to do. I don’t believe I have seen you here before. What’s your name?”

The Japanese vampire put on her most gracious smile without showing her fangs. “I just started last week. I’m Chinatsu, but my friends call me Chi. You can call me Chi, too.”

I didn’t know if she used some kind of vampiric hypnosis, but her response and tone seemed to take the suspicion right out of the guidance counselor.

“Oh well, thank you for your assistance in handling….” She looked at the unconscious Mr. Sharp, who was now being lifted from the ground by the two teachers, and didn’t know how to finish her sentence.

“No problem,” Chi replied. “It’s surprising what you pick up after eight hundred years of high school.”

I didn’t know if she was making a crack at the middle aged Miss Thomas or poking fun at her own experience as one of the undead, but either way, everyone couldn’t help but laugh. It was especially good for me having feared for my life just minutes ago.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer”  2016, 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Advocate For The Dead Chapter 2: Summer’s Grave

Advocate For The Dead: Main Page & Table Of Contents

Chapter 2: Summer’s Grave

It was mid-afternoon when we reached the cemetery. I opted to walk instead of drive, because drivers who seemingly talk to themselves make others on the road a little nervous. But no one pays attention to a man walking down the street holding conversations with no one. They just figure you for another crazy street person.     I have often wished that others could see what I see. The dead walking among us, wondering where to go and how they ended up in this state of non-being. But it’s not like I see them everywhere. I can’t see every dead person, only those connected to me, either in present life or the past. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to see Miss Summer if she hadn’t come to see me. By walking through my office door she made the connection that now binds us. Any other way and I would be oblivious to her standing there.

Still I can feel the dead around me. Obviously, I can’t see them all, but I know they are there. If they don’t consciously connect with me, they will remain just a feeling, the notion that someone is out there fumbling around in the dark. It’s confusing I know, but you aren’t the one who feels what they do when they brush by me. In the early days it was hard not to jump out of my skin when death passed by. Now it doesn’t faze me. Often I feel them long before they’re even here.

Summer couldn’t see them either. She was new at this, lost in her own experience. Unless the spirits made a connection with her, she’d be just like me, walking blind to all the death around us. It’s scary to think of all these ghosts swirling around you day in and day out, and yet you can’t see them. If you think it’s rough for me, imagine how it must be for them. No wonder most spirits go mad after several months of banging around…

New Sutcliffe only had four cemeteries. Summer’s grave wasn’t at the first one we came to. This kind of surprised me, as spirits who are confused usually don’t stray too far from their final resting place. We wandered through the cemetery, me waiting to see if anything sparked a memory inside of her, and her looking to me as if her tombstone was going to reach out and touch me. One thing could be deduced from our walk through though. Summer obviously wasn’t catholic, as this was the graveyard of the local diocese. The next cemetery was only five blocks away so it didn’t take long to get there. Unfortunately, the search there was fruitless and time consuming as well. Though I was more familiar with City Cemetery, and knew my way around it, I felt we were going in circles. All the graves here were old, and we were looking for something fresh. Her grave would be fresh dirt packed down with no grass. Maybe just a temporary marker, as tombstones often had to be ordered and took some time to erect. I was of the opinion that Summer hadn’t been wandering around for long. I told myself that if we didn’t find her grave before evening, then tomorrow we would hit the library and check newspaper obituaries.

By late afternoon, we were at cemetery number three and hit pay dirt. I should have known. The wife once told me third time’s the charm. Bitch. No, that’s not true. Lacey’s a good girl. It’s just when we split she took pretty much everything with her. I guess she figured she didn’t want to come back in case she forgot something, and so she packed everything in bags and took off one night while I was at work. But hey, I don’t hold any grudges; I call her bitch because that’s what her keychain says. I still have that thing in a drawer somewhere. It’s funny how we don’t like to let go of the little things when a relationship’s over.

Wheaton Cemetery is a relatively new place. It’s not one of the old graveyards like City Cemetery, the catholic graveyard or Everest Gardens. We used to make fun of the latter as a kid. Everest. Get it? Ever Rest. Yeah, I guess you’re still with me.

A wrought iron fence surrounded Wheaton. Not one for entrances, I just climbed the thing. Summer walked through it. Being a spirit does have its small advantages.

“Does anything look familiar?” I asked, as we stood in the grass, looking out over the flat expanse of the memorial garden. My eyes searched the tombstones and statuary around us, most of them so new you could still read the writing on them from a distance. I imagine most of the folks here were still wondering where to go to. I wondered briefly if they were watching us. I’m sure they were. Someone always is.

“No,” Summer said. “I can’t remember. I don’t even remember them burying me.”

“Well, not many spirits do,” I told her. “We’ll just take a walk around and see if anything comes to you, okay?”

“Okay.”

We stepped onto the gravel drive that went around the graveyard and began to walk.

“So Miss Summer, do you remember anything about your life? What you were like? Your friends? Were you in love? Any enemies?”

She shook her head. “Everything is so cloudy and vague. I remember my parents clearly. My home, my bedroom…All that is clear, as if it’s something I am always meant to remember.”

“Family ties are often the strongest.”

“But other things aren’t clear at all. I think I was in love. At least once anyway. But I can’t remember their face. I can’t even recall the name of a single friend. And if I had enemies… well, they are missing from my memory too. Will it ever come back to me, all these lost memories?”

“Summer, this isn’t a very easy thing to grasp, but from the moment of our death, things slip away from us. Some things leave rapidly. Other things take their time. This is why family memories are the last to go. They are often the strongest. Whether your family life was good or bad doesn’t matter, it just kind of sticks to your soul.”

“So once the memories are gone, they are gone forever?”

“On this plane of existence, yes. I suppose you could make new memories if you stuck around long enough, or you could possibly trigger the old ones if put into the same situation, but for the most part they are gone.”

She looked about ready to cry. Most spirits are broken by such notions that their old life is fading away. I can’t say I blame them, but there is good news. “Summer, the memories are still there, you just can’t get to them. Look at it this way, when you die you are separated from a flesh and blood existence. You have no discernible form. The same way is with memories. You are separated from them, but just as you’ll have a new form when you move from this state of limbo you’re in, so will your memories return.”

“So how do I get out of this limbo, as you call it, and go on to wherever I’m supposed to go?”

“Well, it’s hard to say. It’s different for everyone. We must find out why you are still here before we can find out what you need to do to find your way. If we could find your grave, maybe we could trigger one of those memories and start to find out what happened to you.”

She smiled at me, and for a spirit it was almost inviting. “So, how did you get into this line of work, Mr. Winter?”

I hesitated for a second, but there was no sense hiding it. “Someone close to me died. Painfully.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yes, me too,” I said. “But after they died, their spirit lingered and eventually found its way back to me. I’ve been trying to help the dead ever since.”

“But why can you see spirits and others can’t?”

“I’ve always had an affinity with the spirit world for some reason. When I was a kid my grandmother called me on the phone.”

She looked at me questioningly.

“She called me AFTER she died.” I let that sink in for a minute. “As a teenager my best friend was killed in a car accident. I was at the scene and could see him leave the body.”

“You saw him go to heaven?”

“No, not exactly.” I didn’t want to tell her how the scavenger dogs had come down the street, slavering for his soul, or how he had looked right at me as they dragged him kicking and screaming to…well you know the place, no need for me to say it.

“But I have always known of the spirit world,” I continued. “Every now and then someone from there would connect with me. I figured the least I could do is try to help them.”

“Try?’

“Sadly, I can’t always help them. I may not even be much help to you. I have had my share of failures.”

“I know you won’t fail me,” she said, and gave me a reassuring smile. She went to touch my hand and it passed right through me. I jerked back, because I could almost feel it, a longing that passed through the air, a desire for human contact, for affection within a touch.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” I looked at her hand. “You just freaked me out that’s all.”

“Not many dead girls try to hold your hand, do they?” she giggled.

“No, not many,” I agreed. It was a very awkward moment, and made me think of Lacey. When was the last time I held her hand? Was one of the reasons she left because I stopped sharing quietly romantic moments like that with her? Maybe I should ask her next time I see her if she’s not too pissed off.

We had nearly walked the entire cemetery road without anything coming to her, when suddenly she said, “Stop.” She looked around us, as if searching for something in particular.

“You remember something, Summer? Anything looking familiar?”

“Someone is here,” she whispered quietly. “Watching us.”

“I imagine so. This is a new cemetery. A lot of recent souls here, I would imagine.”

“No, this isn’t a soul. This person isn’t dead.”

I took a closer look around, suddenly alert. All I saw were trees, gravestones, flowers, and concrete angels. “I don’t see anyone,” I said.

“He’s coming,” she hissed and hid behind a tombstone. I thought that was kind of funny.

“I’m the only live person who can see you,” I reminded her and then she screamed. I spun on my heel and was confronted by a man with a scraggly day old beard in a long gray coat. He held a shovel in his hand.

“Who you talking to?” he asked gruffly. I had to fight the urge to point to Summer, whom I knew he couldn’t see.

“Nobody. Just talking to myself.”

“What you doing in here?” he asked, with a bit of menace in his voice. “We’re closed.”

“Closed?” I looked at my watch. It read four o’ clock.. “Since when does a public cemetery close during daylight hours?”

“Repairs,” he answered gruffly. “Somebody dug some folks up.”

“You mean someone vandalized some graves?”

“Mmm-hmm. Stole a body, too.”

“Where was this?”

The man looked at me suspiciously. “Why you want to know?”

I pulled my card and flashed it at him, hoping the only thing he’d see was “Investigations”. I’ve gotten quite good at doing that, so that most people see it and automatically think I’m still law enforcement.

“Over here,” he finally said, and led me across the cemetery grounds. I looked back and saw that Summer was following us, still ducking in and out from behind gravestones. It looked quite comical and I laughed. The man glanced back at me, a look of pathetic disgust on his face. He shook his head; I guess he figured I had to be crazy to be in a cemetery talking to myself in the first place.

Something told me the grave was hers before I even saw the temporary marker. Someone had dug it up all right. The empty coffin was exposed, its top lying on its side. I looked at the name etched onto the marker. Summer Lynn Dennings. I turned to look at her. She had come out from hiding and walked up behind me. “Well, looks like you were of drinking age,” I said, pointing to the date on the headstone. “Twenty-two years old.”

Her voice nearly choked in her throat. “Lot of good that does me now.”

The graveyard man didn’t hear her, but he certainly heard me and was giving me this look that said, ‘Good thing I have this shovel to protect me from this nut bag.’

I peered over into the empty coffin before looking at the man, who was leaning on the shovel. “Was this the only one?”

“Yup. It’s the only body they took. Knocked over some headstones, spray painted some others.”

“Spray painted?”

“Yeah, typical kids stuff.”

I looked down in the grave at the coffin again. It was certainly empty of its occupant , but for a moment I thought I noticed something shiny inside, reflecting off the velvet lining . So I jumped in.

“Holy… what the hell you doing?” the man exclaimed.

I was in the coffin, down on one knee. I looked up to see both he and Summer looking at me with curious faces. The cemetery man clearly thought I was a kook, but the dead girl beside him had her hand up to her mouth as if to stifle a sob. I felt around the coffin liner. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew I had seen something there. Finally, my hand brushed against something in the lining. Something that had fallen from the dead person’s body as it was being removed. Or perhaps it was something from the person who had stolen her. Either way, it was a ring on a broken chain. A simple band of fake gold. Inscribed inside were the words “Summer, love Jeff.”

I held it up. “This yours?” I asked her.

“Nope, not mine,” the gravedigger said.

Summer smiled. “Yes, I think it was. I think I remember it.”

I nodded. We had finally made good progress in our tour of cemeteries. We had her name. We had a ring from her beau. And now we were getting somewhere…

“Advocate For The Dead” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.