How to Be a Vampire
“Let’s move it, Andrew,” Emily said to her brother. “I have tons of homework.”
“Wait,” Andrew whispered. “Just a second.” He glanced around Shadyside Park. It was almost dark. They needed to stay only a few more minutes. Only until it was really dark. That’s when they all came out. Everyone knew that.
Emily brushed a strand of her wavy red hair off her face. “Not just a second,” she insisted. “Now.”
Andrew couldn’t stand it when Emily got bossy. She was only twelve and a half. Just a year older than he was. So what if she was a head taller? Did that give her the right to be Emily Griffin, Know-It-All?
Here’s what really killed Andrew: Emily thought she was perfect! She thought she was so good at softball. So smart. She thought she had a million friends. Plus she always bragged about her great taste in clothes. Personally, Andrew thought she looked like a moron, running around school in her little pleated skirts and stupid fake pearls. But here was the biggest joke of all—Emily thought she was gorgeous!
Andrew knew he wasn’t great looking. He was skinny. His hair was somewhere between brown and red. His eyes were plain old brown. He had a million freckles. But so what? Big deal. At least his nose wasn’t stuck up in the air like Emily’s.
“I must be losing it,” Emily was muttering. “Why did I let you talk me into getting off the bus at the high school? It’s a fifteen-minute walk home, at least. If I’d stayed on the bus, I’d be in my room now—halfway finished with my homework.”
“Shhh!” Andrew said. How could he hear anything coming with her jabbering like that?
“Let’s go!” Emily insisted. “Move it, Android.”
Andrew made a face. Emily thought she was so clever when she called him “Android.” But he had to let it go now. Keep his mind on other things. Important things. He started walking. His feet crunched the leaves on the path around the pond.
“Right now is when they wake up,” he told his sister.
Emily frowned. “Who’s they?” she asked.
“The creatures of the night,” Andrew answered. He tried to sound mysterious. Maybe that would make her stop.
“What are you talking about?” She kept walking. “Owls?”
“Not owls,” Andrew replied. “The undead. Vampires. See, the second day turns into night, they . . .”
“Andrew!” Emily shouted. “Stop! I don’t want to know what’s inside that diseased brain of yours.”
“But it’s true,” Andrew insisted.
“Nothing about vampires is true!” Emily scoffed. “They don’t exist!” She shook her head. “I keep telling you—you’re getting a little old for make-believe monsters.”
“Vampires aren’t make-believe,” Andrew said. “Real vampires have bitten real people in the neck. Really.” He fished a book out of the pocket of his jacket. “It says so right here.”
Emily snatched the book and read the title. “Vampire Secrets.” She groaned loudly. “I can’t believe I’m related to someone who reads this garbage!”
“It’s not garbage!” Andrew protested.
“It is too,” Emily said. “I read good books. I’ve read almost every book on Ms. Parma’s literature list in the library.”
Emily was always bragging about the big-deal books she read. Okay, they had big words. Andrew
had to admit that. And they were as thick as dictionaries. But that didn’t make them good. That only made her backpack about ten pounds heavier than his.
“I don’t remember seeing Vampire Secrets on Ms. Parma’s list,” Emily went on. “Or that thing you were reading last week.”
“You mean The Mummies Are Coming?” Andrew asked. “That was totally awesome.”
Emily tossed Vampire Secrets back to Andrew. “Where do you get this trash anyway?”
“T.J. lent me this one,” Andrew told her.
“Why am I not surprised?” Emily rolled her eyes. “T.J. is the only person in the world who’s weirder than you are.”
“He is not!” Andrew protested.
Emily laughed. “Okay. Maybe you two are tied for weirdness. All you and T.J. ever talk about is monsters. No wonder neither of you has any other friends.” She began walking more quickly.
Andrew trudged along behind her. So what if he and T.J. loved talking about monsters? And reading monster stories? They were good. Really good. Emily didn’t know what she was missing.
“Walk faster, Andrew,” Emily commanded.
But Andrew kept stalling. He dragged his feet. If he took long enough, they might see a vampire. He thought they would.
Emily was heading for Division Street—and she was heading there fast. They’d never see a vampire on
Division Street. The streetlights were too bright there. Way too bright for a creature of the night.
“Wait, Emily. I, uh, twisted my foot.” Andrew leaned against a big oak tree, gripping his ankle. Then he let out a small cry of pain, hoping Emily would be totally convinced.
“I’m not falling for that twisted-ankle story again.” Emily marched on. “You tried that one on me last week. Remember?”
Andrew sighed. He took a few steps. Then stopped.
Something dark and shadowy was creeping up behind Emily. Andrew watched as it dodged from tree to tree.
“Emily, stop!” he called in a hoarse whisper. “Something’s following you!”
Emily whirled around. “I’m not falling for any more of your stupid tricks, Andrew!” she warned him.
Andrew scanned the trees—and saw the figure.
A figure in a long, sweeping cape.
The dark form slid out from behind a giant oak, inching closer and closer.
“There he is!” Andrew shouted. “Behind you!”
“Yeah, right.” Emily stood in place with her hands on her hips.
The figure stepped silently up to Emily.
It hovered over her.
“Emily, I’m not kidding.” Andrew’s voice quivered. “Run!”
Emily shook her head in disgust.
The figure raised his dark hands.
“Emily! Run!” Andrew pleaded.
Andrew watched in horror—as a pair of twisted fingers lunged for Emily’s neck.