Vampire High Sophomore Year - By Douglas Rees


It was one of those hot, sticky Massachusetts August nights when it doesn’t cool off. The sky was full of thunder-heads, and the hills around New Sodom echoed the roaring, grumbling air. It was the kind of night when witches might be out, casting their shadows in the glare of lightning bolts.

Which made it a perfect time for my cousin to show up.

My mom and dad were asleep upstairs. I was sitting up watching an old horror movie called The Bride of Frankenstein. Maybe you’ve seen it. The monster’s back, and he wants good old Dr. Frankenstein to make him a girlfriend so he won’t be so lonely. So Doc F. gets back into his mysterious lab and splices together a lady monster out of whatever parts he’s got lying around. The movie had reached the scene where the new monster-lady has just opened her eyes and started to walk around. She’s staring, moving slowly, not certain of anything. Then she sees her fiancé and hisses. She raises a hand that you know has to have claws instead of nails, and you know the big guy’s plans for happiness in a little rose-covered dungeon somewhere are not going to happen.

It’s a really tense scene, and when a crack of thunder went off in what sounded like our attic, I jumped a foot, even though I’d seen the movie before.

Then, as the thunder died away, I heard the rain start to come down, hard.

And then came the knock on the door.

When you hear a knock on the door at one in the morning, you know it’s not good news, whatever it is. So I waited until it came a second time, figuring maybe it would go away. I mean, I didn’t really think there was a monster out there. I was almost sixteen. I knew there was no such thing. Vampires, sure. New Sodom is full of them. Like they say, some of my best friends are vampires. But even so, why would one of them be banging on our door in the middle of the night?

The knock came again, hard and heavy, and I knew I’d have to answer it. I knew because my father called down, “For God’s sake, Cody, see who it is.”

I paused the movie and went to the door.

The thunder rolled again, farther away now. The storm was moving fast.

“Who is it?” I asked.

No answer.

“Justin?” I whispered. “Ileana?” I figured it might be my best friend or my girl, though it wasn’t like them to come calling past midnight. Still, they were vampires—jenti, I mean. And while jenti don’t really burn up when the sun hits them, they do like nighttime.

I heard the sound of something scratching on the door. Scratching slowly, as if whatever was doing it took pleasure in the sound. Scratching as if there might be some invisible crevice wide enough to force a set of claws through. And there was only one person I knew who would ever do that.

“Raquel?” I said, and opened the door.

She stood there in the harsh glow of the porch light, tall, thin, pale, dressed in black leather. Her dark hair was cropped short, the nails she’d scratched the door with were pointed and black, and she had a gold stud shaped like a skull in her left nostril.

“Hi, Cuz,” she said. “Ya gonna let me in?”

“What are you doing here?” I squeaked. “You’re not supposed to be here for another week.”

“Okay. I’ll just camp out here until you’re ready for me,” she said. “You gonna let me use the bathroom, or would you rather I pee in the bushes? Either way’s good.”

“Get in here,” I said.

“Before the vampires get me?” she said. “Where are they, anyway?”

“Just get in here,” I said between clenched teeth.

She shouldered past me into the foyer and said, “Thanks. By the way, don’t call me Raquel again. I’m Turquoise now.”

“Turquoise,” I said. “Turquoise Stone. I’ll be sure to remember.”

“Turk for short.”


My mom and dad were coming down the stairs.

“Rachel, darling,” Mom said, and practically flew across the room to hug and kiss my cousin. “How did you get here so soon?” she asked. “Is everything all right at home?”

“No,” Turk said. “It never is.”

“Hello, Rachel,” Dad said, standing on the stairs. “Or is it still Raquel?”

“I haven’t been either one for a while,” Turk said.

“It’s Turquoise,” I said. “Turk for short.”

“Right,” Dad said.

“I’m being forced to stay with you anyway,” Turk said. “So I thought, ‘Why let Mom stuff me in a plane