Friday, August 26, 2011

Blood Calling: An Excerpt:

Coming in 2 weeks:

You want a story? Let me tell you a story.
Last August, five things happened to me:
1) I turned 18. This is important later.
2) I started my senior year of high school as a social pariah.
3) My parents got divorced, and my mom kicked my dad out of the house and let her personal trainer, Chuck, move in.
4) My grandpa died.
5) He left me a vampire-slaying kit.
Well. Kind of. That’s all jumbled up, but I’ll break it down in a minute.
Let’s start with me turning 18. When you’re born in August, before you can enter school in most places you have to take a test – are you smart enough to enter when you’re a year younger than everyone else, or are you dumb enough that you end up a year older than everyone else?
Ultimately, I fell into the dumb category, although the test I failed had more to do with me being clumsy than anything else. When I cried and told my mother that I didn’t get to go to school because I was stupid, she told me that the only reason I hadn’t gotten in was my lack of coordination.
I’m sure she chose to dumb that statement down to something I could understand.
In essence, I didn’t get into school because I couldn’t stand on one foot. That’s what held me back.
I know, right? The girl who can’t stand on one foot gets a vampire-slaying kit. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to make a TV show out of my life.
As far as the divorce goes, that had its own complications. My mom is actually a lawyer, so she talked to a couple of guys in her firm and got all her papers in a row, and bam, my dad’s out the door and living in an apartment, and trying to find a job.
Which sucked for him, because he let my mom work high-powered lawyer hours while he did the stay-at-home thing. Man has a college education and no work experience, unless he wants to open a daddy day care.
Which I’m guessing he didn’t. I don’t know. Haven’t talked to him in a few months. Been preoccupied.
But you know that.
Then there was my grandpa dying. People always ask you, when someone dies in your family: Were you close? What do you say to that? “Nah? Didn’t like him very much? Glad he’s gone?”
The real answer is, I was close with my grandpa before started to get old. I mean, actually got old. From walking to wheelchair, deaf, can’t remember anything, muscles all loose so he can’t talk old.
I loved my grandpa. I did. But that was hard to watch, and I wasn’t ready for it. You know how they always say, “Oh, it was a blessing,” when someone like that dies?
I think it was, for him. Whatever’s next after this life thing, wherever he went had to be better than to be trapped in that body while it fell apart on him.
I said he gave me a vampire slaying kit, but that’s not true. Or rather, it is and it isn’t.
He was my mom’s dad, and she didn’t need the house, or anything in it. She went in, took some pictures and a few things she remembered from when she was a girl. Told me I could go in there and take whatever I wanted.
So one day last summer, I went through the whole house. All of it.
Took the candy dish he had. He always used to keep jellybeans in there. I wasn’t much of a fan of jellybeans, but I’d always have a few when I was there.
It was like candy corn at Halloween. No one really likes the stuff, you have to have a piece or two to make the season feel right. You know?
Maybe you don’t know.
Mom already had the pictures, so I figured that was pretty much it for stuff I needed. And then I got to the coat closet.
That was one place I always loved in grandpa’s house. I don’t know what it was, maybe an old leather coat, maybe a set of boots, but I loved the way that closet smelled. I used to go in there when I was little and close the door, and just sit.
So that’s what I did. Just for a minute or two. Or that was the plan. What happened was, I was tired and needed a nap and I took one, and when I woke up all the light from outside was gone and there I was, sitting in my dead grandpa’s dark, dark, dark closet.
So I fumbled around, but I couldn’t find the doorknob. Don’t know how that happened. So I reached for the pull chain for the light, and it came on, and I realized that the reason I couldn’t find the doorknob was that I was all turned around and facing the back of the closet.
And what do you know? There’s a little wooden panel back there. Never saw it as a kid.
So I pulled at it, and there’s this glossy black box inside.
I pick up the box, and step out of the closet. The thing looked like something you’d stick jewelry into, only it was a little bit too big, and way too heavy.
I figured I’d found the family jewels or something, so I cracked it open. Didn’t even notice the big silver cross on the top of the box at first.
What’s inside? Stakes. Wooden stakes. Five of the things, all sharp and pointed. And a bunch of little crosses on necklaces. And some vials of water. Holy water, I would guess.
And this little pistol thing. With two hammers, and some powder, and a leather bag with these little balls I found out later were pure silver. Worth a few bucks. More than a few.
Now I ask you – what do you do with something like that? Sell it? Keep it? Hide it back in the closet to freak out the people who buy the house?
I know what you don’t do. You don’t tell your mom, or your dad, or anyone. Especially if you take it out of the house and stick it in your trunk.
I do recommend you go back into the closet and see if there’s anything else in that little cubbyhole, though. I thought maybe there’d be more stuff, or a letter explaining that we were part of a long line of vampire slayers, or maybe a letter from Joss Whedon, that guy who created “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
But no.
I mean, there was a note, but all it said was:

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