Aphelion Issue 224, Volume 21
December 2017 / January 2018
 
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Teenage Vampiric Crush

by James J. Murphy III




Tap tap tap. “Elsie, sweetheart, are you here?”

Elsie’s mother opened the door, moving like molasses. She didn’t want to blow up a powder keg by invading her daughter’s space. Elsie had been so erratic lately.

Not here. Elsie’s mother sighed with relief. She looked around her daughter’s room, still painted the rosy pink that had made Elsie squeal with delight. At sixteen, Elsie still made her bed with precision, without being told and still lovingly placed her teddy bear on top of the blankets.

She’s a good kid…they just grow up so quickly.

The book poking out from the pillow was open revealing the looping, careful cursive on its’ pages. It was Elsie’s journal.

It won’t hurt to take a look. Just a peek, to see what’s bothering her.

October 1

How long can I pretend I’m sick in the morning to avoid going to school? Who knew this would end up being the Diary of a Slightly Underage Vampire?

*****


“Vampire?!” her mother repeated nervously, dropping the journal. All kinds of crazy thoughts were running through Lorraine’s head. She quickly picked up Elsie’s journal and tried placing it back in the original spot so Elsie wouldn’t think that her mother was a spy… or even worse, a snoop.

Lorraine left the room immediately. As she bolted out, she bumped into her daughter. “Oh my God. Elsie, you almost gave me a heart attack.” Lorraine was breathing heavily.

“Sorry, Mom. Are you okay?”

“Fine. Just fine. I think I left the washing machine running.”

“It’s not on,” Elsie told her.

Lorraine wiped her forehead in relief. “I think I’m losing it today, Elsie.”

“You could say that again.”

“Well, I left your clothes on the bed, by Fred the Ted.”

“Are you sure there’s nothing wrong, Mom?”

“I’m fine, Elsie. I’m going to make dinner.”

“Ohhhhkay.” Elsie could tell there was something wrong with the picture, considering it was only two o’clock in the afternoon. “Well, I’m gonna go to the bookstore. Be back in a few.”

“Do you have homework?”

“I’ll do it later.” Elsie quickly walked down the steps and out the front door. Lorraine moved slowly in terror.

Elsie walked to Dobbs’ Bookstore, which was located a few blocks from her house, on Tera Boulevard. The one thing Elsie couldn’t get over was how smooth the roads were. The sidewalks were immaculate. She was so happy that her family had decided to move to Clearwater, Florida. She loved everything about Florida. One great perk was that there was a fifty-cent movie theatre. Back in Philadelphia, movies were ten dollars or more, and if anybody wanted to see a movie in 3D, forget about it; they charged an arm and a leg.

The only concern Elsie had was that she was sixteen years old with no license or boyfriend. Plus, it was such a beautiful sunny day and the temperature was in the low eighties. Elsie was getting strange looks from people because she was wearing dark sunglasses and a black hoodie.

Finally, Elsie made it to Dobbs’ Bookstore. “Coming down with something, Elsie?” Mr. Dobbs, the owner, asked.

“Head cold,” she said, quickly making something up.

“It looks like you’re dressed for the North Pole. Still got a couple of months before good old St. Nick takes out the reindeer,” he kidded. Elsie gave a fake laugh to acknowledge the old man’s joke. “Can I help you find anything today?”

“Do you have any books on vampires, Mr. Dobbs?”

“Vampires?! Why do you need a book on vampires?” Elsie looked confused. “They’re everywhere!” he kidded. “TV, movies, newsstands, bulletin boards, T-shirts, those gossip books...”

“Oh, yeah,” Elsie said.

“You kids make them more popular than sliced bread, I tell ya. I wouldn’t be shocked if you’d see one in the supermarket shopping for blood.”

“What do you know about them?”

“Well, besides being blood-suckers, they’re pale. They’re kinda like zombies, but the difference is at least you can stake a vampire to kill it. Zombies need to be decapitated. Plus, vampires turn into dust or ashes. Also, remember to use garlic, holy water, and a crucifix to fight ’em off.”

“Thanks, Mr. Dobbs,” Elsie told him, leaving the store.

“Aren’t you gonna buy anything?”

“Next time!” she yelled back.

Elsie rushed home and went straight to her room and looked in the mirror. She still had a reflection. It must have been a bug bite. Wouldn’t I have transformed into one by now? Besides, I didn’t burn in the sun; just sweated. Elsie felt relief of not being a vampire. She decided to do something that every teenager despised: homework.

*****


Almost two weeks later, on October 13, Elsie’s mother was washing dishes. “Hey, is everything alright, Lorraine? You haven’t been acting like yourself lately.”

“Harold, has Elsie been acting weird to you or have you noticed anything strange about her lately?”

“I don’t know, Lorraine, except the fact that she’s a teenager.”

“I’m serious, Harold. I was in Elsie’s room two weeks ago and I read her journal.”

“Lorraine, how could you? That is one of the top reasons why teenagers hate their parents: privacy invasion.”

“It’s not like I did it on purpose, Harold. The journal was in direct sight of me, asking me to take a look.”

“Oh, that’s a good one, Lorraine. And the doughnut was on the counter, asking me to eat it.”

“I just wanted to know what was bothering our daughter.”

“Probably us,” he told her.

“No, not us. Our daughter may be a vampire.”

“Vampire?! Ha ha ha! That’s hilarious.”

“This doesn’t concern you, Harold?”

“Why should it? Jesse thinks he’s a werewolf. It’s a phase, Lorraine. All the kids today love these vampire and werewolf movies. At least they’re not doing drugs.”

Lorraine was grateful for that. “How should I act towards Elsie now, knowing this information?”

“Just treat her normal and act as if nothing has happened.” Ring ring ring. “Why do we even have a home phone?” asked Harold. “Everyone in this family has a cell phone.”

“I believe we wanted the 3B package offered by our cable company.”

“Well, our cell phones have Internet access. We could even watch shows on them.”

“You can strain your eyes; I’m not. Who called?”

“Let me check.” Harold saw that there was new voicemail. There were three messages. One message was from Jesse’s friend, reminding him to bring his werewolf mask to school. The second message must have been a wrong number. The most recent call was from Bethal’s Hospital, which was a little east of Clearwater. The message said: ‘Mrs. Goldberg, this is Louanne from Bethal’s Hospital. Something has occurred involving your mother. Please call us back when you get this message.’

“Anything important?” asked Lorraine.

“You better call Bethal’s Hospital. It involves your mother. Unfortunately, something happened.”

Lorraine did what her husband said and called the hospital. She had the phone against her right ear. The phone rang three times. On the other end, someone picked up. “Good evening. This is Sally speaking. How may I direct your call?”

“Hello, my name is Lorraine Goldberg. I just received a phone call in regards to my mother, Eleanor Kramer.”

“Oh, yes. Mrs. Kramer, is it?”

“I told you my last name is Goldberg.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Goldberg,” said Sally. “I just looked up Eleanor Kramer’s history. Unfortunately, a few hours ago, the doctors determined the cause of death to be a heart attack. I’m sorry about the loss, Mrs. Goldberg.”

Earlier in the year, Lorraine’s mother had breast cancer and was able to defeat it. But a few days prior, Eleanor had felt dizziness and collapsed. Lorraine and Harold had taken her to the hospital. The doctor said she’d have to stay a few days for observations. Eleanor had been hospitalized a few times throughout the year, but on the afternoon of October 13, 2011, Eleanor Kramer died in her sleep. She was sixty-eight years old. Her heart couldn’t take it; she passed away peacefully.

Lorraine hung up the phone. “Looks like we better call the relatives and make wake and funeral arrangements.”

“Great. This is all we need, Lorraine. Relatives who haven’t bothered with her in years all of a sudden coming out of the woodwork, praising your mother.”

“I hate this as much as you do,” Lorraine told her husband while wiping the tears from her eyes.

“I’ll break the news to the kids.”

“Jesse, I think will take it okay,” his wife said. “But Elsie won’t. She was very close to her.”

*****


Over the weekend of October 15 and 16, the wake and funeral were held for Eleanor Kramer. Relatives and friends sent their condolences. People the Goldbergs hadn’t seen in years gave the usual malarkey that was said when someone passed away: ‘I should have visited more’ or ‘If there’s anything you need, just tell me.’ After hearing that for two straight days, Lorraine and Harold were annoyed.

After the hectic weekend, the parents let Elsie and Jesse stay home on Monday. Jesse was in heaven. What kid wouldn’t be? He spent the day playing video games. But ever since Elsie heard about her grandmother’s death, she had been down in the dumps. She spent her day off in her room, just thinking about how, at times, life could be cruel and unfair.

*****


The very next day, the kids got up for school and went downstairs for breakfast. “How is everyone feeling today?”

“I’m not feeling that great, Mom,” faked Jesse. “I think I need another day off. So I’ll be inside if you need me.” He got up from his chair and started walking towards the living room.

“Freeze, Mister!” his mother said. “You seem fine to me. Get ready for school.”

“But Mom--”

“You heard your mother,” intervened Harold.

“Oh, man!”

Both parents noticed Elsie had her head down as she was twirling her bowl of cereal with a spoon. “How ya feelin’, kiddo? If you keep zig-zagging your food, you could probably make a picture out of it.” Harold tried getting a response from his depressed daughter.

She put the spoon down and got out of her seat. “I’m going to be late for school.”

“Take the day off,” her mother insisted.

“No thanks,” she said and went on her way. Although Elsie wasn’t a big fan of school and didn’t have many friends, she felt she had to be around people her own age.

*****


“Hey. Is this seat taken?” a boy with short dirty blonde hair, who looked like a pop star, asked Elsie during first period English class.

“No,” she replied.

“Is there something bothering you? You don’t look so great.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“I don’t mean that you don’t look great, because believe me, you do,” he started rambling. Elsie laughed for the first time in days. “It just seems that you have a lot on your mind, that’s all.”

“Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away this weekend.”

“Sorry to hear that. By the way, my name’s Sandy.” He stuck out his hand.

“Nice to meet you. My name’s Elsie.” Then she stuck out her hand and they shook.

“Now, class, everything off your desks. Quiz time!” said the teacher enthusiastically.

“Ohh!” complained the class.

“And no talking.”

“Talk to you at the cafeteria, fifth period.” Elsie got to squeeze out one final sentence.

It seemed like a lifetime until lunch came, considering it was only three hours later. Elsie was seated at a table in the corner of the cafeteria. Sandy soon came over to join her with his brown paper bag, which was filled with a bologna sandwich, boxed drink, and chips. “I’m still getting used to this place,” he told her.

“When was your first day?”

“Yesterday.”

“My parents told me to stay home because it was all crazy with the wake and funeral.”

“I could imagine. My father passed away two years ago. He was doing electrical work at someone’s house and ZAP!!!”

“Electrocuted?” asked Elsie.

“Yeah. Even at the wake I swore I could still smell the smoke. The funeral was kind of a blur to me.”

“That’s how I feel about losing my grandmother.”

“In close to a week, you’ll bounce back to your usual self,” Sandy told her.

“I sure hope so. So, where are you from?”

“Massachusetts. We just moved here. My mother’s a school teacher.”

“Here?”

“No. Thank God,” he kidded. “She teaches third grade.”

The two of them ditched class and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon together. The weather was cloudy, so they went to the movies. They exchanged phone numbers and called it a night.

“Why are you home so late, Elsie?” her mother asked.

“Just busy,” said Elsie, smiling. “I’ll be down for dinner in a little bit.” Elsie went to her room and opened her journal. She wrote: ‘What I thought would be a horrible day turned out to be the greatest day of my life. I met Sandy.’

*****


During the next couple of days, it was cloudy and rainy. Elsie and Sandy had been giving each other googly eyes at school, going to the fifty-cent movie theatre, and holding hands in public. They even spent part of Saturday together.

On Sunday, Elsie called Sandy’s cell phone, but he didn’t pick up. She even took it one step further and went to his house. She knocked on his door and even looked through his window. Nobody was in sight. At least it’s a beautiful, sunny day, she thought to herself.

*****


While Elsie was out, her mother did the laundry. She brought the laundry to Elsie’s room and left her clothes on the bed, by Fred the Ted.

Lorraine knew it was wrong to invade her daughter’s space, but couldn’t resist. Once again, she found herself reading Elsie’s journal. She put it back where it originally was, as if it hadn’t been touched, and left the room.

“What are you doing, Lorraine?” asked her husband.

“I just put Elsie’s clothes on her bed.”

“Don’t play games, Lorraine. You were reading Elsie’s journal again, weren’t you?”

“Yes, I was, Harold. Has she ever mentioned anybody named Sandy to you?”

“No, she hasn’t. Who is she?” “I don’t know if it’s a she or he. She really likes the person, I know that.”

“When Elsie feels the time is right, she’ll tell us about Sandy. For now, let her have her space. Maybe this is the reason she doesn’t share anything with us.”

“I’m going to see how Jesse is doing.”

“And I’ll be in the garage.”

Lorraine popped her head in her son’s room and saw that he was lying on the bed, wearing a werewolf mask, watching a horror movie. Lorraine shook her head and went downstairs.

*****


The next day, Elsie went to school and sat alone at lunch. It’s been two straight days since I’ve seen Sandy, she thought. Where did he go? Is he okay?

Elsie survived another day of school, but felt gloom. She went to the hardware store after school and bought paint in a sky-blue color. After years of having a rosy pink room, she felt that it was time for a change. When Elsie got home, she went straight to her room and painted it. It didn’t take her long to do, considering her room was small. All she had to do was take down a few posters and move her dresser. She finished before dinner.

*****


On Tuesday, October 25, it was gloomy and miserable outside. Sandy returned to school. He sat next to Elsie in second period study hall.

“Isn’t today a beautiful day?”

“Beautiful day?!” repeated Elsie. “Did you look at the weather outside, Sandy? It’s pouring out there. There might even be a flood watch in effect.”

“I didn’t mean anything bad by it,” said Sandy. “I just love when it’s raining. It gives me time to reflect and appreciate some of the good things in life. Besides, if you want, we can watch a movie after school.” Elsie liked that idea and agreed to it.

During the forty-two minutes of class, they opened their notebooks and history books. It looked as if they were doing homework, but they were writing movie quotes back and forth to each other and smiling. They made it through another day of school and spent the afternoon together.

When Elsie went home for dinner, her mother asked: “How was your day?”

“It was okay.”

“You’ve been getting out of the house more lately.”

“I was home for two days.”

“More than usual,” her mother said, trying not to make anything obvious.

“Good save,” whispered Harold with a smile.

“Pass the potatoes,” said Jesse.

His mother passed them to him. She tried talking to Elsie, but Jesse kept interrupting with ‘Pass me this, pass me that.’ Finally, his father handed him everything on the table. Elsie’s younger brother stuffed his face.

“Have you made any new friends?” v “Sandy,” Elsie replied to her mother.

“Who is she or he?” the parents asked at the same time. v “Sandy is a ‘he’ and he’s new to the school. I’m just showing him around and we’ve become friends.”

“Why would he want you to show him around, Elsie?” her brother laughed. “You are, like, the most unpopular girl in your school.”

“And how many friends do you have, Jesse?”

He counted on his fingers. “Too many.”

“Knock it off, you two,” their father said. The Goldbergs continued with dinner and everyone stayed in and did what they had to do.

*****


Wednesday and Thursday were beautiful sunny days and once again, Sandy was nowhere to be seen. Elsie called, texted, and stopped by his house. She was getting worried. This is very odd, she thought to herself. The last four times that it had been sunny, Sandy had been nowhere in sight. Elsie thought she’d give it one more try by stopping by Sandy’s house on Thursday night.

Elsie knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. A woman answered the door. “Hi, I’m Elsie. Is Sandy home?”

“He’s upstairs in his room.” She introduced herself as Sandy’s mother and invited her in. Elsie went straight to Sandy’s room and knocked on the door twice.

“Come in,” he said. Elsie walked in. “Umm… Hi Elsie.”

“What’s up, Sandy? Missed you the last two days. Did I do something wrong?”

“Not at all.”

“Why do I get the feeling that you are avoiding me?”

Sandy had his head down, as if he found out someone he loved got shot in a crossfire. “You just wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.” The light was really dim in Sandy’s room. There was just enough light to see a shadow. The only problem was that Sandy didn’t have one. “Sandy, do you know that you don’t have a shadow? Stand next to me in front of your mirror.” All Sandy did was shake his head. “Are you telling me that you’re a vampire?” He nodded. “Does anybody know?”

“No,” he responded. “Not even my own mother.” He figured Elsie would be petrified and storm out of the house, but all she did was ask questions.

Then she asked the most important question: “When did this happen?”

“Two years ago. I was necking with some girl who was two years older than me and she bit my neck. You pass out for twenty-four hours, then you wake from the dead and you have immortality.”

“Please sire me, Sandy. I love you. I never want to be without you.”

“What about your family?”

“They’ll understand.”

Sandy was hesitant about vampirizing his friend, but saw the determination on her face. “When do you want to do this?”

“Tomorrow night. I’ll tell my mother that I’m sleeping over a friend’s house. Meet me at the graveyard tomorrow night.” Sandy agreed and Elsie gave him a kiss.v
*****


The following night at nine, Sandy met Elsie at the graveyard. “Are you sure you wanna go through with this?” v “I want to live forever. I want no more worries or feeling sorry for myself.” She gave Sandy one final kiss to say goodbye to her old life and was ready to begin a new one. “Sire me!” she said with excitement.

Sandy saw the paleness of Elsie’s neck under the fluorescent full moon and began his transformation. His ears went from normal to pointy. His face transformed into that of a hideous monster and his teeth were as sharp as knives. Sandy bit into her pale white neck and drained her. Then, with his long, filthy fingernail, he cut his wrist and held it over her, letting the blood drip down into her mouth. He let go of her neck and her body fell motionless. Sandy knew he couldn’t leave Elsie’s body lying around, so he brought her into the woods and put a blanket he had over her so the bugs wouldn’t bother her.

Just after nine o’clock the following night, Elsie woke up from the dead and felt refreshed. “That was the best night’s sleep I ever had,” she said out loud, and headed home. She said ‘Hi’ to her parents and got cleaned. They didn’t suspect anything.

*****


Monday night, October 31, Elsie was in her room, putting her clothes away. The doorbell had stopped ringing at least a half hour earlier. The trick-or-treaters must have been all treated out, plus the Goldbergs had already run out of candy.

Elsie’s mother barged into her room. “We’ve got to have a talk, young lady!”

“About what?” asked Elsie.

“Your behavior for the last month.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You thinking you’re a vampire.” Without giving her daughter a chance to explain, Lorraine put her hand up and said, “Don’t even bother. I read your diary.”

“You what?! You invaded my privacy.”

“I was concerned about you. You’ve just been acting weird. Then your grandmother dying, and now your new friend, Sandy. You not going to school! And now, you’ve painted your room!!!” Lorraine was on a roll.

“Mom, relax! I thought that I was a vampire because I thought a bat bit me, but I think it was just a bug bite, so everything was fine. Unfortunately, I was sad when Grandma passed away, but then I met Sandy and he became my best friend. Then Sandy was ditching school, so I was concerned. I went to visit him and found out he was a vampire. Then he sired me and now I’m one.”

“Elsie, you’ve only known him for a week.”

“Two,” she said.

“He can’t be your best friend.”

“He’s more than that; he’s my soulmate.”

“Wait, did you say ‘vampire?’ There’s no such thing, Elsie.”

“I’ll prove it, Mom. Come to the mirror. Look. No reflection. Look at the wall. No shadow.” Lorraine was getting freaked out. “You see, Mom, I don’t want any more worries, sorrows, or miseries in life. I will live forever free and be immortal.” Elsie spoke with so much confidence that it really spooked her mother.

“How the hell am I going to explain this to your father?”

“No need to,” said Harold as he grabbed Lorraine’s neck while standing behind her and dug his sharp white fangs deeply into her neck. Trickles of blood dripped down her body. Lorraine screamed in agonizing pain while Harold drained the blood out of her.

Halloween 2011 would be one night the Goldbergs would never forget as Elsie, Jesse, Harold, and Lorraine befriended darkness and would go on to live forever.


THE END


2017 James J. Murphy III

Bio: James J. Murphy III and Lisa G. Murphy are a married couple that live in New York. They both love watching movies, listening to tunes, and reading. James is the author of The Nursing Home, a horror novel that he and Lisa chose to self-publish in September 2010. James and Lisa have been working on short stories together and hope to sometime come out with a collection of them.

E-mail: James J. Murphy III

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