This story is about a girl named Devika, who has a very special mark on her neck.
| THE MARK
The night was cool, thickly brushed with hovering clouds which blocked out the moon. There was an eerie silence, with the exception of the occasional restless human driving by, as all kinds of creatures, some not known to man, were busy watching the house of one sleeping child, and its mother.
But when the sun stood on tiptoe, peeking over the hills covered in morning dew, Addison Hollows sprang back to life, with business men rushing off for work, or mothers getting their reluctant children ready for a long day of school.
Devika combed her long dark hair in the mirror for her first day at her new school, Addison High. She regretted leaving her old home, but even more so she regretted having to be ‘the new girl’ again. Her mother would often make sudden decisions about selling the house and moving far away, but would never tell Devika why.
She grudgingly put her rather dull new uniform on and made her way out of the house for school.
Devika was tall and rather slim with a pale face and a few freckles lightly sprayed on her nose and rosy cheeks. She had long dark brown hair which she had often wanted to cut shorter but her mother wouldn’t allow it, and although Nagina would never say so, Devika always knew that it was because of the mark. The mark. That is what caused everything. All the goodbyes. All the chaos. All the sadness. It was a strange thing. Devika had no idea how she got it, though her mother Nagina did. And not the lie that she told to cover up her grief, either, the one about a dog biting her neck and making a scar. No, the real story. That is the one thing that Devika had wanted to know her entire life. She wanted to know what to say when people called her vampire-bitten. The few people who had seen it, that is.
Still, as she made her way to school on the bus buzzing with chatter, though she was sitting as lonely as a deserted ship, she wondered how a tiny mark could cause all this.
Her train of thought, which had obviously taken many wrong turns as she was getting no-where, was interrupted when a girl who was practically glowing with joy at the sight of a new girl at school jumped, quite literally, onto the seat beside Devika. Somehow the fact that she was so cheery made her sort of jealous that there seemed to be nothing wrong with her life.
‘Hi there! I’m Lillian, but call me Lilli,’ she greeted, scraping back her waterfall of blonde that flowed around her neck.
‘Hi. I’m Vikki. Have you taken your happy pills this morning?’ Easy now, no need to make miss Happy-Go-Lucky hate you on your first day, thought Devika, seeing Lilli dim a little at this harsh comment. ‘Sorry, first day.’
‘Yeah, I see that,’ she said, frowning a little, and she gestured at Vikki’s sleeves. ‘Unless you came here to be bullied, I suggest you roll your sleeves up. That’s what all the cool girls do.’
She was obviously still a little miffed by Vikki’s earlier comment, but her spark seemed to return when Devika offered her some gum. She took it gratefully, and started babbling on aimlessly about the teachers at school, so Vikki soon tuned out and back to her own daydream.
The bus came to a sudden halt, causing water to fly up and spray at the windows as if trying to get inside, a couple of drops actually succeeding and squeezing through a couple of cracks in the useless windows.
When she entered the school, Lilli offered to give Vikki a tour of the school, which was quite small. It had tasteful little classrooms scattered around the area, and a fairly big oval covered in luscious grass and with garden beds placed neatly around the edges which the students had apparently grown themselves.
When the bell rang, Vikki got to meet her new teacher, who had all the girls swooning but personally Devika thought was rather dull.
Then at lunchtime, Lilli introduced her to ‘the gang’. There was Marnie, who was average height and had a jazzy short haircut, Jasper who was quite tall and lanky with short blonde hair and Abigail who had a gorgeous tumble of red curls.
For the last period of the day she had science, which admittedly was never her forte. She tried to listen, but soon gave up on that and instead took in the people in her class. She could remember a couple, mostly the good looking boys.
At last the bell buzzed to signal the end of school, and once again there was a happy buzz of conversation. Devika started packing up her things when she felt a sharp bump. Obviously quite embarrassed, the boy who had bumped into the desk said; ‘Uh, sorry. You’re new. Never seen you’re face around here before. I’m Finn,’ he held out his hand, and Vikki shook it lightly.
‘Hi! I’m Dev- I mean, Vikki.’ She stammered, almost revealing her name her mother had clumsily thrust upon her, which Devika had never liked.
‘Hi, Vikki.’ He smiled. ‘So what’s Vikki short for, anyway?’
‘And you don’t like that name?’
‘I wouldn’t say that, more that it is the worst name ever invented.’
‘No way! It’s a cool name. Really,’ He insisted when Devika made a ‘you can’t be serious’ face. He started helping her pack up her things, and then said, ‘so who do you hang out with?’
‘Lillian, Marnie, Jasper and Abigail.’
‘Cool. Well, feel free to hang out with us anytime you want.’ And with that he left, leaving Vikki staring curiously after him.
The next morning Vikki went to school with a positive attitude, looking forward to accepting Finn’s invitation to sit with him. The weather seemed as though it couldn’t make its mind up, because today it was a gorgeous, clear, sunny day, in vast contrast to yesterday’s miserable drooling rain.
Even on the bus trip, she wasn’t nearly so annoyed by Lilli’s cheerfulness, and even agreed to a game of snap, which on the rocky trip didn’t work very well.
She was in maths class, another one of her weaknesses, and she looked around the classroom, again trying to take in the new people. As she did so, she caught sight of Finn, who gave a dazzling smile. Vikki smiled back, and he started to write something. She assumed he was doing work, so she turned back around and tuned into the teacher. At that moment she felt something gently hit her back and fall to the ground with a small rustle. She turned around and examined the piece of paper that Finn had thrown at her. In carelessly scrawled writing, it said;
You sitting with us at lunch?
Vikki smiled and gave the thumbs up to him, hoping Lilli and the others wouldn’t mind too much.
So, that lunch, she found Finn sitting at the edge of the oval.
‘Hey, Vikki, these are my friends Georgia and Coop. Guys, this is the newest member of the gang, Devika.’ He gave a cute wink to Vikki, who scowled at the use of her full name and not her idealized nickname, but sat down nonetheless, nodding at the group.
She sat down, her hair swinging forward.
‘Whoa, what’s on your neck?’ said Coop, leaning forward, and then grinning, holding his hands up to his face in awe.
‘Um, nothing. It’s just a scar.’
Finn leaned forward for a closer look, and traced the outline with his finger. Vikki felt the warmth of his soft fingertips making contact with her pale skin.
‘It looks like some sort of… vampire bite! It’s pretty sweet, I reckon. It makes you unique,’ observed Finn. Vikki blushed, and Georgia thankfully changed the subject.
Soon, they were all fully engaged in a chat about the holidays which had just passed, when they saw a new face gracefully gliding towards us like a swan on a lake.
‘Oh, Vikki, this is Iris, my girlfriend.’
Wow. She had not seen this coming. She suddenly felt sick. Why? She had no idea. It’s not like she liked him or anything.
‘Hi,’ mumbled Devika, hoping nobody would notice her shaky voice. She watched Finn and Iris hug, and her stomach flipped, once, twice, until she thought she was going to throw up.
Yep. She definitely liked him. Her world seemed to shatter silently. She had only known him two days, and was never a strong believer in love at first sight. She looked around and saw blurry faces, all once again engaged in a conversation. What about? She didn’t know, and didn’t really care either. But one thing she didn’t notice was Finn looking at her.
‘Hey, are you alright? You look pretty pale.’
No. She definitely was not alright. But she managed a smile and a nod.
‘Uh, I’ll be back.’ She walked off at first until the others were out of sight, and then ran to the bathroom. She was feeling a little better, when ran into Lilli, Marnie, Jasper and Abigail.
‘Hey guys,’ she said politely.
‘Why aren’t you sitting with us?’ asked Lilli irritably.
‘I was sitting with someone else,’ she hesitated, trying to word it so it didn’t sound rude.
‘You think you can just sit with us, and then find some new friends, like we are some substitutes until you find some real friends?’
‘No! I just-,’
‘Whatever. Just don’t try to sit with us again.’ And with that, she walked off scowling. The others, who Vikki noticed hadn’t said a word, gave her an apologetic look but didn’t say anything.
Her vision blurred again. She locked herself in a cubicle just in time, as tears started to cascade down her face. Her stupid crush had found a girlfriend, and her other friends hated her. And it was only her second day. She cried and cried, not bothering to hold in the sobs, choking on the tears and letting them drip down to her lips and tasted the saltiness of them. Both her heart and her throat ached from crying.
When the bell rang for last period, she grudgingly unlocked the bathroom door, staring at the floor so no-one would notice her red eyes and face.
For English, they had seating plans, and Vikki was put next to Finn. What are the odds? She guessed that it made sense, with their last names being so close in the alphabet- Finn Thomas and Devika Thorne. But Vikki refused to look at him, for she knew that she would burst into tears if she did.
They were asked, for class, to fill in a worksheet about Shakespeare, but she couldn’t. She just stared at the page, the words blending together to form a jumble of indecipherable letters.
Finn tapped her on the shoulder and handed her another piece of paper.
Holding back tears of despair, she built up the courage to look him in the eye.
‘Nothing,’ she mouthed, trying to smile, her cracked lips wobbling a little.
Obviously she isn’t a very good actor, because he frowned. Thank god, the bell rang then and she was saved another moment of agony. It will be a peaceful bus ride home, with Lilli not talking to her, she thought.
She almost woke up happy again, when she remembered the tragedies that happened yesterday. She was not looking forward to going to school.
She mustered a fairly convincing goodbye smile for her mother as she trudged out the door and into the bus stop. The air was unpredictably humid and muggy, as though it was going to storm any minute. The sky looked angry, with grey clouds smudged across the foggy sky.
The bus eventually came after a couple of minutes of the freezing cold, and Vikki arrived to school no happier because of Lilli’s ice cold shoulder. She was wearing her hair in a side ponytail to cover her mark without making the same mistake as yesterday when she let it swing forward. She arrived at school and to her dismay found Finn waiting at the gates. His worried eyes beckoned Vikki silently, and she couldn’t hold against the power of those gorgeous green eyes.
‘Hey,’ he greeted with a friendly smile. ‘You feeling better? You looked terrible yesterday.’
‘Yeah! I’m great,’ insisted Vikki. She kept walking, but he held out his hand to stop her.
‘Seriously, Vik, I can tell something is up.’
Wow. Usually she wouldn’t let anyone call her that, but from his lips it sounded great. It seemed as though he knew her like a sibling, even though they had only recently met.
And without knowing why, she burst into tears. She must’ve looked like an idiot, but if she did, it didn’t show on Finn’s face. He looked concerned, and he put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
She was extremely embarrassed. Hiding her face in her hands, she ran off to the other end of the school where the news of the new girl crying hopefully hadn’t reached.
Honestly, what was she crying about? She met a new guy who she had a crush on, but he had a girlfriend, and some girl who probably did it to everyone got mad at her for sitting with someone else. She was a mess for no reason.
By the time lunch rolled by, she was fine and made her way towards Finn and the others, hoping not to be questioned to save some more embarrassment.
She felt tired and exhausted as she slowly ambled across the oval, and when she was nearly at her chosen spot next to Finn, she wobbled a bit and tripped, spilling her chocolate milk that she had bought from the canteen everywhere. Including Iris’s dress.
‘Ew! What is that?’ She shrieked.
‘Sorry! It was my chocolate milk!’
‘It’s going to stain! Finn, get me a tissue!’
She went over to the girls bathroom, dabbing it clumsily with a tissue as she went.
‘This is her fault! Why do you even sit with us?’ Iris pointed an accusing finger at Vikki.
Vikki went bright red and stared at the ground, ashamed. She mumbled, ‘Sorry,’ and helped her with trying to remove the stain.
For the last period of the day Vikki had maths, so unfortunately Finn was in her class for that, along with Coop and Georgia.
Vikki nodded. ‘Cool.’ Magic wasn’t really something she was interested in.
Sitting next to Vikki was Rocky, who knew everything about what was going on in the school. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him scrawling something on an old piece of maths sheet and handed it to her.
Are you okay about what happened with Iris? She’s a bit mean; I don’t really know what Finn sees in her.
She was about to nod and smile like she always does when something is amiss, when Finn walked past to get a math sheet from the teacher. He glanced at the note, and looked at Rocky with confusion on his face.
‘Sorry mate, it’s true,’ admitted Rocky.
Vikki stared down at her math book, so if Finn was looking at her, she didn’t know.
She felt sorry for him, but honestly how could he not realize how mean she could be? For the rest of the period, he looked pretty glum, staring at a spot on the dirty carpet, and Vikki felt really guilty.
She had really messed up at her new school. As she got on the bus, she saw Lilli in front of her waiting in the line to pay for the ride. They briefly made eye contact, and then Lilli looked away.
A surge of guilt spread through her body, urging her to go and apologise, for what, she didn’t know. She waited until Lilli was seated, and wandered over. She dumped herself in the seat next to Lilli’s.
‘Hey,’ said Vikki.
Lilli continued to stare absently out of the window.
It seemed like everyone on the bus went silent, and Vikki prayed they would start talking again.
‘I’m sorry for what I did. I just-‘
‘It’s okay. I get it. You have found new friends. Don’t worry.’ She gave Vikki a weary smile, and then turned back to the window, leaving the rest of the bus trip silent.
Things were no better at home, it turned out.
Vikki hopped up the stairs two at a time to her bedroom, where she found her mother sitting as still as a statue on her bed.
‘Hey mum, I appreciate your attachment and love for your daughter, but I’d also appreciate you staying away from my room.’ She joked.
The look Nagina gave her could have turned Vikki to ice, her cold blue eyes making Vikki stop in her tracks. She was sitting with her laptop perched on her lap, and turned it around.
What Vikki saw really did make her freeze.
‘Did you post these?’ asked Nagina, her voice a mix of ice and fury.
Slowly, Devika managed to shake her head.
‘Devika, you know you aren’t meant to-’
‘I didn’t! I mean, I thought I didn’t. Someone must have done it without me knowing! I swear, I would never-’
‘Hush,’ said Nagina sternly, cutting of Vikki’s rambling. ‘No more talking from you. We have talked about this. It is disrespectful to your mother who you KNOW has worked so hard to keep you safe. I’m going to delete these pictures off the internet and you are going to pack your suitcases. We’re moving.’
‘Moving?! But I can’t move! Not now!’
‘Why not? This is no different from the other times. Besides I’m only trying to keep you safe.’
Vikki gave up. She sighed. How could her mother do this? It is different, because the other times, she didn’t have friends. The other times, she wasn’t in love. But now she has to leave it behind.
She wasn’t going to argue, but she certainly was not going to pack her suitcase just yet.
She was going to find the person who took the photos of her scar.
The next morning, she got up unusually early and, instead of catching the bus, she walked to school, giving her time to think.
The only person she could think of who had come close enough to take the pictures was Finn.
When she arrived at school, she found him and waved him over. As he came closer, she noticed dark circles around his eyes.
‘What’s up?’ He said casually, but his eyes gave away his masked sorrow.
Maybe this wasn’t time for an interrogation.
‘Hey, what’s wrong?’ She asked, legitimately concerned.
‘I’ve been thinking, about the note.’ He said, referring to the note Rocky had shared with Vikki and, accidentally, Finn. She looked at her feet, but then, remembering the sadness in Finn’s eyes, looked up again. ‘I saw how Iris treated you, when you spilled the milk, and I thought maybe she wasn’t the perfect girl I thought she was. So, I broke up with her. I’m not sure how she is taking it, but I feel really guilty now.’
There was a moment of silence, and then Vikki met Finn’s gaze. She hugged him tightly.
‘I’m sorry,’ she said sincerely.
‘It’s okay; it’s not your fault.’
She reluctantly pulled away from the hug when the bell rang to signal the start of another busy day. He smiled at her, and Vikki felt better, knowing that she made him feel better.
The morning passed slowly, and then during English, she remembered something, and frowned. She passed Finn a note under the desk. It said;
Meet at the front of the school office at lunch. I need to tell you something.
He nodded, a concerned look in his gorgeous eyes.
She wandered over to the office, and there, as promised, was Finn, waiting expectantly. Oh god. She didn’t know if she wanted to tell him. But, as she got closer to him, she built up the courage to talk to him.
‘Hey,’ he greeted her warmly.
‘What did you want to tell me?’
Oh no. She looked into his beautiful eyes. She couldn’t tell him. She was scared that saying it out loud would somehow confirm the terrible truth, even though she already knew that it was a sealed deal. No. She had to tell him.
‘Uh, my mum talked to me last night. About… Well, she said that as soon as she gets things organised, with selling the house and stuff, that… we’re moving.’
‘Where? It’s gonna be close, right? Like, you’re only moving a few minutes away, yeah?’ He said with wide eyes, doubting his words.
‘No. We’re moving… to a different country. I don’t even know where. She hasn’t sorted that out yet.’
‘Why? Why so suddenly?’
‘It’s kind of a long story.’ She continued, seeing that he was actually interested. ‘You know the mark I have on my neck? Well, I don’t know why, but mum wants to keep it a secret. She says she needs to keep me safe, but she’s never actually told me what it is. And yesterday I came home and she was sitting in my room with the laptop on her lap. I asked her what she was doing, and she showed me. Someone had posted pictures of the mark online. She deleted them off the internet and told me to go pack.’
‘Vikki, I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do to make you stay?’ He offered, determined to find a way.
‘I don’t know. But listen, I know this is probably not true, but I was wondering if you had anything to do with this. I mean, I know you’re way too nice and everything, but I just can’t think of anyone, except you, that would have come close enough to take the pictures.’
‘No way, Vik. I promise, even though I had no idea that it was meant to be a secret, that I would never do anything like that,’ He said. And she believed him.
With a jolt, she realised how close they were. And she knew that if anyone saw them so close, only a few hours after what happened with Iris, that things would start to get tricky. But then she relaxed, remembering that they were hidden between the corner of the office building and the thick trees that surrounded them.
They stared at each other, mesmerised. Then Finn took Vikki’s hand and pulled her even closer.
Slowly, they leaned in toward each other. For a few moments, it was as though they were the only two people in the world that existed. The world seemed to be silent, but it was a nice, peaceful silence. He stroked her hair with his warm hands. Finally, their lips met. The world exploded in a flurry of fireworks. They only pulled away from each other when the bell rang.
They walked to their next class together, embracing the comfortable silence between them.
It was Vikki who broke the silence.
‘This isn’t going to change anything. I’m still moving away.’
‘We’ll find a way.’ He reassured her.
The rest of the day rushed past like a cheetah chasing its prey. It was only when she boarded the bus that she realised another possibility.
Lilli. She could have taken the photos somehow when they were both sitting next to each other on the bus. Plus, she has got everything against Vikki. What better reason to post her biggest secret online?
Vikki confronted her once she had paid for the ride.
‘Lilli, I have something I need to talk to you about.’
‘If you’re gonna ask me about those stupid pictures, it wasn’t me. The whole school has seen it by now, in case you hadn’t noticed. I might be against you, but I have no reason to put up pictures of your weird vampire bite.’
‘That’s what everyone is saying. Well, I’d love to sit through your annoying little interrogation, but… This is my stop. Sorry.’
With that, she stood up and hopped off the bus, leaving Vikki’s mind reeling.
‘Devika?’ Said Nagina when she caught sight of her daughter.
‘Before I deleted the pictures of your neck, I saw that the person who put it online was going under the name of ‘Hat-And-Rabbit Boy’. Just thought it might help you find out who did it.’
She raced up to her room. Hat and rabbit. That was obviously referring to magic tricks. Someone who likes magic. Sleight of hand. That’s a magic term, isn’t it? It would require some serious slight of hand to be able to take such a close picture without being noticed. All she knew about magic was that there was going to be the school’s magic show coming up next week. She would have to wait until after the weekend to ask Mr Leroy who had auditioned. And who was good enough to get make it in.
The weekend passed agonizingly slowly, but at long last, Monday came. Vikki waited until recess, when she hurried up to Mr Leroy’s office.
‘Mr Leroy!’ puffed Vikki breathlessly.
‘Miss Thorne, a nice surprise. What can I do for you?’
‘Mr Leroy,’ She waited a few moments to catch her breath, and then continued. ‘Mr Leroy, I need to know who auditioned for your magic show.’
‘Why would you like to know?’ He asked, politely but cautiously.
Vikki hesitated. He would probably not let her see the list unless he thought that she was interested in magic tricks. There was only one way.
‘You see, my cousin’s… er, friend, is training to be a magician, so I thought I might give it a go. But I want to see if any of my friends are doing it.’
‘Ah, I’m glad to see you have taken an interest in one of the many things Addison High has to offer. Let me see if I can find the list.’
He shuffled through his untidy but characterful desk, and finally produced a thin wad of paper. He handed it to her, and she scanned the list intently, looking for a name she knew.
‘Sir, did Coop Evelyn make it in, by any chance?’
‘Yes, as a matter of fact, he displayed an outstanding performance in his audition. Obviously naturally talented, and very eager.’
‘Thank you!’ She took off, out into the playground where she found her beloved Finn, Georgia, and Coop.
‘Coop!’ She called. He looked up. ‘Can I talk to you for a second?’
He looked nervous. But it was obviously him. It couldn’t have ever been anyone else. He was naturally talented, and very eager, according to Mr Leroy. And, only a few days ago, when the group had noticed her scar, he had leant very close. He had smiled, and held his hands up to his mouth in what she thought must have been awe at the time, but now she realised he must have been holding up some kind of camera.
The others stared at the two of them. Vikki grabbed his elbow and pulled him to the other side of the oval.
‘It was you, wasn’t it?’ She glared at him, furious.
‘You know what. You put the pictures of my scar online. And now thanks to you I’m moving to some faraway place that I don’t even know yet.’
‘Look… I didn’t know how mad you would get, and I certainly didn’t know it would cause you to move away. It… It was my dad.’
‘Oh yeah, blame it on your dad.’
‘I’m serious. I came home one day, and I told him I’d made a new friend with a weird mark on her neck that kind of looked like a vampire bite. He seemed really interested, and told me to take a picture. And… Wait, why don’t you talk to him?’
‘Are you mad? There’s got to be a reason he was so interested in my scar. The last thing I want is to be kidnapped and taken to some weird scientist who does all sorts of tests. No offence to your dad,’ she added.
‘It’s settled then. You’re coming to my place this evening. We can bring Finn along, if it makes you feel better.’ He winked.
‘How do you know about me and Finn?’ She said, horrified.
‘It’s obvious. He’s been so much brighter ever since you came along. I’m his best mate, and it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out how in love you guys are. You’re a much better match for that goof than Iris.’
‘Well, thanks, but I think that goof is very confused right now, so we should probably get back to them.’
So, that afternoon, Finn, Coop and Vikki all walked over to Coop’s house. They nervously entered the posh house, past the lounge where Vikki could feel the warmth of the fireplace, and shuffled into the study, where Coop’s father was staring intently at some files.
Coop motioned for them to stay back while he talked to his da. He walked into the study confidently and then said, ‘Hi, dad.’
‘Hello, Coop, I see you brought some friends along.’ Said Coop’s dad in a deep, growling voice. Coop bit his lip.
‘Yeah, they, uh, wanted to meet you. This is Finn, and-’
His dad cut him off. ‘Miss Thorne. I wondered when I would be seeing you again. Now here you are, right in my study. Though I doubt you would remember me. You were only a baby, after all. My name is Aiolos. Ever since Coop came home with news about a new friend with a vampire bite on her neck, I had been so looking forward to this day, to finish what I had started.’
Coop bit his lip. ‘Dad, please stop.’
‘You know what. Please.’
Vikki suddenly felt hot and dizzy. Not because he knew her, but because when he turned around and introduced himself, what she saw was the most frightening thing she had ever seen. At first she thought it was an illusion, a trick of the light maybe. But as he flashed his menacing smile, Vikki could see that it was undoubtedly real. Two gleaming, white fangs. She grabbed Finn’s hand and squeezed it.
‘Dad, please!’ Coop was practically yelling now. He could tell Vikki was scared.
‘What do you want?’ She hoped she sounded more confident than she felt.
‘Miss Thorne, has your mother really never told you?’ said Aiolos.
‘Told me what?’
Aiolos stood up and leaned frighteningly close to Vikki’s neck.
‘Don’t you dare touch her,’ snarled Finn. If he was scared, he was doing a good job of hiding it.
‘Devika, a few years ago, after your dad had ran off with another woman, when I was only a young vampire, maybe 130 years old, I was doing my regular shopping, when who would bump into me, but your dear mother. It was love at first sight, for poor Nagina. The fact that I was a vampire didn’t seem to faze her at all, when she found out. In fact, she begged me to turn her into a vampire. We made a deal. If I turned her into a vampire so that we could be together forever, then I would be allowed to kill you and drink all your blood.
So I fed her my blood, and soon she was a vampire. We arranged a week later for her to hand you over, so that she had time to say her goodbyes. During that week, your mother bumped into your father again. He had left the other woman and had come back to try and find Nagina again. Your mother was furious at him, and drained him of all his blood. However, his love for her was too strong, so as he was dying, your mother was becoming human again. None of the vampires knew this was possible until then. It seemed that your father’s blood had enough love in it to bring Nagina back. She tried to hide you, but I found you, and started to drink from you. By this time, Nagina had run away somewhere, but when I had drunk a fair amount of you, your mother threw an old piece of garlic at me. I was out cold for about an hour, but it wasn’t strong enough garlic to kill me. When I came to, your mother was gone along with you. I didn’t think I would ever see you again.’
‘You’re lying. My mother would never fall for someone so sinistral, and she certainly would never be so selfish as to make that kind of a deal,’ Vikki objected.
‘You’re wrong, Devika. Seeing as you are here now, I may as well finish what I had started. Your mother still owes me. Coop, sorry to do this in front of you.’
Coop had gone white, and was staring at his dad in confusion.
‘Dad, no way. Vikki is my friend.’ His voice was shaking.
‘I’m sorry. And you must know, Devika is not the first to die either.’ Aiolos sprang towards Vikki and started drinking. Vikki screamed as she felt his sharp fangs digging into her neck. The world spun in front of her eyes like a cyclone. Something was urging her, though, not to push him away. She was getting tired from blood loss, when Finn came out from behind Aiolos and shoved him aside. Aiolos was too shocked to fight back for a few seconds. Finn used those few seconds to his advantage.
Aiolos was not a trained fighter, obviously. Finn was strong, but not trained either, but Aiolos had the advantage of being bigger. They were evenly matched. Aiolos punched Finn, sending him tumbling backwards, and leapt again towards Vikki, who screamed jumped out from where he was about to land on her. Finn quickly recovered, and kicked Aiolos in the stomach.
As they continued fighting, Vikki stumbled over to where Coop was standing, shell-shocked.
‘Coop, do you have any garlic, or… something?’ whispered Vikki hoarsely.
‘No, dad doesn’t keep garlic in the house,’ but then his eyes lit up. ‘Wait… I think I still have some of that garlic bread I got from the canteen this morning. It’s not very strong, but it’s the best I’ve got.’
He rummaged through his school bag and produced a blue lunchbox. He pulled out a large chunk of garlic bread and slammed it into his father’s back. It worked like acid, but it was not strong enough to kill him. There was a sizzling, hissing noise as steam rose up into the air and around them. No-one moved for a second.
‘Coop, I’m sorry we had to do that,’ Said Finn.
‘It’s ok. Seriously. You heard what he said. He’s killed many innocents before. I’ll get over it. I didn’t realize how evil he really was.’
Then Finn seemed to remember Vikki had been drunk from. He rushed over to her side.
‘Are you alright? I- I didn’t know what to do,’ he said, worried.
‘Yeah, I’m fine. You were amazing. You never told me how strong you were.’ She tried to stand up, but her legs gave away and she collapsed to the ground.
‘You need to sit down.’ He said, shaking his head.
‘No way. We’ve got only a few minutes before he wakes up again, that garlic was not strong enough. We have to do something,’ she argued.
‘We have to kill him.’ The confident tone in Coop’s voice shocked everyone, even him. ‘I don’t want anyone else harmed.’
‘It’s okay. We just have to figure out how. There are three ways to kill a vampire. A stake, which we don’t have, fire, or decapitating.’
‘I remember seeing a fireplace in your lounge, but it’s shielded by glass. Is there anything solid enough to smash it?’
‘The glass must be heat strengthened, otherwise it would just melt. That means it’s going to be harder to break.’ said Finn.
‘Coop, does your dad have any tools, like a hammer or something?’
‘Yeah, I’ll go look in his shed.’
He rushed off, leaving Finn, Vikki and an unconscious vampire. It was only then that Vikki noticed how bruised Finn was.
‘You look awful. We should probably bandage you up, once we’ve gotten rid of this thing.’ She poked Aiolos, and then she flinched as he groaned but did not fully wake.
‘Careful!’ he whispered.
Then Coop came in.
‘I’ve got a hammer.’
‘Right, obviously Vikki is in no fit state to bash open a fireplace, so Coop, could you try and break the glass?’ Finn said. Again, Vikki tried to stand up, but wobbled and Finn caught her. ‘Easy, I’ll go get you some water. Coop, do you have any lollies or something that might boost her energy?’
After reluctantly giving up some gummy bears, Coop led them both into the lounge. It was then that they heard a groan from back in Aiolos’s study.
‘Oh god. I think he’s awake. I have no more garlic,’ Coop said, shivering.
Finn obviously was too bruised to fight Aiolos again, so they hid in the cupboard, Finn in the middle and Vikki and Coop on either side, watching through the crack in the doors as Aiolos entered the room. It was a wonder that the sound of their hearts beating didn’t give away their hiding spot.
The question now was how to crack open the glass on the fireplace.
‘Coop!’ He yelled, his voice echoing through the large room. Finn felt around for Vikki’s shaking hand, and gave it a tight, reassuring squeeze that seemed to say, ‘everything will be fine’.
Aiolos was going mad, using all of his energy to shove away items where he thought his son might be hiding. Then he noticed the hammer lying on the floor. Without thinking, he picked it up and smashed at the fire place, once, twice, three times. Smash. He had cracked open the fire place, and had helped the three friends without knowing.They knew it was only a matter of time before Aiolos opened the cupboard that the three of them were in. But, thank god, he ran out of steam before he made any more damage, and sat down on the long couch, that, unfortunately for him, was reasonably close to the fire.
An idea hit them all at the same time, but only one of them was determined enough to try it.
Finn slowly opened the cupboard doors, praying that they wouldn’t creek, and silently crept out of the cupboard, leaving the others no choice but to follow his lead, knowing what he was about to do.
They exchanged glances, and at once, the three of them jumped up and grabbed Aiolos by his arms, with Coop pinning his legs so he couldn’t kick them. With some struggle, they managed to jostle him into the fireplace. The hungry flames licked his clothes as he burnt like paper, turning black, and then dissolving, leaving no traces of existence except ash. Vikki had to look away. It felt wrong to watch someone die. Like she was invading his privacy. She couldn’t imagine how Coop must have felt. Finding out his dad was evil, and then killing him.
‘Coop?’ Finn hesitated. ‘Are you okay?’
Coop looked away, but Vikki had seen his face for long enough to know that he was crying.
‘Listen mate, I’m really sorry, I can’t imagine what you must feel right now,’ said Finn, his arm around Coop’s shoulder.
‘I-it’s okay,’ mumbled Coop, staring at his shoes.
They sat there for a few minutes, staring at the fireplace, where Aiolos had turned into nothing but ashes, lost in the flames that had devoured him up mercilessly.
‘What’s going to happen to you now, Vikki?’ murmured Finn in a voice so quiet it was almost impossible to hear over the splattering of the fire.
‘I… I don’t know. I have to go. I have to talk to her, tell her everything that’s happened. And hope she hasn’t paid for the flights just yet,’ said Vikki.
‘I’m coming with you,’ stated Finn. ‘Coop, I think you should stay. Try and get some rest.’
So Finn helped Vikki keep upright as they walked the few blocks to Vikki’s house.