Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/884010-Seeking-Kinship-at-the-Dance-Macabre
by Elerad
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Teen · #884010
An outcast gets his chance at the big dance, but all may not be as it seems.
Prom night had come, and he had a date. Brian would never have expected it. To call him unpopular would have been a sad understatement. In fact, most of the other outcasts and misfits refused to be seen with him. Small and skinny, with pale skin and large glasses, he looked the part of the prototypical nerd, but without the smarts.

He stared into the tiny mirror in his dingy little bathroom; his thin, pockmarked countenance stared back. A single bulb lit the bathroom, swaying back and forth overhead in the warm June breeze that drifted through the window. He watched the shadows play across his features, squinting as he searched for any signs of facial or chest hair. He could find none, and he let out a sigh before splashing a handful of cold water in his face.

He reached above him and pulled the frayed, browning string to turn off the light. It would be night soon, and the remaining sunlight barely lit his room. He had no need of light to make his way from the bathroom door to the flat mattress on the other side of his bedroom. He owned so little that nothing could litter the walkway. Besides which, he could see quite well in the dark.

He grabbed a white dress shirt off the mattress – the only dress shirt he owned – and slid it over his head and down his pale, scrawny body. He had considered wearing a tie, but thought it would look cooler if he left the top button of the shirt undone. He liked to think it gave him a certain manly aura, even though his brain repeatedly told him that nothing on Earth could make him appear manly.

He knew he would never be masculine… or attractive… or intelligent… or anything else that a girl would find appealing. Why then had Becka accepted his invitation? He barely knew the girl. They had met at a bookstore, nearly two weeks prior. She had seen him reading a book on the undead (a role-playing book, at that), and had taken an interest. She seemed nice and intelligent, and in a short time they sat at the store’s café, sipping coffee and talking about high school life.

He went to Dakota, a small public school trapped in the vortex between the city and the suburbs. He lived with his father in a two-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of the city. Most everyone else in the school lived in the heart of suburbia. Becka went to St. Auburn’s High School, located close to the mountains. A private school, with a small student body, he had never met anyone who attended, as most of the students came from affluent families.

As their conversation went on, Becka brought up the fact that her school prom would soon be held. Dakota’s prom had come and gone, and Brian had spent the evening in front of the television with his dad. He heard the old man now, out in the hallway, approaching Brian’s door. He glanced out the window at the setting sun, and checked to make sure he had everything in order. There did not appear to be anything he had forgotten.

“Brian?” his father’s soft voice came from behind the door, followed by a pair of knocks. “Are you ready, son?”

Becka had a license, and a car – two things Brian figured he would be unable to obtain until shortly before retirement. Yet, she seemed to know that it would kill him if she picked him up, so she readily agreed to his suggestion that his father give them a lift.

“I’m ready. You can come in, Dad.”

Bill Manning entered the room and smiled at the sight of his son. A small man, with stooped shoulders and a kind face, Bill had the look of a man beaten down by life but unwilling to go out without a grin. He had worked in the same rubber factory for thirty years, and he seemed quite comfortable with his station. Brian knew that his father had always wanted more for him, but had come to accept that he would no doubt follow in the old man’s footsteps. In fact, that much had been clear from day one.

“How do I look?” Brian asked, spreading his arms out to the sides. He wore tan khakis a size too small, and his white shirt looked to be a size or two too large. His hand-me-down loafers felt just right, since his feet happened to be the exact same size as his father’s.

“You look great, son. Come on, now. The last thing we want to do is keep your date ready. Do you have… umm… everything?”

Brian chuckled at his father’s uncomfortable look and nodded, patting the breast pocket of his shirt. “I’m all set. Thanks for everything, dad.”

“You’re welcome. You know, you might want to keep it in your wallet… she might see it there, and she could be offended. She goes to a religious school after all,” Bill said as he put his arm around his son’s shoulders and the two walked toward the front door.

“I might set it down or lose it that way,” Brian replied. The two stepped through the door and his father locked it while Brian walked ahead toward the car. They lived in a ground floor apartment in what could only be called a disreputable complex. Drug dealers and petty convicts tended to be the most common neighbors. A few other men and women like his father lived there as well.

It took them nearly an hour to drive to Becka’s house, and most of the trip passed in silence. Brian knew his father meant well with all his warnings of the kinds of people he would meet at a school like St. Auburn’s. Only Brian’s father would have checked to make sure his son had protection. Most of the boys’ dads could not possibly have cared less about it. His father had always been over-protective – ever since his mother died.

Becka’s home sat in the middle of Lakehurst Manor – an old community filled with huge, stone houses and large trees that blotted out the light of the night’s full moon. Her home looked like something out of an old, gothic painting, complete with statues and a gated entrance. Brian prepared to leap from the car after his dad honked a couple of times, but then saw Becka running down the driveway toward them.

She wore a long, red dress with slits up the sides, showing her perfectly shaped, pale legs. She had looked like a typical (though surprisingly beautiful) goth when he first met her, with her long black hair and white skin. He had assumed she wore a lot of white makeup to get the effect, but she claimed otherwise.

Brian leaped from the ’88 Chevy and pulled the back door open just as Becka arrived. She brushed the hair from her eyes and stopped outside the car just long enough to give him a good look. She did not seem to disapprove of his appearance, despite the fact that one of her high-heeled shoes probably cost more than his entire outfit.

“Hi Brian,” she said, throwing him a big smile and flashing rows of sparkling white, perfectly straight teeth. She wore ruby red lipstick and dark mascara, and Brian once again found himself wondering how on earth he had gotten so lucky. This girl should never have given him a second look.

The two kids piled into the car, and Bill backed out of the driveway before adjusting his rearview mirror so as to get a good look at his son’s date. Brian barely stopped himself from laughing out loud at the shocked expression that crossed his father’s face.

“Mr. Manning?” Becka asked, leaning forward a bit and extending one slender hand over the torn, faded seat. “I’m pleased to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Bill said, contorting his right arm so as to shake the girl’s hand.

Brian had the opportunity to say very little over the course of the drive to St. Auburn’s. His father and Becka seemed to have hit it off quite well, talking about their families and future plans. Brian chose to listen and admire the sight of his date. He had to admit that he still felt a great deal of shock over what had happened. Becka’s smile and slight nod when he had asked her if he could take her to the prom nearly gave him a heart attack. His coffee cup dropped from numb fingers and broke on the table, much to the irritation of the café owner.

A part of him still believed Becka had accepted his offer out of pity. He figured she had felt sorry for the bespectacled outcast, and so agreed to his invitation without really thinking about what it would involve. How could she be seen at her school, with all her high-class friends, on the arm of a nerd?

“Is something wrong with my makeup?” Becka all but giggled, derailing Brian’s train of thought and turning his face about the same shade as his date’s dress.

“W-what?” he muttered, turning quickly away and staring out the window at the quickly approaching foothills. The trip had passed far more quickly than he had expected, and he had not offered a single word during the conversation between his father and his date. He simply stared at her, watched her eyes and mouth move as she conversed with the old man in the front seat. Her dark eyes flicked back and forth as she spoke, as though following the rapid movements of something only she could see. The right corner of her mouth slid up in a smile both seductive and sweet.

“You were staring,” Becka said, drawing Brian back to reality yet again.

“Sorry, it’s just I’m sort of… uhh…” Brian trailed off, his eyes still locked on the dark form of the approaching mountain range.

“It’s okay,” Becka said, patting her date on the knee. Brian turned to look at the slim, perfectly manicured hand, which remained on his knee, rubbing softly against his khakis.

He looked back up at Becka, who smiled tenderly at him. She gave him a wink just as the car rounded a bend and screeched to a halt.

“Wow,” Bill said with a chuckle. “Comes up on you fast.”

Brian tore his gaze reluctantly from the smiling face of Becka and glanced out the window. St. Auburn’s High School stood before him, and he had seen no school like it in his life. It looked a bit like a church, with tall steeples jutting up high into the night sky, and a thin, central spire silhouetted by the shining, full moon. Something about the image scared him for an instant, but the sight of students moving into the building in laughing pairs and groups dispelled the moment.

“All right, kids,” Bill said as he turned back to the pair. “I’ll be back to pick you up at eleven. If you want more time, just give me a call.”

They thanked him, and began climbing from the car when Bill tapped Brian on the shoulder.


“Have a good time, son,” Bill said, a fond smile spreading across his worn face. “But be careful. Parties like this… they can get a little crazy, and you might—“

“I’ll be fine,” Brian said, returning the smile and squeezing his father’s hand. The old man nodded and Brian crawled free from the car before slamming the creaking, rusted piece of metal shut. He and Becka watched as the jalopy turned and vanished around the bend.

“Come on,” Becka said a second later, reaching over and grabbing Brian’s hand. “I want to introduce you.”

The two dashed up the concrete steps to the large front entrance, where a middle-aged man in a gray suit greeted them.

“Becka Chevereux,” the man said, smiling at the girl whilst completely ignoring her companion. “Good to see you.”

“Principal Snyder,” Becka returned, giving the man a quick curtsey. “This is my date, Brian Manning.”

“A pleasure,” the principal said a bit haughtily after giving the boy’s shoddy clothes a once-over. He quickly turned back to the girl and ran a hand through his perfectly combed, slightly graying hair. “You may enter, of course. Do have a good time, my dear, and give my regards to your father when next you see him.”

“Of course,” Becka said, grabbing Brian’s hand once more and leading him through the doors, into the mingling students within.

As a private school, St. Auburns had a rather small class size, but Brian had still expected at least a few more people. No more than sixty students stood within the large entry room. The room itself amazed the boy. Colored almost entirely in blacks and grays, and kept in immaculate condition, it looked like the entry to a museum rather than a high school. A large number of folding tables sat along the walls, covered in refreshments, and a group of students swayed back and forth in the middle of the room as slow music pumped through the room’s impressive sound system.

Brian looked about and felt more than a little surprise at the number of people he vaguely recognized from his part of town. He had expected to be one of the few attendants who did not live in the area. In fact, the disparity here between upper-crust locals and lower-class guests shocked him. He prepared to ask his date about it when she stopped in front of a big fellow in a tux.

“Alexander,” Becka said, granting the dark-haired boy a curtsey. “I’d like you to meet Brian.”

Standing at least 6’ 3”, Alexander towered over the younger boy, and he had the look of a football player. Still, his smile appeared genuine enough as he extended a large, spotless hand toward Brian. The two shook hands, and Alexander spoke in a deep, rumbling voice.

“Nice to meet you, Brian. Any friend of Becka’s is a friend of mine.”

“Thank you.”

“Becka and I go way back,” Alexander continued after withdrawing his iron grip. “Way, way back, actually.”

“Elementary school,” Becka explained, laying a hand on Brian’s shoulder. “He was my first crush.”

Alexander’s chiseled face split in a wide grin, and he nodded. “I actually turned her down for dates a couple of times once we hit high school.”

“Other way around,” Becka said sweetly, reaching up and patting the boy on the cheek. “I turned you down.”

“Did you? I always forget. She doesn’t seem to like jocks. Always liked boys with a bit more… what did you always say?”

“Character,” Becka said in a playful manner, but Brian thought he detected a hint of irritation in her tone. “I wanted someone who knew life beyond football and gifts from their rich parents.”

“Right, right,” Alexander said, his grin remaining, but taking on a slightly vicious slant. “You like guys with glasses and acne scars. Oh, no offense, friend,” he added, nodding to Brian.

“None taken,” Brian said, his back stiffening.

“It’s just that Becka’s reputation is something of a legend around here. She doesn’t like—“

“The walking dead,” Becka muttered, waving a hand toward the mass of students on the dance floor, swaying back and forth to an almost hypnotic, low beat. “I want someone with some life.”

“You want—“

“Max!” Brian interrupted, spotting someone over Becka’s shoulder. “Come on, Becka, I want you to meet a friend of mine. Nice meeting you, Alex.”


Max Harrison stood near one of the tables at the back of the room, waving to Brian. Max lived in a nearby apartment complex with his uncle, and frequently joined Brian in role-playing groups. A chubby boy, with brown hair in a buzz-cut, Max hardly looked like the sort of boy who would be invited to a high-profile gathering – not that many of the guests, including Brian, did.

“Didn’t expect to see you here,” Max said as the two boys shook hands. “You sneak in?”

“No, this is Becka, my date,” Brian said as Becka stepped forward and extended her hand.

“Wow… I mean hi,” Max said, accepting the proffered hand. “You’re even prettier than my date.”

“Thank you,” Becka said, chuckling slightly. “I’m sorry, Brian, I need to talk to someone. Will you two excuse me for a minute?”

“Of course.”

Becka looked Brian in the eye for a moment, her head tilted slightly to the right as though considering something about the boy. Then she leaned in quickly, kissed him softly on the cheek, and walked off.

“She’s amazing,” Max said as the two boys watched Becka’s red dress vanish into the slowly growing crowd. “How did you pick her up?”

“Well, it’s weird… she sort of picked me up.”


“Yeah, I mean I asked her out, but she seemed to be setting me up to do it. It was strange.”

“Couldn’t have been weirder than mine,” Max said, chuckling and shaking his head. “See the girl in the purple dress talking to the guy with a neck wider than my chest?” he asked, pointing at a distant shape near the front doors.

“Yeah,” Brian said as he focused on the pale, raven-haired beauty.

“Her name’s Victoria. She ran into me in the library, and just started talking. Before I knew it, she asked me to come to the dance with her.”

“Very nice,” Brian said, but he frowned as he spoke, and the frown deepened as he turned to look at his smiling friend. “I don’t get it, though. I recognize a lot of the kids here from our area. What’s up with that?”

“I don’t know, but I’m not gonna complain,” Max said, patting his friend on the shoulder. “I just keep hoping I don’t suddenly wake up. At least, not before she and I get to—“

“I wouldn’t count on it,” Brian interrupted. “Hey, what were you looking at when I came over here?”

“Oh, yeah,” Max said, shaking his head and turning back to the refreshment table. “It’s the punch. Have you had any?”

“No, we just got here.”

“Try some. It tastes a little weird – not like punch, actually. It tastes familiar, though. Almost like—“

“Hi boys,” Becka interrupted the two, putting her hand on Brian’s shoulder and giving them both another one of her beautiful smiles.

“Becka, I—“ Brian started, dropping the paper cup he had grabbed.

“Come with me,” the girl said, running her fingers down Brian’s arm until she held his hand. “I want to show you something.”

Max coughed something unintelligible and turned away, a bright smile lighting his face. Brian threw him a glare and turned to walk away with Becka.

“Nice meeting you, Max,” Becka said as she tugged Brian toward one of the hallways leading away from the party.

Only a few lights along the ceiling lit the hall, and the sounds of music and partying quickly faded as the pair walked quickly away. Numbered classroom doors lined one wall, and it surprised Brian when he saw no windows at all. He began to feel a bit claustrophobic just before they reached a staircase leading up.

“Come on,” Becka said. “You’re going to love this.”

A long trip up the unlit stairwell ensued, and Brian’s feelings of discomfort intensified. Thinking back on the party, he realized he had seen no windows. Only artificial lighting illuminated the school’s sometimes-cavernous rooms, and even that appeared to be in short supply. They reached a metal doorway at the top of the stairs, and Becka pushed hard against it. She pulled Brian through, and beamed at him as his breath caught in his throat.

The entire city lie spread before him – a maze of shining lights amidst a sea of darkness. Overhead, the wide eye of the full moon stared down at them, illuminating the pair in an ethereal glow. It looked closer somehow than it ever had, though the balcony on which they stood could only have been a few stories high.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Becka asked, breathlessly, as she walked to the edge of the balcony and leaned against the rail, staring out over the city. “I come up here whenever I can.”

“It’s great,” Brian agreed, walking to Becka’s side and leaning against the railing as well. He looked straight down, and regretted doing so. He had no fear of heights, but the precipitous drop off to the rocks below still made him a little uneasy. “What do you look at?”

“Oh, everything,” the girl said. “I look at all the lights and wonder what people are doing. There are so many people out there... all of them living their own lives. I look at the moon. I love the moon,” she breathed.

“I hate the moon,” Brian said simultaneously, looking out over the city instead.

“I’ve never heard anyone say that,” Becka said in surprise, turning to look at him.

“Sorry,” Brian muttered, turning away. “I’ve never liked it. I just think the night should be completely dark and… secluded, I guess. But there it is, staring at you every time you look up at the stars.”

“I don’t know,” Becka said, shrugging her thin shoulders slightly and looking back up at the sky. “I think the night is too dark sometimes. It’s good to have a little light. It makes things feel less lonely.”

“Lonely? You get lonely?”

“Sometimes. I mean I have a lot of friends.”


The corner of Becka’s mouth turned up in the smile that Brian found he loved to see. “I guess you could count him. I kind of have to.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s complicated,” she said, her smile straightening out once more. “It’s just that I don’t feel like I belong with them sometimes. I’m surrounded by these people that I’ve known my whole life, and I just want to...”

“Get away,” Brian finished for her as he removed his glasses and wiped the lenses on his shirt. “I know what you mean.”

“Do you?”

“Definitely. I’ve been surrounded by the same people my whole life. I want to see something different, or meet someone new, but I can’t do it. I think it’s why I joined that role-playing group. Heh, you probably think it’s stupid,” he said, chuckling and replacing the bent frame on the bridge of his nose.

“No, not really,” Becka said, smiling slightly and turning to face her date once more. “It’s sort of like acting, right? It’s just wanting to be someone different. I can understand that. My parents don’t.”

“You don’t get along with your parents?”

“Sometimes,” Becka sighed, turning and leaning back against the railing, her long hair dangling over the side and swaying in the warm breeze. “They’re very traditional though. I’m supposed to do certain things with my life… believe certain things, hang out with certain people. They’ve had it all planned out since before I was born.”

“My father’s kind of the same way. They mean well, though. They just want you to be safe.”

“What about your mother?”

“She died,” Brian said, a touch stiffly perhaps. Talking about it never really bothered him, but somehow he felt like he would be burdening her with a problem on what should be a fun night. “It was an accident… I guess you could say.”

Becka tilted her head at him again, as she had before, but said nothing. She seemed to sense that he had no desire to discuss it further. “I’m sorry. That must be hard,” she said, turning around again and looking up at the sky. “You’re right though, I know they mean well. It’s just… I want something different from what they had. I don’t want to live the exact same life. I’m tired of traditions.”

“But why do you want to be different? You’ve got everything here.”

“Hmph,” Becka muttered, her eyebrows narrowing. She turned quickly away and looked back out over the city below.

“I’m sorry,” Brian said softly, feeling a touch confused. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“You didn’t,” Becka sighed. “I just thought maybe you would understand somehow... but you couldn’t.”

“Becka, what’s going on here?” Brian asked after a few moments of long silence. He could no longer contain his curiosity.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean this prom. I’ve never seen anything like this. Why are there so many people here from my part of town? Why did you bring me here?”

“You asked me here,” Becka said, her smile returning as she turned her dark eyes to meet his. “Remember?”

“Yeah, but it seemed like you wanted me to ask. Like you were trying to get me to ask. I don’t know, maybe I’m losing it.”

“No, you’re not losing it,” Becka said softly, her smile slowly fading into a frown. “Brian, maybe we...”


“You shouldn’t be here,” she said, softer still. She reached out slowly and grazed his hand with her own.

“Your hand is cold,” he said, looking down and tenderly grasping her pale fingers. “I wish I’d worn a jacket, I could have given it to you. But, well, it’s warm out.”

“It’s okay,” Becka said, pulling her hand away and taking a step back. She looked Brian in the eyes, a curious look on her face. “You know, you don’t act like… like I guess I thought you would.”


“No… Brian, I think… I think we should leave.”

Brian took a step back, truly surprised. “We just got here. Are you not feeling well?”

“No, I’m fine, but I want to leave. Let’s call your dad.”

“Is it… is it me?”

“No,” Becka said, a wide, warm smile now appearing. “No, I just want to go. We can do whatever you want, but I don’t want to be here.”

“All right, we’ll go. My dad won’t be home yet, but we’ll leave him a message and wait for him.”

The two took one last look at the twinkling city and then started down the stairs. Becka said nothing, and Brian could not figure out what had come over her as they walked silently down the dark hallway toward the party. He looked curiously at her several times, but her face remained blank. He had to admit that he felt a little worried. He could remember saying nothing to offend her, but her mood had suddenly shifted.

They reached the party, which appeared to have hit maximum capacity. Alexander stood near the front door, looking directly at Becka as they neared him. The look on his face indicated that something had displeased him.

“Alexander, we’re leaving,” Becka said, trying to elbow past him.

“It just started,” Alexander said, stepping in front of the girl and blocking her way. “Besides, the fun part hasn’t even begun. You can’t leave.”

“She wants to go,” Brian said, trying his best to sound intimidating.

“You know what tonight is,” Alexander continued as though Brian had not spoken. “This is a once in a lifetime event.”

“I don’t care,” Becka said, trying once more to pass the boy, but unable to do so. “I want to leave, and I’m taking Brian with me.”

“Prom?” Brian asked, still confused by what Alexander had said. “Prom’s not exactly a once in a lifetime event.”

“You can’t leave,” Alexander all but growled, placing a hand on Becka’s shoulder. The two stared into one another’s eyes, neither of them speaking. Finally, Alexander turned away to look at the crowd, preparing to speak.

“Brian,” Becka whispered, looking at the boy with frightened eyes. Brian felt a chill run through his veins at the sight of her panicked expression. “Brian, you need to leave, or hide, or something. You need to get out of here.”

“Attention everyone!” Alexander called out, taking a step back and pulling a key from his pocket. “I have an announcement to make!” The music pulsing through the speakers suddenly cut off, and everyone turned to face Alexander. The resident students looked attentive; the guests looked confused. Brian caught sight of Max, who moved quickly to his friend’s side.

“What’s going on?” he whispered to Brian. Brian’s gaze turned to Alexander, who stuck the key he had pulled into the lock of the door and turned it.

“I’m not sure,” Brian whispered back.

“You two need to leave,” Becka insisted.

“I’ve just been informed that the party is to end early this evening,” Alexander continued. “So the festivities will begin ahead of schedule. Vincent, Peter, Christopher, if you will do the honors,” he said, signaling to a trio of large boys near the sound system.

The three nodded as one and turned the music back on. Quite a different kind of music came forth from the speakers this time – loud and rhythmic. The lighting began to dim as unrest grew amongst the prom guests.

“What’s going on?” Brian asked Becka.

“It’s too late,” she whispered. The girl leaned forward, her head in her hands, and her body began to quiver.

“Are you okay?” he asked, placing a hand gently on her back.

“You still don’t get it, do you, freak?” Alexander hissed, drawing up alongside the boys. He pushed out, sending Brian and Max careening back against the wall. Screams began to erupt from the party guests as their dates became racked by convulsions. The music increased in intensity, and the lights slowly shifted from a dim white to a dark red.

“Hey!” Brian shouted, as he tried scrambling to his feet. The giant form of Alexander loomed over him, grinning wickedly even as his body shook and trembled.

“Why would we invite you? Why would we invite a bunch of freaks and losers no one cares about?” he growled, his voice growing deeper with each word.

Brian watched in shock as Alexander’s fingernails grew several inches longer, and his ears stretched out to tapered points. His skin, already pale, became a deathly shade of gray. His dark veins became visible through the translucent flesh.

“Becka, what’s he talking about?! What’s going on?!” Brian shouted to the girl, who now stood fully upright, her back facing the boys.

“I’m sorry, Brian,” she said, her voice sounding far deeper and more mature than it had before. “I didn’t want this to happen.” She turned, and Brian recoiled at the sight. Her once-dark eyes now burned as bright red as her dress, and her canines extended two inches longer, jutting below her mouth. Her fingernails grew even longer than Alexander’s, and her pointed ears peeked out through her mass of dark hair.

“You’re a vampire?” Brian whispered. “You’re all vampires?” he said, louder, as he looked around at the host of snarling students. All the guests cowered under tables, some crying, others screaming for help. “This is just some feast for you?”

“Not just some feast,” Alexander corrected, taking a step back and placing an arm around Becka’s shoulders. “The feast. It’s nearly the solstice, and time for our entire class to find its place in the world. We will graduate into the world as true children of the dark, just as our parents did.”

“You brought me here for this?! You liar! You bitch!” he screamed at the disfigured visage of his date. She looked genuinely wounded by his words, but he could not stop himself from screaming them.

“I’m sorry Brian,” she whispered, her tone almost pleading. “I really like you, though. I just—“

“You can’t kill us all,” Max spoke up, rising slowly to his feet. “You can’t kill a bunch of students and expect no one to find out. The police will—“

“My father is the police chief,” Alexander said with a nasty chuckle. “Besides, we chose rejects from the worst parts of the city. Who is going to believe who? Our parents say you all died in a horrible electrical accident at the party. Is anyone going to doubt them? We own the police, and the coroners. They’ll believe whatever our parents tell them.”

“You know, I thought we really had a connection,” Brian whispered, shaking his head back and forth slowly. “I thought you understood me somehow. But now I get it. How could you ever understand someone like me?”

“All right, enough talk,” Alexander said, rubbing his clawed hands together. “Time for the feast.”

“You heard him, Max,” Brian sighed, taking a step away from the towering vampire. “You brought protection?”

“It’s in my wallet,” Max said, fumbling for it in his back pocket. “I hope I didn’t set it down somewhere.”

“Protection?” Alexander asked, chuckling as Brian pulled a circular object from his breast pocket. “What, you think you’re gonna get laid before you die?”

“Wrong kind of protection,” Brian said with a sigh. “I’m sorry, Becka. I really did like you.”

“Newsflash, loser, if you brought a cross or holy water, it’s not going to work against the whole lot of us. There’s no way out, either. There are only a few windows, and they’re barred. You’re stuck, and you’re dead.”

“Got it,” Max said, pulling his wallet free and opening it.

“It’s not a condom, and it’s not a cross,” Brian muttered. “It wasn’t meant to protect me.”

Alexander frowned as Brian showed him the object he has pulled forth: a small, thin, silver talisman, with a picture of the moon. The edges of the item were lined with various runes. Brian shook his head and looked directly at Becka. He snapped the talisman in half, and Max followed suit. Both boys dropped to their knees and clutched at their stomachs. Brian screamed in pain as he looked up and into the red eyes of his date.

“It was supposed to protect you,” he roared, his voice becoming deep and ragged.

“What the hell?” Alexander asked, taking a step back as Max and Brian seemed to grow larger by the second. Hair began sprouting from all over their bodies, and their clothes shredded away.

“Damned vampires,” Brian snarled. “You sure did pick the worst night to do something like this.”

“Werewolves?” Alexander gasped, turning to Becka with a look of shock and fear on his hideous features. “You chose a werewolf for a date?!”

“I didn’t know! Get the door, Alex!”

Alexander pulled the key from his pocket, but in a lightning-fast move, Brian snatched it from his hand.

“You’re not going anywhere,” he said, now standing a full three feet taller than the vampire. “The party’s not over yet. There’s going to be a feast tonight.”

He reached out and grabbed Alexander around the throat with one huge, clawed hand. Becka and the other vampires screamed as Max turned and bounded into their mass, pinning one of them to the ground. He sank his teeth into the vampire’s throat and tore away a mass of skin and tissue. Brian turned from the sight and looked Alexander straight in the eye.

“But the menu’s been changed.”
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