When I got home I rushed straight up to my room. My room isn’t exactly the tidiest of rooms but I feel at home in the mess. It’s not so messy that you can’t even see the floor but there are a few molehills of clothes, notebooks and other junk. It’s navigationable. I rooted around for a while, unearthing a few old CDs and a shoe but there was no sign of Morrigan’s book. I pulled myself out from underneath my bed and saw the book in the most annoying of places. On top of my ‘classic’ book pile. The only part of my room that is kept in pristine condition. Of course it was there. I sat on the candy-striped sheets that dressed my bed and started to read the book.
“3 May. Bistritz. – Left Munich at 8.35 p.m. on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46 but train was an hour late.”
What did that have to do with Tawny and the others? Was Morrigan trying to tell me they were trains? Okay, now I was just being stupid. Of course they weren’t trains. It was at this point I wished I’d read every book in existence because then I would know what this was and I could maybe answer some of the questions buzzing round my skull.
Not human. What wasn’t human that featured in a book? Elves, dragons, dwarves, fairies, werewolves, vampires, aliens, robots. Maybe they were a group of humanoid robots sent from outer space to protect mankind. I sighed and suddenly became aware of Dad’s presence in the room.
“Hey, sugar plum. Your friend isn’t back yet. D’you wanna have our celebration now?” he asked, sitting on my bed.
For some bizarre reason he still had his lab coat on. He could have been to the store. In our town, working at a hospital practically made you Apollo and gave you the ability to jump any line.
“Sure” I said and watched him stand up.
Since he left he’d had his hair cut; his hair wasn’t dripping into his line of sight anymore. Why had I only just noticed that? Normally if Dad changed something about himself it’d be the first thing I noticed. I followed my dad downstairs and out to the back yard where he had a series of fireworks lined up and ready to roll. Dad liked to experiment with fuse wires so he lit them all at once. It was like having them on a timer. The rockets shot up into the sky and exploded into bursts of colour of different shapes, sizes and volumes. I looked back at the house to make sure Dad hadn’t accidentally set it on fire and saw Tawny, stood at one of the windows with a new pair of sunglasses on. I know she didn’t do so well in sunlight but fireworks too? She nodded at me and disappeared into the darkness of the house like something straight out of a horror movie.
“What’s up, Sport?” a deep voice asked.
Said voice made my gaze drift down from the first floor and made Dad look round from the fireworks. Stood in the doorway was Ayumu, looking like a creature of the night. Dressed in a black shirt and trousers with the trench coat he couldn’t seem to be separated from and bathed in red light he looked devilishly handsome but lethal at the same time. I looked at Dad in time to see him glare at Ayumu.
“Don’t worry, Mr Brady, I’m not here to steal your daughter away from you. I just stopped by to see Tawny and I figured I’d say hi to Hallie before I left” Ayumu said with a smile.
Dad shrugged and turned back to the fireworks. Ayumu came and stood beside me.
“Read any of that book yet?” he asked quietly so my dad wouldn’t hear.
“Yeah. What does it have to do with you guys anyway? You trying to tell me you’re all from Vienna?”
Ayumu laughed. “Well, that’s for you to work out. But, it might benefit you to skip to page fifty-four. That’s where it gets good”.
Something about Ayumu’s grin told me to listen to him. Dad’s fireworks show ended as Ayumu was leaving. He turned to me and said “page fifty-four” and disappeared into the pitch black house. I hugged my dad and told him I was going to bed, after all it was nearly midnight. When I got inside Ayumu had already gone and Tawny was making a cup of tea. I slipped past her and got Morrigan’s book again. I found page fifty-four, like Ayumu said, and began to read.
“There lay the Count, but looking as though his youth had been half-renewed; for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey; the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran down over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion”.
Now I knew what book it was. And now I apparently knew what Tawny and the others were. The blood gorged creature. The restored youth. The book was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And Dracula only meant one thing. Vampires.
That night I dreamt about Tawny and the others. Instead of the people I knew, they were bloodthirsty monsters with claws and fangs and a murderous look in their eyes. They were gathered around a giant cooking pot like the witches in Macbeth. The cooking pot simmered and pink steam snaked from the liquid inside. The monster I once knew as Ayumu dipped a wooden spoon into the liquid and tasted it. It was deep ruby-red in colour and I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I knew what it was.
“Needs more A positive” the monster said.
The one formerly known as Tawny hissed at him like a cat and then growled in her ethereal voice “You always say it needs more A positive. If it was up to you it’d be nothing but A positive”.
What was once Morrigan stood in the middle of the three, calmly stirring the liquid. The tips of her canines poked out over her ruby lips. Even as this dream monster she was still beautiful and mysterious.
“What about her? A touch of AB positive should sweeten it up nicely” she still had her perfect English accent.
Before I knew it, the three monsters were heading for me. Claws outstretched. Fangs bared. My feet were stuck in place. No, they weren’t stuck. I could move them well enough. I wasn’t running because I didn’t want to. So what if they were blood-sucking vampires? They hadn’t killed me yet. In fact, they’d all saved me in some way or another. They were my friends. And in that instant, the dream monsters turned into the Tawny, Morrigan and Ayumu that I knew. The cooking pot of blood disappeared. Granted in its place was a coffee table piled with bags of blood but it seemed less scary and evil. In that instant, I realised that whether in a dream or in the flesh these were the people I could trust.