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Linked Souls



A Novella

by David Barton



When she was younger, a fellow Catholic girl told Maureen Pilkington that if she drank enough of the blood of Christ, she would be able to see in the dark, develop special magical Christ-like powers and have everlasting life.

So there then came the time, when they - Mo (she was usually known by that name, rather than Maureen) and that same girl, Sandra Melling - and some other girls, pretended to take communion. Did the whole thing, with a bottle of bona fide red wine that she’d stolen from her mother’s wardrobe. One that her mother had received as a Christmas present one yuletide, but never drank, because her mother - or even her father for that matter - very rarely drank. And she’d remembered what her friend Sandra Melling (who was present, of course) had told her, and while Sandra and the other girls laughed, mockingly at her, she had finished off the bottle and become very drunk.

Mo’s mother had found her in that state, and muttering something about wanting everlasting life, and unable to stand or walk or see straight - let alone see in the dark.

Then she’d puked, and all her friends had all gone, ‘Ew.’ They’d then swiftly been yelled at to leave, by her infuriated mother, and had all risen to their feet and vacated Mo’s house like fleeing rats from a sinking ship, leaving Mo, herself, to face the music.

Her mother had been so outraged that her only daughter - her own flesh and blood - had got herself in such a state, that she was grounded for a month, and not given any pocket money for that period, either.


Sixth Form. She didn’t think she’d be able to stand it. She didn’t think she’d be able to stand another whole year in school. And it wasn’t even in her old school, either, it was at a Sixth Form college just out of town. She’d have to take the bus to get there. There’d be new people there, people she didn’t know - strangers. She’d have to make new friends, and she wasn’t very good at that. Maureen Pilkington didn’t make friends very easily, and none of the few friends she did have, at her old school, were going to Windstone Heath College.

She read a bit of Jane Eyre, the book she’d started reading towards the end of summer. She always read to calm her nerves.

After a little reading, she felt tired, reached over to the bedside lamp and flicked it off.

There were noises outside, as she settled, noises of the night - somewhere she heard a cat cry out.

She’d always thought they sounded like babies - cats when they made that sound. This now reminded her of an expression from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, as she thought this - “… and stopped as a dead baby”. She wished the cat outside would stop; its continual cries were going through her. Sometimes she wished the world would stop, so she wouldn’t have to go on living in it anymore.

That’s all you did when everything ended - you just stopped. She couldn’t believe in anything afterwards, despite what they told you in church. Her saviour wasn’t waiting in some kind of paradise, somewhere. When you were dead - you were dead. You just stopped.

It didn’t seem like two seconds later, than all this was running though her mind, that her alarm went off and woke her, and it was morning.

As she peered into the bathroom mirror as she was brushing her hair, after she’d washed, and brushed her teeth, she wondered if she’d be accepted by the strangers she was going to meet later that morning, and in the day ahead of her. Probably not, she reasoned.

The brush was having difficulty getting through her hair as usual. Why did it have to grow so thick? And why did it have to be that colour?

Well, two colours actually. Her hair was red/brown, like it couldn’t make up its mind, which colour to be. The same mix as her mother’s. She hated the way she got freckles in the summer - the red side of her Jeckyll and Hyde hair dominating in that particular season!

So she hated the sun, for doing that to her when each summer came along. She tried to stay out of it as much as possible, but it was a futile act, it still found her, they still came.

Sometimes it was more brown than red, other times it was irritatingly more red than brown.

At the moment it was too “red” for her liking. Too “red” to meet new people, that was for sure!

Her eyes were blue, the same colour as the sky she’d thought as a child. Her only bordering-on-being-anywhere-near-beautiful or attractive or appealing feature, she had, she thought.

‘Good luck at school, love,’ her mother said to her after breakfast as she rose from the kitchen table.

I’ll need it, she thought to herself as Mo collected her college things together to put into her bag.

Maybe she shouldn’t go; maybe she should just pretend to go. Go out every morning, do stuff all day, look round the shops in town, maybe visit old friends - what few she had - and then return later with stories of college and how her classes had been. All made up, of course, as she hadn’t really been.

But her mother would find out. The college would ring up or something, and she’d be in deep poop.

The morning bus journey was pure hell; she sat next to a man who seemed preoccupied with gazing at her legs. She knew it had been a mistake to wear a skirt, she should have worn jeans - he wouldn’t have gawped as much, then. It was also full of people coughing and sneezing, and noisy school kids running up and down the stairs, and the driver poking his head round occasionally to try to tell them off, to no avail of course.

She tried to pull her oversized pullover down to cover her legs as much as possible, but it only reached her knees. Still it was better than nothing. Then she put on her headphones for her iPod to drown out the coughing, spluttering, sneezing and unruly kids. She listened to the Kinks - an old band she’d got into lately, that she’d discovered on the Internet. Their ‘Till the End of the Day’ filled her ears with welcome relief from the nightmare of the raucous bus journey.

She leaped off the bus before it came to a halt when it had reached her destination; so eager was she to escape its torture. She could feel the man’s lecherous eyes behind her, watching her as she hooked her bag over her shoulder and made to the front of the bus when the college and her stop had come into view. Of course, there were other students getting off at this stop: a group of girls, and a tall, lanky blonde lad, and two other lads with skinheads, one engaging the other in a headlock as they vacated the bus.

Boys, she thought. She hated them and their immature behaviour.

She stood, gazing at the school through its gates for what seemed like a lifetime before she could bring herself to put her feet into motion and make her way actually through them.

As Mo made her way up the path towards the doors of the place, amongst all the throng of young student bodies, she saw a girl who was stood about halfway along. The girl looked as miserable as she felt, but when the girl saw her looking at her, she half-smiled back to Mo.

Mo returned a half-smile back to the girl, and walked over to her.

She had a severe, short bob of blonde hair, more like a lad’s haircut than a girl’s, and was wearing a combat style jacket, and baggy trousers that Mo would have been grateful for back on the bus.

‘Another lamb to the slaughter,’ the girl said to Mo as she reached her.

‘Well, that’s how I feel,’ Mo told her.

‘Snap,’ the girl said, her big, wide brown eyes staring back at Mo now expressing an affinity. Nice, she thought.

They stood in silence for a few seconds, then the girl pinched her lower lip between her teeth as if trying to think of something to say, and then asked, ‘What subjects you doing?’

‘The usual, boring rubbish - you?’

Snap, again!’ the girl beamed at her.

Then the two girls were distracted from their mutual hatred for the whole traumatic business of starting Sixth Form by a group of girls who had just entered through the college gates.

They were all wearing dark-glasses, and everyone was staring at them, looking wary of them, and generally giving Mo the impression that these were girls that everyone else didn’t mix with much and were fearful of for some reason.

She looked from them - in their shades - and up to the sky. It was cloudy, the sun was nowhere to be seen - not exactly the kind of weather for sunglasses.

There were five altogether, all in shades: two blondes, two dark-haired girls, and a redhead. One of the dark-haired girls seemed to be the leader. She was in the centre of the group. They all walked like they owned the place.

They didn’t move like young people, Mo observed. There was something that set them apart from the rest of the students standing around and making their way into college - apart from the sunglasses, that is.

One of them wore a Nirvana T-shirt, which she thought was a bit out of date, seeing how Nirvana was the 90s and this was 2011, and another, she now noticed, was wearing a Cult T-shirt of the 80s goth band, The Cult. Come to think of it, they all, individually, not only looked out of place with the rest of the students, but out of place with each other. The shades were their only unity.

There was, however, one other thing they had in common, apart from the sunglasses that is - they were all ghostly pale. They seemed to glide along like phantoms, too, or maybe it was just their appearance that caused Mo to think this.

‘I suppose they think they look cool,’ the girl said.

‘Who are they?’ Mo asked.

Girl gang,’ the girl revealed. ‘I’ve seen them around, they’re well known round here - stay away from them, they’re trouble. Just try to stay out of their way, that’s all - okay?’

They were almost up to them now, and as they passed, the main one - the girl Mo presumed to be their leader - lowered her shades and looked to her.

‘Did you see the way she looked at you?’ the girl said after they’d passed them. ‘Creepy.’ She gave a shudder. ‘They’re weird.’ The girl looked back to Mo. ‘Of course, I wouldn’t say that to their face.’

After the five girls had disappeared through the doors of the college, the girl held her hand out towards her, to shake. ‘Jess.’

‘Mo,’ said Mo as everyone usually called her that, and thankfully, not Maureen, which she‘d always thought sounded like an old woman - true enough, in fact, it had been a name that had also belonged to her grandmother.


As Mo and her new friend settled down in their first class, the five girls - minus shades now - filed into the classroom.

Mo noticed now that she was up close and minus the shades, that the girl, who looked to be the leader of the pack, was very attractive.

‘They would be in our class, wouldn’t they?’ Jess bent towards her to whisper.

They all seated themselves down, the leader girl poking her tongue out at Jess as she caught her looking.

Jess ignored her and immediately dived into her bag and a few seconds later, after a bit of rummaging, pulled out a photo. ‘This is my cousin,’ she said to Mo, showing her the photo. ‘Do you recognise her?’

Mo studied the photo of the blonde girl staring back at her who looked a little like her new friend, and shook her head as she did so. ‘No, should I?’

‘She’s an actress - on the telly,’ Jess informed her excitedly and proudly, ‘she’s been in Hollyoaks, and a few other things.’

‘I don’t watch Hollyoaks much,’ Mo said, ‘or other things, much, really - I like to read.’

‘Oh, book worm, eh?’ Jess said. ‘Me, too!’

‘You must be very proud of your cousin, if she’s on the telly?’ Mo said handing her back the photo. As she did so, their hands brushed together and looks passed between them, then Jess self-consciously broke eye contact and glanced back to the photo.

‘Yep, the whole family is,’ she said staring admiringly at her cousin. ‘Wish I was as pretty as her, she’s always been pretty - she’s been in FHM!’

You’re pretty,’ said Mo and smiled to her.

‘Ah, but I noticed you didn’t say “as pretty” though.’

‘You’re as pretty as her,’ Mo said, ‘if not more so.’

‘You’re a flatterer,’ Jess said blushing slightly, and pushed the photo back into her bag.

There were a few moments of silence between the two girls as they waited for the teacher to arrive. The other students in the room chatted, and Mo saw the shades girls whisper to each other, but she couldn’t hear what they were saying.

‘Are you …?’ Jess asked her, finally breaking their silence.

‘What?’ Mo wanted to know.

‘Oh, never mind,’ Jess said and gave a nervous laugh.

Later on in class, Mo glanced to Jess and spied her hand resting on her knee. Mo reached over and took hold of it. Jess looked to her and smiled. Mo stared ahead and beamed contently to herself.

She then lost herself in thought and next minute, the teacher, Mr Gray, was addressing her and she hadn’t a clue what he’d asked her.

Mo let go of Jess’s hand.

‘You haven’t any idea what I was talking about, have you?’ Mr Gray said to her, gazing at her for a response.

He looked to be about thirty. Short black hair, in a crew-cut style - boring, thought Mo. Men were really unimaginative when it came to hair, but then again she couldn’t talk. Although, she hadn’t much choice, her hair wouldn’t do anything no matter how hard you tried.

He was, she presumed, reasonably attractive, if you liked that sort of thing. She didn’t.

‘Yes, course …’ Mo lied, ‘about English Literature, sir.’

‘Good guess, Einstein,’ he said, and everyone giggled. Mo caught the five shades girls laughing, and their leader wearing the broadest grin of all.

‘Summer holidays over, now,’ Mr Gray continued, ‘it’s time to stop daydreaming and time to knuckle down, okay?’

‘Sorry, sir,’ Mo said.

She looked over and the main shades girl was looking straight at her - she smiled this time at her. Mo could have been mistaken but it seemed like a friendly smile.

Jess caught their exchange.

‘Right - Dracula!’ said Mr Gray, and as Mo looked to him she saw that he had began handing out copies of the Bram Stoker classic to the class.

‘Now, I’m sure you all know what Dracula is about?’ he said as he continued to dish them out.

Somebody shot their hand up, a lad with ginger hair. ‘It’s about vampires, sir!’

The shades girls suddenly burst into a bout of giggles, and exchanged broad, grinning glances with each other.

Mr Gray looked to their dark-haired leader. ‘Something amusing you?’

‘No, mate,’ she said.

‘It’s sir when you’re in school,’ he corrected her.

‘What about when we’re not in school and you’re making mad, passionate love to me in bed, sir?’ she asked and then smirked to the other shades girls.

‘Miss Whitely!’ he scolded.

‘Mr Gray,’ she mocked.

‘Come on, settle down, Whitely - if you want to pass English Lit, I’ll need your full concentration.’

‘Oh, you’ve got that,’ she said and sniggered to the other shades girls again.

Mr Gray ignored her and carried on with the lesson. ‘Can anybody tell me one thing vampires do?’

The same lad who’d answered before - obviously the class swot, thought Mo - shot his hand up again. ‘Drink blood, sir?’

The shades girls sniggered again, and exchanged similar glances to before.

‘I wouldn’t mind sucking your blood, sir,’ the leader of the shades girls - who Mo now knew her surname, at least: Whitley - said, ‘or, something else!’

The entire class erupted this time.

‘Okay, come on, that’s enough,’ Mr Gray said.

‘I’ve only just begun,’ Whitely whispered under her breath.

‘What was that?’ Mr Gray had heard her.

‘Nothing, sir,’ she said.

‘If you don’t watch it, Whitely, you’re going to find yourself in detention,’ Mr Gray told her.

‘Are you taking it, sir? In that case - put me in detention, pleeeeease!


At break, at the lockers, the shades girls made their way over to Mo and Jess.

‘Uh-oh,’ said Jess.

‘What?’ Mo looked to where Jess was gazing, and saw them. ‘Oh.’

When they reached the pair, their leader turned to Jess and said, ‘Disappear!’

Jess looked to Mo, then back to Whitely, then made to go, reluctantly. ‘See you later,’ she said to Mo.

‘You won’t be,’ said the girls’ leader.

‘Why’s that?’ Jess asked.

‘Because …’ She returned her attention to Mo, and looked her over admiringly. ‘She’s ours.’ Then over her shoulder she said to Jess, ‘She’s not your sort, anyway!’

‘So, what’s your name?’ the girl asked Mo after Jess had disappeared down the corridor.

‘Maureen,’ she answered, then cringed and cursed herself for making the mistake she often did when she introduced herself to someone new - that of revealing her full first name, instead of just, Mo.

The five girls laughed.

‘Maureen?’ Whitely said to her lifting her eyebrows wryly. ‘What kind of a name is Maureen, when it‘s at home?’

‘It was my nan’s name,’ Mo told her. ‘Most people call me, Mo, though.’

The girl gave another laugh. ‘Mo? That’s even worse! It sounds like one of the Three Stooges or something!’

‘It is one of the Three Stooges,’ one of the other girls, the redhead, said.

‘Who are the Three Stooges?’ Mo asked.

‘Before your time,’ Whitely said.

Before my time? thought Mo. They were the same age as her!

‘Well, Mo, I’ve decided,’ the girl said.

‘Decided?’ Mo asked her.

‘Decided, I’ll let you live,’ Whitely said.

Decided, she’d let me live?

There was a long silence, where Mo looked at the girls, and the girls looked back to Mo with fixed, unflinching expressions.

‘Well, you want to be part of the gang, don’t you?’ Whitely finally said to her. ‘Believe me, you need us.’ She looked Mo up and down. ‘We’re quite a friendly bunch, really, once you get to know us, and we’ll look after you - and believe me, you need looking after!’ She gave her another look over. ‘First thing’s first …’ She turned to the others as if to introduce them, then just as swiftly returned her attention back to her. ‘Oh, by the way, I’m Christina.’ Now she turned to the others and did introduce them.

Mo discovered that the one with long, curly, auburn hair - the redhead - was Dorothy, one of the blondes - the one with long blonde hair - was called Esther, the one with short, spiky blonde hair, Edie, and finally, Christina came to the other dark-haired girl, who had it backcombed and was wearing lots of heavy black makeup around her eyes and blue lipstick, and dressed entirely in black - the type of girl who her mother always said looked to be dressed for a funeral. ‘This is Lydia - Liddy,’ Christina said.

‘You’re a goth, right?’ Mo said to her.

‘No,’ she replied and kept a straight face, the others sniggered and smirked in the background.

‘Oh, sorry,’ Mo said, feeling uncomfortable.

‘I am, really,’ she said after moment or two, and beamed.

‘A goth that smiles,’ said Christina, ‘now there is a novelty!’

So that was: Christina, Dorothy, Esther, Edie and Lydia a.k.a Liddy, old names, but then, her own - Maureen - was hardly one of the latest trends in names, was it?

‘Of course,’ said Christina, ‘if you want to be part of the … gang, there is the small matter of the initiation.’

‘Initiation?’ she asked.

Mo didn’t like the sound of that.

‘Well, it’s a kind of initiation, we all had to do it when we became part of the … gang.’

Mo noticed that whenever Christina referred to them as a gang, they grinned to each other like there was some private joke going on amongst them, as if a “gang” was not what they were, they just called themselves that for some reason - some highly hilarious reason, it looked like, judging by their grins and exchanges.


Mo had to bus it back to Windstone later that evening, as that’s where the girls lived, and that was where the “initiation” was to take place.

She didn’t mind. It was nice to be popular. Mo didn’t think she would have been, but these girls seemed really interested in being friends with her - especially Christina, who seemed to be doubly infatuated with her.

Maybe she fancied her? Mo hadn’t thought about that - that the reason the girl was so interested in befriending her, was that she secretly fancied her. She was gorgeous!

But then, Mo really liked Jess, and she’d been nice to her too on her first day. She felt guilty that she’d abandoned her so casually, but her new friends didn’t seem to like Jess for some reason.

‘You live in a squat?’ Mo said as she stared at the house the girls shared, from its doorway. She’d met up with them in the street. The house was off the street but you couldn’t get through the huge gates at its front, as they were padlocked, and of course the girls weren’t supposed to be there. Along the wrought-iron fence that bordered it, there was a place where someone had bent the bars open and you could squeeze through and enter that way. This is the way she was led, and how she had come to find herself, now, at its doorway.

Christina cringed with irritation. ‘Squat?’ she said, sounding offended, stepping forward and entering the place. ‘What are you calling a squat? This is our home - home, sweet home!

Once inside, Mo took a glance around; she was surprised to see that it was quite well furnished - even if the furniture didn’t quite look right or even match really well.

‘Home is where the heart is,’ the punky looking girl, Edie, said.

‘There’s no place like home,’ Dorothy, appropriately enough - having the same name as the character in The Wizard of Oz whose catchphrase it was - said.

‘And other clichés,’ Christina added.

Then she took hold of Mo’s hand and guided her towards the steep rise of the stairs. ‘Come on, we’ll give you a tour!’

The others scrambled to ascend the stairs also, in front of and behind her.

When they reached the landing, Christina opened the first door she came to. ‘This is Esther’s room,’ she said.

‘Welcome to my world!’ said Esther pushing past them into the room. The walls were adorned with posters of grunge bands from the 90s, mostly Nirvana. There was a huge poster of Kurt Cobain that took central place above her bed.

‘I see - retro?’ Mo said.

Esther’s eyebrows came together. ‘What do you mean - retro?

‘All this,’ Mo said, nodding towards the room, ‘the Kurt Cobain poster? Pearl Jam?’

‘They’re my favourite bands!’ Esther said.

‘You are aware that this is 2011, right?’ Mo said to her.

‘Yes, of course,’ Esther said still gazing in adoration at the grunge king’s face.

Someone had hold of her hand again. This time it was Liddy. ‘Come on, come and see my room!’ she said pulling at her.

Liddy’s room was just as retro as Esther‘s had been; only this had goth band posters hung on its walls. There was a large one for Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus, near the door, to one side.

‘Oh, I get it,’ said Mo, ‘you all like different eras in music?’

‘Something like that,’ Christina said, and again grins passed between the girls and glances were exchanged.

She was also shown Edie and Dorothy’s rooms - Edie had punk posters from the 70s: the Sex Pistols and the Clash, and Dorothy was glam: T-Rex, and David Bowie adorned her walls.

And finally Christina’s room. Christina was some kind of hippy-chick, Jimi Hendrix greeted Mo at the door - or at least a life-size poster of him did - also on her walls, Jim Morrison, and the Rolling Stones.

After the tour she was taken back downstairs, and sat down on the settee, the other girls surrounding her, one either side of Mo on the settee and the other three on easy chairs. Edie had to make do with sitting on the arm of the one Dorothy had sat herself down on, as there wasn’t any room left.

‘So, what now - cup of tea and biscuits?’ Mo joked.

‘We don’t drink … tea,’ said Edie and the five girls erupted into their usual secret laughter, which Mo was getting so used to by now - she had almost stopped noticing it. What was the big secret?

‘No, not tea,’ said Christina, and the other girls smirked again. ‘Now it’s time for your initiation.’

Mo had been dreading this, what could this “initiation” possibly be? And was it going to end up with her looking stupid? Had it been a trick, all this, to lure her here, so they could make a fool of her - take photos of her with their mobiles and show everyone at college the next day?

Then Christina got something out from her pocket, and Mo saw that it was a craft knife - the type that model-makers used, and also, the type that gang members used to slice people with. They were a girl gang, after all - and now they were going to attack her! But they had been so nice with her. Surely not?

Mo gulped. ‘What’s the … knife for?’

Christina grinned. ‘For the initiation!’

Mo tried to rise to her feet, but Liddy and Esther, to either side of her, sat her back down again.

‘It’s really nothing to worry about,’ said Christina, ‘we’re just going to cut you.’

Mo gulped again. ‘Cut me?’

‘For the initiation,’ Christina explained. Again - initiation was like “gang”, it was as if that didn’t really mean what it was; they just called it that for some reason.

‘Look, I’m not sure about this …’ Mo said beginning to rise to her feet again, but immediately being stopped doing so, once again, by the girls to either side of her.

‘You want to be part of the gang, don’t you?’ asked Christina. She was on her feet now and advancing towards her.

She held one hand up and parted her thumb and forefinger, and with the other hand - the one holding the knife - she said, explaining, ‘I just make a cut between your thumb and forefinger, and then …’ She smiled. ‘Well, you’ll see what I do next - when I do it.’

Christina relaxed both hands. ‘We won’t do it if you don’t want us to?’ she said.

‘But you want us to, don’t you?’ Edie said rising to her feet off her chair arm perch and advancing towards Mo, also.

Mo didn’t think she had any choice, really, in the matter. Even though Christina had said she didn’t have to do it, they’d all no doubt made up their minds that she was going to do it, no matter what, and even if she didn’t want to!

‘Yes, of course’ Mo heard herself saying zombie-like, ‘after all, I want to be a part of the gang.’

‘That’s excellent!’ said Christina, ‘you won’t regret it I promise you!’

Christina knelt by her, Esther and Liddy vacated the settee and Mo was laid down on it. Then Christina took hold of Mo’s now trembling hand and positioned the knife where she had said she was going to made the cut.

Then she made the cut. Panic filled Mo as the knife made a very deep gash and severed the skin in between her thumb and forefinger - blood gushing from it and dripping onto the carpet.

She tried to get up, but Christina said, ‘Hold her down!’

Esther and Liddy from behind her made sure she couldn’t move by securing her arms.

It wasn’t over yet; they were going to do something else to her!

‘You’ve cut my buggering hand open!’ Mo cried out, her face wrinkled in agony.

‘It’s all right, Mo, you’re only bleeding,’ Christina said to her.

This seemed to cause some amusement with Christina. Then Mo thought of a Bob Dylan song she’d once heard, and she got the reference.

Then Christina did something extraordinary, she put her mouth to the wound and began to suck.

The girl was sucking blood from her hand! But this wasn’t any normal kind of sucking; Mo could actually feel the blood being drained from her. It was as if Christina was drinking her like a liquid through a straw.

‘You’re taking too much!’ she cried out after it didn’t look like Christina was ever going to stop sucking blood from her body.

Christina took her mouth momentarily away from Mo’s hand and looked up at her. ‘You can never take too much!’ Christina, who looked a ghastly sight with her blood dripping from her mouth, said.

She returned it to the wound and continued sucking, draining even more of Mo’s blood from her body.

For what seemed like a lifetime, Christina continued to suck at Mo’s hand, until finally she took her mouth from the wound.

‘She’s looking pale!’ said Edie gleefully, gazing at Mo.

‘I do believe the poor girl is going to faint!’ Christina said.

Then Mo did exactly that. The next thing she knew the room was coming back into focus again, and five blurred faces were hovering over her.

‘Still in the land of the living, darling?’ Christina’s voice said as her face became clearer.

‘What happened?’ Mo asked dazed.

‘You passed out,’ Christina said, ‘which is not surprising seeing how I drained most of the blood out of your body.’

‘Wha … did you do that for?’ Mo asked groggily.

‘I should have thought that might be obvious by now,’ Christina told her, ‘I’m a vampire!’

‘We’re all vampires!’ Edie said.

Mo started to laugh, weakly.

‘Now you must drink from me, from all of us - that’s part of the “initiation”.’

Mo watched as Christina repeated the action she’d done with her hand on her own. Blood gushed from the cut and dripped onto the carpet once more.

‘We’ll need a new carpet, after this,’ someone, somewhere said - Mo thought it sounded like Dorothy’s voice.

It seemed instinctively so, but Mo took to Christina’s hand like a newborn baby sucking on its mother’s breast. There was hunger inside her, a burning hunger for Christina’s blood. She sucked at the wound eagerly and began to gulp it down with a glutton. It tasted good; she had never thought that blood could taste this good - and it made her feel stronger and stronger the more she drank.

It was sometime before Mo took her mouth away from the gaping wound in Christina’s hand, but when she did so she felt reborn. She had an overwhelming feeling of being something else now, something unreal, something that didn’t belong in the earthly world anymore - something not really human anymore. Something special. Something strong. Something very, very strong and something that was to all intents and purposes - supernatural. A vampire!


Mo opened her eyes. It was morning. Had last night been a dream, she wondered, at first. Or had it really happened? No, it couldn’t possibly have happened, because things like that didn’t happen in real life, did they, just in horror movies, or horror stories, and Mo wasn’t very keen on that type of story - give her Thomas Hardy, any day.

She looked to her bedside cabinet and saw her copy of Dracula lying there that she’d brought home from college with her the previous day.

Then Mo breathed a sigh of relief. ‘Dream,’ she uttered - triggered by the book she had to read for English Lit, no doubt. She eased herself out of bed and sat on the side of it, sliding her feet into her slippers. Mo rose to a standing position, and almost fell back down again. She felt very light-headed.

Mo couldn’t remember what she’d done the previous evening, just the dream. She tried to remember, had she been out drinking? No - she never went out drinking.

Those girls at college had been in her dream. She’d visited them at their squat. Or was that part real - had that really happened? Was it just the other part - the part where she’d …

Mo shuffled over, groggily, to the window and pulled back the curtains. Sunlight streamed in.

She immediately felt a burning sensation to her eyes. The daylight hurt her eyes! Mo quickly drew the curtains to again, and went over to her dresser. She began to rummage through her drawers until she found a pair of sunglasses. Mo put them on and returned to the window.

She swished open the curtains again; this time the sun didn’t hurt her eyes.

Everything looked the same outside, the same as it had always done. Mo looked back into her room - her room looked pretty much the same as it always did, also. Could do with a tidy, her mother was constantly reminding her. ‘Honestly, love, you live in a pigsty,’ had become a favourite expression every time her mother had poked her head round her door.

Yep, everything looked more-or-less the same, except for one thing - she didn’t feel the same, she felt different. She didn’t feel real anymore, it was as if she wasn’t stood in the world anymore - well she was, but not properly. Like a ghost!

When she sat at the breakfast table later after she’d washed and dressed and got herself ready for college, Mo asked her confused mother at one point, when she’d spoke to her after virtually ignoring her beforehand, ‘Can you see me?’

‘See you?’ asked her mother, raising an eyebrow, ‘of course I can see you.’

‘You sure?’ Mo asked.

Her mother just stared at her like she’d gone mad or something, and - maybe she had, Mo thought.

As she made her way to the bus stop later - wearing the sunglasses to protect her eyes - the sun felt warmer than usual on her skin. She tried to walk in the shade as much as possible, but when she couldn’t it was almost as if the sun was burning her, and yet it wasn’t really all that bright in the sky.

On the bus journey, on the way to college - in her sunglasses - everybody kept looking at her and then peering out through the windows to check the sky, as she had done the previous day when the shades girls had first entered her life.

‘You look awful,’ Jess greeted her with just inside the school gates.

‘Thanks,’ Mo said.

They began towards the college.

‘What’s with the shades?’ Jess wanted to know as they did so.

‘I have an eye infection,’ she lied - or maybe it was just that? An eye infection? Had she also a skin infection, though, as well? Is that why the sun burned her so?

Then the shades girls appeared through the gates behind them, and because everyone was staring, the two girls knew just who had entered the gates and were making their way up to the college behind them.

They turned towards them. When Christina saw Mo she smiled. Jess looked to Mo, puzzled, then back to Christina and the other shades girls.

‘She’s with us, now,’ Christina said to Jess when they reached them, and then indicated for Mo to walk with them.

They didn’t wait for her to join them, however, they walked on, but Mo knew they would want her to go with them. Call it instinct, but there seemed to be a connection now between them and her. It was almost as if she could tell what they were thinking just by looking at them.

‘I better go,’ she said to Jess.

‘Why are you hanging around with them, now?’ Jess wanted to know.

Mo shrugged.

‘What’s with the shades?’ Jess questioned further.

‘Sorry, I can’t hang around with you anymore - sorry.’ Mo gave another shrug then ran to catch up with the shades girls.

‘Why the hell not? What’s so special about them, anyway?’ Jess called after her. As she watched, and stared after Mo longingly, she uttered to herself, ‘What about us?

In the shade, behind the back of the college building, at break, Mo wanted some answers.

‘Was it real - last night?’ she asked Christina. The others laughed, Christina half-smiled and said, ‘Of course it was real.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘You’re one of us, now.’

‘What exactly is that?’ Mo wanted to know.

‘One of the gang, of course,’ Christina said.

She still wasn’t saying it. Saying that word from the films and the books - that word that Mo suspected they were, and that she now was, herself, also.

‘Are we … vampires?’ Mo asked.

The girls laughed again, and once more Christina just half-smiled. ‘What, like Bela Lugosi? Christopher Lee? Edward Cullen?’

There were fresh sniggers from the other girls.

‘Well?’ Mo pursued.

Christina still didn’t answer Mo’s inquisitiveness for confirmation of what they were - what she’d become.

She just stared at Mo for what seemed like an age, then rolled her eyes and said at the same time, ‘Yes, we are vampires!’

‘But how is that possible?’ Mo asked, ’I mean, that’s just in the movies!’

‘Obviously not,’ Christina said. ‘And we’re older than we look. Too old for school.’

‘Too cool for school!’ said Edie.

‘So, what are you doing here?’ Mo asked with a wry expression.

‘We’re teenagers, teenagers go to school, its expected that’s where we’ll be, so here we are - in school!’

‘So, how old are you?’ Mo wanted to know.

‘I’m sixty-one, I was born in 1950!’ Christina replied.

‘That’s older than my mum!’ Mo stated her eyebrows flying upwards. ‘How old is everyone else?’ she then asked now looking around at the other shades girls.

Christina went through all the girls one by one and told Mo how old each girl was, until she finally came to Esther.

‘… and Esther, is our youngest recruit - a baby at just thirty-five,’ Christina said nodding over to Esther.

Esther looked androgynous, she had on her Nirvana T-shirt again, and with her long, un-kept, dirty blonde hair she resembled the singer, Kurt Cobain, more than a little.

‘I thought I was the youngest?’ Mo said.

‘Before you,’ Christina said.

‘Why me? Why did you make me like you? Why didn’t you just feed?’ Mo asked her.

‘I liked the look of you, that’s all - not in that way, though.’

‘In what way?’

‘In a dykey way. I hate dykes!’ She almost spat out the word.

‘Oh …’ Mo said and dropped her eyes to her feet.

‘What’s the matter?’ Christina asked sensing there was something up.

Mo raised her eyes immediately and shook her head vehemently. ‘Nothing.’

‘We move around the country, enrol at different Sixth Form colleges, and other colleges …’

‘We never age,’ Dorothy cut in.

‘You mean, I’m going to stay looking like this, forever?’ Mo asked.

‘Yep, ’fraid you’re stuck with it,’ Liddy said.

‘You get to stay young and pretty, forever!’ said Edie.

Some of us do!’ said Liddy wryly.

‘Just like Dorian Gray!’ said Esther.

‘Are you wild about Oscar, Mo?’ Liddy asked her.

‘I like The Picture of Dorian Gray, I’ve read some of his poems, too,’ Mo said.

‘He was an homo, though,’ Christina said.

‘A very talented, homo!’ Liddy told her.

‘People should stick to the opposite sex,’ Christina said. ‘It’s not right for two men - or two women - to … have relations together.’ She made a face to illustrate her disgust at the whole thing.

Mo wondered what Christina had against gay men and women to make her feel so strongly about it. She thought people from the 60s were supposed to more liberal? Was it not bad enough that the Catholic church frowned on homosexuality, that now her new friends seemed to be just as homophobic?

What’s the big deal? Mo could never understand that.

What’s the difference between loving the same sex or loving the opposite? Surely we should love one another, wasn’t that what religion is supposed to be about?

It’s about sex, of course, that’s what they think. Except that it’s not - it’s about loving another human being just the same as if it were the opposite sex!

Her own mother didn’t even know that she was gay. Now she had to keep the secret from her new friends.

After a moment‘s silence, Mo thinking this and other things over, she said to Christina, ‘What happened?’

‘Do you mean - how did I come to be a vampire?’ Christina asked. Mo nodded. ‘Free love party! A very kinky free love party! At least, I thought - one that involved cutting. A guy drank my blood, a vampire - like I did with you.’

‘So, where do we originate?’ Mo asked.

‘Questions, questions,’ said Christina.

‘You can understand how I would want to know everything?’ Mo said to her.

Christina gave a shrug. ‘I really have no idea,’ she said. ‘Most likely, Transylvania, or somewhere like that!’

The other girls laughed.

‘My name is Dracula,’ said Edie, imitating Bela Lugosi’s Transylvanian accent from the films,’ I bid you welcome to my house!’

‘You don’t know?’ Mo said to Christina.

‘Nope,’ she answered.

‘Maybe you could look it up on Wikipedia!’ joked Esther.

The girls all laughed again.

‘So I have to go through life feeding off humans, now, do I?’ Mo said.

‘Yep, ’fraid so,’ Christina replied. ‘That’s how we survive.’

‘And whatever you do, don’t let anyone suck your blood, because if they do, they become vampiric,’ Esther informed her.

‘Yes, don’t go giving blood!’ Edie laughed.

‘No, you can’t give blood, otherwise the recipient will turn vampire,’ Christina confirmed.

‘So what were the 60s like - was it as good as everybody says it was?’ Mo asked Christina.

Christina raised her eyes heavenwards and smiled. ‘It was wild! Wild parties, the music - better than the crap you listen to today!’ She looked back to Mo.

‘I don’t know, I quite like a bit of the Doors, the Stones, Bob Dylan …’

‘Cool - we have stuff in common, then,’ Christina enthused. ‘You’re a really cool chick. Stick with us and you’ll be even cooler!’

Christina peered into the distance. Mo thought she may have been remembering the wild times of the 60s, momentarily, then she turned back to her. ‘Stay away from that girl, Jess, though.’ She bent closer to her. ‘She’s one of them.’

‘One of them? Oh - Human?’ said Mo naively.

‘No, one of them - she likes girls!

‘Oh …’ Mo realised what she meant, at last. Christina’s homophobia raising its ugly head once again. She was thankful Christina didn’t know that she herself was one of them, as she put it.

‘So, have you got a boyfriend?’ Christina wanted to know. She looked to Mo expectantly.

‘Wha … oh, no.’ Mo bit her lower lip, then quickly changed the subject. ‘So, that’s what you’ve been doing all these years, since the swinging 60s, then - enrolling in colleges? Living out your teenage years again and again?’

‘No, not just that, I’ve travelled the world, been everywhere - nowhere too hot - done everything!’

‘Must have been great!’ Mo said.

‘It was,’ Christina answered, then she leant up off the wall, and shoved her hands into the pockets of her leather jacket and walked forward, almost out of the shade, just stopping shy of doing so. ‘But I miss walking in the sun.’ She spun back round to Mo. ‘We really are creatures of the night!’

‘Listen to them,’ began Edie adopting her Transylvanian Bela accent once again, ‘creatures of the night, what music they make.’

‘That’s wolves, he’s talking about wolves - old Bela is referring to wolves in the film!’ corrected Dorothy. ‘And it’s children of the night - actually!’

Just at that moment, the bell sounded for the end of break.

‘The bells, the bells!’ said Edie, imitating, now, the Hunchback of Notre Dame’s chant, and moving around like a hunchback, much to the amusement of the other girls, except Christina, who just said, ‘Idiot,’ to her. She turned to Mo. ‘Just ignore Edie, the girl’s obviously deranged.’

‘No sense of humour,’ said Edie to Mo - meaning Christina. ‘Hope you’ve got a sense of humour, Mo - you got a sense of humour? Because you don’t need a sense of humour to be a vampire - but it helps!’ She shot her a wink and then led the others as they walked back into the college, to their next lesson.


He recognised them from Sixth Form as soon as he saw them. Everyone knew about them. Everyone was wary of them. They were thought to be some kind of girl gang, but he was damned if he was going to allow a bunch of girls make him cross to the other side of the road as he walked towards them now.

As he neared them, Christina, their leader, stepped out to block his path, beaming at him. The rest of them crowded round him too. ‘Hi, there,’ she said to him.

‘Hi,’ he said to Christina running his eyes up and down her in admiration. Feared or not, she was certainly fit, there was no denying that.

‘How’s college going?’ she asked him.

‘College is fine, yeah,’ he said nodding.

‘Good,‘ Christina said and looked to the others. They all sniggered conspiringly, so he assumed they were obviously up to something.

There was a new girl with them, now. She didn’t seem to fit in, not really. But, then, that was the thing with them, wasn’t it? They didn’t seem to fit with each other. It was like all the loners, all the misfits - the girls who usually got picked on at school for being freaks, or what have you - had decided to form their own gang.

‘You know I’ve been watching you from afar?’ Christina said to him, looking him over, now, admiringly. There were more sniggers from her companions.


She nodded her head. ‘Really, and I really fancy you! How about we slip into the bushes for a bit of fun?’ She glanced to the bushes to the side of them.

‘All of you?’ he asked, looking around at the others.

‘All of us,’ Christina confirmed. ‘Would you like that?’

Without another word, he made an enthusiastic dash for the bushes, as did the girls, and a few moments later they were all stood in the darkness of them, and him facing the gorgeous Christina.

‘I’m into cutting,’ she said to him.


‘Yes, I really get off on it. So - is that okay?’

‘Yeah, anything!’ he said.


She dipped a hand in the pocket of her leather jacket and seconds later brought something out, it was a craft knife.

‘What are you going to do with that?’ he asked looking ominously at the knife she held.

‘Cut you,’ Christina said, ‘what bit about me being into cutting, don’t you get?’

All the girls sniggered again.

She took hold of his hand with her free hand, and lifted it, and also raised the knife level with it. ‘I’m just going to cut you between thumb and forefinger - a brave boy like you shouldn’t have a problem with that, should he?’

‘No,’ he said shaking his head, ‘anything! Bring it on!’

She proceeded to cut him. He winced when she did so. It stung, but when she looked at him he tried to hide it, bravely.

‘That’s a very brave soldier,’ she said to him and the others smirked behind her.

‘What happens now?’ he asked looking to the bleeding hand, Christina still held. It was quite a cut she’d made in it, but he still maintained his dignity even though it hurt like hell and blood was dripping everywhere.

‘Now I’m going to suck it.’

‘Oh, great!’ he beamed.

Christina rolled her eyes. ‘Your hand.’

‘Oh ... my hand, cool, yeah,’ he said.

Christina had her mouth fixed to his hand and was draining him before he knew what had hit him. He watched bewildered as she did so, trying to keep a brave face, as the other girls stared on, grinning at him. He noticed the new girl to their fold wasn’t as keen as the other girls to watch, and only wore a half-smile - which soon vanished from view the more Christina sucked at the wound she’d made to his hand.

When she’d finished, the hand was passed to the next girl, then the next, and they took it in turns to drink from him. Last was the new girl, Mo they called her, who, to his amazement, sucked just as hungrily on his hand as the other girls, if not more so.

‘He’s looking pale,’ said Liddy after they’d all satisfied their thirst dining on him.

‘Looks like a buggering corpse!’ laughed Edie.

‘He looked pretty much that way before, though,’ said Esther.

They all sniggered, all except Mo of course. She looked worried.

‘Will he be okay?’ she asked concerned.

He had slumped down after she’d fed off him, and lost conscientiousness.

‘Hmm?’ said Christina, unconcerned, and then adding dismissively, ‘Oh, yeah, fine, don’t worry.’

The rest of the girls made their way out of the bushes, Mo remained for a moment staring at their victim, who seemed dead to her - but what did she know? She was new to this, after all. A novice. A vampire novice! She still hadn’t come to terms that she was in fact one of the undead yet - let alone be converse in the ins and outs of vampiric survival and its effect on victims.

Finally she took her eyes away from the blood-drained student at her feet and went in pursuit of her fellow vampire friends.


Lying on her bed later, Mo peered up to the crucifix fixed to the wall above her bed. She shifted herself to a sitting position and then reached towards it, and took it down.

Mo dropped it immediately; she’d felt a burning pain in her hand. When she examined her palm, there was, in fact, a burn there. A bad scorching in the shape of the crucifix, with smoke rising from it.

The cross had burned her! Wow, Mo thought, the movies were right - crosses do have a negative effect on vampires! Why hadn’t she been warned? Why hadn’t Christina and the other girls warned her about this? There were crosses everywhere if you belonged to a Catholic family.

Mo looked to the crucifix lying on the carpet near her feet, and wondered how she would be able to pick it up without harming herself again. She didn’t want to forget about it and tread on it in the night and burn her bare foot or something. Mo searched and found a plastic carrier bag and grabbing a pen, stooped to it and using the pen, pushed the thing into the bag. Then she put the carrier bag containing the crucifix in her wastepaper basket.

The next morning as her mother came into her room to ask what Mo wanted for breakfast, as they were apparently out of cereal, she noticed that her daughter’s cross was absent from her wall.

‘What happened to your crucifix?’ she asked.

Mo was in the process of dressing and dragging her pullover over her head so she didn’t hear properly what her mother had said to her. ‘Huh?’ she asked from inside it.

‘Your cross?’ Her mother nodded over to the wall when Mo‘s head came into view again, and then folded her arms accusingly. It was a bad sign when her mother folded her arms across her chest in such a fashion; it was sign that Mo was about to get a lecture.

Mo looked to the wall dumbly, and gave a shrug. ‘Must have fell off,’ she said, ‘I’ll look later.

‘I hope you’re not turning into a lapsed Catholic,’ her mother said, then after glaring at her suspiciously for a few seconds she unfolded her arms and left the room.

‘More than a little lapsed, mother,’ Mo said to herself, then glanced over to the wastepaper basket. There was no way she was going to put the cross back on her wall, that was for sure. She’d just have to hope that her mother never mentioned it again, and never searched her wastepaper basket before Mo emptied it into the main bin outside.

What to do about the other five crucifixes dotted around the house was the next problem to deal with, and Mo knew she’d probably just have to live with them. There was nothing she could do about their presence. She’d just have to hope she could avoid touching them - and also her mother wore crosses around her neck, often, what about those!

She’d also forgotten that the day was Sunday, and what Sunday usually meant with the Pilkington household.


Lots of crosses there, too, and other holy things - how were they going to affect her? When Mo realised that it was Sunday, and that she’d have to go to church, she set about trying to think of a way to get out of it. This wasn’t going to be easy, she knew, but she’d have to - there was no telling what would happen to her if she darkened the doors of the local Catholic church with her vampiric presence.

‘We’re nearly ready, Mo,’ said her mother, ‘go and wait in the car, dad’s lagging as usual. He’ll be late for his own funeral, that one!’ This was sometime later, after breakfast.

Mo bit her lower lip and then uttered, ‘I don’t want to come to church.’

‘You don’t want to come to church?’ her mother said. ‘Why - you not feeling too clever?’

She reached a hand forward to feel her daughter’s forehead, concerned, and seemed to be having trouble feeling anything.

Her mother moved her hand away. ‘Well, you’ve not got a temperature - no temperature at all.’ She seemed puzzled that she hadn’t been able to feel anything whatsoever.

‘No, you don’t understand,’ said Mo, ‘I don’t want to come to church anymore - ever!’

Her mother’s face darkened. ‘Now you listen to me, young lady - we’re Catholics, we go to church, we’re good Christians, and if you don’t come to church with us I’ll beat you to within an inch of your life! End of!

Mo gave a sigh. ‘But I’m too old for church!’

And too much of a vampire for church, too, she thought to herself.

Too old? How old do you think I am?’ her mother said.

‘Not as old as someone I know,’ Mo muttered to herself, under her breath - meaning Christina.

‘You’re coming to church, even if I have to drag you there!’ her mother insisted.

And Mo could well imagine that her mother would do exactly that, if she didn’t go. Drag her by her ear like she used to do when she was a little girl and didn’t want to go anywhere, or do anything that her mother wanted her to do.

Mo was surprised that her ears weren’t the size of Dumbo’s the way she used to do that all the time. And she would always attach something like, if you don’t “go here” or “do this” Jesus would be mad with you and not let you into Heaven, when you got there.

Mo guessed she’d pretty much written herself out of the whole Heaven thing, seeing how she was an “evil” vampire monster now!

‘I don’t see how … drinking the blood of Christ every Sunday, is going to make me any more godlier than anyone else?’ Mo said with a shrug. ‘It’s just a ceremony - a rite!’

Rite? You make it sound like devil worship! This is God we’re talking about!’

Mo gave another dismissive hunch of the shoulders. ‘Well, God’s never done me any favours.’

‘Get in that car, before I hit you one, my girl!’

‘That’s religion’s answer to everything, isn’t it - war? Violence!’ Mo said, and then turned and stormed through the kitchen door to the hallway.

‘What’s got into you! I hope you’re getting in that car and not gone off to sulk upstairs in your room!’ her mother called after her. She seemed to listen for the sound of Mo - either going up the stairs or banging the front door shut behind her - but heard neither.

‘That girl,’ she said to herself and shook her head in despair.

Less than half an hour later, after an uncomfortable car journey in silence, Mo found herself sat in church next to her parents, staring around at all the religious regalia and the crosses - especially the crosses, which seemed to bother her, even just looking at them.

At one point in the service, the priest glanced to her and when he did, his mouth visibly dropped open. Her mother noticed and looked to Mo. Mo smiled back to her uneasily.

The priest continued the mass, but every so often would glance in Mo’s direction with the same look of horror darkening his face when he did so. And as he continued, about halfway through the service, a breeze got up from seemingly nowhere. There were no windows open, no door left open anywhere, and yet there it was - an eerie rush of air! Everyone noticed it and peered around them. The priest looked around too and then immediately shot a glance to Mo.

At that point, Mo rose to her feet and made her way along the pew to make her exit.

Her mother stood also. ‘Get back here, young lady!’ she called after her.

But Mo was making her way down the aisle now, towards the entrance of the church.

Suddenly her mother realised everyone was staring at her. ‘Sorry,’ she said to the congregation, gazing around at them, embarrassed. Then she looked to the priest. ‘Kids, eh?’ she said, gave a nervous laugh, and sat back down.

The following day at college, as the girls chatted in the shade at the back of the college, Mo had a few more questions for Christina about her newly acquired vampirism.

‘What exactly are we?’ she asked her.

‘You mean - what are vampires?’ Christina said.

‘Yes, only at church everything went mad, there was this weird gust of wind that came from nowhere, inside the church. There were no windows open, and the priest kept staring at me, too - like he knew!’

‘You went to church?’ Christina said, like she couldn’t believe someone such as they were - vampires - would ever do such a thing. ‘I’d stay away from church, if I were you.’

‘I tried to,’ Mo insisted.

‘Try harder.’

‘Are we evil?’ Mo wanted to know.

‘No, course not. I don’t know exactly what we are - but we’re not evil.’

‘So we’re good?’

Christina beamed. ‘Well, I was good the other night; in bed with some cute guy I met. I was old enough to be his grandmother. I always am!

‘It’s not natural though, is it? Being a vampire? I mean - it’s not exactly normal?’

‘No, of course not - we are super-natural!’

‘And ab-normal?’ Mo asked wryly.

Then she held her hand out in front of her and looked at her palm - where the burn had been made by the cross in her room, but which had mysteriously disappeared over the course of Sunday. It had just faded bit by bit as the day had wore on, until it had completely vanished altogether.

‘What’s the matter?’ asked Christina noticing her action.

‘I burned my hand on a cross, too,’ Mo explained.

With that, the other girls heard and crowded around her.

‘You got cross burn?’ enthused Edie. ‘Cool!’

‘It healed up, though, really quickly - I’ll bet!’ said Dorothy.

‘Yes, is that what happens to vampires - they heal quickly?’ Mo asked still staring at her now unblemished hand.

‘Yep,’ said Esther, ‘just like in the movies!’

Mo looked to Christina. ‘Should I fear garlic, too?’ she wanted to know, and the other girls laughed.

Christina smiled. ‘Not everything is like the films,’ she said, ‘I love garlic!’

‘I don’t,’ said Mo, making a face, ‘either as a vampire, or when I was human!’


It was always bad round the shops with the gangs of youths that hung out there. The old man and the old woman hated to venture there after dark, and if they ever did they usually went together.

You heard stories about the youths that congregated there, didn’t you? In their hooded-tops, giving cheek, being intimidating - or worse.

And when the elderly couple reached the small line of shops at the edge of the estate where they’d lived since they’d retired, there they were, a gang of about a dozen or so lads. Although from that distance some of them could have been girls, it was difficult to tell them apart in their hoods when they had them up.

The couple braced themselves for the usual abuse and intimidation as they neared the gang. They were already smirking before the couple even reached them, and then one of the lads approached them, almost blocking their paths. ‘You got any money, mate?’ he asked the old man. ‘I’m skint. Just want some money for some fags.’

The old man looked the young lad up and down. He appeared to be about fourteen or fifteen, or thereabouts - if that. ‘Should you be smoking at your age?’

‘It’s a free country, isn’t it,’ he dismissed with a shrug. ‘So, have you got any, mate - any money, I mean?’

‘No,’ the old man said as he walked on, taking the old woman by the arm towards the Late Shop.

‘What you doing out shopping, then,’ the youth shouted after them, ‘if you’ve got no money?’

His friends laughed when he said this.

‘Stingy old git!’ the young lad shouted.

The couple hurried into the Late Shop.

‘Don’t worry, we’ll get ’em when they come out,’ the youth, who was called Shaun, said.

‘What are we going to do to ’em?’ one of the others asked.

Shaun pushed his hands into his back pockets and hunched his shoulders. ‘Haven’t decided yet, but it’ll be fun.’ he said. ‘It’s always fun when they’re old.’

The youths passed around a bottle of cider, which they’d threatened an older lad to go into the Late Shop to buy, earlier, and after a while the old couple emerged with plastic shopping bags, which the old man was carrying.

‘How did you pay for that lot then, granddad?’ Shaun shouted to the old man.

‘None of your business, sonny,’ the old man said.

‘I’m making it my business, mate, because earlier - and correct me if I’m wrong - you told me that you had no money for me fags!’

‘I’m not going to give you money, so you can buy some cigarettes,’ the old man said. ‘Don’t you know what them things can do to your insides?’

‘Not as bad as what this can do to your insides,’ Shaun said and pulled out a knife from his pocket and grinned at the old man.

‘Look, we don’t want any trouble,’ the old man said.

‘I understand, pal, and you won’t get any - I promise - as long as you give me some money for me fags!’

‘Here,’ said the old woman reaching into her purse, and a few seconds later handing the youth a fiver.

He snatched it from her. ‘Thanks, missus,’ he said and pocketed it. He then put the knife away. ‘See, didn’t hurt, did it? Now I can buy me fags!’

The couple made to move and be on their way, but the youth stepped in front of them again. ‘Where do you think you two are going?’

‘You’ve had your money, now let us get back home,’ the old man said.

‘The lads’ll be wanting some cider, too,’ he said to the old man, ‘fiver’s not enough for ciggies and cider - not really - so maybe you could lend us another fiver? Or a tenner even - if you’ve got it?’

‘You’re not getting any more money off us,’ the old man said, and stepped past him, almost knocking the youth to one side.

‘Selfish old git!’ the youth called after him and spat in his direction.

Shaun looked around, saw an empty coke can, then picked it up and threw it. It hit the old man on the back of the head. He turned, rubbing his head. ‘If I was twenty years younger, I’d knock your bloody block off!’ he shouted to the youth.

‘You’re not, though, are you, granddad - you’re really old!

Shaun continued to shout abuse as the couple made their way down the street back towards the estate. The old man occasionally rubbing his head where the can had hit him.

One of Shaun’s mates looked in the other direction laughing, and suddenly saw something, which caused his face to darken.

A gang of six girls were making their way towards them, and he knew exactly what the girls were and what they did to them when they managed to catch up with them - as they did on occasion. He began to tug at Shaun’s shoulder.

Shaun was busy shouting abuse at the old couple, however, and just ignored him.

But now his mate was insisting that he look at what he’d seen approaching them, and when Shaun finally did, his jaw dropped wide, and the blood seemed to visibly vacate his face all of a sudden, too. He appeared suddenly terrified.

The girls where up to them by now. All the lads turned in their direction and regarded them with looks of fear on their faces.

‘All right, boys?’ Christina said to them, concentrating her attention on Shaun in particular.

She peered past them to the fleeing old couple and tutted to herself. ‘Causing trouble again, lads?’ she said.

‘No,’ said Shaun shaking his head. ‘We weren’t doing anything. What do you want?’

Christina grinned. ‘What do we always want?’

Then all of a sudden, he fled from them - turned and ran - closely followed by the other five lads.

‘After them!’ shouted Christina.

The girls gave pursuit. There was one lad for every girl - so each, as they ran, chose one to pursue. Christina chased Shaun, of course - she always did, until she eventually cornered him in a back entry behind some terraced houses. A dog began barking, unseen, in one of the back yards, suddenly alerted by the noise of their arrival.

Shaun came to a halt. There were the garages to one side of him, a tall brick wall in front of him, and to the other side the houses’ back walls, and the dog, somewhere, who now became silent.

He turned back towards her, and, getting his breath back, pleaded, ‘Don’t you think you took enough last time?’

Christina rolled her eyes, then shook her head to herself. ‘As I keep telling everyone - you can never take enough!

‘I’ll tell somebody, tell somebody what you are - the police!’

Christina just laughed. ‘You’re hardly likely to go to the police about us, are you - with what you get up to? And besides, they’d never believe you! They’d think you were on drugs or something!’

She held her hand outstretched towards him. ‘Just give me your hand, and let’s get it over with,’ she said, ‘then you can continue with your delinquency, if you really must!’

Christina got out the craft knife and held it.

Shaun grinned and got his knife out.

Christina rolled her eyes once more and said in a tired voice, ‘Put it away, you know you can’t harm me - don’t you? When are you going to learn?’

She advanced towards him, and as she did so, with one quick lunge forward, Shaun drove the knife into her stomach, then stepped back. Christina looked to the knife, took it out matter-of-factly, and threw it aside. It fell with a clatter to the pavement. The invisible dog in the yard barking at the sudden noise once more. Shaun looked to the knife, dumbly, then back to Christina. The stab wound to her stomach had healed already. There was just a bit of blood that had escaped from the wound, that’s all.

‘When will you ever learn that you can’t harm us?’ Christina said, advancing towards him with her knife, and reaching out for his hand. ‘Now, give me your hand.’


As Mo and the girls walked up the path towards the college next morning, they passed Jess. She was on her own as usual. Mo glanced to her briefly but then saw that Christina was looking at her, so she took her eyes away from Jess and looked straight ahead.

Christina ran over to her as they continued to walk. ‘We’re going to hold a student party, at the house tonight, and we are going to get you a boyfriend,’ she said to her.

‘Wha … boyf …’ murmured Mo.

‘Got to start sometime, kiddo,’ Christina said, ‘and at a party is the right place to start.’ Then she looked over to a gang of lads busy chatting some distance away, and one in particular. ‘What about Nathan Cook, he’s cute?’ she said to Mo.

Mo stared over at the lad who’d been pointed out to her. He looked okay, she supposed - but then again she liked girls, so what did she know?

‘Well?’ asked Christina.

‘He’s okay,’ uttered Mo.

‘I’ll invite him to the party!’ She skipped over enthusiastically to the teenager in question.

Was this really a vampire - and a sixty-one year old one at that - skipping over to a college lad like some young, giggly schoolgirl? Not exactly the bloodsucking monster of the movies, was she, Mo thought.

She arrived early at the house, to be briefed by Christina before the guests started arriving for the party.

There was no one downstairs when Mo had made her way through the front door. In the front room the television was on, going unwatched by anyone. It was some old black and white Bette Davis movie, which seemed to have a lot of people dying from some kind of plague or something, Mo observed from the brief few seconds she cast an eye over it.

There was music coming from upstairs, however. The most beautiful music she’d ever heard. Jingly guitars, and a female singer she’d never heard before, with a voice like an angel. At least that’s how it sounded to Mo, as she made her way upstairs and towards the sound of it. She couldn’t make out any words of what the singer was singing about, but that wasn’t important - she could listen to that voice all day, singing nonsensical words.

The music was coming from Liddy’s room. As Mo reached the landing she saw that her door was open. It didn’t however sound like goth, at least not what Mo presumed goth to sound like and from what little she’d heard of that type of music.

She knocked on the open door and stepped into the room. Liddy saw her, smiled, and rose from her bed where she lay listening to the music.

‘What is that?’ Mo asked nodding over to Liddy’s record player.

‘It’s the Cocteau Twins,’ she answered.

‘It’s really beautiful,’ Mo said.

‘You can borrow the LP if you like?’ Liddy told her.

‘I haven’t a record player.’

‘You want to borrow the record player, too?’ Liddy enthused, beaming broadly to her.

At that moment, Christina appeared at the doorway, leaned on it, and gave a little knock. ‘Hope I’m not interrupting anything?’

‘We were just talking Cocteau Twins,’ Liddy told her.

‘One of your goth bands, I presume?’ said Christina. ‘All doom and gloom, I expect.’

‘No,’ said Mo, ‘really beautiful, that’s them now on the record player.’

Christina listened to the enchanting music coming from it for a few seconds, then picked up the LP sleeve, which lay on the bed, and read its title. ‘Heaven or Las Vegas?’ she said. She looked up from it. ‘Las Vegas - it’s wild!’ she said, choosing, ‘at least it was in the early 70s. Elvis was in town!’

‘Did you see the overweight, jump-suited King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, then?’ Liddy wanted to know.

‘No,’ Christina said, ‘I didn’t. Never really been interested in Elvis, anyway.’

‘I have an LP called A Date with Elvis, but it’s not by the King, it’s by the Cramps - you’d like the Cramps, too, Mo!’ She looked to Mo.

‘Do they sound as beautiful as the Cocteau Twins?’ she asked, looking to the LP sleeve, Christina still held in her hands.

‘Different, to them - like rockabilly crossed with goth. Their type of music used to be called, psychobilly!’

Christina made a face. ‘I don’t care much for goth. I most certainly don’t like vampire goths - you know, the goth girls who dress up like vampires, with sometimes the fake fangs, and some of them drink blood as a kind of fetish thing? Losers! Present company excepted, of course, Liddy.’

‘I am not a vampire goth! Do you see any fangs?’ Liddy said.

The three girls laughed at the irony of it all. Goths dressed as vampires, with fangs, when the real thing didn’t even have fangs, and, with the exception of Liddy and a few others, didn’t really dress like goths, either.

The other three girls, Dorothy, Esther and Edie materialised in the doorway. ‘Is this a private party or can anyone join in?’ asked Edie.

Christina tossed the LP sleeve back down on Liddy’s bed.

‘No, it’s anything but a private party!’ she said. ‘I’ve invited lots of guests, who are going to get very inebriated before the night is through. And, therefore: easy, drink-sodden pickings for the feeding off!’

‘We’re going to dine on our guests?’ Edie enthused, and looked to the others with glee, who also became excited too.

Christina put a friendly arm around Mo. ‘Alcohol is not the only thing you’re going to drink tonight, my dearest Mo.’

She withdrew her arm and went out of the door with Dorothy, Esther and Edie, leaving Mo alone with Liddy and the sound of the Cocteau Twins on the record player.

A poster opposite her caught her attention. Some bloke with backcombed hair and heavy black eye makeup and bright red lipstick. ‘Who’s that?’ she asked.

Liddy looked to the poster, Mo had focused her attention on. ‘That, my dear Mo, is the lord god Robert Smith, of the Cure.’

‘Looks like Edward Scissorhands,’ Mo said.

‘Funny you should say that,’ Liddy told her, ‘in fact, Tim Burton - the director - was inspired by his look for that character. He’s a big Cure fan, as am I.’

‘Is it the Cure that sing “Friday I’m in Love”?’ Mo asked.

‘Yes, do you like it?’

Mo shrugged. ‘It’s all right.’

‘I talk to him a lot,’ said Liddy gazing at the poster. ‘Well, I talk to the poster a lot.’

‘Do you?’

‘Sometimes I get more of a conversation from my Robert Smith poster than actual people,’ Liddy told her. ‘He always says what I want him to say, see?’

‘Like what?’

‘Like, “I love you, Liddy and I want you to have my babies”.’

Mo pulled her eyebrows together. ‘Can vampires have babies?’

‘I’m not sure,’ Liddy replied losing herself in thought momentarily. She looked to Mo. ‘Though, they can with Robert Smith!’

‘What’s he saying now?’ Mo asked.

Liddy looked to the poster. ‘The spiderman is having you for dinner tonight.’ She turned back to Mo.

‘Huh?’ Mo uttered.

‘Relax, it’s a song lyric, from “Lullaby” a big hit for the Cure, way back when.’ Liddy looked to the poster for a while longer then faced Mo again. ‘The spiderman is always hungry,’ she said. ’I know that feeling!’

The guests soon arrived; various odds and sods from college, some the girls knew and some who were more or less complete strangers to them, really. It didn’t take them long to consume great amounts of alcohol, they were students, after all - some seemed to have arrived drunk, already. And in the sitting room further on in the evening, Christina, was handed a bottle of wine by a scruffy blonde lad with a goatee from college, who seemed to fancy his chances. ‘Fancy a sup?’ he asked.

Christina, who had put on a long red dress for the party, lay sprawled on the settee, like some kind of queen holding court, Mo thought - all she needed was a crown!

‘I don’t drink … wine,’ she said and seemed to share a joke with her fellow housemates, who all laughed at this remark.

The lad looked around at them bemused. ‘What’s the big joke?’

‘It’s just, I’m not interested much in your wine, young man, all I’m interested in is sex!’ And with that she rose to her feet and took him by the hand and guided him towards the stairs.

‘You scarlet woman,’ he said, and looked her dress up and down as she did this.

‘Yes, I’m a total Jezebel,’ she agreed. ‘As you are very soon going to find out, young man.’

The other girls also grabbed themselves lads, who were taken mostly by surprise by their actions. Edie grabbed herself two and shouted over to Mo, ‘One of these is yours!’

The six girls went upstairs with their respective pulls, while the party continued downstairs.

They took the lads to their individual rooms, Edie beckoned for Mo to go into her room with her and the two lads. Inside the room, with the door closed, Edie produced a craft knife. ‘We’re both into cutting,’ she told the two eager lads.

One of them grinned. ‘Kinky, babe!’ he said to Edie.

When the girls had drank from their respective feeds, they all felt very drunk, as the blood in their victims’ veins had alcohol in it, of course. They staggered out of their bedrooms afterwards like drunks making their way home from the pub.

‘Did you have a good feed, girls?’ Christina slurred.

‘I don’t know what mine’s been drinking, but I think I’m going to have the mother of all hangovers in the morning,’ said Dorothy.

‘You should have picked someone more sober, then, shouldn’t you?’ said Christina, and then gave a hiccup and almost fell to the floor herself.

Mo didn’t seem to be too affected. ‘I feel fine,’ she said.

‘I must have given you a non-alcoholic one, ha ha!’ Edie told her.

Christina staggered over to Mo and put a drunken arm around her and pulled her to her side, giggling to herself. ‘Now you’ve drank, let’s get you that fella. When you’ve found him you can bring him up to my room,’ she said.

Some ten minutes later, Mo was standing in Christina’s room, with Nathan, the boy from college.

‘Jimi Hendrix?’ he said gazing at the guitar legend’s poster on Christina’s bedroom wall.

‘It’s not my room - I don’t live here. It’s Christina’s room.’

‘What’s the big deal with you girls, anyway?’ he wanted to know.

‘Deal?’ Mo asked.

‘Yeah, you a gang or something?’

‘Do I look like a girl gang member?’ Mo said wryly.

‘Not, really, no,’ he said. ‘In fact you look like a very beautiful girl to me, from where I’m standing.’

‘You must be drunk,’ Mo joked bashfully.

‘No, I mean it,’ he told her, ‘you’re well fit!’

He stepped up to her and kissed her. When he’d pulled away he went in again for another snog, this time more passionately. But Mo pushed him away before he got very far.

‘What’s wrong?’ he asked when she did so.

‘Do you mind if we don’t? I like you, it’s just …’

‘Course,’ he said. ‘Whatever.’


Mo got off the bus for college the next morning, and who should be waiting for her at the college gates, but Nathan.

So she found herself, walking into college with a boy, with his arm around her. A first for everything, she thought to herself.

Jess saw her and did a visible double take. ‘So, you’re dating boys now?’ she said making a face as Mo neared her.

Christina appeared. ‘Of course she is,’ she said to Jess, ‘what do you want her to do - date girls like you do? Go away, Dykey Drawers!’ Christina gave a dismissive flourish of the hand.

Jess did as she was told and walked off towards the college entrance.

Christina looked to Mo and her new boyfriend. ‘Well, this is just brilliant - Mo with a boyfriend!’ She next glanced to the heavens. ‘Funny, I can’t see any pigs in flight anywhere about.’

Mo gave her a playful kick.

Christina looked back to them. ‘It’s good to see that you two are getting on so well. I like to think I’m partly responsible. I mean - I did invite our Nathan, here, to the party. And that’s where you two love birds got together!’

‘Steady on, it’s early days yet,’ Mo said, and looked to Nathan and rolled her eyes nodding in Christina‘s direction.

‘I know, but I just know you two are going to be good together; I can feel it - like Romeo and Juliet! Kathy and Heathcliffe!’

‘Sid and Nancy!’ put in Edie with a grin.

Everybody looked to her.

‘That not a good one?’ she asked.

Everybody seemed to shake their heads in unison.

The morning dragged. First break found the girls round the back of the college building, sheltered from the sun, as usual - they were talking about the party.

‘What’s up you’re not with Lover Boy?’ Edie asked Mo.

Christina looked over and smiled to Mo.

Mo glanced to Edie and shrugged.

‘Not had a lover’s tiff already, have you?’ Edie asked.

Christina walked over and put her arm round Mo, and said to Edie, ‘Leave the poor girl alone.’ Then she guided Mo towards the door into college. ‘This is all new to her, everything - even boys,’ Christina said over her shoulder to the girls as she did so. ‘You can forgive her if she seems a little out of it.’

Christina led Mo into an empty classroom that overlooked where the rest of the girls were. ‘What is wrong?’ she asked her.

As Mo looked out of the window at her new friends, she just shrugged, ‘Nothing.’

‘Is it Nathan, being a vampire - what?’ Christina wanted to know.

Mo laughed. ‘Lot of things happening to me at the moment, eh?’

‘Like I said out there,’ Christina said, joining Mo staring out at the other vampire girls. ‘This is all new to you, you can’t expected to take everything in, cope …’

Mo turned into the room. Christina mirrored her movement, then moved in front of her and reached a hand to the side of her head and stroked Mo’s hair back. ‘You’ll get used to everything, I promise.’

Mo looked to her. Christina looked to Mo. They were a long time staring at each other, before Christina did something Mo just wasn’t expecting at all. She reached forward and engaged her in a full-on passionate kiss.

When she had pulled her lips away, Mo said to her. ‘I thought you didn’t like dykes?’

Christina took her hand away from Mo’s head and stepped back. ‘I don‘t,’ she said. ‘That wasn’t … dyke, that was just … affection.’ She gave a nervous laugh. Then she looked down to her shoes, appearing embarrassed, but shortly afterwards glanced up to her again and stepped towards her. ‘If you breathe a word of this to anyone, I’ll kill you.’

Mo couldn’t work out whether this was a violent, bona fide meant threat or just a jokey threat. She decided to treat it like a jokey threat. ‘I thought I was already dead?’ she said raising an eyebrow wryly.

‘There are ways to kill vampires,’ Christina told her.

‘I won’t tell anyone,’ Mo promised.

‘Good,’ said Christina, returning a hand to the side of Mo’s head and stroking her hair back again. ‘After all, there’s nothing to tell, is there?’

She looked past Mo to the other girls outside. ‘Come on,’ she said taking her hand from Mo‘s hair and switching her attention back to a confused Mo, ‘they’ll be wondering where we got to.’

Of course, it explained a lot to Mo. Why Christina had taken a shine to her in the first place. Why she didn’t like Jess hanging around her. Christina had fancied her all along. It probably, also, explained why she seemed to hate gay people so much - she was in denial of her own feelings.


Mo pushed the bell on Jess’s front door, and bit her lower lip, then took an anxious glance around her. While she was doing this, the door opened, and when she looked back it was Jess. ‘What do you want?’ she asked Mo.

Mo took another nervous scan around, then returned her attention to her. ‘Can I come in? Please?

Jess reluctantly let her in.

‘Didn’t think you wanted to know me now, not now you hang out with your new friends,’ Jess said to her after she’d led Mo into her front room.

‘If they knew I was here, they’d …’ Mo began to explain.

‘What hold have they got over you?’ Jess wanted to know, seeing how anxious and nervous her once friend seemed to appear.

Mo lifted her eyebrows and offered a wry expression. ‘You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.’

Then after hesitating, Mo leaned over to her and kissed Jess on the lips, just casually at first, but then she pushed her lips back onto Jess‘s, and kissed her properly. Jess didn’t fight her off or anything, so Mo guessed that it was what she wanted and it was okay.

‘I really like you, Mo - since the first time I saw you,’ Jess told her after their kiss.

‘I like you, too,’ said Mo, then pinched her lower lip. ‘Maybe you wouldn’t like me so much if you knew what I was.’

‘I’m sure that whatever it is, it won’t bother me - it can’t be that bad, can it?’

Mo raised her eyebrows once more. ‘I wouldn’t be so sure about that.’

‘What is it? What’s the big secret?’ Jess wanted to know.

‘I’m a vampire,’ Mo told her flatly.

Jess burst out laughing.

‘I’m not joking!’ Mo said, then gave a causal glance around the room. ‘I can prove it - have you got a crucifix?’

‘We’re Catholics, of course I’ve got a crucifix!’

She went out into the hallway and returned some seconds later with the cross that Mo remembered seeing hanging in the hallway when she’d entered.

Mo held out her hand towards her palm upwards. ‘Put the crucifix in my hand,’ she instructed.

Jess stared at her, confused, then looked to her hand, and then did as Mo had instructed. As soon as the crucifix made contact with Mo’s hand it began to visibly burn it. Smoke came up off it around the cross, and when Mo shook her hand and let it fall to the floor, there was a cross-shaped scorch mark in the palm of her hand. Mo held her burnt hand towards Jess.

Jess’s jaw was hanging low. ‘Bloody hell, you really are a vampire! How did that happen?’ Then she went into thought immediately. ‘Christina! That’s why they wear shades - why didn’t I think about that before?’

‘Yep,’ said Mo, ‘we are six vampires - right here in the real world! Not in the movies - in real life!

Jess backed from Mo slightly, and appeared suddenly uneasy. ‘You’re not going to suck my blood, are you?’

Mo gave a laugh. ‘No, course not.’

‘But you do, do that, though, right? That’s what vampires do, right? And … are you still living, or dead?’

Mo held her hand out towards her palm upwards once more. The burn was healing now, Jess noticed. ‘Feel my pulse,’ Mo said to her.

At first Jess was fearful of approaching Mo, but then she did step forward and felt her friend’s pulse. ‘I can’t find anything. Jesus - you’re dead!’

‘Undead,’ Mo corrected her. ‘Vampires are undead. Neither living nor dead.’

‘Do you still drink tea?’ Jess asked.

‘Yes,’ Mo laughed, ‘still eat stuff and drink stuff.’

‘Cuppa?’ suggested Jess.

The two girls moved into the kitchen, and Jess busied herself making a cup of tea for herself and Mo. They chatted, about college stuff mostly, normal stuff. It was almost as if they’d forgotten what had just been revealed.

As she was making the tea, Jess spilled some of it. She seemed nervous. Mo thought it was understandable, being alone in her kitchen with a vampire.

Jess looked to her. ‘Clumsy me,’ she said then glanced to the side of Mo. ‘Pass me the tea towel,’ she said.

There was a row of hooks screwed into the door, on two of which hung tea towels. The one nearest Mo, where she stood, had nothing hanging on it.

Mo glanced casually to the tea towels to locate them, and then looked back to Jess, reaching blindly for one of them. Her finger caught the first bare hook and she withdrew it with an, ‘Ouch!’

She examined her finger and the hook had made a small cut in it. Blood was seeping out of it.

‘You’ve cut yourself,’ said Jess making her way over to her. When she reached her, she said, ‘Here, let me …’ Jess put Mo’s finger in her mouth and began to suck at it.

Then all of a sudden, she took Mo’s finger from her mouth and laughed. ‘You should be doing this to me - sucking my blood, not the other way round!’

The two girls laughed together now, and when they’d finished and composed themselves, they kissed again.

‘Do you want to stay the night?’ Jess asked her after the kiss.

‘What will your mum say?’ Mo asked.

‘I don’t care,’ was the reply.


The following morning, as Mo crept downstairs and out of the house as quietly as possible to prevent Jess’s parents from hearing her - so they wouldn’t know she’d spent the night there - Mo smiled to herself. She was glad that she’d made up with Jess. Glad that it looked like they were now an item. But it would be difficult to see her, due to Christina’s feelings about her.

As Mo came to the front gate, she quickly ducked down. Christina and the others were making their way down the street.

‘What was that?’ a voice Mo recognised to be Edie said.

‘What was what?’ Mo heard Christina’s voice ask Edie.

‘I thought I saw someone stood over there, then they weren’t,’ she said.

‘Is seeing things a part of the curse of vampirism?’ Dorothy’s voice then asked.

Then from her hiding place, Mo’s heart began to pound as she heard someone walking over in her direction, and she knew who it - no doubt - was, and there was no escape, she’d be found out, and then she’d be for it.

‘I was … hiding,’ said Mo when she saw Christina’s face appear above her, then she gave a nervous laugh. ‘Playing a trick on you.’

Christina looked to the house Mo had emerged from moments earlier. ‘Isn’t that Jess’s house?’

‘Erm …’ said Mo, rising to her feet and twisting to look to the house.

Then she saw Jess in the window above them.

‘Oh, yes, you’re right - that’s her there,’ Mo said. ‘Yep, that’s Jess. So it must be her house.’

‘Don’t worry,’ said Christina, ‘I’ve decided you can see her.’

‘You’re okay with it?’ Mo queried.

‘Why wouldn’t I be?’

‘It’s just …’ Mo looked to the other girls.

‘She can walk with us, if she likes?’ suggested Christina.

‘I don’t think … I’ll ask her.’ Mo went over to the house. Jess opened the door as she did so and emerged dressed and ready for college.

‘Christina was just wondering if you want to walk with us to college?’ Mo asked her.

‘What’s going on?’ Jess mouthed to her, confusion filling her face.

‘Don’t know,’ Mo mouthed back.

Then Christina was looking in their direction again.

‘Er, okay!’ said Jess raising her voice deliberately.

Jess walked alongside Mo, and the other shades girls, looking very uneasy with the whole thing.

They progressed in an eerie silence as they made their way towards college.

As the girls reached some bushes to the side of them on their journey, all of a sudden, Christina grabbed Jess and pulled her into them. The other girls followed. Mo, shocked, called after them. ‘What are you doing?’

Christina, with the help of Edie and Dorothy were dragging Jess towards the cemetery that belonged to an old grey-stoned church that wasn’t far away.

‘Leave her alone!’ Mo shouted, but Christina ignored her.

‘Are we going to feed?’ asked Liddy gleefully.

‘No,’ said Christina, ‘Mo is.’

Christina, Esther and Edie got Jess down on a grave, and pinned her there. Christina reached into her pocket and threw her knife towards a confused Mo. It landed by her feet.

‘Don’t hurt me!’ Jess was pleading as she twisted about on the grave trying to break free.

Mo looked to the knife by her feet, then over to Christina.

‘I want you to drain her!’ said Christina.

‘No, that’ll kill her!’ Mo pleaded shaking her head dismissively.

‘Please don’t hurt me!’ Jess pleaded again.

‘Is this because of …’ began Mo.

Christina made a questioning face. ‘What?’

Mo remembered what Christina had said about there being ways to kill a vampire, and maybe it had been a real enough threat, after all.

She picked up the knife, looked at it, and then stepped over to Jess. Mo had no choice, really, and anyway a thought struck her, suddenly, and made what she was about to do easier - at least she hoped.

‘Mo?’ she questioned glaring in horror at her.

‘I’m sorry,’ Mo said to her once friend and previous evening‘s lover. Then she bent to cut open Jess’s hand.

‘MO?’ Jess began wrestling again, trying even more desperately to escape the clutches of the vampires that surrounded her.

Mo cut Jess’s hand in the usual fashion and gleaming crimson blood appeared from the gash, dripping over the grave beneath her.

‘She’s in an appropriate enough place,’ observed Christina. ‘You have to drain her, completely,’ she instructed Mo, as Mo hesitated.

Mo put her mouth to Jess’s hand and began to drink.

Afterwards, when Christina was satisfied that Jess had been drained dry of all her blood; she put a hand to Mo’s shoulder.

But then the prone, lifeless corpse of Jess suddenly shot her eyes open and she looked around at all the faces surrounding her.

Mo glanced to Christina. ‘She drank my blood, only a little cut to my finger, last night - but she’s tasted my blood!’

‘I know,’ said Christina.

‘You know?’

‘You develop a sense for these things,’ Christina revealed. ‘I saw it in my mind, as soon as I set eyes on you this morning. It was kind of a psychic flashback. I saw you stood in her kitchen and she was sucking your finger - tasting your blood.’

‘I still don’t understand …’ began Mo.

‘I did it for you, so you two could be together.’ Christina offered a half-smile.

Edie looked from Mo and Christina to Jess, then back to them. ‘Is there something I’m missing here?’ she asked. ‘Is Mo a dyke?’

‘The penny drops,’ said Dorothy.

Edie spun to Dorothy. ‘Did you know?’

‘It’s obvious,’ she said, then looked to Liddy. ‘You knew, didn’t you, Liddy?’

‘Wha … oh, yeah, course,’ she replied.

‘You didn’t know - liar!’ Edie said to Liddy.

‘I did, too!’ insisted Liddy childishly.

‘Did, not!’ said Edie equally childishly.

‘Children, children!’ said Christina to them.

‘Can I feed her - to make her stronger?’ asked Mo.

‘Well, go on, then, what are you waiting for?’ said Christina, as if this was a stupid thing to ask her permission for.

‘Thanks,’ said Mo.

‘All’s fair in love and war,’ said Christina, and offered her a wink. ‘And vampirism!’

‘Am I a vampire, now?’ asked Jess.

‘Like, duh!’ said Edie to Jess.

‘Yes, sorry, you’re a vampire,’ apologised Mo.

‘Cool!’ said Jess. ‘What you apologising for? I’ve always wanted to know what it would be like to be one of the undead!’

‘It’s not all it’s cracked up to be,’ said Mo, ‘but it beats being normal.’

‘So I get to feed off you, now,’ asked Jess, ‘is that how it works?’

‘You already did,’ said Mo, ‘when I cut my finger last night. I knew I’d accidentally made you a vampire, then - that’s why I went along with this!’

‘So I’ve been a vampire since last night and didn’t even know about it?’ said Jess and gave a laugh.

‘Not a proper vampire, just … infected.’ Mo raised one hand and held the knife with the other. ‘When you’ve fed, you’ll be a vampire proper!

‘Cool, that is so cool!’ enthused Jess, and licked her lips hungrily for Mo‘s blood as Mo proceeded to slice at her hand with the knife.


He followed the girl far enough behind her so as not to arouse suspicion, but not too far that when he chose his moment, and he made for her, that she would have any advantage on him in outrunning him, or knocking on the nearest door for help.

She was blonde and fairly attractive, not that this mattered to him - all he wanted to do was to nourish himself on her. He didn’t care about her model looks, or whether she had a great behind, or great breasts, or legs, none of this mattered to him.

A perfect moment soon presented itself, when the girl came to the entry that ran between two hedges to somewhere, maybe some shops - a narrow entry with very little light in it from the looks of things. Perfect for his needs.

She looked to be a student; she had a haversack and was dressed like those scruffy student types do: hoodie, jeans with holes in that you bought like that. He was dressed similarly too, of course, to blend in. There was a college nearby; he knew there’d be plenty of young blood around.

He quickened his pace, and the girl must have heard him, because at that moment she turned, and - not looking where she was going now - took a tumble.

Perfect. He rushed to her assistance. ‘You okay?’ he asked helping her to her feet.

‘Yes, thanks,’ she said and looked to him.

He took a casual glance around first, then got hold of her and marched her into the entry before she knew what was happening.

‘What are you doing?’ she said. Before she could scream for help, however, he had his hand clasped over her mouth.

When he’d dragged her far enough up the entry he threw her down to the ground. That was when he got out the knife and flicked the blade up.

She stared at it, dumbstruck.

‘Please don’t hurt me!’ she said, ‘I’ll do anything you want!’

‘I don’t want that,’ he said, ‘I just want your blood.’

A look of confusion crossed the girl’s face, and then he was down on her, before she knew what had hit her. He’d cut her hand open between her thumb and forefinger and was sucking on it, and tasting her blood.

It felt good to him; he hadn’t fed for a while - now he was a glutton. Gradually, but quicker than usual - such was his hunger - he drained the girl and then let her fall from him: a pale, lifeless corpse.

He stood up and wiped his mouth with his hand. Then he got a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his mouth properly, and then pocketed it once more.

‘You were delicious, weren’t you, young lady?’ he said to the dead thing lying at his feet.

Young lady, because, even though he looked like a teenager of around seventeen or eighteen himself, he was in fact seventy-two!

He looked around, no one had seen anything, and the girl’s muffled cries hadn’t alerted anyone to her torment or eventual demise.

He pocketed his knife and made his way out of the entry.

As he did so, he took a glance in each direction. At the far end of the lane he was in, he saw something that made his face alight with recognition.

He smiled to himself. ‘Well, what do you know?’ he said.

At the top of the lane and making their way across it, were seven girls, all of which he knew to be like him, because he’d developed a sense for these things over the fifty or so years he’d been like this. But one of them he knew - one of them he knew, or had known, very well at one time, in his past.

‘Christina?’ he said to himself. ‘Well, I’ll be damned!’

He laughed to himself.

‘Already am, that,’ he said.

He began to make his way towards the girls, to acquaint himself with his fellow kind - and re-acquaint himself with one very special lady of his fellow kind, one that had once meant a lot to him back in the day.

Copyright © David Barton 2011

David Barton is the editor of Lost Souls Magazine, in 2010 he had his debut non-fantasy genre novel, Ever Fallen in Love, published by Lulu Press, which is available from Amazon. He has also had various short fiction, articles and pieces published in a number of different publications both online and in print.  Ceremony is the first part of a trilogy of novellas to be published on here, it will be followed by Eternal and Salvation.

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