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Something's Amiss on Old Hallow's Eve

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Ferb

Green makeup covers every piece of visible skin on my face. I dip my pencil into grey paint and apply it to my cheekbones. After five minutes of alternating between grey, red, and blue facepaint, I look in the mirror and smile. My zombie makeup makes me look so realistic, I almost jump at my own reflection. My skin is dyed green and covered with artificial lesions, bruises, and scars. I dyed my green hair brown and frizzed it out. I wear a formal suit with a bowtie that’s ripped up and decayed. Lookin’ good, I think.

I hear a knock on the door and it creaks open slightly. “Hey, can I come in?” a familiar voice asks. “Okay, I’m coming in.” The door swings open and my twin sister Jessie enters. I place a tattered fez on my my head. “Hey, bro,” Jessie says. “Love the zombie costume.” I give her a thumbs up. She pulls her green hair into a low ponytail. I notice the white sheet draped over her shoulders. “Do you have any white makeup?” she asks. I grab the white jar off the bathroom counter and hand it to her. “Thanks.” She opens the lid and sticks her three-fingered hand into it.

In my peripheral vision, I notice a triangle-shaped head in the mirror. “Hey Ferb,” he says to me. “Hi Jessie.”

“Hi Phineas,” Jessie replies, her face already half-covered in the white makeup. “Why aren’t you in your costume yet?”

“I am,” Phineas replies. He steps into the bathroom and I turn around. He’s wearing an orange and white striped T-shirt tucked into a pair of blue jeans. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a false pair of thick glasses. “I’m a nerd. Remember?”

“I thought you were kidding. A nerd? We’re all wearing scary outfits. I’m a ghost. Ferb’s a zombie. Even Candace is going to be a witch!” I suppress a smile. My stepsister is actually not dressing up this year. She claims she’s too old. Jessie knows this too.

Phineas shrugs. He reaches into his pocket again and pulls out a fake set of fangs. “Fine,” he says, putting the fangs in his mouth. “I’ll be a nerd vampire.”

“Speaking of vampires,” Jessie says, slipping the sheet over her head. “Have you heard anything from--?”

“No,” Phineas answers, not letting her finish. “Not since July when she left.”

Jessie sighs. “Well, maybe Candace has! They go to the same school, don’t they?” Not waiting for a reply, Jessie leaves the bathroom and calls out, “CANDACE!”

“What?” Candace screeches in reply. “I’m on the phone!”

“Really? With who?” Whom, I think, mentally correcting my sister.

“With…” She hesitates. I don’t understand why she would hesitate. She doesn’t typically keep secrets from us. “With Bobbi,” she finally answers.

Jessie turns back to me, a huge grin on her face. She turns back out. “I want to talk to her!” Candace groans. I hear her stomp up the stairs and open the door. She thrusts the cell phone into Jessie’s hand. Jessie clicks the phone onto speaker and sets it onto the counter.

“Candace?” comes a voice from the phone. “Candy, ya still there?”

“Hi Bobbi!” Jessie and Phineas say in unison.

“Jessie? Phineas? What are you doing?”

“We haven’t talked to you in months!” Jessie says. “What have you been up to?”

“Not much.” She sounds nervous. She doesn’t continue.

“You still there?” Phineas asks.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m here.” Her voice sounds distant. I wish I knew what’s happening. She’s never sounded this nervous. She’s sounded angry and confident and maybe even a little sad. But nervous? Never.

“It’s Halloween!” Jessie says. “Are you doing anything?”

“Oh, I’m, I’m doing something.” I picture Bobbi now. Sitting down, her phone pressed to her ear with her pink hair falling in her face. I picture her golden eyes, maybe red with hunger. I try picture her beautiful face filled with worry, but it’s difficult. I’ve never seen her worry before. It’s easier to picture her angry. Not that she would get angry often.

For some reason, I picture her in a graveyard, the full moon casting a glow on her translucent skin.

“We’re about to go trick-or-treating,” Jessie continues. “I’m a ghost. What about you?”

Another pause. She’s hiding something. I can tell. I haven’t seen her since July. She hasn’t had any contact with us. Yet, the fact that she was speaking to Candace on the phone made it obvious that she’s been having contact with Candace. Why? What is she up to?

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe it’s nothing. But, she is a vampire. Overreacting may be underreacting.

“I have an idea,” Bobbi says. I look to the phone. I feel as though I’m looking at her. “Why don’t you come and see? I haven’t seen you in forever. Meet me by the nearest church.”

“Wait, Bobbi--” Phineas starts. He doesn’t finish. I hear the phone beep and then the screen goes black. Dead battery. Phineas looks at me. He shrugs and lets out a weak chuckle. “We get to see Bobbi again.” I can’t tell if he’s excited or scared. I don’t know why he would be scared; he just gives off that vibe.

--

I close the front door behind me and clutch my pillowcase. “Okay,” Phineas says. “We’ll quickly go over and see Bobbi. Maybe ten, fifteen minutes?”

Despite Jessie’s face covered by her sheet, I can picture her making a pouting face. “Why can’t we stay longer?” she whines. I was thinking that too. Why not longer? She was such a great friend to us. She was sweet, funny. She and Jessie were especially close.

“We have to meet up with--” Phineas starts. He stops when he notices three shapes in the dusk light. Isabella, Baljeet, and Buford. Isabella’s wrapped in yellowing cloth and her black hair is in two pigtails. She must be a mummy.

“Hi Phineas!” Isabella says cheerfully.

“Isabella,” Phineas says in what sounds like shock. “You’re--you’re early, aren’t you?”

“Just a smidge. I was just so excited. I wanted you to see my costume.” She twirls on her tiptoes, the rags fluttering in the wind. “Do you like it?”

“Yeah, it’s great. I never really imagined you wearing something like that.”

“Well, you did say that we were dressing scary this year. It was either this or zombie prom queen. But I heard Ferb was going to be a zombie, so I decided not to.”

Buford steps up. He’s dressed in a full-body skeleton suit. “Come on, let’s go!” he says forcefully. “I wanna get some candy. I hear the houses on Maple Drive are giving out full-size candy bars! I gotta go there before they run out!” He looks like he’s about to continue his rant when he pauses. “Hey, where’s Jessie?”

“I’m over here!” Jessie’s hand pops out from under the sheet and waves. “I decided to go with a cliche Earth costume. You like?”

“I can’t see your face…” I stifle a laugh. I’m not sure which I find more entertaining: Buford’s horrible attempt at flirting with my sister, or her complete and utter obliviousness to it.

“Let’s go!” Baljeet says. I’ve almost forgotten about him. He’s dressed like a doctor. “My mother wants me back home by nine.”

“Why so early?” Phineas asks. “It’s Halloween!”

“Something about tradition or curfew or safety. I’m not sure, I wasn’t listening. But can we go, please?”

“We were, actually, um...” Jessie starts. With our friends so anxious to start out Halloween, will we be able to see Bobbi? Isabella was never quite fond of her. Something about Bobbi was very off-putting to her and--okay, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I don’t know why, but from the very start, Isabella didn’t like Bobbi. And I never really found out why. But what was even more confusing was that when Bobbi’s life was on the line, Isabella defended her. And Buford and Baljeet? They got along fine. But I don’t think they got along well enough to want to take a twenty minute detour to see her at some old abandoned church.

“We’re going to go see Bobbi,” I find myself saying. I don’t remember deciding to say it, and I could barely hear the words coming from my mouth.

”What?” Isabella says angrily. Yep. There it is. “Do we even have time?”

“Actually, yes,” Phineas answers. “You guys got here early. We can pop by, see her for ten minutes tops, and then we’ll go trick-or-treating. We’ll get all the full-size candy bars from Maple Drive and get Baljeet home by nine. Promise.” When Phineas promises something, he follows through. I’ve known him for seven years, and he has never once broken a promise.

The cold autumn wind cuts through the group and we all shiver in unison. I hear Isabella sigh. “Fine,” she grumbles. “Where’s the harm?” I detect a heavy note of sarcasm in that sentence, but I don’t think Phineas does.

The sun has almost completely set now. The moon hangs above an orange tree, it’s glow casting the only natural light on the street. I almost expect to hear a werewolf howl in the distant. Instead, I hear what sounds like a bat’s screech.

--

After about five minutes of walking in silence, we approach the dilapidated building. I shake my head. Why ask to meet us here? A church, of all places. I feel another blast of wind and cold cuts through my skin to my bones. Phineas steps up to the front door and presses his hand to the detailed wood. He leans forward and attempts to push the door open. He grunts. “Ugh,” he says. “It’s really stiff. I don’t think we can get it open.”

“Why would we even want to get it open?” Isabella asks. “What are we doing here?”

“This is where Bobbi asked us to meet her,” Jessie replies. “I don’t know where she is, though.” Footsteps echo behind me. I whirl around but don’t see anything.

“Did you guys hear that too?” I ask, my first spoken words of the night.

“Yes,” Baljeet answers. “Who do you think it was?” I shrug. I glance at the ground and almost jump out of fear. I scan the group. There’s me, Buford, Baljeet, Isabella, Phineas, and Jessie. And we’re the only ones here. There are only six of us here.

So why are there seven shadows?

I gulp. Has anyone else noticed? Jessie, I think. As half-alien twins, we’re able to communicate telepathically. Does anything here seem… strange to you?

You mean the fact that we’re at an old church on Halloween to go see a vampire? she replies. Nope, nothing strange whatsoever.

Jessie, I’m serious. I think-- I don’t get to finish my thought. “Boo.” We all jump and yet out an exclamation of shock and terror. A short laughter responds to our fear. I turn around and see a teenager descend to the grass.

“Man,” she says. “I forgot how jumpy you all are.”

”Bobbi?” I exclaim. She smiles. “You’ve… You’ve changed.” Her pink hair is no longer pink. It’s black, black as a raven in snow. It goes to just above her elbows and is pulled into two curly pigtails. She wears a white and black dress with black tights and black Mary Jane shoes. A long red hood is pulled over her head, casting a shadow over her face and making her amber eyes stand out even more. Hooked onto her arm is a wicker basket.

“It’s Halloween,” she says. “I’m Little Red Riding Hood.” She crouches down to my height and sticks her hand into the basket. She pulls out a king sized chocolate bar and sticks it into my Halloween basket. “Okay, I only got two other candy bars left.” She stands up. “If anyone wants them, I say you act quickly.” She takes the candy bars in her hands and chucks them into the air. Buford and Baljeet attempt to position themselves just right so that the candy bars will land in their bags. Amazingly, they do.

“Bobbi,” Jessie says. She runs to her friend and embraces her. Bobbi looks shocked at this embrace, but soon follows suit. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, Jess.” The two pull away and I feel a slight pull at my heartstrings. I haven’t realized how much I’ve missed her as well.

“Why did you have to go?” Phineas asks.

“I thought Candace told you,” she says, clearly confused. “Didn’t she?”

“All she said was that you’ll see us around. And she said something about Zachary, too…”

“She did? I told her not too… Whatever. Look, all I was doing there was waiting around for Ryan. It was safer. But I killed him and there was no need for me to stay there. I know, I should have said something to you guys, but I couldn’t. I hate goodbyes.”

“What did happen with you and Zachary?” Jessie asks. I give her a look. Zachary was a boy Bobbi really liked. We hosted their first date. But it kind of went downhill after Zachary, who’s a vampire hunter, found out Bobbi’s a vampire. Doesn’t she remember? Doesn’t she remember the way he looked at her? With hatred? With loathing? With an urge to kill? If she does remember, this is probably just another one of her social issues. It’s not that she’s socially awkward, she just hasn’t yet fully grasped Earth’s social norms.

“Oh,” Bobbi says. “Nothing you’d be interested in. Words were said, things were thrown. Blah, blah, blah. Boring. Welp, it was great seeing you.”

“Wait, that’s it? We haven’t seen you in three months and you just leave?

“What? I have to.” I notice then that her eyes are no longer golden. They’re red. Bright red. Red as blood. That means only one thing. “Yes, Ferb. You’re right. I’m hungry.” I’ve forgotten; Bobbi reads minds. Everyone is now staring at her; even Buford and Baljeet have paused wolfing down their candy long enough to look at her. “I don’t want you guys to see it. And I’ve been here too long. I’m sorry. I have to go.”

“Wait!” Phineas yells. But it’s to no avail. She’s already disappeared, leaving nothing behind. I’ve also forgotten how fast she moves.

“Well now that that’s done,” Isabella says with no hesitation, “we can get a move on.”

“‘Bout time,” Buford says. Isabella, Buford, and Baljeet start to head away from the church. Phineas hesitantly follows. I kneel on the ground and press my palms to the spot where she stood.

“You okay?” Jessie looms over me, her sheet tickling my back. I nod in response. Jessie crouches down and puts her arms around me. “Ferb. I know you. And you know I don’t buy that. What’s actually going on?” I sigh. I turn to look at her. Through the skinny slits in the sheet Jessie cut I can see her blue eyes like a raging sea. Those eyes have seen so much; things I can’t comprehend, despite all the things I’ve done. But that’s nothing compared to everything she’s seen and done in the life she once led. The life she refuses to talk about.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” I finally say. “But I know one thing: something’s wrong. We didn’t know her long, but she was not acting normal.”

Jessie gets up and grabs my hand. She pulls me into a standing position. “I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw it,” she replies.

--

Jessie and I catch up with the rest of the group. Buford is verbally harassing Baljeet about his costume. “And I thought your costume last year was lame,” he says, referring to Baljeet’s daisy costume from last year. “What are you even supposed to be?

“I am Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Baljeet retorts. “Haven’t you read it?”

“I’ve never even heard of it. Are there pictures?”

“No.”

“Well then I’ll never read it.” Buford kicks a rock with his shoe. “Well, at least Phineas’ costume is obvious.”

“But it’s not scary! He’s a nerd!”

“No he’s not,” Isabella says in Phineas’ defense.

“Uh, Isabella?” Phineas says. “I am dressed as a nerd. Well, a nerd vampire. See? Fangs. Okay, okay, not my best work. I kind of forgot about the theme and it was too late to get another costume.”

“Well, I think you look fantastic,” Isabella replies. She smiles and blinks her eyes in a flirty motion. We turn the corner onto Maple and head up to the first house. Buford rings the doorbell and in less than three seconds, it is opened by an elderly woman hunched over a walker.

“Oh, well don’t you kids look so cute!” she exclaims. “Here, have some candy.” She drops two full-size candy bars into each of our candy bags. We all utter a thank-you except for Buford, who already starts unwrapping the first one.

We continue along the avenue stopping a dozen more houses. We end up collecting twenty full-size bars total. We’re about to continue going for more houses when a black shape flies in front of us. It let’s out a screech and we all jump. “What was that?” Jessie asks.

I shake my head. “I think it was a bat,” Phineas says.

“A bat?” Baljeet echoes. “Bats aren’t very common in Danville. In fact, I don’t even think there are supposed to be any bats in the whole Tri-State Area!”

“Well it is Halloween,” Phineas says. “Maybe it’s just a prop or something. You know. Fun. No big deal.” We shake it off and continue walking again. We notice a graveyard just to the left of us. “Has that always been there?” Phineas asks.

“Well, of course it has,” Baljeet says. “Graveyards don’t just pop up out of nowhere!”

“We should go through it,” Jessie says. “Come on, it’ll be fun. It’s Halloween, spooky graveyard. We already got tons of candy and it’s only seven-fifteen.”

“That actually sounds like a great idea,” Isabella says. So we head over to the graveyard. I’m not sure what got into Jessie’s head about going there. But, like she said, it’s Halloween. I push open the creaky metal gate and a thick layer of muck and grime comes off in my hands. We go past the gate and enter a ghostly graveyard. The graveyard is shrouded in a thick layer of fog, but the gravestones are still visible. They range in dates from 1776-1843 to 2001-2007.

I notice a grave to the far right of the group. There’s no tombstone; instead, there’s a polished white marble plaque in the ground. Above it is a grey stone statue of an angel with her hands over her face, as if she were crying. I can’t take my eyes off of her, not even to see who would have such an elaborate grave. But I do, just for a second. There’s no name, but there is a date: 1785-2011.

1785-2011? No, that can’t be right. Who could live to be 226 years old? Must be a typo or something. Maybe 1985-2011. Or 1785-1811. Not 1785-2011. I don’t dwell on it much. I shake my head and rejoin the group.

“Is it just me,” starts Phineas, “or did it suddenly just get colder?” Wind ruffles through my hair and I hug myself. It is colder. Noticeably so. I feel as if it could start snowing any second.

“I think this was a bad idea,” Baljeet says. “Come on, we should go back. I don’t like the feel of this place.”

“Baljeet, don’t be such a wuss,” Buford says. In a hushed voice, Buford says to the rest of us, “Yeah, this place is kinda freaking me out. Come on, let’s go get some more candy!”

“Okay,” Phineas says. “I think you guys are right. Let’s go.” Phineas tugs at my jacket. “Ferb, come on.” But I can’t go. I can’t keep looking at the angel overlooking the grave of the person with the impossible lifespan. Phineas accomplishes pulling me away. I stare at the angel for a few more seconds before I turned away.

“You guys can’t be here.” We stop. We’re the only ones here. Who said that? I turn around and see Bobbi standing by the angel statue. Her hood is down and her eyes look darker. Still red, but darker. “What made you think it would be a good idea to come here tonight?”

“A vampire lurking around a graveyard on Halloween,” Isabella says. “How cliche.”

Bobbi hisses and bares her fangs. “Get out of here,” Bobbi continues. “Now.

“We were just about to,” Phineas says. “But what’s going on?”

“Yeah,” Jessie says. “You were acting really weird.”

“That’s not important,” Bobbi answers. She tugs on her red hood like she’s hiding something. “Just leave. Now.

“We’re going,” Isabella says. “Come on, Phineas.” She grabs his arm and pulls him toward the gate.

“Wait,” I say. The group pauses. I notice Jessie hasn’t left my side. She trusts me and she notices what’s wrong. “Bobbi, what could live to be 226 years old?”

Bobbi’s eyes widen. “No. Leave. No more questions. LEAVE!

“What’s so wrong?” Jessie yells. “Bobbi, you’re scaring me.”

“Good. Get out of here. Now. I’m tired of asking you. And I don’t like using hypnosis, okay? I hate the blank stares it gives everyone. Do you hear me?” Bobbi opens her mouth like she’s going to say more, but instead she lets out a spine-tingling scream. She falls to the ground and clutches her stomach. Her head is bowed in agony.

“Bobbi?” Phineas says timidly. “Are you alright?” She slowly raises her head. Dripping from her eyes is what looks like tears of blood. She smiles toothily with her pointed fangs. I notice she doesn’t have just one pair of fangs; each of her teeth are pointed incisors, looking perfectly lethal and perfectly painful.

“Oh,” she says slowly. “You didn’t leave. And now you won’t.” She raises her hand and I hear a metallic clang. We turn around and see that the gate has closed shut. Buford runs over to the gate and tries to pull it open.

“It’s locked,” he says.

“That’s impossible,” Baljeet says. “It doesn’t have a lock.”

“Well then how come it won’t open?” Baljeet opens his mouth to answer but is interrupted by another blood-curdling scream coming from Bobbi. I turn back and see that she has gotten on her feet, but is supporting herself by the angel statue.

“I told you guys to leave,” she says. “Why didn’t you listen?” She sounds like she’s going to cry. She throws her head back and lets out another yell. She looks at us. “Six little children. Empty graveyard. No witnesses.” She leaps up and flies toward us. She grabs hold of me and I look at her face. Her black hair falls on my face and a bloody tear falls from her cheek and onto my nose.

Ferb!” Jessie yells. I see Jessie slam herself into Bobbi. Bobbi falls off of me with Jessie on top of her. Jessie yanks off her sheet and covers it over Bobbi’s head.

“What is going on?” Baljeet yells.

“I don’t know,” Phineas says. “But I think we should get out of here.”

“How?” Isabella says. “The gate won’t open.”

“We’ll climb it.” Phineas runs to the gate and grabs hold of the bar. He yells and releases the bar.

“What’s wrong?”

“The gate burned me. How does that happen?” I shrug. I turn and see Jessie by me. Wait, Jessie? I thought you had Bobbi, I think to her.

Oh, yeah, because I’m definitely stronger than a vampire, she thinks sarcastically.

Well where is she? I give Jessie a look. How could she be so careless with something like this? She opens her mouth but nothing comes out. I turn around slowly. No Bobbi. I do a full 360. Twice. She’s not here. Could she have left?

I hear a clatter coming from the gate. I turn over there and see a teenager scaling the gate. Whatever burned Phineas when he tried to escape doesn’t seem to affect him. He reaches the top and then jumps fifteen feet to the ground. He tumbles and groans in pain a bit but then gets up. I notice a quiver strung across his back. He’s the first person I’ve seen all night that’s not in costume; instead he wears a dark green sweatshirt and jeans.

Zachary?” Phineas says. “Is that you?” The teenager runs toward us.

“What are you kids doing--?” he starts. “Hey, aren’t you guys the kids from Chez Platypus? Ah, never mind. I heard there was a vampire here. You guys should get out of here.”

“We’ve tried,” Isabella answers. “We can’t get out. Phineas tried and it burned him.”

“This is bad. Where’s the vampire?”

“She disappeared,” Jessie tells him. “But this is bad. It’s Bobbi. Something’s wrong with her.”

Zachary pulls an arrow and latches it into his quiver, ready to pull if need be. “She can’t have just left,” he finally says.

“Fear is delicious.” I spin around. Bobbi’s back. “Mortals are so full of emotion. Fear, anger, hate, love. Makes your blood rage with power. With taste. You’ll never know how it feels, to have someone else’s adrenaline rush through your veins. It’s indescribable.”

Zachary pulls the arrow back and takes aim. Phineas whirls toward him. “You’re not going to shoot her, are you?” he yells.

“It’s either that or we all die,” he snaps. He releases the bow. I shut my eyes, but I don’t hear the bow go through. I open my eyes and see that Bobbi is holding the bow. She snaps it in half and throws it to the ground.

“Zachary?” she says. She seems normal again. “Oh, gosh.”

“Bobbi, tell us what’s going on!” Jessie demands.

“Vampires are demons,” she answers. “So when we die… we become… actual demons. Like Paranormal Activity demons. Possession, all that. And Ryan… Ryan wasn’t going to let me get rid of him that easily.”

“I don’t buy that,” Zachary says.

“You wouldn’t, would you?” Bobbi says coldly. “What are you? You’re nothing.” She bares her pointed incisors at us. “You’ll die first.”

Bobbi lunges to Zachary. He ducks and misses getting hit. Bobbi lands on the ground and she snarls. “You little--” She gasps suddenly.

“All that possession stuff,” Zachary says, probably to himself, “none of that’s true.”

“Yes it is,” Bobbi growls. “I don’t expect you to believe me. But I know they do.”

“Yes, I do,” Jessie says. I turn to her. Half her makeup is dripping off in rivulets of sweat. “Because Bobbi would never do this. Ever.”

“I don’t believe this,” Isabella says. “Jessie, how would you know? She’s a vampire!”

“Yes, she is,” Bobbi replies, cocking her head. “She was perfect. But now she’s gone. Ugh, these stall tactics bore me. I’m so glad you could join us, vampire hunter,” she says to Zachary. “Of course, I’ve made that clear, haven’t I? Who’s first?” She turns her head sharply to Phineas and smiles wickedly.

All the sound disappears. My ears are filled with my own heartbeat and breathing. Everything appears in a mix of slow and fast motion. First, I see Bobbi bare her several pointed teeth. I blink, and suddenly she’s on top of Phineas. I blink again and I wish my eyes were still closed. She’s biting Phineas’ throat. Blood stains the front of her dress.

I blink again and Zachary is attempting to pull Bobbi off of Phineas. He latches onto her arms and forcefully yanks them back. She’s stronger than him, but not by much. He pulls her back and she falls on top of them. I get a good view of her eyes; they’re black pits, with small red dots where the pupils would be. She hisses at Zachary and I know she’s going to go after him.

I blink again and Bobbi screams. It doesn’t sound like a normal scream; it’s a harsh shriek like a banshee mixed with a low guttural noise like a growl. A dagger protrudes from her stomach. She yanks it out and gold liquid gushes from the wound. This time, she blinks, slow and long. When she reopens her eyes, they’re back to normal. They’re red, but they’re not the soulless black pits I saw just a minute ago.

Zachary steps in front of us. “Get back,” he whispers. We back up, not keeping our eyes off of Bobbi. Bobbi wipes the remainder of her bloody tears off her face and run to us. “Stay back, vampire,” Zachary spits.

“Zachary,” she says softly. “It’s me.” He shakes his head. His hand twitches and I notice that he’s now holding a wooden stake. Bobbi turns to Jessie, standing just to the left of me. “Jessie,” she says. “I promise, that wasn’t me. Please, believe me.” A fog settles over the graveyard, not too thick that I can’t see my hand in front my face, but thick enough that I have to squint to see Bobbi.

I hear a small gasp. I turn back but I don’t see the owner of the gasp. Everyone looks to shocked and too horrified to do anything. “Hey!” Zachary says, not to anyone in the group, but to, apparently, the spot just behind Bobbi. “Get back here!” I look to where he’s looking.

Behind the fog of the night, I can just barely make out a shape. I know that shape better than anything, but I can’t--won’t--let myself believe it. Beside the shape kneels Isabella, tears streaming down her eyes. My subconscious mind says to go see, just to be sure I am wrong.

Oh, I am far from wrong.

Phineas is laying limp on the ground, his eyes closed. Before I know what I’m doing, I’m running up to him. I shove past Isabella, trying to be sensitive, and kneel down to Phineas. As I feel for a heartbeat, I feel something warm. Under the vague glow of the moon, I can see it on my fingers. Blood. Definitely not mine, but definitely his. This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening.

“How could you do this?!” Isabella’s eyes, still stained with tears, have fury of which I have never seen before. “How could you do this to him?” She looks at Bobbi, who is still at the spot she was; she hasn’t moved. I expect her to say she didn’t mean to, or something. But she doesn’t.

All she does is look at her hands. Behind her, Zachary leads the remainder of our group towards us. They pass her and Bobbi looks in their direction. “Are you okay?” she asks.

“Of course we’re not okay!” Isabella screams.

“Not everything’s about you!” She looks at Phineas for a moment. Then she says, “He’ll be okay. I know what dead is and I know what living is. This is definitely living.” She approaches Phineas, but fast as a whip, Zachary is in front of her, his wooden stake poised at her chest.

“Not a step closer. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t plunge this stake into your heart right now.”

“Because that wasn’t me.” She’s not looking at Zachary. She’s looking at me and Jessie and Isabella. “You know that wasn’t me. It was possession. Okay? It sounds ridiculous, but that’s what it was. But when I got stabbed, that--well I don’t know if it killed him--but he’s gone now. Please. You know that I would never… You know…” She breaks off. I can’t tell if she’s fighting tears or trying not to scream.

“I believe you,” Jessie says. “I knew that wasn’t you. I mean, not only the fact that would never do that. But, you looked… You had fangs on every tooth and your eyes were black. Blood was dripping from your eyes. That’s… inhuman.” I nod, in too much shock to speak. Jessie’s right; whatever happened to Bobbi wasn’t human. And I doubt it was vampire.

“That doesn’t change the fact that she killed Phineas,” Isabella says. I hear a slight groan. I look over to where Phineas lays. For just a second, I notice a slight twitch, just for a second. I run down to him.

“Phineas?” I breathe. Phineas moans.

“He’s alive?” Isabella exclaims. I nod. “He’s alive!” She runs over and grabs him.

“Only barely.” I look up and see that Zachary has joined us, but he still has his stake pointed at Bobbi’s heart. “He needs a hospital. But I doubt he’ll be able to survive long enough to get there. He lost a lot of blood.”

“No,” Isabella says. “No. I won’t lose him! I can’t! This is all your fault!” She’s yelling at Bobbi again.

“I know,” Bobbi whispers, just barely audible. “I know.”

“Well, there has to be something you can do!” Isabella screams, but I’m not sure to whom. She brushes at her face hastily, wiping away tears. She smears off some of her makeup, and I know that in any other situation, that would make her a bit upset. Baljeet, is fiddling with the pocket of his labcoat. He shoves his hands down into it and a finger slides through a hole. He’ll have to get that fixed soon. I think I have a needle and thread he can borrow.

No. I can’t distract myself like this. This is Phineas’ life--or what’s left of it, anyway. This isn’t what it seems. It’s not what I think. It’s only in my mind. It’s not real life. I’m only dreaming. This is a dream. And when you die in a dream, you wake up in real life.

But if you die in real life, you die. That’s why it’s called real life.

I crouch over Phineas. “I’m sorry,” I breathe. “You don’t deserve to go out like this. You don’t. You don’t.”

Phineas takes in a deep breath, but makes a choking sound. He coughs and sputters for a bit, blood frothing from his lips. “It hurts.” He doesn’t move his lips and his voice sounds like he’s been eating sand, but I know he said it.

“I know.” That wasn’t me. It wasn’t Isabella, it wasn’t Jessie, it wasn’t Buford, it wasn’t Baljeet, it wasn’t even Zachary. Bobbi has gotten away from us. She places her hand on Phineas’ throat. Her hand is still covered with blood, both Phineas’ and that strange golden blood that she bled after getting stabbed. She removes her hand after a second, leaving a small trace of the golden blood on Phineas’ wound.

“You’ve done enough,” Isabella says bitterly. “Stop acting like you’re sorry. You’re not. Okay? If it weren’t for you, we’d be trick-or-treating right now. Phineas would be alive. Ever since you stepped into my life you’ve ruined it!” Bobbi nods. She gets onto her feet and then disappears.

Isabella raises a fist to her eyes, as if she’s trying to keep herself from crying anymore. I feel for her. Phineas is my brother and I love him. But Isabella is in love with him. We’re all going to lose him. We can’t. We can’t.

You ever wonder why we’re such good healers? There’s a voice in my head. A familiar voice. I guess you could say it’s in our blood. I turn to Phineas and gasp. His neck is coated in blood, but it is no longer shredded. There’s only a small scrape. I blink and the scrape is gone. “He’s okay,” I breathe.

Phineas moans and slowly rises to a seated position. “Phineas?” Isabella says. “He’s okay. He’s okay!” I hear a rustle in the leaves and turn in the direction of the rustle. Bobbi stands smiling, her red hood over her head. She puts a finger over her lips in a shush-ing motion before disappearing again. “It’s a miracle!” Isabella exclaims.

That’s one way of putting it, I think.


--

I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that I’m half alien or how over the top and unique my brother and I are or the fact that we associate ourselves with vampires. But it seems like we’re almost always put in a life or death situation. And it seems like, more often than not, we underestimate the danger we’re in.

One day we’re going to be in serious trouble. One day we’re not going to be able to protect ourselves. One day we’re going to be dead. I’m just glad that day is not today. That day could be tomorrow or it could be a hundred years from now.

But it’s not today, and that’s what’s important.

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