I was a lightning rod. I was a bursting seed-pod. I was popped cork and shipless bottle from corner-store champagne. I was hunched on the peach-plaid linoleum behind her bathroom door. I was hiding, we were hiding. From who? From our mothers across the country who, despite our ages, would know we'd been smoking marijuana? We couldn't be found out.
Pinky-swear, she demanded, another splash of champagne. The bottle was glowing green. I wanted to drink the light it gave off. I wanted to drink our hiding.
She read from her teenage diary: WHYWON'T A VAMPIREJUST TAKE ME AWAY?!?!?! Triple underscore.
I wanted to know if one had. I wanted to know if something in her still wanted that.
She stretched out her legs, impossibly smooth. Her painted toenails touched the wall. She was prettier than me, and her hair was straight. Quiet, you, she said, turning to another page. We listened. Was her daughter awake, was the white smoke crawling underneath the door? We went outside to check.
Back in her diary, she was learning about Satanism, and all the Satanists she'd met collected knives and comic books.
They don't love me, she wrote. They just get used to me. For a moment, we were old again.
I wanted to go back to the vampires. Tell me more, I said. What kind of vampire? Raw-boned and blonde. This was the only right answer.
I never had a Jesus phase, she said. I told her it might be on its way. She hit the bong and crossed herself.
You know, I said, we could still find you a vampire. Hugging her knees to her chest, all she asked was how. I searched her for traces of another question. All I saw was the lace of her skirt.
We can make a Ouija board, see? I traced letters on the floor with my pointer finger. All we need is paper and pen.
She passed me the bong and said it was on. Exhaling, I grabbed the champagne and followed her. We shoved aside a stack of student essays and sat down at the table, wondering who should write the alphabet.
You do it, I said. You're the one who wants him. The house was quiet. I could hear her eyelashes blink against her glasses.
You know, she said, vampires aren't dead. Will a Ouija board work? I asked if we should use the telephone instead.
Hush, she said, and started her impossibly perfect script.
Our vices depleted, she started stabbing her hand with a paper clip, convinced a vampire would be more likely to come if there was blood on our board. I watched her palm for broken skin, but nothing happened. She found a brooch somewhere—I saw rhinestones as she jammed the pin into her hand. She pressed her hand to the paper, then waved it across like a beauty queen.
I laid a quarter on the paper. We stared as if the letters were Russian roulette.
Hold on, I said. We gripped the coin while I whispered to her to invoke. If there is a blonde, raw-boned vampire who would like to speak with us, come now.
I wanted to know how we could be sure he was raw-boned.
Let's ask him, she said. We did. Chiseled, he said. I'm cut.
She asked him if he was the one she'd wanted to take her away. He said yes. He told me my red hair creamed him.
I asked him how he bled. Through my teeth and tears, he said.
This must be Real, I told her. I couldn't have thought of that.
By now I was starting to want him too. She was flirting, asking if he liked her blood. I tried for a papercut.
He said it was ironic to talk about irony. She took down her hair. I got up to light a candle. It guttered and sparked before it burned. I thought about the human brain. I thought about the alphabet. Our two fingers on the quarter, the coin sailed over the blood-streaked letters. He promised to take us away. I promised to follow.
Erin Lyndal Martin is a creative writer, music journalist, and artist. Her work has appeared in Salon, No Depression, Gigantic Sequins, and Yalobusha Review, among others.