The girl who was not a vampire

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Myrtle had freckles, huge glasses with pebble lenses, and a terrible secret. She was also hopelessly infatuated with the bad boy of the class, Zigmond Bloodfang.

Actually most of the boys in the class were bad, except Freddy Märchen. Freddy was sweet-natured and had a loving heart, which is why the other boys used to set on him in the boys’ toilet, push his head into the toilet bowl and pull the chain.

As for Zigmond, or Ziggy to his friends, he was the worst bad boy and he barely deigned to notice Myrtle’s existence. Unlike some of the bad boys, he didn’t wear a wide silk cravat round his neck. This might turn out to be a significant plot detail, then again, it might not.

Ziggy had a nonchalant grin that was calculated to send a frisson through any girl, starting with her toes and travelling towards her head via various other anatomical sites en route. He used it on Cynthia Moonbreath and she got the frisson right in the pit of her stomach. A less steely-hearted girl would have imagined she was in love. Since Cynthia was beautiful and knew it, she did not fall in love, but merely dived into her desk for an antacid tablet which she kept there for just such eventualities. On emerging again she flicked her raven hair behind her strangely luminous face and smiled at him ambiguously. Ziggy’s grin faded because he knew he wasn’t the boss any more.

“I want you to beg me for it,” he thought.

“I know you want me to beg you for it,” she thought. “Too bad.”

Myrtle looked on in anguish, wanting him so badly. Clearly to attract a boy you have to be nonchalant like that, and then ambiguous.

“Or if not him then I would settle for one of the other bad boys,” she thought, “or in fact any boy, except Freddy, who is not a bad boy at all.”  What was it about bad boys that made them attractive?

“What should I do?” Myrtle asked her best friend Felicity. Felicity was black and comely, as it says in the Good Book (Song of Solomon 1:5). She loved Myrtle for who she was, neither because of nor despite her freckles and pebble lenses.

“Boys like a challenge,” Felicity said. “You have to be nonchalant and then ambiguous.”

Myrtle tried being nonchalant for several days and Ziggy didn’t notice her at all, so she never got to the ambiguous part.

In the corridor on the way to maths class Freddy asked her about the diagonal in a square homework question, but she was so busy being nonchalant that she just said, “Square root of two.” She didn’t see his eyes full of wonder. Felicity saw Freddy’s eyes full of wonder, but she thought it was because he was awed by Myrtle’s grasp of surds.

“Did you see Freddy’s eyes full of wonder?” she asked Myrtle.

“Freddy is sweet,” was all Myrtle replied.

‘But what was Myrtle’s terrible secret?’ I hear you ask. As it happens Felicity was to find it out the very next day.

“You know of course that every young teenager is either a vampire or a werewolf these days?” Myrtle said.

Felicity nodded in apparent agreement, her lips pursed. It was a sunny day and they were sitting on the lawn at the back of the school, out of earshot of anyone else. In the distance two figures were in a furtive embrace, and a keen eye might have thought it was Cynthia and Ziggy. A keener eye might have seen Cynthia love-biting Ziggy’s neck in a reversal of the time-honoured vampire tradition, and Ziggy looking pale with two streaks of blood running down from Cynthia’s kiss.

Let us not dwell on the question of whether Ziggy was a virgin, nor speculate on what might happen to Cynthia if he wasn’t. There was a school sick room and we shall leave all that unpleasantness to the school nurse to sort out if the occasion arises. She is paid to do that.

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