The girl who was not a vampire

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“Well…” Myrtle faltered.

Felicity looked with a mixture of anxiety and hope at Myrtle, not daring to guess what Myrtle might say next, because in her heart she sensed something of what it might be. Myrtle turned to make eye-contact with her friend and held both of Felicity’s hands.

“Promise never to tell?”

“I promise.” Felicity did not blink. Myrtle squeezed her hands.

“I… I’m not a vampire and I’m not a werewolf.” She stopped, scanning her friend’s face for a reaction.

Felicity said nothing at first. There was a moment’s hesitation then she flung her arms around her friend’s neck and hugged her. With her mouth close to Myrtle’s ear she whispered, “I’m not a vampire or a werewolf either. I’m actually a wood-nymph. Don’t tell anyone.”

Myrtle pulled back, her eyes wide. “No, I mean, I’m not anything. I’m not even a dryad. I’m not magic at all.”

Felicity recoiled. How could such a thing happen? How could a girl who was not magic in any way have got into school undetected, living all this time unsuspected among teenage vampires and werewolves?

There had always been talk of some dark secret in Nosferatu Academy, something or someone who did not belong and whose presence threatened everything the Academy stood for. Could it be that behind Myrtle’s strange appearance lurked a being horribly, insatiably normal?

“Perhaps you are a mermaid?” Felicity suggested. “I know you are very shy about being seen in the shower after games.”

“Not even that.” Myrtle spoke in a barely audible whisper.

Now Felicity knew the truth. An ordinary person in their midst, and it was her own best friend. She turned her head away and started to gag, at first uncontrollably, but with an effort mastered herself and turned back to face Myrtle, her face a strange colour. “You…” she faltered.

“I… I can’t help being me!” Myrtle cried, rivers of tears coursing down her cheeks. “I didn’t choose not to be magic!” She buried her face in her hands and sat motionless, occasional sobs shaking her body.

Felicity sat there, stunned, for what seemed an hour but must have been less. Somewhere a long way off a cry was heard, and a girl could be seen running from the bushes clutching her neck. Then emerged a girl with a luminous face and raven hair sauntering across the lawn with a strange smile playing about her lips, which seemed unusually red. Cynthia could accomplish a lot in one break-time.

At last Felicity’s hand stretched towards Myrtle and tentatively touched Myrtle’s shoulder.

“We’ve always been friends,” she said. “Perhaps… perhaps something can be done. I could take you to Dr Frankenstein. He might be able to help.”

Myrtle looked up and saw Felicity’s face through a haze of tears. “No,” she said emphatically. “Accept me as I am, or go away.”

Felicity said nothing. Perhaps she understood what it was to be the odd one out. After all, most vampires are pale and she was accepted only on sufferance. What might happen if they found out she was only a wood-nymph she dreaded to think.

The bell went and the girls stood up. As they walked back to class, Felicity reached out for Myrtle’s hand and held it. There ahead of them was Freddy. He turned and smiled at Myrtle. For the first time she didn’t inwardly recoil. Freddy was sweet, not exciting like the other boys. But there was one thing special about him, and that was that he smiled at her, today. Somehow that mattered, right now. She didn’t even care that his hair was wet.

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