Part 2

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Della’s head hurt something fierce. Was this her official first hangover? How many beers had she had, only one, right? She never drank more than . . . She opened her eyes, and found herself staring at her bedroom ceiling. She knew it was her bedroom, because she could smell the vanilla-scented candles and the Lemon Pledge she’d faithfully polished her furniture with every Friday. And her pillow still smelled like Lee, from when he’d dropped her off at home from school on Monday and no one was home. She loved how he smelled.

But how had she gotten home from the . . .

Fragments of memories started forming─Chan, the gang fight, flying. 


She jackknifed up. Her head nearly exploded. “Crap,” she muttered and told herself it had been a dream.

“Hey, cuz.”

His voice came at the same time the nausea did. She turned and for the second time puked all over her dead cousin.

“Ahh, gross,” Chan said, but then he snickered. “I guess I deserve this. Not that I meant for this to happen. I really didn’t.” But then he laughed again.

Della wasn’t laughing. “What’s happening?” Tears, partly from the frustration, partly from the pain, filled Della’s sinuses. She forced them away. She wiped her mouth with the sleeve of her shirt and saw her leather jacket tossed over the foot of her bed.

Chan put a hand on her shoulder and gave her a nudge. “Lie back down and I’ll explain.”

“There was a gang war,” she muttered, trying to remember.

“Yeah, vampires and werewolves. I went to watch. It’s cool to watch us take out a few dogs.”

Her phone, sitting on her nightstand, beeped with an incoming text. She tried to reach for it, but moving hurt. Another surge of tears filled her throat.

“It’s your lover boy,” Chan said. “This is like the tenth text he’s sent. I think you missed your hookup date.” Chan shook his head. “So my little cousin is getting it on with a guy, huh? I feel like I should go beat him up or something.” 

She dropped back on the bed. 

“Do you want me to text him and tell him you’re okay?”

“I’m not okay!” Talking made her head pound worse. Realizing she was talking to a ghost make it pound twice as hard. Pain shot in the back of her eyes and she closed them, wishing for relief.

“What’s wrong with me?” she muttered to herself and not to Chan, because logic told her that Chan wasn’t really there. Someone must have put something in her drink at that party.  Yeah. That had to be it.

She heard a chair being pulled up beside her bed. “You’re not going to believe this, and that’s to be expected. It will take a while to soak in. You see . . . I’m not dead.  I . . . well, our family carries this virus. It’s dormant and you can go your entire life and not even know it, but if and when we come in close contact with a live carrier, especially when there’s blood involved, the virus turns active.”

“I got a virus?” She swallowed another bout of nausea.


“Bird flu?” she asked.

“Not quite.”

“West Nile?”

“No. Vampirism.”

She opened one eye, that’s all she could do, and peered at him. She would have laughed if she didn’t feel as if she were dying. “I’m a vampire?”

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