Authors: Nyrae Dawn
© Copyright Nyrae Dawn 2012. All rights reserved
Cover Art: Lillie Thaigher
Editor: Katie Aiken Ritter
Crescent Moon Press
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Middletown, NJ 07748
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Crescent Moon Press electronic publication/print publication: August 2012
To Wendy Higgins, who loves Caleb as much as I do. You always have always been a huge supporter of Abby and her story. That means the world to me.
I wonder how teachers make the school clocks run so slowly? As soon as you step through the doors you’re in a parallel universe where time runs slower than Mr. Henry’s drawn-out algebra lectures. Like any of us will need this outside the classroom. If we did, there would be an adult other than a math teacher who could help with homework.
I sigh, letting my eyes travel to Stacy, queen of The Lipstick Posse. Her eyes, dark brown, but they almost look black, narrow at me and she gives me one of those wicked smiles that only someone who excels in mean-girlism can give. She mouths
at me. So original. The least she could do is muster up some creativity. Okay, so my mom believes in vampires. That’s golden as far as reasons to make someone’s life miserable. If I were Stacy, you can bet I’d have a better game than that.
In case you didn’t catch it, my life sucks. Ha! A pun. It wasn’t even on purpose either.
At the first shrill ring of the bell, I pull my familiar swoop-and-roll maneuver, jerking my backpack over my shoulder, rolling out of the chair and making a break for the door. It’s not that I’m scared of The LP. Okay, that’s a lie; maybe I’m just a little afraid. Who can blame me? It’s not only three on one, but I have no doubt if Mom’s crazy vampires-are-real fantasy were true, Stacy Cavanaugh and her death stare would be the poster child for the undead. She sucks the life out of me every day. Not that I have much of a life to suck. Wow, I rock at puns.
I squeeze my way through the students herding toward the door. Don’t these people understand I’m tortured here? They should totally let me out first. I’m trying not to become a bullied teen statistic.
“Excuse me. Excuse me.”
I try to wiggle my way through, but it doesn’t work. Everyone else might not stoop to calling me “Vamp Freak of Karma, California”, but they do enjoy the show, no matter how many reruns The LP play.
I’m halfway down the hall before I exhale a deep breath. I might have made it.
“Hey, Vamp Freak. How’s your crazy mom?” They surround me like a bad Mafia movie. I keep walking. “It must be hard, living with a nutcase. Do you guys have padded walls in your house?”
It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me,
I chant to myself
But it does. No matter what, she’s still my mom and besides the one tiny—okay, maybe not
tiny--but besides the one peculiarity about her, she’s completely normal.
“My mom’s not crazy.” I glance at her. “Oh, I think you missed a spot. Your top lip is looking a little less hooker-red than the bottom.”
Tiffany stumbles. Stacy’s hooker lips form an “O”. Even I’m a little surprised by my comment, but a vamp freak can only take so much.
“You little bitch.”
Uh-oh. She pulled out the big guns.
means she’s really pissed and I don’t feel like being shoved into the lockers today. Three on one, remember?
I break into a run. Sad, I know, but unfortunately I don’t have any super-vampire abilities where I’m able to take on The LP by myself.
I shove through the charred-brown doors leading to the back of campus. Ahead of me is a field of green. If this were a movie, I’d be frolicking through it rather than running for my life. Just beyond the field is the line of trees separating high school hell from my reprieve. I find solace in the woods. My problems feel a whole lot smaller when surrounded by towering trees.
Maybe it’s because I know The LP won’t follow me out here. They might get
“Run, freak, run!” Stacy yells as I dash through the field.
If kids are still quoting movies that came out when most of us weren’t even alive, what chance do I have they’ll ever lose interest in crazy Abby and her psycho mom? If I were old enough to bet, my money would go on
My run dies as soon as I hit the trees, settling into a nice, slow walk. A few more months. Only a few more months and I’ll be out of Karma for good. I kick a branch. What kind of name is that anyway? Karma, California. Did I wrong someone in a past life? Oh! Maybe I was a vampire hunter in a past life and this is their payback. But that would take me believing in things like that.
Which I don’t.
Maybe I especially don’t want to believe because, at seventeen, I’d
been allowed out
dark. Kind of hard to fear the night monsters if you’re the only teenager in the world who has to be in by the time the streetlights come on. The only reason I can swing it now is because I threatened to sneak out of the house—gasp! After nightfall. Unfortunately Mom only okays it very rarely and on prearranged, extra-special circumstances.
All thoughts of crazy moms, vampires and psycho, tormenting teens, flitter out of my head on the wind as the tiny cabin comes into view. There’s only one person who has a cabin way out here and my little path leads right past it. Lucky, right?
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I remember every detail about the few conversations we’ve had. Every. Last. One. Pathetic, right?
The slow, lazy walk I was enjoying is over and I start speeding up. Not into a run, because I don’t want to look like the freak everyone thinks I am. A girl has to save face whatever way she can.
Before I reach the dirt road in front of the tiny shack of a cabin Caleb shares with his dad, the blinds part slightly. When eyes I know are the most unique shade of green peer out, I trip. Yes, a stupid rock jumps in front of me when Caleb Evans looks out his window. Nice. My cheeks are hot.
I start walking again.
Just like those few conversations, I know every look too. And surprisingly, Caleb Evans looks at me a lot. But then, who doesn’t like to stare at the vamp freak?
His gaze is scalding on me, burning me up from the outside in. Soon, I can’t take it, my eyes darting to the woodsy earth beneath my feet. It doesn’t last long. My eyes are drawn to him, and I can’t help but seek out his green again.
He’s still there. My thoughts start rapid firing at me. How did he get home so fast?
Why does he stare at me?
Did he ditch?
Why do I like it?
Where are his friends?
Why can’t I be one of them?
Okay, maybe not that last question, because as addictive as Caleb Evan’s gorgeous green eyes and messy black hair are, his friends are a little scary. I’m pretty sure most of them will end up in prison one day. Well, except for Caleb, because he’s beautiful and makes me burn inside.
God, I really am a freak!