Emma Emory knew she wasn’t supposed to watch The Great Vampire Berton while her parents were out. But the sitter was on the phone and she just had to see it. Hey, she saw her chance and she took it. But now Emma is sorry because she has a huge case of the creeps. She's off to spend the night at her BFF's while her mom and dad go out. Only problem is, Rowan's mom, Miss Susan, is looking suspiciously vampire-like. Emma knows because she knows all the signs (from that movie she wasn't supposed to watch). Can she prove that Miss Susan is a vampire and save herself and her best friend, or is she in for the fright of her life?
Word Count: 8,400
I put my hand to my chest—my heart was going nutso. What a scary dream! I blinked, rolled on my side and found Sally Monkey Pants. She was my favorite stuffed animal. My mom called her a security object when she thought I wasn’t not listening. I just called Sally good people.
“Whew. That was a bad one,” I told her. The sun was bright and shiny through my window but the dream was sticking around—scary thoughts and that weird feeling in my stomach. “I guess that vampire movie really was a bad idea. Mom said no. Dad said no. Who knew?” I shrugged.
Sally remained silent. She was always on my side.
Someone knocked on the door and I yelped. I couldn’t help it. The sound made me think of the movie. The one I wasn’t supposed to watch. The great vampire Berton, knocking, knocking, knocking on the inside of his coffin. He was trapped and he couldn’t get out. The vampire hunters had barred his way and he was getting madder and madder by the minute. Boy, that vampire got hot until…
“Aaaaah!” I screamed.
“Aaaaaaah!” my mother screamed back. Her hand flew right to her chest and I was willing to bet her little heart was going nutso, too. “Emma! You scared the life out of me. I think-”
She dropped onto my bedside and put her head down in her hands.
“You okay?” I patted her shoulder. “I’m sorry I scared you. My teacher said it’s rude to scare old people because they might have a heart problem.”
I had no idea why but my mom started to laugh. Hard. And then she put the kitchen towel she was holding to her face and howled. That’s what Daddy called it when Mom laughed real hard. Howling. It made me think of werewolves. Werewolves made me think of vampires. Vampires made me think of the great vampire Berton.
Mom sniffled and snorted the way she did when she was trying to get herself under control. “I think you just aged me ten years. According to you, though, that would make me almost dead.”
The undead. Double gulp.
“Sorry, Ma.” I patted her again and then I was so happy that she was in my room. Real and warm and safe, I hugged her very hard to try to get the leftover scary feelings to go away.
Mom patted me. “It’s okay. Did I startle you? Why were you so jumpy?”
I shrugged. See, this was where being a good liar would sure come in handy. Too bad I wasn’t good at all. I was a terrible liar. Everyone said so.
“I wasn’t jumpy. Was I?” Best to be annoying instead.
My mom narrowed her eyes at me. “Whenever you answer a question with a question it means you’re up to no good. Or you’ve done something you shouldn’t have.”
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling and blew my bangs up with a puff of air. Maybe if I waited this one out she would give up. No such luck. My mom put both hands on my face, made me look at her and said softly, “Emma Anne Emory. What have you done?”
I’d give it a shot. I knew I was terrible but you know what they say. Practice makes perfect. “I most certainly did not watch that movie you and Daddy told me not to. Last night. When you two went out to dinner and Cindy was on the phone with her boyfriend. I did not watch a movie about vampires and vampire hunters. Nope. Not me. Cause you said no and Daddy said no. And no means no,” I said. I was nodding.
Sometimes when you nod people nod with you. They start to agree with you when you are nodding. Daddy taught me this. Daddy teaches seminars for people to be better salesman. Nodding is good.
“Stop nodding at me, Emma. I know that trick. Remember? If Daddy can’t get away with it, neither can you.”
I blew out a big sigh and then. Oh no. Here they came. Big wet sob. I was crying.
I dove into her lap and rested my head against her belly. I wasn’t allowed to call it squishy so I called it comfy. “I’m sorry!”
Then my mom was laughing again but this is what Daddy called a chuckle—a lower, slower laugh. “So you watched it anyway, did you?”
I nodded and kept my head down. Maybe if I didn’t look right at her I might not get into so much trouble. Another giant sob slipped out and then I seemed to be done. I felt better. And the great vampire Berton didn’t seem so scary at the moment. What with all the sunshine and my mom and her comfiness.
“Are you sorry?”
I nodded. I really was sorry. I had no idea why I had thought it wouldn’t be so scary. It had been. Scary. Very scary. I shivered and sighed. “You have no idea, Mommy. I wish I could scrub it out of my brain with my bath scrubby.”
She laughed again and pulled me close. “Want to spend the night with Rowan?” she asked and then squeezed me so hard I made a noise like Irv’s squeaky toy. Irv was our fat red wiener dog.
“Is that my punishment?”
“Ha!” Mom laughed. “No. I think you’ve been punished enough. Maybe now you’ll understand why daddy and I say no to certain movies.”
I was nodding. I was thinking of Berton’s long spooky fingers. His long sharpy teeth. His little beady eyes. Another shiver shot through me and those tiny hairs on the back of my neck did their best to stand up and say howdy. “I do. I cross my heart,” I said. And I did just that. “Cross my heart and hope to fry. Stick a pork chop in my eye.”