Authors: Yvette Ford
Sixteen Going on Undead
Copyright © August 2009, Yvette Ford
Cover art by Simi Iluyomade © August 2009
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
Sugar and Spice Press
North Carolina, USA
I threw myself out across my bed and unraveled a stick of gum to pop into my mouth. I tucked my ear buds into my ears and blasted one of my favorite love songs while trying to make that popping sound with my gum. It wasn’t working. Ronnie said it was because, of all the girls we both knew who could do it well,—and loud—I was the only oddball with good cavity-less teeth. I suspected the jerk was trying to tell me I had horse teeth, too big and flat for anything other than chomping veggies.
“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes. Ronnie could kiss my butt. He was my best friend, but sometimes he got on my last nerve. Especially when he was being Mr. Know It All. Tonight we’d had a fight, and I had stomped out of his house, even though we were supposed to go see a movie. I had to admit I had a temper, but Ronnie didn’t have to agitate it by ragging on me either. “Why can’t he let me do me the way I want to?”
I flopped over on my stomach and spotted my latest issue of Vibe sticking out from under the bed. I pulled it to me and surveyed the various hairstyles the models wore on the front cover. Should I cut my hair? Running my fingers through the black with a tinge of brown locks I’d pressed out the day before, I considered it. The same old style extending to my shoulders was getting old. Maybe I should dye it. I needed something new if I was going to get a sexy boy to look at me this year.
Having just turned sixteen this month, August, I felt it was a little late to have never had even one, and kissing Ronnie when we were both thirteen at Jada’s birthday party didn’t count for experience. I wanted to live a little, have a life.
I shivered and stood to walk over to the window. Even my mother looked like wondered about me sometimes the way I only hung out with Ronnie, and she never had to deal with boys calling the house or me trying to skip my curfew. She sometimes spoke in a worried voice to other mothers in our block about my lack of a love life? “Maybe she thinks I’m a lesbian,” I mused.
I laughed at that considering how I’d reacted to Ronnie’s older brother when I had caught him coming out of the bathroom after a shower. Wow! Okay, I’d been scared by his...size...but man did he have a nice body. All muscles. Not like Ronnie who looked like he hadn’t hit puberty yet. Poor thing.
I pulled the curtains back and peered out into the back alley. Mrs. Knowles next door was putting her trash out. A light mist had begun to fall. I sighed. Going out with Ronnie to the movies would have meant wheels. Mad and alone meant I would have to hump it to the bus. Not a good prospect. Mrs. Knowles came to her oversized trashcans, which my mother had said violated city ordinances or something on not going over thirty gallons, but that old lady must have had muscles as big as Ronnie’s brother under her tattered robe the way she hefted those huge bags above her stooped shoulders and dropped them into the cans.
I shook her head. People were weird for sure around here. I was about to turn away from the window, when something caught my eye. A man, or someone, stood in a hooded coat next to the yard on the other side of my house. He watched Mrs. Knowles intently. What was he up to? Whatever it was, it was no good. He didn’t look like any of my neighbors because even in the dim lighting I could tell he was tall and broad-shouldered. That didn’t fit anybody around here as half the residents were old as dirt, and none of them would have a reason to be standing around in a dark alley wearing a coat in the middle of summer.
Without any warning whatsoever, the man shot across the alley and over Mrs. Knowles’ back fence like he was trying out for the summer Olympics. Mrs. Knowles had the chance to let out one tiny peep before he was on her.
I screamed, but nobody was home to hear my. My mother had gone out with a few girlfriends, it being Friday night. I didn’t know why my dumb tail didn’t call 911, but instead I turned from the window, ran across my room, and shot through the narrow hallway to the back door. I grabbed up the bat my mother kept in an umbrella stand and rushed down the steps to the yard.
“Hey!” I yelled, finding nothing cleverer to call out. I climbed over the fence that separated my yard from Mrs. Knowles’.
The man had Mrs. Knowles by the neck and leaned over her. The old woman was putting up a huge but losing struggle. When I called out, the man drew back, and the moonlight lit his face. I gasped and dropped the bat in my hand. Big mistake. He let Mrs. Knowles fall to the ground and changed course to come flying at my. And he definitely looked like he was flying, the way he moved.
“What the hell?” I squeaked out before he was on me.
The impact of his body meeting mine sent us both sprawling on the ground with him on top. Another first gone, I thought at this inappropriate time. I’d never had a guy on top of me, and here was this crazed maniac snatching away the initial experience. Fear crawled across my chest, closing my throat so that I couldn’t breathe or scream for help. The fact that he had his hand wrapped around my neck didn’t help either.
“Please,” I croaked, not looking at him. “Let me go. I won’t tell anyone you were here, and you can get away.”
Of all things his ass laughed. “What makes you think I won’t get away no matter what you say?” I didn’t answer. Those last few words were all I found the energy to get out. He leaned down close to my face and kissed my cheek. “Look at me.”
“No way, Crazy.”
He laughed again.
I ran her fingernails along the tips of my fingers, wondering if I could get away with dragging them across his smug face. My mother had paid for me to get tips the other day, but she had warned me if I messed them up fast like I usually did, I wasn’t getting any more until I could get a job and pay for them myself. But this was an emergency, and my mother had to understand. Dang, what an idiot I was to be thinking rationally—or irrationally depending on a person’s view—at a time like this.
“Look at me,” my attacker said again. “How old are you?”
I pressed her lips together, but this time I did look at him, and confirmed what had shocked me when I first caught sight of his face. This was no man, but a boy. I would guess he was around my age, at the oldest eighteen. He was sexy as hell, with big shoulders like I had guessed, and a chiseled face like a man’s. But it was his young eyes that drew me in. Blue-green like the water was that time my dad took me and my mom to the Bahamas, back before they got a divorce.
The weirdest thing about him being here lying on top of me was my reaction to him, the reaction of my body. Here was this teenage white boy, hotter than any of the boys I’d seen at my school, and he was crazy. Not that I would ever go that way, but it did no harm looking.
But looking into his eyes took some of my fear away, not all of it, but some. I didn’t want to rip at his skin with my fingernails and mar that handsome face. Maybe I could reason with him instead. “I’m sixteen,” I told him. “And you’re young too right? You don’t want this life, attacking old ladies in their back yards.”
Mentioning old ladies made me wonder how Mrs. Knowles was since I hadn’t heard anything from the woman, but somehow I couldn’t take my eyes off this boy.
The smile that revealed even white teeth that could never have needed braces made a shiver race through my body and my heart pound in my chest. “No, I don’t want to, but I have to.”
“What do you mean?”
The blue-green deepened, and I had to blink realizing it had gone straight to black, and the whites that were there before were gone. Oh crap, he was not an ordinary teenage boy. The fear returned with a vengeance. I tried raising my arms to push him away or to get a hit in, but it was like pushing a giant cinderblock off my chest. He didn’t budge.
Now that I had found my voice, I decided to let loose a scream to wake the dead. Poor choice of words because the next time I caught sight of those pearly whites, the canines had grown longer than the rest, and looked sharper than knives or needles.
“No,” I whimpered. “I’m dreaming. Wake up, girl. Wake up! Vampires don’t exist.”
“Don’t we?” he said before he lowered his head and plunged those fangs right into my neck. My entire body went numb. I couldn’t have flicked an ant off my body let alone this boy vampire. Dizziness made my world spin when I began to feel him dragging on my blood, actually sucking it up like his teeth were straws and I was a virgin strawberry daiquiri.
Warmth stole over my limbs, and the night grew darker. Coherent thought was leaving me. I knew I was going to die, or suspected it. I was going to my grave having never had a boyfriend, never been French kissed, nothing. If I had the energy, I would have cried, but I couldn’t even do that. I just laid there. My anger had simmered at his right to do this to me, but it fizzled just as quickly.
He grunted like my blood was as good as a steak, a very rare steak, and he put a hand behind my head to lift it off of the ground, cradling me like he would a girlfriend. I let my eyes drift closed. I heard the TV going in Mrs. Knowles’ kitchen where she watched reality shows. While it was dark outside, the birds twittered in a nearby tree, and the man down the street who had been rude to me the other day just because I was lost in thought and didn’t speak to his nappy headed self was calling his dogs to come in out of the rain. But they were barking like crazy, and I knew it was because of what was happening to me. I had hated those dogs because they had crapped on my front lawn, and my mother had made me clean it up. Now I silently thanked them for at least trying to raise an alarm.
The night sounds faded, but I thought I heard the screen door to my house slam. I thought I heard Ronnie yelling but couldn’t be sure. Something flashed, a light, white-hot and bright enough to burn a person’s retinas, I thought. But it was too late. I was already floating.
* * * *
“Hey, Tanesha, open your eyes.”
I frowned. “Ronnie, buzz off. I’m mad at you, remember?” But I did open my eyes. The room spun a little, and I closed them, trying to keep the cold pizza I’d wolfed down earlier from shooting out of my nostrils. After I felt better, I tried again. “Where am I? And what are you doing here, Ronnie? We don’t speak for a couple days when I’m mad at you.”
He smirked and leaned back in the chair he occupied at what I realized was the side of my bed. “You’re welcome for saving your life.”
“What?” I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed, holding my head. “What are you talking about? Saved my life? When?”
The attack in Mrs. Knowles’ yard came flooding back to my mind. The teenage vampire—the very hot teenage vampire. No, that couldn’t be right. I’d dreamed it. I put a hand to my neck but felt nothing. Shuffling off my bed, I tried to stand, but my legs gave, and I crashed to the floor.