Evidence packet No:(redacted)

CONTENTS: One printed black and white flyer, advertising a concert by the goth band "Strigoi" for a performance at (redacted) on (date redacted). The band is illustrated in strong contrast, five members, all male, the central figure with his back turned to the camera. The back of the center figure's jacket is decorated with a symbol, possibly a sigil of (redacted), in red.

CONDITION: The flyer was bagged by investigators within (redacted) days of the concert, retrieved from the concert location; in spite of this it has aged badly, with all the originally black text and artwork fading to a rust brown, indicating irregular or substandard pigment...

Well you can guess how well THAT week went. After all that work searching for some lead, some clue as to the whereabouts of the hollywood horrors that had turned me into what I was, it looked like a quintet of them were going to roll in out of nowhere and hold a bloody goth-rock concert right in town.

Naturally, we freaked.

The website, for all its nasty surprise, was as useless as- well as useless as a pre-fabbed corporate website. Absolutely jack squat for information, at least the information WE wanted. Nothing about where the band was from, when it got started, not even the band member's real names- unless their mothers actually named them "Bane," "Mortifact," "Carnelion," "Grim," and "Hellebore." Even Snootch's hacker leet skills were null and void; the site had been set up a week ago on some fly-by-nite webhost and then basically abandoned. We'd have better luck finding the author of a Geocities "look at my cat" website.

All three of us began doing frantic info-digging for anything, anything at all about them. We scrounged the web, dug through old music magazines, trolled the record stores, quizzed the kids at school... Zero progress. Not the least of which was due to the fact that there were at least a half dozen bands out there with "Strigoi" or some variant thereof in their name... including one cross-dressing lounge singer. (Live with that mental image. I have to.) Even Snootch's old buds from his brief Goth phase had turned up empty. All they knew was that "Strigoi" was playing at Club X at date Y at Z o'clock. How did they know? Well apparently someone in a van had drove through town one night, paid a bunch of kids hanging out in front of the clubs $20 each to post flyers everywhere. And within 24 hours, our fusspot little town with its fusspot little homeowner's associations had torn down every last one of them. Of course by then the word was out to the intended audience, and the fussy cleanup had given wings to the rumor that "Strigoi" were so subversive that town hall was trying to make them disappear...

Which naturally meant every kid with so much as a single album by the Cure in their collection was planning to sneak out and go.

But beyond that, we'd all turned up empty. It was infuriating. Two days till the scene went down and we knew nothing more than that. Snootch and I were slouching our way down fourth street on our way home from work, Snootch whinging and moaning about his loser ex-friends and their inability to tell anyone anything important. He wasn't used to his personal info network failing him, and it was disgruntling him. "Posers," he said, kicking a beer can out of his path. "Always acting like they were freaking Gatekeeper and Keymaster of Gozer for the whole Goth scene but they can't put a finger on a band every dork from here to Chicago is jonesing to see this weekend!"

"Why'd you quit the Goth 'scene' anyway?" I asked idly.

Snootch sneered. "You know what the Goth 'scene' is? It's a bunch of hosebags in clown white and black mascara, standing around in a dark room letting their eardrums be blown out by a tone deaf DJ and arguing with each other about what 'real' Goth is."

"... Sounds like every subculture on the internet, really," I said. "Look, at least we know where they're gonna be. We can work it from there." I shivered, hunching my jacket around my shoulders despite the warm day. "Maybe we'll be lucky, maybe town hall will get bent over it and put a stop before it happens-"

Snootch stopped. "What, I thought you wanted to catch these guys? Corner 'em, or interrogate 'em or something?"

"What could I learn from them except that my life sucks?" I brushed my hair back out of my eyes. "Snootch, five vampires are about to ride into town and gather up a mob of kids under one roof with them. I don't know what they want for sure but even if they're NOT going to open an all-you-can-drink buffet, it can't be good. And it's really not like we can ride in on our white horses and save the day, either. We get in their way we'll end up with our faces on a milk carton. Maybe I did want to face them before, but right now I just want them to go away."

"I woulda liked to have gotten my hands on one of those flyers, anyway," Snootch griped. "Nothing, not even in the dumpsters. Did they hire that guy from 'Monk' to oversee the cleanup?"

I looked down the street. "You might get a chance," I said, alarmed. There was a scruffy-looking kid in a plaid shirt and rip-kneed jeans with a handful of flyers. He was apparently in the middle of posting them on every power pole on the street. We could catch up to him easily, though, he wasn't going anywhere. Primarily because a very angry Janine had hold of him by his shirt collar and was shaking him like a maraca. "Oh boy," Snootch said. "Looks like he ticked her off. We'd better deal with this before she gets herself arrested-"

Janine doesn't handle stress well. She's kind of a jock, and has an aggressive streak a mile wide... but the rest of her family is kind of on the oatsy-folksy sensitive poet side. Their routine for dealing with things that worry or upset them is the patient, mild mannered sensitive routine. You know, the kind of people you want to punch, really really hard. And then force feed a cheeseburger. If noone's told you, the worst thing you can do to an "A" type personality is try to mellow them to death. It just makes them angrier. All her parent's therapeutic talks and soothing new wave music and instructions for her to "meditate on things, dear" had done was forge her already bad temper into an unbreakable, unbendable girder of adamantium. At the ripe old age of seventeen, Janine's default response to things that worried or upset her was to intimidate the hell out of it. Then if that failed, punch the hell out of it. I had seen BIKERS back down from this girl before she was old enough to wear a bra.

We came running up as Janine was warming up to rattle the kid's teeth loose. "Whoa whoa whoa, let him go, Janine!" She did; he went staggering back into a trashcan. "Holy- are you CRAZY?" he yelled. Janine stepped back, not taking her eyes off him. "Little bootlick here decided to give me some attitude," she said to us. "He's got more of those flyers and I tried to ask him some questions, he decided it'd be smart to shoot his potty mouth off at me!"

The kid stood up. "I told you, you crazy b***-" Janine lunged, but Snootch blocked-" I don't know anything about the band, or the guy who gives out the leaflets or any of that sh** . Guy in a van just gave me fifty and promised me fifty more if I got these all posted in an hour." He straightened his shirt.

"He did?" Snootch said. "Where'd he say to meet him for the rest of the cash?"

While they were talking I picked up one of the flyers. Just a reprint of the front page of that website, essentially. They looked old-style, mimeographed. The ink was even a little damp. There was something odd about it, it didn't look quite right. I raised it to my nose and sniffed-

The next instant I had the kid by his shirt, pinned against a light pole, his toes dangling a foot off the ground. "Where did you get these?" I shouted.

"Holy sh**! Dude, I just told you-"

"The guy in the van, where was he? Where did he give you these?"

"The parking lot at the Food Lion! Jeez, lemme go! I don't know nuthin' else, I swear!"

"Yes you do. What color was the van? Where'd he say to meet you for that other fifty bucks?"

"A-a blue one, kinda beat up. He didn't say, He said he'd find me. Please dude, lemme go!"

I let him drop to the ground, but I held onto his shirt. "Listen kid," I said, eye to eye with him. "Forget the rest of these flyers. Forget that fifty bucks if you know what's good for you. Just get the hell out of here and if you see the guy in the van, if you want to stay ALIVE run the other way. You got that?" His eyes went round. He nodded. I let him go. He crabbed away from me before turning and running like... well like I was after him. I waited until he was out of sight, then leaned my head against the light pole, trying to fight off my dizziness and nausea- and my hunger.

"Holy craptards, Marko, what was all that?" Snootch demanded.

"Janine, get up all those flyers. Tear down all the ones you can find. Me and Snootch are going to the Food Lion, I dunno, maybe they left a clue or something there. We gotta find that van. We gotta stop that concert."

"What is it?" Janine said. She sounded more subdued than I'd heard her ever sound- not counting the day she found out my secret.

"The flyers," I said. "Whoever these guys are they are hardcore for serious. That's not just ink on those flyers. I can smell it."

Janine's face went blank. "... what do you smell?"

"It's ink mixed with human blood."

The Food Lion parking lot was empty. Snootch and I looked around for a little bit, but there was nothing. Not even tire tracks in the puddles. Janine had gone off in the opposite direction, pulling down flyers- but apparently either the city's post-no-bills cleanup crew had been at work, or the avid fans, because she only found a handful. Once again, the Strigoi boys had slipped through our fingers. Snootch and I bagged a couple of sodas from the Food Lion's vending machines and parked our butts on the curb, drinking our syrup water and brooding.

Snootch was acting sober. On Snootch, it was scary. He told me he was planning on buttoning up his house till next week, and making sure nobody in his family set foot outside the door. How he was going to manage that, I don't know. He said he had plans; he didn't specify. I knew a couple of his older brothers had kept guns at his house, and that maybe they weren't precisely legal. That always worried me before. Didn't know the details, didn't want to. But now I realized I cared FAR less about whether they had the proper papers and was in fact seriously hoping they'd left a few behind.

Amazing how your attitude gets adjusted when the boogeyman might be climbing through YOUR window.

See, this is the scary part of the story. It just doesn't sound like it. Oh, you get all that "argh boogabooga" stuff later, too. But people who just READ monster stories don't know what it's like to LIVE one. They read some story about some fictional kid who discovers a plot by a bunch of witches (yes, I read Roald Dahl), or some teenage punk taking on a pack of werewolves or fighting zombies in the sewers or something like that and they get to the part where the kid learns the monsters are real, and they think "oh that's so cool, I wish something like that would happen to me, I'd be such a bad dude!"

Uh, no you wouldn't. Take it from me. Remember when you were six years old and you stayed up and watched some horror movie you shouldn't have, and you were dead set convinced that the monsters had made a lateral move from the TV set to your closet? Did you feel like a particularly bad dude then? No? Well that's how it feels in real life. All three of us were trying to play it cool, and keep it together, but underneath all that guff we wanted our milk and our cookies and our teddy bear and our Mommy to come in and tell us that the monsters coming to get us weren't real. I was a teenage Creature of the Night, and even I was wanting to go home and hide my head under the covers till it was all over.

It made for some unsettling rabbit-trail thoughts, too. I couldn't help wondering if this was how my friends felt when they first learned about me...

I headed back home to report to Aunt Nan and Unc. This was not going to make their day.

I got a ring on my cellphone; it was Janine. She'd taken the flyers to the cops and told them what we thought was in the ink (what I KNEW was in the ink), and rode rail on them until someone took her seriously and took the flyers for testing.
"Do they know yet?" I asked.
"They would, but there's some sort of thing with the guy who does the testing stuff or whatever, he's gone and won't be back till tomorrow," she said. "I made them SWEAR to me that they would run the tests the instant the guy got in the front door tomorrow." I heard a 'puff' noise as Janine blew her hair out of her face. She always did that when she was frustrated.
"Cute," I grouched. "Someone comes in with something possibly dipped in blood and they can't break protocol to give it a check."
"Well at least they got it," Janine said. "I blew some gas about how the guy handing em out was bragging about how the ink was made, goths evil satan worship eek eek eek, blah blah blah. Got 'em worked up enough that they'll run the tests just so they can sleep at night.
"Keep your fingers crossed, anyway. If we're really really lucky, this might be 'problem solved.'"


"Are you kidding? If they run those tests and there's really blood- human blood- in the ink on those flyers, they'll be all over that goth club like white on rice," she said. "They'll cancel their little appearance and have to take their road show somewhere else. With any luck, someplace far, far away."

I felt guilty at that. If Janine was right and the cops DID freak, when the vampire band ran we'd just be shoveling the danger over onto another city or town. Ideally, we'd find some way to put the kibosh on them permanently, not just chase them off somewhere else.

Ideally, of course, the three of us- three teenagers too young to vote- wouldn't be trying to outwit a pack of vampires on our own in the first place...

"Look, it's out of our hands anyway, Marko. We alerted the authorities, we handed the evidence over to them, they'll handle it. If they are Strigoi, and not just a bunch of posers with bad taste and bad luck, then they won't be stupid enough to do anything to expose themselves. They'll leave quietly. And if they are a bunch of posers, we're getting gassed up over nothing in the first place. Either way this goes in the 'win' column."
"yeah," I muttered.

"Anyway, we've already done what we can. The big question right now is what you're going to do about your date with Aconite."

"...My what?"

It was Friday. It had quite possibly been the longest Friday of my life... an excruciating day at our High school listening to gossip, in an endless complex of streams and tributaries flowing through the halls, eddying around classrooms and lockers and cafeteria tables, with the flotsam of my alleged love life washing up again and again. MY illusions of anonymity in the schoolyard jungle were pretty much shattered. Since I was a kid, various dimwads had been passing around rumors about 'the kid from Transylvania' and various exotic reasons why I was such a recluse. Now it was apparently it was all over school that I was "snagged" by the pudgy faced little goth chick from home room. By the time the gossip got to me, she and I were going on a date, dating regularly, going steady, engaged, in an arranged marriage, it was a shotgun wedding, she was expecting our first kid, she'd paid me to take her out, she'd blackmailed me, I'd blackmailed her... the locker room jokes were an especial joy.

Why were aconite and I such hot gossip? Why ANYBODY cared about this, I can't begin to guess. Explain Justin Bieber to me, or "Croc" shoes. Same answer. Probably something along the lines of "stupid people bore easy."

The house wasn't its usual comforting sight when I got home. The lights were on throughout the house, but the windows were all closed and shuttered. Aunt and Unc knew what was up; I'd kept them posted from the moment I found out about Strigoi. Our house had been subtly vampire and werewolf proofed since I was a baby; Ornate ironwork over the glass, Steel doors, front, back and root cellar, rose bushes with wicked long thorns planted all about, guns in the house loaded with silver shot and bullets. They had spent the past few days pulling out more of the tricks from the old country. It was no accident that there were seeds scattered on the windowsills, crucifixes on display behind the ironwork over the windows and statues of saints and angels decorating the flower beds. We were not Catholic (we attended at an independant Bible Church, if you must know) but we knew from the journals that religious symbols could often tie a vampire in knots. OCD again... between the pop-culture legends about vampires and crucifixes and the medieval teachings about vampires being damned souls, it'd be more surprising if something as OCD prone as a vampire DIDN'T have overwhelming compulsions about holy symbols. Where does the myth end and fact begin? Did the fixation cause the legends about vampire weaknesses, or did the legends cause the fixation? Chickens and eggs, chickens and eggs.

I probably could have told them not to bother. Vampires aren't like stray coyotes that can be kept out with a fence. They're people, with brains and tools and flunkies to do their dirty work. If a vampire wanted to get us in our house, he wouldn't muck around trying to climb or crawl past the holy symbols and other deterrents. He'd just stand off at a distance and throw a molotov cocktail.

Then again, it was better than nothing, and it might even help, seeing as my own issues had me standing there counting and recounting all the little plaster figurines in the azaleas. Yep, I was having a full on attack again. Stress will do that... and I'd only thought I'd been stressed before. After a week of listening to idiot school gossip, dealing with crap at work, and twiddling my thumbs waiting for the vamps to make their move, it had taken me five minutes just to cross the "threshold" of our front gate.

Stupid OCD.

Apparently Aconite had grossly misunderstood something in our phone conversation earlier that week. What in the seven chinese hells had I said? Something I had said had gotten filtered through all the black lace wrapped around her brain and reinterpreted as me asking her out. Word was now going round among the girls at school that I had asked her out on a date. To see Strigoi, of all things.

Okay, careful thought reduced the crisis to a very short list of things I somehow had to do.

1)I had to straighten her out about this date nonsense.
2)I had to convince her to not go to this concert, with OR without me.
3)I had to do both of these things without letting her know why.

Perfect. Just perfect.

"Marko, sweetheart, don't stand there at the gate, come on in." Aunt Nan was standing on the porch, the front door open behind her. She'd come outside while I was standing there woolgathering and counting religious lawn gnomes. I muttered an apology and started up the steps. "Oh, that... unusual young lady is here," she said. "She was looking for you, so we invited her in..."

"Aconite's here?"

"Yes," Aunt Nan said. She suddenly patted my cheek. "Please don't take this wrong. Your uncle and I are so happy you're finally testing the waters," she beamed. "But really, we don't think-"

I stopped. "Wait, testing the waters?"

"Dating, Marko," Aunt Nan said. "She told us you were taking her out Saturday. It's all she's been talking about." she chuckled a little. " She said something about wanting to speak with you about dressing for the club- Marko, what is it?"

"Where is she?" I seethed.

"In the living room," She said. "But Marko...I'm trying to say- your uncle and I cannot really approve. Why are you taking her out on such a night-"

"We're not going out!" Aunt Nan drew back a little, startled at the vehemence in my voice. "Sorry, Matusa... I need to have a word with her." I brushed past her and into the house. I was getting seriously mad. She'd gone and told who knows how many people that she and I were dating. Now she was here telling my Aunt and Unc the same thing. What'd she think, that if she told enough people that I'd be forced to go along with it? I was going to give her a piece of my mind-

She wasn't in the living room. There was a half-eaten plate of miniature savarines and a couple of glasses of milk sitting on the coffee table. (Aunt Nan, ever the model hostess.) An armload of books and folders lay on the couch, untended. Either Aconite had gone to the can, or her curiosity had gotten the better of her and she had wandered off to snoop around. I suppose I could hardly expect a Goth fangirl to resist nosing about through our old-world bric-a-brac. I trooped further into the house, down the most likely hallway.
At the end of the hall stood the door to my room. It was standing ajar.

My heart froze in my chest. Even as I rushed for the door I ran down a frantic mental checklist, trying to remember what I might have left out. A gnawed bone. Empty blood vials in the trash. "animal" hair. Dirty underwear with skidmarks on it (hey, I wasn't exactly thinking in a linear fashion.) I tromped down the stairs. There she was, standing in the middle of my room, Leafing through the stuff on my desk. I did a quick sweep of the room with my eyes; thank God, nothing incriminating in view.

She jumped and whirled around to face me; a stack of stuff on my desk tipped over and fell to the floor. I instantly felt my relief turn back to irritation. "What are you doing in here?" I demanded.

She stared at me for a second throught wide mascara-ringed eyes like some enormous raccoon, a couple of books clutched nervously in her hands. "I... the door was open. I'm sorry-"

I waved my hand to stop her and skipped ahead. "What's this you've been telling everyone about us dating, now?" I asked.

She looked confused. "Th-the club tomorrow," she said, "I asked you if you wanted to go and you said yes!"

"I thought you were talking about the project!" I yelled, clutching my hair. "You were blabbering about how they call themselves 'Strigoi' and how they do this whole 'Descendants of Dracula' thing and- " I put my hands by my sides and tried to keep control of myself. "We're not going."

"But... why not?"

"Aconite, listen to me. LISTEN to me." I stepped closer and gripped her shoulders. I looked her in the eyes. I put every ounce of sincerity into my voice I could. "You do not want to go to this show. Snootch and I, we learned some stuff about these guys, I can't explain it to you but they are seriously bad news. This isn't some game, they are dangerous. They're up to something. You do NOT want to be there-"

She threw my hands off her shoulders. Her face screwed up in contempt. "Oh geez, now you're sounding like my DAD! What are you, one of those wilty little old church ladies now-"

I blew my stack. "THIS ISN'T SOME JOKE!" I roared. I felt prickles dance down my spine under my shirt. "THESE GUYS ARE PLAYING FOR KEEPS!" I slammed my fist down on the desk next to me so hard the wood cracked. "They are DANGEROUS! The 'dragged into the van and never seen again' kind of dangerous!
"I'm trying to keep you safe, and you're giving me this too cool bad rebel teen 'HOT TOPIC' GARBAGE?" She edged back; I stepped forward, still yelling. "BULLPUCKY! GET IT STRAIGHT; you're NOT some cool mysterious Mistress of the Night, You're a STUPID, PUDGY LITTLE GIRL dressed up like a DEAD CLOWN, trying to freak out your neighbors and cheese off your parents by doing every retarded thing you can think of, AND I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOU, YOUR GRAVEYARD FETISH OR YOUR UNRESOLVED DADDY ISSUES!"

I can still see it; the very moment she broke. By the end of my tirade she was standing there, hunched down away from my yelling face, her mouth an "O" of shock. She didn't move for a minute, didn't even breathe. I expected her to lash out at me, to to hit me with a string of curses and profanities like she did the teachers and principal at school. Then the waterworks started. I saw something behind her eyes just shatter in a million pieces. She ran past me without a sound, mascara already streaming down her cheeks, and bolted up the stairs. I heard my door slam, and she was gone.

"ARRRGH!" I spent a minute just snarling at the ceiling. I finally punched the wall to vent the rest of my frustration and went after her. By the time I got up the stairs and unlocked my bedroom door (it auto-locked when closed; one of my little 'precautions') she was gone. Aunt Nan and Unc were right at the door, wanting to know what had happened. "We heard the shouting," Unc said worriedly. "is everything all right with you two?.."
"Don't be foolish, Robert,"Aunt Nan said, "something is obviously wrong..."

I started to explain, but decided against it. "I gotta go catch her," I said. "Did you see which way she went?"

Unc shook his balding head. "The girl, she grabbed her books and ran out the door," he said. "By the time I got to the porch she was gone." I groaned and ran out to the porch. I don't know what I expected to see, other than empty streets in every direction. I came back inside and went for my cellphone. I didn't bother trying to call Aconite's cell. I doubted she'd answer if she saw it was me calling. I dialed up Janine. She picked up immediately, thank God. "Hey, sup?" she said.

I sighed. "Janine, I kinda screwed up. No, I really screwed up, and I need some help." I trotted back to my room.

"Oh, whadjadoo?"

"I... Aconite came over to my place today while I was out," I said. "I caught her... well forget that part. I blew up at her. About everything." I kept talking as I headed down the stairs again. "She ran off, I don't know where she is. I need you to call her, she won't answer if I do, just make sure she's okay... and if you see her- well yeah, same thing."

"Okay, I'll get on the horn and see if Snootch has seen her. What were you yelling about anyway?"

"I was trying to warn her off of the Strigoi... but then..." I told her everything.

I could almost hear the facepalm. Janine groaned. "You fleabitten retard. She's been making goo-goo eyes at you since before she joined the project. Now she asks her out, you say yes- shuddup, whether you meant to say it or not or even THOUGHT you were saying it, you did, so YOUR FAULT- then you call her fat, stupid, a little girl, and a bad dresser, and lectured her like her big fat Guido of a dad..."

"You've met her dad?"

"Yeah, complete bozo. What time he doesn't spend sitting on his butt drinking beer, he spends yelling at her and her sister and brother to 'RESPECT HIS AUTHOWITAH.' Bet that's done wonders for her respect for society. And you basically had to get in her face in a scream-fest like he does..."

I went about cleaning up the spilled papers and books while Janine chewed my ear off. After my mad-on and ragefit, I felt like I needed the self-flagellation. I stacked up the files and books again-

The books- I had left the journals from the old country out on the desk-

"Oh crap," I muttered.

"And you... what?" Janine halted in mid tongue-lashing.

I tucked the phone between my ear and shoulder and shuffled through the books in front of me. Not time to panic, not time to panic... "The books, the journals... I had them out on my desk last night looking through them... one of them's missing. Aconite must have picked it up by mistake-"

"What? Oh crap, which one?"

"The one.. the one with the leather cover," I said. "The one with the symbol of the Strigoi on it."

INTERVIEWER: And after that you went home.

ACONITE: Yeah. (pause) well, no.

INTERVIEWER: Which was it?

ACONITE: Well, I headed home- I was crying and I was a mess and I just wanted to curl up in my bed, y'know... I was on the bus and about halfway home when I realized I had one of Marko's books with me.

INTERVIEWER: The... leatherbound journal, correct?

ACONITE: Yeah. And I saw the logo on the cover, and... it all clicked. Y'know? I mean I know that sounds like a dumb cliche' but... bang, everything snapped together. All at once. And it all fit. (pause) I mean- ookay, looking back NOw I know that I was stringing a lot of stuff together, but at the time it was like, like a message from God. Burning bush, pillar of light, blow your socks off kind of thing.

INTERVIEWER: You say you 'fit things together.' What sort of things?

ACONITE: Like the symbol on the book. I leafed through it a little, some of it was in English but most of it was in, I don't know, Russian or something. But there were pictures... hand drawings of vampires, and werewolves, and people getting bit, and I dunno what all else, anatomy drawings some of 'em looked like. And it was pretty obvious it was a book about vampires.

And then I remembered where I'd seen the symbol on the cover before. On the flyer for Strigoi. And this book was, well, ancient... and what was it doing in Marko's family's house? And then I remembered other stuff. Like how freaked Marko was about the band, him yelling about how dangerous they were... and how Marko and his aunt and uncle were from Transylvania- I mean THE Transylvania! And I remembered how weird his house was with all the holy symbols... that freaky basement room- and STEEL DOORS? And I bet they didn't think I saw it, but I saw sharpened stakes tucked behind the doors in a couple of rooms...

I got off the bus and just wandered over to the park, just sat there a while, thinking. I didn't go home that night. I was just too freaked... I crashed at a friend's place, a couple of girls who were out doing an all-night club crawl to start the weekend.

INTERVIEWER: Why didn't you go home? Or contact someone with what you suspected? Or even go back to Marko or his friends?

ACONITE: I... wasn't too thrilled with Marko right then. He'd dumped me and- and all this time he'd been holding out on me. Screw him. I wasn't going anywhere except to that show Saturday night.

Stupid little girl? Hah. I'd figured out his big secret. He was a vampire. A real, honest to heck vampire. And if he wasn't going to show me how to become a vampire too, I'd find out for myself.