Fang Girl by Helen Keeble:
September 11th 2012 / HarperTeen
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Extract from FANG GIRL by Helen Keeble
In which Our Heroine, Xanthe Jane Greene (unexpectedly undead vampire fangirl) tries to explain her new nature to her family…
“Mum!” I shouted, pulling away from her. “You’re not listening to me!” Of course, she generally hadn’t when I was alive, so I don’t know why I’d expected things to be different just because I was dead. “I’m cold because I’m a vampire. I’m supposed to be cold!”
I was still leaning against Dad, his arms around me, and now I felt a shiver pass through him. I twisted to look up at his face, into his clear blue eyes. Artist’s eyes, Dad had, that saw what was there, not what the brain thought should be there. He looked down at me now, and wonder crept across his face. “You’re not breathing,” he said. “And I can’t feel your heartbeat.”
I squeezed his hand. “It’s going to be all right, Dad.”
“Hypothermia,” Mum stated. “That’s all it is. It—slows the brain down and makes people say nonsense.”
“Does it give them fangs too?” asked Zack.
“That will be due to—to—” The gears in Mum’s head jarred to a halt. She struggled for a moment, then shook herself and snapped, “James, do as I said! Do you want your sister to drop dead?”
“I’m already dead!” In a blur of super speed, I wriggled out of my dad’s arms and grabbed hold of her shoulders. “Look at me.” I bared my teeth, then lifted her unresisting hand to rest over my still, silent heart. “I’m only breathing in order to talk. I’m a vampire!”
She stared at me.
“Um. Sorry,” I added.
She stood there motionless for a breath more. Then, her hands closing on mine, she said, quite calmly, “James, go and fetch a clean glass. Keith, I’ll need the first aid kit, please.”
I rolled my eyes. “Mum, I don’t need first aid—”
“Not for you, for me.” She dropped my hands and bustled up the stairs, abruptly all business. “Quickly!” she shouted over her shoulder as she disappeared.
We all looked at one another. Dad spread his hands, obviously as lost as I was. A crash drifted down from above, as Mum flung things around the bathroom. Zack shrugged and wandered off toward the kitchen.
“Baby Jane,” Dad said, and my unbeating heart melted at the old nickname. “Is this . . . are you . . .”
I shook my head. “Honestly, Dad, I have no idea. I’m still trying to figure this out.”
“Do you think there could be other—you know?” He made a small gesture in the vague direction of my teeth.
“There must be. I mean, that’s how you become a vamp—” He flinched, and I changed it to “Er, like me, isn’t it? And . . . well, I didn’t get out of my gr—uh, predicament, by myself. Someone came and dug me out. She said she’s my sire.”
He looked confused. “Sire? A woman?”
Of course, Dad didn’t read vampire novels. “Sire is a word for the parent vampire, Dad. She turned me into one. Anyway, she got chased off, and—”
“Right,” Mum interrupted, thumping back down the stairs. She had her laptop balanced in one hand and was clutching a pink lady’s razor and a screwdriver in the other. “In there, now.” She shooed us both through into the kitchen, where Zack was still hunting through cupboards. “James, where’s that glass? Good. Now . . .” She handed the laptop to Dad and started disassembling the razor with the screwdriver.
“Uh,” Dad said, looking down at the screen. “Honey? This is a Wikipedia article on phlebotomy.”
“Exactly.” Mum dropped the freed razor blade onto the table and rolled up her sleeve. “Where’s the first aid kit?”
“Mum, what are you doing?” I asked suspiciously.
“Making dinner,” she replied as though it should be self-evident.
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