Home > Kissing Coffins (Vampire Kisses #2)(6)

Kissing Coffins (Vampire Kisses #2)(6)
Author: Ellen Schreiber

We'd park in front of an abandoned castle and climb the creaky spiral stairs that led to the desolate tower. The ancient castle walls would be lined with black lace and the rustic wooden floors sprinkled with rose petals. A million candles would flicker around the room, the skinny medieval windows barely letting in moonlight. "I couldn't be without you anymore," Alexander would say. He would lean into me and take my neck into his mouth. I'd feel a slight pressure on my flesh. I'd become dizzy, but feel more alive than I'd ever felt before--my head would slump back, my body become limp in his arms. My heart would pulse in overtime as if beating for both of us. Out of the corner of my eye, I would be able to see Alexander lift his head proudly.

He'd gently let me down. I'd feel lightheaded and stumble to my feet, holding my red-stained neck as the blood trickled down my forearm.

I'd be able to feel two pointy fangs with the tip of my tongue.

He would open a tower window to reveal the sleeping town. I'd be able to see things I'd never seen before, like smiling ghosts floating above the houses.

Alexander would take my hand, and we would fly off into the night, above the sparkling lights of the town and beneath the twinkling stars, like two gothic angels.

The sound of clanging bells interrupted. Not the tinkling of bells signaling my arrival into the Underworld, but rather a railroad crossing warning of an incoming train, signaling the end of my overactive imagination. The bus was stopped in front of a railroad track. A toddler in the seat across the aisle from me waved excitedly as the black engine approached.

"Chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo!" he exclaimed. "I want to be a conductor," he proclaimed to his mother.

I, too, stared as the conductor waved his blue hat while the train began to pass us. Instead of new boxcars whizzing by us, a string of dilapidated, graffiti-laden freight cars lagged in front of us. Like the toddler across from me, who was likely dreaming of the glamorous life of a conductor--too naive to realize the demands of the job, isolation, long hours, and little pay--I, too, wondered if my dream of becoming a vampire was more romantic than its reality. I was stepping into a world of the unknown, knowing only one thing: I had to find Alexander.

The official welcome sign to Aunt Libby's town should read, "Welcome to Hipsterville--Inhabitants must check all golf pants at the city limits." The small town was an eclectic mix of hip coffee shops, upscale secondhand stores, and indie cinemas where all forms of cool people presided-- granola heads, artists, goths, and chic freaks. Every kind was acceptable here. I could see why Alexander and Jameson might have escaped to this particular town. It was in close proximity to Dullsville and they could easily blend in with the smorgasbord of other motley inhabitants.

I could only imagine what my life would have been like if I had grown up in a town where I was more accepted than ostracized. I could have been on the A-list to Friday night "haunted" house parties, been crowned Halloween Queen, and received straight A's in Historical Tombstones class.

Dad and Aunt Libby had both been hippies in the sixties, but while Dad morphed into a yuppie, Libby stayed true to her inner Deadhead. She had moved to Hipsterville, majored in theater at the university, and now worked as a waitress in a vegan restaurant to support her acting. She was always performing in an avant-garde play or a performance-art piece in some director's garage. When I was eleven my family watched her stand onstage for what seemed like days, dressed as a giant snow pea and speaking in broken sentences about how she sprouted.

When I arrived in Hipsterville, I wasn't shocked to find that Alexander wasn't waiting for me, but I was surprised my aunt wasn't. I hope she isn't this late for her curtain calls, I thought, as I waited at the bus stop in the hot sun beside my suitcase. Finally I spotted her beat-up vintage yellow Beetle sputtering into the lot. "You're so grown up!" she exclaimed, getting out of her car and giving me a huge hug. "But you dress the same. I was counting on that."

Aunt Libby had a youthful face, decorated with sparkling purple eye shadow and pink lipstick. She wore red dangly crystal earrings beneath her auburn hair, a sky blue halter dress spotted with white beads, and beige Nairobi sandals.

Her warmth spilled over me. Even though we differed in our tastes, we immediately bonded like sisters, talking about fashion, music, and movies.

"Kissing Coffins?" she asked when I told her what I recently watched. "That's like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I remember going to the midnight show and dancing in the aisles. 'Let's do the time warp again,' " Aunt Libby sang, as passersby gave us strange looks.

"Uh, Kissing Coffins isn't a musical," I interrupted before my aunt got a citation for disturbing the peace.

"Isn't that a shame. Well, I've got a great place to take you," she raved, and led me around the block to Hot Gothics.

"Wow!" I shouted, pointing to a pair of black patent-leather boots and a torn black mesh sweater. "I've only seen this store on the Internet."

I was in goth heaven, and it was beautiful! Wicked Wiccas T- shirts, Hello Batty comics, and fake body tattoos.

The multipierced fuchsia-haired clerk in black shorts over black leggings, three-inch-heeled Mary Janes, and a gray mechanics shirt that said "Bob" walked over to me. She had the kind of style that in Dullsville could be seen only on satellite TV. And instead of my usual retail experience of either being ignored or seen as a potential thief, she greeted me as if I were a movie star at a Beverly Hills boutique.

"Can I help you? We have tons of stuff on sale." I eagerly followed her around the store until I was exhausted from rack after rack of gothic clothing.

"Feel free to ask, if you need anything else," she said.

I had my arms stuffed with fishnet stockings, knee-high black boots, and an Olivia Outcast purse.

Libby modeled a black T-shirt that read "Vampires Suck."

I felt a pang in my heart and a lump in my throat.

"I'll buy it for you," she insisted, taking it to the cash register.

Normally I would have screamed with delight at a shirt like that. But now it only reminded me that Alexander was gone.

"You don't have to."

"Of course I do. I'm your aunt. We'll take this," she said, handing the clerk the shirt and her credit card.

I held my gothic goodies. Everything reminded me of Alexander.

"I'll just put these back," I said. But then I thought about how sexy I'd look in boots and black fishnets, if I found him again.

"We'll get these, too," my aunt said, seeing through me, and handed the clerk my merchandise.

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