To say I wasn’t having a good morning would be a gross understatement. My mind was still foggy as I tried to piece together the events of last night. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with my face on the ground and my butt in the air. I had a headache and a sore cheek from where I face-planted, but that was nothing compared to the massive pain in my neck. There were two small puncture wounds on my left side. Oh, shit. Vampire. That wasn’t just a nightmare. I shuddered as I had flashbacks of the attack. The only saving grace was that the kids had been left unscathed.
I didn’t want to scare the twins. So, I pretended it was just a normal Thursday morning as I had breakfast with Kylie. Luckily, she kept me distracted with her usual chatter.
While Cole was busy working on his school project, I called the school.
“I know this may sound hard to believe, but I was attacked by a vampire in the middle of the night. He nearly sucked me dry, and I feel completely drained. I’m gonna need to take a sick day.”
“Very funny, young lady.” The school secretary snorted. “Like we haven’t heard that story before. I’d suggest you get yourself to school today.”
“You’ve heard that story before because it’s true! There’s a vampire in Oasis Springs — I’m telling you! I even have the puncture wounds in my neck to prove it.”
“Puncture wounds — that’s a good one. We’ll see you in school, missy.”
“I give up. Put me down for a vacation day, then. I feel too awful to come in today.”
“Fine, but that’s your last one. We’d better see you in school tomorrow.”
“Fine.” Great. They believed me when I wasn’t actually sick, but not today when I’m telling the truth.
Cole was almost done with his project, so I helped him with the final touches. I knew he’d be excited to show it to his teacher.
“Yay! We finished it!” Cole exclaimed. “It looks so cool.”
“Good job, buddy! Just remember to take it with you when you leave for school.”
The twins had been up early enough to each have a bath before school — first Cole, then Kylie. Once they left, the bathroom was finally mine, and I was ready for a good, long soak in the tub. After last night, I could really use a little pampering.
After my bath, I washed our breakfast dishes and then headed out on my last free weekday before I had to start school.
Before I did anything else today, I needed to get some basic info on vampires. There was no library in Oasis Springs, but I had been to the library in Willow Creek many times before. So, that was my first stop. A brief wave of nostalgia hit me as I stood on the sidewalk of my former hometown. Focus, Emma.
Instead of the vast repository of information on vampires that I was expecting, the library only had basic info available for free. The more in-depth research was only available in the books they sold. Is this a library or a bookstore? Sheesh.
Anyway, I did learn a couple of key facts:
- Sunlight is very bad for vampires — potentially deadly, even.
- Vampires hate garlic.
OK — so I’m safe outside during sunny days, and I need to start growing garlic, stat! I browsed the web and found a site where I purchased a packet of garlic seeds. They cost me $100 of the $106 I had on hand but would be worth every penny for my peace of mind. The shop was based in Oasis Springs, and they promised same-day delivery for town residents. Perfect.
I needed to get my mind off vampires for a while. The library’s computers had a few games loaded on them. I played Blicblock, which helped improve my mood. When my stomach started growling, though, I knew it was past lunchtime.
There was a scenic park behind the library, with a large body of water, some grills and picnic tables and even a skating rink. I was tired of hot dogs and decided to grill some fruit for lunch.
I had a gorgeous view as I ate my meal. The natural sweetness of the fruit was enhanced by the smoky char from the grill. Yum. I bet the twins would love this.
A teenage boy with long hair and big, round glasses ambled over to me and struck up a conversation.
“Hey, check out this cool cat video I just found.”
“Um, sure. Let’s see it.” I usually thought cat videos were adorable, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
The guy made himself at home, sitting at the picnic table with my food. It’s a public park and all, but I didn’t exactly invite him to join me.
I sat back down and finished my lunch as he prattled on. I was in a funk — no two ways about it. He was friendly and I was in no mood for it. That damn vampire bite left me uncomfortable and irritable. As I started packing up my leftovers, I think he got the hint because he eventually left.
I let the kids know where I was so they could meet me here right after school. I’d scoped out the library earlier and knew they had a kids’ room. Between that, the chess set and multiple PCs, I figured the kids would be set.
Cole went straight for the activity table. Naturally creative, he was excited to make some spring crafts from the supplies available.
There was a free seat at the chess table, so Kylie asked Bjorn to teach her how to play. That kept her busy for a little while.
Meanwhile, I spent my time gathering anything I knew I could sell. I found a couple of frogs, a fossil and a crystal.
Then I grabbed my fishing pole and headed toward the crystal clear, blue waters.
Sadly, for a while, even catching colorful fish like this discus couldn’t pull me out of my funk.
When Cole finished at the activity table, he called his sister over so she could use it. Once she’d gotten started, Cole worked on his homework, in between chatting, of course.
“Cole, if you don’t stop talking, I’m gonna mess this up.” Kylie said as she carefully poured glitter on the cards she was making.
Cole just shook his head, chuckling to himself.
“All done! Three pretty, holiday flower cards. That was fun,” Kylie exclaimed. She was admiring her creations when she got a text from Victor, asking if she wanted to go over to his house and hang out. She replied, “No tx. At the library.”
Before we headed home, I checked my day’s collections and Googled their value. Since there were no high-value items this time, my total was only $165. That didn’t exactly help cheer me up.
Kylie was hungry, so as soon as we got home, she ate a leftover hot dog. Cole was excited to see his volcano spout lava again and started another chemical reaction. I had to admit, it was pretty cool to watch.
When it was over, I hugged Cole and praised him again for a job well done. “Now pack it up so you don’t forget to bring it to school again tomorrow.”
“Yup,” Cole said with a chuckle. “I’ll do it right now, Emma.”
I checked our mailbox and for the first time, there was something in it. My dour mood had finally lifted, and I was excited to open the packet of garlic seeds and plant them, pronto. When I opened it and found only two tiny seeds, I shook my head in disbelief. “What the hell? $100 for two garlic seeds? This stuff better work for that price,” I grumbled to myself.
While I was watering my new garlic plants, my phone chimed with a new text. It was Paolo inviting me to check out ‘something crazy happening at the bluffs.’ It sounded like another rave, but there was no way I was leaving my siblings alone, especially after last night. I texted back, “No can do. Have fun!”
Kylie was working on her homework while Cole ate dinner. I helped her solve a couple of problems so she could finish up. It would be dark soon.
When she finished her homework, Kylie came over to give me a hug and say thanks for the help. She was good like that.
Cole wasn’t a bad kid, either. He seemed fine earlier, but I noticed he looked ticked off after dinner. He did his dishes and then went to sleep in the tent. Boys. I just don’t get them sometimes.
A few minutes later, Kylie went to sleep, too. I ate some leftover grilled fruit for dinner, packed the kids’ lunches and called it a day.
And now for a look at skill levels on Day 5:
Emma had slight increases in cooking, fishing and video gaming skills. By helping Kylie with her solar system project, she gained a bit of rocket science skill. Emma also picked up a full level of vampire lore from her research.
Kylie gained half a level in creativity skill and added small gains to her mental and social skills from her time at the library.
Cole finally had a chance to flex his creative muscles at the library’s activity table. Aside from that, he only posted a slight gain in mental skill.