“…and that is why I personally believe that human plasma should only be consumed from willing donors. Thank you for your time.”
Caleb Vatore leaned forward and switched off the camera. He didn’t have many views on his channel yet, but surely that would change when this inspirational piece went live. He just needed to edit it first. And do some transitions. Those couldn’t be too hard. He checked his page.
Still only five followers. One of which was his own sister. Another, 00riginalVlad, seemed only interested in downvoting and leaving nasty comments on anything Caleb published. His latest comment read, “Alluring Visage is the lamest vampire power evar!”
Caleb sighed and glanced out the window. Like clockwork, Straud was out there on the sidewalk, slinking back to his mansion just before dawn. “You know what that guy needs?” Caleb said.
Lilith did not glance up from her phone. “Two fresh garlic cloves up his nostrils?” she suggested.
“Nah. He needs someone in his life to care about. He needs…a family!”
Now Caleb had Lilith’s full attention. Her brother had come up with some dumb ideas before, but this one took the cake. Metaphorically. Lilith didn’t eat cake. “Caleb, I can promise you, the last thing anyone in the universe needs is for Straud to have a family.”
Unfortunately, Caleb did not seem to hear her. Worse yet, he’d already taken a seat at the family computer and was typing away like a madman.
Lilith cautiously approached him from behind. “Caleb? Brother, what are you doing?”
“Filling out an adoption form,” Caleb said like it was the most natural thing in the world. “It’s really easy to adopt a kid these days, you know? I’ll just put in Straud’s name and address instead of ours, and there you go.”
“Caleb, seriously. You really shouldn’t–”
“I know, I know. You’re right. It’s a big mansion. And there’s no other kids in the neighborhood. Anyone Straud adopted would feel really lonely here.”
“Erm…that’s not exactly my biggest concern, but–”
Caleb went back to typing. “I’ll fill out two forms so the adoption agency will set him up with two kids! You’re brilliant, Lilith!” Lilith groaned and massaged her forehead. As usual, nothing she did to dissuade Caleb helped.
And that evening, one curious, unsuspecting boy and one nefarious, unsuspecting girl were dropped off that right in front of the gates of the dark, creepy, and not-at-all-child-friendly Straud mansion.
“Is this the place?” the girl, whose name was Belle, asked.
Her new adoptive brother Jack shrugged his shoulders. “That’s what they said. Let’s have a look inside.” The two cautiously pushed open the door and stepped into the entrance hall. Belle giggled maniacally to herself as she did so, a sound Jack did not like in the least.
Of course, Straud did notice the two strange children entering his abode. But why should that concern him? He gave them a quick hello, told them Spooky Day was still a few months away, and regardless, this was probably the wrong neighborhood to look for candy in. They, in turn, looked very confused as he pointed them to the door and then descended into basement. Belle and Jack followed. From the top of the stairs, they watched wide-eyed as Straud climbed into a fancy coffin, surrounded by flickering candles, and went to sleep. Creepy purple smoke oozed from the coffin’s cracks.
Somehow, they both suspected he wasn’t waking up anytime soon.
It was Jack who finally broke the uncomfortable silence between them. He kind of had to. His leg was getting cramped from all the crouching and hiding. “Did…the adoption agency just set us up with a vampire for a dad?”
“Y-yeah, I’d say that’s what it looks like,” Belle replied. She headed back up the stairs, each footstep echoing in the wide, empty space. “Come on. Let’s find this old guy’s phone.”
Jack sighed with relief. So far, he didn’t feel so great about having Belle for a sister, but he could appreciate her take-charge attitude. “Of course. You’re calling the adoption agency and telling them there’s been a mistake?”
“Of course not. I’m hiring a butler. Oh, and a moving company. Someone needs to help us re-arrange the furniture here.”
Jack wished he could take back his relieved sigh. Then again, a butler did sound nice. And deciding where to put all the furniture? All by themselves? Sure, the old place was spooky as all get out, but…put a big screen TV in the living room, and that could fix a lot. Maybe he would give this a try. At least for now. What could go wrong?