Pulling Up Stakes

Pulling Up Stakes
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  • “And very convenient here, wouldn’t you say? Dark for days on end. No sunlight to ruin things? No chance of turning into a smoldering pile of ashes. Eh, Vlad” When I smiled, I noticed that they both stared at my teeth. I will have to remember to brush more vigorously in the future. After the waiter brought it to our table, Jonas held up a shaker and said, “Garlic powder?”I nodded. Jonas shook a lot of garlic on the pizza. So much it had even gotten on me “Too much?” he asked. I brushed myself off. “It is perfect,” I said, even though it was a bit to much for my liking.
  • Uncle Ian gave me two presents before I left for America. One was A Guide to American slang.“This will help you fit right in,” he said. He opened the book and pointed to a phrase he’d underlined. The other present he gave me was a warm coat. “Does the weather get cold in Arkansas?” I asked. I’d studied America and learned it had a north and a south. In the south, the land was warm.“The weather can get cold anywhere,” he said.
  • Then I checked my watch. This should have been the middle of the morning. But perhaps I didn’t quite understand the time zones.“America is very dark,” my mother said as we sat in our new apartment and watched the bright stars through the window. “And very cold,” my father said. The next day, when I went to my new school, it was still dark.
  • The next day, when I went to my new school, it was still dark The nice woman in the school office smiled at me. “Welcome to Alaska, Adrian.” “Is Alaska in Arkansas?” I asked her. She shook her head. “Alaska is a state.” She showed me a map on the wall behind her, then tapped a spot. “Here we are.”. The students looked up when I walked in. But two boys in the back kept talking to each other.
  • I caught my breath. This girl, sitting across from the two boys. Her face was beautiful, even though she wore makeup that made her eyes scary. She had a black shirt with the word Lestat on it. She glanced up when I walked in, but then turned back to the book she was reading.
  • When I was leaving school, the twos boys came up to me “Would you like to go for pizza with us?” I didn’t know this word. “Pizza?” He nodded. “It’s food. You do eat food, don’t you?”“Of course.” This was an odd question, I probably misunderstood. I realized my English was still not very good. And maybe find a new book because I had not heard any of the slang yet. “Pizza is great,” the other boy said. “It has red, red sauce. As red as blood. Hot, salty blood with little chunks that are just like clots. Doesn’t that sound irresistible?” Now I was sure I didn’t understand him. This sounded awful. But was eager to make friends.
  • “The sun is the real proof,” Jonas said. “Yeah. Everything else could be wrong. Crosses, garlic, mirrors. That could all just be myths. Even the fangs. Writers are always inventing stuff. But the sun—that’s the real test. If he’s a vampire, he’ll never be able to withstand the sun.”Vampire? I gasped, then held my breath, afraid they’d hear me. In my country, we tell vampire stories to children to scare them. I never knew Americans believed such things. Now I understood why Mack thought I’d be afraid of a stake. “It would be awesome,” Jonas said. “Vampires are so cool. And he’s our friend, which makes us the coolest guys in the school “I want him to be real,” Mack said, “but I don’t want him to get fried.”
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