Christina Rodriguez approached classroom 204 cautiously, her wet hair leaving a water stain on the back of her royal blue hoodie. She peered through the slim window on the door, just large enough for a micromanaging administrator or curious bypasser to peer inside.
She surveyed the classroom’s occupants: old white lady, old white guy, younger white guy but still pretty old, a brown guy. In front stood the school’s Vampire Anatomy 101 lecturer, Mr. Kesterson, who doubled as her guidance counselor. He wore a short-sleeved striped polo tucked into khaki pants with maroon penny loafers peeking from under his pant cuffs. His round face wore silver square wire frame glasses perched on a bulbous nose and a gray caterpillar moustache that hid his upper lip. He wasn’t in the best shape, but by no means bad shape.
With his back to Christina, Kesterson moved towards her with unnatural speed. He slowly turned to face her.
“Thank you for gracing us with your presence, Ms. Rodriguez.” Mr. Kesterson spoke, loud enough for the entire class to hear. She slunk into a front-row seat.
“Just in time to learn about the disease that causes vampires to avoid sunlight and seek the life essence of living things: acute hyper-porphyria.”
Acute hyper what? Reading the class’s collective confusion, a droll Mr. Kesterson continued. “All of us are afflicted by it, and the only known treatment is fresh blood every 24 hours. Without which, we die. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, autonomic nerve system shutdown, muscle weakness.”
“Psychiatric symptoms include anxiety, hallucinations, confusion, catatonia, and ---”.
Christina bolted for the door. She’d just grab her cat, Ginsburg, from the infirmary and head home. So engrossed with the thought of reuniting with Ginsburg, Christina didn’t hear Mr. Kesterson’s dire warning, “Your last meal was over 22 hours ago, Christina! Feed, or you’ll die!”
Christina arrived at the infirmary faster than she’d anticipated. It was the only windowless teal door in the building. It was adorned by a fake wreath on a hook always in bloom. The comforting familiarity quickly fled Christina as she fell to the floor in a blinding agony.
Feed me...now. a voice from within called with a deep and unrecognizable timbre.
“Mewww” Ginsburg called from a kennel sitting atop a row of blue plastic chairs across from a firm leather cushioned bed. Christina looked longingly towards Ginsburg. But the more visceral longing gnawed at her senses: feed. Christina felt her insides turn as she clawed her way towards Ginsburg. Feed me now.
Christina undid the latch on the kennel, and pulled the feline towards her face until Ginsburg was against her chapped lips pulled back over sharp canines revealing the Rodriguez signature smile.
Ginsburg licked at Christina’s hand. As Christina breath struggled, Ginsburg’s rough tongue caressed Christina’s fingers, her purrs somehow drowning out that deep and unfamiliar voice from earlier.
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