This is part of an ongoing chilling series, to read from the beginning, start here.
[4 minute read]
Alex was still at rugby practice when J hurried past his house with his head down. Unlocking his front door, he went straight to his Dad’s study to find out how Lulu was feeling.
“No change unfortunately. She isn’t eating and has slept most of the day, but she has no temperature. I’ve an appointment to take her to the doctor tomorrow.”
J had a sinking feeling this wouldn’t help. He really needed to talk to Alex, to plan how to force Danny to break the hypnotic trance his sister was under. He retired to his room with a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea. With his laptop on, he began trying to find new intel on hypnotism and meditation in the hope of identifying a ‘key’ to free the entranced children.
He face-timed Alex and up-dated his friend with what he had pieced together; with music on in the background he successfully masked their conversation.
“Who’d have thought? … Danny? All the plays I’ve seen him in …” Alex shook his head.
“But that’s probably how he did it! Working with Katie, rehearsing with her, he’d have plenty of opportunities to gaze into her eyes or use a pendulum and hypnotise her” J said.
“What’s with them all saying ‘they let him in’? That really fits with my vampire theories, but Danny looks the same as us. Do you think he is a vampire?”
J shrugged, he’d never given it serious consideration because he hadn’t believed vampires existed, but he tapped at his keyboard, Googling vampires and the legends surrounding them, he excitedly read one entry aloud.“Glamouring! Vampire hypnotism is called glamouring, they use eye contact to make their victims happy and relaxed about having their blood sucked. Perhaps Danny has glamoured them all.”
“Check Lulu’s neck Dude! See if she’s got fang marks on it.”
“Aargh! Don’t say that! I can’t even deal with the thought of that!” J was shocked and disgusted at the idea, but he knew it made sense. It would certainly explain the pale and listless appearance of all the victims. He planned to take a look at Lulu’s neck sometime that evening, but he needed to avoid raising his parents’ suspicions.
An opportunity presented itself quite innocently, Dad had made a snack of toast and marmite with a drink for Lulu, which J offered to take up to her room. While Dad put the finishing touches on the family’s meal, J cracked the door open and tiptoed into Lulu’s room.
She was cocooned in her duvet and facing the wall. Murmuring soothing things he gently stroked her hair off his sister’s cheek and away from her neck and peered closely, feeling tense about finding puncture wounds, but there were none. Thank goodness, her neck was unmarked. Her skin was clammy and cool but no bite marks.
“Lulu, do you want a drink? Or some marmite soldiers?” J used a coaxing tone and pulled her shoulder a little so that she rolled over. She didn’t rouse out of her sleep but he was able to look at her neck on the other side … phew! It was also unmarked. J’s relief at this discovery was intense, but looking at her sleeping form he felt sad, and a little scared, what if they couldn’t get her back to normal?
He ate supper with his parents, Then, with the excuse of pressing studies, returned to his room, where he let Alex know that he had found no sinister marks on his sister’s neck.
“Another contradiction to the idea of Danny as a vampire, is that he walks about in the daylight. He’s not burned or harmed by the sun,” Alex pointed out.
“That rule doesn’t apply in Twilight. Those guys avoid the sun because it would show their skin is sparkly.” J countered.
“Seriously? Man that’s so weird! Let’s try to look closely at him in school.” Alex was thoughtful for a moment. “I’ve never noticed his skin glittering.” Then he piped up, “Hey, Twilight’s a chick film? What’re you watching that for?”
“Hard to avoid it!” J laughed. “They’re always playing the Twilight trilogy on Film4, and my Mum’s a huge vampire fan.” J felt sure she wouldn’t be a fan if she thought a vamp had been anywhere near Lulu.
Lulu in the clutches of an undead blood sucker was unthinkable, but he reassured himself no puncture wounds on her neck was a positive thing. Catching a glimpse of the time, he wound up his call with Alex. He still had an English essay to write before he went to bed.
Somehow J was less startled when he snapped out of sleep at 3 am that night. It was becoming a grim routine, so he lay still allowing his senses to ‘feel’ the pressing darkness and whoever or whatever was out there. His eyes began to focus on the front of a house he didn’t recognise. The streetlight pooled a yellowy glow in its front garden and he could see a gate to the right. This was not latched shut, so it banged softly in the breeze. The darkness had a menace to it, was it possible that Danny was still here? J moved soundlessly, and with dread, through the gate and round the back of the property. He could see in through the conservatory as the occupants kept tropical fish in aquariums, which lit up the room with an eerie glow.
Pressing his face to a window, and with all his senses on alert, J peered around the interior. At first he thought there was nobody there, then he spotted a young boy in cartoon pyjamas. His blonde hair stuck up in all directions, as often happens with restless sleepers. The boy had an unhappy hunch to his body language. He stood repeatedly banging his head against the wall. Hearing his sobs made J’s heart twist, so he tried the handle of the door, but it was locked. His attempts to gain entry didn’t distract the child and the mournful crying continued.
His heart was heavy that another young person had fallen under the evil influence. J speculated that this boy had wanted an entertainer for his party and so Danny had visited the house, “let in” by the boy’s unwitting parents. Danny would give no clue regarding his sinister nature when he called round to make plans about performing as a clown.
J had never trusted clowns, they gave him the heebie-jeebies! As a young boy he’d found their thick make up, especially the painted on smile and eye expressions, highly suspect. He’d swerved invitations to attend any party with a clown on the agenda for just that reason. How ironic that his immature suspicions had truth behind them! Looking at the distressed boy, who he couldn’t get close enough to comfort, J knew he would be a pale and listless trance-induced state by morning, he wished fervently that he would not be proved right.
[To be continued …]