Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The nicest girl in school
     Julissa Bella, or Jewel for short, was one of the most beautiful girls in Venice Beach, Los Angeles; she just didn’t know it. Her days were spent being bossed around by her wicked new stepmother, Miranda Minchin. Miranda had pale skin and long black hair and teeth that were fluorescent from spending too long with her dentist. Jewel’s stepmother also spent hours at the most expensive stylist in town to make sure her glossy locks were just right. The truth was, Miranda was a vampire. In a moment of madness, Jewel’s father had married her. So far, Jewel and her dad had remained human. They were O generic and Miranda and her girls only drank the rarest blood types.
    When Jewel arrived to stay, Miranda was busy organising a sweet sixteenth for her vampire triplets: Vanity, Charity and Patience. They were closer to two hundred years old but had been turned at sixteen, so they never aged.
    Jewel’s stepsisters were the worst ‘teenage girls’ imaginable and constantly taunted Jewel often trying to scratch and ‘pretend bite’ her, just to scare her a little bit more. Because of this, Jewel had tried to contact her mom who had originally agreed to let her stay with the Minchin sisters (before Jewel knew the truth). Jewel’s mom was on a study trip off shore (she was a marine biologist) so Jewel just had to wait it out. Of course, her dad had also left to ‘go to a conference’ in New York a few days ago, which is why Jewel was stuck with her wicked step-family, alone, for the weekend.
     “Guess what little sister?” Charity said when Jewel arrived. “Your blood is so deeply unappealing we’ve decided not to make you one of us.”
    “Why aren’t you smiling? We’ve decided not to bite,” Patience said, “even though I’d like nothing more than to rip out your wrist vein right now, your dad pays the bills and he might not like it.”
    “Yes,” Vanity said as she checked her red gloss in the mirror, “mommy has asked us to show some restraint.”
     Jewel’s eyes widened as they grabbed her suitcase and threw it into the spare room at the top of the stairs.
    “Now, get in there and when we decide you’ve learnt how to behave, we might let you out.”
     That was when Miranda returned from her stylist. She opened the door to Jewel’s room (it wasn’t so bad – there was an ensuite and a flat screen), and pretended to be all politeness. Miranda had other ideas besides locking Jewel up. She was throwing yet another sweet sixteenth for her girls and wanted to turn Jewel into the maid, since the previous one quit after Max bit her. Max was Miranda’s chubby toddler son. He liked to sleep a lot and run amok when he woke.
     With Jewel’s unofficial help, Miranda intended to throw the party to end all parties on Saturday night. That only gave them the week to prepare. Builders had arrived and made the necessary renovations to the patio. They were also extending the ball room out to the pool area.
    Miranda had warned her girls before the carpenters arrived, “not one of them is to disappear. You know how the neighbors talk.” The last time Miranda had required renovations (back in 1969 when she was married to her sixth ‘husbee’ - that was Miranda’s word for all her husbands) the girls had drained a plasterer. It took Miranda six hours to clean up the mess! Miranda liked to keep up appearances at any cost.
    Jewel was terrified of her new stepfamily and sat on her bed, unable to decide what to do next. She had no friends in the neighborhood and she couldn’t drive, yet. She was stuck here until her mom returned from her working vacation.
    The only thing she was allowed to do was go to school and babysit her little half-brother, Max. Max was a toddler, but Jewel, who was almost sixteen, loved to take care of him even though he was extremely naughty.
    Max was half vamp, half bro and still had his ‘puppy fat’ as Miranda called it. He had blonde sticky up hair and often threw tantrums in the middle of shopping malls. He sucked on a bottle of plasma and threw shoes out of car windows. If strangers got too close, he tried to bite them.
    In the mornings, before daycare, he threw tantrums. He hid toys in his pockets to throw at unsuspecting people, leaving Jewel red with embarrassment.
    Jewel’s stepsisters attended a select local school that had recently become like a freak show since vamps took over. Venice Beach Hall was practically off the map and the outside of the building didn’t look sunny or welcoming. It looked grey and creepy, more like a reform school or a haunted house. Jewel only had to endure it for eight weeks and it had to be better than home. At Miranda’s place, Jewel washed the dishes just like her stepmother asked her to and dried them as well. If she was reading, Miranda literally placed a duster in her hand while her stepsisters sat on the table, floor and window sill barking instructions. Jewel wanted to run away but there was nowhere to go and she had no money until her dad returned. Besides, school started tomorrow.
     That night, as Jewel cried herself to sleep, the housekeeper Jacinta, brought her in milk and cookies.
     “Don’t worry dear,” she said. “I’m like a fairy godmother and your life is about to change for the better, forever.” When she woke up, Jewel wondered if it had all been a dream.
      She dragged on some vintage jeans and a red sweater only to be confronted by her stepsisters slurping blood smoothies.
     “Want one?” Charity asked.
     Jewel was silent.
     “Never mind,” Patience replied, “we have to motor.”
      Vanity checked her gloss in her gold and diamante compact. Their little brother Max slurped on a bottle full of thick, red, liquid.
     “He’s not?”
     “Oh, not exactly.” Patience said, (she could be quite nice when she wanted to be). “He’s just a half – so he eats real food as well.”
    “He loves sweets,” Patience added. The sisters walked in front of Jewel.
    “You have to walk behind us,” Vanity informed Jewel, “because we are more important and prettier.”
   It wasn’t true. Jewel was a very pretty girl, like I said; she just didn’t know it yet...