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There's something strange going on at Washington Irving Elementary School. People are turning into monsters—literally!
In The Vanishing Vampire, Sebastian's life has become a real pain in the neck. It all started the night he walked home from the movies by himself. He sort of blacked out and the next morning, he woke up as a vampire. Now he has only one chance to turn back into a human. And time is running out….
With its blend of humor and horror, David Lubar's middle-grade monsteriffic tales series will appeal to the same audience that has made his Weenies short story collections such a success.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
About the Author
DAVID LUBAR created a sensation with his debut novel, Hidden Talents, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. He is also the author of the Nathan Abercrombie series, True Talents, Flip, and six Weenies short story collections. He lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
David Lubar created a sensation with his debut novel, Hidden Talents, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Thousands of kids and educators across the country have voted Hidden Talents onto over twenty state lists. David is also the author of True Talents, the sequel to Hidden Talents; Flip, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror selection; many short story collections including In the Land of the Lawn Weenies, Invasion of the Road Weenies, The Curse of the Campfire Weenies, The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies, Attack of the Vampire Weenies, Beware the Ninja Weenies, Wipeout of the Wireless Weenies, Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies, and Extremities; and the Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie series. Lubar grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, and he has also lived in New Brunswick, Edison and Piscataway, NJ, and Sacramento, CA. Besides writing, he has also worked as a video game programmer and designer. He now lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Read an Excerpt
The Vanishing Vampire
A Monsterrific Tale
By David Lubar, Marcos Calo
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 1997 David Lubar
All rights reserved.
A PAIN IN THE NECK
I was on my way home from a movie when the dark thing fell on me. I'd been walking quickly, hurrying to the safety of home. Lewington isn't a dangerous place to live, but I'd just watched the late showing of Creepers from the Crypt. I couldn't fight the urge to rush through the empty streets. Images from the film chased me as I went, threatening to leap from my mind and become real.
Just one block back, I'd split up with my friend Norman. He headed left on Maple. I stayed on Spruce, walking past that huge oak whose roots were slowly breaking up the sidewalk by the vacant lot.
I heard nothing. I saw very little. Later, thinking back, I remembered the eyes and the teeth. At the time, I just knew darkness was dropping toward me. And the darkness wasn't only in the night; it filled my mind and took me away.
The darkness inside me lifted as I woke, leaving me wondering why I wasn't in bed. I was somewhere hard and cold. There was dirty concrete beneath my fingers. I sat up slowly, feeling the world spin. I held very still, waiting for it to stop.
I stood. The world spun again, but with less force. I put one hand out and touched the rough bark of the tree.
The tree. Something dark? Something falling? I couldn't quite remember.
I turned toward home, unsure of what had happened. I'd passed out or fainted. No. "Guys don't faint," I mumbled to myself.
Behind, I heard the scraping slap of sneakers on the sidewalk. Someone was calling a name. Someone was calling me. I turned, moving cautiously, afraid that the world would follow my motion and start to spin again.
It was Norman. He was running toward me, one finger pushing up the glasses that were always sliding down his nose. "Splat, hey, Splat, you okay?"
They call me Splat. It's a long, stupid story. My name's Sebastian. Sebastian Claypool. That name is a short, stupid story. Before I was born, Mom and Dad were listening to a lot of music written by Johann Sebastian Bach. Dad thought Johann would be a strange name for a kid. So, blam, they hang Sebastian on me. Thanks, Dad.
It could have been worse. They also liked the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Norman reached me and stood there, taking deep breaths like a catfish dragged onto shore. Running was not a big part of his life. The night had grown chilly, and the air turned to swirls of fog as it left Norman's nostrils. "I looked back and you were on the ground," he said. "Did you trip?"
"I don't know." I tried to remember. "Don't tell anyone, but I think I passed out."
"Wow, that's bad. It could mean all kinds of things." He pushed up his glasses again. "You should probably get a CAT scan. I wouldn't rule out a brain tumor, though of course blood sugar is generally a factor in these cases, and the glucose level by itself isn't always enough of an indicator to determine —"
"Norman." I tried to stop him. Once he got going, he was like a bus rolling down a hill. If I caught him while he was just inching along, there was hope. But after he picked up some speed and really started barreling along the Highway of Fascinating Facts, there was no way to slow him down. "Hold on. I just got a little dizzy, that's all."
"What'd you eat?" he asked.
I thought back. That part of my night was clear enough. I'd had my usual popcorn — the Tub-of-Fun size that lasts about a quarter of the way through the movie. I'd washed it down with a cherry cola. Then I'd had a pack or two of caramel chews and as many of Norman's gummy eyes as he'd let me steal. Nothing there to make a kid lose touch with the world. I told Norman the list of snacks.
He seemed to be in deep thought. I imagined him running some kind of chemical tests in his mind, looking for a reaction between the assorted snacks. This could take all night. I just wanted to get home. "Look, thanks for coming over, but I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
I nodded. Except for the dizziness, which had almost totally faded, I felt perfectly normal. Actually, I felt pretty good. Everything was starting to look very sharp and clear. As I nodded, I noticed a slight tingling on the left side of my neck. The skin below my jaw felt numb. I rubbed the spot.
"You probably should see your doctor if it happens again."
"Yes, Mother," I kidded him. Having Norman for a friend was almost like having a third parent. I noticed that the tingling in my neck was going away.
"Okay." He started to leave, then said, "See you tomorrow?"
"Sure. Maybe they got some new comics at the shop. We can check that out." The tingling was completely gone. Everything felt fine.
"Great," Norman said. "I'll see you then." He turned and walked back toward Maple.
"Thanks," I called after him. As he walked away, he seemed, for a moment, to stay in sharp focus. It was almost like my eyes were some kind of zoom lens. But as soon as I was aware of it, the illusion snapped away.
I headed home. Whatever had happened was weird, really weird. I took my hand from my neck, squinting as I walked into the glare of a streetlight.
My fingers felt like they were still sticky from the movie snacks. That was strange. I looked down at my hand. For a second, I couldn't tell what I was seeing. The light was so bright. Then I saw it.
There was blood on my fingers.CHAPTER 2
Without thinking about it, I put my hand to my mouth. I froze as I realized what I was about to do. I'd almost licked my fingers, like the stain was leftover chocolate. Yuck. I shuddered at the thought, rubbed my fingers against my palm, and then rubbed my whole hand against my jacket. I touched my neck again, then looked at my fingers. Nothing.
Whatever it was — a cut or a scrape or a bug bite — it seemed to be healing quickly. Maybe I hit the tree when I fell. No big deal — it was over.
I walked along Spruce, then turned right onto Birch. Whoever built this part of town obviously had a thing for trees. All the streets had tree names. My house wasn't far from the corner — third house on the right. The porch light was on. It seemed pretty bright. I wondered if Dad had changed the bulb.
As I walked up the porch steps, my energy disappeared. I felt exhausted. I mean really drained. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed, get under the blankets, and sleep for a couple of hundred years. I stood still and held on to the railing, wondering if the strain of climbing the steps would make the dizziness return.
It didn't come back. I went inside. The warmth of the house felt good. I shivered, suddenly aware of how cold I'd been. For a moment, I just stood in the hallway, letting the heat sink into my body.
"Is that you, Sebastian?" my mom called from the living room.
"Yup." I walked down the hall.
"How was the movie?" she asked.
Movie? The question confused me. Then I remembered. Back before the walk, before the darkness, there'd been the movie. "Great. It was really awesome. There was this guy who had this really huge ax and he —" I stopped. She wasn't going to want to hear the details of that particular film. "Where's Dad?"
"In his shop. He just got a large order for one of his new jewelry designs, and he wanted to get started on it."
"Well, I'm pretty tired. I won't bother him if he's working. Just tell him I said good night."
"I will. See you in the morning."
"See ya." I headed toward my room. Rory, my little brother, was waiting for me at the top of the stairs. It was way past his bedtime, but we sorta had this ritual.
"Tell me 'bout the movie," he whispered.
"It was awful," I said as we moved toward his room. "It was so scary, if I told you about it, you'd break out in goose bumps."
We weaved our way across his floor, avoiding the toy soldiers, trucks, tanks, and jeeps that made up a large part of Rory's world. He was crazy about army gear. He even had a gas mask Dad had found at a garage sale, and a mess kit and a ton of other things. Sometimes, I'd play Martian-elephant-monster — chasing Rory around the house while I wore the gas mask.
"Tell me." He hopped into his bed.
I told him. I watered it down and made up stuff to replace the really gruesome parts. He didn't need to know about the guy running around with his head flopping in two pieces, or what happened when the wizard cast the spell on the earthworms. The thought of that still made my stomach squirm. But I told him enough about the film for him to feel that he'd been there. That was our ritual. Rory wasn't allowed to see monster movies yet. But little kids need monsters, too. So I shared the movie with him.
"Like it?" I asked when I was done.
Rory grinned like a starving man who had just been given a box of chocolate doughnuts. He held out his arms and said, "Look, no goose bumps."
"You're tougher than I thought. Now, go to sleep."
"One more story. Please."
Normally, I would have given in, but I was so sleepy, I figured I'd be lucky to make it to my room without stopping in the hall to take a nap. "I can't. I'm really tired. I'm wiped out. I'm sapped of all strength." I tucked him in, then stepped away.
"Don't close the door," he said as I left — even though he knew I wouldn't. Rory hated having his door closed at night, especially right after I told him about a movie. I was just the opposite when I was his age. I always felt safer when the door was shut.
I headed down the hall to my room.
Frankenstein's monster was waiting for me.
Six feet nine and in living color. What a great poster. He was hanging out with the mummy on his left and the werewolf to the right. It was the Lon Chaney Jr. version of the werewolf. Dracula, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Thing were on the opposite wall. I loved the classics.
I hit the bed like a shovelful of dirt dropping into a pit. I just flopped onto the mattress and passed out before the first bounce.
I don't remember my dreams that night, but I think that I dreamed.
And I changed.CHAPTER 3
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
I changed during the night. It wasn't a big change. Like once, a couple of years ago, I'd chipped a tooth. It was a tiny chip — so small, you almost couldn't see it. But it felt really, really big. Suddenly, there was this huge wrongness against my tongue. After a while, I got used to it. I don't even notice it now. It just belongs there.
This new change was much harder to describe, and so strange and dim that I knew I could chase after it forever without figuring it out.
It was hard to put in words. But when I opened my eyes, the world seemed different. Sharper is the best way I could describe it. Things were sharper — the way they are under a microscope. And it wasn't just things I saw. All my senses had changed. I could smell breakfast. That's not too strange, except I wasn't smelling the scent of bacon. I was smelling the bacon itself. That one drifting aroma contained the whole history of the animal that it came from.
I could hear everything. I heard the sizzle of the bacon in the pan, but I also heard the hiss of the gas as it rushed through the pipes into the stove. I heard the flames under the pan, and even the smoke as it rose through the air and brushed against the ceiling. I heard my family. There was breakfast chatter. Mom and Dad were in the kitchen, along with Rory, and Her Royal Highness, the Princess Angelina, my brat of an older sister. They were all talking at once, but I could hear each one as if no one else were speaking.
And I was starving.
I felt nothing but hunger. I rolled out of bed and walked across the room. My window faces east, and a patch of sunlight crawls along the floor in the late morning. The bright patch seemed extremely warm to my bare feet, almost burning hot. I hurried past it and got dressed.
"Welcome to the world of the living," Dad said as I stumbled into the kitchen.
"Hey, it's Sleeping Ugly," Angelina said, looking up from the piece of toast she was buttering.
"Your Lowness," I muttered back.
Rory grinned. Mom shot me a look.
"She started it," I said.
Dad spoke. "Kids ..." Dads have these spells they cast. One word, sometimes two or three. Blam, like magic, they work their charms on us helpless youngsters. Kids is one of the weaker spells, but it works well at the breakfast table. It doesn't have the power of I'm warning you, or the force of the dreaded Okay, that's enough, but Dad isn't one to waste his power.
I heaped my plate with bacon, eggs, and toast.
"Hungering for dead fried animals and unborn chickens?" Angelina asked.
Dad said she was going through a phase. Phase or not, I was getting pretty sick of it. "And how many poor stalks of wheat had their heads chopped off for that one slice of bread?" I asked. "Think about it. There they are, happily waving to each other in the field when, slash, the razor-sharp blade of the harvester comes along and slices them up. Heads go flying everywhere, making little wheat screams. Then, there's an even bigger horror."
"Dad, make him stop," Angelina whined.
But I was just warming up. This was getting good. "The poor victims are dragged off to the mill. As they shudder in horror, the huge stone wheel descends, closer and closer, crushing the last of their life from them —"
"Okay, that's enough."
Blam. Dad cast the spell of silence. I grinned at Angelina, who refused to look back. I was pleased to see she was staring at her toast with just a hint of disgust. Score one for the good guys.
"Crush," Rory said. "Eeeeee!" He made a tiny scream, a Rory version of the death scream of a stalk of wheat. Little brothers can be pretty cool.
Dad looked at him, but didn't say anything. I saw a smile flicker across Dad's lips. But he hid it well. I guess he knew that Rory, if encouraged, would spend the rest of the day making those sounds.
I dug in to my breakfast, cleaning my plate in an instant. The flavor of everything was fabulous. I don't remember another breakfast that tasted so wonderful. I couldn't get enough.
"Glad to see you have an appetite," Mom said, smiling.
I took another helping. I was still hungry. Something was wrong. I was stuffing my face, eating like the king of the pigs, but I didn't feel satisfied. I barely managed to hold off from taking a third serving.
As I carried my dish and silverware to the sink, I glanced at the knife that rested on my plate, not yet aware of what would happen when I picked it up.CHAPTER 4
I scraped my plate, rinsed it in the sink, and put it in the dishwasher. Mom has us trained fairly well. As I rinsed the knife, I saw my reflection. I also saw the refrigerator reflected in the knife blade. But the fridge was behind me. My folks listen to this old song by the Beatles called "I'm Looking Through You." Well, in the knife, I was almost looking through me. I mean, I was there, but not by much.
The knife slipped from my fingers and clattered into the sink. I snatched it up and took another look.
Everything was normal. I was there. I was solid. I was worried. I put the knife in the dishwasher. I was tempted to take another look, but I was afraid of having the transparent version show up again.
As I was going upstairs, the phone rang. "It's for you," my mom called from the kitchen.
"I'll get it up here!" I shouted, heading toward the phone in my parents' bedroom.
It was Norman on the other end. "Want to go into town?" he asked.
"Sure. I'll meet you by your house." There was no point sitting around waiting to fade again.
I got dressed, grabbed my jacket, and headed out. The morning sun felt really hot. I took off the jacket, but that felt even worse with the sun beating down on me, so I put the jacket back on. As I walked past the house next door, Mr. Nordy's dog, Browser, came running up to the fence. I stopped to pet him.
As I reached out, Browser whined, then turned and ran around to the back of the house, his tail between his legs.
I met Norman by his place, and we headed into town. It's not a long walk — about nine blocks. As soon as I reached him, Norman started telling me all about some new software he'd downloaded. He's big on that stuff. We both like monster movies and comics. And we both like video games. But Norman is way more into computers than I am. I think they're fun, but I don't get swallowed up by them the way he does. I could just imagine him getting sucked into his computer with nothing but his feet dangling out.
"Uh-oh," Norman said after we'd walked a couple of blocks.
I looked ahead. Down the street, on our side, I saw one of life's real monsters. It was Lud Mellon. Put him together with his brother Bud, and you'd have enough IQ for half a person. They were stupid and mean. Getting a Mellon angry at you was like taking something from one of those cursed Egyptian tombs. Sooner or later, one way or another, doom would fall. It was always a good idea to avoid being noticed by Lud or Bud.
We crossed the street, hoping he hadn't spotted us. Luckily, Lud seemed to have something else on his tiny piece of mind and didn't look our way.
Excerpted from The Vanishing Vampire by David Lubar, Marcos Calo. Copyright © 1997 David Lubar. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. A Pain in the Neck,
2. Back Home,
3. What's the Difference?,
5. I Rise,
6. Feel the Burn,
7. A Friend Indeed,
8. Creature Comforts,
9. Sick Day,
10. Net Results,
11. Back to School,
12. This Won't Hurt a Bit,
14. The Vampire Killer,
15. A Pleasant Chat,
17. Same Old Routine,
18. An Acceptable Steak,
19. Losing the Grip,
20. Kitchen Chemistry,
21. A Little Gift,
22. A Decision,
Excerpt from The Unwilling Witch,
Starscape Books by David Lubar,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Someone please be my nook friend i am 12 i am 4ft 11in and if you want be my friend let me know ASAP please
Welcome to the charming town of Lewington. We have a wonderful elementary school, Washington Irving Elementary School, perhaps you’ve heard of it. Oh, that, how did you hear about that? Never mind, that situation was cleared up and there have been no further issues. Isn’t that oak tree lovely? Yes, the roots are breaking up the sidewalk, but it is such a lovely big tree. It is so sad that no one has built anything on that lot, yet. In this book, we go back to the town of Lewington (David Lubar has built a town where he likes to play, just like a number of authors before him) and meet Splat. He loves horror movies, his family (OK, there is a question about his older sister, but that is normal for boys) and has loyal friends. Little does he know that his life could become like a horror movie. When I was a kid, the bullies were bad enough, now throw in a vampire hunter and you really have problems. Faced with becoming a “person of the night” and just trying not to turn into charcoal on the next morning’s walk to school, as well as trying really hard to resist the “Hunger”, that could destroy almost anyone, let alone an elementary school student. The real story here is how Splat deals with this and the choices he makes. Because, let’s face it, choices are what make us and show our true selves. I’m rooting for you Splat.