|[Original Fiction]: YAVNC, Chapter 7
||[Jun. 11th, 2008|05:08 pm]
6850 words. Scary.
A Note for Non-fanfic-readers: This ain't. That said, it is quasi-steampunkish high school vampire fiction.
"Good morning," Ashley said brightly when they picked her up. "No, don't let me in front, Dermot, I'll be fine in the back." She was wearing another long skirt, this one plum-coloured, with a dove-grey blouse and the same tweed jacket.
"I didn't think you'd be a morning person," Stanislava said.
"Well, I'm not, but it's a lovely morning, isn't it? I mean, it's not every day I get picked up in a Garmlander Gryphon."
"Mam let me have the car again. I think somebody at work's been bothering her about driving an antique again."
"Because it should be in a museum?" Dermot said.
"Because the older the vehicle, the more perverse its essential personality. An eighty-year-old car might suddenly take it upon itself to assault the swans in the company pond, assemble a harem of young and impressionable sportscars, or invite an invasion by members of a machine civilisation currently inhabiting Pluto and Charon."
"That might be a sensible fear in the abstract," Ashley said, "but it's nothing like this very polite and lovely vehicle. Have your mother's co-workers ever properly met her? I can't imagine them thinking such things if they had."
"Except about the swans," Dermot said. "Attacking them would be a rational and public-spirited act." Both girls ignored him.
"Mam works at the National Speculator. People there are almost completely immune to the slings and arrows of reality. Half of them really do believe that K.L. Rowley is a vampire."
"Now that's just silly. She's a good writer, for the most part, but she doesn't half understand vampires. Why, her Professor Wooton hadn't been outside in the daylight since he was turned, and had never heard of sunblock until James Gotter and Ceres Fielding gave him a bottle. Doesn't she realise that vampires invented sunblock?"
"I suppose she must not," Stanislava said.
"Sorry, I'm running off at the mouth again. Do either of you have anything interesting scheduled today?"
"Not really," Dermot said.
"Nothing," Stanislava said. "Although... it's Friday. Would you like to come over to my house after school? We could play a few tunes, say?"
"That would be splendid," Ashley said. "Thank you so much, I'd love to."
Stanislava pulled into the lot and parked the Gryphon. "Excellent," she said, "we're just on time."
"For school?" Ashley said.
"That, too, but what I meant was... well, watch over there." She pointed towards the football pitch, where one man with a large plastic buffalo mask on his head and another with an elk mask faced each other, standing squarely about twelve feet apart. As if at some unseen signal, they charged each other and came together with an almighty crash. "Principal Scarston and Superintendent Lambeth," she said. "They do it every Friday morning at precisely ten minutes to eight. We think it's a lodge brothers thing, but nobody's sure. Funny, isn't it?"
Ashley was pale. Paler than usual, at least. "I suppose one might call it that," she said softly. "Thank you so much for the ride, Stanislava," she said, and quite suddenly threw her arms about her.
"Oof." After a moment, Stanislava hugged her back.
Ashley released her, three moments after what would have seemed an ordinary friendly hug would have ended. "And one for you, Dermot," she said.
They hugged. She didn't quite squeeze hard enough to make him gasp or grunt. "Wait. I owe you a second embrace, Stanislava," she said. This hug was less desperate. "Thank you so much," she said, her colour renewed and her voice cheerful once more. "I'm looking forward to seeing you at lunch."