The Wolf House: Roads and Crosses

The Wolf House: Roads and Crosses

The Wolf House: Roads and Crosses

By Mary Borsellino

Lily and Will were both fifteen when they first saw a vampire for themselves. It was after a dance — well, not a dance exactly. It was one of those youth disco things organized by a local community group, to teach kids that they didn’t need drugs to have a good time. This goal, in the hands of concerned parents and citizens, naturally translated into a refreshments tables centerpieced by a punch bowl of watery cordial and a dance floor where kids shuffled awkwardly to a top forty playlist. Lily, in her typically arbitrary way, had decided to adore everything about the evening and was consequently having the time of her life.

Anna had left in disgust hours earlier, leaving Will and Lily to enjoy paper plates of limp jello rings and the pathetically determined cheer on their own.

They had been sitting outside, against one of the hall’s golden-lit windows, arguing about whether summer or winter was better and why, when they saw the vampire. They saw another kid first, a girl a few years older than they were. She was weaving on her feet as she walked, humming quietly to herself. Her t-shirt was stretched wide at the collar and there was a giant hickey on her neck. As she came closer she swayed violently, leaning against the wall to steady herself, and made a spacey, giggling sound.

“That’s gonna go down great at an anti-drug party,” Will observed dryly just as Lily punched him on the arm and said “Will, look.”

Will followed her gaze to the edge of the deeper shadows the girl had stumbled out of. There was someone standing there, a guy even older than the girl, barely on the upper edge of his teenage years. He had white skin, and not the pale pink fleshy shade like Will or Anna that most people called white. This guy was whiter than that. His eyes were dark enough to look black in the evening light, and his hair was barely a few shades lighter. He was dressed in a long pale gray coat and a gray top hat. When he smiled over at the two of them there was a strange gleam to his teeth, more like the flash of a knife than a smile.

“Don’t,” Lily said, grabbing Will’s forearm, and Will realized suddenly that somehow they were both standing up, and that he had been trying to step towards the man when Lily stopped him.

The man tilted his head to one side ever so slightly, as if they had surprised him.

“Don’t,” Lily said again, but her tone was less certain this time, and her hand fell slack from Will’s arm.

The sound of screaming wrenched their attention away in a moment, and whatever odd spell had been at work on them was gone. They hurried back into the dance without a glance behind them, and got caught up in the chaos caused by a girl stumbling in and collapsing to the ground in a faint. She died in the hospital just before morning, and Lily and Will did their best, over the years following, not to think about how close they came to ending their careers as vampire hunters before they’d even begun.