Not only Candy but several other students waited after the following Monday's English class to meet with Eric. After talking to her teacher on the phone, Candy decided to talk to Alice, Judy, and Karen as well. The four met in the classroom fifteen minutes after all the other students had left. Candy opened the meeting as soon as Eric sat down.
"First, I should tell you all that something happened during the class today," she said. "I don't know if you noticed, but Vlad gave me another one of his poems."
Candy took out a piece of paper, unfolded it, and read the poem aloud:
Your skin is softer than a dove,"Let me see that," said Eric, reaching for the piece of paper. He read it to himself silently, then began shaking his head.
Your eyes like jungle pools;
Your hair's a waterfall of love,
Your fingernails are jewels.
Whenever I see you my heart does quiver;
I'd do anything to pull your sliver.
"That really is a lousy poem, isn't it?" said Karen.
"Yes, it’s a lousy poem," agreed Eric. "If this guy has really lived four-hundred years, he should have learned to write better poetry than this."
"The poem is not only lousy, it's even silly," said Candy.
"Most lousy poems are silly," said Eric. "That’s why they're lousy. It’s strange though. In the West, we usually think of vampires as being aristocratic and cultivated. That means they should know how to write good poetry. But this guy--he just doesn't seem to have it."
"This one is the third poem," said Candy. "The first one he left on my balcony, and the second one I got today at school."
"Really?" asked Eric. "Did Vlad come to your school today?"
"No, it was a Japanese boy who gave it to me. He came up to me on the sidewalk after school. I think he’s probably a vampire too. He dresses just like Vlad."
"What did he say to you?" asked Eric.
"He handed me the poem and then began talking about Vlad, about how I shouldn't be afraid of Vlad. Vlad was really in love with me, he said. He said I shouldn't break his heart. He wanted me to be nice to him. He wanted me to agree to meet Vlad one more time. I told him I would never meet Vlad and that both of them should leave me alone."
"That's the right way to talk to them," said Judy.
"Do you have the poem with you?" asked Eric.
Candy took out another folded piece of paper from her book bag and began to read:
Your chin is like a golden bowl,"Stupid," said Judy.
Your teeth are little pearls;
Your forehead is a golden roll,
Your hair is straight: no curls.
In my sad life just one love can be;
I'd roll down a mountain to scrape your knee.
"This Vlad is no poet," said Eric. "But it seems that he really is in love with you."
Candy's face took on an even more serious expression than before. She began to put the poems back into her bag.
"Vlad is a vampire," she said. "We can all agree on that." She gestured to the other girls. "We are also certain that most of the other students are vampires now too."
"They are definitely sick," said Karen. "The class is becoming stranger all the time."
"They are vampires," Candy continued. "We need to get rid of them, and we need to do it soon. They are planning to bite us all. This is serious. These poems are not really what we came here to talk about. What we need to do is get rid of Vlad and his friends."
"Alright," said Eric. "I’ve thought about this situation since you talked with me the other night, and I think you’re probably right. But I don't know if I should even be talking like this. It’s all very hard to believe. Still I think you might be right. But what can we do about it?"
Judy took a large library book out of her bag.
"I have done some research," she said, opening the book. "I think this book can help us. First of all, it says we can see who is a vampire by looking in their mouth. If they have four big teeth, then they are vampires."
"I don't think that’s so helpful," said Candy. "First, they may not let us look in their mouths. Why would they let us? And second, I noticed that Vlad's teeth didn’t seem so different from other people's. Somehow a vampire can hide his big teeth until he wants to bite someone. So I don't think looking for big teeth is the best way to find out who is a vampire."
"Vampires hate garlic," said Karen. "We can just use garlic to see who's a vampire. If we bring some food with garlic, it will be obvious who is a vampire because they won't eat it."
"But if I weren't hungry," said Judy, "I wouldn't eat the food either. And our class meets right after dinner. That's a problem. If you bring some food, maybe some students who don't eat it are just not eating because they're not hungry. And then we will kill the wrong people."
"Wait a minute," said Eric. "What do you mean kill? Are you planning to try to kill them?"
"I don't see a better way to clean the vampires out of the class than to kill them," said Candy. "We've decided on that already, Eric."
"I agree with Candy," said Judy.
"But you don't know what you're getting into here!" said Eric. "What if we kill someone who isn't a vampire? It would be terrible. How can you talk about killing them? And even if we do kill only vampires, how do we prove to the police they really are vampires? We may all end up in jail. Didn't you think of that?"
"We won't end up in jail," said Alice smiling. "We're too young. But you will end up in jail."
"Very funny," replied Eric. "So you want me to go to jail for this, and then you won't have to do English homework any more."
Alice and Karen laughed.
"This is a serious situation," said Candy in annoyance. "We shouldn't be joking." She looked at Alice. "These people are monsters, don't you understand? They are real monsters, and they will make all of us monsters if we can't get rid of them. So we have to kill them somehow. There's no other way."
"A vampire can only be killed by silver bullets or a wooden stake in the heart," said Judy. "It says that in the book."
"We can use silver bullets," said Alice. "We can shoot them with silver bullets, and then we don't even have to touch them."
"But I don't think it will be easy for us to get guns," said Judy. "Isn't it true that guns are illegal?"
"You're right," said Eric. "In America you can buy guns anywhere, even grocery stores, but in Taiwan you can only buy guns from criminals. So I agree. I don't think it will be easy for us to get guns."
"I thought about this problem last night," said Karen. "About the guns, I mean. If we can't get guns, we can use an electric drill to drill them. We can make a silver drill bit. Probably we could drill them with silver, and then they would die."
"That’s an interesting idea," said Candy. "But who's going to hold them down while we drill them? There are only five of us, and vampires are very strong. Even a little vampire like Lon could lift Eric off the ground with one hand."
"We can't use an electric drill," said Eric. "It won't work."
"And there's the same problem with using wooden stakes," said Candy. "How can we hold the vampires down while we hammer the stake?"
"There is one other thing we can do," said Judy. "We can use crosses and Bibles to fight them. I learned in the book that vampires hate crosses and Bibles, and that they can even get burned by touching them."
"But we can't kill them just with crosses and Bibles," said Karen.
"Yes, but we could open up the classroom windows and then bring in crosses," said Judy. "The vampires would be terrified, and they'd have to change into bats to escape out the windows. It would at least prove to us who is a vampire and who is not. And maybe, if we burned some of them by touching them with a cross, they'd be so afraid they would never come back. Then we’d have cleaned them out."
"I like this idea," said Eric. "We wouldn't have to really kill them. I like it."
"I don't know," said Candy hesitantly. "I don't know if I like it."
"This is the only idea I can follow," said Eric. "I must tell you. I will not try to kill these vampires. I'd rather change jobs than go to jail."
"Where do we get the crosses and Bibles?" asked Alice. "I think this idea sounds the best."
"If we really want to do this right," continued Eric, "the only thing to do is get a priest."
"What do you mean?" asked Karen. "Do you mean a priest like in a temple?"
"Not exactly," replied Eric. "Not a Taoist priest. I don't think vampires are afraid of Taoist priests. I mean a priest like in a church. I mean a Catholic priest. A priest is probably the most powerful friend we can find for fighting vampires. That's a fact."
"Maybe it will work," said Candy, obviously worried that they'd given up on the plan to kill the vampires. Now that she saw they would fight directly against Vlad and the others, she was more afraid of him again. For if the attack didn't work, he might try to get revenge on her. He'd know it was she who revealed his true identity.
"I will call my friend Father Daniel Bauer," said Eric. "He's a priest and literature professor at Fu-Jen University. He will know what to do."
"Do you think he will believe you?" asked Candy.
"I'll explain the situation, and I think he'll believe me. We went to the same university together in America. Besides, priests know that there is evil in the world. A priest is more likely to take us seriously than the police would. And I think all our other plans just won't work."
"I vote for this idea," said Alice.
"Me too," said Karen.
Candy looked at Judy.
"I vote for it too," said Judy. "I don't think any of the things in the book will work. There are just too many vampires here."
Now Candy hesitated. They were all looking at her, waiting. She leaned her head forward and took a deep breath. She was obviously the most afraid of all of them.
"Since I have no choice," said Candy, "I vote for it too. But if it doesn't work, it will mean the end of us."
[Chapter XIV by Candy, Kurt, David.]
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