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by Norm Cowie
Category: Young Adult/Humor
Description: Erin has bigger worries than how she'll do on her Trig Final. A vampire bit her and she's turning into an Undead. Things could be worse, though. It cleared her complexion, she can fly, and now her parents have to let her go out at night. And being a vampire is great for freaking out her little sister. The downside? Besides being dead, of course--and having to drink blood smoothies--was having to give up tanning and pizza. And with her new edgy Goth look, jet-black hair and porcelain skin, everyone tells Erin she's become beautiful. So much so that the other girls in school have started calling her names--like 'Fang Face.' Erin wouldn't mind checking her new look for herself. But as everyone knows?Vampires can't see their reflections!
eBook Publisher: Echelon Press, 2010 2009
eBookwise Release Date: April 2010
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [287 KB]
Reading time: 157-220 min.
"This book sucks...in a most delightful way! Norm Cowie's latest is boy-meets-girl-meets-vampire-meets-wow. Don't miss this gem." --Shane Gericke, National Bestselling thriller author "'Hilarious, lightning-paced, and as sharp about high school as a bite to the throat. I loved this book, fangs, and all." --James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow "FANG FACE made me laugh, and I'm not a Teen. Or perhaps I am, but I'm trapped in a grown-up's body." --Raymond Benson, author of James Bond, The Union Trilogy
"Aw, crap." - Dracula's last thought before he crumbled to dust. * * * *
"I am not going to sleep in a coffin," Erin screeched.
As any attendee of a High School Musical concert can tell you, there's nothing like a teenage girl's shriek to wake up the auditory sensors. Every dog in the neighborhood simultaneously yipped in pain, except old Dork, a deaf Chihuahua from up the street.
Her sister, Alex, ducked, even though the shriek wasn't directed at her. It whizzed by her ear with a whistling sound and went looking for another eardrum to pierce.
Immune to the sound, their father calmly leafed through a magazine. "Hey, this one looks nice. It's the King Tut model."
Erin whirled around and snapped, "King Tut was a boy. Do I look like a boy to you?"
Their mother, Beth, interrupted softly, trying to reduce the sudden tension, "They actually have one shaped like a Coke bottle. It's attractive." The faint frown line between her eyes indicated maybe she thought otherwise.
"Mom! This is ridiculous. I'm not sleeping in a coffin!"
"But, honey, I think you're supposed to." Her father twisted his finger in the ugly necklace hanging loosely around his neck.
"Hey," Alex interrupted, looking at another magazine, "here's a biodegradable one." She grinned impishly. "Good for the environment when we bury it."
Erin gritted her teeth. "Even if I slept in a coffin, we wouldn't bury it!"
She glared at everyone around the kitchen table, turned around and stalked to her room, slamming the door. Then she opened it again and slammed it with more force than a teenage girl should possess. The oak door splintered but held.
Silence hung over the dining room table like a heavy cloak.
Finally Alex said quietly, "I vote we just go ahead and cremate her now." * * * *
Chapter 1 - Several months earlier. -
Ian Trug was quite possibly the ugliest kid in the entire country. Of course, in these politically-correct days, there'd never be a vote, but if there were, even Trug would have cast a reluctant vote for himself.
By all accounts Trug had been a very cute baby. But as a toddler, things began to go very wrong. First, parts of his body began to grow at a different rate. One arm grew longer than the other. Then, as if through some kind of spastic physiological competition, the other arm caught up and passed it. Feeling left out, his head got into the contest and ballooned, leaving his body behind. Of course his body rose to this new challenge and caught up in fits and starts. Trug could only watch in horror as the competition continued for a couple years until his head and body obtained what might generously be called symmetry.
To complete the picture, thatches of coarse black fur sprouted like weeds from the backs of his hands, and another strip marched down his back like that of an Arkansas razor-back. It would be cruel to mention the pimples on pimples, but, well....
Anyway, by the time he crashed into teenagerdom he'd reached a plateau of ugliness he fervently hoped would never get worse.
He and his ugliness sat alone together in covert surveillance next to a potted fern that somehow flourished despite, or perhaps because of, copious amounts of milk dumped on it every day.
That's when the subject of his surveillance showed up.
"Oh, my God," he thought to himself as Winifred Mandrake glided through the busy room. Obviously, he thought this to himself. He couldn't think it to anyone else, unless some mind readers were in the room.
His eyes followed Winifred, and as always, the sight seemed to stun his lungs into inactivity, leaving him gulping for breath. Or maybe she simply drew all of the oxygen out of his immediate area.
She had entranced him since he first inhaled the sight of her a couple months before.
"Wow," someone breathed.
Who said that? Trug looked around. There was no one there.
His heart lurched. Had he said it out loud?
He looked around in panic. Whew, nobody had heard him.
He turned his attention back to her and suddenly his vision started blurring.
Aaagh! I'm going blind.
No wait. Breathe, dummy! Got to remember to breathe.
He took a deep breath and turned his attention back to the goddess.
Winifred wore a dark green skirt with a form fitting black top. It was the only possible look for her. Then again, she had a way of making anything she wore look like the only possible look. With black glossy hair and perfect white skin, her onyx eyes effortlessly enchanted boys, and gave the girls plenty to be catty about.
She sat down at the Becky table. Beckys are the perfect girls. Popular, pretty, cheerleaders. Better than anyone else in school. They looked down their noses at the normal students, particularly those whose acne regularly overwhelmed their acne cream.
Well, they weren't totally perfect. Half of them had metallic smiles. But eventually they'd be perfect. At least until their twentieth reunion-after they'd had a few kids. Small consolation, because for now they looked perfect. Even worse, they knew it.
The Beckys rarely actually ate lunch and generally kept aloof as if their table ranked as some kind of throne. Only their personal knights from the Jock-table had the courage to draw their disdainful interest.
That didn't stop Trug from admiring her from afar. The Gamer's table shielded him from the Becky table, so he could usually watch her with impunity. Gamers lived for video games, and devoted their lunch period to peanut butter sandwiches and tales of conquests and cheats. They wouldn't notice a lovestruck nerd staring past them.
"Hey, Trug. Whatcha doing?" Brian Slimnan's tray clattered noisily on the table as he thumped into the seat across from him.
Trug started and hastily scooped up his wandering eyes, put them back in, and looked at his friend.
"Hi, Slim, what's up?"
Slim is slim the same way some huge guys are often called 'Tiny.' He's not fat, he's more...
...well, okay, he's fat.
But he carried it well, and wore loud shirts advertising his presence, just in case you didn't notice two hundred and fifty pounds when it showed up next to you.
For all that, Slim was the most graceful person of his size Trug had ever seen. A diver on the swim team, somehow, when he sliced into the water, there'd only be a blip of a splash. This didn't make him look any better in a swimsuit, but Trug still thought him somewhat a freak with his physical ability.
Slim's eyes slid across the room, taking in Winifred as she slipped into a seat with feline grace. His lips pursed, "Whoa, she's something, huh?"
Trug's face colored. "Uh, who?" he stammered.
Slim shot him a knowing grin, but didn't say anything as he watched the pretty girl chatting with the other Beckys.
A whirlwind blasted into the room, and shot towards them through the milling crowd. It thwapped into the next seat. Slim's tray slid from the impact, but he managed to catch it before it could fall. He gave the whirlwind a reproachful look. Okay, not a whirlwind, just Nevin, but most kids don't move this quickly. "Hey, guys! What's up?"
Trug grunted a hello at Little Nevin, though he continued looking at Winifred from the corner of his eyes.
Nevin noticed, and he turned around to see who Slim and Trug were looking at.
"Oh, ho, there's a babe," he said cheerfully, staring straight at her.
"Don't let her see you looking at her," Trug hissed.
"A babe? Did you just call her a babe?" Slim asked, an incredulous grin spreading across his face.
"Yeah, a babe."
"Nobody says 'babe' anymore," Slim said.
"Why not? She is a babe, isn't she?"
"Yeah, I guess so, but you can't call her that."
"Uh, I don't know, but it's just not right."
"You call people 'dude' all the time and no one does that anymore."
"Oh, yeah? Why?"
"Um, uh I don't know. It just is."
"Okay, you find out something else to call her, and I'll call her that, as long as it's the same thing as 'babe," Nevin said.
"Chick?" Slim suggested.
"Chick?" Trug and Nevin chimed, laughing.
"Yeah, 'chick'," Slim said defensively.
"Chick is even more outdated."
Winifred noticed them staring and gave them a sulfurous smile from across the room. Her friends' heads whipped around like meerkats.
"Agghh," Trug yelped.
Slim's eyes skipped down to his tray, which reminded him of his food. He grabbed a spork and started shoveling.
Nevin wasn't embarrassed. He waved cheerfully at Winifred, whose smile brightened, as if it was possible for a supernova's light to grow more intense.
"She likes me," Nevin announced.
"Yeah, right," Slim grumbled.
Trug couldn't look. While covertly spying on Winifred was a harmless but necessary part of his existence, she should not notice him, for he was Trug.
Ugly Trug. A slug that should not be consorting with the jeweled bird.
Ugly didn't seem to make a difference to his friends. Even though Trug had only lived in town since the beginning of the school year, after meeting Nevin and Slim, they quickly formed the kind of quick-freeze friendship developed only in school and war.
"Anyway," Slim continued, his eyes serious and his mouth full of food, "you don't want to have anything to do with her."
Trug's eyes slid involuntarily--well not quite involuntarily, but contrary to the brain's instructions--towards the dryad in green and black. "Why? Besides the obvious physical inequities, of course."
"Inequities. She's um, well, you know...and I'm..." He shrugged helplessly.
"Maybe, but that's not the point," Nevin said. He had produced a tray of food from somewhere and eyed it speculatively. Mount Food. Trug half way expected to see skiers on its slope.
"She's not, um..." Slim started.
"Like us," Nevin supplied cheerfully.
"Duh," Trug scoffed.
"Seriously," Slim managed through a full mouth. "She's not nice."
"She looks nice," Trug protested.
Slim spoke around a mouthful of cafeteria pseudo-food, "She used to be--"
"Yeah, in middle school," Nevin added.
"--but not any more," Slim finished, as if Nevin hadn't interrupted.
"But she smiled..." Trug began.
"Told you," Nevin said. "She likes me."
Slim continued, "Yeah, recently she's turned, um..."
"...mean," Nevin chirped.
"She also used to be blonde," Slim added.
"Blonde?" Trug asked. Usually girls changed their hair from dark to blonde, not the other way around. At least he thought so, though his knowledge of girls was still mostly speculative.
"I've heard blondes are going to be extinct some day," Nevin said.
"Not as long as they have bottles," Slim snickered.
"No, seriously, I read natural blondes are--"
Something caught his attention, no doubt something bright and shiny. Nevin was the magpie of the human world.
"Wait, gotta go. See ya, bye." He jumped up and tornadoed out of the cafeteria, leaving his tray behind. The huge mound of food was gone. Trug looked at the empty tray in amazement. He hadn't even seen Nevin eating it.
Slim looked up. "And she didn't always look like that either."
"Um...and that would be?"
The bell rang.
"Later, dude." Slim waved and headed for the exit.
Bemused, Trug watched how effortlessly his large friend weaved through the throng of students, marveling again at his curious grace. Then he picked up his tray and Nevin's, dumped them off and headed to his own class.
He found his room, thumped into a seat and tried not to look ugly. That is, he smoothed out any scowls and worked at keeping his face totally blank of expression, because any expression at all just made things worse.
It was the first day of the new semester and a new class. 'Web-Design.' Last semester, he'd taken 'Keyboarding.'
Suddenly a small figure slipped into the seat next to him. He caught a whiff of something clean and good smelling, which pretty much ruled out it being a boy. He willed himself invisible.
"We're seatmates," a pretty soprano voice chirped, confirming the girl theory.
Then again, most of the boys in the class were still sopranos, so the high pitch wasn't necessarily conclusive proof. But it was definitely a feminine voice...he thought.
He dared to slide his eyes towards her.
An almost-pretty little brunette girl was smiling brightly at him.
He looked behind him to see who she was really smiling at. There was nothing there but the chalkboard. Ack! She was smiling at him.
It was such a radiant smile it involuntarily pulled a matching smile from him. Then he gasped as he remembered with horror what his smile looked like. It quickly crawled back into its den.
"Uh. Hi," he grunted as nicely as possible.
"I'm Alex," she chirped.
Her pretty face crinkled, "Trig?"
He cleared his throat. "Uh, hem. Trug. It's my last name. That's what people call me."
"People call you by your last name? Why? Don't you like your first name?"
"No, it's...I mean, it's fine."
Her green eyes were bewitching.
"What?" he croaked.
"Oh, sorry. I thought you would tell me your first name."
"No. I was...I mean, sure...it's Ian."
"Ian." She smiled. "I like it. So why do people call you 'Trug' if you have such a nice first name?"
Trug swallowed. "Well, I guess it's more...descriptive..."
Her eyes went to his hands twisting on the desk. Thick tufts of black hair bristled from the tops. He hastily jammed them under his desk.
"I don't agree," Alex declared. "If you don't mind, I'm going to call you Ian."
"Okay," he mumbled. He could feel his face getting red.
"There, that's settled." She stuck her hand out, "Well, Ian Trug, I'm Alex. Pleased to meet you."
Just then Winifred Mandrake glided into the room.
An involuntary gack sound slipped from his throat and his eyes googled, no, they goggled. Alex turned around to see where he was looking and her eyes narrowed the way a girl's eyes narrow when she sees another pretty girl.
Winifred swept in and viewed the filled chairs. The only open one gaped on the other side of Trug. After a reluctant pause, she walked over, sat, and busied herself with her purse while leaning as far as possible away from him.
Her subtle perfume clouded Trug's olfactory nerves and senses stomping his heart into mush.
He was sitting next to Winifred Mandrake!
"Are you okay?" Alex cried.
"What?" he choked.
"You turned white. Are you going to pass out?"
He took a shuddering breath. "No. I'm okay. Must be the cafeteria food."
She looked doubtful. "Well, okay."
Just then Mr. Nantz walked in the door and the class straightened to attention.
"All right, students," he said briskly.
Trug slumped in his seat, emotionally exhausted and grateful for the teacher's arrival.