Monday, December 26, 2011

We Meet Again!


Hi, this is Bree again. I have some great news! :-)

Guess who's sitting here with me? Well, since I can't hear your guess, I'll just have to tell you. It's Cécile! She's safe and sound, and right beside me as I type. We're all very relieved.

So... what happened, right? We were all wondering. Just after sunset on Christmas Day, Cécile finally showed herself in person, and explained the situation. They had figured out The Elders were coming, so they managed to get out of the house before it burned. At that point they split up, but they stayed in communication with each other. Cécile shadowed me and Blakeney, for mutual safety and with the intention of contacting us when it was safe to do so, using the signal with the ballet slippers that she and Marie-Grace had agreed upon. Meanwhile, Marie-Grace is off doing some sort of mysterious research, but Cécile assures me that she's safe too.

When Cécile first showed up, she just kind of stood awkwardly in the doorway, like she expected me to be mad at her. I threw my arms around her and squeezed her tight, and told her I was so glad she was okay. That made her smile, but she said, "I just wanted to make sure you knew that we were alright, and to check that you girls are safe, too. We won't put you in danger with our presence."

"Are you crazy?" I asked. Then I realized that didn't sound very kind, so I clarified, "I mean, if we're all in danger, it's safer to be together. We can protect you." Then I further clarified, "We want to protect you and Marie-Grace, because you're our friends."

Cécile looked worried. "You understand the danger, Bree? The Elders are powerful, and they will not hesitate to harm you, neither because of your age nor because you've done nothing wrong."

I couldn't help laughing. "Yeah, I kinda got that impression when they burned your house down for no reason when they were feeling frustrated." Then, more seriously, I added, "It's worth it for our friends. We'd rather have you here, even if it's a risk."

She smiled, and squeezed my hand. I took that as a yes. :-)

So now Cécile and I are hanging out. She's a lot of fun! I'm introducing her to the wonderful world of television, and she's teaching me about classical music. What a trade-off for her, huh? ;-)

We can rest easy knowing Cécile is safe with us... well, at least with a couple of family members... and hopefully Marie-Grace will make it back safely, too. From the conversations I've been having with Cécile, I think they're open to being permanent additions to our family, which would be awesome.

I hope you had fun holidays, everyone! As a preview: Our next post will (probably...) be a guest post from Miss Cécile herself, filling you in on how their story began.

Love,
Bree

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Hopeful Sign


Hi, this is Bree. Blakeney and I are in Western New York. We got here safe and sound (although I got separated from Blakeney for awhile in the Toronto airport, which was scary because that place is huge) and are having a good and relaxing time.

Sorry we haven't blogged at all in a week or so, but we've all been crazy busy with family and holiday stuff.

I don't have time for a long entry right now, since it's Christmas Eve and we're going to church, but I just wanted to fill our blog friends in on some good news. :-)

Today when I was getting my clothes out of my suitcase, I found a pair of ballet shoes in there under my favourite flannel shirt. I was surprised, because... well, I don't do ballet. I would have no reason to bring something like that. I packed my own bag, so I didn't see why that would be in there, or how it got there. I guess it could be the dog, but April doesn't usually leave stuff so neatly, and I've never seen her carry two shoes at once. But even if it was April, why wouldn't I have seen them before this? I've been living out of this suitcase for days, and it's not that big - and the dog is back home.

I figured there was more to this, so I decided to take a closer look. When I did, I realized the shoes weren't a pair after all. The right shoe was slightly smaller, and the left shoe was significantly more worn. I flipped the side down so I could see if anything was written there; Fiona and Kaya write their names in their slippers so they won't get mixed up with their classmates' shoes, because the shoes all look kind of alike. I figured it was worth a try to see who they belonged to. 

I gasped with surprise... because the right shoe was labeled "Cecile" and the left one was labeled "Marie-Grace"! Our missing vampire friends!

I think this was a message. I think it's still too dangerous for them to show themselves - if someone else saw the shoes, they wouldn't realize it was anything besides the clothing I packed for myself, so it's less dangerous - but I think they're telling us they're both alive and safe somewhere. If they could leave something in my suitcase, they must even be pretty nearby.

We're really, really relieved. I hope they get in touch in person soon. For now, I think this is good holiday news. The other girls were right; it worked out in perfect timing for Christmas, just like a holiday movie!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all our friends! *hugs from all The Greens and The Roses*

Love,
Bree

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shoot the Messenger


Hi, this is Kaya. I'm not sure how to preface this story, so I'm just going to jump right in.

We made a big mistake. And now we're trying to figure out how we can fix it... and if we can.

Okay, that's actually too far ahead of myself. I'm going to backtrack a little. As Fiona said in the last post, Nutcracker is over, and we're really happy with how it went. It was a lot of fun, but totally exhausting at the same time. We're ready for a vacation. Today in the late afternoon/evening, our dance school had our annual holiday party for everyone, whether or not they were in Nutcracker. Then very early tomorrow (like 4 a.m.) I'm headed to the airport to board a plane to start on my way to Idaho for Christmas, and some of the other girls are also headed different directions too.

We were anticipating a pretty crazy couple of days. We had no idea.

Fiona and I were worried today at the party because Marie-Grace and Cécile didn't show up. They'd said they were going to be late - they couldn't come till the sun set - but they planned to be there. We didn't hear anything to indicate that had changed, so it made us nervous when even by the end, they never made it.

I suggested that on our way home, Fiona and I could stop by their house and make sure they were okay. What we didn't bank on was that we haven't talked to them about the specifics of their living arrangements since we found out they're vampires... so before, they might not have told us the truth for the sake of safety. We walked up the driveway, and noticed that the abandoned house next door must have burned down recently. It still smelled like charring and smoke. I'm not sure why that made me feel nervous, but I couldn't help it. We knocked on the door - and a very polite woman told us that no one named Cécile or Marie-Grace lived there, and she didn't know them.

Fiona and I both glanced over at the burned shell of the abandoned house. I hastily thanked the woman, and we hurried away. I was starting to feel sick to my stomach, because I had a feeling I knew where the girls really live. Or lived... because there was hardly anything left. Just a bunch of debris on the ground, and a few charred standing beams.

I hoped that I was wrong. That I was just being dramatic. I mean, what were the chances we'd guessed right? Then I saw something purple and soft hooked on the back fence that was far enough away from the house that it was still standing. I carefully picked my way through the wreckage, and took it down. It was a lilac-coloured shawl, one we've seen Cécile and Marie-Grace both wear to ballet sometimes.

This burnt-out shell of a house was where they'd been living. And now they're gone.

I took the shawl with me, and we walked home in silence. When we got there, I told Inna what we had found. That's when, together, we realized our mistake.

When we got the warning about The Elders - the powerful old vampires who are making our lives difficult - we thought the danger was mainly to Tabitha, Clare, and Inna, so those were the people we were focused on protecting. We didn't even consider the fact that the Elders might shoot the messenger they'd used to deliver the warning.

We're pretty sure that's what happened, though. They haven't found Tabitha and Clare, and although they know where Inna is, in spite of their threats she's pretty well-guarded. They might manage to overpower our group, but it wouldn't be an easy job. They'd have a big fight on their hands.

But... they also couldn't go too long without doing anything at all, because it would make them look weak. So they went for the most exposed target, even if that target was peripheral at most to their goals.

We blame ourselves. It never even occurred to us that Cécile and Marie-Grace were in danger. If we had known, we would have insisted on bringing them here so we could protect them. We didn't realize they were living in some abandoned house, probably all by themselves. We would have helped. Now it's too late.

We don't know for sure that they're dead. They might be. I hate to say that, and the idea makes me sad and sick, but if they were in the house at the time of the fire, even a vampire wouldn't have survived. Especially if they'd already been staked or something. It's also possible... and I hope this is true... that the Elders took them away somewhere, or they managed to escape and run away.

The family members who are staying here are going to keep looking for them. Those of us who were supposed to leave are still going; we don't want to arouse more suspicion, and there's not much we can do at this point anyway.

I really hope we find out some good news. At the moment, all our hearts are pretty heavy.

Love,
Kaya

Performance Notes


Hi, this is Fiona. We're really tired, so this is going to be short. We'll write a longer entry tomorrow.

Tonight was the last night of Nutcracker! It's been an awesome but busy couple of weeks. I'm sort of sad that it's over, but sort of happy, and I'm really proud of us. Kaya did a great job, and the teachers seem proud of me, too. It was fun to be Clara, and Kaya switched between all her roles like it was nothing. All in all, it went really well. The audiences seemed to enjoy it. People clapped. Our family came to see it a couple of times and brought us flowers.

On Friday, Bree's drama club had their final performance too. Bree had planned to be backstage, because she likes the tech stuff rather than acting on stage, and at the last minute she got pulled into being the replacement stage manager! She was really nervous, but it went great. The show was a variety of holiday songs, skits, and sketches, and it was really fun. Kaya didn't get to go because of Nutcracker, but my cast wasn't on stage that night, so I got to see it. All the kids did a great job, and Bree did really well organizing it all. She's been grinning ear to ear ever since, because she made it work.

Now we're off to get some sleep! ;-)

Just wanted to fill you in about how our stuff has been going - very well! Pretty soon people are leaving for their holiday trips. For now, we're basking in successful performances. :-)

Love,
Fiona

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Connecting the Dots


Hi, this is Summer. After supper last night - we were getting ready to head from the Green house to the Rose house to get some sleep, actually - the doorbell rang. Cécile and Marie-Grace were standing on the front steps, looking worried. I would have been able to tell from their expressions alone that something was up. Plus the fact that it was so late at night. Plus the fact that they know that coming over might make Tabitha freak out, but they still came without warning. My immediate thought was that this was something bad.

They came inside. (Tabitha went down the the basement and killed a chair. Clare was mostly fine. Every now and then she'd start to crouch defensively like they were about to fight, but she'd catch herself and snap out of it. Ah, territorial young vampires...) After some basic hellos, they got down to business.

"We found out who killed those other vampires," Marie-Grace said. "They're a group of really old, powerful vampires who call themselves The Elders."

Inna dropped the mug she was holding, and it shattered against the tile floor. Her face was even paler than usual. She didn't say anything, though, so the girls went on explaining.

"They're looking for Clare and Tabitha," Cécile said, with obvious worry in her voice.

"Why?" I asked, although I hadn't meant to say it aloud.

It was Inna who answered me. "Vampire society isn't all that organized, in general, except at the family or local group level. But... there are a few groups who try to exert power over the others. Usually less out of the goodness of their hearts, and more because they need vampires to be a secret, so they can keep their own position of control. They enforce what has popularly come to be called 'the masquerade,' so I guess they're the vampire form of a penal system."

"Like the Mounties?" Kiwi asked innocently.

Inna shook her head. "The Mounties follow the law of the land, not just their own whims. Vampires have no official law that everyone recognizes. Also, the Mounties don't just murder people - that's the biggest difference."

"That's why they killed the vampires who turned me, I guess," Clare said. "They drew a lot of human attention. It was in the papers, and stuff, that people were being attacked and disappearing back in Denver. And that's why they're coming after us, too."

Marie-Grace nodded. "That's what they said."

"You talked to them?" I asked.

Cécile looked embarrassed. "Well, it's not like we invited them over for tea. They sought us out, not the other way around. We were just trying to stay out of their way."

Marie-Grace added quietly, "They found us because they wanted to warn us about who we make friends with here. We haven't made them angry. Not yet, anyway. But... they're upset about Tabitha and Clare. Both of those girls created a fair bit of chaos back in the United States." She added, "Sorry!" to Clare, but Clare shrugged and looked ashamed, because it was the truth.

"How do they know Clare and Tabs are here?" Kirsten asked. "They haven't caused any trouble in public here."

"Because of Kiwi's injuries," Cécile replied. "I guess they have people reporting back to them from all over the place, and... someone who read the medical reports didn't buy the 'dog attack' story. They snooped around, and figured it out."

"Do they know where the girls are?" Inna asked, sounding awfully calm under the circumstances.

Cécile shook her head. "Only that they're in this city. Nothing more specific. If they did... things would have gotten bad already. They said... to tell you that your days are numbered, too, Inna. I'm really sorry..."

"It's not your fault," Inna said rather blankly, and exchanged a glance with Maia.

This was all getting to be a bit much for me. These are people I care about!

"Why would they want to hurt Inna?" I asked somewhat angrily.

Inna answered before Cécile could. She said, "Because they tried before and I didn't die."

Suddenly all the pieces clicked into place. We weren't dealing with all kinds of different vampire groups trying to pick us off. It was all these Elders. They were the ones who tried to kill Inna, and then bound her as a servant. They're the ones who chased us here. They're the ones who have been threatening the Rose family all along. Now they're threatening Clare and Tabitha too - and this city probably drew their attention in the first place because Inna came here - they just don't realize we're all together. And from what Bree said about vampires and Fae, she and Fiona may be on the hit list too.

Not good!

Fortunately, at this point, Marie-Grace broke the silence by announcing, "There's a silver lining, though."

"Go on?" Maia encouraged her, although it was difficult to see the possibility of one.

"Well... they're gone." Marie-Grace was speaking hurriedly now, eager to get this out before the bad mood completely overtook us. "Not forever. They haven't given up. But... something happened. I don't know what. A message came while they were at our house, and they whispered about it, and then they all left. We followed them discreetly, and they boarded a ship at the harbour, and went away. We couldn't figure out where they were going - the ship's information was in Russian, I think - but they're not here anymore."

"They'll come back," Cécile cautioned us.

"Of course," Inna replied, and her smile had a sarcastic twist. "They've been playing cat-and-mouse with me for years. It's amusing to them to toy with the prey." Realizing this comment was potentially alarming, she added, "But don't forget, we have a major advantage now. We know what they're up to, and they don't know that we know. We can be prepared for them."

Clare looked pretty miserable, so I gave her a hug. "I'm sorry about all this..." she said.

"It's not your fault," I told her sincerely. "You didn't ask to become a vampire, and you didn't know how to control yourself at first. You didn't have anyone to help you like we're helping Tabitha. You aren't responsible for what happened."

"Thanks," Clare said softly. It's not like we haven't told her that before, but she obviously needed reassurance at that moment.

So now we have to come up with our next move. Our first thought was to cancel our various holiday trips instead of scattering all over the place for Christmas... safety in numbers, and all. Inna said she didn't think that was a good idea, though. They probably already have some suspicions about us, and if we suddenly had a big change of plans right after they gave Cécile and Marie-Grace a warning, it would be pretty obvious we had something to hide. Well, more like someone to hide - Clare and Tabitha. We're going to go ahead with what we intended to do for the holidays, and hope the vampire Elders stay gone for a good long time.

Love,
Summer

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fairy Lessons


Hi, this is Bree. It took me a few days to get over the shock of what Inna told me, and Inna was really nice about it. She was normal and friendly, but didn't bring it up. After I'd had some time to adjust, I went next door and asked her to tell me everything I would need to know about being one of the Fae, so I could tell Fiona too. Inna seemed relieved that I'd started to accept the news, and she told me some things we should be aware of. I took notes. I'm going to copy what she told me into the blog so our friends will know too. It's late, but I'm having trouble sleeping, so I may as well get this written down.

***

1.) There are lots of different kinds of fairies.


Big ones, small ones, tall ones, short ones... nice ones, and mean ones. Some look pretty much like humans, with just a certain "something" to distinguish them. Some look really different. Some have horns, or hooves, or odd coloured eyes, or skin and hair colours humans can't be born with, like green or purple. A few have wings, although that's less common that pop culture portrays. There are a lot of different kinds of talents, abilities, and magical powers. There isn't an easy way to define all of us.


2.) Not all fairies are nice.


This is important to remember. It's kind of like humans. Some are great, most are alright most of the time, and some are really horrible. You shouldn't automatically trust a fairy, any more than you should automatically take the word of a human stranger. Many groups of fairies value deception and illusion, so you need to be careful of that. Some fairies are malicious for fun, and some take "jokes" too far. Being one of the Fae doesn't mean you have to be a bad person, though. I'm still the same person I was all along.


3.) Different kinds have different cultures and customs.


Fairies are as diverse as... well, human cultures. Maybe more so, because all humans are humans, and different kinds of Fae can be totally different creatures. What is seen as a compliment to one group may be an insult to another, and vice versa. Some value secrecy, and some see how far they can push it without being discovered. Some live in big groups, and some live in families or completely alone.

If you don't know who you're dealing with, it's better to be as cautious and neutral as possible. If you do know who you're dealing with, you can score a lot of points by being aware of their ways, and can avoid their usual wiles.


4.) They don't all get along.


There's a lot of in-fighting among the Fae, both within groups and between groups. In fact, fairies can be quite horrible and cruel to each other, as well as to humans. It's important to remember that, and to avoid getting into the middle of arguments you don't understand.


5.) In many parts of the world, there are two main groups, the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court.


This is apparently one of the main rivalries in the fairy world. (But not the only rivalry... there are lots, probably more rivalries than there are Fae since many have more than one.) The Seelie Court are more concerned for appearances and custom, and the Unseelie are more wild and crazy.

Some people think that the Seelie are good and the Unseelie are bad, but... it's more complicated than that. The Seelie are more concerned about being thought to be good, but both can be really mean, and members of both can be really nice. It's more down to the individuals involved.

From a political standpoint, though, the two courts are important to know about.


6.) The fact someone doesn't look like a fairy doesn't mean they aren't.


I kind of knew this, because... well... me. Blakeney says my skin is hard to photograph right, but other than that - no difference from anyone else. If you passed me or Inna on the street, you wouldn't think we looked unusual.

Of course, some fairies can't pass for humans at all, because of size, or unusual features like horns or wings, or because their skin, hair, or eyes aren't possible for regular people.

However, the fact someone can pass for human doesn't mean they are.


7.) Fairies have powers. They don't always reveal those powers or their real plans. So don't underestimate them.


This one is kind of self-explanatory, and it makes sense. No one wants to put all their cards on the table in front of a potential enemy; according to Inna, in the world of the Fae, almost anyone is a potential enemy. It's smart to pretend to be weak. Most are not weak, so it's dangerous to believe them that they are.


8.) Not all vampires know about fairies, and not all fairies know about vampires - but when they do, they often don't get along.


This one makes sense in a way too, I guess. Supernatural immortals trying to live in the same territory are likely to get in each other's way. Inna thinks there's more to it than that, though. Something more fundamental to the cultures that makes them decide to be enemies.

I don't think it's something we're born with. I've never felt animosity to the vampires I live with, and they've never felt any toward the Fae members of the family. I think it's something learned and passed down. We can live in peace. We're doing it in this household. We just shouldn't count on others to abide by it.

Which of course means more potential danger. Since we have both fairies and vampires in our family, we'll likely have the displeasure of both sides if they find out about us. (This is probably also why those vampires Inna knew were so keen to kill her when she made the mad.) At least if we know the truth, we can be on our guard... but we really don't need more enemies to deal with. Hopefully they'll all just leave us alone.


***


For now, that's the basics. There are a lot of things to learn about different types, different groups, and different customs. If I'm every going to interact with other Fae, I'm going to have to learn about their traditions and talents. If I'm going to know all I should about myself, I'm going to need to research our background.

It's a lot to take in. But somehow I've started thinking in terms of "because I'm one of the Fae" rather than "if I'm one of the Fae." Odd.

In a weird way, I feel like I know myself better now. Like a big piece that was missing finally clicked into place. Unlike a few days ago, now I'm excited to learn more!

Love,
Bree

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Performance Time


Hi, this is Kaya. It's late, and I'm wired... because tonight was the second day of Nutcracker! So far I've done three performances, and Fiona has done two because her role is double-cast. It's going really well. We've had good crowds every time, and got a lot of applause. Our family came to opening night and brought us both roses, and they're going to come to the final performance too.

***

I should backtrack a little, though. Before Nutcracker, there was a difficult conversation to be had. A few days ago, Clare told us that our new friends are vampires. Obviously, we needed to bring up the subject with Cécile and Marie-Grace. What was less obvious was how. The girls all thought I should be the one to talk to them, because Fiona and I know them best from being in ballet together, and I'm more diplomatic than Fiona is.

Um... yay? Lucky me? I win the prize and get the bad job? ;-)

I couldn't exactly say no, though. I wasn't looking forward to the chat, but there were valid reasons for it. During the time between when we decided and when I saw Marie-Grace and Cécile, I practiced what I was going to say. I was trying to come up with something more eloquent than, "We know you're vampires, but it's all good." The others didn't have any brilliant ideas either.

On Thursday, on the way to final dress rehearsal, I crossed paths with Cécile and Marie-Grace as I walked from my school to the theatre. I think the two girls could tell that I had something on my mind, because they followed me as I went into a side-street where we wouldn't be overheard. I took a deep breath and said...

"We know you're vampires, but it's all good!" (I told you I couldn't think of anything better! :-P)

Cécile and Marie-Grace exchanged a worried look.

"Sorry we didn't tell you," Marie-Grace said sheepishly. "We didn't know how to."

"Didn't you realize we had a vampire in the basement?" I asked. "She could tell you were upstairs."

Cécile replied, "We could tell there was a vampire, but we thought she lived with your random neighbours rather than your family, and either way, we didn't know why she was there. If she was a family member, or a prisoner, or if someone was about to stake her and set her corpse on fire, or... what."

Yeah, it might have been a good idea to mention to them at some point that the Roses live in a separate house. Oops! They've only ever seen Summer and Kiwi either at the Green house or out and about somewhere else. No wonder Cécile and Marie-Grace were confused.

"She's a family member," I quickly clarified. "Not the other stuff."

"We wanted to find out more," Cécile explained. "So we stayed nearby to try to find out."

Hastily, Marie-Grace added, "But we did really want to be your friends too. We like you."

"I know," I replied. We've had a lot of fun together, so I wasn't really worried about that. "Are you... really old vampires?"

Cécile nodded. "Yes. We're really from New Orleans, but it was... a long time ago. We were turned during a Yellow Fever epidemic. With so many deaths, no one saw anything amiss in two girls suddenly disappearing."

Marie-Grace nervously asked, "So what happens now?"

I shrugged. "Nothing changes. I just wanted you to know we knew, so you don't have to worry about keeping it a secret."

"You girls still want to be our friends?"

"Of course we do," I assured them with a grin.

"There's danger," Cécile told me bluntly. Then she clarified, "Not from us. We wouldn't hurt you. We're old vampires, and we've been working on self-control for a long time. But... others. There are dangerous vampires in this town, much older and more powerful than we are - and they're trying to 'cleanse' the city of those they consider a threat to their way of life. Which very well may include the two of us."

"Do you know who? Or why?" I asked, with a sinking feeling. If there was risk of these ancient vampires going after our friends, Tabitha and Clare are probably in danger too.

They both shook their heads, and Cécile said, "We've been trying to stay out of their way. It's dangerous enough to keep going to ballet, but... we have to keep living our lives. We can't figure out a way to snoop around without drawing their attention. And their fire."

I knew this 'fire' could be literal. Of the 'set on fire' kind, like the bad vampires who were killed. Typical of the vampire legends, too.

"We'll help you," I promised. Then I linked arms with each of the girls, and we walked to ballet rehearsal. I let myself sense their feelings... and sensed relief and friendliness.

Good. That's what we like.

***

Life goes on, and we're dancing in Nutcracker now. People clap, and dangerous things seem far away. I hope it stays that way for awhile. Either way, though, family protects each other... and new friends protect each other, now, too.

Love,
Kaya

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not Human


Hi, this is Bree again. I had two conversations today that are kind of... blowing my mind. I'm going to share them with you, so you can help me think them through.

The first conversation was with Clare. She came to my room to bring back a book I lent her, and before she left, she said casually, "By the way, you know your new friends are vampires too, right?"

I'm pretty sure my jaw literally dropped. No, I did not know that, and I'm fairly sure Kaya and Fiona didn't either. "You mean Cécile and Marie-Grace?" I asked stupidly, although I'm not sure who else could fit the title of 'new friends' at this point.

"Yeah." Clare raised an eyebrow. "You can't tell?"

I shook my head, still trying to take in this information. I was about to ask her why she hadn't said something before, and then I realized she hadn't actually met them before last night. The first time Marie-Grace and Cécile came to our house, Clare was out hunting. Then the day they went sledding with the younger girls, Clare had gone to the snowball fight with the rest of us older ones. The tree lighting at the park was the first time Clare had been introduced to them in person, so she hadn't really been holding out.

If it was a vampires-recognize-vampires thing, why hadn't Tabitha...? Oh, wait. Tabitha totally freaked out when they were over here. At the time, we thought it was the strangers with unfamiliar human blood issue. But what if it was really some kind of territorial thing, or something? Tabitha still hasn't talked about that night. Maybe she assumed we already knew.

We didn't, though. All of us were totally surprised. I mean, we haven't seen them during the daytime... but in Newfoundland in the winter, "daytime" is over by around the end of the school day. There are a lot of regular people we haven't seen in daytime either. Plus there's the way they dress. We figured it was just personal taste - but what if they dress in older styles because they really are old? Which they must be, because they have no reaction to being around humans at all, even at ballet where the occasional bleeding injury is inevitable. They must have been practicing self-control for a long time to get that good.

I talked it over with my sisters, to decide what to do, and we decided... we're not really going to do anything. They aren't a danger to us. Kaya and Fiona are going to tell them we know, just so they won't have to worry about it anymore, but there's no reason for it to affect our friendship.

This new news was something to get used to. Mainly just because it was weird that we didn't figure it out on our own, and Clare had to tell us. Vampires aren't really very surprising to us anymore, which is an odd thing to realize.

Then came... the other thing. Which for me was even more mind blowing.

I decided to talk to Inna about the possible fairy incident over the weekend. I figured if she knew about vampires, maybe she knew about fairies too. Worth a try, right?

It may seem like a weird thing to have a conversation about, but talking about fairies was in some ways easier than vampires. Here in Newfoundland, a lot of people believe in fairies. For some people, it's even seen as sort of... disloyal... to say you don't, because it's part of the local culture. I'm not originally from here, and neither is Inna, but somehow it makes a difference.

When I asked Inna about fairies, she kind of sighed, and leaned on the kitchen counter. "I thought you might ask," she said, and she sounded kind of tired. "Bree, there's something I think you should know. I don't think you're entirely human."

I just kind of blinked. Of course I am! What else would I be?

Inna went on, "I think the reason they showed themselves to you is that you have fairy blood, yourself. I've wondered about it since I met you and Fiona, but I wasn't sure till now."

I suddenly flashed back to the earlier conversation. (Now you see why I wrote all that down for you? It was so you could follow my flashback. :-P) Clare had said she could just tell Marie-Grace and Cécile are vampires because she's a vampire herself. And that might mean...

"You know because you're one too?" I suggested tentatively.

Inna smiled, and said, "Yes. Very good, Bree."

Tomorrow, Inna is going to tell me some things I need to know about fairies. I just couldn't handle more information today. I'm still kind of in shock. Cécile and Marie-Grace aren't human. Inna isn't human. And if she's right, my little sister isn't human... and I'm not human either.

I might not be human.

This is crazy.

But it feels...

True.

Love,
Bree

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dancing in the Woods



Hi, this is Bree. The past weekend was a fun one for me. The highlight was that we went to the park on Saturday for a Christmas tree lighting. That's an annual tradition here, I guess - although this is my first winter holiday season here, so I haven't been to one before. There are choirs and bands who perform carols, and some sing along songs, and then at the end someone lights the main tree, and all the trees around the pond light up too. It was very pretty. Chilly, of course, since it's December, but the snow was only in patches, and the event gave out free hot chocolate, which helped us stay warm.

We got there early, shortly before dark, so mid-afternoon. While we were waiting, several of us wandered off to "explore" the park. It's pretty safe there, and it gave us something to do... plus walking around doesn't make it feel as cold as just standing there does.

Fiona and I went exploring together. I've known her longer than anyone else in the family because she's my biological sister (even though we didn't really live together very much before we moved here,) and we haven't spent much time just the two of us lately. It's fun to spend time with our new sisters, too, but this felt like old times, which is nice every once in awhile.

We went across the bridge and took the path that leads into the woods. No one else was really around, because most people had gathered for the tree lighting. Suddenly, Fiona pointed deeper into the woods, and said, "Hey, look at that!"

We saw lights through the woods, and shadows moving back and forth, so we got curious, and we left the path - following the sounds of laughter and singing - and found a ring of white stones. To my surprise, there were people gathered there, although it was hard to see them clearly because it was starting to get dark. They didn't look like they were dressed for the cold, but they seemed happy. I guess they were warm because most of them were dancing.

One of them grabbed my hand, and one grabbed Fiona's, and they pulled us into dancing with them. Now, normally I'm not much of a dancer. I'm pretty coordinated, but I'm just not graceful about it. I'm better at stuff like running, rather than artistic movement. Somehow I was able to keep up, though, and Fiona, the actual dancer, was in her element. I was totally breathless and couldn't stop smiling.

Finally, I said, "We should go get the rest of the family! They'd love this!" Fiona agreed, and we went to find our other sisters - and as it turned out, also Cécile and Marie-Grace, who had found them by the pond. It was getting pretty dark when we all met up. They followed us back to the clearing where we danced, and...

Nothing.

No music. No dancing. No one there, and no sign anyone had been there. Not even the ring of rocks. I couldn't believe it.

Kirsten said she thought we were lying, and was very irritated to have walked all that way. Kaya was more reasonable, and said we'd probably just gotten confused about where we were because it had gotten darker, and the dancing had probably really happened somewhere else in the woods. This seemed logical, since I obviously knew I wasn't lying, but it didn't seem quite right, either. There was a really recognizable double-bowed tree right by the path, so I had a landmark that I was in the right place. I just didn't know how else to explain it.

As we were walking back, Evelyn said, "Maybe it was the fairies!" Everyone kind of laughed, but... once she said that, I started thinking about it, and it made sense. What happened is just like some of the old fairy legends. Now I don't know what to think.

If vampires, shapeshifters, and strange powers exist... could fairies be real, too?

Love,
Bree

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tagged

Not the kind on packages! ;-) Our friends at Bolton Girls Travel Journal tagged us, and this is our response. We don't all have the same answers, and we couldn't decide on one person to answer for all of us, so we're going to do this in sort of interview style. (The line spacing got a little messed up, and we can't figure out why, sorry!) Not everyone answered every question, because that would get pretty long, but all of us chimed in on a few.


1) What is your favorite part of the holiday season?


Evelyn: Presents!

Fiona: Caroling!

Josefina: Midnight Christmas Eve mass.

Bree: Spending time with family and friends.

Kirsten: Um... probably also presents.

Felicity: Wow, that's mature, Kir.


2) Who do you celebrate Christmas with?


Bree: Well, it's going to be different for some of us this year than last year. I'm still deciding if I'm going to New York State with Blakeney or staying here.

Josefina: Evelyn, Kaya, Kirsten, Felicity, Molly, Charissa, and I are each going to visit with some of our biological relatives in different parts of the United States.

Summer: The rest of us - me, Kiwi, Tabitha, Fiona, and Clare - will be here with Inna and Maia. We'll all have fun holiday stories to exchange when we're together again!


3) What is your favorite gift you have ever received?


Molly: Paints!

Kirsten: You get those every year.

Molly: So? It's still my favourite.

Felicity: I got a really lovely piece of heirloom china once. That was pretty neat.

Evelyn: My most favourite toy horse was a Christmas gift.


4) What are your favorite Christmas Carols?

Kaya: Silent Night.

Molly: Deck the Halls.

Tabitha: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen... it's a little creepy and dark, but I like it.

Evelyn: Jingle Bells.

Josefina: A La Ru... it reminds me of my mother and grandmother.


5) What is your favorite Christmas food?

Summer: Cranberry sauce.

Kirsten: Turkey.

Charissa: Sweet potatoes.

Clare: Blood. Sorry, sorry - but I'm still a vampire on holidays!


6) Can you sleep on Christmas Eve?


Evelyn: Not very well, and I wake up early.

Charissa: Yeah, but I lie awake for awhile first.

Molly: I could probably sleep through a train running over me, so yes, I sleep like a log, just like every night.


7) When do you wake up on Christmas morning?


Evelyn: When the sun comes up.

Fiona: Eight o'clock.

Felicity: That sounds early... I'll say nine o'clock.

Molly: Late. Long after everyone is waiting and has attempted to wake me up several times.


8) What is your most memorable memory?


Clare: One time I thought my grandmother forgot about Christmas, because we didn't really do much to get ready. I bought her a present, but I didn't think I was getting anything since we didn't have much money that year. When I woke up on Christmas morning, the whole house was decorated, and there were presents under the tree. She wanted to surprise me by doing it like they did when she was a little girl.

Summer: Last year in Ontario we had a Christmas parade thing with the horses at the stable, and we dressed the horses in things like antlers and wreaths, and wore Santa hats.

Kirsten: I was born on Christmas Day.

Felicity: That's not really a memory, since you don't remember it.

Kirsten: Whatever. It was a big deal for me, okay?


9) What are you Christmas traditions?

Kirsten: Going to church on Christmas Eve. Some of us go to the Anglican one.

Josefina: I go to Roman Catholic mass. Also I make fish soup for supper.

Kiwi: We open presents and then have pancakes for breakfast.

Kaya: Being in Nutcracker, and singing songs around the piano on Christmas.

Felicity: Baking Christmas cookies to take to friends.

Clare: Going caroling.


10) Do you have a real tree or an artificial tree?


Kaya: Real.

Bree: Artificial. Lots of people in my genetic family are allergic to evergreen.

Kiwi: Whatever our cat won't tear down, I guess?


So those are our answers. It's hard to know who to tag for this one, because we don't know who does celebrate Christmas and who doesn't... but if we tag you and no one in your household celebrates it, you can talk about your own favourite holiday instead. (Or just not answer.) Have fun!

Tagging:
Sabine
Aurora and Friends
Inky
Rebecca, Summer, and Friends
Sarah Annaliese

Anyone else who wants to answer - consider yourself tagged too! :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Truth About Inna


Hi, this is Kiwi! Like Summer said in the last post, I'm feeling a lot better, so I'm going to be writing today's post because I found out something interesting about my big sister Inna.

It may seem weird that there's anything left to find out... but Inna hasn't been my sister for very long. Me and Summer used to live with just Maia. We met Inna in Toronto, where we were living at the time, a couple of months before we moved here. At first, me and Summer thought she was Maia's new girlfriend - but it turns out they were just friends. Inna didn't have a nice place to stay, and we had an extra bedroom, so Maia talked to us and asked if it was okay if Inna came and lived with us. Of course we said it was fine. So Inna became our second older sister, even though we didn't meet her till this year. When Inna was in some kind of danger in Toronto and decided to move here to try to be safe, we came with her, because we're family.

Inna has always been really nice to us, and really goes out of her way to take care of us and protect us. She's always been kind of secretive, though, and won't talk much about her background. Usually she says it doesn't matter - but sometimes she admits the real reason, which is because she thinks we wouldn't be safe if we knew. I get the feeling some parts of her past are pretty bad, because of that and because a lot of times she makes sarcastic little comments about herself that she's not a nice person... even though she really is.

The doctor said I can't go back to school till next week because I had surgery, so Maia took time off work to take care of me. While we were eating lunch today, and I asked her, "How come Inna knows so much about vampires?"

I didn't expect that she would answer me, because she usually doesn't talk about stuff people don't want her to talk about - but Maia surprised me. She said, looking at my still kind-of-bruised face, "We agreed to protect you from this... but I guess we can't." Then she told me the basics of the story.

A few years ago, Inna made some vampires mad - I don't know what she did, Maia didn't say. These were big bad scary vampires, not nice ones like Clare and Tabitha. And older, more powerful ones, like we were wondering about before. They decided to kill her, but not all of them agreed, and when some of them tried to murder her, the other ones secretly saved her life... but she didn't know at the time that there would be a catch. The ones who saved her bound her to them as their servant. 

Inna was with them for awhile, but she finally got away. She's been on the run ever since - from vampires who think she's dead, and from vampires who think she betrayed them by escaping instead of spending the rest of her life serving them. No wonder she's so scared! And no wonder she felt so sorry for Clare. Good thing Inna has us to protect her now!

I asked Maia if I was supposed to keep this a secret, and she said no. That it's better for everyone to know the truth now. I'm glad, because it would have been really hard to be the only kid who knows, and not be able to talk to my sisters.

When Inna got home, Maia told her that she'd told me. Inna didn't seem upset with Maia - but she was worried. She asked me if I still liked her. I said of course I do, I love her, because she's my sister! Then I gave her a big hug. Everything was alright after that.

I'm sure this isn't the whole truth about Inna. I typed up everything Maia told me so I won't forget, but it's just the bare bones of the story. Maybe in time, we'll learn more. For now, I feel like I know my big sister a little better.

Love,
Kiwi

Monday, November 28, 2011

All Better Now


Good news, everyone - Kiwi went in for her surgery today, and now she's home! :-)

Kiwi is doing well. She says she isn't too sore, and she can breathe a lot better with the bone in her nose fixed. She's still really groggy, though, and that's why I (Summer) am reporting on her progress instead of her. Kiwi has some pain pills to take, and she's supposed to take it easy for the next few days, but she's going to be fine.

We're all really relieved. There wasn't any real danger to Kiwi from the surgery, but medical procedures are always a little nerve-wracking. We're glad she's home and feeling better.

Tabitha seems better, too, now that she's sure Kiwi will really be okay. She still isn't talking about what happened when Cécile and Marie-Grace came over, but she's otherwise pretty normal again, and working hard on staying in control of herself. Tabitha watched The Dark Crystal with Kiwi this evening; I think it was good for the two of them to spend time together, so Tabs can see that all is truly forgiven.

Kaya and Fiona have been rehearsing hard for the Nutcracker. Cécile and Marie-Grace haven't been over again because they're all spending so much time at the dance school these days, but Kaya and Fi see them at practices, and have carried our hellos and good wishes back and forth. Once Nutcracker is over, we're going to spend more time with them.

So yeah, the main news is Kiwi. (No new developments, either good or bad, on the recent vampire issues.) Kiwi is feeling pretty cheerful, and wants me to tell you that she got to keep her hospital gown and hospital ID bracelet, because she's really excited about that for some reason. (She tells me that the reason is "Because it's cool!" Well, okay then.) I think she's looking forward to life being back to normal again. Kiwi doesn't like being laid up with an injury, she likes being active. She should be good as new in a few days, though.

Kiwi says thanks for all the concern and well-wishes, and she very is glad to be able to give her friends good news! :-)

Love,
Summer

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Inna the Vampire Slayer


Hi, this is Clare, with more Crazy Vampire News.

As you may recall, ever since I've been here, I've had other vampires after me. That's why I came here, actually. I was running from them. I changed my name so it would be harder for them to find me; on the way here I passed a place called St. Clare's Hospital, so I decided to be Clare. They still found me... but I like my new name. I think it suits me.

There were four vampires in their hunting group. They're the ones who kidnapped me off the streets of Denver and turned me into a vampire too. They planned to keep me, and make me a part of their group. Like their trainee, or their little sister. I didn't want to be there, though, because they kill people, so I ran away. They weren't okay with that. They thought I belonged to them. They were afraid I would expose them to the humans because I'd gone rogue. Plus I think they just saw me as their property, with no right to get away. They were going to punish me for not doing what they wanted and not being a killer like them.

I ran from them for a long time... I guess I was always headed to Nova Scotia, without realizing it, because that's where I lived with my grandmother, and I was happy there. Well, they found me in Nova Scotia, so I stowed away on the ferry and went north again. That's how I ended up here. That's how I finally found a home.

Since then, the vampires have been skulking around from time to time. They would occasionally strike - like when they cornered me at the park, or when they kidnapped Kiwi - and then when they didn't win, they'd disappear again. We know they're monsters, but they're monsters who are good at hiding. You can't call the police about problem vampires, because the vampires would just eat the police. We knew we had to find some way of getting rid of them once and for all, before they killed more people. None of us knew where to look, though.

Tonight, they made a move. One of them was sniffing around the house, scouting us out, and he bumped into Inna. Who is not afraid of vampires. And who is capable of being really scary. I'm glad I'm on her side, not the other side. Inna didn't tell us all the details of how she defeated the vampire guy, but I know it involved a wooden stake and firing up the gas barbecue - so I can guess the rest. I'm glad that isn't how I ended up - and I definitely would have if my new family hadn't protected me!

Inna was able to follow the guy's trail back to where the other vampires were hiding. They had built a kind of nest in an unused downtown building, and had killed at least one homeless person to feed on. I'm glad I didn't see that. It would have been sad, and... I might not have acted human around the blood. I don't like that thought.

When Inna went further into their little makeshift lair, she found the other three vampires already dead. From the look of the scene - which wasn't much, since going with traditional lore they were burned - she said it looked like they'd been killed by other vampires.

I'm not sure whether I feel safer, or less safe. The ones who wanted me dead are gone now, but I don't think I can really say I'm safer without knowing why they were killed. 

Grudge? That probably wouldn't involve me. I haven't crossed paths with any other vampires besides the ones who turned me, plus Tabitha, so I don't see how I could have made anyone mad. 

Turf war? Depends. I'm not interested in being territorial, but if someone else wants this to be their territory without other vampires, Tabitha and I are probably also on the hit list. 

Or... something else? And if something else, then what? Why would vampires want to kill other vampires? Would whoever did it want to kill me and Tabitha, too?

Could it be that the vampires who got rid of the dangerous ones were trying to protect the humans? So maybe they're good vampires. Maybe there are nice and heroic vampires who go around making sure bad vampires don't hurt people? Inna didn't think this was too likely, but it would be a happy and optimistic possibility. She said most vampires are more about the self-preservation or at best protecting close family and allies... and in some cases protecting the secrets of vampirism... than about altruism to strangers. Too bad my wishful thinking vampire superhero theory is probably not true.

Maybe I don't want it to be true, anyway. I've done bad things. Tabitha has done bad things. Not that we had much choice, but it happened. Do we count as bad vampires because of that? If someone is "cleaning house" so to speak, are we in danger too?

In a way, it's a relief not to be scared of the vampires that made me into one anymore. I still have nightmares about when they kidnapped me and turned me. I'm glad they won't take anyone else's mortal life like that. Now I may have more things to be scared of, though. I'm glad I have my family to protect me and reassure me that it'll all be okay. No matter how things turn out with this, letting them adopt me was the smartest thing I ever did.

Love,
Clare

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Snow Day!


Hi, fellow bloggers! This is Summer. Summer in the winter! Har har! ;-)

(Wow, my little cartoon thing looks cold in a t-shirt, capris, and sandals!)

Anyway, we've told you this before, but today is not a holiday in Canada. We celebrate Thanksgiving in October, so today is just a Thursday for us. Today turned out to be unusual, though, because we got the first big snowstorm of the season. Not the first snowfall - that was a couple of weeks ago - but the first real storm that changed the daily routine. That's unusual for East Coast Newfoundland. We get a lot of snow, but normally our big bad weather is from January to May, not in November.

Because of the storm, we had a snowday today! It snowed on and off most of the day, and the sky was really cloudy, grey, and overcast. Being off school for weather was really surprising this early in the year, but it was fun. We got up at the normal time to read the school closings online, then got to go back to bed so we could sleep in. Then we got up, got dressed, had breakfast... and there was a knock on the door.

It turned out to be Cécile and Marie-Grace. Kaya had been worried they'd never talk to us again after Tabitha's issues last night, but apparently they still want to be our friends. Yay! They didn't come in the house this time - I think they didn't want to upset Tabitha again - but they asked if we wanted to go sledding in the park. The older girls had already gone out for a snowball fight with their friends, but Kaya, Fiona, Kiwi, Charissa, Evelyn, Molly, and I went with them, and we had a really good time tackling the "slopes." Our city is very hilly, so it's a great place to sled.

Cécile and Marie-Grace were wearing dresses as usual, but we were worried they would get cold, so we lent them some sweatpants to wear underneath. It looked a little silly, but everyone dresses in layers when there's a lot of snow, so they actually probably got fewer looks than usual. They didn't seem to have any trouble sledding in their skirts; I guess they're used to doing stuff dressed that way, even though they're still getting used to planning for how cold it gets here. (I was born in Toronto and I've always lived in Canada, so I'm used to it.)

When were done sledding, I taught the other girls some yoga. They fell over a lot - although the ballet girls and Kiwi with her gymnastics had an obvious edge - so I was glad I had thought to use the snow as cushioning. I'm not sure how much they really learned, but I think they enjoyed it. Then we built snow animals and made snow angels.

We had a great time, and laughed a lot. I'm glad Kaya and Fiona decided to invite the girls over yesterday, because now we can all be friends with them. I probably never would have met them otherwise because I don't take dance. We said goodbye to Cécile and Marie-Grace at the end of their driveway. (They live right next door to a creepy abandoned house... I wonder if they know any good ghost stories about it?) Then the rest of us headed home. It's fun to have new friends who only live two streets down from us. Once Nutcracker is over and the girls don't have so many rehearsals to go to, we're going to hang out more.

I'm so glad my family moved to this city! I wasn't sure about it at first... but now I've met so many great people. I feel really happy here, and very much at home. :-)

Love,
Summer

An awkward (but still fun) visit


Hi, blog friends. This is Kaya. As I mentioned in a reply to a comment on another post, our new friends came to visit us after tonight's Nutcracker rehearsal. It's easy to have people over after dance because our house is only about two blocks away from the dance school, so we just walked here after practice ended. It's getting dark here by late-afternoon this time of year, but it's still a pretty safe walk, especially at such a short distance.

Cécile and Marie-Grace seemed happy to visit, although they were a little shy. I think they don't get invited to people's houses very often. Unfortunately, as soon as I turned my key in the lock and let them in, Tabitha started freaking out. She's used to the family coming and going, but we weren't sure how she was going to handle a guest.

It was even worse than Halloween. Tabitha's room is in the basement of the Rose house, but we live in row houses so we only have interior walls between us. Cécile and Marie-Grace heard everything... including Tabitha ripping her bed apart and throwing pieces of it at the wall. They obviously weren't quite sure what to do.

I wasn't sure either, honestly. I'm used to Tabitha, but Tabs doesn't usually cross paths with "civilians." Was I supposed to joke about it? Explain? (Which would have to be a lie. I can't tell our guests, "Oh, that's just one of our vampires.") Should I apologize? Pretend it wasn't happening?

I went for a brief vague apology, followed by pretending it wasn't happening. Fiona followed my lead, but she kept glancing anxiously at the wall that separates the two houses, as if she was afraid Tabitha was going to burst through at any second. I was... not unconcerned about that possibility, too. Clare was out hunting, so at least we didn't have two of them to worry about. Since Clare is more used to being a vampire, she's in better control and has more options for that kind of stuff; we can't let Tabitha hunt alone in the city, but Clare can control herself well enough to stick to rats instead of humans.

Weirdness aside, we actually had a fun time. Cécile and Marie-Grace said they'd already eaten, and apparently they have a bunch of food allergies, so they didn't want anything to eat, but we all had some herbal tea. We talked about dance, and the places we've visited, and what their lives were like in New Orleans. They didn't say anything about their family, though, so I'm not really sure who they live with. When it was time for them to go, they walked home, so I'm not even positive where they live... although they did mention what street, and it's not far from here.

By the time we had finished our tea, some of my other sisters had joined us, and we played Scrabble and listened to music. (Cécile won the game.) Marie-Grace taught us some old-fashioned ballroom dance steps she had learned back in New Orleans. Not all of my sisters are very wonderful dancers - I thought Kirsten was going to sprain something - but we had a good laugh and it was a lot of fun.

Finally it got late for a school night, and Marie-Grace and Cécile had to say goodnight. (Canadian Thanksgiving is in October, so tomorrow is just a regular school Thursday for us.) It was a fun time, in spite of the weirdness with Tabitha.

Speaking of Tabitha, she totally destroyed her room - especially her bed, which is now in small pieces. At this point, she's being nonverbal again, although she stopped being aggressive once the girls left. Inna says Tabitha will snap out of it; actually Inna thinks Tabitha is over whatever happened, and is just being silent because she's too embarrassed to talk about it. I hope she doesn't feel too bad. I like it better when Tabitha is happy, and it's not her fault she's still struggling with being a vampire.

The weather probably didn't help. We're supposed to get a big snowstorm tomorrow. (I wonder if we'll get a little "holiday" from school after all?) Can vampires sense the weather like wild animals can? It's not a very flattering comparison, but I should ask Clare anyway. It would be interesting to know.

Oh! I also got another letter from my penpal in Nunvavut today. I found out she's a foster kid like I was; I wonder if they matched us up on purpose because of that. She told me more about her school and her activities, and it turns out she likes dance also. She also likes animals. I'm going to write her back about Nutcracker.

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers who celebrate it, and Happy Thursday to the rest! :-)

Love,
Kaya

P.S. We've decided to use our little cartoons of ourselves in posts we write so it's easier for our readers to remember which one of us is talking. Hopefully it won't be confusing! Group posts won't have a picture, but individual posts will.

P.P.S. Happy Birthday, Inky! :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Where do all the old vampires go?"



Hi there, this is Josefina. I'm just realizing I haven't written a blog entry in a long time! I've just been really distracted with school and stuff... the school newspaper takes up most of my writing time these days. It's good to be behind the keyboard for the blog again. :-)

Just to warn you, this isn't really a news post. It's more sort of a thinky post, about a conversation we had, and a question we couldn't figure out the answer to.

Several of us were sitting in the living room working on homework, when out of the blue, Kirsten asked, "Where do all the old vampires go?"

"What do you mean?" Felicity replied in a somewhat distracted way, looking up from the French verb conjugations she was memorizing.

Kirsten frowned, trying to explain her train of thought, and said, "Well, vampires are supposed to be immortal, right? So how come all the ones we've met have been turned really recently? Clare has been one for a little more than a year. Tabitha for less than two months. The ones who turned Clare and came after her don't seem all that ancient either, are they, Clare?"

Clare shook her head. "Nope. They were only turned a few years ago, as far as I know."

"Exactly!" Kirsten said. "So if they live forever, why haven't we met any old ones? Like Dracula, or something?"

"Because Dracula is fictional," Bree commented dryly without looking up from her book, her sole and oh-so-helpful contribution to the conversation.

Kirsten stuck her tongue out at Bree and rolled her eyes. "I don't mean Dracula specifically. Obviously! I mean really old ones like him. We know more vampires than the average people. How come we've never met any that were old? Like, not even that had been vampires for a few decades?"

All eyes turned to Clare, our resident insider vampire expert.

"I don't know," the resident insider vampire expert replied. "Vampires die a lot, though, I guess. We don't get old or pass away from natural causes, but we can be killed... and so far it seems like there are attempts to kill us a lot. Between vampire hunters and other vampires, the herd probably naturally gets thinned quite a bit."

We all thought this was likely true, but not a totally satisfying answer. That would explain why there weren't many older vampires. Like, why vampires don't just overrun humans and take everything over. It doesn't explain why haven't seen or heard of any, though... because there keep being new ones. Some of them are surviving long enough to create new ones, or else vampires would die out. If they can live that long, surely some of them make it to older age? Even much older?

"Maybe we should ask Inna this," Clare suggested. "She knows more than I do."

Including these two concepts - older vampires and Inna - in the same conversation made me wonder something. I wonder if that's what she's afraid of. If that's what's chasing her. She doesn't seem scared of newer vampires, like our resident ones or the ones chasing Clare. When Kiwi was taken, Inna was angry and afraid for Kiwi's safety, but she didn't seem to have any fears about surviving the rescue attempt herself; she seemed pretty confident. I'm sure some of it was for the sake of the rest of us - but I don't think all her courage was faked. When Inna manages to track the kidnapper vampires down again, she's planning to go after them, and again she seems confident about the outcome.

But there's something she is afraid of. I wonder if it could be the older sort of vampires that we haven't seen yet? Maybe she got on the bad side of one at some point, and now the vampire is out for revenge? It's just a guess, of course. But it's the only idea we've had so far of what might have scared Inna so badly she'd wonder if we were better off without her...

Love,
Josefina

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Practice makes... new friends?



Hi, this is Kaya again - three posts in a row from me, you guys will be so sick of it. :-P

I'm writing to update you again because the biggest new thing going on right now is Nutcracker rehearsals. Other than that, life is pretty normal. Well, at least our normal, which includes vampires and shapeshifters and stuff. ;-)

School is going okay for all of us. It's a pretty busy time of year, because the teachers want to get stuff done before the holidays, and we have a lot of extra activities. Speaking of those extra activities, Bree's drama club volunteered to do backstage work for Nutcracker! So now a third Green is involved; Bree has never danced in ballet in her life, but will be working on tech. At the moment, she thinks her job will be to operate the spotlight, which is very important to the show... but they're still deciding for sure what everyone's job will be.

Bree's drama club is also doing a holiday program of skits and songs at their school just before classes let out. She's doing tech for that, too. Bree has decided that she doesn't really like acting in front of people - although she enjoys the improv games they do at their practices - but she loves the backstage stuff. Personally, I think that's great, because it takes people doing both to make awesome shows happen. If everyone wanted the spotlight, plays and dance programs wouldn't be half as good, so I'm glad there are people like Bree who like to help with the unseen but equally important side.

Tabitha is doing well. She has good days and bad days, but the good days have been more frequent lately, and the bad days haven't been as bad. Maybe someday she'll feel comfortable blogging about it herself. For now, though, I'm pleased to tell you (with her permission) that things are better. Kiwi is feeling a lot better, too.

So... Nutcracker! That has been occupying a lot of my time and Fiona's in the past week. We've had rehearsals pretty much every day - although fortunately we have tomorrow off. It'll be nice to have a little break. Things are still pretty rough, but we still have a bit of time, and the teachers seem pleased with how it's going. We tried on our costumes today for the first time, and they look really nice, I think. Somehow, wearing the outfits we'll wear on stage (even without stage makeup and stuff) made it seem more real that we're actually going to be doing this thing in less than a month.

During rehearsals, we've made some new friends. That probably sounds weird since we're all from the same dance school, but our school is pretty big, so sometimes there are kids our paths don't cross with very much. For example, Fiona and the other Clara. They're at the same class level, but since that level has a lot of girls in it, it's divided into two sections so the teachers have a smaller group to teach at a time. Fiona and the other Clara, whose name is Cécile, are in different sections, so they have their normal classes on different days and don't really see each other. Nutcracker mixes that up a little, so we get to make friends with kids we wouldn't ordinarily get to know.

That's how Fiona and I ended up making some new friends. One of them is the girl I just mentioned, Cécile. She has a sister named Marie-Grace, who is also in the Nutcracker. I think maybe one or both of them might be adopted, because they look really different, but I didn't ask because I didn't want to pry. I thought it was neat that they have the same first names as the new American Girl characters - but they didn't seem to know who that was. Oh well.

Marie-Grace is playing Maria (Clara's best friend in the Party Scene) in Act One, and a Polichinelle in Act Two. At our dance school, it's a tradition that whoever plays Maria is also a Polichinelle, as another way the Kingdom of Sweets is like Clara's real life, although most of the audience never notices that.

The other girls at our practices were kind of ignoring Cécile and Marie-Grace, and whispering about them that they're weird. They wear really old-fashioned clothes and hairstyles, and they have a different accent. When the other girls tried to talk with them about the newest songs from the radio, or movies, or TV, Marie-Grace and Cécile were polite but clearly didn't know what the others were talking about, so the conversation kind of fizzled.

They don't go to the same school as anyone else from the group does. That's really not as unusual as it sounds... there are a lot of schools in the metro area, both public and private, and some kids are homeschooled or do co-op like I do... but it means yet one more thing they don't have in common with anyone else, because they don't know the same people or take the same academic classes. Eventually the other girls just stopped paying any attention to them.

Fiona and I felt bad for them, so when we had a break in the rehearsal, we went and sat with them. They turned out to be really nice! They're also really smart. They may not watch television or listen to the radio, but they know all kinds of things about ballet and art and classical music, and they've traveled quite a bit. We've heard them speak fluently in both English and French. I asked if they were from France, and they said no - they're from New Orleans, and they also know Haitian Creole. Very cool! I didn't realize anyone else at our dance school was originally from the United States, besides some of the girls in our family.

I got teased a little for talking to them, but whatever. Cécile and Marie-Grace are much nicer than people who would make fun of someone for not being "cool" enough. I think it's neat that they dress differently and stuff. They have a unique style! Which is more than I can say for a lot of people.

Blakeney said they can come over for supper sometime after a rehearsal. I hope they say yes when we invite them. It's always fun to make new friends! That's a nice thing about Nutcracker, meeting new people. I hope we can keep being friends with them after Nutcracker is over.

Love,
Kaya

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nutcracker News



Hi, this is Kaya (with Fiona looking over my shoulder.) As I mentioned in the last post, today was a big day for us - the day our dance teachers assigned us roles for The Nutcracker. Now that we have our parts, rehearsals will kick into high gear, then we'll start performances in a little less than a month. Wow, what a whirlwind!

I got cast in several roles; this is normal for the pointe students at our school because there aren't as many of us. In Act One I'll be a Party Guest. Then I'll have plenty of time to change after my scene, but in Act Two I'll be in and out of Quick Change a lot! At the very start of Act Two, I'll be one of the three Sugar Plum Fairy Attendants, which is like a servant of the real Sugar Plum Fairy; not all productions have that role, but it's basically sort of setting the scene for the Kingdom of Sweets. Then I'm in the Candy Cane dance - that's what we do with the Russian music - and Waltz of the Flowers. I have the length of two other dances to change in between each of those, but still, I will be busy and I'm sure I'll always be in a hurry!

Then I have to change back into my Sugar Plum Fairy Attendant costume for curtain call for the evening performances. The daytime performances are shorter because they cut the Pas de Deux and the Cavalier's solo so it won't be as long for the kids who attend as a school fieldtrip, so for those I won't have time to change back. For evenings, they want me to try it, because that's considered my "main" role since it's a smaller group than my other dances. Madness!

The biggest news, though, actually comes from Fiona. Yes, little miss "I probably won't get a part, I'm not as good as the other girls, they've all been dancing longer than me, my teacher doesn't like me, etc." Apparently she was wrong about all this, because she got one of the biggest roles! ;-)

Fiona is one of the two girls who was cast as Clara! Woot! Our school double-casts for the younger kids, so that more people get a chance to perform, they don't get so tired, and they don't have to miss as much school. The two casts get the same number of performance days, and it's different from alternates; the alternate for Clara will only take over if Fiona or the other girl get too hurt or sick to perform. My roles aren't double-cast, so I'll be in all the shows, but on Cast B days I get to dance with my sister. We're both really excited! Fiona is so proud of herself and happy - as she should be.

There's one little fly in the ointment, though, and that is that the Clara understudy is not happy. She was just assuming she was going to get the role, and she's really upset that she got cast as an alternate. (Even though at the performances where she doesn't have to be an emergency Clara she'll still go on as a Polichinelle, so it's not like she won't be on stage in some capacity.) I think she's probably getting a lot of pressure at home about it, too, because her two older sisters both danced the role of Clara at her age, and her mother seems like one of those stage-mommy types. I feel bad for her in a way; it's no fun to be disappointed, and we were all hoping for good parts. I don't feel bad for her all the way, though, because she's being really nasty to Fiona and the other Clara about it. Both of the Claras joined the school in the past year, and the alternate is whispering to the other girls that they don't deserve it because they're new.

I was trying to cut her some slack because she was so miserable about it, but then I heard her tell her friend that Fiona is "crazy," and at that point I went and told her to stop it and grow up. Fiona has bipolar disorder, but she's not crazy and that has nothing to do with whether or not she can dance - which obviously she can, since she got the role.

The understudy backed off, but I'm worried she's going to try to spoil this for Fiona. Well, not if Big Sis Kaya has anything to say about it, she won't. ;-)

So Fiona and I are celebrating tonight, mean people aside. I think cookies and a silly dance movie are called for! :-)

Love,
Kaya

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recovery



Hi, this is Kaya.

Well, life goes on. Even after something really scary, like the accident with Kiwi and Tabitha.

Kiwi is feeling better today. She's still really sore, and her cheek and nose are really swollen. She's still having trouble with her eye. Surgery is looking like a certainty. Kiwi is taking pain meds, though, and using ice, so she seems pretty cheerful. Especially when we watched Labyrinth with her.

Tabitha feels really, really awful. We all feel bad when we see her, because she looks so dejected. She keeps apologizing to Kiwi - even though Kiwi forgave her - and seems surprised Kiwi even still wants to see her. All day, Tabitha has been doing her best to make Kiwi feel better. Once the sun set she even went in the kitchen and baked cookies for her, even though she couldn't taste any of it herself. We didn't even know Tabitha could cook; we've never seen her do anything around the house. I think she's really trying to turn over a new leaf... and find some humanity. We all wish her well.

For the rest of us, things are kind of back to normal again.

Felicity and Josefina are preparing for the French language oral exams they have every semester. They spend a lot of time chatting away to each other, and the rest of us sort of understand.

Fiona and I are thinking a lot about Nutcracker for ballet - we find out our roles on Monday. I'm pretty sure I'll get something because pretty much all the pointe students are in it. There aren't as many of us, and we have more experience, so I'll probably get cast. I hope it's something good! Fiona isn't sure if she'll get a role, because there are a lot more kids in her age group, and most of her class has studied longer than she has. She also thinks her teacher doesn't like her. She's not sure she'll even be in the show. I think she will, though. She's a good dancer and she works hard. Day after tomorrow, we'll find out!

And yet as always lately, our life is a balance between the mundane and the weird. Day-to-day, it's pretty normal for us. We live just like many other kids our age.  There are some shadows hanging over us. Some scary things still unresolved.

1.) We don't know where the bad feral vampires that kidnapped Kiwi and are trying to kill Clare are. After the last incident, Inna tried to track them down, but couldn't find them. They're still out there. That is worrisome.

2.) The vampire hunters who also wanted Clare dead got kicked out of Canada and aren't supposed to come back. They were after Tabitha when we found her in Pennsylvania, though, so they have even more reason to want to get to us if they figure out where she is. What if they hear about what happened to Kiwi and think Tabitha is an urgent danger? What if they sneak across the border and come back?

3.) The people who keep threatening Inna. We don't know who the are. Whether they're more vampires, or humans, or what. We do know Inna is scared of them... and Inna isn't scared of much, not even ordinary bad vampires. Whatever has her spooked has to be really bad.

So that's life. Kiwi is recovering. I guess we're all recovering - Kiwi was the only one who got hurt, but it was really scary and upsetting for all of us. Tabitha is still trying to get over her guilt. Yeah, we're all still getting better. But I think we're going to be okay.

Love,
Kaya

Friday, November 11, 2011

Accidents Happen



Hi, this is Summer.

As the title of the post says, accidents happen. With vampires around, accidents are even more likely. Unfortunately, we had an accident with Tabitha, and people are pretty stressed out about it.

I should start out by saying that in the time since we posted last (and sorry it's been so long - this is a busy time for us at school) Tabitha, our new vampire, had kind of plateaued. At first, she was just totally feral like an animal, but as she got used to living here she settled down a little. She didn't have to be tied up anymore. Obviously she was struggling a lot - especially over the blood craving thing - but she was able to carry on brief conversations with us, and at one point we felt comfortable enough that Inna and Clare took her to the woods to run around for awhile, and it went fine.

But then... it was like Tabitha decided this was good enough. She had Clare to feed her when she needed to eat. She had a safe place to live. She had company and conversation when she felt like it, and she could make us go away by acting crazy when she didn't. She knew we'd take her out of the city so she could stretch her legs if she behaved well. But that was it. That's not much of a life. Not compared to what she could have.

We were hoping she could finish school, like Clare is doing with her homeschool lessons, and maybe go on to university someday. That she could get under control enough to go outside besides the woods or the yard. That she could maybe even make some human friends someday. That sort of thing. We were hoping she could basically be a normal young woman, with the occasional vampire oddness to work around.

Tabitha didn't seem all that interested. Because living like a human is hard work for a vampire, and living like a monster, or at best an animal, is not difficult. Tabitha had found a sort of comfortable (for her, not for anyone else...) midpoint, and she seemed content to stay there - which worried us.

I think that may have changed with the accident tonight, though.

All of us girls were in the Roses' basement, watching TV with Tabitha. We know it's harder for her with that many people, but it seems like she's getting used to it, and she enjoys the company. Kiwi and Evelyn were playing quietly with Ev's toy horses while we watched the show. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but Kiwi banged her arm on the coffee table, and scraped her elbow.

There was a tiny little bit of blood.

We all froze.

Clare ran out of the room and upstairs, which was really smart, because she could potentially have made things a lot worse. But Tabitha took one quick sniff of the air, and totally lost it. She crossed the room in a single leap, and tackled Kiwi. Kiwi squeaked as her head banged on the floor, and tried to get away from Tabitha, but vampires are way stronger than humans. The rest of us yanked Tabitha off Kiwi, even as Kiwi was shifting to her cat form to try to get out from under her. We had to put Tabitha back in the restraints; she wouldn't calm down. Kiwi changed back, and we took her out of the room while Felicity and Inna tried to get Tabitha to stop freaking out.

Kiwi is pretty banged up. She's not going to die or anything, but the doctors said she will probably need surgery. :-(

Tabitha feels totally awful, like she's a terrible vampire. It wasn't really her fault. She's still getting used to this, and it's not easy for her. Kiwi doesn't blame her at all. Tabitha expected she'd get kicked out... or staked. But we still love her, and Kiwi forgives her.

It was really, really scary. I still get the shivers when I think about it. In a way, though, I think it was good. (Not for Kiwi, though - she's seriously been having the worst couple of months!) I think it finally showed Tabitha why we keep trying to get her to do better, and why we can't just let it go. Before, it seemed like she thought we were nagging. Now she knows how dangerous she can be. I don't think she ever realized this before. Tabitha seems really serious about getting herself under better control. I think that'll turn out to be a really good thing.

We'll be here for her.

Love,
Summer