Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, blog friends! :-) This is Bree, filling you in on our holiday.

Today was a hard day to concentrate in school. Everyone was pretty excited about the holiday; too bad Halloween didn't fall on a weekend this year. Oh well. We got home and helped the younger girls get into their costumes. Kirsten made them all pinkie swear to bring back enough candy for all of us.

Fiona, Kiwi, Evelyn, Charissa, Molly, Summer, and Kaya went trick-or-treating. Fiona dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Kiwi dressed as a black cat, and Ev was a pumpkin. Molly made a canvas frame for herself and painted on it, so her costume was a pretty good representation of a Van Gogh painting; her outfit was a ton of work, and she kept it pretty secret till it was done. She got a lot of compliments. Kaya dressed as a turtle, with a paper-mâché shell and a green leotard, and Summer was a purple snail with a matching shell. They all looked great! My sisters are so creative. Maia took them out trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood, and they all had a really good time!

Most of the rest of us stayed and handed out candy, which was fun too. We watched TV while we waited, and talked, and enjoyed the costumes the kids wore. We didn't get a huge number of trick-or-treaters, but we had enough to feel like we were in the spirit of things. They started coming about 5:15 p.m., when it was well on the way to dark, and kept going till 8:30 or so. There were a lot of great outfits, and we gave out lots of candy. (But fortunately, we have some leftovers, too!)

Halloween has been tough on our resident vampires. Kind of ironic, in a way, that a holiday with spooky stuff is difficult for them - I mean, people dress up as vampires for their costumes after all! But having hordes of excited, loud, stranger humans coming to our door wasn't exactly easy on the self-control.  During regular times we don't tend to have many people here that they aren't familiar with, or large groups at once. Tabitha was a mess, and even Clare was struggling. They both stayed in the Roses' basement with Inna and tried to stay calm and peaceful. Clare managed calm and peaceful a lot better than Tabitha did, but no one got eaten - or even almost eaten - which we consider a win.

Our pets didn't have a great time either. Gandalf hid under Kiwi's bed, and April alternated between hiding behind the sofa and barking at the front window. They're glad that people have pretty much stopped knocking. Clare didn't appreciate it when Molly pointed out the similarity between pets and vampires.

For most of us, it was a fun holiday. For the others... well, it was at least okay. Halloween is one of my favourite holidays. I like the pretend spookiness and how excited everyone is. I wouldn't want every day to be Halloween, but it's a fun novelty once a year, and I always enjoy it.

Do you like Halloween? Did you go trick-or-treating? What did you dress as? If you stayed in and handed out candy, did you have many people come to your door?


Saturday, October 22, 2011


"What can't we face if we're together?
What's in this place that we can't weather?"
-Buffy, the musical episode

Hello, blog world! This is Bree.

Well, as it turns out, we were right to be worried about what the weird guy who followed us said. We got home, and told the adults - and Inna totally flipped out. We knew she'd probably be upset that someone had threatened her (and us, too, really) but we didn't expect the level of fear we saw when we broke the news.

Inna immediately announced that she was leaving. That it was too dangerous us if she stayed with us. That was something we weren't okay with, though. We couldn't just send Inna off on her own. We'd miss her - and besides, we're safer together than any single one of us would be alone. Inna was skeptical, so we took a vote. No one voted she should go. We're a family, and she's part of that family. No matter what. 

She continued arguing, but I pointed out that she'd do the same thing for any of us. Inna couldn't really refute that, because we all knew it was true, so she conceded the point. 

There was brief talk of just the Roses going - but again, safety in numbers, and neither Inna nor Maia wanted to put Summer and Kiwi in danger. That's why they came here in the first place. To be safe. Thankfully, we decided the best way to make that happen is for us all to stay together. I'm glad. I don't want to lose anyone from my family.

Speaking of that, Tabitha - our new vampire - is doing a little better. She's been drinking the blood Clare brings her, and she seems maybe a little less crazy now? 

Tabitha actually managed to have a reasonably coherent conversation with me on one of my visits. She told me she liked my shirt (the first time she'd expressed any kind of preference.) Since she seemed to be conversing better than usual, I asked if she had any family we could contact for her. Tabitha said no, and asked where she was. She seemed surprised when I said Canada - I don't think she remembers the trip at all - but she seemed relieved to be far away from the place where things went so badly wrong for her. And, probably more importantly, at least for now she's gotten away from the people who were chasing her there. She asked if we were really going to protect her, and I promised we would... because family doesn't leave each other, and we're stronger when we're together.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cars, Cat, and Dangerous Stranger

Three things happened in the last two days. And I, Kaya, am going to tell you about it.

The first thing that happened was, Kirsten and Bree took their test for their learner's permits yesterday afternoon. They both passed, but Bree got all the questions right, and Kirsten missed two, so of course Kirsten is jealous. Molly told Kirsten not to feel bad because Bree is a better driver anyway so it doesn't matter... which so did not help. Kirsten didn't talk to either Molly or Bree (even though Bree didn't brag at all) for about three hours. Now they've made up, though, and Inna's car has a "Novice Driver" sign in the rear window so the girls can legally use it to practice. Fun times!

The second thing is, Kiwi found a cat yesterday. He was a little grey stray who has been hanging around their school for a few days, and she decided to bring him home. After some major wheedling, and Summer and Kiwi promising up and down to take care of him, Maia said they could keep him if Inna agreed when she got home from work - which she did. So now the Roses have a pet, too! We're so happy for them!

They gave their new kitty some food, which he liked, and a bath, which he didn't... but needed because he was really muddy from living outside. They brushed him and petted him for awhile. Then he curled up on their sofa and fell asleep, having decided to his satisfaction that their house was home. They've decided to name him Gandalf the Grey, which we approve of because we all love Lord of the Rings.

The third thing is not so fun. This evening I was walking April (our dog; probably you all know that by now, but we clarify sometimes because her name is human-like enough that she could be another sister or a friend) with Kirsten, Bree, and Felicity. Kirsten and Bree had settled their earlier driving-related differences, and Felicity and I were prepared to calm them down if there was another flare-up of hostilities, but they were getting along again. I will say this for them, they yell at each other like crazed wolverines at the time, but it blows over fast afterward and they're fine again, which is kind of weird to me.

Anyway, we noticed someone was behind us, keeping pace. It was early evening, but getting dark, because our days are starting to get short. We were pretty sure it was a male, in dark clothes and a hoodie. That may sound foreboding, but it's really not all that unusual. We live in the city, so it's not odd to see other people out walking when we take April out, and lots of people have the same urban-travel walking pace because we're used to going places on foot, so you naturally keep a steady distance between you. Nor was his clothing odd - dark colours are popular here, and practically everyone wears hoodies at least sometimes. At first, we weren't concerned about him - but then he got close enough that I could sense his emotions using my power.

He wasn't feeling hostile. He wasn't feeling violent. But he was feeling very determined and intent... and perceiving himself as intimidating. That was not necessarily a good thing. When April stopped to sniff something, I stopped too, hoping we could let him pass. Suddenly he was very focused on examining the house numbers, even though before he was just walking, not looking for an address. Clearly taking an excuse to stop when we stopped. I pulled on April's leash, and she followed - and then he was moving again, too. I started to get really alarmed, and communicated this to my sisters with my eyes. They'd already figured it out, though.

"I need to get something at the corner store," Bree said.

"Okay," I replied, knowing where she was going with this. The corner store is open late, and whenever we've gone there, there have always been at least a few customers. It's well-lighted. They'd probably give us a hard time about April, but on the plus side they don't let people wear their hoods up in the store (there's a sign on the door indicating that,) so he'd have to show his face on the security camera... making it less likely he'd do something to us afterward.

I thought Bree had the right idea. Apparently the guy following us figured out that we were onto him, too, because suddenly I sensed frustration and hurry from him. We picked up our pace. So did he. We exchanged another look. This one said that if something bad happened, Bree should run for help because she's so fast. She nodded a little, just enough for us to see.

In sight of the store, the guy picked up his pace, passed us, and blocked our way. I saw Bree tense, ready to bolt, and he said, "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you."

"Darn right," Kirsten replied. "So we're just going to be going..."

He continued like she hadn't said anything. "But I do have a message for you. You girls have been making some dangerous enemies lately. You've displeased people who really ought not to be displeased, if you value your lives."

Bree tried to dart past him, but he moved in front of her. She's faster, but he was bigger and stronger, so it was like she had hit a wall. She glowered at him, which he seemed to find funny.

"Let us go," Felicity told him steadily, her power active behind the words.

For a moment, it seemed like it was going to work, and he looked uncertain and started to move out of our way... but then he shook it off. "Wow, you girls are pulling out all your tricks tonight, aren't you?" he said with a laugh. "Don't worry. We're almost done here. One last part of the message. The woman next door to you, Inna. Don't believe her, don't trust her, and don't get too attached to her. She's made worse enemies than you have - and you don't want to be caught in the line of fire when her time comes. I'm warning you about this because you're just dumb kids, but one warning is all you get. If you're interested in your longevity, cut your ties with her before it's too late."

He turned away and left. April belatedly barked at him. I realized I was shaking. We walked home in silence.

In some ways, this is not big news. We know that we have a gang of vampires after us, as well as some mean vampire hunters back in the United States who dislike us, and those definitely count as dangerous enemies. We also know someone has been following/bothering the Roses, and that their efforts and the secrecy seemed focused on Inna. Somehow it all seemed more real, though, hearing it from a stranger in such stark terms.

I can't help feeling worried...


Saturday, October 15, 2011


Hi, this is Clare. It's been a busy few days for us. We've had school (well, homeschool lessons, in my case) and Blakeney, Bree, and Summer got home from their trip and are settling back in. It's good to have the whole family together again! We all missed each other while we were apart.

The other busy part is, of course, the other vampire. It sounds weird to call her that, but she wouldn't tell us her name. (We actually found it out, but I'll get to that.) Once she woke up from the tranquilizers, she started talking, but it wasn't much of a conversation. Just that she wanted us to let her go, and she was thirsty.

I took care of the thirsty part - I brought her blood to drink - but it never seemed like enough for her. I remember those days, when I always felt I needed more. She'll get over that. I don't think she's been a vampire for very long, so her body is still adjusting.

Letting her go, though, is not an option. For one thing, she would kill people. She says she wouldn't, and she wouldn't even want to, but she has no control of herself at all at this point. She tried to eat Evelyn on the second day, and didn't seem aware enough to even try to stop herself. (Fortunately she's still restrained, and couldn't reach poor Ev.) For another thing... as far as we know, she has nowhere else to go. There are vampire hunters after her, and possibly other vampires. She can't just go back to her normal life. I think on some level, she realizes this, but it's hard for her to admit it to herself.

We've been taking turns spending time with her... talking to her and reading to her, and just being there so she isn't alone. It's hard to tell if she's doing any better. Felicity does the best at calming her down - using her power - but it's a lot of work and it doesn't last very long. I think she just needs time to adjust, like I did last year when I was turned. At least, unlike me when I was newly turned, she has nice people taking care of her, rather than cruel other vampires who will teach her bad things. I think that will make it easier.

We have made progress in one area, though; we know her name! Felicity had been sitting with her, and when I came to take my turn, she said, "By the way, her name is Tabitha [Last Name]. Maybe calling her that will help."

"Oh, she finally said?" She had to have said, I assumed, because we don't have anyone in our family who can read minds. Kaya can feel what other people are feeling, but a name is a piece of information, not an emotion - so we have no way of finding that out using our powers.

Felicity shook her head. "I remember her. From before. It took a few days for me to recognize her, because she looks so different now. We - me, Kirsten, Molly, Charissa, and Bree - used to play with her when we were little kids. She lived next door to our grandparents, with her elderly relatives who were related to us, too. Last time I saw her was December of last year, and she seemed fine then. You know, normal. I don't mean 'normal,' I mean..."

I chuckled. "You mean, not a vampire?"

Felicity nodded, blushing bright red and embarrassed for kind of calling me abnormal. Which is perfectly fair - I am definitely not normal. Felicity continued, though. "Yeah, and... not feral and injured. When we saw her ten months ago, she was just a regular girl. But her relatives started having health problems, and couldn't take care of her. I'm not sure where she went to live after that."

Maybe it was just a coincidence, but this is similar to my own story. My grandmother who was raising me died, and I was sent to live with my aunt and uncle, who kicked me out when their sons abused me. I was homeless and living on the streets when I became a vampire. It could just be by chance that Tabitha had a background so much like mine... kids with attentive parents can't just disappear to become vampires, so for young ones like us, odds are that the ball got dropped by someone in terms of our care... but I wondered if there was a deeper connection because of the details that were the same. I mentioned it to my sisters later, but at the time I just said, "Thanks. It's good to know."

It really was good. It didn't make a huge amount of difference, of course. Tabitha isn't just magically fine now. I think it helped, though. I don't think it's just my imagination that she seemed to pay a little more attention to what I was saying when I used her name, or that she seemed just a little bit reassured that there were people involved in this who were nice to her in the past. It's not huge, but it's something. And we'll take anything we can get.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vacation Photos

Hey everyone. This is Bree again. There is not much change in our new guest. She's awake, but she's not talking and still pretty angry. We've taken turns sitting with her, but no breakthrough yet. It may take time.

Also, I wanted to share some pictures from our trip! :-)

Those were taken at French Creek, in Pennsylvania. If you want to see the rest of the album, click here.

Here are some from upstate New York:

The rest of the New York album is here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Extra Vampire

Multiple choice quiz:

The Greens and the Roses are...

A.) Suicidally insane
B.) Never going to have normal lives
C.) Probably eventually going to need to learn that not everything can be our problem to deal with
D.) Never going to run out of vampires


E.) All of the above!

Hi, this is Bree. Summer, Blakeney, and I are back home now, after a fun trip. I can't say it was uneventful, though. Especially not at the end.

The last weekend of our trip, we went down to Pennsylvania to spend time by the creek where our relatives have a little vacation place. We kayaked, went for walks, went wading, and read our books outside. It was a lot of fun.

A day or so in, though, we got a call from Inna, saying she'd heard rumours that the mean vampire hunters we (unfortunately) met here in Canada were hanging around nearby where we were. That was, of course, worrisome news. One thing we weren't quite sure of, though, was whether it had anything to do with us. Were they looking for us? Were they looking for me because I lied to them about where Clare was? But how would they even know where we were? How could they have found us? And yet, it seemed like too much to be just a coincidence.

So of course, we did the only thing we could: we spied on them. What we found out was at first reassuring. They didn't seem to be looking for us. They didn't seem to know we were around. We still didn't know why they were there, though... or why they built a big fire by their camp, like they were issuing a threat to someone rather than lying low. That had to be something we wouldn't like.

Inna called us again; she had figured out why they were there. It wasn't about us, but it wasn't entirely a coincidence either. They were hunting someone. It just wasn't us. Inna had heard from her "contacts" that there was vampire activity nearby. More specifically, a vampire, a red-haired girl... and from the reports of the chaos, Clare and Inna thought this vampire was newly-turned and confused. And now, to further add to her confusion, she had hunters after her, hunters that so far she'd managed to evade successfully. Eventually, though, her luck would run out.

Vampire problems tend to multiply very quickly, or so we're told. But it makes sense, because they can just bite people instead of killing them, and make more vampires. You want to get a lid on this kind of situation while it's still just a small number, if you can. That's what the hunters seemed to be trying to do.

Clare was in the background of the telephone conversation, and said she wanted to talk to Blakeney. It sounded like she was crying. I could only hear one end of the conversation, but Blakeney said, "I know," and then, "We'll take care of it." At the time, I wasn't sure I was going to like what that entailed. Then she got off the phone, and told us we were going to have to deal with the situation. (Actually she sang "I've got a theory we should work this fast/Because it clearly could get serious before it's passed," because if you can quote Buffy, you should quote Buffy. My sisters and I have decided that sometime we're going to try going a whole day speaking entirely in pop culture quotations. But anyway, what she meant was that we were going to deal with the situation.)

It would have been nice if we'd had the whole "team" there. It's easier to handle stuff like crazy vampires as a family. We'd just have to do our best, with Inna and Clare to give consultation on vampires over the phone. It was better than nothing.

I was still nervous, though... especially when we finally found her, after combing the creek and woods for several hours. It's not like I haven't hung around vampires, but I'm used to Clare, and she doesn't really act much different from the rest of us, except in the dietary sense. This girl looked totally out of it. She was crouched like an animal, her hair was tangled, her clothes were filthy and bloody... and she'd obviously already been attacked by something. She was badly hurt. One of her legs looked like it was just about torn off. I think if she'd been human, that alone would have killed her - but she was hanging on, just not very pleasantly. I was kind of scared of her. But I also felt really bad for her. I hoped she was going to be okay. Somehow...

We called for advice. The first suggestion Inna gave us was to try to reason with the vampire girl, and get her to stand down. It didn't work. At all. Summer optimistically refers to this attempt as "the time that at least we didn't get eaten." It ultimately involved a lot of running away. Fortunately she couldn't move fast with that leg.

We got out of range of the teeth - it was a close call, especially for poor Summer - and phoned Inna back. Her next suggestion was to drug the vampire with animal tranquilizers set up in a trap. That... actually worked pretty well. Pretty soon we had a drugged, sleeping vampire. For the first time, she actually looked peaceful, and I realized she had a sweet face when she wasn't snarling. I think she's about the same age as Felicity and Clare.

Shipping a drugged, tied up vampire back to Canada was easier than you might think. We couldn't leave her there. As soon as we left, she'd just break free and start going crazy again, maybe kill someone - and definitely get herself killed, with vampire hunters around. We needed to get her as far away from the scene of the craziness as possible so they wouldn't be able to track her, and someone needs to look after her. We didn't have much choice but to bring her back with us.

While we were sitting in the Toronto airport waiting for our plane, I asked Blakeney if this was what she had in mind when she told Clare we'd take care of it. Blakeney gave me a raised-eyebrow look and said I'd misheard her - she'd said we'd take care of her. Because Clare remembered what it was like to be scared and freshly vampiric, and she was worried. This was the plan all along. Well, not the drugging part - they'd hoped to just buy her a seat - but the general idea of bringing her back. I felt a lot better about that than what I had thought we were going to have to do.

Now she's in the Roses' basement, sleeping it off. She'll still be restrained when she wakes up. Inna said not to expect her to be too coherent. So far we don't even know her name. It may take time before she'll be normal like Clare. We'll just have to take care of her in the meantime, and try to help her.

So we're home... and we have an extra vampire.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Warm Weather Again

Hi, this is Bree again with a quick trip update.

The weather warmed up again today, all of a sudden! It was great! :-)

To celebrate, we took photos in Blakeney's parents yard. (Well, Blakeney took pictures of me and Summer, really.) She's having trouble figuring out how to get them off her dad's camera, though. Once she gets a chance to ask him, we'll post them on the blog.

The best part of our photo session was when Summer tripped and did a face plant into the grass. Her face was all wet from the dew when she got up. She'll probably be mad at me for telling you this! But it was really funny.

My favourite photos were the ones where we climbed a tree. I did it first, and then we both took turns getting closeups. I don't really love being in pictures - I'm kind of shy - but being in the tree kind of made me forget to be nervous about how I'd look, so I was more relaxed. I think they'll turn out pretty well.

Tomorrow we head down to Pennsylvania for a couple of days. Hopefully the weather will hold, so we can do some kayaking and playing outside by the creek. We won't have internet there, so we'll talk to you when we get back!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Feels Like Autumn

Hi, this is Bree with another trip report.

The weather has definitely taken a turn for the chilly. No capri pants and short sleeves today! We're wearing hoodies and flannels, and taking notice of the fallen leaves. It really feels like autumn. And like Western New York.

We've been doing more visiting of relatives, and we attended an event about global issues at a local college. ("College" is different in the United States than in Canada; this was at what we would call a university.)

Next weekend, we're probably going to go down to Pennsylvania to the little summer place Blakeney's parents and grandparents share. It's really nice, right by a creek. Hopefully it'll be sunny and warm enough to go wading and kayaking, and we hope to get some pictures of our vacation fun, too.

A little over a week till we go home. Time flies when you're having fun... and we're having a lot of it! :-)


Now, this is Kaya, with a report from home. :-)

I got assigned a penpal! I don't know much about her except that she's my same age (twelve) and in Grade Seven like me, and that she lives in Nunavut. I also got her name and address and stuff, so I can write to her, although I don't know yet if she'll mind me sharing her name on the blog, so I'm gonna wait on that for now. I sent her my first letter talking about myself and asking her about her, so hopefully I'll hear back soon and be able to tell you more. I'm really excited to hear from her!

Also, Charissa decided to try out for the soccer team at her new school, and she made it! We're really happy for her. She's never played on a team before, but she likes soccer with her friends. I think she'll enjoy it, and that it'll help her settle into her new school and make extra friends. Yay for Charissa!

That's all the news for now!

The Greens and The Roses