Here is an excerpt from Chapter V: Middle School Vampire of my novel, Willy’s Magic. Enjoy!
As soon as Alex was gone, I went into mourning. First I spent nineteen dollars at the second-hand clothing store, and bought everything black that fit me. I tried on a lot of stuff. The sales clerk spoke to me in a soft, hushed voice like someone had died. She must have thought I was preparing to attend a lengthy funeral.
“Did you see these shirts over here? I think this one is just your size.”
After an hour of zipping and unzipping, buttoning and unbuttoning, and pulling stuff over my head until my hair was spiked with static, I carried a pile of clothes to the counter. I found black jeans, black t-shirts, a black sweatshirt with a hood, and black shoes.
Then I bought some hair dye at the pharmacy and dyed my hair black. I used the dye that wears off fast in case I didn’t like it. Sam helped me when no one else was home.
“Willy, I know you’re upset, but what are your grandparents going to say when they see you? My parents had a fit when Cath dyed her hair.”
“Sam, they won’t even care. They let me do whatever I want.”
Sam shot a blank stare in my direction, and I tried to keep from laughing.
We both knew this wasn’t true. I never did anything, that’s the only reason I was never in trouble. When Grams and Gramps saw me dressed in black with my usually sandy hair dyed “raven,” they pretended not to notice. I had never done anything like that before. They didn’t have any rules for me about clothing and hair, because they had never needed to worry about it. After dinner Grams finally punctured the silence.
“Willy, your grandfather and I are wondering why you decided to change your appearance so suddenly. This is a very different look for you.”
Grams used her diplomatic voice that she brought out on special occasions, like Back to School Night and parent conferences. Gramps had his lips pressed tight and thin, like a rubber band ready to snap, but he didn’t say a word. I had seen that look before, when his students were in trouble. But I didn’t want to tell them anything. I just felt stupid. So I lied.
“I guess I just wanted to try it out.”
I didn’t want them to worry about me, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I was too miserable to figure anything out. After that they started watching me when they thought I wasn’t paying attention, and making up excuses to look at my arms. I wondered what was going on, and finally I figured it out. They were afraid I was cutting myself.
Then I felt really terrible. Finally one night I tried to explain my strange behavior.
“Grams, Gramps, you don’t have to worry about me so much! I’m just going through one of those teenage phases. When I get back from the coast this summer I’ll probably be back to my same old self.”
I didn’t really believe this, but it could happen. I wanted my grandparents to feel better, but I think I regressed about eight years that day. I went all the way back to magical thinking.
“At least I don’t have any piercings or tattoos!”
It was supposed to be a joke, but my grandparents weren’t laughing.
After a few days they adjusted to my appearance. At least they weren’t cringing as much. I wasn’t going to give it up until I was ready, though, no matter what anybody said. However, I definitely underestimated the amount of attention I would get at school.