My Sister the Vampire Book 3: Re-Vamped! (Chapter 10)
When Olivia rang the bell, Ivy opened the door at once. Inside the foyer, Mr.Vega greeted Olivia with a solemn nod. No one spoke, and then Olivia heard footsteps approaching briskly from down the hall. Into the light of the foyer stepped a tall vampire woman wearing a black and red kimono. It took Olivia a second to realize what was so striking about her. Then she saw what it was. The woman wasn't wearing the contact lenses most vampires used all the time to protect their eyes from the sun and disguise their eye color, and she had red eyes.
"I am Valencia Deborg," the woman declared.
There was a ruffle of her enormous sleeves, and a thick black binder appeared in one hand, while a ballpoint pen materialized in the other. She clicked the pen meaningfully. "Secretary of human relations for the Vampire Round Table."
"And I," said a nasal voice from the darkness, "am Mr. Boros of ASHH." Olivia half expected a tall, mustachioed vampire to appear in a black cape. Instead, a short bald man in a rumpled suit stepped into the light beside his colleague.
"I saw that guy leaving ASHH right before we snuck in!" Ivy whispered in Olivia's ear.
"And I saw you sneak in on the security cameras," said the man coolly, "right after I left."
Ivy and Olivia both straightened to attention.
"We are here to supervise the initiation of Olivia Abbott," Valencia Deborg said solemnly.
"The trials shall commence in one hour, at the setting of the sun."
Casting a sidelong glance toward her sister, Olivia could see Ivy looked totally worried, which made her feel even more nervous.
"Before we begin" – Mr. Boros held up a stubby white finger – "we must be clear about what is to occur. There are fewer than a dozen humans in the world who know the Blood Secret, all under exceptional circumstances."
"And your circumstances," Ms. Deborg said, training her fiery eyes on Olivia, "are the most exceptional of all."
"Unprecedented, according to our records," confirmed Mr. Boros in his nasal voice.
"The tests to which you are to be subjected were devised hundreds of years ago," Ms. Deborg told Olivia. "They were used only in those rare instances when a human learned the Blood Secret and there was a vampire willing to vouch for him. Is there a vampire present willing to bear this burden?"
"I will," Ivy and her father said at the same time. Olivia could see that her sister was as surprised as she was by Mr.Vega's volunteering like that.
Ms. Deborg and Mr. Boros nodded at each other, and Ms. Deborg continued. "The original tests were torturous . . ."
"Hideous," said Mr. Boros with a shudder, as Olivia felt the color drain from her face.
"And unspeakably painful," Ms. Deborg concluded.
"But now, of course," Mr. Boros added casually, "the tests are more ritualized."
A sigh of relief escaped from Olivia's mouth.
"In the past," Ms. Deborg explained, "if applicants proved unworthy, they were summarily killed. Since the 1926 Vampiric Accord, that is no longer the way."
"So what happens if I fail?" Olivia asked nervously.
"Your memory of anything and everything vampire related will be erased, and you will never see or have any contact with your sister ever again," Mr. Boros answered simply.
"What?" Ivy and Olivia both exclaimed.
"How is that possible?" Olivia asked.
"Vampire scientists have developed a concoction for this purpose," Ms. Deborg answered.
"I understand it's not unlike a strawberry smoothie," Mr. Boros remarked proudly, "which is much less messy than the old method of removing a portion of the cranial cortex."
"And I wouldn't be able to remember Ivy at all?" Olivia demanded.The vampire officials nodded.
"B-but we just found each other," Ivy stammered.
"Perhaps it is for the best that you and I are moving to Europe," Ivy's father said under his breath.
Ivy shot him a bitter look. "What if Olivia refuses to be initiated?" she asked Ms. Deborg.
"She will confront the same result as one who has failed," Ms. Deborg said icily.
Olivia took a deep breath. "And if I pass the tests?"
"Then everything will continue as before," Mr. Boros replied.
Olivia squeezed her sister's hand. "I know I'm worthy," she whispered bravely. "I'll pass any test they throw at me. I'm not going to lose you."
Of course, inside, Olivia was totally freaking out. Sure, she'd been nervous, but she hadn't had a clue how serious this whole initiation thing was. She was only thirteen, and already she was facing senility.
"Any questions?" Mr. Boros asked.
When Olivia shook her head, Ms. Deborg announced, "The applicant will now have a few moments for solitary contemplation before the First Test begins." She and Mr. Boros turned to leave the room.
"Can I stay with her?" Ivy blurted.
Ms. Deborg stopped abruptly.Without turning around, she said, "I suppose," with a hint of disapproval.
Then she and Mr. Boros disappeared down the hallway, while Ivy's father silently bowed his head and climbed the stairs.
In the living room, Ivy wrapped Olivia in a hug. "I'm sorry I got you into this," she said. "I don't know how you could ever forgive me."
Somehow, seeing Ivy so torn up made Olivia feel less dire. "Forgive you?" Olivia said. "You're the coolest thing that ever happened to me."
Ivy responded with a familiar eye roll.
"Are you kidding?" Olivia answered, straightening her pink sweatshirt. "What do you think – I find out I have a vampire twin all the time?
Besides," she went on, "if this is really about whether I'm worthy to know the vampire secret, then we don't have anything to worry about. I have a right to know. After all, it's where I came from, too." Whoa, Olivia thought. That all actually makes sense. All of a sudden, she wasn't so afraid of the tests.
"No matter what," Ivy said in a determined voice, "I won't let them do anything grim to you.
Even if something happens, I'll figure out a way to stop them from erasing your memory. I'm not leaving your side for a second."
"Sounds good," Olivia grinned.
Ivy got a mischievous look in her eye, and Olivia could almost hear the gears turning inside her sister's head. "There's a secret escape passageway in the back of the pantry, and we could always sneak you out that way." She started waving her black-nailed hands in the air. "We could even switch if we had to.We could run down to my room right now and put on matching outfits!"
Olivia put her hand gently on her sister's arm.
"I'm not going to run, Ivy," she said. "I'm going to do what it takes to pass. I'm going to prove I'm worthy of the Blood Secret once and for all."
"We shall see," a cool voice intoned. Nearly jumping out of her sneakers, Olivia turned to see that Valencia Deborg had appeared in the doorway. "The time has come for the First Test," she announced.
Olivia and Ivy exchanged nervous glances. Ms. Deborg gestured for them to follow her, and before Olivia knew it the vampire official was disappearing down the hall. On the main stairs, Olivia and Ivy had to take the steps two at a time to catch up.
Ms. Deborg led them to the same guest room that had the bathroom where they'd done their final shots for Vamp magazine. Against one wall was what looked like a dresser covered by a dark purple velvet sheet. Valencia Deborg pulled the sheet off with a flourish, revealing a black lacquered coffin.
"The Test of Darkness!" she announced dramatically. Olivia's heart flooded with fear. Who's in there? she thought.When she glanced at her sister, Ivy just shrugged nervously.
"You must spend the entire night in this coffin," Ms. Deborg explained at last, "from dusk until dawn."
"No way," Olivia said under her breath.
"Way," Ms. Deborg replied without a hint of humor. She glanced toward the window, where the sun had already begun setting. "There is not much time," she said, and gestured for Olivia to go change.
A minute later, Olivia was standing alone in front of the same ornate mirror where she'd stood posing with her sister, except this time she was alone, wearing her sunflower pajamas, and brushing her teeth nervously.
I don't want to be shut in a box all night, she thought, even if it does have a plush velvet interior . . . but I don't want to lose my sister even more.
When she emerged from the bathroom, Ivy and Ms. Deborg were waiting beside the open coffin expectantly. A laugh escaped from Ivy's mouth.
"What?" Olivia inquired.
"Killer pajamas," Ivy teased.
"It is time," Ms. Deborg interrupted.
Olivia walked up to the coffin. There was a little step stool to help her up, and she climbed inside. She lay down on her back and tucked her clammy hands at her sides.
"Does this thing have a nightlight?" she tried to joke.
Instead of answering, Ms. Deborg pulled down the lid. The last thing Olivia saw was her sister's worried face, and then . . . nothing but darkness. Olivia strained to hear her sister's or Ms.
Deborg's voice outside the coffin, but it was eerily silent. All she could hear was her own panicked breathing. She tried to make out the ruffles in the upholstery that she knew were inches from her face, but she couldn't. She raised a shaking hand slowly to touch the lid.
You're okay, she told herself. It's just the dark.
Nothing can hurt you. Her mind started to wander.
You're just in a coffin. Used by vampires.Who happen to drink blood. Suddenly she could hear the loud, quick thuds of her own heart beating, and she had the urge to throw open the coffin and run out of the house screaming.
Instead, Olivia decided to try not to focus on where she was and count sheep. At first, they were all white. Then, without even thinking about it, they became black sheep. And, pretty soon, they started flying.
By the time she got to thirty-four, Olivia realized she was counting bats – which, for some reason, gave her the worst case of the giggles ever.
In an effort to stop her mind from playing tricks on her, Olivia tried to think of nice people: Ivy, her parents, Camilla, Sophia. After a few seconds, she felt herself relaxing. Actually, the coffin was surprisingly comfortable. She even had enough room to turn on her side. She started worrying about what tomorrow's tests were going to be, but then she thought, I thought this test was going to be a total nightmare, but it's not so bad, and felt herself drifting off to sleep.