June 5, 2013
Eeriesoil, New York
I am delighted to learn that although your reacquaintance with Marla got off to a bloody start, things are flowing warmly now. My prying into your affairs no longer shames or pains me. Not just because I know you are pleased with the results, but because I am thrilled to be at camp.
Do not tell Mama about this, but Camp Cute, Creepy and (quite conveniently) Remote turned out to be more adventure than punishment. This fact, and not displeasure, is the reason behind the short thank you note I sent to Mama after receiving her gifts. The day before I wrote home, I had been busy entertaining a peculiar visitor. No one Mama would approve of, I assure you.
The bliss began at night.
My cottage mate, Roseblood, and I were meeting with another camper in an old shack behind camp property. We were trying to convince Clare—a darling girl who takes environmentally friendly to heart, to scalp, and to other people’s garments—that mayhap she should relocate some of the fabric-eating worms that reside in her hair to the shack. Roseblood and I do not mind the worms, not the tiniest of bits. But the Camp Mistress rages like an unhealthy maniac whenever dear Clare’s creepy crawlers eat the drapery.
I was telling Clare that her ravenous friends would be happiest in musty darkness, when a lady in denim trousers, a tight top, and a red scarf tied over her eyes materialized into existence.
We smiled at her.
She backed away from us, saying, “Call me stupid and strangle me with my own veil.”
I never call anyone stupid without proper proof, so I chose to widen my smile and introduce myself instead. “I am Drusilla.” After pointing out that my armless situation would make strangulation a rather challenging affair, I offered to find a way to choke her to death if that would make her happy.
The lady said no word.
In a bout of kindness that charmed us all, Clare told the lady in denim, “If breathing is a problem for you, I could ask my friends to deflesh your nose and throat. Then your face would match Skully’s face, and Roseblood’s dolly has no need for air. She does feel lonely sometimes.”
“It would be no bother,” Roseblood said to the lady, most likely seeing the same apprehension I had noticed on her face. “Mistress Claudia, our camp mistress, said that the main mission of every girl who steps, slithers or is banished into Camp Cute, Creepy and (quite conveniently) Remote is the spreading of glee and gloom. We are very serious about joy-giving gloomy glee.”
The lady remained quiet.
I was gliding towards her, wondering if a gentle bite would urge her to speak, when one of Mistress Claudia’s familiar shrieks shook the shack, and inspired the lady to leap for the door.
I got between the lady and the exit before she could leave the shack. She panicked. I grinned. My friendly show of fangs did nothing to ease her terror. I opted for conversation. “Made vampires awake screaming with pain and desperation,” I said. “You can relax, Miss…?”
“Red”, she said, “my name is Red.”
I promised Miss Red that Mistress Claudia would be her usual sweet self after she remembered that she was not asphyxiating. I explained that nothing… well, nothing other than the “K song” ever gets Mistress Claudia that upset. “Do not fret”, I said. “We are safe… while indoors.”
Yvette, I am not sure why I even mentioned the “K song”. But I swear to you, sister, it seemed that it was the only thing Miss Red heard me say. She began to interrogate me about the title. I told her that it was not a song by The Fugees, Aaron Tippin, or by Florence + The Machine. I showed her that even the thought of the song had poor Clare trembling out of her skin.
“We never speak the title,” I said. “The history of Camp Cute, Creepy and (quite conveniently) Remote says the ‘K song’ was often sung around campfires and at the beach, but I refuse to—”
“Kumbaya?” Miss Red said.
The accursed word was a whisper, Yvette. But all the signs showed that Mistress Claudia had heard it. Miss Red began to fade out of our reality. Clare’s worms stiffened, fell out of her hair, and vanished before landing on wet dirt. Roseblood’s fangs grew, cutting through her lower lip.
I was so distracted by the crimson dripping down Roseblood’s chin, that I did not realize that Miss Red had left the shack. Not until I heard the screams.
They were glorious screams, Yvette. I wonder if Miss Red is a famous soprano or an unknown town crier. We have neither computers nor personal telephones at camp that could satisfy our curiosity. Would you please try to find out for me? Roseblood asked Mistress Claudia during our last Art of Biting lesson. But the moment she said Miss Red’s name, the camp mistress’ pupils darkened, the left side of her face began to twitch, and Roseblood’s dolly burst into flames.
Do give my love to Marla and to Cordelia. I shall write to Mama tomorrow night. I promise to be gentle when reminding our mother that, although she birthed me, every one of my actions is not a reaction to her latest spell of madness.
Yours in blood and thought,
Drusilla Amarantha Tepes, the Only
the wee notes…
– The 1st letter: A Date for the Vampire’s Day Soirée.
– Some of the details of this letter were first shared in the last 2 installments of my Red Veiled web serial, where they are told from the point of view of Red. What happens to Red outside the shack is not really part of Drusilla’s story. But… if you are dying to know why Mistress Claudia cringes at the mere mention of Red’s name, visit my Web Serials page and read “Camp Cute, Creepy and (quite conveniently) Remote”, from Red’s POV, and “Unveiled”.
– Town crier… an officer of the court who makes public pronouncements; they can also be used to offer information (in rather vociferous manner) in the streets.
– The 3rd of letter: A Hauntingly Mad Tea Party.