Today’s story was spawned by a random forum conversation. It was posited that the reason the members of the Babysitters’ Club never seemed to age was because they were actually undead. It started off just being vampires, but no other vampire franchises seem capable of sticking to just the one supernatural… er… race? so pfft. Might be follow-ups to this.
Belinda strode across the grass, tugging her bag more firmly onto her shoulder. It contained everything she’d need for a long night of babysitting; phone, notebook, pens, DVD box set of True Blood. She’d pinched the latter from her mother’s bedroom – her father had banned her from watching it, and demanded that it be kept away from her. He still insisted on treating her like a 14 year old. ‘Come on, Pop,’ she argued, ‘I’ve been 14 for more than fifty years, can we just move on now?’. But no, he didn’t want her getting any ‘funny ideas’. Whatever. As if sucking the blood of the innocent weren’t funny enough, right?
That man. Totally in denial. As if she couldn’t just download it, anyway.
She was on her way to the Pattersons’ house, just behind her own. She’d heard the kid prancing around in the garden, the occasional night-time screaming session, but never spoken to the adults. So far they’d avoided employing her services, preferring the more discreetly undead members of the club; but tonight, all the other girls were occupied. Tonight, it was Belinda hopping over the little picket fence, trudging past the dustbins, and crunching over the gravel drive.
She knocked at the door, which opened immediately. Mr Patterson muttered a hello and a goodbye, immediately scuttling out to the car like a fretful hermit crab seeking a new home. He fumbled and dropped his keys on the floor, such was his haste to escape the fearful five-foot-nothing predator standing on his doorstep. She smiled pleasantly in his direction as the car door slammed, then turned to face his wife, now standing in the doorway.
Mrs Patterson’s nerves were betrayed by only the slight sheen of perspiration trying to break through her makeup. Her hair was piled up on top of her head, shining curls rigidly secured by innumerable hairpins and a gallon of hairspray. Following her around the house, Belinda smiled politely, complimented the furniture, and waited for the inevitable question. It came after the tour, as Mrs Patterson stood on the doorstep, one hand still on the door.
“I, er. I don’t like to ask, but… you’re not going to… bite him, are you?”
Belinda raised her eyebrow. “Look, lady,” she said, “I’m a growing girl – ok, maybe not. What I mean to say is, don’t worry, your kid is barely big enough to be a snack. Not really worth the effort.”
Mrs Patterson’s brow creased in concern.
“Not that I’ve thought about it, of course,” continued Belinda. “Besides, I just ate.”
“Oh, ok,” replied the woman, momentarily relieved. Her face dropped. “Oh.”
“Don’t worry,” smiled Belinda. “Nobody you know. Probably.”
“Um… ok. Well, these are our numbers if there’s an emergency. If you feel hungry there…” She paused, and swallowed nervously. “There is food in the fridge, help yourself to any… er… drinks… are you sure you’ll be ok?” Her eyebrows looked like they were about to break free of her face, and dive into the stiff updo for safety.
“Absolutely, Mrs Patterson,” replied the girl, closing the door, calling “You have fun, now!” through the frosted pane. She listened for the slam of the car door, and sighed deeply as the Pattersons drove away. She wandered to the living room where the boy, Sam, was playing computer games.
“Well,” she said, “It’s just us now.”
The boy ignored her, continuing to tap on the keyboard as pixellated blood spattered across the screen.
She rolled her eyes, and took her phone from her bag, hoping to find a decent conversation to join. She was immediately interrupted.
“Dad says I have to be really good and do exactly as you say.” He swung around in his seat, and narrowed his eyes at her.
“Yep,” she replied, “sounds about right.”
She cocked her head to one side. “What do you mean, why? Because I’m in charge, is why.”
“No, I mean what will you do otherwise?”
“Well,” she said, racking her brains for the most effective response. “I’ll probably drain you of every last drop of blood, and leave you a withered husk on the floor.”
“Like a mummy?” he asked, looking down at his hands as though imagining it. “Dad won’t pay you if you do.”
She looked steadily at him. “That’s a risk I’m willing to take. Are you?”
He met her stare for a moment, before turning back to his computer screen with a shrug. “OK. Where’s Tammy?”
“Tammy?” replied Belinda. “Probably howling at the moon through the iron bars of her bedroom window.”
“Cool,” he said, something in the game letting out a muffled shriek. “She tells me she’ll rip me limb from limb and eat my insides but she sticks her nose up at hotdogs so I don’t think she will. I believe you, though. I’ll be good.”
“Glad we’ve got that sorted,” replied Belinda, tapping her phone. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a long night, after all.