Her father, Spheris Burnes, had strictly prohibited Amanda to not tell a human that she is a vampire. But this was an exception to Amanda—her father didn’t know about Walkins—not Spheris. Amanda’s stepmother, Madelyn Burnes, is working late…as usual. If Amanda could tell her dad about telling Philip the truth…then she would have done so.
The Burnes family lives in a big mansion that’s not a ‘castle’ type. In their backyard is a swimming pool. At night, the lights in the swimming pool are on. Teenagers, who try making the backyard a mess, easily get scared seeing glowing eerily green lights from the water. Seeing eerily, green light out of nowhere would scare anyone in pitch dark.
Living on Qlanberry Street isn’t exactly an ‘easy target’ for pranksters
“Am I weightless to ya?” Philip asked, as she lets Philip’s hand go.
Amanda is recalling her conversation with Philip, as she works on a clay project.
She had stopped at Philip’s house.
“Uh, yes.” Amanda stops at Philip’s house. Smoke went up around her feet. But, her shoes were not burning, so the logical conclusion is that Amanda’s speed allows her to do miraculous, highly impossible things.
Philip’s feet land on the pavement.
“How come ya never told me about this?” Philip flails his arms. “This would have been a great benefit, for FIVE years! Now gimmie my books,”
Amanda hands the books to Philip.
Currently Amanda is sculpturing an art project on the living room deck using clay and her hand. She could have done this a week ago. But Walkins unforeseen news made Amanda do things she hadn’t done in a long time. Her art project is due tomorrow anyhow. This sculpture is meant to be a man thinking… But at this rate it’s turning out to be a woman thinking.
“Amanda.” Her dad, Spheris, is standing beside the see-through doors. “It’s getting late.”
Amanda didn’t bother turning her head.
“I have to finish this project.” Amanda said.
Spheris looks like a man in his thirties with curled back, shiny hair. He has a triangle shaped beard on his chin.
“It’s 6:05 PM.” Spheris said. “You better get in.”
Amanda turns her head.
“Dad, what’s with you and the night?” Amanda said, with a scowl on her face. “Is there werewolves out there you don’t like?
“Dear, Werewolves went extinct a century ago. I was there to see it.” Spheris tells her, taking a step inside. “Get in with your project. Florida is a city of gunfire at night.” There is a bit of silence between them. “A stray bullet can hit you in the heart.”
Amanda grabs her project’s underside (With a wooden plate under it) and goes inside, sticking her tongue out at Spheris.
“Don’t blame me,” Spheris said, gesturing to himself. “People should be blamed for letting loose that guilty man, who killed an innocent African American.”
“That guilty man has a name.” Amanda puts her project on the dining room table. She is familiar to the man he refers to (This man had been on the news a lot). “George German.”
Spheris closes the doors, but he did keep the lights on inside the building.
“He isn’t even a comic book character.” Spheris comments on the man’s name. “But that African American…” He shook his head. “Devyn Spartan could say otherwise.” Spheris goes to the side of the refrigerator. He presses on the gray machine’s side using his fingertips.
A click comes from the side. Spheris takes a step back and watches the side unfold to show several cases of pigs blood aligned in rows. He takes two packets out from the machine, and then writes on a notepad built into the side. He puts in the number two, and then the green number changes to another number. He closes the door.
“How was school?” Spheris asks, taking out two glasses from the cabinet.
Amanda smiles a little.
“Fine,” Amanda said, as her dad closed the cabinet doors. “Hilary is pregnant.”
Spheris sits down at the table.
“Don’t tell me you told her.” Spheris didn’t say it as a question but as a statement. He puts the two cups and two packets on the table.
“Hilary always said she would name her child after herself.” Amanda goes on, as her dad is getting mad. “So I told her she’s making a junior.”
Spheris rubs his forehead.
“So I had to do it.”
“Uh no, you didn’t.”
“I had to.”
“Amanda!” Spheris opens a pig blood packet and puts in the blood into his cup. “You shouldn’t be telling a human that she’s expecting.”
Amanda’s hands are busy sculpting.
“Says the man who looks like he is thirty-five,” Amanda said, as Spheris pushes forward a blood packet and cup to her.
“I was bitten by an original vampire,” Spheris said, pointing to her. “And you, little girl, are a hybrid.”
“Yada yada yada.” Amanda huffs, putting the sculpture to the side. She has heard this before, not once but many times when they were in arguments. She opens the packet of pig blood. And then pours it into the cup.
“It’s dangerous to be a hybrid out there,” Spheris adds. “The long time vampires see you as a threat to their society; to the way they work and live.”
Amanda puts the empty packet to the side.
“Dad, I’ve heard this over and over.” Amanda reminds him, and she takes a sip from the big glass.
Spheris sighs, and uses a napkin to clean off some pig blood on his mouth.
“Amanda, if you told a human, that human could tell anyone who may be a vampire.”
Amanda clears her throat.
“Dad. I know when there is a vampire in Florida, but frankly there isn’t. We are the only vampires around.”
“You can’t always be sure.”
Amanda touches her chest.
‘To the way they work and live’.” She quotes her father. Amanda gazes at her sculpture that looks like a professional artist had done it, not her. She returns her attention to Spheris. “Dad, did you read The Tragedy of Macbeth…again?”
“No.” Spheris gets up, and pulls down the blinds on the windows.
Amanda takes another sip of pig’s blood.
“Amanda…” Spheris turns around. “We have moved all over the world; from Greece, Italy, Germany, Russia, Great Britian, Scottland, and here.” He picks up his cup and takes a sip from it. He carefully twirls it. “You haven’t noticed figures following—“
“That’s because I don’t walk slow as humans.” Amanda interjects, jokingly.
Spheris puts down the cup, and then sits on the corner of the table.
“Little Girl, I may be two hundred ninety nine years old…No scratch that. Three hundred thirteen…” Spheris shook his head. “Actually I have lost track.”
Amanda laughs at him.
Spheris sighs, looking towards his daughter.
“Sometimes we all get scared….” He continues “And that’s fine. Cause we need that, you know…To remind us that we are still alive…still human.” Spheris’s gaze is locked on a photograph on a book shelf.
“Dad, are you giving me the ‘never be afraid’ speech again?” Amanda asks, folding her arms.
Spheris gets up from the edge of the table.
“No.” He said, in a low voice. “As I was saying; I may be 3 centuries old, work for a snude company,--” He raises a finger up. “I don’t know if Snude is a word, so, carry on—“ And he takes his drink. “Your mother was a…”
He kind of chokes on a word.
“Slave.” Amanda finishes for him, rolling her eyes. This is an easy word to say,Amanda thought to herself, He finds it hard to say because of mom.
“Right…” Spheris goes on. “Your mother was aware of it. She understood. I was so young when we met. A couple years give or take,” He drinks from the glass, then swallows the pigs blood.
He shifted to his right.
“Amanda, I didn’t tell you, but you...you were a miracle child.”
“Being born in 1835, when Slavery was still around, meh.”
Spheris bit his lip.
“Her master was…distraught to find out a white man had...” He fakes a cough. Spheris is treating this like a touchy subject. Anyone could tell that if he was being interrogated by a detective. “That was racist.”
“Dad, it’s only a word.” Amanda reminds her father, once more as she is chilling out.
“You are old enough to know the truth.” Spheris makes a powerful statement. “And…She told him about me being a vampire.” Amanda nearly dropped her glass. She hadn’t heard of this part of their story, not for a long time. “Your mother had a name;Rosemary….Rosemary Burnes….”
Amanda drinks from her glass.
That's where she got her last name. It didn't come from her father.
“Rosemary…Her master rounded up all the other slaves and…did…” Spheris takes a sigh, followed by a pause. “The worst way possible to find who the vampire was.”
The scene shows Rosemary, a woman with her hair all braided up, holding her small crying baby as countless slavers were in a group. She stood beside the tree cradling her child.
“We fell in love…But we didn’t expect…” He waves his left hand at her direction. “Expect having you. You were a miracle.”
Rosemary sings a lullaby to baby Amanda.
Rosemary’s slave owner comes to the group, as it is becoming daylight.
‘It’s time to see who is undead and who is living.’ The Slaver owner, Micheal Johnson, is followed by several men carrying wooden stakes. ‘Stop your singing,’ He calls her an uncalled for word. ‘You will be joining them, soon!’
“Dad…Is that how…Mom…died?” Amanda manages to ask.
Spheris was reliving that moment, mentally.
“Yes.” He looks down. “And I killed the men responsible for this. But someone escaped, and they were a vampire.”
“How do you know?” Amanda asks. "For all you know, that person could have been a human."
That suggestion was not something lightly to Spheris.
“You never forget the scene of vampire burning.” Spheris said in a way that makes Amanda silent. He pauses for a moment, getting the right thoughts to continue what…should be told. “I wanted to make Rosemary a vampire, but…she didn’t want it.”
“She told me ‘Call her Amanda; a fleet of troops just waiting…to start a fight’. I assumed your name meant the troop thing.” Spheris takes a drink from his glass. He swallows it, and then shakes it back and forth. “If you were not found; you could break down their entire system, culture, and well…change the definition of vampires forever.”
He sounds shaky, continuing.
“And that is why we’ve been moving every ten to five years.” Spheris finishes.
“Dad, um, I’m not that ambitious.”
Her father smiles a little.
“Says the girl who made a fantastic sculpture.” Spheris teases her, as he refers to her woman-thinking-sculpture. He puts both hands on the table. “I am telling you, if something happens to me…” Amanda is drinking pig’s blood as she raises a curious eyebrow. “Do not, under any circumstance, do you stop running."
“Dad…what if I told somebody?”
“Then we would be in a bad fix; because they may kill you, those vampires that are why we can’t tell. You understand?” He puts down the empty glass. Spheris looks at his daughter in a way that’s like a puppy looking for somebody to take it in.
“To keep those we care about safe…we have to keep secrets.” Spheris puts his hands on a chair. His composure becomes confident, but dark and serious. “Sometimes we have to make tough decisions…Sometimes our secrets are dark, or, deadly."
“Dad, is that why you haven’t told Madelyn?”
Spheris is silent.
“Dad, is there any more secrets you haven’t told me?”
Spheris takes his hands off the chair, picks up the packet and throws it away.
“Sometimes we make tough decisions, Amanda, and some secrets aren’t worth to be dug out the closet.”