The monsters are real, and they've come for him again.


1. One

He remembered the first time he encountered them. They had come through his window, when the moon was at its highest on Halloween night.

“Hello, Charlie.”

The twelve year old lowered his blanket. Two girls and a boy stared at him. The dark-haired girl grinned at him, her brown hair in a messy knot. There was blood along her cheeks and on her neck, the flesh cut open.

But Charlie wasn't scared. He had seen enough horror movies to know that monsters didn't exist. “Hello,” he replied softly. “How did you know my name?”

The other girl smiled, her blonde hair glistening in the moonlight. Her smile was so big that Charlie could see her teeth. No – her fangs. She crouched down and examined a toy truck on his floor.

“We know a lot about you,” the boy said, coming forward. His shaggy hair fell into his strange, yellow eyes. “We've picked you, Charlie. You're special. We've been watching you. You're smart, resourceful.” The boy grinned, his teeth normal. “I'm Liam, and this is Olivia and Carly.” He indicated the blonde, then the dark-haired girl. He peered at Charlie. “You're not afraid of us.”

It wasn't a question.

“No,” Charlie answered bravely. “You're not real.”

“Are you sure?” Carly wondered. She tried to wipe the blood from her face. “It itches,” she told him. Sitting on the edge of his mattress, she looked around. “You have a nice room.”

Charlie didn't answer. He was too busy looking at her neck. At the wound that now seemed too real. And she smelled, he noticed. She smelled so bad that he needed to cover his nose and mouth. She was putrid, rotten.

She reeked of death.

Olivia smiled again, her sharp teeth startling.

Charlie had always been fascinated with vampires – and now there was one in his room. He couldn't wait to tell his friends.

“I wouldn't do that if I were you,” Liam said. “They'll just think you were playing a prank. Remember, vampires, werewolves and dead girls don't exist.”

Charlie took a deep breath, and reached out to touch Carly's hand. It was cold. So cold that he pulled away. When he spoke, his voice was trembling and full of fear.

“Oh my God.”

That was when Charlie screamed.

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