Zoey woke up early. It was Saturday morning and the sun was shining. A new family was moving into the neighborhood today. They were moving into the old stone house at the end of the street. Zoey had asked around and found out the new neighbors had children. She was so excited. It was so much fun making new friends. The people that lived next to the old stone house had told Zoey that the people were moving in this morning. Zoey showered and put her best clothes on. Today she had picked pink stretch pants with a big pink, dotted shirt. She wore her big, pink pearl necklace and mom had let her borrow her pink dangly earrings. Zoey viewed herself in the mirror and thought she looked very nice. The one thing that was missing was a belt. She didn’t have a pink belt but she did have a white one so it would have to do. Her shoes were all pink so she picked out her flowered flip flops and put them on. Then she went into mom’s bathroom and borrowed just a little bit of one of her floral perfumes. Actually a little to Zoey was a lot. Mom would wonder where all her perfume had gone. Well she had to look and smell very nice for the new neighbors.
Zoey tried to wake Bernard up but he was too tired. He had been up late reading. He was not the social dragon that Zoey was so she finally gave up and let him sleep. Zoey ran into the kitchen so fast she slid on the floor. Luckily the counter was there to stop her. She could have fallen and messed up her nice outfit. Zoey asked mom if she knew where her hat was. When Zoey talks about hats they are more like umbrellas. She loves big and bright hats. Mom knew exactly where Zoey had left her hat. It was out on the bench on the patio. Zoey went out and got her hat. It was all she needed to finish off her outfit. She was excited for the new neighbors to meet her. She knew they would really like her. She was one of the most fashionable dragons in the city. Her friend Deuce told her this all the time.
Mom had made a big breakfast. She must have been up early. There was sausage, bacon, fried eggs, fried potatoes, apple butter and last but not least homemade biscuits. When mom felt like cooking she really went all out. Zoey loved to eat. She was a growing girl and really did need her nutrition. It was a good thing that dad had already left to go golfing. She had heard mom and dad talking about his cholesterol. This meal would have been too much for dad. It wasn’t for Zoey though. She knew Bernard could eat half the food on the table and her cousin Chloe had a very healthy appetite too. It was so nice of mom to make such a wonderful breakfast. Mom was the best. Zoey had a flashing thought in her mind about mom. When mom started cooking a lot of food she either felt like cooking or something was bothering her. That thought left as soon as it came. The food tasted so good. Mom always fried her potatoes in lots of butter with onions and garlic. They were exceptional this morning. Mom probably added more butter.
When Zoey finished breakfast she put her dish in the sink. Then she walked out on the front porch. She was looking down the street to see if there was a moving van in the driveway down the street. There was no sign of one yet. They should be arriving any minute. Zoey sat down on the porch swing and started swinging. She kept her eye on the street just in case the moving van came from the other direction. Mom came out on the porch and asked Zoey if she’d water the front flowers. Zoey said yes and went to get the water buckets. She watered each plant just like dad showed her. The plants were beautiful. They had marigolds, petunias, impatients and something new this year. It was called a snap dragon. Zoey loved that name. When she had finished watering the plants she put everything back where it belonged and sat back down on the porch. An hour had gone by and still no sign of the new family.
Zoey decided to walk down to the stone house and see what was going on. As she neared the front of the house she could tell it was still empty. The house looked dark inside. This particular house had always scared Zoey just a little bit. The lady that had lived in this house had passed away last year. The house had been empty ever since. From what Zoey had known of the lady she had lived in the house her entire life. She never came outside and never talked to any neighbors. She also didn’t appear to have family. When the neighbors hadn’t seen her for over a week they called the police. It turns out she had died in the house. Her body had been there for about a week. It was a really scary thought to Zoey. She knew mom and dad felt so bad about that. The city had given her a nice furneral and everyone in town had shown up for it. Now the house would be lived in again. Zoey thought that was a good thing. The one really weird thing about the lady was that after she died a lawyer had found out that she did have relatives. From what the neighbor said they were the ones that were moving in. Zoey didn’t know what to say about that. It was kind of weird that they’d never come to visit while the lady was alive.
If there was one thing Zoey knew it was that people could be really strange at times. Fortunately for her she was as normal as could be. She would describe herself as one perfectly normal pink dragon with a style for fashion. She also thought of herself as very pretty. The boys always told her that. She had lots of friends and she knew they all loved her. On the flip side of that thought if anyone had asked her friend Deuce to describe Zoey this is what he would say. He would say that she was lovable and friendly and very easy on the eyes. There was just one little thing that did cause problems. She had an attitude to end all attitudes. If it wasn’t Zoey’s way it was no way. Deuce knew how to handle Zoey. He just let her have her way. It was easier that way. Zoey had been grounded so many times that everybody had lost count. She had been pretty good for the past week so everyone was on pins and needles around her. This good could not go on. At least not for Zoey.
As Zoey walked around the old stone house she noticed something odd. It looked like some of the windows in the back of the house were boarded up. Zoey loved the sunshine so she couldn’t understand why anyone would board up their windows. Zoey felt there was a mystery here to be solved but she heard mom calling so she ran home.
Mom had made a nice lunch. It was as big as breakfast. This was very unusal. Two really big meals in one day. Zoey looked at the table and saw hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, macaroni salad, cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, hot dog and hamburger buns and a big double layer chocolate cake. Zoey looked over at mom but she didn’t say anything. Zoey was hungry so she sat down to eat. Bernard had finally gotten up and Chloe was sitting next to mom. Everyone said their prayers and began to eat. Zoey hadn’t realized how hungry she was. She ate two really big hamburgers, two hot dogs and a serving of all the side dishes. Mom asked where she’d been and Zoey said “At the old stone house”. Mom knew she was excited for the new neighbors to move in. That’s all she’d talked about for the past week.
Mom didn’t tell anybody but that house gave her the creeps. It was so dark and it was covered in moss. Mom liked nice, bright, airy houses. Something just didn’t feel right about the house. She’d mentioned her feelings to Zoey’s dad and he just said she was crazy. All mom could think was “crazy my foot” He said the stone house was fine. Well, if the house was fine then how come everytime she went by it something weird happened. One day she was walking back from the market and when she passed by the house lights started flickering on and off. She knew for a fact all the electricity had been turned off. She knew exactly what she’d seen but Dad didn’t believe her. After that day she always crossed the street when she got near the house. Now Zoey kept walking down the street to see the new neighbors. Mom didn’t like it one bit. She knew Zoey felt as though she was as tough as nails but she was just a little pink dragon. Mom didn’t know what she’d do if someone or something tried to hurt Zoey.
Zoey sat on the porch for hours waiting for a moving van to pull up to the stone house. She was getting tired of just sitting around. She was thinking maybe the neighbors had been wrong and they were moving in on another day. Zoey was nodding off to sleep on the porch swing when a loud noise woke her up. She opened her eyes to see a moving van going by the house. Well, they finally came. Zoey had to shake her head to wake herself up. It was almost dark. That seemed like an odd time for a moving van to arrive at a house. Maybe the movers had gotten lost. Her next question was where were the new neighbors? The stone house looked as dark as could be. Mom came out on the porch and told Zoey not to go near the stone house. It was getting dark and she wanted Zoey to stay home. Zoey thought mom sounded a little cranky when she told her to stay home. Maybe she was tired. When mom went into the house Zoey heard mom ask Bernard to go sit on the porch. What was going on anyway! Mom was acting strange. Dad was asleep in the living room. After a long day of gulf with his buddies he was always tired. Maybe that’s what was bothering mom.
Bernard came out and sat on the front step. Zoey got up off the swing and sat down on the step with Bernard. In the dim light they could just barely see two men putting ramps on the back of the moving van. Zoey turned to Bernard and said “I think they are moving in tonight”. Bernard said “I think you are right”. As Zoey and Bernard sat and watced the two men three cars pulled up in front of the house and pulled in the driveway. It was so dark that Zoey couldn’t see what was going on. It wasn’t just because it was dark though. The house sat far back on the property and trees lined the driveway.
Zoey and Bernard sat on the step for close to an hour trying to see what was going on. At 9:00 p.m. mom called for them to come in the house and lock the door. That was odd. Mom never locked the door. Mom was acting very strange. Zoey and Bernard went in the house and locked the door just like mom said. Zoey stood by the door and watched as mom checked all the locks on the windows and shut the blinds tight. It was summertime and mom never checked the windows during the summer months. If Zoey didn’t know better she’d think something was terribly wrong. She didn’t know what though.
Zoey went up to bed. Mom came in the her bedroom and checked her window and made sure the blinds were shut. She tucked Zoey in and told her to sleep tight. Zoey had this funny feeling that she should be afraid of something but she didn’t know what. Her last thought before going to sleep was to check to see if the new neighbors had moved in. Zoey was sound asleep within minutes and slept through the night without stirring. Mom on the other hand was awake most of the night. She was listening for any strange sounds in the neighborhood. Dad was snoring and wouldn’t have heard anything if it had landed next to his bed.
The next morning Zoey was up early. She passed mom in the hallway. Zoey thought mom looked especially tired. Bernard was still asleep and so was her cousin Chloe. Zoey went into the living room and peeked out the front window. She couldn’t see anything from the window. The only thing she could tell was that the moving van was gone. She thought that must mean the new family had moved in during the night. She had this thought about why some people would move in the middle of the night. The thought left as soon as she heard grumblings in her tummy. She went off to the kitchen to get a big bowl of cereal. She started to take her first bite of cereal when Dad walked into the kitchen. Dad told Zoey that mom was sleeping and to leave her be. She had tossed and turned all night and needed some rest. Zoey asked her dad if she could go outside when she was done eating breakfast. Dad told her to wait till mom got up. For some reason Mom didn’t want her outside. What in the world was going on anyway.
Zoey called Deuce and woke him up. She told him about the moving van and the people pulling in the driveway of the old stone house. Deuce listened quietly while Zoey told him what she knew. It seemed strange to Deuce that people would move at night. Deuce told Zoey he would be right over. That’s where I come in. Deuce woke me up and said we had to get over to Zoey’s as fast as we could. I looked at the clock and it was only 8:30 a.m. on a summer day. I crawled out of bed and got dressed. If Zoey needed us we had to go. We got to Zoey’s in record time. Her house was all locked up so we knocked on the front door and waited for her to answer the door. Zoey came to the door and let us in. She said to talk quietly because her mom was still sleeping. We sat around the kitchen table munching on chocolate chip cookies and talking about the old stone house. Zoey told us that her mom had been acting very strange. She had to stay in the house until her mom woke up.
Deuce and I decided to take a casual walk down the street. Our plan was to see what was going on with the new neighbors and report back to Zoey. We made it to the stone house and looked around. The house was dark and it didn’t look like anyone was home. The cars could be in the garage but we were afraid to go up and peek in the garage windows. We walked on to the corner and crossed the street and walked back to Zoey’s. Zoey was disappointed that we had no news to report. We sat with her till her mom got up and then we left and went back home.
Zoey’s mom kept her busy for the day. She had her cleaning, scrubbing and vacuuming. Just when Zoey thought she was done with her chores mom would come up with more. This went on till evening. Dad came in the kitchen and said the house had never looked cleaner. Zoey was starting to get crabby. She was tired of being in the house. Mom was either having some sort of break down or something was really going on. Zoey went up to her room and took her shower. Just before she got in bed she peeked out her bedroom window and thought she saw movement down near the stone house. She hurried up and shut the blind and jumped in bed. Mom came in and tucked her in. Zoey was so tired from cleaning that she fell asleep and slept through the night.
While Zoey was sleeping the new neighbors in the stone house were up moving around. The neighbors that lived next door to the new people noticed that they stayed up very late at night. It seemed odd but maybe they were just adjusting to their new home.
The next morning when Zoey woke up she heard rain on the window pane. Her first thought was no sun today. Zoey loved warm, sunny days. She knew the rain would be good for the garden and flowers so she wasn’t too sad. She got dressed and went down to the kitchen. Mom was sitting at the kitchen table. Zoey begged mom to take her to meet the new neighbors. Mom said no and she wouldn’t budge. Zoey looked out the window and it was as dark as could be. This kind of weather made mom nervous. She always said it was tornado weather.
Bernard wanted to go to the library. He asked if he could borrow the big umbrella. Mom went in the closet and got it out for him. Just before he left for the library Zoey wispered in his ear to check and see what was going on at the stone house. He just smiled and went out the door. As Bernard approached the house he did notice some activity. There was a young girl on the porch. She had the whitest skin he had ever seen. He had the thought that maybe she was sick. As Bernard walked by he smiled and waved at her. She smiled back and waved to him. She looked like she was maybe 13 or 14 years old. She seemed nice enough. Just then a lady who was most likely her mom came to the door and asked the girl to come in the house. The mom had very pale skin too. It was almost too pale. Like she didn’t have enough blood or something like that. Bernard just kept walking only he did quicken his pace and made it to the Library in record time.
While he was sitting at the library reviewing some history lessons he heard a noise. He looked up from his book and there was the girl that had waved to him. She was standing at the end of his table. She smiled and said hi. She asked if he minded if she sit at his table. Bernard said “sit down” as she walked over and sat down near him. She had a big book in her hand. Bernard asked her name and she said it was Julie. She seemed really nice but she was so pale. They really didn’t talk much and Bernard continued to study his history book.
Suddenly Bernard heard a lot of commotion by the door. He looked up and saw Zoey and her mom walking in with umbrellas. The umbrellas were dripping water everywhere. The librarian went over to help them and to put their umbrellas by the door to dry. Mom and Zoey walked over to the table where Bernard was sitting. Bernard introduced the new neighbor Julie to his aunt and Zoey. Zoey’s mom turned white as a ghost. Zoey on the other hand was so excited. She put on her best smile and said “Hi” Julie said “Hi back and smiled. Mom grabbed Zoey’s arm and pullled her closer to her side. Zoey said “ouch” mom had just about pinched her when she pulled her closer. Zoey thought there was something seriously wrong with mom. Zoey told Julie that maybe sometime she could come over to visit. Mom kicked Zoey’s foot. Zoey said “ouch” again. By this time Zoey had just about had it. She looked at her mom and said “what is the matter with you” mom just stood there and didn’t say a word. Julie got up from the table and announced to the group that she had to leave. Mom still wasn’t speaking. Zoey and Bernard told her it was nice to meet her. When Julie left the library Mom gave Zoey and Bernard the lecture of a lifetime. She told them they would not be friends with Julie. Under no circumstances would they ever be allowed to go to her house. Zoey sat down on the chair and started to cry. She thought either mom had gone off the deep end or she knew something Zoey didn’t know.
Mom told Zoey and Bernard to get the books they needed and they were leaving for home. Zoey picked a couple fun mysteries. Bernard had an arm full of books. Mom had a few magazines. They checked everything out and headed back into the rain. Thank goodness for the umbrellas. They made it home relatively dry. Zoey went to her room because she was still mad at mom. Bernard went to the den to study. Dad was watching TV and mom started to make lunch. It would be a big lunch again. She knew that the new neighbors were vampires. Every thought she had pointed to that. Moving in at night for one thing. Julie looked like she didn’t have an ounce of blood in her body. This was not good. She decided to call Deuce’s mom after lunch and tell her the whole story.
On second thought she was going to call the entire P.T.A. and and let them know what was going on at the stone house. Zoey’s mom felt she had a duty to inform everyone for their own safety. She felt like the world was sitting on her shoulders. It was her responsibility to protect her family and warn the town about what was going on.
What Zoey’s mom didn’t know was that Bernard had taken out a book from the library about vampires. He read and read until he was finished. From what he could tell all indications were that vampires could not hurt dragons. If that was true they were safe. Zoey wouldn’t have to worry. Mom wouldn’t have to worry and Deuce was safe too. He needed to talk to his aunt about this.
After lunch he took his vampire book into the kitchen to show his aunt what he had learned. For some reason that Bernard couldn’t figure out she did not care what the book said. She told him in no uncertain terms that nobody would be going down to the stone house. Bernard said fine and went back to reading his history books.
The next morning mom told Zoey that if she found out that she had been anywhere near the stone house she would be grounded for the rest of the summer. Dad overheard mom and said she was being ridiculous. Mom told dad she didn’t care what he thought. He didn’t know the whole story. He just shook his head and walked out of the room.
That afternoon the neighbor that lived next to the stone house called Zoey’s mom. She asked if Zoey would mind coming down and helping her with her garden. Mom didn’t like it but said okay. Bernard walked Zoey down to the neighbor’s house per mom’s orders. Mrs. Brown asked Zoey to go around to the back garden and water all the flowers. When Zoey walked into the garden she was pleasantly surprised. The flowers were so beautiful to look at. It was nice to be surrounded by such beauty. While she was watering she heard a noise.
When she looked over at the stone house she saw Julie in the window. Julie motioned for her to come over. Zoey was hesitant because she knew there was big potential for being grounded. The whole summer was a long time. Zoey’s curiosity got the better of her and she walked over to the window. Julie smiled and asked Zoey if she wanted to come inside. Zoey shook her head no. She didn’t want to hurt Julie’s feelings and tell her why. Julie told Zoey to meet her back in the woods behind her house. She said it was dark back there and she couldn’t be in the sun. That seemed funny to Zoey. Zoey loved the sun. Zoey said okay she would but first she had to finish watering for Mrs. Brown. Zoey watered everything. Even the hanging baskets on the porch. When she was finished she hung the hose up and walked back toward the woods. Julie was sitting on an old cement block waiting for her. Zoey thought she seemed kind of lonely sitting there all alone. Zoey smiled and walked over by where Julie was sitting. Zoey tripped on a rock when she got near Julie and fell on her. Zoey felt so bad and said sorry. Julie just smiled and said don’t worry you can’t hurt me.
Zoey thought that was an odd thing to say. When she went to stand up Julie gave her hand to Zoey. Julie’s hands were ice cold. Not just cold but ice like the wintertime. For just a minute Zoey felt frightened. She couldn’t understand what was going on. Julie saw the look of horror on Zoey’s face. Julie said sorry but I guess I should tell you that I’m a vampire. Zoey swallowed hard and just stood there. The color in Zoey’s face started draining. She looked around but the woods were dark. Bernard was at home and Mrs Brown was in the house. Now what was she going to do? Julie looked at Zoey and said “don’t worry I can’t hurt you”. Julie smiled and said vampires can’t hurt dragons. Zoey wanted to believe her but she didn’t know what to think. All she wanted to do was go home with mom. Zoey had this fleeting thought that mom wasn’t having a break down. Mom was very smart. It must have been her mother’s intuition. Right at that minute Zoey thought she loved mom more than ever before.
Just then Mrs. Brown was calling Zoey’s name. Zoey said “sorry I’ve got to go see what she wants “Zoey took off like she was in a marathon. She ran so fast that she looked like a blur. When she reached Mrs. Brown she couldn’t catch her breath. Mrs brown told her to sit down. She was a little worried about Zoey. After a couple minutes Zoey could breath again. She never said a word to Mrs. Brown about the neighbors. Mrs. Brown paid her and gave her a tip. Zoey said “Thanks” and asked to use the phone. She called Bernard and asked him to come get her.
Bernard walked down to Mrs. Brown’s. When Zoey saw him she said goodbye to Mrs. Brown and ran out to meet him. She told him the story about meeting Julie in the woods. Bernard told her she better not mention this to mom. It would lead to nothing but trouble. Zoey said she knew that. They walked home and went inside. They both acted like there was nothing new. Zoey showed mom the money Mrs. Brown had given her. She had earned $20 and a $2 tip. Mom was very impressed. As Zoey left the kitchen she yelled to mom “I love you” mom smiled. It turns out mother’s really do know best!
Zoey had learned a very important lesson today. She would always listen to mom from this day forward.