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Oct 18, 2019 7:03 AM
Dragon Age Ari lands in vampireworld
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"Danny and Ari Lennox. Alright, I'll sign you both in. Suzanna, tell your parents to call ahead next time, okay?"

"Yes ma'am," Zanna says.

The teacher heads back into the school. Zanna exhales. "Probably should've gotten your full names earlier. At least Mrs. O'Neil bought the second cousins bit."

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"Yeah, I don't really have one of those."

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"Well, you came up with one in the pinch, and that's what matters. Where'd you get Lennox from if it's not your last name?"

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"Ma says it's a good idea to have one if the humans ask."

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"And she was right!"

They enter the building and head to Zanna's classroom. It's decorated with a variety of elementary-school projects, most prominently a flock of shoddily-colored-in paper cutouts of butterflies, scrawled with crude cursive. "Welcome to Hell," Zanna says cheerily.

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Danny tilts his hand. "I don't know, the butterflies are kinda nice."

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"Our most recent 'art' project. We shaded them in colored pencil, then chose four adjectives to write on the wings. Because we were learning what adjectives were."

Zanna points to her own butterfly, which is patterned in swirls of red and black and festooned with gel-pen-pink cursive reading pointless, stultifying, tedious and facile.

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Danny whistles, a little impressed. "Those are pretty big words for a human girl your level of bigness."

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"I used a thesaurus," Zanna admits. "Honestly I put in a lot more effort than the assignment warranted, but it got on my nerves."

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"Think of it as vampire auditons."

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"I will."

Mrs. O'Neil enters the classroom. "Alright, class, we have some visitors today! Danny and Ari Lennox, Suzanna's cousins, are visiting from California, so be sure to be on your best behavior to give them a good impression of our school."

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Ari waves. "Hi!"

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"We like your butterflies!"

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"Aw, thank you!" says Mrs. O'Neil. "Everybody worked very hard on them. Especially Suzanna!"

Zanna glares. "It was a protest piece."

The teacher laughs.

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Class commences.

As promised, it's pretty stultifying. They read a chapter of an insipid book about animals having a party, practice their multiplication tables, spell a few words. The teacher doesn't really expect them to participate, being outsiders to the class, but they are supposed to sit still and not talk unless called on. Zanna does participate, and acquits herself much better than the average student; she clearly already knows most if not all of what's being taught, and only really raises her hand out of frustration with her classmates. Mrs. O'Neil tries not to call on her too often, winking at her and shaking her head when she raises her hand too quickly.

After entirely too long, it's time for recess. The kids form into a line, with a boy named Aaron at the front and Zanna and her "cousins" at the rear. Then they file out onto the blacktop.

"So, what do you think?" Zanna asks.

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"...How have you all not killed the teacher?"

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"It's a daily struggle. She protects herself by only giving us safety scissors."

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“Is this a weird strategy to get us to turn you sooner? You didn’t pay her to be boring?”

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"When would she have done that? We've been watching her since she woke up."

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"Yeah, she's always like that. School is always like that, she's not even the worst teacher I've had. It's a nightmare. And it's the kind where nobody else even seems to realize anything is wrong."

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“Dodged a species bullet there. Do we get to play outside now?”

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"Yep," she says. "Everybody else plays foursquare and stuff. I usually stay near the fence and, um. Pretend to be a witch."

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“Maybe if we turn you you’ll be a witch.”

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“Oh, I hope so,” she sighs. “If you want to go and play you can, I’ll just play my witch game.”

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