by James Merkin
“Stevie!” The small boy shook his older brother’s shoulder. “Wake up, Stevie!”
Steven muttered something incoherent, then rolled over, the covers over his head.
“C’mon, Stevie.” Five year-old Davey was doggedly persistent, especially when trying to get his older brother’s attention. The teen slept on, pulling his quilt tighter around his head.
Davey paused and thought, then climbed onto Steven’s back. He bounced.
“Hunh? Wassup?” Thirteen year-old Steven twisted and his head emerged from the covers.
“Are you a vampire now?”
“Wah?” Steven blinked and squinted blearily at his brother.
Davey leaned closer and inspected Steven’s neck. “I saw Bobby bite you last night.” He poked a finger at the red blotch on Steven’s neck. “Right there. Does it hurt?”
Steven recoiled from the probing finger. “Ouch! Stop!” He pulled the quilt tightly around his neck. “Whaddaya sayin’?”
“After you came back from tricker-treating. Bobby was so scary in his black cape, and he had fangs!”
“You saw us?” Steven sat up suddenly. Davey rolled off and lay giggling on the bed.
“Then I saw him bite your lips!”
“Davey! It wasn’t like that!” Steven, completely awake now, frantically looked around his room. “We were just pretending!”
Davey stopped giggling and thought hard for a minute.
“But I saw Bobby suck your blood out!”
“What? What do you mean?”
“When you took your pants off.”
“Ohmigod!” Steven, panic-stricken, stared at Davey. “Where were you?”
Davey flinched and drew back from his brother. “I was hiding on the basement stairs,” he whispered, “I wanted to see your costumes again.”
“It was all make-believe,” blurted Steven. “You won’t tell anyone, will you?” He was trembling.
Davey shook his head vigorously. He hugged Steven. “I’m glad you’re not a vampire,” he said. “I don’t want to get my neck bit like that.”
Steven, breathing heavily, hugged Davey back. “We’re still best buddies, aren’t we? Promise me you won’t say anything to anybody about what you saw.”
Davey leaned against Steven. “I promise.” The little boy snuggled tightly against his big brother. “I didn’t really think you were turned into a vampire by Bobby sucking you.”
“Besides, Daddy said you probably weren’t one, when I asked him. He said Bobby might be, though, and he’d better have a talk with you about it.”