If anyone ever wants the definition for a cookie-cutter suburban neighbourhood, all they have to do is grab a map and find your town. You don’t think you can even call it a town; it’s more like a village. Everybody knows everyone, because the roads are laid out like grids and it’s pretty hard to find someone who lives off the beaten track – there is no beaten track in your village. It is non-existent.
The place is kind of dull, but you don’t mind. It’s home. In a way, it’s like living in one big house, because everyone knows their way around and everyone is friends. Well. Sort of. There are a few people that aren’t friends, but you tend to get along with most people.
The bright side to this style of living is that everything new is exciting. Every little thing goes over the top and becomes the centre of attention. Every change is blasted way out of proportion, and it’s pretty cool. Compared to other people in the country, the people in your village/town/thing appreciate the little things.
For example, about three months ago, someone new transferred all the way from a school in Houston to the only high school in your area. That attracted enough attention in itself, but it didn’t stop there.
Dave Strider is probably the coolest person you’ve ever met or heard of. He’s unusually pale and draws weird comics, he’s as sarcastic as Rose, and he is, in the most non-homosexual way possible, rather good looking. He’s got this charm about him; you’re not sure if it’s his accent or his attitude. It’s probably a mix of both.
Of course, you’re not susceptible to it. Half the girls are, and probably a few boys, but it’s not your ‘jam’. In fact, you think there’s something almost…suspicious…about it. Unnatural, even.
He can say anything and someone will praise him for it, no matter how nonsensical it is. It doesn’t stop with his personality. He immediately shot up to the top of the gym class record board, beaten only by Equius in the weightlifting category.
Your name is John Egbert, and you are certain that the new kid in the neighbourhood is a vampire.
It started with the little things. He got pissed off in cooking class when you all had to bring in some food starting with the same letter as your name. Not because of that (no matter how sad it is), but because of what happened in the lesson itself. After Gamzee’s Faygo and weird pies were turned down, he brought in some garlic. Dave left in a hurry. Later, it became apparent that he was allergic to garlic. You think that’s a bit stupid. Who can be allergic to garlic? It’s just a vegetable. Isn’t it? God, don’t get technical with garlic. It probably has its own family. Isn’t it an onion? No, don’t be stupid, it’s called garlic because it’s garlic. Or is it? Maybe Dave is allergic to the onion family.
He’s probably the only person that Gamzee openly dislikes. You think that’s an achievement in itself. Gamzee barely ever shares negative thoughts about people, but when he offered pie to everyone but Dave, it was declared the ‘burn of the week’.
The second thing that gathered your attention was when he turned down a trip to the beach. That’s the thing that most people look forward to in your school. A chance to get away from the forests of Washington and go to the beach to soak up some sun. Dave said it wasn’t his jam, and that he had enough sun in Houston. He’s too pale to have spent all that much time in the sun.
Then there was the day when you all had to prick your fingers to get your blood types. He skipped school on that day. That’s when the evidence started to form an outline. You think you owe Feferi for that revelation. She remarked that he’s starting to look a little like Edward from Twilight.
The only things that are missing now, of course, are victims. By missing, you mean that there are no victims. He probably should’ve gone through quite a few people by now. However, you have a reason for that, too. What kind of idiot would move into a town where everyone knows everyone, a town where there hasn’t been a murder in ten years, and then start chowing down on the civilians? The evidence would lead straight to him.
You’ve been keeping an eye on his garden. Unfortunately, he hasn’t gone outside to bury any mysterious (corpses) objects. Nobody has. You know that there are two people living in his house. There’s Dave, and then there’s his older brother, who goes simply by the name of ‘Bro’. You think that’s kind of lame. Apparently, Dave has another brother called Dirk, but he’s off studying robotics at college. You really don’t know why you know this. Oh wait, yes, you do.
You enlisted Terezi to help with your observation of Dave. She was more than happy to help for the sake of ‘justice’. You didn’t tell her that you suspected him of being a vampire. However, eventually, Terezi’s interest in Dave became quite different to yours. She became his biggest fan, and soon you couldn’t stand her weird obsession with his life and how he ‘smells so red’ (which you took as another piece of evidence).
After Terezi’s failure, you were a bit stuck. You thought of asking Vriska for help, but you’re pretty sure that she would laugh at you for it. Or take it too seriously—no, that’s not quite right. She’d probably be overdramatic about it, like she is with her roleplaying games. You wouldn’t change that about her even if you could, but you don’t think it’s appropriate for this sort of investigation. No matter how good at taking care of herself she is, she tends to overestimate her abilities. The last thing you want is her getting hurt.
Despite the overwhelming air of danger, your dad is happier with you than ever. All the research that you do looks like homework and studying to him. You feel a little guilty about tricking him like that, but Vriska’s words come to you in times of need; ‘sometimes it’s necessary to cheat’.
Unfortunately, your friends have started to doubt you just a little bit. Jade thinks it’s one of your elaborate pranks, and Rose thinks you’re being ridiculous. You’ve decided not to tell anyone else after your best friends’ reactions. If your closest chums won’t believe you, who will?
“You are out of your fucking mind, Egbert. Jesus Christ, is this a thing that you are actually considering?”
You’re not sure if telling Karkat was a good idea. What the fuck were you thinking? Okay, you do know what you were thinking. You were talking to Gamzee about Dave, which probably wasn’t a good idea either, and Karkat appeared conveniently to tell you to shut up about Dave, for Gamzee’s sake.
As it turns out, Karkat isn’t all that keen on Dave, either, mostly because of the fact that Gamzee doesn’t like him. If Gamzee doesn’t like someone, they must have done something wrong. Mind you, Gamzee can be pretty whack sometimes. There was that one time when he – there is a time and place for such thoughts, and this is neither the time nor the place.
“Come on, Karkat, it makes sense,” you reason. “He wears these weird, stupid, pointy sunglasses all of the time, he’s really pale, he hates garlic, he stayed away from the blood tests, and he’s good at pretty much everything.”
Karkat gives you a look that says ‘you are bullshitting, John’. “You know what I think? You have a thing for him.”
You stare at him. “I do not! Real life relationships aren’t anything like your romcoms! If anything, I hate him! How can you love someone and hate them?”
Karkat opens his mouth as if he’s going to explain, but then shuts it again. He eyes you for a minute or two. “What’s wrong with watching romcoms? If anything, you’re watching too many shitty Nic Cage movies.”
“We’re not going to have an argument over Nic Cage’s coolness.”
“Fucking-- okay, so tell me this. If Dave is, in fact, a vampire, then what the fuck are you going to do about it? Play bad piano until he dies? Hit him with an inflatable hammer? Or splash holy water on him? Jesus, John, you’re not even religious.”
“But you are!”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
You take a deep breath, and try not to make it too obvious that you’re looking down at him. “If I want to do the right thing, I’ve got to look into this! And I’m not going in there without any defence. My best source of defence would be…well, Jesus stuff!”
Karkat deadpans. “Your best defence would be ‘Jesus stuff’,” he repeats.
You nod enthusiastically. “Yeah! So obviously, I’m coming to you, because, well, just because this is your area.”
Karkat pushes his overgrown, dark hair out of his eyes. “What is it that you want me to do?”
Your eyes light up and you clap your hands together, causing some of the students passing by in the corridor to give you odd looks. “So you’re going to help?”
Karkat goes a little bit red. “I didn’t fucking say that!”
“Well, I want to look around his house a bit.”
Karkat’s eyes widen and he glares at you. “Newsflash, John, that’s fucking illegal. You can’t just break into people’s houses like that!”
“But it’s for the greater good,” you protest. “Besides, his brother took a newspaper that was dropped outside my house. It was obviously for me and my dad. I need to get it back.”
Karkat groans. “Have you been eating Gamzee’s pies, or something? Because I think you have lost it. Why the fuck would he steal a newspaper? And what’s so damn important about it, anyway?”
“My dad entered a baking contest. Maybe the results for the competition were in it,” you say. You’re not lying. Your dad really did enter a baking contest.
“If you get caught, don’t blame me,” Karkat grumbles. “What are you expecting to find?”
You shrug. “I don’t know. Stuff that isn’t normal, I guess.”
Karkat mutters something under his breath. “You don’t even know what you’re looking for. How are they not going to notice you’re in the house with them?”
Your mouth hangs open for a moment, and then you remember your plan. “His brother goes out to do something every night, probably DJ. They play their music really loud. Dave goes out a lot at night, too, so the house should be empty at one point or another.”
“This isn’t right, John.”
You hold your hands up. “I know, I know! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have a reason. I’m not going to steal anything from them. Or break anything.”
Karkat chews on his bottom lip, starting to look a little worried. Whether it’s for your sanity or because he’s actually finally decided to believe you, you don’t know.
“What are you going to do if they come back halfway through your search? If they are, like you say, fucking vampires, they’ll make mincemeat out of you.”
“It’s not that hard to climb over a fence, Karkat,” you remind him, rolling your eyes. “We live next-door to each other.”
Karkat grimaces in a clear sign of defeat. “Fine. Seeing as you’re so set on this fucking suicide mission, I’ll come with you. Only because I’m not having you die alone and an idiot. And I want to be there to say ‘I told you so’ when the most dangerous thing they have in their house is a cheese grater.”
You beam at him, and move to pull him into a hug. He pushes you away and swears at you, but you just laugh.
This show is finally on the road.