Chapter 1: Education Day

The student body had known that Amityville's esteemed mayor was going to visit their school for some time now. It was part of a new scheme patronizingly called "Education Day." They had spent the last week preparing for it, hanging banners and so on. Everyone seemed more or less excited, and the teachers were positively beside themselves. Watching the sad female teachers start paying attention to their appearances with a style that was at least twenty years out of date was making me feel a little sick, actually.

I think I could be forgiven for not jumping for joy at the idea of having Vlad Masters, aka Vlad Plasmius, my eternal nemesis, come to my school. As if school wasn't bad enough already. I know him better than anyone in this place, and I say he's up to something. He wouldn't propose something like this out of the kindness of his shrivelled, black heart.

It might be good publicity, he might just be bored, but those reasons are not enough in themselves to make him drag his ass into a building full of teenagers at 8:30 in the morning. There was something more going on here, there always was, especially when I'm involved. He'd just better not be trying to make me his son again.

In fact, he'd better stay away from me altogether. God, this is probably all just some elaborate scheme to get to me. In recent months, he's made his intentions very clear. Way, way too clear, if you ask me. He's even more insane than usual if he thinks I am in any way attracted to him. He must be off his meds.

I am not, repeat not, going to be with him.

At all.

But especially not in that way.

I mean, that's just, ew.

So it's just great that he's coming to my school. Looks like today's just going to be one of those days, only instead of fighting evil ghosts, I'm going to be fighting off the advances of one evil half-ghost in particular.

Perfect.

This is my life. You want it? It's yours.

Nevertheless, I made sure to get to school on time. I can't afford to be late again. One more wrong move and I'm in detention. Every student is to gather outside for first period to watch Vlad give some inspirational speech on a little podium that the principal rented especially (Big Yay). Then the cheerleaders will do their thing, the marching band, Mr Lancer will undoubtedly have some kind of speech prepared.

Hopefully, it will be short. Ghost powers are a great thing in many ways, but when they can't even get you out of boring school assemblies, then really, what good are they?

It went exactly as I thought it would. I tuned out everything that was happening (in order to preserve some degree of sanity) and just kept my eyes on Vlad the whole time, making sure he didn't try anything. But he just sat there looking smug as usual. Occasionally he would scan the crowd and catch my eye, but I was always quick to look away.

That would just make him more smug, the bastard. He would look back at whatever was going on with a look of eager anticipation. He was definitely planning something, and chances are, it was to do with me.

He gave some phoney speech about how education is so very important in today's world, and how children are the future and his number one priority as mayor. Don't make me laugh. Or vomit, whichever. Everyone applauded at the end of course, then the bell rang for second lesson, and we were released, thank merciful God.

I knew Vlad was going to spend the next hour observing a class before he had to go back to City Hall and his duties as leader of "our great town, Amityville," but nobody knew which class as he was going to choose himself at random.

Random, my goddamn ghostly ass.

How did I not see it coming? How could I have not known that this was obviously his plan? It couldn't have been any other way. But when I walked into class, and saw his smug face sitting at the teacher's desk, silver hair glinting in the pale sun from the window, his eyes immediately zoning in on mine, I still stopped dead in my tracks.

That is, until Dash shoved me from behind since I was blocking the door, and sent me stumbling to my seat. I sat as low as I could, while Miss Krantz giggled and fawned over Vlad as he basically gave her lesson for her. All she did was snap viciously that we'd "Better pay attention, 'cause there's going to be a test on this!"

"Now, now, my dear Mrs Krantz, young minds need a soft hand, and gentle persuasion," said Vlad, in his election winning, melt-the-hearts-of-old-ladies-everywhere voice. I hated the way he looked at me then. I hope he saw my grimace of disgust.

"It's Miss," she giggled, patting her perm and blinking at him from behind her horn-rimmed glasses. Get a hold of yourself woman, I thought. Where's your self-respect?

He turned back to her. "Miss, then," he replied, smiling a million watts in her direction. She looked so flustered I thought she was going to hyperventilate. That would have been pretty good, actually.

You don't have a snowball's chance in hell, I thought. And throwing yourself at him won't do you any good. He is way out of your league, Missy, even I can see that.

Suddenly, the bell rang, taking me by surprise. That had to be the first time I hadn't been watching the clock. Even more amazing, the class gave Vlad the chance to say his regretful good-byes and tell us how thankful he was that we had allowed him this experience, yaddi yaddi yadda, before packing up.

Once I got out into the corridor, I let out a huge breath I hadn't even known I was holding. The ordeal was over. Vlad was going back to whatever it was he did as mayor. Today could was free to become just another day of school. So far, it had been incident free. Maybe I had been wrong about Vlad.

No. I was never wrong about Vlad. Which could only mean the worst was yet to come.