Let me introduce myself. My name is Charlie Baxter. My real name's Charlotte but I insist you call me Charlie. Before you ask, I'm not a tomboy; I just hate my birth name – Charlie sounds much better, in my opinion. I'm your average 14 year old girl, small and wiry but smart and tough. As you can see, I always have a red shirt on, it matches my mane of red, tousled hair. Go ahead and call me Little Red Riding Hood, I don't care. And yep, my eyes are hazel. I'm a freak, I know. But it gets worse. At least that's what my Uncle Vali would say.
I never thought I'd be grateful to be myself. It started out as a typical Spring morning, a few days before the Midnight Mania festival...
I left Uncle Vali's shop bright and early, the morning papers were in my leather mailbag as I grabbed it from the door, waving to my 18 year old cousin Goran and Auntie Violeta as I left.
I knew the quiet town of Wolfsberg well. I wasn't born here, I was actually born in Monte Carla. I've lived here since my parents died and Uncle Vali, my father's older brother took me in. Technically I'm Half-Romanian, Half-American. Cool, innit? That was 10 years ago. I just turned 14 two weeks ago; I spent my birthday at Wolfsberg Manor. I started on my paper rounds. Most girls use bikes, I prefer to walk.
I got the usual, blunt responses from the townspeople. 'Thanks. Bye' they always say. They can't understand that I'm close with the Master of Wolfsberg Manor, Dragomir Ducovic. Oh, and his housekeeper, Madame Varcolac. Before you ask, yes, a wolf howled just now. It happens every time you say 'Varcolac' See what I mean? She may be steely and strange at first but she's actually a lovely, caring woman. Not many people are willing to get to know her like I did for the past four years. She also doesn't mind if I call her 'Madam V' then the wolves won't howl, it sometimes bothers her.
I don't mind hearing the wolves howling though, I love wolves to bits, I think they are God's greatest creations. They're brave, beautiful, stealthy, loyal, intelligent and protective. I adore werewolves too; Dragomir's a bloodline werewolf and he saved my life when I was only 10. We've been close ever since he killed the vampire that attacked me. He's like a dad to me. I have a lot to say about Dragomir.
Dragomir is a kind gentleman and humanitarian. He has a niece, Katrina who lives in America, I'm not sure if she has kids. He also invented karaoke. It's true, he did! He let me and Madame Varcolac use the karaoke machine from time to time as a way to chill out; he says I have a great voice. He sought out a way to find a cure for the werewolf curse; he didn't want others to suffer the way he did and believed they deserved to have a choice. That's how kind he is. He knows I'm not a werewolf but says that the gene is buried skin-deep in my DNA which will be active in my kid when I find my true love, as long as the guy is a bloodline werewolf. But that would be hard; no guy can love me for me.
I smiled when I saw Wolfsberg Manor and jogged up to the front door. No matter how busy they are, Dragomir and Madame Varcolac always make me feel at home. I knocked on the familiar reddish brown door. I couldn't wait to tell Dragomir that the Midnight Mania festival was coming up and I look forward to it, as it is held in his honour. I always spend the festival at the Manor where me and Madame Varcolac would drink hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, waiting to hear Dragomir's spine-chilling howl echo over the town into the night as he tells the vampires to bugger off and stay away from Wolfsberg.
But Dragomir didn't answer the door. Neither did Madame Varcolac. A boy around my age answered the door instead. Some of his dark brown hair stuck out. His dark, intense eyes stared straight into my hazel eyes. I blushed. No one looks at me like that. Who is he? He was dressed in a regular dark grey t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. My face was as red as my hair by now. Don't blame me, he was kinda cute! You would blush too if you saw him. I handed him the paper. "Um, h-here. B-bye" I stuttered, running off.
If that boy lives there, then what happened to Dragomir? Is Dragomir ill or worse, dead?
I blinked when the girl ran off. Was it something I did? I noticed she had long, wavy red hair. Her eyes were a rich hazel. Her red blouse and jeans flattered her figure. Her sneakers were black. I saw she had a leather bag with rolled up papers in it. "What was that all about?" I muttered, closing the door.
I walked into the dining room and handed the paper to my dad. "Thanks, Hunter" Dad merely stated and started reading the first section. My older sister, Jordan glared at me from behind her long brown hair as I sat next to her. I glared back, eating the meat.
Madame Varcolac took notice of the morning paper. "Oh, Charlie must've been. I wonder why she didn't come in to talk to me, she usually does" she pondered in her Romanian accent.
"Goran told me he has a cousin called Charlie. He never said Charlie was a girl" Jordan exclaimed.
"Yes, she's lived in Wolfsberg since her parents died. She and your Uncle Dragomir were close, like family" Varcolac confirmed.
"When I answered the door earlier, she just handed me the paper and left" I remarked.
"What did you say to her, boy?" Madame Varcolac asked in a accusing tone.
"I didn't say anything! I just looked at her and she ran off!" I argued.
"Charlie was always close to Master Dragomir, she always made time for us. Unless..." I heard her mutter.
"Unless what?" I asked.