Happy Birthday to you~
I swear, Caleb has been a lifesaver these last few months. I’m still annoyed at him for not telling me how long the transformation would take but in his defence, I quote: “I didn’t know.” It turns out that I’m his first ‘child’, which is quite sweet.
Anyway, he’s been here most days. He looks after you when I’m in too much pain to even remember my own name – I’m afraid that if he hadn’t been here you might have been taken away. I’ll always owe him for that. I think he’s pretty fond of you. You don’t shy away from his fangs when he smiles, which just makes him smile harder.
He even managed to keep you out from under my feet while I was making your birthday cake.
Perhaps it would be better to say attempting to make your birthday cake. I might have no taste buds, but even I could tell that it was terrible just from the way it looked. I’m so, so sorry. I noticed later that no-one had taken a piece: Caleb because he can’t eat, and you because you’re smart enough to avoid food poisoning.
The concentration on your face as you blew out your candles was adorable.
What happened next was… less so.
You were in agony. I could hear your bones as they shifted and lengthened and your skin stretched and stretched until it broke. I’m used to your shedding, but this was like someone had put the entire process into fast-forward. Your hair grew and your clothes tore and fell to the ground, taking bits of skin with it. I didn’t know what to do. I just knelt next to you and told you that it was going to be ok, over and over.
All in all, I think it lasted about a minute. It felt like an eternity.
You stood up, wobbling like a baby giraffe as you wiped your eyes. I helped you into your room and found something for you to wear. Unfortunately, as with your old toddler clothes, they were a little old fashioned. It had been so long since you’d had a growth spurt that I was beginning to think you would stay that small forever. Hindsight is 20/20.
“Mum? Can I have some water? My mouth tastes funny.” You looked like you were about to be sick, so I came back with the water and a bin (just in case). It’s a good thing I did bring the bin, because you then proceeded to take a big gulp of water and spit it out.
I second that, Panda-bear. It was gross.
Two glasses of water later, you were finally ready to come back out. swear, if I could afford to I would have written that bin off – spit and blood all over it.
Caleb looked like he hadn’t breathed since it started. Ok, looking back at what I just wrote I realise I sound dumb – he hasn’t breathed since I’ve known him. What I mean to say is that he looked scared.
“Oh, thank goodness!”
He speaks really well, have you noticed? Proper ‘Queen’s English’ style. I’m sorry, I’m going on lots of tangents in this letter. I guess I’m still in shock. I just wanted to get this down before… well…
I didn’t want to say earlier, but I can hardly see. There’s just this little monochrome dot of vision, surrounded by void. This morning it was just dark at the edges, but now…
I think this is it. I love you, Pandora. If I don’t make it through this, I need you to know that.
I was going to just continue on from my last letter, but I’d already started signing it when I collapsed. I can see you properly now. I can see everything, even things I couldn’t when I was human! I can see every pattern on your beautiful scales – they’re brighter now, and more pink than blue. However, that wasn’t the only change I missed when I was dying, was it?
Your fangs! I hadn’t mentioned your lisp because I hadn’t wanted you to feel self conscious, but now it all makes sense. Your habit of constantly chewing on your old teething toys, despite having a full set of teeth. The blood in your mouth earlier.
You, my dear, have a set of lovely, pointy fangs. Lilith has offered to teach us how to speak without catching our cheeks and tongues on them, but until then we’ll just have to carry tissues around.
Now that I’m a vampire, we have immunity. We can go wherever we like and no one will hurt us. What better way to celebrate it (and your birthday) than to go out? Well, that was the thought process, anyway. Caleb said he knew the perfect place.
I wasn’t expecting it to be a library.
Dying really does take it out of you. I don’t know what ‘it’ is, but it’s gone. I think I fell asleep half way through the introduction chapter, because one moment I was reading and the next I had paper up my nose. Riya was shaking my shoulder. I hope I wasn’t snoring.
She told me to follow her.
When she took me to a room filled with coffins I was honestly worried I would have to fight her to get out undead. She pointed at a coffin.
“Go to sleep.”
I challenge anyone to stay in one of those things for more than an hour. It’s incredibly claustrophobic. I did have a little nap, but you know when you wake up more tired than you were before? That was what happened. Stupid body.
Alcohol has no effect on vampires, so I didn’t feel too guilty about raiding the bar.
Once again, I’m so grateful for Caleb. While your mum was having a mild panic session in a coffin he taught you to play chess.
I can already tell that you’re going to be smarter than me, and I couldn’t be prouder. My parents would say something like ‘it wouldn’t take much’ at this point, but they aren’t here. Is it bad to say I hope you never meet them? I’d love for you to have a bigger family, but some people you’re better without. Trust me.
It’s been a very strange day, hasn’t it, little Panda? I need to go, now. The sun will be up in a few hours and I need to get the gardening done while I can.
I really do hope you had a good day, love, despite everything.
Sweet dreams, sweet girl
The world is SO MUCH BIGGER than I thought! There’s this thing called a computer that can connect you to people thousands of miles away. It knows everything, too – I could spend my entire life on Simipedia and I don’t think I’d have read it all.
You were my birthday present. We don’t have much money, so I wasn’t expecting anything – I was really happy when I found you on my bed. I’ve only had you for ten minutes, but I love you already.
Mum said that people write about their lives in their diaries, so here we go. My name is Pandora, I’m six years old, and my mum died today. It’s ok, though, she came back. Forgotten Hollow is full of dead people. In fact, now that mum is one, I don’t think I know anyone who is alive!
Before I met her, everyone I knew was dead, too. They exploded and they never came back. I dream about them sometimes – one of them sings to me. I wish he was real, then I could have a friend.
That’s not to say I’m lonely.
Caleb is bizaabgotojo. A not-mum, but like one. I don’t know why I know these words, but they help when I don’t know the Simlish. The boy in my head sings in the same language and I can understand him, so I’m glad that I have it.
If I learn chess well enough, maybe I can play it with him when I’m at home. I wouldn’t need a board. Like him, it would all be imaginary.
I met my first young human today! His name is Lucas and he hit me on the head with a book. He didn’t mean to, though, so I don’t mind.
Mum was still grumpy after her nap. I’d be grumpy if I had been made to sleep in a coffin, too.
I’ve got school tomorrow. It’s going to be full of young humans. What if they hit me with books, too? I know Lucas didn’t hit me on purpose, but what if it’s how they say hello? I’ll take a book with me. That way if they hit me, I can hit them.
It’s your first day at school! I’m so excited that I can’t even sleep. I’m making the most of my time, however.
I’ve made you a packed lunch. It looks pretty good, actually. I made tofu tacos because it’s something that I know I can make without burning the house down.
It’s pancakes for breakfast – your favourite!
I think I might actually be more nervous than you. I went to get changed so you wouldn’t know I’d been up all night, and when I came back out you were in the kitchen, looking as relaxed as ever.
You looked a bit grossed out by my breakfast, though.
You are such a sweetheart. You told me that you’d empty the bin because you didn’t want me to catch fire. I said I’d do it tonight, but you shook your head.
“It makes my scales crawl.”
It makes my skin crawl, too, Panda. I’m afraid I might have passed on my neat streak. Sorry about that.
Now that I don’t need to sleep as much I have a lot of spare time. I would work on the garden but, you know, vampire… so I’ve taken up painting!
It’s a work in progress. Practice makes perfect, and all that.
I can see the bus outside, so I’m going to wave you off.
From now on, Pandora is old enough to take part in the collab properly, so hopefully we’ll be seeing some more crossovers soon!
The library they visited (and a tour of it) can be found here.