Bloody Nails

My husband binge watches vampire movies every Halloween. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Interview with the Vampire, Queen of the Damned, Vampire in Brooklyn, even Twilight, although he always goes off on rants about how vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight, they combust.

“This is what happens when you write a classic monster story for frilly teenage girls!” he’d say.

His obsession turned my seven-year-old daughter against me. Cuddled against his side, knees pulled to chin, peeking through her fingers, drawing connections between myself and the demons on screen.

A mosquito bit my neck, and she believed the marks were puncture wounds from fangs.

“Vampires change into bats, not mosquitos, sweetheart. And if a vampire drank my blood, how am I still alive?”

“Then it turned you!” she screamed, pointing her finger, her outstretched arm taut. She leaning back, head and neck stiff. I squatted down for a hug, to assure her that I was still mommy, but she scurried off, hiking the stairs, two at a time, to hide under her father’s bed as he napped.

I followed after her, sat on the edge of the bed where I knew she lay underneath. My weight dipping the mattress over her little body. I took a bottle of nail polish from the nightstand and began painting my nails, my daughter watching between my ankles. The crimson liquid dripped slowly from the brush, and I heard her sharp gasp. Her confirmation of what I was, and that I wore my victims on my toes.

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