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The Lost Girls

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Holly works at Taco Bell. It's a perfect job for a normal sixteen year old, but Holly is not a normal sixteen year old. She's a perpetually sixteen year old vampire who was turned in 1987 and has permanently crimped hair, a spot on her leg that she missed shaving, and a desire to drink blood, right now, before she kills her boss. It's a bad idea to drink your coworkers, okay? Holly tells Jimmy she's got cramps and takes off into an alley behind a piano bar where she finds a college bro who drunkenly and a little rapily hits on her. She kindly gives him two seconds to leave which he drunkenly and again, a little rapily, turns down, so she drains him and tosses his corpse into a dumpster. Good riddance.

Uh oh. Two girls who look to be around Holly's age saw what she just did. Luckily they seem to know everything about her already because, guess what, they're also vampires. Ida and Rose introduce themselves to Holly and tell her they have a lot to talk about, namely that they were also made by Elton, Holly's maker, but that's not possible! Elton told Holly she was his first! His only love! Ha. Yeah, he told Ida and Rose the exact same thing. They don't need to get into details about all that right now, though. Ida and Rose offer to let Holly stay with them in their apartment instead of the disgusting motel she's been living in and Holly agrees.

Ida and Rose know what it's like to forever be teenagers and they know that Holly's life has been pretty sucky, but when you're always sixteen, you really have no way to get ahead in life. Ida's been dealing with this for more than a century and Rose for around 75 years, and now Holly for 34. Ida and Rose have spent almost that long trying to figure out how to kill Elton and free themselves from him. Since he turned them and eventually left them, they've been compelled to follow him around. Elton somehow killed his maker so he doesn't have to follow anyone around and can do whatever he wants, but how did he do that?

Killing a vampire isn't like in movies or books. Traditional staking, sunlight and body part removal don't seem to have any effect. 100% pure holy water, like, blessed by a priest who has never done anything wrong ever might work, but that doesn't exist. Ida and Rose might have an idea about how to kill Elton, and it might mean losing something important, but they still don't quite have all the details figured out yet, but they're working on it.

In all of Ida and Rose's research, they have learned that Elton always comes back to his hometown whenever he's going to make a new vampire and, well, that's where they are now. He abandoned Holly after about thirty years together just a few months ago without teaching her anything about being a vampire or surviving without him, so she's devastated when she learns about their hometown theory. They decide they're going to go back to their high school to find Elton's new conquest to try to save her. Ugh, high school.

Ida and Rose take Holly to their old high school to meet Parker, Elton's new girlfriend. They send her off to meet Parker and try to convince her to not be with Elton, which is weird, while they go off in search of Elton's cronies, Frankie and Gwen, to get information from them. Holly follows Parker into her literature class and introduces herself. It's awkward, of course, but they start talking and seem to have an instant connection. Neither of them have (or had in Holly's case) great home lives, and Holly spends a great deal of time talking about her mother dating the fathers of her fellow students. Parker commiserates because her mother is also bad, but then it's time for class to start.

Things get more awkward when the teacher calls roll and Holly says her name is Harriet. She of course didn't forget her own name, but she decided she needed to make up a fake one because this teacher is the same one she had when she was in school. Mr. Stockard was her favorite teacher, made her love reading, and respected her, and here she is all over again. It seems he doesn't have the same zest for teaching he did when Holly had him before. When class is over, he asks her to hang back and calls her by her real name. He knows something is up with her and Elton, who he also recognizes from 30+ years ago, and even though he doesn't know exactly what's going on, he tells her he wants her to be safe.

Rose checks in on Holly later and tells her that Ida is still working on getting information from Frankie, but that they'll meet up later and discuss everything. Holly is kind of mad because Ida and Rose really haven't told her much of anything except that they want to kill Elton, but Rose swears she'll tell Holly everything when she knows more. Holly then finds Parker eating lunch under the same tree she used to eat under when she was alive. They connect more but then start talking about Elton who then shows up. He is an asshole, and not a lovable one, but Parker is swoony over him, so that means it's time for Holly to leave.

Back at their apartment, Rose and Ida tell Holly their plans for killing Elton and what they learned from Frankie after Ida ripped his arms off repeatedly and beat him with them. Killing a vampire involves destroying their heirlooms under a full moon in an important place. Heirlooms are the key to making a vampire. Just biting someone doesn't do anything. A drop of the person's living blood must be placed inside something important to them and kept safe. The living blood holds their humanity and everything else important to them from their lives before being turned. Holly freaks out about this a little. She doesn't have her heirloom anymore... Stacey does.

Stacey was Holly's best friend before she got involved with Elton. They spent all their time together since Holly's mom was terrible most of the time. One day, while exploring Stacey's attic, they found a bunch of stuff belonging to the previous owner of the house, Edie Barrett, and made up a life for her, which is fitting because, as sad, lonely teenage girls, it's hard to imagine a life for yourself. They found lockets among Edie's belongings and decided to never take them off. That remained true until the night Elton turned Holly... and then Holly turned Stacey.

Stacey had always said that Elton was bad news, but Holly ignored all the red flags. The night he turned Holly at the school, Stacey followed and tried to stake him, but that traditional method of vampire murder doesn't work. He completed the transformation with Holly, putting a drop of her blood into her locket, and then ripped out Stacey's throat. Holly immediately went to her friend to try to save her and repeated the transformation process, but then Stacey ripped off Holly's locket and ran away. Holly hadn't seen her former best friend until coming back to this town a couple of months ago. She didn't realize that you had to follow your maker around for eternity. She also didn't realize that the super cool healing abilities vampires have, like immediately regrowing body parts, doesn't work on premortem wounds, so Stacey's disgusting ripped out throat is still disgusting. No wonder Stacey hates Holly.

Holly goes to work at Taco Bell for the night shift and Jimmy is a disgusting sleazebag again, but is even worse this time, which means he gets Holly's kind offer of two seconds to run before she kills him. He declines and is therefore drained of all his blood. Ugh, now Holly has to find a new job! Ida shows up after the murder with the head of her fresh kill under her arm. She has some news for Holly, and it's not great. Rose has been doing more Elton-killing research and learned that when they destroy their heirlooms, they will lose all their living memories, which Frankie failed to tell them despite all the arm-ripping and beating. That is a steep price to pay for all of them, but they decide they're still going to do it. Maybe there's a way around it?

As they sit around planning, there's a knock at the door. It's Parker. Holly gave her their address before leaving after Elton showed up, but she didn't actually think she would use it. Well, she did. Parker's shitty mom gave one of her exes the key to their apartment and he drunkenly came into Parker's room. Yikes. She left and came to the only other place in town she knows. Notice she did not go to Elton's. Parker asks Holly to go to breakfast which makes Holly swoon. Uh oh. Does she have a crush on this girl? Yes, yes she does. Even though she doesn't eat, she agrees to go.

At the little restaurant, Parker finally starts asking important questions about Holly, Rose, Ida and Elton. She's spurred on by the fact that Holly and their waitress clearly recognize each other, or well, the waitress thinks she knows Holly's mom from her own high school days in the 80s. Holly definitely recognizes Megan who was a huge bully when Holly was still alive. Parker also realizes that none of them ever eat anything and swears she sees that Holly's finger has just been ripped off by her nervously twisting a string around it and has regrown. Something vampirey is clearly going on and Parker wants to know what they're all up to. Holly tells Parker that she just wants to keep her safe while they do what they've got to do, but she doesn't tell her that what they've got to do is murder her boyfriend. Before they depart, Parker for school and Holly back to the apartment, Holly tells Parker to be on the lookout for a girl with frizzy hair and a scarf or a turtleneck. Parker immediately recognizes this description of Stacey as Lilith, the fake vampire who hangs around outside of school with all the goth kids. Looks like Holly is going back to high school again.

Holly tells Ida and Rose about Stacey being close by and then they fill Holly in on their heirlooms. Rose's heirloom is a set of hair combs that she locked in a bank vault in 1954. They're still there, but Rose has no way of getting them now without breaking into the bank. Fantastic. Ida's may be worse though. Ida's heirloom is a glass horse made for her by her little sister who died shortly after Ida was turned. As she went to say goodbye to her sister, Ida put her heirloom inside her casket. Great. So they have to break into a bank and rob a grave. Getting Holly's heirloom from Stacey will be super easy compared to getting Ida and Rose's!

Holly, Ida and Rose go to the school and find Stacey, wearing a scarf and eating a goth kid. She and Holly trade unpleasantries and then they convince Stacey to talk with them. They decide to go to Stacey's place because she doesn't trust Holly, Rose and Ida not to try to starve her or hurt her in some way. After being bitchy to each other about shitty boyfriends and murder and vampire rules that no one knew, Holly asks for her heirloom and tells Stacey that they are going to use it to kill Elton and free them all from having to follow him around. Stacey tells them that she threw it away in New Orleans thirty years ago, but Holly doesn't believe that. She knows deep down that Stacey wouldn't get rid of their lockets, but she and Rose and Ida leave anyway. Holly thinks they should let Stacey cool down a little bit and that maybe she'll come around.

Holly, Ida and Rose decide they'll give Stacey three days to give up Holly's heirloom and then, either way, they'll go dig up Ida's sister's corpse. Holly goes to the park to get some fresh air and a snack when she runs into Mr. Stockard. Even though he's not the man she once knew, she decides not to eat him, but does put him in his place about giving up on students when he used to be her favorite teacher. She goes to the park after that encounter, drinks a sleazebag, then finds Parker drunkenly dancing in the middle of a bad concert. Just as she passes out, Holly catches her and takes her to their apartment.

While Parker is passed out, Rose and Ida talk about whether or not they should kill her to save her from Elton. They're only half joking because they both know that Holly's got a huge crush on her, which leads to a slightly awkward and maybe a little forced conversation about everyone's sexuality and how it's okay to like-like whomever you choose. After waking up, Parker tells Holly that she got drunk and went to the park because she found out her mom got a new boyfriend and so they're moving away. Oh yay, she'll be safe from Elton! She's not going though, she's going to live with Elton. Oh no. That means he's going to turn her and soon. Holly tells Ida and Rose and they decide that they have to go to the graveyard to get Ida's heirloom immediately.

They get to the graveyard and dig up Ida's sister's casket only to come out of the grave to find Elton, Frankie and Gwen waiting on them. Elton expects them to just give him Ida's heirloom, but no way. They all get into a huge fight involving multiple ripped off arms and legs and eyeball gouges and decapitations that ends with Holly, Ida and Rose as victors. They tie Elton to a tree and, after his head grows back, he tells them they're never going to complete their mission because Holly lost her heirloom years ago, but then wishes them good luck at the bank. It's a great thing that Elton doesn't know that Stacey has Holly's locket. It's an even greater thing that Stacey is waiting for them when they get back to the apartment.

Stacey gives Holly her locket, both of their lockets actually, and says she's in on killing Elton if it means they never have to come back to this town again. They all decide that Eltion doesn't know who Stacey is so she should follow him at school to keep an eye on him and Holly should stick around Parker to keep her safe while Ida and Rose will go to the library to keep researching. Holly and Parker end up making out in a classroom after Parker tells Holly she overheard the like-liking conversation. She also reveals she heard them talking about heirlooms and asked Elton about them, which is why Elton ended up at the cemetery. Parker tells Holly she doesn't want to live with Elton when her mom moves away. Just as they're about to maybe do more than make out, Stacey rushes in the room and tells Holly that Elton recognized her and knows they're up to something, so he's sicced Gwen on them. Parker gives Holly her address and leaves, pretending to have no idea what's going on if Elton should ask.

Holly and Stacey manage to avoid Gwen and get out of the school. Stacey knows that Holly is feeling ways about Parker, but Holly doesn't want to talk about it. It's not like anything can happen between them anyway. Instead of talking about like-liking people, Holly and Stacey reminisce and realize that they're still best friends, neck flaps notwithstanding. They find Rose and Ida and tell them that it was Parker who told Elton about their search for the heirlooms, not Frankie, so that means they can trust the info they got from Frankie, too, which is good because they haven't been able to find out anything else at all about heirlooms or killing vampires. They go back to their apartment to find it in a shambles, obviously tossed by Elton looking for their heirlooms, and then Stacey invites them back to her place to hide out.

Stacey's house is crumbling and derelict, but it's free and there are a bunch of willing-to-be-eaten goth kids always hanging around, so it's not so bad. Rose and Ida talk about breaking into the bank and Stacey says she might be able to help them get in without the heist by forging fake documents, so while she gets to work on that, Rose and Ida decide they need to go talk to Frankie and Holly decides she needs to find Parker, to make sure she's okay, definitely not to make out with her some more. Wait, yes, that is the reason and that is what happens. Unfortunately they don't get to make out long before Elton comes by. As Holly leaves, she hopes that Parker won't say anything to him about wanting to break up.

After a night of playing board games and reminiscing, Holly thinks it would be a good idea to start writing down everyone's memories in a notebook. If they were able to successfully destroy their heirlooms and Elton, they would still be able to read about their living memories. It isn't exactly the same, but it is nice. Stacey finishes up the forged bank documents, so Rose, Ida and Holly go there, only to be greeted by Gwen who is somehow working behind the counter. Oh great. They talk to the bank manager who won't let them retrieve the safe deposit box because he knows the documents are forged, thanks to Gwen. They go back home, dejected, and tell Stacey, but she's not worried. She has another plan, which involves Frankie.

Frankie's plan is to go to the bank and get Rose's heirlooms using the bank codes that Gwen told him. He's infatuated with Ida so he'll do anything to get into her good graces. Well, that seems to be a great plan. Ida thinks there's something off about it, but really, it seems like a good idea. Since they have to wait until after hours for the heist, Holly goes to visit her mother in the nursing home, hoping she'll be able to tell her that she ruined her life before she forgets everything that happened to her before she died. Instead of that though, after confronting her, Holly's mom apologizes for being a not-so-great mom, even though it kind of seems like she wasn't so bad. She tried to give Holly a good life and tried to enjoy herself as well. Holly leaves, not feeling much better, but hoping her mom would die peacefully with some sort of closure.

After leaving the nursing home, Holly goes to Rose and Ida's apartment at Rose's request to pick up her heirloom notes. When she gets there, Parker is there with a yearbook from 1987. She confronts Holly about being dead and a vampire, but Holly's like, yeah, but you already knew that. Parker tells Holly that if they're trying to kill Elton to stop her from becoming a vampire to please not do that, but Holly explains there's more to it than just that, but she is trying to keep her safe. They have sex after that, but then Elton and Frankie show up, presumably to search for heirlooms. Holly is able to sneak Parker out the window and grab Rose's notes before she encounters Elton. They fight a little and he gets really mad when he realizes she's wearing her heirloom. Luckily she's able to escape before he can steal it from her.

Holly, Rose, Ida and Frankie go to the bank later that night. As they're walking there, Rose asks what's going on with her and Parker, but she doesn't tell them what happened earlier in the day, with Parker, with the heirloom and Elton, with her mother, any of it. Rose wants Holly to be safe and smart about Parker, but Holly knows they have no future anyway. When they get to the bank, the alarm goes off and the bank manager arrives. Holly kills him, her first kill minus her two second warning, which makes her uncomfortable, but is she going to feel bad about killing after she loses all her memories? Probably not. They are able to get Rose's heirloom with little fuss and escape the bank, Frankie disappearing to meet back up with Elton.

When they get back to Stacey's later, Parker comes by. She tells Holly that Elton told her everything about becoming a vampire, but she says she doesn't want to be with Elton, she wants to be with Holly. Holly doesn't want this for Parker, this terrible, always-a-teenager life. She tells her that, but Parker doesn't care. She gives Holly a bracelet that she would use to make her own heirloom and tells her to burn it when they do the ritual as a symbolic gesture. She wants to spend forever with Holly, but Holly just can't do that to her. She tells her to leave town for a few days, which is good timing because her mom is going to visit her new boyfriend and she can tag along.

Everyone is anxious for the next couple of days. It's almost the full moon and almost time for the ritual. No one questions the bracelet that Holly is suddenly wearing and that's just fine with Holly. She's going to burn it soon anyway, even though it holds no power and won't make any difference. Holly gets worked up thinking about Parker so she decides to make sure she really did leave town. The apartment she lives in with her mom is pretty much empty, so she goes to the school. There she finds Mr. Stockard and asks him if Parker has been to class. He shuts Holly down immediately, telling her she can forget whatever she wants with Parker because he won't let her get hurt. It seems like maybe some of his zest for teaching has returned! As Holly leaves the school, content with Mr. Stockard and with the fact that Parker hasn't been there, she runs into Frankie who tells them they need to meet up.

Frankie tells them that Elton is freaking out since Parker left town and plans on leaving the next day. Oh no, that's not good. They convince Frankie to tell Elton that he heard Parker will be coming back in two days and that they should wait to see. They plan to do the ritual at the school at midnight and tell Frankie to bring Elton there so they can kill him and be done with everything. They actually plan to do the ritual much earlier than that, but they still don't quite trust Frankie. They spend their last night before the ritual writing down more memories, but worry that they can read them whenever, but they won't mean anything to them after their heirlooms are gone.

They go to the school parking lot and set up a cauldron to burn their heirlooms. Ida goes first, dropping in her glass horse, followed by Rose who adds her grandmother's hair combs and finally Holly, who tosses in her locket and Parker's bracelet. As the heirlooms burn, each girl relives her memories for the last time as they disappear. They talk about how they know they are missing memories but also that they don't really care. Now they just have to wait until Frankie brings Elton, which isn't long at all because they show up way earlier than planned. And they have Parker. And she's a vampire now. Damnit. They did all that for nothing. Now Elton, Frankie, Gwen and Parker plan to bury Holly, Ida, Rose and Stacey and let them starve for eternity.

Well they can't give up without a fight. The brawl is intense. Body parts go flying. They yell at Frankie for screwing them over, because it turns out they could have done the ritual at any time, but now it doesn't even matter because they don't have the earrings Parker used for her heirloom so they can't kill Elton anyway. Oh well, they still fight. Holly and Elton face off and he's very shitty to her about the fact that she's very obviously in love with Parker. She scratches at his face and... It doesn't heal. Wait. The ritual worked?! Yes. Parker made her bracelet that she gave to Holly to burn into an heirloom before giving it to her. Parker wanted Holly to turn her that last night they were together but she didn't, but she still burned the bracelet anyway. Holly rips out Elton's heart and he dies. Holly looks up and smiles at Parker, but Parker has no memories other than what she's made today.

Frankie and Gwen come upon Holly and Parker then, Gwen furious at them killing Elton and confused at how they did it, thinking that Elton had buried Parker's heirloom. Holly tells her she figured out another way to kill vampires, which Gwen doesn't believe, but Frankie convinces her it might be true and then they just leave. Parker pulls a note from her pocket that she wrote to herself telling her not to trust Elton but to trust Holly and that she did everything she did for her. That is huge for Holly, but it really doesn't mean anything to Parker at all. Together they dig up Ida, Rose and Stacey who spent a harrowing few moments thinking they'd be buried for eternity. They decide not to talk about that.

Stacey finds a van and they all climb in. Parker asks if she can tag along with them wherever they go because she has and knows no one else. Of course she can go with them. As they drive away from the town where they all, minus Stacey, fell in love with the same boy and lived and died, Holly realizes that she and Parker will have all the time in the world to get to know each other, and maybe love each other, again.

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