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The following is a recently discovered essay, written by Steve Leopard when he was at school. The date is missing, so we're not sure what age he was or what class he was in when he wrote it, but we think he was about 11 or 12 years old at the time.


Vampires are cool! They can live for centuries without growing old, and they have many magical powers, and they can do whatever they like — except walk about in the daylight!

   I have 62 books about vampires, or with bits in them about vampires. I'm not sure how many vampire movies I've seen, but I must have seen at least 50, probably a lot more. My favourite is Salem's Lot. The vampire in that film is really scary — bald and ugly, with long claws and very sharp fangs. I had nightmares when I first saw it, and I love having nightmares, so that was great!

   My Mum isn't too keen on vampires, but maybe that's because of the time I squirted loads of tomato ketchup under the covers of her bed – so it looked like a pool of blood – and left a plastic vampire bat in it!!

   There are lots of legends about vampires. Many of them, I think, are made up. I doubt if vampires can turn into fog or don't cast a shadow or turn to ash if they are hit with holy water or touched with a cross. And I'd be very surprised if they don't have reflections or if they can turn into bats and fly. I mean, bats have to learn how to fly. If a vampire turned into a bat, he'd probably just fall flat on the floor or bash into things while he was trying to fly.

   I think the stories about bats started because vampires are friendly with bats. The books I've read – the serious, true books – say that bats and rats and wolves are kind of vampire pets. Vampires feed and look after them, just like humans feed and look after dogs.

   I'd much rather have a bat than a dog for a pet. I asked my Mum to get me a bat or a rat for my last birthday, but she said "Not in this lifetime, buddy!" My Mum is soooooooo boring!

   Vampires have to drink blood to survive. This is DEFINITELY true. I don’t know how much they need to drink, or how often, but a vampire will die if he doesn’t drink the right amount of blood. Drinking blood helps vampires live so long. I think that maybe humans might live longer if they drank blood too – then again, maybe they’d just get sick and die!

   My best friend Darren Shan says he’d rather eat mud than drink blood, but I think drinking blood is cool. When I have cuts on my knees or elbows, I like to pick at my scabs and drink the small bit of blood that comes out. It’s very tasty!

   Vampires are super-strong and super-fast, much stronger and faster than humans. They can punch through brick walls and run 100 metres in three or four seconds. If a vampire entered the Olympics, he’d win every gold medal in every event.

   Most vampires are men. There are a few women vampires, but most women who want to get magic powers and live a long time prefer to become witches. I don’t know why this is so. Maybe it’s because most vampires feed upon adults – there’s more blood in a grown-up – whereas most witches eat little children. Since good women love to have and mind little children, I guess it’s only natural that evil women love to eat them!

   To kill a vampire, you have to drive a stake through his heart. The stake doesn’t have to be made out of wood — hard plastic or steel will do too. Another way to kill a vampire is to cut off his head and stuff it with garlic. Or you can burn him. Or, if you can find him while he’s sleeping in the day, you can drag him out into sunlight and leave him to burn.

   I feel quite sorry for vampires. They’re always being hunted and killed. I think people should leave them alone. Long ago, people sacrificed beautiful girls to their gods, and the gods left the rest of them alone. I think that’s what we should do with vampires. If we gave vampires a few beautiful girls every so often, I’m sure they’d just drink from them and not bother anybody else.

   There are a couple of girls in my class I’d like to give to a vampire — and one or two teachers too!!!

   To become a vampire, you have to drink the blood of another vampire, or else he has to do a blood transfer on you. It’s not true that you become a vampire when a vampire has drunk all your blood. All you become in that case is dead!

   I’d love to become a vampire. I think it would be wonderful. I’d roam the world for hundreds of years, seeing loads of stuff I’d never see as a human. People would have to do what I said, or I’d drink their blood and kill them. I’d become a wrestler or a boxer and win every fight because of my super-strength. I’d have dozens of pet rats and bats, and I’d teach them every trick in the book. I might even marry a witch if I got lonely, but if she tried to cast a spell on me, I’d throw her to my pet wolf!

   It would be great to be a vampire, but I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to become one, not until I grow up and move away from home. I mean, where are you going to run into a vampire around here?!?

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Author's note: A teacher's report was attached to the end of the essay. He or she wrote: "B-. Very good, Steve, very imaginative, but a bit on the dark and miserable side. Why don't you write about clowns or something fun next time?"

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