Melinda always thought people should be allowed to choose their families. If she had been asked who she wanted to live with, her life would have been very different.
As things were, she envied everything about her friends’ lives. She wished she could have corn flakes for breakfast like Shelley did. She would cover them in milk and enjoy their crunchy sound and their sweet flavour.
She also wished she was allowed to read the novels Sue read every night before going to sleep. Gorgeous books about every single subject, but mostly romantic stories with a happy ending.
Melinda loved Anna’s house on the outskirts of town. It had white walls and a wraparound porch.
‘Oh, how I wish I could live here!’ she used to think.
She also longed for a room like the one her friend Lucy had. Pink walls and lots of cuddly toys on the bed.
‘I’m so fed up with my life! My friends are all luckier than I am.’
She wished she had all these things, but most of all she wished she had a garden with a fountain and beautiful rose bushes like the one Laura had.
Melinda was a very unhappy girl. Her life wasn’t what she wanted it to be and she didn’t know what to do to change it.
Every morning, her mother urged her to finish her breakfast before going to school.
‘Melinda. Your synthetic blood is getting cold and the worms are crawling out of your plate.’
Every night, she had to listen as her grandfather read horror stories to them. His favorite was Dracula, but she hated it with a vengeance.
‘Why can’t we read a romantic story instead?’ she asked, but the grown-ups ignored her.
Her house was another source of grief for her. The big castle on top of a mountain was always cold and damp.
Her room was huge, but she had no toys. Just a suit of armor in one corner and a trunk full of old dresses in another.
‘Mum, why can’t we move into town?’ she used to say.
‘Well, I don’t think we would be welcome there.’
‘But my friends like me.’
‘That’s because they don’t know your family.’
Melinda didn’t understand very well, but she didn’t say anything.
When she was sad, Melinda went into the garden, but her garden was a wild place full of thistles where the wind always blew.
‘Can I have my friends for a sleepover tonight?’ she asked her Mum one day.
‘No, dear. I’m afraid not. It’s better if we keep to ourselves.’
‘I’m seven now, Mum. I’m not a baby. I need to know why we are so different.’
‘It’s because we are not people…’
‘What do you mean we are not people? I look just like my friends and I go to regular school.’
‘That’s because your father has always been very interested in the human world and wanted you to integrate.’
Melinda thought for a while and still not understanding went up the stairs and into her room.
She stood in front of the mirror and smiled sadly. And then she noticed something that she had never realized before. Weren’t her teeth a bit bigger than those of her friends? Mainly the canines…