"Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god. I think there's something underneath the bed."
Jacob sighed, rolling over and twisting the blankets in an infuriating fashion. "Anna, you're twenty-five years old. Don't you think you're a little old for this?" Of course, he would say that.
Anna twisted the blankets right back. Blankets were protection. Blankets were life. If she were covered with the blankets and Jacob were not, the rules dictated that Jacob would be eaten and Anna would be spared. Everyone knew that. But Jacob wouldn't let this go without a quarrel.
"Jesus, Anna! I'm cold! It's...
Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. It was not that she was frightened - no, fear was something she found rather useless - but because she knew with an unshakeable certainty that if she wandered onto the street, she would be eaten by a vampire.
The house beyond the doorway was no better, on account of there being a ghost lurking inside, the type that would drip ectoplasm on her most horribly before devouring her soul.
This girl, then, was at an impasse. She could neither proceed nor retreat. Go out, the...