'A Straw for Two'

Story Time

January 02, 2000|By Eric Sanvoisin

Editor's note: Bitten by an ink-drinking vampire, Odilon has become an ink drinker himself and uses a straw to devour books. But he has no one to share his secret with.

Ever since my encounter with Draculink, the ink-drinking vampire, I've been drinking books like crazy. How, you ask? With a straw, of course!

Chapter after chapter I suck in the stories. They're absolutely delicious! As soon as the ink from the books makes its way into my mouth, I feel a tickle on the tip of my tongue. Instantly I get a taste of all kinds of adventures. Sometimes I'm a pirate on a proud three-masted ship. Sometimes I'm an astronaut rocketing into space. Sometimes I'm an ordinary human being. Sometimes I'm a cat.

With my straw, I live a thousand lives. Each of them different. Each of them thrilling. The only problem is that no one must know. So I consume the books in secret, sucking the ink and swallowing the words when no one is watching. It goes without saying that I do this at night. That's the easy part.

The hard part is that I can't share my straw with anyone. I'm very lonely.

Dad owns a bookstore. He'd pass out if he knew about my taste for the ink in books. You see, once I use my straw, the books' pages are totally blank. The books become unreadable. Unsellable. Good for the garbage. Good for the fireplace.

Sometimes I tackle the faded pages of the old books at the public library. I also "recycle" the books people get rid of because they take up too much space. But I don't dare handle what Dad calls his "little bookies." He's too crazy about them, and anyway, his customers would complain and he'd start asking himself questions.

I get chills when I think that he might someday discover my secret. My entire family would be afraid of me and probably stay far away. I don't want to end up living in a cemetery, an old and lonely ink drinker like Draculink.

Draculink is ancient. He used to be a bloodthirsty vampire. But one day he got a bad case of indigestion. Too much blood, I guess. Ever since, he's been an ink drinker. He still sleeps in a coffin like other vampires, but he can go out in the daylight. That's how he came to bite me: he visited the bookstore in the middle of the afternoon. I didn't suspect his identity, but something about him made me follow him out of the store. That's how he came to write his vampire name on my arm with his teeth: Draculink.

We haven't seen each other since that day. He looks really bizarre and gives me the chills. Still, I've decided to go to the cemetery tonight to ask him an important question:

"Mr. Draculink, can I bite a girl so that she becomes like me?"

So that I can share my secret and not be lonely anymore. Well, I won't go into all these details, which are none of his business. I worry about his answer. If he says no, that means I'll remain alone for a lifetime....

From A STRAW FOR TWO. Text Copyright c 1998 by Eric Sanvoisin. Illustrations copyright c 1998 by Martin Matje. Translation copyright c 1999 by Georges Moroz. Published by arrangement with Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

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