by Shana Bulhan

saleh believes in fairies and ghosts and monsters and vampires and demons and witches and elves and werewolves and shapeshifters. (and many other such beings). saleh is silly. saleh talks about how ze goes partying with the fairies and gets lunch with zir werewolf friend marticila and is in love with a vampire named anyita. saleh is a little peculiar. saleh sees things in people that others don’t. saleh said ze saw zir classmate manu’s hands starting to fade away to invisible. and then manu’s friend rifka shot gleams of green with her eyes at manu’s hands and they got completely visible again. saleh is weird.

saleh says my best friend lulitha is a witch. but i know lulitha. she’s a little quiet and shy sometimes, and she likes reading a lot. she reads books all over the board, really. mysteries and science fiction and chick lit and ya lit and romance and fairytales and horror and fantasy and (auto)biographies and nonfiction and everything. she knows a lot. but she certainly isn’t a witch. witches don’t exist. sometimes people dress up like witches, but they’re not real. saleh has nothing but scorn for popular imitations of witches and the like. ze hates halloween; says it’s an oppressive holiday designed for normative people to make fun of those who are different.

i hate halloween too. most of the candy sucks, and i don’t particularly care for the combination of orange and black. i don’t like being scared—leapt out at randomly from behind bushes, and that sort of thing. i sometimes think it would be nice if all the supernatural and paranormal beings were real, but i’m not like saleh. i don’t believe in such things. there are lots of reasons it’s dangerous to believe in things like that, anyway. if you go around saying so-and-so is a witch or whatever, they might lock you up. saleh doesn’t think about these things. saleh’s never been locked up.

i like vampire tv shows a lot. and shows about witches and aliens, etc., too. all the drama is alluring. i wish i was a sexy vampire. maybe saleh would fall in love with me if i was a sexy vampire. i know it’s wrong to want people to fall in love with me, but i can’t seem to stop thinking about it. i’m terribly jealous of anyita. i don’t believe for a second that ey’s really a vampire, but ey sure is beautiful and charismatic. ey goes to college, so is older than us—saleh says anyita is four hundred and seventy two years old, or has been nineteen for four hundred and fifty three years, but that’s tall tales. i haven’t really spoken much to em but the few times we’ve met i was quite intimidated.