Jimmy and Pete had reached the edge of Sangreville, driving past the parking lot of the local Burger King franchise. Jimmy was still behind the wheel of the convertible. The cell phone on his belt sounded. He pulled it out and looked at the screen.
He sounded puzzled. "It's from Kate?”
"I'll talk to her," said Pete, "while you keep your eyes on the road."
Jimmy handed him the cell phone.
Pete pressed the answer button and put the phone to his ear.
"Hi Kate. It's Pete."
"Good. With what I've got to say, I'm glad you're not the one who's driving."
"What is it Kate?
"Well, you see...Vicky's here, with me, in the Motel room."
He asked Jimmy, "Do you want to pull over and stop for a moment?"
Jimmy did as he asked.
When the car had stopped, Pete told him, "Vicky's in the Motel room with Kate."
"Yeah. She just happened to be staying in the room next to ours. They're adjoining rooms, and she came through the adjoining doors."
Jimmy asked, "Does Kate want us to come back?"
Pete repeated the question to her.
"No. I'm safe with her now. She can't hurt me and I can't hurt her. She wants our help."
Pete told Jimmy, "Vicky wants our help."
Jimmy sighed with exasperation. He reached over, and Pete handed him the phone.
Then Jimmy spoke into the device. "Put her on, Kate."
He heard Vicky's voice. "Hi Jimmy."
"What the hell do you mean you want our help? Give me one good reason why I shouldn't go looking for help from this 'Vampsnuffer’, and send her after you?"
"If you send her after me, she'll be coming after Kate too."
"Right. Okay, tell me. What do you want anyway?"
Jimmy listened, and then he looked over at Pete.
"Vicky wants us to help keep her out of Hell."
Pete beckoned and Jimmy handed him the phone.
"Vicky listen carefully." Pete told her, "If you want to stay out of Hell, then repent you sinner."
She told him, "That's what I've been telling myself, since I became undead."
"Then I suggest you take your own advice."
He handed the cell phone back to Jimmy, who clicked it off.
Back in the motel room, Vicky handed the cell phone back to Kate. Then she pointed at the plastic cooler.
"Have you got blood in there?"
Kate nodded, "Pigs' blood in plastic containers, and cans that are said to contain the 'good stuff'."
"Are they the cans that were in the fridge in my office?"
"Yes. Unfortunately we had to break the lock off with a hammer to get to them. We'll pay you for a new one."
"That's okay. Just one thing, Kate." Vicky told her, "The cans are mine. I'd like to have them back."
"Go ahead Vick." Kate told her, "I've got enough for myself."
Vicky went over to the cooler, lifted the lid, and saw a half dozen plastic containers filled with red liquid, and one six pack of 12 ounce cans, all lying in a pile of ice cubes, taken from the ice machine in the Climaxes. She reached in and removed the six pack.
Then she said, "There's a microwave oven in my room. After I've warmed up the contents, how'd you like to share some of the good stuff with me?"
"Vicky." Kate told her, "Just go back into your room and stay there."
"If I stay in my room Kate, I won't be able to show you my copy of the Vampire's Handbook."
"You have a copy?"
"That's right. It contains everything that all new vampires, like the two of us should know. It's been very helpful to me, and it might be even more of a help to you."
"Even more? In what way?"
"Well for one thing, you'll learn that the subtitle is right. Being a vampire doesn't have to suck. You want to be ready for both Pete and Jimmy, when they return, don't you?"
"Right." Kate smiled. "Vicky, will you please let me take a look at your copy of the Vampire's Handbook?"
"Right away." Vicky said, "Kate, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
Out on the road, Jimmy and Pete had resumed driving into Sangreville.
Pete asked, "So do you really want to go looking for this Vampsnuffer?"
"Not 'til after we've found the shrunken head of a former one, and restored Kate's soul, and then taken Kate as far from this Sangreville as we can get. As for Vicky, she's on her own."
They drove on further, and were soon moving along Main Street, passing the local Cinema, and a nightclub called the Fang-Bang. They passed a few campaign posters saying, “Vote for Francine Forella for State Assembly.”
They went a short distance further, along the next block, where they spotted a small shop with a sign above the door identifying the establishment as the "Forbidden Arts Shop". The shop also had a “Vote for Francine Forella” poster displayed in the window. They parked, got out of the car and entered the shop. A bell above the door jingled.
They'd entered a softly lit establishment consisting of shelves displaying all types of magical paraphernalia, along with ghoulish looking items, such as replicas of skulls, dismembered eyeballs, and other parts of human and non-human anatomies. There were big hairy spider replicas, occultic items, and things that neither Pete nor Jimmy were able to identify. There were also many books about magic, the occult and "Books of Forbidden Knowledge" for anybody to purchase.
Jimmy spoke with disdain. "These are just toys Pete. It's all fake. We're not gonna find what we're looking for in here."
A woman standing behind the counter, beside the cash register spoke. "I wouldn't be that quick to dismiss every item we have in stock sir!"
The woman, who had a full figure and shoulder length brown hair, was around 30 years old. She wore a modest blue business outfit. She stepped around the counter and walked up to the two young guys from Los Angeles. A nametag clipped on her vest identified her as "Francine".
She spoke firmly. "You gentlemen would be surprised to see, just how genuine and just how powerful, many of the items that we have in stock are."
Pete told her, "We aren't looking for many items. Just one."
Jimmy asked, "You wouldn't just happen to have a 'genuine' and 'powerful' Consecrated Shrunken Head of a Snuffer-Vampsnuffer in stock, would you?"
Francine's expression changed. She cast an uneasy glance toward the rear of the sales floor, where a large round table stood. Two women around her age were seated at the table, going through some old books. When Jimmy spoke the words "Shrunken Head…" they both looked up and turned their attention toward him and Pete.
Francine sighed. "That may be just too powerful for either of you to deal with. Its misuse has been known to lead to more irreversible harm than anyone could possibly imagine. Besides, it’s not for sale."
Jimmy asked, “Can we ‘rent’ it for about an hour.”
The woman told him, “Forget it!”
"We don't want to misuse it," Pete read her nametag, "'Francine'. We wish above all else, that we didn't have any need to use it at all, but a woman who we both care for very deeply, is in need of its use."
The two women who'd been seated at the table had gotten up and come over to them. One was blonde with a light complexion. The other had black hair, dark complexion, and Latin American features.
"So." The blonde woman spoke with a smirking tone in her voice. "A woman who you both care for very deeply has been vamped, and you want to restore her soul, huh?"
Jimmy spoke with annoyance. "You think that's funny?"
"No. I'm just cynical. It comes with the job."
"Oh? And just what job is that Miss...Miss?"
She smiled, "That's Miss Justine Salinski, also known around these parts as 'The Vampsnuffer'."
Both guys from L.A. looked at each other.
Pete said, "Forget it Jimmy! We're out of here! Now!"
They began to move toward the door. Justine moved quickly, blocking their way.
"Get out of our way!" Jimmy demanded, "We're not telling you who she is or where she is; and you'd better not try to follow us!"
"A vampire with a soul," Justine told them "isn't any less dangerous, than a vampire without one."
Pete said, "She's only been drinking pigs' blood. So far she hasn't harmed anyone."
"That's so far, but eventually the temptation's going to become too great."
Now the dark haired woman spoke, with a Spanish accent. "Maybe not Justine. If her soul's restored, it might make her stronger. Let's give her a chance."
"A chance? To bite one of these guys, who care about her so much?"
"Not just them Justine. How about giving me a chance too?" She sounded miffed. "You don't have to be the whole show all the time, you know."
The Vampsnuffer looked embarrassed at her friend’s words.
"Sorry Pilar." Justine told her, "If you want to give it a shot, go ahead."
Pete asked to other woman, "You're giving it a shot?"
"That's right." The dark haired woman reached out her hand and smiled, "Hi. I'm Pilar Mendoza. Resident Bruja."
“’Bruja’?” Jimmy repeated skeptically. "You’re a witch?"
"That's right. If you want to restore the soul of the woman who you both love, you're gonna be needing someone with magical powers to speak the incantation. Without it," she shook her head; "the Shrunken Head of a Snuffer-Vampsnuffer, is just a morbid, gruesome, macabre toy, for the children of weirdos to play with. But with me, in spite of what my best friend in all the world, Justine here said, you'll both be a lot safer with the woman who you both love."
“Pilar.” Pete said, “I think you’re the one who a Loretta Carolton was talking about.”
“Oh!” She smiled proudly. “How do you like that Justine? Francine? My services have actually been recommended by Loretta Carolton herself!