Kate had resumed driving through the middle of the night, moving with the traffic beneath the brightly shining street lamps along the Sunset Strip. Pete lay in the backseat covered from head to toe, with the same blanket that she’d had wrapped around herself, on the trip out to Sangreville.
Is he morphing, she wondered, or will he remain dead? I did what the Vampire’s Handbook said was the correct procedure, when it comes to vamping someone; or did I? Did I do it correctly? I’m sure I did. It’s a very simple procedure, unless something unexpected happened, which wasn’t addressed in the Handbook. If something unexpected did happen, and things did go wrong, he might not revive as a vampire.
If he doesn’t revive, I could be charged with murder!
“Oh Pete,” she said softly, “why did you have to act like such a wus?”
I’m asking why he had to act like that? Why did I act the way I just did? I told Vicky that was gonna use self control.
I told her, “Just 'cause I'm now a vampire, it doesn't mean that I can't still be a responsible, law abiding citizen."
That’s what I told her, and I believed it when I said it. I didn’t realize just how much I really have changed. I’m an actual carnivorous predator. But I’m not a lion, or a tiger or a bear, or alligator, or… What am I?
I’m a human being. Homo sapien?...“vampirus”? That makes me a carnivorous predator, with a conscience.
I really am gonna have to watch myself from now on. When I get angry…?
The Climaxes Nightclub’s neon sign was now in view.
There were a good number of cars in the parking lot.
It’s open to the public, Kate thought. I don’t have to ask to be invited inside. I’m a regular patron. I’ll be allowed in without any hesitation. Beside that, Vicky’s in there. She has experience dealing with unlawful things. I’m sure she’ll be able to help me handle everything about Pete.
I’m going to ask for help, in doing something unlawful?
“Being a vampire doesn’t have to suck”? Yeah—right!
She turned into the Club’s parking lot, and went to a dimly lit space, where she parked besides the building, with her car’s front grill a few inches from the Club's brick wall; near the spot where she’d been the other night, when she’d been approached by Roxanna.
She got out of the car and looked through the rear door’s left window. She could barely see Peter, lying in the darkness under the blanket. She figured that if anyone just casually glanced through it for a moment, they wouldn’t notice anything. Unless…
Maybe I should have moved him into the trunk. No. He’d have been too heavy for me to handle alone, and who would I have gone to for help?
Kate heard someone approaching. She shut and locked the vehicle’s front door, and all the doors. She turned and saw the woman who’d she’d met here inside the Club that morning; the one who’d been brought here by her step-brother Harry.
Loretta Carolton was approaching, accompanied by Kevin Delinski and Julianna Collins. All three of them gripped crucifixes, holding them low at their sides. Loretta also gripped a foot long, sharp wooden stake. The other two appeared to be unarmed; but all three had grim looks on their faces.
Has Ms. Carolton, Kate wondered, used that stake on Vicky?
She called out, “Hi everyone!” being careful to keep her fangs retracted, and not glance at her car’s left rear window.
Julianna spoke nervously. “Hi Katie.”
Kevin nodded. “Hi.”
Now Ms. Carolton spoke. “So you’re back.”
Kate nodded. “That’s right, and I’ve brought Victoria’s car back with me. Everything and everyone’s where you’d expect them to be.”
Kevin asked, “How’s Pete?”
Kate remained careful not to glance at the left rear window.
“He’s okay. I left him off at home. He’s had a very long day, and he was exhausted.”
Julianna told her, “I think you can say the same about all of us.”
Loretta spoke. “Victoria Milford’s told us that your soul was restored along with hers.”
“That’s right;” Julianna added “by the woman you told us about, who spoke an incantation while holding the shrunken head of a vampsnuffer.”
“Is Vicky inside?” Kate asked. “I’d like to talk to her. She and I have a lot of things to discuss.”
Kevin said, “She’s sleeping in her office, and asked not to be disturbed about anything; so if you want to talk to her, you’re just gonna have to wait.”
Julianna laughed nervously. “We’re not doing anything to annoy anyone who’s got a pair of fangs and is in a really rotten mood.”
“Sleeping in her office?” Kate looked at Loretta. “Then you haven’t staked her?”
“No. As a matter of fact, she and her partner James Manetti have hired the Demon Chaser’s Agency, to provide security for the Club. We vampire hunters are now working for a vampire; but only that vampire. You others had all better watch out.”
“’You others’? Does that include me?”
“That’s up to you.” said the woman with the stake.
“Then I have nothing to fear.” Kate told them. “My soul’s been restored. I am very able to control myself. I intend to continue being a law abiding, responsible citizen.”
Julianna said, “Good for you Katie!”
“But that does not mean that I’m going to be a wussy.”
Now Kate stepped away from her car, walking across the parking lot toward the Club’s entrance, with Julianna, Kevin and Loretta Carolton moving beside her.
Loretta repeated, “’Wussy’? When you were in Sangreville, did you speak with Paula Forella, the local Candidate for State Assembly?”
“That’s right. She explained a lot to me. I am now a citizen of the vampiric persuasion, and have joined in her campaign to eliminate Wussyism from our culture.”
Loretta said, “I was with Vicky when you spoke to her on the phone a few hours ago. Was Paula Forella the demon, who’s also a member of the Order of Beelzebub, who she told you to avoid?”
Kate said nothing. She now came to within a few steps of the doorway, and saw the crucifix nailed above the entrance. She halted.
She wondered, I can’t move any further? I can’t go inside? My soul’s been restored, but I can’t pass beneath that cross? Have I lost my soul again, because I’ve tasted human blood? If I can’t go inside, this demon hunter who’s standing beside me, is sure to understand why, and she’s carrying a stake.
Kate felt her fangs begin to extend instinctively, but was able to retract them, thinking
I’ve got to get out of here fast.
She thought, No! If I try to run she’ll stake me! Kevin and Julianna might join in!
She whispered, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
Then Kate Nellington stepped through the doorway, moving beneath the cross, and entered the Climaxes Nightclub.