It was about 45 minutes before sunrise, on a Saturday morning. I was inside my room in the Sangreville Motor Lodge, when I received that frantic call on my cell phone from Jim Manetti.
I asked him, "Why are you calling me about this?"
"You're the only other vampire I know Vick. You might be able to give me some advice."
"Well," I told him, "If you don't want Kate to burn up into cinders when the sun rises, you'll have to let her into your house."
"But she's now a hungry vampire. If I let her in, she might try to kill me for nourishment, or Caroline."
I said, "Then you or Caroline'll just have to ram a sharp wooden stake through her heart."
"Vick, it's not a joke. I don't want to kill Kate. Neither does Caroline.
"Yeah." I said, "That's a real toughie isn't it?"
"'A toughie'?" He shouted, "What are you, making a joke about it?"
"Jim." I asked, "You wouldn't just happen to have a pint bottle of pigs' blood in your refrigerator, would you?"
"Pigs' blood? In my fridge? Vicky! Stop making jokes!"
"Okay. Listen carefully. There's a six-pack of bottled pigs' blood in the fridge in my office in the Climaxes. You can drive on over there, pick them up, and if you leave now, you can be back to your place, and in time to feed Kate, before sunrise."
"I can't drive over. If I step outside she'll pounce on me."
"Like I said, you got a real toughie there."
In the background, I heard Caroline's voice. I couldn't understand her words. Jim said something inaudible to her. She said something to him. Then he spoke over the cell phone to me.
"Listen Vick. Caroline says I should toss my keys out the window to Kate, so she can drive on over herself."
"Good idea. Just one thing Jimmy..."
His voice was away from the phone again. Then he didn't speak to me for a minute or so.
Then he said, "It's okay Vick. I tossed my keys out the window. Kate's just drove off in my car. She'll be able to get into the Climaxes, and get the pigs' blood. Things'll be okay."
He clicked off his phone before I could say, "No they won't Jimmy.”
About a half-hour later my cell phone rang again. I answered.
"Victoria." The caller said, "It's Jimmy. I just got a call from Kate. She's inside your office in the Climaxes, but your refrigerator is locked."
"I tried to warn you," I told him, "but you hung up. I locked the fridge so no one would find the pigs blood. I didn't want anyone to find out I was a vampire."
He said, "And I bet you're the only one who has the key.”
"No." I told him, "There is a duplicate."
"And where's that?"
"I'm not telling."
"What kind of game is this?"
"I'm not telling anyone where it is, until you cancel the reward for my arrest."
"Okay. Consider it canceled."
"No Jimmy. I know how you are. I'm not telling you where it is, 'til I hear it on the News, that you've canceled the reward."
Then I hung up.
Let them sweat, I thought, I can wait. I've got all day.
All day to do what? To be stuck here inside this motel room, on the outskirts of Sangreville?
I decided to check out the action on Channel 666. It turned out that I wouldn’t have to buy a DVD of the Annual Sacrifices. I spent the next few hours watching a broadcast of the Annual Sacrifices to the Demon Beelzebub that had been taped in the City of Beelzebubopolis, the Capitol of the Demonic Dimension of Beelzebubia.
The day’s events began on the top tier, of the five tiered stepped pyramid, which served as the Supreme Sacred Temple. Two smiling Sacred Maidens were decapitated, as voluntary sacrifices to the Demon Beelzebub. This was followed by the deaths of 200 beautiful women standing on the lower tiers. They were sacrificed with arrows through their breasts. This was followed by an equal number of men being hanged, and children tossed onto spears, in the Plaza at the Temple’s base.
In the next event, male and female gladiators fought to the death, while almost totally naked, in a local sports stadium.
As the day's other deadly events went on there were unexpected fatalities among participants and spectators. Then in the evening, there were deadly fireworks.
There was also music, dancing and feasting on the roast meat of those who'd been sacrificed.
Before this, I would have been revolted by the whole thing; but now, as a vampire, I loved every minute of it. I was sure that if we showed a live, closed circuit cable broadcast of this event at the Climaxes, we could charge $1000 a pop, and the place would be packed.
The video had lasted about two and a half hours. When it ended, the time was almost 9 o'clock. This was gonna be a very long day.
I again switched to the 24-hour news from L.A.
They repeated the same story about Kate's disappearance, and that I was the chief suspect. They said nothing about the reward, but they also did not say that it had been canceled.
My phone rang.
"Vick. It's Jimmy. I just got a call from Kate. She's still inside the Climaxes, but she's starving. She says she's ready to go outside and pounce on the first person she sees. I need to know where the duplicate key is now."
"And I need to hear a News report, that you canceled the reward. They didn't say a word about it."
"I told them Vick."
Then I asked, "Has Kate told you who killed her?"
"Yes. She says it was a vampire named Roxanna."
"Yeah. I know her. I'm finally off the hook."
"No you aren't." He said, "This Roxanna told Kate, that you put her up to it."
Wouldn't you know it? I thought, I've just been through the very worst night, followed by the very worst morning, to top off the very worst week of my entire life!
I bellowed. "What do you mean I put her up to it?"
"Did you tell Roxanna that you wished you could bite all of us except Julianna, and the one you wanted to kill most was Kate?"
I wondered if I should tell him that I wasn't being serious, but Roxanna obviously thought that I was.
What I did say was, "I'm exercising my right against self incrimination."
"Go right ahead." He told me, "Kate'll be exercising her right, to bring an indictment against Roxanna, and you'll also be named in the indictment, as a co-conspirator."
"Wait Jim. I'll make it up to her."
"How can you possibly do that?"
"Call her, and ask her if she'll be willing to forget any charge against me, if I help her get all the pigs' blood she'll ever need."
"You mean you'll tell her where the key is?"
"Jim. There is no duplicate key."
"Then you can forget about her dropping the charges."
"You don't need any key!"
"What are you talking about?"
"You spoiled, pampered, Sunset Strip dilettantes, must be the only people in Los Angeles, who don't know that you can buy all the pigs' blood, that any vampire could possibly need, in every single butcher shop in the City."
I hung up.
Now what? By now the desk clerk of this Motel, along with that demon woman; along with all those other guys who'd seen me in Zeke's Place, must have I.D'd me to the police. That Lieutenant Preston's probably on his way here with an arrest warrant in his pocket.
I'm gonna need a Lawyer.
I looked through the Vampire's Handbook, and found Vidamort Corp's number again. I picked up my cell phone and called them, dialing Lawrence MacKenzie's extension once more. The time was 9:10 AM. Now he was at work.
He said, "Good morning Miss Milford. I just heard your voice mail."
I told him, "And I've just heard from James Manetti. Kate Nellington has revived as a vampire. She's accused Roxanna of killing her, and Roxanna accused me of putting her up to it."
Mr. MacKenzie said, "Don't worry about it Miss Milford. That's just hearsay. It won't be allowed in Court."
"Thank you for saying that," I told him, "But I'm sure it's not that easy for me to just walk away from the whole thing."
"No it isn't Miss Milford. If you want Vidamort Corp's help, it's going to be very costly."
"I figured that." I asked, "Can you give me an estimate of the cost?"
"Your entire interest in the Climaxes Nightclub."
"My entire interest? So that's what this is all about huh? Right from the beginning? Even before Jake bit me?"
"Exactly. You have a choice Miss Milford. Sign over your entire interest in the Climaxes to us, and you can continue to exist as a creature of the night. If you refuse, you'll be burning up in the daylight, before the sun sets today."
So repent you sinners.