Kate Nellington was hungry. At 9:30 AM, she was seated at a table inside the otherwise deserted Climaxes Nightclub. She sat in the dark silence, drinking red wine from a glass, trying not to scratch the vessel with her fangs, while wishing that the glass was filled with blood of the human variety.
The blonde 22-year-old wore the modest blue dress she'd found herself in, when she woke up a little after midnight, in an open coffin inside a dark and deserted mortuary.
She'd lain there for a frighteningly long, amnesiac moment, trying to remember what she was doing in that place. Then she finally remembered.
She remembered late Thursday night, or maybe it happened early Friday morning. She'd been here at the Climaxes for a few hours. The Club had been busy. It was a good night for business, but the Manager; Vicky Milford wasn't there. No one had seen her since early Tuesday evening. There was nothing unusual about that. Vicky had a way of just vanishing for a few days, then returning without explanation.
"Whatever she's doing," Kate's step-brother Harry said with a peeved tone, "it's better if we just don't know."
"Right." Kate told him, "I don't think I want to know."
Kate had left the Club around midnight, heading out across the parking lot to where her car was parked, with its front grill a few inches from the Club's brick wall.
She moved between her car's driver side and the vehicle on its left, reached in her handbag and took out her keys.
A woman named Roxanna had called out. She was also blonde and appeared to be around Kate's age. She'd been showing up regularly at the Climaxes for about two weeks, accompanied by a mean looking guy named Jake.
She approached Kate between both cars, putting the woman between herself and the brick wall.
"Hi Roxanna." Kate asked, "How're you doing?"
"How I'm doing," she spoke with a peeved tone, "is that when it comes to guys, I really know how to pick 'em."
"You have that problem too, huh?"
"What I'm doing, is that I got into an argument with Jake. He just walked out and drove off, leaving me without a ride home."
"Welcome to the Sunset Strip. I'll give you a ride home."
"Thank you Kate."
"If you don't mind me asking, just what were you two arguing about?"
"Well," Roxanna said, "You know that bimbo Vicky, who owns this place?"
"Yeah. Unfortunately. Since you're calling her a 'bimbo', I think I know what you're gonna tell me."
"Well, on Tuesday night, she and Jake were out here in this parking lot, doing it in the backseat of his car; like a couple of horny teenagers!"
Kate nodded, "I figured that's what you were gonna say. It's not the first time she's done something like that; and it isn't even close to the worst things she's done."
Roxanna said firmly, "Vicky Milford is a vampire."
"Right." Kate nodded. "She should be classified among the lower beings, who everyone should do their best to avoid."
"Listen Kate." Roxanna told her, "When I called Vicky a 'vampire', it wasn't a figure of speech."
"Jake is one himself."
"One what? A vampire?"
"That's right girl, and so am I."
Kate now saw that the woman, who stood blocking her between both cars and the brick wall, had a pair of fangs protruding between her upper and lower lips.
Roxanna told her, "And Vicky Milford is now my friend." She moved closer to Kate. "She says that she wishes she could bite all of you except Julianna, and the one she wants to kill most of all is you, Kate."
That had happened either late Thursday night, or early Friday morning. Now it was Saturday morning, and Kate Nellington was a vampire, hiding from the daylight, seated at a table in the dark and deserted nightclub.
Her cellphone rang. She put it to her ear.
"Hi Kate." The caller said, "It's Jimmy. I've just called Vicky again. She's finally cooperating. She said that a vampire can get all the pigs' blood he or she needs, in any butcher shop in the City."
"I can't get to any butcher shop at all Jimmy. Not 'til after sunset. If I did go out in the sunlight, I'd burn up into ashes and soot."
"It's okay. I'm driving over to the butcher shop that's closest to my place. I'll get it to you by 10 A.M."
"Well you'd better hurry, or when you show up, I'll ignore the pigs' blood!"
Jimmy's phone clicked off.
He'd better get the blood here quick, she thought, before the first employees show up. If he doesn't, I won't be able to keep myself from biting my fangs into that first employee's neck, and sucking out his or her blood, until he or she is dead. If that first employee just happens to be my stepbrother Harry, it won't make any difference.
Kate remained seated at the table, waiting for Jimmy, and getting hungrier.
I hope Vicky's the first employee to show up! Forget that! Even if she is what's the point? She's now a vampire so biting her wouldn't do me any good.
Or would it? Can I get nourishment from blood that's already nourishing another vampire?
I don't know a thing about being a vampire. Is there any way to learn?
Just a few minutes after 10 AM, she heard sounds coming through the storeroom's doorway that stood to the bar's right. She heard footsteps. Then a male voice called out from the storeroom.
"I'm out on the main floor Jimmy!"
"I've brought you the pigs' blood!"
She got up from the table, and headed toward his voice.
He called out again. "Can I trust you not to bite me?"
Kate halted. "No! Not right now!"
"Then stay where you are! I'll toss it out to you! It's in a can!"
A dark object flew out through the storeroom doorway, hit the floor, bounced once and rolled along the tiles, until it bumped up against a table's legs, where it stopped moving.
Kate pounced, diving below the table, and grabbed the wet, dark can. She brought it up to her mouth, put her fangs against the lid, and drove them in, with a much more powerful bite than she'd had before becoming undead.
She took one taste. Then she gagged.
"It's beer?" She howled, "Jimmy? What the hell are you doing?"
Now Jimmy stood beside her. She looked up at him, and saw that he was holding a cross.
She screamed, raising her hand to shield her eyes, while she cringed beneath the table.
Her voice whimpered. "What the hell's the matter with you? Don't you know what that does to a vampire?"
"I'm sorry Kate. I had to distract you." He put a paper bag on the table. "I have brought you the blood. Just wait for me to back off."
He quickly backed away from the table, still holding the cross, and moved behind the bar.
"Okay." He told her. "You can come out now."
Kate moved out from under the table, and stood up with her hand still raised to shield her eyes from the cross. She turned her back toward Jimmy, opened the brown paper bag on the table, reached in and took out a large, sealed plastic container, containing a dark red liquid.
Jimmy told her, "That's the blood."
Kate took the container over to the table where she'd been sitting before he'd shown up. She pulled off the lid, and poured the contents into the wineglass, from which she'd drunk her non-nourishing breakfast. Then she gulped it all down fast.
She looked at Jimmy, who continued holding the cross, and quickly looked away.
"Don't let go of that cross yet." she told him.
She filled the glass once more and gulped it all down again. Then she gulped down another glassful. Then she poured what remained in the container into the glass, and finished that off.
She looked at Jimmy, still keeping her hand raised, to shield her eyes from the cross.
"It's okay." She told him, "I won't bite you now; but I have no idea how long it'll be before I get hungry again."
Now she seated herself at the table, feeling much calmer.
Jimmy remained standing behind the bar. He laid down the cross but kept it within reach.
He asked, "So what do we do now?"
"I have no idea." She shook her head. "I still have to stay in here, until the sun goes down."
"After that what?"
"I don't know Jimmy." She told him, "I don't know a thing about being a vampire! I have no idea how to handle it."
He said, "Vicky might know. Do you want me to call her? Then she can tell you what she knows."
He took out his cellphone.
"No! I never want to talk to Vicky Milford again! She's the one who had me killed!"
"I asked her about that. She's taking the Fifth."
"It figures. I'm not talking to her!"
"Okay. You don't have to. I'll call her."
Jimmy picked his cross up off the bar, and went through the doorway into the storeroom.
Vicky? Kate thought, You couldn't trust anything she had to say when she was alive; so why should I trust her now, when she's a vampire?
A sister vampire?
Jimmy returned from the storeroom after about five minutes, and stood behind the bar again.
He told Kate, "I just spoke to Vicky. She suggested that I get you a copy of the 'Vampire's Handbook'."
"There's a 'Handbook'?"
"She says it's what every new vampire should know."