23

At 1:30 in the morning, Kate was behind the wheel of the car that Pete and Jimmy had taken out to Sangreville that afternoon. She drove swiftly away from the Community that people called "Vampire Town", along a Freeway approaching L.A. She sat alone in the front seat. Pete lay stretched out lengthwise in the backseat, sleeping.

Before they'd left the motel room he'd asked her to drive, saying, "I'm too exhausted to get behind the wheel."

"Good." She said, "Now it's dark, so I won't have to ride in the trunk this time."

"I'm sorry we had to do that. I'm sure it must have been unbelievably uncomfortable."

She smiled with her fangs extended. "How'd you like to ride in it Pete? I'd love to make sure that you don't feel any discomfort at all."

He spoke with annoyance. "Will you stop doing that! The joke's stopped being funny."

"That's not a joke Pete." She said, taking a step toward him.

He raised a hand. "Wait a minute."

She halted.

He told her, "You said you wanted to attend worship, at this First Presbyterian Church of Vampires."

"I'm not really sure if it'll help, but if I do have my soul back, I don't think I'll start cringing if I step through the front door."

Pete went over to the dresser and pulled open the shallow top drawer. He reached in and picked up the copy of the New Testament that he'd found lying there earlier. Then he looked back at Kate who appeared to be distressed.

She spoke with a troubled tone. "What are you doing?"

"If you do have your soul back," he asked, "you're not going to start cringing if I read from this, are you?"

"I'm not sure."

He said, "Let's see. I know that it says in here, 'Resist the Devil and he will flee from you'. Are you able to resist the Devil Kate?"

"I hope so, but don't forget. I used to worship him."

"No you didn't Kathleen. Princess Acetlela did, but you're not her."

Pete now opened the book, and leafed through the pages until he came to Ephesians: Chapter 6. Then he started to read, beginning at verse 10.

"'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

"'Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

"'Pray also for me…'"

"I will Pete."

He looked up from the text. "Can you pray?"

"It's okay Pete." Kate told him, "You'll always be safe with me, from now on."

Then they'd checked out of the Sangreville Motor Lodge, got in the car and drove off into the night.

Now, as she drove along approaching L.A., Kate wondered. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you? The Devil will flee from me? A vampire? He'll flee from a vampire with a restored soul?

How do I resist the Devil, who I used to worship? I now have a natural bloodlust. For a vampire, bloodlust is not a perversion. How then is it possible for me to resist the Devil? Will Pete really be safe with me from now on?

"Put on the full armor of God"?

And just where do I pick up these Divine garments? At the First Presbyterian Church of Vampires, where Sunday night Worship services are scheduled to begin tomorrow night at 9 P.M.?

Well, it's worth a shot.

Now as she approached the City, Kate also wondered, Where will I stay tonight? While the sight of a cross is no longer a barrier, will I still have to be invited into somebody's home, as a guest? I'm not sure that Pete would invite me in. Would anybody else who I know?

In the Vampire's Handbook, there are long lists of places that cater to vampires, where I would have no trouble finding accommodations. Will I just have to get used to living in motel rooms, where I'll be drinking pigs' blood that I've warmed up in their microwave ovens?

Well, wherever I'll be living, or unliving, that's what my diet will be. No more fabulous meals in fancy restaurants for me. I'll also be spending all my days indoors with the blinds drawn. No more walks in the sunlight or days at the beach.

What else won't I have? A guy I can make love to, or marry, or have his children. Who ever heard of a pregnant vampire woman? Of course I can always turn Pete into a vampire. After that, I suppose that we could have our wedding at this First Presbyterian Church of Vampires; but we couldn't have children.

Or could we? I've heard stories. No. Those were all fiction, about baby vampires whose parents had trouble finding baby-sitters.

Maybe we could adopt? Yeah right. What adoption agency's going to allow a couple of vampires to adopt a child?

Now she called out, "Pete! Wake up!"

After a moment she heard his voice, behind and below her in the back seat.

"Yeah." His voice was groggy, "Are we home?"

"Not yet. We've still got a ways to go."

He now sat up in the back seat, and looked around at the buildings they were passing beside the Freeway.

You're right." He agreed, "We still have a long way to go."

"To go where?" she asked. "Where am I going to stay?"

"My place. Aren't we?"

"If I stay at your place, where do you want me to sleep?"

He chuckled, "Do you really have to ask?"

"That's not a joke." She told him, "I'm a vampire Peter. I still have my new fangs and my new appetite and my new physical needs. While I've got my soul restored, and all the pigs' blood I'll need, at least for a while, I still have the bloodlust. The bloodlust is also now combined with my normal lust."

"They're combined?"

"That's right." She told him, "So if you fuck me, you might die."

"Oh?"

"It's okay Pete. I'm sure we can work things out. So do you want to sleep on the couch, or should I?"

"Anywhere you wish." He spoke with a grouchy tone. "What other choice do I have?"

"You know I still love you. Don't you Pete?"

He hesitated. Then he said, "I hope so."

"Do you still love me?"

"I hope so."

"Then you might not die."

"I see." He told her, "Then I suggest that we practice abstinence."

She laughed. "Abstinence? Vampirism is not a sexually transmitted disease, Peter."

"I'm not being a wus Kate! We should practice abstinence, but just temporarily; at least until you've put on the full armor of God."