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Neo-Nazi Vegens
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Watching the proceedings with a careful eye, Ann Marie wondered
why Jacqueline had brought here. She didn't see any point to sitting in
the middle of the woods at night as some of Jacqueline's strange friends
blasted music so harsh and loud Ann Marie suspected it could be heard
in town, five miles away. The group was sitting around a fire drinking
V-8's and it was just one more thing to make Ann Marie cautious. Her
eyes kept darting to the apparent platter of party snacks that no one
had touched. There were carrot sticks and celery stalks and broccoli
and all sorts of other natural snacks, but nobody had so much as
touched one with a finger and Ann Marie didn't feel the desire to touch
any of it with a ten-foot pole.

The ring of the vegetables around the fire caused the other bit
of uncertainty circling in Ann Marie's stomach. Actually, it was a ring
of eggplants. Set out so they were touching tip to bottom, they created
a purple circle completely surrounding the medium-sized bonfire and
seemed to serve absolutely no purpose as they cooked slowly. The smell
made Ann Marie almost sick. She hated eggplant with a firey passion and
wanted nothing more than to leave this gathering and go have a coke
somewhere. Unfortunately, V-8 was the only available drink and Ann
Marie had arrived on Jacqueline's motorcycle, making it a little hard
for her to leave.

Nobody was saying much. There was a murmur now and then but
mostly people seemed to be watching Jacqueline as if waiting for a sign.
Shifting slightly on the soft, green moss, Ann Marie did the same. Her
new friend seemed to have eyes only for the eggplants though. Her blue
gaze was fastened securely on the purple vegetable right in front of
her seat and didn't waver any inch under the pressure of nine pairs of
eyes. Jacqueline was like that naturally. With her striking blue eyes
and blonde hair mixed with her interesting choice of an all-leather
clothing ensemble, Jacqueline was used to people staring. She almost
seemed to revel in it.

Suddenly, one of the eggplants burst with a sickly sweet sound
and smell immediately pervading the clearing. Ann Marie's stomach rose
to her mouth as everyone's heads snapped to stare at the split eggplant.
As in dominoes, the other eggplants suddenly began to split their skins,
the pale insides bubbling out and oozing onto the ground.

Jacqueline stood smoothly and dug a pocketknife out of her
skin-tight pants. Switching the blade open, she raised her arms to the
sky and the group stood with her leaving only Ann Marie on the ground.
They began to chant:


"Oh, Mighty Spirits!

Accept our offering.

Accept our devotion.

Accept our souls!"


The chant increased in intensity till the group was practically
screaming. Ann Marie recovered quickly from her shock and stood up,
trying to inch away. She didn't care how far away town was. These
people seemed to be offering their souls to a vegetable. This wasn't a
normal party and Ann Marie wanted out.

Darting quickly, Jacqueline grabbed Ann Marie's arm and pulled
her closer to the fire. Struggling against her grip, Ann Marie cried
out as she was forced to a kneeling position next to one of the
eggplants.

"Oh, Mighty Spirits!" Jacqueline cried, ignoring Ann Marie's
petitions for release. The group continued their demented offering
chant as Jacqueline broke out of the pattern and rose her voice above
theirs. "We offer tonight an unpure soul! We offer her a chance to be
forgiven!"

With quick motions, Jacqueline sliced off a section of eggplant
and speared it on the knife. She knelt next to Ann Marie and whispered
in her ear, "Eat this."

Ann Marie cowered away, whimpering in fear from her so-called
friend's intense gaze. "No, I hate eggplant."

"Eat it or you'll never be free," Jacqueline insisted, holding
the sliver out to Ann Marie.

"Free from what?" Despite the smell and almost overwhelming
need to lose her supper, Ann Marie was curious.

"Free from meat! Free from the atrocities of lamb, cow, and
pork."

"But I like meat," Ann Marie whimpered as she turned her head
to avoid the piece of eggplant Jacqueline was trying to force into her
mouth. "I don't want it. What are you? Some Neo-Nazi Vegen?"

"Nice club name," Jacqueline murmured as she pried Ann Marie's
mouth open and tucked the piece of eggplant inside.

The chanting grew louder as Ann Marie was forced to chew and
swallow. Tears poured down her cheeks as she struggled to reject the
cooked piece of vegetable in her mouth. Finally, Jacqueline let go and
Ann Marie fell back gagging, trying to rid her mouth of the taste.

The crowd behind her ceased chanting abruptly and gathered in a
tight circle around her. Sitting up slowly, Ann Marie saw Jacqueline
kneeling near by with the tray of vegetables balanced on her knee.

"Eat," she whispered, offering Ann Marie carrot sticks, celery
stalks, and broccoli. Shakily, Ann Marie reached out and picked up a
piece of carrot. Opening her mouth to bite, new instincts suddenly
took over and she sank her teeth into the stick without actually biting
a piece off. A strange thrill ran up her spine as she felt liquid
flowing into her mouth.

Her hand fell away, still holding the carrot stick. But where
before it had been plump and orange, it was now white, withered and
completely unappetizing. Throwing the corpse into the fire, Ann Marie
stood abruptly and reached her hand to her mouth. Lowered from her
normal teeth, she slowly traced the outline of two delicate fangs.

With a strangled cry, she turned to Jacqueline. "What have you
done to me?" Tears ran anew as she struggled to speak with the new
teeth in her mouth. She felt them recede as Jacqueline tried to step
closer and she stumbled away.

"They're only there when you eat," Jacqueline tried to reassure
her. "This is good. Now you will live off vegetables and fruits and
never have to harm another animal again."

"Oh, God. I'm a vegetarian vampire," Ann Marie whispered. She
forced herself to think of steak, sausage, any kind of meat. But the
images repulsed her as the eggplant had down earlier. Sinking to the
ground, Ann Marie clutched her stomach and cried silently. She felt
Jacqueline's hand on her back and looked up through teary eyes.

"Welcome to the world of plants," Jacqueline said with a smile.
"You'll love it here."

Slowly, Ann Marie nodded. Her gaze flowed from Jacqueline's
face to the eggplant she had been forced to eat. Cautiously, almost
against her will, her hand reached out, wrapped around the still warm
vegetable and brought it to her lips.