Nicholas Robinowitz (formerly Collins) and Tabitha Lennox lay under his oversized leather jacket in the back of the van, pale faces lit by the glow of their driver’s phone:
On the screen, a boy in a 70s sweater with matchstick red hair was speechifying to a pack of kids, insisting they follow him down a storm drain in the name of someone called “Bobby.” Nick was pretty sure Bobby had been eaten by a giant spider in that drain a few episodes ago.
Nicholas rolled his eyes. “Can we watch something else? I freaking hate Curious Fate.”
Tabby looked at her friend. “Really?”
That and every stupid kid in his class had watched it three times and the Minister wouldn’t spring for streaming…
Tabby punched Nick in the shoulder. “Hipster.” She smirked. “Tell you what. I’ll let you pick something, if you can guess which kid in this is a werewolf.”
Nick squinted at the other vampire. “You serious? Werewolves are real too?”
Tabitha looked back at the phone, still smiling to herself. “May-be.”
“Hey Tabs,” Ivan Jones asked from the driver’s seat, “Which exit’s your place!?”
“Grace Drive!” Tabby called back.
“You know,” mused Ivan, “it’d be easier finding my way if I could use my phone…”
Tabby scoffed. “Eyes on the road, Renfield. Mom and Mom pay good money to keep us unlisted.”
The three of them had been driving for four days, quietly making their way through the backroads into Mahican State. Ivan had taken to parking a block or two from gas stations while Nick and Tabby sprinted off to pilfer gas. They’d tried to avoid any major towns and cities: both Ivan’s “escape” from police custody and Nick’s disappearance from the morgue had made it into the papers.
Nick hoped his mother had managed to sound surprised.
Now they were about half an hour from Tabby’s place. And her family.
“Not nervous, are ya?” Tabby asked.
Nick frowned. “No!” He looked away from the girl. “No… hey, um, is that freezing-burning thing you do an ‘every vampire’ thing?”
Tabby cracked her knuckles. “Nope. Me thing.”
Nick nodded. “Right, right.”
He didn’t need to say anything more. Tabby patted her fledgling on the back. “Don’t worry, you’ll figure something out.”
Two bangs, almost synchronised. The van dropped a foot and swerved wildly, screeching against the bitumen below it.
Ivan gripped the wheel and slammed his foot down on the brake-pedal. “Fuck!”
Nick slapped his hands over his ears. “What the hell are you doing?”
Ivan didn’t answer until they skidded to a stop. “I—don’t—“ he gasped between deep breaths. “Tires—busted.”
Nick heard soft footsteps. Tabby sniffed and growled:
Nick said, “What?”
There was a metal scream. Ivan yelped and covered his head as the roof of the van tore away, letting weak, dusky light rain down on Tabby and Nick.
A naked, dust coloured boy was looking down at the two, his crooked smile revealing a pair of fanged canines.
Nick’s nostrils were filled with a scent both familiar and diamond-edged.
Nick felt all his muscles tense. For the first time since he died, he was looking at something that could hurt him.
“We meet again, Tabitha,” said the boy. “Thought you’d stay away after our last fight.”
Tabby’s nose wrinkled in fury. “Like Hell I would, Zeke!”
The girl leapt up at Zeke, knocking them both off the roof.
Nick ripped apart the van’s backdoors like they were tinfoil. Tabby and Zeke were facing each other in the middle of the country road like feral cats sizing each other up.
Nick shouted at the boy, “What the fuck, man?”
His voice broke the standoff. The other two vampires lunged at each other like twin gusts of snow, colliding in mid-air and falling together in an angry tangle.
Tabby got on top of Zeke, grabbing him by his dark, slicked-back hair and slamming his head face-first over and over again into the rough grey bitumen. Bits of rock and glass glinted in Zeke’s bruised and bleeding face. It made Nick’s blood dance in his veins.
Nick pumped his fists in the air. “Get em’!”
Tabby looked away from her victim to flash a proud grin at Nick, only for Zeke to roll around under her, grab her arm and twist.
Nick heard the bone crack and stab through Tabby’s flesh before she screamed.He tensed to spring into the fight, almost without thinking. “Tabby!”
Something struck Nick in the back like a cannonball and sent him flying out of the van. He landed with a skid, his chest scraping against the hard road. When he finally regained control over his movement, he flipped around to find his chest was a red glistening mess, studded with gravel. His nipples were plain gone.
Nick looked up to find a bare, clearly vampiric girl was now standing in the back of the van. She had tight, curly hair the colour of wine and her skin was Nick’s pearly white rather than Tabby and Zeke’s ashen tone.
The girl tilted her head. “You a newbie?” she asked in a twangy southern drawl. She sniffed and flashed Nick a wry smile. “Don’t answer. You still smell tasty.”
A blob of red heat stirred in the front of the ban. Ivan charged at the girl’s back, yelling at the top of his lungs with his arms over his head like he was pretending to be a bear.
The girl hurled him back into the shadows with a light shove. She didn’t even look behind her.
Nick’s sight turned red. This kid was hurting Ivan. Screw that.
Nick hissed and sprung into the air, arcing high above the van and plunging downwards like a javelin. The boy landed in a crouch behind his new foe, hands and feet sinking into the van’s metal floor like tide-washed sand.
The girl twisted around and golf-clapped. “Way to stick the landing there, boy. Wrong way ‘round, though.”
Nick kicked backward, striking the girl right in the stomach and sending her flying. She hit the ground with a crack.
Nick straightened himself, shooting a quick, sharp look at Ivan sprawled across the dashboard. His brow was knit with angry worry:
“Don’t. Fight. Vampires.”
Ivan nodded vigorously
Zeke and his comrade were circling Tabby like very happy sharks.
The girl jeered, “Surrender now, Tabs, and we won’t whup ya too hard.”
Tabby spat at her. “You’ll break your knuckles, Gren.”
Gren smirked. “Worth it—gah!”
Nick had shoved a jagged hunk of metal into Gren’s side and wrapped his arms around her neck.
He shouted with inhuman volume into her ear, “Don’t touch my human!” only for Zeke to land on his shoulders and shove his thumbs into his eyes:
A second later, the three vampire pile-up was knocked to the ground by Tabby slamming her fists into Zeke’s back.
The writhing puddle of violence didn’t notice the limousine pulling up.
Zeke looked up at the car. “The moms!”
Tabby, Zeke, and Gren abruptly scattered, leaving Nick lying confused in the middle of the road.
“What’s going on?”
He spotted the idling limo. Nick could see a breathing man in the driver’s seat, watching the children impassively.
Nick groaned and threw his head back. “Great. Statute of Secrecy breach. Or whatever you guys call it.”
He was hoping they wouldn’t have to kill anyone where Ivan could see. Again.
But then two women stepped out of the limo. Or maybe the same woman twice. They were clearly twins, with Tabby and Zeke’s silvered olive tone and blue-black hair. One was dressed in a navy blue dress-suit, stern glass-blue eyes looking out from behind teashade glasses. The other meanwhile was decked out in a full-on purple ruffled shirt and red leather jeans trimmed with patterns of black studs.
An autumn breeze blew their scents at Nick. Every sense he had screamed for his attention. Those cold, still women were vampires. Grown-up vampires. Strangers.
Nick found himself shaking. His body didn’t dare stand, or even sit up. It demanded submission. Or maybe playing dead. More dead.
Dress-Suit folded her arms and frowned at the scene in front of her. Conversely, her brightly dressed twin gave a sharp smile:
Tabby trilled, “Mommies!”
The girl ran up to the women, trying to hug them both at once.
“Wait,” said Nick, confusion drowning the fear in his bones. “Those are your moms?”
To Nick’s surprise, Zeke answered that question, “Yep,” the boy said, holding some broken fingers together until they healed right. “Such a suck-up.”
Nick squinted at him. Now that he looked closely, the similarities between Zeke and Tabby were more than just their colouration. Same almond eyes, vaguely button noses and blue eyes…
“...Are you her brother?”
“Sure am,” replied Zeke.
“But you tried to kill her!”
Gren snorted, a hand over her stab wound. “Wow, you really are new, ain’t cha?”
Dress-Suit was absently rubbing her daughter’s back while glaring at the children and the ruined van.
“I told you kids not to play in the road.”
Ivan stuck his head out the driver-window and hollered, “Mush, kids! Mush!”
Nick, Tabitha, Ezekiel and Gren (just “Gren”) dragged the crippled Nazi-van down the road like pack of sled dogs, throwing up sparks behind them like flouries of snow. Night was falling rapidly. Autumnal oaks girt them on either side, their boughs walls of fires.
The mothers’ limo crawled along next to the children. One of the windows rolled down with a whir.
“Chop-chop, children,” said Winona Lennox, smiling wickedly. “We want to get home before dawn, don’t we?”
Tabby glared towards the front-right wheel at Gren. “You just had to bust up the tires, didn’t you?”
Tabby spoke like she was pulling an empty wagon behind her. Nobody was gasping or straining for breath. Why would they? Not like they had anything better to do with it than talk.
“What did you expect?” the other girl asked. “Me and Zeke not to welcome you home?”
Tabby muttered under her breath, “Sweat-goblin…”
Nick meanwhile couldn’t stop smiling. Maybe this would’ve been a true punishment if he’d been a vampire for a year, or even a month, but at less than a week, it was amazing. He was man-hauling half a tonne. At least. And he wasn’t even getting tired! He felt like he could lug this thing all the way up to New-Am without stopping. Maybe even by himself.
Zeke was his left-side neighbour. “So,” the boy asked, “where’d sis find you?”
Nick thought about arguing. Then he wondered why he’d disagree with the assessment. “Yeah.”
“Hey!” Ivan cried from inside the van. “Where’s your hometown spirit?”
“You were the nicest drug dealer there, Ivan.”
Zeke stuck his tongue out. “Bleh, surprised Tabby could turn you. Bet your blood was half lead and exhaust fumes.”
Nick smiled smugly. “Eh, I sort of turned myself.”
Tabby interjected, “He freaked out and accidentally got my blood in his mouth.”
Gren snorted. “That’s a new one.”
“I got that blood by hitting you with a wrench,” protested Nick. “When I was human!”
“I was gonna turn you anyway. You just made it harder on yourself.”
The argument went on until the vampires heard a car heading down the road towards them. Beneath the rising engine noises, Nick distinctly heard two sets of breathing lungs.
The children stopped dead in their tracks.
Crap, thought Nick. Not even hungry…
A white open-roofed corvette pulled up, carrying a young, yuppie flavoured couple. The man’s quaff looked like it was carved from fresh butter. The woman’s hair was covered by a shawl, and half her face by a pair of fancy shades.
Nick could still see her eyes, though. They were very wide.
The man’s mouth flapped open and shut. “The fuck…”
Nick could heard Ivan stammering in the van.
‘I’m going on all the lists…”
Nick’s whole body twitched, preparing to lunge, but Tabby put her hand on her shoulder.
“Let the Mommies try first.”
Winona stepped out of the limousine and strode amiably towards the humans. The sky was nearly black now, but it was if the first evening stars had pooled their light to shine down on the vampiress. The air seemed to part before her.
“Good evening!” she called. “Winona Lennox!”
Her voice was warm as chocolate. It stirred up memories of how mother’s voice must’ve sounded when he was two.
Winona jabbed her thumb back at the van and the kids like they were the most normal sight in the world. “Sorry about blocking the road.”
The man was staring at Winona. Nick heard his blood rush to his cheeks, along with certain other organs.
The motorist shook his head. “What the hell is going on here?” He pointed at the kids. “What are they doing with that van? Why are they naked?”
Nick was a little glad he’d put his jacket back on.
Winona’s answer was prompt and unforced. It also wasn’t in English. “Oh that? It’s just a prop. Made of foam. They did a good job with the detailing, don’t you think?”
For a second, Nick believed Tabitha’s mother. He still had his fingers curled under the van’s bumper—could feel the metal—but Winona’s words sounded more true than anything he felt. It just sounded… right.
The woman in the car asked, “What are they doing with it?” her tone more curious than interrogative.
Winona had an answer for that, too. “Team-building exercise. We’re an alternative scouting movement for photosensitive children.”
That lie was even harder to disbelieve. Nick was a photosensitive child, so he was told.
The man nodded. “Right, right, sounds like a good cause… still, why no clothes?”
“We’re also a naturist group.”
That was the end of the couple’s questions. Winona had the children push the van to the side, and the couple drove off without a fuss. Ivan had the good sense to pretend he was made of foam too.
Winona slipped back into the limo beside her sister.
“Well-handled, sister,” said Agatha evenly. “Though, you could’ve maybe come up with a less… interesting story for them.”
Winona shrugged. “Why make the effort?”
Nick listened to the car trail off into the background din of the world.
“I think I want to be your mom,” he told Tabitha.
Soon after, the limo pulled off into the trees. The sled-team followed. Paved road gave way to a dirt path. The other children grumbled as the van dug into the soil behind them, but Nick still relished the sensation of strength.
The path opened onto a large clearing of tall grass. Ropes and tire-swings hung off bent but sturdy trees. A large, round-roofed manor house of brown brick and wood mastood at the centre. Orange wisteria vines trailed down its face like a lady’s hair.
“You can afford this place, but not a landscaper?” asked Nick.
Gren scoffed. “What, pay someone to make our place boring?”
Agatha said, “To castrate nature, to burn it out of your home is what humans do.”
Winona added. “I’m fine so long as the old place isn’t leaky.”
Ivan climbed out of the van and said, “I think it looks nice. Like the Haunted Mansion or something…” He glanced at the two women. “Is it haunted?”
“Not right now,” answered Winona. “Had to evict the last ghost.”
Ivan wondered if she was joking.
Agatha tapped the limo’s driver window. It slid down to reveal a grey moustachioed man in a dark green chauffeur’s uniform.
He pronounced it the British way. It sounded too much like “mom.”
“Clives, take Mr. Jones into town and book him into the penthouse suite at the Abel Arms.” She looked back at Ivan. “If that agrees with you, Mr. Jones?”
“...Can I use the minibar?”
“Hot damn!” Ivan leapt into the back of the limo, sticking his head out the window as the chauffeur put it into drive. “See ya soon, Nick! Have fun with the vampires!”
He sounded a little relieved. Nick watched limo drive off into the trees. He looked at Agatha. “You’re not taking him to be eaten, are you?”
Agatha folded her arms with a small smile. “I assure you, Nicholas, if we wanted to consume your friend, the house is perfectly private.”
Nick frowned. “I’d stop you.”
“You’re a boy.”
Before that could go any further, Winona clapped. “Right, you’re all filthy. Shower time.”
Winona and Agatha trooped the children through the long grass and into the house. The interior was less artfully run down than outside. The surfaces were free of dust, but the whole house was a series of dimly lit velvet caves. Nick found it surprisingly comforting. Bright light was for humans.
He also kept noticing what looked like large, bronze rimmed mouseholes in the walls.
“What are those?” he asked Tabby.
“...Your house is the best.”
“We’re aware,” said Winona.
Showering was a rather communal affair. Zeke and Tabby started a few body-gel fights. It occurred to Nick that he’d probably have died of embarrassment when he was human. Why had that switch flipped in his head? He got why he needed not to give a shit about eating people, but what did the vampire virus or whatever care about pants? Were they like Superman, but with the moon instead of the sun?
In between dodging gobs of apple-scented shampoo, Nick glanced at the corner of the bathroom. There was a sparkling clean toilet.
Tabby had her brother pinned to the shower wall by the neck. “Yeah?”
“I haven’t gone to the bathroom since I died. That likely to change?”
That was a relief. Still. “Why do you have a toilet, then?”
With a rush of air, Zeke shrank into a sooty black kitten and fell through his sister’s hand, reverting to vampire shape between her and Nick. “What were the Moms supposed to tell the builders? ‘Oh yeah, build us a bathroom, but no toilet’?”
“Also,” added Gren, “the wolves.”
For some reason, this made the Lennox children laugh. Nick meanwhile couldn’t help but wonder where their food went.
Then the children were given bathrobes—or in Nick’s case, his old u-boat jacket—and served hot chocolate in what Agatha insisted was the “drawing room.” The children sprawled like an ambush of tigers on a scarlet ring sofa. The sisters sat on twin thrones, like the setup to some riddle.
“...So then I threw the guy into the fire and we told the last Nazi we’d eat him if he didn’t pin it on some other Nazis.” He put his hands under his head. “So yeah, kinda maybe fixed racism in Laflech.”
“Huh,” said Gren. “Were those proper Nazis or are you talking like, internet Nazis?”
“...Real Nazis. With swastikas.”
“Neat,” said Ezekiel, “hate those guys.”
Nick pursed his lips. What did these people need to be impressed. He glanced at Tabby, silently asking for backup.
“So,” Tabby asked between gulps of chocolate. “The wolves turn up yet? I know Joey was doing that thing over in L.A, but—”
“Tell me, Nicholas,” said Agatha, “what do you know about our kind?”
Nick thought about it. He also thought about how much he didn’t like strangers using his full name.
“Um, we drink blood—duh—we’re, like, crazy strong, Tabby said sunlight—”
Agatha shook her head. “Nothing so… proasic. What do you think we are?”
Nick shrugged. “Dunno. Figured we had some kind of virus? A really cool one?”
Winona and the other children all laughed.
Tabby snorted. “Yeah, a virus that makes crosses hurt, makes sense!”
Gren added, “That’s why they always told you to wash your hands!”
Agatha tutted and shook her head.
Nick crossed his arms and scowled. “If that’s such a dumb idea why don’t you tell me how it really works?
Agatha stood up. “Right, I’ll go dig out the primer.”
Winona reached up and put a hand on her twin’s arm. “Not that old thing, Aggie. Why not the winter solstice play?”
Gren, Tabby and Zeke chanted, “Play! Play! Play!’
Curious, Nick said, “I could go for some theatre,” flourishing his hands dramatically on the last word.
Once the right USB stick was procured, the Lennoxes and guest reconvened in the theatre room. After a bit of hovering around various home movies and an avi of Shrek 2, Winona clicked on a file titled “kids solstice play.mov.”
The projector beam danced across the screen. A brightly lit stage floated in darkness before a field of silhouetted heads. A child’s tinny, twice recorded voice echoed through the theatre room’s speakers:
“In the beginning, was…”
Nick rolled his eyes and said, “The word—”
“...Chaos and old night!”
The velvet stage-curtain raised to reveal a dozen children capering about dressed as what Nick could only describe as “fractal octopuses.”
“The void swarmed with creatures vaster than all Creation and more eff—epmema… eff-uh-murl than dreams!”
“He means ‘ephemeral’,” Winona noted, a touch of pride in her voice.
The costumed children barged into each like bumper-cars, yelling and hooting at the top of their lungs while waving their cloth tendrils.
“We creatures of Creation cannot understand their ecstasy and agony.”
Oh, Nick realized. I’ve joined a vampire Cthulhu cult.
“But it had to end. For then came the inventor of endings!”
Something jumped down from above the stage. It was Ezekiel, maybe a couple years younger, but no more dressed than he was when Nick met him. He was, however, covered head to toe in gold paint.
Nick snorted at the sight. Zeke shushed him.
“You’re gonna miss the best part!”
The narrator’s tone became leaden with disdain. “We call him the Old Father. The children of Cain and Seth call him…” The voice paused for dramatic effect. “God!”
Nick looked at Zeke again. “That’s what you think God looks like?”
Zeke smiled crookedly. “Can’t be any more wrong than the humans are.”
On the stage, Zeke shouted out:
“Let there be light!”
Thunder cracked. Fountains of sparks jetted out of the stage. The kids playing Cthullu and company screeched and flailed. A stray spark landed on one of their costumes, setting it alight. The flaming child yelped and ran off stage, leading their fellows like a torchbearer.
“Zanna did well to improvise like that,” commented Agatha. “Really added to the scene.”
The curtain lowered again. The narrator gravely intoned:
“Those four words were like an atomic bomb. The children of Chaos and Old Night were nearly all burned away by the light and drowned in time. Now they hide in what few pockets of darkness man has left untouched.”
Tabby giggled. “Remember trying to tell Simeon about nukes?”
“Yeah,” Zeke replied with a chuckle. “I bet he still thinks they’re really big rocks.”
“But it was on this foundation of murder that the Old Father built our world. And it was good.”
The curtain raised once more, revealing God-Zeke sitting cross-legged in a forest of painted plywood. Canned birdsong filled the theatre room. Suspiciously placid wolves, cats, and rats milled about the stage.
“Truly, this world is my first masterpiece,” said God-Zeke. He let out a theatrical sigh and gestured around at the “animals.” “But which of these beasts can appreciate my wonders? My small-minded brethren cower between the stars! And I know my angels foolishly think the work of their hands amounts to a grain of sand compared to my brilliance!”
The shadowed audience laughed. Nick was starting to like this play.
God shot to his feet and clicked his fingers. “I know! What I need are creatures of intellect, but wrapped in flesh. They shall have no choice but to love me!”
God-Zeke held out his arms and cleared his throat. “Dust! Learn the taste of breath!”
Only vampire eyes would have caught it on that recording, but a pellet dropped onto the stage. It exploded, obscuring all with dust and smoke.
When it cleared, God-Zeke’s paint job was a little mussed. He was also not alone. A boy and a girl were standing on stage with him. Both were redheads, though on opposite ends of the spectrum. One of them Zeke immediately recognized as Gren. The other was also familiar, but only vaguely. Nick tried to picture him a touch older. And with clothes on.
“I am Lilith,” Gren said imperiously.
“I still should’ve been Lilith,” grumbled Tabby.
“Should’ve dyed your hair,” said Gren, proudly adjusting her curls.
The boy knelt before God-Zeke. “And I am Adam.”
The voice synched it. That perfect TV accent that could have come from anywhere in North America. Suddenly Nick couldn’t see the boy without a dumb 70s sweater.
“Joey Windholme?” cried Nick.
Tabby grinned. “Yep.”
“Oh,” said Winona. “You’ve seen his TV work?”
“Joey Windholme’s a vampire?”
“Of course not,” answered Agatha. “He’s a werewolf.”
Of course Joey freakin’ Windholme got to be an immortal super-monster thing before me. Only fair…
“Adam and Lilith were the first boy and girl.”
Distracted from bitter musings, Nick asked, “Isn’t that meant to be Eve?”
Tabby gave him a disappointed look. “I thought your ma was Jewish.”
What did that have to do with anything?
“God placed Adam and Lilith in a gentle land called Eden, awaiting they would breed for him a race of slaves and worshippers. But Lilith did not wish this for her children.”
“Adam and Lilith” were arguing on stage.
“Come with me, brother! Let us rear our children away from Father’s jealous gaze.”
Nick wasn’t sure if he was surprised his fellow monster-people kept that part of the Bible. He was also wondering what would happen if he sent this recording to the gossip magazines. He could just see the headlines: “JOEY WINDHOLME IN NUDE INCEST PLAY.”
Eh, he’d probably get cult-kid sympathy.
Joey-Adam shook his head. “It is not our place to question our Father. He gave us this world, and all he asks is our love.”
The audience booed. So did the Lennoxes.
Lilith-Gren threw her arms up. “He wants us to be like the bees! Slaving forever for their parent!” She turned towards stage-left. “I cannot live that way.”
“What is there for us without Father?” Adam protested.
Lilith shot back, “The world! Our own joy!” She strode proudly off-stage. “If that isn’t enough, I leave you to rut with the worms and insects.”
Adam fell to his knees and reached out to his mate, “Lilith, please don’t leave me!” With perfect timing, he threw his face into his hands and sobbed grandly.
“Adam was too cowardly to pursue Lilith, who fled into the deep wilds of the world and grew to womanhood.”
The curtain lowered and raised again. Adam was gone, and now Lilith had company. A wolf, a young bedsheet ghost, and a boy with a pair of Cupid wings strapped to his shoulders.
“Good riddance to Adam,” declared Lilith. “I shall bring forth a stronger, better race, with the wolves”— she bent down and hugged the wolf by the neck. “The spirits”—she embraced the bedsheet ghost—“and the angels!” Finally, it was the presumed angel’s turn.
Nick blinked again. Were they saying… even with the wolves?
“Lilith would always reject the seed of Adam, rutting with only the wild things of the world.”
“Shame we couldn’t fit in the dragons,” said Winona. “The t-rex costume was late.”
Lilith slept with a t-rex. Nick wasn’t sure if this was more or less gross than the wolves.
“Except just once.”
The curtain carried in a new scene. A pair of boys in rough sackcloth clothing standing in front of two heaps. One was fruits and vegetables. The other raw, bloody meat.
It made Nick hungry.
The darker-haired boy in front of the meat was holding a shepherd’s staff. He was also staring wide-eyed out at the audience like they were going to eat him. Given the pallor of his skin, Nick imagined he’d seen a fair few folks look at him the same way. The other boy was blond and holding a scythe.
“The Old Father gave Adam a new mate, Eve, from one of his own ribs.”
Nick felt ripped off. He could’ve seen Joey Windhole get a rib ripped out of him.
“Cursed with death and weakness for daring to seek knowledge, their sons, Cain and Abel toiled their whole lives.”
Can see where this is going.
“Abel was a strong man, who sated his needs with blood and meat, while Cain grubbed in the dirt, living at the mercy of the soil and seasons. One day, the Old Father—he who created all the world’s wealth with a wish—demanded a sacrifice.”
God-Zeke jumped down onto stage again, landing between Cain and Abel.
“Oh Ze—Father,” said Abel, voice shaking like he was talking to the actual God. “I offer you the finest cuts from my finest beasts.”
The kid looked like he was about to take a running leap into the audience. Agatha sighed:
“Why did you make Daniel play Abel again, sister?”
“Someone needs to crack that shell.”
Cain grunted, “I offer what I can spare, Father.”
God glanced between the two offerings, before his gaze settled confidently on the meat. Nick thought he could see flies hovering around the pile.
God smirked. “Abel, you are truly my favoured son!”
“For once, the Old Father spoke truth.”
Here we go.
Cain shrieked and lunged past God-Zeke with true vampire quickness. Abel stood frozen, letting the other boy slash him across the chest with his scythe. An arc of real blood splattered across the stage as Abel fell to the ground. He wasn’t breathing, but his eyes were screwed shut like he was pretending to sleep.
“And so, Cain became the first murderer.”
God turned on Cain and spat, “Kin-slayer! I mark your crime forever on your face.”
Cain screamed as God-Zeke drove his thumb into his right eye, bursting it like a grape. Nick expected nothing less by now.
Blood streaming down his face, Cain ran off stage:
“Cain lived on to become one of the fathers of fallen man,” said the narrator. “But Abel’s death was not the end of his line.”
The lights dimmed. When they roused again, Lilith was sitting by Abel’s body:
“Oh, mighty Abel, who mastered the beasts of this Earth. I promise you, your descendants will avenge you forever. They shall be a curse on the sons and daughters of your weak, treacherous brother!”
Oh no, thought Nick.
Lilith kissed Abel’s “dead” lips.
“Surprisingly good kisser, Danny,” opined Gren.
That didn’t help.
“From the wolves, came the children of the moon.”
“Bit florid,” admitted Winona. “But I didn’t want to use ‘wolves’ twice in the same sentence.”
Nick wasn’t listening. He was too busy remembering how gross mythology could be.
“From the thunder lizards, the dragons. The angels and spirits gave us fairy-kind.”
That last part thrilled Nick way less than dragons. But he was busy dreading what he knew the narrator would say next.
“And through Abel’s dead loins, the vampires, youngest of the elder lilim. Hail the First Mother! May her line continue forever!”
Ewww, ewww, ewww…
The whole cast—a few in varying states of injury and regeneration—gathered on stand for a bow and standing ovation. The video clip ended, a few seconds of Shrek 2 playing before Agatha shut it off.
“That’s the story of our kind,” she said. “We are the sons and daughters of Lilith and Abel, a curse on the race of Seth and Cain.”
Kinda left out Seth, Nick thought to himself.
“Cool story,” he said. And it was cool. Absolutely disgusting, but cool. He kind of wanted to send the Minister a copy. “So, is it like, a metaphor? Or is that an allegory?”
Agatha tilted her head. “No. It’s our history. Plain and simple.”
“...Wait, you guys think God just… made the world? All at once? In seven days?”
“Course,” said Tabby. “What do you think we are? Stupid?”
A terrible, awful revelation struck Nick. He hadn’t joined a vampire Cthullu cult. These were vampire creationists.