Officer McCoy, report to the corner of Middlebury and Walnut Street. Something strange is supposed to be going on there.
Man, it’s hard to see.Who is that sprinkling all that dust around? I’ve heard of “in a mirror darkly” and all that jazz, but this is ridiculous. Hey, you up in the tree, who are you, and what are you doing up there?
What do you mean your name is Tinker Bell.
Whew it seems like I’ve got me a real live one. Just how far away is that mental hospital.
Damn you girl, come down from that limb before you go hurting yourself.
Noooo, don’t try flying. Need a net for this looney bug.
It’s easy is it, all you have to do is wish upon a star.
Child, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. If you fall the only stars that you will see will be inside your head.
Come on now, I’ll go get a ladder.
You say that you won’t budge until a little boy who is very old comes along.
Dear, the only person fitting that description around here is my uncle Fred, and he’s been funny in his head for fifty years now.
Your friend’s name is Peter, and he said that he would never grow up and leave you. But you can’t find him anywhere.
So come down, and we can search together for him.
You are too smart to fall for that line.
Enough of fooling child, you are starting to get me really angry. And that is something you don’t want to do, never poke a bear. So own up to who you really are, and let me get you some help.
Don’t laugh at me. This is serious business.
Nope, no promises about what will happen afterwards. Look into your crystal ball, one must come along with the rest of that outfit.
Now what? You’re not ready yet, you are afraid. Of all the crazy thing, no one is ever totally prepared for anything important in their life. But at certain moments you have to trust, drop anchor, and see how deep the water actually is.
Don’t get fresh with me girl. I know that there is no water here. Don’t you have any poetry inside of you?
Give me some credit, Miss Tinker Bell, or whatever your name is. I’m smart enough to see all the angles to this situation as well as you can, probably better.
You little fool, what do you mean, any really wise person wouldn’t have stayed around this long talking to a girl, up in a tree, in a green bug suit.
You insolent pup. I’m leaving, so long.
Don’t laugh at me, a man has to have some pride. So you think I won’t. Just wait and see, stay up there forever for all I care.
Please come down.
Will I be your friend?
You know what you have to do first to find out the answer to that.
Vampires weren’t real. They were a fiction created by Bram Stoker. Weren’t they?
As if reading his mind, Kyrios said, “We are much older than 1897.” Neither he nor Chloe looked very old, but then, vampires were ageless, right?
The horrifying truth dawned on Kyle. They had injected him with Kyrios’ blood. That meant he was now a vampire as well. He shook his head as fresh tears streamed forth. “Why?”
“Why do all this, you mean? And why let you live? Simple. I’m building an army of anti-Christian soldiers. If I haven’t already broken your faith, I will soon. You will join our cause, even if you reject us and fight separately.”
The revelation of being manipulated in this way lit something inside Kyle. “God will destroy you.”
Kyrios was unperturbed. “Open your eyes. God allowed me to do all this. We have operated without the slightest resistance from him.”
He worked in mysterious ways. That was the reason, surely. He was biding his time, letting these maniacs get comfortable. And then he would strike. “He let the Devil operate for a while. But even Satan will be defeated in the end. I’ll never join you.”
“Indeed, you shall. Even if don’t participate in the coming war, God will not be able to count you among his followers.
“Rest up, Kyle. Your training begins very soon.”
The cult members all left the garage except for Chloe whose job it was to keep an eye on Kyle and keep him from escaping. She sat on the other side of the room reading a trashy romance novel, the kind with an impossibly-chiseled, shirtless man embracing a fiery redhead.
He decided that maybe he could reason with her. “Listen, you don’t have to help these guys. Just let me go, and I’ll promise I’ll try to get the court to have mercy on you.” She didn’t even look up, so engrossed was she in her book. “Please. You know this is wrong.” Still no response. Kyle was getting frustrated. “Help me!”
“Quiet.” Her voice was almost a whisper.
Still staring at the pages, she said, “Reading. Busy. You’re… noisy. Stop.”
“Oh, well, I’m soooooo sorry,” he said, his anger threatening to consume him. “Please forgive me for intruding on your precious reading time.”
“You understand. Good.” She said it matter-of-factly and her expression never changed. Something was very wrong with her mentally or perhaps emotionally. Maybe she was autistic? An autistic vampire? He had never heard of such a thing.
Reasoning wasn’t going to work. His only hope was to get himself out of this. However, he was still chained up. Kyrios had said he was a vampire now, but Kyle didn’t feel any preternatural strength or senses associated with being a member of the undead. He tried pulling on the chains quietly; he was afraid that if he grunted, Chloe might hear him.
But, after about ten minutes of this, he gave up, exhausted.
“Chains… won’t… break,” Chloe said, still unwilling to take her eyes off her book. “Too soon.” Did that mean it would take time for his strength to increase?
“Any idea of how long that will take?” he asked sarcastically. She didn’t respond.
Suddenly, the steel shutter next to him exploded inwards with a deafening scream. It flew at Chloe, slamming her against the wall. Kyle grimaced at the carnage; surely, no one could have survived that, and the albino girl had to be paste now.
In strode another cult member who proceeded to rip Kyle’s chains apart like paper. “Let’s go.” It was a woman with a British accent. Why was one of Kyrios’ followers helping him? It didn’t matter, really. He had no choice but to obey considering the circumstances.
She led him outside. Across the street was a building with an LED sign that read “P.S. 76 The Magnet School of Health and Wellness.”
“Where are we?” he said.
She replied, “Queens.” She also had fangs.
Great. They were quite a distance from his hotel. He suddenly realized with a sickening feeling that he didn’t want to go back there under any circumstances.
She led him down the street. It was a lower middle-class neighborhood. He really didn’t know anything about Queens, but he could tell they were not affluent here.
They eventually made it to the corner of 38th Avenue and 11th St. Many of the buildings he had seen had been vandalized with graffiti. “Where are we going?”
“We need to get to Queensbridge Station. From there, we can get to my home.”
“Why are you helping me?”
She said, “Kyrios and I have a difference of opinion. He thinks we should have bloodshed. I think we should have peace.”
“But you killed that girl.”
“Don’t worry about her. It takes a lot more than that to kill one of us.”
They continued southeast on 38th Avenue. “Is it true? Am I really… one of them?”
The answer crushed him like a safe falling on him from the top of the Empire State Building. “Yes. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You are a vampire.”
He was suddenly furious with her. “Why couldn’t you have gotten there sooner? If you had, this wouldn’t have happened!” He knew she was his savior, but that didn’t change the reality of the situation.
They turned right on 21st St and continued walking past a Shell station.