The two of us went over to her car, got in and drove off; leaving Aunt Josephine, my mother, Diana, Nathan and Loretta behind us.
Paula sat behind the wheel. I was in the front seat beside her, looking out the window at the orderly homes which stood alongside the dark quiet residential streets we drove along. I remained dressed the same as I was when I'd left the apartment earlier; except that I now wore a larger cross dangling between by boobs, on a different necklace that I'd borrowed from Diana. On my lap, I now held a Bible that I'd borrowed from Aunt Josephine.
"What are we doing?" I wondered. "A bloodthirsty vampire and a not entirely repentant participant in carnal sin, are going to try to defeat a very powerful demon? Are you sure we're the one's who should be doing this?"
"If not us," Paula asked "who else?"
Then I said, "Don't ask me. I'm new around here."
We now drove along Main Street, where most of the shops were closed. The Bouncing Casket and the Dark Arts R Us were still open.
As we drove past the Dark Arts shop I called out, "Be gone Satan!"
We continued driving. We'd gone about one block further, when I called out again.
"In Jesus Name!" Then I said quietly, "Which I think I'm taking in vain."
Now we'd left Sangreville, going up the unlighted, two lane highway, along which I'd first rode into this 'unique' community. We drove along the long, upward curving rural road, with Paula's headlights being the only illumination on the two lanes ahead.
After a few minutes drive, the headlights illuminated the signboard, besides the beginning of the gravel pathway leading up to the Demons' Gateway, displaying the image of Vampirania.
Now Paula slowed down, pulled over to the side of the road and stopped, just a few feet from the pathway's entrance. She parked and shut off the engine. The headlights went dark.
We were now high above the lights of Sangreville, which were too distant to illuminate anything. Around us was only darkness; the dark silhouettes of trees against the not as dark, star filled but moonless sky. I could hardly see the roadway. I would not be able to see where I'd be stepping. The only sound was crickets.
Now I spoke. "I don't see any other cars. Are you sure something's going on here tonight?"
"I was told that there would be." Paula said, "We should at least check it out."
I groaned again. This time softly.
"Even if no people are here," she told me "Vampirania is; and we've come up here to seal her in."
My cousin leaned over, opened the glove compartment, reached in and took out a flashlight. Then she opened her door and stepped outside, while I remained seated.
"Are you coming Elaine?" she called out impatiently.
"Right." I spoke nervously. "I'll be right there."
"And don't forget your Bible."
I gripped the Bible on my lap, unclipped my seatbelt, opened my door, and stepped out into the dark night upon the mountainside, hearing only the chirping of crickets. The air was also cooler up here than it had been down in Sangreville. I began to shiver slightly.
I said, "We should have brought jackets."
"That's the least of our problems." She said.
We shut the car doors. Then we moved toward the gravel pathway, with the circle of light from Paula's flashlight going ahead of us, showing where we should put our feet. Then we turned up the path. The sound of gravel softly crunching under our steps, joined with the chirping of the crickets in the shrubbery around us.
Our climb up the pathway to the Cavern's entrance was steep but short. We reached it in less than a minute. Then we halted. Paula waved the circular beam from her flashlight back and forth around the outer edges of the 30 foot high entrance. She shined it into the center of the cavern, where it illuminated nothing.
I told her, "Nobody's here."
Then the sound of a loud rushing wind came from inside the Cavern. A warmth emerged through the entrance, ending my physical shivering, but increasing my feeling of dread. Around us, outside the Cavern no breeze blew, none of the foliage stirred, and the cricket's chirping remained undisturbed.
Now a loud, echoing, amplified, laughing, young female voice boomed from insidethe deep darkness. "You're only two?"
I cried out, "Ahhh!" and started to back away.
Paula reached out and put her arm around me, keeping me at her side.
The woman at the center of the dark Cavern called out. "You two aren't the only entirely human, sin filled beings who will be going through here tonight!"
My cousin and I both shuddered, but only for a moment.
Paula said, "I recognize her voice."
"So do I." I called out in annoyance. "Okay Roxanna!" My voice now echoed just as loudly as hers. "We know it's you! No one to be afraid of!"
Roxanna's echoing voice boomed again, in mocking laughter. "You should be!"
"Well we're not!" Paula called out, just as annoyed, with her voice also echoing just as loud. "So come on out and show your unrepentant self!"
"No!" My classmate called out, "Both of you come in here!"
In the amplified echo of her words, we heard other voices repeating, "Both of you come in here!"
These were male voices, which now repeated, along with Roxanna "Come in here! Come in here! Come in here!"
I spoke with a trembling voice. "I think it's time for me to start reading scripture."
Paula said, "Go ahead."
I lifted the Bible I'd been carrying, while my cousin shone her flashlight on the pages I was flipping through.
Now I, the trembling Elaine Harris called out, reading scripture.
"’Theseare the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.’"
The girl inside the cavern called out, "It's not going to work this time! You were both drunk and fucking at the fang bang on Saturday night! Why shouldGod listen to you after that?"
I called out, "I call upon the Lord to shut and lock the door of this demons' gateway, so that the demons will no longer be able to attack any more members of our community; and we will all be healed. I ask in Jesus Name. Amen."
From inside the Cavern, Roxanna called out again, in a mocking tone. "It's not working! You're not shutting Vampirania out!"
Now Paula handed me the flashlight. She gripped the stake she'd clipped to her belt, pulling it out of its sheath.
Then the Staker Vampire called out, "But we can shut you down Roxanna!"
At that moment I heard a loud, echoing twang from inside the cavern entrance.
A moment, later Paula cried out. "Ahhhh!" She fell backward onto the gravel. Then things were silent.
"Paula?" I was still holding the flashlight, which I'd aimed into the cavern, revealing nothing. "Paula?"
I now shined the flashlight beam on Paula, who lay on the ground beside me.
In the light, is saw my cousin Paula Sheridan, daughter of my Aunt Josephine and sister of my cousin Diana; the Staker-Vampire-Staker and Chief enforcer of the Truce in Sangreville, lying dead with an arrow sticking out from between her boobs, through a dark red patch of blood on her blouse. Her Staker stake lay on the ground beside her, and her fangs protruded from her open mouth.
"Paula!" I knelt beside her, shaking all over. "Paula!"
Again I heard the mocking voice of Roxanna call out from inside the Cavern.
"The Staker-Vampire has been killed with a sharp wooden stake through her heart! She will never revive again!"
I called out "But now we don't have anyone to enforce the Truce here in Sangreville, Roxanna!"
"I know what we need in Sangreville, Elaine Harris!"
I stood up, again shining the flashlight beam into the cavern, again seeing nothing, while hearing her voice call out again.
"Listen to me Elaine Harris!" I stood completely still. "You were standing beside the Vampire Staker when she died. That means that her powers will now become yours, and the next Vampire Staker here in Sangreville, will be you!"
"Or you would be, if you weren't provoking Vampirania!"
I again heard an echoing twang come from inside the cavern. An arrow struck and cracked through the large cross dangling between my boobs. I felt it crack through my breastbone and stab straight through my heart.