'Papa' never showed up. He wasn't there to see his little protegee regain her mortal form and Annie was glad. Children are resilient and she viewed her vampire sojourn as a dream. Not that she was completely untouched. A certain magical charge still tingled within her form. Edith says she's a seer...maybe a 'stone bouncer,' with telekinetic abilities too. They took her to a Chinese buffet in a town bordering the Pines. Let her play the claw machine. Annie won every time. Owner starts cursing at her. Says machine owner's gonna get real mad. But Annie just smiles. Then she gives him half her loot for his kid. Little girl wants a take it, but her daddy starts hollerin' something'. Sarah says it's Korean. She went to college. She knows.
Owner says he gonna get beat up. Machines is owned by skinny, crazy guy with big racketeer uncle. Skinny guy not official racketeer. But he just likes to play likes he is. Then he starts cryin'. Annie wants the toys, but she feels bad, so she gives 'em back. Guy grabs them up, unlocks the top of the machine and dumps 'em back. His little girl silently sucks back a tear or two and they leave. Magic folk and vampires are used to bein' 'last customers' in stores and stuff, 'cause they never know what could happen. Best not to have other people 'round.
They gone back to the city soon. Jonathon gets word. He gets calls from 'familiars.' Use them 'no contract' phones you buy minute cards for. Harder to trace. They say most folks is settled down now. All the vampire stuff blowin' over. Just another 'thing,' like planking, or flash mobs. 'Mass hysteria'.... That's what they always say. ... People is so dumb.... A few still meet in that place under the bank building. But every night there's less and less of 'em. TV church folks start bad mouthin' 'blatant examples of unGodly vampire culture foisted upon an unsuspecting public by money worshiping Hollywood Hucksters.'.... Somebody stabs a screenwriter in L.A.. Everybody's happy. That's the way it is. Families puttin' up cheap, blue, plastic water bladder 'swimmin' pools' now anyway. Vampire time is October. Summertime for burger grillin' and tire slashin'... Some kids is partial to house robbin' too. You know... fun stuff.
Sarah don't wanna go back to the city. She wants a stay in the country. Not necessarily the Pines, but some place small and quiet. Jonathon goes - How we gonna feed? Ain't gone be enough bad folks..... And he don't kill no other kind.
Leo already back there. In the city, I mean. He like a loose canon. Conrad, his vampire 'step brother' say he not gone share no sleepin' chamber wit' him no more. And he wanna know if Annie still his 'mother,' now that she ain't night-folk no more.... He want Annie to say something, but she jus' a seven or eight year old stringy hair, little white girl now and truth is, she doan care. Pin-Head-Mel say she not no fun no more... But she jus' look at him. Guess her pin-head lovin' nights is over.
I guessin' they gone hole up in some nice, little shore town what ain't crowded yet. Put Annie on a merry-go-round. Stuff her up wit' pizza pie and funnel cake. Walk the boardwalk. Doan know who gone take her to the beach. Maybe Edith'll do that, if she had 'nuff a Mister Edith for a while... Or if he had too much a her.
got a movie house comin' attraction on here someplace. Think it down at the bottom. Yeah, there it is. Not true, the way night-folk life really be... but you all go ahead and watch it anyway... Human beans don't like no real stuff. You know that...
This Mister Never-You-Mind what talkin' to you tonight.... your favorite disembodied spirit tale-teller of 'em all.
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