Friday, June 2, 2017

Chapter 10 of Book 2 of 3

Chapter 10

The Eagle King sat on the ledge of the rooftop of the Teatro Angela Peralta, peering down at Sister Helga. She was dressed in rags and had her hand outstretched for pesos. No one would ever doubt that she was anything other than an old beggar. San Miguel de Allende was full of old women begging day and night. He wondered where exactly Julia was. He could not see her either, with Flaca’s hat making her invisible. He hoped that no one had special powers to see her at La Noche Piano Lounge. He knew that she would not be able to stay outside to just observe who was going in and out.
Julia ever-so-carefully walked into her club. Johnny was singing ‘My Way’, while holding a cigarette in one hand and the mic in the other. A glass of cat blood cocktail was sitting on the edge of the piano. Every now and then he would sit his cigarette down and take a sip without losing his place in the song. She wondered, how many times he has sung that song to be able to drink and smoke at the same time. Me, I am a vampire, she thought. So, I have sung my songs more times than he has over the years, but I would still not be able to do that.
Suddenly, four women were shouting and pushing each other in the audience. Johnny literally flew off the stage and grabbed two of them, pushing them out the door into a group of night vampires who were standing in the street. Then he turned with speed and grabbed the other two and threw them out as well. All four were observed being dragged down Mesones by their hair, screaming. Sister Helga got up and followed them. The Eagle King flew after Sister Helga. She was surprised they were unafraid of witnesses, although it was very late.
One of the vampires stopped at the puerta of a closed gallery and reached into his pocket for a key. He opened the puerta and they shoved the four women into the building to a group of waiting people wearing black hooded gowns. A large gold pendant of a Mariposa hung from their necks by long ornate chains. All Sister Helga could see was them and behind them an alter that was covered with candles that dimly lit the room. The windows were closed with blackout curtains made of purple velvet.
The shelves in front of the curtains displayed objects made of fur and bones. The Eagle King flew down and landed on Sister Helga’s shoulder. He peered into the window with his keen vision. He saw that the fur objects were little furry cat dolls.  Satanic figures were carved out of bones.  He looked around and saw that the street was empty and shift-shaped back into Eduardo. “Sister Helga, we cannot do anything without Julia who could have entered and not been seen. In fact, we don’t even know where Julia is at this moment. I suggest you return home and I will fly back to observe La Noche Piano Lounge. If Julia returns, please have Rebe send a message to me.”
“You don’t think we should call the police?” asked Sister Helga.
“Yes, but they know better than to respond.”
“I think that the way the night vampires fled with their victims, without fear, shows that you are correct.”

Julia stood in an empty corner observing Itza who as always was surrounded by her adoring night vampires and brujas.  Some of the brujas she had never seen before. They were shorter, darker and heavier than the usual ones in San Miguel de Allende. They appeared to be Mayan and wore only black robes that had a hood, which was not covering their heads. Oddly they wore a gold pendant that was similar to the necklace that Itza wore that was a Mariposa, except that Itza’s was obsidian.
She turned towards the stage and noticed Johnny was wearing a small obsidian Mariposa pendant of the same design as Itza’s, but on a thin gold chain. Suddenly, it was clear to her; Itza had brought Johnny here, along with his army of brujas, to steal her club.
She turned and ran so fast out of the club; she knocked over an empty chair. Itza stood and walked over to the chair, bent over and picked it up. She ran her fingers along it and then turned and threw it into the large, ornately framed mirror behind the piano and walked out into the street. She looked up at the roof of the Teatre Angela Peralta and shouted at the eagle perched there, “Damn you Eagle King, what new trick are you using to protect Julia?” The white eagle flew into the sky leaving a trail of white feathers raining down on Itza.

Julia and Eduardo both entered the house at the same time. Julia took her hat off and the eagle shift-changed back into Eduardo. They entered the library together to find Sister Helga and the three sitting around the fireplace talking. Sister Helga stood up and asked them to please sit down.  “I just finished telling Rebe, Bekka and Susana about the gallery Eduardo. What else have you two found out?”
Eduardo looked at Julia and asked her, “Yes, what happened in La Noche Piano Lounge to make Itza realize you were in the club?”
“I noticed that both Johnny and the new brujas in town all wore a pendant, similar to Itza’s obsidian Mariposa pendant. Hers and Johnny’s were obsidian, but the others were made of gold. It dawned on me that she brought them here to San Miguel de Allende for some darker reason than merely taking my club from me.”
“Both the Eagle King and I saw brujas in a gallery wearing the same pendants, Julia,” added Sister Helga.  “The night vampires took the four women there and handed them over to the brujas. We both felt that harm would come to these women, but only you with Flaca’s hat would have been able to go in and observe what was happening. We decided that it was best for me to return here and he would go back and look for you.”
Rebe, interrupted, “Is it possible that Demetrio could have turned a male brujo into a White Vampire like Rose in Veracruz? That Itza found out and brought him here?”
Eduardo responded, “I don’t recall Demetrio and Johnny ever meeting, but I doubt it. Demetrio always chose women to draw blood from, but of course he could have hunted either a man or a woman.”
“Eduardo, I found out that Demetrio went to Veracruz during the annual Noche de Brujas in March to meet a woman. Is it possible that he was actually lured there by a brujo who pretended to be a woman? That Itza planned this to make another White Vampire, who was a brujo other than Rose as her mate? So, she could call him her King, when she took over the kingdom of the new world from the Church?” asked Rebe.
Sister Helga thought and then replied. “More likely to make a trilogy of three vampires; the only three who are also bruja’s to rule her kingdom. Why would Itza want to make White Vampires? Only Rose has joined her. Remember the Church forbade Demetrio to make White Vampires. You three are not supposed to be. However, don’t let your imaginations run wild. After all Johnny has been singing every night. You three are hiding from the moon; he would have had too as well if he were a White Vampire.”

Itza left the club to find Rose. She was sure now that when she had sent Rose to La Jolla to bring Taylor back to San Miguel de Allende that she had failed purposely; and Rose had made some agreement with the three White Vampires. She never truly trusted Rose; they were similar but different. Both were brujas, yes, but Rose was a White Vampire and she was a night vampire. Rose was evil, but not near as evil as she. Yes, she had dreams of grandeur more than a mere bruja, but not the goals she had. There was something she felt when she was near Rose. She was like an agnostic in a den of atheists, not really sure of her feelings and hoping she was wrong. She turned to the night vampires following her, “Find Rose and bring her to my chambers.”

Rose was lead into her bedroom, “Why did you summon me, Itza?”
“I have been thinking and I feel that I need to test your loyalty to me. I am having problems with the Cardinal. After all he would not let me go to La Jolla, so I sent you. If I had gone to La Jolla, there would have been a very different outcome. I sent my best assassins, now they are all dead. That leaves me vulnerable. Only you came back and empty-handed.  I can’t go beyond the old borders of New Spain. The American King vampire won’t give me permission. So, to prove your loyalty to me, you must kill the Cardinal.”
Rose collapsed at Itza’s feet and held her legs begging, “Please no Itza, this would surely cause a war that we are not ready for yet.”
“I am not sure you will ever be ready for a war, Rose.”
“I am dedicated to you; I do everything you ask of me. The stupid assassins boasted that I was in their way so I let them go alone. Their own pride got them killed. I fear that all our plans would be for naught if I did this now. I would have no problem killing the Cardinal when the time is right, I promise you that.”
Itza grabbed Rose by the hair and raised her up and motioned for the night vampires to leave. She dragged her to the bed and threw her onto it, “Well then Rose show me tonight how much you adore me and worship me.”

The three came down formally dressed to the library and announced to Sister Helga that they were going to The El Jardin Café for breakfast.
Sister Helga stared at them as if they were crazy. “You cannot go. You are in hiding, someone will recognize you. Three American gringas, one redhead, a brunette and a blonde together. That is the basic description of you three.”
Rebe slightly smiled in agreement. She then tried to talk the other two from going. But she was only going through the motions, hoping that Sister Helga would say no.
However, Bekka knew how to play her. “Well, isn’t the best way to hide right under their noses? It’s been a whole month since we left. If they see us they will think that can’t possibly be them, they wouldn’t be that stupid to be out in plain sight.” And then for sympathy, she placed her hand on her belly. “Besides, the baby wants to get out and get some sun.”
Rebe rolled her eyes. That bitch, the master of manipulation, she thought.
Sister Helga smiled, “Alright, but wear big hats, put your hair up and wear sunglasses.”
Rebe responded, “Really? Why don’t we just put on a Groucho mustache and glasses; that way it won’t be so obvious?”
The Nun told them to be careful and just observe and take no action without returning to confer with her and Eduardo. They walked out into Cuna de Allende and across the jardin to the corner of Umaran to the El Jardin Café. They sat at the same table they had sat at their first day in San Miguel de Allende, before meeting Demetrio and having their lives changed forever. It had become their one place to sit and remember what their old lives were like and pretend that nothing had really changed.
Bekka said to Rebe, “You see no one is paying any attention to us.”
Rebe was having trouble with her large brim hat as it was so floppy it kept covering her eyes. “How the hell do women wear these damn things?”
Susana teased, “You are not as sophisticated as Bekka and I. You’re only used to wearing baseball caps. I think I look like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
“You do not,” Rebe shot back.
“Do too.”
Bekka asked them, “Would you mind if we did not have eggs for breakfast as they really upset my stomach. Could we order caldo de pollo?”
“There is nothing wrong with my tummy, so why can’t I have eggs?” Susana shouted, “You are always so selfish Bekka.”
“Now, now Susana, I think chicken is actually better for a jaguar than eggs and besides, just the sight of eggs makes Bekka ill.” explained Rebe.
After breakfast, they walked across the jardin and walked down Relox to the closed Casa Cohen building that Eduardo had told them the brujas were using as their den. They realized they were there when they saw the purple velvet draperies that hid any view of what was in the building. They looked at the enormous size of the building and noted that it was two stories high and almost the entire block. “Plenty of space for dormitories, for a bruja army.” Rebe remarked.
“So, you think they are all asleep? They are not vampires, Rebe,” said Bekka as she ventured ahead.
“Of course not,” replied Rebe. “but I bet you they are asleep since they were up late partying with night vampires.”
“Vampires, brujas, and Itza; oh my!” Susana punned.
“Not funny,” retorted Rebe.
The two turned to Bekka who had leaned over and was retching in the street.
“See it is not eggs, I could have had eggs. You are throwing up in the street anyway.” Susana pointed out.
Rebe looked into the window Bekka was standing in front of.
“Haven’t you noticed that in the window instead of the little carved bones of satanic figures, that there are four human skulls that have been cut off at the middle of the foreheads and lined with silver?   They look like vessels for some ritual.” cried Bekka, holding her mouth in one hand and her stomach with the other.
“Oh my God,” screamed Rebe, “The four women from last night. What kind of savages are these bruja’s?  We must return to the house and talk to Sister Helga, Eduardo and Julia.” She telepathically sent them the news telling them it was important to see them and sent a visual of the four skulls as well.
Susana turned and glanced at the window as she followed and sneered to herself, “Of course no concern for my family whose fur has been used. Johnny will pay for this and the sooner the better. I won’t wait for them to make a plan. Eduardo has been secretly teaching me how to use my powers.”

Sister Helga was waiting at the open puerta for the three. “You shouldn’t have gone by yourselves, as you could have been discovered. Come in now, what an awful vision you sent me. Make yourselves comfortable in the library. Eduardo has made you cocktails. I will awaken Julia and bring her down.”
“It’s the middle of the day!” complained Susana.
“She’s a night vampire, remember genius,” criticized Rebe.
Eduardo, spoke first, “The bruja’s in Veracruz are well known for satanic rituals. They frequently offer sacrifices of humans to their leaders. It appears Johnny is their leader.  They also engage in torture as a way to cause fear and leave decapitated heads and body parts in areas they want to control. They have not left bloody bodies here yet, but they did put in their window the decapitated heads of the four women as vessels. I am sure it is all over town already that four women disappeared last night. It will not take long for everyone to notice the skulls and it will spread like the Santa Ana winds in the Baja.”
“Well good, that means the police will have to get involved,” added Rebe.
Julia came down and sat next to Sister Helga and said, “I received the vision you sent me Rebe, even in my sleep. It does not surprise me at all. Itza is capable of making an agreement with anyone to advance her goals, even a satanic brujo like Johnny. We know where they sleep, but we don’t know when they sleep. They seem to be creatures of the night. We need to find this out to seek revenge. We need them to all be together and not on guard. Brujas can be burned. Our plan will be to burn them while they sleep at Casa Cohen.”
“Fuck yeah, burn brujas and brujos burn!” Susana shouted with glee. “Let’s run and kill all those cat killing mother-fuckers!”
“But not just yet,” added Julia. “Rebe is right. The four skulls at Casa Cohen should be handled by the police.”
“What if the cops are in on it?” asked Bekka.
“This is how we will find out. We will see how they handle it. The news will be different; city officials would want to keep news of the murders out of the papers for tourists' sake,” said Julia.
Sister Helga turned her anger toward Bekka, “How could you subject the baby to such a sight?”
“What?” Bekka responded in shock.
“Whatever you do or see, or eat, the baby does as well. How could you go looking for trouble?”
Bekka immediately felt mother’s guilt. She cried out, “I’m sorry, it’s my first baby! I was stupid.” She took a handkerchief out of her pocket and dried her eyes.
Super hormones, Rebe thought. The guilt that a new mother feels when she eats or drinks the wrong things during her pregnancy.
Sister Helga stood up quickly, “That is no excuse. Andale! Go get some bed rest! And give me that glass of wine. I shall bring you a glass of warm milk.”
Rebe tried not to laugh at a grown ass woman being chased up the stairs like a teenager coming home late from a date.
Sister Helga stopped at the top of the stairs and looked down at Rebe. “And you are supposed to be the smart one. You couldn’t talk her out of it!” Then to Susana, “And you, instigator! I bet it was you, güera; like all blondes. You act before you think, if you think at all. Both of you forgetting about the welfare of the baby!”
Rebe, “Hey, I tried!”
Rebe and Susana watched Sister Helga as she disappeared after Bekka.
“Well, fuck you,” retorted Susana. “and the baby, too.”
That was it, the one Eduardo could not ignore and he exploded at Susana. “Do not say such things!” he raised his hand at her but checked his anger and withdrew. “Do not dishonor Don Demetrio!”
He took off after the nun and Bekka.
Rebe stood bewildered, “Damn!”
“Fuck you, Rebe!” lashed out Susana.
“Watch it. I’m on your side! Don’t take out anger at me.”
“You’re on nobody’s side but your own and your red-headed fucking girlfriend! I’m outta here.” Susana turned and ran to her room.
Julia turned and looked at Rebe, “I see that the vampire allure has bitten you.”
“The what?”
“Did you like women before?”
 “Of course, I like women.”
“I mean as lovers, smartass.”
Rebe flushed red with embarrassment.
“It’s ok,” Julia explained. “women attract. It’s part of our genetic makeup so it’s not unusual for your hormones to rage. You’re all three new White Vampires so you are like teenagers again. It will wear off in time, except in cases where you do fall in love.”
“What was up with Sister Helga? She was calm one minute then the next she went berserk.”
“That was Father Hidalgo. He surfaces from time to time, especially when she is angry. Don’t worry about it. You three will need to go to Juarez to find others. Sister Helga knows this.”
Susana was in her bed sobbing away. She was tired of the criticism she was receiving at the hands of everyone. Nobody seemed to care for her feelings and it brought forth the memory of the loss of her children.   “My baby boys, my beautiful baby boys. I didn’t do it - I couldn’t have killed them.”
“But you did mija,” came the invisible voice. “they deserved it just like Johnny does.”
“It’s you.” Susana sat up.
“It’s me, your only friend. I believe in you. We don’t need them to get revenge for all those kitties.”
 Susana thought to herself, “Like Baja; like Fresno, I will do this myself.”
“And I can help.”
“How’s that?”
“With a little bit of magic.”
“You mean like Samantha in Bewitched?”
“Yes, like Samantha in Bewitched.”
“Cool, how?”
“It will take a little time, but Johnny will not enjoy it.”
Susana smiled.

After the ritual, the voice had taught her to perform, she went to her window, and sent a message out to all the alley cats in San Miguel de Allende. “Today, meet me on the roof of the Teatro Angela Peralta at sunset.” She then turned to her vacant room and asked, “How do cats know places and things?”
“By scent. They will follow you. Don’t worry, they will be there,” answered the voice.
Susana snuck out and went to Casa Cohen. She rang the brass bell that hung over the door. A single man, wearing the same robe and pendant as the others, answered the door. She very confidently told him, “Johnny sent me for a beer keg size of cat blood for La Noche Piano Lounge tonight. The cat blood cocktail has done so well, he is completely out. He doesn’t want to run out on this busy night as there is a wedding in town and he will be really packed with guests.”
The brujo looked at her small size and laughed, “He sent you to pick it up. I will have someone deliver it.”
“No, she replied, I have a taxi coming any second. By the time you fetch it for me, it will be here. Better hurry; Johnny will be pissed if it’s not there in time.”
Once in the taxi she asked the driver to take her to Demetrio’s house on Cuna de Allende. The taxi driver helped her take it to the kitchen; luckily, they did not run into any of the others. The voice had told her that everyone would be asleep due to a sleeping spell she had put on them.
“I thought the house was protected from dark forces?”
“I’m on your side, so that makes me good. Do you remember the cat spell I taught you?”
She asked the driver to return at 4:45 for her. She awakened Yanria and asked her to please begin to bring it to a quick boil at 4:00 and then let it simmer. She asked her to tell no one and to help her take it to the front door at 4:45 and leave it on the steps outside.
At 4:45 she was surprised to find Eduardo standing with Yanira waiting for the taxi. Eduardo winked at her and said, “So my little blonde, what exactly is your plan with this hot cat’s blood; you are lucky it did not turn into blood pudding.”
. “Are you still angry with me?”
“I was not angry; I was disappointed with your words about the baby.”
“You know that I was just kidding.” She ran to him and gave him a big hug. “You won’t tell on me, will you?”
“It is not my way to run off and ‘tell’. I am not a chismoso, but I must ask what your plan is?”
“I heard Julia say that a bruja can be burned. I went to the Library and read that they use blood as a spell and fear it. My plan is to burn Johnny with cat’s blood after my family of alley cats attack him. He always shows up alone at 5 to set the bar up.”
“It seems the cat is the most dangerous of you three. Who would have ever thought? I know you are capable. But I will be standing by just in case. Shall we leave?”

The taxi pulled up in front of La Noche Piano Lounge and Eduardo sat the keg of hot blood on the steps. Susana was already on the roof of the Teatro Angela Peralta. Johnny was not there yet.
Eduardo saw him walking towards the club. He noticed no one else was on the street at this time of day: they were mostly waking up from their afternoon siestas. He offered his hand to Johnny and said, “Itza asked me to deliver this keg of hot blood to you for tonight.”
Johnny shook his hand and asked him, “Why hot blood?” 
Eduardo shook his head and replied, “Who knows what Itza ever has in mind. Whatever it is I am sure it will be interesting.”
Johnny asked him to please bring it in and sit it on the bar. “My bartender will not be here until 6:00 to set up. I am here to do inventory and re-stock.
Eduardo did as he was instructed and then wished Johnny a successful night and left. As he walked out the door way he looked up at the rooftop of the Teatro and saw Susana leaping across Mesones to the roof top of Casa Linda. The alley cats following. “She thinks of everything, that one. She plans on coming down the servant’s stairway.”
Once in the stairway, Susana, followed by the cats. Put her hand up to motion them to wait there until she was ready for their help. Earlier in the stairway she had hidden a beautiful gown of gold lame, with cutouts of black lace that showed her curves. As she finished dressing she put her hair up with a beautiful mariposa rhinestone hair pin.
She looked at all the alley cats that had followed her there were twenty. More than enough for the magic that the voice had taught her. She could sense their rage; they knew about their missing companions and what had happened to them. But what could they do? She thought, they were just small cats. She then knew exactly what she needed to do.
As she entered, Johnny was startled when he saw her walk in from the private staircase. He glanced at her body and then up to her face and saw the mariposa hairpin. He walked over to her and ran his fingers through her hair and touched the pin. “Where did you find such a beautiful hairpin?” He asked her.
“The last time I was in Veracruz I found it in a gift shop.”
“I have not seen you before in this town; where are you from.”
“I am from Brownsville, a town where many brujas live. I admire them and go to festivals all over Mexico when they get together.”
“Aren’t you afraid?”
“Never, nothing scares me.”
“Oh really?” he smiled. He turned to close the front door and locked it. He heard a growl that sounded like a cat.
Suddenly the room was full of large cats, as big as their cousins, the jaguars. They surrounded him and filled the room so that he could barely move. He tried to think of a spell he could use against an army of large cats but came up with nothing. He was vulnerable without his followers.
“I have my own personal army of followers. Stand still; don’t fight and it will be quicker for you. These alley cats are the family of the cats you have been torturing, killing and using their blood, meat and fur. Each one has a personal family member that your followers have killed.”
She snapped her fingers and they all lunged on Johnny, scratching and biting him until you could hardly recognize who he was.  She raised her hand and motioned to the bar. “Stop, he must be boiled next by the blood of your family. Drag him closer to the bar, where I will tip the keg to cover him with the blood.”
One of the male alley cats grabbed his head in his massive jaws and dragged his motionless body. Susana saw that there was still life in his eyes.
As she tipped the blood over on him from the keg sitting on the bar counter, she then took out a bottle of kerosene and a lighter from her purse. She poured the kerosene on Johnny and lit the lighter, “Julia said the only way to kill you was with fire; this is not just for Julia, but also for me and my family.”
She knelt and put the flame next to his body and left him screaming in flames, rolling on the floor. Susana and the cats ran up the stairway and leapt to the rooftop of Casa Linda. She followed them, turning them all back to their normal size as she opened the gauge on the gas tank that was on the roof. She changed into a jaguar and leapt to the roof of the Teatro Angela Peralta.
An eagle and a jaguar sat on the roof of the Teatro and watched as the building blew up. Then Susana shift-changed into a small cat and the giant eagle grabbed her in its massive claw and flew her to the chapel on top of Demetrio’s house. There they both shift-changed back into Eduardo and Susana. They could hear screaming all over Centro and sirens of ambulances, police trucks and fire engines.
Susana laughed and said, “Poor Julia, she will not get her club back.”
Rose said to Susana, “Reminds me of the time the sewer lines in Guadalajara blew an entire neighborhood up.”
Susana was stunned and took a step back. “Where’s Eduardo?”
“Probably on a perch staring at that bitch Bekka.”
“It was you, why?”
“I had to get you to trust me. You think the real Eduardo would have let you do all the things you’ve done. I was there with you in Rosarito and again in Fresno, although at the time you did not know it.”
“But how were you Eduardo and the eagle? I didn’t know brujas were shape-shifters.”
“I’m not. Like I said, it was magic. Together we can do great things.”
“I know. Bekka hates you, and Rebe is not too sure about you.”
“But I’m sure about you,” She stepped toward Susana. “I believe in you. You are the strongest. That’s why Itza fears you.”
“But you’ve been inside the house, how? I thought it was protected from dark forces.”
“By a vampire’s invitation; you know once you invite a vampire inside your home they can do anything. And I was invited a long time ago.”
She embraced Susana and squeezed her tightly so that their breasts touched. “And that was me in that hotel room, remember?” She kissed her. “But until Rebe convinces Bekka to trust me lets keep this a secret between us, ok.”

The news of the fire spread quickly and the three went to find Julia as the sun was setting. She awoke and Rebe told her, and Julia said, “Itza will be angry and blame us for this natural disaster.”
“But the problems with the bruja’s is over; they will return to Veracruz without their leader,” responded Julia. “now you can go to Juarez, and leave me here to face Itza, alone again.”
“Not alone,” added Sister Helga. “I will face her with you.”

Meanwhile in Mexico City
The Bishop made his way toward the private chambers of the Cardinal; standing at the door were two Swiss guards. “I have dire news for the Cardinal.”
“It is late,” said one guard.
“I know it’s late. If the news wasn’t dire I wouldn’t be here. Now, announce me.”
One guard knocked and entered, and then returned. “You may enter.”
The guard opened the door and the Bishop entered. He saw that the Cardinal was sitting at his desk in his robes. “You’re about to tell me that four women were found dead, their heads decapitated in San Miguel de Allende.”
“Then it is – war.”
“The murders were Satanic in nature, done by humans exhibiting their free will, not vampires.”
The Bishop was astonished by the curse and was aghast at the Cardinal’s anger.
“If that was all it was you wouldn’t be here.”
“I am here to alert you of any strange incidents since the attempt on Itza’s life. It is obvious that the abomination not only failed but is dead.”
“My contact said...” The Cardinal stopped himself, not sure who to trust now that the quiet war had begun.
“Your contact said what, your Excellency?”
“Said that…that you might be correct. She hasn’t been seen since that day. I admit I made a mistake, but I couldn’t have a young innocent girl taken. We’ve had too many already. We’ve turned our cheek long enough. I’m tired of this damn commendation. The Church has made an agreement with the Devil as far as I’m concerned. Why are our children culled like sheep; because of fear? There is no fear with the Lord on our side. No, this will have a violent end. Summon the conquistadores.”
The conquistadores? Then it is war; there will be many innocent lives lost. Please, think of what the world will think when there is open warfare in the streets of Mexico.”
“Have you not read the papers, Bishop? Isn’t that already happening?”
“You mean the drug war?”
“Yes, the supposed drug war. You see how things can be easily explained. Just like the La Jolla death of a college professor, who was robbed and shot at a secluded rest stop. The remains of the dead vampires were burned away into nothing by the sunlight. The press called it simply a woman being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The report from San Miguel de Allende is already mired with a cover-up. Six have been arrested for killing the women; all are going to prison. The police are not even bothering to find the real culprits. However, Los Sant’Angelos are not going to be warring; they are to bring someone back.”
“You know that only I can know what the Los Sant’Angelos must do. Now, leave and summon the nine.”
“Yes, your Excellency.” He bowed and left walking backwards.
When the door was closed behind him, The Cardinal spoke, “Are you still here?”
A voice emerged from the shadows, “Yes, Cardinal.”
“Good. Then proceed as we discussed earlier. Report all matters concerning the three women as they head to Juarez. They will need help gathering more White Vampires. See that the nine Los Sant’Angelos protect them from afar, until they will be brought to me. If what you tell me is true, then this war is already half over. But we must be careful with Rebecca.”
“You mean Bekka; of course, I offer my protection to her and her unborn child.”
“If the abomination couldn’t kill Itza then it will be our last hope,” said the Bishop.
“It could be too late by then. Can’t we call upon the other White Vampire Houses?”
“Because it is already too late, I have received word that they are all dead.”
“Dios, mio, no!”
“We have been outmaneuvered. While Rose murdered Demetrio, all the other remaining White Vampires were being slaughtered. Entire White Vampire lineages were exterminated; Demetrio’s is the last one. His son will be the last male, and only males can sire. I wish it were true for females, but the lineage must be from a male White Vampire.”
“Then why risk Bekka to go to such a dangerous place. Let me bring her to you now.”
“She is safer away from us. That’s why I am sending the nine; they will know what to do, and how to do it. Besides, only those three know how to find others. Maybe Demetrio has impregnated other women.”
The man opened the window, readying himself to leave, when the Cardinal stopped him, “Just a moment more.”
“Pardon me Cardinal; I need to return quickly.”
“Tell me about the other, the shape-shifter, the one that you are in love with.”
The Eagle King, responded, “Susana.”
“Yes. Have you told her the truth about yourself?”
“The longer you wait the more painful it will be – for her. She thinks you are a shape-shifter like her. But you are more than that. I am thankful to God for you. If only Mexico knew that you are the same eagle that perched on that cactus on the rock in the middle of the lake Texcoco. The Mexican flag bears your image. Now, I remember you telling me about Fresno; that you fell asleep in your car, why?”
“I don’t know. I remember being wide awake when I parked the vehicle, then I blacked out.”
“I suspect that someone might have placed a spell on you, have you thought of that?”
“Then you said that Susana told you about speaking to an invisible voice that’s been helping her. That wasn’t you?”
“No, nor I in the Baja. It is someone else, but I don’t know who. Whoever it is has a mysterious magic that shields them from my view.”
“Do you think it was her that killed her family?”
“I don’t know.”
“Alright, what about Sister Helga, no recollection yet?”
“No, she is still Sister Helga. The event did not produce the trauma we needed for her to remember.”
“Damn, off you go to watch the three.”
Through the air vents of the building he had listened to the Cardinal and the Eagle King. He was delighted that everything was falling into place as he had planned.


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