They had a light lunch; an elderly couple and a teenage boy they found stranded in a mobile home on Orchard Street. Then for dinner Nancy spotted a middle-aged man and two younger women, all dressed in business attire, creeping along a side street. The plan had remained pretty much the same, Nancy would pretend to be one of the living and lure their prey into a trap and then the chomping began. Nancy made the decision to completely destroy the grandparents and the teenage boy, she needed to repair the damage from Paul’s blade and while Veronica was in decent shape, Jim was a wreck. Nancy couldn’t justify taking on two old people and a boy that they would have to share food with and likewise she didn’t want them out there eating food they could take later themselves, so she had Veronica finish them off with her blade.
Nancy now faced a similar decision. As normal, she had been the first to feed on the man and two women. When she had had her fill, she then let Veronica and Jim take what was left. She stood there watching the two of them feed and the energy bleed out of their victims when she noticed something. Veronica was nearly back to one hundred percent but Jim was nowhere near that mark. He was close to twice Veronica’s size. Did that mean he needed to consume twice the energy that Veronica needed? It appeared so. Was Jim twice as valuable as Veronica? Already Veronica was showing signs of increased speed and agility while Jim continued to lumber along. Nancy still had use for Jim though. She had already invested too much into him to simply have Veronica destroy him. She decided he would do the grunt work, be the first line of defense and act as a sacrificial lamb should the need arise.
Veronica pulled away from the woman she had been feeding on and sat back on her heels like a major league catcher.
“Destroy him.” Nancy instructed.
“What about those two? Destroy them too?”
“Naaa, they’re too cute to hack into pieces. But from now on, try not to be so vicious when you feed,” switching over to her most annoying mommy tone, “Just remember, if you tear an arm off it just takes that much longer for it to grow back. Alright dear?” Veronica was her child in a sick sort of way; she had birthed her into a new life after all. The completely stupid comparison made Nancy giggle.
Veronica grabbed her blade and strode over to the man. She wiped her face on the sleeve of his business jacket and then went to work on him with the blade. By the time she was done, his two companions had reanimated and were standing next to Jim awaiting Nancy’s next move.
“A midnight snack anyone?” Nancy asked with an evil grin.
Jim led the way through the darkness with Nancy and Veronica a few steps behind and their two newest recruits bringing up the rear. Veronica destroyed any ghouls they encountered, male or female, young or old. She was becoming increasingly proficient with her blade.
Nancy stopped Jim when they passed in front of a GAP clothing store. Through the display windows, Nancy could see that the fall fashions had arrived. It had always bothered her how the department stores rushed from one season to the next, holiday to holiday. She didn’t fret about it for long; Nancy decided it was time to do a little shopping.
Jim tried to push open the glass door but it was locked. The women watched as he beat his fists on the glass until they had left bloody streaks. For all of his work, the doors still showed no signs of giving.
“Um, Jimbo, how about you try using that?” Nancy said, pointing to a parking meter. Jim did as he was told and tried to pull it from its concrete confinements.
“Uh, no Jimbo, how about that one there? It might be a little easier.” The owner of an abandoned Ford F150 had apparently tried to use the sidewalk to maneuver around the traffic nightmare that lay in front of him. In doing so, he had taken out two parking meters, a trashcan, and one newspaper stand and gained a total of five car lengths before he was forced to leave his truck.
Jim used one of the broken off meters like a battering ram and smashed it into the glass. The coins inside jingled with each blow. Eventually the tempered glass broke into a spider web of cracks. With his final blow, the entire pane of glass fell into the store, hundreds of pieces scattering on the floor like crystal cockroaches.
“Shall we?” Nancy led the group into the store.
“V, pick out something nice for your sisters.” She then started shopping for herself. The electricity was not yet out, but a single fixture only dimly lighted the store. After going from rack to rack Nancy finally found a colorful pink flowered summer dress on the sale rack. 'Sale rack? Shit, I could have anything in the store and I have to choose something from the sale rack?' she thought. Nancy went up to a full-length mirror on the dressing room door and held the dress up to get a preview of how it might look. Nancy started at the bottom and worked her way up. 'Too long? Too tight? No, it looked like a good fit.' She then stopped and gazed at the reflection of her face. Other than some dirt and a few remaining patches of dried blood she looked good, damn good. She had spent hours in the gym fighting a losing battle against time and now the same body in the mirror was firmer and stronger than she could remember. The only thing that bothered Nancy was the way her brown hair still contrasted against her pale white complexion. 'A small price to pay.' she thought.
Out of habit, Nancy casually opened the door to walk into the fitting room. Had her heart not been dead it would have skipped a beat. When she opened, the door Nancy found a teenage girl sitting on the changing bench with her legs pulled to her chest, arms wrapped around them tightly. She was crying softly and let out a little squeak when Nancy opened the door to her hiding place.
Nancy held out her hands, “Whoa, whoa, there girl. Nothing to be scared of, are you alright?” The girl slowly shook her head “no”.
“No, of course not. What a stupid question. After the last few hours, who in their right mind would be alright?” she said forcing her voice into a slight giggle to try to ease the girl’s fears.
“I’m just going to gather a few clothes and then I’m heading to safety, the mountains or maybe some secure house somewhere. If you want you can come with me.”
The girl wanted to believe, Nancy could see it in her eyes. Her eyes cautiously studied Nancy. After a few moments, she reluctantly placed one foot and then the other on the dressing room floor revealing a GAP nametag pinned to her shirt that read “Julie”.
“There you go, Julie!” Nancy encouraged, “Is there anyone else hiding in here that might want to come along too?” she cooed. Julie nodded “yes” and pointed towards the back of the store.
“Come now, you can’t hide in there the rest of your life can you?” Had Julie known that her life was about to end she might have decided to do just that. Nancy spread her arms in a welcoming hug and Julie walked into death’s embrace. Like a vampire, Nancy sunk her teeth into Julie’s artery and began feeding on her precious energy. Nancy thought she heard Julie let out a scream but could not be sure. She had the strange feeling that girl almost welcomed the end to her terror.
It had not been long since Nancy’s last meal and she forced herself to break the connection with Julie. The teen dropped to the floor and a pool of blood started to form around Nancy’s feet.
“Great. Just great” Nancy said looking down at the blood that stained her newly acquired dress. She dragged Julie by her sandy blond hair into the main show room and called for Veronica.
“Get your two sisters over here pronto; they need this more than we do. There is someone else in the back of the store. Find them and bring ‘em to me, alive.” Nancy then headed back to the sale rack hoping to find a replacement dress.
In the end, Nancy added Julie and another eighteen-year-old GAP girl to her undead gang. She instructed the girls and Jim to meet her on the sidewalk. Nancy reveled in the fact that she had control over their every move. A fact that reminded her she still had unfinished business to take care of. She wondered if five women and a stupid brute would be enough. 'Probably.' she thought after giving it some consideration.
The girls met Nancy outside the store. Veronica had dressed herself in saggy green military chic cargo pants and a tight white tank top, otherwise known to punk kids as a ‘wife beater’. Her black bra was showing through the thin material. She had wanted to separate herself from the other girls so Veronica outfitted them in matching miniskirts and white schoolgirl blouses.
“Nice. Very practical, V. Those shirts will hold up well to the blood splatter.” Nancy said sarcastically.
“What’d you do with Jim?” On cue, Jim exited the store, arms loaded like a pack mule with numerous blue and white plastic GAP sacks. Nancy raised one eyebrow towards Veronica.
“Blood stains.” she answered smugly.
“You little bitch! You had me going there!” Nancy giggled, “Come on, we’ve got a date with Fred.”