After my lap dance with Hal, I went over to a table and sat with two of the strippers I hadn’t met yet, one a blonde, the other a brunette. “Hi,” I said. “My name is Erica George. I’m the new girl.”
“Hi,” said the brunette, a short, petite beauty. “I’m Jenny Milton.” We shook hands. She smiled, baring her beautiful fangs.
“I’m Tiffany,” said the blonde, who was short, skinny, and cute. We shook hands. “Nice to meet you.”
“I have a question,” I said. “Why did The Candy Club get renamed ‘POUMTANG‘? You know the sign out front is misspelled, right?”
“It’s an acronym,” said Jenny. “The spelling is deliberate.”
“OK, what does it stand for?” I asked.
“The Party Of United Mothers, Transwomen, And Nudist Girls,” Tiffany said.
“Wow,” I said. “That’s awkward-sounding.”
“Yeah, well, it originally was the Party Of Obscene Naughtiness, Transwomen, And Nudist Girls: POONTANG,” Jenny said. “But the Christian community here didn’t like that acronym, so we had to clean it up by misspelling it on purpose.”
“What’s more, ‘United Mothers’ sounds more family-oriented than ‘Obscene Naughtiness’,” said Andrea, who now joined us. I smiled up at her as she grabbed a chair and sat beside me.
“Do you all have sons and daughters?” I asked.
“In a way,” Andrea said, stroking my hair.
“All the boys we bite are like our sons, since we made them vampires,” said Jenny.
“And the girls who we’ve made vamps are like our daughters,” Andrea said.
“Hence, we’re mothers,” Tiffany said.
“I like the sound of that,” I said, looking at Andrea. “My mom died when I was very young. Oh, how I cried and cried as a little girl from her loss. And then my dad changed into such a…well, maybe I shouldn’t talk about that. It’s depressing. But anyway, I’ve felt so empty without a mother’s love. I like the thought that I can get that from you all.” Especially from you, though, Andrea, I thought as I still looked at her. (Actually, she kind of resembled my mom physically.) After all you’ve done for me, I like to think of you as a mother figure to me. I sensed she felt my thoughts, and was smiling her love back to me.
“I’ll be happy to be your new mom, Erica,” she said, kissing me on the cheek. We smiled lovers’ smiles at each other. I was really hoping for not only my second bite from her, but a second love-making; for that daughters’ love I felt for Andrea was, if you will, quite Oedipal.
The stripper onstage, Fanny, just finished her third and last song, and got off the stage. Tiffany looked over there. “I have to go onstage now.” She got up and went there.
“See you,” Jenny said.
“Well, you’ve explained ‘Mothers’ in POUMTANG,” I said, “but what about ‘Transwomen’? Are there any here?”
“Of course,” Jenny said. “Look around.”
“Do you really think every female face you see here is physically so?” asked Andrea. “Look carefully at those two over by the bar.”
I leaned over and strained my eyes a bit looking to my right at the two she was referring to, in glittery dresses and heavy makeup. Indeed, I noticed Adam’s Apples protruding most inconveniently from their necks. I also vaguely sensed their biological masculinity from the psychic vibes they were giving me, vibes of acute dissatisfaction with their bodies.
“Wow, they are,” I said. “Why do they come here?”
“Because they admire us,” Jenny said.
“And with every bite we give them, they grow more biologically feminine,” Andrea said. “Those two over there haven’t been bitten at all yet; I can sense it. But they’ll be wanting it, since they’ve heard rumours, from their once- and twice-bitten friends, of what we can do.”
“I don’t understand how your bites can change them so radically,” I said. “I thought the bites only make people into vampires, and really hot-looking ones. How do the bites make all those other changes?”
“One of our abilities, remember, is shape-shifting,” said Fanny, who now joined us. She sat at my other side.
“A vamp can change into a bat, for example, simply by wishing it,” Andrea said.
“As strippers, we all naturally want to be hotter looking, so with each bite, and each resulting gain of power, we immediately get sexier,” Jenny said. “We want better looks instinctively, so those changes are more or less automatic.”
“Transwomen want women’s bodies to match their female souls,” Franny said. “So three bites give them a free sex change operation, with none of the surgical risks.”
“That’s the beauty of being a vamp,” Andrea said. “Our powers give us whatever we want.”
“The only catch is needing to drink blood,” I said.
“That’s right,” Jenny said. “That, and staying out of the sun.”
“Speaking of which, where are Meg and Kristen?” Fanny asked with a frown. “Tell me we didn’t…”
“We did…we lost them,” Andrea said, a tear rolling down her cheek. “The vampire hunters found them. Jim saw her ashen remains in her apartment when he went over earlier tonight, correctly sensing trouble.”
“Oh, no,” Jenny said, her eyes widening. “Kristen gave him his third bite. He must be heartbroken.”
“He is,” Andrea said, baring her fangs and snarling. “He’s sworn revenge on the Christians.”
“I hope he sucks the whole town dry,” Fanny said. “We’re not safe.”
“I’m afraid to go to sleep at dawn,” Jenny said, almost sobbing. “I keep lyin’ awake, helpless in bed, wondering if they’ll find me, break down my bedroom door, rip open my curtains, and fry me in the sunlight. I’m really getting scared.”
Andrea put her arms around Jenny and kissed her cheek. “Don’t worry, baby,” Andrea said. “We’ll be OK. You have your once- and twice-bitten guards watching over you, don’t y0u?”
“Yes,” Jenny sobbed. “But what if they aren’t strong enough to protect me?”
“And when are we going to find the vamp traitor, or traitors, in whichever strip joint they’re working for?” Fanny asked.
“That’s what we need you to help us do, Erica,” Andrea said to me. She gave me a map of the forest areas all around Caledonia so I could find the CNT Club. “Go to CNT tomorrow night and find out all you can, any hints that the traitor could be one of them.”
“Speaking of possible traitors,” Fanny said. “Here comes Stella.”
“Who’s she?” I asked as I saw a tall, curvy, long-haired brunette approaching us in a white dress shirt, black dress pants, and matching high heels.
“Stella Lynn East,” Jenny said. “Owner of the PSUC Club.”
“And major man-hater,” Andrea said, sneering.
“If she hates men, why does she own a strip club?” I asked.
“To suck men dry,” Stella said in an English accent as she sat down to join us. “Good evening, vamp sisters.” She looked at me with a grin that proudly showed off her fangs, and a sparkle in her eyes that looked a combination of deja-vu and discovery of someone long-lost. Indeed, she stared at me for several seconds, in a wide-eyed daze, before asking, “And you are…?”
“Erica George,” I said, shaking her hand.
“A once-bitten, I see,” she said, kissing my hand. “Oh, do let me have a bite or two.” Now that sparkle in her eyes was one of flirtation.
“So, what’s the news at PSUC?” Andrea asked with a frown. “How many more of your vamps have they destroyed?”
“Four today,” Stella said with an angry sigh. “Oh, those bastards will never leave us alone.” She was giving out an energy of deep hate for the Christian community, very sincere vibes: I figured she couldn’t be a traitor.
“Which ones?” Fanny asked.
“Chantale, Alexis, Mercedes, and Beth,” Stella said. “I swear, when I find out who the vamp traitors are among us–males, I’m sure–I’ll expose them to the sun myself without remorse. They’ll be the only vamps deserving of such a fate.”
“I’m aware of a female traitor,” I said.
“How do you know that?” Stella asked.
“I went to the Sunshine Pub today,” I said. “Some men who killed Billie Bryson said a female told them where Billie’s apartment was.”
“Erica, the men you talked to were just that…men, and they can’t be trusted,” Stella said with a twitch of agitation on her face. “They’re all liars. They’d love to make us believe a female vamp betrayed us, to divide us. Make us not trust each other.”
“How can you be so sure they were lying?” I asked. “What they said felt like the truth.”
“I can’t honestly believe a female would betray her sisters,” Stella said. “But a male vamp, resentful of his period of servitude to his female biters, before his third, liberating bite, would gladly betray us. Men can’t handle female power. They think it’s natural for them to rule over us; so when we get power over them, they have us destroyed.”
“It didn’t feel like those men were lying,” I said.
“Honey, your powers aren’t fully developed yet,” Stella said to me, stroking my hair and looking in my eyes as if I were an old lover she’d lost long ago. “When I bite you, and liberate you, you’ll understand men’s true nature. Vamp or no vamp, men are afraid of female power, and they’ll do whatever they have to to stop our ascent to power. Those men lied about the traitor being female, I assure you. Watch your male vamps, sisters. Guido, Jim, and Jorge: they may seem trustworthy to you, but they’re not. We’re not safe from them.”
“Jim’s out hunting men as we speak,” Andrea said. “In revenge for Kristen. Gino and Jorge’s helping him. We trust them completely.”
“Why?” Stella asked, sneering.
“We don’t share your…extreme views on men,” Andrea said.
“Extreme,” Stella chuckled. “Extremely common sense.”
“We believe men can be changed,” Fanny said.
“Men will never change,” Stella chuckled louder. “I know from experience.”
“After a period of servitude to us, under our gentle rule,” Andrea said. “The rein of the yoni, if you will.”
Stella had a belly laugh. “The only way to end the rein of the phallus is by usurping it forever. No temporary women’s rein with tame men.”
“We think it will,” Fanny said. “We’ve seen the proof in Gino, Jim, and Jorge. And all of the FAINGS seem loyal.”
“Seem loyal,” Stella said. “They’ll turn on you. Give it time.”
“If you refuse to see any good in men, why do you have male vamps working for you?” Andrea asked.
“They aren’t full vamps,” Stella said. “They’re twice-bittens, you know that. And they know their place.”
“In other words, they’re your personal slaves,” Andrea said.
“That’s right,” Stella said, smiling.
“Look,” I said. “I don’t like male power over women any more than you, but if you enslave men, how are you any better?”
“It’s not about being better than men, love,” Stella said to me. “Either we control them or they control us. When the vampiress revolution finally happens, males will be reduced to ten percent of the population, used only for reproduction, so we vamps can have a limitless supply of blood.”
“We don’t believe so radical a solution is necessary,” Fanny said.
“Agreed,” Andrea said.
“Same here,” I said.
“Very well, sisters,” Stella said, getting up. “Have it your way for now. Time will tell, and we’ll see which vamps’ views are proven right. Goodbye, Erica: I hope to see you…and to bite that pretty neck of yours…soon.” Stella gazed at me one more time, with a kind of mysteriously melancholy longing, then turned around, walked away from our table, and left the club.
“When you’ve finished looking around the CUNT Club, we’ll need you to go to the PSUC Club, too. As much as the vamps there hate men and insist of sisterly solidarity, there’s always the possibility that all that misandry is just a cover-up, and they want us dead for some reason.”
“I do think the traitor is female,” I said. “I felt honesty from those men.”
“Still, Erica, consider all possibilities,” Andrea said, stroking my hair again. “Stella is right that your power as a once-bitten is limited. Keep your mind open, for bias will limit your ability to gain access to all the enemies that will lead to the true identity of the traitor or traitors, who could be male or female.” She kissed me on the mouth, a delicious kiss, and I felt her will vibrating through my body, making me want to seek out any traitors in CNT.
“How do you win the influence over men here?” I asked.
“After you’ve searched CNT and PSUC, we’ll give you your second and third bites, and influencing men will be easy,” Andrea said.
“Influencing men is easy once you’re a full vamp,” Fanny said.
“Yeah, just look at Tiffany onstage,” Andrea said. Tiffany had been wearing a cute cheerleader outfit during the first song of her floorshow, grinning and giggling as she danced before her rapt audience of horny men. Now doing her third song, she was crawling about nude and displaying her vulva and anus, in all insouciance, to a panting man at the tip rail. “We can easily see whose blood she’s going to have soon.”
“How can you be sure he’ll ask her for table dances or lap dances?” I asked. “Maybe he doesn’t have the money to spend.”
“Haven’t you forgotten?” Fanny said. “We don’t sex the men up for money, but for blood. And he has plenty of that.”
“And he won’t want a dance,” Andrea said. “He wants sex. We can feel his desire all the way from here. It’s that intense.”
“He wants anal from her,” Fanny said.
“And she’ll give it to him,” Andrea said.
“Don’t you mean ‘take it from him’?” I asked. We all laughed.
“Of course,” Andrea said.
“But that’ll hurt,” I said.
“You forget again,” Fanny said. “We vamps are impervious to pain.”
“Actually, our vamp bodies are adapted to enjoy anal, as much as vaginal sex,” Andrea said. “We don’t even shit anymore, since we don’t eat. The anus is now only for sex.”
“Eww,” I grunted.
“You’ll like it, too,” Fanny said.
“Really?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yes,” Andrea said. “In fact, anal is the best way to get men ready for a bite.”
“Either that, or doggy-style,” Fanny said. “If a man fucks you and you’re facing him, you might enjoy it so much that you’ll open your mouth wide in sighs. Then he’ll see your fangs and get scared. Then, even if you bite him, his will won’t be as much at one with yours.”
“The best way to influence a man is to get him to like you as much as possible,” Andrea said. “That’s why the best time to bite is when he orgasms, for that’s when his desire for you is at a maximum. Then his will is all for you.”
“With your back to him as he’s fucking you, you’re free to moan and sigh with an agape mouth, and he probably won’t see your fangs,” Fanny said.
“And if you offer him your asshole, that tells him you’re a ‘bad girl,’ and you’re all the sexier for it,” Andrea said. “That’s why when I strip for the men, I always bend over and offer the men two choices instead of just one.”
“As do I,” Fanny said. “And as you should, too.”
Sure enough, after the song was over, Tiffany led her male admirer into a private room. We’d hear a groan of sharp pain from him about twenty minutes later, and feel the pulling of some of his blood out of him and into the Collective Blood.
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