It was close to sunset when we finally found the place; Tres insisted it'd been on the map all along, but fuck him, he's useless. Hatchi finally spotted it, sliding the Jeep into the parking lot, which wasn't much more than a patch of weed-covered dirt. We were exhausted and covered in road dust, and the big stone cathedral looked like something out of a dream.
And then we got to the door.
This happens a lot.
"Priest Tres," the altar boy said, his eyes wide as the moon rising outside, "surely you don't intend to bring anyone inappropriate within our holy walls...."
Fact is, only one of us is a true vampire, and he's a hunter who got unlucky. I'm just half-undead-- yeah, I don't really get how it works either-- and nobody really knows what the fuck the monkey is. But we don't talk about that. Especially not to the assholes who take one look at Hatchi's earrings and Goku's headband and think vampires.
"They're my assistants," Tres said, with his best fuck off expression on. "In the Church, a Priest and his assistants are always welcome." For somebody who rolls his eyes any time Holy Writ gets mentioned, he's pretty good at quoting it back when he wants to shut someone up. It usually works.
I think the kid thought we were all going to burst into flames when we walked through the door; he looked a little disappointed when none of us even flinched. Hatchi scanned over the architecture with his eyes; he always looks a little sad in churches. The orphanage he grew up in was Catholic; guess it never really leaves you. Tres was Buddhist and ignored it all, as the monks gave us the side eye. We're all equal in the fight against the Dark, my ass.
"I want a steak," Goku said, stretching his arms out. "You guys got any food?"
Dammit, he had to mention food; now my stomach was growling.
"Mind your manners," Tres hissed between his teeth. "I'm not spending another night in the fucking Jeep."
For once, I had to agree with him.
Hatchi tugged at the cross he still wore around his neck. "If we drove through the night, we might reach a town--"
"No," Tres and I hissed together.
The kid looked back. "Everything okay?"
"Fine!" we all chorused back, as believable as a convention of used car salesman. The kid just shook his head. Me, I just would've been glad none of us were trying to feel him up, considering where he lived. Then again, maybe he was used to it.
"Of course," the kid said, "our head priest wishes to meet with you. He said your predecessor came here, some years ago, and it is an honor for our church to be blessed with another visit."
Tres nodded. "Of course," he echoed. He's a first-class bullshitter, Tres. He hates this shit, but it's the price we pay for the free meals.
There wasn't any steak. The monks did have some free-range chicken...old, stringy free-range chicken, but food was food, and stew was better than the years-old energy bars we were running low on back in the Jeep.
"This place isn't so bad," Goku said, shoving the last of the food in his mouth.
I was ready to agree with him, until we got to our room and realized they'd been through our shit. I was short two porn mags and the mah-jong set was gone. "I thought little old ladies played mah-jong around here," I said.
"After the calamity, many churches decided to strive for greater purity," Hatchi said, sounding unimpressed.
I kicked the wreck of my suitcase. "Fuck this," I said. "I'm gonna go out and smoke."
"It's just for a night," Goku said.
"Yeah," I said. A night with a bunch of assholes who hated us and thought we were impure, heretic demons. I couldn't wait.
Hatchi came out as I lit my third HiLite. "Are you all right?"
I shrugged. It was easier for Hatchi; he hated the Catholics and himself in equal measure, so he didn't get insulted by it. I didn't hate much of anybody, so it still got under my skin.
"Tres convinced the blessed Father to give us two rooms, rather than one, as an apology," he said. "Apparently he's as unpleasant as the monks but rather more considerate of appearances."
It took a second for it to sink in. "So Tres and Goku--"
"Have a room to themselves." He nodded and moved closer, leaning against the wall next to me, close enough that his arm just brushed against mine. "Which, I suppose, leaves the second room to us." His eyes got kind of dreamy and his smile changed, a little less 'fuck all of this,' a little more real. "Who could imagine what depths of depravity two cursed men might find, alone in their tiny chambers?"
Hatchi could imagine. Hatchi was pretty damn good at imagining, actually. My dick approved, and I had to confess I found the humor in it too. "A little corruption's good for the soul, right?"
"Exactly," he said, in a growl that made me ache. "Perhaps you'd like to finish that cigarette?"
I stubbed it out. I ain't stupid. "All done," I said. "I'm tired. Let's go to bed."