It Really Doesn't Matter

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My suitcase is nearly packed when I start to have second thoughts

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My suitcase is nearly packed when I start to have second thoughts. Maybe I'm being hasty, I think. Am I really ready to abandon everything?

I wander out of the bedroom, carrying a handful of shirts past the ruins of the Christmas tree as I search the house for Lisa. I should talk to her about this, get her thoughts.
Lisa's a good sounding board. Maybe she'll talk some sense into me, remind me why I need to stay here.

But Lisa's not in her bedroom. She's not in the kitchen, either, or out in her garden. I can't find her anywhere. I go to the garage, where our remaining siphons turn their terrified eyes on me, but no Lisa.

"Well, fuck," I mutter, and try Hannah's room. Maybe Lisa's in there consoling the traitorous brat—she's kind like that. But no Lisa. No Hannah, either. Bed's empty.

"Where the fuck is everyone?" I mutter, realizing belatedly that I haven't seen Jacen, either. Have they all jumped ship? The house is empty, which seems like a bad sign. I feel an impending sense of doom as I listen to the silence. This isn't good.

I tell myself they're probably out feeding, but this doesn't comfort me much because Lisa typically waits for me.

"Well, now I guess I know I'm making the right choice," I say, and am on my way back to the bedroom when the front door opens and I hear footsteps. Voices. Then Santos calls out. "Anyone home?"

"Santos," I whisper, not sure whether I should be glad that he's back or exasperated at him for being gone so long. Where has he been? And does he know what people are saying about him? Despite what Lisa claims, I still don't believe he could have stolen the Grail, but either way, I suppose it's time to clear the air.

I walk out to the living room and there he is, surrounded by five others who I realize almost immediately are vampires.

"Where did they ..." I begin to say before I connect the dots, and for the second time in mere hours, I have to rethink my assumptions. "You stole the Grail."

"So where is everyone?" Santos asks, ignoring my accusation. He's grinning smugly, obviously unbothered by the fact I'm onto him.

I shrug my shoulders, assuming he's looking for Vince or maybe Chester.

"No idea," I say, and Santos nods. He looks at his cronies and signals with his eyes. They start moving in. That's when I notice the mean glint in Santos' eyes. I take a step backward, but strong hands grab me. Some asshole snuck in through the back, and now he lifts me and propels me forward.

"Hey!" I scream, digging my feet in and wrenching my arms. "Asshole! Let go!"

But by now some of Santos's friends have closed in on me.

"I was sent to give you a choice," Santos says, sizing me up as he strolls toward me, "join us or you die. But I don't think you'll join us, so instead of wasting time making an offer, I'm just going to tell Father Pete you said no."

"Who's Father Pete?"

"Doesn't matter," Santos says as the asshole behind me picks me up and then slams me down on the tiles. "It really doesn't matter."

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