< XIII >

There is another meeting of the vampires.

They sit together in the giant office building talking.

Leo sits in the middle of the table.

After waiting for a long time.

The door opens.

Everyone stares at the door.

But no one comes through.

Then Nosferatu and Alexis come through the door riding on beautiful white stallions. The hooves smack on the floor making an echo.

They are dressed like ancient roman equites. They are wearing helmets, body armor, shields attached to their lefts arms, and brandishing the roman short sword with the right hand. They are both sneering and ready for a fight.

They park their horses in the middle the room and remain perfectly still.

No one knows what is going on.

Leo says, “Why are you dressed like that?”

“I thought you wanted war.”

“I want you to abdicate power.”

“Has any man ever abdicated power without struggle?”

“If you have come for war, then fine.”

The door opens again and thirty soldier vampires dressed in black modern military uniforms march in, all carrying crossbows with wooden arrows. They encircle Nosferatu and Alexis. Their arrows are pointed directly at their hearts.

Nosferatu and Alexis show no fear.

Their faces remain peaceful.

Leo says, “As you can see. Everyone is unified against you.”

Nosferatu puts his sword away.

He raises his right hand in the air and snaps his fingers.

Everyone is frozen cold except for Leo.

Leo looks around the room and sees that no one is moving, blinking, it looks like they are frozen in time.

The only other person still able the move is Alexis who is giggling.

Leo yells, “What have you done? Have you killed them? You madman!”

“Leo, you have passed the test. You have shown you can identify a problem and then unify people to solve it.”

“This was all a game?”

“I gave the same test to Nasir and every leader before him. Some have passed, some have not.”

“You aren't crazy, are you?”

“I am Nosferatu.”

Leo stares.

Nosferatu says, “I'm going to snap my fingers and abdicate. If you ever need advice, I'll be around. Never tell anyone of this conversation.”

Leo nods his head yes. Leo looks sad, he thought he had power. He was sure he had total. Getting leader almost seems less worthy knowing it was given and not taken. But he knows he could never take on Nosferatu.

Nosferatu snaps his fingers.

Everyone comes back to life.

No one noticed they were ever frozen in time.

Nosferatu says, “I abdicate my leadership to Leo. Listen to him. And if you don't feel like it. Then you should kill him.”

Nosferatu and Alexis brandish their swords, hold them up in the air, then begin riding out of the room and Nosferatu yells, “I am Nosferatu!”