“Neferet! Why are you doing this?”
Neferet’s attention turned from the dying pastor to a man standing toward the front of the sanctuary. Recognizing him, she smiled.
“Councilman Meyers! How lovely to see you,” she said.
“H-hello, Neferet,” he stuttered, grasping tightly to the hand of the well-dressed woman beside him. “I was there during your press conference. You—you said you were allied with humans and against violence.”
“I lied.” Her smile widened at his horrified expression. The woman beside him sobbed, her hand pressed against her mouth trying to staunch her cries. “Are you Mrs. Meyers?”
Trembling and crying, the woman nodded.
“How tastefully you are dressed. Do I recognize Armani?”
Again, the sobbing woman nodded.
“And you must be about a size six, correct?”
“Y-yes. Take my clothes! Just let us go, please,” she pleaded.
“Ah, how nicely you asked! Take off your dress and bring it to me, and I shall consider your request.”
“Neferet, please don’t hurt—” her husband began.
Neferet slid into his mind and told his heart to stop beating. Councilman Meyers gasped, and slumped to the floor.
His wife screamed.
Neferet sighed. “Mrs. Meyers, I find it so disheartening how no one today seems to be able to follow simple commands. Don’t you?”
“Do you intend to kill us all?”
Neferet’s gaze went from the hysterical Mrs. Meyers to an attractive, middle-aged woman who had stepped into the aisle. She lifted her chin and faced Neferet, showing no outward sign of fear.
Neferet was intrigued. “And who are you?”
“Karen Keith, one of Tulsa’s County Commissioners. I was also there the day you gave your press conference and pledged your allegiance to our city.”
“Oooh, another politician. How delicious!”
“You didn’t answer my question. Are you going to kill us all?”
“Forgive me, Karen. May I call you Karen?”
“I’d rather you didn’t.”
Neferet’s brow raised in surprise. “You have a lovely energy about you, Ms. Keith. You will serve as my main course.”
Tendrils of Darkness began to slither toward the Commissioner.
Karen Keith did not flinch as they wrapped around her. She met Neferet’s gaze and said, “After this, everyone will know you for the monster you are.”
“No, Ms. Keith, everyone will know me for the goddess I am.”
The Commissioner did not scream as she died, but the people around her shrieked and began surging, in reckless panic, toward the sealed exits.
“Well, I suppose it is too much to expect dinner conversation,” Neferet said. She lifted her arms. “Have care with the Armani dress, but kill them all!”
Neferet, and her servants of Darkness, descended upon the congregation. They fed and fed, gorging on blood and stolen energy, until the sanctuary was a graveyard.
Neferet bathed herself from the holy water basins, and used the pastor’s scarlet trimmed robe to dry herself. Then, dressed in Armani and pulsing with glorious power, she left the Boston Avenue Church.
It had stopped raining. The sky was newly washed blue. The air smelled of springtime. Neferet wiped a last drop of blood from the corner of her full lips. Smiling, radiant, Neferet pointed toward the Mayo.
“Take me home. I have so missed my penthouse.”
Throbbing and fully sated, her threads came to her, lifting her gently. Wrapped in Darkness Neferet drifted, invisible, through downtown Tulsa as I deserve this … I deserve this … echoed through her mind.
The center golden limestone statue above the entrance to the church quivered, shifted, and in a fetid burst of freezing air, the white bull materialized. As he emerged from the skin of the church, his hooves sparked, causing the ground to shake. He snorted, staring after where Neferet had disappeared.
“Now that, my heartless one, surprised me…”