“How ’bout pizza?” Peter asked. He sat in a parked car with his brother, Paul, in a dark, empty parking garage.
“Nah, too greasy,” Paul shot down another of Paul’s dinner suggestions.
“We both gotta eat, quit being choosy,” Peter complained. “I’m the one doing you a favor, I didn’t think it’d take over my whole diet,” he added.
“Sorry, bro,” Paul shrugged. “It’s a hard adjustment to make, you know? Look, it’s late there’s not much open right now anyway. Just drive around and stop at the first place you see. I won’t complain, I promise.”
“I’m gonna eat even if you do complain,” Peter said. He started the car and drove out of the parking lot. He passed dozens of darkened storefronts and shuttered restaurants until he spotted a red neon sign on a small brick building. The sign read “Donna Chang’s”.
“I’m getting Chinese,” Peter said as he drove towards the restaurant.
“This late? C’mon man, you know I won’t be able to sleep with heartburn.” Peter complained as he parked the car by the curb.
“Fine, get whatever you want. But for lunch tomorrow you gotta have something spicy. Please.”
“Alright, I can do that,” Peter hesitated in agreeing until his younger brother added the magic word. He always said it in the right way to tug at his “big brother” strings. They walked into the restaurant and Peter was surprised to see an old Chinese woman walking towards them. She ignored Peter and kept her eyes on Paul.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“Is the kitchen still open?” Peter asked. The woman turned to look at him, glanced at Paul, then back to Peter.
“Yes,” she said.
“Great, we’re starving.” Peter rubbed his stomach for effect and shuffled towards a nearby booth with Paul following behind. The old woman met them at the table with two menus. She placed one in front of Peter but then hesitated to give Paul his.
“You too?” she asked.
“Ever since I got turned women have been throwing themselves at me,” Paul said with a chuckle. “I guess she’s still got a fire going.” The brothers shared a laugh. Peter had already made his decision and set the menu down, but Paul stood up. “Gotta use the can,” he said. Moments after he left, the woman approached Peter at the table.
“Your friend is dangerous. You okay?” she asked.
“He’s my brother and he’s not dangerous. Do you offend all your customers?” Peter complained. He did not like anyone talking about his little brother. The woman registered a brief look of surprise, but it was gone in the blink of an eye.
“Oh,” she said. Instead of adding anything else she turned and walked towards the restaurant’s entrance. Paul returned to the table in time to see the old lady lock the door and turn off the neon sign.
“We’re leaving,” Peter said. He stood up, but the old woman walked towards them and stood in their way.
“Sit, please,” she said. She gestured at the booth they just left. Peter shook his head.
“We’ll go eat somewhere else.” He stepped forward but the woman did not move. “Lady, what’s the problem here?” She looked at Paul.
“Problem is I cannot have unknown vampires in the city,” she said.
“RUN!” Peter yelled at Paul. He rammed his body against her to tackle her down, but she did not move an inch. Instead, he fell backward to the ground massaging his shoulder and groaning in pain. Paul dashed to the door on command, but he saw a tall, burly man in an apron on the outside of the door. The man sported various dragon tattoos up and down his arms, and Paul guessed he worked in the restaurant.
“You are not in danger, but in this city vampires,” she looked at Paul, “need to follow certain rules.”
“So you’re not gonna kill me?” Paul asked. He walked to his brother and helped him up from the floor.
“Only if you break the rules,” she said. The two men walked to the booth, though Peter groaned every step.
“I think she dislocated it,” he mumbled to Paul. The old woman overheard and laughed.
“YOU dislocated it.”
“How did you know? About my brother?” Peter asked.
“Dragon eyes see everything,” she smiled.