“I thought we were going to the blood bank?” Drake said. He and Max stood under the broad awning of a small two-story office building. The awning provided enough shade for the two vampires to pull their hoodies down as they approached the door. A neon-red sign read “Sharp Medical Services” in the window. Max nodded as he held open the heavy glass door for Drake.
“We are, but we need to register you first before you’re eligible for blood. And…,” He winked at Drake as he walked into the white, sterile lobby. “…if you register here instead of at the blood bank, you get a node.”
“Cool,” Drake grinned. He couldn’t believe how much his life changed for the better thanks to a small mix-up. He considered Max the best roommate he’d ever had up until last night. They almost never saw each other, except for game nights once a month. The common areas were kept clean by both of them and his share of expenses were always paid on time. It was the perfect situation for a vampire to keep to themselves. He didn’t question his luck but it all made sense once he learned Max was a vampire too.
Drake had been subsisting on cow blood thanks to a friend at the slaughterhouse; but, somehow Max had access to human blood regularly. Sharp Medical Services seemed to be the provider. His best roommate became his best friend over-night once both secrets were out. Though, it did leave Drake wondering. Who else was a vampire that he didn’t know about? The thing he appreciated most about Max was that he never judged Drake for any of his questions once they started talking about vampire life. Drake discovered that in his weakened state, he had been missing out on many of the perks that come with being undead.
“What’s a node?” he asked.
“A ticket to the best entertainment you’ll ever have,” Max said as they approached the main desk. A pale, dark-haired woman sat behind a glass window; her white nametag read: Ambrosia, in red letters.
“May I help you?” Ambrosia sat up straighter in her seat. Despite knowing why they were there, Drake flinched when Max spoke up.
“Drake here’s a vampire. He needs blood and a node, please,” Max smiled. Ambrosia nodded and whirled around in her chair to grab several forms. She added a clipboard and pen, then handed it to Drake.
“No problem, just fill these out,” she smiled. The pair of friends retreated to a row of white plastic seats and Drake got to work filling in the information. He paused at the top of the third page, then looked at Max.
“How do I know what race of vampire I am?” he asked.
“Huh?” Max glanced down at the sheet, then chuckled and shook his head.
“Nah, you finished the vampire stuff; that’s,”.. he tapped the sheet. “… for your node. You don’t have to fill it out yet, we can make your AlterNet character later if you want.”
“Make my character?” Drake tilted his head. “Like… in an rpg? Can I use the one from our campaign?”
“Wow!” Max’s eyes widened. “I kind of forgot about that; I set up a reminder for a few days before the game. Man, the guys are gonna be jazzed you’re a vampire too. But nah,” he shook his head. “The AlterNet is a little bit more D&D than Vampire. Uh..,” Max reached over and flipped the sheet over to look at the next one, then he nodded again. “Yeah, here are your options. 25 races and 25 classes.” Drake glanced at the list for a moment, then looked back up at Max.
“Wait, the group is vampires too?”
“All except Josh. He’s a werewolf.”