As a vampire, I tend to stick out, especially at church. So I decided to try a Big Box Mega Churchtm in an attempt to blend in. I became a vampire years ago at the hands of my husband at the time, and since then I had been through a lot. I’d been learning how to live a normal life, and most of the time no one would know the difference. I could go out in sunlight, even though it hurt, and since I was a Christian, the cross hardly bothered me at all. I struggled with blood sucking but I still loved Jesus. The one thing I couldn’t get rid of was the need: the hunger to take vitality from others and make it my own. I couldn’t get rid of that hunger. Which brought me to the parking lot of the semi-local mega church.

I stared at the warehouse with the cross on top, letting thousands of identical churchgoers flow around me like soldiers headed to a mess hall. All the men were wearing button down shirts and slacks, the women were in their floral dresses, and I didn’t see anything as informal as a t-shirt on the kids. And here I stood in black jeans and a baby T with an Army jacket thrown on over it. I didn’t know about the dress code, but apparently it was a given because I was the only one getting looked over by the women and furtively checked out by the guys.

I was about to get back in my car and leave, when a chubby young woman came sprinting across the parking lot, a laminated nametag flapping on her chest. She wore khaki pants and a blue polo shirt with the church’s logo on it, and a complicated walkie-talkie rig that connected to her shoulder like a police officer. Her smile was so bright I had to shield my eyes and she clapped his hands over mine and shouted, “Welcome to Big Box Mega Churchtm! A friendly, non-judgmental place where you can be yourself!”

I shook her clammy hand, intending to head for my car as soon as she let go. But she didn’t let go. “I’m Caroline,” she said. “First time?”

Yeah,” I said, and then added, “It’s not my first time to church, just my first time here. I mean, I’m a Christian.”

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