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Author's Chapter Notes:
Nick and AJ find a cure for the curse on their friends before it's too late.
Nick ran from Howie’s bedroom, down the stairs and ran into a narrow hallway looking for AJ or Brian. He turned back to see if Vampire Howie was still chasing him when he collided with AJ, causing both of them to fall in a heap on the floor.

“Dammit, watch where you’re going!” Nick yelled, getting up off the floor.

“You were the one who ran into me!” AJ shot back rubbing his head where Nick had elbowed him.

They stood up and dusted themselves off.

“Something happened to Brian!” AJ shrieked at the same time as Nick yelled, “Something’s wrong with Howie!”

“What did you do?” AJ immediately asked, staring accusingly at Nick.

“I didn’t do anything!” Nick objected but remembered the Book of the Dead and the inscription:

The Book of the Dead belongs to the high priest and only he can read from this book. All others shall face his wrath.

“I think,” Nick added, sheepishly. AJ was about to grab Nick to give him a piece of his mind when an ear-piercing howl echoed from behind them. They both turned around and stared in horror.

There stood a werewolf who resembled Brian in a torn Kentucky Wildcats T-shirt and navy blue sweatpants. Werewolf Brian growled ferociously at AJ and Nick, baring his sharp teeth.

AJ looked as if he was about to cry, and Nick looked like he was about to piss in his pants.

Suddenly, they hear a hissing sound coming from above them. AJ and Nick shined their flashlights on Vampire Howie who was crawling hastily toward them on the ceiling and down the wall. Howie was no longer in his sleepwear but was wearing an elegant black suit and a blood-red cape and a black top hat; Howie looked exactly like the man in the painting AJ and Brian looked at earlier in the foyer.

Vampire Howie landed on his feet in front of them baring his fangs, as he and Brian slowly started toward AJ and Nick. They closed in snarling and salivating as if they were starving—starving for a taste of their blood.

Nick and AJ ran as fast as they could away from their cursed friends, only glancing backward to see if they were after them. AJ and Nick ran up the spiral staircase and down the narrow hallway and finally into Nick’s room closing the door behind them and locking the door. Nick rested his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath while AJ leaned against the wall to do the same.

“I think we’re safe in here for now,” Nick said in between breaths.

“What happened to them?” AJ said. “How did they end up like that?”

“I’m not sure,” Nick answered honestly. “But I think it had something to do with that.” He pointed at the Book of the Dead on the wooden stand against the wall.

“What is it?” AJ asked afraid to touch it.

“It’s the Book of the Dead. It’s a book of spells and incantations dating back probably to the ancient Egyptian times,” Nick explained as if AJ was a complete moron. “It belonged to some high priest or something.”

“You put a spell on Brian and Howie?!” AJ asked incredulously.

“No! I just read from the book that’s all!” Nick shot back defensively.

“What did you think would happen if you read from a book entitled Book of the Dead?” AJ screamed at the top of his lungs. “Look, there’s even a warning label! Geez, Nick, when are you going to learn to follow directions?”

“We’ll find a way out of this,” Nick insisted and reached for the book when AJ stopped him. “Maybe if I could find a spell…”

“No, you are not reading from that book again. Who knows what you might end up doing! You could turn us into monsters too!” AJ said, as he stood in between Nick and the book.

“Then how are we going to cure them?” Nick said, beginning to get irritated with AJ.

AJ couldn’t give Nick an answer. There has to be a way to get Brian and Howie back to normal, but something about the Book of the Dead didn’t feel…safe…to AJ.

“There has to be another way!” AJ said frustrated. “I’m not touching that book. Look at where it’s gotten us since you touched it!”

“Maybe we can find a book that can reverse the spells and incantations in this book, like, the counterpart to this one,” Nick said.

“And where are we going to find this other book in this ginormous mansion?” AJ asked dully.

Nick flashed his famous grin. “In the study room where I got this.” He held up the Kama Sutra book for AJ to see. Though AJ was slightly intrigued in such a book, he couldn’t help but roll his eyes.

“Oh for the love of God,” he muttered under his breath. “Nick, how many times do we have to tell you not to take things that don’t belong to you?”

“There’s a library of books in the study room and behind a bookcase we found a secret passageway that led to a laboratory.” Nick ignored AJ’s last rhetorical question. The glow in Nick’s eyes was unmistakable; it was apparent that Nick was enjoying this moment, despite the fact that his bandmates were cursed into monsters.

“So you think we should go down there and see if we could find this book?”

Nick only nodded his head.

AJ gestured toward the door. “After you.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Nick and AJ entered the study room as Nick felt around the desk for the button to turn on the fireplace. He found it and pushed it. The fireplace blazed to life startling AJ.

AJ looked around the study room and stared in wonderment at all the tattered books.

“So let’s start looking, we don’t have much time,” Nick said.

AJ looked at Nick in confusion. “How do you know that?”

“Don’t these curses have a time limit? Like, we have to cure them before midnight or something?”

AJ looked at his wristwatch. “Well, Genius, it’s already an hour and a half passed midnight so I guess we’re screwed.”

Nick ignored AJ’s sarcasm and continued to browse the shelves for anything that can help with Brian and Howie.

While Nick was looking at the books, AJ browsed along the desk that was filled with old newspaper clippings. Underneath the newspaper clippings, he found an old black leather journal. The cover was engraved in gold: Dr. Jack L. Hyde. AJ blew off the dust on the front of it before opening the book. He opened the journal where it had been marked at an entry:

May 17, 1808
My besotted fascination with the Book of the Dead drove me to discover its wonderful powers. Within it, I discovered I could bring back the dead. I was able to revive my beloved Isabella for a consequence I had not foreseen. I had awakened an ancient evil that now resides in my Isabella. Her thirst for human blood has left her monstrous that I no longer know her true self. I have no time to spare; I must purge this evil by the third hour before dawn, for if I fail, my Isabella shall be cursed for eternity. The Libri Vitae is the only thing that can save her now.

“Nick, I think I found something,” AJ called out.

Nick walked over to AJ and looked over at the journal and read the entry for himself.

“What’s the Libri Vitae?” asked Nick, scratching his head.

“I don’t know,” AJ said, shrugging his shoulders, “it could be the book we’re looking for. It says here ‘I must purge this evil by the third hour before dawn...’. So we have until 3 o’clock to break this curse.”

Nick looked at his wristwatch, which read a quarter before two. “Well, I hope we can find this book in, like, an hour,” he said.

“It’s now or never,” AJ said. “We have to find the Libri Vitae, it might be the only thing that could save Rok and D.”
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