"Phew," Delilah said, leaning heavily against the bathroom door. "Such a lot of stairs. I need to catch my breath a moment."
Berenice was at the mirror, touching up her pale peach lip-gloss. She pursed her lips and blew a kiss at her reflection. "Don't I look a treat! Don't we both."
"I always did say peach was your color."
"The mauve doesn't suit you though. Makes you look pasty. I told you to go for the yellow."
"Never liked yellow, not since..."
"Hush," Berenice tilted her head. "Let's get back down. Don't want them looking in the cases now."
"Right," Delilah said, and winked.
"And cut it out with the act. You're laying it on kind of thick, sweetie. Where are we supposed to be from anyhow?"
"I get carried away."
"You need to quit that amateur dramatics society. It's going to your head."
"Don't let's fight. They might hear us," Berenice said and left, leaving Delilah to fume after her. But by the time they got down the stairs both were once again wreathed in vapid smiles. The two sinister figures waiting for them appeared to have been arguing. Smerelda was glaring redly and Vlad bore a scratch on one of his pale cheeks. By dint of a great effort the two faux tourists managed not to notice anything was wrong. Vlad helped drag the heavy cases into the kitchen where Berenice and Delilah then shooed him away.
"You've gotta let us alone to work our magic now," Delilah said in a voice that dripped sugary sweetness. "Can't have you learning all our secrets!"
"But I want...!" Vlad said.
Berenice shut the door in his face and shot the bolt. "Now now, I swore to my mother on her deathbed not to let the recipe out of the family!" she called as it slammed.
They hefted the cases onto the kitchen table, dislodging Vlad's little pile of vegtables. They opened them up, and smiled lovingly at the contents.
"What'll we cook?" Delilah said, winking. Her false eyelashes batted against her plump, powdered cheek.
"How bout a stake sandwich? He like that, you think?" Berenice giggled and ran her fingers over a custom-made oak crossbow. She was about to say something else, but the crack of a thunderbolt made both ladies jump. The kitchen became darker than before and the small back door, unnoticed by either one until that moment, began slowly to open. Was it merely the howling wind? Or something else...