The tip of my sword was the first thing, which reached out into the dark night. I poked around in the air to show potential enemies, who lurked outside the door, that I was ready and prepared. Carefully, I took a further step forward and thrusted the sword to the left and the right. If there was someone in front of the door, I was hoping to hurt him straight away. But I didn’t hit anybody and I couldn’t hear anything.
I think, I can venture out a little bit more, I thought and moved forwards. I examined the square in front of the church and searched the area. Again, I couldn’t see anything. I jumped to the right side of the doorframe, leant against it and peeped over to the road’s other side. There was nothing to be seen, too. Quickly, I jumped to the left side of the portal and checked the church’s right side to see whether someone was waiting for me there. No! There was nobody. Phew! I drew a deep breath and relaxed.
“This morning, I had the impression you would approach the situation rather fearlessly,” the Father said behind me.
I whirled around and saw him leaning against the baptismal font. He had folded his arms, looking at me amused. “And now you stand here, nervously jumping around between the doorposts, as if you were…well…scared?” he guessed, thoughtfully scratching his chin.
Fiercely, I looked at him. “That’s very funny. You always warn me to be careful. Now I am careful and you are still complaining. You should decide what you like better,” I said, pointing at him with my sword.
Father Michael grinned and came over to me with his hands in the air. “I admit defeat, Miss Ada. Of course, you’re right. I prefer you being careful.”
I nodded. “That’s better, Padre,” I said, lowering my sword.
“Take care of yourself,” he whispered, leaning down to me and giving me a gentle kiss.
“Always,” I answered, winking at him and kissing him back.
We both jumped when suddenly a loud bang could be heard. I turned around and saw the last sparkling bits of a firecracker between the leafless branches of the trees. Today was December 27th. The end of the year was near. New Year’s Eve was just around the corner. Every year, there were lots of crazy people, who spent all their money on firecrackers without thinking of the tradition’s actual meaning. Although, we all have plenty of inner demons and ghosts, that need to be chased away.
I turned around to the Father. We looked at each other with wide eyes. The firecracker had frightened us pretty much. Insecure, we smiled. The Father rubbed the nape of his neck and fiddled around with his hair. He felt embarrassed about the fact, that a simple firecracker could put him out just like that. After a while, my heartbeat slowed down again and I could do what I did best: to hunt.
I took a deep breath. It was cold and the wind blew gently. The sky was clear and the stars twinkled and danced above me. I could see a shooting star. Quickly, I tried to think of a wish. I simply wished for safety for tonight, tomorrow evening and for the rest of our lives. I turned to the Father one last time, smiling at him. Then, I started to run. Like greased lightning, I ran through my hometown and enjoyed the sight of the streets I well knew. I perceived everything much clearer: the smells, the wind and the noises. I felt free. I enjoyed to be back and to take care of everything. For a very long time I had neglected my hometown, but now I was back.
I don’t know whether it was because of the time of the year or me having not shown up for such a long time, but tonight turned into a long night with lots of work for me to do. When I returned to the church at 4 a.m. I had sent twenty monsters to the happy hunting grounds and had gotten a handful of scratches and scrapes and bruises. My coat was torn, my pants had several holes and on my cheek there was a cut as red as Rudolph’s nose. Father Michael looked me up and down. When he saw my face, he grimaced. He gripped my chin, turning my head from one side to the other to take a closer look at my injuries. With his thumb he brushed the dirt from my forehead and felt the scratch on my cheek. Though he was careful it hurt.
“Ouch!” I said and stepped back. The Padre sighed. He took me by the hand and led me down the aisle between the wooden benches, heading for his office, which lay behind the dark red curtain in the back of the church. Suddenly, I had tears in my eyes and pouted. I knew what was about to come: a treatment with the stinging disinfectant iodine tincture.