Even though the Father vigorously protested, I got ready for my patrol. I just had to. I felt good and elated. Maybe it was because I had finally gotten what I had missed. But no matter what the reason was, I really wanted to go hunting. “The rest is over. I’m back,” I said, merrily. One last time, I felt my weapons and climbed up the stairs to the Father’s office. He didn’t want to leave my side since half an hour, telling me over and over again I should return to the church as soon as I felt dizzy. His monotonous singing got me on the nerves. I rushed through the office, entered the nave of the church, so I got quickly away from him. Compared to his drivel the hunt for monsters would be relaxing.
“Please, Ada. Promise me,” he begged.
I turned to him. “Ten times I promised you to do what you told me. Trust me, Michael. If I don’t feel well, I come back. There’s no need for your ongoing admonitions,” I replied, going to him. I put my hand on his cheek, patting it. “Don’t worry,” I said and kissed him quickly. Then I turned away from him to rob him of the opportunity to instruct me again by hopping to the portal and opening it in one go. I lifted my foot off the ground, putting it over the threshold. When the tip of my toes barely touched the ground, I stopped because of the sight, which greeted me. I couldn’t move, blink or breathe. I couldn’t even think. I just could stare, as a reception committee of a special kind had gathered in front of Father Michael’s church.
Pretty much every kind of monster I knew was here, at least four of each sort. I saw the claw and smallpox monsters. I saw the smallest ones, which hunt as a pack. There were also the female demons, which were only after men. Next to them there were the monsters, whose arms and legs were so long they reached to the ground. The contrast between these ugly creatures and the long-legged, sexy demons was grotesque. To top it all, I discovered a group of vampires.
Suddenly, one of them stepped forward, standing in the ray of light, which fell outside through the open church door. His long light hair and the white skin of his face shone like the moon in the sky above us. He had red eyes. Their sight sent a shiver down my spine. He wore a long black coat. Its material was shiny. Was it made of leather? The vampire spread out his arms in a peaceful gesture, standing in the middle of this bizarre gathering. I saw his long, thin fingers with their sharp nails. Even from where I stood I saw how dirty they were. I tried not to think about it too much, what he had done with those hands. The vampire acted as if he was the boss of the gang. Judging by the way the other monsters looked at him, so full of devotion, admiration and awe, I was right. He was their master.
“Good evening, Ada,” the vampire said, his voice soft and gentle. I jumped, when he said my name. How come he knew my name? Finally, my flight instinct set in, making me go back inside the church. I really hoped the protection of the church worked perfectly today, too.
“I have come in peace,” the vampire said, smiling. It was supposed to look nice, but the pointed teeth didn’t quite fit.
“Do you really think we buy that?” Father Michael asked, shielding me.
“I just want to talk, church man,” the vampire replied. “My friends won’t hurt you. They work for me and follow my instructions.”
I doubted that it was true. No monster worked for another one. When I leaned around the Father and looked at the monsters, I saw that a lot of the creatures faces had contorted into grimaces, grinning cunningly, what unmasked the vampire’s words as a lie.
“What do you want?” Father Michael asked, taking over. I was grateful for that as I wasn’t able to speak. I was just too taken aback by this gathering.
“I think you already know, church man,” the vampire answered. His red eyes darted to me and he grinned salaciously.
Father Michael looked at me briefly. Then he turned back to the vampire. “That’s impossible and you know that! It’s not negotiable!” he said calmly and matter-of-factly, but forcefully.
The vampire’s face was a stone mask. You couldn’t see what he was thinking about the Father’s reply. The vampire didn’t say anything and just looked the Father in the eyes.
Nervously and scared, I looked from one to the other. I was fascinated by the peace and strength the Father radiated. He wasn’t impressed nor was he intimidated by the vampire.
“The three I sent to you and which you killed,” the vampire’s cold voice sounded and he looked at me now, “were here to bring you to me. They were supposed to attack and to knock you out, but weren’t allowed to kill you.”
So, that’s the explanation for their strange behavior during their attack. I thought he hadn’t been very precise towards his subjects. Even if they had understood his instructions, they had not been able to hold back. Apparently, the temptation had been too strong, as they had almost killed me.
“The trio’s members of the same species weren’t thrilled, huntress, when they heard their friends won’t come back. You really annoyed them,” he said, shaking his head. “Just because I told them to hold back, you’re still alive,” he added.
Should I be grateful?
“They follow me and listen to me, as I hand you over to them. They know their moment will come when they will get the chance to take revenge. But the privilege to kill you is mine.”
Distraught, I blinked at him. It made the vampire grin diabolically.
“You must die, huntress,” he told me, shrugging, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “You’re a real nuisance! It’s our nature to kill. You interfere in our nature.”
“It’s also my nature. I hunt and kill those like you!” I replied, trying to put as much strength and determination in the words as I could.
The vampire smiled. Did he hear the fear in my voice just like animals smell you’re scared? Suddenly, he put his hands behind his back. I found it quite weird not to be able to see his hands. Next to me, Father Michael also stiffened, as if he was expecting something to happen. Maybe the vampire wanted to give his odd-job men a sign with his hands, which we weren’t supposed to see. The vampire started to walk up and down, lost in his own thoughts. He shook his head, grimacing. After a while, he stopped abruptly, shrugging.
“Give her to us!” he demanded loudly, looking Father Michael in the eyes. The monsters and demons roared with joy. They had been waiting for these words.
“Never!” the Father yelled back, planting himself in front of me, so I stared directly at his back. It unnerved me that I couldn’t see what was happening on the square in front of the church and I feared the Father could do something stupid such as jumping forward and being outside of the church’s protection. Yet, he held back.