Curiously, I stepped aside to look at the vampire again. He had grown stiff at the Father’s words. He scratched his chin, his eyes narrowed as he thought. Then they widened and he said: “Oh, you love her!”
Immediately, his subjects gave sounds, which probably were laughter. I leaned around the Father, trying to take a look at his face, whether there was a clue to be seen, that told the vampire what kind of feelings Father Michael cherished for me. And indeed, it was overflowing with affection. But I also saw determination, that he would protect what he loved, and despair, he could lose me.
“That’s so romantic!” the vampire sighed, clapping his hands. “After all the years of loneliness you’ve found your love. You have no idea, how happy I am for you, church man.”
Yeah, right! I thought.
“That makes everything far more interesting, right, my friends?” he said to his accomplices. Without hesitation, they agreed. “If you don’t give her to us, we will get her, church man,” the vampire said, turning round to face us. His eyes lit up, gruesomely.
“You cannot enter the church!” the Father shouted.
“That doesn’t matter. We can catch her in the streets at night any time. In the depths of your hearts you both know this fight is futile. We are too many. Even now as we all stand here having a lovely chat, more of us are born and none of you can do anything about it. This war has been lasting for centuries, now. What was it good for? The hunters die like the flies on the old church’s walls you call your home. Only we, the powerful ones, stand the test of time. So, why don’t you just give up and Ada comes out to me?” the vampire asked, holding out his hand to me. For a while, he waited for me. But when I didn’t move, his eyes flashed with impatience. Slowly, he lowered his hands. He looked at Father Michael again. “Every night she hunts us. Every night we hunt her. Maybe you trained her well, church man. But it’s only a matter of time until she makes a mistake. I hate to repeat myself, but I do it for the sake of you. Every single creature you can see here is subject to my command. They work for me. The times in which each species fought for itself are over. That makes us stronger and more dangerous for her,” the Undead said, pointing at me. He grinned, when he saw me staring at him, scared. It had been his aim to make me feel unsure and to discourage me. Well, he succeeded. Everything he had said was right. We were fighting a hopeless battle. It was a Sisyphean task, that wasn’t meant to end. As soon as I had killed a monster, another one was born. It would have been easy to except his offer to surrender, much easier than to continue the hunt, basically achieving nothing.
“Sooner or later we will get her. What do you want to do about it, priest? Do you intend to escort her from now on? Will you leave your safe church?” The vampire looked amused. He was in the picture. But why?
“How come you know so much about him?” I asked.
The vampire looked at me, smiling. Willingly, he answered my question. “Just like your teacher has great knowledge, we know lots about him,” he told me, grinning deceitfully. A shiver ran down my spine. I wondered what things about the Father he knew. Were there any dark secrets which he had never told me?
The Father and the vampire stared at each other. Maybe they spoke with each other by telepathy? Moments passed with nobody speaking. While the vampire’s subjects waited patiently, I was a bundle of nerves!
“Well, I see we’re not getting anywhere,” the vampire said after a while, starting to walk up and down again. “I give you two weeks to think over your decision, church man. During that time, we will withdraw. There will be no ambushes on people. So, the two of you,” he pointed at the Father and me, “have got some time you can spend together.”
How very kind! It comforted me tremendously.
I watched the vampire moving backwards, standing between the other vampires. He spread out his arms and immediately there was a buzz of activity. One by one, the monsters and demons disappeared into the darkness.
“We will meet again soon. Farewell, sweet huntress,” he called out to me. His coat flapped like the wings of a bat and he was gone.
Like petrified the Father and I looked at the spot where the vampire had been. Then Father Michael sighed and relaxed a bit. He grabbed me by the shoulder and pushed me back into the church. He shut the portal forcefully, locking it quickly. He leaned his forehead against the wood. I didn’t say anything but watched him. He was so exhausted and tired. Apparently, the conversation had cost him all his strength. Now, the masquerade fell off of him. He had seemed to be cool but deep down inside he wasn’t.