I heard the music the moment I opened the portal. It wasn’t loud but still unusual and so I stood rooted to the spot. I tried to remember the piece, which was playing, but suddenly I couldn’t hear a thing. Did I imagine the music? As careful as possible I entered the church, trying to close the portal without making any noise. I even took care of the key ring, so it wouldn’t jingle when I turned it around. Suddenly, the music started to play again. Slowly, I walked down the aisle between the wooden benches. The whole time, I searched the church for Father Michael. I couldn’t see him. He wasn’t standing behind one of the columns. He wasn’t standing next to one of the statues of the saints and he also wasn’t standing in front of the curtain on the right side of the altar, where the reception room was. I looked to the left and saw the dark red curtain there. It looked quiet untidy. I never left it that way and it’s not Father Michael’s thing, too, to leave it like that. But it had to be him as he had been the last who had walked through it after I had left the church to hunt. Apart from that, the door to his office stood wide open, a rarity. Thoughtful, I looked at the scenario and walked over to the curtain. I arranged its pleats like they should be. Once, I was satisfied how it looked, I nodded and slipped behind the curtain and entered the Father’s office. It surprised me to see no one was there. I thought the Father would be here. All I could see was that the music had become louder.
“Mhh,” I made, closing the door behind me. I saw the door to our secret underground home standing open. I walked over to it and stood on the top step of the stairs, which led downwards. Here, the music was even louder. It filled the entire underground construction. I shuddered. It was scary and spooky to hear the operatic aria but not to see a man who listened to it.
“Michael?” I called worried. No one answered. My voice was no match for the singer’s one. So, I went down the stairs and walked along the passageway. I came to the kitchen. The room was deserted. I went to the Father’s bedroom. Its door was open. I looked for him in his bathroom. But he was nowhere to be seen. I searched all rooms, but I couldn’t find the Father. All that changed was the volume of the singer’s voice. I was used to loud music, but no cool E-guitar solo had ever hurt my ears like these high-pitched sounds. Reluctantly, I followed the music. I’d preferred to run away, but I was still looking for the Father. He must be somewhere! He couldn’t go up in smoke, could he?
Finally, I came to our living room. The door was also open. I gave it a push, making it swung open, so the entire room showed. Soon, I saw Father Michael. He stood with his back to me in front of the shelves with the bible collection. I called his name, but he didn’t respond. It was no surprise as the music was playing so loud. I went over to him. I stood close beside him, thinking he would notice me being here. He didn’t. Slowly, I got angry. Was he playing with me? Was he doing it on purpose?
I moved closer to him. If I would have inhaled deeply, he would have felt the movement of my rib cage against his arms. Still, he didn’t notice me or maybe he ignored me.
“That’s incredible!” I thought, looking at him madly.
Surprised, I saw that his eyes were closed and his lips formed the words the opera singer sang. It was fascinating how synchronously the two were. When the singer started the impressive climax of the aria, he fell silent and let her finish the piece of music alone. For the last few seconds of the song he smiled blissfully. I could also see him cry. The music died away. Father Michael opened his eyes, looking at the books in front of him. I watched him from the side. I didn’t dare to speak. There was nothing I could say. I knew he loved classical music, but I didn’t expect it to make him cry.
“You’re back,” he said. He turned his head to me and looked at me with shiny eyes.
I nodded. I raised my hand to dry the wet trail of his tears. At my touch, he closed his eyes, enjoying the tenderness.
“Do you want me to help you stow away the weapons?” he asked. He opened his eyes, took my hand and kissed it gently.
“No, it’s okay. I will do that,” I said. I was sure he wanted to listen to some more music. I didn’t want to keep him off of it. But he wasn’t very happy about my answer. He didn’t say anything, but the look on his face told me everything I needed to know. He wanted to be near me. But where did the urge come from? Was my decision to surrender myself to the vampire the reason for the Father’s desire to be close to me? Did he want us to spend as much time as possible together, even if it was just about putting my sword back into the glass safe? That must be the reason. Instead of being happy about me giving him time to listen to his favorite music, he looked disappointed. He seemed to beg me to help me. Oh gosh! Sighing, I gave in. I handed my bow over to him, so he could carry it. It made him smile. He was happy again. Fantastic!