I thought the church’s protection would surround me on the step in front of the portal. Too bad I was wrong. It worked for physical attacks but not for mental ones. I wondered whether Father Michael knew about that tiny security gap. Unfortunately, it didn’t help me now. The power that had an effect on me changed. I couldn’t do anything about it, couldn’t resist it. Without me wanting it, I moved. A magnet seemed to draw me to the vampire. I knew it was wrong, but my body disobeyed me. It moved by itself and brought me closer to the undead.
Suddenly, I felt pressure around my body. Somebody whispered my name. When I recognized the voice, I heaved a sigh of relief. I’ve always felt safe in his arms. They were strong and protected me. He let go off me too soon. Then Father Michael stood protectively between the vampire and me. He grabbed me by the shoulders.
“You must resist, Ada. Fight!” he told me.
I tried to answer him, but my lips opened and moved uncontrolled. I heard strange sounds. Did I make them? Judging by the Father’s look, I had. I panicked. I had nothing under control!
“I know you can do it. You must fight against it!” he said.
“I want to!” I screamed in my mind, hoping he could read it in my eyes.
The monsters watching us cried out. It didn’t make sense to me, but they seemed disappointed that the Father had intervened.
“You won’t get her!” he called.
The protesting got louder. Did I hear laughter at his words?
“Beg, priest! Beg me for mercy! I like to see your sort on their knees!” the vampire hissed. It was sick!
I couldn’t see him as Father Michael obstructed my view. In return, I had heard the vampire’s mockery clearly. I just hoped the Father wouldn’t comply with the request. I didn’t want to see him on his knees in front of that monstrosity. The next moment, I felt the invisible string holding me tighten, pulling me to the vampire. I ran into the Father. He put his hands on my shoulders again, trying to push me back into the church. I knew he was muscular and strong, but he had found a more powerful competitor in the vampire. Father Michael’s efforts were of no avail. He couldn’t break the spell.
The man stood in front of me like a tree, unshakeable and deeply rooted. He whispered my name. All the time, he spoke to me, pleading with me to resist the vampire’s power. I wanted to tell him I was trying to do what he said, but no words left my mouth. He didn’t feel what I felt. He didn’t know how strong the invisible power was. I wasn’t able to cope with it, and I was still moving forward.
“Ada, please!” he begged me.
The only part of my body I could control was my eyes. They looked up at him, telling him about my pain while I was trying to fulfill his wish. I discovered all of the sadness and realization in his face. Finally, he understood I was lost.
“What a fantastic sight you both present! It’s really heart-rending. It’s also starting to bore me. It’s time you realize what you’ve done, church man,” the undead said.
The Father’s eyes moved from my face to a spot in the church. His eyes widened. For a moment I saw him holding his breath. I saw it. I understood. I couldn’t do anything about it.
“This woman is your weak spot. Your love for her is your gravest mistake.”
The vampire was right, absolutely right. Father Michael’s love for me had made him leave the church’s protection. Without me, he wouldn’t have done it. It was all my fault! Now I had to watch his face change from one moment to the next. First, he looked surprised. Then he was just sad. The pressure of his hands on my shoulders got stronger. He seemed to clutch at me, so he found support, as if he was too weak to stand on his legs alone. I heard him sigh, felt his soft breath on my face. Then he dropped to his knees in front of me. I could only watch idly as the vampire’s power was still holding me. I wanted to lean forward, to help my friend, my teacher, my lover, but my body still wouldn’t obey me. I tried to look down. I just could make out his shock of dark hair, but I couldn’t see his face. Then I noticed something strange that almost caused my heart to stop. From below the Father’s shoulder, the end of an arrow jutted out. In my head I called out his name as I started to cry. They had shot him from behind. The deadly arrow stuck in his heart.
Father Michael lifted his head. His eyes moved from this side to that. It took him some time to find me. His skin was cold and clammy. Breathing was difficult for him.
“I’m sorry, Ada,” he said. He was so sad. He regretted something. I think he was also scared. His lips formed the three magical words everybody in the world likes to hear. While I read them, a tear rolled down his cheek to his chin. Then it fell away and he did likewise. I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t hear him breathing. I knew he was dead.