The candle light from the church windows revealed a man sitting at a desk next to an office window with his back to the glass. Further into the building, a woman’s dark figure could be seen moving about between the pews but nothing else about her activity could be determined. It was late evening, and the pastor and his wife were working in the church cleaning and doing book work.
From outside the stranger couldn’t tell if anyone else was inside, but now he found what he was looking for, fresh meat. He stepped up to the rear of the church and found the door ajar, the way the pastor’s wife had left it. He pulled it open slow and slid inside keeping as quiet as he could. Once inside the back store room, he found his way to the door to the altar and stepped into the shadow in the corner where the candle light couldn’t reach. He watched the pastor’s wife as she swept the floor between the pews concentrating on her work.
It was important that he kept quiet so the pastor wouldn’t enter the main part of the church. Not yet at least. First he wanted to have his way with his wife if he could. Then the stranger heard the sound of a chair scraping across the wood floor and knew the pastor was getting up from his desk. The stranger pressed hard into the corner and slid down to hide better in the dark.
The pastor entered the main room and spoke to his wife. “I need to go home for a while, I forgot some papers,” the pastor said. “Will you be alright without me for a while?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine,” the pastor’s wife replied.
The pastor nodded and turned back leaving the room. The stranger watched and waited until he heard the door close and spied the pastor out the window heading away from the church. Relieved, the stranger stood up and stepped out of the shadow and walked slowly towards the pastor’s wife.
When she noticed him, she didn’t scream or move. It was as if she was expecting him. “Who are you?” she asked in a calm voice.
“Bohdan,” the stranger replied. “Bohdan Malko.”
“What can I do for you Bohdan Malko?” the woman asked. She was nervous now and began to tremble.
“I came for your blood, and the blood of your husband,” Bohdan replied.
The woman stood motionless. She had a broom in her hand and probably realized that it would do no good if Bohdan attacked, so she kept it at her side. “I have children,” she added.
“I will come for them as well.”
“Is there any way I can stop you?”
“Is there anything you can offer, anything I can’t get for myself?”
The woman stood and thought. She had to come up with something to save herself, her husband and her children. Time was short and she needed an answer. “I can get you parishioners,” she replied. “I have access to all that go to this church.”
“And why can’t I get them for myself? Why do I need you?” Bohdan asked.
“They will find you, and kill you. I can give them to you one at a time, keep them guessing. If you take them yourself, they will find you, and they will kill you.”
Bohdan thought for a moment. “What guarantee do I have you won’t turn them on me?”
“My children, if I give you up you can take my children.”
“By that time it will be too late. I don’t see any advantage gained by saving you. I have a plan to take out everyone in this town eventually and that plan doesn’t require any help from anyone. Including you,” Bohdan replied.
“What are you? A vampire?” the pastor’s wife asked.
“Yes, isn’t it obvious?” Bohdan replied. He exposed his fangs for her to see.
“This is a church, how can you be in here? The crosses?”
“This is no church, it is a building made of wood to host a flock of hypocritical sinners. Like you and your husband.”
“We are not sinners, my husband is the pastor!”
“Tell me why you are here in the evening? What is your husband doing that he can’t do during the day?” Bohdan asked.
“He’s doing book work,” she replied.
“Book work, yes, cooking the books would be more accurate.”
The pastor’s wife stood dumbfounded, as if her secret had been exposed. “What are you talking about? My husband has to keep the books, that’s part of his job.”
“I assume there is a church board, is that correct?”
“And he shows his books to the board, is that correct?”
“How much is he skimming off the church?” Bohdan asked.
“My husband is not skimming off the books, how dare you say that!”
“My powers are limited, but I can tell something isn’t right here. I would guess he’s taking plenty, you can deny it all you want, but you know it’s true.”
The pastor’s wife shook her head as if she was either in disbelief or just caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
“This is all a moot point anyway, neither of you will live to see the dawn,” Bohdan said. “And the town will be better off for it, as will I.”
Just then a door slammed open startling both Bohdan and the pastor’s wife. Standing in the doorway, backlit from the candle light was the pastor holding a gun pointed at the vampire. “I think you’ll be the one not seeing dawn,” the pastor stated as he stepped between the pews.
“A gun, how quaint,” Bohdan said. “Everyone’s got one these days. Is that yours from the war?”
“Yes it is, Eighth Regiment Kansas volunteer if you must know,” the pastor replied.
“Ever kill anyone?” Bohdan asked.
“Oh fuck yeah, lots of greybacks, couldn’t kill enough of them.”
“Did you hear I told your wife I was a vampire?”
“No, but there is no such thing as vampires, unless you escaped from the state asylum,” the pastor said with a grin.
“No, I didn’t, I was in the war as well,” Bohdan replied.
“Maybe, but that was ten years ago, times are different now.”
“You break into my church, accuse me of stealing, and then I come to find out you’re a confederate? And a psycho as well? What a lucky man I am,” the pastor said.
“Once again, you do realize I’m a vampire,” Bohdan said.
“That’s what you say, what of it?”
“You can’t kill a vampire with a bullet.”
“I’d like to find out,” the pastor said.
“Do as you wish, this is your house. At least for now.”
The pastor took a few steps closer to the altar and pointed the gun square at Bohdan’s chest. Then his wife spoke up. “If you kill him, how will you explain it?” she asked.
“He broke in, tried to steal from the church and kill us. I’m justified,” the pastor replied.
The pastor’s wife nodded her head in agreement.
Taking careful aim, the pastor pulled the trigger of his forty four caliber and shot Bohdan in the chest with a pop and a poof of smoke that filled the air. As the smoke cleared, the pastor could see that Bohdan was unaffected and stood his ground as before.
“Now do you believe me?” Bohdan asked.
The pastor took a look at his revolver and then back at Bohdan, he took aim and squeezed off two more shots in his chest. Then one in the face. When the smoke cleared again, it was obvious Bohdan wasn’t affected and there was no wound to his face or anywhere else he could see.
“I know I shot you, I couldn’t miss from this far,” the pastor said.
“You did shoot me, I told you, I can’t be killed with a gun.”
“Then how do I kill you?”
Bohdan laughed and shook his head. “Are you kidding me? Do you think I’d tell you how to kill me? How absurd.”
“There must be a way,” the pastor said. He thought fast and ran over to an oil lamp that was setting on the fireplace mantle. It was lit and shining bright; one of the main sources of light in the room. With the lamp in hand he walked back over to where he stood before, only this time Bohdan was standing behind the altar like was the pastor.
“You’d burn your church to the ground?” Bohdan asked.
“If it meant saving my life I would,” the pastor replied.
“Funny you didn’t mention your wife in that statement. Guess when it comes down to it, saving your own life is what really matters.”
“I meant her too,” the pastor said.
“Nice catch. Now put up or shut up, toss the lamp,” Bohdan said.
“Only if I have to, if you attack I’ll burn the church to the ground with you in it.”
“How do you expect to get out? If I can’t make it, neither can you.”
“I’ll find a way,” the pastor replied. “Now get out before I light you up.”
“All that will happen if you throw that lamp is you burning down the building. I will survive and come back another day to finish what I started. Either way, you lose.”
“What do you expect me to do? Let you kill us both?”
“Good job, you included her this time,” Bohdan said. “Your wife was in the middle of making me an offer before you barged in.”
The pastor looked at his wife then back at Bohdan. “What offer?”
“She said she’d get me all the parishioners I wanted.”
“I wish you’d of came back earlier, I really don’t like repeating myself. Like I said, I’m a vampire,” Bohdan stated, this time showing off his long yellow fangs.
“By the grace of God,” the pastor said.
“Are you a real pastor?” Bohdan asked. “Or are you scamming the people of this town with that as well?”
“I’m as much a pastor as anyone else.”
“I see, what did you do before you were a pastor?”
“I was in the army, I told you that.”
“And before that?”
“I worked for the railroad a bit, and farmed. What did you do?”
“I sold slaves back to the south, I was a bounty hunter I suppose,” Bohdan replied.
“But you said you were in the war.”
“I was until I left, I didn’t care for it much, and there was profit in slave sales.”
“A vampire that sold slaves?”
“I wasn’t always a vampire. I was turned by a slave, a slave vampire. Killed the bastard after that. Like a mosquito.”
“How long have you been a vampire?” the pastor asked.
Bohdan thought for a moment. “Going on thirteen years now I suppose.”
“You’ve been living on the blood of humans for thirteen years? How come I never heard of you?”
“I’m very good at what I do, I come into a town, clean it out and leave before I get caught. Except for that one time, but that’s in the past. So we have a deal to discuss. Do I kill you both now, or do you send me a supply of victims? I’m use to hunting on my own, but if you want to get them for me, I can try that.”
“Yes, we can get you as many as you need,” the pastor said.
“You realize the second you turn on me, the deal is off and I take you both,” Bohdan said.
“No, I don’t think you do actually, I think I need some collateral.”
“What do you mean by that?” the pastor asked.
“Maybe collateral isn’t the right word, what I need is to prove to you that if you fuck me over, I fuck you back. Maybe I should visit your house, see your kids.”
“No!” the pastor shouted, you stay away from my children!”
Bohdan expected that reaction, but he didn’t think his point was clear. He needed an example that would guarantee that the pastor and his wife would never turn on him. All he needed was one of them, the other would prove to be more a value hanging from the town square disemboweled. And that’s exactly how they found the pastor’s wife, the next morning, hanging from courthouse bell tower, white, lifeless and drained of all blood. Her intestines spread on the ground in a heap covered in flies picked over by birds.