Staying in the Church
It Was That Night
It was close upon midnight when we saw the gentleman striding the pavement.
We traded glances, imagining what we'd do with the loot we'd grab.
Edwin and Gar took off and I behind, but skid in a pile left by a nag, and went down to land on my rump.
Twasn't a few moments took the world to stop spinning.
As I did to rise I see in front of me Gar lying in the road. Then I note the gentleman leaning over Edwin.
The gentleman looked at me, he did, and I saw the blood and the fangs.
I called out an oath, got meself up and gone so fast I left my hat.
I ran me straight home and lost my sense.
Twas the next thing be me in bed, and old Marm asking what happened, and me not even able to talk.
Someone got grog and after a few swallows I did tell them what I'd seen.
A few hearty lads thought of going out but Elspeth claimed I was drunk. Aye, she claimed I be drunk and the others must be worse.
Was nothing I said could be taken as more than babblings, decreed Elspeth, and so the lads went their way.
I sat in me bed until sunrise, holding a crucifix I'd taken from a past victim. When the sun blessed me, I lay back, telling myself was all dreaming.
Aye, was all dreaming I say, until Cowan began shouting about Gar and Edwin being found dead, with deep bites in their necks from some beast.
And that's when everyone came round me using the word 'Vampire.'
Twasn't yet seven in the morning when I found meself at a church.
Aye, that was me at the Church.
I went in and never came out.
I gave up my past life of street thug, layabout, drunkard and otherwise bad sort, took my orders and became Father Francis.
During the time between that night and me becoming a priest there were other reports of strange deaths.
As I'd taken a vow of silence I was hearing and saying nothing.
Every so often I'd get the image in my mind clear as t'were it before me.
I prayed hard upon it, asking the memory be removed but it never left. I told myself Vampires don't exist and I must have seen something else. But it didn't help, for I know what I'd seen.
I'd seen Gar flat out on the road, arms outstretched, dead for certain, and Ed lying there while his blood was sucked from him by the fresh faced gentleman whose eyes had met mine.
The gentleman who was out there, somewhere, waiting for me. Waiting to take my life, drink my blood, and go off, leaving me a corpse.
I'm a coward, I know. Ought arm myself with holy water, my crucifix and go out there and save the town, but I was afraid to step out of the church.
Sure I missed the pub and the women and the wasteful ease of a life I'd had before, but there is missing and missing, and when the choice was a woman and a pint and being feasted upon by the undead I stay in the Church.