“Durant, we found something.”
“What do you mean you found something?”
“Live dead bodies.”
“Yes, vampires. Happy fucking holidays.”
“I’ll be right there.”
Austin Durant had planned on spending the morning grading papers. When he wasn’t teaching history at the local state college he was a contractor specializing in restoring historic buildings. When he wasn’t doing that he was a vampire hunter. The vampire hunter part wasn’t planned. It just happened.
Now a call from his construction site foreman Matt changed his Sunday morning plans. Damn. He made a call and headed out.
His attorney and friend (the term friend was sometimes questionable) Aaron Todd stood on the front porch. How could anyone always look so elegant, even in jeans and a fleece jacket?
“Why don’t you people take care of your own?”
“You people? Really Austin. You sound almost racist.”
“You’re a vampire.”
“The ones in the walls are not my people.”
Aaron had a point. He was an attorney and lived in a beautiful modern house, with a beautiful wife who looked like she was right out of a Botticelli painting. Aaron had nothing in common with the dried up husks with long yellow teeth and claw like fingers who were hibernating in the old walls.
Aaron was holding a pink box. “I brought donuts and coffee for your guys. It was the least I could do.”
“Thank you. The good kind,” said Austin, looking at the beautiful assortment of donuts, sweet rolls and bear claws. “Do you ever eat these things?”
“No. They make me sick.”
They waked back to the small bricked in room where the vampires had been found. The 8 x 8 foot space had been bricked in from the inside.
Aaron looked down at the still dead looking forms. “I know those two. I’d wondered what had happened to them. Not that I cared. I was glad to see them gone. The last time I saw them was this time of year. My wife Verity and I were downtown late at night and spotted these two on the steps of the new Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.”
“It was 1890.” Aaron smiled and sipped his coffee. “They watched us with empty eyes coveting our existence. These two in the walls are creatures with no souls. They exist with nothing but longing for blood. They have no idea what the empty void is that fills them. That is why they wall themselves up to sleep for years. They know no torment. They feel no longing. They exist and that is all.
These two had come out to California to seek their fortunes right after the Civil war, like so many uneducated dullards. They were both pretty enough and young enough that they made a living selling their bodies. They were stupid enough to be seduced by evil. They forfeited their souls for eternal life. Either that or the idiots who converted them botched the job and only brought them back after their bodies were empty of any life at all. It doesnt matter. They might not even have had souls to begin with. They were the kind of people who just survive and nothing else. Their lives have no meaning.”
“I am realistic.”
“You saw them on the cathedral steps. You were going to tell me something about them.”
“It was two days before Christmas, they sat on the steps huddled together. I was going to approach them and tell them to leave town, when a priest came out into the dark and sat with them. We could hear what he said. I’ll never forget.”
Aaron took a deep breath as if he was almost human. “It was obvious they had been there before. The priest made a sign of the cross then put his hands on their shoulders and said, those who are loved will earn their souls. It is not in the scripture but I believe it. I know it. You are loved. Believe me. Believe my brother and sister.”
Austin was amazed at what the vampire told him. “Do you believe that Aaron?”
“I want to, but no, I do not believe it.”
Austin knew vampires were cold hearted but he assumed that maybe… then again, when it came to the heart of a vampire assumptions were dangerous.
“By the way,” said Aaron, “the good priest was found dead a week later. His body had been drained of all blood. Funny how things work out that way.”
They looked down at the corpse-like vampires who lay on an ancient cot, huddled together in a cold embrace. Their old fashioned clothes still showed some color through the dusty and faded threads.
Austin raised the chain saw and was about to start it up when the male opened his eyes. It sounded like paper shredding. The woman did the same.
“Do it now,” hissed Aaron.
Austin started the chainsaw and cut off their heads.
He looked up and saw writing on the wall scrawled in what could have been blood above the cot.
We no not wat we do
“We know not what we do,” Austin read out loud.
In the curled up clawed hand of the woman Austin found a small carved figure of a baby in a manger. The paint looked almost new.
In the hand of the man was a holly branch.
“Those were gifts from the priest,” said Aaron.
The bodies turned to dust before their eyes.
“Aaron, what do you want to do with the ashes?”
“You have a shop vac don’t you?”
“Man, you’re cold. No pun intended.”
Aaron shrugged. Austin put the baby in his pocket and gave the dried holly branch to Aaron.
“Maybe I should believe,” said Aaron.
Austin put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Maybe you should.”
Austin and Elizabeth Stories
What happens when a History Professor/Restoration Expert/Player turns into a Vampire Hunter? He discovers basements full of undead creatures, a thriving community of hip and trendy Modern Vampires and the maybe love of his life (or maybe the cause of his death.)
For the complete story of Austin and Elizabeth (from the beginning) check the links below.
Part 2: Memory of Distant Love
Part 3: Dark Dreams of the Hunted
Part 4: About Those Pesky Undead Folks
Part 11: Even Vampire Hunters Get the Blues
That was pretty tough… But I liked it anyway. Somehow Austin gets more and more into my focus. 😉
Powerful and moving. Well done.
Yes, it’s just best to get rid of those types of vampires… it had to be done.
Pretty much. Thanks for dropping by.
Reblogged this on West Coast Review and commented:
A different kind of Christmas holiday story – #16 of the Austin and Elizabeth series.