A brisk walk in the fog would for coffee was just the trick to wake the dead. Austin was feeling dead that morning. Only five blocks and he’d be at the neighborhood coffee place. Everything there was organic and happy. There were smells of cinnamon in the air and cheerful young people with dreadlocks, and happy senior citizens wearing Birkenstocks and wool socks. It was awesome. He’d get a nice cup of coffee that would warm his hands and with any luck his mood.
Passing no less than five dog walkers he thought that it was time he got a dog. Dogs were always happy. They were always glad to see you. They didn’t vanish like girlfriends who never called. They didn’t have complicated feelings. Dogs usually didn’t have strange creepy friends. They didn’t tell you that it wasn’t going to work. If you loved a dog it would love you back. It was simple.
Then again a dog wasn’t a woman.
It wasn’t as if she was any woman. It could have worked. His head spun just thinking about it.
At the coffee shop he made small talk to the staff and some of his neighbors who were there. Then he left and walked up the street towards the cemetery. This is where his girlfriend should have been. It wasn’t as if he wanted her dead. Hell, she was already dead. The woman was a Vampire. He was a Vampire Hunter. But that didn’t matter. She was an attorney. He was a history professor. She painted. He restored old buildings. They never ran out of things to talk about.
Sure at first it was weird that she never warmed up either physically or emotionally. Eventually she warmed up emotionally, then she was gone. Not completely gone, just gone for him. It was dead just like the bodies under the graves and the dried up husks of hundred year old Vampires and murder victims he found underneath buildings.
Shit, this didn’t happen to other people. They didn’t find anything in old crawl spaces except rusted out matchbox cars, old bottles and dead rats. He found Vampires.
He turned towards the crypt of a once great beauty who died young. He couldn’t imagine building a crypt for a dead wife, much less dead anyone else. Most of his friends were married. Most had kids. He went to a bar and met a girl. Pretty normal if you ask most people. But the girl he met was a Vampire, and he fell in love, but he kept on top of it. He never let her get the best of him. He never let her control him. He kept his senses open at all times.
It had been weeks since he’d heard from her.
Austin walked around to the far side of the crypt and there she stood, as beautiful as the dead woman in the crypt had once been. Even in jeans and black fleece jacket, with one of those stupid infinity scarves around her neck she was the most beautiful woman he’d even seen. She had a cup of coffee in her hands, as if she needed to warm them up.
“When I got coffee they told me they’d seen you walking this direction. You always go to her crypt. Any reason for that?”
Austin looked at Elizabeth and shook his head. “Where have you been?”
“Nowhere. How is school?”
Well, and this is where we end today because I ran out words and I don’t know what happens next. So I’m posting a short short short story below. You might have read this one already.
Father Paul: Part 14 of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories
She remembered when he was just in high school. His family lived next door in an old ranch house with a rabbit warren of added on rooms. There were six Jackson kids. Paul was the peacemaker, the child of compassion, and the smartest of the bunch. He went to the local all boys’ Catholic high school then on to get a doctorate in theology and the priesthood.
Elizabeth never questioned his faith or his decision to enter the priesthood. There would be those who would question what they could not understand. Paul just took it as part of the job.
In turn Paul never questioned Elizabeth. He certainly asked questions but never judged. He just accepted what neither one of them could change. Nor did he ask her if she was afraid of eternal damnation of her soul or her life in the shadows.
Now years after they met they sat together. At the age of 54 his hair was turning gray and crows feet crinkled at the edges of his eyes when he laughed. At 195 years she looked the same as the day he met her in 1975 – a beautiful vision for any young man, including the teenage Paul.
The two old friends walked along the path in the oak forest together. Elizabeth took Paul’s arm.
“You always accepted me as I am. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”
“Stop.” She then embraced him. It was a warm day but her embrace was like ice to him. “I mean it Paul.”
He never used the word Vampire when he thought of her. She was what she was. Maybe a creature of evil but he didn’t know that for sure. Sure she drank the blood of others but that was nothing compared to some of the evil he’d seen in the world. At the same time he feared for his own soul when he was with her but he couldn’t resist. It wasn’t romantic or sexual at all. She’d always been there for him, unconditional. But that wasn’t it. She drew him in as if she was the only one who knew his heart and soul – as if she owned him.
Elizabeth let him go and then gave him a knowing smile. “I understand it is sometimes trying to have your own Vampire. You handle it well. Oh, yes, by the way, I’m having a party next weekend. You know, just cocktails and finger food. I want you to meet my boyfriend Austin. He is like you, not a priest, but warm, like you. You know what I mean. Forbidden love. Who would have thought. But you know how that is.”
“Uh, sure. A boyfriend? Sure. Will Vampires be there?”
“Of course. No worries. You know most of them.”
Paul was waiting for lightning to strike but it never did – never with Elizabeth.
To be continued….
For more on the Austin and Elizabeth Stories – the complete set CLICK HERE.