From the turbid white sky quietly was raining sparkling snow, the city just awaking, somewhere from far came the sound of the church bell. Just on the top of the heavy iron cross was sitting black haired creature of the night. Snowflakes was falling and melting on his shoulders or fading into his hair, his empty eyes were watching the crowd which was in rush for the Sunday liturgy, now they were of no interest to him.
It was hard to say that something interested him in this moment; a few drops of blood fell and crashed into the dome of the church, leaving crimson trail on the frozen roof. Why everything was turning so wrong?
He knew she could never forgive him for what he did, for what he was, that’s why he was trying to keep distance as far as he could from her. Or anyone else. On the top of it hunters were on his trail, it was best for everyone to stay away now.
Chilling north wind blow and swept over old church, made people hurrying to the doors wraping in their scarf and coats, and vampire to stand and throw himself in another fly, like he was looking for something lost before so many years.
He left the place where the crowd already dispersed and turned to the square, and then – some pub or out of the town.
He wasn’t gone two hundred meters when ferocious roar and a cry of a child broke the silence. He turned back and broke into run, at the street with dead end huge black dog was shut a girl, five or six years old. She was crying and drawing back to the wall.
He leaned, his eyes burned in red, ferocious growl came from his throat, and he strengthened and grab the beast’s fur setting it aside. Dog rolled and hit heaped garbage bins, whimpered and ran away.
“Who are you?” hesitant voice came to him, he raised his eyes.
“Well, let’s say I just last. You have a luck today, girl.”
He lends his hand and her tiny fingers thrust into his palm.
Girl was wearing old crimson cloak, brown boots, blue beret was hiding her curled light blond hair, and her cheeks were purple from the cold, her eyes – blue like bright sky.
“Thanks for saving me, I thought it would eat me!” kid was still shaking.
“Why you are alone, where are your parents?”
At the end of the square was a little cafe shop, he lead her that way.
“They gone to church, I was waiting for Melo. Michael, my crow, I’ve lost him when the storm started.
“We will find them later, now… Do you like hot chocolate?”
He was sitting at the warm cafe with her against him, her tiny white fingers were wrapped around hot cup.
“My name is Amelia, you can call me Amy. And who are you?”
“You were going to the church too?” kid asked.
“Not exactly. I was coming back actually.”
Amelia was drinking from the cup watching at him, her big blue eyes exploring him. Alex felt her hand slid down his face, removing long black hair which was hiding it as a veil. She was trusting him and she should not.
“Why you are sad?”
What was the point? As that kid would understand it.
“I hurt someone.” He said at the end. “I girl I loved.”
“Did you hit her?” suddenly little girl’s arm pulled back. She shrank in place.
“No, I didn’t.”
“My father is beating my mum” Amelia said. “I’m so scared when he starts acting like this!”
“I didn’t hit her” Alex started again. “Just told her something that hurt her. I can’t go back after that.”
“But if she loves you, she will forgive you!” girl was nodding.
Alex allowed himself passing his eyes over her face. Why he felt there was so many truth in the words of this little girl? She never thought what she was talking because she doesn’t need to lie, she wasn’t familiar with the hypocrisy other people used to know.
The only thing that was on his way stopping him to go back to her was only the fact that she might never forgive him. But who would do that, after all he was damned.
The quiet music behind the bar was running thought his memories making him remember something. Blurry faces, another snowy day, screams, blood… He did not want seeing her ends like this, the same way. If those abominations find him he should be alone, because other way she would be their victim too. Hunters never cared who was innocent; in this game everyone ever had something together with a vampire should die no matter what.
Alex realized he was staying too long like this, lost in his own thoughts.
“I think the liturgy might be over” he said. “Let’s go find your parents.”
They were walking alone through the snow white square, the fountain at its center was frozen in clear transparent icicles. Black crow stayed on the top of it.
“Oh it’s Melo!”
Girl ran to the fountain and bird recognized her, it flew from the fountain and landed on her arm.
“I raised him from a baby” Amelia told him. “Then I sat him free, but he is always coming back.”
She gave the crow a piece of old sandwich, bird peck it out and then his black eyes turned to Alex. He probably decided his brother of the night wouldn’t hurt him.
“I had a crow too, long ago” Alex said, his pale fingers ran through crow’s feather.
“What happened to him?”
“He flies away.” It wasn’t the time or the moment to weigh down this little girl with his past. “Aren’t these your parents?”
Tall blond haired woman arm in arm with a man with raw gaunt face was crossing the square walking their way, accompanied by older than Amelia girl, also blond and blue eyed.
“Ameli, we were so scared!” woman came first. “Where have you been?”
She turned her eyes to Alex.
“One dog attacked me but he saved me!” girl said.
“Oh my God, are you alright?”
“I’m fine, mom, and Melo is back!”
“Thank you very much” Amelia’s mother came to Alex and clenched his hand. “She always disappears, I told her not to apart…”
Alex barely smiled, then his eyes turned to the man, he had that look of someone leading his family with strong hand. Alex felt it with his guts; Ameli should pay for her insubordination.
“She is a great kid” he said to the mother. She thank him once more and then lead off her daughters. Ameli waved him for goodbye carrying her crow.
Father was wall behind.
“Thank you for taking care for the girl, boy”
He took out his wallet and gave to Alex fifty rubles.
“Take them as gratitude. And I’ll take care my daughter to behave properly from now on!”
Alex was staying calm, watching the man in his empty grey eyes.
“I don’t want your money.”
“Then… What do you want?”
His eyes shined, he took the man for his throat, bring him into the air, ran and hit his body to the wall behind him.
“What I want is you to be sure” his teeth gritted “that next time you raise your hand over one of these women, it will be your last!”
Alex let him down watching man running far from him after his family.
Night came over the city, Alex was waiting patiently. When the last sunbeams faded behind the horizon in crimson purple symphony he opened the window and jumped down on the street.
He landed heavier than he expected, stand on his feet and ran. There was no pulse, no voice, not even one person out of their deceptively safe homes.
He blackened, felt dizziness, he needed blood and that full bright moon made his instincts even sharper, red veil fell over his eyes.
And then he heard it. From far far away, but he was confident. A cry of a child, creak of a door, woman’s sob…
“Don’t, daddy, I’m sorry!”
“Shut up, Vera, enough I said! Go back to your room now, I will have a conversation with your sister.”
Door stamp closed, the footsteps on the stairs faded.
Blond haired girl with naturally curls was shrinking in the floor to her bed, grab onto her teddy bear; a shadow of a man fell over her. His hand slipped by the buckle of his belt and he came closer.
“You were so naughty girl, Amelia, daddy is so dissatisfied.”
Window came off his frame and all room was rained by glass and pieces of the wall, as a battering ram was smashed into the second floor of the house. On the broken baseboard was landed as a black bird red eyed creature.
Man took a step back, girl started to scream and hugged her bear.
“Lay down to sleep” he whispered, raising his hand her way. Her eyelids instantly closed, her head droop on the floor.
“Jesus Christ… What the hell are you?!” man cried rushing to reach the door.
“I am the monster form fairytales” he said descend his foot on the ground. “I am the hunter who is coming for the big bad wolf eating little girls!”
He tosses himself ahead to the man’s neck, on the white collar dropped blood, his cry faded into gurgle. Body fell on the polished boards all in coat and dust, Alex turned to kid laying on the floor in her unnaturally dream, bring her putting her into her bed. Then she woke up.
“Alex? Is that you? What… what happened?”
“Don’t be afraid anymore” he said.
“But my dad…”
He stands in front of her so she could not see the body.
“He will not hurt you anymore. I know he was doing that every night, right?”
Salty drops overflow from her eyes and started running on her face.
“That will never happen again, I promise you. And now…”
He put the girl into her bed and his cold hands wrapped her with the blanket.
“Now you will fall to sleep and feel fear no more. You will know only than monsters are punished.”
He turned, made a step to the broken window landing back on its baseboard.
“By bigger monsters.”
He jumped and his black as night hair waved after him before steps from other room reached in there.