I nod, trying to catch my breath, the vision of them in robes replacing the ones the evil serial killer put in my head like rot. Maybe that’s why they did it. It seems like something they would do.
“Okay, so we walk in there, climb underground, find the serial killer, and then what? Head back to court?” I ask.
“Usually, yes, but this time we’ll kill him where he stands. He will not be given a trial. He has been judged,” Nathair explains, his voice booming with destiny and power, and the others instantly straighten. “It is so.”
“Okay then, let’s kill this sick fuck,” Reve says with a fist pump.
“No, it must be her.” Nathair looks at me, but it’s not his voice. “She must take first blood tonight.”
“First blood?” I ask cautiously, knowing whoever is speaking isn’t Nathair.
“Your first judgement. It is so.” Nathair rolls his shoulders. “I guess you are doing the killing tonight. Are you ready?”
I bite my lip but nod, needing them to trust me to do this.
“Then let’s begin,” Azul states, and as one, we cross the road and head into the church.
Despite the myths, vampyrs do not burst into flames inside holy ground. In fact, we can even drink holy water and touch crosses. We are not evil, not like demons, but they are a whole other topic for a different day. We are entities of the darkness as we move through the pews like ghosts and turn to the door. They follow me, as if knowing I can feel the call of him on the air.
He has been marked, I realise, by me, and that’s why I must kill him.
I selected and hunted him, and now I must pass judgement.
We descend the staircase, heading into the abyss of the basement within the church. Our steps echo against the stone as we spiral downward. The passageway is cold and barely lit, but we don’t need light to see.
We are the predators who hunt in the dark, after all.
The church was empty, so I easily guided us to the door that led us down.
After what feels like hundreds of steps, we reach a basement, ignoring the rooms down here and instead searching the floor for another door. We find a hatch at the back that’s partially covered by a tarp. I move the covering away and rip the door open, recoiling at the stench of death and blood.
Looking up, my hood pulled up and mask in place, I say, “He’s down there,” and then I cross my arms and drop down.
Landing with a splash, I look up and spot the swatch of light before moving out of the way as the others leap down after me. I face forward, focused on the dark tunnels that make up the sewers under the church. Rats scurry past us, sensing the predators in their presence, and then there is nothing but shadows down here.
Conall will love it.
Once I know they are all behind me, I follow the killers blood, pointing to his location like an arrow. His blood feels wrong and out of place inside me, but I keep it there for now as we follow it, turning right then left. Finally, it starts to vibrate, and I know we are close.
I switch to speaking internally. He can sense our approach, but there is no reason to give ourselves away too easily.
Just down here, I inform them, sensing that he’s close.
The tunnel widens, showing a gated door that stands partially open, as if to invite us in, and I can almost hear his mocking laughter which offers that very same thing.
I’m not afraid of it.
I have died, I have been shunned, and I have been judged.
He is nothing.
I step through the gate and stop hiding. He is waiting for us with his head tilted back. His clothes are tattered and covered in blood, and he has a shaved head with a wicked scar across his forehead. I also notice he has no eyebrows or hair anywhere that I can see. He’s tall and lanky with protruding fangs and huge claws.
“I knew you would come,” he sings.