Bless Me, Father

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been…” Idris paused. “…seven hundred and twenty-five years since my last confession.”

There was a moment of silence from the other side of the confessional screen. Then, quietly, the priest cleared his throat. “It sounds like this could take a while. Should I order dinner?”

Idris chuckled. He’d made a good choice, then, when he’d come into this church. He didn’t always trust the “Vampires Welcome” signs. “I’ll make it short.”

“How can you?” The priest sounded understandably dubious. “I mean…seven hundred years?”

“Well. There’s a story, you see.”

Of course there was a story. There was always a story. After a thousand years of life, Idris had a story for everything.

He’d been in a vampire monastery in the Caucasus for seven hundred of those seven hundred and twenty-five years, which was why he didn’t have much to report in the way of conventional sinning.

“They believed in intensive meditation, contemplation and exercise to reduce the desire for blood.” And physical mortification and self-flagellation, but he didn’t have time to go into that.

“Did it work?” The priest sounded curious.

“Not really,” said Idris. “But I did my best. It was difficult. I drank no human blood all that time.” It was not a pleasant memory. It had been a long seven hundred years.

“What did you drink?”

“Animal blood. We kept cows and sheep. Horses, but they were more for riding than drinking.” Horse blood was lovely, though, if you could avoid the hooves. Horses were smarter than cows and sheep.

“I see.” The priest was silent for a moment. “It sounds as if you have led an exemplary life of abstinence and sacrifice.”

Idirs considered the long line of memories. “I suppose I have.”

“In what way, then, do you believe you have sinned?”

Idris moved his face a little closer to the screen that separated him from the priest. He could almost see the glimmer of the man’s eyes.

“I think I have sinned by being a poor vampire.”

The monastery had taught him only what it was like to be hungry. To deny everything he was, everything he’d been created to be. Perhaps God had not made him a vampire, but had not God made the first vampire?

He could no longer deny his true self. It was blasphemy, a sin of the highest degree.

And his first act of atonement would be to taste the blood of a priest.

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