She sat silently in the center of the room. An open book lay at her side. Light gleamed dully off the object clasped between her shaking hands and the single tear rolling down her cheek. The words ran through her mind and she knew what must be done.
"If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away..."
Her hands rose above her head. She took a deep breath and mumbled a silent prayer. Her hands swung down, plunging the knife into her treacherous heart.
A figure crept silently through the shadows. No one noticed as he leaped from the street to the small balcony above. He climbed through the window that had been left open for him, as it had for several weeks. A small smile played upon his pale face as he wandered through the apartment in search of the woman. The smile fled when he reached the living room, coldness taking its place on his features.
He quickly bent down to the still figure on the floor. Turning her over, he knew it was too late. He caressed the face, drinking in the calm innocence that even death could not erase. Placing his arms around the cold body, he lifted her up and buried his face in her chest. Some moments later, he raised his face, now stained with the blood of his tears and that of her death. He had been too slow in noticing the the sound of a key in the door. His eyes met those of a young man staring at him in horror and rage.
Instinct ignited the Beast in the surprise of the unexpected entrance. Fueled by the scent of the blood and the grief he wished he could not feel, the vampire leaped at the stricken man. Following some instinct of his own, the man jumped aside, barely avoiding being smashed to the floor by the raging creature. While the vampire landed heavily on the floor, the man frantically looked about him for some sort of weapon. Being a man of peace, the only object he could find was the large silver crucifix hanging over the desk next to him. Holding the heavy cross in his hands as a club, he faced the vampire just as it regained its feet.
Man and monster stood staring at each other, like some tragic mirror image. Finally the man spoke, his voice thick with pain.
"You killed my wife."
"No, I didn't. I...she loved me...I didn't want to hurt her."
Anger lit the man's eyes. "Loved you! She was MY WIFE! How could she love you?" He raised the heavy cross as he raged. Tears flowed freely down his face as the full force of the vampire's words reached him.
Sorrow was in the eyes of the vampire as he answered, his gaze flicking over the body beyond. "It seems she could not..." He looked coldly at the man, this student of religion, "Your laws killed her, not mine."
©Sonja Torres 1997