Descendants: Vampire Chronicles: The Vampire Calone

Written by J.A. Laughlin

? 2009

An Excerpt from the ?Descendants ? Vampire Chronicles? series

??????????? Calone stood looking out his window over the beautiful city of Venice. He watched the pedestrians flowing on the sidewalks like streams in their banks. He watched the cars traveling to and fro, the sunlight flashing from mirrors and windshields. So much had changed here in the last thirty years. There were still boats in the canals, that hadn?t changed. He looked down at his watch.

??????????? ?Time to go.? He whispered to himself. He glanced around his apartment as he walked to the front door. He had furnished it in the way that humans did, trying to make it comfortable for any guests he might have. Occasionally he even used the chair that faced the couch. The coffee table that bridged the space between them had not been used yet in the year he had been here. The pictures on the walls depicted families he had never met and landscapes that he had already been to. Pulling the hood of his cloak over his head, he quietly closed the door behind him. He never locked it. A locked door seemed so uninviting to company.

Father Jacob

The church cathedral was empty and dim. The pews were abandoned as Father Jacob knelt before the altar, his white robes spilling on the floor around him. He did not see the cross or the image of his lord, Jesus, hanging upon it, though in his mind it was ever present. He prayed for the forgiveness of his sins and for the immortal souls of all that would be involved in what was about to happen. His prayers whispered from his lips and floated eerily throughout the immense cathedral. He knew it would begin in just moments. Then it happened. Christ shed tears from his cross on the wall behind the altar. Just to the left, Mary also cried. Father Jacob felt his heart sink, but his resolve did not waiver.

Entrance of a Killer

The main doors of the chapel swung inward, creaking as they opened. The sound alerted Father Jacob that it had begun. He listened with his head still bowed to the soft footsteps of bare feet on the cold marble floor. He quickly finished the prayer he was saying and closed, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen."

He rose from the step he knelt upon and straightened his short, stocky body as far as he could. The footsteps stopped behind him and the shadow of someone very tall fell over his, just missing the bottom edge of the altar.

"Father," the unearthly voice began, "Forgive me, for I have sinned."

"This is no confessional," said Father Jacob, a bit irritated at the impunity of the killer at his back, "I called you here because I have something that I need you to do; something that the Church needs you to do."

"Who is it this time, Father?" The beautiful voice asked. It was neither male nor female but both and it sounded as if several voices came from the same being in unison.

"Father Dennis Campble of Rome," Father Jacob stated quietly, "He needs to be removed."

"You have never asked me to kill a priest before. How is The Church going to receive this?"

"That is for me to worry about!" snapped Father Jacob, his patience wearing thing, "You just need to worry about eliminating him."

"I work for The Church to save my soul, not to condemn it! Why should I kill a priest?" The voice demanded.

Father Jacob spun around to face the creature. He looked into the coppery eyes of the six foot, two inch man. His hood was loosely draped on his shoulders, exposing his inky black hair and olive skin. His features were narrow and flawless, but it was his eyes that stood out: copper irises with black rings around the outsides of them. Father Jacob fought the urge to look away.

"He is corrupting the young priests and has been proven as a child molester," Father Jacob spat, infuriated by the very thought of what Campble had done, "This is no man of God!"

"Very well, Father. I will do as you ask. Please remember me in your prayers."

The creature flashed amazingly white teeth with elongated, needle pointed canines as he spoke. Father Jacob simply nodded. The creature pulled his hood over his head using delicate hands that moved more gracefully than those of any piano player. He knelt before the cross, bowed, and then rose, walking on bare feet back to the doors that he had come through.

Father Jacob watched in awe at the amazing grace of the silent killer. Finally the doors closed and the spell was broken. Father Jacob shook his head briskly to clear out the remnants of the flowing man's exit.

First Impressions

Cardinal Raboli sat at his desk reviewing the letter from Venice. The letter implicated Father Jacob in the recent disappearance of Father Campble. One of the deacons had overheard part of a conversation involving a tall man that had been to the church at odd hours several times over the last few years. Normally Cardinal Raboli would have dismissed such ramblings as were contained in the letter as hearsay and imaginings, but the man had also been seen by a priest in the rectory of the church where Campble had last been seen. From the information in the letter from Venice the two appearances had been only one night apart. The man was described as a tall, thin man, with black hair and olive skin, who moved with the grace of an angel.

Cardinal Raboli sat back in the maroon leather chair and took his eyes off of the paper. The letter had arrived today, and Campble had disappeared two nights ago from his room in the rectory here in Rome, just a mile from the Vatican. The Roman Catholics had an extensive information network, but nothing had been produced in the two hours since his query. He rubbed his eyes and ran his fingers through his gray, thinning hair.

"What am I doing wasting my time on this?" He asked himself aloud as he tilted his head back and closed his eyes.

"Is it a waste of time?" Wafted a voice through the room, sounding as if it came from everywhere at once.

Raboli sat bolt upright in his chair. He had never heard such a voice before, musical and wondrous, sounding like several voices in unison. A blur of motion alerted him as a figure appeared in the chair on the other side of the desk. The tall man reclined easily in the leather chair, facing him. He wore a long brown cloak with a deep hood that hid his face.

"Who are you?" Raboli demanded.

The figure raised long, thin hands with olive colored skin and pointed nails to lower the deep hood, exposing his thin face. Immediately Raboli was taken by his eyes, which were silver with black rings around the iris.

"I am Calone, son of Manare, son of Kalo, son of Tolor, son of Mosi." He answered calmly. "That doesn't mean anything to you, though. Any other questions?" The man spoke softly and his teeth flashed amazingly white with very pointed, long, thin canines.

"You're a vampire?" Raboli asked, no stranger to the myths of the blood sucking dead.

"I am."

Raboli grabbed the crucifix on his chest and held it out to its chains length toward the man in front of him. There was no reaction from him, not even a blink of the eyes.

"What do you want here?" Raboli asked. His skin began to chill and fear was creeping into his mind.

"Relax. If I were here to kill you, you would already be dead. What I am here for is to talk. I have questions and concerns."

"What kind of concerns?" Raboli was trying to reconcile this fantasy being to his reality of daily life.

"Cardinal, for the first time in my very long life, I have killed a priest. Even though I did so under the direction of another priest, I am concerned about my immortal soul. Though the man was a pedophile and was undermining the Church, he was also an ordained priest of the same and there for I assume was under the protection of God. The mission weighed on my conscience when it was given to me, but I carried it out nonetheless. Now that I have completed it, the concerns grow heavier still. What have I done?" Calone's face showed sincere concern. Raboli slowly lowered the cross back to his chest. He was still unsure what was going on here.

"First, you should turn yourself in to the police!" Raboli started.

"For what? There is no evidence, nor will there ever be! I did as I was instructed, as I have done thousands of times before, by priests of the Catholic Church. Never before have I been concerned about whether it was right or wrong. Turning myself in to the police would mean nothing to them. They have no idea what we are."

"What are you?" Raboli asked, almost a whisper.

"What are we... that is a very good question," Calone said as he looked into Raboli's eyes.

Revelation

The two sat across the desk from each other, eyes locked for a minute.

"We are what God made us to be. We are hunters of men. This is not the delusional belief of a psychopath, but a simple truth. I was born how I am, as were my fathers before me. We are born, we grow up, we fall in love, we have children, we grow old and eventually, we die. Just as you do. The differences are that while you eat vegetables, fruit, and meat from animals, we drink blood. Nothing else sustains us. We can eat your food, but we slowly starve, just as if you fed a lion nothing but lettuce and tomatoes. While your lives are seventy to ninety years, ours are seven thousand to nine thousand years, if we are not destroyed by each other first. We have thoughts, feelings and beliefs, as you do. That is what we are." Calone watched the Cardinal for signs that he understood.

"Murder is a cardinal sin. I don't know what else to tell you," Raboli said, still struggling with the reality of the man before him.

"I have not killed another of my kind. You can no more call what I have done murder than you can call a man killing a chicken for you to eat 'murder'. I should have known better than to try to talk to someone so closed minded," Calone said as he stood in an inhumanly graceful motion. "Good night, Cardinal," he stated flatly as he turned toward the door.

"Wait!" Raboli stood slowly behind his desk, his joints creaking with the strain, "Calone, I will pray for guidance on this. Please come and see me again in a few days." His faith had spoken to him. Now he knew what he must do. There is one who knows the answers to all questions.

Calone nodded and pulled his hood over his head. He stepped out the door of the cardinal?s office and walked down the hallway, his thoughts weighing on him.

Copyright © 2014 J.A. Laughlin

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