Flash Fiction: “What the Ferryman is Owed”

It may not be Halloween, but I see no reason not to post this haunting little story.

What The Ferryman Is Owed, by Alexander Paul Willging

Word Count: 431

Father Armand Salinas stared down at the creature on the floor.  He closed his eyes and offered a short prayer of petition for its soul’s release.

“Don’t… don’t waste your breath,” the creature gasped out at him.  A trail of dark blood oozed out of its mouth.  Yellow eyes glared at the priest from beneath a mop of black hair.

“It didn’t have to end this way,” said Father Salinas.  He knelt down and touched the cross hanging around his neck.  The creature flinched back, but continued to glare at him.  “Repent, and you’ll finally know peace.”

“Peace is a lie…”  The creature shook its head.  “There’s no redemption for our kind.  We are the damned.  We will feast on fellow sinners and that’s all there is to it.”

“Once, I would’ve believed you.”  The priest reached out and grabbed the vampire’s hand.  He didn’t mind the sharp nails digging into his skin.  He ignored the stake and the leaves of garlic protruding from its chest.  “The Church is misguided.  I can change that.  Accept the truth of your salvation, brother, and I can prove to the Magisterium that there’s hope for you and—”

“And my kind.”  The creature snarled deep in its throat.  “Just say it.  My kind.  We’re beasts to you, nothing more…”

The priest shook his head.  He felt tears gathering in his eyes, his stoic resolve slowly cracking.  This was harder than he’d expected.

“Please, Domingo,” he whispered.  “If not for your soul, then at least do it for me?”

The creature’s breaths became labored.  Its bitter glare softened as its head dropped back onto the floor of the empty cathedral.

“Too late for me, brother,” it whispered, half-garbled by blood.  “Too late… now I go to burn and be purged for my crimes.  Just like Mother said I would—”

“Forget Mother!” Salinas hissed.  Now the tears fell freely.  “She’s gone!  Whether to Heaven or to Hell, I don’t care!  But this is your choice, Domingo.  Choose!  Give yourself some peace, just for one blessed moment!”

The creature that had once been Domingo Salinas looked up at the priest.  Then, through bloodstained lips, it smiled.

“For you, Armand…” it croaked out.  “For you… I… I rep… I rep…”

Father Salinas stared.  The creature’s eyes rolled up into the back of its head as it sagged against the floor.  He heard the hiss of its final breath and felt the vampire’s hand turn hard like crystal.

“God forgive me,” he whispered.  He pressed his hands together in prayer.  “God, have mercy on me for killing my own brother…”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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