Granny Kate sat on her front porch in the rocking chair. She had her shawl wrapped tightly around her tiny shoulders. The cooler air had moved its way down from the North Country and she had placed a quilt on her lap to protect herself from the bitterness of the chilly late afternoon day. Gathered around her were half a dozen children and two of her four great-grandchildren. The children sat quietly waiting for Granny Kate to speak.
“Granny Kate,” one of the older children asked with an impatient tone in his voice, “will you tell us a story?”
Granny Kate chortled and smiled.
“Yes, I will,” she answered, “Indeed I will.”
“Not long ago there was a girl. Her name was Katherine Leflore and she was twelve years old. She lived in a small town just north of Paris. She lived with her mother and father in the country. Her parents were farmers and also raised livestock. How Katherine loved her parents and how happy they all were, until that night. Katherine had gone to bed since it was well past ten o’clock and she had school the next day. Her parents were talking quietly in the living room. There came a strange scratching sound that Katherine heard coming from the roof. Her parents had heard it as well.
“Katherine,” her mother whispered shaking Katherine gently, “you must get up.”
“What’s wrong Mama?” Katherine whispered back. She thought it odd that her mother was talking in such a subdued manner.
“We must leave,” Katherine’s mother replied, “and we must leave now.”
A hissing and scratching sound could now be heard at the front door. Katherine and her mother hurried to the back door. Katherine’s father stood at the front door with his hunting rifle. He was aiming at the door as if something threatening might be there. He looked back at his wife and daughter and signaled them to exit out of the back door.
As they fled from the home Katherine observed the harried look on her mother‘s face. Fear danced about on her mother’s face and Katherine could feel her own fears rising to the surface.
The two women ran as quickly as they could. Katherine had outdistanced her mother and she looked back. Her mother tired from exertion was moving her hands in a forward direction as if to say keep going. Katherine did just that. She ran until her legs felt like lead and her lungs were close to exploding. A sound came from behind. There was a rustle high in the trees and then a scream from her mother’s lips. Katherine turned for an instant and witnessed her mother being pinned to the ground by some hideous bat-like creature. The beast had trapped Katherine’s mother underneath itself and was intent on biting Katherine’s mother’s slender neck. With what energy she had left she turned and ran; she ran for her life. Tears streamed down her face as she ran.
Katherine finally fell exhausted on the doorway to the small church. She could go no further. Here she waited for whatever manner of beast that had killed her mother and probably her father. She wept quietly and lay her head down until sleep overcame the young girl.
She awoke the next morning as the nuns arrived at the church. Sister Marie was shaking her gently trying to rouse her.
“My dear child,” she asked looking at the young girl in front of her, “what in heaven’s name has happened?”
Katherine tried to speak but no words came out. The sisters carried her to the convent and nursed Katherine back to health. The priest from the local parish came by to check on her. Father Thomas sat next to Katherine and read several prayers and passages from his Bible. Katherine merely sat staring at the small window of the room they had placed her in.
“Child,” Father Thomas said, “I know something terrible has happened we found your father and mother’s bodies. They looked as if some creature had attacked them. Won’t you please tell me what took place?”
Katherine told the priest of what had occurred that night and then began crying. Huge tears ran down her face as she told him the story. Father Thomas consoled her as best he could and then told her he would return. He blessed her and gave her a small golden cross necklace to wear. For safe keeping he had said.
A week after she had been found on the steps of the church Father Thomas did return. He brought with him two other priests. They told Katherine about the creatures which had killed her parents. Vampires they had dubbed them, creatures of Satan. They spoke to her of a mission which they would train her for. She would be God and the Church’s champion. She would be versed in the art of tracking down the vile beasts and destroying them. Katherine still overcome by the slaughter of her parent’s consented.
They trained Katherine for months. They taught her everything they knew of the Vampires. She learned their weaknesses and how to kill them. A fire burned in her heart, that fire being fueled by the flame of vengeance.
The Church blessed her and gave her a sword of the finest silver and bestowed upon her a crossbow with wooden bolts to use in it. She worked day and night to become proficient with both weapons. Soon her time came to leave and begin the hunt.
She had traveled across all of France and the isolated areas of Europe in her quest. When there were unexplained deaths, she went to see if Vampires had been the cause. She did not age. The blessing of the Church kept her young. Her faith and loathing of the creatures she sought kept her strong. She had over the years killed over a hundred of the filthy beings and still she continued to ferret them out.
Katherine over the years had made several friends. One such friend Lisa lived not too far from where she had lived as a child. As time permitted Katherine would visit her friend Lisa and Katherine would stay for a week if not longer. It helped Katherine feel more a normal person and Lisa enjoyed the time they spent together. On one such visit Katherine thought it odd that Lisa would not go outside. Lisa had always loved the garden and sunlight. Katherine did not know that her friend had been bitten by one of the Vampires. One night, when Lisa’s transformation was complete, Lisa crept into the bedroom where Katherine was sleeping. Katherine not realizing what had happened to Lisa tried to fight off her friend. Lisa opened wounds along Katherine’s lower arms and lower back. Katherine seeing the futility in trying to save her friend drove a crossbow bolt into Lisa’s heart.
Katherine found herself at the church’s door once more. Half dead, dazed, and heartbroken she lay down in the doorway waiting for death to take her. She could fight no more. That was how Father Thomas found her the next day. The nuns nursed her back to health, but it took months and even then there were deep scars on her arms and back that Katherine would carry forever. She spoke with Father Thomas one last time before she left.
“I can no longer do this,” she said to Brother Thomas, “I want to have a normal life. Live as others do and leave the horror and death behind me. Please, understand.”
“I do,” he said kindly, “It is too much to ask you to do more. Know this though my child, the Vampires will find you one day. The Church cannot stop them from doing so. I bless you child. May God keep you and you safe.”
She left the convent and was never seen again.”
With this Granny Kate ended her story and took the cup of coffee up and sipped it slowly. As she reached for the cup her blouse sleeve rode up her arm where deep scarring became visible to the children. A sound erupted in the tops of the trees near the house. The children and Granny Kate heard the hissing and rustling sound as it became more audible. With fluid speed Granny Kate stood up and reached behind her in one hand she held a silver sword and in the other she had produced a crossbow.
“Inside now!” she screamed at the group of children, “Inside now for your souls’ sakes!”
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