It was 3 weeks before All Hallows Eve and things just feel different this year. I can't figure out why. My cats are sleeping 23 of 24 hours a day. The remaining hour they want fed. Of course that is only interrupted by a trip to the litter box and a minute or two of actually showing a little gratitude to me. That is as long as I clean the litter box and have their food ready in their dish when they want it.
The people I work with seem normal enough and our workplace sexual encounters haven't changed in years. I tell them to "Fuck Off" and they reply in same. It's your typical hallway sex.
I've worked as a bank teller for the last few years, but I don't do much of that work anymore except for most Saturday's. The past couple times a very handsome man has come to my window as soon as we opened the doors. He's maybe 10 years older than me, 6 foot tall with an athletic build and intoxicating brown eyes that draw you to him like moths to a flame. His smile and his voice makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. This guy at my window just has something about him that makes me feel so...wanted! Even his name made me weak in the knees, Ricardo.
Always after completing his business we would speak a few words with each other about off work activities. I'd just picked up a gym membership so I could get back into shape. I mentioned the gym's name and he told me has a membership there also and hopes to see me there some time. However, with his work schedule he only goes after sunset, but is usually there most nights. With that he smiled and strode off.
I couldn't help myself but watch his gracefulness and his nice round butt as he walked away. All I could think of is that he seemed to have it all. I will most definitely be meeting him at the gym. If I'm going to get him I've got to pick up my game and get in shape.
Work for that Saturday ended at noon and I thought about him the whole way home. For me the day was spent with chores around the house and getting myself ready for the next week's work. It has been nothing but the same boring routine for months. I need more in my life than just work and cats. Maybe using the gym and getting around a few people will help relieve me of my boring life.
Hell I haven't been on a date for so long I could be considered the old cat lady of my neighborhood and I'm not even 30 years old yet!
So the next day I made no excuses and went to the gym hoping to get just a few sets on the weight machines and then walk a couple miles on the treadmill. If nothing else I would be too tired to worry about my missing sex life and get myself out of my funk. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a porker, I just needed to tone up.
I had good sets on the weight machines working my upper body making me feel the pump. I'm immediately noticed the tone in my muscles. Maybe I wasn't as bad off as I thought. I just may be ready when swimsuit season comes in a few short months.
Having just started my walk on the treadmill, setting the computer program for a combination of flat paths and hilly trails to really wanted to get my heart pumping, I was shocked to find Ricardo on the treadmill next to me. "Hello Vicky. Nice to see you outside the office."
All I could do was yell at myself, "SPEAK TO HIM YOU IDIOT!" I stumbled out a hello and I got one of his incredible smiles in return. Oh, God I hope I don't trip and make a fool of myself.
Keeping with my program hoping it would impress Ricardo, we made some small talk while it was obvious he had no trouble keeping pace with the program he set on his treadmill. His was set for hard hill running and he never missed a step or broke a sweat. He must have great stamina. I blushed on that thought. I wonder if he noticed?
We both ended our walk at the same time and took a few minutes at the juice bar. I had a green tea mango smoothie while he declined an after work out drink. Odd, he doesn't sweat or partakes an after workout protein drink. I guess you don't need it if your in as good of shape as he is.
We talked about our everyday lives, work, world events, etc. He really listened to me and was genuinely interested in my thoughts and seemed to really appreciate my views on the latest world events. Oh this guy is definitely worth a go after.
He told me he had a wonderful time talking with me and hoped we could do it again as he turned and left the gym. I was so mesmerized watching him, I couldn't help myself from staring at his butt and the rest of that good looking body.
I went home and showered. The hot water felt good after a nice workout. Soaping myself up I kept thinking about him and couldn't help myself but think about him and think I need to shaving everything extra close tonight. Don't want to look like a Sasquatch while trying to a guy.
The feeling of strange increased as Halloween approached. There were horrible stories in the nightly news of women disappearing without a trace. Three women in the past week. The police were asking for anyone with information to contact them immediately and that all women should take necessary steps to protect themselves at all times. I immediately went out and bought myself some pepper spray.
I kept my schedule at the gym. I was doing well enough to start running on the treadmill instead of walking and had been going for about 10 minutes when I noticed him on the one next to me again. He was already up to pace and was watching me. When he mentioned he has been along side me for the past few minutes I was shocked. It just wasn't possible. I was watching for him and would've seen him come in. Strange.
We were having a great conversation at the juice bar after our workout when he just looked me in the eyes and asked if I wanted to go out dancing or a movie with him this weekend. His eyes beckoned me almost begging me to say yes, and yes is what I said. We made plans for a movie and drinks after.
He asked if he could pick me up at my apartment, but I told him I would meet him at the theater. I'm not sure why I said that because part of me wanted him to pick me up at my place just so we could have more time together.
We met up in front of the movie theater and enjoyed a Halloween classic with Bela Lugosi as Dracula. I like the classics. I heard him laughing a couple times during the movie. I asked Ricardo what was so funny. He just waved it off and said nothing. After the movie we walked to a local pub to enjoy a drink and conversation. We talked about everything that came to mind. When I was just about finished with my second drink I realized he hasn't touched his first. When I asked him why, Ricardo said that he really wasn't thirsty for anything and ordered just to be polite. I thought it odd, but readily accepted his explanation.
While in the pub we heard more talk of missing girls making me shiver at the thought. Fearing that girls weren't safe in the city, I asked Ricardo to walk me home and see me to my door. He gladly agreed and we started for my apartment by way of a lovely stroll through the park. It's always beautiful this time of year with the smells of autumn.
During our walk we would talk only as a new sight would pique our interest and would mention it to the other while peering into the others eyes. Every time I looked into his eyes I could feel my inhibitions lessen, my heart beat increase and my loins warm. There was something so special about his eyes that drew me him. They were so intoxicating.
How did we get home so soon? The last thing I remember was walking in the park watching the city lights shining off the surface of the lake. The thought only lasted a second or two as I realized he was kissing me gently on the lips. Suddenly there were visions of long lost lovers anew again caught in the ecstasy of their passion, shining from the sweat covering each others body in my mind. The vision was so intense, so real I moaned into his mouth as his tongue met mine.
As suddenly as it began, it was gone except for the sensuality of the visions from my mind. Only the intense longing of the lovers remained. I pulled myself away from our embrace looking into his eyes. They seemed different. Where they always so dark? I apologized for acting to impulsively blushing in embarrassment. I kissed him on the cheek and thanked him for a wonderful evening, but that I had to end the night as work comes early for me.
His disappointment seemed real, but ever the gentleman Ricardo kissed me lightly again and said he to had a wonderful evening and would love to take me out again as soon as I was free. He noted he hope to see me in the gym again next week, turned and left.
I felt strange as I stepped into the tub. My last conscious thought was that of my hands seemed to have a mind of their own as they caressed my body stimulating every nerve ending and every pore as I became lost in the scenes of the lover's embrace. The touch of my lover's hands on my body, the taste of his lips and smell of his cologne seemed so real. I became one with the woman pictured in my mind, willingly accepting a new reality.
I could not see his face, but it was so familiar to me. All of my senses were overpowered as an explosion of pleasure that is felt from impassioned lovers reunited after a long separation. I awoke from my trance, angered by being torn away from a reality I did not want to leave. As I came to I was shocked to see I was still in the tub and the water was cool enough to make me shiver along with the realization I had just climaxed. Just like the woman in my vision.
It seemed so real it scared me.
Laying in bed I began wishing to experience that passion again, hoping for the love of the man in my visions. He was so handsome, strong and yet so familiar. The night ended too soon and I woke in the morning to the alarm cursing the end of hope's dream.
Throughout the workday I found myself wanting to see Ricardo again. He said we would see each other at the gym, so I made sure my workout clothes was packed so all I had to do was get myself there. Making it to the gym I hit the weight machines hard and the treadmill harder. I was driven to get more fit so I could attract a man. I wasn't an old maid, but I feared being old before I found someone to love me and care for me until death do us part. A tight body always helps get a man, but personality helps keep the man. Too many of the men I dated were after former, not the latter.
Much to my disappointment, Ricardo didn't show. He must've gotten held up by something important, but I knew he'd show up just to see me. But the next two nights Ricardo was a no show, however I did meet someone new. A nice looking man that I guessed to be a few years younger than me introduced himself. He didn't have the sophistication of Ricardo, but he was a more rugged real life cowboy type with short sandy brown hair and matching brown eyes and a cute trimmed goatee. He was muscular, but not freakishly so, and he wore two small silver crosses around his neck. In other words he was hot. He introduced himself as Henry, but his friends called him Hank. He looked like a Hank.
Telling Henry it was nice to meet him we made small talk and he asked if he could assist me in my workout. Seeing the muscles he carried I knew he could help. I readily agreed and we went over my routine. Henry watched me intently as I pressed out each set making suggestions on form and mental concentration on each rep. He enforced the mental aspect of exercise would not only increase the rate of muscle development, but also mental toughness.
We hit the treadmill together and Henry surprisingly kept pace with me. I may have needed improvement in my weight training, but I had made good strides on my aerobic endurance. Usually muscle bound guys like him have little or no stamina, but he was different. Not only did he have a hot muscled body and stamina, but he oozed a strength of kindness and willingness to help others. By the end of our exercising together I asked since his friends call him Hank, could I? He gave me a big smile held out his hand and said "Friends." I took his hand in both of mine and replied "Thank You, Hank."
We left the gym and went our separate ways, but made plans to see each other again in two nights time for our workout.
At work the next day I actually caught myself thinking how wonderful an evening I had with Hank. It was fun just saying his name..."Hank." I couldn't help but giggle when I said it.
During lunch we heard news of more girls disappearing. Authorities were prompted to ask all women to take extra precautions to protect themselves and traveling alone was ill advised. Three of us from work attended to the same gym, on different nights and usually alone, so we decided we couldn't do it that way any longer. The plan was we all go together and leave together or not go at all. Our first night will be tomorrow.
I hoped to see Hank or Ricardo. Hank was my workout buddy and friend, even after just one night while Ricardo was, come to think of it, I'm not sure what Ricardo was beyond an intriguing handsome guy I went on a date with.
The girls and I made it to the gym, got dressed and walked into the workout room. The girls all stopped in their tracks looking at the guy using one of the machines. Their tongues were practically wagging out of their mouths. Eventually one of them asked who the hunk was over on the chest press machine. I smiled and told them that was my friend Hank. My friends chastised me for withholding information.
At that moment he must have sensed I was there as he looked up at me and smiled. He looked even more handsome today than when we first met. "Girls, that one is mine, go find your own."
"Hello Hank. Miss me?"
"You bet I did." Did I tell you he also had a slight southern draw to his voice. I liked it.
We picked up where we left off the other night. Hank pushed me on the machines making me concentrate on each rep not allowing me to give up. By the end of the hour I had a good pump and it felt great. I could tell Hank had fun working out with me and I felt good just being with him.
We were walking toward the juice bar and Hank stopped dead in his tracks. I asked him what was wrong, but he said nothing. He was staring toward the other side of the room, but at what I wasn't sure until I seen Ricardo. Ricardo was talking to some unnaturally enhanced blond.
"Hank, What's wrong? Hank? I shook him, but he continued to stare at Ricardo. Hank, do you know him? His name is...
"I know who he is! I know him all to well." I was taken aback at his tone and the sight of his eyes. They reflected almost pure hatred.
Gently reaching out for his arm, "Hank, what's wrong? I can tell you don't like him, but why? Ricardo and I went on a date last week and he treated me nice. He doesn't seem to be a bad guy."
He looked down at me and his eyes again shown the kindness behind them. He spoke softly, "He is not as nice as he seems. He has nothing but a black heart."
"Hank, what are you talking about?" Just about that time Ricardo came over to us.
I didn't notice it right away because I was worried about Hank, but Ricardo walked up to us like he had just seen a ghost. He looked intently at Hank, "How is it possible? How did you..."
Hank said nothing. All he did was point his right index finger to the sky. For a moment Ricardo and Hank just stared at each other, then Ricardo seemed to snap out of whatever was happening, "Hello Vicky, How are you this evening? I see we know someone in common."
He looked at Hank, "Well Henry, I can say it truly is a surprise to see you again. So tell me, was it a painful recovery?"
Hank did not speak, but his eyes stared back with such hatred it scared me. I broke the tension as best I could, "Ricardo, it seems you know Hank so I guess introductions are unnecessary."
"Oh yes, Henry and I go way back, don't we...Hank is it?"
"Too long I'm afraid. But for not much longer I'm delighted to say...Ricardo was it, huh? Amazing. I remember your name being plain old Richard back in a time. You remember this, don't you? It belonged to my sister." At that time Hank pulled one of his crosses out from under his t-shirt and immediately Ricardo became unsettled.
"It didn't help her then and it sure as hell won't help you now!" as Ricardo back up from Hank like he was expecting an attack. He looked at me, "Well Vicky I apologize for disturbing you and your friend here, I know I'll be seeing you again soon, so I must say goodnight," he turned and left hurriedly.
"Not if I can help it," replied Hank.
"Hank, what is going on? Why don't you like Ricardo and what did he mean when he mentioned your sister?"
"There are plenty of reasons for anyone to hate him. For me, it's because he killed my sister and I vowed justice for her."
'What?! I don't believe you! I don't think Ricardo would hurt anyone, he's not capable of such acts."
"How would you know? How well do you really know him?"
"I admit not well at all, but he doesn't seem the type to hurt another person." Hank seemed hurt by my statement, but acknowledged it.
"You don't understand it yet Vicki. You have only known me for a few days, but I swear on my sister's soul that I'm telling you the truth. It really doesn't matter if you believe me or not, but on Halloween it will all be over. Since you have your friends to get you home safely, I think it best I get going. I've caused you too much grief for the night. I'm sorry. Good night Vicky."
As Hank turned and walked away I could feel the sadness in Hank where his sister was involved. But when it came to Ricardo, the anger and hatred was impossible to miss. If what Hank said was true about Ricardo killing his sister, than I've got to stay away from him.
Ricardo was already gone from sight and I had to wonder if he left with that big boobed blond he was talking to earlier.
My friends caught up with me after I finished my half-assed workout. Plans were made to go back to the gym in two days. Heeding the warnings from the authorities to not travel alone, we watched over each other and made sure there were at least two of us at all times whether it was outside our home, office or the gym.
Two days later we made it back to the gym as planned and we were all shocked to find out everyone was talking about one of the popular girls who was a regular hasn't been seen for two days. I quickly discovered it was the blond that Ricardo was talking to the other night. "Oh my God, was Hank right about him?"
A few days later at the gym I seen Hank on one of the machines working out. He looked at me and gave a hesitant smile. I guess he worried that I was mad at him for the other night. Of course I smiled back and waved to him.
As he approached he still looked apprehensive and had difficulty looking me in the eyes. But after a few minutes of talking he finally did. He seen I held no animosity, but he apologized again asking forgiveness if he caused me to be upset the other night. He reiterated he spoke the truth about his sister and who killed her.
When I mentioned the blond girl gone missing he didn't act surprised. Instead he seemed to blow it off until he unexpectedly took his sister's cross off from around his neck and as he put around mine, "Do not refuse this and never take it off. It will help you against him."
"Hank, what really real is going on? I keep asking, but you don't tell me. What gives?"
"There's too much to tell and we shouldn't talk about such things here. But to answer your question he did get the best of me the last time we met, but it won't be that way again."
"What do you mean? Did you two fight and you got hurt.?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so, but things were different then."
I didn't want to push Hank too much right now so I told him about my date with Ricardo. "Hank, I do remember something strange when I went out on that date with Ricardo. We were saying goodnight and his eyes grew darker, almost black and I had the most sensual feeling come over me. He asked to come inside my apartment, but I said no. I'm not sure why because I really wanted to invite him in."
"It's good that you didn't because if he'd made it inside your apartment, you'd be dead."
"Hank you keep saying he is a killer, but if you have proof, why don't you go to the police and tell them your story?"
"The police are unable to do anything about this. There is no evidence that can be used against him in court and no jail cell that can hold him."
"You already know he's responsible for the missing girls, don't you? How many more girls do you think will disappear before Halloween?"
"I can only do so much. I can't help those who succumb to his influence. Right now you have been the only one to refuse him. That not only makes you more intriguing, but more desirable to him as well. There has only been one other to refuse him." Hank's expression saddened suddenly, "My sister...and he killed her because of it. But the bastard couldn't do it alone. He hired the worst scum possible to help him. There were just too many of them." There were tears puddling in the corner of his eyes, "I was too late to save her. That is when he got the best of me." Then his eyes darkened, "Since then, all but one has suffered terribly at my hands for what was done to her. The one left is your friend Ricardo and I swore on my soul that I would not rest until he pays for what he did to her and all the others."
Hank looked down to my chest and smiled, not in a lustful way, but more in a satisfied way. He gently reached in and slid his fingers in behind the cross pulling it away from my breasts, "This cross is very special. It, along with one other, were made from the finest silver from the Vatican vaults. Both were blessed by the Pope himself. One you wear," with the other hand he lifts an identical cross from under his shirt, "and I wear the other."
With that Hank leaned in and kissed me on the cheek looked me in the eyes hesitating for only a couple seconds and when I looked back at him I seen such kindness and warmth. I felt myself melt inside. I was drawn to Hank before, but suddenly looking into his eyes I found myself pulled to him like no man ever before. I don't know if it was the sadness in him that I wanted to comfort or the feel of his inner strength. Maybe it was just his big muscles and rugged good looks and the fact I haven't been laid in months, but I fell in love with him at that moment.
He gave me a small smile, said good night and walked away.
One of my friends walked up to me and asked if I was alright. She seen Hank talking to me and noticed the talk was intense. Then when she seen Hank kiss me and then quickly leave, she became worried.
I couldn't tell her anything about what Hank said about Ricardo being behind the girl from our gym disappearing. The cops would ask questions and it may put me in more danger. The story I gave her was that Ricardo and Hank have a history and a physical altercation between them ended badly with Hank being hurt. After Hank told me his story he left feeling badly about causing me so much drama.
She accepted my explanation and we all made it home safely.
This coming Saturday I had to work the teller line again and to say I was surprised when Ricardo came to my window would be an understatement. He was friendly as ever and asked me out again. I was tempted, very tempted, but declined. He seemed shocked at my refusal for a second date and became agitated. His eyes and facial expression tightened and he again pushed his invitation for dinner. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, but declined begging other plans.
"I know your lying Vicki. I can see it in your eyes." Suddenly his eyes grew dark and I had such an emotional rush of lust as a scene of two bodies together in passionate embrace. Their physical ecstasy caused such a stirring inside me that I began to feel myself give into his request. At first the two bodies were just that. Faceless lovers lost in their own pleasure, but quickly I could see the man and woman were not strangers to me. In fact the pair were me and Ricardo together in the act of lovemaking!
A voice inside my head suddenly over powered the vision and I was brought back to the present. I swear the voice sounded like Hank's! I also realized I was holding Hank's sister's cross in my fingers.
Awake from the vision I looked at Ricardo and he was pissed. He held his temper, but I could tell it was taking a lot of control to do so. His eyes seemed to be getting lighter in color. I don't know why, but I think he heard the same voice. "Ricardo, Thank You but no, I don't want to date you."
"I'm sorry you feel that way Vicki. To say I'm disappointed just doesn't describe how I feel. But have no doubt, you and I will be seeing each other again and much sooner than you realize. I'll be in town for only a few more days and I need to see you again, but for now, have a good day."
His body language and walk was not smooth and graceful as before. It was almost juvenile the way he walked out of the lobby.
I wondered why I heard Hank's voice waking me from the vision I had of Ricardo and me. Then I thought of the other night when I looked into his eyes and the feelings I had for him. He did mention he would not allow Ricardo to harm me. But now I know it was much more than that. It was love.
The day of work ended at noon so the girls and I took in a light lunch and the gym for the usual Saturday view fest of weekend warriors who are trolling for dates. The guys who ignore their body during the week show off on Saturday thinking we woman will be in awe of their big hulking muscles and be mindlessly drawn to their beds. Yeah right.
The girls I work with are trolling themselves for prospective husbands, but since finding a good man who is husband material is hard to find, a good sex partner is doable. With girls around town disappearing they were hesitant getting involved with strange men, but if they made a connection it would have to involve double dating.
I remembered the feeling I had when I looked into Hank's eyes the other night. He's husband material and part of me is planning the wedding already, but first I guess we should go out on a date first. I caught myself letting out a small giggle as I said his name again. Like I said before, he looks like a Hank.
We all were walking into the room with the workout machines and I immediately looked for Hank. I was trolling for a Hank for a Saturday night date and I wasn't going to settle for a Tom, Dick or Harry. It was going to be a Hank or nothing at all. Looking around the room I wasn't overly surprised to see him, but my hackles immediately came up when I noticed a brunette with big tits talking and smiling at him. No way a bitch with big fake tits was taking my man!
I walked over to the two of them and put my arm around Hank's waist, "There you are, I've been looking all over for you." Boy if looks could kill that brunette would be dancing on my grave right now.
"Hello Vicki, I'm glad you made it." Turning to the brunette he introduced us, "Vicky this is Linda, Linda this is Vicki."
"Nice to meet you Vicki," it didn't sound like she meant it.
"Nice to meet you too Linda." Now I had to get Hank away from her, "Hank, I had trouble with Ricardo today and he didn't take it well when I turned him down for a date. Can I talk to you alone for a few minutes?"
"Sure, if you will excuse us Linda," boy the daggers that came from her. I so wanted to turn around and stick my tongue out at her, but that would've been childish.
We walked to the juice bar and I let him have it, "OK what gives?"
He seemed shocked, "I don't understand?"
"The brunette! Who is she to you?"
"Hey. Relax! I've only met her today. She's a nice girl and we were only talking. Now is Linda really the reason you're upset?"
"No I'm not upset about her. Oh hell, yes I am! I'm upset that you were talking to that girl. I don't want you talking to skanks! You're only allowed to talk to me."
He had a slight smile o his face, "Really? And why is that?"
I realized I just put my foot in my mouth big time, "Because I like you. More than like you actually and I didn't like seeing you having fun with what's her name."
"Vicki, we were only talking and she really is a nice girl. But I'm not interested in her."
I went from shocked to pleased and smiling, "Your not?"
"No. Not even a little."
"OK then." Now that that's settled, "How did you know what Ricardo tried earlier today?"
"You mean his attempt at seduction and the visions he put in your mind?"
"Of course. That was your voice I heard in my head and you broke the trance I was in and don't try to deny it."
At first he looked away and I could tell he was uncomfortable as he looked back at me, "I told you I will not let him hurt you."
"That doesn't explain your voice in my head, how did you know that was happening."
"The crosses we wear are special, remember? If we concentrate, we can sense when the other is in trouble." He seemed uncomfortable for a second then stated speaking again, "I've tried to stay away, watching over you from a distance, but I couldn't. I found myself attracted to you. Not just your beauty, but the goodness of you as a person."
While he was talking to me his gaze caught me just like before. His eyes seemed to claim me and the feeling I had was stronger than before. My God, I'm in love!
"Hank, take me out tonight. I don't want to be alone and I don't think you just want to follow me around any longer, do you?"
"No, I don't. I want to be with you, terribly."
I told the girls that we were going out and not to worry about me. I got the usual smiles and wicked looks from them since here I am going out with Hank, especially since I've talked about him so much lately.
We stayed with each other as we went to each of our apartments getting changed and going out for dinner.
While Hank was in his shower I gave serious thought of inviting myself in and washing his back, and by God his front! I bet he has a wonderful front. But I behaved myself and let the anticipation build.
Hank lived up to his name and wore ruff and tumble western style clothing. Boy did he look good. At my place I had the same desire of "shower interruptus" by way of Hank inviting himself in and washing my back and oh God my front! I knew he was too much a gentleman to do that though. I wore a little number that really brought out the color in my eyes and the size of my breasts. Did I show leg, you bet your ass I did. I was going all out for Hank.
We went to an Italian restaurant that enhanced the ambiance with low light and candles. The dinner started out quiet between us, but soon came more relaxed. I learned Hank really hasn't had a girlfriend for a very long time. He wouldn't elaborate how long it has actually been, but he gave up looking after he realized when the right one to come along, he would know it. I was hoping it was me. How I was hoping it was me.
Even though tomorrow is Sunday and I had things to do, I was in no hurry for the night to end. Still the restaurant had to close and we had some heavy talking about Ricardo to do. Making it back to Hank's place he brewed coffee and we sat down on the couch in his living room. "OK Hank, please tell me everything. I know something strange is going on, but you need to fill in some very big pieces."
For the next hour Hank told me of the then Richard Barnes being a kind shy man being slight in stature. He was was picked on by bullies and refused by women. Then one night he was approached by a beautiful yet mysterious woman. This woman seemed to be infatuated with Richard and spent many nights with him in public ignoring the countless suitors that tried to lure her away from him when they were out in saloons. "Saloons? You mean like bars, right?"
"I guess they're called bars now, but back then we called them saloons."
"What do you mean 'back then'?"
"I'll answer your question in a minute. OK?" I nodded my mead allowing him to continue.
He continued his tale saying that men started disappearing in town and it was of great concern, to everyone but Richard Barnes. The men who disappeared were men who bullied him, belittled him and insulted him daily. A pattern emerged that became apparent and the town avoided Richard. Of course he could care less of the happenings in town because he was in love. He fell in love with the first woman who showed him any interest and this woman was admittedly very beautiful, but that beauty came with a price. The cost of his soul and his mortal life.
It was three days before All Hallows Eve when the couple were walking hand in hand down a darkened street. It was also just like this coming Halloween, a Blood Moon All Hallows Eve. This night is very special as it only comes around once every 100 years. As they walked down that street, they were attacked by men who blamed Richard and his woman for the evil that befell the town.
They were small in number, but acted quickly and viciously separating Richard from the woman of his dreams. What the towns people were not aware of is that the woman and now Richard were not as they seemed. She was a vampire, young and in breeding age with the Blood Moon compelling her to pick a mate. Richard was her choice and he readily agreed knowing what the cost would be. That's the hitch with being a vampire's mate. It had to come from free will.
The mob, aided by the local church, ended up killing her, but failed to stop Richard. He took his vengeance out on those responsible for her death. He also knew his time was short for with the passing of the Blood Moon All Hallows Eve, his power would weaken so he had to move on. With his vengeance complete and his energy drained, he left town with a new found need to feed.
This is when Richard Barnes was died and Ricardo was born. He figured the change in name was more alluring to woman.
His need found him another small town many miles away. This town had yet to hear of the carnage that Ricardo left behind, but all too soon they would experience the same horror.
A brother and sister, Henry and Anne, owned a small ranch near by and happened to be in town the night Ricardo showed up. The sister was young and extremely beautiful. The brother was strong and very protective of his younger sibling.
He was in the hardware store getting supplies while she was getting food and other provisions from the general store. Ricardo noticed her and became entranced by her beauty. Ricardo by now was becoming into his own as a vampire with thousands of years of hideous instinct guiding his way. There was a charm about him now that very few woman could refuse. But the beautiful young Anne did just that. She always had an inner strength about her that could melt a man's heart or stop it with a displeasing look.
You see vampires can only take a mate during a Blood Moon All Hallows Eve and the love of Ricardo's life, evil or not, was no longer by his side and his eyes were set on Anne.
Henry and Anne were in town for only two more days before they would return to their ranch. Those two days Ricardo tried to attract Anne several times, but she turned him away each time. Anne was kind at first, but soon she could not allow further attempts by Ricardo and sent him away with a very public humiliating display.
That public display from Anne triggered all the old feelings that the then Richard Barnes suffered and his anger erupted into an attack of Anne. He reached for her throat and tore her collar exposing a family heirloom. The heirloom was one of two silver crosses. One she wore and one her brother wore.
The sight of the cross around Anne's neck sickened Ricardo immediately and he was forced to flee, but those old feelings and the hatred for being denied were too powerful to ignore. He needed help to get past the power of the cross so he could take his vengeance on Anne.
It was the night of All Hallows Eve when Henry and Anne left town to head home. The thought of Ricardo was put away as they rode their wagon on the dark road out of town. Several hours later they made it safely home, but they failed to realize they were in terrible danger.
As Henry was putting the horses in the barn, he was attacked by several men, knocking him unconscious. Anne was then taken from inside her home by the men, dragged out for Ricardo to confront. Upon orders the men ripped the cross from around her neck, leaving her virtually helpless as Ricardo wanted to punish her for refusing him.
No matter how hard he tried to control her with his mind tricks, Anne never allowed herself to submit. He failed so he killed her in a horrible way.
By the time of Anne's death, Henry awoke and came out of the barn. He went mad seeing his beloved sister's torn body dead on the ground. Even though he was out numbered and he knew it meant his death, he attack the men and Ricardo with a terrible fierceness. But in the end, Ricardo claimed another victim.
I sat there in silence trying to fully comprehend the story I just heard. "Hank, are you telling me what I think you're telling me?"
"Yes Vicki, I am."
"How is this possible? You said you were killed."
"Remember I told you I vowed my soul to God in destroying Ricardo? Remember the crosses? I guess I was dead, but not for any length of time. Ricardo was about to strike one last blow taking my head when the cross I wear came in his sight shining brightly like the mid-day sun. He fled in absolute fright with his men right behind him.
I was briefly reunited with my sister in heaven after I swore my soul to eliminating Ricardo from this earth. God had already accepted my vow and allowed me a moment with her. After a kiss on my sister's cheek, I was sent back to my battered body."
"But that means you over a hundred years old. How can this be? You only look twenty-five."
"Vicki, please understand, the whole vampire thing is just the tip of the iceberg. Richard or Ricardo or what ever you want to call him actually killed me when we fought, but God brought me back so I may stop this evil. He put me back in a badly broken body. I was rescued by a Catholic priest and taken in spending years under the care of nuns. It had to be my effort and determination to make my recovery happen. God promised the opportunity, but he will not do it for me. It has been a long and painful time, physically and mentally, to make it here for this final battle."
"My cross maintains my youthful appearance. I have until the end of this All Hallows Eve to destroy Ricardo and rid this world of his evil. If I fail my soul will be forfeit and I go to hell.
He is responsible for all the girls disappearing this Halloween season, but I cannot do anything to protect them. I can only protect you."
"Why me, why am I so important?"
"All I know is you have the same strength as my sister. You have denied him. He can only form emotional attachments during the Blood Moon All Hallows Eve and whether you like it or not, he wants you. But you must still submit and go to him voluntarily."
Wanting to know if all I was was bait, "Is the only reason you're here with me is because of Ricardo?"
"To answer your question, 'am I with you only because of Ricardo', yes. If it wasn't for him wanting you, you and I would not have met. But that doesn't mean I don't have feelings for you. How could I not. My feelings are as real as they could possibly be. You are a beautiful woman that I know and feel to be good at heart and pure of soul."
"How could you possibly know that?" Hank said nothing, but gently reached for the cross around my neck and rubbed it between his thumb and index finger. Somehow I found myself doing the same and with the cross around his neck. I felt an intense passing between us. In an instant I felt all his pain, all his love. Everything he was, I felt. Suddenly I knew this man better than any woman could know a husband.
What he said next nearly broke my heart, "Please know when my task is complete, I'll be taken from this earth. I have no choice. My vow will be complete and I will be called home."
"What? You can't. I don't want you to go. I want you to stay with me. What good would it do for you to leave me after you sacrificed so much for your sister and me! It's not fair."
"Vicki, I...I don't want to leave you either, but I have no choice, I'm sorry."
I launched myself into Hank's chest crying repeating how unfair it all was. He wrapped his arms around me squeezing me tightly saying nothing, but I felt a tear fall from him landing gently on my face. I turned my head up to look at him, but instead I felt his lips on mine. I instantly closed my eyes savoring his taste. Kissing this man was what I wanted for days, but now that we were sharing this first kiss it turned bitter sweet. His muscular arms held me tightly making me feel so safe. I knew as long as Hank was in my life I would be happy. The thought of losing him after he destroyed Ricardo ignited an anger inside me that I refused to dampen.
After we broke our kiss I buried my face into his chest again crying and mumbling how I didn't want to lose him and how unfair it all was.
It was then that Hank whispered that everything would be alright and no matter what happened with Ricardo that we would always be part of each other and that not even God could take that away from us. That thought lightened my soul, but at the same time hurt even more because I didn't want him only as a memory, I wanted him!
If I only had a couple more days with him then I was going to love him with all my heart and soul. "Make love to me Hank, please. Make me yours."
Hank carried me into his bedroom neither of us saying a word as we undressed each other. For me the sight of his body was even more stunning than I could possibly imagined. For Hank I seen the worry in his eyes because of the scars he carried from his first encounter with Ricardo. The scars were badges of honor and I made sure he knew he was as handsome to me as any man could be. I kissed every one as I traced their length with my fingers. The worry left him as I looked up into his eyes and I reached for his arousal.
Every kiss, every caress felt as natural as breathing for both of us. Our lovemaking was unhurried and as fulfilling as we could have ever hoped for. Sleep over took as we held each other. When I woke up in the morning I smiled when I noticed Hank watching me. "What are you doing? I must look horrible."
"Vicki, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Your beauty is ever lasting and is only matched by the beauty you hold inside." The tears started all over again as I buried my face into his chest.
"You are such a wonderful man. How is it possible that I could be so lucky to have you in my life? Yet I feel cheated that you must be taken away from me."
"Let's not dwell on that. Let us live for the time we have. Besides, I need to make sure you actually live past tomorrow."
"OK Hank. But you must know I will not let you go without a fight. From Ricardo or God." The look I seen in his eyes and the feelings I felt with the help of the cross, told me he loved me. I made up my mind, if I had to die to stay with him, then so be it.
We got up and had breakfast, but not speaking much. Both of us were lost in our own thoughts. "What do we do now Hank? Do we hide away from Ricardo?"
"No baby we don't hide. This is not something you hide from. You and I will spend our time together living every moment deepening our love. Besides, I could use a workout. You have drained me in a most wonderful way. Now let us go and replenish our bodies. Afterwards, maybe we'll drain them again," as gave me a wink.
Stepping up and wrapping him with my arms, "Oh there is no maybe about it. Now let's go to the gym and get sweaty so we can come back here and get even more sweaty."
We went to my apartment to get my workout clothes. We were only a few steps inside when two men came out to confront us. Startled by them being inside my apartment, I grabbed Hank's arm pulling myself in close. Both men were big and menacing looking. "We're here for the girl. You let her go without any trouble, we'll let you live."
Hank looked both men over sizing them up. He look down to me and gave a smile and a nod that put me at ease. I released his arm stepping to a safe corner of the front room. I had a quick thought that what I was about to see was gonna be good. "I'm afraid you two got it all wrong. If you don't leave now without the girl, I'll let you live."
"What are you talking about asshole? Two against one and you think you can take us?"
"Trust me, this is your last chance. You can leave now and live, or see your boss in hell tomorrow night."
One of them went for Hank while the second made an attempt at me. The speed at which Hank moved was unbelievable. I took only seconds for both men to lay on the ground unconscious. "I thought you said you were going to kill them, Hank?"
"Yeah I know, but all I really wanted to do was scare them into thinking that. They would've died if either one of them touched you. But as long as they play nice when we get back, they'll live to see another day. Right now you get your workout clothes while I tie these two up."
"You're gonna leave them here?"
"Well yeah. At least until we're done working out. I have a feeling our workout is gonna be extra fun."
"OK Hank, I trust you."
By the time I had changed into my workout gear, Hank had tied and gagged both bad guys up. I decided to wear a little something extra for Hank that enhanced my assets. When I stepped out from the bedroom Hank looked up at me and practically drooled. His intake of breath and lustful look in his eyes told me all I needed to know. "You like what you see do you?"
"Oh my God yes. You are so beautiful Vicki. The other men at the gym will fall all over themselves. Let's go. Someone doesn't know it yet, but he's about to have a very bad night." I gave him a questioning look but let it go. I really did trust Hank and would go along with anything he asked.
Walking in to the gym was something like celebrities walking the red carpet. Everyone stopped exercising or socializing with their potential fornicator of the evening and looked at us. I leaned into Hank, "Why is everyone looking at us?"
"They're looking at you sweetheart. You are absolutely gorgeous in that outfit and believe me when I say it's taking all of my strength to keep my hands off you."
"You're a silver tongued devil, you know that? I love you Hank."
"I love you too Vicki. Now let's get busy working out. I'm going to push you hard today."
An hour later I was ready to collapse. Hank really pushed me hard on every weight machine and a two mile run on the tread mill. It surprised me how good I felt afterwards. "Let's get a drink at the juice bar, I'm buying," I told him. "Your on."
A few minutes into our drink Hank stiffened up for a moment and then relaxed, "He's here."
Ricardo walked in and when he seen us standing at the juice bar, he went pale. After a few seconds he walked over to us and looked at me, "You look ravishing my dear. Good enough to eat if I say so myself."
During this Hank stayed quiet with a smug look on his face staring Ricardo down, "Oh come now Ricardo, is that all you got to say to us? I thought you'd ask about your two friends back at Vicki's apartment. You know by the time I'm done with them I'll know exactly where you sleep during the day and I'll kill you tomorrow on All Hallows Eve without a fight. Or you forget about making Vicki your bride and you and I will fight to the death tomorrow when your at your strongest. Your choice."
Ricardo looked worried at the mention of his two henchmen back at my apartment. "OK Henry. A fight you want and a fight you'll get. But make no mistake, after I kill you, I'll still make Vicki my bride before the end of the Blood Moon All Hallows Eve." His smile scared me.
"Richard Barnes was a good man at one time, but I can truly see he is indeed gone. Too bad, because Richard's mate still had some humanity left in her. She only killed the men of the town who bullied you. She truly loved you, even if she was a vampire. You have my sympathy for your loss. But you allowed your anger to take control of you and you killed one of the God's special children, my sister Anne. Your last chance. Walk away from Vicki now and you may still get to be with your love. If not...
No matter what, tomorrow you and I will end this."
"That was a very nice speech Henry. Too bad though. You and I both know I can't walk away from Vicki. She is much to precious for that. Come now look at her, imagine her beauty never fading, never suffering the ravages of time, while we fuck our way through eternity."
I spoke up finally, "I'd rather be dead."
"Oh my dear Vicki, I'm afraid that is exactly the situation you find yourself in here. Just like sweet sister Anne."
Suddenly Ricardo was on the floor dazed looking up at us from a punch Hank threw at him. Stunned for only a moment Ricardo stood up shocked at the power behind Hank's punch. "That Ricardo is only a small example of what you are in store for tomorrow." You could see the fear in Ricardo's eyes.
The rest of the patrons in the gym stopped what they were doing wondering why a nice guy like Hank acted violently. No one said anything, but watched on intently.
Hank continued, "What? You'd expect that it would be easy like the last time. Nothing is like last time. Have no doubt, you will die tomorrow. Enjoy your last night on this earth."
Ricardo was still shocked to his core as Hank held my hand walking me out of the gym. Making it outside he smiled at me, "That was fun."
"What now Hank? Will it really be as easy as that tomorrow night."
"No Vicki it won't. I'm not going to lie to you. I told you before it would be a fight to the death and that is exactly what it's going to be. That back there was me freaking him out. It just gave me an edge in the fight. Fear my dear Vicki. He is afraid because now he knows my strength is only matched by my resolve. Let's go home and spend our last night in each others arms."
We slowly made out way back to Hank's apartment. Each step tore my heart out as his last words ran loud in my mind. I didn't want this to be our last night. I wanted a lifetime of nights with him. Every step brought a new tear. By the time we walked through his door I was a mess.
I wouldn't let go of Hank. I needed his touch more than anything. "Hank, let's just leave. He won't find us if we run away. We'll have a life together, just the two of us. Nothing else matters, please Hank."
"We can't run from this Vicki. His evil must be stopped. Too many woman have died because of him. Besides I swore my soul to God to destroy him and avenge my sister. Please don't ask me to go against all that."
"I don't like it Hank, but I understand. But tonight is for just you and I. There are no others. Take me to bed and make love to me and make me forget about everything for awhile."
Our lovemaking that night was the most wondrous of my life. I haven't been one for religion, but our time together was as close to spiritual as I ever experienced. We made love to each other most of the night. Come morning while we ate breakfast, I feared for the end of day.
I didn't hide it well. Knowing what my problem was and knowing he couldn't make it better, Hank still tried. He was upbeat and very affectionate. I smothered him until midday. Not able to take it any longer I asked Hank what were we going to do. "How is this going to work Hank. Are you going to search for Ricardo or what"?"
"No Vicki. I won't have to look for him. I already know where he's at. But he still wants you as his bride so he'll come after you come night fall. Until then you decide how you want to spend your day. What can I do for you today?"
"Just love me. All I want is for you to hold me. And make me a promise. You must promise this for me. You must not let me become Ricardo's bride. Promise me that you'll kill me before you let him take me."
Hank looked like at me like I was crazy. I don't think he considered that in order to same my soul, he'd have to kill my body. "Vicki...I can't hurt you let alone kill you. How could you ask me to do such a thing?"
"Would you rather I became a vampire?! Would you rather I have no afterlife with you in heaven?! Now you promise me and you do it now. You swore your soul to God to destroy Ricardo for your sister. You swear your heart to me, the woman you love, that you will kill me to keep me from becoming his bride. Please Hank. If you love me you'll do it."
With tears running down his cheeks and the look of absolute despair, he agreed. Deep down he knew it was better for me to die than to become what he hated most in the world.
Hank's life since he was sent back to his body has been a lonely one for him. It took the better part of two years to heal from the injuries Ricardo and his gang heaped upon him. Afterwards he went looking for Ricardo, but it was a waste of time. Too much time elapsed and there was no way to catch up with him.
He returned to the church and with it's help, he found peace in what he had to do. He traveled to churches around the world so he could be trained in different styles of fighting. Hank was literally turned into a lean mean fighting machine. The church taught him about vampires and the importance of the Blood Moon and All Hallows Eve. It seemed vampires are just like wild animals as they always return to their birth place to find a mate during the Blood Moon All Hallows Eve. Hank had to wait for Ricardo to come to him. All he had to do was just be there when Ricardo came back to Texas to find another mate.
Throughout all the years Hank lived his life for the coming event, but that's all he had. He was a lonely man. For him, it was because he was without his family. The importance of family was taught to him from a very young age by his parents. His mother and father were immigrants from Italy who came to start a new life away from the condemnation of Vatican hierarchy. You see, his father was a Catholic Priest who served as an interpreter for His Holiness the Pope and his mother was a nurse in a local hospital.
They met and fell in love even though his father's vow to the church made it impossible for them to be together. Eventually they could not deny their love and the need to spend a life together. Hank's father had a special relationship with the Pope and told his Holiness he was leaving the priesthood so he could marry the love of his life. When asked if he had broken his vow of celibacy, he could truthfully say he he did not and only wanted to do the right thing and leave his service to the church without breaking his vows.
His Holiness asked that he and his bride-to-be come before him so he may speak to them both before either made a decision that they may come to regret. Within minutes of their meeting the next day, His Holiness knew they were meant to be together. The love he witnessed between them was undeniable. As a wedding gift, he gave each a matching silver cross as a blessing to the life and marriage he hoped would continue for many years.
Hank's father and mother may have had the Pope's blessing, but many in the church frowned on his leaving the church just to marry a woman. His parents did not want to cause problems for His Holiness so they decided to leave and live their lives in another country. Winding up in Texas they started a new life with each other, eventually having two children, Henry and Anne.
It was his parents that taught them the importance of family and service to others. Then was the terrible day when Hank's parents died in a flash flood. Knowing their parents wishes that the crosses pass along to them, Hank and Anne wore them proudly and when the time came, pass them along to their children. It wasn't the cross that held power, but the love behind them that has kept Hank going for so long.
All that power was to be used in the destruction of an evil that he vowed to destroy. After, he wanted nothing more than to be called home and be with his family. Now, he finds all he wants to do is spend eternity in Vicki's arms. No final battle and no vow to God. For the first time in over 100 years, he regrets the choice he made.
Hank and Vicki spent all day holding each other. It was approaching twilight when there was a knock at Hank's door and an envelope was slipped inside. Hank knew what it was and told Vicki to get her coat as he opened it up and read the simple message from the Bishop.
"It's time Vicki. Let's go."
"I need to take you someplace safe and I have to do what I vowed to do."
"What do you mean your taking me someplace safe?"
"Vicki, I made you a promise and I intend to keep it."
"If you think you're going to fight Ricardo alone, you are out of your mind. I'm going with you."
"No you're not! He cannot trespass on consecrated ground and the church is the safest place for you and that is exactly where you are going. The Bishop is expecting us."
"You bastard! We're in this together and together we'll fight him. I want every minute with you I can have."
"Vicki. Please understand that I may still lose this fight. If I lose he could still influence and take you for his bride if you're with me. The church can keep you safe and I cannot possibly kill you just to keep you from being turned. The Bishop has agreed to my request and he will keep you until after All Hallows Eve. You have no choice."
Vicki knew Hank was only trying to protect her, but she still felt betrayed. Reluctantly she agreed to go to the church.
Hank noticed men following them as they made their way to the church. He knew who they were and why they were following them. They made it inside the door of the chapel where they were met by the Bishop. "Henry, it is so nice to see you again. Is this Vicki?"
"Yes it is. I have your word she'll be protected?"
"My solemn oath."
Looking at the Bishop, "After tonight, I will be no more. I ask for your blessing before I go."
"Of course my son." Hank received what would most likely be his last communion.
Vicki spoke up, "Hank don't leave me like this. Please."
Hank walked over and took her in his arms, "Vicki, you must stay. I cannot have my mind filled with your safety when I'm fighting Ricardo. The Bishop and the grounds of the church will protect you because there is still a chance I'll fail and if so, Ricardo will come after you. He cannot cross the threshold and there are men here you will repel any of his minions that do."
He pulled her in tighter, "If all goes well and I destroy Ricardo, I'll see you one more time before God calls me home. I love you more than you could possibly imagine. Without my family my existence has been a lonely one, but for the short time I have known you you have taken all that away. How I wish you and I had more time. God how I wish you and I could be be husband and wife. I love you Vicki. Never doubt that."
The Bishop motioned for nuns to take Vicki deeper into the sanctuary where she will be safest, while he walked Hank to an adjacent room where his gear was being held.
In the room, Hank found six men dressed in tactical assault gear. The men, who were actually Papal Guards, were Hank's back up if he failed against Ricardo and were tasked to eliminate any of Ricardo's henchmen. Two would stay behind and protect Vicki at the church. "You all understand your mission?" The men nodded in the affirmative. "The two of you remaining here, the woman you are protecting in more valuable to me than my own soul. You understand?"
"Yes sir, we do."
Hank and the other men finished their preparations and headed down to the warehouse district. It has been known for some time that Ricardo used this area to take his victims there to feed on and to dispose of. As they approached the warehouse closest to the water front, Hank gave them assault team their final orders, "You men take out any hostiles, but under no circumstances do you interfere with Ricardo. Even if it means my death. It my sworn mission to destroy him. Only get involved if your life depends on it. Any questions?"
"May God be with us."
Hank and the men scouted the perimeter of the warehouse. They immediately spotted three men guarding an access door. Nodding to his men they flanked the three men coming up from behind and eliminated them as a threat. Hank followed and all entered the door into the dimly lit area adjacent to the main part of the warehouse.
They allowed their eyes to adjust to the light when Hank heard voices. He ordered his men to stand down and wait until they were needed.
Hank could hear Ricardo talking about if his men heard anything about Vicki's status. Hank thought it was as good as a time as any so he walked in on everyone. "Sorry Ricardo, Vicki has been put in a safe place, on consecrated ground. There is no way you can get to her."
Ricardo was surprised to see Hank walking up to him. "How...How is it you know where I am?"
"Ricardo, you have been under constant surveillance since you came back into town. The church knows how you vampires work. Especially during the Blood Moon All Hallows Eve. So Vicki is on church grounds, someplace you cannot go.
Ricardo started laughing at Hank. "You have no clue, do you? Vicki has been exactly where I expected her to be. You really are too trusting. Right about now the love of your life and my future mate will be here."
"No! How could you get her out of the church?
"With enough men, anything can happen. That and a little help on the inside."
Ricardo gave me a slight smile and tilted his head making it seem like he was listening for something, "Matter of fact our special guests have just arrived." There was a commotion coming in and I heard my nightmare scenario approaching me as Vicki, the Bishop and several of Ricardo's men walked into view.
"You see my dear Henry, all you need is money. It helps getting what you want so much easier. The advantages of being around for a hundred years. I am a very rich man."
"Yes, Well, of course. But who's splitting hairs as long as I get what I want."
Hank looked into the Bishop's eyes and he immediately looked down. "Your solemn word, huh? Your not much of a man, are you?"
The Bishop looked up slightly, but still unable to meet Hank's gaze, "I'm sorry my son, but it was this or he promised to kill me." While the bastard was talking no one noticed I was slowly reaching behind my back for something that should convey my anger for his actions.
"Henry, there are plenty of woman out there. You can always..." That's as far as he got when everyone watched him fall to his knees with a dagger sticking out of his chest and the look of shock on his face. After he fell face first into the cement floor, Vicki started screaming and everyone looked at me, "I guess the Cardinal is going to need a new Bishop."
"You see what happens when you break your word to God Ricardo? Have no fear though, I will not break mine." I looked at the four men who came with me, "Are you with me or are you going to join the Bishop in hell?" Each man affirmed their allegiance to me, the Pope and to God. They were sent by the Pope so I didn't really doubt them. "Then kill the men holding Vicki and protect her while I finish what I vowed so long ago."
Only a few seconds passed when the men raised their muzzles of their weapons with silencers attached and the whispered sounds of justice rang out as every man surrounding Vicki fell dead. Vicki was screaming again and Ricardo made steps toward her. A repeat of the throw that lodged a dagger into the Bishop was sent toward Ricardo except this dagger was made of silver. I didn't want him dead so soon so I aimed for his leg. One thing the church told me about silver and vampires was true, it really hurts. I could hear the sizzle of his skin as it burned his flesh.
Ricardo's scream was as loud as Vicki's, but filled with more agony. "Ricardo, now you know better then to approach Vicki. All you did was get men killed. You should've been more worried about yourself. Now are you ready to get this over with? I've been waiting a very long time to avenge my sister. Don't worry about anymore silver daggers. My men have silver bullets and will use them only if you kill me.
It will be just you and me in a bare hands beating until one of us is dead. Of course the hit I gave you in the gym will feel more like a love tap compared to what I have in store for you tonight. Oh, yeah, just to make sure your dead, I'm going to drive a wooden stake through the heart. I expect that to be fun."
I walked over to Vicki and took her in my arms, "I didn't want you here for this. I would rather have left you with a more positive view of me instead of the one your about to see." I lowered my eyes, "I'll have to do become someone I'm not, someone who may terrify you, please forgive me, but it has to be done.
Will you hold this for me?" I took off the silver cross around my neck and gave it to her to hold. "After it's done, please put back on me so I may be buried wearing it. You keep Anne's. I want you to have it so it will help you to remember me."
"How could I ever forget you Hank?" Giving a sad smile, "Without you my life will be meaningless. All I ask is that God kill me so I can be with you after." I could not help, but more tears fall as I gave her another small kiss.
I looked at the men protecting Vicki, "Give me some space and if I fail, finish the job. Use your silver bullets and then take his head." I turned back to Ricardo who by now has pulled the dagger out of his thigh and had thrown it on the ground.
"Let's get this done." I stepped toward Ricardo, it's a shame really, I was told Richard Barnes was a nice man, too bad you had to take over his body."
Hank and Ricardo stepped around the other like beasts stalking its prey. Each waiting for the first move to be made so they could counter and draw first blood. Hank knew the strength and quickness possessed by vampires and this being the Blood Moon All Hallows Eve, Ricardo was at his strongest. But Hank spent the last century learning every technique of fighting and was capable of causing tremendous damage with each strike. This is where his vow has taken him.
Ricardo morphed into a hideousness that startled everyone but Hank. It was expected and allowed Hank to separate the man that used to be from the evil that he swore to destroy.
A sudden reach by Ricardo raking his elongated nails through Hanks flesh brought out the first fall of blood, but Ricardo was stunned by the overhand punch brought down against his face. Holding his arms as blood oozed passed his fingers, Hank looked down as he sees shock register across Ricardo's face as he realized the punch in the gym was only a tender jab meant only to make a point.
Hank took two steps back allowing Ricardo back off the floor. This was not going to be a quick trip to death. Hank meant to punish Ricardo before he imposed God's justice.
Both man and vampire attacked the other taking a piece of the other for over twenty minutes. Blood was life for both and neither had much left. During the fight Hank could hear the cries of Vicki, but he had to continue even though it meant not only the death of Ricardo, but his as well.
The end of All Hallows Eve was approaching. Hank lunged for Ricardo and took him to the ground pinning him underneath his weight. He punched and punched until he could barely lift his arms and could no longer feel movement by the creature under him. The view of the man that used to be Richard Barnes was a sickening sight. Pieces of flesh torn and blood soaked clothes were the only parts that appeared human.
Hank raised himself up stumbling to a bag close by taking out a wooden stake and a mallet. There are two ways to guarantee a vampires death. Wooden stake through the heart or removing its head. Hank did promise Ricardo he would use a stake.
Positioning the wood stake over Ricardo's heart raising the mallet, he spoke a few unexpected words, "May God have mercy on your soul, Richard Barnes," as he swung down hard driving the stake into Ricardo's heart. One last loud cry from the vampire and it was done. Hank fulfilled his vow to God bringing justice to his sister and all the other woman who fell victim to Ricardo.
Vicki looked on scared to what she witnessed wondering what happened to the wonderful gentle caring man she fell in love with. She gasped as she watch Hank let out a primal scream of victory.
Hank turned to Vicki and made two steps toward her before he collapsed dying. Vicki broke free of the Papal guards rushing to Hank. She pulled him to her lap as she cradled his head. He looked up at his crying love, "It is done. I have fulfilled my vow. Oh how I wish you and I had more time. I love you Vicki." As his eyes closed and his breathing stopped.
The Papal Guards stood by allowing the woman to mourn Hank. What surprised them was the emotional scream Vicki released at his passing. It was more fierce then the cry of victory Hank let loose just moments before.
Vicki yelled for God to bring Hank back to her. She cursed him for taking away the only man she has ever loved. Tears fell from her face as she spoke softly to Hank's body begging him not to leave her.
Moments passed as she remembered the cross she was holding for Hank. Raising it to her lips she gave it a loving kiss before she wrapped the chain and clasped it around his neck.
The Papal Guards approached Vicki and begged her to allow them the honor of carrying Hank's body to the Cardinal so he could be prepared for burial. She nodded slightly to the men, but as they knelt down to retrieve his body they heard a voice tell them that you don't bury the living.
One of the men said, "Who in the hell said that?"
They all turned their eyes down to see Hank looking back at them. Vicki broke down crying as she pulled Hank into her tightly asking how and why. "God heard you. He did ask if I would perform one more task for him and of course I said yes."
"What did he ask of you?"
"He asked me to live a normal life as your husband. I gave him my word I would love no other and if you said yes, I would be your husband. What do you say, will you marry me?"
With tears running down her cheeks, "I couldn't very well let you break your word to God now could I? Of course I'll marry you."
The Papal Guards insisted they leave the premises and get Hank some medical care.
It would prove an easier recovery for Hank then the last. Besides the benefit of modern medicine, he had his bride-to-be with him every moment of the healing process. It only allowed their love to grow, warming the hearts of all around them.
The Cardinal praised Hank for completing his mission and thanked him for eliminating a less then worthy Bishop from the ranks of the ministry. Hank apologized for the loss of the two Papal Guards protecting Vicki before she was taken by Ricardo's men. All were honored for their service.
During Hank's time in the hospital, Vicki asked him about his trip to heaven and what it was like. All he told her it was nothing that could be clearly described, but it felt like home. Peaceful and loving, filled with happiness. But more importantly, he got to be with is family and tell them how much he loved them. His sister was especially proud of her big brother and wanted nothing more than his happiness. She gave him a kiss on the cheek before he came back to spend a mortal life with Vicki.
Hank and Vicki were married in the church, each vowing before man and God to love one another until death they do part. But both knew their time together would surpass a mortal life and carry on into heaven itself.
May 15, 2018 in romance