Today I'm going to let you into my world, into my story. I'm currently rewriting a short story I wrote a few years ago, one I really enjoyed but did not feel I had done justice to. The concept still amazes me, and here I am years later tinkering with it, lifting more of its secrets from inside my head.
It is called Original Sin.
The story is about an old man, an ex-priest who has since moved back to his parents' farm. His parents are dead and he farms the land himself. One day he finds a vampire—a child—and discovers something about her and himself. As this happens the villagers nearby are asking for help against a creature that has been ravishing their flock for some time, and finally a young priest from a secret order appears to carry out the slaying of the vampire. The two men meet and in the middle of them is this child. One believes she is evil, and the other doesn't know what to believe anymore, but will not let the young man destroy her.
I'm open to critiques if anyone wants to do that, but mostly I'm just hoping to share. This is a rough draft and so will likely be rewriting once more and then edited profusely.
I'm really enjoying what I'm writing this time around, and I enjoyed what I had written before, but this is an idea that I doubt will stay static in my mind. I believe it will continue to evolve, and years from now I may find myself rewriting it again, perhaps even making a novel out of it. It deserves it—I'm fascinatingly in love with these characters.
Chapter 1 (759 words):
Jorge Alvarez awoke in the middle of the night. At first he thought it was the dream that had woken him, but as it faintly lingered in his mind, he knew that he had not dreamed of evil, but of sweetness. Of his mother, dead for fifty years.
There was a sudden noise from outside, across the yard near the barn. A loud bleating from the sheep locked in the pen. Jorge rose to his feet and quickly dressed, wondering what had spooked the animals in the night. He caught a quick glimpse of his clock as he left his room, his shirt on backwards.
He pulled his rifle from the closet in the foyer and checked it, taking a breath before opening his door. When he was a child he remembered his father fighting off a pack of stray dogs. He had shot them, a bullet for each, and though Jorge did not know what to expect this night, the memory was deep and powerful within him. He had always loved dogs, but sometimes evil things had to be done for the greater good.
It was the same message he had learned in seminary.
Outside he could hear the sheep moving in the darkness, some ramming against the pen, and as he walked across the yard, his pace slowed by age, he heard the fencing give way. The wooden planks collapsed, and as if caught off their guard under the moonlight, the sheep paused before fleeing.
There was nothing he could do as they ran free, but he did not let his guard down. He trusted that they would be safer from anything that was after them on the run, rather than trapped inside the pen. But he was a man approaching eighty years, and he could not move as quickly as he could when he was young. If this was a stray dog, or some other creature coming down from the mountains, he had to see it before it saw him.
Under the moonlight he could not see anything that moved, and then he noticed that the barn door was ajar. It was not a large bay door used for machinery, but a small square door just wide enough for a horse to enter.
There was a gust of wind and the door was blown closed, the latch locking in place as if by some magic. The sound drifted past him and died as quickly as it came and he recognized the sound that woke him. It had not been the sheep but the banging of the open door—now closed for good.
Jorge let his gun down to his side. Was whatever had spooked the sheep inside the barn? He wiped sweat from his brow, not from fear but from the still-warm night. The sun had been hot during the day and the heat had been trapped upon the warm breeze. He walked closer to the door, raising his rifle again, placing his hand upon the latch.
The door creaked slowly open and Jorge was faced with an impenetrable darkness. Inside nothing stirred.
He kept his gun raise just before him, chest level. He moved into the darkness and reached his hand out to his left, searching for the lamp that lay on the shelf against the wall, but it was no use trying to light the lamp and hold the gun at the same time, let alone search for danger. Then he heard the burro in the corner snort and sniff the air. Alive and well.
Jorge backed out of the darkness and quickly shut the door. He did not know what had spooked the sheep, but he was certain he would find out in the morning after gathering them all. If there were rustlers he would not be able to stop them. Maybe he'd wake and each animal would be gone. Maybe not.
He did not worry and returned to the house, replacing the gun to his closet and kicking off his shoes in the dim bedroom light.
Then he noticed something upon the sole, which he had tracked through the house. Blood. Bright red yet and still wet, in small, faint streaks.
He put his clothes by the side of the bed and extinguished the light. Laying down, he closed his eyes, but dreams did not return to Jorge Alvarez. Not dreams of his mother or his father, not dreams of the seminary. He did not sleep the rest of the night but waited up, listening for the lost sheep.