His reflection betrays the story. Black eye shines like a twisted sun above the desolate landscape of a thick lip and twisted nose. He plays gently with his nose and winces as it screams back in protest; probably broken. His hand moves gingerly on, touching the bruises, hurting wherever his fingers trail and yet, somehow, the pain is addictive. He tentatively opens his mouth, causing his entire face to throb. The porcelain of his front incisor is badly chipped.
He hadn’t seen them coming, and if he had he realises that he could have done nothing to protect himself. The beating was like a blur, black leather jackets, fists and feet; a terrifying melee directed only at him.
The vampire already had his mercenaries protecting him. Just like the Count’s gipsy guards. Wherever they go they always find willing thralls.
But what now? The omens had led him to the hunting ground. It had seemed almost insane, yet the sign of the blood smear had shown him the way.
He needed more, he needed some oracle. Some augury to take the modern day Saint George forth to the lair of the serpent, to bury his lance deep within the putrid heart of the worm.
That’s it, he needed to prostrate himself before the altar of God, offer himself and pray for the answer… in the church of Saint George.
© 1990 & 2006 Andrew M Boylan