I remember several times that my father took me with him when he went out to do his clergy duties. I remember one particular time a little clearer than most of the others because I wrote it down in a journal. I was 17 and he had told me that I am now old enough to learn about death. My father was an intense man, his famous line was, "Life is too short for pleasantries and nonsense" His work was serious and he didn't take kindly to any messing around. My memories of him are sketchy at best but I see his figure clearly, silhouetted against the night sky holding a staff with a golden cross at the top. My diaries refresh my memory when it fails me. I kept, and still do, an on-going diary of things which strike me as important. Some of my diaries are filled with good memories of family time, things I've learned or discovered and celebrations. There are, however, more entries which paint darkness and despair.

I smelled death. That pungent, sickening scent that turns the stomach at a mere whiff. Quickly I covered my mouth and nose to try block it out but the smell was so strong it knocked me off of my feet. I fell to my knees, gasping for fresh air and felt my collar being tugged. Immediately I was lifted to my feet and scolded by my father. His silhouette was huge against the night sky, nothing but the light of the moon illuminating him, making him look larger than life. The sight of him was breathtaking and terrifying. I coughed and sputtered, 'I'm sorry, Father. Forgive me" I wiped the mud from my pants and straightened my coat. "The smell, I just..."

"SILENCE!" His voice boomed and echoed across the empty field. My eyes widened and I stood, feeling small and alone next to a pile of bodies. "Just stand back" He ordered. I did as I was told, watching as he lit the twigs around the circle of bodies. Doctor Bradshaw said the fever swept through our village claiming the lives of 2 families and our elderly neighbor, Mr. Newell. We tended to the burial duties as Doctor Bradshaw, my father and myself all were exposed to the fever on several occasions. Our immunity seemed stronger than most. As the clergy for our community, my father wore several hats, so to speak. Minister, Counselor, Nurse, Advisor and grave digger. I have never seen my father sit idle a day in his life. Not even when he's feeling under the weather. He never stops. Doctor Bradshaw said that he has been non-stop since the very moment my mother died. He told me that he never even took time to grieve. He hasn't stopped moving for 17 years.

The smoke rose from the fire, making it difficult to see. The musky stench made me cough and gag. I saw my father glare at me from the corner of his eye. He never once even cleared his throat. I felt small and weak next to his faux-huking silhouette. The combination of his cloak, the smoke and the moonlight cast a huge disfigured shadow resembling that of a monster. We stood in silence as the flames danced and popped. A log shifted and one of the bodies slid from the pile. It was then I knew. A glint of light reflected from a necklace on one of the victims. I saw the teeth marks as clear as if it was day. These were no victims of the Fever. They were victims of a vampire.

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