Elisha flew through the night with a motionless Naya in his arms. He held her close, knowing the chill of the season might affect her despite the coat she wore. His companions had gone in different directions, to protect their minds from the knowledge of where she would be kept prisoner until the next night. If Heriolf caught them and read their minds, they would have no information he could use to track the Font.
Half an hour after leaving Heriolf’s mansion behind, Elisha sighted the abandoned derelict church he was looking for. He might have called it home had he done more than spend the dead daylight hours in his coffin there. As he drifted down to it, the tang of pine from the nearby trees wafted to him. They couldn’t cover the sweet scent of the woman he held. He was eager to question her, to discover the secret of her blood. Perhaps to find out why he’d gone against his nature and assaulted her with his lust. To learn how she could escape his glamour so easily.
The moment he landed she stirred, proving she had yet again shaken off the effects of the trance he’d put her under. Elisha tightened his hold on her, his booted feet soundless over the twigs and leaves that littered the ground. Naya craned her neck to look at their surroundings.
“This is a church,” she said, her eyes wide as he carried her to the old wooden structure. Its once-pristine white paint had grayed with time and weather, peeling in leprous patches in many places to expose the even grayer wood.
“Excellent observation,” Elisha said in his most discouraging tone. He listened to the night, checking for sounds of pursuit. All he discerned were the chorus of crickets, the sigh of the breeze through the pines, and the minute movements of small animals in the nearby woods. Satisfied no one followed, he kicked open the door and carried her into the musty gloom.
Moonlight peered in through the cracks and holes in the ceiling, slightly illuminating the debris-strewn pews, altar, pulpit, and rotting carpet. Elisha’s eyes saw it all perfectly well, but Naya seemed to be blind.
Only a slight tremor betrayed her fear. “I thought Heriolf was the only vampire powerful enough to tread on holy ground.”
“It has nothing to do with power. I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in the Christian god, therefore it cannot harm me.”
He set Naya down on a clear bit of the frayed and water stained carpet. She peered around, her eyes apparently adjusting to the dimness and allowing her to discern a little.
Elisha frowned. It had been over two centuries since he left his original life behind, but he was sure human eyes shouldn’t be able to see in this near blackness. Yet Naya was walking down the center aisle, picking her way carefully around splintered boards and other tripping hazards.
What was she?
Elisha followed her closely though she showed no signs of making a run for it. She asked, “It makes sense a vampire’s faith determines whether he can tread on holy ground. Heriolf worshipped pagan gods when he was alive, though he says he no longer believes in them.”
“He hasn’t bought into the fiction concerning our kind. But the fearful faith of most who serve him will keep them from coming in, no matter his threats. If he enters, it will be alone.”
“He will destroy you on his own. He needs no one to help him.” Naya’s tone was matter-of-fact, as if disclosing a great and undeniable truth.
“He’ll have to catch me first.”
As if his words were a signal, Naya suddenly swerved around him, running for the door. Elisha caught her up around the waist, lifting her off her feet and pinning her against his body. She struggled mightily, but it was as if a rabbit fought a bear. She was no match for his strength, her tiny fists drumming his shoulders with no more force than a torrent of rain.
While her writhing did nothing to tax him physically, feeling her warmth and smelling her scent intoxicated his senses. The motions of her body against his sought to overcome Elisha’s morals again. Passion blinded him to everything but the softness of the woman in his arms. Desire beckoned with brutality, entreating him to feed and fuck until she moved no more. He felt his civilized mind slip away, losing itself in the darkness of the night and his vampire soul.