Happy Friday! School is back in session in our area and although my own children are grown and I no longer have to worry about it, I know of more than one parent who is glad to have their kids back in class!
I have another Flash Fiction story for you today, this one a little on the long side. I hope you don’t mind. Enjoy!
This week’s theme: Watching
Watching by Lily Graison
“Come on, Eve. It’ll be fun.”
“Yes. You can’t get more entertainment than this.”
Gwen’s idea of fun just seemed–wrong, somehow. Sure an entire church devoted to the belief that vampires were real was slightly amusing. Even more so when half the congregation thought they were vampires themselves. But to actually attend one of their weekly services?
The people walking into the church were exactly what Eve expected to see. Dark clothing and gothic chick gone to the extreme. Sickly pale faces and dark eye shadow accentuating their eyes made everyone seem eerie. Some, it appeared, even donned fake fangs.
“I don’t think these people think it’s as funny as you do, Gwen.”
“So,” Gwen shrugged. “Come on. We’ll just sit in on their little meeting and see what’s what.”
Eve rolled her eyes when Gwen grabbed her arm and practically dragged her up the walkway to the church. Two women stood by the large double doors, both wearing what appeared to be black robes, and handed them a program before welcoming them to the Church of Eternal Life.
The interior was unlike any church Eve had ever seen. The pews were covered in blood red fabric, the carpet in black. The stained glass windows depicted scenes of death and destruction and the music playing caused Goosebumps to cover her arms. The entire place had a very ominous feel to it.
“I don’t have a very good feeling about this.”
“Good grief, Eve. Lighten up.”
Eve followed her best friend into one of the pews before sitting and taking in the interior of the building.
The alter in front of the church looked like any other. Your typical podium sat facing the parishioners, a table with paraphernalia lining the top and candles littered every hard surface in the building.
Looking up, Eve saw a balcony jutting out behind the alter with curtains in the same color fabric of the pews covering whatever lay behind it.
Hushed whispers filtered through the church and the attention of almost everyone there centered on them. The clang of the heavy doors being shut caused Eve to jump before Gwen laughed and the room grew deathly still.
The two women who greeted them at the door walked slowly down the main isle of the church. Their black robes made a light swishing noise as they passed the pew Eve sat on.
Candles that sat on the table in front of the alter were lit, the two robed figures making a grand gesture of lighting them before lifting them over there heads and chanting something unintelligible. The other parishioners of the church in turn chanted the same phrase before the candles were placed back on the table and the two women sat on the front row.
The tension in the room seemed to grow in the stillness. Eve glanced around the massive room. Everyone sat staring at the alter with eager looks on their faces. A collective sigh brought her attention back to the front of the room. Even Gwen joined in with a surprised gasp.
A man stood there now. His tall, lean frame seemed larger than it should. His head was shaved clean, his skin the same sickly pale tint everyone else wore.
His eyes were black with dark eyeliner adding emphasis to them. Even from where she sat, Eve could see the dead nothingness in them as he stared out into the crowd.
When he spoke, the spectacle became real.
“Welcome, my brethren.”
Gwen smiled, the white of her teeth gleaming in the low light of the room and Eve couldn’t help but grin along with her.
“I come to you tonight with great pleasure. We have a new member to welcome into the fold and, I’m told, we have guests.”
All eyes turned to them then and Eve squirmed in her seat. There were no smiles, just open, blank stares. She swallowed loudly before looking back at the man behind the podium.
“I am Vance,” the man said, “And I welcome you to the Church of Eternal Life. Here, life isn’t endless days until death finds us. Here, the Kindred live with the knowledge that life continues–forever.”
Eve sat and listened, watching the reaction of those around her and the more she heard, the more she was convinced these people were delusional.
Vampires. They all thought they were vampires. It wasn’t that they just thought it–they apparently lived it.
Blood rituals were performed; the taking and receiving of life force from the new recruit and Eve knew they were in the wrong place. Gwen sat enraptured in the church proceedings. She had yet to move, or blink for that matter. She took in every word, watching the events happening without batting an eye. Eve wondered if it were just fascination in what was happening or if she was buying in to the mumbo-jumbo being spouted by Vance.
The tension increased until Eve found it difficult to sit still. She didn’t believe in magic but something was happening. She couldn’t explain the chill running up her spine when Vance read from a yellowed scroll of paper. The air seemed to crackle with energy.
The church followers chanted, initiating the newest into their fold and a collective sigh was heard as the man joining the church began to shake. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and when his body went limp and slid to the floor, Eve saw the red curtains on the second floor move.
She looked up, seeing a lone man shadowed in the darkened balcony watching the proceedings below.
He didn’t move, his eyes drinking in the action in the front of the church. He lifted his head and Eve saw him look out into the crowd. When his eyes landed on her, her breath caught in her throat.
Eyes the brightest green she’d ever seen stared back at her and the hair on her arms stood on end. His gaze never lifted and she turned to look behind her to see if he were truly looking at her. When she turned back to look at him, he was gone.
“Tell me that’s something you see everyday.”
“What?” Eve said, glancing over at Gwen before looking back up to the second floor.
“Were you not watching?” Gwen asked.
“No. I guess not.”
Eve stared up at the balcony. The man she’d seen there was gone. The curtains still swung slightly and his presence seemed stranger than what was happening. Who was he and why did her skin suddenly tingle as if he’d touched her?
To read my other Flash Fictions, head over to my website and visit the Flash Fiction Page.