Isabel knew she would be safe if she made it to Hallowed ground.
She did not look back.
Isabel was fast but It was faster. Just a half a block back she thought. Half a second wasted glancing over her shoulder would mean her doom.
Lungs burning she powered forward on aching legs. Blood pounded in her ears drowning out the pursuer’s footfall. Isabell feared she would feel an icy iron grip at any moment.
I should scream, she thought. But no, I can’t waste the oxygen. Besides, no one could help.
Isabel’s breath came out ragged, and she imagined her old track coach berating her to practice breath control. The thought gave her just a little more speed.
She turned a corner and saw it. Red bricked. White trimmed. Imposing. Hallowed ground.
Just 50 yards.
Blood still pounding in her ears, Isabel could now hear footfall behind her. So close.
Calling on reserves hitherto unknown, Isabel launched herself toward the building, praying with each step for the strength to take just one more.
She made it across an empty parking lot and up three short stairs to the door wrenching it open breaking a flimsy lock, only to feel an icy hand grip the collar of her jacket.
With a panicked gasp Isabel wriggled out of her sleeves and half-lept, half-fell through the door, her palms stinging as they made contact with the cool tile floor.
She gave herself only a moment’s respite, turning over just in time to see her assailant, now striding with a slow arrogance, step into the doorway, then stumble back in confusion.
Isabel rose slowly, catching her breath as the fiend took the doorway at a run and was again rebuffed. She took a slow confident step back towards the door, coming face to face with her pursuer.
With the vampire.
“I don’t understand,” it growled, teeth gleaming. “This place is not holy.”
Isabel reached out a hand and tapped the window next to the door where the words “Gibson Public Library” were stenciled in red and gold.
“This is where I waited while my mother went to her chemo appointments,” she said. “This is where I spent my days after she died. Grieving. Reading. Healing. This place is sacred to me. And you cannot come in.”
The creature gave an inhuman hiss and slammed a palm against the unseen barrier between them.
“Whatever, it doesn’t matter,” it said. “You can’t stay in there forever. If I can’t have you tonight I’ll find you tomorrow, or next week, or a year from now. You’ll let your guard down and I’ll be there. I never abandon my prey.”
“You’re right,” she said. “I can’t stay here forever. But you will never take me.”
“What makes you so sure?”
Isabel looked over the vampire’s shoulder across the empty parking lot, past sleepy streets, east, to the horizon.
“Because the sun is coming up,” she said. “Better run.”
Thanks for reading Hallowed Ground! If you enjoyed it, hit that like button and leave a comment. If you’d like to check out more of my weird stories and musings about life, the universe, and the meaning of existence, then subscribe to Mindful of Madness. You can also find me on twitter @drewjokeringram or on Instagram @andrewingram88. My comedy album, “This Was A Bad Idea” is on Spotify, iTunes or pretty much anywhere else you listen to music. Thanks, my self-esteem depends on you.