It was a dark and stormy night.
Well, it had to happen occasionally.
Father Brennan looked out of his window and smiled. It was June – that obstreperous month which English people, in denial of all prior experience, always expected to be dry and calm. And which usually contrived to be anything but.
In fairness, the morning had been sunny and blue-skied, with that cool, hopeful ambiance that so often followed sunrise. The priest, who had been paying attention to the weather forecast, had ridden to the reservoir. There, he had extracted his tartan blanket from his bicycle’s basket, along with a large thermos flask of tea, and settled down to a morning of enthusiastic prayer.
It had been rather lovely. He’d even had time to enjoy a slice of lemon drizzle cake.
By midday, clouds had begun to dim the sky. Not rain, not yet, but the air had lost its earlier clarity and become heavy and muggy. Clouds of tiny, black insects appeared as if from nowhere and were clustering around his head, leaving him with the uncomfortable fear that he might be unwillingly inhaling their tiny bodies.
Father Brennan packed up his things and made for home.
This time of year, of course, the days were long and the nights short, but the storm clouds had darkened the sky early and ensured there was neither moon or starlight. By eleven pm, it was black as velvet across the land at the back of the rectory. There weren’t even streetlights, here. Not that those would bother them.
They had been a nuisance, lately. Father Brennan wasn’t sure if his little experiment would work, but if it didn’t, well, it had only cost him a morning by the reservoir. Hardly a high price to pay.
He pulled a chair over to the window and touched the heavy, silver crucifix he wore around his neck. At that moment, the sky flashed. Not a filmic fork of lightning, rather a simple second of brightness, followed two beats later by a thick rumble that hit deep in his gut.
Heavy drops of rain began to splatter against the windows. The priest sat down in the chair and sipped from his cup of tea. The vampires tended to pass this way on their way out of the crypt. Not every night, but these conditions would, he thought, appeal to their sense of drama.
In the past they’d had a sort of agreement. An armistice, you might say. He didn’t bother them, and they didn’t bother the town. They didn’t really need human blood. They didn’t need much of anything, actually. They were, at the end of it all, immortal.
Some of the younger ones had been getting ideas lately, though, and things had become… messy. A strong message needed to be sent.
Lightning flashed again, and this time he saw, just for a second, figures in the darkness. Not moving with their usual lithe, unnatural grace, but rather hunched, contorted – as though in pain. And it was hard to be entirely certain, but… was that steam?
Father Brennan sipped his tea and sat back. Well, well. He really hadn’t been sure. If water evaporates in one place, is the same water likely to fall as rain nearby? And then there were really quite considerable dilution factors to consider. Astonishing, really.
He hummed to himself. It was truly a dark and stormy night, and there was a great deal of very blessed rain.
It’s the last day of May as I write this, and flaming June looms ahead. Maybe it will not be quite so obstreperous this year. But if it is, perhaps it will at least take out a few vampires as it passes through.