After the priest left the sanctuary, Ambrose knelt and covered his face with his hands. “God.” he whispered. “Please. Just please.” He thought again of all of the possibilities, all of the things that could and probably would go wrong. “Please. I know…I don’t deserve your help. I know I deserve to crash and burn in every possible way. But.”
He thought of Barbara and his eyes teared up again. “Please.” His tears fell. “Help me.”
Barbara tapped his arm. “There he is.” she whispered urgently.
He raised his head and saw the priest walking down the aisle.
Barbara all but jumped out at him.
He stopped and they had a hushed exchange of words.
Ambrose sat back in his seat and set his feet on the kneeler. He watched their conversation with growing degrees of nervousness.
She returned to Ambrose. “Come on. He’s going to talk to us.”
Ambrose followed them to the priest’s house next door. He shivered and the cold night air had nothing to do with it.
“Come in! Come in!” The priest held the door open for them.
I’m going to throw up. I’m going to vomit blood everywhere. I’m going to make a ghastly mess.
The priest led them into his living room. “Have a seat and we’ll talk.”
Ambrose and Barbara sat side-by-side on the couch. The priest grabbed an armchair and dragged it over to them. “Okay. What seems to be your problem?”
Ambrose cleared his throat. “I want to marry Barbara, but her priest back in Pinkerlee refused. I don’t know if you can help us. If you…want to help us.”
“Why did he refuse?”
“Because I’m a vampire.” Ambrose sighed. “I don’t understand why. Barbara tried to explain it to me, but it doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand.”
“It all goes back to the old theological questions about vampires. Do they have a soul? Are they still human? And can their souls, if they exist, be saved?” He steepled his hands. “None of the popes have declared doctrine on it yet. Some of the most brilliant theologians were split on the issue.” He shrugged. “I’m no St. Thomas Aquinas, but I’ve met many vampires in this mission here. I find it hard to believe that they are soulless because I have seen so much to the contrary. I’ve seen them grieve the loss of loved ones. I’ve heard their genuine confessions. Yes, they fall into the same sins. They yield to temptations, especially in regards to killing. But I know them. They are individuals. They are people, same as everyone else. They have memories and dreams, same as everyone else.”
He chuckled. “Sorry. I get a little heated up about the subject. I could go on and on about it if you let me.”
“It’s okay.” Ambrose hesitated. “Is it possible for me to save my soul?”
“Of course. As long as you’re alive and you correspond with God’s grace, it’s very possible.”
“Even though I’m a vampire?”
“Even though you’re a vampire.”
“Can I go to Confession?”
“Of course. But it might be better if we go somewhere a little more private.”
Ambrose looked at Barbara.
She smiled and her eyes were bright. “Go on. I’ll be right here.”
“Okay. But don’t get yourself kidnapped or killed or bitten behind my back.”