It started with me staring up at the night sky, it was an inky, velvet blue, starless but cloudy. The clouds hung above like something terrible was going to happen, a storm perhaps. Slowly my gaze wandered downwards, surveying the landscape - a small, rocky mountain on which resided a few dead trees and rough patches of coarse grass and weeds. The centrepiece of this mountain though was a crumbling castle, crumbling yet still very much there. It dominated the landscape like a looming dread, dark and craggy, with crude gargoyles carved out of grey stone on top of the four towers that spiralled off into the dark sky guarding against who knows what with the darkness that seemed to seep out of every crack and opening. I started walking towards this castle, it was very far away though the journey seemed to have lasted shorter than it should have, so in no time I was there standing in front of the giant entrance which had lost its door long ago. I peered through the archway to a courtyard that was devastatingly empty and bare and it almost seemed that the short trip up there had been a waste of time. I felt as if I should be there though, but then at the same time I felt a fear that made me want to turn away, but I knew I wouldn't and couldn't. Everything was silent, no noise came from anywhere except for me. My footsteps that echoed as I continued onwards through the archway and up some worn stone steps that climbed the left side of the courtyard, and then through the dark door at the top of them. My breath that came out in soft blasts, surrounding the air by my lips with a small fog. Once through the door I entered a damp corridor that had several locked doors going off in all directions. I kept on walking up the corridor until I came to a door that was open although, yet again, it was dark inside with only one candle lighting it. The candle cast its glow over the table that it was sitting on and also a small piece of paper that was yellow by the candle-light and curled very slightly at the edges. Naturally nosey or just compelled to take a look at the paper, I don't know, but I went over and lifted the candle up to take a closer look. I picked the paper up and replaced the candle back on the table. The paper had nothing on, but I turned it over a few times to check that I hadn't missed anything or just something. There really was nothing, no small red flower like in 'The Scarlet Pimpernel', no writing, no ink, nothing. So consumed in inspecting the paper I was, that I didn't see the figure sitting on the chair opposite me in the shadows, or the other silhouettes of men that were behind me. I felt something brush my neck and a chill ran through me. Again something else brushed past my arm and I threw the paper up in the air letting it flutter slowly to the ground. It was then that I saw the figure on the chair and it was then that I realised I would surrounded by creatures, not men. My heart was beating faster and I was shaking slightly so I could hear my breath coming out in ragged little gasps. The figure on the chair got up and walked into the light. "We've been expecting you to show up." He said quietly. It was a man with straight, greasy black hair that came down to his shoulders and as he looked at me I noticed his crystal blue eyes, cold, and slightly sinister. He was dressed from head to toe in black, all except for an off-white shirt that he wore under a black jacket. Black boots, black breeches, and extremely pale skin which all added to the eerie vibe that he gave off. "Who are you?" I whispered on an outbreath, still looking at his eyes. "You don't need to know my name." He said. "That will come later." "Later?" I asked nervously as he paced around me in a somewhat predatory way. He gave a small laugh. "Don't play the fool with me. You know exactly what I'm talking about. Otherwise you would not have come here. Or." he stood directly in front of me as he said this. "Have you come to see the priest?" he sneered the word priest as if it was something dirty or unwanted. The creatures behind me sniggered at this. Their laughter sounding like harsh, throaty coughs. "Uh." I didn't know what to answer, but the presence of these people was extremely threatening. "What's the matter, cat got your tongue?" the man hissed, and as he did this I noticed his eye-teeth, they were fangs like that of a beast, or perhaps a vampire. I gasped and this set the creatures off laughing again. I tried to back away but a wall blocked any chance of exit I had, and now the creatures, beasts, or whatever the hell they were, were flanking me. This was when I realised that there were only two of them, although I was pretty certain that before there had been more. Unless their laughter had echoed off the walls of this room. They were odd looking beings, like fierce dogs or hyenas, stood on their back legs, red eyes and saliva foaming at the side of their mouths and flying off in all directions as they laughed still. As the vampire started advancing upon me, slowly as if he were enjoying my fear, a small smile creeping onto his lips, I looked around for an exit. Somewhere, anywhere. I saw the doorway through which I had entered beckoning me, wanting me to run towards it. And who was I to refuse a welcome like that. I ran towards it knocking the vampire backwards with my flailing arms and the creatures followed me out back into the dark corridor. I ran and ran with the creatures following me still, breathing heavily and not stopping until I came to another open door. This time the room had a welcoming fire and a man sitting on a wooden chair in front of the fire, facing away from me. I could no longer hear the beasts at my heels as I entered the room, breathless and afraid for my life, I quickly closed the door after me. I was still afraid and I still felt that my life was in danger, but the fiends that had plagued me before were no longer there and my fear felt a little irrational. In the few minutes it took me to get my breath back the man in the chair didn't move, he didn't turn to see who had invaded his space, he just sat with his head in his hands. I got the feeling somehow that he wasn't a threat to me and I walked a few steps in his direction before stopping and observing him in silence until I could bear it no more. "Excuse me." I said quietly, the sound feeling so loud in the still silence of the room. The man got up with a start, I couldn't figure out why he hadn't heard me slam the door shut when I came in, why he only noticed me when I spoke to him. He turned to face me. He was wearing a long black cassock that hugged his upper body and a white shirt underneath that only showed around his wrists and neck, peeping up around the collar. I had a sneaking suspicion he was the priest the vampire had so scornfully mentioned. He was young, in his twenties and quite handsome. He had short, wavy, dark brown hair and beautiful dark green eyes, and when he saw me an expression filled with worry and concern came over his face. "Who are you?" he asked me, not moving from where he was standing. "I'm sorry." I said, my voice shaking, once again afraid lest he cast me out into the hallway again. "They were chasing me and I had nowhere else to go. I need your help. You are the priest, aren't you?" His face changed, a small, friendly smile played upon his lips. "Yes my child." He said, reaching a hand out towards me. An uneasy feeling came over me and I felt inclined to tell him why I had chanced upon him, so I explained to him what had happened from where I was standing and when I had finished he bowed his head slightly and laced his fingers together and started pacing by the fire. "This is not good." He said finally and beckoned for me to come closer. I did so and noticed that he had a small scar that cut into his top lip. "Am I doomed?" I asked him, looking for some reassurance on the matter. He put a hand to his head as if he were troubled greatly. "I believe so. No one has encountered those." he paused as he searched for a suitable word. "Things." He said finally, the distain obvious in his voice. "I try to see good in everything, but in those monsters there is no good, only evil. They are the devils work, I am afraid that they are searching for you even now." "Oh god." I breathed out, I saw him flinch as I blasphemed. "I'm sorry." I said quickly, glancing at him and then the floor. He gave a small smile. "That is quite alright." I looked at the fire, the flames eating up the wooden logs that lay at the bottom, and the glowing embers at the edge. Then a thought came to me. "Why do they leave you alone?" I asked suspiciously. If he was a vampire or hell-beast too I really was doomed. "I do not know." He said. "I have been trying to figure that out for quite a while, that was what I was thinking about when you arrived." "Oh. Maybe they can't touch you." I said, thinking about it. "Maybe you're too good for them. Maybe you're too close to God." I said with a smile wishing for the life of me that I was immune as this priest. I didn't want to die, I don't want to die. He didn't answer me, but seemed to be considering the things that I had said. I looked towards the door imagining the creatures to be lurking outside in the corridor, how the hell had I lost them? There was no way that I could have been faster than them, maybe they were just really stupid. "Isn't there some way we can get out of here? You do want to leave don't you?" I asked him. The Priest shrugged and sighed. "I've tried before but I always seem to end up back in this room." He said gesturing to the space around him. "Well, why don't you try with me? When is it daybreak? Vampires can't go out in daylight we can get out then. I promise you we will get out." I said, noticing for the first time that the room didn't have a window. His eyes sparkled with hope and he gave me a small smile. "Alright." He said. "I will go with you." I smiled right back at him and then there came a rapping on the door. It was sharp and insistent. "Abbe!" I moved closer to the Priest as I recognised the voice as being that of the Vampire. "Abbe! Is that girl with you?" the Vampire growled and the latch began to be turned in the door.

To be continued.