Let Me In, Dear Hunter
Only the Hunter knew what it meant when the string of incidents unfolded. People disappearing overnight or found dead on the floor of their own homes, the only sign of intrusion being their doors left wide open. It was on the third day, the Hunter gathered the townsfolk together.
“Vampires!” shouted the Hunter “Board your windows and lock your doors! Do not answer knocking at the dead of night, lest they charm their way into your home!”
And so the villagers did just that. They reinforced their homes with nails and boards, pulled their blinds, and lit their lamps for light. The Hunter, however, did not. Rather, they loaded their trusty crossbow with a wooden stake in place of a bolt, something they hadn’t used in many years. The Hunter sat in their armchair, both hands on the crossbow, watching as the sun set.
At the stroke of midnight, a knock at the door made the Hunter’s heart skip a beat. Their grip on the crossbow tightened and their eyes shot to the door, illuminated by the flickering candlelight.
“Leave me, Vampire!” The Hunter called from their seat, “Your tricks will not work on me!”
“Of course,” A voice responded from outside, “I know full well what you are capable of, dear Hunter.”
Their words came out slowly, smoothly, alluringly. But the Hunter wouldn’t be fooled.
“As charming as you may think you are, your spells have no effect on me,” the Hunter said. “I will not be your supper tonight.”
“Oh, dear Hunter, I am not here to steal your blood,” the Vampire purred. “I am here to steal your heart.”
The Hunter’s chest tightened as they heard it.
“Please, dear Hunter,” the Vampire spoke insistently. “Let me in, let me feel your embrace, let me feel your warmth.”
“Whatever this new trick of yours is, it won’t work.” The Hunter’s body tensed.
“Then I shall return tomorrow night. And if that does not work, then I shall return the next, and the next, and the next.”
The Hunter didn’t respond.
“Goodbye, sweet Hunter.”
The Vampire left without a sound, and so the Hunter was alone for the rest of the night.
The villagers were overjoyed to no longer be in danger, even when the Hunter assured them that the menace remained.
As promised, the Vampire returned the next night. The Hunter’s heart skipped a beat at their first words. Once again, the Vampire asked to enter and once again, the Hunter refused. And once again, the Vampire left without a sound.
“When will you let me feel your embrace?” the Vampire once asked, “Why must you forbid me from laying my eyes upon your form?”
“When will you give up this charade?” the Hunter responded harshly from their seat, “When will you leave me alone?”
An air of stillness overcame them for a moment before the Vampire gave a saddened sigh.
“Goodbye, dear Hunter.” The Vampire said. And as they left, silent as always, a twinge of guilt overcame the Hunter.
The following weeks were the same, and the villagers grew tired of the constant paranoia that stole their nights.
“Our days are cut short by a threat that has not shown itself in months!” The townsfolk would cry to the Hunter.
“They do not show themselves for they wait in the shadows, hoping to catch us when we forget to close our windows and lock our doors!” the Hunter would tell them.
Though disgruntled, the villagers relented, continuing to return home before sundown, to keep their windows covered and doors locked.
So too did the Hunter, but what used to be a safe distance across the room had come to feel distant. The Hunter found themselves moving the seat closer to the door.
So my voice does not hurt.
So I may make out their words without struggling.
Soon, the Hunter found themselves without their crossbow in hand, left in the back room from the night before. The Hunter panicked at first, yet didn’t act. Something deep down told them that the Vampire wouldn’t find their way into the Hunter’s home that night.
The Hunter secretly looked forward to these meetings, but would never admit it to anyone, not even themselves.
Days later, when the clock struck midnight, no voice filled the silence. No voice greeted the Hunter, and the Hunter’s heart didn’t skip a beat. The Hunter checked the clock, then double-checked it, then triple-checked it without knowing why. The Hunter should’ve felt relieved to get a full night’s sleep, yet didn’t.
The Hunter sat the next night without realizing that they secretly hoped to hear a voice outside their door.
“Hello, Hunter.” The Vampire broke the silence as the clock struck midnight. The Hunter’s heart skipped a beat, not out of surprise but relief. The Hunter would never admit that a small smile formed on their lips that night.
The next night, the Hunter moved their seat right next to the door. But that felt too far.
The next night, the Hunter stood up, placing their hand and head on the door, if only to get even slightly closer to the voice on the other side.
“Hello, Hunter,” said the Vampire. The Hunter’s heart fluttered, excited for only a moment.
The Hunter responded calmly, then the Vampire, then the Hunter. Until the Vampire asked the last thing they would say through the door,
“Will you let me in tonight, Hunter?” Their words were like honey. “Will you let me feel your embrace?”
“Yes,” The Hunter spoke with confidence, Not only in themselves, but in their choice.
They couldn’t see it, but the Hunter knew the Vampire was already smiling through the wood. Slowly, the Hunter opened the door.
When their eyes met, an understanding passed between them. They wrapped their arms around each other, the Vampire with a smile on their face, and the Hunter, finally feeling at peace, slipping into unconsciousness as the Vampire held them tightly.