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He felt it, the moment the flames changed from the safety of controlled blue to the fury and purity of orange red. What had been a cool flickering was now, suddenly, a painfully agonizing burn. Yet he held fast and did not let go of Yvette. He would not, could not let her go.


This ended now.


Yvette was barely recognizable now, most of her already gone to the flames and now he was following her. He heard panicked voices and shouts but they meant nothing to him.


As the fire ate at him, he closed his eyes and prayed, truly prayed for the first time in centuries.


Oh Lord,


I have strayed from your path for more years than I care to count, even while professing belief in you. I have never had the courage to do anything about it. I could have tried to council the others to a more peaceful way, but I did not. I thought, ‘they are vampires and will never learn.’ Yet Lord, what am I, but a vampire? I have seen that thy cross no longer rejects me. Thus in this last moment, I commend my spirit to you, Lord, dirty and tainted as it is for I will not doubt you again. You said all who ask shall receive and Lord, I ask thee to forgive my many, many sins and weaknesses.




As he thought the last amen, the fire roared up around him one last time. The pain grew intense and he knew he cried out, unable to keep silent. Then it stopped. At first every sensation stopped along with it, but he realized he could still think, so he couldn’t be dead yet.


Slowly, ever so slowly, he opened his eyes and felt tears, true tears, fill them. For there in front of him was a gate, a magnificent pearl and gold construction that he had heard and dreamt of so many times but had never thought to see.


 Bracing himself, he knew that the ordeal wasn’t over yet. He prayed again for the one that would let him enter. He knocked andto his joy it opened, and a face so wonderful as to be beyond description looked at him and smiled.


“Better dry those tears dearest.” HE said with a laughing smile, Warrick did so, rubbing his hands over his eyes and then HE beckoned the former vampire through. HE spoke again as Warrick walked through the doors and his words filled the man with a joy so rich that if it had been possible he’d have wept anew.


“Welcome my good and faithful servant. You doubted me, but repented and have suffered greatly. Now, at last, the prodigal son comes home.”


And Warrick entered through the gate and did not look back.