I knock on the mahogany door, the last remnants of their holiday spirit in flickering light bulbs buried in slush, and plaster on a charming smile, dimples armed and ready. The uniform is rough against my skin and I adjust the white, starched sleeves of my button-up, shifting the bible to one arm. Clearing my throat, I straighten my back and tidy my tie, but it seems no one is planning on greeting me.
But, that's fine.
Oftentimes, I have to ring the doorbell multiple times. However, in the end, someone always comes out due to my persistence. Whether it be a wrinkly grandparent or a sleep-deprived raccoon of a new parent, they always peek out, squinting at the sun, and murmuring hello with reasonable caution.
I press the button encased in a gold-painted plastic three times and feel adrenaline rush into my veins as the doorknob twists. A young girl appears, shackled with fake iron bracelets and drowning in black clothing as if she were a funeral itself. It's all thanks to her raised boots, choking with laces, that we stand eye-to-eye and I wave energetically. Behind her, I can hear the shouts of children, a heavenly choir that raises the giddiness in my heart. But, thankfully, I catch myself, swallowing it all down. Looking at her straight on, the broad, spanning wings of her makeup curling at the corners of her eyes commanding the most attention and space, I present the heavy book in my hands.
“Would you like to learn about our lord and savior Jesu-”
“Nope.” She says. I nod, laughing bashfully with cheeks turning the tiniest bit red. No one has ever rejected me this quickly before. But, it's okay. I have the patience.
“Are you sure? You'll find that the path of-”
Pursing my lips, I place a hand on my heart and try to be as understanding as possible.
"It's fine. In fact, I used to be like you. I would reject the notion of faith at every corner. But ever since I sat down and took the time to-"
"Please leave. If you don't, I'll call the cops."
"Why don't you just take my copy?" I offer her my book. "Or I can read you some excerpts? I can assure you that if you choose God, you will never regret it. I'll-"
"I'm serious, sir. Leave."
She slides out her phone and I finally relent, jaw clenching and knuckles turning white. I at least hope that there's still a somewhat pleasant look on my face.
"Then, I'll be going now. Thank you for listening."
But, before I go down the steps of this stubborn suburban house, my finger brushes against my pocket and a pen clatters onto the ground. The girl moves immediately. Bending down, she grabs it off the floor and offers it to me.
“Thank you.” I bow my head in gratitude and barely hold in the anticipation at the two, enchanting words about to come. My stomach growls. Say it. Just say those two words: You’re-
Frozen in my spot, I scoff slightly and lean in forward, lips stammering.
“Could you repeat that?” I finally say. “I-I couldn’t exactly hear you well.”
“No problem.” She reiterates and I squint in confusion.
“Are you sick in the head, girl?”
At this, she moves back into her house, the only place where she’s safe from my teeth, and shuts the door, the offense dreadfully apparent in her eyes.
“Have a nice day, sir.”
“Wait!” I shoot out an arm, but there’s the click and I’m locked out forever.
Running a hand through my hair, I grumble the rest of the way back to the truck with a tacky rendition of an angel painted on the side. It's lips curve upwards, as if to say that it's all what He had meant it to be, and I fight the urge to claw its face off. My throat is parched and my nerves are still running around, trying to find the feast it was supposed to have.
Why am I still hungry?
Why isn’t my jaw chewing?
His great plan should've included me having dinner, I complain to the skies as I slide the door shut. Throwing off my glasses, the disgusting scripture clattering to the floor along with it, I plop into the driver's seat.
Pounding my hand on the steering wheel, I turn back to the pile of bodies lying in the empty space, and stare into the eyes of an elderly man with a no longer shiny bald scalp. His blood seeps from a gaping hole in his neck, crawling to greater distances like a dish of scuttling, scarlet insects, and I sigh.
“Honestly, what is wrong with that girl? I mean, at least you had the galls to say ‘You are welcome, son.’ Who doesn’t say ‘you’re welcome’ anymore?”
My phone buzzes and I almost slam the phone into the side of my face.
A squeaking, infuriating laughter scratches against my ears and I grit my teeth, not in the mood for play.
“What happened to you, Vlad?” Azazel chuckles. “Shouldn’t you be happily full by now?”
“What do you want?”
“You know, I’ve told you that there’s no point in trying to get into houses anymore. I mean, you always need their permission to come in and it’s just so much work and wordplay. Hey, Vlad, remember the good old days when people were just roaming around like a bunch of animals?”
“Another useless word and I’m hanging up.”
Shifting in my seat, I lean backwards and stare at the ceiling of the truck, reading the emergency call number in large, blocky print.
“Always so grumpy. But anyways, Lilith and I are hitting up Paradise Club tonight for a rager. It’s going to be an absolute bloodbath. Are you in?”
I glance sideways, noting the opening in the shutters, a hazel eye staring at my direction. Perhaps, I should change tactics. After all, vampires need to adapt with the times.
“Sure. Count me in.”