She looked at me with tear-soaked eyes, cheeks all red from our struggle. I suddenly loathed her, not just hating her words but questioning her existence, and wondering if somehow an illusion had been cast on this girl by Coveton to recreate Emily before me and distract me from my essential purpose.

“Let me show you something. Follow me, and if you think I am still crazy, then I will leave you alone and leave Coveton alone, and never return to this place. It’s all I ask. Indulge an old man and set both our minds at ease.”

Though certainly reluctant, it’s possible she saw some glimmer of truth in my words. Oddly enough, she nodded in agreement and reached up to touch my face.

“Ok,” she said. “I’ll go with you.”

At once, I took her hand and sped her through the grounds of the estate. There was no rain now; instead, the sky had opened up into a triumphant blue. The girl stumbled as we walked, and I pulled her past a stagnant fountain, over a concrete bridge to the south of the estate. We stepped through a thin, railed fence only a yard high, which contained several burial plots. A mausoleum stood in the back of the small cemetery, and several tools lay beside a blank headstone.  We stood finally by the foot of a grave, the dark soil seeming to pulsate as I drew near. Above the grave was a stone with the name etched KEEN.

“This is the place where he buries his victims.”

I released the girl’s hand and watched her step forward, as she peered over the mound. She trembled with each step, her beautiful face reflecting the moon’s rays. I felt like the day had just broken, and we were not in a cemetery but in a green field on a clear summer day with a picnic basket, a blanket flung across grass and a playful melody resonating in the air around us.

“I know you believe this,” she started. “You need help.  We can get in the car, and I’ll drive you back to the home, and we’ll talk to the doctors.”

Though tears reddened her eyes, her stare looked deeply into me, and I felt her touch me with that gaze, like she truly saw through the aged vampire hunter and saw a man again.

Her resolve not to believe was as great as my will to believe. I was so cold now, and so tired. My left shoulder ached, and my head   was sore. Had I the youth of earlier years or Coveton’s strength were my own, I could pick up this girl and carry her on my back across the forest and into the city where we could start life anew.

“What’s going on here?”