Enjoy the extended epilogue to The Hunter and the Vampire…
The wintry sun shone down on the graveyard, turning the somber place into something peaceful. Frost-covered grass crunched under Katrin’s boots as she left the path and slipped between the long aisles of headstones. She’d only been here once before. The small, sad funeral, just her and the priest. That day the rain had fallen unceasingly, soaking the ground, dripping down the back of her collar and sinking, cold, into her skin.
Burying her sister had been the worst day of Katrin’s life.
Near the edge of the graveyard, Maya’s grave stood out from the others around it, bright white stone, sharp-edged compared to the weathered grays of the older graves.
Katrin stopped at the foot of the grave and bent to push her flowers into the vase at the base of the stone. She stayed there, kneeling on the hard earth, and brushed her hand over the top of the headstone. “Hey sis.”
The inscription was simple, Maya’s name and the dates. Katrin hadn’t had the energy to write anything more. Her heart had been full of grief, of anger, of revenge.
“He’s dead. The one who did this to you,” she said into the quiet air. “I wish I could have gotten there sooner; I wish I could have stopped him.” Tears gathered in her eyes. “I’ll never forgive myself for that,” she said, her chest growing tight. “I’ll never stop missing you, sis.” For a moment she couldn’t speak, she was so overcome with emotion, but after a moment to get her breathing under control, she continued. “For so long, I had nothing but my revenge, nothing but my hatred for the feral that hurt you.” She dashed her tears away, focusing on Maya’s gravestone. The graveyard around her was silent, even the birds had stopped their singing. There was a waiting feeling in the air.
“I couldn’t save you, but I could avenge your death. I could stop him from hurting anyone else.” She refused to foul the air around her sister’s grave with Oskar’s name. “I did it, sis. I got him. He’s gone now; nothing but ash. He won’t hurt anyone ever again.” She took a deep breath, and let the silence settle over her before continuing, calmer now.
“You were always a better person than me—sweeter and kinder. You forgave, where I held grudges.” She sniffed. “I hope you can forgive me for failing you. I hope, wherever you are, you’re finally at p-peace.” A sob escaped her, another on its heels. Katrin put down her head and cried.
Silence settled over the graveyard, but when Katrin finally dried her eyes, she found her chest felt just a little lighter. The chilly air seemed clearer. The heaviness it had held before was gone.
She stood slowly, feeling the calm and quiet of the graveyard settle over her. Her sister was avenged. Maybe even at peace. Katrin looked up into the sky, watched the clouds scudding across the pale blue, and felt the crisp breeze on her skin. Maybe she too could finally be at peace.
From the tree beside the graveyard wall, a bird began to sing. Katrin closed her eyes, lowering her head, taking a moment to really feel the quiet, the peace. She would forever mourn her sister. She knew the grief would never leave her, but maybe, now, instead of being a source of rage and hatred, it could be fuel for her purpose. To protect innocents like Maya. To make the world safe.
Slowly, still with her eyes closed, a golden glow crept into her mind, suffusing her body with warmth. It was as if a furnace had been lit behind her, growing brighter and brighter. She heard nothing, not a single step, but she knew who it was.
Drakon walked up beside her, joining her at her sister’s grave. Her soulmate didn’t say a word, simply wrapped his arm around her shoulders and held her. He knew exactly what she needed. Katrin leaned into the hug, her breath escaping her in a sudden sob.
She felt released. Finally free to move forward with her life. Maya’s death had shaped her future, but it no longer ruled it. Maya had been her only family, and when she died, Katrin had been alone. She opened her eyes, looking up at Drakon. The sun caught the gold in his red hair. His clear green eyes were full of sympathy. He loved her. And she loved him. She would never be alone again.
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