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The firelight casts coppery flickers and deep blue shadows across Sonia's face. She shrugs the blanket closer around her and burrows deeper into the mattress. It's warm and comfortable, but... Mina's bed keeps hovering in her memory. Warmer, softer, and someone to share with. Granted, that someone was cold and slept like the dead, but still.

She buries her face in the pillow.

Stop thinking about that. It's gone now.

just like Alucard... Daddy... Mama...

She quickly scrubs her eyes at the soft knock.

"Sonia?" Father Martin leans in, candle in one hand. With difficulty, she pushes herself up. "Are you awake?"

"yeah. dunno if I c'n sleep now..."

"You've not been yourself. What's happened?" he asks gently, slipping inside the door.

With a sigh, she searches for the right way to Not Lie but Not Tell Inconvenient Details. "I'm... just worried about everythin', I guess." She lets herself drop back down. "just don't know what t'do anymore... Anytime I start feelin' like I can trust somethin', it just gets taken away. 'slike I got nothin' left. Y- you're the only person left I can trust... and..." She retreats into the folds of the blanket.

"and?"

"I ain't nothin' anymore!" she sobs, the thin wall of control cracking, "I got no family, nobody... no house, not that I can live in... Can't even do anything now." Her eyes, red and wild, peer up desperately. "If God just made me to get rid of Dracula, why won't He let me rest now?! Why'm I still here? I can't help a town that don't think me any better'n the demons I fight... ain't no demons left, anyway, that need fightin'."

The fight drains from her body. "I got no reason to be. Shoulda just died in the castle."

There's silence for a while. Then, looking out at the swelling winter moon, the priest speaks. "It could be... that there's something God means us to do, beyond what we know. His hand is in everything, after all- the times of famine as well as the times of plenty."

"...why's He gotta throw all this at me? What's I do, that I deserve so much punishment?"

"Punishment... it doesn't happen in this world. The time of judgement isn't upon us. This life is a test- of our strength and faith. Our Saviour... the blessed martyrs... they were pure, holy spirits, yet they endured torments and sorrow undeserved by any man." He breathes deeply. "We can't begin to understand the paths Our Lord sets before us. There is always a reason... but rarely is it clear to mortal eyes."

She turns away from him, curling herself tighter. "Don't make it feel any better."

"Only faith can do that," he replies softly. "Though... I'll prepare a draught for you. It'll at least let you sleep."

She lies in silence as he leaves the room.

"would that you'd mess it up... maybe I could go to sleep and never wake up again..."
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Sonia Belmont

February 2008

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