"Why had it happened? Why was Josh dead?"
The lights blinked, when they came back on and Josh was lying on the floor. He looked dead.
"Why did I flee?"
"Cause I was scared, that's why I ran away."
"I always do that when I panic. What if I were gonna be the next victim? I don't wanna be laying on that floor with those strange bite marks on my neck."
"I don't see anyone coming out of the house looking for me, maybe I'm safe."
"I'm a victim of no one."
"Those marks on his neck looked just like the bite of a vampire. But, I'm being silly, of course, there is no such thing as a vampire. Just like the lock nest monster doesn't exist and big foot is just a made-up story to attract tourist. Witches, demons and even Santa were just made up people. They were written to entertain folks and cheat them out of money."
"Am I a chicken? I must be a chicken, because here I set in the hedges, hiding."
"What else can I be, if not a chicken? Still I'm not going back inside until they find the killer."
"The night is beautiful, look at those stars. They remind me of the night when the four Wiseman found Jesus, but that was another Christmas, not this one. Joey is lying on the floor dead."
"It sure is cold out tonight. My coat would have been a nice feature, but I didn't see it on my way out the front door and I wasn't going to spend any time hunting for it with something going around killing people."
"I remember when we moved here, the mansion was a funny bluish color. It sparkled in the moonlight. The realtor said the previous owner had a thing about moonlight and the color blue. I always wondered about that remark. Especially, when I realized that wolfs in this area howled when the moon was full."
"I wonder what's going on now."
"The house is all closed up. The heavy shutters, used for violent storms have been pulled down over the windows, I wonder what's happening?"
Bright lights blinking from the beginning of the driveway drew my attention. The police had been called. But, of course, the car was unmarked. I watched it drive down the brightly lit lane and stop just outside the main door. It was an unmarked 'what car.' In this neighborhood a black and white patrol car just wasn't seen. None of the neighbors wanted anyone to know they had any trouble. Yet, everyone knew the white unmarked car was a 'what car', so what was the reason, really?
The front door opened and an old lady stepped out. Her long, brilliant red dress swirled around her ankles like a hoop in the chilly December weather. She seemed not to notice or care.
The driver opened his door and stepped out onto the frozen sidewalk. With slow steps I realized that he was moving toward the old lady. His smile and slow pace made me think he'd been here many times before and already knew what to expect.
"Mrs. Collins?" His voice was deep and laced with concern.
"Yes," she answered as she turned towards him. I saw the traces of tears gleaming in her smeared mascara eyes. At one time, I believe, she must have been lovely. Now she just looked like an old woman trying to appear young and it wasn't working.
"Maybe I should run up there and give her a hug. Maybe a hug was all she needed to make things better? Maybe, but more then likely not... I waited and watched instead.
In the distance a siren suddenly started blaring. Neither of the two figures on the porch seemed to care about it, they continued to talk.
My hope started to rise. What if that was an ambulance? What if it were coming to pick-up Josh? Maybe he wasn't dead, just injured. I watched the drive for entrance, but the sound faded away and I frowned.
The old lady opened the door again and motioned the officer inside. Something about her reminded me of my mother. But, mother was younger with hair so black it resembled ink. This woman had gray in her hair; it was speckled like a black and white pony. It couldn't be her... could it?
Toward sun-up more officers arrived. They pulled into the drive in a white van. I watched them climb out of the back of the van with various items between them. Crosses, stakes, garlic, shot guns, flairs and things I didn't recognize they carried. They were so well concealed on their bodies one wouldn't notice unless one saw them as they were arranged. I watched them fan out over the yard. They seemed to be in search of something. I wondered what.
I watched as two of the new arrivals came toward my part of the hedge. The smell of garlic assaulted me and I found it difficult to remain where I was, quietly. I'd never liked the look, the smell or the flavor of garlic. I found it revolting.
What were they looking for? I wondered. The killer would be long gone from this place by now. I rolled my eyes and remained hidden, it all seemed so worthless.
"Anything?" I heard the blondish haired man ask as he walked up along side the taller man who had a head full of graying hair.
"Nothing," he replied, but never stopped pushing his way into the hedge beside me. "It's like he disappeared."
"I know," replied the other man with a sigh. "But we have to keep looking anyway. Mrs. Collins said he appeared only for a moment. The lights flickered he was there and then he was gone."
"Well, we're lucky that Josh is feeling better." The gray haired man replied as he scratched his cheek. "That bite could have been the end of him... you know?"
"How I know it," replied the blonde haired man. "Last year my sister suffered such a bite and we've not seen her since."
"Let's go over by the well and check out the woods," said the gray haired man as he reached down along the side of his pants so that he could get his hand around on a flashlight with a long handle.
"The sun will be up soon if we don't find him quickly it ain't gonna matter." I watched the pair as they wondered off.
The gleam from the flashlight, as he surveyed the hedges one last time, seemed to hurt my eyes. Quietly I moved to a higher perch, well away from the disquieting light, but not into the awakening dawn.
"It was sad enough when Joey disappeared fifty years ago, so I'm told," said the gray haired man. Mrs. Collins has never been the same since that happened.
He switched off the flashlight and pushed it back down his pant leg. "Grab that spotlight Hank and let's take a better look into the woods."
"I know," replied Hank as he picked up the instrument and followed the older man toward the woods. "It must have been really difficult to see Joey after all these years. It being Christmas Eve and all..."
My gaze shifted toward the rising sun, tiredness seemed to be washing over me, but still something he'd said bothered me.
"Wasn't my name Joey?" I ruffled my wings and moved to a much darker quieter place in the hedges near a boxed in decoration, at the base of the window and continued to watch them. Darkness was always so much better then the light.