Get a Picture

black Canon EOS Rebel-series DSLR camera
Image from Unsplash, taken by Andrew Hutchings

“You want me to do what?” Darren asked, baffled.

Alex Poole leant forward. “It’s important,” he said. “If you bless the camera then I have a chance of keeping the images.”

“And you want to keep the images of…” Darren looked at the camera and then back at Alex. “If you actually find vampires and take pictures of them, what are you going to do with the pictures?”

“It’s proof that they exist,” Alex said. “I’m sure that they do. I’ve heard all sorts of rumours. An old guard told me that there were incidents under York Railway Station a few years back.”

“I don’t remember seeing anything about that in the papers,” Darren said.

“And there have been people talking about pet rats disappearing from their cages in mysterious circumstances.”

“Really?” Darren said helpfully. He looked at the camera then back and the thin, eager face of Alex. “And if you get a picture of a vampire, how do you prove that he or she is a vampire?”

Alex paused for a moment. “I’d have to follow them, to make sure that I got a proper picture.”

“Don’t you think that would be a little risky?” Darren asked.

“That’s where the blessing would come in,” Alex said. “If you blessed the camera, they wouldn’t be able to touch it.”

“It wouldn’t stop them touching you,” Darren said.

“Oh!” Alex sat back, suddenly thoughtful.

“Another important point is that a blessing or a prayer isn’t like an action in a video game. It’s about faith, and intent, and the will of God. It’s not something that settles on the camera like dust.” Darren said. “But let’s go further. If you find a vampire, and get a picture that is definitely of a vampire without any doubt, what are you going to do?”

“Stake it, of course,” Alex said.

Darren looked thoughtfully at the slight young man sitting opposite. “Apart from putting yourself in extreme danger, what would happen if you got it wrong?” He watched as Alex hesitated.

There was a knock on the door and Egerton stuck his head in. “Ian and Dean are here for the Bible study,” he said. “I’ve left them in the living room.”

“I’ll be a few minutes,” Darren said. He turned back to Alex. “Do you have evidence that a crime has been committed?”

Alex shook his head. “But if vampires are prowling our streets, then no-one is safe.”

“I am not going to tell you that vampires do not exist,” Darren said carefully. “And I can believe that they walk the streets. For all you know, the people waiting in my living room could be a vampire or werewolf.”

“That’s not possible,” Alex interrupted. “No vampire or werewolf could come into a vicarage.”

Darren looked thoughtful. “I’m an exorcist, as you know. I’ve seen many strange things. And I’ve seen people with all the disadvantages trying to live a normal life without hurting anyone. I’ll bless you and the camera, but I advise you against vampire hunting. And if there is any crime being committed, apart from possibly fraud, come to me. I’ll make sure that the authorities listen.”

“You don’t believe in vampires,” Alex said flatly.

“I believe that perhaps this isn’t a good idea,” Darren said. “But I will never refuse a blessing. Some things are beyond my judgement. Please, put the camera on the table and we can pray.”

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