The Burning


© A Mixed Bag – 2012

I had less than six hours to find them but that would be enough. Snow betrayed them. Their tracks were easily followed. They’d hoped anyone seeing them would assume they were made by early morning walkers, but in this kind of cold, any sane person would be still in bed or warming themselves around a wood stove or fireplace. The only reason churches would be full later today was because of the birth of our Savior.

“I’m coming to get you, you thirsty bastards.”

Their tracks eventually left the road and went into a field. Beyond the field was a dilapidated old warehouse. Perfect for them and for me. No other structures would be involved. I pulled off one glove, retrieved my cell and made frozen fingers punch in the number.

“Coltin here. I’ve found the place. I’ll text you the coordinates. Bring up the incendiaries, all of them. Yes, it’s felony arson but we can take out a hundred sleeping vampires in one shot. Oh and hurry. I’m freezing out here.”

We wouldn’t be ready until about an hour before sunset, but the lights of Christmas Eve would burn Anchorage clean this year in the name of Christ.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of December 24th, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

In keeping with my current theme of vampires, I figured that in a snowy environment, they’d leave tracks just like anyone else. I needed a cold climate and a short day, so I chose Anchorage, Alaska. Sunrise isn’t until 10:15 a.m. and the sun sets at 3:44 p.m. That means my story happens at mid morning so I’m figuring on Christmas Eve services at noon and in the evening, so no one’s out except the vampire hunters. Currently in Anchorage (as I write this) it’s 16 degrees F with a predicted high of 22. Not the sort of weather I’d be out walking in first thing.

If a town or city were being preyed upon by a group of vampires, and if they tended to stay in one place during daylight, then taking them out by fire would be the best plan for extermination. Fun fact. Certain places in Louisiana light Christmas bonfires. Although I didn’t have a sufficient word count to mention it, let’s say that’s where Coltin is from. This will be a very special Christmas bonfire indeed.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

8 thoughts on “The Burning

  1. I guess your vampires don’t have the capability to go into bat mode and fly, thus not leaving tracks in the snow. But your hunter seems to be ignoring the possibility that some innocent human victims may be held in captive stupor in the same building with the vampires he intends to incinerate. That’s hardly a “clean” kill, not to ignore that it is also hardly in keeping with the modern spirit of peace and good will for the Christmas holiday. Of course, there have been medieval periods when Christianity was not so benevolent, even at Christmas-time, especially to heretics and non-Christians. Such vigilante justice challenges the doctrines of liberty and justice for all, ignoring the demands for capture, trial by peers, validation of verdict, and only then — with virtual certainty in these cases of actual willful murderers — execution of a death penalty for all those justly convicted. But then, the existence and treatment of actual genetically-determined vampires is not really well addressed in the legal justice system, nor in the medical system.


    • Coltin, my vampire hunter is something of a fanatic so he won’t be too disturbed if there’s collateral damage as long as he gets his targets. Yes, it’s murder but as you said, how do you bring a vampire into legal custody when the world thinks they’re fictional?


  2. It seems to me almost any vampire hunter would be at least a bit of a fanatic. It would go above and beyond dedication. I liked the way it was written, leaving who he was hunting until the end. Perhaps vampires can’t fly at such cold temperatures. Have a great New Year 2018, James. 🙂 — Suzanne


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