Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The mind reader

It is fair to say that humans and the races of the Old Kingdom rarely strike up friendships, and a human and a Vampire becoming close is rarer still. But there were exceptions, and one such was striding manfully down the road toward the home of Demitrie Vladimirescu as the sun slowly set and the street lights began to flicker into life. He was young, possibly late twenties, and he had dark blonde hair that was already beginning to recede. His clothes were like those of a student, albeit a student that shopped in Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

The young man climbed the steps that lead to the massive black front door of the property in two bounds, and confidently rapped on the door. The door slowly opened with a slight creaking noise (which could have been remedied with the application of some WD40 but Vlad felt that it provided a certain ambience and elected to keep it). With the sun still not being fully set, the door had been operated via the multi-tasking remote control that Vlad kept in his study – so the figure trotted in and made his way immediately to the study.

The large airy rooms that he walked through radiated a sort of sadness; he had grown accustomed to the dustsheets and the eerie silence of rooms that would have once played host to friends and family and music would have rang out from the grand piano that sat, pride of place, in the large drawing room. It was, though, he thought a great pity.

On reaching the study he found he way barred by a huge vampire, well over 6 feet, stocky and bearing an impressive handlebar moustache.

“Who are you?” bellowed the Vampire.

Most people presented with a large bellowing blood sucker might have the good sense to run in the opposite direction, but Mike Costello was not most people. He gave the Count a wide grin and held out his hand in greeting.

“ ‘ello mate,” He replied. “I’m a mate of Vlad’s.”

The large vampire looked confused.

“You are not one of us.” He stated flatly.

“Blimey, no fooling you is there big man.” Mike smiled again radiating good natured confidence. Normally these words would have precipitated a sudden trip to the floor, a bloodied nose and the absence of many teeth, but the Count found that he was unable to feel any malice toward the friendly youngster in front of him.

“Is his Majesty about?”

“Yes, he is in his study –he was supposed to be catching up on some sleep, but I doubt very much that he is,” the Count replied.

Without a word Costello waltzed straight into the study and found Vlad resting on his chair.

“Evening Vlad.” He cried.

“Costello. Is there are a reason you have come over, or are you just after another crack at my wine cellar?”

“I bring news old man, as well as bagels and cream cheese for me – I hope you’ve eaten already only I’m not sure I could watch that again.”

“Yes, we have.” Vlad replied in an even tone.

“Before you gorge yourself on dairy product, let me have the news.” He continued.

“OK, you know you wanted to know if our hairy friends were on the move? Well they are, from what I understand they intend to bugger off back to France,” He said bustling out of the study in the direction of the kitchen and his dinner. “All the good it’ll do ‘em” He added.

“Quite. I am not surprised though. He has young family and London isn’t the best place to raise a pack.”

Count Antonescu, who had followed the two of them, gave the very definition of a hollow laugh.

“Ha! He is just a coward like so many of his breed. He is meant to be the Alpha male of his pack and all he wants to do is run for the hills.” He said contemptuously.

“Not sure about that big boy. It seems he needs himself a mate – as you know the doggies are getting a bit low on stocks so the men are going to need to get busy, if you get my drift.” Costello said, retrieving a red hot half of bagel from the toaster, and swearing lightly.

“I am not sure it is entirely respectful to refer to the clan as ‘doggies’.” Vlad pointed out to his less than tactful friend.

“Pardon me.” Mike smiled and stuffed his face with a bagel smothered in cream cheese.

Count Antonescu was bothered by this man. A human being who appeared to be totally at ease in the presence of Vampires, and unruffled at digging around for information on the clan – Mike Costello was clearly not your run-of-the-mill Homo sapien.

“Mister Costello,” the Count rumbled, “How have you discovered this?”

“Trade secret. I have my ways and means, contacts here and there…” He replied vaguely.

Vlad shook his head.

“He is a psychic. A very rare, fully human, psychic – he has no contacts, no ways and means. He just concentrates on the werewolf family and writes down the impressions he gets.”

“Cheers Vlad, that was going to look impressive.” Costello protested, or at least would have done had his mouth not been stuffed with food.

“A human psychic? That actually gets thing right?” Snorted the Count, “that is indeed most impressive.”

“Enough.” Vlad walked over to Mike who was still happily cramming bagel into his mouth. “What else did you learn?”

Mike swallowed quickly, and shook his head.

“Not much I’m afraid. I got the impression he was anxious about something – something that concerned a female werewolf. Thought it was just him thinking about a mate at first – but it was more than that. He’s always thinking about the opposite sex in general terms, but this time it was more certain.” He popped the last morsel of food into his mouth and walked out to have a seat where the Count had so recently been prostrate.

Mike popped his feet up and Vlad brought him over a glass and a decent Ch√Ęteau Lafite that had been liberated from his ever dwindling cellar. He could hardly complain; it was not as if he was ever going to drink it.

“Very nice,” Mike said after making a great show of swirling and tasting the wine despite having no clue as to what it was supposed to do. Mike carefully picked his moment and then dropped his bombshell.

“Actually there was one thing I did glean from the Werewolf about the female.”

“Yes?” The two Vampires chimed.

“He thinks that you lot have got her locked up.”

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