Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Lord in Wonderland?

As Vladimirescu and Roland looked at Kingsteignton in amazement, Count Antonescu burst out laughing.

‘Oh well done Kingsteignton! You have missed your calling; you really should have gone on the stage. You almost had me going then, but it’s just another little ruse to save your own miserable skin isn’t it?’

Kingsteignton just gulped and let a tear roll down his cheek.

Vlad turned to the Count and asked him anxiously ‘Do you really think that he’s making it up? He seems pretty upset to me? I’ve never seen or heard of Kingsteignton losing his cool like this before?’

‘Well you’ve never seen him at the pointy end of two stakes and with a werewolf at his throat before’ pointed out the Count reasonably.

Roland was still visibly rippling with anger and frustration, liable to turn at any minute.

‘Look’ he snapped ‘I don’t know what Kingsteignton is drivelling on about and I don’t frankly care! I don’t know why you lot are trying to drag me and my Clan into your internecine spats anyway. All I want is my Clan member back!’

‘How do you know that there really is a missing Clan member?’ asked Vlad ‘It could just be another of Kingsteignton’s lies to stir up trouble?’

Roland thrust the wad of werewolf fur into Vlad’s face.

‘I’d know the scent of one of my Clan anywhere. Kingsteignton gave me this and he implied that he had gotten it from you! That you lot have my Clan member chained up somewhere in one of your miserable Romanian caves!’

Vlad shrank back a bit as Roland was fairly shouting by now. He also stood at well over six feet tall, his canines had sprung long and gleaming out of his gums and tufts of reddish fur were beginning to sprout from the tips of his ears.

‘Well you can take it from me that we haven’t got one of your Clan!’ stated Vlad a little indignantly ‘Why on earth would we? Quite frankly we have enough problems of our own without stirring up more trouble with the Clans! I also find it a bit strange that you never knew that this Clan member existed?’

Roland backed off a bit and surveyed Vlad thoughtfully.

‘How do I know that I can trust you to tell the truth, Vladimirescu?’ he ground out ‘All I have had from your fellow vampire here is spin and obfuscations!’

He whirled around and advanced on Kingsteignton who was still whimpering miserably on his chair.

‘You can drop your little act Kingsteignton and finally get to the truth’ Roland howled in his face ‘And if you don’t I will rip your throat out with my bare fangs. I realise that it won’t kill you; but it will hurt like hell. And when it heals over, as unfortunately your kind heals very rapidly, I will rip it out again and again until I get to the bottom of what is going on here!!!’

‘I have told you what truth I can’ blubbered Kingsteignton pitifully ‘Rip my throat out as many times as you like; it is infinitely preferable to what he would do if I said more!’

Roland gave throat to a full-blooded wolf howl of frustration at that point, rattling the door frames and windows and terrifying the other guests of the club who had been sedately reading the newspapers in the main lounge.

‘You don’t think he’s on drugs do you’ Vlad asked Count Antonescu gesturing in the direction of Kingsteignton from whom now emanated the distinct odour of having soiled himself.

‘No, I think that his Lordship is either a very good actor or has finally lost his mind; it runs in the bloodline you know’ replied the Count gravely.

At his words somewhere in a deep, dank cavern a long way away, a grating noise could be heard, as though a large stone was being pushed slowly aside. All the bats and the scorpions fled when they heard the sound, and so the cavern was empty of all life when the deep, low laughing began.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Q&A

The world flew past in a blur; trees that lined the streets seemed to dash with indecent haste away from the car, flashing blue of passing emergency vehicles with the accompanying sounds of the screaming sirens streaked past, as the car pelted towards its destination.

The radio played solid golden oldies, Beach Boys, Beatles, Stones and a DJ occasional burbled away in a transatlantic accent that was a staple of commercial stations a decade before. When the music petered out and before a fresh batch of adverts kicked in, the sound of thudding rain and phut phut of the windscreen wipers could be heard.

They car was making its way through the streets of London towards Pall Mall, the last bastion of gentlemen’s clubs that did not come complete with half naked women, encouraging men of a certain age to gaze upon their assets.

The Warrington Club was one of the lesser known clubs, unlike Whites or the RAC there was no club website, no club tie, and no waiting list for membership. You were either born into the society that were permitted membership or you weren’t – you required a title, vast quantities of money, and you needed to be a member of the Old Kingdom.

The entrance was discreet, and only the presence of a small brass plaque with the name carefully engraved gave any clue to the building’s purpose.

The car doors suddenly opened and two men, dressed identically, and somewhat comically, in hooded top and sunglasses approached the front door with a confident stride.

The two men ignored the impressive, if slightly sombre, d├ęcor – plush dark red carpeting and drapes, the large chandeliers that dominated the ceilings, and the rich, dark patterned William Morris wallpaper. They strode along the corridor toward a door marked private and being guarded by a small, rather nervous looking man in a pair of black slacks and dark red blazer marking him out as one of the stewards of the club. He stood quietly by the entrance to this private area of the club gently dabbing his forehead from time to time with a white handkerchief which he would stow in his blazer’s pocket.

If it was not the sight of two men, (one of whom could have claimed kinship with Everest, such were his proportions) then it was the cry of: “Steward, Steward, I need help!” coming from beyond the door that was adding to his increasing state of anxiety. He would not have been pleased to be hoisted by the two men, who appeared to have pulled from rucksacks large, sharp, wooden stakes, and whisked through the door.

The door slammed opened into the middle of a heated debate that was on the verge of boiling over. Tables had been overturned and glass was scattered liberally over the floor. One man, who had seemed quite relieved to see the door of the room being suddenly kicked opened, looked less than pleased by the turn of events, the other turned to face the new arrivals apparently recognising the smaller of the two men instantly.

“Vladimirescu?” asked a frankly startled Roland, he let the panicked figure of Lord Kingsteignton go and threw him causally against the back wall of the room.
“Roland de Cazalrenoux.” He nodded courteously in his direction.
“If you are looking to finish this weasel,” Roland spat, “Then you’ll find there is a queue.”
The Count grumbled at this, but Vlad silenced him with a look.
“These,” he indicated the stakes they were still holding, “are just for insurance, we are just here, like you, for some answers to some questions.”
“I have not finished with him myself – once I have my answers you can do what you like to him” Roland growled back.
“I would suggest that your questions are much the same as ours – concerning a missing werewolf, a kidnapping, and an attempt to wipe out the Romanian Vampires.” He replied calmly – not wishing to further enrage the Werewolf who was already showing small signs that he might turn at any moment.

Seeing that Roland was becoming calmer, Vlad and the Count picked the fallen vampire up and placed him back in his chair.

“Seeing as you were here first, it is only fair that you should begin.” He smile, and turned to the Vampire Lord. “And if you want to live to see the end of this day Kingsteignton, I would suggest a new tactic for you: honesty.”

The once proud and elegant Vampire cowered in his seat, his eyes shifting from Roland to Vlad. He was also aware of the large glowering presence of the battle scarred Count who looked ready to stake him there and then.

“I can’t tell you the truth, I can’t tell you anything” He began in strangulated tones.
“Why not, your Lordship” Roland asked.
“You may as well kill me now – it is nothing compared what I would go through if I say a word.” He said; what looked like tears forming in his eyes. “You don’t know who you are dealing with, any of you. He is back, and if you know what is good for you you’ll run and hide – he’ll bring the mother of all wars with him and I don’t think any of us will survive.”

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Lord Kingsteignton has a bad afternoon!

Lord Kingsteignton, in a state of shock, gazed into Roland’s burning eyes and futilely tried to break the grip he had around his neck. He was beginning to choke and Roland’s throttling was beginning to bruise the pale, milky skin of his long, scrawny neck.
As Kingsteignton was a cold-blooded creature, he could not understand such passion and anger. His own family were merely pawns to be placed in position and used whenever he chose to further his ambitions. He considered his family to be an entirely private matter; he certainly was never seen in public with any of his wives, and his various children were never registered legally and were made to work or were married off as he saw fit. It suited his purposes admirably to be viewed as a single man; conning rich women out of money was one of his main income streams and admitting to several wives and multiple children would not have enhanced his opportunities in this area. The daughter that de Cazalrenoux was referring to had committed the ultimate crime in his eyes; she had fallen in love with one of the ‘Romanian vampire rabble’ and run off with him when she should have been supervising one of his uranium mines deep in the Carpathian mountains. It was his pride that was injured, not any paternal feelings of love and concern.
As far as Kingsteignton was concerned he had to get his daughter back. No one escaped him ever! If he had to tear those mountains apart with his bare hands rock by rock, he would retrieve what was his! Then she would wish she had never been born and as for those brats he had heard she had spawned.... never had the Kingsteignton bloodline been contaminated like this before! Her tainted offspring must be destroyed and all of those lowlife Romanians with them. This must never happen again!
Roland tightened the grip around Kingsteignton’s neck and started shaking him and banging his head against the wall.
“Where did you get that fur!” he growled into Kingsteignton’s ear his long canines perilously close the vulnerable blue arteries throbbing in his neck.
Kingsteignton ignoring Roland’s request just feebly croaked ‘Steward, Steward, I need help!’
This cravenness and refusal to answer merely served to enrage Roland further.
He suddenly pulled Kingsteignton in so that he was merely inches from his face.
‘Have you ever seen a vampire after it has had its throat ripped out by a wolf’ ground out Roland menacingly?
Kingsteignton was trembling from head to foot by this stage. He personally was not a vampire of violence; that’s what he paid other people for. He did not like seeing or being around violence and the truth of it was he was a coward. Feeding was something he did in a clinical, detached fashion with already supine victims, and even then he was careful not to get the blood on his clothes or skin.
‘Steward, Steward’ he tried to call out again, and tried to inch his body towards the bell-pull. What he did manage to achieve, by luck rather than design, was to crash into the side table sending it crashing into the floor; flowers, water, silverware and broken glass flying everywhere.
The noise caused Roland to release his grip slightly, so Kingsteignton was able to turn towards his saviours when the door came crashing open. The welcome look of relief in his has soon faded however, when he realised that the steward was flanked on either side and being held up by Vladimirescu and von Orloc, both of whom were carrying serviceable, sturdy looking stakes in their hands.