Monday, 19 October 2009

The Three Stooges

'Well, we look inconspicuous don't we!' thought Roland wryly, as they strolled up Clarence Crescent trying to look nonchalant in the bright morning sunshine.

Roland had woken up on Vladimirescu's hearth rug in the cold morning light. Back in his human form, he had been stiff, cold and naked. His clothes were in a heap on the sofa where Antonescu had dumped them, but they were too ripped up by his turning to be able to put them on. He rooted through the pockets and retrieved his wallet, keys and phone and looked for something to cover himself. The only thing to hand was a very grubby tablecloth that had been covering a scratched, walnut side table. He draped it round his thighs and wandered into the kitchen.

'Any chance of a coffee' he asked the two vampires who had already arisen from their coffins and were bickering as usual over a glutinous bag of pig's blood.

Vlad jumped in surprise and the Count glared at him.

'With milk and two sugars, if you have them' continued Roland affably.

'Do you not dress in the morning's anymore, De Cazalrenoux?' asked the Count stuffily.

'Not when my clothes are in shreds from last night, I don't! Do you have anything I can borrow?' asked Roland cheerily.

Vlad looked at him with a worried frown.

'You seem mighty cheerful this morning for someone who woke up naked on the rug?' he asked warily 'Has something happened?'

'Nothing' replied Roland 'We werewolves always feel great after turning; it makes us feel good to be alive!'

'I suppose you want us to provide you with a woman as well as the coffee' interjected the Count tartly.

'You do know our species well, don't you Count! I'm not holding out for the milk and sugar, so fully realise that a woman is not likely to materialise!'

'Hm' snorted Antonescu and was about to say more, when the door bell suddenly jangled loudly through the house.

Vlad scooted fussily off to open it, totally unaware that he still had the bag of pig's blood in his hand. After a few brief moments, after they heard the opening of the creaking old front door and the low murmuring of voices, Vlad returned to the kitchen trailed by the almost impossibly glamorous figure of Eunice Batchworth.

'Er, you have a visitor Roland' stuttered Vlad nervously 'How on earth did she know you were here?'

'I wouldn't know' said Roland grinning from ear to ear 'It was you guys who mentioned providing the woman!'

'Sue Fisher sent me' said Eunice simply then looked around at Roland's half naked, grinning figure, Vlad still nervously clutching his bag of pig's blood, the Count standing glowering in a sinister manner and fell into the biggest fit of giggles ever.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Battle Plans

Roland, Vlad and the Count reached Vlad's house without any major incidents. Roland had been scented by a police dog as he loped over Sloane Square, but managed to overpower the dog's mind before he could cause too much of a commotion.

He had been the first to arrive at the house, even though the vampires were flying and should have been there well before him, so he reconnoitered the area to see if anything interesting had been going on while they had been away. There were no new signs of Kingsteignton or Mike Costello, and in fact no signs that anyone at all had been near the place.

'Popular guys' thought Roland sourly 'not even the London vampires want to come around and hang out'.

He was sitting patiently on his haunches when they arrived, bumping into each other and squabbling as usual.

'Pack it in and get us in the door' he growled into Vlad's mind.

Vlad fumbled over the keys in the locks, with the Count tutting in the background, and then stumbled into the hallway, flicking on the specially muted lights as he went. Roland followed the two vampires in, screwing up his nose as he went. The stench of the place had been bad enough in human form, but was much worse now he had his wolf nose!!!

'Have you ever thought of getting a cleaner, Vladimirescu' he projected into the vampire's minds.

Vlad flushed and the Count looked annoyed.

'Look here, de Cazalrenoux' squeaked Vlad 'I live here on my own and do the best I can with this crumbling heap! Do you think that I would spend funds on cleaners, when my brothers and sisters in Romania are starving to death! We will talk in the drawing room - I hope that it will meet with your olfactory approval!'

He stalked off into the dining room, followed by the wolf Roland and the Count, who was glaring at Roland.

Vlad began after they had all made themselves comfortable.

'We need to make a plan to rescue Mike; Kingsteignton has already had him for several hours. I'm worried what might happen to him.'

'Why?' asked Roland in their heads. 'Why are you concerned about rescuing a human; haven't we got more important things to worry about?'

'Because he's my friend' retorted Vlad hotly, genuinely shocked at what Roland had said.

'He's a human. Since when have vampires had humans as friends? Aren't they usually just lunch?' enquired Roland 'Or are you some kind of new vampire?'

'I don't know why you are being do disagreeable, Roland! You know I don't feed the old way, and that I believe that the way forward for the Old Kingdom is to integrate more with humans'.

Roland just looked at him, as disbelievingly as a wolf could manage.

'I think de Cazalrenoux only looks at things from the point of view of what is going to benefit him' interjected the Count dryly 'Costello may be your best bet on getting you missing Clan member back, de Cazalrenoux. He may have information that he hasn't passed on, or he might have picked up something new from being around Kingsteignton. Don't forget he is a true psychic. Probably worth the minor inconvenience of helping us to get him back'.

Roland growled low in his throat.

'Fair point, Antonescu; but I'm just not keen on the idea of Old Kingdomers risking their necks for humans, we have enough on our plates as it is!'

'Look we have to start somewhere, and rescuing Mike seems like a good place to start' said Vlad firmly. 'There is no point going to his place while it is still dark, as Kingsteignton and whatever accomplices helped rescue him are still likely to be up and about. I propose that we go round there first thing tomorrow and see if we can pick up any clues. Anyway, we will need to wait until Roland has turned back. A wolf might just look a little conspicuous in Belgravia in broad daylight. How many more nights will you be turning, Roland?'

'The moon will be full enough on three more nights. I suppose we do have to start somewhere' replied Roland.

'Unless you can think of a better idea?' asked the Count sarcastically.

'Not really' said Roland 'I'm a bit stumped until Sue Fisher comes up with something'.

'Well we might as well rest until morning then. At least Kingsteignton left his car here, so we can use that. Are you OK down there down on the rug, Roland?' asked Vlad.

'Fine' replied Roland stretching out his limbs 'Do you happen to have a nice, meaty lamb bone lying around by any chance!'