Monday, 18 January 2010

On The Street Where You Live

Roland shuddered at the thought of what he must look like as he walked down Clarence Crescent with the two vampires. He had put on the tatty green sweatshirt with Che Guevara emblazoned on the front that Vlad had tearfully thrust at him, and had found a thin purple nylon windcheater in the hall. It offered no protection against the sharp spring breeze, which was nipping at his ears and nose despite the watery sunshine. Purple and green together, what would his stylist think?

Not that the vampires looked any better. Both of them were hunched up in long black cloak affairs that reached the tops of their shiny, black shoes. Both had large floppy black hats pulled right down over their ears, black scarves wound high up over their chins, long black leather gloves and wrap-around sun glasses. No wonder everyone else on the pavement was avoiding them and surreptitously turning around to check them out!

'That's Kingsteignton's house there' hissed Vlad urgently, snapping Roland out of his reverie.

'This isn't a movie, Vladimirescu, you don't need to be so dramatic' retorted Roland, annoyed that Vlad had made him jump. 'You can talk normally, nobody is listening!'

'How do you know that Kingsteignton hasn't got people on security looking out for us?' replied Vlad anxiously.

Roland just rolled his eyes and the Count, who had not uttered a word since leaving Vlad's house, just glowered.

'Well he must know that we are going to figure out that he has Mike and that we will try and get him back?'

'Well its not like we are looking inconspicuous or anything?' drawled Roland in response 'Did you actually have any ideas as to how we are going to get into the house? Are there likely to be any vampires awake in there at this time in the morning?'

'Well, I would have thought that someone like Kingsteignton would have non-vampire servants to keep the house running during daylight hours, but you never know!'

'Helpful, Vladimirescu' replied Roland shortly 'Does our silent companion have any ideas?'

Before the Count could open his mouth, Vlad had interrupted.

'I know, I know, one of us vampires could fly round and see if there was an open window, fly in and then go and open the door for the rest of you!'

'That could almost be a good suggestion, Vladimirescu, but the problem is that you would botch it up as soon as you got a fright and neither of us trust your tall, dour friend over there?

Vlad looked affronted but before he could reply Roland continued.

'Look at it this way Vladimirescu, what do you really know about the Count? Is he really who he says he is? You've never seen him before in your life, yet you let him into your house and confidences without bothering to check up on him?'

'He's a vampire, he was injured' squeaked Vlad indignantly.

He could also be a Kingsteignton plant, or be working for someone else entirely?' queried Roland.

They both turned to gaze at Antonescu, who was looking remarkably unpeturbed by the turn the conversation had taken.

'Well, Count?' asked Vlad 'What do you say? I told you earlier that you still had questions to answer?'

'I told you who I was' answered the Count 'I do not have to repeat myself or justify who I am'.

'Well, maybe you do' replied Roland silkily.

'It is an insult to have a werewolf question my credentials and my leader should not need to question my loyalty'

'This is going around in circles' retorted Vlad 'If you do not help me to clear this up by giving me some proof of identity and an assurance that you are loyal, I am going to have to ask you to leave us.'

'I am insulted that you listen to a werewolf and take heed of things written in notes' replied Antonescu loftily 'And I refuse to go'

Sensing that another round of vampire bickering was about to break out, Roland sighed. He didn't trust the Count, but there seemed to be no way to verify that he was who he said he was. And he didn't think that Vlad was strong enough to follow through on his threats to banish him.

He turned away from the warring vampires and fished out his mobile phone from his pocket. He was just about to hit the speed dial for Malvolio when a shadow fell over him and a cultured voice spoke in his ear that he recognised instantly.

'Good morning, de Cazalrenoux, were you looking for my house? It's just over there, and I'm sure that your vampire companions would be more comfortable out of the sun?'

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