Thursday, 25 February 2010

Vampire Trance Games

Roland retreated back towards the fireplace and watched the scene in front of him unfold.

Costello was still waving his chicken leg in the air cheerily, but Vlad's face had crumpled like a kicked little puppy and Kingsteignton had assumed a faintly supercilious smirk. Interestingly the usually loquacious Count was still silent and had got rather a blank look on his face.

'Maybe the Count is just a robot or zombie controlled by Kingsteignton after all' thought Roland to himself with a little inward laugh.

'M...Mm...Mike!' wailed Vladimirescu 'I was so worried about you! How can you be looking so cheerful! How can you eat!'

Mike Costello carried on chewing and swigged some more coke.

'It's cool Vlad, just pull up a chair and grab some fries' replied Mike happily.

Roland's eyes narrowed. Either he was getting paranoid or he was seeing the same blank look in Costello's eyes as he was seeing in the Count's.

Vlad was now just standing and staring at Mike in disbelief; it was as if the whole little tableau had just been instantly frozen in time.

Roland strolled over to the table and snapped his fingers under Costello's nose. Mike did not so much as blink. Vlad jumped at the noise but the Count still remained where he was staring at the table in a vacant, fixed manner.

'So what have you done to him Kingsteignton?' drawled Roland 'Very clever, big bad vampire hypnotises the human? Or have you drugged him?'

'What makes you think I have done anything to the human?' queried Kingsteignton softly 'I found him wandering around outside the house last night and gave him a bed for the night and his favourite breakfast'.

'Well, I knew that vampires were liars, but that one takes the biscuit' ground out Roland 'You know that I know that you took Costello from The Bricklayer's arms and so do the Laurel and Hardy of the vampire world over there?'

'Prove it!' retorted Kingsteignton childishly.

'Why' replied Roland, by now thoroughly confused and thinking he had fallen down the rabbit hole and into some Vampire Wonderland.

'Because I say so' shrieked Kingsteignton even more childishly.

'He's going off again' interjected Vlad 'He can't hold it together. He's going to start writhing and dribbling again in a minute!'

'Look Kingsteignton, I know you took Costello from the pub; I could smell him there and you left this behind'.

Roland took the elegant calling card out of his jean's pocket and held it out in Kingsteignton's direction.

Kingsteignton's eyes had lost all awareness and he gazed at the card dully.

'Prove it' he repeated again in a monotone voice.

Roland raised his eyes to the heavens and groaned. Inwardly he felt like howling. What had he ever done to deserve getting mixed up with the affairs of a bunch of vampires! Feeling the need to blame anyone rather than himself, he cursed Eunice Batchworth under his breath.

Checking Vlad's eyes carefully, and seeing a spark of what passed for normality in a vampire, he backed away from the table.

'It seems Vladimirescu that we are stuck in a vampire's house with one human and two vampires who are in some kind of trance. What do you suggest we do now? It wasn't very pleasant to watch the last time Kingsteignton fell apart, and it didn't smell to good either!'

Vlad gulped in dismay; he wished that someone had told him earlier that this leadership stuff wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Vampire Etiquette

'Kingsteignton' started Roland cordially 'What a nice surprise?'

'Hardly, De Cazalrenoux, when you are wandering up and down the street outside my house with your two companions' returned Kingsteignton smoothly 'I was actually expecting you a lot sooner? What happened, did you have trouble getting Vladimirescu to agree to come?'

'On the contrary, Vladimirescu was the one urging us on, but a good night's rest and daylight both seemed to be a good idea'.

'And I suppose that there was the little matter of you being in wolf-form to be considered, hmm!'

By now it had occurred to the two vampires that Roland was no longer partaking in their conversation and was in fact talking to someone a few feet away from them on the pavement.

'Roland, Roland what are you doing?' shrieked Vlad 'We have important plans to make, you don't have time to give out directions! Just give the guy 50p or something and stop wasting valuable time!!'

A second later Vlad's bottom jaw was on the ground as 'the guy' turned around and he clocked that it was Kingsteignton.

'Good morning Vladimirescu, Good morning Count Antonescu, I was just issuing an invitation for morning coffee at my house. I believe that you were interested in seeing inside?'

Vlad looked helplessly to Roland for directions as to what he should say or do next. Roland pointed meaningfully at Kingsteignton's front door and mouthed 'say yes'.

Vlad, however, was not convinced.

'Umm, I'm not sure that would be appropriate Lord Kingsteignton, we are just out doing a bit of shopping you see and are in a bit of a rush!'

Kingsteignton merely raised his eyebrows a fraction.

'But it would be a lot easier to walk through the front door, Valdimirescu, than try and break in at the back? You will find that all the back windows are barred and alarmed. You won't be able to get in without being detected.'

'But why would we try to get in the back' squeaked Vlad, who was by now thoroughly unnerved.

'Come, come Vladimirescu, you know that I have something that you are seeking' said Kingsteignton in a soft voice as though he was soothing a child 'And you will be perfectly safe, what could I do to three fully-grown and strong Old Kingdomers in broad daylight?'

'Look Kingsteignton, the last time I saw you, you were a raving wreck in my hall, so I really don't know what you are capable of!' retorted Vlad.

'My boy, you really need to trust a fellow vampire to always have your best interests at heart! And please take heed of De Cazalrenoux's frantic gesturing behind me and join me for coffee. It will only take a few minutes of your time'.

'Oh very well then' mumbled Vlad ungraciously 'But you had better have Mike and he had better be unharmed!'

That's the spirit, Vladimirescu!' beamed Kingsteignton as he slipped his hand under Vlad's elbow and started leading him to his front door.

Roland waited until the Count has started to follow the other two vampires inside, before he moved to catch up the rear.

He still really didn't trust Antonescu and found it strange that the normally outspoken vampire had not said a word since Kingsteignton's sudden appearance on the pavement.

Roland had a brief sensation of cherry-striped walls, expensive walnut furniture and gleaming silver as he entered the house, before they were led into a large, elegant morning room shaded from the sun by special blinds to protect the vampires.

And sitting at a small table in front of a crackling fire they found Mike Costello halfway through a KFC Bargain Bucket, which he was washing down with liberal swigs from a litre bottle of Coke.

'Hi guys' he cheeerily greeted them, waving a half-gnawed drumstick in the air 'How's it going?'