Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Just a Bunch of Dummies

Roland felt strangely detached as he watched Vladimirescu gulping and trying to regain his composure. The past twenty four hours had just been too strange – he felt that he had experienced every emotion that a werewolf was capable of and that he was trapped in some horrible joke that he couldn’t find his way out of.

Costello, Antonescu and Kingsteignton just remained where they were, not moving and with a completely blank look in their eyes. It was like someone had pulled a plug and they had just shut down like robots or computers. The big question in Roland’s mind was whether they had been hypnotised or had had a spell cast on them and were subsequently being controlled by someone else? Or was it that they had never been real people at all, but were just plants sent into their lives to gain information or influence events in a certain way? In either case, who was doing the controlling and why?

‘So what do you think, Vladimirescu?’ Roland asked abruptly, startling the shocked vampire out of his reverie.

Vlad turned to face Roland, and tried to pull himself together.

‘I don’t know what to think’ he whispered ‘I just don’t know what is real anymore. Are you even really De Cazalrenoux, are you really a werewolf?’

Roland growled low in his throat, allowing his canines to drop down in his gums and the red tufts of fur to sprout once more from his ears. It was getting ridiculous; he had half-turned so many times in the last few hours that at this rate he would get permanently stuck there, and then what would happen to his high-flying career and equally high-flying love life? Hairy ginger ears were not a common sight in a Mayfair nightclub!

‘If I ripped your throat out, would that be proof enough that I was a werewolf?’ he snarled.

Vlad merely looked irritated by this testosterone-fuelled display of werewolfhood.

‘For god’s sake De Cazalrenoux, can’t you put your inflated ego away for one minute, so that we can actually get on with working out what the hell is going on here!’

Roland was taken aback by this flash of assertion from Vlad, and resumed his fully human form although he still looked stormy.

‘Well, I think that one of the first things that we must do is search this house from top to bottom and see if there is anyone else here that we can get some information from. Even if we have to throttle the truth out of them!’ stated Vlad in a cold, flat tone.

Roland lifted an aristocratic eyebrow at this statement, slightly startled at the sudden appearance of this new, assertive Vlad.

‘Well I can tell you that from the scent signatures on this floor that there has only been vampires here and that one, not particularly hygienic, human. I know when Antonescu entered your life, but how long have you known Mike Costello?’ queried Roland.

Vlad frowned as he cast his mind back.

‘I met Mike about two years ago. He came and knocked on my front door, bold as brass, and demanded to be let in. He told me about the paranormal blog he wrote, and that he had been given a tip off that the house was a vampire lair. Come to think about, he never did say where the tip off came from, but I am convinced he is a real human. He acted like a human, smelled like a human and had a human vibration. I’ve never seen anything like this morning’s display before from Mike; he was always so boisterous and full of life and real, if you know what I mean?’

‘Only too well’ replied Roland wrinkling his nose in distaste as he turned in Costello’s direction.

‘And how well do you know Kingsteignton?’ countered Vlad.

‘Well the pack has had dealings with Kingsteignton for several centuries, and usually not very pleasant ones! But he is quite an elusive character, and I have never had too many personal encounters with him. He is basically a coward who prefers to get other people to do his dirty work for him!’

‘It’s like trying to grab hold of jelly from a bowl’ declared Vlad randomly and both the Old Kingdomers momentarily became lost in their own thoughts.

The creaking of the room door opening snapped them both back to their full awareness and their jaws dropped to the floor at the sight the creature that minced into the room.

‘Definitely a vampire’ thought Roland sniffing the creature’s scent ‘but the strangest vampire that I have ever come across’.

The creature came to a halt in front of Vlad and Roland, who didn’t try to hide their astonishment as they just stared. This bizarre vampire was only about 4ft 11in tall, with a diminutive, wiry frame. His hands and feet seemed to be disproportionally large for his body, and he had a very pale round face, like the moon, with bulbous blue eyes and sparse, improbably yellow curls covered the back of his head. He was dressed in a bright orange quilted satin smoking jacket, with a pale blue velvet cravat pinned with a huge diamond at his throat, and tight, black satin trousers.
‘Good morning, gentlemen’ said the strange vampire in a thin, reedy voice ‘Lord Kingsteignton at your service’.

He held out his hand politely to Vlad, but Vlad just continued staring at him as though he had been turned to stone.

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