Sunday, 20 March 2011

Roland's Little Nightmare

‘You know gentlemen, it is considered as polite to reply when someone greets you’ lisped the strange little vampire in his thin, reedy voice ‘and also you two gentlemen are usually never short of something to say; especially you Vladimirescu, you have a tendency to witter on interminably!’

Even this barb didn’t seem to penetrate Vlad’s dull incomprehension at what he was seeing and hearing, and he continued to stare at the strange creature incredulously. Roland was somewhat quicker to recover, and grabbed Kingsteignton’s proffered hand, but instead of shaking it, he held it up to examine it. The little vampire seemed to be amused rather than offended or scared, and watched Roland with interest as he turned the hand over and examined it all over and finished by carefully sniffing it. Kingsteignton knew that werewolves relied on their sense of smell far more than their other senses, and that Roland would have absorbed a world of information about him through those few, exploratory sniffs.

Roland though found himself to be faintly repulsed by his thorough examination of the vampire’s hand. The hand was no bigger than a child’s, with soft, smooth, abnormally white skin and long lacquered nails. There was a crude gold ring on the third finger, set with a large, dull, unpolished diamond and the scent hadn’t been right. It was definitely vampire, but instead of the usual sour vampire odour, there was a hint of something almost sweet, like talcum powder, that overlaid it.

He carefully released Kingsteignton’s hand and looked him straight in the eye.
‘I am really tired, really hungry, and wearing incredibly bad, uncomfortable clothes, which tends to make me want to rip throats out. I am also fed up with being lied to and have been led up so many different garden paths in the last day or so that I might as well have gone on a day trip to Kew Gardens. You have three seconds to start with some straight talking before I get physical’ growled Roland.

The strange vampire merely tittered.

‘Sorry to strain your brain so early in the morning, De Cazalrenoux, but there really is no need for any threat of violence. As you will see, everything is really quite simple and, as they say, all will soon be revealed’.

‘Quite simple?’ queried Roland rolling his eyes and casting his eyes over the three inert figures who were still trapped in their robotic poses ‘Why don’t you start by explaining what is going on with those three’.

‘Typical, start with the irrelevancies’ replied Kingsteignton wearily ‘But if you must. The annoying, smelly human is merely hypnotised and in a deep trance. He thinks that he is so clever, because he can resist the glamour of a vampire, but went under with a blink of an eye. Do want me to bring him out?’

‘No if it is going to start yabbering on again, no. Leave him how he is for now, he will only immediately recommence clogging up his arteries with those fries as soon as he is back with us’ retorted Roland.

Vlad seemed to spring back to life at Roland’s cavalier dismissal of the suggestion that Mike Costello be restored to his full awareness.

‘Roland, we came here to save Mike! We can’t abandon him now!’

‘We’re not abandoning him, we are merely ensuring that we don’t have to listen to him for a little while longer’ soothed Roland ‘Now what about the other two?’

Kingsteignton simpered a little at this question.

‘Well, that’s where some of the clever stuff starts coming in. The vampire that you have been calling Antonescu is what you might call a substitute. We took a vampire that fitted Antonescu’s vague description, wiped his memory and replaced it with some fairly basic memories and information that the real Count would know, did a bit of basic programming and sent him in. Of course, you Vladimirescu were far too disorganised as usual to check him out. A bit of basic fact finding would have told you that the real Count Antonescu is still in some Romanian cave fighting for his existence’.

‘But why?’ retorted Vlad, horrified.

‘Oh, only to gather more information. We have had your place wired for ages, but this is a far more direct method, as I could get Antonescu to ask specific questions or behave in certain ways to influence what was going on’.

Roland’s head was beginning to spin. How weird could vampires get? Would he ever work out what made them tick?

‘I really think that I am going to regret asking, but what about the third one? The one we have been calling Lord Kingsteignton for several centuries?’