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R. Eric

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About R. Eric

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    56
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    Charleston, South Carolina
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    I write...A lot.

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  1. Chapter 12

    Dragon grinned as he watched Repetate and Iustina was so caught up in the fact that I was saying something, yet heard what they understood from my translator. I heard him comment to Colin. “Amasis was correct. Your husband does have compassion for all creatures.” He waved at the two Old Ones. “Even them.” Colin nodded. “He does. He’s almost reckless sometimes, but he can also get through to almost anyone. He’s trusted.” Dragon looked again at the computer, but wasn’t scared to touch it now, but still wasn’t comfortable doing that. “I don’t care what you say about this lightening thing and all that…” he opened the laptop carefully and looked at the many sites still up. “This is truly magical.” “Devon was right.” Colin explained. “It’s a simple tool. He’s used an example to explain it before. You’re handed a blade, you can use it to cut vegetables, chop wood or kill another human being. It’s not the blade’s fault it killed, but the user. Just like with a blade, this can be used to hurt people. You need to be careful.” Dragon nodded. “I always am, but I listen to people that have been in this world and I haven’t.” He shook his head. “I know it seems glamorous to most to live as long as we do, but you’re really isolated.” “Which is another reason I knew I had to do something about it.” Colin nodded. “What do you want with me?” Dragon asked. “I’m not that person on those…” he waved at the computer, “…that Inter…net.” “I need you to understand what we’re trying to do.” Colin said. “Our numbers are in the thousands, perhaps a million worldwide, but we are so isolated, we can’t do anything. Together, we can return to the world. I’d like to have your support.” Dragon nodded as he thought. “I’ll do what I can, but this really isn’t my world anymore.” He said sadly. “You have more power than you realize.” Colin said urgently. “Like it or not, people see you as Dracula!” Dragon looked up suddenly and shook his head. “But I’m not! Dracula was fiction!” “I know.” Colin said quickly and shook his head. “It doesn’t matter.” He took a deep breath. “This may seem…odd…to you, but you have more power than you know you have. Vampires don’t trust. I know that, but if you urge them to go with this…they might open up more.” Colin explained. “We number in the thousands…perhaps a million or more, but the world has become smaller as more of us are on the Internet and connected through that.” “I can’t be everywhere.” Dragon said simply. “That’s the beauty of this Internet.” Colin nodded. “You can.” He waved at the computer. “Through this you can reach out and touch every one of them with your voice.” He waved at the computer. “We can do this however you want, but it would help us if you did.” Dragon looked uncertain, but nodded. “I’ll consider your words.” I smiled having overheard all they talked about. Whatever talent Dragon had, his very presence with us would mean a lot. My time with Repetate and Iustina was to win their trust. The goal was simply to get them to volunteer their venom. They were both entertaining and though simple as many would see…if they weren’t hunting you, that is. Gaius and Cragen completed their treatments and had discs inserted in them. The transformation of those two was like the others, nothing but spectacular. Gaius had that horrible disfigurement over his eye, but a simple eyepatch covered that and his one good eye had the moisture needed and he looked very handsome. Their coming into the sunrise was delayed a day, but once we got them to that point, their reaction was like others. They just knew they’d never see another one without dying. Seeing it was nothing short of miraculous. We told Dragon and the other vampires we were giving the serum to them, but George needed their blood as it was now to begin again making headway with finding a cure. I’ve said it often, so you know vampires may not trust easily, but they had learned patience and none them were worried about waiting a few more days. We needed a space for George to work and Stan to continue his work. The new CPU was being sent, along with the supplies George needed to make more serum. We were also working to broaden the language database for the Delkenzie Translation Program which was growing quickly. The real trick was looking for a place to work in that had the power we needed in this part of the world. It needed to be secure as well as have access to the needed power. This part of the world was beautiful; if seen from above, but almost all of our time here had been spent underground. A cave is a cave, is a cave. Most of these vampires were like others we met like Burke who had bred sheep for the purpose of consuming their blood instead of hunting a killing people. The vampires in Transylvania had bred cows and goats for their consumption of blood. Several families that had vampires in their families had a few choice livestock to provide the vampires with the needed blood. It was at the house we rented that Gabriella and Alex let us know about what they found out about Lucian and Iilya. “The problem is…” Alex was explaining to the others gathered to compare notes. “…they are clever.” Gabriella nodded. “They crisscross their paths.” She explained. “Tracking vampires, I mean vampires that can track is apparently not new to them. They know how to…” she thought for a word. Alex was nodding. “…how to blur their tracks.” He completed for his wife. “Iilya has remained hidden.” Gabriella said. “I know his scent, but this crisscrossing of his tracks causes problems and this Lucian is an unknown to us. Iilya traveled with several vampires so we can’t pinpoint a single vampire by scent.” George nodded and let out a frustrated grunt. “Damn it.” He stood up and started to pace as he thought. “We are just so close to a solution, I know it!” Burke smiled at George. “And it will be here again, we just need some equipment. It will be fine, George.” George looked at Burke and nodded. “It’s just so…” “Frustrating.” Burke said smiling he said taking George’s hand. “I know.” George sighed and sat down again. “There is something…” he started, “…so different about Nicolae’s blood. He should be a vampire, but he isn’t. He’s aging normally and has children of his own! The answer is there, but I need my notes and research I did.” Colin got up and hugged George. “And it will be there when we get the new CPU.” He looked at Stan. “What have you found out about a secure location to work out of?” Stan grinned. “Well, the problem isn’t the power, it is the location.” He reached down and pulled up his laptop. “There are locations that were used during the Cold War…” he looked up. “…I was in diapers back then.” “Ten years ago?” Mark asked innocently. Stan put his hand on Mark’s face and shoved him lightly and said. “Shaddup.” He said almost absently. “The Soviet Union had bases around here. There’s one not far, if we get permission to use it.” He said. “Can I ask a stupid question?” Shelly began almost too quietly. Colin looked at Shelly. “Sure.” “Why are you doing this?” Shelly asked. Colin smiled and gave his shrug and nod. “That’s not a stupid question.” Shelly sat forward. “I mean, why cure yourselves? You have what most people want.” She said simply. “You’re young, full of life and you won’t die.” She looked at Colin. “I joined this group to hunt vampires that prey on people.” She put in. “I’ll all for that, but the idea that you could add a few decades or even a century or even…” she waved at Amasis. “…a couple of thousand years is amazing.” Amasis nodded and he smiled at Shelly. “But we’re cut off from the human race. We can’t…or didn’t know we could until we found Gaius and found out we could…but we can’t have children.” He looked at Shelly. “You enter a whole different subject with loved ones and people that mean something to you that you will lose.” “Being a vampire means losing people.” George said. “But you aren’t.” Shelly pointed to George. “You have Burke now.” She waved at Colin. “You have Gabriella and Devon.” She waved at my mother. “Betty became a vampire to stay with Willie and her son. I think Betty and Devon have the best as vampires…someone that will love them for a long, long time. They are losing no one.” “But that doesn’t mean we won’t die.” Colin corrected. “We can be killed by guns or even hit by a car.” “Could.” Shelly said. “Not will. There’s a huge difference. You could lose them, but not will lose them.” She shook her head. “I have a mother and father who are doing pretty well, but they are getting older. I will lose them one day. We’re raised knowing that.” She smiled. “I have a sister that has two kids.” She chuckled at a memory. “I can only imagine what their lives will be like and I hope I see a lot of that life. I wouldn’t mind having a child of my own one day.” She shook her head and looked at us. “There’s no solution, but I will hunt the vampires that kill people, but don’t be in such a hurry to become human again. Enjoy knowing that you might live a damned long time!” She waved at George. “The things he’s contributed to science and medicine is just mind blowing. Imagine what he’ll find in another century! He’s brilliant, but he can work on a problem for decades…if not indefinitely! The breakthroughs he will make…” she waved her head like it was impossible to believe, “I can’t begin to comprehend.” “But the world won’t see us as human.” Gabriella said. Shelly shook her head. “Why not? I do.” She held her hands out. “You’re right. We will be entering a new world if we have people that can just live indefinitely.” She smiled again. “I would love to, but not without my sister, her kids and my parents. You see what happened to after you were bitten as a curse.” She nodded. “It was…until now? George found a way to stop the venom from working and now you have a life, enjoying meals and travel and anything you like. Don’t rush this whole…cure thing.” Chuck nodded. “She’s right.” He added. “Let’s stop these vampires here like Iilya and Lucian from doing…whatever they are doing.” He nodded. “I’ve considered what it would be like to be one of you and…” he grinned. “That would be sweet, but like Shelly said. If I do this, I would want my father to be included, but he never would now that Mom’s gone.” He smiled. “However, you have what a lot of people want. Enjoy it.” It was later, when both Colin and I were exhausted and decided to go to bed a while and rest. As Colin slid in next to me, I was feeling a little guilty about my feelings. It must have been of my face, for as Colin was leaning closer to me, he stopped. “What?” Colin asked. I grinned at him and nodded. “We’re married. You can read me.” “I was there.” Colin grinned. “I read you very well, but what are you thinking about?” I frowned. “You won’t like it.” Colin frowned, too. “Oh?” I nodded. “I like being a vampire.” There, I said it. “What!?” Colin asked in disbelief as he sat up more. I waved at him. “See? You don’t like it. I knew you wouldn’t.” I held my hands up to stop him. “Just…hear me out.” Colin laid down a bit more. “Okay.” “I never had the horrible things you experienced.” I explained. “I never had to worry about avoiding the sun for any other reason that I would get a sunburn easily when I was human.” I sat up to face him. “I don’t feel any different than I did when I was human! I’ve never hungered but that one time right after you bit me. I’ve never looked at a human being and seen a target to feed off of. You came in like this…knight and brought me into your world and…” I laughed, “…this world is pretty sweet. You’re rich, you’re generous and you’re smart.” “But if George didn’t come up with the serum…it would be miserable!” I nodded. “But he did! I have had no pains after the introduction of the serum. Your life had almost nothing but pain; mine didn’t.” I nodded. “I knew…after we first met, I knew I would be a vampire.” Colin shook his head. “I didn't want that life for you.” “You didn’t do anything to me, Colin.” I looked in his emerald colored eyes. “I secretly thank Burke for making it impossible for you not to make me a vampire. You had to feed and I was the target. I knew you would never hurt me. You loved me. You hated what you were for so long…you couldn’t see it any other way.” I looked away. “I’m not sorry I became a vampire, Colin.” I looked again. “If this changes you’re opinion of me…well, we’ve always been honest. I’m being honest. I saw how glad you were to be in a relationship with me and I never wanted to leave you.” Colin heard me, but he was looking in my eyes. “Okay, I’ll be honest, too.” He took a deep breath. “I wanted to make you a vampire almost from that first day.” My eyes widened. “You did not.” Colin nodded. “I did. Of course, you found the evidence of who I was and I really didn’t fight you by not telling you the truth, but I wanted to make you vampire…well, you didn’t run away; I didn’t scare you, so I wanted you to stay,” he shrugged, “but I was on the serum, I couldn’t make you a vampire, so…” “If you could have, you’d have done it?” I asked. “For love?” Colin gave a shrug. “Lust at that point, but…yes. That was very selfish of me.” I got up and pushed him back. “No, it wasn’t!” I was on top of him at this point. “It was human. We’re social creatures, we’re not meant to be alone. You were!” “Yes, but making you like me wasn’t the answer!” Colin protested weakly. I nodded. “But you didn’t, well…you did, but with George’s serum I’m not like you were.” I settled on top of him. “Are you mad at me for liking what I am?” “Are you mad at me because of who I am and my wanting to keep you with me?” Colin asked. I shook my head. “Not a bit.” Colin smiled. “I’m not mad at you.” “So, what are we going to do?” I asked. “The problem was, we can’t have children…normally.” He smiled. “But replenishing the Earth isn’t that essential if we live as long as we do.” “But we can die.” I pointed out. “We’ll need to have children because we can, and will die; eventually.” “That’s one of the reasons George is looking for a cure.” “Shelly’s right; we shouldn’t be worrying about a cure.” I said. “We now know a vampire can have children, we have Nicolae as proof.” “Without the serum, we will become those blood suckers again.” Colin said. I nodded. “George said the components to make the serum isn’t hard to find.” “But complicated to make, he says.” Colin said. “So, we make sure George has what he needs and passes it on. This Lucian seems to be under the impression that we are supposed to be the undead or like the character Bram Stoker wrote about.” I said. “He, right now, is the danger and we need to find him. My kidnapping when we were in Egypt told us that there are men out there that will want what we have to become this all powerful vampire.” Colin nodded. “Vampires are just people that don’t have a time limit; that’s scary to people.” He said. “There are good vampires and bad vampires. We just need to deal with the bad ones and keep the good ones safe.” I nodded. “But the more we’re out there and the more people know about us…we will be found out.” Colin sighed. “If that happens, I can see another of your movies scenarios where there is a raging horde of angry villagers with pitchforks and torches assaulting the castle.” “The world isn’t ready for us.” I nodded. “But we are here now.” Colin said. “What do we do?” “We’ve become aliens on our own planet.” I said quietly. “I wish we were from another planet, we’d have a home to go back to.” “What we need…” Colin said quietly. “Is a place on the world where we can be free to be what we are; like those men that took you…governments will try to use us for whatever. People will want us to make them into vampires or just kill us.” I nodded. “There’s really no place left here on the world to go to found a country of our own. Even Antarctica is crowded more now.” Colin smiled. “Well, maybe there’s a country…struggling that would welcome us.” He grinned. “Imagine, a country that’s struggling and we come in. We have doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers and politicians with centuries of experience…George could open a hospital. We could add to the economy of that country and make it prosper.” “If we can get the other vampires to talk to us...” I said. “We can’t form a country without them.” “All this is premature anyway, we need to find Lucian and get Dragon on our side.” Colin said as he grinned at me. “We have been so busy…” he said, “…you’ve told me, but…do you still love me?” I smiled down at him. “There, since we’re baring our souls to each other…no. You have to know the truth; I don’t love you at all.” Colin chuckled. “Yes, I agree. It’s truth time. I don’t love you, either.” “See!?” I said kissing him. “We’ve been together so long; I can read you, too. I know better.” “You can’t lie to me, either.” Colin said rolling us so he was on top. “I know you do.” I pulled Colin closer. “I know you do.” We had not one, but tw0 CPUs arrive from Manhattan along with things George needed to make up his lab so he could continue with his research. Now the issue was with the government of Romania. Stan found there was an unused Soviet Base in the town of Barsov a little northeast of where we were. We had to deal with the mayor there who was also called George. George Scriparu who was dark headed about fifty. Colin, Stan, Mark and I went to negotiate with him to let us use it. “I don’t understand.” The Mayor said from behind his desk in English. “Why do you wish to use this base?” He asked for clarification. Language issues? “Because of what we’re doing.” Colin said and touched his translator and spoke in his earpiece microphone. “Suntem crearea unui program pentru calculator să ajute cu traducerea şi avem nevoie de un loc sigur. Casa pe care am închiriat a fost vandalizat şi am nevoie de undeva mai sigure.” He said saying we were creating the program to translate and we had been our equipment vandalized while we had it the the house we rented. “Ne veţi plăti pentru costul şi securitate. Chiar şi pentru orice actualizări de putere s-ar putea nevoie. Avem nevoie doar de aprobarea dumneavoastră.” Colin said we’d pay for the use and provide the security and even upgrade the power as needed. Now the mayor was standing as he looked in disbelief looking at the device on Colin’s shoulder. “Asta a fost in limba romana.” My earpiece told me he had said what Colin and said was in Romanian. Colin nodded. “Acum, poate intelegeti mai bine?” Colin said now he may understand better. (The rest I will write in English, but we were all speaking Romanian and English.) “We need our equipment to be secure as we move around the country gathering needed information.” Colin said and turned to Stan and Mark. “Stan is brilliant with the computer…he can watch it while there…” Stan grinned and nodded. “Thanks, Boss.” Colin rolled his eyes and waved at Mark. “Mark is part of our security. So, we won’t be unprotected, though you may need to explain what is allowed and not allowed in this part of the world.” Mark’s eyes were slits when he looked at Colin. “Gee, thanks.” He muttered in English. We got permission to use it, with the understanding that we were to use a security firm from Romania for the outside security. We were not allowed to have guns here, but Colin agreed to hire this firm, which we found out later was a relative that ran it. Of course Mark, Stan, Shelly and Chuck had their guns with them and could protect our stuff from inside the base. The whole transition took a few days, but we got set up and found ourselves to be secure and George went back to his research. The man that had okayed our bringing our things into Romania was the same man that had let us in the first time and loved his translator! I could kiss Mitch for letting us use it. That program was providing the perfect cover! We were investors, but were really adding to his language database and therefore not a lie. Every member of our team carried one and all conversations were entered in and translated, making it easier as we went through the various towns. We still patrolled for Lucian and Iilya and finding they had made others that were still remaining hidden. We interviewed Gaius, Cragen and Dragon. Now that George had his equipment, he took samples of Dragon’s blood and took Nicolae’s again and started doing research again. Gaius sat as his son got his blood drawn again. Gaius was enjoying being out during the day with his family. “Tell me.” George said to Gaius as he prepared Nicolae’s blood to test. “The vampire that bit you…you were wild after the bite because he was?” Gaius nodded. “I was.” He frowned. “Memories are a little foggy during those couple of centuries.” He grunted as he tried to remember some of it. “I remember I fought myself…” he tapped his own head in the memory of the frustration he’d gone through, “in here. I found it hard to think and recall anything.” “And Dragon?” George asked. “We were bitten by two separate vampires.” I frowned at a memory. “There were several during that battle when were both turned. They wandered around in these…packs…like wolves.” George nodded. “But you came back.” He said. “Do you remember how much time had passed before you could think clearly again?” “I don’t really…” Gaius began. “It was a couple of centuries I know. I remember having to hide all the time…” “You said…” I began coming closer to the man. “…you were afraid to face God with what you did.” I said quietly. “You’re speaking of that period, or when you were with Dragon?” “Both.” Gaius said bitterly. “I remember what I did with or for Dragon, but not when I was out of my head. I know I probably hunted humans.” “You weren’t yourself.” I said calmly. “The venom was driving you then and took away your humanity. What you did with Dragon…” “Was horrible!” Gaius spat. “He did it! I did it…there were others that did it!” I nodded. “Okay, I’m not offering any absolution about that, but…if someone threatened Nicolae or your grandchildren and there was no other choice…” “I ran poles up men’s asses that made the shafts come out the neck or chest! I gouged out eyes and cut off their man parts while they were alive!!” He said as he began rocking back and forth to shield what he now clearly could remember. “To stop them.” I reminded him as I put my hand on his shoulder as he rocked. “Was there any other way?” He was crying now as he shook his head. “I don’t know.” He said in sorrow and regret. “Dragon…you know he is Vlad, but he…did it himself as well…but he couldn’t do it alone. I had to help.” I nodded and touched his other shoulder and made him look up at me with his good eye. “I figured that out a while ago.” He shut his good eye. “Gaius.” I said and he looked at me. “Willie…my stepfather…has some horrors he remembers when he fought in a war. It’s a terrible thing, war. I’ve dealt with the injuries of soldiers and one of those injuries is in your mind. You remember what happened. You’ll never forget. I don’t forget the things I saw, but I’ll help you if you want.” “How? You can’t take it away.” Gaius said sobbing. I shook my head. “No, I can’t, but there is one thing I can do. I can listen…maybe give some perspective.” Gaius shook his head. “I can’t! I can’t talk about what I did!!” I nodded again, still speaking softly to him. “What you’re going through is Post Traumatic Depression, it is a real diagnosis.” George smiled at Gaius. “Listen to him, Gaius. He’s helped Willie and others.” “I can see it bothers you.” I said. “That’s better than you not giving it another thought. You regret what happened and it’s tearing you up inside. If you don’t talk to me, you’ll never be able to deal with it. You brain want to deal with it, but you’re not letting it.” I made sure he was looking at me. “I’m not saying it will be an easy thing to do, but you have to, if you want to get better.” “I don’t want to remember.” I nodded again. “I know, but you can’t have any release if you don’t. Talking will help your mind accept what you had to do. Then you may be able to forgive yourself and talk with God. He will forgive. The problem is…we don’t forgive ourselves.” Colin smiled as I hugged Gaius, who grabbed me and held on tight.
  2. Chapter 11

    Dragon shook his head. “I don’t understand. Why does he protect these…things?” He asked Amasis as he waved at the Old Ones. Amasis smiled and nodded. “Devon is a unique person. He has compassion for everyone.” He waved at the Old Ones, “including these creatures.” “But they aren’t human.” Dragon said. As a vampire, I had acute hearing and I walked over. “Yes, they are. George told you, there were creatures made for men using something to change them into something they can use. Their mothers and fathers were human.” I corrected. “But why did you not kill them when you found them when you found them?” Dragon was not prepared for this question. “I wanted to understand them.” He said slowly. “Were you keeping them alive to use?” I asked. “They are formidable killers.” Dragon frowned. “Perhaps to humans, but they threatened the people and I had to do something and stop their killing. They are no threat to me or the rest of us. Why would I kill them?” I nodded. “Were they ever used to kill any people for you?” Dragon gave as a shrug and nod. “Not a locals, but…there were a few…they claimed to be soldiers of another power. They were a threat. I questioned them and they didn’t tell me the truth. I did what I said I would.” I nodded. “You had to follow through.” “Yes.” Dragon nodded. “I’m nothing if I’m not a man of my word.” I smiled. “The enemy is very much like a child. You must be firm, but unyielding.” Dragon looked puzzled. “You understand what I did and why?” I nodded. “And from what I’ve read, I know why.” I waved toward Gaius. “At first, I thought he was…” I looked at Dragon, “…well…you!” Dragon nodded. “Our paths were the same in the past.” He looked at Gaius. “He was one of my military leaders. His brother was taken by the Sultan as well, just like my brother was.” I nodded. “Radu.” Dragon nodded. “You know of him?” “What’s recorded in history; yes.” I said. He looked away. “When we were faced with the Ottoman forces, Gaius stood by my side and fought. We were united for Wallachia against these brutes.” I nodded again as I got closer to Dragon. He was now less intimidating. In fact, I could see he had a charm; a powerful draw to himself. “You have this…presence I felt.” The picture I saw of Vlad Dracul was crude and done before artists got many of the features right. He and Gaius did look similar, dark hair, which on Dragon was a little longer than I liked on men, but he was clearly a warrior in his build. Was he handsome? He was appealing, but I had Colin and there was no comparison. Dragon nodded with a chuckle. “It is a talent I possess. I was told my father had it and I always had it and I taught a little of it to Gaius.” “Which is why I thought he was you.” I smiled. “This…Inter…net fascinates me.” Dragon pointed to my laptop I had folded under my arm. “Can anyone learn to use this…magic?” I held the computer up. “It’s for everyone.” I said simply and nodded. “Anyone can access and use it.” I said. “It’s not magic. It’s science. I’d be happy to show you how to use it, there are cautions I should explain, but it’s pretty easy. Almost anything you want to know is in here. Only, there are people that lie on it, just like everyone can.” This version of Dracula didn’t have the techno-savvy other characters who portrayed him possessed. Dragon smiled. “They always do.” He nodded, but looked at me. “Do you lie?” I shook my head. “I never do on purpose. Unless they ask me something I don’t think they need to know. I normally just don’t answer their questions or tell them I won’t answer. Lies are hard, you have to keep up with what you said to whom and keep it straight. Truth doesn’t require that much effort. It just is.” I shrugged. “To lie you have to keep up.” Dragon looked over at George who was talking with Burke privately. “Can he…” he looked at me, “…cure us?” I looked at Dragon. “If anyone can, I believe he can. He’s a very smart man.” Amasis nodded and came closer to us. “Devon is correct. George is very smart. The world changed the millennia that passed for me. I know it did for you. Our problem is we haven’t changed. To go forward, we have to be willing to change.” Dragon shook his head. “You have the means, why not just do what you need to? Why do you come to me?” “You don’t know who you are?” I smiled at him. “I most certainly know who I am.” He said asking me as if to ask how dense did I think he was. “You know who you are.” I chuckled. “I meant; do you know who you are to the world? What you are?” Dragon nodded. “I know there are stories out there about me. That Irishman…Bram Whatever…and that wrote that book that was supposed to be me, but wasn’t.” I tapped some keys and brought up a bunch of websites on Dracula. “But you have been linked with this story. You became something of legend because of it; a myth.” Site after site began to come up, showing various sites to see and read information about both Vlad Dracul and Dracula. “What technology are you familiar with?” I asked Dragon. “I know of electricity and I was told about telephones and those moving pictures.” Dragon said. “You have a lot of catchup learning to do.” I chuckled. “What language do you feel the most comfortable with?” Dragon frowned. “I speak several, I can speak English.” “Of course you can, but just speak to me in the language you prefer.” I pointed my computer as I hit the key for the Delkenzie program and activated the program. “He will translate this to a language you prefer.” “He?” Dragon looked uncertain at the computer, but did as I asked and spoke several paragraphs of conversation. I looked at the screen as it went through its languages. Dragon watched as the screen changed and became a language I did not know as the text on the screen changed. I divided the screen so I could read it in English. I nodded. “You speak a form of Old Romanian…” I grinned reading what the Delkenzie program worked out. “…no, it’s saying that it is Balkan Latin…” I shrugged. “…That’s Vulgar Latin. Daco-Romanian?” Dragon watched as his eyes widened as he watched the computer work and came up with a language that he could easily read. He backed away a little frightened. “This is magic!” I held my hand up and took his arm to stop him from backing away. “In a way…yes…it’s the magic of science. There are reasons for everything you see and read. You know about telephones…is it magic for you to be able to speak here and be heard by someone else somewhere else, be it another house or even another country as you speak and they hear you like you’re standing next to them?” I frowned. “You are a smart man and I’m treating you like a smart man. You’ve been out of this cave haven’t you?” Dragon nodded. “At night.” “The houses and streets are lit; there are cars and things that fly now. You’ve seen them, haven’t you?” Dragon nodded. “I didn’t understand any of it, but yes.” I thought quickly how to explain this. “Well…the best explanation is…you’ve seen lightening during a storm.” Dragon nodded. “Of course.” I tapped the computer. “We have a way now of using the power of that lightning to have this…” There was no other word I could think of that he’d understand,” “…magic. It is science, not magic and there is a lengthy explanation I can give, but trust me…it’s not black magic. It just works. I’d be happy to help you through all of it to understand, but right now…” I said looking at him. “Using this power, we have this.” I held the computer up. “It is what George uses to research and help find the cure for us. This is a device we use to keep things straight and in order. It won’t harm you. It is a tool.” I said. “Understand?” Dragon nodded and came a little closer again, but not really certain. Colin walked up to us. “That was another reason I thought we should get together. We have to!” He said putting his hand on my shoulder. “We were forced to go into the darkness…to hide.” He waved at his earpiece and then the computer. “So much has changed in the world. If we don’t find a way to stay together and be a part of this world, we will be left behind…we will die. I want more for us.” I pulled the computer up again. “There are many places to find information and there are so many that followed…other stories by other writers about vampires and other stories that are just fanciful and full of things we are supposed to be able to do…” I looked at Dragon. “You can’t disappear in a cloud of smoke can you? Or defy gravity as you climb walls or be upside down on a ceiling or change into a wolf, can you?” “No. Of course, I can’t.” Then his eyes narrowed. “Now, I understand.” He was beginning to get a little angry, but not at us. “Lucian was always asking about the things we can do. He wanted me to teach him our ways…I never knew just what he was talking about.” He waved at a site page. “Can I read this one?” He pointed to a headline. I pulled it up and handed Dragon the computer. “To read more, push this button.” I said. Dragon read and did what I said. It was a few minutes to an hour more and he was getting angrier the more he read. He handed me the computer again. “These are all just stories!” He claimed as he thought. “It is so much nonsense!” He waved again at the computer. “Even the parts I read about what I did that supposed to be part of history…a lot of things are not remotely what I did!” “History has a tendency to be bias on the side of the victor. It’s like the tale of the fish you almost caught. It gets bigger with the telling of the story.” Colin said. Dragon nodded as he was now starting to understand more. “I thought Lucian was not telling the whole truth about you.” Colin frowned. “What do you mean?” Dragon waved back at the chamber he’d left Lucian and Iilya in. “He wanted me to kill you.” Dragon said looking at us. “He said you were a threat to us.” Dragon waved his arms out as he thought. “I have no problem killing anyone, but…” he turned quickly to us, “I kill for a reason! Every man I have killed was for a reason!” Colin nodded. “And killing us would be for no reason?” “Maybe there was a reason, but not one I understood.” Dragon said. “I’m not going kill because someone said to!” “But you left Lucian and Iilya out there.” I said pointing the chamber we left. “You said to remain there…do you think they are?” Dragon was suddenly in motion and headed back to where we’d come from. The other vampires there with us stood back and let him pass just staring at him. Colin motioned for Mark and Burke to follow. “We’d better check on this.” George nodded and looked to the other vampires. “Please don’t let these two Old Ones go. They hold the secret to us becoming human again.” He said quickly and followed us as we went back. We got to the chamber and neither Lucian or Iilya were still there. Dragon was standing as his breathing had gotten faster and he seemed like he was fuming. He was barking something in language the Delkenzie Program translated as questions about where Lucian and Iilya were and how long they had been gone. The two vampires there relayed what they knew, saying they had both left a while ago, almost as soon as Dragon led us to the Old Ones and our men. Dragon turned and even with his vampire eyes, he was indeed very angry. I have to say, now he was scary. “They defied me!?” Colin walked over toward Dragon. “It’s after sun rise. Where would they go?” He asked. “They haven’t gotten the serum yet so they can’t be out.” Dragon thought and shook his head. “There are numerous caves and military bunkers to use. They could be anywhere.” He looked at Gaius. “You can’t be in the sun yet, can you?” Gaius shook his head. “I have a few more doses to get.” Colin looked at Dragon’s angry face. “We have two like Devon and me…my daughter is one that can track. If we have a scent, we can’t follow them.” George shrugged. “Fortunately, I hid some and have your next dose here, Gaius.” He said holding up a vial. “It’s late, but we can still give it.” I looked at Dragon. “We can go in the sun.” I said. “He’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see the sun rise, but we can get him on schedule. You can see what we intend to do. We’ll find them.” Dragon was still angry, but nodded. “Fine.” We gave Gaius his dose and now that was observed by Dragon. Even he had a reaction to Gaius’ pain. “It hurts each time?” Dragon asked. George nodded. “But only for a while.” He explained. “A few more doses and I insert a form of concentrated serum under the skin. There is no pain then.” He looked at Colin. “What about Nicolae?” Colin looked at George. “Does Lucian know about Nicolae? I mean, does he know that Gaius has a son?” George shrugged. “He probably knows Gaius has a son, but I never told Lucian about the possible antivenin or antibody. I need to study more about that antibody.” He sighed. “I just know Nicolae’s the key!” Colin nodded at what George told him. “I’ll let Stan know.” He looked at Mark. “When we go back, we will go to Nicolae’s house first, but he should be okay. We’ve got a small army to protect him and his family.” Mark nodded. “I’ll bet Stan has bitten all his nails down worrying about me.” He smiled. “I told him I was fine.” I grinned. “Telling him is one thing. Seeing you is another. He’ll be better when he sees for himself you are fine.” Dragon had been watching us. “So, he is with this man? This Stan?” I turned and nodded. “He is.” I wondered how he would receive this news. “And you are with Colin? George is with the man you call Burke?” Dragon asked as he sorted it out in his head. Colin nodded putting his arm around my shoulders. “Is that a problem?” Dragon shook his head. “No, not for me…but…the world must really have changed. You two are married?” He pointed to me and Colin. “We are.” Colin nodded. “There is a problem.” I said to Dragon. Dragon shrugged. “As long as I’ve lived, it’s nothing new. Don’t misunderstand. I don’t care. Men have often loved men in the past and as far as I have read from history, they always have…few, but they are.” He shrugged. “They just don’t marry, but you are.” I nodded with a smile. “It’s been a long uphill battle and not every country lets us marry, but where we’re from, it’s allowed and there are countries that allow it.” I remembered what I’d read about his brother. “He didn’t seduce me as a child, if you’re worried about that. Like the Sultan did with Radu, if that’s what you’re wondering about.” Dragon frowned, but nodded. “The problem with that was Radu had no choice, but giving in the Sultan was…just done.” “Pedophilia is a problem today, as well.” I said. “Some humans can have twisted desires and always will.” George was watching as Gaius went through his pain. “What do Lucian and Iilya want? What is it that they think they can do with being a vampire?” “Power.” Dragon said simply. I knew what they were after. “They want what the movies and stories said we are to have. We aren’t the undead. I’m not dead and neither are you.” I said to Dragon and shrugged. “They want that ability to change into the smoke and defy gravity. They want to have that hypnotic effect that Dragon has naturally.” “Hypnotic?” Dragon asked. “It’s done by others that aren’t vampires.” I explained. “You do have a charisma, like many leaders have.” I chuckled. “They don’t have anything as powerful as you do, but you have it.” Dragon thought. “What can I do?” He didn’t understand what I meant. “It’s not a bad thing.” I said. “It’s a talent you have that causes people to give in to what you say. They want to be with you and follow your words.” Dragon nodded as he understood now. “Vraja.” The translator told me he used a word for magic spell in Romanian. I nodded. “Yes, it is kind of a magic spell. Regular people have that ability and leaders in particular can do it very well.” I frowned. “Hitler had it.” “I know this name.” Dragon literally spat the name. “The soldiers for this leader are the men I gave to those odd ones. The ones you call the Old Ones. They became a vampire I didn’t want to keep from the Old Ones’ bite.” “Anyone else?” Colin asked. “Others like Iilya.” Dragon said shrugging. “Very sure of the fact they were superior to everyone else…Russian…KGB?” I nodded. “This was a few decades ago?” Dragon nodded. “Four or five. They became something wild, unable to speak and…just wild.” “Who bit Iilya?” Colin asked. “Lucian.” Dragon said grumbling. “He claimed that Iilya was bitten in defense, he was protecting himself and Iilya’s survival was an accident.” “Now you don’t think it was an accident?” I asked. “I think Lucian was creating followers of his own.” Dragon said. “I have for a while.” Colin looked at his watch. “Gaius will be waking soon.” He turned to George. “You need to take Burke and Mark back. Get something from Eva for Gaius to eat and bring it back. We’ll do the sun rise thing tomorrow morning.” “We gave Eva the day off.” George said. “We gave her the day off yesterday.” Colin corrected with a grin. “She should be there now. We’ll get another CPU and get a place with more power and you, George, can start again with the serum and this antibody thing.” George nodded with a smile. “Well, I have others with the venom in their blood and no serum. That will help.” He looked at Dragon. “I can have some of your blood, can’t I?” Dragon looked puzzled, but nodded. “If it helps.” George nodded and slapped Dragon on the arm. “It will!” He looked at me. “And you need to start working on those Old Ones.” He grinned. “You got Gizmo to like you; maybe you can get those two to like you, too!” I found out that Dragon had caught one of the Old Ones almost a century and a half ago. The second one about forty or fifty years ago; both were found in the woods. I asked again why he kept them. Dragon shrugged. “To keep the people safe.” Then he smiled. “Okay, they were kind of pets for me.” I grinned. “Pets?” I nodded. “I can see that. Gizmo was very personable.” And I hurried on to prove I understood. “He was dangerous, but not to me and so I guess those two weren’t dangerous to you. They didn’t attack me. I understand. Have you tried to talk to them? Do they understand you?” Dragon nodded. “Sure. They know what certain signs mean and will do what I ask. Like the sign I gave for killing those…Nazis and KGB...” “They knew that they weren’t just feeding on them, but killing them?” I clarified. “Yes.” “You won’t tell them to kill me, right?” Dragon smiled. “Not without a reason.” His eyebrows waggled, but I didn’t worry. He was kidding. Wasn’t he? “Do you have names for them?” I asked. “Yes!” Dragon smiled. “The first one I caught nearly a century ago I named Iustina.” The translator told me Earless. “Iustina?” I aked. Dragon nodded and pointed to his own left ear. “He was in a fight apparently. He’s missing this ear. It was cut off before he came here to me.” I nodded chuckling. “Okay, and the other?” “Repetate.” I chuckled again. “Because he was repeated after Iustina?” I shrugged. “It makes sense. Do you let them out?” Dragon nodded. “With me, yes. Not many of the others have really bonded with them.” I grinned. “But you did?” Dragon grinned and nodded. “They really are affectionate to me.” “Gizmo was to me.” I said. “You didn’t kill them, that’s great!” Dragon shook his head. “You approve?” “Like you said, killing should be for a reason.” I said. “They are what they were created to be.” “And you won’t kill them either?” Dragon asked. “I don’t want to.” I said. “I’ll get to know them and once they see I’m not a threat or on the menu, we should get along fine, but they do have that strain of venom that is pure. If George wants to reverse the effects, he’ll need them.” “I’m going with you.” Colin said. “You think they’d like me?” I grinned at Colin. “They’ll love you!” We went back down to the cell where they were being held and Dragon opened the lock. I held my hand up to Colin to stop. There were human differences in the two bald and naked Old Ones. The one that had his left ear cut off, Iustina was an inch or two taller than Repetate, but both were looking puzzled at me. I smiled at him. “Hello, Iustina.” I looked at the other. “That means you’re Repetate. Hello, Repetate.” That got them to look at me more puzzled, but they were both sniffing the air. “Yes, I am a vampire, so no dining on me.” I said lightly and looked around and found a stool nearby and brought it over and sat. “My name is Devon.” I said pointing at myself. I did the names again pointing at each and myself again. “I hope we will become friends.” I said. “I knew another like you. I named him Gizmo. He was a special person. I liked him very much. I’m hoping I will you, too.” When I didn’t see understanding on them, I looked back at Dragon. “What language did you use with them?” “Romanian.” Dragon said. I nodded and held up my device with the speaker on it and said it again in Romanian. Say what you will about these Old Ones, they were human, as my device fascinated them. Their eyes grew wide as it translated what I said to a language they knew and inched a little closer to understand how and what it was, but still wasn’t sure about me yet. They were like I described about Gizmo, almost like children. Translating what I said they were getting closer. “I won’t hurt you.” I said and it translated. Fear was going away as they tried to understand what was going on and even to the point Repetate touched the device. I grinned, this was a way I could win their confidence. Colin was even smiling at what he saw. They were no threat to me. This was going to work!
  3. Chapter 4

    Actually, I can answer that. Daniel and I met and it was as I said it was. It's like we were meant to be together. He wouldn't let up on me and I didn't let up on him. It was a good friend of ours, a real estate agent that pointed it out to me. (She made a lot of money off the two of us) She said we should be on TV because we were hilarious! I had written before, but never about the two of us. It just sort of...came! I miss Daniel. That's why I wrote so much after he died. I tried to keep him alive for me. It's silly, but it did, for a while. I loved Daniel more than I can tell you in words. He was a funny man and he loved me. I am Mitch, Daniel is Tony. We were...rare.
  4. Chapter 10

    “You said if Lucian told the truth.” Colin said. “What has Lucian said to this Dragon?” Gaius shrugged. “I can only guess, but Lucian doesn’t see what we are as a curse. To him it’s a blessing.” “It is no blessing.” George said. “Not from any god, at least.” Gaius nodded. “Not to you, but to Lucian, it is.” He sighed. “In his past, he was not…well…he was pushed around by others who were bigger, stronger and in more power. Sometimes they were all of the above. When he was bitten, that changed. He was put into a situation where he was the one pushing, occasionally…especially after feeding, stronger and it put him in a position of power.” Stan walked closer to Gaius. “Would he or Dragon hurt Mark?” His main focus was Mark, as it should be. “Until what is desired is given, no.” Gaius shook his head. “Lucian would see having them as a place of power. You have to negotiate for his release.” Stan moaned. “As a person in a business where safety comes first, and negotiating is part of that, I know that once they get what they want, there’s nothing stopping Lucian or Dragon from placing a statement, saying what they want is more important by killing Mark and Burke.” Colin nodded and put a hand on Stan’s back. “But for now, Mark and Burke are alive. That’s something for now.” He looked back at Gaius. “What technology does either of them have and use?” Gaius looked at Colin. “Hardly any, I know of.” Colin nodded. “They would have no way of knowing that we know where Mark and Burke are being held?” Gaius looked a little surprised that we did know. “I don’t see how. You know where they are?” Stan nodded. “Yes, we do.” George moved forward. “We have to get to Nicolae! He needs protection.” Gaius looked a little alarmed. “Why?” “I think…” George said looking at Colin and me. “I think he carries the beginnings of our cure.” All of us with the VUN looked astonished at George. Comments like, why didn’t you say so, and how can he and what is it about him? George waved them to silence in effort to answer all their questions. “I’ve tested his blood. He has the venom, but he isn’t a vampire. He has properties of his father and mother. The part of his blood that has the venom is a little weak, but allowed him to make a clear antivenin and an antibody for the venom and changes the venom makes.” He explained quickly. “I was testing Nicolae’s blood with some of my venom, but the serum sort of prevented his antibodies and the antivenin from working. I need a batch of venom with no serum in it.” He said hurried. “I believe this….antivenin and antibody could be made stronger and could probably reverse the venom’s effects.” Again we all started speaking at once and George held his hands up again. “Stop!” George said loud. “Listen, I don’t have all the answers yet, but a working theory.” He sighed. “A quick explanation: you know all those commercials about cleansers that kill 99.9% of germs?” He looked at me when he asked that. “Oh,” I grinned. “Because I watch movies and TV you look at me.” “Well, you do.” George said grinning. “The point is…even if it does kill almost all germs, the ones that survive is made stronger and that’s how we get super-germs. What I want to do, is get some blood without the serum for the antivenin and antibodies to develop more…eventually, I’d like to get the venom of an Old One after I build up the immunity of Nicolae’s antivenin and antibody. I have to work carefully and extract the antivenin and antibody that survives, and I think…at least, I hope it will help create a strong enough antivenin and antibody to reverse the venom. Nicolae has lived a while with venom in his body for decades, but this immunity has kept him from becoming a vampire…which should not happen.” Colin turned to Gaius. “Where does Nicolae and his family live?” Gaius told us quickly. “You didn’t tell Lucian this, did you?” He asked George. “They were just after the serum.” George said. “I didn’t mention a word about Nicolae.” He looked at everyone. “Now, this will probably work.” He said holding his hands out again. “Probably, but know this, creating this super antivenin and antibody takes time. I won’t have it next week. It may take a few months to a year or two or even longer. It’s a start.” I nodded. “Let’s get Nicolae.” I said to Colin and the others. I looked at George. “An antivenin works one way and the antibody works another. We can’t produce a more powerful antivenin, can we?” George nodded. “Somehow, Nicolae’s antivenin and antibodies are working together. Because the antivenin is natural it works in tandem with the antibody. I believe if I can strengthen his antibodies, we’ll strengthen the antivenin.” He shrugged and added quickly. “Theoretically.” “That sounds logical.” I nodded. “Eventually, if I get this antivenin and antibody to a point, I’d love to try it on the venom of an Old One.” George said. “If it works reversing that, we are really looking at cure.” I nodded. “Which means, we need to find an Old One.” We sent Chuck, Stan, Shelly, Wayne, Gabriella, Alex, Amir, Mom and Willie to Nicolae’s home to keep him secure. Amasis and George insisted he be included when we confronted Dragon and Lucian. I agreed with Amasis, as a former leader of a people, he might reach this Dragon more readily. Stan had wanted to come, too, but his expertise with the computer was needed and we’d be in contact with the earpieces. We looked at Gaius. “We promised you a sunrise.” Colin said as we escorted him out of the bunker. It was still night. “And you’ll see it, but we need to get you secure as well. I trust Nicolae’s house has a room not that bright. You shouldn’t be harmed, but it will tingle a bit until we insert the disc.” “Disc?” Gaius asked. “It’s a highly concentrated form of the serum.” George explained. “I insert it under the skin and you have a monthly dose of the serum given that dissolves over time.” Gaius nodded. “And no more pain?” I nodded with a chuckle. “No more pain.” “Does Nicolae or you have passports?” George asked. Gaius looked surprised. “I’m a vampire. You think I’d be issued a passport?” George nodded sadly. “I’d love to have Nicolae in my lab back in Manhattan.” He said thinking again. “I have more sophisticated equipment there.” “And Buddy.” Colin nodded. George nodded. “And Buddy.” He shrugged. “Buddy can be replaced. We can get another CPU here with some equipment.” He looked around the area. “I’d prefer somewhere more…” he looked at Gaius. “Sorry, but…more sterile…and has electric power.” Colin shrugged. “We’ll just have to bring those things here.” He said. “I’m sure we can rent a place to do what you need.” George nodded. “Which we can do that…” he frowned… “after we get Burke back…and Mark.” I was pleased to hear he had the right priorities. “You need to tell that to Burke when you see him.” I put a hand on George’s shoulder. “We will get them back.” George nodded. “I do have a tendency to become tunneled with my attention. I’ve neglected Burke.” I nodded with a smile. “And Burke understands that, but he would like to hear that he is at least, more important.” George nodded. “You’re right.” He sighed. Colin didn’t think an armed assault would be there thing to get us what we wanted, so Colin, Gaius, George and I followed the computer’s guidance to where it said Burke and Mark were to another part of town. It was still a few hours before sunrise as we walked. The area around Transylvania had both developed and undeveloped parts. The many wars and conflicts in this part of Europe left a lot places for people to hide. The thick forest that made up the foliage of Transylvania was naturally spooky in the daytime and it was even more so at night. This time as I sensed we were being followed. I sensed it now, but I knew it wasn’t wolves that were following us this time, but vampires. I was a vampire and that fact was creeped me out. These creatures could kill even if they didn’t want my blood. I held the computer and pointed. “There has to be an entrance.” I said to Colin, Gaius and George. “We’re practically on top of them.” Colin nodded and took my hand. “Close the laptop.” I looked at him wondering, but then I felt it. The feeling like I gotten from Gaius…now I felt it again, but much more powerful…and just…dark. I closed the laptop and we followed Gaius as he took the lead. The feeling just got worse with every step we took. Gaius made a turn at some outcropped rock and entered a crack in the hillside. Above us was nothing but rock and some vegetation. What through this crack in the hillside was spreading out before us were steps. Stone steps that led down. There were torches lit and showed the way as we wound down to a floor, also stone that spread out to a corridor. Colin squeezed my hand. “Now I’m hearing the dark creepy music.” I smiled, but I didn’t feel the lightness to do it. “I’m rubbing off on you.” I said, but wasn’t feeling the humor right now. “The music now is one of those dark menacing songs and more dark. Menacing and creepy.” As with Amasis and we entered what could only be a throne room. Through an opening we entered a massive room with a single person sitting on what I saw had to be a throne. There were torches and these tall containers I saw must have oil in them as they burned to give the cavernous room light by the flames. There were men gathered around him by the dozen and we were being followed by the ones that had followed us. They all wore some form of black. They did not speak to us and did not stop, but joined the others before the throne. One I knew to be Iilya and beside him was a man that had been turned in his mid-thirties, but he had white hair, but it was thick, but well cut. I mean his hair completely white. I didn’t believe it was because he was grey due to age, but that was his natural color. “Why have you entered my domain?” A deep, powerful voice asked and because we were underground and any sound here would echo, it sounded much more…sinister. “It is nearly sunrise, Gaius.” “My days of hiding from the sun are coming to an end.” Gaius said and bowed. “Hear him?” The white haired man shouted, which wasn’t necessary as his voice echoed loud. “His days are ending!” He said pointing at us. “He even senses different now.” “Silence, Lucian.” The man on the throne said in a low voice, but much more quietly, but it still echoed. Then man who was on this throne was dark haired and had the eyes of a vampire. He rose and walked forward. He was Dragon. No one had to tell us, we all just knew it. That overwhelming presence I felt with Gaius was now a hundred times more powerful. The man, Dragon, just oozed authority and a darkness that seemed to radiate from his very being. “I do sense you are different, Gaius. You don’t give off the same…vibration from you.” “I am being treated for my condition.” Gaius said waving at us. “These men have found a way for us to move in the day time now. I’ve eaten food instead of drinking blood.” Whatever Dragon had been told, he wasn’t expecting this. “You ate food?” He came even closer and this darkness of presence seemed like it would swallow us as he did. “How can you do that?” “Lies!!” Lucian shouted again. “It’s all lies! They want to destroy us!” This time, Dragon turned to Lucian and without a word spoken, Lucian whimpered and hid his eyes from Dragon’s gaze and literally cowered down. Then Dragon turned again to us. “Do you wish to destroy us?” George shook his head and swallowed, then came forward. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I took an oath to do no harm. I want to help us.” George said the pleading in his voice as he spoke quietly. “I never wanted to be a vampire. I came up with a treatment that keeps the vampire inside quiet and allows us to lead somewhat normal lives.” He motioned toward Gaius. “In a few more days, Gaius will be able to walk in the sun, enjoy a good meal of food. He can travel where he wants to go…just as we do.” He motioned to Colin, me and Amasis. “This man…” he took Amasis by the shoulder, “was a pharaoh in Egypt thousands of years, trapped by the sun and now goes out in the sun and enjoys a meal.” He touched Colin. “This man was born over two hundred years ago, but now has married and enjoys food almost too much. He’s a bottomless pit.” “Lies!!” Lucian claimed again. “Lucian!” Dragon now said loud and the name was almost a gunshot as it hit the walls and the thunderous sound bounced back and forth. “I have no qualms ending lives. Do that again and I will end yours.” I was really not comfortable with it, but I stepped forward. “Excuse me.” I said not wanting to have this Dragon’s wrath, but I had to say something. “I’ve never met Lucian, nor has he ever met us.” I began softly. At least I tried to be softer than the acoustics here allowed. “How does he know what we planned? We said it up front what our goals were and they were posted on the Internet.” “The Internet.” Dragon nodded and looked at Lucian again. “You said they wanted to kill us.” “They admitted it themselves.” Lucian said pointing at us. “They want to end us.” I nodded. “We do.” I said causing Dragon to turn to look at us. “End our torment.” I explained. “We want to end this life of hiding from the sun, existing only on blood.” I nodded. “Lucian is right, we do want to end that part of our lives, but we most definitely don’t want to kill anyone. We are trying to prevent innocent people from dying.” This man, Dragon looked at me and inched closer to me. “You are different.” He said quietly. “Why?” I shrugged. “I don’t know what you mean.” Dragon came closer, but I didn’t back away as he looked at me with the eyes of a vampire, but sniffed lightly. “I can sense no trauma. You smell…off.” I heard Colin move closer to me as if to protect me somehow. I held my hand out to stop him. Dragon looked at my hand and Colin. “I see.” He said simply. “He was the one that turned you.” I nodded. “But he never harmed me.” “I do sense fear in you.” Dragon said. I nodded. “Sure.” I agreed. “I am scared.” I admitted. “You are who I know you are, you ruled using fear to protect you people. You did it very well. Fear is what you want, isn’t it?” Dragon smiled. I say it was a smile, but it was a smile that really didn’t have a lot of humor in it. “I have used fear. It is effective tool.” I pointed at Lucian. “He’s using fear as well; on you.” Dragon looked at Lucian and frowned. “How so?” He asked and turned back to me. “Fear of the unknown.” I said. “He has told you we want to end the vampires’ existence. We do, but we don’t want to end any lives. Not yours, his or ours. We want to give you a life!” I waved at Gaius. “You sense Gaius is different now…he is. He’s not the vampire he was. He is changing, but he still has that part of himself that is a vampire. You should sense that.” Dragon shook his head. “This is confusing.” George came closer. “What we have is a condition…an illness…sort of.” He then told Dragon about the vampires and the Old Ones and the venom. “I developed a serum that adheres to the venom and causes it not to work. We are allowed freedom to pursue other things.” “Lies!” Lucian said again. Dragon turned so quickly, even I was startled as he grabbed Lucian by the neck and literally lifted him off his feet and held him a foot off the ground. Vampires still had to breath and Lucian was now gasping. “I warned you.” “Don’t kill him!” I said quickly. Dragon looked at me surprised. “You’re asking me not to kill him?” “Of course I am!” I said. “There are times when you have to kill, but it shouldn’t be the first thing. He just doesn’t understand!” “There are people that were taken from us.” George said quickly. “They are here. One is a vampire like we are, the other human, but you won’t want his blood.” Dragon’s eyes widened. “I know of no…” he looked back at Lucian. “What have you done?” I didn’t have to see it, but I heard Dragon’s hand tighten around Lucian’s throat. “If he dies, you’ll never find out!” I said. “I know, from what I’ve read, you do whatever it takes to protect your people. We are protecting ours.” I said touching Dragon’s arm and pulling his arm and Lucian to the ground. “We can prove what we’re saying is true. If you don’t believe us, use your senses. We are vampires! We don’t feed on blood.” Gaius nodded. “I’ll eat in front of you! You’ve known me for hundreds of years. I don’t lie! We fought side by side. We were even turned at the same time. They tell the truth.” He pointed at Iilya. “I used him to find out about these people and to threaten them. They are what they say they are.” Iilya nodded. “I have seen this treatment. It does work.” He said coming forward. “How do you know these men are here?” Dragon asked. I opened the laptop and pointed to the blinking indicators on the screen. “They are in this…” I looked and waved around the cavernous chamber. “Whatever you call this place.” Dragon’s eyes widened again as he saw the blinking lights. “What manner of…” “It’s technology.” Colin said. “Science. We can find out where our people are and if they are healthy.” He looked at the blinking lights and the readout being displayed. “As of now, they are fine. One is a little frightened, but he’s fine.” “Some people are afraid of what they will lose.” I said pointing at Lucian. “Not thinking about what they will gain.” Dragon released Lucian who collapsed on the ground as he gasped for air. “This will end our existence.” I nodded. “End our existence as vampires, yes, but you’ll have a life.” George nodded. “In spite of people that ransacked my lab, I found some things here that could even cure us.” “Cure us?” Dragon asked, and now his voice didn’t sound as ominous as it had. “You can make us human again?” “I think I can.” George nodded. “Now, can we get our people back?” Dragon turned to Lucian. “Where are they?” Lucian was still coughing as he tried to breath. “I put them in with the other two odd vampires.” Dragon frowned. “You did what!?” His eyes widened. “Did they attack these men?” Lucian shook his head. “I thought they had just been fed. They didn’t.” “Odd vampires?” I asked and quickly pulled up Wayne’s drawing on the screen. “Like these?” Again, Dragon was surprised at what he saw, but nodded. “Those are the ones we have.” George shook his head. “They won’t feed on either of my friends, one is already a vampire.” He said. “The other takes something that makes his blood unusable…for a while. He needs more soon.” “Where are they?” Colin asked again. Dragon looked at Colin. “I am trusting you to do what you say?” “I know trust is difficult for us, but we have to trust each other to get anywhere!” Colin said urgently. “Trust me!” Without a word, Dragon looked at some of the vampires and they scattered to go somewhere. He looked at Lucian. “You remain here!” He instructed having no doubt what he said would be obeyed. He turned and started walking away. “Follow me.” All that was missing was the flowing black cape! Again, he wasn’t looking to confirm we were doing what he instructed, he expected we would do as he asked. We followed him through a series of tunnels and finally came on a holding area where there were cages, but old cages. The bars were heavy iron and shaped to fit the openings. Behind one set of these bars was Burke and Mark, Burke standing in front of Mark to prevent two of the Old Ones from even thinking of attacking them both as they shared a cell. The Old Ones were looking at Burke and Mark curiously as they tried to understand what these two people were that was sharing their cell. One they knew was a vampire and other wasn’t appetizing at all. Burke looked at us approaching and smiled. “It’s about time you got here.” He grinned. “We’ve been playing with the boys here. Keep away.” George hurried to the door of the cell and of course it was locked. A vampire came over from Dragon and took a key and unlocked the door. “Be careful.” This new vampire said. “They try to get out when they can.” He pointed to the Old Ones. I nodded and walked forward. “I’ve dealt with one before.” I looked back at Dragon. “Have you tried to speak with them?” “They can’t speak.” Dragon said. I nodded. “Gizmo couldn’t either.” I smiled. “That’s what I named the other Old One I knew. He was one of them.” Like Gizmo had been, they were naked, bald and had no genitalia or anus. “But they aren’t stupid.” I looked at Dragon. “Please tell me you feed them.” Dragon nodded. “We do. They are not like us.” George nodded, but only looking at Burke. “They are our creators.” He said going in when the door opened and brought Burke into a hug. “They are?” Dragon asked. Again we explained about the writings we found and had pretty much translated now. The origins and who these Old Ones were. “We should kill them.” Dragon decided and looked as if he was going to do it right that moment. He reached for the vampire near him and pulled a sword from the vampire’s sheath. I turned and raised my hands. “No!! Don’t!!” I said standing between the Old Ones and Dragon. “They also hold our cure!” Dragon looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. “You say they made us what we are! How is keeping them going to cure us?” George let Burke go a little. “The venom in these two is pure. If what I have works, that venom could be the answer.” “They aren’t evil!” I said waving at the two Old Ones. “They are what they were created to be.” The two Old Ones were looking at me uncertain what to do. “Remember what we said about them. They were being used to make the populous weak by attacking people around the world to prepare them to be conquered. They are not scouts, but they were being used. They were created from humans.” I turned to Mark. “First, you need to speak with someone and tell them you’re alright.” I said and took my earpiece off and handed it to Mark. Mark nodded and took the earpiece. Dragon looked at what we were doing and didn’t understand what was happening. Amasis came up to Dragon. “They did that with me, as well.” He said to Dragon. “My people didn’t keep up that much with the way the world changed. It was only when a man, who is now my son, told me about them.” He said. “We need to change to keep up with the world. We didn’t. It was frightening to me at first, and I didn’t feel like I belonged, but it took time and I am fitting in better.” Dragon looked at Amasis carefully. “You were a pharaoh?” Amasis nodded. “I was god!” He said smiling. “But not anymore.” Dragon nodded. “I read about what you had then, but how do you deal with this…new world?” He asked as he waved at my computer and us. Amasis grinned and shrugged. “They will help you. I promise that, but the treatments do work. You’ll see.”
  5. Chapter 9

    We went the next evening to the bunker to meet with Gaius. The writers about Transylvania weren’t wrong when they wrote about the dark forests. Even though it was summer, it was a little cold as we went through the foliage thick trees. There were times I felt we were being followed. I’m the first to say I have a vivid imagination, but I could swear someone…or something was following us. The fact was I knew there were wolves here, but I kept myself in check. A man alone might face problems, but we were together. George took a few specimen containers and cooler with him. In the bunker now there was two of Gaius. The thing was time had passed for Nicolae, but not for Gaius. They were almost like…fraternal twins? Not exactly alike, but the resemblance was strong. I didn’t need the DNA scan to see that Nicolae was Gaius’ son. Gaius had battle scars, Nicolae did not, but it was the same face on both of them. George walked over the Nicolae and…it was more like George was looking over a specimen, not a human being. “This is…impossible!” Colin scratched the back of his head and waved at Nicolae. “Yet, here he is.” He walked over to this new man. “I’m Colin Wentworth.” “Nicolae Funar.” The man said taking Colin’s hand. Nicolae had a thicker accent when he spoke English. “My father told me you had a treatment for him.” George nodded remembering his manners. “I’m sorry. I’m Dr. George Holm. I came up with the serum to treat those of us who have this venom.” He said shaking Nicolae’s hand. “I’ve never even heard of a vampire siring or having a child.” He smiled at Nicolae. “Would you mind if I took some samples?” Nicolae looked a little uncomfortable at the idea, but shrugged. “Sure, if it helps.” George nodded and got his needle out. No matter what the age a man is, seeing the needle by anyone makes us little boys…a little wary. “I just need a little blood.” He looked at Nicolae. “Did you ever have a hunger you didn’t understand?” Nicolae shook his head as he looked away from the needle as it was inserted in his arm. “No. The only thing was the light problem. I can go out during the day, but only with a very high sun blocker on.” He explained, as George took the blood and put it into a container and labeled it. “Even with that on, I can only be out a few hours.” George then took some of Gaius’ blood and labeled it. His blood still had venom in it and was blacker than blood usually is. George labeled that container. He held up the cooler. “I’m going to see what’s in Gaius’ blood that makes him able to do this.” He said and hurried off to do just that. Burke followed quickly behind. “Wait for me!” Burke said as he hurried. “There are things in those woods!” He cautioned as he tried to catch up with George. I brought up the serum and got the needle ready and withdrew the needed serum. “We have to do it again.” I smiled. Gaius nodded and began to take his shirt off again. “Not there this time.” I said. “You get it in the arm this time.” Gaius nodded. “Oh.” He rolled up his sleeve. Colin greeted Cragen and got him ready to his next dose. “There are five slabs. I’ve only seen Iilya, Alin and Cragen. Is there another vampire?” Gaius nodded. “Lucian. He’s been away the past few weeks.” “Isn’t that dangerous?” I asked as I prepped Gaius’ arm. Gaius nodded. “It can be, but Lucian is over two hundred. He has another few places scattered through this part of Europe to have a refuge from the sun. I’m sure he’s fine. He’s a big boy.” Iilya came in as Gaius went through the pain began again and cringed. “I will suffer like he is, if I take this serum?” I nodded. “We all have to do it.” As with everyone who goes on the serum, he did at last stop with the pain and he rested. We promised to return the next evening. When we got back; again, everyone back at the house wanted to know what we learned. We told them and asked where George was. Burke waved toward a room that George had made his lab in. “He’s with the samples.” Burke grumbled. “There are times I wish I was a sample.” I smiled with sympathy. “You get the scientist with George. You know he loves you.” Burke nodded. “Yes.” Gabriella, Alex, Mom, Willie, Chuck, Mark and Shelly were doing patrols. They contacted a few vampires, but not that many. Stan came out of the room where the computer was housed. He did not look happy. “What’s wrong, Stan?” Colin asked. “George is using Buddy now with those samples.” Stan said. “There’s not a lot I can do. He’s linked with the main computer in Manhattan.” It was afternoon before George came out of his lab. “What did you find out?” Colin asked. George shook his head. “I still don’t know how, but Nicolea is Gaius’ son.” “I could have told you that.” I said. “He and Gaius look so much alike.” “That could just be coincidence. I have the DNA and that doesn’t lie.” He said like a true scientist. “And I found something in Gaius’ blood I’ve never seen before. It’s almost like…a human made antivenin.” “He made a serum himself?” I asked. “Naturally?” “Very much like it.” George nodded. “It has many of the same properties of the serum.” He was thinking more than talking to us as he paced and spoke. “There is something in his blood I’ve never seen before that has many of the same qualities of the serum. If I could just make that stronger…” “I thought the venom caused us to rewrite our DNA.” Colin said. “We’re vampires because we make the venom now.” “But Gaius’ DNA is going back to what it was supposed to be.” George said smiling. “In more time, I think Gaius would get rid of the DNA that this venom is making his body write. He would become human again. The blueprint for his DNA is still there, the venom just adds something. This antivenin is making that break down. I even think if he did bite someone in the future…a vampire…not a human; his natural antivenin would reverse the venom there in the vampire!” “A man, turned vampire, could bite a vampire and turn the vampire human?” I asked. George nodded. “Nature or God or whatever added something to counteract what those men tried to do thousands of years ago.” “By adding this to our bodies…this antivenin, would we go back?” Colin asked. “Hurry things along?” George gave a shrug and nod. “With almost every disease, there is one that can resist the disease. It’s like…their body will have the carriers for the disease, but they don’t get it. A vampire Typhoid Mary? Gaius may be the cure.” I grinned. “Like that little monkey in that movie Outbreak. He had the immunity, but was spreading the disease.” Colin groaned. “You and those movies...” He shook his head. “Movies are a reflection of life.” I said. “Almost everything that happens in life is reflected in a movie.” I justified. George nodded. “Yes, it’s like that movie.” He grinned. “Theoretically, if we get this antivenin and the venom quits adding what it wants…we could be free of the vampirism.” “What about Nicolae?” I asked. “A milder form of the serum should work on him.” George smiled. “He has his father’s DNA. There is venom in his blood, but it’s not as strong. With the letup in his father’s DNA and his mother’s DNA and her being venom free blood, he’s almost normal.” George smiled. “I’ll have to dilute the serum for him.” He shook both of us. “Don’t get excited too much. This may take more than a few days to make, but I think we’re reaching the end of our vampire days.” Colin grinned and looked at me. I guess I wasn’t as excited as he thought I should be. “What’s wrong? This is good news!” “Wrong? Nothing.” I answered, but I could see that reply wasn’t what Colin could see. “Okay, you two have been vampires a lot longer than I have been. I fact, I haven’t really missed a thing from the other life, because I never lost anything.” “You want to not be a vampire, don’t you?” Colin asked. I shrugged. “My life hasn’t changed. I am what I am.” “Lucian likes being a vampire.” Colin said. “Gaius said to me Lucian liked the control. I think it’s the power.” “What power?” I asked. “We don’t really have any special power.” Amasis got up and cleared his throat. “Actually, we do.” Amasis almost never spoke up about anything to do with the science or technical side of what we are or our lives. “What power?” I asked. “Fear.” Amasis said quietly. “The ability to scare is very important. There is power in that.” He smiled and shrugged. “I did it, too. Only my way of scaring the people that followed me was a little different. They thought I was a god. They were willing to do whatever I needed done to please me, or risk facing my wrath.” George nodded. “He’s right. Vampires are the predator of predators. We hear better, see at night, our sense of smell is better.” He chuckled. “Even the teeth add an element of fear.” Willie, Mom, Gabriella and Alex had listened. It was Willie that spoke up. “So, Gaius bites a vampire…but he hasn’t overcome his venom.” Willie said. Mom nodded. “It only takes about twenty-four hours to turn a human into a vampire. How long would it take for Gaius’…whatever to work?” George threw his hands up. “That’s the problem.” He sat down as he continued to think out loud. “This venom is…a cheat.” He said. “It was something introduced into man that cheated evolution or nature’s plans. Gaius is the first answer to that cheat. Nature or God is trying to reverse that.” Alex nodded. “Will Gaius give this antivenin like we do the venom through a bite?” George looked at the many eyes looking at him. It was a few seconds before he looked back at everyone and shook his head. “What are you looking at me for? I don’t have answers, just speculation. I don’t know! The men that created the Old Ones had a human kind of hypodermic needle that inserted the venom. The venom needs blood to live. It was a way to transfer the venom to a new body. How many fails they had with their creation of the Old Ones I can’t even begin to guess.” He rose again. “I need to get back. I’m running some of Nicolae’s blood now. He has some of the venom, but it’s weak. It could be him that makes the cure. He has a lot more of this…antivenin than his father does. He’s a hybrid; a cross between a vampire that was beginning to reverse the venom and a regular human.” He looked back at everyone. “I need to test his blood with the serum.” We went back to the bunker that evening. Only this time with some bland chicken that Eva had made to feed both Cragen and Gaius. We gave them both the serum again and they went through the pain again. When it was done again and the pain eased. They both passed out again, but woke a few hours later. That was when we introduced the chicken dish to them both. We cautioned them both about what could happen, but like every vampire we put on the serum and fed the first time, they didn’t understand until it hit them. Gaius came out of a bathroom that he had down here for the visiting human now. “I hadn’t…” he grinned. “…well, it’s been a while since I had to do that.” I chuckled. “Your first taste of the return of your humanity.” I said. “But believe me, things will be tasting phenomenal now.” Colin and I returned to the house as the sun was beginning to rise. We promised Gaius and Cragen the sun rise the next morning. What we found sent chills down my spine. We had been robbed. We entered the house as the others were looking around having just gotten back from a night of patrols. Furniture was in disarray and those decorative little glass knickknacks were shattered on the floor. Mom was righting a chair that had been overturned as Willie was putting a lamp back up. Eva came in for the morning preparing of meals and held her hand to her face. “mi történt? Már kirabolták?” She asked and translator spoke. “What happened? We were robbed?” Colin nodded and looked at the television and other more valuable things that were still there. Some were broken, but they were there. “I don’t see…” he looked up suddenly. “George!” He called and hurried to the room that George had been using as a lab. I followed quickly and when we entered the room, that room was far worse than the house. Stan was lying on the floor next to a shattered CPU of Buddy. The various pieces of equipment were broken and glass containers shattered and fluids were dripping on the floor. George was also on the floor not moving. I rushed to Stan and saw he was breathing and then to George to see he was also breathing. I looked around more. I didn’t see Burke or Mark. “Did Mark go on patrol last night?” I asked everyone and no one. Alex shook his head. “He was going to keep Stan company.” Colin went through some of George’s things as I went to Stan and tried to revive him carefully. Then I did the same with George. “Someone get me a couple of cold compresses!” It wasn’t long before my mother came back with a couple of towels she’d soaked with cold water. I checked them both out physically; they both had raised portions of the heads where I deduced they had been struck with something. Stan groaned as I sat him up carefully. His eyes opened as he looked around. Those eyes widened at what he saw. “Mark!” “He’s not here.” I said. “What happened?” “There were four of them!” Stan said. “Two were clearly vampires, but there was one that hissed when he smelled the Disflavor in Mark and me. They attacked and began breaking things here.” He looked at the CPU, but he didn’t look that concerned about the computer. “Mark tried to fight them off, but one was a big man. I think it was the man we met at that nightclub. Iilya?” George had come to again and looked at what he had worked with. “They took my samples.” He said sadly and looked around. “John.” He said looking around. “Where’s John?” Colin shook his head. “We don’t know.” He said to George who was now very worried. “The vampires that came here…one was Iilya, was the other Lucian?” George nodded. “That’s what Iilya called him.” He looked at some other things. “They smashed my supply of serum here, but I have more hidden.” Amasis looked at the wreckage. “Clearly, Lucian doesn’t want the serum.” “Fine. He doesn’t, but he takes from those that do?” I asked. “How is this destruction going to help?” George nodded. “Amasis is right. They didn’t want it, and they don’t want any other vampire to have it. I was only spared by the clock. It was just a few hours till sunrise when they came in. Lucian wanted to know what I found out.” He shrugged. “I told him what I told you. Gaius was making the antivenin for what’s making us vampires.” “Doesn’t that mean Gaius is in danger?” Alex asked. “If he’s the source of this antivenin…” “Did you tell them about Nicolae?” I asked. George shook his head. “No.” “We need to protect him anyway.” Colin said. “We need two teams. One to stay with Nicolae and the other to get to Gaius.” “It’s past sunrise. Do you think they’d attack now?” I asked. “The other two weren’t vampires?” Colin asked George. George shook his head. “They weren’t vampires.” “We need to get back to Gaius.” I said. “We need to find out where Nicolae lives and send a team there.” Gabriella came over to Alex. “We can track him.” She said tapping her nose. “I remember Iilya’s scent, but I’m picking up another. That must be Lucian.” Alex nodded. “The trail is only a few hours old.” He said to Colin and George. “We can find out where they went. It couldn’t be far with the sun coming up.” Colin nodded walking over to Alex. “Follow only.” He said and tapped Alex’s earpiece. “Communicate the coordinates. Don’t confront them yet.” He turned to Stan. “We can’t locate them using the PDTUs, can we?” Stan nodded. “Sure we can. We don’t need Gabriella and Alex to track them.” He went into another part of the house and came back with a laptop. “That satellite link will work.” He pulled up the screen. He grinned. “I have Burke and Mark right here.” He pointed to a couple of blinking signals on his computer. “I can get you where on a map in a few seconds.” I patted Stan on the back. “And their vital signs?” Stan nodded. “They are fine right now.” He looked as George came and looked over his shoulder. “Respiration and heart rates are good.” George said nodding. “They are on the other side of town.” He looked. “There must be more caves near here. I don’t see any developments in that area.” Colin nodded. “We need to get to Gaius and Nicolae.” He looked at the others. “I don’t need to tell you all that no one needs to go off alone right now.” Everyone nodded their agreement and we all headed out together. We told Eva we’d handle things and to take the day off. We didn’t need local police involvement getting in the way yet. We then went to the bunker where Gaius and Cragen were. Gaius was still up and looked startled when we came in. Not just Colin and me, but everyone from the VUN here. “It’s not sunset.” Gaius said. “Something has happened?” “They took Burke and Mark Goddard.” Colin explained. “Lucian and Iilya took them.” Gaius’ reaction was surprised a moment, but nodded sadly. “They wanted to stop the serum.” “You’re in danger.” George said and explained what he found out about Gaius’ body and Nicolae’s body. “We think you are nature’s answer to the venom.” Gaius was shocked to hear that. “I am?” George nodded. “Nicolae has it too. His body is making a lot of the antivenin…almost like a vampire antibody. The venom is trying to get Nicolae to change him into a vampire, but this antivenin and this antibody is fighting back and has for decades.” Gaius sat up suddenly a bit panicked. “Nicolae is unprotected!” Colin nodded. “I’m sending some people there when I know where to send them.” He waved at Shelly, Chuck, Mom and Alex. “How many followers does Lucian have?” Gaius thought. “Just a few dozen,” He said hesitantly, “with one very powerful one…if he told the man the truth.” “Who?” I asked. Gaius looked away. “He calls himself the Dragon.” Stan walked forward. “The Dragon? As in Vlad the Dragon? The real Dracula?” He said in almost a whisper. Gaius frowned. “Well, you know that Cragen and several others…” Stan nodded. “I know, I know, Dracula is a fictional character, but he is Vlad Dracul, isn’t he?” Gaius nodded. “Yes.” He looked at us very carefully. “You thought I was scary when you met me? You’ve not seen anyone more frightening that he is.” He said in a low voice, but avoided looking at us. “He can convince a priest to commit suicide, a young virgin to commit vulgar acts she would never have thought of doing.” Then he looked at us. “He’s been trapped by this so long…I fear he is a bit mad.” “Would he harm Mark or Burke?” Stan asked. Gaius nodded. “To get what he wants.” He looked at us. “Yes, without any hesitation or remorse.”
  6. Chapter 8

    It was after Colin and I went to our bedroom I confronted him. “Are you worried about Christian?” “Yes!” Colin said and grabbed my arms. “Honey, I love you. I’m not worried that he could steal you from me, I’m worried that he may not be as innocent as you think.” I nodded. “Okay, I respect that, but you can’t admit that he might be just what he claims to be?” “Can you admit that he could be really a bad idea? Maybe, he is just…bad?” Colin asked simply. I shook my head. “I don’t feel that. You said you didn’t feel anything.” Colin nodded. “And that’s what’s worrying me! I felt nothing.” He turned and began to pace in his circle. “He was to practiced and perfect!” I looked at him. “Perfect?” “That’s my point! No one’s perfect!” Colin said. “I can’t sense a thing.” He shook his head. “The one I got anything from, was Alin.” “Alin?” I shook my head. “He’s one of the good guys.” Colin raised an eyebrow. “Is he?” Colin was doing his pace and stopped to look at me. “On a simple deception, he doesn’t have to do much.” He shrugged. “I dismissed a lot because I thought he was scared.” “Of Iilya.” Colin nodded. “I thought so, but Alin didn’t change with Christian.” Colin did the turn again away as he tried to work things in his head. “I am not psychic either, but I know what I felt. And that Cragen guy, he was a little too polished.” He shook his head. “Things are not what they want us to think they are. There is a lie somewhere.” “Who would do that?” “Not a who, but the whole situation is just…off.” Colin said. “It’s just what we expected it to be, wasn’t it?” I was trying to follow him. “I wasn’t looking for him.” “Weren’t you?” Colin asked. “Say it. You were looking for Dracula.” “I was hoping I might meet him.” I nodded. “Sure.” “You were caught up in this...tortured vampire. I was too. The brooding vampire because of a past he had no choice in.” Colin was saying. “He was that! He wouldn’t use his name. Why?” “He was ashamed of it.” I said. “I think.” “Or he wasn’t the vampire we thought he was. I might have picked up on his deception.” Colin said. “Do we know what the man…what Vlad looks like?” “Just a poor painting that really doesn’t look human.” I said. “What is the one thing the Christian said they wanted?” “The serum.” I nodded. “They want that for sure. Were they deceiving us? It could just be that vampire lack of trust again.” “I’m saying it’s very likely.” Colin said. “They were exactly what we wanted.” He saw my face and frowned. “You love everyone, Devon!” I started to protest that statement, but he interrupted me. “I’m not complaining, but face it, you do.” He held his hand up to further stop my objection. “That’s not a bad thing, baby, but you take people at their word. You loved Wayne, you loved Gizmo and you’re falling in love with this…Christian and I know it. Not romantically, but the…tortured vampire thing…” He squinted an eye. “Every time he spoke of Gaius, I sensed something more…personal.” I sighed. “Can I say something now?” I said loud. Colin looked at little startled. “Sure.” “You’re right.” I said glumly. “I was hoping to win Dracula to our side.” I brought him close. “I trust your instincts, Colin.” I nodded. “You’re probably right. You almost always are.” “Oh.” Colin said and then smiled. “I thought…” he grinned. “Well, it doesn’t matter. I could be wrong.” “You think he’s really Gaius?” Colin shrugged a nod. “Kind of.” I shook my head. “When you’re that sure…so adamant about something, I can’t say you’re wrong.” I shrugged. “If you feel that strongly, I have to admit…I don’t know.” “We supposed to give this Christian the serum.” Colin said thinking out loud. “George said it would be difficult to reproduce the serum, but not impossible.” “They have Alin with the serum in his blood.” I pointed out. Colin nodded. “We give it to Christian and they have more. We gave Alin the serum here.” Colin said. “We’re giving Christian the serum there. We have to bring raw serum.” “What do you think we should do?” I asked. “Having vampires on the serum would stop them from feeding on anyone.” Colin said. “We bring just enough for a dose. That should stop Christian from feeding off anyone. Then we question him.” I nodded. “Okay. I can give the doses.” I said. “Even the first dose. George should stay secured.” Colin nodded. “That would be a good idea.” We got up that afternoon and told George and the others what we thought. “You think he’s not Dracula?” Stan asked a little disappointed. “I wanted to meet him.” “We’re saying, he may not be who he claims to be.” I said. “We think he’s after the serum.” George frowned. “I still think I should give the serum. There could be complications.” “Has there ever been a complication?” I asked George. George shrugged and shook his head. “With every medication, there is the chance that the body will reject it, or they could have a paradoxical reaction.” “Which has never happened.” Colin said. “There is no prediction possible. I think it’s worth the risk until we find out more. Prepare one syringe and we take it to Christian.” “We’ll need three, in case one is ruined.” I said. “We should give it to Cragen, too.” It was two days later when Colin and I retraced our steps to the underground fortress. A bunker really. We made our way through the winding tunnels and came to the chamber where we had met Cragen and Christian. Once I had been somewhere once, I knew how to get there again. The room was like an elegant study in a nice home as I described before. Cragen was again in the chair he was in that first night, again reading. He rose when we entered. “You returned.” Cragen said looking behind us. “Where is your friend?” Colin didn’t even react. “He was doing something else. Devon here is giving the serum. He’s qualified.” “That’s good to hear.” The deep voice said behind us again. Colin and I turned as Christian came in. Colin looked at Christian. “This does hurt. I’m sure Alin told you that.” Christian nodded. “He did, but now he’s gained freedom. The pain is worth it.” “I brought enough for you, too, Cragen.” I said to the other man. Cragen looked surprised. “You do?” I looked around. “Where should we do this? Your will require rest after the dose starts you hearts again.” “We have places that we rest during the day.” Christian said. He motioned for us to follow. We followed a good ways. Like most places that had vampires a while, tunnels had been carved over many years. There were tunnels that went off in other directions. We came to a chamber. I didn’t like this at all. There were in the light of these candelabras…were basic slabs here. There were five empty ones. “Slabs?” I said. “You don’t use mattresses?” I looked at Christian. “You know you can be comfortable when you rest, but a man with a reaction to venom does change his rest?” Christian nodded. “I know it now.” He crawled into one. “They are pretty comfortable. You use one?” “Why would I? I’m not dead. Our mattress is very comfortable.” I pulled out the two syringes. “I only have serum for two…maybe three.” I said. “There are five slabs. One was Alin’s?” “I have associates out there. They can get their serum later.” Christian said. I nodded and smiled. “The first injection goes directly into the heart to get it to beat again. The next night we can do it in the arm.” Christian smiled. “That sounds…” he took a deep breath. “…just delightful.” He began to remove his shirt. “You have the dose I need.” I nodded. “I do.” Both men were muscular enough, though I saw that Christian was more muscular and scarred from battles than Cragen’s body. I didn’t think Cragen was a soldier at all. I started with Christian and cleaned the area. Then inserted the syringe and inserted the serum. I did the same with Cragen. Both men were soon wracked with pain. Alin came in soon after we gave the serum to these two. He looked uncomfortable as Christian reacted from the pain. He looked as if it hurt him. I walked over to Alin. “It’s always hard to watch someone you love suffer.” I said quietly. Alin looked startled at my statement. “Love? Who, me? Who do I love?” I pointed at Christian. “Him.” “I had a girlfriend, remember? Linda.” Alin said defensively. I nodded. “And, I think, him.” I pointed to Christian. “He doesn’t age and won’t leave you. That’s why George is with Burke.” I said and shrugged. “Then again, he had David when I first met him. Only he was human.” I said. “Colin thinks that without the restrictions of the moral right and wrong, we give in to things we wouldn’t normally given the amount of time we have. George did.” Colin walked up behind Alin. “Who is he?” He asked pointed to Christian. “He’s obviously a soldier at one time.” “He’s Christian.” Alin said sensing he was in trouble. “But that’s not true.” Colin said. “Don’t forget, I can do what Christian does. I can read people. He doesn’t give off anything. He hides something. Care to tell me what that is?” “Who’s Iilya? I don’t think he’s what you say, either.” I said as I walked to a coffin. “As a matter of fact…” I said sniffing a slab. “I get the feeling that this is his.” I waved at the slab. “He gave off a particular scent, and that’s what I smell from here.” I looked at Colin. “Gabriella or Alex could confirm this.” Colin nodded. “They could.” He looked at Alin. “Women really rule the world, you know?” He grinned. “But men are capable to using love to rule others just like they do. I chuckled. “Yes, because behind great men, there is always someone that loves them. Women have used what talents they have to influence men and policy since the dawn of time. For those like Colin and me, it would be a man, but…still the same thing.” “He is not Vlad.” Colin said. “Who is he?” Alin was looking very nervous. “I can’t.” He said weakly. “I’ve only known him as Christian.” “This whole thing was orchestrated to get us to give you the serum.” Colin said. “The oppressed vampire wanting to do what’s best for the others…why?” “You might have said no.” Alin said. “He didn’t trust you.” Colin nodded. “But by looking at the ones we did help didn’t tell you we would? We have denied no one. Why would we say no?” Suddenly I understood it better. “He’s Gaius, isn’t he?” Alin now looked panicked. “I only know him as Christian.” I nodded. “What does he plan to do with this serum?” “He plans to take us forward.” A voice from behind us again said. Why did they do that always behind us? Colin and I turned to see Iilya standing there. “Gaius wanted to motivate you into helping.” Iilya said. “Any reluctance would be prompted by a need.” “Help him do what?” I asked. “Take our place in world affairs.” Iilya shrugged. “He thought we were cursed.” He waved at the slabs. “We were undead. Then you come over with a medication that changed that. We can walk about and we can interact with men again. We can lead.” Iilya smiled. “But we don’t want to lead.” Colin said. “The outside world would never let us do that. We remain hidden because they wouldn’t understand.” “You have humans that work with you.” Iilya said. “They know what you are and still, they work with you and even protect you.” “Because they got to know us and they know what we’re about.” I said. “Christian is tired of a life underground. Just like me. He wants to be in the world again.” Iilya said. “His goals and yours seem to be the same.” “I don’t understand why you were acting as a bad man.” I said. “Again, to make you want to do this.” He waved at Christian. ”He was not inclined to trust you.” “This ploy wasn’t the way to win our trust.” Colin said. “I hate dishonesty and deceit. In many ways, it’s worse than theft to me.” I remembered something. “You speak English very well. No translators are being used.” “I speak English, no problem.” Iilya said with a laugh. “We need him to be honest when he wakes up.” Colin said. We waited for Christian to wake up after the serum did its job. Christian sat up and rubbed his chest. “That did hurt.” Colin nodded. “I said it would.” Colin said a little tersely. “I don’t lie, Gaius.” The man looked at us and nodded. “You figured it out.” “You were too…perfect.” Colin said. “Why?” Gaius sat up more. “The fact was, you could say no. I needed this serum. Not just for me, but my son.” I was startled about another family member being turned. “Your son is a vampire, too?” Gaius shook his head. “He’s an adult now. He has some effects of being a vampire, but he was born to me a Kirsten about forty years ago.” “Kirsten is a vampire?” I asked. “We were told we couldn’t have children.” “She’s not a vampire.” Gaius grinned. “I never got a woman pregnant before, but he is my son. You just have to look at him and you can see it. He has my face.” I looked at Colin. “George said we couldn’t!” Colin nodded. “Can we see this son of yours?” “Nicolae lives with his wife.” He said. “He works at night.” He chuckled. “He’s sensitive to sun light.” “He burns in daylight?” Colin asked. “Not burns like I would, but he does…it’s like a very bad sunburn.” Gaius said. “His children have it too, only not as bad a Nicolae.” “You were bitten by an Old One?” I asked. “The kind of vampire I showed you the picture of?” Gaius nodded. “I was in a fevered state for several centuries. And then, one day it began to fade.” “How long ago?” Colin asked. Gaius thought. “About twelve or thirteen centuries ago.” My mind was going over what could have happened. Colin looked at me. “What are you thinking?” “Spontaneous Remission?” I speculated. “What?” Colin asked. I waved at Christian…or Gaius….whoever he was. “He was bitten by an Old One. He should be a wild vampire!” Colin nodded. “But he isn’t.” “That’s my point!” I said. “Yet, his venom and the results of that venom reduced to where he regains his mental faculties and…” I waved at him. “…he created a son!” “Twelve hundred years is not spontaneous.” Colin gripped. “But it did reduce!” I took Gaius’ hand. “You’re not lying are you?” Gaius looked puzzled. “What would that get me?” “Wait, Amasis was a vampire for thousands of years.” Colin said. I nodded. “And thousands to millions get cancer. Only once in a while a person is spontaneously cured! For no real reason other than their body cured themselves.” “But he’s not cured.” Colin objected. “But he’s not a sick as he was.” I pointed out. “He was bitten by an Old One and became a wild vampire. Then he got to the point where he could think again. Why? I can’t say, but since then and only recently, he was able to father a child. That’s something no vampire I know ever had been able to do.” “What do you think we need to do? Take him to George?” Colin asked. I nodded. “He would be the one to say what the why is if there is a why.” “Do you think with time, Gaius would become…not a vampire?” Colin asked. “George talked about victims that would no longer be turned and the venom getting weaker.” “We need to find out!” I looked at Gaius. “Would Nicolae come here and meet with us, if asked?” Gaius nodded. “He visits often. I’m sure he will. Would this serum work on him?” “We need George.” Colin said and looked at Gaius. “No more with this vampire paranoia, Gaius. You might be the answer we’ve looked for. We’ll be back tonight.” Colin and I rushed back to the others who were all there waiting anxiously for our return. Everyone was asking their questions at once. “Before you get excited.” Colin said loud stopping them. “We’re fine. The man’s name is Gaius. He’s the one that he warned us about.” “Why the…” George asked. “Wait!” Colin said. “What he told us…he was bitten by an Old One.” “How could…” George frowned. Colin looked at him. “What part of wait don’t you get?” Then he pressed on. “Over the centuries, he said his mind came back and get this…he has a son who is not a vampire!” “Impossible!” George said immediately. “Why? Isn’t everything there like sperm or something?” I asked. “Yes, but fertilization just doesn’t happen!” George said. “Why?” I asked again. “It just never did!” George said. “No vampire ever gave birth. The women that were pregnant when bitten just miscarry or the child was stillborn.” “So, there’s no physical reason they couldn’t have a child.” Colin said. “The woman’s egg was okay?” George nodded. “Yes.” “Have you considered spontaneous remission?” I asked. George was not ready for this. “I’ve not encountered one.” “This venom created a disease. No vampire lived long enough to have a remission. When remissions happen, it’s just in a few cases.” I said. “Other vampires just didn’t do this. He might have!” “I’d have to see it.” George said doubtful. “That’s why we’re back.” Colin said. “Do you have enough equipment to do a DNA scan?” George nodded. “Sure.” “Gaius said his son’s name is Nicolae. He’ll be there tonight. We’ll see if he is Gaius’ son and maybe do some tests on both their blood.” Colin said. He nodded with a grin. “This could be the end of our nightmare.” George nodded. “We’ll see.” He still doubted.
  7. Chapter 7

    It was just a moment of time before Christian let me go from the hug. I noticed that Colin had stiffened looking very worried as we had hugged. I broke away a little from Christian. “I can’t absolve you any sins, Christian. I can promise I’ll be around.” Colin came over a little quicker than he would have, but hopefully to stop…whatever…who was I kidding? Christian read signs people couldn’t imagine, so he probably knew what Colin was doing. Christian chuckled. “You husband is concerned with us hugging.” He looked at Colin. “No, he’s concerned with you hugging me.” Christian looked away. “I don’t blame him.” He suddenly gave a sound of frustration. “I’m not worth it.” Colin relaxed but Burke said. “You said Even now, among ourselves, there are conflicts. Here, in this part of the world, there are those that seek control and will do anything they have to, to get what they want. Is there a conflict here?” Christian nodded. “Very much so. That man who said he was Iilya from Russia is but a soldier they sent ahead. A kind of advanced scout.” “The Russian group of vampires wants what…a war?” I asked. “The Russian Vampires want you.” Christian said. “They want what magic you have so they can take control.” Burke walked forward. “He said he was turned into a vampire here and he wanted to kill the vampires here to get to that one.” “How would that work?” Christian turned, looking at Burke. “And did you believe him?” I nodded. “God forbid anyone would lie to hide motives.” I sighed. “You’re say we’re the targets?” Christian nodded. “Not you, the serum.” He shook his head. “You would be in danger because you know how to make the serum. If it’s hard to make, you would be made to keep the serum manufacturing going.” He looked at George. “You are a target.” George frowned. “I see.” “With the dawn of this new technology, we have seen some things change for us.” Christian said. “Even the restrictions of traveling at night have been dealt with. This new serum just makes it…” he looked up at Colin, “easier.” “Vampires want war?” Colin asked. “With who? Us?” Christian shrugged. “If you don’t agree with them? Yes.” He looked at Colin. “I, like you, can read a person, you are what you seem. What you want is to unite us. That’s admirable. What do you sense from me?” Colin looked at Christian. “Okay. I sense you seem to be what you are; a man dealing with a pretty bloody past. You have doubts. I didn’t like you hugging my husband because of that past.” Christian nodded. “Understood.” Then I looked at Colin’s translator. “We haven’t used the translator. Not once.” Christian chuckled. “I speak English. There’s no need for a translator. I have spoken English for several hundred years.” “Back to the Russians, who are they?” George asked. “The Russian group?” Christian shook his head. “It would be easy to say to a particular national ideology was responsible, but that wouldn’t be true. Iilya is part of a group that is no longer content to hide.” He said pointedly and looked at Colin. “Is that you?” “Hiding is not something we want, but it’s what we have to do to stay safe.” Colin said. “We are threatened because of the people that know already.” He waved at George. “He didn’t want to do this, but I did.” George walked to Colin. “But I was wrong.” Christian turned to me. “You’re different.” He said looking at me. “You’re at peace. Why?” I shook my head. “I don’t know what you mean.” “Almost every vampire I’ve encountered has this…” Christian began. “…this look. You don’t have that.” He looked at me as close as he could without touching me. “There was no trauma. You’re life wasn’t taken.” He could see that? “No, it wasn’t. I gave myself to Colin.” Christian smiled. “I’ve only known a few that are like you. They too gave themselves to the one they loved.” He looked at Colin. “You’re a lucky man.” “Back to this group.” Christian said. “A man named Gaius is the leader. He was but a rumor when I was human. No one knows how old he is. It is said he was once besieged by madness and only over time learned to speak. He claimed to have been brought over by a demon when he was turned.” He waved at Colin’s tablet. “Perhaps he was referring to one of those.” I looked at Colin. “A wild vampire regains speech? Has anyone ever done that?” I asked George. George shook his head. “Why look at me? I don’t have all the answers.” He thought. “It is theoretically possible given time. Usually when there is a head trauma, the brain is said not to heal, but evidence has shown, with time it can. It’s just very slow. Changes pathways and adapts. But this venom isn’t a head trauma, the venom is in the blood.” He shrugged. “I suppose the brain could learn to deal with this venom.” “Christian.” Colin said hesitantly. “Would you help us?” “That’s what I’m doing.” Christian said. “I mean, out there.” Colin pointed to the outside. “You know this area and its people. We don’t. Between you and Amasis, you would be able to tell us what we need to do. I think the Gaius is one of those wild vampires that became more human. He’s still a vampire. Do you know where he is?” “I know where he was.” Christian said. “He’s a few days away.” I walked to Christian. “Did you become a vampire as a consequence for helping your people?” He shook his head. “I became a vampire during battle. The vampire was feeding on the dying in that battle. I came upon him and he bit me. Why?” I nodded. “There are stories…but they are just stories.” I smiled. “To help us, would you consent to go on the serum and help us find and stop Gaius and Iilya?” “We have a few people that can help us.” Colin said. “We’re not alone here.” “So does Gaius.” Christian said. “In many ways, I feel this is my punishment for doing what I did.” I nodded. “Well, after you help us. You don’t have to remain on the serum.” I said. “You could return to this…sentence you seem to have become used to.” Christian nodded. “I will consider it.” He turned away to leave. “Return in two days, I will have my answer then.” He turned back to us. “But remember, you know who Iilya is, but he also knows you. Be cautious.” He said and went further into the tunnels. On the way back to the house, Colin took my hand. “Devon. I will say this; that man, if anyone could fool me, it would be him.” “Was he trying to fool you?” I asked. “That’s the problem.” Colin said. “As well as he could read us, he would know what signals to give off, but you have to admit, he gave off this…I don’t know…presence that was pretty powerful. I don’t believe in magic, but he has this power.” I nodded. “Hypnosis.” I said. “Hypnosis?” Colin asked. “It used a lot in therapy today and even to make a man cluck like a chicken for entertainment. They used it in the past to make sleeper agents that didn’t even know they were agents until the code word was given.” I said. “I never heard of that.” Colin said. “There was movie Charles Bronson was in called Telefon. Agents placed in places to do damage after a phrase was given to blow things up. These agents were so deep, they didn’t even know they were agents!” Colin shook his head. “You had a lot of time in the past.” He chuckled. “Yea, yea…It was done at that time by Russians…so we thought.” I grinned. “These people that can do this can lower our guards and inhibitions; make us do things we wouldn’t normally do. I think he does that naturally. Since he became a vampire, he’s learned to use it more.” “I got one thing from him.” Colin said. “Danger.” I nodded. “I got that, but he doesn’t like what he did.” “I disagree.” Colin said. “The problem is he did like what he did and that’s what he doesn’t like. Just promise you won’t meet with him alone.” I nodded. “I won’t.” Chuck heard what we told the others what we found out. “Wait, no one could do that now!” He said simply. “No one person could have that much control. They wouldn’t be allowed.” Colin nodded. “But Gaius thinks he can.” He said simply. “He thinks he deserves it.” I added. “A madman feels entitled to what he wants and can’t understand why we don’t see it that way. He didn’t claim this made sense.” “This…Christian.” Shelly said. “Is he willing to help us do this?” We didn’t tell them who he really was…yet. “He’s dealing with some demons of his own making. He is charismatic and if we win him to us, I know he could help.” Colin smiled as George nodded in agreement. “Does he have a lot of followers?” Chuck asked. “Will his followers be willing to help?” Willie asked. “Vampires simply will not trust.” I shook my head. “No, that’s not true. Given the right motivations they come through. Look at England. They’re still looking for the vampire or vampires…like the one that changed Wayne.” “The Old Ones?” Mom said. I nodded. “Gizmo they said was found near the Amasis’ City.” I said to Amasis. Amasis nodded. “But I didn’t see him. He could have been the one I saw.” “But they are still there.” I said. “The leader of these others I think was a wild vampire.” Wayne now looked up. “But he functions? How?” George nodded. “That’s what we need to find out.” “He is also right about this man being more dangerous.” Amasis said softly. “Men come into power that shouldn’t be. They are born to it, but don’t know why they’re there.” “Explain.” I said. “Leaders are there to lead a group of people, be in a small tribe or a bigger country. The danger is there are some that view the people he leads as being there for just himself.” Amasis sighed. “I did, until I truly understood it. My brother did not ever get it. He viewed everyone under him as being there to get what he wanted.” He smiled sadly. “Or worse…and I hope I use the term right. A man that was bothered as a child, for being too short, or not being strong enough or…something that bigger children would…abuse?” “Bullied.” I nodded. “Yes, bullied. They then see the world differently when placed in a position of power and they return this abuse to people. Not even the ones that bullied them.” Amasis said. “We saw that during the Second World War in Germany. Men that were nothing given places that were to decide who lives and dies and they did some horrible things.” Mom said. “There is history of kings and queens that thought only of themselves.” Amasis nodded. “This vampire, this Gaius, could be thinking that if the world had wronged him, could be very, very dangerous.” He looked at us very seriously. “He may not even want the power, but to cause the world to feel the pain he went through. There are no innocents as far as he’s concerned and because he suffered, the world will suffer.” “This guy will be insane.” Shelly nodded. “If he suffered the way Wayne did…” Amasis said, “I know he will be. The other problem is…he could have the sort of madness that my uncle had. He could pass for some who isn’t mad, but he was. He could charm someone and lure them into killing.” “He would kill them?” Mom asked. “He could lure them into killing others and then he would kill them in the name of justice.” Amasis nodded. “He was quite mad!” Colin nodded. “Well, whoever this Gaius is, whatever he is…we get nowhere speculating about it. We need to find him.” He looked at everyone. “George, Burke, Devon and I are going to give Christian the serum.” “If he agrees.” I said. “I think he will.” Colin said. “We do it there. Then we find this…Gaius.” He sighed and rubbed his hand over his face. “I’m not good at hiding things. You should know who we think he is.” I nodded. “He’s not good at hiding things.” I smiled. “The man…I believe…he won’t say it, but he is Vlad Tepes. He is Vlad Dracul.” “Are you kidding me!?” Chuck stood up now and threw his hands out in frustration. “Is a joke?” Mark asked frowning. “Really? You’ve met Dracula?” Stan asked, but was smiling. George sat forward and said loud. “Listen, guys…” he forced his voice down. “He’s not what he seems; or what is painted in history or what was supposed to be him in that novel!” “The man I met last night was tortured.” I explained. “He knows what he did was horrible, but he did it for his people. He sees this vampirism as punishment for what he did. In fact, he’s afraid to die in case there is a God and he will face punishment!” “Maybe he should face punishment.” Mom said. “Mom, you haven’t met him.” I said. “You know how it goes. The fish you almost caught was so much bigger than it really was, the accident you saw was so much worse than it was. Maybe he didn’t do all those things…I don’t know.” I looked at Mom. “You told me to never judge a book by its cover. You’re judging a man by a book that isn’t about him. And history is written by the victors. Judge him after you meet him.” I was getting a little angry and Colin put his hand on my arm. “He has a reputation, Devon.” Colin said. “He does have the ability to influence a lot. Devon thinks it’s a kind of hypnosis. That’s why we’re doing it there, not here.” Colin looked at me. “Admit it. Christian could be a dangerous man.” I looked at him and saw he truly was worried. “You said he seemed genuine.” “He knew things about us by simple observation. Better than Sherlock Holms, I think. He could fool me, remember I said that?” I nodded. “Fine. He could be a danger, but I sense he’s more of a danger to himself.” Colin nodded. “You promised not to talk to him alone.” He reminded. “I keep my word.” I said. “But everyone keep your minds open!”
  8. Chapter 6

    I threw my hands out in frustration and this man…claiming to be Dracula raised a single eyebrow. “Mister Articulate strikes again.” I moaned. I noticed this…whoever he claimed he was, wasn’t bothered by it. The corner of his mouth turned us slightly as if it amused him. The man that said he was Christian walked forward a little. “Now, why would you say that what I said was…bullshit?” Christian folded his arms over his chest. “You didn’t even hesitate. You simply said yes.” He waved at him. “You’re not Dracula any more than I am!” Colin walked closer. “You are a vampire, I’ll grant you that. You readily admit that you are…the most infamous person that lived during that time, or any other times?” “That doesn’t tell you anything.” The man said. “Why do you think I’m not Dracula?” “I feel you’re not telling the truth.” Colin explained. “Do you?” The man said smiling. I felt a sudden chill. It was summer, we were underground so there was no breeze nor was it cold down here. It wasn’t just on my skin; this chill went down to my very core…my bones…my very soul? This feeling grew behind us. We turned around. Each of us, Colin, George and Burke turned at the same time. This chill had reached each of us at the same instant. How do I say this? Behind us was a shadow. He was…at least by his shadow…between Colin’s size and mine, so about six feet. “Enough.” The shadow said softly. It wasn’t loud, but it was powerful, deep and seemed to resonate. “Thank you, Cragen.” You know me and my love of movies, all that was missing here was a thunder clap and flash of lightening; and don’t forget the creepy music. This room was lit by several gas lamps, but when this shadow moved closer and the light revealed what he looked like. This person was…he had the vampire eyes or rather eye. He wasn’t ugly, but there was the scar down the left part of his face he’d gotten long ago by a sword that cut him from just above the left eyebrow and down parallel to his nose, the left eye had also been cut, but only slightly and now was clouded over in white, but still lacked the moisture. The most important part was his very presence. He was a warrior, a soldier. His body had been through battles and it showed. His hair was dark black, but while clean and cut, but in long curls that made him look sort of windblown. “If you had said you were Dracula, I’d believe you.” I said. This man gave the ghost of a smile as he moved closer. “But Cragen wasn’t lying when he said he was Dracula. He is.” This new man said. “I am the one they call Christian.” Colin looked at me and then back to the real Christian. “Dracula isn’t just him, is it?” Christian shook his head. “No. The man that wrote Dracula made a composite of several vampires. He combined several stories into one character, which you know Count Dracula is just made up.” I nodded. “There are similarities with Dracula and Vlad Dracul. You have to admit. The idea that Dracul, in Romanian means devil, Gaelic meaning bad blood, that’s pretty coincidental.” Christian gave his ghost of a smile again. “Why does it have to be coincidental? It could be on purpose.” He looked at George with his alert eye. “I sense…” he walked closer to George. “…you are the healer.” “Alin told you?” George asked. Christian gave again that ghost of a smile. “He told me about the red hair, but I could tell from observation, intellect is not hard to see. You learn through the centuries to read the subtle signs. For instance, a laborer has calloused hands, which are often dirty, even when they scrub them. After a while, there are indentions on the fingers and alertness or dullness in the eyes. You have what I see is the alertness and very clean hands. No callouses. A man is like a book, it’s a talent learned with time to read these signs.” He looked at Colin. “Which I sense you have learned, or are starting to learn. People don’t deceive you, do they?” “Not often.” Colin replied. Christian nodded. “You have a look also that says you’ve been alive a while.” He walked to John Burke. “You have been around longer than these three.” He came to me. “You, however still have the look of someone that life is still new for. You were made one of us recently…in the past few years.” He turned to Colin. “Why did you seek me out?” “Our life has been changed because of this…” Colin waved at Christian, “…condition we find ourselves in. I lived a difficult time for a century. I was alone. I was different even before I became a vampire.” Christian nodded. “Because you are drawn by desire to humans that are male for companionship.” “Yes.” Colin nodded. “That doesn’t shock you?” Christian laughed lightly. “Men in places of power, usually claiming they speak for God, have problems with it. It is more prevalent than people think. I too have enjoyed the company of male companionship in the past. It is almost…common among men. They just don’t talk about it.” He looked again at Colin. “Why did you seek me?” “Wouldn’t you like to be free of the blood thirst? To go into the world when the sun is up? To be able to travel where you want or need to? To see you are not alone?” Colin asked. “In order to find others that are vampires,” I added. “Having your backing on what we do, will add more validity to what we want to accomplish.” Christian looked at me. “Why?” “If you are, who I think you are.” I said. “You have more power to bring those like us to a new place in the world. We wouldn’t be restricted to darkness and shadows. We could take a place in the world again.” “We should not be at all!” Christian said firmly. “Alin told me you have some information about our origins.” Colin nodded. “We found in Egypt, some writings that we’ve pretty well translated. It tells of men that created the first vampires. These first vampires were sent into this world to weaken nations in preparation for conquest. We called them The Others or the Old Ones.” Colin pulled his tablet out and pulled once again the drawing that Wayne had done. “This is one. It bit a friend of mine and changed him into what we call a Wild Vampire. The Old Ones are incapable of speech. The mature very quickly, but don’t die. They do not have the scrotum or anus like men do, they are incapable of reproducing except through venom they inject when the bite and can only live on blood. We think…no, we’re certain they are the beginnings of our kind now.” “You wish to cleanse the world of these creatures.” Christian said with a nod. “You seek to get rid of this…evil.” He looked at me as I thought about Gizmo. “You’ve met one.” I looked suddenly back at Christian. “I did.” I nodded. “I can no longer assign the label of evil or good to them.” I smiled as I thought of Gizmo. “I befriended one. I named him Gizmo. Other than his need for blood, which was really the only thing he wanted, I found…since he didn’t desire mine because I already was a vampire…trapped with me…I found he was almost like a child. I’m not sure he even knew about right and wrong. He was…innocent.” Colin walked to Christian. “George came up with this serum. It attaches to this venom that changed our bodies. We became these creatures. We are vampires.” “Yet through time, mankind has been diluting the venom and we changed it, keeping our humanity.” George added. “I’ve worked so hard to get us some sort of life back from which we were all robbed. I’m close. I think it can be stopped.” “And create a much more dangerous man.” Christian said, but his tone was more grave. “You can’t reduce the life span, so we are still virtually immortal. A twisted human with this ability is much, much more dangerous than a mortal man.” He sighed. “Even now, among ourselves, there are conflicts. Here, in this part of the world, there are those that seek control and will do anything they have to get what they want. Power.” He turned away in thought. “The new technology you bring here will allow these men to push out more, they will seek this power and control. A man will die eventually. A vampire will not! A dictator comes to power every so often, but his life time is limited. A dictator or tyrant who will not die is much more dangerous.” He turned back to George. “I believe your true motives are to help people, but what you’re doing is giving these bad men the means to do it and do it longer!” Christian was now angry. “You take the hunger away from a vampire which restricts his movements and motivations. You give him the freedom to do…the unspeakable.” He shook his head. “No. Man struggles in the attempt to make things better; conflicts arise and it causes them to stress on the next generations how they should conduct themselves to be better. The need to change is now moot with this…serum! You are as guilty as those men that created the Old Ones.” “Whoa.” I held my hands up. “That is a stretch!” Christian shook his head. “He is continuing the work those men started by creating us!” “So, why are you still here?” I asked. “If things are so dire, why not go outside when the sun rises and end it?” Christian frowned. “Do you know what I’ll face after I do?” He asked. “I don’t! Is there a God? I don’t know. I know that if there is a God, I face judgement! My past deeds will not get me into Heaven. I stay here as long as I can to avoid that!” “Wow.” Colin said. “You think what you did makes you evil?” “I did what I had to!” Christian said. “Families were being torn apart, children used in ways to satisfy men’s desires for both sadistic and sexual gratification! My brother was used for that! They were slaves!” I shook my head. “That sounds like you were doing it for the right reasons.” Christian shook his head. “I found I was enjoying it!! I am evil!!” “You’re not giving any God a chance to forgive you.” I said. Christian turned to me. “I can’t ask for forgiveness! I don’t regret it! Nothing I did, do I regret. How can I ask for forgiveness for something I enjoyed?” I frowned. “I get what the problems is; you can’t forgive yourself. That means you are…” Christian spun on me which surprisingly, didn’t scare me. “Don’t say that name!!” He shouted. “I chose to be known as Christian, maybe it will reduce the punishment I deserve! But I can’t let it go!” He held his fists to his head. “I got pleasure hurting those people. That is evil.” George shook his head and came closer to Christian. “Then why didn’t you stop Alin? Why did you want to see him getting that which you feel you don’t deserve?” Christian looked at Alin. “Look at him.” He waved looking almost lovingly at Alin. “He is not guilty of anything. He was made what he is.” He looked at Colin. “Just like you weren’t guilty of anything to be what you are. I am!” He looked at George. “You monitor those that you give this medicine to. Do you give it to criminals?” George shrugged. “I want to, if for no other reason than to stop them from feeding on people.” “We have several vampires that are criminals.” Colin said. “They are no longer in control of anything. Their hunger is gone.” “You say you’re evil.” I said. “I see a man that had to do horrible things and got used to it. Did you ever do it to an innocent?” Christian looked at me. “Not all that I had killed or maimed were evil, I’m sure there were innocents.” “I see a man that has a presence. I could feel you even before I saw you. That’s powerful.” I took Colin’s hand. “He is trying to get us together so we’re not isolated and alone anymore.” I waved at George. “He’s trying to rid us of this condition. Do you think he should stop? Give in and all of us go out in the sunlight and burn?” Christian gave a nod. “It would end this condition.” I shook my head. “I don’t think so. There are going to be those that won’t do that. The condition will still be there. There are still Old Ones out there. I met one and I’m sure there are still a few. If you don’t want the serum, fine. You have a powerful personality that could persuade people. We are trying to come up with regulations about giving the serum. You could help!” “Which I don’t think there should be regulations.” George said. “Every vampire should be on it to prevent making others. We can lock them up. They can no longer cause harm.” “It’s fear.” I said simply. “You’re afraid to die.” I said softly to Christian. Christian nodded. “I am! I admit it. Not knowing what I’ll face, sure, I’m afraid to die. If you can convince me beyond the shadow of any doubt there is nothing. I would go in the sun, but I can’t take that risk.” “No one can convince you of that.” I said. “If you take the serum and have freedom, you can concentrate on positive things you can do.” “A single piece of rotten fruit will ruin fresh fruit.” Christian said. “I can’t undo the things of the past. Only with me, there is a lot of rotten fruit.” I nodded. “You…have a big problem.” Colin nodded. “You do, but you don’t see you have a talent and ability that most men don’t? You can size up a man easily. You have a…” Colin thought, “…charisma that will draw people to you. If you agree to add your voice to what we’re trying to do…many people out there suffering as vampires will get help.” “This can’t all be about you.” I said. “You did what you did for others. You helped them deal with a bad group of people. You didn’t do it because you like making people suffer. You began to like to make them suffer…after you were forced to do it. Your mind just…slipped into a comfortable place to keep going. You had to, or go insane!” “I am insane!” Christian said loud. I shook my head. “I don’t think so. The fact that you said that, tells me you’re not. An insane person doesn’t know he’s insane. You think you are.” Colin nodded. “We’re not your judges. You’re doing a fine job all by yourself doing that. If you don’t want the serum, that’s fine. Don’t say George is doing something he shouldn’t. He’s trying to get a life back when the one he had was ripped away by this venom.” “There are bad men.” I nodded. “They don’t wrestle with their conscience like you do.” I said. “I sense a good man in you. You regret. Those men don’t. You’re not a bad man.” I was now next to Christian and I carefully reached out and touched him. “Please. I would love to help you, as well.” “How?” Christian asked. “I’ll listen.” I said. “I have a man I gladly call Dad now. He has things in his past he regrets. He thinks what happened in his past is also unforgivable and he can’t forgive himself. When he needs to, I listen. No judgement, just listen. I can do that with you.” “How will that help?” Christian asked. I smiled. “Sometimes, just getting it out helps; it will be difficult for you. It will be difficult to hear I have no doubt, but I’m willing to try. Maybe, with time, you can get to a point you can forgive yourself and ask God to forgive you. I promise to try.” “There’s so much.” Christian said in a moan. I nodded. “Then we need to get started.” Christian sighed and he wiped his face of tears he could not shed, but wanted to. “Where do I start?” I smiled. “You just did. You have agreed to think about it. That was a start.” I looked him in his one good eye. “I’ve met and befriended some others; one that no one thought I should. Gizmo was a killer…far more than you were, it was what he was made for, but I loved him. I’m willing to take that chance with you.” For a moment, in that one eye…I swear I saw…something; a flash of something more…human. I carefully put my arms around Christian who was not sure if he should respond, but slowly, I felt his arms come around me. I heard what he’d said before about the other vampires being Count Dracula, but my mind now was telling me, I was hugging and being hugged by the very REAL Dracula!!!
  9. Chapter 5

    We ended the night…well, it was practically sun up when we got back to our house. We had told Eva we wouldn’t be up for breakfast and to not worry about making anything. Sliding into bed that night, Colin pulled me close, resting his head against mine. He smiled as he let out a breath. “This evening was…” he didn’t say anything for a few seconds. I chuckled. “Unexpected?” Colin laughed. “It was that.” Looking in his emerald eyes, I kissed him gently. “Tonight, was interesting. I never thought someone could manage to keep his humanity and become a threat to us.” Colin shrugged. “A vampire feeds, but the only requirement is the subject being fed on has blood.” He thought a moment. “It’s when there is a choice the vampire becomes picky. Deciding to feed on a human is the first selection when there is the luxury of a choice. Then the choice becomes, are they fit?” He shook his head. “The idea of stability mentally is not even considered.” “Iilya is a holdover from an era that was full of paranoia.” I sighed. Colin smiled and chuckled lightly. “I think you were right when you said that other than distrust, we have a tendency to fixate on a subject.” I nodded. “I’m guilty.” Colin looked surprised. “You are?” “But I was that way before I was turned.” I smiled. “I fixated on you.” Colin smiled at that and kissed me. “That, I think, is okay.” He shrugged again. “I’m fixated on you, so, we’re even.” If Eva and Greta were suspicious about us, we were gone mostly at night and they didn’t say anything about it. We patrolled the next night. Gabriella frowned. “I’m feeling quite odd about this village.” She commented to no one and anyone. Alex looked puzzled at her. “Why?” “I hadn’t read Dracula until I knew we were coming here.” She said. “I got the book when I knew and…” she chuckled, “…I began to think of this village as vampire central.” “So, what’s odd?” I asked. “I just thought there were traces of vampires all around.” She sniffed the cool, but pleasant summer air of the evening. “I’m barely picking up on even the slightest trace of any vampire.” “They could have been scared into hiding when Iilya came after them.” Colin said and then grinned. “As if they didn’t trust enough as it is, they were more careful.” Gabriella nodded. “I’m just not sensing much.” “Perhaps they are mostly in the outlying rural areas?” I suggested. “Those that would prey on humans would be detected. Those like Alin that prey on cows wouldn’t.” Amasis, who almost never spoke up about too much, cleared his throat. “Sorry, but…you’re forgetting about the god aspect.” Alex frowned. “God aspect? We don’t worship vampires.” Amasis smiled. “Don’t you? Other than the God you chose to worship. This Jesus Christ or another Holy Man...Since I’ve come out in this world, it seems to me that you do.” He smiled. “Devon showed me various movies about Dracula and various themed movies after that. There were many other movies and even performances on a weekly schedule that seemed to idolize vampires. I’ve seen a lot of writings about the subject. This…Anne Rice, Stephen King. There were movies, The Twilight Sagas…” he chuckled. “I admit I liked the Buffy, The Vampire Slayer movie and series. There is a lot literature about us. A lot of it seems like worship to me.” He shrugged. “My point is…when there is a vampire in the community, family or just one you know of…they are treated differently than other people. I was. Why? Because I didn’t die?” He shrugged again. “With people to help them, they may not need to hunt.” He looked at Wayne. “There were vampires like you were. Alone, with no help. You hunted as needed. These vampires in this village may not have to.” George nodded. “That’s a sort of prison.” “It is.” Colin agreed. “We need to work hard here. Get them some freedom.” “And we’ll start with Alin.” I said smiling. That next afternoon we told Eva. “There will be a young man coming to the house.” George told her. “I am a doctor. He is seeking treatment for a condition I have successfully treated in the past.” Eva nodded. “So, you’re not here for this…translation program?” “I’m here because I invested in it.” George explained. “I own part of that, but I was first and foremost a doctor. There is a young man that will be staying here about a week for treatment for what is known as Polymorphic Light Eruption. That is a kind of sensitivity to sunlight.” Eva’s eyes narrowed. “He can’t take sunlight?” “He burns if exposed.” George said. “Colin had that. I treated him and he’s been cured. I want to do the same for Alin.” George watched as she did not look convinced about something. “That’s his name. He will be coming either tonight or tomorrow night.” He looked at her. “Is there something troubling you about this?” George pulled his wallet out and presented her with his American Medical Association card. “I am a certified doctor.” Eva nodded and waved his card off. “I’m sure. It’s just…” she hesitated. “That’s an unusual aliment.” George nodded. “But it is a real illness. I can treat him.” He looked at her still suspicious face. “I need a room the first couple of nights that has little to no sunlight. Is there such a room here?” Eva nodded. “There is a storage room in the basement. No sunlight there comes in at all.” George nodded. “That’s where we’ll set up, then.” Alin couldn’t wait to start his treatment and showed up that night. It was only an hour after sunset he arrived. Colin opened the front door to him and his eyes opened wider. “Wow, you’re in a hurry.” Alin nodded. “Yes, I am.” I was right behind Colin and I pointed to Alin. “We can see that.” I pointed to my own face and smiled. “You still have a little…” Alin looked surprised and reached in his pocket for something to wipe the corner of his mouth where a minor portion of blood was still there and coagulated. “Opps. Sorry, I sort of ate and ran.” He chuckled. “I think I even surprised the cow at how fast I ate.” Colin smiled. “Those days for you are about to end.” He waved him in. I smiled as he cleaned up more. “Okay, how is it you speak English so well?” I was curious! Alin frowned, but nodded. “Well, English is spoken pretty worldwide, but…” he said sadly. “I was with a girl for twenty years in…” he shrugged, “…sort of a relationship." He smiled sadly. “Her name was Linda. She was one of those…Peace Corp; save the world types. She was from America that came here after the communist government fell apart. She was in her late twenties when we were together, but…” he waved at his face. “…this was a problem. She aged. I did not.” He shrugged. “I told her I didn’t care, but…she did.” I nodded. “I’m sorry.” He nodded. “It’s okay. She was the one that taught me to speak English so well.” And then he brightened. “Once I’m on this medication, I can travel, right?” Colin nodded. “Sure, but you need a passport.” Alin nodded. “Maybe I can visit her! I’d love to surprise her. The passport issue…I don’t know.” “We usually work something out.” I nodded. “You could, but you still won’t age. She will have moved on.” Alin shrugged. “Maybe she’d visit me. I should call her.” He smiled. “I still have her number.” We took him through the kitchen to the door that led downstairs to the basement. “Eva, this…” Colin began to introduce Alin. Eva was there cleaning up our dinner dishes and turned as we walked in. She saw Alin and screamed dropping the dish she had in her hand. “Vámpír, egy vámpír!” She said in horror as she saw Alin. I didn’t need the translator to know what she said. I hurried to her to stop her from running away. “It’s okay, Eva.” She shook her head. “Nem is beteg. Ő is egy vámpír. Dobjátok!” I did need the translator for that. In Hungarian she said: He's not sick. He is a vampire. Throw him out! “Calm down.” I said firmly. “We know he’s a vampire.” She looked at me in shock. “You know!? And you let him in!” She said. “You invited him in!!” “Eva!” Colin said loud. “We did invite him. Those old tales about inviting a vampire in is just a story. We can treat him. He won’t attack you or anyone.” I frowned. “You recognized him as a vampire. How?” “The eyes. I’ve seen it before.” Eva said as she started to cry. “It was one of them that killed my Marin!” I nodded. “Marin?” “My husband.” Eva said still fixed her eyes on Alin. “So, you recognize them.” I said softly. “But you don’t recognize anything in us?” She looked at us not sure she was understanding me. “I don’t recognize you as a vampire?” She shook her head. “But you’re not vampires.” “Yes, Eva.” Colin said. “We are.” Then it was again with the explanation about how we could eat and go in the sun. “Now…” I sighed as we finally got her calmed down. “…that’s really why we’re here. We’re doing the translators, but he’s really why we’re here. To treat those here that are vampires, like us.” I pointed at Alin. “Did he attack your husband?” She shook her head. “No, he was a bigger…vampire.” “Alin is here because he wants to be cured. We can’t do that yet, but we can stop his hunger and need to feed on blood.” Colin explained. George came up from the basement. “I was wondering if…” he looked at Eva and saw her tear stained face. “Is there a problem?” He looked at Alin. I shook my head. “She recognized him as a vampire.” I waved at Alin as I took her toward the salon to get her to sit down. Alin moved forward, which made Eva withdraw in terror, so he stopped. “I didn’t kill anyone. I never have. I mean you no harm. Believe me.” Eva looked at Colin and me. “You were both vampires?” George smiled tightly. “We all were.” I grinned. “Except Shelly, Chuck, Mark and Stan. They are still human.” Colin waved Alin toward George. “We’re wasting the night. Can you start without us?” George grinned and tried not to look offended. “I have many times with and without you.” He waved at Alin. “Let’s go.” And they went down the stairs. We sat down as she caught her breath and composure. Colin sat on her other side. “Now that our secret is out...” Colin said. “It’s time to be completely honest. How wide spread is the knowledge of vampires in Sighisoara?” She waved her head in a sort of shrug. “Everyone here pretty well knows about vampires. This is where this began.” I shook my head. “No, it isn’t.” I said. “You became famous for it because of Dracula and Vlad Dracul. We pretty much know the vampire began in North Africa. There were vampires that were…created…around Egypt and various villages in the Middle East about ten thousand years ago.” She looked at us. “You think so?” “We know so. We’ve seen some evidence.” I said. “There were vampires that were sent out from there to weaken the people to get them ready for conquest. There are a few types of vampire.” “But many here believe in vampires?” Colin asked. Eva nodded. “I think the minority would be the ones that don’t.” She sighed. “We don’t talk about it openly. It’s pretty much a thing we all know, but don’t talk about.” She smiled. “That’s why we’re so cautious when they talk about Dracula and vampires here.” “What do you know about the vampires here?” Colin asked. She shook her head. “Not much. They keep to themselves mostly.” “Do you know any personally?” I asked. She shook her head. “No.” The she looked at me. “Until now.” “There is a hierarchy of vampires in control.” Colin said. “Have you heard about any vampire that has control?” “No.” I nodded and took her hand. “That’s okay. We want to change things; for us and for you. If we get the vampires here on our serum, they won’t feed off of people and livestock anymore.” Colin nodded and got up and went to our bedroom and returned with a tablet. He pulled up the image we had of Wayne’s drawing of an Old One. “Have you seen one of these?” He said showing her the image. She looked and shook her head. “That’s a vampire? He looks…alien!” I nodded. “Doesn’t he?” I chuckled. “That…we believe was the first of the vampires. They are the start of this whole vampire…thing.” Eva grudgingly nodded. “I think I’d remember seeing one of them.” Colin smiled and sat again. “I will promise you, in a few days’ time…that young man…Alin will look a lot different.” I chuckled. “He may become a big eater like Colin and Amasis.” “In a couple of days, we will begin feeding him food again. Think of something bland that he will try, but by the end of a week, he’ll love like anyone else.” I won’t bore you with what you know by now. We came down to see George insert the needle in Alin’s heart through a bare chest and the pain began. He endured the pain as his heart started again and fell asleep. He woke and realized, to his delighted surprise, he wasn’t hungry at all for blood. The next night was the same. The third day he ate a little and loved it. He enjoyed the sunrise for the first time in thirty years. When he had gotten to the point he had the needed serum drug level in his blood, George made a disc and inserted it into his arm. Alin was a nice looking man! Aren’t we all? We led him from the bedroom he was now staying in for now that moment. He was completely different now. Eva looked up from her cooking and smiled at Alin. “I would never guess now.” “It’s so nice to eat again.” Alin chuckled. “But I do miss a few cows.” “Okay, that’s a little creepy.” I smiled. “I’m a vampire.” Alin shrugged and chuckled. “We’re supposed to be creepy.” Colin nodded. “Go show Christian. We really need to speak with him.” Alin nodded. “I can go now!” He waved at the bright sunlit sky. “I’m used to navigating in the dark. I hope I can find my way.” It was a couple of days before Alin showed up again. We did the patrols and searched the area. We even saw some sites. When we got back one afternoon, we saw that Alin waiting for us. He stood as we gathered around. “He wants to see you.” He said to us. “But only Colin and George.” He said. “I don’t go without Devon.” Colin said. He nodded with a smile. “I told him that.” He looked at George. “And you won’t go without Burke?” George nodded. “That’s right.” Alin nodded. “He’ll just have to deal with it.” He shrugged. “I can take you now, if you like.” Colin nodded. “We would.” He said and spoke in a whisper to Stan who just nodded. He got a translator and the solar power charger. I knew Colin had said to track us with our implanted personal data trackers. Colin waved at the door. “Let’s go. We can take our vehicle.” “That isn’t necessary.” Alin said smiling. “It’s not that far.” Colin looked surprised. “Really?” Alin nodded. “A couple of hours on foot at best through the woods.” We arrived at some ruins. There were many castles and fortresses scattered throughout Europe. This area was often in dispute about something. The wooded area surrounding Sighisoara was thick with vegetation. It was hilly and often rocky, but we arrived at what looked like what had been one of those fortresses, but falling apart due to neglect and age. He led us to an entrance that was…not more than a crack in the rocky side of a hill and below this fortress. Once we traveled a little ways in, like it was in Egypt, it became stairs which we found widened and leveled off. Unlike Egypt, the rock here was not like the color of sand, but dark earth and rock. Alin knew this way through winding tunnels and turned corners without considering where he was going. He just knew. At last he came to a room, but it unlike Amasis’ large throne room with the high ceiling or polished floors. This had a stone floor, a nice decorative rug on the floor. There was a fireplace that had no fire now. I was reminded more of a home in England. The walls had a wood paneling and there was a sofa facing the fireplace. A few chairs were about the room. There was a bookshelf of books. This looked like a den or study, library? It could have been a room in a nicely furnished home in Europe; if you went back a hundred or more years. What I noticed then was a man sitting in a high backed comfortable chair reading. He was dressed in one of those jackets that gentlemen wore to relax in a home like this. He looked up, he was holding a glass of something…it had to be blood. He was a vampire! But, blood served in one of those Brandy…what did they call them? Snifters? He even held it like it was Brandy or something in one hand as he read. He was in his early forties, dark hair and he was a man, and I will say it this; beards will age a man. Cut them off, a man can shed not only hair from his face, but sometimes a whole decade can be literally shaved off! He had a dark, black trimmed beard and he looked pretty good! His black hair was a little longer than I would have liked on me, or Colin. It touched the collar of that fancy jacket he wore, but he was a nice looking man. I think we were to see that he was cultured by the way he was dressed and sitting properly. He looked up at us, and yes, he had the eyes of a vampire. He put his glass down, closed his book and rose. “Welcome to my home, gentlemen.” He greeted in a friendly, but again, accented with Romanian flection and enunciation. “I am Christian.” Colin nodded as he stepped forward toward the man. “I am Colin Wentworth.” He waved at me. “My husband, Devon Wentworth.” He motioned to George. “This Dr. George Holm and this is John Burke.” Then he looked at Christian. “It is a pleasure to have you here.” Christian said graciously. “What you did, both with Iilya and with Alin was pretty impressive.” He came over and put an arm around Alin’s shoulder. “Especially with Alin.” Then he looked at Colin. “But he informed me you have another question for me.” Colin nodded. “We do.” I looked at the man. “Are you Dracula?” The man’s expression didn’t waver. He merely smiled pleasantly and nodded. “I am Dracula.” I don’t know what I expected, but not this. Apparently neither did Colin. Colin just looked at this man and said. “Bullshit.”
  10. Chapter 4

    After our meal, we got ready to go out on the town. This was my first exposure to a true European village, I thought. Because of that, I thought here weren’t going to be the flashy buildings and lights one things of in a modern city or town. There really weren’t that many, but there were a couple of places we heard when we walked the streets. I knew there was more to this village than just being famous for that one vampire. What I found amusing was when we were getting ready, I found Stan sitting near the computer rather than getting ready himself. “Uh, Stan?” I began questioningly. He looked up at me questioningly. “Yes?” “Why aren’t you getting ready?” I asked. “I am ready.” Stan said looking at where he was. He had his coffee and the computer was on. I looked at his jeans and t-shirt. “That’s fine if you want to see Sighisoara dressed like that, but you might want to put on shoes. Going barefoot would be nice, I suppose…” Stan’s eyes grew. “You mean out there!?” He pointed to the wall and village beyond. “I’ve always been the computer guy! I always look things up and provide background support!” I chuckled. “Not on this trip.” I said coming to him and standing over him while I put both hands on his shoulders and forced him to look at me. “I’ll bring my tablet if we need to look something up.” I said stood up again. He looked surprised. “You are our computer guy, but tonight, we see Sighisoara.” Mark came out of the bathroom used for guests and visitors for the house. There were three other bathrooms in the house. He brushed his dark blue shirt to smoothness and looked up and then looked puzzled. “He’s not dressed.” He looked at me. “Why is he not dressed?” Mark waved at Stan. I shook my head. “You need to ask him.” “You’re not dressed!” Mark said to Stan. Stan was a little flustered. “But I..but..but…” He pointed at the computer. Mark nodded. “But, but…speaking of butts!” Mark said happily. “You have those great pants that show off that great butt of yours!” He turned Stan around and began to push Stan toward the bathroom to change. Mark grinned at me. “If you’re a girl with a great set of boobs, say say, if you got it, flaunt it! Stan’s got a great ass, I say flaunt that!” He winked at me as he pushed Stan into the bathroom. I shook my head and thought about it and gave a shrug. “Well, they both have great asses.” I then smiled when I thought of Colin’s ass. “Yea, his is better.” I nodded and went to find Colin. I had the sudden urge to see it again. I’d probably touch it, too. I did. We asked both Eva and Greta where to go that night. Greta smiled. “There are only a few. One sticks out in my mind. Biserica din Cornseti.” She said in perfect, but accented English. “It was a church, but now it is a dance and night club. There is also the Vertigo Club.” No matter what country, city, town or village; there is always one constant. People liked to enjoy themselves. Getting to Biscrica din Cornseti we knew what was happening. It was a big white church in the village with the tall bell tower in the front, but the stained glass windows that had multicolored lights flashing and the throbbing bass was a signature and once inside they were doing it. Dancing! Nothing odd here, except there was a picture of the Last Supper, only it was rigged with those colored lights that flashed to the beat of the music. I did chuckle internally at the picture of the Nativity with Mary, Joseph and a baby, but the baby had a full white beard and red and white hat for Santa Clause. A baby Santa? Really! It is there! Mom shook her head when she noticed the picture. “Is that…sacrilegious?” Willie gave a slight nod. “It’s a statement for sure; a tribute to modern Christmas.” I smiled. “Sure, Santa is seen a Christ often at Christmas.” I waved at the picture. “That’s how I see it anyway.” We stayed a few hours before I saw Gabriella get very still. Alex was looking around the crowd that was there and then I felt it. There was a vampire in the group of people dancing and drinking. Looking at where the sensation was coming from. We saw a young man in his late twenties or early thirties come closer. Dark hair and he had the eyes of a vampire, lacking the needed moisture that was a signature visually for all vampires. He was about my size of five feet and ten inches. He was Eastern European in looks, you know what I mean if you’ve seen it, but not a bad looking man. He wasn’t even interested at the abundance of people that were human to my relief. He stopped in front of us. “You are vampires.” He said in accented, but perfect English. “I didn’t dare hope.” Colin nodded. “Are you Andrei?” The man nodded. “The real name is Alin. Andrei is just a name for the Internet. It is Romanian and Greek for Andreas.” He smiled. I nodded. “Okay. You didn’t respond to any emails. Have you changed your mind about us?” He shook his head. “No, but things here…have gotten a little more complicated.” He admitted with a nod and shrug. “Complicated? How?” I asked. “Recently, there has been a rise of a group, a man really, that became rivals to vampires here.” Alin said. “He is a vampire hunter.” George’s eyes widened. “You’re kidding.” Alin shook his head. “I am serious.” “You’re in danger?” I asked. Alin nodded. “We all are.” He looked at me. “I mean you and the others, including those of us here. That’s why no one has really responded to your emails. They are afraid to reveal anything that will tell them where we are; including me.” “He’s human.” Colin said. Alin chuckled. “Worse, he’s Russian.” “Russian?” Colin asked. “Can he do it?” Alin nodded. “Yes, I took a big risk coming here. You did also telling me where you were going.” He frowned. “They are led by the Russian who is a vampire.” “A vampire hunter that’s a vampire himself!?” My mother asked. “Yes.” Alin nodded. “His name is Iilya. He was KGB back in the 1950s and 1960s. He was turned when on a mission here for the USSR.” “How can he hunt his own kind?” Colin asked. “He hates what he is and has vowed to rid the world of vampires. He did it in Russia.” Alin explained and smiled. “But there are still vampires in Russia, but he thinks they came from this area in the first place.” I nodded. “Because of all the vampire lore here?” Alin nodded. “Because of the vampire lore and others.” Stan came forward a little. “Is the leader here, the First Vampire here…?” Alin frowned. “There is a vampire leader, has been for several centuries.” Stan nodded. “There is a vampire leader that old?” He waved at Colin. “He’s over two hundred.” He pointed to Burke. “He’s nearly four hundred and Amasis…” Amasis growled. “Don’t say it.” He said to Stan. Stan grinned. “Well, he’s sensitive about his age. Let’s just say, he’s the oldest of us here.” “Could this leader be Dracula?” I asked again carefully knowing how they felt about Dracula and Vlad Tepes. “Or is it Vlad Dracul?” Alin shrugged. “I don’t know. He won’t say for certain. I do know he’s old.” “Will he see us?” George asked. Alin shook his head. “He’s not certain about you.” “Why did you contact us? You were certain enough to reach out to us.” I said. “Because we don’t change…” Alin said sadly. “I was turned right at the end of the USSR. That was in the early 1990s. Since then, I have tried to stay in the world as it is.” He shook his head. “That’s so hard this way.” He waved at himself. “I can only move around at night and I must feed every day.” He sighed sadly. “They are old.” He said. “And I’m not speaking about their age in years, I mean, the way things are run here. That’s old. Christian is the leader here. He’s been doing it a long time. Is that his real name?” He shrugged. “No one can remember.” That’s when we all felt it; another vampire had just arrived. Alin looked a little panicked. “He’s here!” “Does he track?” Colin asked quickly. “Does he what?” Alin asked. “Can he sense where you go?” I asked. “Can he smell you?” Alin shook his head. “I don’t know. He can sense a vampire when he sees one.” “Go!” Willie said. “You know where we are. We’ll hold him off.” Willie shoved him away. “Run!” Alin didn’t question Willie and ran into the crowd. I looked over the crowd to see some men come in the club. The one in the center, I knew was Iilya. I knew Sasha was big, born and raised in Moscow. This man was just as big. Dark hair in his late thirties or early forties and…BIG. He had four men with him. They were human. Colin reached for me and drew me closer to him. All of us drew closer to who we were with, but moved to the area that Alin had been to confuse Iilya when he came over. Iilya was no tracker, but he sensed all the others here partying and dancing...and human. His eyes traveled over everyone until he looked at us. His moisture lacking eyes narrowed and he walked over. He looked confused as he got closer. Iilya stopped in front of us. “You are vampire.” He said in accented English. Colin didn’t back down. “So are you.” Iilya wandered between all of us. “You are not.” He said to Mark and sniffed near Stan. “Not you. I sense…something different.” “We’re all different.” George said. “Those here that are vampires are not like you.” I nodded. “You can sense that, can’t you?” I said taking a drink I had ordered earlier and drank it in front of Iilya. “As you can see, we can drink more than blood.” Iilya frowned. “How is possible?” “Tell you what, Iilya.” Colin began and watched Iilya’s eyebrows rise when Colin called him by name. “Yes, we know your name.” He worked on his translator. “Why not stick to Russian. It might be easier to follow you.” The translator came out with: Почему бы не придерживаться русский. Это может быть легче следовать за вами. Iilya looked startled and what Colin was wearing and what he heard. “What did you do?” We all had adjusted our translators and understood what he asked. “We had our words changed to Russian, to be understood by you.” Colin said. Iilya was interested in our translators, but right now, he was looking for vampires and we were right there. “You are not vampires, but I sense you are. Why?” Colin gave the whole condition and medication explanation to Iilya. “So, you are in between?” Iilya asked. George nodded. “You could see it that way. None of us wanted to become vampires.” Iilya nodded. “We should have died.” Colin nodded. “And yet, here you are.” His eyes narrowed. “We heard you were trying to get rid of these vampires here.” Iilya nodded again. “I was turned here.” I nodded. “Ah,” I said understanding more now, “that’s why you’re hunting them here. To get rid of the one that turned you.” “What kind of vampire was it?” Colin asked. Iilya frowned. “It was a vampire.” Wayne chuckled. “Do you know the different kind of vampires out there?” “They are vampires.” Iilya said again simply. “Do you want to kill us, too?” My mother asked. Iilya looked at my mother who was holding on to Willie’s hand. “I didn’t know you can be in between as a vampire. I don’t know.” He looked at George. “Can you cure us?” George shook his head. “Not yet, but I’m working on it.” “This medication; if you don’t take it, will you become a vampire again?” Iilya asked. “Yes.” Colin nodded. “I won’t hunt you as long as you’re on the medication.” Iilya said roughly. “If we get the vampires here on the medication…will you still hunt them?” I asked. That’s when Iilya’s eyes narrowed. “They turned me. They cursed me to be this.” He said waving at his own face. “I will hunt down and kill that one that did this.” I nodded. “So, this is revenge.” I wanted to clarify. Iilya was beginning to turn red with anger. “I will slaughter the thing that did this to me. I know he did it to others. They will all die.” Colin nodded. “But not all of them were involved. Why kill them all? There are innocent ones as well as guilty.” “They know the one that did this!” Iilya spat. “They are guilty for not dealing with it and killing that one.” “How do you even know if this creature is even alive?” Alex asked. “Vampires can die. We’re talking about fifty or sixty years ago, he could already be dead.” Iilya shook his head. “No. He lives. I feel it in here.” He pounded his own chest as his eyebrows came together. “Do you feel him more or less right now?” I asked. “Can you tell if he’s close, or far away?” “I feel he is here! In Sighisoara.” Iilya said angrily. “See? That’s why we use these translators.” I said holding mine up. “The problem is now for this is the many voices and that music, it’s having a difficult time. You see, there is a difference in what you are saying. There is the feeling that you know, and a belief that you know.” I shook my head. “I’m getting the feeling that you believe he’s here, but aren’t sensing him.” I looked at him. “You believe he’s here, but you don’t know he’s here.” Iilya frowned now more. He was getting angrier. “I will kill all vampires here. That way I know he’s gone.” “And how did you get back to Russia?” I asked. Iilya looked surprised at the change of subject. “I had a comrade take me home.” I nodded. “And don’t you see that this vampire could have moved on, too?” Iilya let out a gruff sound of frustration and came a little closer to me, which Colin stepped in between us. Toe to toe, they were about the same size. “Listen to him, Iilya.” Colin said equally as gruff. “He’s making sense and I won’t let you or any of these others touch him or anyone here with us.” Iilya’s frown became more than a frown, it was almost rage. “They are the ENEMY!! They should all die!” Willie came up behind Colin. “So, you do want to kill us.” Mom nodded. “If we get these vampires on the medication, you won’t be able catch them as easily.” Gabriella added. “They will be able to travel anywhere at any time and scatter.” “We became a threat to you getting the vampires here because of what we offer.” Wayne said. “The only thing you can do; is kill us.” Alex reasoned. “If we’re dead, we can’t give the medication and you have a better chance of killing all these vampires.” Colin nodded. “We’ve met vampires that aren’t nice. In fact, there are vampires out there that are criminals, killers and general sadists.” Colin said. “I was turned by one.” He waved at Gabriella. “My daughter was turned by the same one.” “But because one turned you…” I said to Iilya, “…you have determined we all should die.” Amasis grinned. “So, go ahead.” He challenged. “Do it now. Right here in front of all these people.” He waved at the many dancing people. “How can you do this?” Mom asked him using the tone I knew when she scolded me and ashamed of what I did; not that there were too many of those for her to do it to me. “Condemning all of us because of what one creature did to you?” “Are you really that important?” I asked. “Americans.” Iilya spat. “Decadent, selfish Americans!” “And there it is.” Colin chuckled. “Yes, we are!” He grinned at Wayne. “All, but Wayne. Amasis and Amir are becoming Americans. The old American verses Russian ploy.” “You did know that there is no USSR now, didn’t you?” I asked. “The Cold War ended. The Communistic Government there is gone in Russia?” We all turned as we heard a beeping sound. George was grinning. “It works!” He said holding a wand looking thing at Iilya. He was looking at a tablet that would beep, only when pointed at Iilya. “If I didn’t sense he is a vampire, this says he is a vampire!” Colin grinned. “That’s great!” He looked back at Iilya. “See, we’re trying to put an end to the vampire stuff, too. Only, we’re looking for a cure it.” He motioned to Chuck, Shelly, Mark and Stan. “Now, they can tell as well if a person is a vampire.” He looked at Iilya’s eyes. “Seeing your eyes would tell close up, but George is a good distance away. We wouldn’t want you that close if you are. We aren’t the enemy, Iilya. Don’t make us one. If you do this, you will be. We will find the vampires here and we will help them.” “Whose backing you?” I asked. “The government in Russia, or someone privately?” I waved at us as a group and then waved at his four accompanying men. “They are getting something to be here with you. We have the backing of a few in our government. They know where we are and why we’re here. If anything happens to us, there will be questions.” I pulled up my tablet and hit the photo icon and there was a flash. I scripted a quick message. “And I’ve just sent them a picture of you and your group to them and explained why you’re here and what you want to do. We have a senator, a member of congress and a pretty good director in charge of the FBI in America that are backing us. Now, there will be questions that will need answering if anything happens to any of us.” I turned the tablet to Iilya. “I’d say that’s a pretty good picture, wouldn’t you? It looks just like you.” Colin walked closer to Iilya. “In other words…” he said getting closer to Iilya’s face. “…BACK OFF!!” Iilya let out an almost roar of fury! “This isn’t over!” He said and headed out of the club as he barged through some of the dancers who were surprised, but shrugged and went back to dancing. Willie walked over to Colin and put his arm around his shoulders. “Nicely done, Colin.” I composed another message sending a warning. Attached was Iilya’s photo and warning that he was dangerous. “I had a group contact created.” I said and hit send. “Now, they all know around the world! Even those in Russia!” Stan nodded with a smile. “Ain’t technology great?” Burke, who almost never spoke up much frowned and shook his head. “How could he hunt us? He is a vampire!” I nodded. “He’s angry.” I said simply. “For decades, the only thing he was focused on was killing the vampire that turned him.” I grinned at Colin. “Other than not trusting, the other thing about vampires is they get fixated.” Colin rolled his eyes. “I had reason with Brett! Didn’t I?” I chuckled. “I was talking about Brett having the fixation. Not you.” “Oh.” Colin said softly and nodded. “I guess I was, too.” I smiled pulling in for a kiss. “You’re good. That’s over.” I looked at the others. “The emails and postings we’re done recently…he knew if he was going to do that killing, he needed to do it now.” Stan grinned. “And now we can resume our search for Dracula.” “Dracula!?” We heard behind us. “You’re kidding. We talked about him, but…I don’t…” We all turned to see Alin was back. “We were looking for him or the vampire that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula.” I told Alin. “We’re not here to hurt him, but…maybe get help from him if possible or whoever is in charge here...if possible.” Alin nodded. “I see.” He waved at where Iilya had been. “I heard and saw the whole thing. Good hearing.” He pointed to his own ears and looked at Willie. “I was going to run like you said, but I saw you were handling him, so, I stayed.” “Do you have the trust of this Christian?” I asked. Alin nodded. “I do.” I looked at George. “What better way to show Christian we mean no harm to him…” I waved at Alin and turned back to Alin. “Do you still want the serum?” Alin nodded. “Yes, very much.” Colin nodded coming up behind me. “It does hurt at first. It will be very painful.” Alin nodded looking at us. “I read on the many postings and emails that it was painful.” He smiled. “But I see you all. You’re out in the world…traveling and doing things…I’m willing.” George came to Alin. “Okay, you go to Christian and tell him what we’re going to do. Tell him it takes about a week to begin the treatment, but tell him, when he sees you on the serum, he’ll know what we can do for all of you here.” Alin smiled even bigger. “Where do I need to go? At where you’re staying?” George looked at Colin. “I am a doctor.” He began. “We can tell Eva and Greta we have a patient coming and to keep out of the room. Do you think that will work?” Colin nodded. “I think so. He won’t burn in the daylight after the first two doses. We’ll have to choose a dark room to start.” George nodded. “Tell Christian and then give us two days. Come at night after you feed.” He looked at Alin. “You don’t feed on humans, do you?” He asked cautiously. Alin’s eyes widened. “What? No! I never have.” He chuckled. “I read that in the postings and emails, too. No, I’ve fed on cattle. They survive the bite and have enough blood. I just rotate the cows.” He grinned. “I’ve gotten to know a few cows and know who I’ve fed on. They never seem to mind.” He shrugged. Willie snorted. “That beats rats.” “Rats!?” Alin balked. “New York City.” I explained quickly. “Dad didn’t have the cows to feed on in the abandoned subway.” I chuckled at Alin. “How are you getting home? Do you think Iilya will come after you?” Alin shook his head. “He can sense me, I can sense him.” He smiled. “I’ve managed to avoid him and will continue to do so. I’ll be fine.” He assured. George smiled. “The week after we give you the serum, we’ll come back here. We’ll buy you a drink.” Alin’s eyes showed excitement at that thought. “Wow, a drink that isn’t blood! It’s been thirty years!” I nodded. “Well, it’s about time you had one.” I looked at my watch. “It’s a few hours until sunrise, care to join us. We can talk and get to know you.” “Sure.” Alin smiled. “I’d like that. What are you telling this Eva I have?” Colin and George looked at each other. Colin said with a simple shrug. “You have Polymorphic Light Eruption, just like I did.” George nodded. “It is a real condition and covers the why you have to be in a dark room.” I nodded. “That’s what Colin told me when we first met.” We talked a while, I leaned closer to Colin. “What do you get from Alin?” Colin nodded. “He is what he says he is. I trust him.” He frowned. “What did you get from Iilya?” “He’s a man obsessed to the point he’s unstable.” I answered sadly. “Did you trust him?” Colin shook his head. “It’s not that I didn’t trust him, he meant everything he said. He wants to kill all vampires. Would I trust him with you, Gabriella or anyone? No. He would do whatever to get what he wants.” “Do you think he’ll be a threat to us?” Colin shrugged. “I don’t know.” He leaned in kissing me. “You were smart to send his picture and information to everyone. He’ll be less likely to hit us anytime soon.” I nodded. “I hope so.” Colin grinned. “I love you.” “I know.” I said kissing him again. “I love you.” Colin smiled. “I know.”
  11. Chapter 3

    The flight was a long one. We did stop for refueling. We weren’t a big plane. Well, it was not a size of one of those big passenger planes, but it was bigger than most there. We landed at the Targu Mures Airport which was a smaller airport just north of Sighisoara in the morning. So, we had no problems. There was one person that met us at the airport from customs. We had to show our passports, but when he saw what we brought into Romania, all documented with paperwork for both equipment and medical supplies. The customs agent held up one of our translators. “What’s this for?” He asked in accented English. Colin chuckled as he picked up a translator and earpiece. “Our CPU is on, so…” he said putting one of the earpieces in his ear, “say that again, in whatever language you normally use.” The man nodded. “Ce este acest lucru pentru?” Colin nodded. “Does this answer your question?” He asked back and we heard, “Aceasta răspunde la întrebarea dumneavoastră?” “Traduce din engleză în Română?” “That’s why we’re here. We want this to translate everything.” Colin smiled and we heard. “Thats de ce suntem aici. Vrem ca acest lucru sa traduca totul.” The man’s smile grew even more. “Asta e uimitor!” Colin nodded and held up his hand. “Yes, it is amazing. Stick with English for now for the others who don’t have one on.” “Can anyone have one of those?” The man asked happily marveling at the devices. Colin nodded. “Yes, but the problem is, in order to translate so many languages, we need a computer with a lot of memory. The computer we use is…kind of connected to the one in Manhattan.” He grinned as Stan walked off the plane with Mark. “My friend Stan here is the computer man. A genius, really. He named the computer Buddy. Buddy works well and is connected by satellite. Buddy hears what you say and tells me in English what you said. I speak in English and you hear Romanian from this!” He lifted the device with the speaker on it. “We are creating something you can install on your laptop to translate one language and wear one of these and do it with this.” He smiled. “We’re trying to make one smaller and have all languages.” He held up the small scanner. “And this…will read all languages…when we’re connected.” He looked at Stan. “Let him take one set.” He waved at the customs agent. “We’ll be here a while.” He handed the agent one of the scanners and translators. “This will work while we’re here.” The man was thrilled instantly putting the earpiece in his ear. “And this will translate all I hear to English?” Colin shook his head. “No, this will translate anything to the language you choose. If you want Romanian, it will translate anything to Romanian.” I chuckled as now I believed we could come in with anything and he’d let us in; nothing better than a boy given a new toy to win his favor. We rode toward Sighisoara. My first impression of this country was…old. Not ancient like Egypt, but it was old. There were a lot of hills and thick forests. I had a good imagination, so I could see how it would look at night. The road to Sighisoara was a highway, but when we arrived in the town, I got a slight…German opinion of this beautiful town. That wasn’t quite right. It was European construction. No wooden houses, but stone covered in a smooth covering of mortar maybe stucco? As with most towns established, Sighisoara was on the Tarnava Mare River. Most of this town was level…sort of. There were hills on which they built many homes and businesses. There were no colossal skyscrapers or metal and glass constructed buildings. Many buildings were the color of stone, but as we came in I noticed that there were peppered throughout the town were various tones of that stone color, some were white, but there were the occasional green, blue and one eye catching orangey-red! It caught my attention. There was the central clock tower that stood higher than any other. We hired a couple of transport vans to pick us up and another to carry our equipment. If we hadn’t had drivers, I wondered if we’d find it. The house was on a town corner and the front door was in the center or that corner. The house spread out behind on both sides. The house was two floors but we were driven around toward the rear and I saw the house was pretty big. I found out it was large L in shape spreading out on those side, as I said. The back road was…well, they had to fill in land to make it and barely one lane and built a wall to keep the earth they moved there to stay. There was a short wall that kept you from rolling down the hill that fell drastically from that road. We parked in the parking area. We walked to the entrance from the private garden that had a long stone path edged with shrubbery. The house was like the town, old, but well maintained. The going theme was earth tones. There was a dining room, eat in kitchen, the den where we thought the CPU for Buddy would go along with Stan and Mark. Stan insisted he stay with Buddy. Mark insisted he stay with Stan. It made sense. There were the few bedrooms, some only had two beds…and I mean two beds as in twin beds. I shrugged. “It is a family home. There had to be room for the children.” Then we met Eva. She was in her mid-forties whose hair was blonde and white, blue eyes and had a few more pounds than she needed and greeted us with some English, but it was accented as she probably didn’t use English often. I smiled at her. “What language do you prefer?” “I…raised…Hungarian.” Eva said. “My parents…move here…I was child.” I did some adjustments on my translator. “How about this? Is this better?” We heard, “Mit szólsz ehhez? Van ez jobb?” Eva’s eyes grew. “Hogyan tett csinálsz ez?” I smiled. “That’s why we’re here.” I said and it was translated into Hungarian. “The easiest thing is for you to wear this earpiece and always wear the translator. You will hear Hungarian and can speak back in English.” She smiled and showed us the rest of the house. There was a room that led to the back entrance we would come in and out. A salon? It was long and had a stone floor. And like England, who didn’t make the rooms too big to heat, these were a little smaller to just sleep in, but each had either a stove or fireplace in them for when it got cooler. That day was pretty much used to unpack. We got Buddy’s CPU powered up and Stan sighed and switched from his laptop to this CPU for Buddy. “There we go, now you can do it much easier.” Stan smiled patting Buddy affectionately. “Running the program off my laptop worked, but now with Buddy, it will work faster and better now.” He grinned. “The customs agent and Eva won’t have any worries.” He sighed. “With the satellite connection, we’re all connected.” I waved at the computer. “Can I?” Stan looked surprised. “It’s your computer.” “But he’s your friend!” I reminded Stan which made Mark chuckle and Colin smile. “I just want to check the messages.” I said and hit a few keys on the keyboard display on the black glass part of the CPU. I brought up my email. “I sent Andrei a message before we left. I’ve gotten nothing back from him.” Colin gave a shrug. “We can still begin looking, even if he won’t help.” I shook my head. “It doesn’t add up. In his email messages, he was begging us to come and give the serum. I don’t understand the lack of messages now. He wants us here, and then doesn’t answer.” Colin nodded looking over my lists of emails. “Well, he is a vampire lacking trust and all that.” I sighed and nodded. “Right.” I grinned. “He might, like all the others will send someone like Edwin and Amasis did or just show up!” Colin nodded. “Probably.” He sat down next to me. “What do you think our first thing should be?” I sat back a little when he asked me that. “I’m not in charge.” Colin chuckled. “Yes, you are. This was your idea.” He reminded me. I gave him a look that wasn’t so certain I liked all this thrust on me. “Well, it might be that whoever this vampire is, is Vlad Dracul.” “Oh?” Colin asked. I gave a shrug. “There are stories…some think he is buried in Naples. There is also documentation he was buried in a monastery in the middle of Snagov Lake. It was recorded that Vlad Tepes in 1476 disappeared during battle and was never seen again.” I shook my head. “In Naples, they have a headstone they say could be his…the tomb is covered with symbols representing the House of Transylvania. Carpathians. What made them think it was his grave is the dragon on it and the sphinxes. The dragon and sphinxes is for Dracula, the dragon and Thebes, also known as Tepes. The symbols are his name!” I shook my head. “When did you find out all this?” Colin asked in shock. “We flew for almost a day, Colin. I couldn’t sleep and what else was there to do?” I grinned. “I did research. There are just too many things that I read…and what you told me…you said the battlefield was almost fair game. You helped a number of men die during the Civil War. Vlad disappeared during a battle. No one knows if he’s in the monastery or Naples or anywhere.” I frowned. “I hope it isn’t Vlad.” “Why?” “He did a lot of things…” I gave a somewhat of a shrug, but it was wary. “…like strangulations, burning, cutting off noses and ears, mutilation of sexual organs, scalping, skinning and his famous way…impaling his enemies on stakes. It was said he drank the blood of his enemies.” I shuttered. “That was while he was human!” Colin frowned, but nodded. “I take it back. Having a former pharaoh at the table is a good thing. I don’t think I would want him to be if he is Vlad.” I smiled. “Well, if this vampire is the inspiration of Count Dracula…there are just too many variables for Bram Stoker not to have someone he modeled his character after.” I looked at the CPU and read through the emails. “We can begin this trip by patrolling. We have two very good trackers with us. There are vampires here. Maybe they can sense one and we can get some answers.” I smiled and stretched. “I sent Andrei the address we are staying at, maybe he’ll just…show up.” “There is seven hours difference between where we left and where we are now.” Colin grinned. “You might want a nap before we go patrolling.” He reached over and pulled me up. “I won’t fight you on that.” I grinned. “But we might be busy later. I need to adjust my biological clock.” I was a bit worried how Eva would react to the fact that Colin and I were married. We also had Stan and Mark, George and Burke who were same gender relationships. Romania did not criminalize us, marriages were not allowed for gay couples, but unions were. Semantics. When we told her, she shrugged. “I don’t know why people get upset about it.” She said. “It’s everywhere around the world. It doesn’t bother me.” She waved to my mother. “She said she was at your wedding. She could have objected, but didn’t. Who am I to say otherwise?” I did lay down a few hours and did fall asleep with Colin. After we got up, Eva had dinner ready for us. It smelled wonderful. Eva had help come in with a young woman named Greta. Blonde and about her mid-twenties and not unattractive, but you know about me. I’m gay. My head wasn’t turned. “A word of warning Eva.” I said sitting at the table patting Colin on the back. Her eyebrow went up. “Warning about what?” I patted Colin’s arm. “He and Amasis eat.” There were chuckles at the table from the others. “I mean they eat a lot!” Rather than being upset, she seemed delighted. “Of course, look at them. Two big strong men that work hard need big meals. I have plenty and if needed, I’ll make more.” Eva said proudly revealing what she cooked. “This is Musaca cu patlagele vinete, that’s Moussake with Eggplant in English. Ground beef and eggplant and spices…my late husband loved it when he was alive.” She laughed. “I had to make it every week.” She waved a spoon at Colin. “He was a big man, too.” She smiled. “With this many people, if there’s anything you want or something you don’t want, let me know.” She smiled holding her translator. “I love this! It makes my work here so much easier. It works already, what more are you searching for?” Colin smiled. “Our computer, Buddy, is like any person who uses a language.” Colin explained. “The more you use it, the better he gets. We’re trying to work out a way that whatever language the earpiece hears; is the one it translates back. It should be automatic, but isn’t yet. We still have to choose. We want our Language Buddy to work more autonomous. This is country a lot of varied languages, we need have the program used to dealing with that. This is the best place for that.” I added. “You have a nice mixture of both Indo-European; Italic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic and others…and you have the Uralic; Hungarian like you use, Finnish and Estonian and even the Kalmyk. That’s Mongolic.” I smiled and watched Colin’s eyes widen as he looked at me surprised. “What? I don’t know why we’re here?” Colin grinned. “I married a very smart man!” He shook his head. “Anyway, in order to work well, we need all languages, accents and dialects. This is good country to do that in.” Colin smiled and shrugged. “And this is a great town. We thought we’d look around.” Stan smiled. “I’m asking this to get more information only.” He said carefully to Eva. “One of the reasons we chose this town, was Vlad Dracul.” Eva frowned. “What about him? He was a great man.” Stan nodded. “He was. He was; he did what many could never have considered doing. He dealt with those hostile Ottoman Turks. People only seem to remember what he did, not why he did it.” “What do you mean?” Colin asked. “The size of those Ottoman forces was huge. He came up with a plan that…” Stan nodded. “…was pretty gruesome,” he looked at me, “you read it, but effective. Vlad’s forces were small, but he kept those turks away. He himself was taken as a child into bondage to the turks. As was his brother.” Eva smiled now. “You know our past?” Stan nodded. “Oh, I was fascinated by it.” He said emphatically. “Granted, I did it after reading Dracula the novel.” He shrugged. “I wanted to know about the real man they said was Dracula. Not the character in that book. They are not the same.” Eva nodded smiling now. “My husband was born and raised in Sighisoara.” She smiled. “It’s been my home for over forty years. It’s nice a Westerner appreciates what Vlad did, rather than find the monster they made him out to be. There’s plenty to see about him here.” She said and went back in the kitchen. I looked at Stan. “You think what he did was okay?” I asked. Stan frowned. “I think he did what he did because he had no choice.” He said sadly. “To protect his country and his people…he did what he did to keep those horrible people away.” He shrugged. “It worked. It was horrible, but it worked.” And then Stan looked at Colin. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. This is a search trip. My opinion wasn’t needed.” Colin smiled. “You’re wrong, Stan. Your opinion is needed.” I nodded. “That’s also why you’re here, Stan; to keep us on track.” Stan smiled and nodded. “If there is a vampire out there that was used as a model for Count Dracula, that’s scary. If he’s Vlad, he could really be an ally.” I shook my head. “Why do you say that?” “He was willing to do whatever it took to protect his family and his people.” Stan said. “No matter how terrible it was, it worked! He kept these people safe!” He was started to pound the table and Mark reached over and put his hand on Stan’s. “Down, boy.” Mark said softly. “We’re all here on the same side.” Stan looked at Colin and me. “If someone threatened either one of you, is there anything you would not do to protect the other? Colin would kill and I know he would for you. Or if I was threatened, or Mark, or Wayne…” I held my hands up. “I get it.” “You would kill!” Stan said. “And if there was another threat out there, you might do something so horrible to that one you killed to literally scare the shit of them!!” You had to admire his conviction. “I was influenced by the book and what I read. We need to find out.” I nodded with a smile at Stan. “I’ll try to keep an open mind.” Stan chuckled and was comforted by Mark who was saying it would be alright and calm down. Stan grinned. “Sorry.” I grinned back. “No problem. You’re family and should feel free to say what’s on your mind. We’ll find this person.” Colin smiled. “Which means, we just need to look.” He said. “There is a vampire at work here. Who it is…we’ll see if he’s got enough control of the vampires here. Is he good or bad? We won’t know until we find him.” Mom gave a sigh. “You know, he may not want to be found because of all this…” she said. “He has more power being mysterious. Bringing him into the open he may see as a way of…dethroning him.” “We don’t want to dethrone him, but there are vampires here that will benefit being on the serum.” George argued. “If Dracula is a real vampire, would he pass up the chance to go in the sun and have a somewhat normal life after all this time?” “Slow down, guys.” Colin said. “First, we have to make contact with our first vampire here and then we can go from there. If he is Vlad, we offer options, if he’d not but inspired Count Dracula, we offer options. We need a vampire to start. Let’s do that first.” He sighed. “We’ve sent a message to this contact here, this Andrei; if he comes here…or if we find another out there. We start there.” “So, we’re patrolling tonight?” Mark asked. I nodded. “We are. We make our presence known and hope Andrei comes to find us.” George brightened. “And the perfect time to field test my detector.” Colin grinned. “You finally got it working?” “You knew I would eventually.” George laughed. “We’ll see. I’ll give it to Mark, Chuck or Shelly. If Gabriella or Alex finds one, we’ll know if it works!” Colin nodded and dug into his Musaca cu patlagele vinete. He chewed a second and nodded. “This is GOOD! No wonder her husband wanted it once a week. I will, too!” He said and dug in for some more.
  12. Chapter 2

    I chuckled and nodded. “Dracula was after your time. He is the most famous vampire that really made an impact with the 20th and 21st Centuries.” I quickly told him about the novel and movies that came from the story and embellished on the theme. Amasis had more questions, but I just took his hand. “I’ll get you the book, but know this story and others shaped our fear of vampires. Many contain the magic we are supposed to have and that power we are supposed to have in us.” “I don’t read English very well.” Amasis said with a sad grin. I smiled bigger. “Well, there’s always my favorite thing…movies!” Amasis chuckled. “And you know which one I should see.” I brightened. “I do!” “What if it is all just fiction?” Mom asked. “That fiction had to come from somewhere.” Colin said logically. “We can look and find out.” He shrugged and then he smiled at me. “We need to get all information available for Dracula. We should call Stan.” Wayne smiled. “He’ll be thrilled!” We waited for our daily conference call to Stan. I was early, but I established the connection to see Mark sitting where Stan usually sat. Mark frowned. “This is a restricted channel. No unauthorized…” he squinted his eyes. “Oh! It’s you, Devon! I saw this dark-skinned guy and thought it was someone else!” He smiled. “You’re really tan!” I chuckled. “Thanks. Two weeks in the sun and that’s what happens. Where’s Stan?” That’s when I heard. “What are you…?” Stan said. “Wait! He’s five minutes early!” Then I saw Stan’s hand wave him away. “Out! I sit there.” Mark smiled and winked at me and then turned to Stan. “I was keeping the seat warm.” “Out!” Stan repeated and sat down. He smiled at me and looked at his watch. “I had five minutes. Nature called and I thought I had time.” I nodded. “I know. Sorry about that.” I grinned. “We have a new destination.” “We do?” Stan asked. “Where?” “Eastern Europe.” I said. “Specifically, we are looking for Dracula.” Stan’s eyes widened as he just said. “What!?” Mark however was instantly in the frame as he was smiling even more. “Really!? That…would be awesome!” Stan looked at Mark and just rolled his eyes. “We’re going on this trip, right?” Mark asked. I nodded. “I don’t see why not. We still have the CPU we had in Egypt?” “Of course.” Stan said. “I’ll need to make sure the Romanian and other languages of Eastern Europe are in and ready.” Then he looked back. “Wait, are we going after Vlad the Impaler, or Bram Stoker’s Dracula?” I nodded. “Yes.” “We’re searching for the ruler…or fictional character?” Stan asked. I frowned. “Stan, we’re looking. That’s what we’re looking for. Evidence!” Stan looked a moment and thought. He slowly nodded. “Okay. I guess we’ll need all information about Dracula and Vlad.” He thought. “I’ll get Buddy to look at all information to find commonalities.” I nodded. “At first, we stick with the novel and historical records.” I said. “I would say all information prior to 1897.” “Why 1897?” Mark asked. “That’s when Stoker wrote Dracula.” Stan answered. “He would have to know details before that to write the story.” He grinned. “Dracula literally means bad blood in Gaelic. Bram Stoker was Irish and he used his knowledge. Drac Ullah are the Gaelic words. Vlad Dracula was nicknamed Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler.” He looked at me seriously. “My point is…he wasn’t a nice guy.” Mark looked at Stan. His usual banter and kidding forgotten a second. “How do you know all of this?” Stan frowned. “I was a lonely kid and even more of a lonely teenager. I had a lot of time. I read a lot.” He looked at me. “Including Dracula. In that part of Romania, they didn’t like the story that Stoker wrote. It wasn’t even translated into Romanian until 1990.” I nodded. “They will be more cautious about giving him away.” I sighed. “They will be protective of him.” Stan nodded. “Of Vlad Dracul. Dracula also means son of the devil in Romanian. Dracul was given to Vlad’s father, Dracula means the devil’s son. This may not be a good person, vampire or whatever.” “Count Dracula was a fictional character.” I said. “There are just too many…” I thought, “…odd things about this. Based on fact or based on a real person. He may be a nasty person. I believe there is a vampire here. He may welcome us, he may not. We can help those that are vampires there. This…” I frowned, “…could be the most important contact we’ve ever made.” Stan nodded. “I’ll make sure Buddy is updated with the latest of the Delkenzie program.” “Why?” “There are several languages in Romania. Romanian is just the official language of Romania. There is also Hungarian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Russian, Slovak, Romani, Ukrainian and German.” Stan nodded. “It literally is a melting pot.” Stan said with a nod that he gave for the monumental task. “It’s a good thing Mitch programmed his program well for Russian and the other languages.” I smiled at Stan. “We’ll gather the information with Buddy about Dracula, but I’m glad you’ll be there Stan. Your knowledge of Vlad and the history will prove very valuable.” “The Romanian people of that era during Vlad’s reign were very superstitious. A lot of that will be still with most people there.” Stan said. “The contacts that we do have in that area, is there one more vocal? Someone who wants help?” I asked. “They might be more cooperative.” Stan nodded. “I can say the one that sticks out in my mind is Andrei. His name I’ve seen more than any other. I’ll send you his email address. He has been more vocal since Edwin was turned back to more human. That’s all I know about him.” “Sure.” I nodded. “And maybe send me those emails, so I know about what he would like to have done and I can tell him what we hope to do.” I was feeling something else about this trip. Did we have special abilities? Maybe. What I was now feeling was like a heavy weight on my heart or soul. If there was a figure that inspired the creation of this character of Dracula. Was he a vampire? Was he still holding any humanity in him? Did he feed on people like he was supposed to have in the book? If he did, he could be more dangerous than any wild vampire. He retained that part of being human that made him more dangerous. Colin came in as I was looking over the Internet about this area of Romania that Dracula was supposed to have been. He sat next to me in a chair. “How’s the research?” “There is a lot about Vlad Dracul.” I said waving at the screen. “Everything from where he was born to where he was a ruler. He was born in Sighisoara. That’s just northwest of Bucharest.” I looked at Colin. “The idea of looking for him was…I can’t explain it. It was more like a tickle in the back of my mind. Now, I’m starting to feel the weight of it. He could be very dangerous.” I said softly. “In many ways, I now feel like we’re going into real alien territory.” I looked at Colin. “You have this ability to tell about a man. Whether we can trust or not.” I smiled tightly. “Has anyone ever surprised you?” Colin thought a minute. “Not really.” “When we go, this person may be old. Would he be able to fool you?” I asked. Colin frowned. “He might try, but usually I can tell that they are trying to fool me and that’s my first clue not to trust.” He looked at me closer. “You however, seem to have this…intuition about where we go and what we’ll find there. What do you feel about this?” “I’m no psychic.” I smiled dismissing the thought. “You were right about a lot of people. Marissa and Adrian. You were right about England with Edwin, Matt and even Wayne. You were right about Egypt, now we have Amasis and Amir.” He said. “What do you feel about going after this…Dracula?” “I think it’s something else. Bigger. It’s a heavy feeling, is the only way I can describe it.” I said. “I don’t think he’s Vlad Dracul. I don’t think he’s Count Dracula either.” I admitted. “Is there a vampire?” I chuckled with a nod. “I do feel there is one. I think he knew Bram Stoker and believe he was the inspiration for this…Count Dracula. His experiences and what he did may have influenced a lot that Bram wrote.” I shrugged. “But with Artistic License, this vampire’s experiences were…embellished. I don’t want to take away any of the story about Dracula or about Vlad Dracul, but there is a story that’s different than the story told.” Colin nodded with a short sigh. “That’s what we’re going to find out.” He smiled. “And we will find out. If nothing else, we help those there that need help.” I nodded. “Sure.” I frowned. “We don’t have magic abilities. We have our talents that pretty much seem like magic. Suppose he has abilities we’re never encountered before?” “We’ll be fine.” Colin said kissing me. “I may have told you before…I love you.” I chuckled. “I know. I said in before, I think. I love you.” Colin shrugged a nod. “Once or twice.” He nodded as he ran his hand through my hair. “You’re everything to me, Devon. We’ll be fine.” He assured and kissed me gently. Going into Romania was not difficult, but we wanted to have people there to understand what we were doing, at least on the surface; why we were there. If for no other reason than upgrading the Delkenzie Language Program. It was a good cover. That meant Mitch had to know what we were doing. We invited him to dinner with Colin, me, Wayne and Amasis to let him know what we planned to do so he could back us up if called. Mitch grinned as the steaming plate of Shrimp and Grits were being served by Bertie. “This is the only way I’ll ever eat grits.” Mitch confessed with a chuckle. I grinned back. “Me, too.” I shook my head. “I’m a lousy Southerner. I hate grits, don’t like plain rice and no greens of any kind on my plate…ever.” Mitch nodded. “I like my coffee cold as you know. I was fine in New York. Tony had the problem in the South with some of our…unique customs and sayings.” He looked up at me and added. “Tad Morsi called me a few days ago. It seems he really wants that program.” Colin’s eyebrows rose surprised. “Really?” Mitch nodded. “Really. It seems you two impressed him.” He looked at us. “What happened over there?” We briefly told him about his brother Rafa and how he was holding a few vampires in hopes of creating a perfect soldier and that his brother was killed in a struggle. I left out the Fredrick Hoffman desire to become an immortal to make more money. Mitch nodded. “Well, whatever happened. He wants that program.” “I’m surprised.” He looked suddenly happy. “But pleased. We’re thinking of using it again.” Colin explained. “You said you wanted to buy in.” Mitch said. “You wanted to invest money and become partners.” “We will provide the hardware and some of the distribution.” Colin nodded and smiled. “I will admit, when we went to Egypt, it was to cover what we were really doing. Which is why I was surprised. But it’s a good program.” Mitch nodded. “Because you went to find vampires.” Amasis smiled. “Well, they did.” He held his hands out for himself. “Where are you going now? Is there another few vampires you’re looking for?” Mitch asked. I nodded. “Yes.” I looked at Mitch. “We’re looking for Dracula.” There, I told him. Mitch dropped his fork on his plate as his eyes widened. “You’re kidding.” Once again, we presented Mitch with the how and why. At the end of our explanation, to which Mitch listened and didn’t interrupt. When we were done, he just nodded. “Okay.” Colin was more shocked that Mitch was. “Okay. That’s it!?” He shook his head. “We tell you we’re vampires. We tell you that our dear friend Amasis is over two thousand years old and a vampire as well. You said okay then, too. How is it that you just except what we say? You don’t ask for proof or verification, just accept it.” Mitch chuckled and gave a nod. “I told Devon when he first told me. What he told me was too…unusual and too outlandish not to be true. He didn’t strike me as a liar nor did I think he was crazy. Therefore, it had to be true.” He waved at me. “I can’t dismiss the obvious things that are right here.” He sighed. “I hear something new like this. You want to find Dracula. That sounds dangerous, but I can see it. If you exist, perhaps he does, too.” He shrugged. “As partners with me, you will be doing the field work. There should be no questions asked by anyone. If there are. I’ll back you up. No problem.” He munched on some of his shrimp. “God, this is good!” He shook his head loving the taste. Arranging with the government in Romania, we told them the truth. We would be there to further our program. They weren’t suspicious and told us to come. Now arrangements were being made to travel there. We would again take the plane for Holm’s Laboratories to get there. No tickets needed and we would carry what we needed in equipment. Colin was packing when he passed me. “The house we’re renting should be big enough. We’ll be staying in Sighisoara. We’re inside the city proper. From the images I got, we should be okay. There are seven to eight bedrooms. One is a den, sort of that can be a bedroom. Some of us will have to double up.” I chuckled. “I don’t think that will be a problem. You and me, Stan and Mark, Mom and Dad, Gabriella and Alex…” Colin nodded. “George and Burke…” he waved. “I’m just thinking out loud.” “Do we have the scanners packed, the extra tablets and laptops? Earpieces?” Colin looked at me like I had lost my mind. “Do you think I’d forget those? It’s why we’re going. Officially.” I laughed. “Just crossing them off the list.” I shrugged. “It’s still summer. This could take a while.” “We’ll bring what we may need.” Colin said. “I’m sure they have clothing stores in Romania.” The feeling I got now, was even heavier. What we were about to do, was very important.
  13. Blueblood 4: Dracula

    Colin, Devon and the VUN seek the most famous vampire.
  14. Chapter 1

    We did just what Colin said we’d do. I don’t know how you deal with having suddenly nothing to do, but make love; which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I really did have a little issue with having nothing to do. I loved Colin, so spending time with him was great. Loving him was wonderful. The problem was we had nowhere to be and no set time to be there except when it was time to leave, but that was two weeks away! I fought the feeling that I had to be somewhere at a certain time. Some habits are hard to break! It was hard, but not impossible. It was nice being here with Colin. It was nice to always have a naked Colin with me twenty-four seven! I’ve said it so many times, I don’t need to repeat it, but I will. He was a gorgeous man! Wherever I turned, there he was. That part was great. He didn’t mind having me around that long and I was just as naked. It was day three when I realized. This is nice! We were lying on that beautiful beach, naked as when we arrived in the world and getting our tans. I know, but that’s how long it took me to finally relax. No vampires, no one to kidnap us…I smiled and rolled over. Colin wasn’t asleep, but his eyes were closed as he was getting the sun on his beautiful back, his head resting on his arms as he faced me. I felt the feelings again. How I felt for him. I leaned in kissing his face going to his ear and kissing his neck. I saw him smile, but he didn’t open his eyes. “Thank you, Colin.” I said softly. “I can’t express how much I totally adore you. This honeymoon was not anything like I imagined we’d have, but it’s perfect and just what we needed. Thank you for including me in your life.” Now Colin did open his emerald eyes and smiled at me. “Are you finally getting it now?” “What?” Colin rose up resting his head on his hand as he looked at me. “To me…there is not one person, alive, dead or yet to be born more important to me than you are.” He got this very serious look in his eyes. “Yes, more important than anyone; anyone, including Willie, George or even Gabriella and more than Josiah ever was.” He moved so we were not even an inch apart as he looked in my eyes. “You are the reason I’m alive. I’d do anything to protect you and keep you safe.” He said what he said next right in my face, our eyes locked on each other. “I…love…you.” He had said it before and I believed him then. I really, really believed him now. The intensity of his raw emotion was so powerful. I felt my mouth go dry and my heartrate increase. Unblinking, I nodded. “I know. I believe you. I…love…you.” I said softly, but never taking my eyes off his. We had been close before, but I never felt as much a part of him as I did at this moment. Colin smiled. “I know. I believe you.” He kissed me gently. “You’re a part of me. We are equal parts, of us.” He said. “We…are one.” Now, I couldn’t get enough of the man. I don’t care what people think about who puts what in whom, we were connecting on a level that surpassed simple sex. People don’t see that a man can connect on this level with another man and they are so wrong. We were binding together so tightly. It was as if we were trying to literally climb into each other’s soul. We did our best to do that! This house, in the tropics was amazing. What was equally amazing was they knew Colin would eat a lot. They made these dinners. Whole dinners and put them in the freezer. Colin and I would take a container out, pop it in the microwave and followed the instructions. We had solar power so no problem. If not enough power, there was the oven and stove that used gas. The food was damned good! I had to make two for Colin, but they were very good. What made me chuckle was the supply of Death Wish coffee for Colin. “How did you get this done in two days!?” I asked. Colin shrugged looking away. “Money gets things done.” I nodded. “This was probably expensive.” Colin smiled, but still wouldn’t look at me. “It is worth it.” I smiled at him and walked over, making him look at me. “It is.” I put my arm around his neck and pulled him closer. “This is what a honeymoon is about. I feel more connected to you than we ever were before.” Colin smiled as he embraced me tighter. “That’s what I wanted to do.” “You did very good again.” Colin buried his face in my neck. “Anything for you, baby.” We walked the entire island. We swam in that beautiful warm waters and didn’t put on a thing. There was a hammock, when we weren’t in the sun, or water or making love…and often we made love in the sun and water. Time had ceased to exist. We were lazy and I loved it. Then one day I heard the drone of an engine. I opened my eyes and Colin struggled to get out of the hammock. “Sorry, love.” Colin smiled. “We have guests arriving.” “Guests?” I asked. “They’re bringing more food and supplies.” Colin chuckled. “I don’t care if you dress or not, but I’m putting something on.” He waggled his eyebrows. “You’re the only one to see this.” He waved down at his naked body. I smiled at him. “Sincerely, I mean what I’m going to say, I am a lucky man to be able to do that.” I held my hand out to him. “Help me up. These are great, but hell to get out of.” “Maybe God should have started with Adam and Steve.” Colin chuckled. “I can’t imagine Adam and Eve getting along better than we do.” I nodded as I got to my feet. “There’s a problem with that. Who’ll have the kids?” Colin nodded. “I know, but He could have worked something out.” He waved at the sky. I laughed as I looked for something to put on. “Where did we stash our clothes?” This was great week and we had another coming. There were times when it paid to be a vampire. The enhanced sense sometimes kicked in at the right times. Remember? We were made to be predators? Able to hear soft rubber soles of shoes, hearing a heartbeat? That and the only voice I’d heard was Colin’s for a while. Only sounds were the breeze, waves and gulls. This time there were two in the plane; the pilot that brought us here and one other. Colin managed to find a pair of shorts and put those on. I got myself together first and headed for the pier. I saw the two get out of the plane and the second man stopped looking surprised at me…and beyond me. I looked back and saw Colin coming. They were still a good ways off when they talked. I heard them like they were standing next to me. The second man asked the pilot. “I thought this was a honeymooning couple.” The pilot nodded. “That’s right.” He waved at me and Colin. “They’re guys!” The pilot nodded. “Very rich guys that paid me triple for this! Do not blow this for us!” He hissed at the other guy. “They’re fags!?” “Oh, grow up!” The pilot said shortly. “They’re money’s good!” I held my hand up to Colin. “Let’s make this fast.” Colin looked at me and then back at the two coming toward us. “Why? What happened?” “Let’s just say there is the old intolerance of men that are gay.” I said sadly and walked on to meet the men bringing our supplies. As the two took our used containers and put the new ones in the freezer I really didn’t have much to say to them. Only, at the end I did say. “I love this place and I’d like to come back.” I said to the pilot. “As long as we’re welcome.” I looked at the second man. “Though, it seems not everyone is welcoming.” I looked at the pilot raised eyebrows. “Our money was welcomed, but others were more bothered by the fact that we’re gay. Fags was the term used.” I said looking at the other man. The pilot looked shocked at me and looked at his partner as his eyes narrowed. He looked back at me. “I’m sorry. My brother-in-law is not…that evolved.” I nodded. “I’m not saying anything to Colin about what I overheard. I would like to think we can come back. This has been the nicest place we’ve stayed.” “I apologize for…” he looked at his brother-in-law, “…his nasty words.” “I only bring this up to give a point.” I said. “I don’t know the circumstance about his birth, but he is clearly biracial. I hope there was no crime involved, but a union of two races would never have met approval for some people…and still don’t for some. Should I say something about a zebra to him?” How about an Oreo cookie? Who needed to consult him before Colin and I married? It was none of his business.” The pilot nodded. “Or is it mine.” He smiled. “Again, I apologize.” He said sincerely. “Enough said.” I smiled and shook his hand. “This is a lovely island. I will talk Colin into coming back. I assure you.” The pilot nodded again. “You’ll be more than welcome.” I watched as they headed back to the plane and they were having a rather heated discussion, but trying to keep it low so I couldn’t overhear. I smiled when the pilot finally turned and swung his fist at his brother-in-law sending him into the warm water. He made his point and got in the plane to wait for his brother-in-law to get out of the water and get in. Later during dinner, Colin looked at me. “Are you going to tell me what happened? Who said what?” I smiled at Colin. “I never keep things from you. I never will. I’ll tell you, but I handled it. Can I leave it there?” Colin looked fondly at me and smiled. “Okay. I’ll let it go.” He grinned leaning in at the table kissing me. “I trust you.” The next week came to a close and we dressed again to go back to Charleston. “This was nice.” I said smiling at Colin. “I understand you paid triple to stay here.” Colin looked at me astonished I knew that. “How…Who…?” I grinned kissing him. “I just know. When we come back…and we will come back; how about we just pay what’s normally charged?” Colin frowned. “I did that because it was last minute. There was little time for them to get it ready.” I hugged him. “I got that. I’m fine with it. This was paradise. Thank you.” Colin nodded, but still looked at me trying to figure out how I knew as he thought about how I found out. We got back to Wentworth Manor and again, greeted by Robert who looked at us from head to toe. “We sure are tan!” Robert grinned looking at the two of us. I nodded. “And no tan lines!” I chuckled as Robert got what I was meaning. “I’ll take your word for that.” Robert said. “Stan and Mark stayed in the pool house for the week following the wedding.” Colin nodded. “That’s fine. They’re always welcome to stay.” “You have a message from Mitch McKenzie yesterday. He wants to talk to you about the Delkenzie program.” Robert reported. “I’m sure there are many emails and messages.” He smiled at us. “Welcome home.” I smiled at seeing the house. “It will be hard to get the swing back.” I admitted. “I got used to being lazy.” Colin nodded with a chuckle. “But it was very nice.” He kissed me. “I love you.” I smiled back. “I know.” Colin sighed. “We’re getting some hardware samples together for the translators. The Delkenzie program will be accessed through those.” He smiled. “It will be a nice money maker for both us and Mitch. I think the Language Buddy will sell well.” I nodded. “I have no doubt.” I raised my carryon. “Not a lot of laundry. I liked our honeymoon; not a lot of work afterwards.” Gabriella and Alex returned the day before from Europe. We met after we got back, having dinner with Gabriella, Alex, Mom, Willie, Wayne, Amasis and Amir. Gabriella was telling us about some of the things they had seen. “…Paris was wonderful. I loved the French Rivera.” Gabriella said happily. Alex looked at her. “Are we telling them the other part?” Gabriella frowned. “We have to now. You brought it up.” She sighed and took the deep breath before she said. “There were vampires in Paris.” Colin nodded. “Not surprising. We’re everywhere.” Alex nodded. “We didn’t see them. We smelled and sensed them.” I thought about the many contacts we’d gotten from Europe; not only in Paris, but other countries in Eastern Europe. “Perhaps we need to contact those? There were a lot from Paris, but…not that many from Eastern Europe. Why?” “Eastern Europe? You mean the Ukraine and Romania and those places?” Alex asked. I smiled as the idea took place in my head. “Let’s just admit it. Haven’t any of you thought of looking for Dracula?” Colin’s eyes widened and everyone else at the table were staring at me in shock. “Oh, come on people.” I said smiling. “Don’t you want to know if there is a real Dracula? He was a real person. We know about Vlad the Impaler. Bram Stoker wrote a novel in the late 19th Century about that vampire. You have to wonder about where all that came from.” “It’s just a story.” Mom said. I nodded. “There is a story.” I agreed and looked at her. “That came from where? Who could make up things like that? It had to be based on knowledge about someone.” “Who? The vampire? Or that ruler?” Colin asked. “That’s my point!” I nodded. “That’s what we can look for. With the cooperation of those vampires…and I mean, just like us over there, they should know whether or not there was a Dracula or if it’s Vlad. Or both! Were they even the same? Was there another man that took on the title? There aren’t that many contacts over there, why? Is someone over there running those vampires already? Who? Is it Dracula?” “We look for Dracula.” Wayne said nodding confirming what I said. “There are vampires there that need help, right?” I asked. “If for no other reason, helping them while seeking this Dracula, will bring needed attention to the VUN!” I was getting excited about this. “We can blog about it!” “Blog!?” Colin asked. “We don’t have to blog, but keeping a record that we send to the other vampires on the contact list will give more credibility.” I said smiling. “If we find this vampire…assuming he’s still alive since the….” I looked at them. “…was it the 15th Century?” I waved at Amasis. “We know a vampire can live a long time. Why do we assume he’s dead? Imagine, we get Dracula on the serum and he becomes more human! Imagine that! He is THE vampire!” They all looked at each other, seeing uncertainty become a more determined look. Colin slowly nodded. “Well, Devon was right about Egypt.” He waved at Amasis. “We have a former pharaoh at the table.” He chuckled. “Why not have Dracula join us here, too.” “He may help us locate more of the Old Ones.” I said. “I’m sure they were there.” Colin nodded. “Okay.” He grinned. “I guess we’re heading to Transylvania! That’s our next stop.” “Do we have to go when it’s cold?” Wayne asked. “All the movies I saw about Dracula it was cold.” Alex grinned at Wayne. “Bring warm clothes.” He said logically. Amasis nodded and raised a hand. “Question.” We looked at him. “Who’s Dracula?” Amasis asked.
  15. Chapter 25

    Yes, you have to wait. I'm writing it now. Real life will interrupt, but it's on the way. The new book, Blueblood 4 will be...well...you'll see.
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