Mystery at Castle Dracula, Conclusion
by Jeff Baker
The Story So Far: Vampire hunters Jessie Skedderis and Shawn Rodriguez have traveled to Transylvania, accepting a mysterious invitation at what may be Castle Dracula. But the servant Wilhelm is a real vampire and has grabbed Jessie, demanding that Shawn remove his holy protection against vampires; the Blessed Star of the Kabbalah, and toss it out the window. Shawn reaches under his shirt, pulls the chain off with a painful snap and tosses it out the open window. Leaving him confronting Wilhelm who is holding the muscular Jessie effortlessly with one slender arm…
“I am,” Wilhelm said, “as you may have surmised, not one of those pitiful beings who may not expose themselves to the daylight.” His teeth glistened.
“But you don’t have your full powers until nightfall,” I said, standing by the window, fists clenched.
“He’s got those powers now,” Jessie said, squirming in the vampire’s grip.
“You are, I take it, the real Count Dracula?” I asked.
Wilhelm laughed. “I never even encountered such a person! I am the last of the vampires who have contributed to the legend of the immortal count. The servants here are under my control. It saves money on paying them salary. But my need to feed is real.” He grinned even broader.
I glanced at where Jessie had left the baseball bat. Wilhelm snarled and tossed Jessie aside. I dove, aiming straight at the vampire. I hadn’t expected to be able to tackle him but grabbing him was all I needed. I clung to his waist There was a sizzle and Wilhelm began to smoke where I was holding on to him. There was an unearthly shriek. With one hand, he pushed me away. I landed several feet away on the floor, watching the vampire stare at his smoking hand where he had grabbed me. He stared at me and snarled again. I had never seen a face more monstrous.
There was a loud crack behind him. A shadowy shape leaped out of the darkness of the room. Jessie. With half of the freshly-broken baseball bat which he plunged between the vampire’s shoulder blades. I did not think the vampire’s mouth could open any wider but it did. Teeth. And a gurgle of shock. I raced behind them and picked up the other half of the splintered baseball bat (thank God it was wood) where it had fallen after Jessie had smacked it against the stone corner of the wall. Rushing in front of them, I plunged the jagged end of the broken bat into the vampire’s chest. I expected a howl or rage, but instead there was a long, shrill squeak like the death-rattle of a huge rat.
I reached out and grabbed the vampire’s arm to push him away, and steam rose from where I touched him and his body felt mushy under his shirt. Jessie and I stepped away as the undead thing sagged and fell apart into a sickening gelatinous puddle. We stared, half expecting the puddle to morph back into Wilhelm but it just sat there.
“I’ll get the Holy Water,” Jessie said in a hoarse voice, reaching for the suitcase and the sealed metal vial we’d brought from Rome.
“Don’t use it all,” I said. “We may need it to get out of the castle, but I don’t think the castle staff are vampires. In fact if they were in his power that’s probably gone by now. But bring the bat. What’s left of it.”
I watched as Jessie sprinkled the water from the vial on the mess of clothes and putrescence. When he was done, I grabbed him and held him close.
“You feel good,” Jessie said.
“You do too,” I said.
I held Jessie for another moment. I fingered the rip in my shirtfront and the spot where I had securely taped the Blessed Star of the Kabbalah to my chest, just in case something like this would happen. A risk but worth it.
“Think there’s a motel near here?” Jessie asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “But let’s call a cab and sleep on the train.”