How to kill a vampire

Blood Lust  –  episode 3

Blackie finished his breakfast and left the diner, returning to his office. The encounter with the woman, the woman claiming to know him, saying he was the son of someone named Grace, had startled him. Downright spooked him. She spoke as if she knew him, and he felt her eyes penetrating the dark reaches of his soul, venturing into places Blackie himself knew existed but never wanted to face. Though he knew of no connection to the lady, somewhere deep inside, Blackie felt like he should go with the woman. But he didn’t.

Damned nonsense. Get a grip, Blackie. You need to find a job, one that will pay the bills, especially the rent. Do the right thing.

Blackie was the boy in school who sat quietly, working on the assignment when the teacher left the room. He was the one who returned the twenty dollar bill to the old lady when she walked down the sidewalk, not realizing she had dropped it. Blackie was the man who took marriage vows to heart, especially the part that spoke of forsaking all others, until death do you part. Honesty, integrity, doing the right thing. Blackie learned these values from his mother. Dad was never in the picture, having left soon after his one and only encounter with Blackie’s mother. Blackie had decided long ago to be the better man.

Blackie’s self justification was interrupted by a knock at the door. Judging by the clothes, Blackie assumed it was a lawyer.

“My name is Anton Scribbs. I believe you were at the diner this morning when my father was found.”

“I never knew Scribbs had a son. Rarely spoke to him, though, so I shouldn’t be surprised. What can I do for you?”

Blackie looked the man over. Mid thirties, nice suit, make that a very nice suit, Italian dress shoes, carefully manicured jet black hair. Definitely not from the Eastern Shore.

“That’s not to be unexpected from my father, he rarely talked to anyone outside of our family. He did, however, mention you on several occasions. And that is precisely why I am here. To return a favor.”

“Listen, all I ever did for the guy was keep some poachers off his land a few times-“

“Mr. Sherwood,” he interrupted. “Can we sit down for a few minutes. I have something you may be very interested in seeing.”

Curiosity got the best of the wildlife ranger. He invited the man inside and offered him a seat in the one chair other than his own. Blackie was apologizing for the lack of coffee when the visitor opened a briefcase, removing what looked to be an old encyclopedia.

“Once you peruse the contents of this book, you will never need coffee to stay awake again. But first, take a look, if you please, at chapter seven, page 490.”

Blackie thumbed the well worn pages of the ancient-looking tome, carefully stopping once he saw page numbers beginning with a four. Finding the correct chapter, he adjusted his desk lamp to focus its beam directly onto the page.

“This appears to be a passenger manifest…from a ship called the Lady Beaufort? Never heard of it.”

“Of course not, Mr. Sherwood. The Lady Beaufort sailed into these waters back in 1725. But what is more interesting is the disposition of the passengers. Read on, please.”

Blackie traced the ledger lines across the page. Last name, first name, date of birth, race, gender, all the usual stuff listed on an immigration form, he supposed. There were 50 entries in all, the last with no name, simply described as a female, mulatto. The far right column caught his eye. Almost all of the entries terminated with the phrase deadan burned t’char.

“What do this mean? Is this saying all the passengers died?”

“Almost all. 46 poor souls were found dead, bodies still on board. And, if you notice at the top of the page, the crew was found dead, as well. The Lady Beaufort sailed into the harbor on her own, wheel running free. Three survivors were found locked in a hold below deck. A regular ghost ship, they said at the time.”

“A morbid tale, sir, but what does this have to do with me – or your poor father?”

Anton Scribbs leaned back in his chair, as if playing the cat waiting for the mouse to take the cheese. “Next page. Look at the next page.”

Blackie turned the parchment-like paper very carefully; he could see the fragility of the book and had no desire to make any new tears. The next page had but three completed entries. Blackie let out an audible gasp when he read them.

“There were only three survivors? One named Scribbs, one. . . Sherwood? And, um, one name I don’t recognize – D’abelovsen That’s a name for you. Is that Italian?”

“Slovak, but Mr. Sherwood, think about this – you are looking at the point of entry for your seven times great grandmother. She was one of the survivors. One of only three survivors.”

“And this Scribbs – is that a distant relative of yours, then?”

“Exactly. Your ancestor and mine came from the same part of the old country. As did the other passenger. Now, aren’t you curious as to who killed. . . or, how the other passengers died?”

Blackie took a piece of scrap paper from his desk drawer. Scribbling some numbers on the page, he started pondering out loud. “You said there were 50 passengers and crew. Subtract the 46 died, then take away the three who survived, and you still have one left. The female with no name. What happened to her?”

“We can speak to that issue later, For now, if you turn a few pages earlier, to chapter four on page 280, you will start to understand why I am here.”

Blackie was more than curious now. He was flummoxed when he read the chapter heading: How to kill a vampire.

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3 thoughts on “How to kill a vampire

    • Thanks, Jennifer. “Witt Kepler, private eye” is starting a new arc and Blood Lust is only three episodes long so far. It’s a good time to join the party – if only the author would get some time to write!

  1. Pingback: The Book of Spells, Revealed « Almost Out of Ink…

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