Chapter 6: Final day before departure
Smith woke by his alarm clock going off. He turned it off. He happened to see it was six O’clock. It did not bother him that much at first so he closed his eyes and went back to sleep. Shortly after the alarm went off again, this time he closed the alarm and all other alarms that were supposed to happen within a five-minute interval. But this time he could not fall asleep. He closed his eyes and tried to think of thoughts of something. Nothing happened except him lying there with his eyes closed.
He thought to himself what is the use of me trying to fall asleep if I know I will not? Slowly he began to rise up. When he was in sitting position he scratched the back of his head and checked how Wilson was doing? Wilson was totally knocked out at least by the look of it.
Wilson was lying with is mouth open, blanket not properly on and his arms wide apart. Smith stood up and went to the bathroom to take some cold water onto his face. After having done that he went back into his room. Smith took his clothes on. His clothes were situated on the chair where he had put them the previous night. When he was dressed he thought could there be anything missing? He touched his pocket. He felt his mobile was in there but what about the keys? He first took a look towards his bed, then towards the circular couch table next to it.
Smith saw his keys lying next to the TV remote. He took them and put them into the same pocket as the mobile. As for the mobile he took up to see what time it was? It was 6.45 am a little too early to meet with the others down in the lobby. Smith wondered if there is a cantina in here or maybe some sought of breakfast buffet? Better if I ask that in the lobby of the receptionist he thought. Thereafter he went out of his room, locked the door and headed down stairs where the lobby was.
As Smith arrived in the lobby he said to the receptionist
Smith: “Good morning.”
Receptionist (1): “Good morning. Can I offer you my services?”
Smith: “Yes, you can tell me if there is a breakfast cafeteria in here?”
Receptionist (1): “Yes there is, if you turn around that corner and down those stairs” pointing towards the stairs.
Receptionist: “You can see the sign there.”
Indeed Smith saw the sign. It was a sign put out on a stand. The sign said:
From 6.00 till
Smith: “Thank you.”
Receptionist (1): “No problem.”
Smith walked to the stairway besides the sign and down the stairs. There was a beautiful large room one floor down. The walls in the room were painted white. With lots of tables with good walking space in between them spread all around the room. On the opposing end of the room there was a long white table along the wall with all kinds of different food and drinks on it. All of the tables were decked and ready to be used. There were even some tables that had small signs on them that they were reserved.
This gave Smith the impression that there must be a whole number of guests staying at the hotel. Even more than there were seats for.
Smith went to one of those tables and took a cup off it. Got himself some coffee, sugar and milk. Then he went back after the plate. While he was out selecting what to take he heard
Wilson: “Good morning.”
Smith turned his head around towards where the noise was coming from. He saw Wilson to his big surprise.
Smith: “Good morning.”
Wilson: “Beautiful morning today.”
Smith: “Yes”” he replied while trying to figure out what Wilson was really up to.
Wilson: “Looks like today we are the earliest” he said with a smile.
Wilson: “Soon we have got to go and wake the others.”
Wilson walked and took a plate off the table where he could see Smith was sitting, because there was one plate missing beforehand together with a steaming cup of coffee. He came up to Smith and asked him.
Wilson: “What are you having?”
Smith: “Today I think I am going to start with two sandwiches. One will probably be a cheese sandwich and the other with ham.”
Wilson: “Okay. I think I will help myself to some sausages, egg and some ketchup at first.”
Smith came to the table, sat down and began eating. Wilson was still out to get his breakfast. Wilson soon returned with his plate though went back as soon as he had put it down. Wilson returned with a glass of juice. He put it down and took his cup and went again. As Smith had done, Wilson also preferred his coffee with sugar and milk in fact with a lot of sugar. Wilson returned once again but instead of sitting down. He just put his coffee down, took another plate and went off again. Smith whose attention it had caught could not understand why in the world was he piling all those things in front of him? Why could he not have gone after them if he would like some more after having finished the food on his plate? Wilson returned with a plate that had four pieces of white bread on it with jam. Smith looked at Wilson.
Wilson: “I’m stuffed.”
Smith acknowledged it by nodding his head.
Wilson: “How about you?”
Smith: “I’m good” smiling.
Wilson: “Shall we go up into the lobby to see if all the others are there” asking curiously?
Smith checked the time on his mobile.
Smith: “Yes, let us.”
Smith first started rising by pushing his chair back.
Wilson being the first of the two to come up the stairs and having turned the corner said.
Wilson: “Good to see that you are up”!
He saw Donna and Susan sitting down quietly. Donna did have on a running out fit and she did seem to be sweating slightly. Then again she might have been to the shower and forgotten to dry her hair thoroughly? But switched back to her running suit? Susan on the other hand had not been out running. Neither did it seem that she had woken up that long ago although she was nicely dressed.
Susan was wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt, a pair of blue jeans and her hair seemed to have been combed.
Carol, Patricia, Margaret and Mary were standing in another corner of the room talking to one another. From what Wilson saw and heard it was fashion definitely. Wilson heard them talking about what makes fashion.
Mary: “So what do you think about fashion” starting with an open question about the subject?
Patricia: “I prefer to follow the trend.”
Carol: “Yes, so you can point out all the mistakes with them.”
Margaret: “I think she means so that she wears what is pop. Is that not so Patricia?”
Patricia: “Yes, and so that I have different clothes to wear throughout the seasons.”
Mary: “Seasonality” nodding her head.
Mary: “Patricia am I to understand you correctly that you presume that the cycle runs over and over again? Let us say that if I wear this t-shirt this summer then I can do precisely the same next and the summer again after that?”
Patricia: “Yes, more less. Or if it may come to be that next summer and the summer again after that fashion has changed. I can look at how it has changed and where it may be heading?”
Mary: “Predictions, interesting” once again nodding her head.
Mary: “How about you Carol? I heard you say something about pointing out the mistakes with trends would you care to elaborate?”
Carol: “It is just that not all the trends are that great. There are many trends that die out quite quickly” clinching her lips.
Mary: “But is that not the meaning with fashion?”
Carol: “Maybe, but if so then people should consider it on forehand whether it is worthwhile launching some new clothes on the fashion scene or not.”
Mary: “And under which criteria should the considerations go?”
Carol: “I do not know” smiling.
Carol: “What I do know is some fashion trends I consider to be ugly and that is that.”
Mary: “Then what do you do if some of your friends think the fashion is nice that you think is ugly?”
Carol: “Then they are not my friends any longer.”
Mary did not find the response to be that amusing but for the sake of the discussion she went along.
Mary did not find any reason for why to pursue that this would be a poor reasoning to discard one of your friends because it was a question Carol had altered in the first place. It was a wide and open question for each to interpret as they pleased.
Mary: “Margaret and what do you think?”
Margaret: “I do not know if fashion plays such a big part for what I shop for or not.”
Carol: “That’s lame. Do you not care for what people think of you?”
Margaret: “What people may think of me is for them to decide. I do not let peoples opinion influence me in the way I dress or the way I behave” she said firmly defining her standpoint.
Carol and Patricia found it rather impressing in how she would not be influenced by external opinions other than her own.
Mary: “Why do you think that is? Is it a choice you yourself have made?”
Margaret: “I suppose. But it is also a matter of one’s principles and priorities” ending the discussion about her with a clear note.
Margaret: “How about you Mary?”
Mary: “First of all I find the term fashion to be an “heading” for the overall group of things you can plot under it” followed by a look at how the others digested it.
Mary: “Fashion can be segmented into lots and lots of sub-segments” knowing that the Patricia and Carol would lose some of her terming.
Mary: “If we were to take music it can also be put into lots of sub-segments. There is e.g. hip-hop, rock, pop, country, metal or punk. Each of these thereafter can be sub-segmented further into small groups of their own” seeing that the others begun to understand what she was talking about.
Mary: “To answer to your question I find it especially interesting because fashion as such should be in a market that is dead hence cannot grow or innovate any longer. But it is not” raising one of her index fingers to point out.
Mary: “Instead what has happened is we have deepened- and widened it so that fashion is not a concept in itself. Fashion is clothes, accessories, celebrities, looks, make-up, hair, nails, skin, art, entertainment, way of living, travel and so many more things. That is what interest me with fashion. Segmentation and how much longer we can continue in doing it for fashion not to lose the spark” the others could see how engaged Mary was with the subject.
Wilson: “So it seems to me that the only one missing is Mr. Taylor” looking at Smith who was standing a little behind him.
Donna had noticed Wilson a little after he had noticed her. Donna saw how Wilson was observing what Mary, Patricia, Margaret and Carol were talking about.
Donna did though wonder every now and then how much could Wilson actually hear of what the girls were talking about?
Could Wilson give her an exact summary of what they were talking about? Would it be a 100% accurate or would there be bits and pieces missing?
At a time Donna also did notice Smith coming up from the stairs turning the corner and coming up on Wilson.
Donna decided to challenge both boys hearing skill. Therefore she asked Wilson and Smith a question.
Donna: “Have you been eating?”
Smith: “Haven’t you?”
Donna: “No, I have been out running” she replied.
Donna: “I was thinking of catching a shower after Mr. Taylor has finished talking with us and then go get something to eat.”
Wilson: “You should try the buffet. It is quite refilling.”
Donna: “I can see that” referring to the breadcrumbs he had on his shirt which Wilson apparently was unaware of.
Mr. Taylor walked in using the main entrance carrying a plastic bag with him. Filled with what seemed to be brochures and tourist guides. He saw that everyone else was already at the reception waiting for him.
Mr. Taylor: “Good morning.”
Wilson: “Good morning.”
Smith: “Good morning.”
Donna: “Good morning.”
Wilson: “I see you have been out gathering some information from the tourist shops” he said looking at Mr. Taylor’s plastic bag.
Mr. Taylor looked at Wilson.
In the years since Vlad’s resurrection as Dracula he had mainly kept to his castle of Bran. Knowing it would be safe as it was deserted. But it did not take that long before other fears crept into the mind of Dracula, fears of him being exposed to the public or maybe even in being hunted out of his own castle. Dracula mustered himself a plan of what to do if such an occasion were ever to occur.
Dracula built himself a castle he could roam within without being seen from the outside. A castle that consisted partly of a maze of tunnels and pathways built within the walls of Bran. One where one could easily get lost if one were to be too hasty.
At the core being a burial vault beneath the castle of Bram. The burial vault was connected with two tunnels. One of the tunnels led up into the castle and the other one away from it to a nearby forest. Two tunnels symbolising a fight or flee response from Dracula. In one where there was an upper hand for Dracula he could simultaneously turn up anywhere in the castle to vanquish the enemy. The other were it to be even to the extent that they had discovered his secret tunnels, he could flee out into the forest and disappear without a trace.
The vault had nothing but a bed in side it filled with mirrors all around, three torches on both sides of the chamber. The bed was in the centre of the room dividing it into two sides, which were identical and next to a large mirror, two doorways one on each side. There was a big carpet located in the middle of the room from the doorways to the bed.
On the carpet there was drawn an entrance to a temple with roots coming out of it filling the rest of the carpet, on each corner of the picture there were triangles framing it into a picture, beyond the triangles there was a golden line in framing it as well, followed by a pattern, changing the picture seen by it all depending on the side which one chooses to see it from. After the pattern came a dark red lining ending all that could be seen on the carpet.
But it was so much more than what the eye could see to Dracula. If one followed the picture closely one could see that the temple in it-self was all gold. The pedestals to the temple were of a darker colour as if there had been mixed gold with dark green. The steps to the temple were also golden but the lining in between the steps was red. As well as the rest of the picture besides the golden roots, the mainly golden triangles and lining after that or the partly golden pattern.
If one focused even more on the temple one could see that in the heart of it there was a red being. Though one could only see the shape of their head, torso and arms. Below that there was a goblet holding the torso, arms and head up but also releasing the golden roots. Were one to look higher up on the picture one would see a golden helmet pointing up towards a three-horned dark red crown. It was this crown that was at the mid-point of the room.
This picture on the carpet reminded Dracula of his origins.
It is said that a vampire cannot see his own reflection because they have no soul. But Dracula could always see his own reflection in all the mirrors throughout his room but never his victims.
It must have been because he still has a fragment of the soul of Vlad within him? Making it all the more painful to see such acts of love. Acts Vlad could never have committed to willfully were he in power. The rest of Dracula is possessed by a demon giving him a new mind and body.
It was within the tunnels of Bran away from the burial vault itself that Dracula was walking while plotting his next moves.
Now that I have spread curiosity of Bran amongst the students they will be back. Thinking to him while moving up the stairs. Dracula was referring to the curiosity of Wilson while he told the story, the constant lack of any historical data supporting his hypothesis and creating curiosity in the others. After all they did not come here merely to hear a tale about Vlad. They will be back to get the historical view as well.
Today Dracula ought to take some action before he loses his chance. Tourists have a tendency to come but only for a few days.
He thought back on their encounter, the first time he was showing them around in Bran. There was one girl who reminded him of someone. Someone he had not seen for a very long while.
He opened one secret passage way that lead into a hall in the castle. There was no one currently at this narrow but long hall of the castle.
Wilson: “This gives us a good opportunity to get answers on all the questions we got last time” crossing the street over for Bran.
Margaret: “Indeed as to where is the factual evidence behind his hypothesis.”
Donna: “Even if he does not have a historical perspective of what he told? He still managed to keep us very engaged with it,” arguing with Margaret’s point.
Margaret: “Where is the point with that” escalating the situation?
Margaret: “I do suppose you know why we are on this trip” looking towards Donna?
Margaret: “That is to do some research on this Vlad character” making a brief pause after that.
Margaret: “Therefore no matter how entertaining this Drako guy is or whether he is hired by Mr. Taylor or not. I do hope that I can get the most out of our stay in Romania so that I can get good marks for my essay.”
They had almost reached the fare.
Mary: “So I am lost. Does this mean that you are going to find specifically this Drako tour guide in order to ask him this question” trying to get a sense of where Margaret was at?
Margaret: “Yeah I guess so.”
Mary: “Talk about your stay in Romania” raising her eyebrows.
Wilson: “See that is the reason I do not sit next to her.”
Margaret: “What is that supposed to mean” feeling a bit offended by Wilson’s remark?
Wilson: “Come on” taking a second to look at Margaret.
Wilson: “One cannot say you are not critical from where we have got the information from in school.”
Margaret: “Yes one can say that. I never question the source if it is given on forehand.”
Wilson: “Aaah but the source must be given” raising his index finger.
Margaret: “Of course otherwise one does not know if the information is legitimate or not.”
Wilson: “But sometimes even when there is a source given for the information you are still critical” trying to explain.
Wilson: “It is very seldom you get satisfied with the information and the sources you are provided.”
Margaret: “What is your point?”
Wilson: “My point is I prefer to much rather sit next to the Smith type. The type who may have something to say but they simply do not. Because when all comes to all it does not prosper the individual in asking such a question.”
Mary: “It looks like here is your chance” seeing Drako come towards them.
Drako: “Good to see you decided to come back.”
Margaret: “Yeah about that where do you have the data from that any of that what you told us last time had actually happened as you say it had?”
Drako: “Did you not find my story telling appealing” asking surprised?
Donna: “We most certainly did” stepping in smiling.
Donna: “It was so good you did not bore us with only the historical data as other tour guides probably would have.”
Drako: “Yes, I thought so to.”
Donna: “Wilson here would have almost crawled in the cave you showed us last if it was not for Mr. Taylor.”
Causing Drako to smile.
Donna: “Which does awake the curiosity did Mr. Taylor possibly have a say in it to why you became our tour guide?”
Drako: “I take it Mr. Taylor must be your lecturer” asking with one eye a little bit clinched?
Drako: “No, he did not ask me. It happened totally by coincidence” reassuring them that it was not staged.
Drako: “Though after hearing what she told me” opening his hand towards Donna and tilting it a little.
Drako: “I can clearly see why you thought so being so unlike the other tour guides” followed by a little pause.
Drako: “So I suppose you would like a more historical perspective on things” waving his hand towards where some other tour guides were standing?
Margaret regretted that she had brought up her dilemma with the tour guide and in him having little if not any historical backing on his story. Because as bad as it may have been historically he did manage to get the whole class engaged as well as the teacher.
Wilson: “I do not know about you lot” waving his hand towards the rest of the group.
Wilson: “But I am going with Drako” showing his standpoint.
Smith who had been observing the situation quite closely said.
Smith: “I agree. It may be that Drako has avoided the historical part or simply does not know that much about it. But it is fun being with him. Whether his hypothesis can be proven or not does not matter if you ask me. All that matters when all comes to all is that we got something out of it. If truly it is a problem that Drako does not run on the factual side with his story. Who honestly cares? We can go to the library and borrow out books of Romania and of Vlad III. There we can surely find all the information we have not got on the trip or that there is of Vlad and his rule over Romania. But what we cannot get is an exact replica of Drako’s interpretation of what happened with Vlad” ending his argumentation for why they should all pick Drako instead of another tour guide.
Mary tilted her head towards one side and shrugged her shoulders before moving to Drako’s, Wilson and Smith’s side.
Donna: “For entertainments sake” smiling to the others before joining their half.
Margaret who also was taking the marketing class together with Smith and Wilson had a sense of where it was going and what the final outcome should be.
Margaret: “Fine you go with him but I will be taking another tour guide” she said firmly.
Margaret had two reasons for this being, she was not going to be taken along with this bandwagon effect i.e. do what the majority decides and because she rarely lets others play an influence over what she does.
After Margaret had said that she went towards where the other tour guides were standing.
This came a little bit as a shock to Drako. Drako thought to himself that he had them all under his wing but apparently not exactly. He had also noticed not all of them had decided to turn up which may be a sign that he was losing momentum. Drako remained calm and said.
Drako: “Shall we begin” showing way to the entrance of the castle?
Wilson: “Yes lets” leading the group into the castle.
The last one of the group was Mary.
Drako: “Why did not the rest come” Drako asked curiously when Mary passed him?
Mary: “Mr. Taylor has bought tickets to fly back home to the U.S for today. Because back in the states he did not think there would be that much to see. Although on our arrival he has come to regret buying the tickets for such a short stay in Romania. Therefore currently while staying back at the hotel he is trying to rearrange our departure date from Romania. Mr. Taylor would prefer it if we got as much additional research done from here before returning back to the states. As for Patricia, Susan and Carol I am not entirely sure. It might be because Susan thought she had a dream about you, Patricia being worried that she would not get anything out of it even if she came along and Carol still having a bit of a boner after yesterday’s shots.”
Drako: “Susan had a dream about me,” asking surprised?
Drako: “What kind of dream?”
Mary: “I do not know since I was not paying any attention” she admitted.
Mary: “But from what I can tell you it sounded like she saw you in her hotel room.”
Mary: “So what do you have planned today Drako” changing to another subject?
Drako: “Well I have thought of starting out with asking if there would be anything in particular you would like to hear about? If not then I have planned something of my own.”
Mary: “Really? Could I hear what you have planned?”
Drako and Mary had just caught up with the rest of the group.
Wilson: “So Drako have you got any good stories up your sleeve today?”
Drako: “I have got a few. That is if you do not have any other specific topics in mind which you would like to hear about?”
Donna: “I would actually like to hear about.”
Wilson: “Oh not you as well Donna are going to go on about the historical stuff” Wilson dramatized!
Wilson: “Why did you not go with Margaret then?”
Donna feeling a bit intimidated by Wilson’s impulsive remarks did not wish to pursue it any further. It was not because Wilson was correct. But having seen how much Wilson was taken by Drako and his stories yesterday. She thought it might not be fair for Wilson if she were to use up all of Drako’s time together with the group. So she kept quiet.
Drako: “Well since I see no remarks or questions coming from the group. I take it you are up for more of the stories of Vlad.”
Drako started entering the castle as he told.
Drako: “Since last you did hear a bit about the castle and of Vlad. How he managed to survive the last siege upon his castle till he was lured in and killed by his brother Radu.”
Drako noticed how some of their faces changed towards the end. It was almost as if they were saying to him that’s all very good but do you have any actual facts you can base this on?
Drako: “What I also told you last time was how the Dracula character was spawned by no one finding the head of Vlad not even when they searched his grave.”
Till now there had been some nodding while the others were waiting anxiously for the moment when Drako will engage them again much like he did yesterday. Drako stopped at an entrance to a hallway. He turned around with a stern look in his eyes.
Drako: “What I am going to show you now I have never showed anyone. Please speak of this to no one.
Wilson automatically thought of something mind blowing that is going to blow them away. Smith and Donna were waiting to see some more before they judge.
Mary could not see what he was getting at? They were standing in front of an empty hallway. They had gone past this hall way a few times yesterday. There was nothing spectacular or eye catching with this hall way so no Mary could not see what Drako had up his sleeve?
Drako: “All will be answered in due time” as he turned.
Drako must have done something because all of a sudden the wall opened leading to an identical tunnel to the hallway. This truly was mind blowing for all of them.
Wilson stood with his mouth open. Smith and Donna were in shock over what they had just witnessed. Mary who had earlier been pessimistic about what was Drako going to do now stood wide eyed and gazed at the wall.
Drako: “Quickly now before someone notices.”
It would be imaginable that most people would hesitate before going into such a tunnel, especially since as it seemed no one had a clue about it being there. This lead to the question of how long had it been there as well as why did not the others know about this?
Still Smith, Wilson, Donna and Mary trusted Drako enough that he would answer all of their questions later on as he first had stated. If the worst was also to come to that Drako was in fact a rapist or even worse a murderer then what chances would he have in succeeding with it?
The group entered the tunnel. Drako being the last one closed the secret door after him.
It was pitch black after the door had closed. It was even darker than at nighttime lying in bed with the lights turned off and the door closed.
Drako: “I found this tunnel not that long ago,” explaining to the others while taking a wooden pole from a stand next to where the wall had opened from.
Even though the stand was right next to where they had come from Drako must have done it a dozen times before. Because he had it with in seconds after the door had closed and a few more till he had light it with his lighter.
The wooden pole had wrapped around one end a cloth that seemed to have been soaked in some kind of oil since it was very easily flammable.
Drako: “It seems to be a complex network of tunnels with a few pathways.”
Wilson: “Who do you think has built it?”
Drako: “I do not know. But whoever it was seems like did not want to be seen.”
Donna: “Why do you draw to that conclusion? It could have very well been built as an escape route back in the middle ages?”
Drako chose to not answer to this question just yet.
Since Drako chose not to answer the question Smith decided to take part in who could have built these tunnels and why?
Smith: “We do know that in the Middle Ages there were many castles which held secret pathways. There were even some that held within them escape tunnels much like this one though not all of them have survived” trying to draw some reason into why it was built.
Mary: “Yes, but look at it. It is not a one way tunnel or multiple tunnels fixated to one pathway” drawing all of their reasoning in to their situation.
Mary: “I think Drako has a point and we should let Drako finish with his conclusions before we come to a firm stand point of our own.”
Donna: “Where are you leading us” trying to get to where was Drako heading after several staircases and a couple of tunnels.
Drako: “You will see.”
They stopped not so long after Drako’s last remark. Curiosity filled the group.
Mary: “Why are we stopping?”
Drako: “You will see.”
After saying that he went a bit further put fire to another piece of wood identical to his own in a stand then another and yet another. He thereafter seemed to walk straight into a wall and disappear altogether. But they could still hear his steps as well as the cloths go up in flame even after he had vanished into the darkness and out of sight for the whole group.
Shortly after they had heard six clothes go up in flame including the three that they could see. Drako returned.
Drako: “Come” saying to the group of four who were standing right in front of him.
Mary, Donna, Wilson and Smith went towards Drako. They were amazed by what they saw, stepping into a room that was basically in perfect condition. The thoughts that rushed into their heads had overcome them making it nearly impossible to act. The shock and horror that was in their minds was similar to, if one was walking in the forest and all of a sudden confronted by a grizzly bear standing just a few meters away from one.
Drako: “This is why I have not revealed it to anyone besides you” speaking as if he was almost whispering afraid of someone over hearing him.
Wilson: “So he does exist” letting out a gasp of fear.
Wilson was still rather paralyzed after having received this enormous amount of information. The information in and of itself was not that over whelming. However it was contrary to history. Everything one had gotten taught in school and university was proved wrong. But it was not that what was on the top of Wilson’s mind. The question of what to do next was looming on the top of everybody’s mind.
This was followed by a whole lot of denial and disbelief especially among the ones who were not that easily convinced.
Smith and Mary, Smith being the more observant type and Mary who had as one of her strong sides history, were not sure of what could have lead up to this?
If this was the vault of Count Dracula would there not be more? Where are his clothes, where are his coffins and where are his other artefacts?
Smith: “Let us not be too hasty” he said in denial and in contrary to the overwhelming quantity of information that proved Dracula did exist.
Smith: “If in fact it was Dracula’s vault why does it look so empty?”
Drako: “You know there are many things that beat the eye” looking at Smith.
Mary: “But things such as clothes, chairs, tables would surely not be things worth hiding?”
Wilson had the complete opposite approach to count Dracula than Mary did.
Wilson: “Why would Dracula need chairs, tables or in that case clothes? If one knows immortality is in reach and the essence of chairs or tables is decreased due to the eating habits being different?”
Mary: “But clothes? Clothes must be important, if you wear the same clothes for weeks they begin to smell, months and they may begin to rot” arguing for why Dracula must have more than one set of clothes.
Wilson: “But this is Dracula” over exaggerating it.
Wilson: “The Dracula we till quite recently refused to believe in. The Dracula we were taught in school not to believe in” with Wilson gazing a look at everyone.
Wilson: “We should find out more what Drako has discovered before we decide what to do about it” he himself finding it hard to hold such a calm attitude towards the situation.
Wilson: “Please tell us what more you have discovered since you have found this place?”
Drako: “I discovered this vault and the tunnels leading up to it by accident. Actually it was a pretty stupid accident where I came to trip over a stone while walking” nodding his head and ending off with a small laugh.
Drako: “To prevent myself from hitting my head against the wall I tried to grab onto the wall. In doing so I must have pushed something that made the secret passage way open. I was baffled by the event” looking up and holding a few seconds pause.
Drako: “I had two options. One was to go and tell this to the public and the other was to go investigate the matter closer at hand. I picked the latter one due to that I was afraid of forgetting how to open it again. I could always reveal this matter to the public after I had done some investigating of my own” he added as a short remark.
Drako: “While I entered I felt scared though in a very unusual way also excited about going to the unknown. The fear of the unknown and the excitement of finding something no man has found before me for centuries.
I light the cloth wrapped around the pole of wood I found in the stand after having taken it. I started roaming around the tunnel. Soon thereafter I hesitated and thought I had made a big mistake. I headed back towards the entrance. But it was too late the passage way had already closed. I did not spend any time on finding how to open the wall but knew I had to get out of here. It was a mistake I had entered in the first place without having let anyone know where I was. I had the constant fear of someone coming towards me from the other end of the tunnel. I remember at a time I began sweating after having no luck finding a way out. It seemed to me at that time like one long tunnel, with stairs more stairs and a tunnel again after that. At a time something must have happened, either I took a different path or I had followed the tunnel till I came to an empty room. The room I had come to was the burial vault where we are standing now. An underground vault built by whomever built this complex. It seemed exactly like it does now, neat and tidy just like it had never been used.”
Smith: “I take it you then know where the other tunnel leads” pointing towards the opposite tunnel from where they came.
Drako: “It leads further on, further away from the town.”
Donna: “So you did nothing once you came to this vault?”
Drako: “No, not at first.”
Donna: “Why did you not tell anybody about it afterwards?”
Drako hesitated a bit before answering.
Drako: “What should I have told them” looking at Donna?
Donna: “You could have told them what you found.”
Drako: “Do you think they would have believed me?”
Donna: “If not then you could have brought them here. Showed them how one can get into it from the castle or by a bit further away from the town.”
Drako: “If I had done that then it would have given them perfect reason for taking me in as a suspect. Maybe even as the master mind behind it all.”
Smith: “He is right. They would take him as the main suspect if there was no one else they could question” agreeing with Drako.
Smith: “You said you did nothing during your first visit. What did you do during the other visits?”
Drako: “Tried to find evidence something I could go to the police with” telling them that he did have in mind of going to the police, once he had something they could go after but himself.
Mary: “You know once one has thought of it. It could also be the burglars.
Drako: “That is true.”
Mary: “And since you did say that back then it looked as clean as it does today. One could suppose that it was newly built?”
Wilson: “Yes I do see what Mary is getting at. Somebody should stay here if they were to come back?”
Donna: “You do not suppose it should be one of us?”
Wilson: “I see no reason for why it should not be one of us.”
Smith in the meanwhile had taken his mobile out to not lose track of time. He did see what the time was but he also saw there was no mobile network.
Smith: “Maybe Mr. Taylor was trying to get in touch with one of us?”
The others looked at him. Mr. Taylor what does he have to do with any of it?
Soon after Smith took his mobile up and waved it to the others. He was indicating that it had something to do with the mobile.
Mary had a look also at her mobile because she understood sort of what Smith was saying.
Mary: “Oh yeah there is no cellular connection.”
Donna: “We should head back to the hotel if indeed Mr. Taylor was trying to get in touch with us.”
Wilson: “What about the mystery?”
Donna: “If we have more time we can come back,” she told Wilson while looking at him.
Donna: “Drako do you have a mobile number where we can reach you?”
Drako: “I will be here waiting if you decide to return.”
Donna nodding her head on the sound of it.
Mary, Donna, Wilson and Smith were rushing back to the hotel.
Mary: “What do you suppose Drako meant when he said “I will be waiting if you decide to return”” looking towards Donna?
Donna not sure of what she should answer with said.
Donna: “I suppose he meant he will be waiting for us in the same place we met last time.”
Mary: “Today morning” just checking that they were meaning the same thing.
Mary: “That is a bit odd. Why did he not just give us his mobile number.”?
Wilson: “Maybe because he did not have one?”
Mary looked at Wilson. Wilson shrugged and commented.
Wilson: “Could be?”
Mary: “And how is he supposed to know if we are to return altogether? Is it maybe a sales trick” looking at Smith?
Smith: “Could be but I think you may have misinterpreted his message.”
Mary: “How so?”
Smith: “If I tell my father that I will be at his place when I get up. It can be understood at least in two different ways. The first is I will arrive at his place when I always do or then, the second which is I will arrive at his place right after I have woken up. In this case I believe he meant that most likely he will be there if we decide to return. Not because it is us but since that is his job to welcome guests before they enter the castle and to offer to give them a guided tour. Furthermore as we have experienced he has another touch point as well. You can rate the tour your selves meaning how much you would be willing to pay for it.”
Mary got the picture that Smith was painting quite clearly now.
They walked up to the hotel and could see Margaret reading a magazine while she was sitting at the reception.
Donna, Mary, Smith and Wilson walked through the glass door simultaneously.
Margaret: “Hey” after having looked up.
Donna: “Where is Mr. Taylor?”
Margaret: “Have you not heard? Mr. Taylor managed to get our tickets stay lengthened.”
Wilson: “That is great” smiling towards Margaret.
Mary: “Where are all the others?”
Margaret: “They are in their rooms. Why?”
Wilson: “Because we found something really interesting, something that will blow you away.”
Margaret: “What” getting excited about it?
Wilson: “Cannot say” he closed his lips and raised his eyebrows.
Margaret’s face changed from excitement to disappointment.
Wilson: “But we can show you” he said with a smile.
Margaret closed the magazine put it back on the receptionist counter where she had it from and said.
Margaret: “Let us go.”
Wilson: “In a sec when Mary has returned with the others” meaning the others who were still up in there room.
The reason for why Margaret wanted to go with the others and be part of a group was because she did not have a blast ever since she decided to have her own private tour guide. Her tour guide emphasized fact rather than a good story with a few laughs every now and then. She felt left out of the fun part.
Mary came down the stairs with Patricia, Susan and Carol.
Wilson: “Good you found them.”
Mary: “Yes, apparently they were all in Patricia’s room watching a film.”
Carol: “I heard that you found something. Would you care to tell me what it is or am I going to have to see it for myself?”
Smith: “We could tell you but you would not believe us. So I think you are going to have to wait till you see it for yourself.”
Donna: “So where is Mr. Taylor?”
Margaret: “It is funny you did not see him. After having told us the good news in him having lengthened our stay he went to the castle as well.”
Donna thought about it while Wilson said.
Wilson: “He probably went with one of the other tour guides?”
Donna: “When did he tell you about the good news and could you tell us it?”
Margaret: “Well do you remember when we split?”
Margaret: “After having found another tour guide to take me around about 15 minutes thereafter Mr. Taylor called.”
Donna thought back were they then already in the tunnel?
Margaret: “He wanted me to return to the hotel and so I did. I also told him that we had split so he better call you guys. Though when I arrived at the hotel and met up with Patricia, Susan, Carol and Mr. Taylor. Mr. Taylor told me that he had tried reaching all of you but your cells seemed to have been turned off. Since whenever he tried all he could get was your voice mail.
In any case Mr. Taylor told us that the American airlines personnel he was talking with were kind enough to lengthen our stay in Romania. This would be anywhere of up to three days. Based on the information we already had gathered since our arrival in Romania. Together with the few sights that still needed seeing. Mr. Taylor concluded on that one more day would be fine.”
Wilson: “Shall we go” looking towards Donna and Margaret?
Donna: “Yes lets.”
Mary, Margaret, Donna, Wilson, Smith, Patricia, Susan and Carol were all heading towards the castle but not all were at ease.
Donna: “Have you gotten over the dream you had yesterday” looking at Susan?
Susan: “There was nothing to get over. It was just a dream.”
Donna: “Then why did you stay behind” referring to why she did not come to the castle with them earlier on the morning?
Susan looked at Donna.
Susan: “You mean why did the three of us stay back” not waiting for a response on the question?
Susan: “But if we are to start with me then there are two reasons. First I do not like history and second I do not like horror stories as the tales of Dracula. It was Patricia who then had the idea of seeing the movie we were, until Mary interrupted us. Patricia had probably the thought also behind it that she was more needed here than at the castle, in terms of “Doing the right thing.” And Carol I don’t know, probably because she thought well of the movie?”
Donna: “And which movie was this?”
Susan: “Oceans 11.”
Donna: “With two of the best actors George Clooney and Brad Pitt.”
Susan: “Not to forget Matt Damon and Julia Roberts.”
Donna: “Aaa I am not so sure about Matt Damon.”
Susan: “What he is hot.”
Donna: “Yeah but he was so much better in the Bourne Identity.”
Susan: “Yes” nodding her head.
Susan came to think of something.
Susan: “I hope your surprise has nothing to do with horror or history” smiling to Donna.
Donna smiled back though she was uncertain of the reaction Susan would have on what they had discovered.
Wilson: “I see Drako is standing where he should” being at the forefront of the group to point it out.
While the group was walking to where Drako was standing Drako at a distance said.
Drako: “How are things” referring to the flight?
Wilson: “They are good. Mr. Taylor managed to postpone our flight till tomorrow.”
Drako: “That is good “ smiling back.
It was going exactly as Drako had planned on beforehand. Drako had constructed a plan, a plan, which contained all the possibilities, one had as a guest of the castle of Bran. It had several folds.
It was constructed of categories each for every individual target group, goals and priorities together with all the different facilities in Bran. Having gathered all the different information about the previous topics named he could map it out. So that if one should draw it out there would be in the centre of the paper Bran with a circle around it. From Bran you use reverse psychology in linking it up to all the interest groups. Or target groups of who is Bran trying to reach? Thereafter you link the interest groups to goals (Why have they come there in the first place). These goals should then be linked with all the priorities that should be achieved in order to fulfil these goals. Where the final thing you do is you link all of the priorities up to all possible rooms (facilities) they might go to in order to achieve this priority.
Having done this one has a developed plan of the mind of potential future customers.
The same plan could be adopted for all his victims as long as it was to be adopted in coherence to the external environment. It was a mind map of all the possibilities that could happen. Through this mind map Drako got an incredible first mover advantage because whatever the tourist would do would already be accounted for.
In Drako’s plan the specific situation was not accounted for. But by combining several goals and priorities Drako could conclude on a similar event if not identical. Some of these points were: there would become a time limit within which to see all that they could, risk aversion and getting the most out of it.
To conclude on all these points that were taken into account Drako would have the upper hand, since they would always prefer to hear it from a professional rather than go on their own excursions.
Wilson: “Since now we have also got the others with us” referring to Margaret, Patricia, Susan and Carol.
Wilson: “Why don’t you start with showing us what you have discovered? Like you did last time.”
Drako looked a little confused at Wilson. Would he like me to repeat all what I have said once again?
Wilson: “You know just the essentials.”
Drako did not say anything he just slowly nodded his head while leading them up to where they were last time before entering the tunnel.
It was not so much a matter of that Drako had intended to nod slowly. But he was slowly coming to realize what Wilson was trying to tell him.
The group of them stopped at the begging of the narrow hall.
Wilson: “This is it” getting anxious about what Drako was going to show them now.
Wilson knew that Margaret, Susan, Carol and Patricia would get so speechless with the sight of it. He could almost imagine it how amazed they would be and in how far their mouth’s would have sunk by the wall opening.
Margaret, Susan, Carol and Patricia on the other hand had opposite views on what was going to happen.
Margaret had no clue what the excitement was about. It is just a narrow hall?
Susan thought there was probably something with this narrow hall, maybe a death or an accident?
Carol was dying to hear to full story of whatever will be revealed now.
Patricia thought they were just stopping for a breather or something.
Drako: “What I had told yesterday was strictly to remain confidential and so it did. What I will share with you will be much of what I shared yesterday though with a twist” having turned around to face the group.
The group knew they had reached a climax and something was about to happen, but what? They were all so busy with looking into Drako’s face and thinking of what he said. That they did not see what he did to make the wall open.
All of a sudden the wall opened with a smile appearing on Drako’s face.
Drako: “Enter if you dare.”
Wilson was pretty calm with the situation. After all it was himself who told Drako what to say.
Donna and Mary saw that Drako had taken a different approach towards things than previously. New and innovative with a twist, exciting stuff which Donna and Mary felt quite intrigued by.
Smith being the least optimistic of the four and having the most of a business approach to it, was at the very least impressed by such a bold move. Smith had till here been very impressed by the many good and quite unique things that Drako had done. But in a group of eight people where only half of them have been with the tour guide earlier on the same day confronting them with such a statement. Could potentially frighten half of them since it brings their thoughts to that something bad might happen? This could imply that instead of proceeding further they would simply jump off, either by taking another tour guide or leaving the castle all together.
Though there seemed to be no hesitation between the students at first. They all went in the open wall one by one. Until there was one left.
Susan: “I am not going in there” standing firmly her ground.
Donna: “There is nothing scary in here” reassuring Susan that it was safe.
Susan was shaking her head in disapproval.
Susan: “I don’t trust you” keeping her ground.
It was not that Susan was only keeping her position but something seemed terribly, terribly wrong to her. Almost as if Susan had frozen to the ground in a form of flight or fight response.
Drako: “We do not have all day soon others will come and they will also notice this passage way.”
Susan looked at Drako.
Drako did not seem half as nice as he had done at the start of their tour. Instead of seeing a kind tour guide telling them stories as they went. Susan saw a shepherd who was trying to round up the sheep and trying to get them to go where he wanted.
Why was it only Susan who could see this? Something was not right.
Susan: “Why all the secrecy?”
Drako: “I will tell you if you come.”
There came voices from another group a bit further off than where they were.
Drako: “Last chance” raising his eyebrows.
Susan thought she might have misinterpreted him at first. All she knew was she needed to act and right now.
Susan: “Okay” and she moved very quickly where the rest of her classmates were.
Drako moved closer to where the class was standing and the wall shut.
It was utter darkness after the wall was closed, but before Susan had time to draw upon any more thoughts of her own. They all heard something right before cloth wrapped around a wooden pole went up in fire.
Drako: “I have not revealed what I have found to the public just yet. Not before I find out some more about it” after having lit up the pole.
Drako: “Now I will show you what I really have found” turning away and starting to walk along the tunnel.
Drako: “I discovered it by an accident. I have not concluded on what basis was it made, to steal or to shelter? It could be built for purposes of stealing? But then how come has no one noticed it while it was being built? I think someone may have built it as an escape route? At first I thought why not the monks? Could be but then why did Vlad have to escape by the tunnel in the dungeon then?”
The group together with their tour guide continued walking. There was an awkward silence after Drako had spoken. Everyone had their own thoughts and they all wanted to say something to the questions Drako had posed. But would it be too far reaching?
Had Drako indeed finished what he was going to say or was this just a pause he had intended to hold before something bigger? The half who had been with him earlier that day seemed at ease while the others were quite the opposite.
Drako: “Until I came to realise that it could be none of them” turning around.
They could already from their see much of the vault being light up.
Drako: “I think it was made by someone who wished to have perfect access to the castle and yet not be seen. Someone who was cunning enough that no one would ever have the idea of under taking searching for a tunnel if altogether a burial vault beneath Bran.”
Mary: “But it still does not answer to why was it you who found it first” looking directly at Drako?
Mary: “Was it just coincidence?”
Drako: “Yes, everyone could have discovered America and yet it was Columbus who we know as being the first to discover it.”
This was a perfect answer to Mary’s question. Not only did Drako answer the question, but also took a comparable example from history to answer it by ending the discussion all together.
Drako: “This is what I have found” walking into the vault and revealing it to the new comers.
Drako: “I think Vlad could have built it” turning around to face the audience?
Drako saw that some of the students did not agree with him while the others thought this really could have happened.
Mary: “Then how would you explain Radu receiving Vlad’s head?”
Drako: “Think about it. Everyone probably thought Vlad died in the battle. End of story. Instead of having Vlad prove to the villagers that he still is alive. Why not use it as a good time to start out fresh?”
Margaret: “Even if it was supposed to be true. How are we to know if it is even possible for one man alone to build it? Not even to take into account how quickly he must have done it to keep the construction out of sight of the public?”
Drako nodded while listening. Reasonable arguments for why it was not so.
Drako: “A possible answer to your two fold question might be. It may be possible if we are to think the number of years there has been since then? The years he could have used to modify it to his demands. If we are to look back at the need of it all, an access point to the castle where he could roam within without being seen. All he would basically need is a vault where he can stay if there is need, as long as the threat passes or somewhere he can sleep without having the fear of being exposed to the public.”
Margaret: “You are not actually referring to that Vlad still may be alive?”
Drako: “No that is not what I am saying. What I mean is when I found it, it was as clean as it is now. That would have to mean that it is still in use.”
Carol: “By who?”
It was followed by an awkward silence. Drako had never gotten this specific to which conclusion he may have drawn, after he first found the burial vault.
Drako broke the silence by saying.
Drako: ”I guess the question is who will dear to find out?”
The group knew exactly what Drako meant. Since if it was being used whoever used it must come back daily. It was a creepy matter to be talking about.
From what Drako had implied he was planning to see whoever used it. Now all that remained was which one of the students was willing to do the same? Stay if need be the whole night with Drako in the burial vault to get a conclusion of this mystery.
It gets scarier the further one thinks. Who could this mystery person be? A burglar, thief, criminal and what if they were not alone? Then what? You would be under ground where no one can hear you, not even if you scream nor if loud gunshots were fired. Finding the route back out of the burial vault whether it was up to the castle or out to the field was doable. But doing it in fear was another matter. Knowing that every second you waste running through the dark tunnels might mean they could catch you. If one were to light up all the wood poles that had a piece of cloth wrapped around one end soaked in oil it would be another matter.
But what if they had a gun, a machine gun or even worse two hungry dogs with them than what would be worse? Running in the dark, running with lights just hoping that one does not stumble along the way, not running at all just hoping that they will let them go even though the students have seen the criminal’s face.
It is the not knowing that scared them.
Margaret: “I will do it. I will stay here with you and find out who the master mind behind it is.”
The other students were baffled out of the courage she had.
Carol: “You know you do not have to do this. We can come back another time or maybe hear about it in the news” touching Margaret on one arm.
Margaret: “No I want to, besides I have got Drako to keep me company” giving a small smile to Drako.
Margaret: “I guess that means all we have got to do is get my stuff from the hotel.”
Donna: “What shall we tell the lecturer when he asks?”
Margaret: “Tell him that I had some research I had to do therefore I had to stay overnight.”
Donna saw what Margaret was getting at. Donna had herself had times as well where she knew she could have gotten all the relevant information if she just had a little more time.
Wilson: “Well, we then better start getting back to the hotel to retrieve your stuff so that you can overnight at the vault” smiling to Margaret.
Drako lead them back through the tunnels and the pathway to the castle. Drako told Margaret that he would be waiting here, right before the narrow hallway till she returns. The students then went off to their hotel for Margaret to get her stuff and return to the castle.
Wilson: “I have got to hand it to you Margaret. You did something what we all the others were afraid of doing,” commenting on Margaret’s brave decision.
Then Wilson remembered something.
Wilson: “You can as a matter of fact put it in your essay, how this mystery gets solved and by who or partly in any case” referring to some of the positives of what Margaret was doing?
Margaret nodding her head felt an urge to comment on some of what Wilson was saying.
Margaret: “I do not believe it is that bad” referring to the thoughts she as one of the group was thinking before coming with her reply back at the burial vault.
Margaret: “I think there will be no man with a machine gun or a dog. At worst maybe it will be a homeless guy?”
By the sound of this the others were pretty surprised.
Mary: “Do you not believe in any of the things Drako has told us?”
Margaret: “No not really. I think it is just good marketing. I think Drako is trying all our buttons. In the way that he is trying to scare us off with such a tale, in hope of that we will come back another time to further investigate the matter.”
Smith did not quite agree with her. If really it was all just a made up tale than who is to say that Drako is not the mastermind behind it?
Smith: “I hope you are right.”
After Margaret had gotten her stuff and was ready to depart again. It seemed as though all the other students had better things to attend to then sending her off.
Actually it was what Margaret preferred. Being on her own and having time to think about it all. She arrived at the castle Bran and met with Drako right before the narrow hall.
Drako: “Ready” he asked Margaret right before he was going to open the secret pathway?
Margaret: “Yes” she said without any form of hesitation.
Drako: “After you” he said politely with his right hand leading the way into the tunnel.
Margaret went in and Drako followed. Just as last and the previous time before that Drako knew where the pole was located even in the dark. Therefore he had no problem in taking it and lighting it at the same time.
This time though it did feel emptier for Margaret as she followed Drako through the tunnels to the burial vault. It might have been because it was only the two of them?
Drako: “Are you nervous?”
Margaret: “No, why?”
Drako: “I can imagine most girls would be. Since staying with a complete stranger over night to catch someone else off guard would be rather frightening.”
Margaret thought about it a bit before replying.
Margaret: “It is not like you are going to take advantage of me because we both have the same end goal in sight, catching the bad guy” stating the obvious.
Margaret: “Drako could I ask you? Was it true that at first you thought it could have been Dracula?”
Margaret: “So you believe in the myth of Dracula?”
Margaret: “Why did you then want to go through with it in the first place?”
Drako: “Of finding out if it really is Dracula’s” he said with a smile?
Drako: “That was because it goes against all odds. There may be some people who have managed to reach a hundred but keep the good shape of a twenty year old? Though it also was because I was curious in who and how he built it?”
Margaret: “You are presuming it is a man then?”
Drako did not realize it before she brought it up.
Drako: “Could it be otherwise” he asked curiously?
Margaret: “Are you presuming only men can do bad things” she asked rearranging the question posed to her?
Margaret: “Because if you are then you are truly mistaken. We woman have the upper hand in seduction. Meaning we can seduce our prey before we kill or rob them.”
Drako: “I did not mean it like that. Have you had a look at these walls, the stone it is built of? It does not seem like it was built yesterday.”
Indeed Margaret now had noticed the stone. It was old; almost rotting but also was the experience of walking through the tunnels.
Drako: “So whoever built it must have done so long ago.”
Margaret thought to herself in the mean while. He may be right but does he have a point? Does any of this have anything to do with my question? Is he maybe trying to mislead me so that at the end I will have forgotten all about my question? Is he maybe a male chauvinist or does he simply have a more hierarchical view over life?
They had reached the burial vault.
Margaret laid her rook sack on one side of the bed. She then noticed Drako had nothing with him.
Margaret: “Do you live nearby” she asked Drako curious in why does he not have anything with him?
Drako: “Yes, why?”
Margaret: “I am just wondering because you have no rook sack with you. So either you live nearby or then you are hoping that the mystery person comes soon?”
Drako gave it a small smile which Margaret perceived as she was correct in her assessment of the situation.
Margaret sat down on the bed.
Margaret: “Come sit” patting on the bed besides her.
Drako came and sat beside her. Drako looked at Margaret while sitting beside her.
Margaret: “So tell me how did you wind up being a tour guide here” not noticing that Drako was looking at her?
Drako: “I guess it must have been by coincidence.”
Margaret gave out a small laugh. She remembered what happened when Mary last asked Drako “was it by coincidence?”
Margaret was going to ask another question when their eyes met. It was different than the other times when she looked into Drako’s eyes. It was almost as if she saw something deep within them. Like having a classmate who is not hot, they do not have the best hairdo nor do they have an intriguing style. But when you look in their eyes you see something. It may be that their eyes are attractive or different than all the rest? It just could be their eyes are beautiful to look at?
Whatever it was it made Margaret not want to look away. Looking deep into Drako’s eyes made Margaret lose touch with the subject they were talking about. Margaret thought Drako’s eyes were attractive. Not in the sexual sense but looking at them long enough made you change your mind.
If one was to look at Drako’s eyes for a second or two probably nothing would happen, but longer than that and one might see something. When Margaret focused at one of Drako’s eyes she could see a reflection of her own face and some of the surroundings. Put into the dark brown colour of his eye surrounding what she saw.
Margaret noticed how Drako took his right hand and put it softly against her cheek. He leaned forward not losing any eye contact. She could almost feel his lips touching her before they kissed.
It felt good for Margaret like the best kiss she had ever had. Short lived at first because he stopped soon after to see her facial expression. Drako saw a surprised Margaret. It can best be best pictured as if you are having the perfect dream. All of a sudden right when something really good is going to happen your mobile alarm goes off.
Margaret was looking at Drako broodingly. Drako gave her a warm smile before kissing her. Margaret’s face turned etched of pleasure.
Suddenly Drako acted as if he heard something. He stopped kissing Margaret and asked her.
Drako: “Did you hear that?”
Margaret was not paying any attention to the surrounding. She was too much into kissing him.
But Margaret had not forgotten why they were there in the first place.
Margaret: “No, what did you hear?”
Drako: “Stay here.”
Drako himself stood up and went towards where the sound came from.
Margaret: “Where are you going?”
Drako: “To where the noise came from.”
Drako turned the corner. You could hear how Drako’s footsteps faded away. Just as if he went further and further away. But it was uncertain if that was the case?
There passed a few minutes.
Margaret was thinking does Drako maybe need some help? Then again he also did tell her to stay put so it may be a little dangerous.
Margaret: “Drako” she called hoping to get a reply?
But no reply came instead the lights from the poles started to blow out. It was ironical since there was no wind or any shortage of oxygen and yet they started to shut.
Margaret had nothing she could do. She did not happen to have a pair of matches with her or a lighter for that matter.
If she were to go back the way she came from the lights might have shut midways? The lights in the burial vault were already shutting therefore there was no guaranty that the lights had not shut in the tunnels on beforehand? Maybe that is why Drako has not returned?
Margaret felt most secure there where she was. In the burial vault she knew exactly where everything was placed if the lights were to go out.
Margaret watched how it happened. First the two torches next to the entrance that lead back to the castle, then the two on the opposite side, fifth was the pole on the opposite side of the bed and then finally was the sixth torch that was on her side of the bed.
The process had been peacefully carried out in the lights shutting. Margaret was at ease with her senses open to the surrounding.
But as soon as the sixth light went off something happened. Margaret felt a cod breeze behind her. She turned around and saw something for a glimpse of a second that both managed to surprise her and frighten her. The next thing that Margaret remembered was someone lusting their fangs into her throat.
Wilson: “I wish I could have gone with her” looking down at his cup of coffee in the cafeteria.
Donna: “Then why didn’t you” asked Donna who was listening to different things that were being discussed?
Wilson: “I guess I was afraid.”
Carol: “Were you scared Dracula might catch you,” joking and wiggling her fingers at Wilson?
Wilson: “No, but think all the cool things Margaret must be seeing by now. Not the very least solve the mystery of who was it that is the master mind behind it all.”
Susan: “I still think we should have gone to the police with it.”
Patricia: “What do you think Smith of it?”
Smith: “I think we were all too taken by the stories Drako had told us. So we chickened out when the opportunity did present itself. Most likely all of us had the same kind of thoughts in our mind. Was it a serial killer, murderer or mental patient who had escaped and found the burial vault? Where they could then hide and plot their next victim out. Instead of doing what Margaret did not pay any attention to the buzz and go with the facts.”
Patricia: “So as Margaret you think most of these things were simply made up?”
Smith: “What I think is to have reached the conclusion Margaret did. She could have been thinking something on the terms of what we have learned in marketing research class called Structural Equation Model.”
Smith stopped after saying that because he speculated over if it was worthwhile in having him explaining it to the others? Since no one other than Smith and Margaret was participating in marketing research class.
Mary: “So you suppose it was because of Structural Equation Model Margaret decided to go with Drako’s plan in seeing who the mystery person was?”
Smith looked at Mary.
Smith: “Structural Equation Model is a model to come forth with a specific answer between a whole set of variables” looking at Mary.
Mary was nodding as he continued.
Smith: “So let us say we have done some research. This research we have done we will call quantitative research. Meaning it is research done to gain the picture of the whole market or market segment. Thereafter we do qualitative research which can also be called Structural Equation Model or categorising.”
Mary: “Hang on. Could you once again explain to me what is the difference between quantitative and a qualitative research?”
Smith smiled to Mary.
Smith: “Sure I can. Quantitative research is if you research a whole group. Qualitative research is if you pick some out of the whole group.
Take this for example we start with a group of 1000 people. As always we start with a quantitative research which would result out of these 1000 people we take a fraction let us say 100.”
Mary: “Why not 1000?”
Smith: “It may be because we do not have access to the 1000 or if we were to interview all of them it would be too time costly.”
Mary: “Why do we need to interview them?”
Smith: “Because to begin with our research we need questions that need to be answered. So we have done questionnaires. Some of these questions may need some explaining.”
Mary: “But still why do we need to interview them? Can’t we just send them a mail where we have elaborated the questions that need explaining?”
Smith: “Yes we can but then what would be the chance of us getting a reply on them” looking at Mary?
Smith: “We plan to fulfil our requirements and that is get these 100 questionnaires answered in our quantitative research. That means we have got to take the interviews.”
Mary started to see why it was necessary with the interviews.
Mary: “So what is with the qualitative research? Why do we need it?”
Smith: “But the qualitative research is to sum it up. Out of these 100 we have got many different answers. By doing the qualitative research, which is either by dealing it up into which category they belong or by presumption. We will end off with a lot smaller amount let us say ten.”
Mary: “And this is basically Structural Equation Model?”
Smith: “More or less.”
Mary: “And how could have this lead Margaret to decide to go with Drako’s plan?”
Smith: “Margaret having heard all that Drako told us must have realised along the way that a big portion of it was made up. How otherwise could he know what we hear historians debating about namely controversies of different interpretations of the same facts?
Mary failed to see the connection. Still she let it pass because she had gotten more than expected first round about.
Carol: “So what do you believe Margaret and Drako are up to now?”
Margaret opened her eyes after the incident. It was dark. She thought she still might be in the room where she was earlier. The torches had blown out as they were previously. But there was something different. The air she breathed did not quite feel the same. It was tenser. Whenever she breathed it was almost as if it came to an immediate halt. She wondered if something was right in front of her? Maybe it was what she saw?
Margaret took her hands up but almost instantaneously they felt resistance. By something that sounded almost exactly like wood. She moved them a little bit higher up but the resistance kept on being there. She moved her legs but the space they could be moved within was minimal.
For a glimpse she got the frightful thought of her being locked up in a coffin. Then again she tried not to over exaggerate the situation. She took her hands up to her face and felt what was beyond it. Again it was wood. As much as she hated it her eyes got used to the darkness and it did look like she was stuck in a coffin.
Margaret screamed on top of her lungs and struggled to push open the lid of the coffin. She started to sweat. Nothing seemed to work.
Margaret knew the more she struggled the worse would it get. She took a big breath even though it was hard. She tried applying reasoning. Where did she go wrong and why?
There was a perfect recollection of events till the final light was about to go out. She remembers turning her head. From the reactions on her face getting scared but of what she could not remember. So what does she remember? She must have some recollection of at least something?
Margaret thought hard about it. It was everything from the turn of the head till the black out. As she was trying to figure out she felt a sting. It came from her neck. The sting was not so bad in itself. Margaret thought she might have got it when she was dragged to the coffin. That is it. It is finally beginning to make sense to her.
But how did she lose consciousness? She remembered seeing something white when she turned her head. This white thing she saw clearly was advancing at her in great speed. That must have been why it all happened so quickly. Margaret had reached the conclusion that it must have been a syringe, which hit her neck at that point, and it was the barrel that held the medicine that she saw.
But then how did he put her in the coffin and where? It probably would have been too risky to take her out in the open. So he must have had the coffin in hand. Since it all happened so fast Margaret supposed it might have been already within the same room? Perhaps under the bed where she had not looked for evidence?
Though this does still not answer the question where is she now? To find out Margaret knocked on the wood in front of her. Since if she was buried it would sound solid and if not then hollow. It sounded hollow. This might mean she still might have a chance? But how she is the only one who is in the vault?
Mr. Taylor: “How was your day” asking the students when he approached their table in the cafeteria?
Patricia: “It was good.”
Mr. Taylor: “Did you get all of your research done?”
Carol: “More less.”
Mr. Taylor: “Why so” looking at Carol?
Carol: “Most of us got our research done except one.”
Mr. Taylor had a look if he could see who it was. He did not seem to notice anyone missing.
Mr. Taylor: “So where is Margaret now” taking another look at the students?
Donna: “She is at the castle.”
Mr. Taylor: “And when will she be back?”
Mr. Taylor: “How late?”
Donna: “Eleven maybe twelve?”
Mr. Taylor: “So you do not know” looking at Donna with raised eyebrows?
Carol: “Of course she knows” disagreeing with Mr. Taylor.
Carol: “What Donna does not know is how you will react if she tells you the truth” pointing towards the obvious?
Mr. Taylor: “Is there something you are not telling me” getting an impression that he may be lied to?
Carol: “Just tell us when you would like Margaret to be back and we will make sure she gets the message.”
Mr. Taylor: “Our flight will be going around mid-day. So just as long as she is here at the very latest at noon I will not mind.”
Mr. Taylor: “Good night then” going out again of the cafeteria.
Donna: “Are you already going to bed?”
Mr. Taylor: “No, but I do believe this will be the last time we see one another for today.”
Mary: “Well good night then.”
Carol: “Good night.”
Donna: “Good night.”
Patricia: “Nighty night.”
Susan: “And sleep tight” being the last one to say something to Mr. Taylor before he exited the room.
Wilson: “So how was it exactly you were going to get the message across to Margaret” asking Carol in a surprised tone?
Carol: “We can just tell her it.”
Wilson: “By how, mobile” referring to that there is no cellular net where Margaret is?
Carol: “Or then we can go and tell her.”
Wilson: “You mean go inside the actual burial vault itself? Past the secret passage way and through the tunnels” looking at her surprised?
Wilson: “Fine, if you remember the way I will have no problem.”
Patricia: “Carol is right. We have got to do something?”
Donna: “Then it is decided we go” concluding the discussion.
Donna: “Susan would you like to come with us?”
Susan: “Do I have any alternatives” referring to the night before?
The walk to the castle this time was a quiet one until they stood at the traffic lights right before the castle.
Mary: “I wonder when the castle closes?”
Wilson: “A little late for that question now. You should have asked before we left the hotel.”
Donna: “Maybe at 6 pm?”
Carol: “So this was the wall the secret tunnel lie behind” coming closer to the wall and touching it to find the trigger to open.
Wilson: “Now it is just a matter of getting it open.”
Carol touched each and every stone by smoothly rolling her hand over them. She was trying to find something though she was not certain what exactly.
Carol: “Found it.”
The others looked pretty surprised by this. Since the wall had not opened and it still seemed like Carol was searching.
What Carol was doing at that point was she was trying to find the position in which she could pull the stone. She thought she had found it. Thereafter giving it a pull and pulling it slightly out of the wall. The pathway opened.
Wilson was the first one to rush into the tunnel. Just like Drako before him had done. Wilson lit the torch and started leading the group to the burial vault.
Wilson: “Sort of feels like Indiana Jones” holding the torch as he walked through the tunnels.
They found it a little difficult in finding the right direction to the burial vault. Though what made it easier was that the torches more less were already lit. Furthermore some of them could almost with 100 % accuracy remember the way Drako had taken them at first.
They came to the vault it was empty. The lights in the vault together with a few torches before it were shut for some reason.
Wilson went around to the four poles and lit them one by one.
Wilson: “What do you think happened?”
The others being just as clueless as Wilson was did not know how to answer.
Mary: “May be they found the mystery man?”
Before Wilson could respond to it they all heard something. It sounded like someone banging though it was a faint noise.
Wilson: “Do you hear that” trying to make sense of the noise?
Smith apparently was standing right in the middle of the carpet when the banking began. He thought the noise sounded rather familiar. Just as if it was coming from under him. He looked down at the carpet. The banking by then had stopped. He bent down and touched the carpet softly.
This caught the others attention. Smith out of curiosity knocked on the carpet. Soon thereafter he heard knocks coming from where he had knocked. He knew he was on to something. He moved towards one corner of the carpet close to the bed. Took the end of the carpet and started pulling it towards himself. So that it would be revealed what was under the carpet.
The group was looking curiously at Smith as he endured to find more interesting things about the knocking. Wilson being the only one out of them who was standing next to the bed, had the perfect advantage of seeing what lay beneath the carpet at first hand. Wilson face turned more and more slack-jawed the further the carpet was pulled back. Out of curiosity to what was it that made Wilson so slack-jawed. Smith stopped midways to see what it was? Smith was astonished by what he saw.
There was no floor but instead there was coffin next to coffin to imitate for the missing floor. Ironically enough there was no peephole in between the coffins. This was truly an unpleasant sighting. It gave most of them a chilly feeling, a feeling so frightful that they froze where they were standing at first.
Smith being one of the few who could keep their mind focused on finding out where this noise came from was a little puzzled as well. It was not so much from which coffin did the noise come from but more concerning what was the difficulty in getting one of these open?
Smith went to the coffin where it came from knocked on it and said.
Smith: “Margaret is it you?”
Margaret: “Yes” letting out a cry.
Smith: “Hang on Margaret we will get you out.”
Margaret: “Hurry, I do not think there is much air left” referring to the very tense air there was.
Donna, Carol and Patricia rushed to Smith’s assistance.
Patricia: “What do we do?”
Smith: “Try finding a way to open it.”
All four of them were trying to find ways to open the coffin. Complicating the matter were the other coffins so closely compacted.
Smith: “We have to exclude the coffin from the rest.”
Carol: “There is no time” referring to that then they would probably have to do the same with the other coffins.
Donna: “The nails! We can find where all the nails are and then we can remove them.”
Smith: “And how should we be doing that exactly?”
Donna: “With this” taking one of her boots off.
Seeing her boot impressed Smith but he still remained to be convinced. Since could it handle the pressure?
Smith, Donna, Carol and Patricia found the nails that were hit in to keep the lid solid on the coffin. There were six nails altogether, four at the top and two at the bottom.
After they had identified the six nails it seemed more viable than at first thought that a nail could be removed with Donna’s boot.
They removed the lid to the coffin. Margaret was in there more pale than usual. Patricia and Carol helped her out.
Carol: “Who did this?”
Margaret: “I do not know.”
Carol: “Was it Drako” looking deeply into Margaret’s eyes?
Margaret: “I am not sure.”
Patricia: “How can you not be sure?”
Margaret: “It happened so quickly and the lights were out.”
Carol: “Tell us everything.”
Donna: “There is no time.”
Patricia and Carol looked at Donna.
Donna: “Whoever did this must have had a reason why he left Margaret alive.”
Susan standing in the background did not like the feeling of this.
Patricia: “You are right we must get her out of here.”
Patricia and Carol supposed that Margaret was weak therefore they decided to support her. Patricia got under one of Margaret’s arms so that she could support her and Carol did the same to the other.
Mary: “I think someone is coming” hearing footsteps far in the distance.
Wilson: “Hurry” waving towards himself with his hand and towards the tunnel they never had taken.
It was the tunnel Drako said would lead to the fields a bit further away from the castle. There was much scepticism towards taking this tunnel. Because they had no idea which tunnels to follow to end off in the field. But was there another alternative?
They had to go by their instinct.
Wilson: “This way” leading the others through the tunnel.
Wilson was the only one with the flaming torch in his hand. He decided not to light up the poles on their way as they went. Two reasons were underlining it, first not to give away their position and second not to waste any more time on it.
The group of eight of them took the tunnels they thought were right. Luckily in favour of them Margaret had begun to gain more energy after being out of the coffin. Therefore Margaret was not all that much a burden for Patricia and Carol to bear.
After a while they could see something at the other end. It was as if there was coming light through. Wilson being the first to see it turned back to tell the others.
Wilson: “There is light at the end of the tunnel” gaining the others attention.
While Wilson was telling this to the others there was a larger rock he was coming upon and that he did not see. At first contact he stumbled over the rock, pushing the torch out of his hand and into a pile of dirt. This forced the torch to shut.
Wilson: “I stumbled” explaining why the torch went off.
Wilson: “I think we can find our way out of the tunnel without the torch now.”
Wilson was heading towards the light.
Mary: “If it helps, I think we lost him. In any case I do not hear anymore footsteps coming from behind us.”
Susan: “That does not mean we lost him” referring to all the horror movies she had seen!
Smith laid a hand on Susan shoulder as he came up on her.
Smith: “Come” heading towards the light trying to take Susan with him and away from the quarrels.
Susan felt a little comforted by Smith’s hand. To her it was as much a sign of companionship and that he was watching over her back. As it was a sign of let us keep moving and not waste time on arguing.
There was a sigh of relief up ahead. It was Wilson with the remarks.
Wilson: “We made it” smiling.
Wilson was looking into a forest from inside the mouth of a cave.
It seemed peaceful giving him a sense of that the location was outside the town’s area. He could hear a stream flowing nearby. The thing that puzzled Wilson was if truly it is in such an ideal location then why was it not discovered by someone before Drako? Wilson thought he heard also something else he just could not make out what.
Maybe he will find it out later?
When the others came up to Wilson there was joint joy over that they had reached the end of the tunnel. But it was short lived because something very unexpected happened.
To all of his or her surprise, someone came from outside the tunnel. It was Drako. Their expressions changed to one of disgust, a sudden jump from surprise to a feeling of hate and fear.
Drako: “There you are. I have been looking all over for you” seeing Margaret in between them.
Drako looked so calm and glad to see Margaret.
However it was a different picture seen from the students’ point of view.
Donna: “How dare you tell us such nonsense” looking upset at Drako.
Donna: “You know Margaret could have died locked inside the coffin.”
Drako: “But I can explain.”
Carol: “No, no more of your explanations. We saw how many other coffins there were. You and this Dracula guy are an utter joke.”
Drako looked as if he was not quite following.
But none of the students bought it any longer.
Donna: “We are going back to the hotel” she said firmly.
Drako had a sense where this was going though he did not stop them.
Drako: “I will not stop you” shaking his head and stepping to the side.
The group of students passed him and went a bit further out into the forest. But they were lost without the tour guide. The sun was setting slowly. In the forest it would be dark pretty soon especially after the sun has set.
Mary: “It looks like we will be lost if we soon do not find our way soon.”
Donna turned around towards the cave to catch a glimpse of the tour guide but he was gone.
Wilson: “Do not worry we will find our way without him.”
Carol: “What makes you sound so optimistic?”
Wilson: “I think I heard something.”
They walked further on into the forest until they came to a road. That explained perfectly what Wilson thought he may have been hearing earlier on.
There was a sign not so far away that gave directions. Apparently they were not as far as they first thought they had been. Even more strange that thinking about it they came down the same way with the bus.
They reached back to the hotel well after sun set. Most of them were exhausted of the walking or they just wanted to do something less active e.g. watch TV. Therefore they decided to depart into their rooms.
Carol went and took a hot shower while Donna decided to see what is on the TV.
Donna took the remote from the table and lied down on her bed, scrolling through the channels. There was nothing interesting on the TV. Donna had this peculiar feeling as if she was tired. Donna closed the TV and went to the desk to return the remote. She stood up put one foot forward and was just in the process of moving the other foot.
When someone grabbed it and tugged her foot from under her she fell. Donna screamed but there was no one who could hear her. She looked towards her foot to see who was it that had grasped her leg from under her. It was Drako to her amazement. How could he know in which hotel they were staying?
Donna tried to get her foot loose but Drako’s grip was too strong. Drako was quick to crawl from underneath the bed and into eye height with Donna. He whispered in a loud tone to Donna.
Drako: “I am Dracula” while placing his one hand around Donna’s neck.
Donna looked terrified while in a paralyzed state.
Donna: “Please do not kill me, I will do anything” hoping for his forgiveness and sparing her life, as she begged while feeling Dracula’s grip tightening.
Dracula loosened his grip after Donna had said that.
Dracula: “Anything” looking into Donna’s eyes?
Donna: “Anything” replied Donna with her teary eyes.
Dracula kissed Donna and she could not resist. It was in Donna’s perspective either be kissed or die.
Carol came out of the bathroom with a towel tied around her. She saw Donna lying with her back towards her in a room where the lights were turned off. Carol presumed Donna was asleep. Carol had no problem with seeing in the dark. She took her towel off and lied down. Right before going to sleep she remembered something. She forgot her sleeping pills that she does take every once in a while. Especially on the days a lot has happened.
Carol went to the bathroom to get a glass of water together with her sleeping pills. When she came back she stopped for a minute. Something seemed a little different since she had been gone. But she could not point at what it was. She put the glass together with the pills on the bed stand next to her bed. She lied down and took two pills before closing her eyes and falling fast asleep.
There was something Carol had not noticed due to the lights being closed.
Donna had not fallen asleep. She was deep under the control of Dracula now. Waiting till Carol had fallen asleep they lay quietly. Since what Carol had not noticed was that Donna was shielding Dracula as well.
It was quiet since Carol had taken the zip of water and then lay back to bed. Donna smiled to Dracula in the darkness while looking into his eyes. They both rose almost simultaneously. Donna started with focusing on Carol.
Donna: “Should we kill her” starting to walk towards Carol.
Dracula: “No” seizing her wrist.
Dracula: “Those sleeping pills will keep her knocked out for the night” referring to the sleeping pill box that was on the bed stand.
Dracula: “We can come back to her later. As for now I need you at other places.”
Susan was awfully worried about Margaret. Ever since they got the coffin open Margaret’s face had been pale. First they thought it might have been because of the lack of air within the coffin? But her face seemed to become paler ever since then. Now it had gotten pale to the extent that even Susan was worried about it. They were watching TV together in their room.
Susan: “Are you sure I should not call the doctor or have anyone take a look at it?”
Margaret: “Do not worry, there is nothing wrong with me” smiling with the pale face.
Susan was not at ease by this. She thought it might be because the human body needs more time to refresh itself? Much as one is ill than one should lie in bed to overcome the illness but also to regain one’s strength. Susan concluded with that Margaret probably should get some rest. Susan had the remote in one hand while Margaret was just lying on her bed looking at the TV. Susan closed the TV and said.
Susan: “Margaret I think you should get some rest.”
Margret: “As long as it makes you happy” smiling with that pale face of hers while tucking herself under the bed covers.
Susan smiled back still worried. She decided to read a book. But soon after she had taken the book out that she was going to read she heard someone knocking.
Susan: “Just a minute” putting the book back to where she had taken it.
Susan went to the door and opened it.
Susan: “Donna, what are you doing here?”
Donna: “I came to check on Margaret.”
Susan: “She is asleep now. I think she might need a doctor? Margaret has become paler than when we brought her back to the hotel.”
There was also something else Susan wanted to bring up but chose not to. Since she was not sure was it only her opinion or was it common throughout the group? That Margaret did not act the same.
Margaret used to be a lot more joyful than what she was now. She may not have been the most talkative person but then she listened, before contributing to the discussion with her own perspective or solution to the topic.
Now she seemed like a person with a dementia illness. Everything you set her to she did but nothing else.
Scepticism came in when Susan analysed herself and compared it with Margaret underlining that the two were very similar. It was only when one chose to go into the specifics that one could see differences. Margaret liked history; Susan did not. Margaret liked to listen before coming with her own input; Susan liked to listen without always finding it necessary to come with her own feedback. Margaret did not let others opinion influence her in her own decisions, Susan preferred to believe what she was being told and not ask questions.
Donna: “Can I see?”
Susan let her in though found it a little bit odd.
Susan: “Why do you want to see how pale she has gotten?”
Susan thought to herself does Donna know something I do not? Maybe Donna knows what to look for whether one is sick or not?
Susan: “I would turn on the lights if Margaret was not sleeping.”
Donna: “Do not. It is better when the lights are out.”
Susan got a quizzical expression on her face. Just as where is Donna going with this?
Susan could feel something crawling up both her arms.
Dracula: “Yes, do not. We would hate to see you faint if you saw the face of me” whispering into one ear of Susan.
When the crawling had stopped they seized her shoulders. It felt like two ordinary hands firmly holding on to your shoulders. But it was not. Susan could see even in the darkness that whatever it was had long nails.
Susan: “What do you want me?”
Dracula: “I want your soul.”
Susan hearing him open his mouth.
Smith: “Susan” came a voice from behind the door?
Susan turned around there was no one holding on to her shoulders any longer. Smith pushed slowly the half open door open.
Smith saw Donna looking at Margaret and Susan looking at Smith with a wan expression on her face.
Smith: “You okay?”
Susan looking at him wide-eyed said.
Susan: “I do not know.”
Smith: “Would you like me to come in?”
Susan: “Yes” still sticking to her position.
Smith: “How are things with Margaret?”
Susan: “See for yourself. She is sleeping now.”
Smith had a glimpse at Margaret. Due to the lights being turned off he could not tell that her face had gotten paler. He ended off nodding with telling Susan.
Smith: “You know where to find us if any help is needed.”
Susan nodded to him.
Smith: “Well good night then” closing the door.
Susan knowing it may be the last chance she gets wanted to say something. But she could not she was still seized by what had happened earlier.
Susan: “Smith” right before he closed the door completely?
Smith: “Yes” opening the door once again?
Susan could see Donna looking at her with those furies eyes.
Susan: “Nothing, good night.”
Smith smiled to her while shutting the door. He walked back to his own room where Wilson was watching something on TV.
Smith: “Hey” when he came into the room and saw Wilson watching the TV.
Smith: “What are you watching?”
Wilson: “CNN” he replied.
Wilson: “How are Margaret and Susan doing” not removing his face from the TV?
Smith: “They are good” nodding his head.
Smith: “Margaret was asleep and Susan had a visit by Donna.”
Wilson: “What about” he asked a little curiously but still not moving his face from the TV?
Smith: “I do not know. When I came Donna was facing Margaret so I only talked with Susan.”
Wilson: “So it is going that bad with Margaret?”
Smith: “I do not think so.”
Wilson: “What do you mean you said the lights were out” turning towards Smith?
Wilson: “So you could not have seen the colour on Margaret’s face.”
Wilson: “Hence you could not see the colour on Margaret’s face.”
Smith: “Hang on I did have a brief look at Margaret’s face.”
Wilson: “What did you see?”
Smith: “It looked like anybody’s face.”
Wilson: “Exactly due to the lights being off?”
Smith: “I suppose.”
Wilson: “So if it was a white mouse or a corpse for that matter they would still look pretty much the same as to what you saw.”
Smith had a sense of where this was going. Wilson wanted to prove that Smith had not in fact seen the colour on Margaret’s face. Therefore he could not possibly tell how she was doing.
Smith: “A little farfetched but I believe you are right.”
Wilson: “So if we are to get back to the initial question of how are they doing then you do not know” raising his eye brows?
Smith: “I do at least know how Susan is doing,” stating that at least he observed something.
Wilson: “How is she doing then?”
Smith: “Good, but a little worried. Actually I think there was something Susan was not telling me about, possibly the cause to her worries.”
Wilson: “So you do not know” wobbling his head?
Wilson: “No worries I was anyway going out.”
Smith: “I thought you were watching the TV,” asking surprised?
Wilson: “I was but how many times do you want to hear over and over again the same news?”
Wilson left the room with closing the door after him. He walked over to Susan and Margaret’s room, knocking on the door. There came no reply.
Wilson: “Susan could you open up” saying and hoping that Susan will hear him and then come and open the door?
There was no reply. Strange Wilson thought.
Wilson: “Smith told me you seemed a little worried. If there is anything you want to talk about then you can come down to our room” hoping this time he might get a reply from Susan.
Still nothing, Wilson looked down the hall. He wondered if Patricia or Mary might know what the fuss was about?
Wilson decided to go to Marys and Patricia’s room to see what they were up to.
Wilson knocked on their door.
Patricia: “Just a sec.”
Patricia opened the door with her pyjamas on.
Wilson: “Already going to bed” asking in a very surprised fashion?
Patricia: “No, me and Mary we decided to dress ourselves in pyjamas when the time came.”
Wilson: “So you are just lying in bed then?”
Patricia: “No, we are sitting down on the floor talking about what happened earlier today with candle lights lighting the room” stepping to the side so Wilson could see in.
Wilson saw Mary sitting with her pyjamas on as well next to one of the beds. Two candles on the table were lit to light up the room.
Mary waved to Wilson.
Wilson: “Right back to the point. Do you know what might be troubling Susan?”
Patricia: “Is something troubling Susan,” she asked surprised?
Mary: “It might be the full moon outside? You know it is said that werewolves lurk about when the full moon is out.”
Wilson: “Very funny Mary.”
Patricia: “How do you know something is bothering Susan? Did she tell you something?”
Wilson: “No not me personally but Smith when he was out to check on Margaret. He did say upon coming back that Susan seemed a little worried about something.”
Patricia: “Have you tried checking on her?”
Wilson: “Yes but there was no answer.”
Patricia: “Would you like me to come down with you? Then we can try together?”
Wilson: “Susan and Margaret’s door?”
Wilson: “Why not.”
Patricia: “It will be just a minute,” she told Mary while closing the door.
Wilson: “You do not want to get dressed?”
Patricia: “We are not going out.”
Patricia and Wilson went to Susan and Margaret’s room. They knocked on the door. No reply as earlier.
Patricia: “They have probably gone to bed” acknowledging what may be the truth?
Margaret opened the door.
Wilson: “Margaret” he blurted out.
Patricia: “How are you doing?”
Wilson: ”Is Susan around” who he was here to talk with?
Margaret: “No Susan left to the castle of Bran.”
Wilson: “This late?” sounding very curious.
Margaret: “Yes, is there a problem with that” asking Wilson to get his standpoint?
Wilson: “It is closed this late” until he remembered something.
Wilson: “Is Drako in on this?”
Margaret: “Yes, he was one of the reasons she went down there. She went to apologize for our misbehaviour.”
Wilson stared at Margaret without showing any signs of expression.
Wilson: “You mean Susan has gone back to Bran to apologize for our getting you out of the coffin?”
Margaret: “No Susan has gone back to apologize for the bad behaviour of Donna.”
Patricia: “Makes sense.”
Wilson: “But why has Susan got to apologize on Donna’s behalf? Should not Donna go instead of Susan?”
Margaret: “She has gone too.”
This made a little bit more sense to Wilson.
Wilson: “But could you tell me what Susan was so worried about when Smith was here last?”
Margaret: “She was worried that Drako might not accept her apology.”
Right from the beginning it had sounded pretty contrary to what Wilson had expected. But now it was sounding doubtful altogether, though Wilson had no intention of confronting Margaret with this.
Wilson: “Okay then. Good night” before heading back to his room.
Margaret: “Good night” closing the door behind her.
Patricia: “Catch you later Wilson” while going back to her room as well.
Wilson: “Yeah” not looking up from his downcast position.
Wilson walked into the room not noticing Smith.
Wilson: “Hey” answering from a downcast position.
Smith: “What is troubling you?”
Wilson: “The reply I got from Margaret.”
Smith: “Is Margaret up” asking in an astonished fashion?
Smith: “What did Margaret tell you?”
Wilson: “Well when I came in on the Susan topic. It comes out she is not there but has decided to go back to the castle of Bran to apologize for Donna’s misbehaviour.”
Smith: “That is strange.”
Wilson: “Yes, I thought so too.”
Smith: “Why do we not go and ask her then what made her want to apologize to Drako?”
Wilson looked at Smith.
Wilson: “But she is already gone?”
Smith: “If the castle is closed like we think it is then we can meet her on our way there.”
Wilson: “But what if she has decided to go to the place where we were last” referring to the second entrance of the burial vault?
Smith: “If that is the case then we might not see her. Then again knowing Susan she does not like to be out at this hour. Nor does she like wondering off in a strange town with no sense of direction” referring to the unlikely hood of going to the second entrance.
Smith and Wilson had a quiet tour to the castle.
Wilson: “Suppose the castle was open. How big would you say are the chances for Donna and Susan to find Drako in there?”
Wilson: “Yes I thought so. They would almost have to make an agreement with him where and when to meet?”
Smith: Are you still leaning on the second entrance?”
Wilson: “Yes because they want to see Drako again, to apologize to him.”
Smith: “If we are to take your scenario with the castle being open. Then presumably they can find their way to the entrance from the castle to the tunnel. Also since you did happen to mention that Donna was with her, was it not Donna in the first place who lead us to finding Margaret when she was locked up in a coffin?”
Wilson: “Aaa I think you are mixing her up with Carol, since she was the one who opened the secret pathway. Though it may have been Donna who came on the idea for going back for her to tell her the message, due to that we were unable to get in touch with her on cell.”
Wilson and Smith had just crossed the road with the traffic lights leading up to the castle.
Smith: “It seems you were right” looking up ahead towards the castle.
Wilson: “Let us also hope that the doors within the castle itself are also open” seeing the gate and main door being open.
Smith and Wilson seemed to have no trouble with finding their way to the secret passageway.
Wilson: “Right, now it is just a matter of opening it “ staring at the wall.
Smith looked at Wilson and got a thought of what Wilson was thinking of.
Smith: “You do know what we are looking for right?”
Wilson: “Not entirely.”
Smith: “We are looking for a stone that can be slightly pulled out remember?”
Wilson: “Right, when Drako opened the wall.”
Smith: “I was thinking of when Carol opened it, but if you can remember when Drako opened it then fine by me.”
Wilson: “So we start by trying to pull all the stones out of the wall right?”
Smith: “Maybe? When Carol did it she first touched all the stones, as if she were to feel something with the correct stone.”
Wilson: “Okay you do that and I do what I suggested.”
They both got to work. Wilson though felt defeated on beforehand. He looked at the stones and thought. How in god’s name should it be possible for me to move one of these stones? Even if we were to find one stone if not many that could potentially be movable. The weight opposed by all the other stones layered above it would make it nearly impossible to pull it from its position. He felt very relinquished from this task.
Smith on the other hand started feeling the stones. Just as he recalled Carol doing it with lightly touching upon the stones without removing ones hand. Occasionally Smith did smile.
Wilson automatically thought Smith might be on to something.
Wilson: “Did you find something?”
Smith: “No. I am just smiling because it must seem pretty stupid what I am doing, waving my hand from stone to stone hoping to find something.”
Wilson: “Well it is good you are at least having a good time doing so.”
But indeed while Smith and Wilson had been talking Smith did in fact come upon something. Smith smiled again.
Smith: “And with working with a smile on your face you are set to succeed” pulling a stone.
The wall opened.
Smith and Wilson went inside. The torches were already lit which showed them they had come to the right place. Now it was just a matter of finding Susan.
It was quiet when they started their journey through the tunnels. But soon thereafter they started to hear something. At first it was just noise at a very low note. So it did not have to be anything relevant. But the closer they got to the burial vault the clearer became the noise. It was a discussion about what should happen next.
Margaret: “Wilson did ask some interesting questions about Susan.”
Dracula: “What did you tell him?”
Margaret: “I told him Susan went to the castle to apologize for Donna’s misbehaviour to you.”
Dracula: “Do you think Wilson will know where to look for Susan?”
Margaret: “Wilson no, but he is not the one I am worried about. I think most likely after our encounter he went back to his room. He then talked to Smith who could have led him to us.”
Dracula looked down at Susan. She was lying on the bed stripped of her clothes. Her arms stretched out to each their side tied up. Susan’s legs were also tied but they remained standing next to one another. Her mouth was also tied to prevent her from making any noise. Altogether she symbolized a cross on the bed.
Dracula stroked Susan’s cheek saying.
Dracula: “Oh what trouble your friends go through to get to you” looking with a pitying expression at her.
Dracula then moved his hand while still in contact with her body to her breasts and then to her vagina. What after he removed his hand altogether and said.
Dracula: “They will soon be here” referring to the friends of Susan.
Donna: “I say we kill her.”
Dracula: “Not yet. First we use her as bait.”
Smith and Wilson could see the burial vault from a distance. It seemed as if there was going something on. They could see the torches on and at least one shadow.
Upon their arrival to the burial vault they were greeted by a view of abnormality. Smith and Wilson witnessed Donna just standing there, gazing out in the room and towards the bed. On top of the bed was Susan lying naked with her hands and feet tied so that she could not move them. The situation was very inconsistent according to Smith and Wilson.
What they saw was Donna doing nothing to help Susan. This did not add up to the persona of Donna. Donna was a helpful person who was good at interpreting situations. Neither did it add up how Donna and Susan had ended off in this situation altogether?
But Smith and Wilson had no time to reflect on the situation. They reacted impulsively by going to Susan and starting to loosen the strings. It seemed as if Susan was trying to tell them something while they were loosening the strings. However they could not understand what Susan was trying to say. Since around her mouth there was tied a cloth ribbon preventing her from speaking. Once they had untied Susan she directly went to take away the cloth ribbon from her mouth.
Susan: “What have you done” giving Wilson and Smith a grave look?
Smith and Wilson did not know what to say. They were bewildered. Was she not glad that they saved her? Were they not supposed to come?
Smith: “Did you not want us to come” asking curiously?
Susan: “You do not understand” shaking her head.
Wilson: “What exactly do we not understand?”
Smith and Wilson turned around. They saw not only Donna and Drako but also Margaret. Drako was acting a little bit differently than he had done on the previous occasions.
He was not playing the role of a tour guide but instead of a much more authoritative figure. Almost as if he owned all of them or was more superior then them.
At the point where Drako came into Smith and Wilson’s attention Drako had his hands in the air. Just as if he was revealing something.
Wilson: “How could you allow anything like this to happen, you should be ashamed of yourself” talking down to Drako.
A cruel laughter came from Dracula.
Dracula: “Ashamed” with a sardonic expression appearing on his face while approaching Wilson and Smith?
Dracula: “I have done a lot more crueller things in my time.”
Smith and Wilson felt rather repelled by this sort of behaviour.
Dracula: “Do you even know who I am” smiling and looking with a mischievous look into Wilson’s face?
Wilson was in a tight-lipped position where he chose to show it by a sullen expression and not answering to the question.
Dracula: “You answer me when I pose a question” expressed it by that he was becoming irritated.
Dracula having come up to Wilson stopped. Dracula took a tight grip of Wilson’s chin by putting his thumb into one of Wilson’s cheeks and into the other cheek his index finger.
Dracula: “I am Dracula.”
Wilson was at a point of utter disgust by Drako’s behaviour. To show it Wilson spit into Drako’s face.
Dracula was first of all furious about this incident. Not to mention the degree of humility attached to it, by having a person of lower middle class spit someone of elite upper class in the face.
By a simple movement of Dracula’s arm to the left he managed to through Wilson to the ground.
Dracula: “I will deal with you later” focusing on Susan who was now loose on the bed.
Smith seeing Wilson one of his closest friends being thrown down like that knew that he had to act. Smith having nothing at his disposal of any danger found that his keys could be used as a weapon when striking someone at maximum force. Damage caused by inflicting keys at massive force could cause a wound on the person being attacked.
Smith saw how Drako was slowly pursuing the bed and not paying any attention to him. Smith therefore took this opportunity of stabbing his keys into the shoulder blade of Drako, hopefully hard enough that they would cause a wound.
This came as an annoyance to Dracula. Dracula transformed his face into this hideous beast. He turned his face so that it would face Smith.
This horrific sighting startled Smith as well as it startled Wilson and Susan.
Dracula’s right hand went after pulling the keys out and altogether moving Smith’s hand. When the keys were removed Dracula dropped the keys.
Dracula: “You should not have done that” he said as coming closer to Smith.
Smith was moving away from Dracula. Even though he knew he only had a limited space at his disposal before soon hitting into the wall behind him.
Dracula: “You should have run while you still had the chance” coming closer and closer to Smith.
Smith: “I am not afraid of you.”
Dracula: “Ohh but you are. I can see it within your eyes, trying to put on a brave face while facing death.”
Dracula took Smith by the neck and said.
Dracula: “I will free you from your pathetic life and from the fear of me” clenching his grip.
Suddenly Dracula noticed something while focusing on Smith. It was the mirror image that was reflected in Smith’s eyes. This made him stop for a minute and furiously turn his head towards where Wilson and Susan were. But there was no one. They had fled. Dracula impulsively let go of Smith and went into the tunnel where from Smith and Wilson had come.
Dracula: “You cannot hide from me” shouting it so that it was echoed throughout the tunnels.
Wilson: “Come on Susan we are almost there” telling to Susan who was absent minded behind him.
Susan was thinking about whether they could actually make it? Where does Wilson think it is safe? Where is Wilson leading me?
If we were to manage to get as far back as to the hotel would that be safe? Since the first encounter with Dracula was at the hotel. If we were to hideout in other rooms till the threat is gone would that be safe? How about if we were to go to the police? Would that be any better than the alternative?
Susan and Wilson made it through the pathway to the castle. But then they did something rather surprising to Susan’s tastes. Instead of exiting the castle they went higher up, to the top of the castle.
Susan: “Wilson where are you taking me” antagonising the situation herself not being able to come up with any ideas of her own?
Wilson: “Trust me on this one Susan, I know what I am doing” rushing up the stairs in front of Susan.
Susan and Wilson came to an opening at the roof of the castle. It was the opening of a tower at the highest peak of the castle. After Wilson had helped Margaret up from the ladder to the tower he closed the hatch.
Wilson: “We should be safe” looking at the wooden hatch.
Wilson: “At least for a while.”
Susan had a look around.
Susan: “We are cornered” getting Wilson to look at her.
Susan: “If he breaks the hatch we have no place to go.”
Wilson looked down at the hatch again.
Wilson: “But the hatch is about 10 centimetres thick. It would take anyone to break such a large chump of wood considerable time. Unless of course they had a chain saw then it would only be a question of seconds” joking around.
Susan: “Let us hope you are right.”
Susan: “Do you think that is him” hearing a noise of somebody coming up the stairs?
Wilson: “If it is him then how does he know we are up here?”
The noise stopped for a short while. Then someone tried to open the hatch but due to it being locked from the outside hindered the intruder in getting access, rattling the hatch to get in but without any success. After the rampaging had gone on for a while it stopped, almost giving them relief that it might be over. Suddenly a big bang could be heard. An arm burst through the hatch frightening Susan and Wilson. It opened the hatch from the outside and up came Dracula.
Dracula: “It seems your journey ends here” coming up into a full right position.
Wilson was trying to shield Susan from Dracula by standing in front of her. Dracula was getting ready to make his next move.
Smith who had been following Dracula was on the forefront of catching up to him, being on the ladder right before Smith could crawl up.
Smith grabbed a hold of Dracula’s trousers and leg trying to pull him down with great force.
Dracula was annoyed by this disturbance because it forced him to change focus. Now it was Smith rather than Wilson and Susan who he had to pay attention to. Dracula was looking down at Smith while keeping his feet firmly to the ground. Not paying any attention to Wilson or Susan.
Wilson saw it as an opportunity to push Dracula of the wall of the tower.
Wilson remembered in physics class back at the University of California. In one of his classes he did have about gravity and the human weight. More precisely when one does not have focus on standing firmly they can easily lose balance when pushed. Secondly if charging at them as well with great speed they most likely are to go with the push then resent it. Thirdly when ones position is insecure hence they have been caught off guard and volatile to anything happening. It is easily possible to push someone over barriers of considerate height. Due to when one is pushed in the chest they are bound to bend at a point also forcing their legs to come up into the air.
Wilson charged Dracula who was sideways towards Wilson’s position. It caught Dracula off guard especially from the position the pressure was coming from.
It went almost exactly as to what Wilson had learned from class. Dracula being unaware of Wilson charging at him lost balance when pushed and advanced to the direction of the push. Right before Wilson managed to push Dracula off the wall of the tower, they saw one another in the eye.
Dracula was pushed off the wall of the tower and into the dense forest below. They thought it was over and they felt relieved.
Smith who had managed to come up from the hatch went to Susan. He put a hand on Susan’s shoulder and said.
Smith: “It is all over.”
Susan looked at him with her weeping eyes and said.
Susan: “It is never over! He will haunt us in our dreams forever.”
Susan leaned on Smith while crying. This was an overwhelming situation for the three of them.
Wilson: “Dracula wannabe.”
Susan: “Do you not think it was Dracula” looking up from Smith’s shoulder?
Wilson: “Of course not. Anyone can have you kidnapped and then pretend to be Dracula.”
Susan: “But what about his strength, Margaret and Donna who acted in favour of Dracula and the face he took on after Smith had stabbed him?”
Wilson: “Strength? There is nothing that is impossible when you apply training to it. Might I also remind you that it was I: weak old Wilson. Who managed to kill Drako, Dracula or whatever his name was. Margaret and Donna I cannot say why. But his face after Smith stabbing him well, there is nothing a little make up cannot do” smiling to Susan.
Susan was not entirely convinced but still smiled back.
It was a quiet road back. No one said anything. Wilson told Smith.
Wilson: “What will we tell the university?”
Smith: “The truth.”
Wilson: “But they will think we are crazy maybe even get us arrested or something even worse.”
Smith: “They deserve the whole story.”
He leaned against the airplane window looking out in the night sky.
Close to the castle where they had defeated Dracula something happened when they were gone. In the dense forest on that same night a cold wind blew. There was only the moon light lighting the place. Everything else was either pitch black or blue as the night sky. The forest down below the castle, the trees were shivering in the wind. Something seemed to be coming from the trees. It was night nothing could be seen or heard. First you saw some dark shoes stepping out into the moon light, then the legs came out followed by a body. It was Dracula.
The end to the first book.
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