Do you own a hospital? Does it have a vampire problem? Then this might be the story that is for you!
(Does this guy even read what he writes before hitting publish? sheesh!)
Before she could react, a hairy arm wrapped around her middle, pinning her arms to her her sides and lifting her off the ground. Maria tried to scream but couldn’t draw breath. Her attacker smelled of tobacco and something acrid but familiar. She flailed madly with her legs as she was carried into the dark but it was no use. Then she felt his hot garlic-infused breath on her neck.
“You are in great danger. I am here to help.”
Even at a whisper, Zoltan’s rough accent betrayed him. Maria stopped fighting as her mind spun in confusion.
“I vill let you go, but you must see someting first. You understand?”
“Look towards your car”
Maria found her little grey Ford across the garage. Even if she could get free from the janitor’s iron grip, she would have to sprint down seven rows of cars and unlock the door. It wasn’t possible. She would bide her time for a better opportunity to escape.
“You see your car?”
“Now look at the column next to your car. Do you see him?”
Maria squinted in the gloom; she started to shake her head and then stopped.
Dr. Brown’s body lurked in the darkness. His glasses were askew; his scrubs were filthy and stained with old blood. His skin was grey like an overcooked hamburger. His eyes stared dully across the parking garage. Dead on his feet, Maria thought.
“He’s waiting for you, but he can’t see us at this distance.” Zoltan whispered. “We must leave now and go to a place where you will be safe. We don’t have much time. You trust me?”
Maria wasn’t sure why, but she nodded her head.
Zoltan removed his hand from her mouth and released her. He took her hand and led her away from the monstrosity that was Dr. Brown. They crouched low between the cars and followed the slope of the garage downward until P2 became P3. Zoltan then straightened up, walking swiftly and silently. Finally they reached the lower level’s elevator, well lit and encased in glass.
They entered the box and Maria turned to Zoltan. “What was that thing?”
“What is that thing?” Maria’s voice shook a little. “ what happened to Dr. Brown?”
Zoltan placed a finger to his lips until the automated door slid shut.
“Dat is not Dr. Brown anymore. Dat is a dead shell. A walking corpse. A puppet.”
Maria’s mouth opened but no words came out at first.
“You’re crazy,” she backed away.
“Am I? Then you must be also.” Zoltan spoke softly. “You must have seen enough death in your work to recognize a corpse. Your disbelief is understandable, of course. You aren’t used to seeing the dead walk about in dis manner.”
Maria’s mind raced.
“But who -” she cut herself short. The question was unthinkable but logical.
“Who did dis? Very good, Maria. Your question is apt. For a puppet does not move without direction from da puppeteer, yes?”
Ask yourself about Dr. Brown. He vas a difficult, relentless man, yes? He had become obsessed vit da security of da blood bank. He vas sure someone was stealing da blood. So convinced of da fact dat he vas villing to install new security cameras at his own expense, just for a chance to catch someone stealing a small inconsequential amount of blood.”
“You mean Dr. Brown was right all along?” she asked.
“He vas so right and so persistent that the guilty party – our puppet master – couldn’t afford to let him live.”
Maria’s confusion at his response must have been obvious. Zoltan scanned the parking lot and drew a slow breath.
“The puppet master is using a trick that I have seen before. The puppet master finds someone and kills them by draining their blood unto death and, ven da spirit leaves da body, da puppet master re-animates da body by some infernal method. He uses da empty shell as an extension of his body, a chess piece on da board. He vill see vat da corpse sees, hear vat it hears. Dis trick is exclusively employed by vampires.”
Maria wanted to call him insane and run, but she couldn’t deny what she had seen. The dead were walking tonight.
“What do you know of vampires, Maria?”
Maria was afraid to respond.
“What kind of janitor are you?” her voice shook a little.
“I am da kind dat hunts vampires, and you have one in dis hospital. A very careful vampire until recently. He fed exclusively on da blood bank. It is a common practice among intelligent vampires. Da theft is infrequent enough dat detection is extremely low. Vampires can elude most security cameras wit ease.” Zoltan waived his hand dismissively. “But poor Dr. Brown was too focused on da issue and had to be dealt wit as we have discussed.”
Maria shuddered at the thought. “What do you mean that it, um, he was careful until recently?”
“I have been tracking dis vampire for many months. Tracking him without a picture or a description. He has been careful to avoid feeding on live humans all dis time. He looked to be repeating his pattern at St. Alena’s too, and den da girl in 1213 arrived.”
“You mean Sophie?!?”
Zoltan’s brown face creased into a smile. “Yes Sophie!”
“What does Sophie have to do with it?”
Zoltan slapped his forehead in self-admonition. “Of course, you don’t understand! Da vampire he find Sophie desirous yes? He vant to make her vampire like him, you see? So he takes a great risk. He come to her in da night. He drink a little of her blood at a time. He whisper lies to her while she sleep. Her body weakens and so does her vill to resist. She vill give in soon without help, she vill drink the vampire’s blood and become one.”
“She will walk out of this hospital healthier than you.” Dr. Constantin’s words echoed in Maria’s ears.
“It’s Dr. Constantin.” Maria breathed. “He’s the vampire, isn’t he?”
Zoltan stopped scanning the parking lot and turned his eyes to re-appraise his companion.
“You’re smarter dan most when faced wit such a jarring experience, Maria.” he said. “And now you know I tink, why Dr. Brown’s corpse was vaiting for you by your car.”
“I threatened Dr. Constantin. I said I would go to the department head and report him.”
Zoltan nodded. “He couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Sophie after investing so much in her, but you, like the unfortunate Dr. Brown couldn’t leave well enough alone. He would have to kill you if he wanted to leave dis hospital with his bride.”
“What do we do?”
“You do nothing but stay here and stay quiet. I go drive a stake through the heart and den saw off da head of dis abomination called Constantin.”
“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.” Maria said quietly, but firmly.
“Eh?” Zoltan followed her gaze up the incline of the parking structure to see the lurching form that used to be Dr. Brown. “He can’t see us yet. Into the elevator. Quickly!”
Maria breathed a sigh of relief as the elevator doors closed.
“Looks like I’m coming with you after all,” she said.
“Baszd meg!” The Hungarian spat.
Maria wasn’t sure what the words meant, but she was willing to hazard a guess.