Just Another Vampire Story
Albert Getty threw the newspaper down with disgust, cursing the police with a string of obscenities, then kicked it before it could hit the floor. The paper burst apart, white and black sheets scattering about, and settled over the cramped living room of his apartment. A twelfth murder had taken place last night, just a block away from his apartment building, and Albert was getting fed up with the whole damn thing.
Ever since Eric Vladmir had moved into the building, just two short weeks ago, Albert had know that there was something different about the foreigner, something evil. Albert had never seen the man leave his apartment during the day, he had only seen him venturing out after the sun had finally set, and returning shortly before sunrise. Albert had thought that maybe the foreigner had a night job, but then he noticed that the man did not go out every night, just every two or three, strangely coinciding with the nights of the murders.
That had got Albert to thinking, and to observing the foreigner even more closely. He kept a journal of his observations, noting dates and times, starting it after the night of the third killing. Every day that there had been another murder reported, Albert had gotten out his journal and compared Eric's departure time to that of the murder, and the truth had become evident to him.
Albert had called the police, of course, and had been upset to see nothing done about it other than a detective coming by the building and interviewing Mister Vladmir. The Detective, Lydecker had been his name, had stopped by to thank Albert for his concern, but had then assured him that Mister Vladmir was not being considered a suspect.
"Not a suspect!" Albert had nearly screamed at the Detective. "It's right here in black and white! Every time he goes out, someone dies!"
Albert had shoved his journal into the Detective's face, ranting and raving about the times being within an hour or two of the killings, and how Vladmir only went out the nights of the killings.
How much clearer could it have been?
Albert's outburst had resulted in him spending the night in jail, getting to enjoy the company of "Badass" Bob Bodoski, who simply could not sleep without snuggling up to someone. Albert had come out of the experience determined that if the police weren't going to do something about Vladmir, then he would.
First, he had to get irrefutable evidence that Vladmir was the murderer that Albert knew he was. Albert had waited until Vladmir had gone out, the night of the tenth murder, then braved the rickety, rusted, and weak fire escape that stretched up the side of the building. Two storied up from his apartment, the fire escape moaning in protest to being used for the first time in decades, Albert had entered the window of Vladmir's apartment.
That was when Albert discovered the terrifying truth; Vladmir was not just any murderer, he was a vampire!
Albert should have stepped into what was Vladmir's bedroom, since all of the apartments were identical, but had instead found himself in an barren room that contained nothing but a huge, ornate, highly-polished, black-oak coffin.
Nothing else, just the coffin.
Albert had nearly pissed himself.
Recovering from his shock, his hands trembling fiercely, Albert had gingerly stepped over to the coffin and opened its lid, both thankful and terrified to find it empty.
Uncertain of how much time he would have, Albert quickly looked about the remainder of the apartment, his nightmare confirmed by what he found. Very little furniture was in the apartment, only a single chair and table, and a beat up recliner filling the spaces. The tiny kitchen proved to be as illuminating, the refrigerator and cupboards all empty, and Albert's suspicion of Vladmir being a vampire became a fact in his mind.
Careful to leave no trace that he had been in the apartment, Albert let himself out through the door, and tipi toed down the two flights back to his own apartment. Albert spent the remainder of the night setting on his bed, rocking slightly as he murmured "he's a vampire" over and over.
Three nights, and one more murder later, Albert snapped out of his dementia, and decided that, if nothing else, he had to protect himself. He immediately went out, while it was still sunlight out, and bought himself a crucifix. The horror movies of his youth springing fully into his mind, Albert then went to a nearby department store and purchased a large wooden mallet, and a bundle of camping stakes. The stakes were intended for securing a tent down, but Albert was certain they would do just as fine at killing the vampire as they would at being used for outdoor recreation.
Albert had decided that he would wait until the next morning, after Vladmir had returned—if he went out—and then once again climb the decrepit fire escape to the vampire's apartment. With sunlight on his side, Albert was certain that he could "slay" the vampire.
Things turned out to be different, though, when actually faced with the task of carrying out his plan, and Albert had wasted the entire day, and following night, pacing about his apartment. The very thought of entering the vampire's lair, of opening his coffin to face him, sent waves of terror through Albert, and he realized that there was no way that he could do it.
But that had been before he had seen this morning's paper, the one telling of the twelfth killing, which he had sent sprawling across his apartment with an angry kick.
Another life lost because of his cowardice.
Another life lost because the police were too blind to see the truth.
Another life lost, but no more.
With the first rays of dawn streaming through his window, the air ripe with songs of birds, Albert grabbed up his bundle of stakes, and mallet, and stormed out of his apartment. He took the stairs two at a time, their aged material creaking and groaning in protest, and reached Vladmir's floor with sweat streaming down his face, and his breath coming in ragged gasps.
The building was old, built back in the late twenties, and the current owner was only one step above slum lord status. While not in condemnable condition, the building had not aged well, and its walls and doors had not been kept up as they should have been. The thin, wooden door of Vladmir's apartment was no match even for sixty-one year old Albert, and he smashed it open with little effort.
So enraged was he about the murders, about Vladmir getting away with them, that Albert did not even give thought to finding Vladmir stretched out in the tattered recliner, sleeping the sleep of the dead. Albert stalked up to Vladmir, grunting at the fact that the man did not even stir at the sound of the door crashing in, and placed the tip of one of his stakes over the chest of the vampire.
The first strike of the mallet sent the stake inches into Vladmir's chest, the man's eyes springing open wide, and blood spraying out over Albert's hand. The scream the came from Vladmir was like nothing Albert had ever heard, and he struck the stake a second time, driving it into Vladmir's heart.
Blood still streaming out around the stake, the crimson liquid dripping from his hands, Albert dropped the mallet and staggered back a step. He couldn't believe that he had done it, that he had killed the vampire.
"Oh, my God," came a woman's voice.
Albert turned around, slowly, almost drunkenly, and saw Mrs. Needham standing in the doorway, her hand over her mouth. Smiling, knowing that he had done the right thing, Albert dropped to the floor and sat, waiting paitently for the police to arrive.
FOUR DAYS LATER…
Albert thought that he should be angry with the police, they didn't believe his story after all, but he simply couldn't find the anger within him. He was satisfied that he had done the right thing, that he had destroyed the vampire that had been stalking the city, and he was content to know that, compared to that, nothing else mattered.
Setting in the corner of the padded room that he had spent the last three days in, Albert sat rocking slowly, replaying the event over and over in his mind. With a chill, Albert realized that he was feeling cold, surprising since it was in the seventies even at night, and he thought of maybe asking one of the orderlies for a blanket.
Then he noticed the mist drifting in through the high window. A strangely thick, black-grey mist that seemed to move of its own accord. The cloud drifted across the floor of his room like a floating pool of obliqueness, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.
The mist swirled upwards, forming a short column, and suddenly solidified into a dark shape. A shape that Albert recognized with terror, and he began to scream, praying that someone would come to his aid.
"You foolish mortal," spat Vladmir. "Already I have to move from this city simply because of you."
"I killed you," stammered Albert, his heart thundering in his ears. "I put a stake through your heart!"
"Silly, silly man," chuckled Vladmir, kneeling down before Albert. "Plastic camping stakes just don't cut it."
Albert's next cry died out into a gurgle as Vladmir latched onto his throat, draining his warm, terror filled blood.