Casebook of the Vampire Annica - The Affair of the Garlic Cloves
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“Please be reasonable Mistress.” pleaded Johann, “if you want to set up as a private detective, you’ll have to change your name.”
Annica Aachenstracht glared at her latest convert / servant,
“Abandon my family name? One that has resounded through the annuals of history? What is wrong with it exactly, if you don’t mind?”
“Annuls of history actually. As to your name, well it sounds like you’re clearing your throat, not introducing yourself.”
“And the sign writer is charging by the letter. Think of it as adopting a nom de guerre, or nom de vampire in your case.”
“Rather than a way of saving money?”
Annica laced her fingers behind her head and pushed the chair back onto its hind legs. Their new office was sparsely decorated and smelled musty, her servant Johann had described it as having a ‘moderate disaster motif’. But the desk was made of sturdy oak and a paperback copy of ‘Dracula’ under one corner had corrected a tendency to wobble.
“Well it has to give me an air of mystery.”
“I like the idea of being a woman of mystery. Like Mystique only better looking – blue skin, I ask you.”
Her pale long face with sapphire blue eyes would be an act to whack, Johann admitted to himself. He wasn’t particularly enamoured of his vampire controller but had to concur that she had a rare beauty. She broke into his reverie,
“Reisende – the traveller – that’s it.”
“Annica Reisende, hmm.” he murmured, “Not bad really, what about me though?”
She waved a hand dismissively,
“And Partner will be fine. Can he abbreviate the ‘partner’ bit? With him charging by the letter.”
Johann left the office to use his sometimes working mobile phone,
“A bloody abbreviation, that’s about right for me.”
Annica watched him go, his short scrawny frame belied the quality of his blood. An AB negative convert had certainly boosted her reputation among the almost rabidly snobbish vampire community. ‘Reisende’ also had a certain irony to it as well. She had travelled greatly during her thousand years life. Now she wanted to settle down in Stoke-on-Trent and hopefully avoid unpleasantness with certain fanatics who believed a stake through the heart would suit her well.
She had harboured a secret desire to be a detective ever since watching ‘The Big Sleep’ a few years ago. Annica had read all the great novelists, from Conan-Doyle to Christie, Raymond Chandler and Thomas Harris. She knew them off by heart and didn’t see what was so difficult really.
Johann came back into the office and nodded,
“He’ll pop around tomorrow, Mistress. Oh and the free paper’s just arrived, I think you’ll find the lead story quite interesting.” He tossed it onto the desk and she read,
‘Garlic Clove Chokes Pole.’
Annica scanned the article quickly and snorted, wiped her nose on the back of her hand and scoffed,
“Another superstitious fool from the old country. So what? He thought he was in danger from a vampire attack and sticks garlic in his mouth at bedtime. Hardly the act of anyone with a grain of sense.”
Johann was grinning from ear to ear,
“When you decided to settle here, I visited the local library archives.”
“Well, a lot of local papers carry stories that don’t make it to the nationals.”
Annica sighed, but decided to humour him,
“Go on what have you discovered?”
“What if I told you there were two other identical incidents in 1966 and 1973? Both men, both Polish and both were apparently trying to protect themselves from vampires.”
“Mein Gott,” she murmured, “That’s very interesting Johann. Well done, it looks like we have, as Holmes would remark, a three artery problem. Johann - kommen sie hier.”
The post-hypnotic command took hold and Johann shuffled over to her, blank eyed, features slack. She closed his eyes with a gesture of her long fingers, re-opened the original punctures on his neck and slurped noisily for a moment. As she wiped the blood from her mouth with a piece of toilet roll, Annica murmured,
“Now then, how would Sam Spade approach this problem? Probably with violence. No I think Holmes’ application of logic will be more useful.”
Johann began to snore and his mistress snapped,
“Wake up, will you? I can’t think with that noise going on.”
End of part one.
In five hundred years time, most of us will be forgotten dust. But Hitler will still be remembered, God loves irony.