The Stanic Rites of Vampire Horse
Creeping on hands and knees, the good doctor brushed through nettles with the sleeve of his jacket pulled up over his knuckles, as his other hand clutched a crucifix close to his beating chest. His mistake was allowing night’s inky curtain to draw before reaching his intended destination, and as he crawled anxiously through the barbs and vines around him, he knew that his only hope was to abandon his grizzly crusade for another time. The sun does not easily find its way through the hills and woods of Transylvania, this he knew well, though of all the nights he could have chosen to exorcise the demonic scourge of the land, this one appeared to be darker than usual, and its darkness fell with a haste that his carriage could not match. Fiends, such as the ones he hunted, were residents of the night, and to approach them in their nocturnal habitat would be to stride foolishly towards certain doom. Were he mere minutes earlier, he may have won a fighting chance, but all was lost, for tonight.
Though miles he was from the closest town, and without a carriage to return him to his lodgings, Doctor Lindeman couldn’t help but find a narrow humour in his current predicament. Indeed, humour is important to the doctor, for one cannot lay eyes upon the corpses of women and children without the ability to later escape into a smile or a laugh. And so it was that the good doctor allowed himself a chuckle, if only to escape momentarily from the horrors surrounding him. This, of course, was Doctor Lindeman’s final mistake. A vehement snort came from somewhere behind him, followed by the clip and clop of demonic hooves. And before the doctor could hold aloft his cross in defence, the shadow-born mare rose above him, a dark colossus, eyes as red as the tongues of fire, and it found his throat before a gasp could it muster.
Detective Deadbody was a strange one and that’s why his role within a case always hung by a thread, the head office could never understand a man from a working class background, a man with real dirt between his fingernails. His bizarre mannerisms disturbed those around him, and perhaps that’s why he never quite gelled with his peers. However much he perplexed and provoked them, whether intentionally or otherwise, he always managed to close the case. He was scorned from a stone’s throw but respected from a distance. That’s why the man always had a home at Scotland Yard, and it was that same reason that brought Mr. Mayne to his desk that drizzly evening.
Mr. Mayne sat before the detective, puffed from his corncob pipe, and listened intently to what he had to say. To his credit, Mr. Mayne, a wealthy lawyer residing in a stately manor in Datchet overlooking the Thames, was not at all put off by the detective’s peculiarity. Detective Deadbody was leaned back in his seat, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, and though this lack of eye-contact may have made the lawyer feel somewhat uncomfortable, he knew that this was all a part of the man’s mode of thought. He’d heard much about him, and he knew that the detective would steer him right.
A fly landed on the detective’s cheek and wandered about his hanging jaw before alighting onto the pile of papers that stood as a tower upon Deadbody’s desk. ‘The detective is an incredibly busy fellow’, thought the lawyer, and all the while he sat and puffed, his eyes narrowing and widening with every sentence Deadbody uttered. Each suggestion Deadbody put forward was a shock to the lawyer’s system, he’d clearly reviewed Mayne’s case with the uttermost attentiveness and with that wild genius that he’d become so very well known for. Then the detective said something that shook Mr. Mayne to his core.
The pipe rattled in Mayne’s hand and his lip quivered.
“It’ simply can’t be” he stammered, though he knew that everything the detective had told him added up, as though he had, in those few minutes, pieced together the jigsaw puzzle. The lawyer pulled back his chair and breathed heavily.
“It was I all along, I’m responsible for the killings” he said, shakily pinching the handle of a knife from his jacket pocket, “by Jove, Deadbody, you’ve done it again”.
Thoughts bounced and reverberated inside of the wealthy lawyer’s head, he shook with them, each revelation coming down upon him like a lightning bolt. All the while, Detective Deadbody remained deathly silent, calm as morning. Mr. Mayne shot up from his seat and looked upon the detective as a lost sailor might the glow of a lighthouse.
“We simply must stop me before I kill again!” he barked, knocking over his chair and slamming the door behind him as he left the detective to revel in triumph once more.