Chapter 41 - Dark Conspiracy
"Take it around the back !", Hertz snapped, glaring at the old man and his apprentice as they started to unload the empty coffin beside the front
door of the inn. Pisky stood looking through the window as the villages only undertaker shrugged his shoulders and began pushing the hastily
constructed casket back onto the cart. It was a rare person who owned a car in this small village in the middle of the Carpathians, let alone a hearse
which would be used only once in a blue moon. Hertz watched as the undertaker clambered aboard and drove the cart towards the back of the inn, before
turning back inside and walking over to the pixy.
The innkeeper stood beside the door that led into the back of the inn, where the body of Anna was currently at repose. He watched carefully as the two
strangers to the village spoke quietly together before turning towards the door. Quickly he moved to intercept them. It was, after all, his
inn, bought after years of toil and strife.
"Sirs", he said, leaning against the door and blocking their way, "I daresay that you are here for the best of intentions, but I cannot allow you
to cross this threshold without knowing who you are and for what reason you are here in our village."
Pisky took a deep breath and was about to verbally abuse the man, who he considered a 'jobsworth', when Hertz stepped forward, a card in his hand.
"Hertz van Rental", he said, thrusting his business card into the mans hand. "Professor of metaphysics, Amsterdam University ... Affiliated", he
said after a slight pause, "to Miskatonic University in Arkham".
"Miskatonic ?", muttered the pixy under his breath, "Rather you than me"
"And you, sir ?", the innkeeper asked, looking from Hertz to the pixy.
Pisky took out his wallet and removed a card. It contained a photograph of the Pixy Baby and the words 'The Original Cornish Pixy'
innkeeper peered at it for a moment before moving away from the door and placing both cards on the shelf behind the bar.
Hertz nodded his thanks and turned the doorknob. With a creak worthy of Dracula's castle the door opened, revealing a small corridor. "To the
right", the innkeeper said, gesturing in said direction.
Pisky peered through the gloom. Directly in front of him was a door. To the left of that, a small stairway led into darkness. To the right another
door. Hertz opened that and entered the room beyond. Pisky shivered involuntarily and followed.
It was a small parlour with another door directly opposite which Pisky assumed led to the back of the inn. The room itself was quite cozy if you could
ignore the corpse lying on the sofa where the innkeeper had laid it. Hertz looked around, his eyes scanning the room. Pisky did the same, but he was
looking for drink. There's nothing like a death to make you want a drink, he thought. Especially when the death was an unnatural one. He still
doubted the 'vampire' theory, but it was only fair to give Hertz the chance to prove it. Personally the pixy thought it was a lost cause, but he had
agreed to stand vigil over the dead woman with his new acquaintance and planned to keep his word. However, there was no way in hell he was going to do
Just as he discovered the innkeeper's personal drinks cabinet there was a hammering on the door leading to the back of the inn. Hertz rushed over and
opened it, then moved aside to allow the undertaker and his apprentice to carry the coffin inside. Pisky watched as they set up a small trestle table,
before lifting the body and placing it inside the coffin. This was then lifted carefully onto the table and the lid leaned against the wall. Hertz
moved to the casket and crossed Anna's hands over her breast before turning to the undertaker. "I trust this will cover the expenses", he said,
handing over a large amount of cash. The undertaker grinned happily and nodded. "More than enough", he said, thrusting the money into his pockets
and taking his leave.
Hertz turned back to Anna, sorrow shadowing his face. No matter how many times he had seen this very same scenario, he would never truly get used to
it. And if he was right, what would follow would be ten times worse.
He looked up as Pisky appeared at his side clutching two brandy glasses. He offered one to Hertz who took it and sipped slowly. Pisky downed his in
one and went for a refill.
"So we just sit here all night ?", the pixy asked as he returned with the bottle. Hertz nodded. "And what happens if you're right ? - Let's say
that she really was
killed by vampire. What do we do ? Stake her through the heart like Cushing did to Lee ?"
"No, no, not exactly", Hertz replied, "I just want to cut off her head and take out her heart".
"You must be fecking joking !" the pixy exclaimed, pouring himself another glass of brandy.
"Not at all", Hertz explained. "The stake through the heart merely paralyses the vampire and pins it into its coffin. Removal of the stake releases
the monster. To utterly destroy such a creature of darkness, it must be beheaded, and preferably the heart removed and burnt".
"Won't she turn to dust or something like that when she's killed ?"
"Anna cannot be killed
again", Hertz replied, "She is already dead. Her soul, if our fears are correct, has been corrupted by a creature
from Hell and her body given unnatural longevity. We will have to destroy her body in order to free her of this demonic influence. Then she will be
at peace. However, she will not
turn to dust." He held out his glass for the pixy to refill, then continued.
"When a person is killed by a vampire, the natural decomposition is halted. She will always look exactly as she did at the time of her death. She
could exist in this state for many hundreds of years, never changing. However, should her body be destroyed, her unnatural unlife will come to an end
and - if her unlife has been extended for centuries - she will appear to age rapidly in an instant. Anna however has not
been undead so long.
She will appear afterwards as she does now".
Pisky took a deep breath. "Well, I'll just have to hope that you're wrong about this 'vampire' stuff then", he said.
Pisky was just about to pour another glass of plum brandy when the door leading deeper into the inn opened and two men entered. Behind them in the
darkness the pixy could see the shape of the inkeeper. He appeared to be keeping his distance from the new arrivals. Of the two, the younger was
obviously military. He wore the uniform of the Romanian Army and carried an AK47 which, the pixy was disturbed to see, had its safety off. The other
man wore a long black leather coat and had a fur cap on his head. He looked unarmed but appearance could be deceptive, especially if this man was a
member of Ceausescu's Securitate - the President's secret police.
The man looked at his watch. "Good evening", he said cordially in an accent that reminded Pisky of Bela Logosi's rendition of Dracula
am Mircea Ionescu, captain of the Securitate here in Voivodeni". Pulling off his gloves, he reached into his right coat pocket and removed the two
cards Hertz and Pisky had earlier given to the innkeeper. "Hertz van Rental"
, Ionescu muttered. "Doctor of Philosophy and Metaphysics.
Affiliated to Miskatonic University no less". He grinned. "Impressive credentials, Doctor", replacing the card into his pocket.
"And who do we have here ?", he said sarcastically as he scanned the pixy's card. "The original Cornish Pixy.
Whatever that means". He
shrugged his shoulders and put Pisky's card with the other.
Ionescu took a deep breath. "I have heard some ... worrying rumours", he began, his eyes moving from Hertz to Pisky and eventually to the coffin
where Anna lay in repose. "Rumours which I find it necessary to get to the bottom of. Hopefully you will be able to help in my inquiries and
afterwards leave with my blessings". Pisky tensed. The soldier with the AK47 moved closer to his commanding officer.
"Of course", Hertz replied, "We will endevour to offer as much aid as we are able". He took a sip of his brandy. "Although, being so new here, I
am unaware of exactly how
we will be of use to you."
Ionescu smiled. "It is just a local matter. Nothing to concern yourselves with. However, I must ... request ... that you accompany me to my office.
It is only a short walk away. You should be back in your lodgings in short order". And so saying, he stood aside and gestured towards the door.
Ionescu was a bureaucrat. He, like all of his kind, loved his rules, his forms and his procedures. The matter was, as he said, merely a local concern
but their descriptions had been given with regards a drunken brawl a few days previously, so he had felt it necessary to investigate. Neither of them
had been in the village at that time, which put them in the clear, nevertheless the procedures had to be followed and the forms completed. By the time
Hertz and Pisky finally left the Securitate office, it was long past midnight.
"We must hurry", the doctor said, wrapping his scarf around his mouth, while Pisky muttered abuse about mindless bureaucracy and 'Fecking
"I wonder who reported us ?", Hertz said breathlessly as they rushed along the dark, snow covered streets.
"Whoever it was must have been half blind or completely ratarsed to get us mixed up with anyone else", the pixy replied, trudging through the snow
behind his companion.
"What I can't understand is why the captain of the Securitate bothers himself with something as mundane as a street brawl" Hertz asked himself.
Then he stopped. "God in hemel!!!
" he exclaimed. "We must hurry my pixyish friend - I believe we have been a victim of a conspiracy". And
with that he began running towards the inn, every now and then making exclamations in a mixture of Dutch and German, while the pixy struggled to keep
"Who took her ?"
, Hertz asked angrily, glaring at the innkeeper with a look of impotent rage.
"I don't know", the man replied with fear in his eyes, "They said that you
had sent them".
Pisky looked around the room in which they stood. The parlour. There was the drinks cabinet, there the sofa, there the trestle table. The coffin
containing Anna's remains was gone.
"What did they look like ?"
The innkeeper shrugged his shoulders. "I couldn't tell. It was dark", he said. "They weren't local. No one I knew anyway".
Hertz sighed. "We need rooms for the night. Do you have any vacancies ?"
The innkeeper answered in the affirmative and left to prepare them.
"How could I have been so stupid !" Hertz ranted once the door closed. "To be taken away from my task at the very time I was needed".
"There was bugger all you could have done", the pixy replied, "If we'd refused to go, Adolf with the AK47 would have insisted
"So now do you believe ?", Hertz asked, staring at Pisky hopefully.
"In vampires ?", the pixy replied, "I don't know about that
, but there's certainly something
going on here. And I, for one, don't
like it at all".
[edit on 15-12-2004 by Pisky]