Chapter 43 - The Undead
"Where did you take the coffin ?"
Pisky leaned on the table, glaring at the man sitting opposite. It had been over an hour and they were no closer to getting any answers than they had
been when Radu had first entered the room. Pisky tapped his fingers on the dark wood table and Hertz leaned beside the fireplace while Klaus sat
quietly in the armchair. Radu was not being very communicative.
The pixy repeated his question. This time the man deigned to reply. "I did not take any coffin anywhere", he said, smiling.
"Utter bull# !!!" Pisky snapped, "We have a witness who saw
you helping others to remove Anna's coffin from the inn"
"That interfering child again, I assume", Radu replied, "The little bitch should keep her mouth shut. Maybe I'll teach her how to do it. Maybe I
should knock out a few of those lily white teeth of hers eh ?". He clenched his hands into fists and grinned. He was larger than Pisky, with curly
black hair, a long moustache and a smarmy expression on his face which the pixy instantly despised. "Listen, you slimy feck !", Pisky snapped,
"Harm one hair of that kid's head and I'll fecking well rip your intestines out and feed ..."
"Please" said Klaus, putting his hand on the pixy's arm to interrupt the flow of invective, "Radu. You were Anna's playmate when you were both
very young. Surely you don't want harm to befall her ?"
"She's dead", Radu said coldly.
"Then what did you do with her coffin ?"
"I told you, I did not take ..."
Hertz bent down and looked directly into the mans eyes. They were bloodshot as if he had been awake far too long. "Radu", the professor said softly,
his eyes never leaving those of his captive, "What have they threatened you with ?"
"Threatened ? Me ? I am afraid of no man !" Radu exclaimed as if his honour had been disparaged.
"That may be so", Hertz replied, "But I'm not talking about any man
Radu blanched and he turned away. "I do not know what you are speaking about", he said after a pause, "I am not afeared of any woman
"Stop playing the arsehole !", Pisky snapped, "You know what he means."
"and what do you
know of, eh ? - You'll be back in your cozy little cottage in pixyland within a week and where will Radu
be ?", he
glared at the pixy with a look of pure disgust, "Six feet under if I'm lucky
. Thats where I'll be if I open my mouth to you. And will you be
able to do anything to stop it ? - No"
Pisky stood and walked over to the window. He opened it and took a deep breath then closed it again and returned to the table.
"It looks as if you've beaten us Radu", he said sorrowfully. "There is nothing more we can do. You refuse to answer our questions and we cannot in
all conscience force you to do so. So ...", he reached over and picked up a bottle of slivovitz, "As a gesture of goodwill, will you take drink with
Radu smiled broadly and shrugged his shoulders, "Since you recognise the better man, it will be a pleasure", and he took the proffered glass and
"So what are your plans now?", Radu asked as he enjoyed his brandy, "return to ..."
A knock at the door interrupted his question. Hertz poured another glass of Slivovitz while Pisky went over to the door and opened it, keeping his
body between the occupants of the room and the new arrival. He said a few muffled words before closing the door and returning to the group, a smile on
"Good news !", he said happily, "They've found the coffin - all we need to now is reclaim it and ..."
Radu shot into the air, his brandy splashing down his arm. Then, catching himself, he muttered an apology and wiped the drink off with his
"Well", said Hertz, "It looks as if we don't need to involve you after all".
Radu nodded, his face ashen. "In which case, you must excuse me", he said worriedly, "I have other tasks to attend to", and with that he rushed
out of the room, and down the dark passageway towards the stairs.
From behind the door a small shape detached itself from the shadows and entered the room. "Did I do ok ?", Jenica asked.
"Perfectly", the pixy replied with a grin, "Now I need you to do one more thing for me if you are willing". And with that he grabbed his coat and
with Jenica in tow, followed the rapidly fleeing Radu.
"What was that all about ?" Klaus asked once the door was closed, "You have found the coffin ?"
"Not yet", Hertz replied, "But soon. Pisky guessed that Radu would stay tight-lipped so he asked Jenica to wait outside until he signalled to her.
She was then then to come to the room and knock on the door. Once she did that, the pixy answered as if it was a genuine message. His comment about
finding the coffin was designed to scare Radu into rushing off to check whether or not it really had been found. Pisky is following him as we
It was almost an hour before the pixy returned, a grin on his face. In the room, Hertz was telling a stunned looking Jenica about some of his travels
around the world while Klaus sat beside the fire, his mind elsewhere.
As Pisky entered, Jenica leaped from her seat and handed him a small package. "All done", she said happily.
"And the church ?"
"Father Petre almost saw me, but I managed to hide behind the font until he left", Jenica said with a giggle. Pisky smiled and placed the package
into his pocket.
"Did you find it ?", Klaus asked, desperate for news about his daughter's coffin.
"I did", the pixy replied, "But if Hertz is correct, we need to walk carefully from now. May I suggest that you stay here and look after Jenica
until we are sure of things ?"
"But did you see Anna ?"
"No. The lid was fastened down", Pisky replied with relief in his voice, "But don't worry. We'll bring her back to you if we are able".
Klaus nodded and looked towards the window. "It's almost sundown", he said.
"Then we need to leave now", Hertz said, fastening his coat, grabbing his hat from the stand and picking up a small Gladstone bag from the floor
before heading towards the door. Pisky nodded and with a wave to Jenica, followed the professor out of the room.
It was almost dark when the two adventurers reached the old mansion house where Radu had unknowngly led them. It was well away from the village
proper, along a rarely used track through the woods and looked as if it hadn't been lived in - or even visited - for many years. Pisky led the way
around the back where a door led into the bowels of the house. The dingy cellar into which they descended was filled with empty wine racks which were
covered by spiderwebs and mildew. Pisky walked slowly through the racks until the pair came to another door, which opened with a creak. This room was
empty except for Anna's coffin and a terrified Radu who was fastened to an iron grating with a pair of Pisky's socks stuffed into his mouth.
"Well, I couldn't just let the bugger leave now, could I ?", the pixy said, answering Hertz's unasked question. "He might have taken her
somewhere else and then
where would be ?"
Hertz smiled and shook his head, then placed his bag onto the floor and opened it.
Pisky looked down with interest as he watched his companion remove various items from the bag and place them on the floor. Two crucifixes, a small
glass bottle with a transparent liquid inside, a hammer and a nasty looking wooden stake. As Hertz took off his coat, the pixy could see a large
Gurkha kuri fastened to his belt.
"For protection", the professor said, handing one of the crucifixes to Pisky. Then he walked over to the coffin. "It is as you said", he said,
"The lid is securely fastened". And with that he took out a small Swiss Army knife and began removing the screws that held the lid down.
At that Radu began thrashing around as if in fear for his immortal soul, desperate to escape his bonds and leave this house of death. He moaned
fearfully through the rancid socks that Pisky had used as a gag, his eyes opened wide in terror. Hertz continued working at the coffin lid until with
a cry of triumph, he released the final screw and took hold of the lid. "Pisky - a hand if you will".
The pixy walked over and took hold of the other side of the coffin and on a count of three, they lifted the heavy wooden lid and placed it carefully
against the wall.
The pixy looked sadly down at Anna's face. It was as white as marble, her dark hair making her pale skin appear even more pronounced. Her hands were
crossed at her breast, her white dress making her look as if she was the bride of death itself. Pisky sighed at the waste of a life.
Then her eyes opened.
"Holy fecking # !!!!!"
, Pisky yelled, leaping away from the coffin, his heart racing like a triphammer. Radu groaned fearfully. Only Hertz
seemed unaffected by the unnatural occurance. A ghostly hand reached towards the side of the coffin like a large white spider and grasped the edge.
Pisky stood dumbfounded as the occupant of the coffin sat up as if on some ghastly hinge. Turning to the pixy she smiled, displaying long canine teeth
more suited to a demon from Hell than a human being. Bright red eyes burned within dark sockets. Pisky shivered and broke wind.
"Don't look into her eyes !", Hertz snapped, moving forward and thrusting his crucifix into the creature's face. Anna - or whatever demonic entity
now possessed her form - hissed like a cat and with an unbelivable show of acrobatics, leaped from the coffin to land directly in front of Radu.
The man screamed in fear, the gag falling from his mouth. Anna leaned forward quickly, grabbed his head and opened her demonic maw of a mouth. Radu
whimpered. Pisky cursed. Then Anna stopped, her eyes widening in shock. With an unholy groan she dropped limply to the floor, Hertz's wooden stake
jutting from her back.
Radu scrabbled desperately away from the incapacitated vampire, all the time moaning and whimpering in utter fear and disbelief. "Shut up !", Hertz
commanded, "And stop that struggling - you'll dislodge the stake !"
Pisky moved over to his companion, shaking his head. "Well bugger me", he said, "You were right"
"Of course", Hertz said with a sardonic grin, "But we are not finished yet. Please be so kind as to break up some of those wineracks and bring the
pieces here. We will need tinder. Meanwhile ..." and with that he unsheathed his kukri and checked the sharpness of the blade.
"Radu", Hertz snapped as the flames from the small fire illuminated the room, "Why did you bring her here ?"
The Romanian had lost his early arrogance and merely sat staring at the fire.
"Why ?", ordered Hertz again.
told me to"
"Who ? - Ionescu ?"
Hertz looked across to where Pisky was screwing down the coffin lid once more. "We will need a cart", he said as the pixy completed his task,
"Tomorrow we will return Anna to her father".
"What about this
gob#e ?" the pixy asked, gesturing to the stunned Radu.
"He is going to tell us everything", Hertz said, "Aren't you, Radu ?
"It all began two years ago", Radu began, his voice low in the dark cellar. "I am one of the Securitate. No-one knows except for Ionescu and two
other Securitate officers. It was they who helped me carry the coffin here from the inn". He took a deep breath then continued, speaking as if in a
"We were doing a sweep of the area - looking for a political prisoner who had recently escaped - and during our search of this house, Ionescu
discovered a coffin. It contained a body which was pinned to the floor by a wooden stake. He told no one at that time, only later informing three of
us - his most trusted agents - of his find." Radu shivered as the memories flooded back. "Ionescu is a vain man, as you may already know. His
greatest fear is of ageing. This find gave him an idea. Ionescu knows the old legends, he researched them since he was a child. He knew what would
happen if he removed the stake, and wanted to make a deal with the old vampire. He wanted to be made
a vampire - to attain immortality. To
Radu closed his eyes and shivered.
"Well, that obviously hasn't happened yet", Pisky said, "When he collected us
it was during the daytime".
"Yes", the Romanian replied, "When he removed the stake, it was as he expected. The vampire rose. Ionescu bartered with him, offered to protect the
old creature in return for immortality. Whenever the vampire killed someone from Voivodeni or one of the surrounding villages, He would inform Ionescu
where the body had been left, and Ionescu would send out one of us to take care of the 'formalities'"
"Ensuring that none of the victims became vampires themselves ?"
"Yes. To us they were just corpses. We always got to them before they turned"
"But what about Anna ?" the pixy asked, "Why was she
so different ?"
Radu leaned back against the cold stone wall, "The vampire wanted her", he said, "He chose her to be his ..."
"If you will. I was ordered to collect her from where she had been left, and bring her here, but you", he gestured to Hertz, "got to her before I
was able to do so".
"Messy bastard isn't he, this vampire ?", Pisky said sarcastically, "you'd think he'd pick up after himself"
"You don't understand", Radu said, "He is a Voivode. A nobleman. For him to do the work of a peasant is inconceivable".
Pisky shook his head.
"So that's why Ionescu interrogated us for so long about that 'drunken brawl'", the pixy explained, "to give you time to get Anna out here and
ready for her new master"
"Which must mean ... Oh feck !"
"Exactly, my pixyish friend", Hertz said softly, "We must prepare for a visit".