Humanus - A legend awakes - Chapter 2
For the next three weeks Kevin and Calum worked hard on securing the site, and had managed to employ almost a full crew of construction workers; mainly east European.
Work on destructing the crumbling walls was complete and the new foundations were laid, ready for the new walls to be started. The tower internals had been stripped out and the stone masons were installing new granite steps. The permanent cliff edge boundary fencing had just arrived on site.
Kevin and Calum were overseeing the offloading when a special courier was directed towards them by the security guard.
“I’m looking for a...” he read the name on the letter. “Mr Jonathan Harker.”
Kevin stepped towards him, “No one’s called me that since I was a kid,” he said, as he took the letter from him. “Who’s it from?”
The courier just hunched his shoulder and asked Kevin to sign for the letter.
Letter from Mr Abraham Smith. Craiginches prison, Aberdeen.
Dear Mr Harker,
By now you will probably know who I am, and that I am in prison awaiting trial where my innocence will be acknowledged.
I would, however, protest the accusations against my sanity, only to enable me to convey to you the seriousness of the situation you find yourself in.
The strange and unexplained happenings at the site, I strongly believe are the result of Miss Lucy Westenra’s attempt to prevent the discovery of Count Dracula’s burial site.
Please take some time to read through all my research that was left in my office, (hope you are still in possession of all the documents). You will see that there is enough evidence to back this.
If the Count is discovered, and is allowed to escape, the consequences will be devastating on everyone.
Please, I implore you; do not let anyone discover the tomb.
Your humble servant,
Back in the office Kevin handed the letter to Calum and waited for him to finish reading.
As he handed the letter back, Kevin could not help noticing the concerned look on his face. “Do you believe any of that?” he said, curious of his expression.
Calum sat back in his chair and thought for a moment. “He never struck me as being mad, even with his obsession over vampires. And I have been witness to some very strange goings on.” He paused for a moment. “The strangest part of it all; is not the vampire bit, but all the names.”
Kevin shook his head, confusion written across his face, “by all what names?”
“Well for starters, yer name, the lead character in Bram Stokers novel is Jonathan Harker. My last name’s Stewart, as in Doctor Stewart.”
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“Ye haven’t read ‘Dracula’, have ye?”
“What do ye call the guy who’s in charge of security?”
Calum gestured to him for his full name.
“Yet another character from the book.”
Kevin was even more confused, “what on earth are you rabbiting on about?”
Calum stood up and went to Abraham’s old office, unlocked the door and went in. Eventually Kevin followed, as he entered the room Calum handed him a leather bound copy of Bram Stokers novel ‘Dracula’. “Some light reading for you. We’ll carry this conversation on after you’ve read it, okay?”
Calum was not concerned that Kevin did not turn up for dinner that night, but when he did not turn up for breakfast the following morning, and did not answer the telephone; he went with the manager to check his room. Kevin’s bed had not been slept in.
Just at that moment Calum’s mobile rang.
“You still at the hotel?” Kevin replied in a happy, almost excited voice.
“Yea, where the hell are ye?”
“In the office, can you bring me a bacon roll in when you come, I’m starving.”
He looked at the phone, shaking his head as he hung up.
Calum found Kevin in Abraham’s office. He looked around as he handed Kevin his sandwich. The garlic had gone and all the crosses were laid in a tray marked ‘out’. All Abraham’s files covered every surface, all open with yellow sticky notes marking various pages.
“What on earth are ye doing?” Calum asked.
“Read the book.” He replied through a mouthful of bacon sandwich.
Calum stood with his arms folded across his chest and waited for him to finish eating.
“You know how head office are sending a guy up to check on progress...” Kevin stated, then continued without waiting for a reply. “You’ll never guess what his name is. Van Helsing.”
Calum stared intently at him.
Kevin jumped to his feet, “and that’s not all,” he pulled a file from the top of the book shelf and handed it to Calum. “That’s an article on the castle... look at the authors name.”
“Morris.” Calum stated.
“And with Lucy Westenra floating around scaring everyone and Dracula’s tomb somewhere around here, the cast is complete.”
“Less than a month on the job and ye’ve gone completely nuts.” Calum said.
“Yea, but you’ve got to admit, it would make one hell of a story.”
Calum looked at him in disbelief.
Kevin sat back down; put his hands behind his head and his feet on the desk. He looked up at the ceiling and then closed his eyes.
Calum stood quiet, his mind trying to figure out how to ask if Kevin believed that Dracula did exist. Before he could formulate the question Kevin answered it.
“And no I don’t believe in vampires... or ghosts... or God, before you ask.” He sat up, “anyway, we’ve got work to do. Van Helsing,” he gestured inverted comers with two fingers of each hand, “is supposed to arrive around noon.”
By eleven thirty, Calum had briefed the site crew and ensured the site was tidy. Kevin had organised the office personnel and cleared Abraham’s office of the crosses, stakes and mirrors. All the files and anything associated with vampires were stored in boxes in the store room. The newly fitted conference room was set and lunch was ordered. Kevin stood in the entrance enjoying the sun, waiting for Calum as he walked down from the castle.
Calum opened up his arms and glanced towards the blue sky, “see, the sun does shine... every now and again.”
They waited in the conference room, discussing the project when the young secretary opened the door and lead Mr Van Helsing in. He was short and stocky. The thick bushy moustache and connecting eyebrows, the light grey receding hair and long grey overcoat was just how Kevin had pictured the character in the book. He tried to suppress the smile growing on his face.
Van Helsing stared at Kevin. “Jonathan,” he said, without question.
Kevin could not control himself any more. He swung back on the chair, lifting the front legs from the floor and started to laugh. “You set this up, didn’t you,” he said, to Calum.
“This... Van Helsing, the vampire shit.”
Calum gave him a shocked look; they had agreed not to mention anything about vampires. He shook his head, his eyes wide, trying to indicate that he had set nothing up. “No.”
“Come on, you can’t expect me to believe this.”
Van Helsing slammed his hand down on the table, capturing their full attention.
“This is no laughing matter.”
A still silence hung over the room.
“Jonathan, you have your protection on you?”
Kevin gave him a blank look, glanced at Calum, the back at Van Helsing. “Sorry?” he replied, his face somewhat surprised at, what he assumed to be a personal question.
“Your protection,” he said, with a slight annoyance as he pulled a pendent, almost identical to Kevin’s from under his collar.
Kevin slowly pulled his from under his shirt. His complexion turning pale as he stared, open mouthed, at Van Helsing’s”
Van Helsing removed his overcoat and sat across the table from them.
“Mr Stewart, you, unfortunately lost your father at a young age, and was not informed of your role in life. Jonathan...”
“My name is Kevin.” Kevin said, sternly.
“My apologies... Kevin, I assume by your mockery of this grave situation, your Father did not inform you of yours.”
Their blank faces were confirmation enough for Van Helsing.
Dracula, the book written by Bram Stoker, was not all fictional. In fact most of it was fact. It was written to allow the world to know that a creature that fed off the blood of humans existed. In the event that they were not successful in destroying Dracula, the book would give some guidance to future generations on precautions and possible weapons that could be used against him. As an extra precaution, those who survived vowed to form a secret society to protect the human race against any possible threat. A society that failed after Calum’s father died, and Kevin’s father was committed to an asylum. Quincy Morris and Lord Godalming had no offspring.
“The society must now be reformed with the only three that remain if we are to protect the world from this monster.” Van Helsing said, in an enforceable tone.
Calum sat dumfounded, unable to comprehend what he had just been told.
Kevin stood up, shaking his head. “You expect me to believe that Count Dracula exists and that he is buried somewhere around here. That my father, sorry, my great, great, great granddaddy was none other than Jonathan Harker, slayer of the famous Count Dracula.” He leaned over the table holding his pendant. “And this is my protection against a vampire attack?” He pulled it from his neck and threw it on the table in front of Van Helsing. “You are fuckin’ mad. Suggest you go join my father, maybe he’ll enjoy the company.” He stormed out of the office slamming the door behind him.
Van Helsing picked up the pendant and slid it across the table towards Calum. “I have rented a house outside the village, your fathers belongings are being delivered there today. Until you have your own pendant, you must hold on to Kevin’s.”
“You’re serious about all this, aren’t you?”
Calum stood up, hesitantly picked up the pendant and moved to the door. “I need time to think this through.” He said without looking at him.
“Come to the house this evening, I will explain more then.” Van Helsing said, in a more concerned tone.
Calum found Kevin slowly walking around inside the castle. He was looking at a set of very old plans, trying to orientate the plans with the walls. It was at the base of one of the circular stairs where he started to kick away the dirt.
“What have ye found?”
Kevin jumped, “What the hell are you doing. Sneaking up on people like that.” He shouted.
“I wasn’t sneaking.”
They looked at each other as though they were arch enemies.
Kevin walked towards Calum, not taking his eyes away from his, until he was inches away. His head tilted upwards to compensate for the height difference.
Calum looked down on him. Both breathing heavy, lips pursed, nostrils flaring.
There was a loud cry, followed by a lot of shouting.
Kevin and Calum raced through the maze of old walls and scaffold tubes to the tower. Within seconds Kevin had climbed the scaffold and was confronted by a frightened stone mason. His knuckles white as he gripped with all his might on to the scaffold rail. A heavy mist had risen up from the ravine. To the landward side, where the stonemason cowered, visibility was still good. To the seaward side the mist engulfed the tower.
“What happened?” Kevin shouted at the man.
The man shook violently, cowering on his knees, refusing to speak or move. They had all been given specific instructions that they had to always work in pairs. “Where’s your mate, your work mate, where is he?”
Still the stone mason refused to speak. He did however move his head slightly and tried to look behind him. Kevin turned towards the wall of mist. At first he tried to look into it, but could see nothing. He took a step forward. Looking down he could not even see his feet. He slid his right foot over the scaffold boards. Reaching out in front of him he brought his left foot forward. He repeated the move, inching his way forward. The cold damp air sent a chill though him. Even though the outline of the sun was still visible through the mist, Kevin could barely see his outstretched hand. He slid his foot a little further. Then a little further.
The only sound he could hear was the beating of his heart. The only thing he could feel was the icy air circulating around his body and a hollow feeling in his gut.
Keeping his balance back, he forced his foot a little further.
A huge sigh of relief burst from his lungs as simultaneously his foot touched the kick board and his hand grasped the hand rail. He could now hear Calum shouting from below. He slid his hand along the rail and found the stonemasons lanyard. There was a second lanyard tied next to it. Kevin followed the rope; it went over the side. He pulled on it. The rope came up easy. As he reached the end he found the shackle had been forced open. His heart sank.
The mist drained away like water from a leaky bucket. Calum’s once muffled calls became clear.
Kevin stared in horror as he saw the body, broken on the rocks below. For a moment he could not move, his whole body numb as he watched the waves rock the lifeless limbs in the foamy water.
“Call the police.” He shouted, as he finally pulled himself around.
Kevin sat quiet on the steps of the cabins. His hands wrapped around a full mug of cold tea. Watching as the police busied themselves with the routine of investigation. The site gates were cordoned off and the crew confined to the cabins. Kevin rose to his feet as the ambulance crew carried the covered body past him and into the waiting ambulance. There was no urgency in their actions and no flashing lights or sirens as it left the site.
Kevin put his mug on the step behind him and ran over and into the back of a second ambulance where the stonemason lay, slightly inclined. His face white, his eyes stared blankly through the space in front of him. Kevin leant over him and looked into his eyes, but they continued to stare beyond him.
The stonemason did not respond. For a moment Kevin thought he tried to speak through his quivering lips, but only saliva dribbled from the corner.
“What happened?” Kevin shouted, shaking him by the shoulders.
The stonemason’s body jerked. Kevin move back waiting for him to speak. The stonemason’s body jerked again, this time more violently. Then again... and again.
Kevin stepped down from the ambulance as two paramedics jumped in and tried to restrain the stonemason.
It was late by the time the police had finished questioning everyone and sent them home. The site was made secure and only four officers and Kevin remained.
Kevin waited for the remaining officers to get comfortable in the security office before unlocking the store room and taking all of Abraham’s files to the main office. For the next three hours he scanned everything and saved it to a memory stick. After putting all the boxes back he took one last look in Abraham’s office, checking every drawer and every shelf to make sure he had not missed anything.
As Kevin closed the last draw of Abraham’s desk he heard footsteps, slow methodical footsteps. Clump... clump... clump. Kevin sat back in the chair. A cold sweat broke across his forehead as his eyes widened with each step. The footsteps stopped just outside the doorway. Kevin held his breath, his heart thumped in his chest as he waited for whoever it was, to show themselves. Kevin’s impatience got the better of him.
The door swung wide open. A man dressed in suit and long well-worn beige trench coat stood in the opening.
“Sorry to disturb you Sir, Chief Inspector Longsdale. Mr Harker?”
Kevin let out a big sigh, shook his head and leant on the desk. “What the hell are you doing wandering around at this time of night?”
“I might ask the same of you.”
The Inspector gave a lopsided smile, “I would not question that... if you were not in Mr Smith’s...” he surveyed the room, “empty office.”
Kevin glared at him.
“I trust all of Mr Smith’s files are in a safe place?”
Kevin nodded, “you want them now?”
“No, tomorrow will be fine.” He walked over to the window, sniffing the air. “Smell’s a lot nicer in here.”
After a short silence the inspector continued with his off the wall comments. “Still not convinced Abraham did it.”
Kevin did not reply.
The inspector looked at him out the corner of his eye. “Whether he is mad, guilty or innocent, I know that something here will prove it one way or another.” Kevin’s lack of response, or reaction annoyed the inspector somewhat. He stood in front of the desk, leant forward, resting his knuckles on the desk; paused for the briefest of moments before continuing in a low quiet voice. “Everybody has something to hide.”
Kevin continued his silence.
The inspector stood up straight and headed for the door. He stopped and rested his hand on the door handle. “Anyway, since there was no blood in the veins of the migrant worker we pulled out of the ravine today, Mr Smith might just walk free.”
Kevin waited until he was sure the Inspector had left before he started to pull each of the drawers completely out, checking the bottom, then checking the back if the desk. Nothing. He checked the book shelves, behind the book shelves, under the book shelves, still nothing. Eventually he decided that there was nothing to be found. Switching the light off, he closed the door.
Back in his own office he picked up the site incident book. It was not that he wanted to write the incident down, more to see how Abraham had described the previous one. Kevin opened the book. All the pages were blank. He flicked through the pages again, as the last one fell; Kevin noticed a slight bulge in the sleeve attached to the rear cover. A smile grew on his face as he pulled a small pocket diary out.
“Mr Harker” a voice shouted.
Kevin slid the diary into his back pocket. “In here.”
One of the police officers stepped into the office, “sorry sir but I have been told to escort you from the site.”
“Orders Sir. And I need your set of keys to the office sir.”
“I need to write an incident report, give me half an hour.”
“Sorry sir, you have to leave now. It can wait until the morning.”
Reluctantly, Kevin handed him his keys and walked out of the office, listening to the heavy footsteps following him.
The four officers and the chief inspector watched as Kevin drove out before closing the gates behind him.