Humanus - A legend awakes - Chapter 3
Kevin sat at the bar. It was just after midnight and the bar staff were clearing up after a function. He had just been served with a drink when Calum and Van Helsing came storming through the door.
“Good, you are here. We need to talk. We have work to do.” Van Helsing said, as he approached.
“It’s been a long day; I’m having a drink and going to bed.” Kevin replied.
“Do you not understand what is happening?”
“No. And I don’t care.”
Van Helsing stood with his arms folded, his anger showing in his face. Kevin took no notice.
Just as Calum was about to speak he heard a faint drumming sound. Kevin looked upwards as the drumming got louder.
Calum and Van Helsing both looked up, then glanced at each other as the distinctive sound of the helicopter hovered directly over the hotel. Glasses and bottles rattled and the chandeliers shook with the vibrations.
Calum, Van Helsing and the bar staff all ran out to see what was happening. The helicopter flew to the rear of the hotel and land on the large lawn. Two military officers and a suit stepped down and walked towards the gathering crowd of curious hotel guests and staff.
The man in the suit looked over the crowed before entering the hotel. The two officers stood at the doorway preventing anyone from re-entering.
Kevin was happily sat on his own when the man in the suit sat next to him.
“Mr Harker, I presume?” he said, almost like royalty.
“No, didn’t he just leave?” Kevin replied, in a sarcastic voice.
The man smiled and introduced himself, “Mr Smith, MI6, I have to ask you to come with me sir. Matter of national security.”
Kevin took a sip of his drink. Nothing made sense. He was glad of the opportunity to be a construction manager, but did not understand why they had chosen him for the job. The mysterious events at the castle, the accident; was it an accident? What has Dracula got to do with all of it? And now MI6, what do they want with me? After that final thought, Kevin swivelled on his stool until he stared directly into the pail thin faced Mr Smith. “Silly question time; what has all this got to do with national security?” he asked.
“Sorry sir, I am not authorised to discuss that with you. You need to come with me. All will be explained by my superiors.”
As Kevin was escorted out of the hotel he shouted to Calum and Van Helsing, “have a drink on me, it’s paid for.”
They watched as the helicopter took off. The crowd dispersed leaving them alone in the car park. “What did he mean?” Van Helsing asked.
Calum shook his head, “Don’t know, but I could do with one.”
The bartender knew nothing about drinks being paid for. He took their order and they discussed the recent happenings while he pulled a pint for Calum. Van Helsing took a Brandy. As he opened the cash register he lifted up a rolled up twenty pound note. A memory stick fell to the floor. “I think this is for you,” he said as he picked up the memory stick and handed it to Calum.
“How do ye know?” Calum replied, as he tentatively took it from the barman.
The barman unrolled the note. Written in thick red lettering was Calum’s name.
Calum and Van Helsing moved to a table in the corner. They sat silently while Calum fingered the memory stick, watching the bartender closed up the bar. After the bartender had left, Van Helsing started to explain how he now saw the situation.
“We have a very serious problem. Not only, it appears, do we have a vampire on the loose, we now have the military to contend with. If they discover Dracula’s tomb and he escapes... I shudder to think of the consequences. If they capture him and manage to emulate his powers, the world will never be the same again.”
“Won’t they just kill him?” Calum said, confused.
“No, my friend. Immortality, stealth, superior strength, manipulation of others, no they would not kill him. They would utilise these powers to their own ends. Such powers would corrupt the most righteous of people. No, they must not be allowed to release, nor capture this beast. We must look at the information that Kevin has left us. It may help us in our quest.”
Van Helsing, stopped Calum before he reached his car, “we should walk.” Before Calum could respond, Van Helsing started to walk briskly towards the road. Calum caught up with him as he turned onto the street.
“Why are we walking?”
“It is a pleasant night... and we are being watched.” Van Helsing said quietly. “Do not… look.” He added in a stern but even quieter voice, as Calum started to turn his head.
“Are they following us?”
The faint sound of footsteps behind confirmed to them both, Calum quickened his pace.
“Slowly, my friend, we do not wish for them to know that we know. There is a public footpath through the houses, across the fields to the house. We may be able to lose them if we keep our wits about us.”
As they turned into the housing estate, a chill caught Calum’s back, inadvertently forcing him to look back over his shoulder. A thick fog hovered only a few yards behind them obscuring all but the last street light they had passed. He quickly indicated to Van Helsing.
After a quick glance, Van Helsing, wide eyed, looked at Calum, “we must make haste.”
The two of them quickened their pace out of the housing estate. Glancing back the moonlight highlighted the fog that seemed to linger over only a small area of the estate. As they entered the garden gate Calum pointed towards the village. The fog had vanished and the streetlights were clearly visible.
“Don’t think I’ll ever understand Scottish weather.” He said.
“I do not think that was anything to do with Scottish weather my friend.” Van Helsing replied solemnly. His mobile phone rang.
He gave Calum the keys while he took the call. Calum tried to listen in as he unlocked the door, but Van Helsing was speaking in Dutch. He had just taken his jacket off and switched the kettle on when Van Helsing came rushing in.
“We must leave, you must switch off your mobile; they are tracking your GPS.” He stated, before disappearing up the stairs. He returned moments later with a large suitcase and satchel. “We leave now.”
The car wheels span on the gravel as it exited the garage. They drove for a few miles, away from the village, through thin winding country roads before turning onto a dirt track. Van Helsing pulled the car into an old stone building next to a farm house. “They should not find us here for a while.” He said as he got out of the car.
The building looked rather dilapidated in the moonlight. It was over run by weeds and small trees with most of the roof covered in ivy. The windows were boarded up and parts of the render had fallen away. Van Helsing picked his way through the overgrown garden with ease to the rear and opened the door.
Calum followed clumsily. As he entered a faint light filtered through from a room on the right. He entered.
“Hello Calum.” A young slim woman said.
Calum stared. She was around six foot tall with long dark hair, dressed in shorts, t-shirt and a pair of converse boots laced up to her knees. The light was too faint to make out her face. He jumped as a voice came from behind him.
“Make sure always the door is closed.” Van Helsing said, as he brushed past him and into the room. “Sasha” he said with his arms wide open.
Sasha stepped forward and gave Van Helsing a big hug, then kissed him on both cheeks.
The room was littered with computers, wires and flat screen televisions. A fire flickered gently behind the glass of an old pot belly stove. A tall kettle was just beginning to boil. Sasha turned away from Van Helsing to lift it off the stove.
“Tea?” she asked as she poured the steaming water into a large tea pot.
Van Helsing apologised to Calum and introduced his daughter. “She is my angel, literally.” He gestured to her, “Show him.”
Sasha smiled, “I have been watching the site, the site offices and the hotel. There are over forty camera’s scattered over the three locations.” She pulled up the site on one of the television screens.
“Sorry, bit dark, but now that the military are there I can’t use the infrared lights.” She pointed to one of the laptops, this one monitors every military, political, police, special forces and spooks communications; highlighting anything relating to us. This one monitors satellite movement and this one...” she shrugged her shoulders, “I use that one for fun.”
They sat and drank their tea while Sasha talked about all her gadgets and what she could do with them.
“I apologise for my daughter, I believe you are the first person she has every told about this.” Van Helsing said.
“Papa.” Sasha said.
“The memory stick?” Van Helsing asked Calum.
“Oh, yea,” Calum pulled the stick from his pocket and handed it to Van Helsing who handed it to Sasha.
“Kevin left this for us, it might have some useful information on it.” Van Helsing said.
Sasha took the stick, removed the cap and slid it into a slot on a tubular object. Both Van Helsing and Calum watched with curiosity. The object was hinged along its length; Sasha opened it and clipped it over her left forearm. As soon as she snapped it shut the dialogue box appeared on the main screen.
She smiled proudly as she turned to them, “you like it, it’s my new gadget, it can hold four memory sticks, has a 100 Gig memory, remote link to any monitor… and it plays music.” She said.
Van Helsing, smiling, shook his head, “Sasha.”
Sasha turned off the music, so proud at finally being able to show someone other than her father her gadgets.
“Calum must be tired, he must rest.” Van Helsing said as he turned and lifted a large old book from one of the many boxes.
Sasha agreed and showed Calum to one of the bedrooms.
It was late when Calum awoke to the smell of bacon. Sunlight squeezed its way through the cracks in the shuttering, shinning in dusty beams across the room. Even though his bed was some old pallets with a mattress laid on top, Calum slept well.
“Good morning,” a cheerful voice greeted him as he entered the main room. “You slept well, I trust?”
“Surprisingly yes; you?”
“I’m like my father, I don’t sleep,” she replied, as she took the frying pan from the stove. “You are hungry?”
“Err, yes, starving. You don’t sleep... at all?” Calum replied.
She handed him a paper plate with a sandwich and put a mug of tea on the floor next to an old wooden upturned box.
“Sit, please. No, as far as I’m aware, none of the Van Helsing’s or Harker’s do. Your phones on the desk; you can use it now.” She turned and smiled at him, “took the GPS chip out, hope you don’t mind. You won’t be able to get the internet, but it will make it harder for them to track it. Just try to keep it switched off when you don’t need it.”
“How can you not sleep?”
Sasha smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
One of the computers beeped. Sasha immediately started to work her hand held keypad. “Not good.” She said, as the television screens light up, each with split screens showing a total of eight camera angles.
Two truckloads of army personnel and three large containers were entering the site. Over the next two hours the containers were position next to the castle. A frame was erected around the main castle entrance and enclosed with sheeting. Inside they watched as more framing was erected and the centre courtyard was covered.
“Will they find your cameras?” Calum asked.
“Possibly, but they’ve covered my solar panel, not sure how long the battery will last for the camera’s in the courtyard.” She continued to work her keypad. “Batteries are just about full, if I use them sparingly, should last three or four days.”
Sasha toggled the keypad to the second computer. The screen lit up revealing a dialog box. Her fingers worked furiously. A grainy video image appeared. She fast forwarded it, stopped then fast forwarded it again. She continued to run through the images for a few minutes. “You’re just in time,” she said as Van Helsing walked in. “Retrieved this from the memory stick. It is video footage from Abraham’s camara.” She pointed to the screen. “There.”
Van Helsing nodded in approval.
“What?” Calum asked, not being able to see what they had seen.
Sasha rewound and set it to slow motion. “That,” she said, pointing to a dark shadow moving quickly across the screen.
The normal digital image from the camera did not show the shadow. Sasha had spent most of the night reviewing the raw data.
“That, my friend, is our vampire.” Van Helsing said.
“And last night, the fog, they lost one of their agents.” Sasha added.
Van Helsing held his chin and paced. His eyebrows heavy across his eyes. Sasha and Calum watched silently, awaiting the conclusion of Van Helsing’s thoughts.
He paused and looked at each one individually.
“My fear was that Dracula had already escaped. This, I believe now, is not so. These killings are not of him, but of a more inexperienced vampire. Dracula would not have brought so much attention on himself.” He started to pace again. “But what does this vampire have in mind? What are his intentions?”
Calum put his hand up, like a school boy. “Kevin got a letter from Abraham, Abraham Smith. The last site manager, he said that he thought, or believed that... well.”
“Spit it out man,” Van Helsing snapped.
“Lucy, he thought it was the work of Lucy West-er somthing.”
“That’s it” Calum said, pleased with himself.
“No. That cannot be.” Van Helsing Said, in a loud voice. “No. No... If this be true, then Dracula does in fact live.” He glared at Calum, “I hope and pray to God, that you are wrong.”
Sweat beads formed on Van Helsing’s forehead, his expression, a mixture of worry and thought. “I need to go home... when?” he asked Sasha, who fingered the keypad.
“There’s a flight at 2:30.”
“You can get me on the flight?” Van Helsing replied, mopping his brow.
“Always.” She said, with a big smile. “First class, that’s it, you are booked on the KLM 2:30 flight.”
“Good, I must make arrangements.”
As Van Helsing left the room, Calum reach over for his mobile and switched it on. He sat waiting, watching the screen. It rang almost the instant it received a signal. He looked shocked at Sasha. Sasha took the phone from him and checked the screen. She then switched it off, took the battery and the SIM card out and threw the phone in a cardboard box she was using as a bin.
“It appears that you need a new phone.” Within seconds she had transferred the data on his SIM to a new one, inserted it into a new phone and handed it to him. “They will not be able to trace that one... even if they get your new number.”
The computer beeped again and an image of Kevin’s room appeared on the screen. Two men had entered and had started to search through the drawers. Another beep, and Calum’s room appeared on the other screen.
Calum gasped. “Ye’ve been watching me?”
Two men entered and started to search Calum’s room.
“No, the sensor only lets me know when someone enters the room. Once I knew it was you it was switched off.” Sasha said turning to the monitors to hide a slight smile. “You took your time.” She said addressing the screen.
Once they had finished their search and put everything back in its place, one of them opened a small black case.
“Amateurs” Sasha said, in a whisper.
“What” Calum exclaimed.
Sasha enlarged the view on a tiny camera they were fitting into the television stand that hung from the wall. “That.” She paused as she zoomed out to the full view.
“That is so out of date.” She handed Calum a small black piece of plastic, about the size of a memory stick cap.
Calum examined it, “what’s this?”
Smugly she smiled. Opened a drawer and handed him a camera similar to the one they were fitting in the room. “It’s my version of that.”
Calum compared them and held up the little black piece of plastic, “this is a camera?”
“It is also a microphone; complete with battery and aerial.” She said, and then tapped her keypad and a picture of Calum appeared on the screen.
Calum dropped Van Helsing off at the airport, and as instructed, returned to the hotel. As soon as he entered the doorway a man in a suit approached him.
“Mr Stewart, you’re a hard man to find.”
“And ye are?”
“Mr Smith, MI6.” He replied as he showed him some identification.
“Hold on a second,” Calum said, as he stopped him from sliding it inside his jacket. “Never got chance to look at it.” Calum squeezed Mr Smith’s hand and took the plastic covered card from him. After examining it he threw it back at him. “Na ye’re not, it’s a fake.”
Mr Smith juggled with the card until he got hold of it. He quickly slid it into his jacket pocket. “We need to talk.” He said, sternly.
“Go away... little man.” Calum growled.
Mr Smith opened his jacket with his left hand to reveal a gun, “I am going to have to insist.”
To Mr Smith’s total surprise, he was slammed up against the wall, his feet dangling almost a foot from the floor. He croaked as Calum’s fingers tightened slightly around his throat.
“Listen little man. Little man with big gun. Don’t... ever... threaten me... again.”
Calum dropped him and walked away.
After a refreshing shower and a change of clothes, Calum went down to the lounge bar. Mr Smith was sat next to the bar. He smiled to himself, and sat next to him.
“Can I buy you a drink, Mr Stewart?” Mr Smith said, politely.
Calum looked at him out the corner of his eye, “I’ll never say na to a drink.”
“Pint and a nip... make that a double,” he said to the bartender, “seeing as my little friend here is paying.”
Calum slugged the whisky in one go and let out a satisfied sigh. “Now isn’t this better, sitting like civilised people, instead of all that macho shit? Now what would ye like to talk about?”
Mr Smith took a deep breath before speaking. “What do you know about Mr Harker?”
“Who? Kevin? He started on site about a month ago, got a new construction crew, and... until this lot happened, we were making great progress. Would’ve been right back on schedule by the end of August. Other than that, nothing.”
“What about his father?”
“Has something happened to his father?” Calum said, very concerned.
“No, no, he’s fine, just, has Mr Harker ever mentioned him?”
Calum looked puzzled, “not that I recall.”
There was a long silence, Calum finished his beer and ordered another. “So what’s it like being a spook?” Calum said with a smirk.
“We’re not spooks.” Mr Smith said, in an annoyed tone.
Calum’s phone rang. As he put it to his ear he heard Sasha’s voice, “Don’t speak, two of your friends, associates have just put Kevin in his room, He’s out cold, when you get a break in your socialising, check on him.”
Calum looked at his phone, “isn’t it weird when a machine calls ye?” shaking his head and put it in his pocket.
Sasha, watched Kevin sleeping on the television for a while before going outside to collect more wood for the fire.
A shadowy figure passed quickly in front of the camera, then returned into view. It stood motionless over Kevin. Dressed in baggy hoody and black jeans, the figure leaned over close to his face, and kissed him on the cheek.
Sasha walked back into the room, paying no attention to the screen until she heard the hiss of a voice. Her eyes widened as she turned to the Television.
“You are just like you’re great great grandfather, strong, young, hansom. Take care... Jonathan Kevin Harker... Till we meet again,” She turned to the camera, pulled down her hood and smiled. Her blood red lip seamed to glow against her pale complexion. Her red eyes looked through the camera, straight at Sasha. She hissed, revealing her long sharp teeth.
Sasha Jumped. Dropping the logs on the floor, she reached for her phone, but the vampire was no longer in the room.