It was the beginning of the year 1892 and I was busy in my country surgery, inundated with patients suffering from acute blood loss and similar ill markings on their necks. It seemed like we had a new vicious malady plaguing our small town but I had yet to confirm what it was. Many of the townsfolk were claiming we had vampires in our midst however I, although I had had my fair share of dalliances with the phantom world, thought the idea an entirely ludicrous one.
This outbreak coincidentally occurred just as the European nobleman Count Karloff arrived on a visit to England to stay at my dear friend Silas’ house.
‘Hallo Smedley,’ Silas said to me, full of energy, as he welcomed us inside one day. ‘Have you met my guest?’
From a single glance of Count Karloff I could tell he was a man of noble birth. He had a strong face with a powerful jaw and pristinely kept dark hair all set off by a fine black velvet cape. I could make out an exceedingly pale complexion even in the darkened living room. I supposed he was from a country blessed with little sunlight.
‘Wonderful to meet you, Count,’ I said, offering my hand.
‘As it is… to meet…you,’ he said, in a slow drawl with a thick accent. He also ignored my hand.
At that moment, Mrs Pretorius, Silas’ housekeeper, came into the room and began to draw the curtains. With a shriek, Karloff backed against the wall, hissing like a cat.
‘Mrs Pretorius, please!’ Silas said. ‘Count Karloff, our esteemed guest, has a strict skin condition which makes sunlight intolerable.’
Mrs Pretorius turned around to bow and apologise to Karloff to which he once again jumped back screaming while pointing at the crucifix hanging around her neck.
‘He’s also not very religious.’
Karloff’s behaviour struck me as very queer. There was something about him I did not trust.
‘A drink, Karloff?’ Silas asked.
‘I am always thirsty,’ he murmured.
I glanced at Karloff once more; he smiled at me, teeth peeping over his lips. He didn’t seem to be looking me at the eyes, though, more like my neck.
Something clicked in my mind.
Silas’s so-called esteemed guest was in fact a vampire!
I endeavoured to keep my calm so as to not let the fiend know of my suspicions of him. I realised that I must be strong to face off this creature from hell.
‘White wine for you, Karloff?’
‘Oh no. I must have something … red,’ he said, with a smirk.
I fainted clean away on the floor.
The next thing I knew Silas was dabbing my forehead with a damp cloth. I could not see the Count in the room so I lunged at my friend, grabbing his lapels.
‘Silas! The Count… He is the one who has been feeding off the locals! He is a Nosferatu! An Evil Dead!’ Silas looked at me blankly. ‘A vampire!’
‘Now, now, Smedley. You have had a bump to the brain, you know not what you are saying.’ Silas patted my shoulder. ‘I assure you that Count Karloff is not the bloodsucker you seek.’
He grinned at me and through his lips I saw two protruding canines. As sharp as fangs.
‘Now,’ he continued. ‘I do believe you hurt your neck when you fainted. Let me have a look at that.’