The railway carraige rocked gently as Fay dozed, slumped against the window, her fringe falling over her eyes. A violent lurch over a badly-maintained set of points jerked her awake and she blinked as she watched Battersea clicketty-clack past on the way to her hated job.
For ten years she'd worked for the same firm, scaling a greased ladder at Sunshine Deserts till she was near the fabled glass ceiling. So what? She felt like little more than a robot as she rode the train into work each day, having to appear enthusiastic about the latest ice cream topping or pudding base they were ecstatic about this week.
She caught sight of her reflection in the window. "Still look all right though." But for how much longer?
Fay had taken to drifting off into fantasies at work, wantonly seducing fellow employees and having Avengers-style fights with her enemies or blowing-away the board of directors.
"Hell, when did life get so boring?"
She fumbled for her stub. the most rebellious thing she'd done was to wear outlandish, Janet Reger underwear and stockings into work. Not that anyone ever saw them . . .
"Perhaps I'll go 'FULL DOMINATRIX' next week?"
"Oh yes, sorry!" she apologised as she stretched out her arm with the stub, turning only to see a tall nurse in an overly starched uniform who grabbed her wrist and yanked on it before stabbing a hypodermic syringe into it.
Fay Perrin gaped, she just had time for an affronted expostulation before black clouds swarmed into her eyes and she slumped against the window.
"I really can't see the point in this, Van Helsing!" gasped one of the two figures as his partner used a purloined key to open the gated vault.
"The undead must return to their graves before dawn and it is our duty to see that they cannot, Wilson!"
The young Francis Wilson sighed with exasperation as he followed Van Helsing into the crypt. "But we only have your word for it that the Lady Fay IS one of these 'Undead' that you carp on about! Why this is unholy, the corpse of that poor girl is right there in that coffin!"
His comrade, a tall man with swept-back hair and fine features advanced on the casket.
"Is it? Is it indeed? I wonder..." and with practiced ease he threw the lid to one side revealing its plushly-padded but undoubtedly empty interior. Dropping his carpet-bag to the ground and with a firm set to his jaw, he declared:
"We must be ready for when she returns, Wilson.
The tombstones rose up out of the mist like stiff, questing fingers, but the milky luminescence then fluttered aside, disturbed by the trailing hem of a long cloak as its owner glided along the thoroughfare.
"There she is, Van Helsing!"
"Quiet, young fool! The undead have super-human powers and senses!" admonished the senior of the pair as they viewed the aristocrat moving through the graveyard as if on rails.
Then she paused, a slight frown on her face and from nowhere a gust of wind blew up, dissipating the mist further and making the cloak billow away from her corset-clad form. Wilson gripped his mentor painfully as the vampire turned first this way, then that, her nostrils flaring. Had the breeze taken their scent to her? It was of little matter. Van Helsing and Wilson's course of action was now unavoidable. She had to return to her casket and it was up to them to see she couldn't!
It was all Wilson could do to hold his voice and his breath in check. This 'Lady Fay' was a far different creature than that of the poor, fragile girl he'd visited as the Bergman family's physician. He had seen her around the town when they were children of course, but even then she was a poorly child, oft taken down with 'The Vapours' . A bout of scarlet fever had left her permanently weak and breathless, old before her time. Then the polio had hit her and she'd visibly shrunk before their eyes. After complaining of difficulty breathing in the night, her bed-chamber window was left open and one one day when she was found lifeless there, her death was looked on as a merciful release.
The funeral was held and her body interred but soon, the stories started. There were sightings of her around the village. Some people (admittedly some unreliable people) had seen her moping about the streets through the night, but then Van Helsing had arrived and revealed the reality to the townsfolk.
Who knew what fiend had bestowed this 'gift' upon her? If only there was some other way, if only she could return to a normal life, thought Wilson. If what Van Helsing said was true (and it certainly seemed to be the case) it was now their duty to slay her!
Wilson's heart was heavy in his chest.
Part 2 ->