All Hallows Eve – A Dark Tale & A Little Strange Love

by John M. Joyce (Nov. 2008)

Late on a still All Hallows evening, with a mist rising in wreaths from the river, the huge container ship Titan nosed into the docks at Tilbury on the Northern shore of the Thames estuary opposite, with no significance at all as it will turn out, Gravesend.

The arrival of that great ship was completely unknown to the worshipers at Compline in the parish Church of St. John. It was unknown, also, to the faithful similarly foregathered in the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and its arrival went completely unremarked by the good Sisters in the Convent of Mercy secure, as they thought, behind their stout walls and their invincible Faith. Even those few of the Elder Faith undertaking the weekly polishing and dusting in their Beit Knesset on Dock Road failed to mark its arrival.


Quite suddenly a noise like a steam-hauled express train filled his elegant office. He felt a hot breathe, as hot as the fires of Hades, momentarily upon his neck!

The Count cracked a broad smile and saluted his Lordship with his glass in an ironic and world-weary gesture. However, as he lowered his glass a grave light crept into his eyes and Lord John, ever percipient and watchful when it came to the Count of Transylvania, noticed at once.

Suddenly, the memory of the Intelligence reports, which he had been poring over for much of the night, came back to him and the Marquis fell silent. He indicated with a slight movement of his hand that the Count had the floor and should continue.

The two young Vampires took the Marquis firmly by the arms and, in an instant, moved him rapidly into the street and, wraith-like, through the fog and eastwards.

Lord John shot the Count a quizzical glance.

Quick glances were exchanged between the Marquis and the Count.

They did so, and he purchased so many bags of one type of grocery that the cashier almost, almost, but not quite, called her supervisor. She was stilled in her impetus only by the look of certainty in his eyes, and the swooning glances of a most elegantly dressed and wonderfully set up young man who appeared to be accompanying, as some kind of servant, the profligate spender at her till. She did not care for the over-muscled, in her opinion, blond bodyguard in his too revealing, over-tight clothes. She, most positively, did not care for the silly white bowtie on his bare neck! What a wise young lady she was!


The following evening found the Marquis sitting at his desk in his office, which still smelled slightly of roast pork and barbecued pork products, drafting a report on the previous night for his superiors and for the Intelligence services. Once again there came that steam-engine-travelling-at-speed noise as the Count arrived, and once again the Marquis felt that familiar hot breath upon his neck.

His Lordship finished pouring and indicated the comfortable armchairs. They sat down with their drinks.

The Marquis inclined his head in polite agreement and resumed the tale.

The Marquis grinned appreciatively and returned to his paperwork.


The Count closed the lid of his coffin just before dawn the following morning and took out his laptop. On his Outlook Calendar under the thirty-first of January for the following year he set two reminders for himself.

He then logged onto the talkboard at Crypt and Coffin Monthly.

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