Workshop Wednesday

We now continue with the further adventures of our government-backed vampire hunter. Here we get a little bit of history on Mark, movement on both of his active cases, and then the first part of a long action sequence (with a cliffhanger). The story is really picking up.

Remember to catch up on Van Helsing Syndrome in the Works of Mike FinkelsteinWhat's that, you want to read various creative works from Asteroid G Lead Editor Mike Finkelstein? Well, if that's what you want... archive before reading this part.

Van Helsing Syndrome: Part 4

INT: PHA OFFICE PARK, CUBICLE FARM, DAY.

He's met at the cubicle by the lab assistant, JENNIFER. She's dressed like most agents you see in movies are: business suit, full spit and polish.

MARK:

Don't you guys usually email me lab reports?

JENNIFER:

I'm not here with a report. THOMPSON asked me to work directly with you on the SHUMAKER case.

MARK:

Did he? First I'm hearing about it, but I'm not going to complain. This whole case is getting weirder and weirder.

JENNIFER:

Yeah. I was told to report to you. I guess they wanted you to have a sorceress watch your back. All the magic flying around this case.

MARK:

If I can avoid another exploding vampire, I will be all too happy.

MARK sits down at the computer, and after logging in, brings up a search program. He pulls out the list of names from CLAIRE.

JENNIFER:

What's that?

MARK:

Another case. Missing lycanthropes. Just a cold case I check in on once in a while.

JENNIFER:

Not exactly your department.

MARK:

Not normally, sure. I just have a... vested interest is all. Between you and me, it's not strictly on the QT. Just give me a couple, and then we can focus on SHUMAKER.

JENNIFER sits in the cubicle and watches MARK work. MARK taps into the advanced search features, and starts bringing up lists of missing persons, known lycanthropes, possible homicides. He starts looking over the lists, cross-checking between screens and the hand-written list. After a few moments, he starts writing “murdered, vampire” next to several names.

MARK:

Murdered... murdered... murdered...

JENNIFER:

No suspect?

MARK:

None.

JENNIFER:

So? It's tragic, but runaways die all the time.

MARK:

These kids were killed by vampires. There should be magical traces from the fangs left over, vampiric residue.

JENNIFER:

I know all this. I'm the lab tech, remember?

MARK:

Yeah, so why is there no suspect here? There's enough kills here, the Psych Tank shoulda found their killers already.

JENNIFER:

And hey, if it's vampires, that's your turf. We're no longer in a grey area.

MARK:

True, so now we have to figure out our next move.

JENNIFER:

We should report this to THOMPSON.

MARK:

(pause) Not... yet. Just, let me do a little field work first. We should give THOMPSON a full report, not just a half-assed inkling.

JENNIFER:

Field work where?

Mark is already looking over the list though, and he doesn't here the question. Then, an Outlook reminder pops up. MARK clicks it, and reads the bit of info from THOMPSON. He then grabs the file THOMPSON gave him, and turns around.

MARK:

We have a hunt tonight. Can you meet me at my place?

JENNIFER:

Sure. Text me the address.

MARK:

Can do. Meet me an hour before sundown.

JENNIFER:

Roger.

JENNIFER gets up, walks to the doorway of the cubicle. She looks back once, smiles, and goes off. MARK gathers up he stuff, and shuts off the computer.

EXT: PHA OFFICE PARK, DAY.

MARK stands by his car, making a call.

MARK:

(into phone) CLAIRE, it's MARK. Give me a call back when you get this. Teens are dead. Vampire attacks. It might be helpful for my investigation if I can talk to the parents. See if you can get as many of the parents of the missing teens together as you can.

While he's talking, MARK pops out a piece of gum from a pack and starts to chew.

MARK:

Any of the smaller packs -- the bears, the rats, whatever -- anyone that's lost kids, get them together. The circumstances are a bit weird, and I need to know all I can here. I know the shifter community is wary about us field agents, but this is important. The more info I have, the better. I'll talk to you later.

INT: SAMANTHA'S HOUSE, PAST, LIVING ROOM. DAY.

POV of hands placing items on a coffee table -- grenades, holy water, guns, a crossbow, etc. Wee see SAMANTHA sitting on a couch, and she looks over at a noticeably younger MARK (maybe a terrible haircut), who is just staring at the weaponry.

MARK:

You're serious about this.

SAMANTHA:

You said you believed me.

MARK:

Well, sure, I said that. It's a little different when you see it first hand. Vampires? Really?

SAMANTHA:

You backing out?

MARK:

No no. No. You want me to see what you do every night, I'm totally in. I just... are you sure vampires?

SAMANTHA:

For four years now.

MARK:

And you use all this?

SAMANTHA:

Oh no. This is all for you.

SAMANTHA pulls a stake out of holster on her side.

SAMANTHA (CONT.):

I've got what I need.

INT: VAMPIRE DEN, PAST, DAY.

MARK and SAMANTHA walk through a dusty, dilapidated house.

MARK:

(loudly) Are you sure you're not fucking with me?

SAMANTHA:

SHHHH!

MARK:

These don't squirt water, do they?

SAMANTHA comes up to him and grabs him by the collar, actually lifting him a little off the ground.

SAMANTHA:

(quietly) I told you to be quiet for this. Vampires don't have to sleep during the day. You can wake them, and then-

SFX: Floor creak.

SAMANTHA quickly sets MARK down and then stalks off into the house.

SFX: Floor creak.

MARK spins around, shotgun aimed at the dusty darkness.

SFX: Door slam.

MARK spins back around, but can't see anything.

MARK:

(quietly) SAM?

SFX: Running feet, pounding on the floor.

MARK spins back around, We get his POV of a vampire running at him. The vampire lunges, and we get a good shot of his mouth filling the screen.

INT: MARK'S HOUSE, PRESENT, LATE AFTERNOON.

SFX: Knocking on a door, blending from the pounding of feet in the dream.

MARK wakes up from his nap on the couch. He looks shocked and a little groggy. He hears the pounding on his door.

MARK:

One sec!

MARK gets up, walks over to the door, opens it. JENNIFER is there, still dressed like a secret agent. She has a backpack with her.

JENNIFER:

I was knocking for a while. I thought maybe you weren't home after all.

MARK:

Sorry. I was catching a quick nap. You ready?

JENNIFER shakes her backpack.

JENNFIER:

Yep. I got my kit.

MARK:

Cool. Let's roll.

EXT: LAUREL GLEN APARTMENT COMPLEX, DUSK.

MARK's car pulls into the parking lot. MARK and JENNIFER get out and walk to the trunk. JENNIFER grabs her bag while MARK opens his up and pulls out a selection of items: holy water vials, two knives, a pistol, and a packet of crackers.

MARK:

You read the dossier?

JENNIFER:

CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, 23 years old at time of human death. Currently aged 82. Born in Rockland, South Dakota. Two living relatives, second cousins. No other next-of-kin. Works as a lawyer at Clark, Duncan, and James. Currently wanted in connection with 18 kills, four more potentially suspected. Blond, blue eyes, 5'10”.

MARK:

Blood type?

JENNIFER:

AB Negative.

MARK looks at her.

MARK:

I was joking. Seriously, you memorized all that?

JENNIFER:

Well yeah. Don't you?

MARK pulls a photo out of his pocket.

MARK:

I bring the salient details with me.

The two walk up to the apartment complex. They approach an apartment door, and knock.

SFX: Door knock.

After a long pause, MICHELLE THE VASSAL opens the door a crack. The chain is still pulled, seemingly locking out the two agents.

MICHELLE THE VASSAL:

Whut?

MARK:

Hi, we're with Give a Little, a group working to clothe and feed the privileged. I was wondering if we could talk to you about what you might be able to do to help those more fortunate?

MICHELLE THE VASSAL:

I... no. My boyfriend is asleep. This is a bad time.

MARK kicks in the door, shoving MICHELLE THE VASSAL back and onto her butt.

MARK:

Give a little, damn it.

INT: CHRISTOPHER'S APARTMENT, LIVING ROOM, DUSK.

MARK walks into the dingy, drab apartment and looks around. He motions JENNIFER in, and then scans the room, gun drawn.

MARK:

Maybe we should be giving to you. This place is... damn.

MARK kneels by MICHELLE THE VASSAL, who we can clearly see is just not well. She tries to fight back a little, but MARK quickly checks her neck, her wrists, her arms. Bites everywhere. He feels for a pulse, then stands.

Meanwhile, JENNIFER quickly goes about the room checking closets, clearing the kitchen. She checks the mail and sees envelopes addressed to CHRISTOPHER DANIELS.

JENNIFER:

DANIELS lives here, but I gotta say, this place is kind of a shit-hole. If he's working as a lawyer, where's all his money going?

MARK looks around.

MARK:

Good question. You check the bedroom?

JENNIFER:

Next step, boss.

MARK walks over to the bedroom, gun at the ready. JENNIFER guards his back. MARK gently opens the door, scanning the room. A coffin sits on the floor to one side, next to a twin-size bed. On the bed is a naked girl, SARAH THE BLOOD WELL, on her stomach.

INT: CHRISTOPHER'S APARTMENT, BEDROOM, DUSK.

MARK motions JENNIFER into the room, then he goes over and kneels by SARAH THE BLOOD WELL, checks her pulse. SARAH THE BLOOD WELL rolls over, a dreamy look on her face, her breathing is shallow, and she doesn't try to protest as MARK checks her over. There are bites everywhere, neck wrists, arms, legs, crotch.

MARK:

(quietly) Blood well.

JENNIFER:

(quietly) What?

MARK:

(quietly) Easy meal if the vampire can't go out.

MARK stands, moves to the coffin. He counts off, silently, one, two three, then lifts the lid and fires twice to a spot where the vampire's heart would be.

SFX: Two gunshots.

From over MARK shoulder, we see that the coffin is empty.

MARK:

Shit.

JENNIFER:

(screams)

MARK spins around, gun at the ready, and we see CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, fangs bared, holding on to JENNIFER, her arms bent painfully behind her, one of his arms around her upper body.

MARK:

This doesn't end well for you.

CHRISTOPHER:

You think you can kill me before I kill her?

MARK:

Who said you needed to be worried about me?

JENNIFER mumbles something in Latin, and there's a flare behind her back. She's pushed forward, thrust into MARK, and then both go down. We see CHRISTOPHER, on fire, leap over both of them and crash through an apartment window.

MARK:

Fireball?

JENNIFER:

Magical flash-bang.

MARK:

Next time, try not to crash into me when you do it.

JENNIFER:

Well, it's a little hard to control when you're at the center of the blast.

At this point, MICHELLE THE VASSAL comes crashing through the bedroom door, armed with two knives.

MICHELLE THE VASSAL:

(animalistic screams)

JENNIFER rolls off MARK, and the two quick draw, firing shots into MICHELLE THE VASSAL.

SFX: Gun fire.

MICHELLE THE VASSAL goes down in a heap, her knives skidding forlornly across the floor.

MARK:

Can you track the vamp?

JENNIFER:

I... no? I don't have a sample of his magical signature?

MARK:

You've got a corpse and his daily keg right here. One of them should have enough bites. Do it while I call this in.

MARK leaves the room, dialing into his phone, while JENNIFER fishes into her backpack and pulls out a crystal ball. She kneels by SARAH THE BLOOD WELL, who moans gently.

JENNIFER:

Shhh.

INT: CHRISTOPHER'S APARTMENT, LIVING ROOM, DUSK.

MARK talks into his phone, scanning the apartment.

MARK:

Yeah, I need a cleanup crew at my current GPS location. One vassal dead, a blood well still alive. Vampire on the run. Cover story needed. (pause) You might want to try and get here sooner. (pause) Right.

JENNIFER comes into the room as MARK turns off his phone.

JENNIFER:

I think I know where he's going. The mall.

MARK's eyes get wide.

MARK:

Shit. This is gonna be a stain.

End Part 4:

Next time we head off to the mall for a showdown between the vampire and the government agents. I seem to recall that in the first version of this story, the mall was Fair Oaks out in Virginia. Of course, now that this story is set in Indianapolis, I wonder what I changed that name to...