“Help me! Oh, for God’s sake, somebody help me! There’s a vampire in my room!”
It was 4:15 in the morning, and up until that moment, things had been quiet at Candlelight Ridge Care Center. Night nurse Ace Murray, who had dozed while working on his never-ending charting, snapped to attention, banging his knee on the desk as he jerked awake. Security guard Thomas Octavian, who had ducked into the day room for “a wee kip” before starting his last set of rounds, came to with a snort from his uncomfortable position on a loveseat that was far too small to properly support a man with the build of a Sumo wrestler.
Thomas groaned as he wiped drool from the side of his mouth. He grabbed a sip of water, pulled his long, brown hair back in a ponytail, and hurried to see what the fuss was about.
A birdlike woman with wild jet-black hair stood in the hallway, screaming. Ace gently touched her arm.
“Here now, Ida, what’s it all about?” he inquired.
“There’s a bloody vampire in my room, young fellow!” Ida insisted. “Ooh, I’m not sure that even a big, strong policeman like this chap will be able to help us.”
“’Course I can, Mum,” Thomas insisted. “I always keep a wooden stake handy in case of vampires.”
“Well, I don’t think a wooden stake will help you with this vampire. It’s made of Christmas lights!”
“That certainly is unusual,” Ace agreed. “I suppose we’ll have to use magic rather than wooden stakes. You wait in the hall for just a moment, Ida. Tom and I will pop in and survey the situation.”
In the room, Thomas took what appeared to be a red marble from his pocket. Ace intoned arcane words and waved his hand. A group of symbols in the shape of an arch became visible on the ceiling. The marble glowed, revealing the image of a cluster of lights emerging through the gate.
“She wasn’t imagining things,” Ace said. “Let me call Casey down here. He can keep Ida calm whilst we seal off this gate.”
“Mate, yer the one with the calming demeanor,” Thomas countered. “Casey’s a 58-year-old eager beaver. He’ll want to be part of the cleanup work. Let him help me slap a psychic band-aid on the situation while you mellow Ida out and get to work on your incident report.”
“Yeah, when yer right, yer right,” Ace agreed. “C’mon, Ida, what do you say we go have a cuppa?”
ABOUT THE STORY
Candlelight Ridge Care Home in London's storied Crouch End borough is being infiltrated by threatening entities. Gerry Clifford is aware of these entities and their bad intentions, but who will believe a man with dementia?
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