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The Crimson Time
(a vampire crawl)
Copyright © 2010 by Patricia K. McCarthy
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording and any information storage and
retrieval system, without the written permission of the author
/publisher, except where permitted by law.
Published in Canada by Patricia K. McCarthy
Second Edition September 2014
Text set in Perpetua, 13; Headings in Consolas
Front Cover design © 2010 by David Three Rats.
Front Cover photograph © 2010 by David Three Rats.
Front Cover: Door, Strathcona Park, Sandy Hill, Ottawa.
Back cover photograph: © 2010 by David Three Rats.
The Crimson Time (a vampire crawl) took over three years to
complete, from beginning to end. I never set out in my writing
career to focus on vampire fiction. The genre chose me. I
began by submitting erotic poetry to a pulp fiction magazine
in the USA that purchased my ditties, whose editor in turn
asked me to write short vampire stories. After selling a
handful of stories, I realized I was having so much fun with
vampires that I decided to write my first vampire novel.
Admittedly, my Crimson series at times digresses into the
shockingly rude and crude. But fear not! There is plenty of
silly fun to take off the hard edge. Please enjoy the fourth
installment and then go back in time and read the first trilogy
– the Crimsons welcome you.
Thank you to my mom and friends for their unflinching
support. Edited by David Three Rats. Copy-editing by Paul
Dupont. Proofread by Tina Perrier.
I am hesitant to admit I haven't read Dracula. I tried to read Bram
Stoker's classic of the genre, and failed each and every time. The
vampire I can take. 19th Century prose I cannot endure.
Regardless, the classic set the conventions for those who chose
to follow. The challenge for the modern writer of any vampire
fiction, let alone the relatively unexplored sub-genre of vampire
erotica, is to play with these conventions without rendering
them unrecognizable and therefore powerless.
I read the Crimson Trilogy over the 2009 Christmas Holidays. In
these pages, Patricia McCarthy's narrative voice gained strength
with each chapter. She rethinks the genre and narrative fiction
imaginatively, playfully and respectfully. Not one to shy away
from presenting the erotic, the vulgar, and the depraved aspects
of ourselves, she nevertheless manages to give us something new
in The Crimson Time – humour.
Although humour definitely crept within the pages of her earlier
works (particularly through Aunt Aileen), in The Crimson Time,
humour shines across the surface, without ever diving into the
farcical - no small task with this genre.
McCarthy is careful to remind us that as far as the victims are
concerned, the vampire genre is deadly serious.
The Crimson Time
(Chapters 1 to 2)
(Chapters 3 to 6)
(Chapters 7 to 18)
(Chapters 19 to 24)
SMACK! CRACK! STING! TIMING WAS everything. Burn!
Bruise! Bully! Pleasure rolled over her body. And the pain
only made her want more.
With raw energy, he struck her backside mercilessly.
He admired with pride the glorious red welts that
appeared, bloated and swelling. Yet ever so quickly, the
glaring marks vanished. His wife’s empowered body
miraculously healed. Gently caressing her skin, he floated
along the curvature of her thighs. His warm hand roamed
lower and lower, falling deeper into wetness. He touched
her flesh skillfully, affectionately, like a slow, burning kiss
to wet lips, sending shivers of urges through her body.
Then he started up again, started up the ritual of expressing
his symbolic love: a checkerboard of perfectly caned welts.
But as the salty sweat glistened on his arms, as he struck
with frenzied relish the woman he adored, the red welts
had all but disappeared.
Magdalene Crimson melted in sweet ecstasy. The pain
hardened her nipples into rubies. Her legs were an eager,
open mouth, spread far apart on the fine oak stretching
table. She gripped the clamps intensely. The worse the
crack of the cane stung, the stronger grew her desire.
Samuel possessed her, changing the pitch and rhythm of her
quivering flesh with rapid cracks. When he struck fiercely,
the electric impulse of contact made Magdalene feel alive.
Each crack felt like a hot wasp sting, reverberating and
pulsating for seconds afterward.
4 | Patricia K McCarthy
Samuel had instructed Magdalene in the arts and magic
of hard play, exploring new dimensions of pain in their
sanctuary, a place where boundaries were pushed in
privacy. The attic's slanted walls of brick and wood exhaled
the sweat and flesh of her scent. Her subtle and unusual
aroma of fresh cut grass, her reddened pussy-flesh and
writhing limbs seduced Samuel wholly. He marveled at the
awesome strength of her body. Sir William Simon
Hennessy, Magdalene’s predecessor, had transformed her
into an extraordinary female, the one and true vampire on
Earth. The Crimson Time had arrived.
“Darling,” urged Magdalene, “Kiss me, my love, and hit
so very much harder!”
“I am…I am,” assured Samuel, feeling the desperate
urgency inside his pants.
“Harder, my love, I feel every strike like a tickle with a
“I'm actually splitting your skin!”
“You can do it, my love, strike mean and fast.”
Samuel stood back, inhaling dusty air into his expanding
lungs, reassessing the situation. Following the change from
human to full-fledged vampire, his wife’s endurance for
pain had multiplied, putting greater pressure on him to
satisfy her sexual needs. Standing before the slanted wall,
he returned the short cane to its hook, and reached for the
riding crop; a whipping tool of compressed, red leather,
two inches thick, flicking it quickly back and forth in the
air. The sound excited him. He stroked and massaged his
wife's bum to prepare her, feeling the warmth of her soft
skin, before the next strike. He raised his arm, listening to
her breathe. She waited. Samuel jumped up and came down
onto her with full strength, with his entire hybrid human-
vampire being, and all of his pent-up rage. Magdalene let
out an approving moan.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 5
“Oh God yes...that is it, my love, you have talent to
spare…please do it again!”
“Have you forgotten to address me as my Lord?” asked
“Only momentarily,” answered Magdalene, feeling her
loins shake. The spasms vibrated inside her body, making
her lips become increasingly soaked.
Samuel continued, not with one but two cracks, and
three and four, and five and six, until his whippings became
a blur of one swinging arm.
Magdalene’s sighs were deep. She cherished the special
variety of dark worship her husband gave to her, the kind of
sexual torture only a remarkable being like she could
endure. Especially, she loved it when Samuel kissed her full
lips with a warm, tentative tongue, venturing inside, tasting
Samuel unclasped her and rolled her over, slipping her
wrists back into the clamps, preparing her for what she
needed most. First, a feather-light kiss.
“Yes, of course,” concurred Magdalene. “It is that time,
“Your nipples actually spoke to me in my dream last
night,” he said.
“My body parts are alive and speaking are they? Of
course, they are. Tell me, my darling, what words did my
nipples impart? Oh, I do apologize, my Lord.”
“Show her no mercy!” whispered Samuel with a smile.
Magdalene felt loved. The time had come, the time she
most longed for, the time when wood split, when the body
stretched and the loins pulled, the time when her husband
rotated the wheel. She stared as his hands closed around the
handle. He pressed his chest firmly against the turning
crank and pushed slowly and solidly. One quarter inch
pushed into one half inch. One half inch urged into one full
inch, then two. The apparatus creaked. Upper and lower
halves pulled apart. The clamps secured Magdalene, with
arms and legs outstretched, taut, accentuating the muscles
6 | Patricia K McCarthy
of her formidable body. She took pleasure into her spirit
and shivered, feeling the pain, feeling the pain she wanted
to die for, feeling the pain that only made her want even
In the hands of a skilled practitioner, seasoned in the
arts of hard play, Magdalene, the one-and-only, the third in
the line of ancient vampires knew complete and total
The sudden rap on the door froze Samuel in place. His
expression changed from pride to annoyance.
“Child,” blurted Aunt Aileen. “Are you two hooligans
up to no good, playing those wicked games? Can I speak
with you for a wee moment?”
Samuel's roving hand stopped, resting on Magdalene's
leg, despite wanting to slip his fingers in between her wet
“Child,” said Aunt Aileen. “Finn's come down with a
fever so I'm preparing a bottle of cold milk and shall give
him a wee rest.”
“That’s lovely, Auntie.” Magdalene answered casually,
immobilized. The sensations of being stretched pulsated,
running from head to toe.
Samuel leaned in closer. “It kills the mood living with
others,” he said.
“I know, darling, I know. We will have to post a ‘do
not interrupt’ sign in future.”
“Your lips are drenched with sticky fluids, the way I
need them to be. But I don’t appreciate the distraction at
our door,” hissed Samuel. “How am I supposed to stay in
character with interruptions?”
“It is outrageous, my darling,” agreed Magdalene.
He played with her bulb, flicking rapidly, pumping his
thumb in and out of her backside simultaneously, enjoying
the power he held to incite her pleasure. The friction of his
large thumb rubbing against such a sensitive area of nerve
endings incited uncontrollable muscle contractions.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 7
“Marvelous, my Lord,” said Magdalene. “I beg you. Do
The prized table delivered pain and pleasure. Warm,
stretched bodies connected to its breathing wood. The
grain darkened with the heat of Magdalene's flesh pressed
upon it. Samuel pushed the turning crank, only
centimetres, more than enough to deliver sweet shivers.
Magdalene closed her eyes. The tension came into her navel
and crawled into her pelvis.
The event happened unexpectedly. In the midst of
wondrous and stinging pain, being pulled and stretched,
feeling tickles at the end of fingertips and juices leaking out
of her body, Magdalene escaped corporeal form and rose
upward, above the table. As a spirit entity floating in the
rafters, she looked down at herself and her husband. The
ability to escape bodily form hurled the boundaries of hard
play into a fourth dimension. As a vampire, it was the latest
indication of a new, special attribute. She had been unable
to fly in mid-air like Sir William but she could float as a
spirit entity. Magdalene wanted all of her special abilities to
be known to her immediately. Patience had never been her
“Again, my Lord,” she implored coming back into her
body. Spoken words disrupted her short-lived, out-of-body
Samuel nudged the lever forward another one-quarter
inch. He hesitated to push her limits but the sounds of
squeaking and stretching, of bones cracking and the sight of
flesh turning rosy made him swell.
“Child,” interrupted Aunt Aileen. “I can't find the
The spell collapsed. Magdalene laughed. She winked at
Samuel to diffuse the disappointment she sensed in him. He
wanted to continue to take her to the places of exultant
8 | Patricia K McCarthy
ecstasy only achievable through hard play, but their game of
lust and pain and pleasure could not continue.
“Try the downstairs cabinet, Auntie, although perhaps
Finn does not need a child’s Tylenol. You know how I feel
about relying on medications.”
“Yes, of course, child, right you are again. I shall try a
cold cloth on his forehead. Tell me, child, while my nose is
pressed to the door…are your hearts set on torturing each
other all morning long?” asked Auntie.
“We are coming in a minute,” answered Magdalene
“Has a cat stolen that boy's tongue?” asked Auntie.
“I'm here,” said Samuel, laughing and shaking his head.
“Give us a moment, Auntie,” requested Magdalene.
“Sure, sure, child,” said Aunt Aileen. “You hooligans
have enough lust to fill an entire football field, I swear to
the Almighty,” remarked Aunt Aileen. She left down the
“For crying out loud! A decent-sized padlock at the
bottom of the attic stairwell will keep her out,” said
Samuel, releasing the clamps, allowing Magdalene to slide
out and sit upright. He admired her hard nipples. Beads of
sweat rolled down between her breasts. Using one finger,
he swept up the moisture and brought it to his lips and
“I know, darling, I know, my Auntie does not mean to
intrude,” assured Magdalene, rubbing her breasts, pinching
her nipples and smiling at her husband. “I still need more
stretching,” she said, getting off the table.
Magdalene’s body appeared human in all respects, yet
the inner working of her vital organs - particularly her
reanimated heart and mind - was purely vampire.
“If you insist,” said Samuel playfully, “Drape that naked
flesh over the clover you little, greedy girl,” he suggested,
smacking her behind.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 9
Magdalene obliged parting and displaying her very wet
flesh for Samuel's appreciative eyes, ready to be taken from
behind. He spread her legs wide and unzipped. The sound
of the zipper’s interlocking teeth popped inside Magdalene's
sensitive ears. She giggled.
Samuel thrust and buried himself inside, feeling the
pleasure of tight walls. Inner muscles contracted.
Magdalene locked her husband to her womanly flesh.
He pumped and withdrew and the force of thrusting pushed
his wife's body against the boxy table. Dark, linked chains
hung above their heads. Samuel gripped her arms for
While her husband pleasured and performed, the
imagery of Sir William exploded in Magdalene's mind.
“Child,” said Aunt Aileen. “There's not a stitch of
children’s Tylenol to be found in the entire house. When
are you coming?”
“This very minute... God yes!” screamed Magdalene. “I
am officially coming!”
“Oh my word,” exclaimed Aunt Aileen, “Run child,
while you can. Lust leads to trouble and trouble leads to
more lust and then you’ll be a prisoner to lust for all
Aunt Aileen ran back down the stairs with her fingers
stuck in her ears.
Samuel collapsed and fell into the leather chair.
Magdalene stood upright with wild hair splintered across
her face. She felt and looked entirely grateful with an
invigorated body, mind and spirit. Placing her hands to his
face, she pressed a plunging kiss upon his lips.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, my love. Our play
has only grown in measure and this is because you are my
hero,” said Magdalene.
“My Lord,” corrected Samuel, spanking her.
10 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Yes, indeed, you are nothing less than a Lord and you
are my Lord,” smiled Magdalene. “I should require no
reminder on your title while in our special room. Amazing,
though, is it not? I was never able to go beyond one push of
the handle and now I can take no less than three pushes.”
“Soon your knuckles will drag on the floor,” he noted
He rubbed her naked tummy with love and tenderness.
“I’ll never tire of your soft belly skin,” he said.
“My stomach has flattened since foregoing food, you
know,” remarked Magdalene.
“Yes, this is true. I no longer have your belly pooch to
use as a pillow.”
Reluctantly Samuel and Magdalene re-dressed and
afterward wiped down the table of sweat and bodily juices.
“OK, gorgeous girl,” said Samuel, closing the teeth on
his belt. “I'm going next door to work on the house and
before day's end, I'll install a lock on the stairs, that way
Auntie won't be able to come right up to the attic door.”
“She will know either way we are doing unmentionable
things to one another.”
“That's what we WERE trying to do,” retorted Samuel,
“And that’s why we started at a God-awful time in the
morning to avoid being interrupted, instead of having fun in
the night which is what we usually do.”
“I know, gorgeous boy, I know. This is a period of
adjustment for us, as a new family. It will take time for
Auntie to come to terms with who you are, not to mention
what I have become. Think about it, Samuel, first Auntie
discovers her niece’s husband is part vampire and then her
niece is turned into a full vampire. That is a lot to cope
“Thankfully Auntie drinks enough for three people.
Alcohol frees the mind.”
Magdalene laughed. “Yeah, a little nip is good for the
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 11
Samuel observed closely the extreme narrowness of
Magdalene’s irises under the brightness of the hallway light
- miniscule horizontal slants. Inside the attic, her pupils
turned to wide circles in minimal light to take in every
detail. Her supreme vampire powerfulness made him desire
her all the more. Being a half-human half-vampire himself,
he felt a greater sense of security and enjoyed a deeper
connection with his wife, knowing he could unleash the
true ferocity of his animal desire. Their lovemaking evolved
into higher planes of hard play with each attic session.
Eventually she would outgrow the stretching table. Samuel
realized the day would come sooner than later. He
considered alternatives; what equipment could he construct
to suitably test his wife, while allowing him to remain in
control? It was a wonderful predicament to be in, for it
meant his sexual creativity would be challenged in finding a
But neither Samuel nor Magdalene could foretell the
unpredictable future. For unlike the past that held more
memories than surprises, the future was notorious for
giving birth to the least expected.
THE KITCHEN TANTALIZED THE SENSES with the aroma of
sweet brown sugar cookies fresh out of the oven, stacked
beside two, steaming split loaves of tomato soup cake.
Before dashing out, Samuel scooped up a handful of
cookies, piled them atop a piece of cake, slid the goodies
into his briefcase, and then dropped it at the front door. He
went upstairs to his son Finn who was fast asleep, with the
blanket wrinkled and thrown off his body; his fever abated.
Samuel recovered him quietly, gently, speaking softly.
“Our little night owl didn’t sleep a wink last night. A
few catch-up naps will do wonders for your mood, my
gorgeous baby boy,” said Samuel.
The perfection of his son’s body, his limbs and toes and
fingers, his angelic face and jet-black hair like his father’s,
filled Samuel’s heart with love and pride. He leaned in and
kissed his forehead three times. Hearing Magdalene step
into the shower, he bolted out of Finn's room into her
private bathroom, and slipped his hand inside, spanking her
“You horny tease!” Magdalene shrieked with glee.
“Are you going to, you know, reduce the world's
“Just as soon as Finn is settled… hard to believe our
little man is over two years.”
“He’s settled. I just checked on him and he is the reason
why you need to act carefully,” advised Samuel, “Because a
woman of your uniqueness must practice discretion at all
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 13
“Yes, my love, and compassion too, I choose with great
care, you know,” replied Magdalene.
“Yes, I do know but I have to say something because I
don't want to read another hyped up article in the paper
about this notorious serial killer.”
“Naturally, darling, a man's life purpose and ego are
reinforced when he believes ideas originate from within his
brilliant mind, as opposed to being told by a wife.”
Samuel loved Magdalene’s sarcasm, sticking his head
fully into the spray to kiss her wet lips. “Funny girl, this is
hardly a subject to make light of.”
“Of course I know, darling. What choice do I have? I
am who I am because of who I am,” said Magdalene,
repeating the precise words at one time used with
regularity by Sir William.
“I mean it,” insisted Samuel. “Be careful, newspaper
coverage is getting intense.”
In February, the blanket of biting cold and brutal
darkness settled into the routines of Ottawans like heavy ice
crusting car windshields. The shuffling of lazy feet, trudging
to work in the dark, the bowed heads covered in toques,
was commonplace in Sandy Hill during weekdays.
Pedestrians made way to transit stations and bus stops in a
Magdalene’s predecessor, Sir William, was in fact
Samuel’s father. He lived as a vampire for nine hundred and
twenty-seven years and while alive, he employed a slow-as-
sloth technique to throw off opponents. Magdalene had
adopted Sir William’s style. After his powers had been
transferred to her, centuries of habitual behaviour instantly
found a home in her mind. Like Sir William, she preferred
to quietly stalk upwind. Her deliberate methods ensured a
successful and final act of brutal will. The nature of vampire
hit harder. She would remain vibrant, carrying out a role
that had been shaped over thousands of years by two
14 | Patricia K McCarthy
predecessors, whose insight had been acquired through a
prolonged existence. Even though Magdalene was anxious
to try her husband's technique of ingesting blood, she had
yet to take that particularly kinky plunge. The warmth and
smell of live humans and their delectable-tasting blood
satisfied her immensely.
Magdalene especially loved wintertime; it was ideally
suited for burying drained treasure in the snow, not to be
discovered until spring. She would carefully traverse the
circumference of Strathcona Park in the district of Sandy
Hill, before choosing a victim. At other times, depending
on her mood, she ventured into Rockcliffe Park, Gatineau
or the Glebe. Ultimately, instinct propelled her final
After a twenty-minute shower, Magdalene dried
herself. She stood before the mirror and wiped away the
steam, staring at a blank image. Her oval face, olive green
eyes, and the scar on her upper left forehead, a reminder of
a softball injury from her twenties, could not be seen.
Magdalene relied on her husband to confirm the
appropriateness of her appearance. Certainly, her firm
breasts pleased her and despite never sleeping or requiring
time to relax, her body coursed with energy. But the
absence of sleep would forever remind Magdalene there
would be no dreams for her, the only regret she carried
into her new life. Losing the connection with her sub-
conscious left a profound hole in her soul.
Magdalene dressed in a black, knee-length wool skirt,
sheer black nylons, a blue, paisley top with long sleeves and
a plunging v-neck that displayed her robust cleavage.
Without the aid of a mirror, mascara was applied by touch.
She dabbled on a smear of lip gloss. No other make up was
required, for her features were more striking after the
change. Then, onto her wedding finger, she slipped on a
solid gold band followed by a second ring on her right hand;
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 15
a solid red ruby. Her necklace was simple; black woven
thread with a single, drop malachite stone.
In her mind, Magdalene heard Sir William and his
predecessor Petrabella; their accents and manner of speech
as ancient voices. Through their influence, Magdalene's
comprehension of life had irrevocably changed. For her, the
truest test of character - and in fact the truest meaning of
life could be whittled down to one word: endurance. As the
one and only vampire on earth, no one would outlast her,
not even her hybrid vampire husband or son.
She tip-toed into the baby's room and placed her hand
on his forehead to test its coolness, dropping lower to his
tummy, touching softly, watching the reaction of his eyelids
from her touch. The clean scent of his baby flesh, its
distinct subtlety of freshness, was affirmation of the bounty
and fullness of life to come. She kissed his forehead
tenderly, resting her hand on his stomach, feeling the
warmth of his body, waiting calmly for the fanciful images.
Finn's dream formed in her mind. On a cold winter
morning, in the sedate city of Ottawa, Magdalene exercised
that element of her special powers about which Sir William
neglected to speak. He had explained repeatedly that she
would understand everything in time. She now understood
him to mean that all of her special abilities would reveal
themselves gradually. Sleep and dreams would never come
to her ever again but at least she could scan the dreams of
her son merely with the touch of her hand. Magdalene
returned to her room and opened a wire-bound, personal
notebook and scratched out the following with an extra-
fine, black ink pen:
(Finn's Dream: Monday, February 19): Wet, red,
enlarged nipple, engorged with milk and dribbling into a hungry
mouth, intense sucking - happy.
16 | Patricia K McCarthy
In the kitchen sink, Auntie washed the loaf pan and
“Such a fine morning, Auntie,” said Magdalene, kissing
her aunt's cheek, as her arms wrapped around her waist
“The best of the morning to you, child,” replied Auntie.
“Your man left for next door to smarten up that place and
said he checked on your boy, who’s fast asleep. He's such a
good baby. I've never seen a boy so healthy and happy. One
full bottle and he's out like a light.”
“Yes, Samuel told me he looked in on Finn. He has no
fever at all, Auntie, more like a chill.”
“Yes, of course, child, a chill it no doubt must be.”
“Oh, Auntie, you bake such amazing smells. I could stay
here forever and just sniff,” said Magdalene.
“Food is like sex, child, the taste is as good as the
swallow. But don't lie to me child. Are you doing any more
terrible deeds this fine day?”
“I will not be long,” answered Magdalene straight on.
“May the Lord have mercy on us all, to be sure,” said
Auntie; crossing herself, automatically, a habit she began
each day after moving in with her niece and family.
Aunt Aileen’s presence in the Crimson household was
whole-heartedly welcomed. Her role in raising her own
children had long finished. The transition from
Newfoundland to Ottawa was easy, given the similarities in
weather. Although, Auntie felt Ottawa was a Hell basket of
humidity in summer, enough to heat up the loins of every
tomcat and wanton woman in the neighbourhood.
Seconds before stepping out the front door, Magdalene
looked back at Aunt Aileen and smiled warmly. Her heart
raced with the tremor of the chase to come. The circle of
death and life would once again be closed at the point of
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 17
That special day when Magdalene took her first victim
was now long part of the past. Blood cravings came with a
vengeance. After observing the moon illuminate the sky the
night before, after watching her husband sleep and the
breathing of her son's chest cavity rise and fall, the pang of
hunger spoke loud and clear, pronouncing the need for
immediate action. Magdalene had waited one full week
after her transformation, not entirely ascertaining the full
extent of her appetite. There were no bells or voices to
announce the arrival nor did she actively seek blood to
satisfy herself. Rather, her new vampire body demanded
she take dramatic action. Only her imagination, the ability
to conjure up images of plates of food in all varieties,
allowed her to remain in control of the acute hunger. Sir
William's words once again replayed in her head that food
imagery would curtail any foolish, unpremeditated acts.
After all, she had more than herself to think of; there was
the safety of her husband, son and aunt.
With glazed eyes and an imagination in full stride,
Magdalene casually walked the street of Chapel, heading
south to Laurier. In the thick woven hedges, the clumping
of green boxwood leaves reminded her of crisp romaine
lettuce. The brown trunks and spindly branches of spruce
trees resembled stacks of culled wheat, soon to be
converted into bread, fresh from the oven. Little dogs on
short leashes bounced like roasted chicken drumsticks on
skewers and black crows and starlings lay flat as grease-
laden, fried finger foods. Snow fluffed up into globules of
mashed potatoes smothered in cream cheese and chives and
black-winged chickadees turned into chocolate bonbons.
Pavement stones became wafers on which smears of pâté
were spread, and the tires of spinning wheels made her
crave stuffed sausage with black olives. In every living thing
and in all inanimate objects, Magdalene imagined food.
18 | Patricia K McCarthy
The desire to devour and swallow blood made her saliva
Hunger grew while her mind rationalized. There were
so many people, so many who deserved a life free of pain.
But there were those who did not deserve to exist and it
was these who captivated her interest, for through her, they
would be released from the bonds of hatred and giving out
pain, and would be set free into the universe as pure
energy. Magdalene rightly believed her efficient
rationalizations were analogous to the Earth’s insects,
consistent and apolitical, forever constant. She sought to
fulfill her right to thrive, as would all living creatures.
Walking left onto Laurier Street, Magdalene turned her
attention to the Strathcona Apartments. She brought up the
memory of Sir William with the lonely woman named
Rose, inside the secluded path, over the black wrought-iron
gate, as he pleasured her pussy lips and sucked her blood.
The recalled images made her blush the way Rose did. It
was all there for her, the memories of Sir William and his
long existence, all of it became hers and she easily
remembered events as though they had happened to her.
Magdalene scanned the busy street. It occurred to her
that each experience and nuance of thought and every
action taken would at some point in time be transferred to
the next vampire in the long line of one-and-only vampires.
But that time was far off. Once again she understood Sir
William's motivations. He understood the present and
future in equal measure and even chose the exact day of his
own death. For her, until that time, each day would be
treated as an exploration, to test her abilities to determine
their limits. An out-of-body experience was a new sign. She
read her husband's thoughts on the first morning she had
transformed but this ability quickly faded and did not
extend to all. In time she would discover more special
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 19
skills, such as the ability to read Finn's dreams. Blood and
the desire for blood was the one constant in her life.
She turned right onto Range Road and continued south.
The elderly man was attired in a spotlessly clean 100%
wool, grey coat, the length cut to his calves. His hair was
peppered black and white and his scarf bright royal blue.
He walked gingerly on the slippery iced streets. In the
driveway, he stopped in mid-step, in front of his vehicle,
and patted his pockets. Magdalene heard him curse as he
searched first his trousers then outside coat pockets. He
turned back and proceeded to walk up the front steps to his
house. The remarkable coincidence did not go unnoticed by
Magdalene – the man’s house would forever hold historic
significance to her, the very place where Sir William held
her captive, preparing her mentally and spiritually for the
inevitable transformation from human to vampire.
“Good morning to you, sir.”
The sound of her voice from behind startled him. He
dropped his glove, onto the top step.
Magdalene picked it up, made a wish, and returned it to
“I don't give to charities who solicit my door,”
responded the man curtly.
“Not interested in any such thing,” replied Magdalene,
“What do you want?” he asked.
“I have never done this before, well, it is not something
I would ask, you know, but I lived for a short period of
time in this house two springs past and I would be eternally
grateful if you permitted me a quick look. My intentions
are sincere, I assure you.”
The man looked Magdalene over, observing the quality
of her dress, the outer shell of her tailored coat, her shiny
black leather boots, and the delicate muted orange scarf
20 | Patricia K McCarthy
around her neck. Her smart dress denoted cleanliness and
her manner of speech was delicate and expressed in gentle
“You're not that serial killer are you?” he asked jokingly.
“Not to my knowledge,” laughed Magdalene.
He laughed along.
“Just kidding...you're that woman then,” he said, “That
man and his two sons who rented our house, at least two
years ago...were you the wife? We returned to a polished
house, freshly painted of all things!” smiled the man. “There
wasn't as much as one speck of dirt. Yes, please come in,”
“You left your keys inside, however,” noted Magdalene.
“Yeah, you're right. How'd you know?”
“I saw you on the street as I approached, searching your
“I'm bloody well locked out! I’m such a fool!” he said.
“My name is Magdalene Crimson.”
“Pleased to meet you...mine's Robert Arnold.”
“How shall we resolve this little problem of yours?”
“Wife's in Miami, I'm a temporary bachelor,” he said
smiling. “I'll have to break in.”
“Allow me to step around back and check the
Given that the initial process of her transformation
began inside the very same house on 29 Range Road,
Magdalene was delighted with the symmetry. She had not
intended on feeding on Range Road but clearly her instinct
pulled her for a reason. She stepped off the front porch and
proceeded around the house. The man looked at her while
attempting to open a window, leaning far out from the
step, extending one arm, unable to reach.
Rounding back, she recalled the interior; the upstairs
bedroom where she slept; the cramped bathroom; the
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 21
child's wood desk and the old-fashioned sewing table with
the adjustable foot treadle. She thought of the footbath Sir
William had given her and the gentleness of his touch, the
dramatic exchange between her beloved Samuel and the
death of Raven. Images were clear and compressed. And as
she came into the backyard she spotted the place where the
young woman Hanna was buried, no doubt unsuspected by
the owners. Feelings of despair for the young woman were
intensely present. She did not need to re-connect her
sensibilities of the old Magdalene to the sensibilities of the
powerful Magdalene. Everything about her body and life
had changed and improved with one exception: crushing
guilt. Sir William never spoke about the nagging guilt that
would invade her mind after every kill. Her hunger,
however, made her powerless to stop feeding.
Magdalene brought up the memory of Sir William with
Hanna in the basement, as Raven and Cain prepared her for
draining - a small shudder. Sir William showed both cruelty
and caring, both charm and brutality. In time, she, too,
would demonstrate duality in nature. Like all planetary
creatures, none were above killing and all were capable of
committing acts of violence.
Through the curtains, she looked inside to ensure
Mister Arnold had not yet entered. She placed her hand
over the back door lock and concentrated. Nothing
happened. Slowing her breathing, she closed her eyes and
imagined inserting a key into the lock with the friction of
the mechanism turning the tumble wheels; still nothing.
Creasing her brow, emptying her mind of all images and
keeping only the image of the lock, she willed the inner-
mechanism to move, slightly. She concentrated intensely,
holding her breath, and tested the knob. The door actually
opened. Magdalene brushed snow off her boots and stepped
22 | Patricia K McCarthy
The house had hardly changed. Up high, on the right
wall, the markings were still visible under the coat of paint
where two chairs had been nailed. Sir William had not
informed her that the house was re-painted following his
departure. She walked from the back of the house, through
the living area, into the hallway, passing the kitchen on left,
noticing the telephone had been returned to its original
place. Opening the front door with a gloved hand, the man
stood with a surprised look on his face.
“Bloody Hell...how'd you do that?” he asked, “How'd
you get in?”
“The door just opened,” stated Magdalene.
“Unbelievable...we're lucky we didn't get robbed!”
“Indeed,” said Magdalene. “One must be careful what
strangers are let in.”
The man grabbed his coat, squeezing the material
between his fingers, placing his left hand across his chest,
staring in horror at Magdalene's open mouth. Her fangs
were too unreal, too white, too perfectly shaped, too large
and sloping downward into two menacing, pointed
weapons. The sight was too unbelievable.
“It’s you!” exclaimed Robert. He backed up against the
“You are alone,” stated Magdalene; her eyes blood-red.
“I… l-l-lied,” he stammered. “We're expecting
someone to check the furnace.”
“You lie this very moment, sir,” responded Magdalene,
moving closer to him, feeling the ancient urge overcome all
He reached out with both hands to push her off.
Magdalene closed the gap between them; her momentum
unstoppable. To Magdalene, he seemed a small boy with
weak power. With projectile force, she lunged onto his
neck, piercing fiercely. Two hungry fangs broke skin to
devour and drink the most extraordinary of tastes. The
flavours of Robert Arnold’s last meal exploded in
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 23
Magdalene’s mouth: ripe bursting blackberries on toasted
whole wheat bread with peanut butter and two poached
eggs with hollandaise sauce and fresh squeezed orange juice
with bits of rind. The taste of his blood was like eating a
whole meal. While she sucked and drank heartily, bright
images appeared in her mind of Sir William and
freestanding crosses, atop a high hill, the middle cross
burning madly yet not disintegrating. She drained him in
less than one minute, until his eyes showed no life. She
extracted her fangs and observed with intense feeling. He
lay lifeless on the floor. The pang of guilt reminded
Magdalene she was going to Hell for being a vampire.
One drop of blood fell in the corner of her mouth.
Magdalene raised her index finger to wipe the drop, licking
her finger. She lowered to his throat. No pulse. She knelt
close to his neck, scrutinizing the punctures for traces of
blood. Everything she needed had been taken. Reaching
into his coat, she took out his wallet and read his
identification: Robert Arnold of Range Road. She flipped
through several business cards and held onto one. She
turned the card over, looking for any handwritten notes,
before re-reading the printed name twice.
Magdalene stood up and held the card in front of her,
bringing it to her nose and inhaling deeply - that familiar
aroma. Why now? Why return to the house? The
coincidence piqued her curiosity. Magdalene tucked the
card in her front pocket and took one last look, noting his
“Blue is generally associated with the colour of the
Conservative Party, Mister Robert Arnold but I am afraid
you have chosen the wrong side of politics. I do not care for
our Conservative government. They rescinded subsidizing
medical marijuana use for those in desperate need. The lack
of sympathy and compassion for those in pain is
24 | Patricia K McCarthy
Pulling on Mister Arnold’s arm, she dragged him to the
back, opening the door. The tall cedar hedge on all three
sides of the back yard provided ideal privacy. And the depth
of snow was perfect for burying. The forecast had called for
heavy snowfall, the perfect blanket to cover the dead bulge
As for Hell, when and how Magdalene would arrive
would continue to haunt her each and every time she
drained a victim. She pushed the guilt to the back of her
mind, confident the nagging feelings would eventually fade;
as they generally did at the end of the days when she felt
compelled to drain a body.
Home was foremost on Magdalene's mind, to speak
with Samuel. Like her he too would be surprised about the
discovery of the business card.
BILLOWING UP TO THE CEILING FAN, curling in between
twirling blades, the smoke of herbal sweetness heightens his
senses. He reclines on puffy pillows, not a speck of floor
visible. The February light of dancing sun bounces off the
snow, creeping in through the bay windows. The sun shines
so intensely he squints, looking upon three naked bodies.
The two young ladies’ names are foolish and cliché yet he
ignores that silliness because they serviced his needs with
genuine care. He then closely observes his younger brother,
asleep and peaceful; one arm stretches across his chest and
one rests above his head; the dark underarm hair holds tiny
droplets of perspiration. Taking his herbal treat, he reaches
over to his little brother, holding the lit end very close to
his tender forearm skin. The heater reddens the flesh and
his brother rouses, opens his eyes and looks over.
“What the fuck?” asks Derek Coffey; he rubs his singed
“Wake the fuck up you lazy bastard!” Kevin Coffey
“Hey, give me that.” Derek takes the herbal treat from
his brother's lip and hauls deeply and says, “Hot chicks, eh?”
“V-man Sam is a bloody genius to uncover this
hideaway.” Kevin agrees. He stands naked before the
window, looking out behind the house, at the gazebo and
large garage and wooded area.
28 | Patricia K McCarthy
He turns and picks up his underwear, slipping them on,
then zips into jeans and throws on a faded T-shirt. “We got
running to do, D-boy...haul ass, man,” says Kevin.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Derek rolls over and gently nips the
young bum of Kitty.
Beside her is Pussy, her second in-line.
Kitty wakes up and does not hesitate to tell Derek off.
“You and your teeth can fuck off, Derek!” she says as
she rolls over. “You didn't pay enough for hard core shit so
fucking knock it off!”
Derek amuses himself. He stands proudly in front of all,
showing off his half-hard cock, looking down at himself and
back up at the group.
“Half wieners don't do shit,” says Kitty, grabbing her
kimono. She kicks Pussy in the bum. “It's late morning,
Puss, clean up this fucking mess.”
Derek dresses and lights up a pre-rolled herbal treat,
offering a smoke to Kitty who declines.
Pussy rubs her eyes still lying on top of the pillows. She
yawns wide and scratches an itch in her pubic hair and
slowly rolls over onto her knees, before standing. She
reaches for her bra and panties.
Kevin still gazes out the window. He knows not to ask
the question but he does anyway, despite being emphatically
told by Samuel to drop the subject altogether. His curiosity
is foolishly brave.
“Whatever happened to that other wicked bitch Sam
talked about?” asks Kevin.
“Who you talking to?” asks Kitty.
“You and Pussy.”
“What chick?” asks Kitty.
“Didn't there used to be three of you working here?”
“Used to,” answers Kitty. “She fucked off and left us
high and dry… the bitch never sent a postcard, nothing.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 29
“People with gobs of money can be weird,” points out
“Yeah, tell me about it.” Kitty is quick to dismiss.
“Anyways, doesn't matter. We haven't heard from her in
over two years so I could give a flying fuck what happened
to her. Besides we pay the bills now and make the money,
so who cares?”
Derek looks at Kevin knowingly, understanding the
truth of the situation, that the missing woman in question is
none other than the former powerful Tina Sharpe. Her
torso was never discovered in the woods, up North, in the
middle of nowhere; not mentioned in any newspaper, nor
on radio, not so much as one police bulletin. And her
extremities dumped in the garbage cans in Quebec; her feet
and hands in one can and her head in another were likewise
never recovered. Derek and Kevin regard themselves as
masterful but are oblivious to the fact that luck played a
tremendous role. The extremities were picked up and
disposed as waste at the regional dump, badly decomposed,
lost under piles of rotting garbage, while the torso was
picked clean by animals. No one came looking for Tina
Sharpe, no family or friends. The tragic ending of her life
could have been avoided. Yet, her nature to exploit and
control those around her ultimately led to her destruction.
Kevin and Derek feel not one iota of pain for Tina Sharpe’s
death because they lack relationship history with her.
“Well, my fine young lady,” says Kevin, “You run a
mean house of lovely pleasures and we are fortunate to have
made your acquaintance through Mister Crimson.”
“Does he always talk this fucking shit?” asks Kitty to
“It's called Irish charm.” Derek explains his brother’s
habits thoughtfully. Ashes from his herbal treat fall to the
30 | Patricia K McCarthy
Kitty looks at him disapprovingly.
“So, you ladies make breakfast and coffee too?” asks
“I don't fucking think so,” answers Kitty, kicking the
pillows to the side, and picking up empty glasses and
alcohol bottles. “And you ain't ever getting any more pieces
of tail in this fucking house ‘til you settle up, buddy.”
“Naturally, my good lady,” says Kevin, reaching for his
wallet. With great showmanship, he pulls out a one inch
thick wad of bills, twenties and fifties. He shows off to his
brother, who rubs two fingers together like burning wood.
Kevin leaves $1,500 on the table that Kitty immediately
scoops up. She turns to Pussy and issues her daily
“Like I said… clean up and come speak to me later
Pussy bows sarcastically. She is slow to dress. After
Kitty leaves the room, Pussy drops her voice, speaking to
Kevin and also looking at Derek.
“I know what happened to Tina.” She whispers to
“Oh yeah,” says Derek, clearly now interested in her
take on the situation.
“You guys are tight with Sam so I don't mind talking
about this but he thinks it was those two guys I serviced the
night before, who fucked her up and then like they
disappeared the next day.”
“You never filed a report with the police?” asks Kevin.
“Fuck no, Samuel told me to shut up about it and that's
exactly what I did and I’m only saying something to you
now because like you’re his best buddies, but no one's
come asking about her, so that's that.”
“Say very little,” agrees Kevin, zipping his fingers across
his lips. “Because the least said is the easiest mended,” he
“Hey, that's Auntie's line,” notes Derek.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 31
Kevin ignores his brother's comment and against his
better judgment decides to probe Pussy further for
additional details on her current working environment.
“So, how you gettin' on with Kitty?” asks Kevin.
“She's a miserable cunt.” Pussy remarks matter-of-
“Why don’t you take over?” suggests Derek.
“It's complicated,” responds Pussy, dressing in the same
clothes, squeezing into a skin-tight red skirt and pushing her
flashy painted toes into four-inch, black stiletto heels, then
pulling her black top over her small breasts without
wearing a bra.
“She's first mistress so naturally she took over, even
though I'm the better of us both and like all I have to do is
wait and be patient and some day she'll hightail it outta here
and then like that's when I take over.”
“So it's just you, Kitty and the guard,” confirms Kevin.
“Yup,” answers Pussy, turning her back when the guard
is mentioned. The previous guard, named Phil, was also an
unfortunate victim in the drama that ensued two years
prior. Pussy's mind recalls back to the two incidents in the
very same pillow room with Samuel; both times when he
had changed into some animal-like creature, yet somehow,
neither Kitty or herself can bring themselves to discuss it, as
though the fear of retribution from Tina is still very real,
despite her no longer having anything to do with La Maison
“So, it’s a good job then, working as a booth guard
here?” asks Kevin.
“Pay's all right,” answers Pussy, “Why you asking, Kev?”
“Just curious,” answers Kevin. His own memories are
vivid, neatly tucked into a corner of his mind, the guilt and
secret; knowing he did wrong but killing the guard was an
obvious choice, choosing his love of Magdalene over the life
of another. The choice was not even fair. He had no choice,
he tells himself silently. He watches his brother finish
32 | Patricia K McCarthy
dressing. He had to kill the guard or Magdalene would have
been on the hook for that murder too.
“Well, babe,” says Kevin to Pussy, “You've been paid in
“How's Sam?” asks Pussy smiling.
“You've got a thing for him.” states Derek. “All women
have a thing for Sam, the way they do with me,” he smiles,
“except I've got the killer wand versus the little peanut Sam
Kevin laughs heartily. He whips out a cigarette and
lights up, handing it to his baby brother, before he quickly
removes another from the package and lights it for himself.
“You haven't met Sam's wife,” says Kevin, turning back
“I bet you she's real pretty,” states Pussy.
“It's her heart, man, that's what counts, not looks.
When a woman has a true heart, she looks like an angel and
treats you like a fucking king,” comments Kevin.
“Like wow...you've got a thing for her,” retorts Pussy.
“We all carry a thing for someone. It doesn't mean
diddly squat,” replies Kevin.
“Yeah, ain't that for real,” says Pussy. “Everyone makes
such a big fucking deal about wanting someone or loving
them or whatever.”
“The heart is a light switch,” says Derek. He leans into
Pussy and kisses her on the lips. “I'd rather love all of you
Pussy beams when Derek pays her particular attention
but in her heart of hearts she pines for Samuel, to be with
him, to be loved by him, to be his wife. She is even
prepared to work for him, should he ask. Instead, she
thinks she is forced to work for Kitty, someone who cares
not a wink for her. In so many ways, Kitty is Tina.
Inwardly, Pussy dares to hope Kitty will die the same way
that Tina did, some day, to have her head bashed into the
carpet with a blunt object.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 33
Kevin holds the door open for Derek, who in turn
allows Pussy to exit first. He rubs her bum one last time
and Pussy giggles.
“I'll be back end week,” says Derek, “to tap that lovely
“Yup,” says Pussy. “You're like clockwork, every
Friday, a regular.”
“If I'm too much for 'ya,” notes Derek. “Maybe I'll try
Pussy turns around and looks hurt; her eyes tear up and
Derek realizes Pussy also has a thing for him, as much as she
does for Samuel. His opinion of ladies who service the
needs of men has increased in the last year. Through
association with the erotica house of pleasures, he has been
privy to a special world where a professional is not
regarded as vile or cheap but rather held in high esteem.
Derek's sense of chivalry kicks into action and he ponders
that if he possessed the wherewithal and powers he would
scoop up every five-dime whore off the streets of Ottawa
and put them up in his very own brothel. And of course, his
brother would work by his side. They could call their
special haunt The Joint.
Kevin walks past the corridor leading to the living room
and does not reflect for long on the memory of the dead
body of Tina Sharpe with her skull crushed into the carpet;
a surreal image of stillness, with blood pooling around split
skull parts. Instead, the gears of his mind turn and he
mentally tallies the number of runs he and his brother must
make before end day. When the cultivated herb is ready
and bagged, the customers and their needs are foremost on
The Coffey brothers step outside behind the mansion.
Snow covers their car. Kevin takes out the scraper and
begins on the front window. Derek uses the small hand-
34 | Patricia K McCarthy
held scraper to clear the small, side windows. Another
herbal treat dangles, as always, attached to both lips with
invisible glue. He looks up to the window of the pillow
room and thinks back to the day when he and Samuel
barged into the room to surprise Raven and Cain, the half
brothers of Samuel, who are also hybrid-vampires. Derek
ponders how odd, the strongest one, Raven, died in the
house on Range Road and the weakest, Cain, somehow
escaped. Even Samuel and Magdalene do not mention
Cain’s name. Derek cannot help but wonder if Cain will
ever show his face again in Ottawa.
Pussy comes to the window of the pillow room and
stares down at the boys in the backyard. Her mind
wanders. She looks past both men and thinks about the
guard’s body buried in the forested area, behind the garage,
in a place no one goes to, except the small forest creatures;
rabbits and groundhogs and squirrels and moles. Time has
sped by so quickly and it all feels pointless. The life of one
person seems trivial in comparison to the hundreds of
thousands who starve to death each year. She doesn't want
to contemplate the outcome of what could have been - that
Kitty could have pursued the disappearance of Tina and ask
police to search for her. Pussy resolves to move forward, to
eventually take over La Maison Erotique. She truly feels
destined to be the number one mistress. It is her right after
all, especially considering what heinous crime she covered
up, particularly as she had nothing to do with either crime
and was truly an unfortunate innocent bystander.
New snow falls in wisps of crystal patterns, floating and
landing on the heads of Kevin and Derek. Their stomachs
grumble and Derek, true to form, sparks up yet another
Kevin drives. “You up for breakfast?” asks Kevin.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 35
“For sure,” says Derek. “I could go for real fucking
orange juice not that shit out of a box but the fresh
squeezed kind. You know what I’m saying, man?”
“I could go for smoked meat with fries.”
“In the fucking morning?” queries Derek.
“Yeah, man,” assures Kevin. “Your stomach has no idea
what time of day it is only your brain does. Besides, you
dumb bastard it's close to eleven.”
“Oh yeah, that's right, your brain doesn't function the
same as everyone else.” Derek laughs. “Because you're
Kevin laughs out loud and pokes Derek’s ribs, making
“Well, from one loony to another, pass the straight
jacket,” says Kevin.
The cessation of war brings about peace, after the
bloody battles and gore and ruthless attacks have ended. In
peace, tranquility thrives and treaties are made to satisfy all
concerned. It is a time of calm for the Coffey boys; their
lives shaped by the security of an illegal profession,
imparting to the world their distinct secret to achieving
eternal peace: organic, herbal leaves finely cut up with
delicate care and rolled in a razor-thin paper, only the finest
herb, grown and cultivated by the loving hands of a master,
Magdalene the Magnificent.
Peace is a welcome state of friendliness for the Coffey
boys, a time of quiet and freedom, a time to reaffirm the
state of mental calm. Soon, they will move into the house
occupied by Sam and Maggie, to be followed by the
remarkable couple moving into the much larger Tudor
house next door. Their lives settle into a familial bond the
likes of which neither has known.
36 | Patricia K McCarthy
The Coffey boys feel blessed to know Sam and Maggie,
so much so that any person fool enough to come between
them would sorely regret doing so.
THE FEELING OF HAVING DONE WRONG, of committing
an offence punishable by law, of taking a life is like the
weight of the entire world dropping onto her shoulders.
After the deed is done, guilt settles into her heart as neatly
as her fangs had pierced the neck of her last victim. As
much as she wants to deny her feelings, she cannot ignore
the fact that she is a killer. She feels intense remorse for the
loss of life, despite accepting her fate that a vampire is a
predator, quick and bestial, feeding and then moving on,
without conscience. But each time she confronts her
ravenous hunger, the sense of urgency overtakes her desire
to conform to principles of morality. She is no more a
human. Blood renews her and she must continue to take
lives. There can be no conscience where conscience has no
place. And yet, she is helpless to stop. The guilt poisons her
mind. Her vampire nature is designed for ruthless preying.
She feels vulnerable and powerless to accept this reality
with calm. She is convinced that her final resting place will
surely be Hell. In fact, Hell is perhaps the only logical end
to her vampire story.
Magdalene walks the Ottawa streets with the assurance
of a territorial lioness. Like her predecessors, domesticated
animals submit to her superiority and cannot help
themselves, running from front steps to brush up against
38 | Patricia K McCarthy
Bending low, Magdalene stops to greet a white and
black cat, whose coat and tail are puffed up against the
snapping cold of winter. She picks up the feline and holds it
next to the warmth of her chest, scratching under its chin,
looking up to the owner's house. The cat is freezing, having
been left out all night. Magdalene is curious if her powerful
mind can work without the impetus of fresh blood for
inspiration. She checks the locked door. Her mind focuses;
her vision blurs, staring at the inanimate object, willing the
lock to move. The cat purrs and pushes its head against her
chin. She laughs, trying to concentrate while the kitty
distracts. She closes her eyes and sees the lock in her mind.
Visualizing, she pushes the mechanism, moving it slowly
and finally quickly as tumble wheels click into place. The
handle jiggles and opens. Magdalene delicately releases the
cat into the house, dropping the feline onto front paws
from the height of her chest. She shuts the door, laughing to
herself; the owners will surely wonder how their pet had
opened the door.
In a conflicted state of floating bliss and guilt,
Magdalene walks renewed with a bloated stomach. She
smacks her lips. Forever, he is a part of her mind and heart,
his experiences, his aplomb and studied manners. The
marked impression left by Sir William on her life and
husband is eternal. She is untouchable. With a full belly,
she no longer sees food or ogles pedestrians with a starving
eye. All are free to walk without fear of attack. Little does
anyone know who she is, or what she is capable of taking
from them; their dreams and hopes, their small lives of
worries and regrets. In the past year, only six bodies have
been uncovered, automatically attributed to Sir William
when he had made his first kill in the park two years ago.
The authorities continue to search for Ottawa's first serial
killer, described as a middle-aged man with silver hair,
based on the fuzzy memory given from a passerby. But
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 39
police are nowhere near to determining Magdalene is the
real predator. The newspapers dub the serial killer The
Vampire Undertaker because each subsequent victim is
discovered buried in the ground, unlike the first found
sitting upright on a park bench. The police conclude the
killer is developing a refined taste for blood and that his
methodologies are becoming more studied and focused.
However, police are unable to determine how blood is
being entirely drained, without evidence of transfusion
machinery and finding only two miniscule holes in the neck.
As the body count grows, the public is terrified of vampires
hunting in the city but police officials believe otherwise.
After all, everyone knows that vampires are make-believe.
Mythology is not reality.
Strolling on Range Road, Magdalene enjoys her time
alone. Instead of turning onto Laurier she continues north
to Charlotte Street and turns left on Rideau Street, using an
alternate route home. The concern felt upon discovering
the business card in the wallet of Robert Arnold is fleeting,
for she does not believe anyone would be foolish enough to
openly challenge her. Her logic moves in tandem with body
and spirit. Still, she understands why that particular house
was re-visited. The logical connection of familiarity is a
Despite the ever-present guilt, confidence and an
unassailable attitude of supremacy are the norm for
Magdalene. Any possible threat from the outside feels
comical to her. She laughs to herself for having felt fear,
thinking too that Sir William would have enjoyed the
symmetry of returning to Range Road. Most definitely, he
would have loved the confrontation. Her life, her very
existence is cranked up so high that part of her wonders if
she, too, will become sadistic like Sir William. Magdalene
resolves she will not be that kind of vampire, who revels in
the suffering of others. Her victims will be released with a
40 | Patricia K McCarthy
quick and exacting bite and in time, she may develop her
own style of giving victims one last dose of sexual pleasure,
as did Sir William.
Rideau Street thrives. Cars speed east into Vanier and
west into Centretown. Magdalene is grateful at least for
winter. The stench of rotting garbage in summer waiting on
the street corner for pick-up would normally water her
eyes. However, the noxious scent of diesel and unleaded
fuels, emitting out of truck and car exhausts leaves a taste in
her throat. The black sludge of acid rain adheres inside her
nose, tickling the hairs. She cannot help inhaling. But of
greatest impact, of the most so profound she could not
prepare for it, is the intensity of sounds. Every screech of
brakes slamming, of people speaking and dogs barking, of
industrial machinery, comes into her head with shattering
effect. A headache in the first year was constant, until she
learned to focus, pushing the dull and thudding pain to the
back of her mind. A pure state of grace is very nearly
achieved, were it not for the guilt.
At the green light, Magdalene crosses Rideau Street at
the point where it meets Chapel Street. She sees her small
house from the corner and the much larger Tudor home on
Chapel, directly around the corner. The thought of her
husband busily renovating and changing rooms fills her with
curiosity. She is forbidden to come into the house until
Samuel is ready to present it to her. The desire to pounce
on him, to yank down his trousers and expose him, to wrap
her lips around his flesh and vigourously suck him is great.
Their last morning session, with her on the rack, her arms
and legs one with the table, is fresh in her loins. She feels a
twinge between her legs and contracts her groin.
“I see the real you,” says the homeless man, rummaging
in the garbage bin on Besserer Street. His body leans deep
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 41
into the metal cavern, his backside hanging outside. He
pops his head up to speak.
“How do you know me, sir?” asks Magdalene politely,
stopping to speak.
“I see everything that goes on in these here streets...yes
ma'am...I see it all.”
“Please enlighten me.” Magdalene urges him to
continue, while reaching into her pocket.
“You're the one...that one they blather about in the
paper...it's you,” says the man pointing an accusing finger.
Magdalene does not see him as a madman roaming the
streets. She tallies his possessions: coat and gloves and
worn-out boots. His stolen shopping cart is outfitted with
cardboard, pressed up against four sides, to prevent loose
papers from escaping. Empty soda and wine bottles bulge
from within. She surmises he collects the return deposit to
provide some menial cash.
“You rise early each day, before even the rodents stir,
and you scour the streets for loose bottles.”
“I see the real you,” he repeats. “Satan is among us!” he
exclaims aloud tilting his head to sky, speaking to the clouds
in a booming voice.
“I am the Devil, you say,” says Magdalene, sounding like
Sir William in her mind.
“That you are,” he replies. “I can read and you're the
“The one what, sir?” asks Magdalene.
“I’ll tell you this much, blood drainer...why don't you
have your daddy stick some chemicals up your pussy and let
him suck them out...that'll wise you up.”
Magdalene stands agape, dumbfounded by his crude
suggestion, working out the practical machinations of
inserting chemicals into her pussy. She forces herself not to
laugh. “You create a disturbing picture, sir,” states
42 | Patricia K McCarthy
“No hiding now… I see the real you...Satan!” he yells,
steering the bulging cart away from the garbage bin.
Magdalene’s eyes are drawn to the grime and slime
ground into his filthy clothing, the black dirt in his
fingernails and the scraps of food trapped in his long, grey
beard. He passes by her but she does not judge. Her
compassion for the homeless has not faltered and in fact has
grown. The lives of the homeless troubles Magdalene but it
serves to remind her that she is fortunate to live the kind of
life she affords. She offers several five-dollar bills and
extends her arm, smiling. “Please sir,” she begs. “Allow me
“No siree,” he insists, “ya won't get a drop of my blood,
that's for damn sure.”
He violently shakes his head back and forth, refusing to
take her money. Magdalene is not shocked that his powers
of perception accurately deduce she is the one, the one who
takes lives off the streets to feed. She understands why he
knows. On the street there are no secrets. The tightly
woven thread of communication is more consistently
accurate in the exchange of information than any form of
organized media. Once again, the irony tickles Magdalene.
Returning to his haunting grounds, swinging his cart
east on Besserer, he looks back at Magdalene and shakes his
head again, muttering to himself, repeating the word over
and over again. He stops his cart and turns back.
“I know how you're doing it too!” he yells, “Devil fangs,
I tell you!”
Magdalene's hand touches the door handle to her house.
She looks back at the man, far down the street, pushing his
bulging cart; his stench lingering behind him, offending her
senses. As the door to her house opens, she glimpses the
legs of Auntie, motionless on the floor, and rushes inside.
“Oh my God...Auntie!”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 43
Magdalene checks for a pulse and grabs the phone. She
dials 911 and is put on hold. Her heart races but she does
not see him in the corner of the kitchen, leaning against the
counter. Her second thought is for Finn. She places the
receiver on the kitchen table, the line still open, and rushes
upstairs to check on her boy. Finn is in dreamland and
Magdalene brushes his cheek gently, and picks up the
upstairs telephone. Her instincts temporarily falter for the
thought of losing her aunt horrifies her, so much so she
does not pick up on the unwanted visitor standing in the
“Finally I get through to you people!”
“State the nature of your emergency, please.”
“My aunt is on the floor. I think she suffered a stroke.
Come quickly, please!”
“Confirm your address, ma'am,” orders the operator.
“369 Besserer at the corner of Chapel, please hurry!”
“Check her breathing,” advises the operator, “An
ambulance will be dispatched immediately.”
Magdalene dashes past Finn's room and quickly glances
inside to know he still naps. Rushing down the stairs her
heart is in her ears. She returns to the kitchen and stops
dead on the spot, staring in the corner, shocked that her
keen sense of being did not detect his presence.
“Well, well, well, the prodigal son,” says Magdalene
projecting a sense of calm. She hides her true emotions; the
light, invisible hairs stand up on her arm. Anger swells
within. Her heart rate quickens. She knows not to
demonstrate her powerfulness for she feels he is afraid.
“He loved you more than me, more than anyone!” yells
Cain with a clenched fist.
“Thank you for not killing my aunt,” says Magdalene,
keenly aware of the need not to incite Cain to foolish
behavior. Magdalene's reflexes are a taut rubber band,
moments from snapping into action. She has not yet taken
44 | Patricia K McCarthy
one of the hybrids created by her predecessor but her
instincts tell her this encounter may very well result in his
“I never laid a hand on her,” assures Cain, stepping
forward to Magdalene. “I entered your house and when she
saw me, the shock sent her to the floor.”
Magdalene does not take her eyes off Cain. She kneels
and places two fingers on Auntie's neck and finds a weak
pulse. She lifts up one eyelid to observe her pupils; her eyes
are watery. Magdalene stares at Cain. Now is the time to
determine her strength of will, to utilize the greatness of
“Sit,” orders Magdalene, looking at the chair.
“I don't know who to go to,” admits Cain, appearing
lost and weak. “I lived with father for over two hundred
years. I have no one.”
“Sit, I said,” orders Magdalene again, “or I shall seat you
Her angry eyes glare. Still, she does not move toward
Cain, despite all feelings to the contrary. In her mind, he is
already dead. The part of Sir William inside her reminds
her to pull known enemies close, for there is more to be
gained from a compassionate approach, rather than another
kill. But for practical purposes, with an ambulance soon to
arrive, disposing of a body is foolhardy.
Cain takes a seat reluctantly stepping around Aunt
Aileen while Magdalene stands guard over her.
“Move from that seat and you will regret doing so,”
announces Magdalene. She kneels down to her aunt and
tilts her head back, delicately resting one hand under her
neck, before pressing her lips to hers to blow air into her
lungs. She wants to hear her breathe, to feel her limbs
move or at least to know her heart is strong. Resting her
head against her chest, she feels the slowed heartbeat.
Magdalene goes to the sink and soaks a cloth in cold water,
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 45
and brings it to her aunt's forehead, placing the cloth across,
cooling her temperature.
“You bloody well gave her the fright of her life,” scolds
“I never touched her,” repeats Cain.
Magdalene half listens; she watches him out of the
corner of her eye. As she touches her aunt's cheek she hears
the ear-splitting siren in the street and is appreciative of
emergency services being available in a moment's notice.
“What happened to my father?” asks Cain, never having
known about the final outcome of Sir William.
“We can discuss that later,” answers Magdalene.
“Did he die? Has he left?” Cain is persistent.
Knowing, piercing eyes look back at Cain; they are the
eyes of eternal and ancient wisdom, the eyes of authority
and ascendancy, staring blankly. Magdalene understands Sir
William's fondness for his two hybrids taken into his
confidence: Raven, cold and calculating and Cain, the
sensitive and feeling one. Symmetry was the personal
preference of Sir William and she comprehends the balance
both men provided in his life, willingly and happily wanting
to follow their father to death.
Magdalene stands. “I am he,” she admits.
The stretcher wheels turn and creak. Emergency
personnel are seconds away from knocking on her door.
“Stay seated,” she orders. “Later you and I shall discuss
your presence here in Ottawa and also your recent visit to
the homeowner on Range Road.”
Two hard knocks. Magdalene rushes to the door,
opening and pointing to the kitchen. Two emergency
attendants are efficient, bringing in the stretcher and First
Aid equipment, delivering ambulatory care services; dialing
46 | Patricia K McCarthy
into the hospital to report on Aunt Aileen's condition,
while attaching an oxygen mask.
Aunt Aileen rouses.
“For the love of God, boy, what on Earth do you think
you're doing?” says Auntie, pulling off the oxygen mask.
“What has this world begotten in these wretched times?”
she asks Magdalene, “Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if
that boy has got fangs to boot.”
Magdalene looks up at the emergency personnel and
“She's feeling a tad light-headed, pay no attention to her
ramblings…my Auntie has a fine flair for dramatics.”
Magdalene speaks to the paramedics but her eyes do not
leave the sight of Cain, the second half-brother of her
husband who has returned unexpectedly into the fold. Her
mind ponders the reasons why Cain returned to see her and
why he went to Range Road to Robert Arnold’s house.
THE HEARTH IS SHARP AND COLD to the touch of his
warm hand, flattening out on the interlocking stones. He
surveys the lower landing and sees in his mind the
completed vision, the house that will become the new heart
for wife and son. In particular, the room upstairs, the room
where the transformational event transpired is the first to
undergo change, to obliterate the incident of hacking the
door to pieces. The room's former stark whiteness is freshly
painted in soft tones of pumpkin butter. He does not want
to be reminded of the days when his love was held captive,
while the inner workings of her body were taken over by
the metamorphosis from human to vampire. Standing erect,
he examines the newly laid hardwood floors and assesses
the required clean up. Tiny particles of wood dust have
covered every surface on the first floor. The kitchen gleams
with stainless steel and chrome and recently laid ceramic
tiling, not of the same variety imported from Spain as in
their house next door, but the highest quality on the
market. And the last to construct, of greatest importance, is
the table for stretching and whipping, the most valuable
piece of furniture to outfit the private room upstairs for
very special sessions of perverse, sexual torture.
Samuel hears a knock, drops the detailed plans and
answers the door, looking into the young and hopeful eyes
“Sandrine,” says Samuel. “You know the rules. I come
48 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Yeah but like I couldn't wait any longer and like I
thought…” Sandrine hesitates.
“Thought what? How did you know to come here?”
“You said you were gonna start working on a house
next door and that you wouldn't be able to see me as often
as before, remember?”
Samuel opens the door and allows Sandrine in, already
feeling randy in his loins and eyeing her like a ravenous wolf
drooling over Red Riding Hood.
“A short visit then,” he remarks, looking seriously at the
young, nubile Sandrine, the girl whose body he acquired
after killing her boyfriend. Samuel does not hesitate to
invite her in because their association has been carefully
managed. The time will soon come when his powerful wife
will also partake of her young blood.
“Did you bathe?” asks Samuel.
“Nope ‘cause I know you like strong flavour,” answers
Samuel removes her outer coat and scarf. With agility,
he turns Sandrine half way, pressing her breasts to the wall
in the hallway. His brisk movements excite her. She feels
like a little girl, bubbling with anticipation.
Samuel hikes up her skirt and pulls her panties to her
ankles. Like an obedient concubine, he knows she will
remain standing with cheek pressed flat to wall. His fingers
search for her thin, wet, moist lips. He wants to incite the
first release, to ensure her fluids flow for easy entry. His
nostrils flare, inhaling her scent. He rubs his bulging cock.
One finger strokes up and down the length of her outer
labia, a soft rub that barely touches her quivering flesh. His
finger slides from the tip of the clitoral bud to the periphery
of her opening. He hears a soft sigh. He pauses.
Sandrine turns her head waiting for the next touch.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 49
“Be patient,” says Samuel, sensing her anxiousness.
Sandrine opens her mouth to speak. When she does,
three fingers thrust inside her cunt. She gasps. He probes
deeply, pushing and pushing, feeling the tightness of walls
enclose his fingers, the fibrous tissue of wet, inner flesh.
Simultaneously, he rubs her clitoral bulb with thumb. His
fingers spread out and the resulting sensation is intense.
Sandrine extends her arms to hug the wall.
Samuel smells blood, that most distinct of aromas, the
kind of smell his half-vampire senses are drawn to naturally.
He presses his body to hers as his fingers reach deeper and
deeper. When his fingers pull out they are coloured with
the amazing shade of crimson red. Bringing fingers to nose,
he inhales slowly, rolling his eyes back in approval. Blood is
an intoxicant to his senses, making his head swim and his
mouth salivate. It is that time again.
Thoughts of Magdalene are with Samuel, while
fingering Sandrine. He imagines how Magdalene will
devour her. The idea amuses him. He wants to watch
Magdalene and Sandrine together. The notion of giving
Sandrine to Magdalene as a gift fills him with expectation.
She will make an ideal house-warming present. Her naked
body will be wrapped in red ribbon and her legs spread
wide, secured on the rack, as the glorious red drips out of
her loins, making her ready for draining in the new room to
Sandrine hears a zipper. She wants to turn and look but
is afraid of Samuel's intense eyes. His fingers continue to
enchant, playing her lips like guitar strings, caressing and
touching, stopping and flicking. The strength in her legs
waivers and she buckles her knees. The first orgasm
explodes. Her breath is short and heavy. Her body
twitches. Nipples turn hard, pushing outward against her
blouse, rubbing the wall, exciting her further.
Samuel reaches upward, covering her hands with his
hands, ensuring she will remain pinned to the wall.
50 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Soon,” he says to her in a whisper that clings to her
ears, “soon I will take you to a higher place, Sandrine, to a
place of pleasures your body knows not.”
“Really…like when?” asks Sandrine eagerly.
“Listen,” orders Samuel, “Listen to my voice and don't
His arms are strong, holding her firm. His strength is
that of a force of wind blowing a gale of heated breath. His
knees move her legs farther apart, readying himself. His
cock is out and hard, touching her naked bum, rubbing the
base of her crack, ready to slide inside. But the power to
make her suffer is irresistible to Samuel. He pauses.
“Fucking Hell,” exclaims Sandrine, “Why do you
“What did I tell you moments go?” asks Samuel.
“You told me to be like patient,” answers Sandrine.
Samuel belongs in the role of dominator. He does not
hurt Sandrine, nor will he ever. He faithfully visits her
three times each month, on the first, second and third day
of her cycle. She lives a life of comfort and total peace
because Samuel covers all expenses. All he asks for in
return is her obedience.
With stained fingers, holding her wrists in place, he
inches his huge cock closer to her opening and pushes,
entering her slowly.
She desperately wants him inside her. She has come to
cherish her short moments with Samuel, living for the day
when her cycle begins. If it were the past, she would have
scoffed at such a ridiculous notion. The cramps and
bloating, the pain of blood being released is now a far off
memory. Now she has Samuel to indulge in the purity of
Samuel releases his hand and returns to the plumpness
of her pink lips, reinserting his fingers, pushing out her
vaginal walls. He wants to make her wait; make her wait
for the moment he will penetrate. He does not want to
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 51
look into her eyes or watch or hear her speak. His attention
momentarily wanders. A reminder to contact his runners,
Kevin and Derek, comes into mind. Samuel needs to
arrange a meeting time, an exchange of new product for
The stop is made, dropping off one kilo of precious,
organic cultivated herb to a local tattoo shop, their biggest
customer. The dog chained to the back door is ferocious
but upon seeing Kevin, his tail wags with excitement,
happy to be greeted by the warm-hearted human.
Kevin steps inside the establishment and a round of
handshakes break out. The proprietor welcomes him.
Derek waits in the car, as look out, listening to music at a
reasonable volume. Naturally, he indulges in his fourteenth
herbal treat. The working day has begun for the Coffey
“Homer,” says the proprietor to Kevin, referring to him
by nickname, “Care for a barley sandwich?”
“Does Howdy Doody have wooden balls…and besides
have you ever known me to refuse a cold pint, man?” asks
“This is true.” The proprietor laughs. “Let's step into
my back office.”
The proprietor turns to his employee and knowingly
nods, closing the door, as he and Kevin attend to business.
Kevin unzips a tote bag and pulls out several clumps of
herb tightly packaged in plastic baggies and re-bagged to
avoid the lovely aroma escaping and catching unnecessary
attention. The quality of the herb is supreme.
“OK, man,” begins Kevin. “The usual, twenty one of
the kick-ass AK-47... he's completely out after today and
this time, man, I brought samples, a few of this new variety
called Killer Whale, slow at first but with a fucking wicked
52 | Patricia K McCarthy
sleeper hit and another variety called Gold-dust, not the
same as the AK but equally potent.”
The proprietor examines the samples, bringing herb to
nose, lovingly sniffing. He lifts the bag up and checks to see
if the quality holds up under a bright light. Tiny crystals are
visible on the matured buds. He smiles and slaps Kevin on
“Best bud in the whole fucking city, Homer. You got
time to spark one?”
“Sorry, man, gotta run,” says Kevin. “D-boy is waiting.”
Kevin sees the newspaper, lying on the office desk. He
reads the headline “Three dead cops in Vanier” and looks at the
date to verify he is reading a current article.
“Have you read this already?” asks Kevin, holding the
“Yeah, man,” says the proprietor, hardly paying
attention to Kevin. He opens another baggie, tearing apart
buds in preparation for rolling.
“Ah...as much as I love my weed I never burn ink while
wasted,” declares the proprietor, “but I’m tempted to, you
know what I’m saying,” he lets out a belly laugh.
Kevin admires the proprietor's arms, a detailed
iconography of his entire family, from wife, child, mother
and grandmother, noticing that the father is conspicuously
absent from the gallery of portraits burned onto his skin.
“Hey man,” says Kevin, pointing, “You've got nothing
on your arm for the old man.”
“Fuck him,” says the proprietor matter-of-factly, “he did
fuck all for me so fuck him!”
The exchange of banter, peppered with repeated
expletives is normal and Kevin thinks nothing of it. He
returns his sunglasses to his eyes, covering up the bloodshot
veins and tilts back his bottle of beer. Like a waterfall, the
remaining suds roll down to the spout, disappearing into
Kevin's mouth. He slams the bottle on the table.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 53
“Thanks, man,” says Kevin. He takes from the
proprietor an even thicker wad of cash to what he showed
off in the morning at the erotica house. Kevin promptly
counts out the bills in the open, ensuring the tally is
“And thanks, too, for the paper. You see this?” asks
Kevin, pointing to the story about the dead officers.
“Fucking A-1,” he exclaims, “Dead fucking oinkers...
apparently, their bodies went undiscovered for a whole
fucking year. No one complained about the smell 'cause
they were hermetically sealed in plastic. I mean that's
fucking twisted. Some freak killed them, drained their
blood and wrapped them in plastic so they wouldn't stink
up the place. Fucking smart,” says the proprietor, “The
Vampire Undertaker strikes again! I wish he'd finish off
every oinker in the city.”
Kevin instantly concludes the officers are the casualties
of Samuel because his very own brother relayed to him the
details of the attack at the erotica house and how he
witnessed firsthand Samuel changing into a vampire. He
then thinks back to the afternoon he and Derek watched the
videos and how Samuel killed Jean-Pierre, the boyfriend of
Sandrine, and sucked out his blood. Two and two make
four, thinks Kevin. His instincts tell him he is right about
assuming that Samuel is responsible for the deaths of the
officers found in Vanier. He departs the tattoo parlour with
a bulging pocket.
“See you next month,” says Kevin.
The proprietor nods yes. The deal is done.
Samuel cannot resist licking Sandrine. He removes his
fingers from her tight vagina and covers her eyes with his
“Come here,” he orders.
54 | Patricia K McCarthy
The stair railing to the upper level is new; the smell of
freshly sanded wood hangs in the air. Samuel picks up
Sandrine and throws her over the railing and parts her
cheeks, plunging his tongue into her lips, licking the red
coming out of her sheath.
Sandrine speaks to him about how amazing he is; how
she has never known a man who pleasures her in such a
rude manner. Their association has evolved into master and
slave. Sandrine’s apartment is outfitted with hidden
cameras. In the past year, not once has Sandrine played
with herself, disappointing Samuel greatly. He resolves to
try and encourage her to open her mind to new sexual
“Do you touch yourself this way?” asks Samuel, pulling
his red-stained lips away from her shaking pussy lips. His
fingers touch her again, making her outer lips swell to the
colour of bloated purple.
“No way,” answers Sandrine with a shortened breath.
“Why?” asks Samuel. His fingers move with crazy speed
and she achieves orgasm. His eyes sparkle. More red liquid
leaks out, spilling in tiny drops down the length of her
opening, clinging to her pink flesh, running to her anus.
“Like I grew up with religious parents and like they
brainwashed me... like they would say shit like playing with
myself is evil and all that crap.”
Samuel laughs. As he does he thrusts his cock inside
Sandrine. He fucks steadily and assuredly until his rhythm
builds into a blur of hip movements.
Sandrine lets out a peep. Her energy is spent.
Samuel is only beginning their session of impromptu
copulation. He goes on for minutes, thrusting in and out,
pumping the lust of desire into her hips, and bruising her
body as his fingers pinch her skin.
The image of Magdalene is with Samuel, even as he
sucks and fucks and greedily devours Sandrine. Samuel sees
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 55
Magdalene's luscious and powerful body, standing before
him naked. Soon the house next door will be complete and
she will be ravaged in the new room.
Samuel can hardly wait for late afternoon to come,
despite having no clue how the afternoon and evening will
AUNTIE STANDS AND straightens her skirt, unfolding the
crease that appears in her hem. She calmly walks over to
Cain and cracks him sternly across the face.
“That slap, boy is for giving me a bloody fright. Just
who the blazes do you think you are coming into this house
uninvited?” Auntie is filled with indignation.
Magdalene comes up behind Auntie laughing and
looking at the expression on the paramedic’s faces, amazed
with Auntie's recuperative powers. Auntie looks much
younger than her age, notwithstanding the wrinkled,
pinched upper lip from years of smoking.
“I have half a mind to throw you out on the street!” says
Auntie. The paramedics and Magdalene laugh in unison.
The stretcher is wheeled back to the front hallway.
Magdalene turns to Cain.
“Do not so much as make one move toward my aunt.”
Magdalene walks to the front door.
“Gentlemen, you are a credit to your profession. I am
sorry for having troubled you. My aunt appears to be on the
“She's not going anywhere,” says the taller one, with the
protruding belly. “I've seen her kind all my profession.
She’s made of steel with the body of an ox.”
Magdalene looks him over and wonders how a man in
his line of work could be so out-of-shape with the physical
demands placed on paramedics.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 57
The younger one turns to the older one and suggests
stopping for a shawarma, seeing they are in the area. The
daily newspaper is picked up from the front porch by the
older paramedic and given to Magdalene. Before they say
goodbye, their eyes glance downward and both men take a
good long look at her firm breasts. Their ogling makes
Magdalene realize it has been far too long since she has
seduced an anonymous man. She wonders why that part of
her lust went into hiding after her transformation. She
intends to discuss the subject of her lack of sexual conquests
with Samuel, to engage him in dialogue on the value of
bedding multiple partners but mostly to gauge his reaction.
Having been preoccupied with baby Finn, she thinks too it
is time to indulge in Samuel's side dish of Sandrine, whom
she has overlooked in the past year.
The Crimson world thrives.
Magdalene shuts the door, contemplating how best to
explain Cain's presence to Auntie.
Cain stays by the kitchen table, not wanting to confront
Magdalene's aunt. His eyes never leave Magdalene. He feels
drawn to her, drawn to her power. She even smells like his
late father, Sir William. One half of Cain is filled with
venom for the woman his father loved and the other half
wants to throw himself at her feet, begging for mercy that
she accept him, as did his father.
“Boy,” starts Aunt Aileen, “What on Heaven's earth are
you doing here? And who in the Lord's name are you
“I shall answer that for you,” offers Magdalene, who
turns and hugs her aunt hard, kissing her forehead.
“Sweetie,” she says, “the thought of losing you no longer
worries me,” says Magdalene.
“Sure, sure, sure,” scoffs Auntie, “Dig my grave as we
58 | Patricia K McCarthy
Magdalene laughs to hide her concern. In her mind, she
sees Auntie's death, in less than one year, prior to her
eightieth birthday. Aunt Aileen will not die in her sleep,
chasing after her husband naked in a dream, but rather her
death is both sudden and heroic. Magdalene pushes the
thought out of her mind, not wanting to accept the reality
but also not wanting to accept that her vampire powers are
not entirely omnipotent. Some things cannot be controlled,
such as the time and place when each person dies. The
thought does little to comfort Magdalene. Until that time,
however, Magdalene cherishes her aunt’s company. She is
keenly aware of the passage of time. Minutes, hours and
seconds flow through her. She is a perfect time-keeping
watch. Whatever time she has with her aunt is a gift, as is
the gift of loving and having all family and friends. She
understands now more than ever Sir William's patience in
waiting for her. He chose to wait one full year before
initiating her transformation and in that time he only
wanted to spend time in her company. After all, not every
person is interesting and Sir William found Magdalene
infinitely interesting, more so because she did not want
“His name is Cain,” says Magdalene to Aunt Aileen.
“Cain,” repeats Aunt Aileen with a smirk. “He's still
finding himself, to be sure,” she comments flatly. “The
Bible pulls a punch here and there and there aren't many
good words of wisdom uttered from the mouth of Cain,”
remarks Aunt Aileen.
“I have no one,” exclaims Cain, looking to Aunt Aileen
with teary eyes.
“Suppose he's a chip off the old butcher block, like you
and Samuel,” says Aunt Aileen, “In that darkest of ways, the
dark way of blood suckers... good gracious girl, your life
gets closer to the Devil's smile in every way,” she says,
eyeing Cain up and down, making note of his dishevelled
pants and the lopsided buttons on his shirt. It appears to
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 59
Aunt Aileen that Cain is a lost soul and her heart opens to
“Of course you know, boy, I've been around the block
or two. Had eight children you know and I can tell a
hopeless lad when I see him.”
Cain turns to Magdalene. He possesses one-half the
strength of his father and instinctively accepts he is no
match for Magdalene. He digs his right hand into the front
of his trousers and pulls out a sealed envelope.
“Father gave this to me,” says Cain, holding out the
offering to Magdalene. “He gave it to me,” he repeats, “the
day after Samuel and Raven fought, the day after he told me
to leave Canada. I didn't argue with father. I never did. I
always obeyed father.”
Magdalene approaches Cain and stops inches before
him, allowing his energy to come into her. His mind is
open. She reads him with ease and does not betray the
weariness of his presence in her eyes. The last words Sir
William spoke with Cain replay in her head. Sir William
advised Cain to remain abroad for one year, prior to
returning, to wait before visiting Magdalene. He did not
offer an explanation to Cain. Sir William remained true to
his nature, the master of control and foresight. He
anticipated Cain would feel lost without him.
Magdalene understands she is to accept Cain into her
She takes the envelope and looks at the handwriting,
perfectly penned script, similar to hers, written in dark,
black ink, the kind of black ink that is extracted out of a
very old bottle of very old ink, the kind of ink that
sharpened feather quills would naturally draw up into their
stems. The outside envelope reads, Magdalene P. Crimson.
Magdalene's middle name was never mentioned to Sir
William. He knew the correct initial nonetheless. Patricia
was the name given to her by her mother, the same as her
mother's. Magdalene slides the envelope into the front of
60 | Patricia K McCarthy
her skirt, not wanting to open and read it in front of her
aunt or Cain.
“Well, girl, aren't you going to read to us? Surely, the
King of Spades has a few pearls of amazement to release
into the ocean.”
“Not quite yet, Auntie,” says Magdalene with a smile,
rubbing her cheek. “I am so happy you are well. You gave
me such fright when I came into the kitchen. I had a lovely
stroll this morning in the park, only to return home to find
you on the floor.”
Auntie puts her fingers to her mouth, quieting her
niece. She wants no further discussion about her walk in
Sandy Hill. Auntie knows full well another body will
eventually be found and the newspapers will have a grand
time analyzing and dissecting the evidence presented by
authorities. Her prime purpose in the Crimson household is
deadly clear to her, as it has been since the day she moved
in, to cleanse the soul of her niece. God has chosen her
niece for a special purpose, a purpose that evil knows not
but which evil will surely want to own.
“To be sure,” answers Aunt Aileen. “Best thing really is
to digest these wicked ditties in the dark. You can't hide
from me girl. I'm onto you. I can only imagine what that
dark horse of a man has to say. I still feel the King of Spades
the way an old dog pines for his long-eaten bone.”
Magdalene's hand touches the envelope and the energy
of Sir William's words, written carefully and with studied
care, come through the paper, into her fingers. She sees the
words scrawl across her mind and smiles.
Cain is quiet. He takes a seat and rests his elbow on the
table, looking at the plate of uneaten food. He looks over to
“For the love of God,” stays Aunt Aileen, walking over
to the table with a start, pushing the plate in front of him.
“Eat boy,” she demands, “You've got skin stretched across a
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 61
scrawny frame and my stomach grumbles just looking at
Cain picks up the toasted rye bread, spread with one
inch thick of cream cheese, taken out of the fridge, almost
frozen, and bites into the offering. Red raspberry jam is
liberally smeared across. Cain is surprised by the wonderful
“Good… yes I know, boy. My girl here introduced me
to this odd concoction. Of course, no one in his or her right
mind would think to add jam to cream cheese but then a
stomach is nothing more than a melting pot. The tummy
doesn't discriminate only the bowels raise an awful stink.
Why not add coffee into the mix?” she asks, reaching for the
pot of percolated brew, so strong and fortified from
bubbling on the stove for almost one hour that the liquid
has turned to solid mud, thick enough to stand up a fork.
Cain nods and pushes the empty mug toward Auntie.
It should be this way, thinks Magdalene. Cain is not
supposed to become a member of the household and yet she
is oddly drawn to his weakness. He represents a chain link
of which she and her husband are part. What of Samuel? He
will want nothing to do with Cain. After all, it was Cain
who attacked Samuel and left him injured. Samuel will
want to kill Cain the moment he discovers he dared return.
The sounds of shrill cries come from upstairs. Finn is
awake, standing upright in his crib, waiting for a bottle. He
yells so loudly that his temper makes Magdalene laugh. She
looks to Auntie who takes her seat at the table and watches
with interest the new stranger sitting with her.
“Course you know boy, in Newfoundland the door is
always open to new friends and a house can't be considered
a home unless a stranger comes calling.”
Cain appears confused by her dialogue and says nothing.
“Don't look so confused, boy. Have you ever been to
62 | Patricia K McCarthy
Cain answers with a full mouth, “Once, with father.”
“That would explain the shenanigans that happened way
back in '45.”
“Shenanigans?” asks Cain quizzically.
“Shenanigans, boy, getting up to no good… you and
that dark horse came calling in the small towns. I remember
it like the worst snowstorm to hit. To be sure,
Newfoundland has seen its fine share of storms. The papers
talked about bodies turning up in the high seas. Thought a
rough wind blew them off the bow of every vessel but I
knew better, boy. Trouble follows you like the weather,
does it now?”
Cain raises his eyebrows, attempting to keep up with
Auntie's rambling dialogue. He is more interested in
consuming food, as though solids have not passed his lips in
one year. He takes three full bites and the toasted rye bread
vanishes. His cheeks balloon; he chews and swallows. A
feeling of comfort comes across Cain and he senses
everything will be all right for him in the end. The thought,
however, of having to deal with Samuel troubles him. He
recalls Raven's dead body, the supposedly undefeatable
Raven, a man who could not be pounded into nothing by
any normal man. But then Samuel is no ordinary man. That
was the primary reason why Sir William paid particular
attention to Samuel. Cain realizes, sitting at the table that
his father knew the future would rest in the hands of
Samuel. He looks up and picks up the coffee mug and
swallows. The taste is so strong and bitter that he winces.
Aunt Aileen laughs and gets up from the table.
“Come join me outside, boy, for a smoke. Bloody
government policies never did us a world of good, I tell you
this much... poor taxpayers forced to sneak a smoke
outside. It’s a crying, bloody shame… at least the weather
is with us and we should have a spot of sun to brighten the
clouds of smoke above our heads as we puff in the cold.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 63
Aunt Aileen takes the plate from under Cain's hands,
whisking it away before he can speak. She picks up the
coffee mug and dumps the remnants of sludge down the
drain. A plate of crisp bacon, lying under a sheet of paper
towel, rests on the stove and Cain eyes the food.
“Course, boy, grab a few pieces and join me.”
Auntie takes to the new visitor like fresh paint to a
white wall. She is happy to have company with her
cigarette; a habit her niece is none too pleased about yet at
this stage of her game of living, old habits are as rigid as
Magdalene goes to Finn, who stands with one leg hung
over the side, moments before escaping the confines of his
crib. He smiles broadly. Love fills his heart for his mother,
more so than the love he has for a bottle of cold milk.
“How is my gorgeous baby boy?” asks Magdalene.
“Want bottle,” Finn manages to say.
“What did you just say?” asks Magdalene, pulling back
with eyes wide.
“Bottle! Bottle!” exclaims Finn, excited that his mother
“OHMYGOD…your very first complete words!”
Finn jumps up and down; his diaper is packing a full
load of shit.
“Say it again,” asks Magdalene.
“Poo-pee-poo,” says Finn.
“No, honey, say the sentence you just said.”
Finn has the attention span of a swallow in flight. He
sees the envelope sticking out of his mother's front skirt and
reaches for it. Tight little fingers clasp onto the envelope
like a last grasp at life. Finn instinctively brings the
envelope to his mouth; his tongue tastes the fine quality of
“No, honey, not for eating,” says Magdalene, taking the
64 | Patricia K McCarthy
The authority of his mother will not dissuade Finn. His
lungs expand and he lets out a blood-curdling cry for having
“Oh, my poor little boy, not getting what he wants,”
says Magdalene, picking up her gorgeous boy and holding
him out in front of her. She looks at the raindrop-sized tears
in his eyes and speaks to him like an adult.
“Your Auntie will give me a look if I do not change you
The cries are loud and sharp, stinging Magdalene's ears.
She thinks about Sir William's letter and is anxious to read
it, to see the words jump off the page. Even though the
words are already known to her, having formed in her
mind, she wants to read them, as seeing IS believing. She
cannot imagine what Sir William was thinking but the
contents of his letter are precise and fortuitous. Knowing
Samuel, he will overreact and want to distance himself from
his dead father. Magdalene realizes she has a tough time
ahead of her.
Samuel: Inspiration is like a celebration of creativity. No
one can tell when, where and how inspiration will
penetrate the inner space of our creative minds but we all
know for certain when its knocks us over the head. Love
inspires poetry. Hatred inspires war. Lust inspires lust.
Inspiration inspires creativity.
I finished devouring Sandrine. Afterward, I washed my
fingers and face. As I stood at the mirror looking satisfied,
my creative mind received a hit. I knew just to whom
Sandrine should be introduced, someone who would open
up her world to unrestrained pleasure, taking her into the
bosom of lust where her talents could shine. Why had I not
thought of the idea before? The proximity to our house was
perfect, not too close or too far away. I was thrilled with
my inspired idea because it would relieve the burden I had
been carrying in supporting Sandrine.
There is lust and there are surprises. Lust surprises us
with the ferocity of its purpose but a surprise is a simple act
of giving, a small token that says I think of you.
“You like surprises?” I asked.
“Fer sure,” said Sandrine.
“Good… I have a big surprise for you.”
“Really?” she asked, wrapping a wool scarf around her
“You're not one of those girls who says they like
surprises but wants to know about it beforehand, are you?”
68 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Yeah,” answered Sandrine, “Like my girlfriends are like
that...like they say they don't want to know but then like
they bug the shit out of their guys to know.”
Youthful intellectuality is not a challenge in the least for
the young. The challenge lies in an intellect having to cope
with underdeveloped brainpower; it requires us to bring
our game playing down to their level. Perhaps it is just as
well. An intellectual mind would have challenged my desire
for remaining in control. Sandrine made it easy for me to
accept her; the manner, in which she barged into my office,
over two years ago, opened my eyes to her young body. I
had always preferred older women because they were on
level with my own thinking.
“This is not a gift your girlfriends should hear about,
Sandrine. I want you to keep this surprise to yourself.”
“Do you have it with you?” she asked.
“Oh, it’s much, much bigger than any breadbox,” I
answered with a smirk.
“You bought me a breadbox?” asked Sandrine.
“Never you mind,” I said, touching the tip of her nose in
a playful gesture.
I told Sandrine to remain in the front of the house,
while I stepped around the side to our current house to
retrieve my car. I never bothered to go inside. For if I did,
another mouthful of tomato soup cake would have found its
way into my stomach. In the past year, having Auntie live
with us, I had packed ten pounds onto my frame. I felt like
a three-toed sloth with a bulbous belly. Magdalene said the
weight of my frame put more punch into the power of my
whippings. Of course, my dearest love would assess the
situation in true style and distill the issue into a case to
support her lust. That was my Magdalene! She loved her
aunt's cooking, even though she no longer ate food. Her
sense of smell had intensified. Every subtle scent had been
magnified so sharply that Magdalene's nose became like a
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 69
dog's. Where a human would walk into the kitchen and
smell spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove, Magdalene's
nose detailed every spice. Our conversations became
peppered with the nostalgia of meals relegated to the past. I
had no idea women thought so much about food. I was
aware that during menstruation, a woman's appetite
increases tenfold. My appetite preferred Magdalene's blood
and her cooking. I had not intended on becoming victim to
the furious production of baked goods but if Auntie
persisted with baking, I would surely balloon to 300
The smell of food, the smell of blood, the smell of life is
a concoction of potions, enticing one to relapse. The smell
of Magdalene's blood I could detect days before she began.
Immediately following her transformation, the potency of
her scent necessitated having to lock her inside the house
each month until the bleeding had passed. Heaven visited
my world when I loved and married Magdalene.
Unfortunately, the legacy of my father had opened up the
gates of unpredictability. A bleeding vampire sends out a
homing signal to men walking within five feet of her,
standing his cock as erect as a church steeple. The quality of
her blood changed, too. It used to be sweeter and finally
sour as the days had passed from the first to the third and
fourth. Now her blood is like aged wine, an extra-dry, full-
bodied red wine, complex in its construction and finish.
With every swallow, there are new layers of taste. My
word but I adore Magdalene's blood. Can a man's Heaven
exceed the boundaries of his desires?
“Sam,” asked Sandrine, as she got into my car, “Can I,
like, meet your wife?”
“An excellent idea,” I concurred, “Probably sooner than
“She wants to meet you as well,” I answered.
70 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Like will she be jealous of me?” Sandrine had asked
“Not in the least. My wife and I have an extraordinary
“Wow…like for real,” she said, steeped in mindless
twenties likes and such.
I drove onto Rideau Street. Sandrine's hand rested on
my leg. She had to touch me, to remain connected. I was
confident my idea would be received with an open heart.
After all, Sandrine came into my life for a reason and I had
grown accustomed to having her at my leisure. Her life was
set to change.
Magdalene: My little baby boy packed such a load of shit in
his diapers it's a wonder the pile did not spill out and run
down his leg. Disposable diapers are banned in our
household. I adopted the method of using a plastic outer
shell with a cloth lining. The cloth lining is taken out and
dunked in the toilet to remove large droppings and later
washed. Whereas the outer shell is easily wiped clean if
soiled and continuously reused. It made better sense not to
use true disposables. Landfill sites are the scourge of
suburbia and are rapidly growing. The amount of garbage
being created by families staggers the mind. We seem
incapable of living without plastic because of its durability
and longevity. I would happily wipe this planet clean of all
plastic but then that would mean very few cars would drive
on the road, given the amount of plastic and acrylic molds
used for interiors.
“Kissy, kissy, kiss,” I said to Finn; he wiggled on the
changing table, laughing and full of joy.
I am the poster child for guilt. In the past year, I took
the lives of twelve people and the guilt associated with their
deaths has never left me, and rightly so. Not only do I
deserve the most severe form of punishment but I most
definitely deserve to rot in Hell. I wish Sir William would
have taken the time and trouble to explain to me how to
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 71
reconcile these feelings of intense guilt. A human who
becomes a vampire must in turn transform their moral core
but at this early stage of my vampire existence I am
incapable of detaching myself emotionally from guilt. I am
destined for Hell and yet, paradoxically my love and
warmth in my heart for my son, husband and Auntie
flourishes. I am at odds with my place in the world. A
vampire, the one and true vampire on Earth, has a finer
purpose in life, to represent superiority in a world of
inferior beings. Supremacy is destined to rule. Perhaps
years down the road when I have finally accepted my fate,
the pang of guilt for taking lives will no longer register.
Still, my rational mind wanted to inject philosophical
purpose into my life. I needed to speak at length with
Auntie. Her views on life were always a hoot but more so
now that Cain had returned. Surely, Auntie would have a
sound word of wisdom to share with me.
Finn and I came into the kitchen. Auntie and Cain stood
in the backyard, under the doorway arch, to avoid the
falling snow. Auntie hauled on her Player's non-filter
cigarette with intensity, blowing smoke over her shoulder.
Kissing Finn under the chin and on his cheek was our
game. I would hold him up high and bring him down into
my smacking lips. What a smile, what joy! In his eyes, the
glimmer of youthfulness had a slight touch of wisdom. His
eyes were his grandfather's eyes, Sir William, dark, opaque
and penetrating. Samuel had never expressed his
displeasure over this because I knew he loved Finn with
every measure of a new father.
I took a fresh, ice-cold bottle from the fridge, the only
state Finn would drink milk, not warm or slightly cool but
ice-cold. I sat him in his high chair and gave him the bottle.
The game was always the same. Finn would throw the
bottle instantly on the floor and begin laughing. I would
pick it up, look at him sternly, snuggle his chin and fill him
with kisses. Finn would laugh wildly and toss the bottle
onto the floor. I would pick it up one last time and place it
72 | Patricia K McCarthy
on the tray, lightly tap the back of his hand and firmly say
‘no’. The bottle’s nipple would finally find its way into his
mouth. As Finn gulped, I heated up fresh vegetable soup on
the stove, which would be thrown into the blender before
serving him lunch. Routine is the necessary ritual of
existence, especially for babies who need structure. Some
things we detest doing because they do not challenge us, yet
adults and children need routines to help us to stay on
“Auntie,” I said, opening the back door, “Can you please
join me in the kitchen while I feed Finn? I would like to
speak with you for a moment.”
Auntie looked at Cain, who was shivering in the cold.
“Cain, you may wait upstairs, while I speak with my
Cain came in before Auntie. I stopped him at the door
and asked him to kick the snow off his boots. Auntie did the
When Cain re-entered the kitchen, Finn shrieked. I
laughed. Finn was aware of his surroundings and had an
inkling that Cain was not entirely welcome.
“It is OK, baby boy,” I said, “Finish up your bottle,
Finn just shook his head and tossed his bottle to the
Cain passed Finn, moving silently with weary eyes.
Having Cain physically in our house made me think back to
that awful time in the house on Range Road when I was
forced to witness Samuel battling Raven. After Raven had
been defeated, Cain attacked Samuel out of revenge,
breaking Samuel’s ribs and one leg with a baseball bat, an
event that would not easily be forgotten. I gave Cain a look
that said in no uncertain terms I would not tolerate
“I will come speak with you later,” I said to Cain.
“Child, I best pour myself a stiff cup and settle in for a
good talkin',” said Auntie.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 73
“Excellent, my dear,” I agreed.
The pot of soup had been brought to a boil. I turned off
the element and poured the contents from the pot into the
blender, turning on the machine. Finn loved the sound of
the blender and began pounding his fists on his highchair.
“That boy has got beans in his bum,” said Auntie. “He
can't sit still to save his life. Now, tell me child, what is it
you want to speak about? You sounded all serious... a touch
of the conscience has got you now, has it?”
“Auntie,” I began, “I need to solicit your advice, if I
may, concerning Cain remaining in the city.”
Auntie crossed herself twice. She took off the cap from
the rum bottle and hardly looked down at her mug as she
poured. I could hear the liquor swirl in the cup as it reached
the brim, almost spilling over but not quite.
“Let me get a swig into me first, child, then lay these
grandiose plans at my feet and I'll give you the best piece of
my mind I have to offer.”
Samuel: Sandrine and I arrived at the infamous fuck house
in Rockcliffe Village: La Maison Erotique. As my car
approached the gates, I turned to Sandrine to advise her on
how to proceed.
“This house, Sandrine…well, it’s considered an
“For real like?” she asked, her eyes taking in the large,
wrought iron gates, as high as fifteen feet, with sharpened
“Yes, for real like,” I mimicked. “This special house is
known only to a few select people and I was wondering if
you would like to consider working here.”
“Me?” she asked. “You want me to work?”
“It would be good for your self-esteem,” I assured her.
“Making money of your own will teach you to be
independent. Someday, Sandrine, you’ll want to move on
without me and you'll need a profession that will serve you
well while you're young.”
74 | Patricia K McCarthy
“But I don't want to stop seeing you.” She protested.
“I know,” I said. “I don't want to stop seeing you either
but I want you to understand that a job will give you
power. You won't be able to live your entire life dependent
on someone else. Remember how poorly Jean-Pierre
treated you? Eventually, a partner will become resentful if
you are not contributing. I'm just trying to think of your
long-term welfare, Sandrine.”
The guard spotted my car idling outside the gate. I
watched him pick up the telephone receiver, no doubt
dialing the main house. When I pulled up to the booth, his
window was already opened.
“Pleasure to see you again Mister Crimson,” said the
“Morning Pete,” I said, “actually it’s more like
“I advised the house you're arriving.”
“Excellent,” I said, reaching my hand out of my car
window to hand him a tip. “A little something for your
“Thanks, Mister Crimson,” he said with a smile.
A twenty does the trick. I pulled the car round back and
parked in my usual spot. As Sandrine and I rounded front,
she behaved the same way everyone did the first time they
had laid eyes on La Maison Erotique, staring at the opulence
with open jaw; the neatly trimmed bushes, the miniature
angel statues, the perfectly polished windows, some fifteen
feet high, and the shiny white pebbles crushed with a roller
to ensure the driveway was pristine. She probably had
never seen tall marble columns as a front door entrance.
“This is not a home for the everyday family,” I said to
“Like for real,” said Sandrine, “Fuck, I've never known
rich people before... like will they accept me?”
“They will happily accept,” I assured.
My mood was bouncy and light, at least up until the
time I spotted the car parked next to mine. A bell rang. I
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 75
purposely said nothing to Sandrine about the fact that I had
not seen that car for a very long time. Every day holds a
surprise. Personally, I hate surprises, particularly those that
take place at La Maison Erotique. The only surprises I like are
the ones I give to people, not the other way around. I like
control and the feeling of power control brings. But it
seemed a surprise was about to drop itself at my feet. I had
not spoken with the owner of that car in over a year, nor
did I have any desire to do so. However, it was too late to
turn back. I set the wheels in motion in regard to Sandrine
and I was determined to carry out my plan, regardless of
who got in my way.
Magdalene: I listened as Cain went upstairs and shut one
of the bedroom doors behind him. At least he had eaten
some food. I wanted him to be restful and peaceful until I
figured out what to do with him.
“Auntie,” I began ever so calmly, “I never expected my
life to turn out like this, you know?”
“Yes, I know child. God’s plan is a mystery to us mere
mortals and I’m the last woman to know about his ways but
to be sure you answer to him also. I wouldn't want you as
“I could never hurt the ones I love, Auntie, and now I
need to speak with you openly and honestly about
everything that has happened in the past year. We have not
really spoken about it, you know, the whole thing with my
“Yes, go on, child. The rum is doing the job I set out for
it, which is to dull my senses. A few more swigs and I
should be in a right frame of mind to handle this wee chat.”
“Tell me honestly... do I frighten you?”
“Only in the mornings, child, when I first wake and I’m
reminded of who I live with, a tribe of misbegotten
“We are no ordinary family,” I acknowledged.
76 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Said the scorpion to the frog who wanted to cross the
pond, if you knew the real me you'd learn how to swim!”
“I do not believe that is the original expression, Auntie.”
“Child, best you have a wee dram of this rum.”
“I could not stomach it... blood on the other hand...”
Auntie raised her fingers and touched my lips, hushing
me from finishing my sentence. She leaned in and kissed my
forehead and spoke quietly.
“Child, don't question the will of God or his brand of
milk. It comes in all varieties, you know?”
“Yes, I do know,” I answered.
Already I felt at ease with my decision to allow Cain to
remain in Ottawa, until such time I would advise him to
move on. I just had not figured out how I would sell the
idea to Samuel.
“You know what I am now, right?” I asked of my
“Yes, child,” answered Aunt Aileen, eyeing the bottom
of her rum cup.
“Does it disturb you?”
“Child,” said Auntie, “I raised eight children up to
adulthood and beyond and not one of them has a brain to
share amongst the lot. All I know in this world is that logic
and planning are the agenda of fools. You do your best and
hope for the worst and when the best comes your way, the
worst will hardly seem like a fright at all. And never forget,
child, better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't.”
Over forty years of living and there were still moments
I could not comprehend my own aunt. I knew she fully
understood what I had become but actually saying the word
vampire aloud was difficult. It made me think of the first
time I met Sir William. I was terrified to say the word
aloud. That was the reason why I didn't push Auntie. In
time, she would come to accept me as I am and the word
vampire would roll off her tongue like the vapours of rum
disappearing in a swallow.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 77
Afterward, I politely explained my reasons to Cain for
wanting him to stay at the Days Inn on Rideau Street. He
left without issue. But just before I shut our front door
behind him, I casually asked why he went to the house of
Robert Arnold on Range Road and he replied that Sir
William asked him specifically to leave a calling card for me
to find. I probed further, asking how Sir William knew I
would visit that house on the precise day I had, to which
Cain succinctly admitted he was sworn to secrecy.
Indeed, I would look forward to the day when my
intuitive skills would evolve to the level of Sir William’s. If
only I had half of Sir William’s special abilities, I would
have known precisely what to do with Cain and how to
broach the subject of his presence with Samuel, not to
mention the letter from his father. In every way and with
every day, we are like new born babes facing the hours
ahead with optimism and hope that all will turn out well.
Complications arise because there are too many hours and
minutes in the day that open the portal to potential
headaches. The law of averages teaches us that not every
day will be hard nor will every minute be easy. Mindset is
the key to happiness, as is a healthy sense of humour. Both
of mine were about to be tested.
Derek: I rolled up another twisty. Fucking awesome Rizzla
papers, the best damn papers, like Canadian beer; there are
no comparisons. I could smoke and smoke and smoke and
it’s never fucking enough. And Kevin, that beer-guzzling,
farting brother of mine always hogs the best buds. If I give
him the twisty and let him have the first puff he sucks so
damn hard he leaves runs by the time I get it, the bastard.
At least I trust him. Half of the motherfucking population
can't be trusted, that's for fucking sure…motherfuckers.
Fucking cops too are totally corrupt and the fucking
government is the last place you can go to for help. I'd like
to blow up the province of Quebec and end their fucking
endless griping about bilingualism. The government is
completely out of touch with reality. In Canada, English is
the number one language. Chinese is second, Arabic third
and finally French is fourth. Man, talk about a wild night
last night. I banged Pussy so hard I thought my dick was
going to fall off! Fucking awesome! That's got to be the best
fucking thing that has ever happened to me, becoming a
client of that fuck house, best fucking thing, that's for
bloody sure. And my buddy, V-man Sam, is a fucking
vampire! Those DVDs are totally whacked. I decided when
Kevin and I finish up with the day's runs, I'm going to
suggest watching all of those DVDs we swiped from the
fuck house. I can't believe we forgot to watch them all.
Maybe V-man is right that I've got the attention span of a
bumblebee. Well, it was time to spark up another twisty.
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The secret to enjoying life, as far as I’m concerned, is
herb, pussy and beer. Once you have these ducks lined up
in a row, you can cope with just about fucking anything.
Kevin says he can't live without music. Yeah, banging a
chick to tunes is cool, I have to admit.
Kevin: There is a special kind of freedom that comes with
having a wad of bills in your back pocket. It's like going up
to the tree of gold and shaking its branches as solid coins
drop from the leaves into your hand. Maggie's set-up in the
basement will soon become our set-up when they move
next door. I can't wait to manage the plants. I just have to
watch D-boy. That bastard smokes like a factory stack. He's
a total glutton. It's no mystery why, either. Our depressed
mother slit her throat and dad, the bum, did absolutely
fucking nothing for us. At least D-boy and I have each other
and now we've got this totally wild set-up in Rockcliffe
Park. But that sex house has got to get more chicks because
after a while I'll get bored banging the same broads. I don't
know how married guys do it.
I said goodbye to the owner of the tattoo parlour and
returned to the car with D-boy flaked out in the front seat,
his feet up on the dashboard and an herbal treat stuck to his
lips. The windows were up and the smoke had filled up the
car. Moments like these are few and far between. I banged
hard on the window and yelled, “POLICE!”
“Fucking asshole!” screamed Derek. His herbal treat
detonated all over his shirt when he lurched forward and hit
his head on the dashboard. I laughed my ass off. It's good to
be the older brother. You get impunity for bullying your
“Oh, poor baby,” I said, getting into the car, “You
bored waiting, D-boy?”
“Fucking asshole,” he repeated, punching my shoulder
“It’s snot my fault you're a loser,” I said.
80 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Well at least my dick is big, not some sorry-ass limp
sausage like yours.”
We insulted each other constantly. Truthfully, we
cared deeply for each other but would never show our true
feelings. Being brothers means not having to talk every
fucking minute of the day about your feelings and being
able to spend time in each other's company without all of
these past hurts rearing up.
“That's it, man,” I said.
“For real, man?” asked Derek.
“We is done,” I said in my best bastardized-English.
“Right fucking on!” Derek had concurred with
enthusiasm. “Let's hightail it to our place and kick back.
You know I was thinking,” he began, “that we never
finished watching those DVDs we scoffed from that fuck
house and maybe we should spend the afternoon and catch
“For sure,” I answered. “And if we get fucking horny,
which we will, because you're a horn-dog on crack, we can
drive over to the house and fuck.”
“I like your thinking,” agreed Derek.
“Let's celebrate,” I suggested, “Spark one up bro'.”
Derek needed zero prodding. The herbal treat was
freshly rolled, whipped out of his smoking pouch, and
sparked before I could insert the keys into the ignition.
Samuel: No one answered. We waited patiently. Sandrine
kept smiling at me; probably thinking her gift would be
wrapped in black velvet with a studded diamond on the
inside. I winked at her. The door opened.
“Samuel!” said Pussy excitedly, “We didn't pencil you in
“An impromptu visit, Puss, I want you to meet a friend
Pussy gladly opened the door for me and my young
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Sandrine and I entered the front hallway of La Maison
Erotique; her neck craned upward and her head tilted back,
looking in wonder at the oval, arched ceiling and the fresco
painting. There never used to be a painting until Kitty hired
an up-and-coming artist from the Ottawa School of Art. After
Tina's departure, Kitty needed to leave her special mark on
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Pussy to Sandrine.
“Like, talk about posh,” commented Sandrine, sticking
out her limp hand for Pussy to shake. It made me realize
Sandrine’s naiveté and inexperience, when compared to
Pussy and Kitty. Tina's eyes would have registered dollar
signs, just like in Bugs Bunny, if she had had occasion to set
eye on her. Sandrine possessed the qualities needed in a
house of ill repute, mainly long legs, blonde hair, a vacuous
young brain and big tits.
“Can you pour something for Sandrine, while Kitty and
I speak?” I asked Pussy.
The dejection on Pussy's face was obvious. I had to play
politics. Despite my desire to deal exclusively with Pussy, I
was fully aware of who held the reins of power and at
present they belonged to Kitty. Things change, of course.
One day it would be Pussy and no doubt I would quickly
discover she too had been changed by power. None of us is
exempt from that influence.
Pussy nodded with the kind of nod that said she
understood exactly why I had brought Sandrine to the
“Kitty!” yelled Pussy. In a few moments, Kitty
appeared, ironically wearing the same silk kimono that Tina
“Good morning to you,” I said to Kitty, who smiled
upon seeing me. She, too, was taken with me and only
wanted me to want her and no one else.
“Lovely to see you again, Sammy,” said Kitty, almost
82 | Patricia K McCarthy
“You look grand this morning,” I lied, “simply grand.”
“I see you've brought me a lovely gift,” said Kitty, as she
Sandrine smiled stupidly in place. I don’t believe it
actually occurred to her why I had brought her to La Maison
“Why don't you go into the kitchen with Puss and have
a cup of coffee with her,” I suggested to Sandrine.
“But I don't like coffee,” answered Sandrine.
“How about juice then?” countered Kitty.
“OK,” said Sandrine, looking back at me. I smiled to
reassure her it was all right for her to be alone with Pussy.
Kitty and I watched as Pussy and Sandrine had walked
away, then down the long hallway, through another
corridor, past the tearoom, and into the large, rectangular
kitchen, large enough to fit two dining room tables.
“She's young and beautiful,” noted Kitty.
“Indeed,” I concurred. “Can you fix her up?”
“That all depends,” said Kitty, “What split you looking
“Not interested in a split but a finder's fee is not entirely
out of the question.” By not insisting on a split, I stood a
better chance of successfully pimping out my little
Kitty stuck out her breasts, barely covered by a thin
layer of kimono.
“You've caught me at an inconvenient time,” she said,
tightening her sash. “I'm just finishing with a client. I think
you know each other, Sammy.”
“Tina used to call me that,” I commented.
“Sammy...yup, I know,” said Kitty, turning away when
the name of Tina came up. “We don't hear from her any
more so you might as well forget mentioning her.”
“Agreed,” I replied. “Do you have to run back to your
client? I'm sorry for dropping by unannounced.”
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“For you, Sammy, I make exceptions,” responded Kitty,
who looked at me with a special glint in her eyes. I had a
quick reminder of Kitty and the time she saw me in the
pillow room when I killed Jean-Pierre, after he stabbed me,
and how I made short work of his tasty blood. In the after
light, the event must have been romanticized in her mind.
Kitty should have been afraid of me, not moving toward
me. Women are foolish romantics. They confuse a bad boy
with a really bad man. I had four kills under my belt, the
first in Barcelona when I was a roving gypsy protecting the
life of a street prostitute; the second being Jean-Pierre who
attacked me to protest having brought him to the fuck
house (which I did to protect my business after discovering
he had been popped by the cops); the third was constable
Fagan, in his private interrogation house, while my father
Sir William watched and finally the fourth, Raven.
“Seriously, Kit, I know what it's like to be a client and
to have someone interrupt your session. How about I wait
in the living room?”
“He can fucking wait,” she reassured me, “besides I
want to discuss this new arrangement with little miss thing
She walked on incredibly high spiked heels that made
her legs look long and thin. Kitty was not in possession of
the robust posterior of Magdalene's. I had had her plenty of
times before but a woman with power gives off a different
energy. She looked sexier and in control, just the kind of
picture I like to distort, turning her into my personal
plaything on all fours.
“OK,” I answered. “This shouldn't hurt a bit,” I joked.
Magdalene: Finn gobbled up his bottle. Afterward, I fed
him soup, spooning in half portions. Nothing pleased Finn
more than to be able to spit out part of the food before he
84 | Patricia K McCarthy
“You know, Auntie, I always think of Mom. I wish she
was alive, to be able to talk to her, just to see her again but
a part of me is glad she does not know this kind of me.”
“Yes, child, my sister Patricia would have thought this
whole biting business to be a hoot. Mind you, it’s just as
well she probably wouldn't have believed a bloody word of
your fisherman’s tale. She always said we change when we
least expect change from ourselves and that no one is a girl
for too long. Once we become women we are forever a
mother to the end.”
“I do not believe I am following your train of thought,” I
said to Auntie.
“Time marches on, child, until the time left is nearer to
none and all you have left are memories of eating until your
belly burst and laughing until pee piddled in your pants. In
the end, child, you give up the best things in life that made
your heart leap and to be sure, dark chocolate will irritate
your anus no matter how much you tell yourself you can
still eat it.”
I laughed so hard Finn began laughing. Food dribbled
out of his mouth. I went to Finn and kissed his sloppy
mouth. He clapped his hands together. Auntie reached over
and wiped his chin.
“This boy, Cain, child, I wouldn't trust him as far as I
could throw him.”
“I know,” I agreed. “Sir William asked Cain to deliver a
letter to me but I am no fool. He carries hatred in his heart
“For you too, child, don't for a second be fooled by his
“True enough. He has reason to hate me. Nonetheless, I
decided to put him up in the Days Inn on Rideau Street. He
can remain there until I figure out what to do with him.
Thankfully, he left without incident which means I did not
have to take care of him.”
“Is that what this secret letter is all about, child?”
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“I already know what Sir William's letter says but I am
going to wait until Samuel comes home and read it to him
“Then you're going to discuss this Cain boy?” asked
“I figured I would slip it under Samuel’s nose when he is
distracted with the letter.”
“Smart girl,” agreed Auntie. “They're a tad light in the
rafters these boys, and only one thought can be processed at
a time and even then it's a wee bit of a stretch to fully grasp
the implications. After all, we're dealing with men and the
whole load of ‘em don't know what's good for ‘em unless a
women either cleans it, wears it or takes it off in front of
She was a prize, my Auntie.
“If I understand your meaning, Samuel will go along
with whatever I tell him providing I tell him at the right
“Smart girl you are, child, a wicked girl but a smart
one, to be sure.”
Samuel: Kitty barely managed to take a seat on the leather
sofa when I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. He was
fully dressed in a black suit, not tailored to his body, and
totally covered in lint. The man sported a stomach large
enough to cover with one full jar of Vaseline jelly. I only
had to imagine what it was like to engage in sex with a man
of his rotund nature. The thought made me shudder. Truly,
women are brave souls, able to shut off their senses to get
the job done.
“Kitty,” called the superintendent from the hallway.
She looked at me and smiled and held up one finger,
advising me to wait. As she walked back into the main
hallway, he came into the living room.
“Samuel Crimson,” said the infamous Mister Stevenson.
“Superintendent,” I stressed, offering my hand.
86 | Patricia K McCarthy
“We are well acquainted with one another,” he said
aloud, looking at Kitty.
“My apologies, Sir, for keeping you waiting, Samuel's
visit was unplanned.”
“No need to apologize,” he assured. “In fact, Samuel can
take a moment to speak with me in private. We’ll use this
“For you superintendent, my house is at your service.”
“For a moment I thought I was speaking with Tina,” the
I looked at my watch and figured I had time to spare
before needing to return home. I could have guessed about
which the superintendent needed to speak. The reason was
obvious. The newspapers had detailed everything about his
busy career of late, chasing down Ottawa’s first serial
killer, who was in fact my wife, Canada’s first homegrown
vampire. But the superintendent had not made that
connection. No doubt, he believed I was involved in all of
the recent deaths.
Magdalene: We played with Finn. Afterward, Auntie
retired for a rest after Finn had been put down for his nap
too, with a full belly and a session of burping and farting
that had me in stitches. Every time Finn burped, he farted
and laughed hysterically. I held him sitting upright on my
knee and gently rocked him back and forth, rubbing his
back, to bring up burps. When a pronounced burp reared
up, I would lean him forward so that a sizeable fart could
explode. The smile on his face was hilarious.
I, on the other hand, had not released gas from my body
in over one year. No longer did my body require bile from
my intestines to process and break down foods laced with
chemicals or preservatives. The purity of blood and its
assimilation in my new body were born for each other.
Nonetheless I thought about food constantly.
I took out Sir William's letter. His written words were
the same as listening to the mellifluous sound of his voice
and accent. I looked at the envelope and brought it to my
nose. That scent. That scent of fresh cut grass had become
my smell. I became him and his predecessor and their
energy lived within me. I opened the envelope, unfolding
the thick parchment, the creases in each page were deeply
pronounced. An old habit of mine was to straighten paper
creases by bending the pages in the opposite direction. I did
so and placed the letter on the table in front of me, picking
up the first page. I couldn’t wait to digest his words.
88 | Patricia K McCarthy
Samuel: The superintendent’s arrogance was the natural
by-product of having underlings constantly kissing his ass,
like so many city officials. And when people employ tactics
to ingratiate themselves to climb a corporate ladder, those
habits become an addiction for the ass-kisser and for the one
receiving the special attention. But the superintendent
could not alarm or intimidate me. I had the goods on him,
the DVDs from Tina's safe, stolen by my smart wife that
clearly showed his guilt in participating in the painful anal
de-flowering of Jean-Pierre. The scene was wretched and
horrible. Magdalene had walked out in protest. In
retrospect, she was totally right to do so and I was an idiot
for not seeing it coming but I would be stupid not to make
use of that recording to my advantage, despite how it
ended. Thankfully, Derek and Kevin had specifically
watched the DVD of me in the pillow room but they were
not privy to the connection with the superintendent.
The superintendent made certain Kitty had left before
he spoke, waiting to hear the clicking of the doorknob as
she shut the French doors behind her.
“You’ve made the papers,” he stated, with great drama,
gesturing with his hands.
“I’m a superstar and I didn’t even know it,” I said,
feeling petulant, repositioning my wallet in my pocket so as
not to sit on it. “Is there a specific issue I should be
concerned about?” I asked.
“I never liked the lying son-of-a-bitch but he paid out on
“OK,” I acknowledged, waiting for him to explain his
line of conversation.
“Constable Jack-Off Fagan.”
“I'm not familiar with that name,” I said, lying with a
The superintendent laughed, pointing his index finger.
“The Hell you ain’t,” he accused. “You and that wife
know him well. Fagan interrogated you after we raided
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 89
your house. He was the idiot who stole your Picasso sketch
and the same idiot whose actions forced me into turning a
blind eye to your grow operation. That’s the only reason
why your prized sketch was returned because you had
friends in high places that did you a big favour but no more,
buddy boy. Things are going to change. Fagan may have
been an idiot but now the bastard is officially confirmed
dead. He went missing two years ago. Seems a lot of people
go missing when they deal with you. Are we on the same
page?” he asked.
“What does this have to do with me?”
He leaned back on the sofa, the large leather sofa with
arms as wide and plush as that of a Mercury Lincoln and
turned his head toward the French doors. “I could go for a
taste... Kitty!” he barked.
Kitty, now dressed, stuck her head through the doors.
“Yes, sir, how may I be of service?”
“Bring me a deep glass with three fingers of Livet.”
“What can I get for you?” she asked of me.
“I only ever touch a drop for dinner… I'll make an
exception. Red wine, if you please.”
The superintendent looked at me sternly as I spoke to
Kitty. I already knew what he was about to suggest, what
all corrupt officers want, to create an environment of
complicity. He would insist I cut him in on my operation.
Money attracts the best and the worst of people, and only
the worst are adept at taking greed to an even higher level.
“Here you go, Sammy,” said Kitty, smiling, handing me
my glass of wine and the deep, heavy glass of Scotch to the
“Is Sandrine doing OK?” I inquired.
“She's busy with Puss in the kitchen.”
“Good, tell her I'll be there shortly, just as soon as the
superintendent and I finish up our little chat.”
90 | Patricia K McCarthy
Those in power appreciate their power and reminding
him of his position merely required that I mention his title.
“No problem, Sammy. I'll sit in on their chat to keep
The superintendent turned his attention to me, waiting
for an answer.
“Well?” he asked, in a passive aggressive manner.
“Are we on the same fucking page?” His temper
“Constable Fagan is dead,” I said flatly.
“What goes on in this house is not public knowledge for
a reason but I have eyes,” he said. “Tina and the guard
disappeared magically on the same day, then Fagan and two
other junior cadets with him.”
“An odd coincidence,” I said in my best mocking tone.
“We'll leave this dialogue for now and give it time to
ferment and eventually you'll bend to a new arrangement
or unexpected surprises might occur, like maybe replacing
your old running shoes with new models. You get my
meaning? Thirty percent will put you on track with the
program,” he said, implying with a sledgehammer that
trouble was coming down the pike for Kevin and Derek.
“I would be delighted to consider your proposal. Please
leave it with me.”
The superintendent picked up his glass and downed the
scotch; his eyes glared as he closed the last button on his
shabby suit, looking disheveled and worn out. A man of his
status should at least have dressed with more self-respect in
mind, wearing a well-tailored suit.
“Don’t test my patience,” he warned, plunking the glass
on the table. He turned back and looked around the living
“A lot goes on in this fuck house, more than most
know,” he intimated.
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“Can't say I've sampled all the pleasures,” I replied. “I
usually take refuge down the hall for some quiet time. Have
a good day, superintendent.”
Magdalene: Sir William’s written words flowed with the
ease of an ancient being that had seen and heard and tasted
of the world like no one else. Each word clanged like a bell
in my head when I first held the envelope. But it is not the
same. Actually seeing Sir William’s words before my eyes,
reading his private thoughts made my hands shake. I picked
up the first page and read without my glasses. My eyesight
improved after my transformation.
My dearest Magdalene,
There are some who believe death lacks spirituality and that
the personification of life exists because of death. I am proof
death is not the end. I live within you in the same manner
Petrabella lived within me. What you do not realize, my dear,
and what never occurred to you until this moment is that you
have desperately fallen in love with me. As you read these
words, the understanding will come into you with piercing
pain and finality. It is why you frequently think of me,
especially when you watch the sun come up and when you
drain the life of another. Of course, you were not aware of this
love, even during my final moments. You could not possibly
fathom my impact, nor reflect upon the transformational force
until you had actually changed. Now you ARE power, my
dear. You are the embodiment of time - everything found in
between beginning and end. And as you read these words, your
love for me will flourish.
Do you miss farting? My son, Samuel, accurately believed
that farting is God's way of reminding you not to take yourself
too seriously. In many ways you are above God, my dear. And
yet you are still part of God. You are the God of time and of
being and your power will forever remain constant. Take care
to nurture your gift, for surely your powers will serve you well,
92 | Patricia K McCarthy
as they did me. You have the longest of lives to live, my dear,
longer than Petrabella or myself.
I write this letter the same evening I returned you to your
beloved, Samuel. As of this day, you and I have not coupled. I
clearly see the images. Your warm hands hold tightly my
strong arms. We make love in the white room, in the white
bathtub, in the purity of white cloaking our hot bodies. I see
upon your face the pain of receiving me wholly. The taste of
your plush lips, your moist tongue, and the taste of your
smooth and soft skin, these elements of your body drew me to
you, my dear. I could not help but fall in love with you. I
loved you from afar, purely and without expectation. I loved
you by not taking you when you offered your body to me in the
child's room. I loved you even deeper when you defied my
authority and escaped your captivity. I loved you thrice when I
permitted your union with Samuel to continue. I loved you
finally and completely when I transferred my power to you.
Your conscience will change, my dear, as it should, as you
slowly adapt to your powers. I strongly recommend that you
never say a word to Samuel about your love for me. Each time
he looks into the eyes of my grandson, he will see my eyes.
Know this to be true - Finn will remain loyal to you always
and Samuel will never love any other woman.
Ah, I envy you, my dear. I could have shown you the world
from the heart and eyes of an ancient being, but my ending
and your beginning could not lend themselves to becoming one.
You shall love me in pain as I loved you. The pain of loving
you while living next door was excruciating. I reveled in the
exquisiteness of loving you. Unrequited love is without question
the most taxing of love, requiring the endurance of a vampire
to withstand its constant reminder.
My advice to you is to be compassionate where possible and
ruthless when necessary and when you write about me in your
novel, please be kind.
With deepest love, Sir William Simon Hennessy
P.S. Look behind Picasso
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 93
My heart fibrillated. My knees crumpled. I fell to the
floor. The pain of truth shot through me. A warm feeling
passed over my breasts. The realization of my love for Sir
William materialized. He was right! The bastard! I loved
him. I loved his scent, lingering in the pages of his letter. I
loved the sound of his eloquent voice and accent. I loved his
studied manners and elegant gait. How could he have
known? Every time the sun came up I thought of him.
Every time I drained someone I saw his face. He is and was
a double bastard! I love Samuel first and foremost. But I
hold love for a dead man. But how does one love the dead?
You love the dead with finality and openness, with pure and
total abandonment as I loved Picasso in my early years. In
fact, Sir William had been dead for so many long years that
his death prior to my arrival was the suspension of time. His
letter was brief and poignant with one cryptic postscript:
look behind Picasso.
I should have paid closer attention to Sir William. I
should have made mental notes of our dialogue while
trapped in the house. I should have and could have done so
much more. Sir William didn't speak about what difficulties
I would have to face, nor did he leave any advice on how
best to deal with my guilt. He didn't suggest how I should
treat Cain either. He knew inwardly I would not reject
Cain out of a sense of compassion. The house next door had
been bequeathed to Samuel and me. I wondered what
became of Sir William's wealth. Surely he would have
amassed a sizeable fortune, although Samuel and I did not
require great wealth. We lived simply, without need for
extemporaneous trappings. We were happy. As Sir William
had rightly stated, I was above God but still part of God.
Derek: I went to the fridge and pulled out two cold ones
and handed one to Kevin. He threw down the newspaper
on the shitty kitchen table and I saw the headlines across the
94 | Patricia K McCarthy
top of the page - Three dead cops in Vanier - The Vampire
Undertaker hits again! Fuck me! V-man Sam had been taking
care of business, that's for fucking sure. Seeing him attack
that other vampire dude Raven a year ago gave me more
justification to keep on smoking. I mean I'll die some day
but those bastards will live on forever.
Kevin: It's a good thing. When we vacate this shit hole of
an apartment, we get to leave behind the leaky roof in the
kitchen and the dripping faucet in the bathroom that has
very nearly driven me to murder. The hot-as-fucking-Hell
living room will end too, when we move to the new house
next door. I wish Sam would hurry up and finish renovating
the place. I don't know why the guy keeps working at his
job as a computer specialist. He's got enough coin to live
like a fucking king. But I guess he's got to keep up
appearances so that the fucking cops don't come knocking
on his door. They don't want you to succeed, the greedy
bastards in power. They want you to crawl and beg and
scrape for scraps and when you show the slightest bit of
gumption and push and pull yourself to the top, they knock
you down. I hate pigs.
Samuel: I remained seated on the sofa in the living room,
following the superintendent’s departure, contemplating
his insinuations. A visit would be forthcoming, that was the
first hint. But would my life and Magdalene's be in
I went into the kitchen and found another surprise:
Sandrine laid back on the table, her legs spread apart and
Pussy's fingers playing with her. Yes, indeed, she would do
just fine with this arrangement. Pussy pleasured Sandrine in
the manner I had watched her use and destroy other girls,
with short, quick flicks of two fingers, moving with such
rapidity it was impossible for Sandrine not to cave in. She
pulled up her top and pinched her nipples. My cock
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 95
hardened. I had just finished eating her out and the juices in
my mouth watered as I imagined tasting her blood again.
But I would not do so with Pussy and Kitty watching in full
view. Those days of bedding multiple women in La Maison
Erotique had ended for me, with the discovery of my
identity by Pussy and Kitty. In time they would begin to
question themselves as to what they had actually seen. If I
demonstrated to them my lust for the demon red, I would
reopen those ideas.
Sandrine’s orgasm was intense. Her bum lifted off the
table as the spasm split her legs wider apart. I could sit and
watch a woman achieve orgasm all day. It’s like witnessing
someone survive an epileptic attack. Kitty leaned in and
kissed Sandrine on the lips and soon both women were
Yes, indeed, Sandrine would be a welcome addition to
the house of pleasures. I made the right move.
I wanted to return home and get back to finishing the
renovations on the Tudor house. Maybe I would even
apprise Magdalene on the latest events with the
superintendent but I didn’t see the need to alarm her before
anything had actually happened. The superintendant’s
insinuations only meant that our transfer to the house next
door would have to be accelerated. At least the plants in
our current house were easily transportable. The Coffey
boys were without doubt the best runners I had ever had
but I would be lying to myself if I did not worry about what
goodies would be uncovered in their hovel, especially if the
police called on them.
Magdalene: Cain. Sir William. Bodies. Blood. Love. Ideas
swirled in my head, while Auntie and Finn napped. What
do I share with Samuel? I should share everything but not
Sir William's letter. Samuel must never see it. It will incite
his rage for his father. Sir William is correct. Finn's eyes are
his eyes. I can see Sir William in him. Samuel sees only his
96 | Patricia K McCarthy
son, the greatest creation we made together. Why would I
spoil this love?
‘Look behind Picasso’? That statement made no sense. I
went up stairs to change, something I did after every kill. I
looked at the Picasso sketch above my bed as I stripped off
my clothes. I stopped. Sir William was a literal man. He
acted in the manner he said he would. Yet he was a game
player. It couldn't be that easy. I went up to the Picasso
sketch and took it off the wall, turning the heavy frame
around and there it was, a letter tucked into the corner. On
the outside, were written the words in his beautiful script,
Let the Games Begin.
What did I do in this life to deserve a man like Sir
Samuel: Her split cunt glistened with the red fluid from
her young body, looking like a painting by none other than
the masterful Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, lush and
sumptuous, Baroque and rebellious. Blood pouring out
from between a woman’s thighs was an image I would
never tire of looking at, that of a willing prostrate. It would
have been simple to turn Sandrine over and mount her,
while Kitty and Pussy watched. But the moment was ideal
to completing my task, the reason why I brought Sandrine,
to indoctrinate her into erotic ways. She was an ideal
“Let go of all control,” I urged.
Sandrine stared; embarrassed that she gave in to the
pleasuring of Pussy's fingers.
“Young Pussy is a master,” I added. “Kitty could also
show you a few tricks… no pun intended.”
Pussy pulled her stained fingers away from Sandrine and
washed them in the sink. Kitty stood back, lighting a
“You're welcome to spend a couple of days here,” she
said to Sandrine.
“Did you say something to me?” asked Sandrine.
“Yeah,” said Kitty, a tad annoyed.
“Be patient,” I said to Kitty. “She'll need some time to
“You want to stay with us?” asked Pussy.
98 | Patricia K McCarthy
“I think so,” answered Sandrine. “But like I don't want
to if Samuel doesn't want me to because like Samuel takes
really good care of me.”
“We can do even better than that,” said Kitty, who
reached up to the top of the refrigerator and pulled three
one hundred dollar bills out of the stainless steel bowl,
handing them to Sandrine.
“Let's start her off with... maybe the Public Works
Minister,” said Pussy.
“What do you say?” asked Kitty.
“What do you mean, like do I have to fuck someone?”
“Only if you want to,” I qualified. “The women who
work here are free agents, allowed to come and go as they
please. But you'll find that staying here is like living in the
lap of luxury.”
My cock bulged hard inside my pants, which meant it
was time to rush home and ravage my wife. After all, our
morning attic session had been rudely interrupted.
“Does it mean I'll never get to be with you again, Sam?”
“No, not at all,” I said. “I’ll still come see you, only now
I’ll come to this location. Don’t forget, too, that my wife
wants to meet you.”
Magdalene: I have never lied to Samuel about anything. Sir
William's letter constituted the first time in our marriage I
was prepared to withhold information. Unquestionably,
and even from the grave, Sir William was a first rate
troublemaker. The envelope behind our Picasso sketch I
could share with Samuel, opening it upon his return. But
his father's letter to me, and in particular the protestations
of love, had to remain private. Sir William had seen the
future of my completed novel. I had enough material for a
trilogy, in fact. I completed the first draft of my novel two
years ago, while I waited for Finn to be born. I hired an
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 99
editor and became an independent publisher, biting the
bullet, and pimping out my novel until it landed on the
shelves of local independent bookstores. It felt satisfying to
see my finished work but upon looking at it, I realized I had
a long road to travel where writing was concerned.
How would I broach the subject of Cain with Samuel?
Sex is the answer, of course, as it always is, as it should be.
I would beguile him with my mouth, breasts, pussy and lust
and he would be helpless to resist me, especially if I enticed
him to our attic. My husband is a dominator and a lover, a
father and a businessman.
I picked up the telephone receiver and placed a call into
the Days Inn on Rideau Street, across the street from
Shopper’s Drug Mart.
“Yes, can you kindly transfer me to the room now
occupied with a young man by the name of Cain Hennessy.”
“Yes, ma'am,” said the phone operator.
Three rings and he answered.
“Cain,” I began, “It is Magdalene. I see you checked in
“How long do you want me to remain here?” asked
“Only a few days,” I answered, initially unaware as to
the exact amount. I did not possess as yet the prescient
talent of Sir William, to see the future unfold in his mind
before anything had actually happened.
“I have to speak with Samuel first.”
“He's not going to want me around,” said Cain. “I
attacked him. When I saw Raven on the floor, I couldn’t
help myself. I had to attack. I loved him.”
“I know you loved Raven,” I said.
“I can't believe I'll never see father again,” said Cain.
“I am he, in a manner of speaking,” I clarified once
more. “I know now you realize he is dead.”
“You smell just like him,” admitted Cain.
100 | Patricia K McCarthy
“I am not the real Sir William, Cain, nor shall I ever be.
I am Magdalene, a simple woman, the mother of a small
boy, the wife of a husband, the niece of an aunt.”
“You're not normal,” said Cain. “No one is you and no
one was like father. I can't believe he's gone,” he repeated.
“Do you have enough money?” I inquired.
“Enough to last me for a year,” he replied.
“Good. Stay put and I will be in touch. I can always
leave a message at the front desk when we are ready to
“I understand, Magdalene,” answered Cain, after a small
“Thank you for your patience,” I replied. “Everything
will be all right for you,” I reassured. “Your father would
disapprove if I disowned you.”
Cain laughed, reassuring me that a pressure valve had
been opened and the panic of being alone was no longer an
issue. It was precisely what I wanted him to think. I needed
time to appeal to Samuel's heart to forgive and forget. My
gorgeous boy would be in store for truly wicked sex.
Women, like men, rarely give up the very thing they want.
And what I wanted was for my family to be happy. I never
understood what it meant to be a mother until I became
one. The happiness of a mother and wife is dependent upon
the happiness of her child and husband. If they are happy,
then I too am happy.
Samuel: Sandrine pulled herself off the table and
straightened her skirt. Her nipples were hard from the
orgasm. Kitty left the kitchen; no doubt returning to her
boudoir where the same safe Tina used would be reopened
and filled up with cash. There is always a means of making
money. Why would anyone judge another for making
money to survive? To point the finger at a woman who plies
a trade that requires her body to be put up for sale is
ridiculous. Politicians and actors are whores to the core and
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 101
are paid heaps of cash and, after a prolonged career of
taking it up the ass they are given a Senate seat in Canada or
a prestigious acting award. Sandrine's reward would be
economic empowerment. I did her a favour bringing her to
the house of very ill repute.
“I shall leave you for now,” I said to Sandrine, coming
up to her, lightly touching her shoulder. The importance of
establishing a connection while you speak to someone is
ever necessary. It is why many couples lose the lust and
love in their relationship. The power of touch is not used to
its full potential.
“Like are you sure I can leave when I want to?” asked
I thought her question stupid. After a time she would
not want to leave, none do once they get a taste for money
and power. It had changed Kitty and Pussy who were
underlings until Tina took them under her wing.
“Of course you can,” I assured, “but my guess is you
may not want to.”
“Like can I call you still?” she asked.
“Of course you can,” I said, feeling like a parrot. “But
why don't you stay put here for a short while and see if you
“Yeah,” she said taking a long look at the expansive
kitchen and its perfect, spotless stainless steel appliances.
The amount of money poured into the kitchen must have
set Tina back by at least $50,000. But then Magdalene
would have concurred; the warmest and most important
room in any house is the kitchen, second only to the
bedroom or in our case the special room upstairs.
“Sam,” began Sandrine again, “I've never known really
rich people before and like I'm surprised they would want
“Never underestimate the power of your youth and
beauty, Sandrine. You have much to offer this place.”
102 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Jean-Pierre never would have said things like that to
“I know,” I said. I kissed her on the forehead and
winked. It was time for me to depart. “Behave yourself and
follow Kitty's rules and regulations. You can't go wrong if
you learn from Kitty and Pussy.”
I turned and left, walking the long hallway, the cool
long hallway lined with portraits and black-and-white
photos taken of rural Quebec. I wondered what pet name
Kitty would give to Sandrine. I had always thought Kitty
and Pussy were cliché but their names suited the profession
to a tee. I also thought about how long it would take for
Sandrine to change in personality.
The innocence of youth is destined to change, becoming
relegated to the past, a transformation all of us have
Derek: Fuck! I forgot to take those DVDs out of Sam's den.
Fuck! I really wanted to watch them too. Oh well, that’ll
be our excuse for dropping by for a visit. Kevin never
minds visiting Magpie. He’s a sucker for love and he's got
the hot balls for Magpie, the poor bastard.
“Hey loser!” I yelled from the living room. “You forgot
to load up the fucking fridge with beer!”
“Eat my bum-hole,” yelled Kevin in return.
I kicked off my boots and opened the 24 of Labatt Blue,
our favourite beer, and began loading up the fridge, stuffing
bottles into the side door and even hiding a few in the
bottom crisper. Kevin can out-drink, out-smoke, and out-
yell anyone, well, almost anyone if I don't count Auntie
drinking him under the table with dark rum.
I turned on the boob tube to the 24-hours news channel
and threw myself on the couch. The announcers were all
fucking excited about something.
“An unprecedented series of donations to over nine hundred and
twenty-seven charities in Canada were made yesterday, bequeathed
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 103
from the estate of Sir William Simon Hennessy, total disbursement
in the amount of $6.6 billion dollars,” said the announcer,
“more on this story after these messages.”
Get the fuck out of here!
Kevin: Derek, that dumb smoking fiend bastard, has
destroyed his fucking hearing by listening to his stupid
music through earbuds.
“Turn the fucking TV volume down, man,” I ordered.
“Check this out...it's the King of Spades, man!” yelled
“What?” I asked.
“Man, they said he donated over $6 billion to fucking
charities in Canada. Man, we haven't seen him in over a
year, so like what the fuck happened?” asked Derek in his
standard rough manner.
“How the Hell should I know? Maggie said the King of
Spades went traveling abroad. She didn't give details. I
better call her,” I said, picking up the cordless phone. I let it
ring three times and was prepared to leave a message.
Maggie picked up.
“Maggie, it’s Kev,” I started.
“Young, vivacious Kevin,” said Maggie. “To what do I
owe this call?”
“Turn on your TV to the Canadian 24 hour news
channel. You're about to have your mind blown sky-high.”
I listened quietly as Maggie put down the receiver; the
sound of the TV came on, and I heard the volume
“OK,” said Maggie. “It is on… what am I supposed to
“The commercial is almost over,” I said. “Oh wait, here
it is. It's about Samuel's father. Listen,” I said holding out
the receiver to my TV, even though I knew she had her
own TV blaring away.
104 | Patricia K McCarthy
“It's an extraordinary day for philanthropy,” said the
announcer, “the largest sum of monies ever dispersed in the history
of charitable organizations in Canada... a list of which will be
displayed at the end of this broadcast. Calls have been coming in
from all over Canada wanting information on Sir Hennessy. But
this is the strange thing,” qualified the announcer, “the man
died in 1857, according to records, and his estate is only being
released now. We are going live to Ottawa where the official last
will and testament had been written at the law offices of Yemensky
“Did you hear that?” I asked Maggie.
“Why am I not surprised?!”
“Do you know how much he gave away?”
“No, tell me,” she said.
“Over six fucking billion dollars!”
“Obviously Samuel's father is laughing all the way from
his grave,” said Maggie.
“Instead of all the way to the bank,” I said. “Maggie, I
just assumed that he would have left everything to Sam.”
“Only the house next door,” she confirmed.
“Fuck me! Sam's going to be pissed,” I said. “Hey,
Maggie, do you mind if D-boy and I come by for a visit,
maybe tomorrow or tonight?”
“Not at all, Kev, I will tell Samuel when he returns
tonight to call you.”
“Thanks, babe, I just had to call you about the news. D-
boy first heard it, hard to believe, eh? I mean D-boy and I
met the guy and he's not exactly a normal person.”
“None of us is normal,” said Maggie. “Enjoy your beer,
“How did you know I'm drinking beer?”
“Because it is the one activity I can always count on with
you and Derek.”
With that statement, she hung up. I twisted off the cap
to a fresh pint and flung it at Derek’s head, and then
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 105
planted my keister on the couch. Over six billion dollars
given away, just like that. The rich are fucking whacked!
Derek opened his pouch and proceeded to roll up a
twisty. We decided to celebrate the news on the passing of
the King of Spades. I figured Auntie would be happy to
know he wouldn't come calling any more. I decided to pick
up Auntie a bottle of rum before we visited. She would like
There was a rude knock at our door. D-boy and I just
looked at one another. We had no plans for company.
Magdalene: My predecessor Sir William proved once again
he could offer up a bag of surprises, even from the grave. I
held the second envelope lightly in my hand, attempting to
sense his written words. Unlike the first, however, the
words did not come. It seemed to me that my special
powers should be constant, not a roving flow of this and
that, coming and going as they pleased. But clearly, I had
much to learn about being the one and only vampire on
Earth. I went into the kitchen to pre-prepare dinner for
Samuel, Auntie and Finn.
“You are already awake from your half-hour nap,” I said
“Yes, child, one of my many daily naps… the one
blessing about old age you don’t mind sleeping your life
away, much like a baby, but this time I’m standing with a
wee bit of a tilt. Slept frightfully, too, tossing and turning,
dreamt I dropped my set of keys down a long staircase and I
practically flew down the steps to get them.”
“It was a set of keys and not just one key?” I asked.
“The entire set, child, heavy enough to stop a dump
“Very interesting,” I commented, “Keys symbolize our
need to open up and accept new attitudes and experiences.”
“Good gracious,” said Auntie, “If I was any more open
than I am now I'll never be able to die in peace.”
“Stay in the kitchen with me, Auntie, and let me watch
you eat a piece of cake and drink tea. Finn is sleeping.”
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“That baby sleeps like a log during the day and wakes
like a beast at night, yelling for milk and his mother, in that
“He is our gorgeous baby boy, you know,” I said,
standing at the counter, cutting up vegetables with Sir
William's letter in my pocket.
“Child, you're hoarding that letter like it was the last
piece of precious parchment on this Earth,” observed
“The very same letter you saw me with previously,” I
“You're still waiting for Samuel before you read it?”
“I feel we should experience the letter together,” I
“Ah, you’re a wife to rival every wife in Canada,” said
Auntie, “I bet that boy of yours will get a hoot out of it.”
“I do not think so but I am hopeful,” I answered, still
unable to sense the contents of Sir William’s second letter,
the one that had been hidden behind my prized Picasso
sketch, of all places, for over a year.
I felt Samuel in my loins as he neared closer to home. I
always knew when he would be coming home - a sharp pain
pinched my vagina, telling me she was hungry.
Auntie cut a large piece of tomato soup cake and
liberally spread butter across, before putting it in the
microwave to re-heat. Her cup of tea was in fact a beer
mug in order that she could take three cups at once.
Caffeine is hands down the preferred drug of choice for
people, notwithstanding cigarettes, alcohol, anti-
depressants, opiates and steroids. But I missed none of
these, except chocolate and the taste of the foods I loved. I
smelled the tomato soup cake and immediately went back
to my childhood, when mom made brown sugar cookies
and I would lick the spoon before she slid the baking sheet
into the oven. Too many childhood memories had been
108 | Patricia K McCarthy
long forgotten until I became a vampire, then my sense of
smell magnified tenfold and my entire life history rolled out
before me every time I smelled a familiar scent, such as the
baking smells of Auntie's wizardry.
“There's your boy now,” said Auntie.
“Please do not say anything about Sir William's letter,” I
“Of course, child, the King of Spades deals a hand from
the grave and you are the one who has to play it so it might
as well be you who makes the decisions.”
“Precisely,” I concurred, “You always understand me,
“Yes, I know, child, that’s what troubles me. I imagine
that husband of yours might have a thing or two to say. And
what was all that hoopla on TV?”
“I will tell you in two minutes, just as soon as Samuel
comes into the kitchen.”
Samuel: What a productive start to my day, had a
spectacular stretching session with my gorgeous wife in the
early morning, ran along the canal, finished sanding down
the fireplace mantle in the house next door, dropped off
Sandrine with new employers, filled up the car with gas and
even had the exterior washed of salt. After all that, I
couldn’t wait to see my Magdalene.
“Hey gorgeous girl,” I said, buzzing into the hallway,
walking straight toward the kitchen. My own sensitive
hearing would pick up on their dialogue before stepping
into the kitchen. It was like a comedy routine listening to
my wife and her aunt talk.
“We are in here, gorgeous boy,” said Magdalene
“You've got that look again, child, which means I need
to put in my ear plugs.”
“Not yet, Auntie,” laughed Magdalene. “I have to
beguile him first with food then my body follows.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 109
“What was that?” I asked, “You have to beguile me with
food then sex.”
“Yes, darling,” said Magdalene, getting up from the
kitchen table to kiss me.
I pinched her bum as she did and leaned over and kissed
Auntie on the cheek, to greet her. “Lovely as always to see
you again,” I said to Auntie.
“You're a charmer to be sure,” she replied, “Just like
your father. Whatever became of that man, haven't heard
hide nor tail of him in over a year? You said he went to
Europe. Is that so, boy?” asked Auntie of me.
“Darling,” began Magdalene. “Please sit and eat some
cake with Auntie. I have a letter here from your father.”
My father, the King of Spades as Magdalene’s aunt had
nicknamed him, the vampire who died before my eyes,
merely mentioning him stopped me in my tracks. I had not
heard his name in almost one year and frankly, I did not
care to hear mention of him. I felt my life improved after
his departure. Magdalene and I never talked about my
father with Kevin, Derek or Auntie. Like most men I avoid
difficult situations and not speaking about him was a way of
ignoring any possible future confrontation. I have no doubt,
however, that Magdalene thought of him from time to
time, as I did, but only in secret. We just didn't speak about
“Oh goodie… a letter from dear old dad.” I was
sarcastic. I patted my stomach, speaking directly to Aunt
Aileen. “You see this, Auntie?” I pointed out, “I’ve acquired
a pot belly because of your baking. You’ve got to stop!”
“Finally, you’ve got some meat on those bones,” she
protested. “Scrawny and lean, I'll never understand you
skinny men,” she replied.
“I’ve put on ten pounds since you moved in with us!” I
“I don't hear your wife complaining,” said Auntie.
110 | Patricia K McCarthy
“I love your big belly,” said Magdalene, patting my
stomach and laughing.
“Here, let me cut you a fresh piece of cake,” offered
“No more cakes, cookies, pies, nothing! I'm on a strict
diet,” I declared with a dramatic wave of my hand, “And
that's all I have to say on the subject. So, let's look at this
letter. How did you get it?”
“How did I come to receive the letter?” repeated
“Yes, that's my valid question,” I said, “From whom?”
“Shall I pour the boy a cup of rum?” offered Aunt
Magdalene nodded her head and started laughing.
“Oh no,” I said. I took my seat beside my lovely wife
and placed my hand on her thigh, touching her warm flesh.
She always smelled of wet, drenched earth, after the warm
rain soaks the grass and each blade carries droplets of
precious tears from the Heavens. I didn't want to read my
father's letter. I didn't want to talk about my father, or hear
his name spoken, least of all to have any connection to his
past. I looked at Auntie and nodded begrudgingly.
“OK, maybe a small sliver in the bottom of a cup.”
“Smart boy,” said Auntie.
Kevin: Fuck! I hate it when some asshole comes to the door
unexpectedly. I fucking hate it. My sixth sense told me it
wasn't a good kind of visit. I reached for my wallet and took
out my slip of paper. I looked through the peephole.
“D-boy,” I whispered, “There’s an oinker at the door…
put out that fucking spliff, you retard!”
“What?” asked Derek mindlessly, smoking. He cocked
his head, barely listening to me with a halo of cloud
“I said put out the fucking spliff!”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 111
The authoritative knock hit the door several times,
without pause. I watched as D-boy butted out his spliff and
used the dowser to snuff out the beeswax candle. We made
it a point of lighting a beeswax candle whenever we smoked
herb in our apartment. Maggie, the angel, got me onto
beeswax candles years ago. She said they burned clean and
purified the air. I just liked the smell and they magically
obliterated the stench of herbal smoke. When I finally saw
the spliff and candle were out, I opened the door with the
chain in place.
“Good afternoon, officer,” I said, in my best polite
“Are you Kevin Coffey?” asked the officer.
“The last I heard I still was.”
“If you have a moment, I’d like to speak with you.”
With that opening, I presented my Canadian Police Service
for Criminal Records Check. The simple sheet of paper that
cost me a whopping $38 verified Ottawa Police had already
investigated me and confirmed I had been security cleared.
The officer took the paper, wrote down the reference
number and could do absolutely nothing.
“I’m afraid, Sir, you’ve caught me in the middle of
entertaining a lady friend. I’d love to chat but,” I said, “my
time is already spoken for and I would like to delicately
bring to your attention, sir that I did not call for police
services this fine day.”
Without a search warrant and having given him a copy of
my certificate, he had no grounds for entering my premises.
The uniformed officer glanced at his watch, made note
of the time, wrote something in his notebook, placed his
hand on his holstered gun and turned down the hall. I
muttered an unflattering word under my breath, to the
effect of ‘stinking rotten pig’, shut the door and returned to
D-boy already sparked up the partially finished herbal
112 | Patricia K McCarthy
“He’ll be back,” observed Derek. “They always come
“Yeah,” I agreed, grabbing the herbal treat, “Cops are
like fucking ants, man, kill one and a thousand come to
Magdalene: I pulled the letter out of my pocket and
showed it to Samuel, who instantly swilled his cup of rum.
Samuel feared the worst, as I did, too, in truth. Any time
Sir William entered a scene, he left it changed forever.
Even a dead man can affect you. But an ancient vampire
who had survived for over nine hundred and twenty-seven
years would not go quietly. In the newly expanded memory
I inherited after my transformation, I easily recalled Sir
William’s death, bringing up the dramatic images, the scene
in the all-white room, even the state of mind I had been in,
at that time. I watched as Sir William took the last breath of
air into his disintegrating lungs, followed by his body
dissolving into tiny particulate matter as the cold winter air
picked up and scattered him into the atmosphere.
“The letter is addressed to both you and me,” I said.
“Open the fucker,” said Samuel, “Oops, sorry Auntie.”
“I’ve half a mind to wash your mouth out with soap,”
“Mom did that once to me and she used pepper too,” I
offered, taking a pearl from my past. “But let us get on with
Samuel and Auntie watched quietly. I picked up the
knife from the kitchen table, without seeing my reflection
in the stainless steel blade, and sliced the envelope open. Sir
William wrote his note on parchment in perfect black script
without so much as one mistake or break in fluidity of
handwriting. I cleared my throat and read aloud:
Dearest Samuel and Magdalene,
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 113
Enjoy your cup of rum, my son, for it shall be the precursor to
many. I thank you and your extraordinary wife for giving me the
greatest gift – a grandson. As you read these words, Finn sleeps the
sleep of a child, peaceful and without worry. His life and yours
will be full and grand. I was a blessed man for having been able to
touch your lives and I take this opportunity now to touch your lives
once more. For the record, I did not want to create a hybrid race
exclusively. I never suffered from that most common of ailments
most humans suffer, tunnel vision. However, while I pursued my
special dream for hundreds of years and felt right in doing so, I
also pursued a second one that I hope now will bring meaning to
your lives. But I shan’t tell you of this second dream. If you choose
to follow my instructions, I can only assure you that an adventure
of this grandiose nature will require stamina, humour and an open
mind. I ask you both to visit an Irish pub in the Byward Market
called the Heart and Crown. Once there, you will need to speak
with the manager. Arrangements had been made prior to my
departure. You can, of course, ignore this letter and go on with
your lives. You will not be thought the lesser for doing so. Your
eyes are rolling now, my dear son. If I may impart to you some
fatherly advice, I recommend that you not dismiss this opportunity,
for at the end a gift awaits you both, the likes of which have not
been known to any person in all of human civilization. Bring along
Kevin and Derek for moral support and most importantly, swallow
a tablespoon of butter before beginning. Good luck!
With fondness and love, S.W.S.H.
“That is it,” I said finishing, “That appears to be all Sir
William has to say.”
Samuel rolled his eyes. He took the letter from my
hands and looked at it, picked up the envelope and read the
words on the back: Let the Games Begin. Samuel threw the
letter on the table.
“Well, I’m not playing his fucking games,” he declared.
“Language, boy,” scoffed Aunt Aileen.
114 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Sorry, Auntie,” said Samuel smiling. “He’s doing it
again, playing control games with our lives. This letter is
bullshit and cryptic. It says nothing.”
“True, your father was and is full of surprises but are you
not the least bit curious? I mean, do you not want to know
why the Heart and Crown?” I asked.
Samuel: I shouldn’t have expected Magdalene to side with
me. She was prejudiced toward my father because, after all,
he had given to her the gift of immortality. Being a hybrid
vampire meant I would eventually die some day. As much
as I assured my wife I had forgiven my father for how my
early life had begun, inwardly I still held a grudge against
him. It takes a long time to come to terms with our lives,
for some an entire lifetime to reconcile old feelings.
“It could mean anything going to that pub. I’ve been to
the Heart and Crown a hundred times and I just can’t picture
my father going to this kind of establishment. It’s probably
an ambush. Maybe my other half-brother Cain is waiting for
us there… maybe dear old dad wants one last showdown,
two hybrids fighting to the death, just like he staged
between me and Raven.”
“About that, my love,” began Magdalene, “I know for a
fact that Cain will not be present at this pub.”
“How so?” I inquired.
Auntie looked at Magdalene and back at me.
“Coincidentally,” began Magdalene, “I received a visitor
this morning in the kitchen whom I discovered upon
“What visitor?” I inquired, reaching for a rum refill.
“Cain,” answered Magdalene. “Cain,” she repeated, “In
fact he was charged by your father to deliver this letter to
me,” she finished, producing his business card from out of
her pocket – a plain white business card embossed with
standard black font lettering.
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I stood up and looked at my wife with my darkest stare,
not expressing love but hatred. If I had found Cain and not
Magdalene, for sure a battle would have ensued in our
“That’s it!” I declared, “We’re having nothing to do with
him or this stupid letter!”
“Darling,” pleaded Magdalene softly, “Cain is a weakling
and no threat to you or to our son. Let me assure you I
completely understand your position. If I were you, I, too,
would reel in horror with Sir William’s latest form of
“More like shenanigans,” said Auntie. “He’s up to no
good, that King of Spades.”
“Read the letter again, the two of you,” I protested. “He
says, ‘a gift awaits you both, the likes of which have not
been known to any person in all of human civilization’…
Does that not sound like someone trying to hype up a
situation to entice us to go?” I rolled my eyes again and
reached for my rum.
“Darling, perhaps we should allow the idea to settle in
our minds like slow-cooked oatmeal. It is a clumsy
metaphor, I know, but I feel strongly about this and I hope
you will support me,” said Magdalene.
“So, you want to go there… to the Heart and Crown?” I
“I feel we must,” she replied, “I am a woman and never
forget we are like kitties.”
“You know what happens to curious cats?” I posed as a
“Yes, I do,” she replied rubbing my leg. “Kitties get lots
and lots of love and are allowed to live in whatever manner
Auntie and I laughed in unison.
Of course Magdalene was right. It meant she would get
her way and we would find ourselves visiting a pub because
a long dead ancient vampire had asked us to do so. But what
116 | Patricia K McCarthy
on earth could my dead father stage in a pub with a room
full of people and why a pub in the first place?
DEREK: If I had long, lanky legs like my loser brother, I’d
be able to shuffle the way he does when he walks. When he
bends over to tie up his runners, he sighs like he’s about to
fucking die. I love to razz him. Kevin and I decided to pay
Magpie and V-man Sam a visit without calling beforehand.
We know very well it’s frowned upon by Magpie but she
can’t resist our Irish charm. And Auntie will love the bottle
of rum that Kevin had picked up for her at the liquor store.
Kevin: That brother of mine never worries. He leaves all
the worrying to me. A cop shit on our door! That was no
coincidence. I was glad D-boy suggested going to Sam and
Maggie’s for a surprise visit, just to get the Hell away from
our digs. At least I could talk to Sam. After what happened
to Jean-Pierre, I learned it’s wise to keep Sam in the loop.
Besides, I love to be near Maggie. I’m lucky being treated
like an uncle to Finn. Every time I see Maggie and Sam’s
son, in my head I add the words together: Finn with Fangs.
Life is a fucking trip, that’s for fucking sure.
Magdalene: Samuel’s seething anger for his father filled me
with lust. I never expected him to embrace a letter from his
father whole-heartedly. But how could he not be curious?
Given whom his father was Samuel would wonder for the
rest of his life what gift his father had left us. I know it
would drive me to distraction if I did not investigate.
“Yes,” agreed Samuel, “You are definitely a kitty who
gets lots of love.”
118 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Love of the wicked variety,” added Aunt Aileen.
“Darling,” I said, “I fully understand your reaction to
your father’s request but I feel we are wise to investigate, at
least to see if it merits our involvement.”
“What about Cain?” asked Samuel.
“He is of no threat,” I replied with an assured tone. “As
we speak Cain is staying in a hotel away from our house,
waiting for my next instructions.”
“I met the poor boy,” offered Auntie, “He hasn’t a twit
of wit to lift up his head and he’s a lost child in truth. Then
again, rare is the man who is not lost until a woman comes
along like a spider and swallows him.”
Samuel by now had thrown back three half cups of rum.
As for my Auntie, she would have made an amazing
vampire slayer in her day. She feared nothing and no one
and understood the intricacies of life the way any
fisherman’s wife had learned: to go with the flow and not
against it for the tides are ever changing.
“Ok,” said Samuel. “Admittedly I’m a little curious. So,
let’s call up Kevin and Derek and invite them to come with
us because dear old dad suggested we bring them, although
I can’t imagine why. Derek will be stoned the entire time.”
“I’ll mind Finn,” offered Auntie.
“You are my angel,” I declared, reaching out to rub my
Auntie’s arm in a loving gesture. “I do not imagine this pub
visit will take too long, Auntie. We will go and ask for the
manager and see what my deceased father-in-law wants of
“Do you just suppose the King of Spades might show a
tad of generosity and leave you two hooligans a smidge of
inheritance?” queried Auntie.
“Not a dime,” corrected Samuel, “In keeping with how
he treated me all my life but I don’t want a dime from that
man. A house is different, though, that I’ll take. Dear old
dad wanted you and me to have more space for Finn.”
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“Sure, sure, sure,” said Auntie, “I’m part of your happy
clan now but go ahead and forget me already, while my
body’s still warm and breathing.”
Samuel: Just like that the final decision was made, not by
my doing but by Magdalene’s. That is generally the case
with marriage. Women rule the roost and men are best
advised to shut up. Truthfully I worried more about the
superintendent and his insinuations than I did about visiting
the pub. The pub would be easy. Dealing with the
superintendent would require finesse. After Tina Sharpe’s
death, I came to realize her methods in dealing with the
scavengers of the city’s police enforcement were justified.
Success and money attract attention and attention logically
evolves into jealousy. I have no doubt that the
superintendent missed receiving his injection of cash from
constable Fagan. Yet, he had no way of knowing how to
resolve the issue until the constable’s body had shown up. I
had not read the day’s newspaper but I had no reason not to
believe him, that Fagan’s body had in fact been discovered.
The superintendent put two and two together and that led
to me. But telling Magdalene was not necessarily the wisest
move. I feared she would dispose of the superintendent in
short-order with one chomp. However, the image of my
adoring wife draining his blood made me feel proud. I
learned from Tina Sharpe to turn enemies into accomplices.
It would mean my monthly income from contraband would
decrease, unless of course two operations were
simultaneously put into action, one in our current house
and one in our new home. Circumstances often warrant
different approaches to life’s little glitches and of course, I
would have no justification to admit to the superintendent
about running two grow-ops.
Derek: Kevin and I walked from our apartment to Sandy
Hill in no time. Fuck! I forgot to pack herb. I can’t believe I
120 | Patricia K McCarthy
left the house actually forgetting to pack herb. But if I
played my cards right, I’m sure I’ll be able to take a quick
trip downstairs and refill my pouch. I don’t know why
everyone doesn’t smoke sweet herb, man. Herb is the only
fucking way to live. Booze is all right if you have a thirst but
nothing illuminates your mind like a hit from a lit spliff and,
the chicks, man, the chicks get horny as shit when they’re
lit up. The way I see it, God put herb on this land to calm
the madness of being human. Only humans would respect
their own invention of alcohol and stupidly demonize God’s
creation. We’re all going to Hell in a hand-basket anyway
so I might as well enjoy my herb after all.
Kevin: If it wasn’t for the fact that I was refined and
mature, D-boy would be living in a shithole of dirty laundry
and empty beer bottles. I brought a 40-ounce bottle of dark
rum and a fresh pack of smokes. The last time I drank with
Auntie she smoked all my cigarettes, winking every time
her finger slinked into my package. Thankfully cigarettes
are not illegal. That day will come, though, when cigarettes
are illegal like marijuana. But the government will never
give up their pharmaceutical drugs. I swear half the civil
servants in this city are strung out on anti-depressants. I’m
so fucking lucky to work as a runner for V-man Sam. He’s a
fucking hero, man, and Maggie just gets better looking
every day. I don’t know how it happened but like after a
year of meeting The King of Spades, Maggie got younger
looking. Pregnancy did her a world of good.
We arrived at the Crimson residence.
Auntie: Good gracious, that girl of mine will go down in
history, some day, long after I’ve been pushing up the
daisies, she’ll go down in history as the courter of the
wicked and the righteous, for only God could explain her
and only God could create her. Best not to turn over too
many stones – you just might shock yourself with what’s
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 121
found underneath. And that boy of hers would follow her
into the bowels of Hell. But every living creature has a
place on Earth. I prayed to God for guidance, to tell me
what to do, and he answered. He said my time would soon
come when rum and cigarettes would be no more a thing of
the present and as much as I would cry and lament their
departure, a new world of wonder would await me. Only
clunkheads can’t be bothered to pray. That’s my role now:
to watch over wee Finn and pray for the Crimsons. Lord
only knows they’re going to need it.
Magdalene: I could never forget my Auntie, the one
invisible strand that maintained my connection with my
heritage, particularly with my mother, who looked like
Auntie, only taller.
“How could anyone forget you, my darling?”
“Keep piling it high and deep,” replied Auntie.
“The wagon is about to tip over,” said Samuel, as his
head turned to the door. His ears were as acute in operation
as were mine. I heard Kevin and Derek bickering before
they had set foot on our driveway – the argument was the
same, whose turn it was to clean the toilet bowl. Evidently
an activity of that nature had received a low priority with
the Coffey boys because from what I recall, Samuel would
never use their toilet, fearing he would contract some rare,
exotic venereal disease.
“You want to answer the door or shall I?” I asked.
“Sit tight, sweetie, I’ll get it,” said Samuel, getting up
from the kitchen table. I reached over to Auntie and rubbed
her arm, whispering, “I knew Samuel would not refuse me,
Auntie. Thank you for offering to watch Finn while we go
to this pub.”
“Child, my head hasn’t stopped spinning since I’ve
arrived two years ago but I suppose I can’t blame you for
wanting to know what trouble the King of Spades has
brewed up for you. Now, I love a good pub visit like any
122 | Patricia K McCarthy
decent woman but I have a feeling, child, you won’t be
staying put for very long.”
“What do you mean?” I asked of my Auntie.
“It’s feeling to me more and more like a crawl… not a
“A crawl to where?” I asked.
“Yes, that about sums it up… a crawl to where on all
fours by the time you’re done, child. A mystery is
something that’s kept a secret for too long until it’s rolled
out of the bag or in your case the pub.”
Samuel opened the door before Kevin and Derek
knocked. The boys probably looked startled to be greeted
without having first knocked. Kevin always wore a smile
and Derek’s eyes were in a permanent state of squint. We
so enjoyed the company of the Coffey boys. I do not want
to live in a world where everyone dresses, thinks or acts the
same. Vanilla has never been my favourite flavour. I like its
smell and I recognize its place in the world but I need
variety. On the other hand, the Coffey boys rarely
demonstrated any desire to change their habits or to
improve their living standards. Who am I to judge? After
all, and given what I had become, I should be the last
person to judge anyone.
Samuel: I only had to shake Kevin’s hand to feel the sense
of worry in his palms. It meant the superintendent had pre-
empted our visit by already sending another officer to visit
one of my runners.
“Your timing is perfect,” I declared. “I was just about to
“V-man Sam,” said Kevin with a broad smile. His
happiness was a light bulb. “Did we come at a bad time?” he
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 123
“Not at all… in fact Magdalene and I just spoke about
you two. There’s something we’d like to involve you both
with… come on in and sit.”
Kevin proudly pulled out the fresh bottle of rum from
behind his back and presented it to me.
“Let me guess, for Auntie?” I asked.
“I just want Auntie to know that we love and think of
her,” assured Kevin.
“Yes, I think your offering will be received with an open
Derek did not need to speak. He shook my hand and I
observed the current state of his mind: relaxed and ready
for additional inducements. Why my father recommended
Magdalene and I take these two with us to the Heart and
Crown I did not know. I only knew that what Magdalene
wanted was precisely what I wanted. And I would never
admit that a part of me was curious: just what the Hell was
my father up to with the pub visit. Why a pub? Two and
two make four, in the same manner that a kitchen party is
usually the best place to be, especially when the rum bottle
“V-man Sam,” started Derek, “You mind man if I swing
downstairs and snip a few buds for the pouch?”
“I’m shocked you would actually allow your supply to
Derek said nothing, waiting for an invitation.
“Yes, by all means, go and then come back up stairs.
Magdalene and I have an offer to make.”
“Sam,” started Kevin, “Did you fucking watch the news,
“No, not yet,” I answered.
“You should tonight… catch the late news. You’ll see
the report on the King of Spades,” said Kevin making way
into the kitchen.
124 | Patricia K McCarthy
Derek zipped downstairs and closed the basement door.
With his dexterous hands, he would fill his herb pouch to
the brim in a matter of seconds.
“What will I see?” I ventured with bravery.
“The King of Spades,” began Kevin dramatically,
stretching out his hands and arms wide to demonstrate the
concept of everything, “He fucking donated his entire
wealth to over nine hundred charities throughout all of
I looked at Magdalene and she nodded yes.
“There is always so much to tell you, my love, I can
scarcely decide at what point to begin some days,” she said.
Auntie winked and reached her arm across the table,
instinctively, she felt the likes of a fresh bottle about to be
plunked down in front of her.
“Here you go, Auntie,” I said, “a gift from Uncle Kevin.”
“The boy has taste, dark and foreboding… the only way
I like my rum,” complimented Auntie.
I took my seat and digested the third piece of revelatory
news to hit me in the day; first the news of a letter from my
father; the second hard-hitting news being the presence of
Cain and finally the third being my father’s dispersal of his
“Yeah, that’s right, man,” said Kevin, “He fucking gave it
all away to Canadian charities so I called Maggie and told
her to turn to the channel and she admitted he gave nothing
to you two, just the house, man. Don’t you think that’s a
I said nothing, watching the hypnotic ritual that took
place in our kitchen on a daily basis. Auntie cracked open
the fresh rum bottle. Her fingers were like a blind man’s
eyes, hooked over the rim, patiently waiting for the level of
alcohol to rise just enough to touch her fingertips. Auntie
stopped and rested the bottle upright. Magdalene and I had
many a good laugh discussing the extraordinary experience
of watching Auntie pour rum into her tea mug. A master
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 125
becomes a master not because of innate ability but because
of dedication to practice.
“Kev,” I freely admitted, putting my head back into the
conversation, “My father was whacked from the get go. All
I know is that he’s dead now so who cares what he did with
Kevin took his seat at the kitchen table. I looked at
Magdalene and Auntie. We calmly waited for Derek to
return to the kitchen before beginning.
AUNTIE: The poor boys, the whole lot of ‘em, couldn’t
cope without a woman to hold the reins. And not just any
kind of woman but the kind of woman like my niece,
Magdalene, who could rip the very lifeblood out of their
heads before two thoughts could be strung together. Yes,
indeed, just leave me be, alone in this house with their wee
tot Finn and I’ll smarten up the brood with a prayer and
scoopful of rum. A pub, one vampire, one half-vampire and
two idiots to boot, well if I knew the Lord was planning a
good laugh I’d have put on my thinking cap and taken out a
pen and paper to record the spectacle for the next kitchen
table story. Truth to be told: every day is a new story.
Every day with the Crimsons I dare not question the logic
of the Universe. Sometimes illogic turns into logic after a
wee bit of imbibing, that’s for bloody sure.
Derek: I was back in the kitchen in no time and everyone
was seated around the round tabletop, that royal blue
tabletop V-man Sam painted for Magpie that had wood
grain grooves like claw marks. I could just see him
pounding his wife at the kitchen table. Man, if Magpie was
my chick, I’d take her on every piece of furniture in the
whole damn house, that’s for fucking sure. Fucking weird,
though, now she smells like fresh cut grass. It’s the
strangest smell, too, but it’s kind of cool.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 127
Grass makes me think of my childhood and how my loser
brother and I were never allowed to play on the same
football team because we beat the snot out of anyone in the
neighbourhood. Speaking of games, I put my head back into
“Hey, V-man, did Kev tell you about the newscast on
the King of Spades?”
“Yes,” answered Samuel, looking at Magpie, “Seems dad
generously gave away his fortune to the needy.”
“What about the Coffey boys’ charitable needs?” I said,
leaning against the wall. The Crimsons only had four
kitchen chairs. They could have used spare chairs. Either
that or my loser brother could have stood up to let me sit
so that I could roll a decent spliff, the selfish bastard. I gave
him a disapproving look, pointing to my pouch. He knew
exactly what I wanted.
Kevin: I refused to get up for lazy-bones D-boy. He knew
how to twist one up in the middle of a rock concert,
sandwiched between a throng of partiers in general
admission, so why the Hell would I give him my seat? I
filled up Auntie’s cup and poured myself one. Sam did the
same to his. Funny though, I had not seen Maggie eat or
drink anything in a year. I guess she was eating in private
with only Sam. And as for Finn, he had the appetite of a
“So what did you want to talk to us about?” I asked Sam.
“Well,” began Sam, “Magdalene received a letter from
my father and he wants us to visit the Heart and Crown pub
in the market, where apparently we’re supposed to receive
instructions on something he wants us to do.”
“Does it have anything to do with the charities and his
money?” I asked.
“Wishful thinking,” interjected Maggie. “The money is
gone, young Kevin.”
128 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Figures,” I said, “Can’t blame a man for trying. I mean
he wasn’t even inspired to leave a little for Finn?” I probed
“Nope,” answered Sam, tilting back his cup.
“I mean, fuck, the King of Spades… hey, V-man, just
what the Hell was your father’s real name? I don’t think
anyone told me. And he’s dead?” I asked.
Magdalene: “I am afraid so, Kevin,” I answered on behalf
of Samuel. “He died over one year ago in the bathroom in
the house he had purchased next door to us.”
“From a heart attack, maybe?” asked Kevin.
“Complete failure, I believe,” I answered, lying through
my vampire teeth. “And his name was Sir William Simon
“Oh yeah, that’s right, the TV said his name but I
automatically thought of the King of Spades. I like Auntie’s
nickname for him better than his real name. You sorry that
he’s dead, V-man?”
“The boy has a head full of questions… pour him
another,” said Auntie, looking at me instead of Kevin. My
Auntie’s eyes were old and wise and every time she stared
at me intently, I wondered what she was thinking. Auntie
was the sole reason why I practiced extra special care in the
taking of my victims, paying attention to the how and
where I disposed of them, ensuring that evidence made it
look as though only a very strong man could overpower the
victims in the manner I had killed them – all tall, large men
who had several inches in height on me. No one would ever
have reason to suspect a woman could possibly kill the
number of men I had drained. The deaths in the past year
brought me closer each time to Samuel, helping me to
understand his mindset and how he felt when he was forced
into killing while living in Barcelona as a teenager, and
years later in Ottawa to protect his identity and livelihood.
Vampires are self-serving, without doubt, proving one all
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 129
important axiom: all living creatures will resort to
whatever means available to ensure their survival. The
prospect of spending time in the pub worried me greatly. I
would be tempted by patrons and it would be near
impossible for me not to be affected by their smell or by the
smell of food. Hunger was constant in my mind, more so
now than ever before. It would surely turn out to be an
eventful day. I also frequently thought of Sir William and
each time, I recalled the transformational event, during
which I gave my body to him. At that time, I did so out of a
sense of obligation, feeling it was the appropriate thing to
do because engaging in sex with my husband’s father, while
loathsome to most, seemed to be a fair trade-off for
inheriting his immortality. Samuel and I never spoke of
what had occurred during the transformation. Sir William
had planned that Samuel would be absent. But if Samuel
had been present, I’m sure the entire event would have
Finn screamed from upstairs. It was late afternoon and
high time to feed him a snack of fresh fruit before we left
for the pub. I got up from the table to get my baby boy.
Samuel: As Magdalene moved, she took Kevin and Derek’s
gaze with her, seated at our table, like wayward men to a
homing beacon. My Magdalene, my lover, my wife, the
mother of my child; Magdalene meant more to me every
day. When I think back to that power play game between
my father and me, when he kidnapped Magdalene, I
inwardly pat myself on the back for having endured the fear
and pain of losing her with dignity. I never consented to
allowing Magdalene to bed my father but I know something
of the sort had occurred. Most would be disgusted with the
thought and in retrospect I wanted to kill my father after I
chopped down the door to the washroom. When I finally
broke into the bathroom, I found Magdalene asleep and my
father on the floor. It was a pivotal moment when I had the
130 | Patricia K McCarthy
upper hand. My father lay in a weakened state, after he had
bitten Magdalene to start her transformation. I knew what
had happened between them but said nothing at the time,
nor did I challenge Magdalene afterward. I only wanted her
back in my life. Sex and decency make strange bedfellows,
like truth and beauty. Often I contemplated the value of
both - for what is beautiful to some is ugly to others and in
that vein vampire morals versus human morals are
definitely not one and the same. Given that my father died
after the transformation, I feel it was a far better price I
paid in keeping my mouth shut about their coupling. At
least Magdalene will be with me and our son forever. So
what if my father had lusted for her. Everyone lusts for
Magdalene. That dynamic hasn’t changed. No longer,
though, do I wish to share her body with other men. My
father taught me that to want to share your wife says more
about the male ego than it does about the virtue of the
woman being shared. Now I can’t bear the thought of
another man having Magdalene. Strangely enough, I am
open to the idea of seeing her with Sandrine. We change
when we least expect, and change, I feared, was due to visit
my life again. The pub visit would be an easy affair. I knew
instinctively my father was having a good laugh from the
grave, particularly because he asked us to bring along Kevin
and Derek. I also knew realistically that if I didn’t come
along, I would miss out on the adventure. Those who take
an active part have a better chance of influencing the
outcome of the future. The fact was and is whenever my
father was involved, the outcome generally worked in his
favour. But my father the King of Spades has been dead for
over a year, so now it was time for me and Magdalene to
“Actually, no, Kev, I’m not sorry that my father’s dead
at all. It’s a terrible thing to say but we didn’t have any
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relationship whatsoever, other than sharing some historical
and biological link. You can say the word, you know.”
“Let me cross myself first,” interjected Auntie.
“The v-word,” offered Kevin. “You haven’t even said the
v-word to me ever. And you know, man, I don’t need to
say it either. It’s still too freaky to believe, but like, man, I
saw the video, know what I’m saying, man?”
“Yup,” agreed Derek.
“And like, I accept you for who you are,” said Kevin.
“Being able to call you V-man Sam is good enough for me.”
“A true egalitarian in our midst,” said Magdalene,
coming back into the kitchen with Finn, who beamed upon
seeing Uncle Kevin, Uncle Derek and Great Auntie.
“You’re a good man,” she said as she patted Kevin’s
Kevin stood up from the chair and kissed Finn, making
vroom vroom sounds with his mouth as his fingers simulated a
car, riding up Finn’s arm. My sweet baby boy, being all of
two years, was already able to string half-assed sentences
together, comprised of part English and part baby
“Unca Kevy,” greeted Finn, reaching his arms out to his
“Hey V-man, he actually said my name! Say it, Finn, say
“Unca D-D,” blurted out Finn looking at Derek.
“No,” corrected Kevin, “Say Uncle Kevy…forget about
“D-boy, D-boy, D-boy!” repeated Finn, bouncing up and
down on my leg. Magdalene went to the stove, where she
pre-cooked steak for Finn’s dinner that would later be
added and blended up finely with more vegetables. Auntie
always added a teaspoon of butter for extra taste. The
animal fats were not reviled in our house. A baby needs to
consume a reasonable amount of good fats that are not
processed to the point of being garbage. But the constant
132 | Patricia K McCarthy
flow of fresh vegetables into the growing belly of my son
meant he enjoyed healthy evacuations that filled his diapers
to the brim, not to mention fresh fruits before his dinner
that usually filled him with gas and giggles.
“The poor boy has the attention span of a thirty-second
television commercial,” commented Auntie, reaching her
finger to caress Finn’s cheek. Finn knew only love from the
very first day he was born, which is the way it should be for
all babies. Finn naturally took to the adults in our kitchen.
As I looked at my wife, my wife’s aunt, my son, my two
runners, I believed my life could not feel fuller than at this
particular moment. I wanted to freeze-frame the picture
behind glass and mount the image on the wall.
“So what do you want us for?” inquired Kevin. “You have
more stops you need us to hit?”
“Well,” I began, “I can’t say with any certainty that
where we’re going will be the right place to begin but that’s
what the old man had in mind. He wants us to take a walk
to the Heart and Crown, where apparently we are to
receive instructions from the manager.”
“That Irish pub in the market?” queried Derek. His eyes
noticed that he was the only one at the table lacking in a cup
of rum, eyeing Auntie and Kevin enjoying theirs. Instead
Derek reached for his pouch and rolled up another one,
making two to go.
“Yes, the very one, just as soon as Finn’s finished eating
his fruit, we’re going to walk there and begin.”
“Begin what?” asked Kevin, “It makes no fucking sense
for all of us to go to one pub just because the King of
Spades wants us to… Like what gives?”
“Good question, Kev,” said Magdalene, bringing to the
table a bowl of cut up banana with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Magdalene pulled Finn’s high chair closer to the table so
that he could feel like one of the clan.
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Magdalene: Even the smell of fruit made my mouth
salivate. I had taken a fresh kill in the morning and already
my stomach growled. Sir William, at the height of his
powers, could drain multiple women in one day. With my
newly inherited memories, I brought up one particular
memory of Sir William living in a cave, surrounded by dead
and drained naked women, bodies strewn everywhere,
their necks punctured and faces blue, absent of any life. Sir
William had gorged himself until his stomach bloated
round. I didn’t know why he was forced to hide in a cave. I
only knew he had escaped a hoard of angry men with clubs
and pitchforks, hunting him down like a werewolf. But
despite the death around him, the women offered
themselves to him like sacrificial lambs. And one by one,
they fell at his feet, worshiping his dark nature. The very
thought of such a scene of debauchery made me tingle. I
was ready for more blood.
“All we know from his letter,” I said to Kevin, “Is that
Sir William wants us to visit this particular pub, which will
apparently bring us to an extraordinary find, the likes of
which have not been known by anyone in all of
“Fuck,” said Derek, “That sounds fucking ominous,” he
Auntie cuffed Derek on the head and he laughed in
reaction. “I’m going to take the boot to that rear if you
don’t clean up that mouth.”
“Yeah,” mocked Kevin, “What kind of example is you
setting for Finn?” he said, intentionally using is instead of
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” mimicked Finn, excited about his
“You see what you started,” laughed Kevin.
“How come Auntie gives me a hard time about swearing
but she never says anything about yours?” asked Derek.
134 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Because you’re a retard,” insulted Kevin, laughing,
“And because I’m older and wiser so I don’t get the cuff on
Kevin lit a cigarette on our front porch, waiting with
Derek, as Samuel and I kissed Finn on the cheek, while
Auntie held him. We made the picture of an unusual
grouping of beings, that is to say one half-vampire and one
full-fledged vampire; two runners, one of which could out
drink most humans with the exception of one
Newfoundlander aunt and the other a master roller and
smoker of only the finest herbal variety. Still, no one was
brave enough to say the word vampire, which worked in
my favour, particularly as Kevin and Derek did not know I
had been transformed into one by Sir William. The closest
anyone came to using the word vampire was in calling
Samuel by his nickname, V-man, used with regularity by
Kevin and Derek. Naturally Samuel didn’t care for it but he
learned to grin and bear the moniker.
“Is there something you want to tell me,” said Samuel to
Kevin as we walked from Chapel to Rideau Street.
“Oh yeah,” remembered Kevin, “Fuck, I can’t believe I
forget to mention that an oinker came to our door.”
“Fucking liars,” threw in Derek.
“Auntie is not amongst us to chide you for your
language,” I laughed.
“Well they’re all fucking liars,” reasserted Derek. “Kev
handled it like a pro,” he said hitting his brother in the arm.
“What did you do?” asked Samuel, casually inquiring
about the details.
“Nothing really,” said Kevin, “I whipped out my
Criminal Records Check document and he booked after
seeing I have no outstanding record. Maybe the retard
thought he’d catch us off-guard.”
“Keep me posted if there is a repeat visit,” said Samuel.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 135
I, Magdalene Patricia Crimson, am ancient and rare,
embodying the historical linkage of blood that binds all
humans. I am the most powerful entity on planet Earth.
Yet, my powers have not been fully realized. At the
appropriate moment I would question Samuel. I sensed his
worry and pensive mood. Would someone in this period of
civilization please inform me why married men insist on
avoiding communication with their spouses? Samuel was
keeping a secret from me and a secret kept from a wife,
while it may be natural, is never wise. Husbands do so out
of fear of losing our love and support and mostly to avoid
disappointing us. I could not point the finger at Tina
Sharpe, for she had been dead for over two years and not so
much as one word had been mentioned of her in the
newspaper. Kevin and Derek did Samuel and me a
tremendous favour in disposing of her body. I never asked
what they did with her limbs. I only knew they packed
them in separate sheets from La Maison Erotique, which
meant part of her had been dumped up North in Ontario
and another part of her had been dumped elsewhere in
Quebec. I vividly recall Kevin suggesting the two locations
to Derek, making some snide comment about separate
parts between two battling provinces.
If the past only knew to stay in the past none of us would
carry regret for stupid deeds. But the past grabs hold of the
future and wrings it neck until the future takes notice of the
We arrived promptly at our destination. The Heart and
Crown was alive and bristling with patrons, beer pints
frothing and the brown-tinged walls listening to the
mundane dialogue of couples.
Sir William’s words written on the outside of the
envelope brought the reason for our visit to the Heart and
Crown back into perspective: Let the Games Begin. And so
Samuel: Wives know when something’s amiss. Magdalene
probably sensed that I was keeping a secret. I had to wait
until I poured at least two decent ales into my belly, then I
would be in possession of liquid courage to talk about the
superintendent’s insinuations. But Magdalene didn’t read
newspapers. She believed journalists were the sole
propagators of negative waves who manipulated the news
to their own advantage. She had not read in today’s paper
that Constable Fagan’s body had been discovered.
Magdalene chose a table in the back, away from the front
entrance. In winter, the pub’s outdoor patio was closed.
Inside, the scent of battered haddock had permeated the
pub, no doubt causing Magdalene to drool over the smell of
deep-fried Heaven. I stood at the bar and ordered a round
of pints to be delivered to our table for me, Kevin and
Derek, obviously ignoring Magdalene’s need for fluids. It
also occurred to me that Magdalene would be tempted by
the blood-coursing veins of every patron. But I convinced
myself otherwise and seriously doubted she would be bold
enough to bite someone inside an establishment.
“Greetings… I’ll have two honey cream ales and one
Kilkenny, please,” I said to the barkeep. “By the way, I need
to speak with the manager.”
“Yeah, hold a sec and I’ll get ‘im,” said the young man
with short, cropped black hair, sticking upright with a ton
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 137
Virtually every table was full. The economy could
tailspin into absolute depression and yet money would still
flow into Ottawa for drinking, the Fat City of Ontario. I
wouldn’t blame anyone either – life is short, and then we
die, so might as well indulge every now and then. It seems a
reasonable response from any human.
The manager came up to me. “Can I help you?” he asked.
I offered to shake hands.
“My name is Samuel Crimson,” I began earnestly, as I
turned my body around, pointing to the table where the
trio sat, “That’s my wife, Magdalene and my two friends.
We’re here to collect an envelope from a man by the name
of Sir William Hennessy, my deceased father. He must have
come in here over a year ago.”
“Holy fuck!” exclaimed the manager with a surprised
smile. “Hey, Tony, they’re here… you know those people
we’ve been holding that strange envelope for?”
“So, do you have it?” I asked politely, hoping this
envelope would contain the last letter from my father, after
having been hit by one surprise letter in the kitchen. The
bartender poured the ales.
“Sorry for swearing, man,” said the manager, “But we’ve
been wondering for a dog’s age how long the envelope
would stay in my office before someone would actually
come and ask for it. We get paid the day it gets delivered,”
said the manager.
“Oh you do?” I responded with raised eyebrows, “You
“For sure,” said the manager, “This really tall, old guy
with white hair paid me half up front and he said the other
half would be paid when you’d come to collect.”
“That old guy was my father. How much did he pay up
front?” I asked.
“One thousand, eight hundred and twenty-five dollars,”
said the manager with a smile, “And he said I shouldn’t hand
138 | Patricia K McCarthy
over the envelope until you come across with the other
“Sneaky prick!” I hissed, thinking aloud. “I don’t fucking
have the other half in my pocket. I’ll have to go to an
“No biggie,” said the manager, “There’s one right here.”
“How convenient,” I said, swilling my pint and
contemplating my next move.
“Does that mean you want to see the letter?” asked the
“Sure,” I replied, “At least let me look at the outside of
the envelope. I’ll be able to recognize his handwriting.”
“Unbelievable,” admitted the manager, “I’ve had this bet
with the staff that no one would ever turn up and now
you’re here. But hey that’s totally great if I get paid the
other half. He paid me $10 a day for a year for holding onto
“And if I had never shown up and asked for it?” I asked.
“He said you would for certain. He said his plan would
rely on the curiosity of your gorgeous wife,” said the
manager, looking over at Magdalene.
“Watch the ogling, buddy.”
“Sorry,” said the manager smiling.
A staff member returned with the sealed envelope, the
same high-quality parchment I had just held in our kitchen,
and handed me the very-expensive item. I was not amused.
We had no sooner stepped into the Heart and Crown and it
was already assumed I would be out of pocket a sizeable
amount of money. I could hear my dead father laughing.
“I’ll honour my father’s word and you’ll be paid, so you
can hold onto the envelope until I get to the ATM machine
or you can give it to me now.”
“Hey,” began the manager tentatively, “You’re here
now. I better hold onto it, just to be safe and I’ll wait until
you visit the ATM. Don’t forget, one thousand, eight
hundred and twenty-five dollars, if you don’t mind.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 139
“Anything to accommodate you,” I said with sarcasm.
Dear old dad was not so very dear to my heart. Again,
my father roped me into his game of control, expecting me
to shell out coin for something that originally I had no
interest in the first place. How my father arrived at the
figure I do not know but logically he must have estimated
the right amount of time to elapse, exactly one year, before
Cain was instructed to show up, factoring into the account
that Cain would follow his word to the letter and that
Magdalene would insist on coming to the pub.
The plot of any good story is like a bowl of steaming hot
soup – once the aroma has been picked up by the nostrils,
the stomach and mind have already accepted it as a
welcomed thing. If that was how my father’s plot began,
with me shelling out more money, I can only imagine how
the day would continue.
A server appeared with our ales on a tray and I followed
her back to our table.
“So what’s up?” asked Kevin, grabbing his beer.
“He’s got the envelope from my father,” I answered.
“Where is it?” asked Magdalene.
“I have to pay over a thousand dollars to get it.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” interjected Derek
“Nope, I kid you not,” I replied. “I know how my father
figured it out too. Dear old dad added how much he was
willing to pay per day times the number of days in a year.
Ten dollars a day times 365 days in a year, that comes up to
3,650 dollars for the year to hold onto one stupid letter and
he only paid half up front,” I finished.
“Fuck,” said Kevin. “Christ, your old man is a pistol.
That means if he paid half up front at $10 per day for 365
days then you’ve got to shell out… let’s see… one
thousand eight hundred and twenty-five dollars,” finished
140 | Patricia K McCarthy
Kevin with a big laugh, “for a dinky envelope from some
“Highly intelligent,” added Magdalene, referring to my
father. She intently watched us inhale our ales. Her
beautiful pink tongue caressed across her full, plush lips. I
leaned over and kissed her without caring if anyone saw.
“What was that for, gorgeous boy?” asked Magdalene.
“Because you look beautiful and because you’re mine,” I
“You not thirsty, Maggie?” asked Kevin, “Because if Sam
is too damn cheap to buy you a beer, I’ll pick up the tab. In
fact, I’ve got enough coin on me, V-man that I can cover off
that big bill until you pay me back.”
“Excellent, Kev,” I said, “You know I’m good for it.”
“I know, man,” said Kevin, extending his arm in order
that I could touch my fist to his, sort of a bro’s handshake
for the modern generation. I’m over 124 years old and I’ve
seen fads come and go. I do my best to acknowledge them.
Derek got up from the table and stepped outside, to
spark up an herbal treat. He exited out of the side door and
walked around the side of the pub to the deserted patio;
where normally the patio would be busy in summer.
“You can afford the money, darling,” said Magdalene
rubbing my arm. “Besides, when I think about the amount
of money we have made from our organic business. Well,
we can afford to be generous.”
“Does that mean the beers are on your tab?” asked
Kevin, reaching into his pocket for a wad. He peeled off
numerous twenties and fifties, handing them to me.
“Why not indeed?!” I said with heavy sarcasm, taking the
money from Kevin, “Thanks. The ATM machine caps the
amount I can take out in one day, like $500. But seeing
you’re loaded for bear, why don’t you pay the tab for every
fucking person in this bloody establishment.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 141
“I don’t think so, bro’,” said Kevin, finishing his beer
with the finesse of a thirsty man returning from the desert.
He opened his incredibly large mouth and tilted back his
head. Magically the beer spilled into his mouth, frothy suds
and all, and in less than ten seconds the entire pint had been
consumed. Kevin had only just begun.
Magdalene half-listened to our conversation. I watched
her eyes as they scoped out the pub, looking at people, or
more precisely looking at lovely necks. But I re-assured
myself that discretion would prevent Magdalene from
behaving like a vampire in public, especially in a crowded
It was too late, however, where that other matter was
concerned. It was far too late to go back on my word,
refusing to pay an exorbitant fee to read one stupid letter
from a dead-as-a-doornail father. I gulped my beer which
took the edge off the numbing, thudding sound of the
droning piped-in music.
Magdalene: The warmth of human bodies caressed my skin
and filled me with ravenous hunger, even surprising myself.
Arm hairs stood erect and bristled when a plump woman or
portly man passed our table. The pub was filled with ideal
victims, unsuspecting Winterlude tourists, persons whose
absence would go unnoticed until someone later realized
that they had not returned home. I could distinguish the
smell of a tourist from a local the day I became a vampire.
My instincts became more sharpened and refined each time
I killed. Frequently, I contemplated the relationship
between vampire instincts and killing in that one focused
the other. Every time I took a life, my vampire self became
more pronounced, as though the act of asserting my
vampire instinct ensured every other power would swell in
142 | Patricia K McCarthy
But I had no intention of harming anyone. I had fed
earlier in the day and that was that. I am disciplined and
controlled. I am methodical in my approach. Despite being
surrounded by bodies and the smell of amazing food I
would not falter. I would not permit my ever-present state
of hunger to get the better of me. My rational mind was in
control, not my vampire instinct and growling stomach.
I stood up from the table and lightly touched Samuel’s
shoulder, the kind of touch that he understood: I would
return momentarily. Kevin’s mind was focused on drinking
ale. If Kevin were a practical man, he would save time and
buy two pints at once in order to keep up with his ability to
consume beer as if it were water.
“I am going to the ladies room for a tinkle,” I said,
removing myself from the table. Kevin’s head was turned
toward the bar. But Samuel was fully aware. He smiled
broadly and nodded. His looked toward a middle-aged
couple in front of us. The man held a cigarette pack,
preparing to step out for one. I watched his wife, whose
gaze was transfixed on the large flat-screen TV. She hardly
acknowledged that her husband was stepping out and as he
did, Derek stepped back in with eyes like razor slits, blood-
shot and wearing a foolish grin.
“Babe,” said Kevin to me, knowing I was going for a pee,
“Here’s wishing everything comes out all right on your
“Cheeky little bastard,” I said to Kevin.
“Actually I’m a huge bastard, Maggie, but I don’t want
V-man Sam to feel inadequate so let’s not compare power
“Speak for yourself,” said Samuel, who watched me pass
the entrance to the washroom, exiting instead out the front
doors, behind the tourist. My body and hunger moved like
an automaton, following him, taking advantage of that split
second of opportunity.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 143
Death lifted into the atmosphere, a premonition of what
was to come, of the diabolical deed I would carry out
without so much as one flutter of hesitation. My nostrils
flared with the anticipation of the life about to drain into
my mouth and on my tongue, to course through my veins. I
couldn’t wait to suck out the blood of one simple being. My
hunger took over and rather suddenly I was prepared to act
foolishly in public and take a life. It had been over a year
since I spent time in a pub. I had no desire to take a husband
away from a wife but it was a far better option than to take
a young man away from a young child. The older my
victims were the clearer my intent grew, realizing that life
is capricious and cheap. Everyone who faces daily
challenges should wear the cloak of vampirism for one
minute to know precisely what it means to rationalize. Sir
William was correct in his approach: one life is like any
other. One dead man would not stop the world any more
than one dead woman would stop men from lusting for all
women. And as for my guilt from the morning’s kill, it had
long been suppressed. My tummy and eyes had spied a new
I followed the man out the side doors. He stood under
the patio canopy. My low-cut blouse had been closed by
several buttons but upon moving toward him, I allowed one
button to open, giving him a view of my breasts. Naturally,
like any man with a view, he could not help himself.
“Greetings,” I said to the man as he attempted to light his
“Fuck,” he cursed aloud.
“Your lighter is on the fritz,” I noted.
“Ya got a light?” he asked.
“In my purse,” I answered, opening my purse wide
enough so that his eyes would look inside. He leaned his
head toward my purse.
144 | Patricia K McCarthy
I very nearly pounced. Something stopped me. The
traffic on the one-way street was backed up bumper-to-
bumper. Two people in their car watched me. The timing
turned. Now, I would be better to return inside and behave
myself. After Samuel and the boys would imbibe and
collect the envelope, we would leave and nothing more
would be said of my close call. Ideally, if the wife of the
man who stood beside me went into the washroom, it
would be a far better option, draining her inside a
bathroom stall, someone whose body would go undetected
for a time, allowing me to depart the premises. Timing is
truly everything. Sir William understood time more than
anyone. It was how he played his games of control, utilizing
the ephemeral qualities of time to accurately gauge the
reactions of people.
“Sorry, I do not appear to have a light,” I answered the
“Why are you talking like that?” he asked.
“Like what?” I repeated.
“Like that, with perfect enunciation, with no
“It was how I was raised,” I answered with my dander
rising. His judgment annoyed me. I closed my purse and
returned inside the pub with the subtle scent of his neck
flesh in my nostrils. I bared my teeth for only a second until
they retracted inside my gums. If only he knew how close
he had come to dying.
The afternoon was early and my purpose had been
clearly set the minute I walked into the pub: to appreciate
the company of family and friends and definitely NOT to
indulge in tourists, especially during the day. Sir William
wanted Samuel and me to enjoy our pub visit with the boys.
I am sure he would not have wanted me to risk my identity
becoming public knowledge. I didn’t want to let Sir
William or Samuel down. But the brutal truth would still
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 145
haunt and follow me, whether I could resist doing the very
thing my new nature demanded of me – to kill.
Samuel: I timed her absence, fearing she would return with
a happy tummy and some poor dead slob would be slumped
up against a wall. But thankfully, Magdalene came back
looking only peeved. I went up to the manager with the
wad of cash, who patiently waited for me to produce the
balance of payment.
“The ATM work all right for you?” he asked.
“Didn’t have to use it,” I explained, “My friend kindly
loaned me the money. Here it is in full.”
“Awesome!” said the bartender. “Here’s your
envelope… don’t mind me if I count the money.”
“Yeah no worries,” I said, returning to sit with everyone.
“That was a short visit outside,” I said to Magdalene.
“Do not ask, please.” She huffed, without Kevin or
Derek picking up on the fine point of her comment.
“Good girl.” I felt she deserved a compliment. “It’s
foolhardy to make hasty moves.”
“You and the boys should order food,” sidestepped
Magdalene, with eyes not looking at our table but at the
table before us, where the man from outside returned to
sit, while his wife looked on, staring absentmindedly into
nothing. Meanwhile, soccer raged on the TV screen in full
force. Every warm body taking up space had come with the
sole purpose of watching their favourite sports team. Not
Magdalene. That look in her eye was the same look I had
myself on three separate occasions, when I took the life of
someone, not ever intending on doing so. But instinct often
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 147
“Yeah, I’m starved,” agreed Kevin.
“Me too,” chimed Derek, “You buying, Kev?”
“Beers for everyone!” He loved to joke.
“Nothing for me, Kev,” said Magdalene; her eyes
focused straight ahead.
“She’s got the appetite of a bird,” I said sarcastically.
“People come to pubs for the beer and company,”
“But especially for the sports,” said Derek.
“Darling,” said Magdalene, “Are you not going to open
“I know, I know, I’m stalling,” I answered my wife. “I
want to open it and read what’s inside, then burn the
fucker. I don’t want to even go down this path my father
has sent us on. I know our lives are fucked if I do and yet
I’ll wonder forever if I don’t.”
“Oh you poor boy, our lives are our lives regardless of
what the letter says,” answered Magdalene.
“Talk about fucking drama,” said Derek; he grabbed the
envelope out of my hands. “I’ll read the fucker if you’re too
much of a chicken-shit,” he said.
I picked up my beer glass and laughed, “Go for it, D-
Derek’s dirty fingers pawed at the envelope. He finally
managed to slip one finger into a corner, creating tears like
jagged shark teeth marks. The parchment tore apart.
Magdalene quietly looked over his shoulder. I could tell she
was getting hungrier; just being in the presence of strangers
made her vampire senses come alive. I finished my beer and
waited as Derek prepared himself to read. I had never really
known the background of Derek, how much education he
had had or how literate a man we was but you can tell a lot
about a person by the manner in which they read aloud. An
articulate person reads with confidence, whereas someone
inarticulate makes reading aloud a tortuous thing. Mind and
mouth do not always function in tandem. And so, out of the
148 | Patricia K McCarthy
herbal and cigarette hoarseness of Derek’s own throat, my
father’s letter of instructions went as follows:
Greetings to one and all… thank you for taking the first step in
coming to the Heart and Crown. If your transaction was successful,
you should be poorer by exactly one thousand eight hundred and
twenty-five dollars. Give no thought to this loss whatsoever. Money
is replaceable. Memories, however, are priceless and are forged on
the circumstances of those present and by ‘those present’ I mean the
quality of the character in those people you choose to make part of
“What the fuck is the King of Spades ranting on about?”
“The man loved the sound of his own voice,” I explained
to Derek. “Read on, man. At least I will be able to enjoy a
beer while I wait for dear old dad’s other shoe to hit the
“OK,” said Derek, taking another swig of beer.
Meanwhile, Kevin was well into his fourth ale. I had not
even noticed him going up to the bar, drinking a beer and
ordering another, before coming back to our table. I had
barely drunk mine while Derek nursed his first. Derek
continued with dad’s letter.
“Within the next minute, the bartender will bring a round of
shots, a single-malt, of course. You are required to drink no less
than six each before calling everyone to attention.”
“That’s fucking whacked,” stated Derek, who stopped
reading and looked up at Magdalene and me. The bartender
placed a plastic tray onto our table crowded with no less
than twenty-four full shot glasses. Magdalene would have
no desire to drink, of course, which meant the boys and I
would shoulder the responsibility, dividing her share of six,
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 149
giving us another two apiece, bringing our total
consumption to eight shot glasses each.
“We were given a letter of instructions too,” said the
manager smiling. “You know, this is the weirdest but
coolest thing to happen in the pub.”
“Right fucking on,” said Kevin, reaching for the first shot
glass. “Thanks, V-man.”
“Don’t thank me,” I said, “It’s the old man. He’s up to
One, two, three shots went down like water. Each shot
glass, once drained, was slammed on the table, followed by
four, five and six, burning my body with fire, and then
finally topping off the entire alcohol load with the last two.
The fine single malt warmed my innards. Between me,
Kevin and Derek, multiple arms were dramatically raised,
knocking back one after another. Ordinarily, I didn’t drink
Scotch unless I was warding off the beginnings of a head
cold. At least my father had the good sense to instruct the
bartender to serve single malt. He must have bargained
with the manager to turn a blind eye to the amount we
were consuming. In today’s politically correct world, over-
serving a patron could lead to a suspended liquor license.
Not our bar manager, he looked entirely pleased with how
the events of the afternoon were unfolding, no doubt
bolstered by the huge wad of cash in his pocket. There had
to have been close to eighty bills in his pocket.
“Is the pub paying for these shots?” asked Derek, his eyes
Herb he could handle in copious quantities but he did
not possess the hollow legs of his older brother. Kevin
made it look comical.
“The guy never asked for money and I’m not paying a
cent. Fuck! I just gave him a wad of twenties and fifties for
the bloody letter which said nothing mind you, but then
why am I not surprised?”
150 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Is that like a real question?” asked Derek, coughing as he
finished his eighth shot.
Kevin read the menu looking serene and confident. I
was truly impressed. Eight shots of Scotch and four full
pints barely made a dent in his drinking armour.
Magdalene, on the other hand, hardly paid attention.
Magdalene: Their faces flushed as the warmth of Scotch
heated their blood. Warm blood. Cold blood. It all comes
down to blood. The blood of brothers. The blood of life.
The blood of bonds and of immortality. I half-listened to
Samuel talking with Kevin and Derek. Kevin expertly drank
four ales and eight shots of Scotch and still there was not so
much as one trace of dyslexia slurring his speech. The man
could drink. The man had obviously acquired a tolerance
for alcohol which I suppose is a grand thing for purveyors of
fine spirits but not necessarily for his pocket book. Kevin,
too, would probably make a wonderful vampire, draining
unabated until the lining of his stomach stretched outward
like a balloon. As for Samuel, he was dead drunk with eyes
glassy and happy. My hybrid-vampire husband did not have
a tolerance for alcohol or herb in any amount. His addiction
was lust and my blood and on occasion young women. We
made a curious round table of miscreants.
“You OK Maggie?” asked Kevin, raising yet another hand
to the bartender for yet more ale while Derek looked on
“Yes, Kevin, I am very well. A bit contemplative this
afternoon, that is all,” I answered, waiting patiently for the
wife of the man to rise and exit to the ladies room. I had
decided on her, after all. Most definitely she would be the
one, plump and pasty white, rolls around her mid-section
and rolls above her shoulders with a chubby neck and
stubby meaty fingers. The blood of a rotund woman is
particularly sweet. Sir William had travelled the world in
search of perfect blood. He tasted and took at least one
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 151
woman of each race, settling on his favourite in India.
Canadian men and women, on the other hand, were well
fed on a diet rich in saturated fats. How much happier I
would be if all Canadians paid greater attention to making
healthier meal choices.
“How are you feeling?” I asked of Samuel.
“Very fucking pissed.” He laughed, “Wha’supposed to
“I assume the manager is returning with another
“I can’t drink any more Scotch!” said Samuel, smacking
his dry lips.
“Why don’t I get you another pint?” offered Kevin,
whose arm appeared to hang in mid-air in a perpetual state
of ordering beer.
No sooner did I finish answering Kevin when the
manager returned to our table, handing Samuel another
“How you feelin’ buddy?” he asked.
“A tad drunk,” I replied for my husband.
“Good… real good,” said the manager in a hushed tone.
“Dude, just remember that if I get caught getting you drunk
like this I’ll lose my fucking job so keep a low profile. You
gotta know I just have to see what’s in this next envelope,
after all this time holding onto it, so here it is and I’ll be
watching from the side. Your father said I’ll need to turn
the music off long enough that you can do your business,
whatever he meant by that.”
I reached out and took the item from the pub manager
on Samuel’s behalf, whose reflexes were moving too slow
for me. I opened the sealed envelope using my razor sharp
fingernail, sliding the point into a small opening, running it
across the top, removing and unfolding two sheets; one
sheet with instructions from Sir William that appeared
152 | Patricia K McCarthy
straightforward and simple enough, without any apparent
subterfuge for a change, and the second sheet contained an
old quote which I recognized to be the work of Alexander
Pope, an English poet who died in 1744. Sir William was
fond of English poetry. He merely wanted Samuel to read a
passage aloud and that is all.
These instructions are for you, my son. The purpose will not
readily appear but place your trust and faith in me and follow
blindly like the blindness of drunks whose forethought has been
swilled in a barrel of spirits. Stand up. Stand erect. Raise your
voice and read aloud the passage written out on the second sheet of
“Stand up, darling,” I urged Samuel, who looked
“I should have eaten some butter,” he said, “Just like dad
“Are you feeling a tad light-headed?” I asked my very
“Yeah.” He slurred his speech, staggering to his feet.
“Gimme me that blasted sheet!” he said, grabbing it out of
“Manners, please, darling.”
“OK,” said Samuel, focusing his eyes on the quote and
preparing to read aloud in a booming voice.
“Fuck, I think I got it. OK everyone, listen up,” shouted
Samuel to the patrons. On cue, the music died. The
manager looked on with a gathering of the staff around him,
whispering to one another. One person had even turned on
a small video recorder to capture the moment of my drunk
and disorderly husband about to read loud. If this was Sir
William’s idea of a casual visit, I could not figure out the
purpose and value of having us get totally wasted.
The pub patrons stopped eating and drinking, putting
their glasses down and their forks to their plates. They all
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looked to my husband as though he was about to make a
“Why the fuck am I doing this?” he asked.
“You have everyone’s attention,” I pointed out to
Derek and Kevin looked delighted and amused by the
“Fine,” said Samuel, bringing the parchment closer to his
eyes. He read the following:
“The way of the Creative works through change and
transformation, so that each thing receives its true nature and
destiny and comes into permanent accord with the Great Harmony:
this is what furthers and what perseveres.”
He barely managed to say the words clearly. The patrons
listened and went back to their beers and meals. The music
resumed like nothing happened. It was as though no one
had heard a single word.
“Well, fuck me,” said Samuel sitting down. “That was
embarrassing. What the Hell did I just read?”
Manager and staff applauded Samuel’s half-assed attempt
at oratory enlightenment, while Kevin and Derek laughed.
“A passage on the wisdom of change,” I deduced.
“My father wants me to change?” asked Samuel sounding
like a little boy, confused and unsure of how to react.
“No darling,” I said to my husband, “He wants you to
contemplate the value of change and it is a worthwhile
sentiment given how your life and mine has irrevocably
changed in the last couple of years.”
“I’ll never forgive that bastard for what he did,” hissed
Samuel, his eyes very bright and glassy.
“That is the question, is it not?” I asked rhetorically. “In
this life what are you prepared to forgive?”
“Yeah, that’s what the fuck I wanna know,” replied
154 | Patricia K McCarthy
Refinement is not the pastime of drunkards, although a
seasoned drinker refines their pastime of drinking. I
realized I would not get through to Samuel while his mind
was temporarily polluted with alcohol, the potent mixture
of beer and liquor. Samuel threw the piece of parchment
with the profound quote on the table, at which point Kevin
scooped it up and read it, then looked at Samuel, and
roared with laughter.
“Your old man was a fucking scream,” said Kevin. “Can’t
you smell it?”
“Smell what?” asked Samuel.
“The lemon juice man… the lemon juice,” said Kevin
taking out his lighter. “He wants you to find the hidden
message within the message.”
“How can you be totally straight after four pints and
eight Scotch shots, that’s what I wanna to know?” said
“Four pints?” questioned Kevin smiling, “Man, I’ve been
drinking beer since I got up this morning.”
Kevin confidently held up the parchment with his left
hand and with a lighter, sparked a flame, gingerly holding it
behind the parchment. Like magic, more letters appeared.
Kevin read the next set of instructions:
Congratulations! The first stage has been successfully
concluded. You may now depart the Heart and Crown and make
way to the Highlander Pub on Rideau Street, which is conveniently
a short stagger from where you currently sit. Be brave. Be bold. Be
“I wish the old guy was alive to drink with him,”
observed Kevin with parchment in hand. The singed paper
bore the resemblance of smudged soot. The heat of the
lighter darkened the letters.
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“I’m not fucking going to another fucking pub,” said
His cell phone vibrated inside his jacket. I could feel the
vibrations from across the table. But Samuel didn’t budge,
lost in a fog of Scotch and beer.
“Darling,” I pointed out, “Your cell is buzzing.”
“What?” asked Samuel, reaching across the table to tear
the parchment out of Kevin’s hands.
“What happens to a man who has had too much to
drink?” I asked Kevin and Derek.
“He sees a dog as a fox,” answered Derek.
“What does that mean?” I asked, needing clarification.
“The difference between a dog and fox is six drinks,” said
“Eight shots of Scotch and I’m about to fucking puke,”
“Come, my darling. We shall head out into the cold that
will surely refresh you. But first I need to make a trip to the
The plump woman disappeared behind the entrance to
the ladies room. I floated toward her quietly, watching
calmly to ensure no one had followed. I heard Samuel
answer his cell phone in the distance.
As I entered the washroom, the woman had just closed
her stall door. I knocked gently and waited for her to open
“This one’s taken.”
“I work for the Heart and Crown.” I had lied with
“Oh,” she said, opening the door. “What’s wrong?”
A vampire moves effortlessly, like the seasonal rush of
fall winds whipping up dead leaves into a swirling
synchronized dance of precise mathematical patterns.
Vampire power is authoritative, direct, influential, and all
156 | Patricia K McCarthy
dominating. The force of my body, modern and ancient,
young and old, moved into her decisively, until her back
touched the wall of the stall. She did not scream. She did
not fight. She did not faint. The fright of my fangs
suspended her reaction. Her mouth dropped open, agape in
horror. I plunged two fangs into her neck. Flavours burst
open on my tongue: tart lemon of battered haddock fish
and French fries smothered in ketchup – positively
delicious! It felt like I had consumed her entire meal. The
fullness of her blood entirely satisfied my hunger. I changed
the reality of her moment in time in less than five seconds.
She was no more, dropping down onto the seat. The weight
of her body was too much to endure standing.
Calmly, I closed the stall door and looked into the
mirror - nothing. No image. No Magdalene in the present,
only Magdalene of the here and now, the vampire
Magdalene. I felt gloriously strong and alive. I knew with
absolute certainty that Hell would await me for when the
time would come when I transform from vampire to
nothing. Of course Hell would wait for me. Hell would put
up a gold plaque with my name and photo and underneath
the words would read: Vampire – Killer of Hundreds of
Guilt is like a festering wound that never heals.
Kevin: He’s a blind, hopeless drunk bastard who can’t hold
herb or alcohol. Fuck! I envy Samuel. I used to get drunk
like that when I was twelve and just barely the size of a tit.
Now, I need to drink something like twenty-four beers
before I can even feel anything. I kept the parchment. I
loved the quote the King of Spades had Samuel read aloud.
V-man Sam can’t function without me and D-boy. We
were the best damn runners he had ever known, would
ever know. But fuck! I couldn’t forget what worried me – a
fucking pig came to our door. It meant we were on the
shit-list, for the first time in our history of being Sam’s
runners. I didn’t like it at all. I far preferred being an
untouchable. Now, every time D-boy and I would be at
home, there stood a chance of another cop stinking up our
doorway. Fuck! Samuel shouted over the noise, trying to
finish his cell conversation, the one that he took just as
Maggie went into the ladies room. It must be a wonderful
thing working in a pub. I bet you the waiters get discounts
on ales, the lucky bastards.
“I can’t hear you over the music,” yelled Samuel, “Speak
up for crying out loud!”
Maggie returned from the washroom. She glided into
the area where we sat, with Samuel standing and me
finishing up D-boy’s ale that he had barely put a dent into.
God I love beer and beer loves me. I was so happy about
going to another pub with V-man and Maggie.
158 | Patricia K McCarthy
I know I don’t have a chance in Hell of ever winning
Maggie over V-man but a man can hope and pray. And a
man needs hope to give him reason to get up and pray each
day for beer and herb and chicks.
“I can’t believe you would speak to me this way over the
phone,” said Samuel with disdain, implying that he knew
what the caller was suggesting.
Maggie buttoned her coat, while Derek and I waited for
Samuel to finish his call.
“You’ll regret squeezing me!” yelled Samuel, whose face
Whoever he was speaking to on the phone must have
been a retard to try and bully him. I would fucking love to
see V-man actually do his vampire thing in person.
Watching him kill Jean-Pierre on the DVD recording is one
thing but to witness it in person must be the wildest trip.
It’s the difference between seeing a brawl during a hockey
game on TV and watching one unfold before your drunken
eyes while teetering in the stands. When you’re there, your
heart cranks up a few beats as two grown men pummel
each other over a stupid fucking puck. God I love hockey.
In any other sport, fighting would automatically come with
a suspension but in hockey they get five minutes in the
penalty box and that’s fucking all. Yes, sirree, I love sports,
beer, herb, and chicks that dig me and all three of the
Clearly drunk, Samuel slammed his cell closed, turning
“We gotta talk, babe, about a recent development. I’m
ready to do something risky.”
“Come, my gorgeous boy, let us walk to the next
watering hole and see what fun awaits us.” Maggie urged
Samuel along with a soothing voice.
I fantasize all the time about what it must be like to have
Maggie talk sexy shit into your ear. Samuel is one lucky
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 159
“That’s right, V-man,” I said, “Fear not. D-boy and I are
Derek: You see the problem with booze is that is heightens
the effects of herb, dulling your mind so that you can’t fully
appreciate the subtleties of herb because of the booze. I felt
a little woozy but mostly hungry. Why the fuck didn’t we
order food? Fuck! I think Magpie wanted to get Samuel out
of the pub. Either that or she needed to leave in a hurry.
When you spend time in the company of a hot chick like
Magpie, there’s always an undercurrent of lust and
“Who were you yellin’ at, V-man?” I asked of Sam.
“The Big Cheese stinking to high Heaven,” he answered
with a silly laugh.
Samuel grabbed his coat from the chair and staggered.
He pulled his arm through one sleeve and attempted to
stick his arm through the other sleeve. The bastard was
surely drunk. Magpie had to help him put on his coat.
Kevin picked up the remnants of my warm ale and
downed it. That fucker never wastes one precious drop;
suppose I can’t blame him. He likes beer the way I do herb.
We were perfectly matched as brothers. Magpie certainly
looked content. She must have had a great dump in the
washroom. The only time I look that happy is when I’ve
shit enough for three men.
I didn’t mind drinking the Scotch. In fact, I actually liked
it. Come to think of it, I could develop a taste for Scotch
but only in thimbles, not a full glass. I’d much rather spend
my time and money on cultivating and smoking herb.
Auntie: My wee darlin’, Finn, is full of bouncing beans. His
smile lifts me up. When he naps I tiptoe into his room and
watch him, breathing and sighing. For sure he is a pure baby
boy. But I don’t know what to make of his wayward
parents; my girl Magdalene and her husband, Samuel. Only
160 | Patricia K McCarthy
once did I sneak a look inside that wicked room of theirs,
that room where they play out Devil’s fantasies. Imagine
what my late husband would have thought of them.
Speaking of which, I set out a row of fresh glasses on the sill
in my room, filling each with a dose of dark rum and strong
Stout, just the way he’d like it. Of course those two Irish
boys, Kevin and Derek, are easy to figure out like most
boys, just give them some good food, a clean bed, a reason
to enjoy a drink on occasion and they’re as happy as
newborn babies wrapped in mom’s arms.
Truth be told, I went twice into that attic and saw the
whole kit ‘n caboodle: chains, sticks and whips and a
wretched table the likes of which the Spanish Inquisitor
would boast. For the love of all creation, a sex-craved
husband and wife would best be smart to light a torch to
that table and simply use their fingers and tongues. But then
I have a few secrets myself that need serious praying upon
when I show up at the Gates of Heaven. St. Peter will ask
was I a good girl and I’d have to confess there were times
when my husband tied me up with the cord from the fishing
boat. The smell of raw fish on my husband’s fingers made
us laugh hysterically. He played with me, in that place
down below where womanly scent is the kind of smell a
fisherman knows only too well. And every now and then,
after he had imbibed a good deal of rum, he’d go on a
licking parade and I would stare out the window and watch
the clouds float by.
Samuel: The fucking superintendent had blackmailed me.
He warned that if I don’t open up my books and cut him in
on a better deal with my grow operation, then Kevin and
Derek would go down and me also. I’ve got to tell
Magdalene. Fuck, I’m drunk. It feels like my life is going to
spin out of control today. I may be drunk but I’m no
dummy. I’m pretty sure Magdalene killed someone in the
washroom. Fuck! By the time we make it to the next pub,
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 161
I’ll be face down on the pavement in the middle of fucking
winter, when it’s frigidly cold and some crack addict will
rob me blind. But if that fucking superintendent thinks he’s
going to squeeze me for herb money I’ll threaten to run to
the media about his visits to La Maison Erotique. Tonight,
when we finish up with this stupidity of going to pubs for
my father and his fucked up games, I’m going to sift
through those DVDs Magdalene swiped from Tina’s safe
and find the one that nails the superintendent’s ass to the
mast. The late, great Tina Sharpe, the first dominatrix of La
Maison Erotique, who built up the business, did so through
sheer shrewdness of character. More importantly she knew
to cultivate the right people and how to hold their feet to
the fire. No one stepped out of line with her. Well, maybe
only one: my Magdalene who had killed her in the end. I
don’t particularly care for blackmailing people but if anyone
tries to paint me into a corner, I’m going to take that same
paint brush and teach them a thing or two.
I didn’t need more booze. Now I know why the old man
said eat butter before beginning, in order to line my
stomach insides before wallowing in Scotch. Fuck, I felt
wasted. And Kevin, that Irish bastard, barely showed any
signs of having drunk multiple pints and eight shots. It’s like
he’s just warming up. Derek probably has the right idea out
of all of us, to live one day at a time and never to waste one
hour when you could be sparking up a twisty.
Magdalene: Death lingered in the washroom stall like an
old, foul odour. The residual smell of the woman’s last
breath of life had been expelled from her open mouth.
Every day, in every way, there are those who live with
truth and purity, doing their best to survive while helping
others, struggling and sacrificing, wanting to bring to their
life greater meaning. Most, however, like the poor woman
whose life I had just drained, lived in a fog of apathy. I
sensed her state of being before I plunged my teeth into her
162 | Patricia K McCarthy
plump flesh and juicy artery. What an extraordinary and
diabolical thing to take the life of another. Wild animals kill
as a matter of course to thrive. That is what I have become,
what I am, a re-born animal, whose reason for being is
entirely clear. Kill - I can and have and will again, to be
sure as the sun rises and sets each day. Yet, every cell of my
vampire self wanted to know the ultimate purpose of my
presence. I wish Sir William had told me more before I had
transformed. I wish he had explained how he overcame the
crushing guilt. Guilt never truly hits you across the head at
the outset. Guilt is a kind of virus that infects your body
without you knowing and only when the full symptoms
have shown themselves does your mind realize that it is
being paralyzed. There are two kinds of guilt, that which
we place on ourselves, and that which others lay on us.
Without doubt, the guilt we place on ourselves is the
hardest. And to make matters worse, admitting my love for
Sir William opened up a new sense of mind: when I kill I
feel love for him. I do not think of my husband or son but
Sir William. I wonder if Sir William thought of his
predecessor every time he killed. I have to accept that there
is simply no reasonable way to tell me everything about my
new life. A life unfolds as it is lived. Poor sods go to
psychics and clairvoyants because they want an edge. But
the edge in life is all about attitude. Remorse for the things
you’ve done in the past is good while it is being felt. But
when you wake up the next day, or in my case never sleep
at all, you are best advised to leave your remorse at the
door and move on. That will and should be my new goal -
to learn how to leave my remorse at the door in the care of
those I kill.
The nameless woman is dead, slumped over the toilet in
a pub washroom. Barely an hour after our departure, when
her idiot husband realizes while watching sports that his
wife hasn’t returned to the table, someone will find her
body and call police in a panic; then they’ll pass on the
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 163
breaking details to the press, who will summarily go on the
deep end with more ridiculous conjecture. The headlines
will read: The Vampire Undertaker strikes again in broad
daylight – no one is safe. No one ever was.
I am a vampire. I am deathless. A vampire is concrete:
Killing is an inevitable act of being. I kill. I survive. I thrive.
Lucky for me, no one would possibly think a woman
capable of killing in such indiscriminate fashion.
Kevin: Man, I could spend all day in Maggie’s company,
just to be able to smell her. Now, she smells like the
fucking grass on the front lawns of houses, after the mower
has turned over the blades. And dealing with V-man Sam
when he’s drunk is a fucking scream. The man is so
vulnerable. It’s hard to believe he’s actually a half-vampire.
To think I met his father, a real, honest-to-God full-fledged
vampire in the flesh, even if his death kind of fucks up the
mythology about vampires living forever. But like the news
story said on the boob-tube, Sam’s father is dead and all of
his wealth is gone, given away to charities. Well, I suppose
it’s a cool thing to help the poor. But who the Hell helps
me and Derek?
The Highlander Pub crackled with chatter. We took the
corner booth that looked onto Rideau Street. Practically
every other table was taken in the small pub which was
strategically located in the Market and generally stuffed
with tourists. The cold woke up Samuel somewhat but the
minute we entered the pub with the heat blaring out of
their wall heaters, Samuel staggered, muttering under his
breath about stinking pigs. Maggie looked serene and
content. Her skin glistened with a rosy glow. And her
teeth, man, should have been used as a billboard
advertisement for Crest, either that or a beacon for a lost
ship in the dark night of the black ocean.
I suggested to the gang that we elect one of us to deal
with the manager. V-man Sam was in no condition to speak
164 | Patricia K McCarthy
with the manager, that’s for sure. The minute they would
see his bleary eyes he would be cut off. Someone had to
take control of this drunken situation and deal with the
matter at hand. The King of Spades no doubt wanted Sam
to collect another envelope. I hope he didn’t expect to be
paid because I only carry so much coin in my pocket. After
all, Rideau Street is riddled with crack addicts when the sun
goes down. Forget about worrying about The Vampire
Undertaker. The real vampires are the politicians and
Derek: My fucking balls ached. Lord only knows how many
more of these busy pubs we’ve got to pop. Afterwards, I’m
making myself comfortable at the fuck house and give Pussy
another twirl. I didn’t think my life could get any better
than being a runner for Sam and Magpie but it has. Now, I
get to move into a bigger house and I’m a patron with
special privileges at an exclusive sex house because of my
association with V-man Sam. Man, it would be the coolest
thing to see Sam kill someone when he’s a vampire. I’m not
afraid of death, personally. I learned to accept the death of
my illusions when I was a kid, watching my depressed
mother barely able to get out of bed every day because Dad
was an asshole. Death always reminds me to enjoy life and I
only know of two sure ways to enjoy life: herb and pussy.
Auntie: The glasses filled half way looked perfect on the
sill; dark rum for the old man and Scotch straight up for
mom. I know my niece, Magdalene, will be a good girl and
pour me a glass or two of rum, just like she promised,
when I’m long gone. Best thing really is to sneak a sip when
you can, poured into a cup of coffee to fool the fools.
Maybe I fool no one but self-deception comes cheap when
all you have to answer to is your own lies. I tiptoed into
Finn’s room to check that he still slept, before I would
serve his bottle of ice-cold milk. His eyelids twitched back
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 165
and forth, lost in dreamland. It’s good to live with a baby
again. They remind you that the simple pleasures are having
your bum wiped clean and filling your belly with sugar.
Samuel: My coat was sloughed off, thrown across the chair
back. Magdalene had already taken her seat, placing an
order for more ale for Kevin, forget about Derek. I didn’t
want another drink. Kevin tried to block me but I pushed
him aside and went straight to the main bar and asked to
speak with the manager. I don’t believe I appeared to be or
even sounded drunk but no doubt others would think
otherwise. My eyes were glassy. I felt my cheeks flush red.
Scotch is called Angel’s Breath, going down as smooth as a
baby’s bottom and warming your innards afterward, long
after you’ve taken that first sip. I should have listened to the
old man. I should have done many things differently. If the
superintendent wants to blackmail me then let him have his
day. Tonight after my lovely wife and I return home, I’ll
suggest we surprise the superintendent and kill the bastard.
The papers will go fucking nuts and I’ll laugh my ass off
knowing the truth: a vampire fucks with you, not the other
way around. It’s about time I started behaving like a
vampire who is diluted with half human nature, rather than
a human who is fortified with half vampire. And Magdalene
was due to get her period soon. I couldn’t wait to taste her
divine blood again.
Magdalene: Serenity. Contentment. Guilt. Invincibility.
The pub held within my short reach a plethora of suitable
patrons on whose necks I could feed. But after already
killing one woman, I decided to hold off and instead focus
on the task at hand. Sir William may have preferred playing
games to dealing with the truth but ultimately he delivered
on his word. The treasure hunt Sir William had set Samuel
and me on would mean we were destined to find a surprise
the likes of which the whole of humanity had not ever seen.
166 | Patricia K McCarthy
I love an ominous parade. It propels my curiosity forward.
A new pub: the games had surely begun.
KEVIN: Never leave the work of a master to the mind of a
drunk. I guarded over Samuel. His drunken eyes could
barely focus. We waited.
“Hey, V-man, no worries, my friend, I’ll speak for you,
ya piss tank.”
“Fuck you very much,” shot back Samuel, under his
breath. “I should have had butter like the old man said.”
“Butter,” I repeated, laughing, “As though butter’s going
to help your sorry ass. You can’t hold booze or herb, man.
Remember what you were like after tune ups with D-boy
and me? You could barely think straight. That’s when you
confessed to us, man, about The King of Spades owning a
set of brutal teeth. Man, my advice is stay away from the
booze and leave the serious drinking to me and the smoking
“Spoken like a true substance hoarder!” Samuel laughed.
He peeled off one twenty-dollar bill and tossed it on the
bar, just as the manager arrived. She looked hot too, not
like the guy manager in the Heart and Crown.
“Yes, can I help you?” she asked, looking all of twenty-
“This drunken slob,” I began, “Is none other than the son
of the late great King of Spades, who dealt his son a shady
hand from the grave, a bloody hand mind you from the
body and mind of an ancient biter who lived for hundreds
168 | Patricia K McCarthy
What I mean to say, my fair lady, is that he’s come to
collect a piece of sacred parchment sealed in an envelope in
order that he may read aloud a famous ditty to help shed
some light on an otherwise fucked up life… oops pardon
my foul mouth, my good lady.”
Samuel: The poor girl. She looked more confused by
Kevin’s rubbish than I looked or sounded drunk; her eyes
stared blankly, stuck open like the glass eyes of a wooden
doll with absolutely nothing in its head but pure wool
“Are you aware of an envelope of instructions left behind
by a man called Sir William?” I said slowly but succinctly in
place of Kevin’s Irish overkill.
“Sir William?” she repeated like a parrot.
“Yes, Sir William, tall man, white hair… had a Scottish
accent that you could trip over.”
“Oh yeah…wait up…Carol,” bellowed the manager into
It would be miraculous if anyone had heard anything
given the noise. Tourists with a few dollars to spend and
too much time on their hands suddenly transform into
children with an inability to monitor their own booming
“I’m just the assistant manager,” said Carol the
“No worries,” interjected Kevin. “Might you pour me
ale? I’m a fire hazard.”
“There’s a fire in here?” she asked.
“I have a mean thirst,” explained Kevin, “A cream
Kilkenny, if you please, my good lady and keep your
pouring arm tilted for convenience.”
“OK,” said Carol smiling. “Sorry.”
There it was: the obligatory sorry expressed from a
Canadian student, barely able to muster the slightest
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 169
measure of enthusiasm. Serving the public does not instill in
anyone the desire to interact on a sincere level.
The actual manager came to the bar and stood beside
Kevin waited and watched as Carol poured him ale.
“Yes,” said the manager.
“Hi, I’m Samuel,” I said smiling and checking out her
large breasts. “My father, Sir William Simon Hennessy,
paid your pub a visit at least one year ago and left behind an
envelope I’m supposed to collect. I’m his son, Samuel.”
“The invincible,” threw in Kevin snickering.
“Oh! Really?” she said. “This is like too much. You know
I was having a convo with the national manager the other
day about this weird old envelope we’ve been holding
onto… I mean it’s been pinned to the bulletin board
collecting dust all this time.”
“That’s…those are the instructions I’m here for… that
envelope,” I repeated, expecting her to tell me I had to pay
up or that I had to leave the bar for looking and sounding
inebriated, despite my best efforts at appearing sober.
“Back in a sec,” she said, “I think that old guy must have
paid the manager up front to hold onto it. He left six
months ago when I took over.”
Miraculously she said nothing about wanting more
money. I never offered, although I was prepared to tip her
for her lovely rack. As much as I lust and love my darling
wife, Magdalene, I am not above observing the fine forms
of females. Since Magdalene had transformed I gave up
balling anonymous women in deference to her. There was
of course the issue of my current side-dish of Sandrine, who
was due to be devoured by Magdalene, not literally by way
of killing her but through the sucking of her monthly blood.
I figured it was high time for Magdalene to fully appreciate
my desire for her blood. There was no better way for her to
understand my thinking than by following suit with my
170 | Patricia K McCarthy
“The Kilkenny is on tap here,” said Kevin. “Maybe we
should sit for a bit and eat. Aren’t you starved?” His first
beer had been entirely consumed in less than five seconds.
Beer was nourishment for Kevin.
“Yeah,” I agreed, “I need some grub before I become
Magdalene: My senses tingled, sitting amongst a throbbing
blob of hot bodies, wrapped in winter clothing and wool
scarves. After my bite in the last pub, which was actually a
teaser, I knew I had to behave myself, keeping my
eagerness in check, while waiting for Samuel to come to
our table. Beside me sat Derek, his eyes happily opened just
enough to make out full round shapes. I felt at ease in the
company of Derek. I could probably confess to him the
brutal reality of my identity and knowing him, he would
register the truth through a clouded haze of herb.
“The ladies all love me,” said Derek out of the blue.
“Of course they do. How could they not?”
“Fuck, Magpie, shit, I mean Maggie. I wish all the chicks
were more like you… cool as a cucumber and like totally in
love with your husband.”
“I have my faults,” I said to Derek, subtly hinting about
my evil deeds.
“Babe, from where I’m sittin’ I don’t see any faults, just
a hot body, these gorgeous fucking lips, green eyes, and a
great mind too.”
“You should drink more Scotch,” I replied, “It is like
truth serum for you.”
“It’s really true ain’t it?” he asked, “V-man IS a real V-
man, you know?”
“We have never had this conversation up until now,
Derek. Are you sure you want to go there?”
“Whadd’ya mean go there? I’m already there. I mean
here. Fuck, you know what I mean. Kev and I watched that
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 171
fucked up DVD when Sam bit the shit out of dick-boy Jean-
Pierre. V-man must be an animal in bed.”
“Is that all men ever think about is sex and how good
men are as fuckers?”
“Yeah,” answered Derek matter-of-factly, “When we get
laid, have that beer, enjoy that spliff, watch that sports
show, we just want more of everything.”
“Three-track mind…booze, boning and bongs.”
“God is alive an’ well,” declared Derek. He tilted his
head back and caught sight of Kevin and Samuel talking to a
stranger at the bar. Samuel clutched another envelope while
Kevin presumed to do the server’s job and brought the tray
of beers. This time there were no Scotch shots but that
didn’t necessarily mean there would be none. The night
was still young. My instincts reminded me that Sir William
had only just begun in delivering his games of malice and
My enhanced gift of acute vampire hearing easily tuned
out the extemporaneous noise of meaningless chatter so
that I could eavesdrop on Samuel’s conversation with the
stranger. I was oddly drawn to their dialogue.
“David’s the name,” said the strange man, “David Three
Rats,” he smiled.
“Three rats?” asked Samuel.
Kevin leaned over, “You don’t look Aboriginal,” he said.
“One quarter,” said David, “David Three Rats is my nom
“Oh,” said Samuel.
“I couldn’t help hearing your conversation,” said David
Three Rats, “About being dealt a bloody hand from an
ancient biter who lived for hundreds of years. The subject
of immortality linked with blood is an old one,” he said,
reaching his bare arm behind his body, not even bothering
to turn his head to look, as he wrapped his fingers around
the stem of a full wine glass, raising the goblet delicately
and taking a sip with casual pleasure.
172 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Who’d you really think we were talking about?” asked
Kevin, reaching for a second ale, tilting his empty glass
toward the tap and winking.
“The Vampire Undertaker, of course, who’s all the rage
these days,” said David. “In every paper and talked about on
every radio show. Naturally, I assumed you were discussing
him as an ancient biter and therefore vampires. Blood is the
one remaining mystery in the Universe, the nature and
purpose of menstrual blood versus that of normal blood.”
“Fuck, you’re going to discuss women’s issues. This is
where I exit,” said Kevin, picking up the tray of ales,
heading over to our table. Samuel stood in place. Even
from where I sat I could tell he was in no shape to engage a
stranger in dialogue on the subject of blood. But the more I
heard the more I wanted to hear. Exactly like Derek had
pointed out only moments before, we always want more of
“He’s the sensitive type,” judged David, in reference to
“Forget about him,” said Samuel, “Tell me what you
mean about the last remaining mystery of the Universe.”
“With pleasure,” began David Three Rats, thoughtfully,
finishing the remnants of chilled white wine. His carefully
manicured fingers cradled the glass. I still heard Derek
speak in the background but my hearing remained focused
on the profound point this stranger was about to make to
my husband; my half-vampire husband, who loved to suck
“Science is at a loss to explain the very beginning of life,”
said David, “The moment of actual conception begins from
out of absolutely nothing in the Universe and I mean totally
nothing, the blackest of nothing and menstrual blood is the
very substance from out of which life first begins. Science
hasn’t a clue. No one does but maybe the Vampire
Undertaker is the one who just might have an answer.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 173
“Menstrual blood is the beginning of all life?” questioned
My vulnerable husband, when inebriated, thought none
too clearly. He struggled to comprehend the current
dialogue. But I understood precisely to what the stranger
David Three Rats had referred. Menstrual blood was not
ordinary blood. Menstrual blood carried within its make up
the genetic substance that allowed the beginnings of life to
form without which life could not begin. Ordinary blood
had the power of continuing and preserving life but not to
provide its beginnings. I decided it would be worth my
while to engage Mister Three Rats in dialogue. Erudition
comes from the oddest of places, no less than from
strangers sitting alone at a bar.
“Precisely,” said David Three Rats, “Menstrual blood is
the beginning of all life and paradoxically, mythology
discourages males and females from whole-heartedly
accepting menstruating women. I say explore all you are.
Let your mind grapple with looming life mysteries, and if
need be allow these unanswered questions to permeate
everything, most especially art, which as we all know is but
a mere reflection of the interpretation of life and vice versa.
All to say the nature of blood is the nature of life as
reflected in art.”
“So what do you do for a living?” I asked Mister Three
Rats, coming up to the bar where Samuel stood. I placed
my hand on Samuel’s back and he turned his head.
“Hey, gorgeous girl, I was just about to come to the
table,” said Samuel.
“David Three Rats,” said David, shaking my hand.
“Delighted to meet you,” I answered.
David Three Rats embodied calm, entirely at peace and
supremely confident within the vibrating walls of The
Highlander Pub. The bartenders needn’t have even asked
him if he desired a refill. They automatically arrived at his
174 | Patricia K McCarthy
side any time his wine glass teetered on empty, filling it up
with a fresh swirl.
“No let me guess,” I ventured, “You are an artist.”
“Only in the finest sense of the word,” laughed David
Three Rats, “I take pictures, mostly graffiti.”
“Do you show at galleries?” I probed further.
“On-line only, at present, anonymity is the obvious
advantage, not having to pander to audiences and
expectations,” said David Three Rats.
“Yes, I fully agree with your point on anonymity. It is a
kind of freedom.”
“So you think this Vampire Undertaker is actually real?”
asked Samuel, enjoying his playful banter, fully knowing the
truth, that David Three Rats actually sat beside Ottawa’s
first serial killer, The Vampire Undertaker, married to the
son of a vampire and therefore a half-vampire, another
rarity in the twisted reality of life.
“Without doubt,” said David Three Rats. “It’s about time
humans were confronted with a species other than animals.
We arrogantly cannot conceive of a Universe comprised of
multiple species. I say embrace vampires and their insatiable
need for blood. Humans satiate their thirst for all things yet
they never get enough of what they want. At least a
vampire is primarily interested in one thing - blood.”
“You are a very unusual man,” I said to David Three
Rats. “I would like to speak with you longer but my
husband and I are on a mission.”
“How kind and thrilling for you,” said David Three Rats
softly and, with dexterous rapidity, he reached his hand
deep inside, into his faded, olive green burlap pouch, slung
across his square shoulder, and pulled out a shiny, fire-
engine red digital camera, no bigger than the size of a credit
card. “Might I take one?” he asked ever so politely.
“Sure,” offered Samuel, forgetting that I could not be
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 175
“You make a striking couple,” complimented David
We stood arm-in-arm. I was fully prepared to accept the
reality that I might have to kill David Three Rats, if later he
was foolhardy enough to publicize that his photo only
showed one individual instead of two. Clearly, I was not
thinking like a vampire, for a vampire would have avoided
any kind of exposure to a camera lense but our
subconscious mind often compels us to behave illogically. I
am convinced humans and all species are naturally drawn to
David powered up his camera and held it out front,
positioning the frame dead square to our smiling faces. We
beamed. David Three Rats tripped the shutter like a
professional and snapped a photo, and then looked
immediately at the image on the tiny screen, scrutinizing its
“Well, fuck me sideways,” said David Three Rats, “Only
you showed up,” he said looking at Samuel. “What the…is
wrong with my camera?”
“My image is too much for the lens,” I said jokingly,
pulling Samuel away from David Three Rats, who sat
perplexed by the absence of my image. “It was a pleasure
meeting you,” I finished, as we walked away.
I had hoped David Three Rats would chock up the odd
photo to a camera malfunction but instinctively, I accepted
the fact that art only imitates life at the manipulative hands
of humans and not even digital technology could imitate the
reality of the art of my being a vampire.
DEREK: At last, Samuel planted his ass in the chair with hot
Magpie beside him. And some guy kept looking at us really
seriously like from the bar, holding his camera up to the
bartender talking shit about something. I didn’t know what
the Hell he was doing but it couldn’t have been good. I just
knew I had to get food into me before I’d punch some
asshole tourist, bothering the shit out of me with non-stop
fucking blabber. Man, I was hungry.
Auntie: Finn had mastered babbling a string of four key
words and one sentence: hello, no, oh wow and my auntie
– the sweet darlin’. He adored me. He loved his parents, to
be sure, but he spent the better part of his day with me. Yet
despite the never-ending love he received, I feared for the
child, feared for what kind of world he would grow up in,
what kind of man he would become. And what would
become of his parents? And why in all of creation would
that dark brooding dead man with fangs and Lord only
knows what kind of shady past send his son and wife to a
bristling pub with two clunkhead hooligans like Kevin and
Derek? The longer I cope the more I’m sure the smart
believe in the dead, superstitions and a good dose of dark
Kevin: Who was that guy, V-man?
“David Three Rats.” Samuel slurred some more, before
enunciating his words. “You drunk bastard.”
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“And so the insults begin,” said Magdalene. “I need to be
reminded that when in the company of men insults are the
“Man,” I asked, “Aren’t you gonna open that envelope?”
I wasn’t drunk at all. I drank myself sober. Samuel was
pissed. Derek was stoned as per usual. Maggie acted
completely out of character - anxious. And that little guy,
David Three Rats, or whatever the fuck his name was, kept
on taking pictures from way over at the bar. Every time he
took one, he’d quickly hold up his camera and shake his
head, looking at Maggie, like he was trying to figure out
something that just didn’t make sense. I tell you one thing
next time I go up to the bar I’m going to take a look at that
Samuel: I sat with a foggy head with my wife and two best
friends. In my hand, I held another envelope which no
doubt contained another piece of fucking parchment. I
never expected my father to die easily. After all, being the
only vampire on Earth meant his death had to be dramatic.
He put me through the ringer. After he died, my life had
greatly improved with Magdalene and the baby. Then my
father returns in spirit, by way of a letter, delivered by my
bastard step-brother, Cain, and I find myself stuck in a pub
drinking ales and Scotch having to read aloud. Fuck!
“I’m tearing this fucker open,” I said, hastily ripping
open one end of the envelope and sliding out the piece of
parchment, unfolding it haphazardly.
My father’s penmanship, as to be expected, was nothing
less than perfection, expressed confidently, without errors,
in black ink, like the ancient sacred script from a Franciscan
monk’s very own hand.
Samuel, my son, you find yourself not like your usual self and
feeling vulnerable from the effects of alcohol. The purpose of
imbibing is to lower your guard lest your rational mind not permit
178 | Patricia K McCarthy
the acceptance of new thoughts. I ask you to embrace this hardship
of crawling from pub to pub with inebriated dignity. Remember at
the end you will not be disappointed. Read aloud with eloquence
and sincerity. It is not very often you are given the opportunity to
affect other people’s lives for the better. I tried to impart to you my
worldly advice. Now it is your turn to return the favour.
“That’s fucking simple enough,” interjected Kevin. “Go
on, man…I’m all curious to know what The King of Spades
wants you to read.”
Magdalene: Samuel rose slowly upward on two strong legs
that temporarily faltered, holding his father’s letter and the
second sheet of parchment with the quote. My eyes did not
leave the bar, however, for I watched with keen interest the
ongoing actions of our newly acquired strange friend, David
Three Rats. He continued to snap photos. I fully
understood why, too. He had figured out that I, a simple
woman, am the Vampire Undertaker. His was precisely the
same look Robert Arnold made upon seeing my fangs and
the very same stare the plump woman had given me in the
Heart and Crown - most definitely David Three Rats
needed further watching.
“Yes, darling, please read it to us, before the waiter
comes by to take your food orders. You are going to eat,
are you not?”
“Don’t forget too, man, afterward hold the parchment
up against a flame to see if the King of Spades left another
lemon-juice message. You know, man, this is the second
weirdest day I’ve had in years,” said Kevin.
“What was the first?” asked Samuel.
“That’s easy,” interrupted Derek, “Driving up north and
doing you know what with you-know-who, then coming
back to Ottawa and finding those videos. You know, man,
it’s a wonder that shit hasn’t all come loose.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 179
Derek: It felt almost normal, drinking like a fish with
Kevin, which was totally natural for him. Kevin could
wallow in an ocean of beer, floating across the surface and
occasionally dip his head into the thick, frothing foam for a
drink. Samuel, on the other hand, bobbed and wobbled,
holding the parchment, preparing his throat, ready to speak
over the noise of eating and drinking.
“The lot of every human being is determined by his pains
and his pleasures, and that his happiness corresponds with
the degree in which his pleasures are great and his pains are
small,” quoted Samuel.
“Bravo,” yelled Kevin, clapping obviously harder than
anyone. In fact, only he clapped, urging Samuel to repeat
the quote to ensure nothing was missed. “Louder,” Kevin
encouraged Magpie’s very drunk husband. “Louder, V-
man… here take a swig first.”
Auntie: I could feel it in my bones – trouble was about to
brew up and spill over. I’ve been a fishermen’s wife all my
life and I know the signs: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight;
Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning. Last night was pitch
black and this morning the blinding red sunrise sent a shiver
down my spine. More dead bodies would be found and the
knuckles would come a calling on our door, to be sure,
with a warrant or strait-jacket. I went up stairs to pack a
bag of clothes for me and pull-ups for wee Finn, just in
case. One never knows when they have to suddenly skip
town to avoid more danger. It is the reason why a passport
should always be kept up-to-date.
Kevin: “Who said that?” I asked Samuel. The drunken fool
heard nothing. “Who wrote that, V-man?” I asked again.
Yet, Samuel in his attempt at enlightening us with
philosophy, disconnected from actually connecting with his
180 | Patricia K McCarthy
merry group of travellers. I finished my ale. Samuel
contemplated the words, re-reading silently.
“Go again you drunk bastard.”
“Come on,” he said in protest. “Give me a break. Once
“No one heard you… speak LOUDER,” I declared,
grabbing the crowd’s attention. “Hey listen up, losers, this
fine retard of a man is about to enlighten you all in the
loafers with some profound statement. There, your stage is
set, man. For fuck’s sake hurry up before their short
attention spans vanish!”
Samuel stood up, glancing at the words, repeating the
King of Spades quote about pain and pleasure. Everyone
stopped speaking, stopped drinking, stopped eating and for
a slight second it felt like Samuel had reached into their
little minds and left behind a morsel of profound thought.
Yeah, it is fucking true, man: when your pleasures are great
your pain is small but when your pain is large it’s like the
old man kicking you in the ass over and over when all
you’re trying to do is enjoy a decent fucking hockey game.
“Bravo again,” I said to Samuel, grabbing the parchment
out of his hands. “Now it’s my turn.”
“I believe your father thought of us as a simple group of
minds. He did not leave cryptic anagrams or images with
anamorphosis in mind,” spoke Maggie like a fucking queen.
“Anal warts?” asked Derek, “Now I’m totally confused.”
“Not anal warts,” corrected Magdalene shaking her head,
which made me howl with laughter.
“Ana-mor-pho-sis,” said Magdalene slowly and clearly.
“Anamorphosis is a Renaissance technique whereby another
hidden image can be made out depending on the
perspective of where you were standing. Perspective is
everything, you know, young Derek.”
“Fuck you’re a smart chick,” said Derek.
Derek was totally right. Maggie is a smart chick. Smart
and sexy women are that much sexier than just plain old
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 181
dumb and sexy women. I finally figured out that I’m not
the only one who’s in love with Maggie. Samuel loves his
wife but so do Finn and Derek. Who else fucking loves
Samuel: Kevin clicked his lighter. We all watched. The
flame flickered underneath, barely touching the paper, as
the parchment changed. New letters became visible. The
unusual activity caught the attention of others. I saw David
Three Rats take photos from afar. Fuck! I’m a retard. I
shouldn’t have let that guy take our picture. Now he’ll
either freak out or do something totally stupid. This day
was trouble the minute I ran into the superintendent.
A man drinks, smokes, fucks or eats to comfort himself.
Shit was about to hit the fan: the superintendent; that new
guy, David Three Rats.
Kevin tarnished the entire opposite side of the
parchment and more words appeared.
My dearest Magdalene, I do not regard you as a group of simple
minds, on the contrary. Collectively your imaginations are the
perfect blend of feminine and masculine balance. Whether or not
you choose to learn as you engage in discourse with those you meet
is entirely your choice. Each quote is intended to guide and
enlighten. I must congratulate Kevin for figuring out my hidden
messages. Why at this point in time in my posthumous life would I
flex ego and demonstrate my intellectual superiority to you?
Your next destination is a favourite haunting spot: The Royal
Oak on Laurier, the precise locale where I believe Samuel first met
Kevin and Derek. I have always favoured symmetry. I could have
sent all of you to Montreal where you and Samuel met at the
Picasso exhibit on erotica but that would have been asking too
much of your alcohol-laden minds. After all, I am not a cruel man,
just a trouble-maker. And assuming Samuel regurgitated the
passage with a measure of eloquence, it might interest you to know
that those were the words of one of my countrymen: James Mills, a
182 | Patricia K McCarthy
Scottish Utilitarian philosopher who died in 1836. To my mind it
would have been totally unforgivable and unacceptable if I had
asked you to read aloud a quote from a Scottish philosopher in any
other place than a Scottish pub.
The past is wisdom, the present wonder and the future wanting.
Go now with strength in your hearts and vigour in your step,
however drunk. You will, of course, be required to speak with their
manager to collect another envelope with more instructions.
Magdalene: Derek ordered one of my most favourite
meals, an Angus beef hamburger with sweet potato fries.
Kevin ordered breaded haddock and a mountain of regular
potato fries, smothered in ketchup – he tilted the bottle and
the red sludge oozed out. My very drunk husband placed an
order for onion soup, despite my urging to eat
carbohydrates to absorb the booze. I left my group of men
at the table and pretended to walk to the ladies room, then
backtracked and stopped before him.
“David Three Rats,” I said calmly. I would not utter
threats for these were unnecessary. I merely wanted David
Three Rats to know that I knew he had figured out the truth
of my identity.
“It is a great honour,” said Mister Three Rats, extending
“Is it now?” I asked, reluctantly shaking his hand.
“There can only be one,” said David Three Rats with
calm confidence. “You are the Universe’s answer to the
ultimate question: Are there alternate species and can they
cohabit with humans? The answer of course is yes there are
alternate species and yes they are here to say. And
therefore, if you accept there are alternate species then you
must also accept that these species will naturally assert their
domination over any species with whom they come into
contact. Historically, all new species divide and conquer. It
has been the way for millennia. I could list multiple
examples of how humans have dominated other humans,
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 183
perhaps the White man dominating Aboriginals as being a
fine example. However, I have no desire to even dominate
this conversation. All to say, I would consider it my duty to
protect and serve you and in so doing become your official
taker of pictures. More importantly your philosopher,” he
assured with a smile, pushing his glass of white wine before
me, offering a sip, testing to see if I would be interested in
ingesting regular liquids.
“I think you have had one drink too many,” I stated,
glancing back at my table, where the men inhaled their
food. David Three Rats would not be permitted to thwart
our plans of completing Sir William’s pub crawl. I wanted
to uncover the prized gift, while fully realizing agendas are
like weather, alternating with currents. But when on a
mission, there can be no distractions, however tempting;
the mission is everything and one soft-spoken man would
not set us off on a new course. But if David Three Rats
forced my hand I had no issues with sucking out the blood
of a photographer. I would probably find his blood to be
“That particular word, the word I hesitate to utter aloud
in this tin-can of a noise maker….Let’s just say it beings
with a ‘v’ and ends in blood. I applaud your persona as the
Undertaker,” declared David Three Rats bravely, “And
incidentally yes I should be so lucky to have had one too
He showed absolutely no fear, wrapping his delicate
fingers around the slender stem of his wine glass, lifting it
to his lips, stopping, before taking a sip and making an
additional point. “I think you’re extraordinary. Allow me to
repeat what I said previously, I would consider it an honour
to protect and serve you as your official taker of pictures.”
I laughed. David Three Rats laughed.
“Of course, the odd notion that someone of your special
skills would require a philosopher and picture taker is silly
and entirely ironic but I would ask you to indulge me.
184 | Patricia K McCarthy
Voila… sepia tone, the proof is in the pudding,” finished
David Three Rats, at which point he turned on his digital
camera and clicked the review button, holding out the
camera’s display, in order that I could look at his selection.
The reality of who I am stared back at me in the 2.5”
viewfinder - a slight outline of a body, invisible entirely on
the inside yet visible by the perimeter of my bodily form. I
looked more alien body snatcher than vampire.
“Extraordinary,” exclaimed David Three Rats. “I took
every conceivable photo of every graffiti image there is to
be had in the City of Ottawa but none compare to the
luxurious nothingness of your image. Allow me this
moment to bask in your presence.”
The man’s eloquent diction had stepped off the pages of
a Jane Austen novel. He appeared entirely confident and
assured I would not kill him.
“After all,” started David Three Rats, “The idea of
actually turning you into the authorities is stupid, to my
mind. I do not believe in promoting police efficiency. I am
a laissez-faire man and I say let live those that deserve to live
and let die those who would nourish others. Would you not
I heard nothing of David Three Rat’s words. I absorbed
the image on the screen of my form, standing beside my
husband; him solid, real, full of colour and detail; his smile,
his dark hair, his olive skin, his bone-white teeth; hybrid-
human-vampire husband whose image could be reflected in
glass and in photographic reproductions. But not mine. I am
not human. Seeing my outline in the photo proved to me
that if one anonymous photographer could figure out my
identity in less than one hour it meant I would be fair game
for everyone, and therefore the most sought after villain in
I needed to accomplish three things pronto:
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 185
(1) learn everything concerning the superintendent
incident about which Samuel spoke;
(2) deal with David Three Rats and;
(3) most importantly of all give Samuel what he
ELEGANTLY, KEVIN LIFTS THE GLASS of precious ale to
his parted lips. Samuel, Magdalene and Derek look on,
coats buttoned, waiting and watching. Kevin tips and pours
ale into his wide jaws, the entire glass spills down his eager
throat. Beer magically evaporates. His long, muscled arm
stops pouring and slams empty glass to table, its delicate
structure ringing on the hard wood surface. Broken bubbles
slide along the glass, sucked down by gravity, diminishing
in shape until the essence of ale is nothing. The group
departs the pub’s vibrant chatter. No one speaks, moving
forward as a collective hive with one objective, the next
destination: the Royal Oak on Laurier.
Samuel’s thoughts are almost coherent; the hot onion
soup seems to restore his mental clarity and physical
strength. Derek brings up the rear; acting as official
protector, his kick-ass boots dragging on the ground,
scraping the back heel, wearing down its sharp edge to a
slanted, pronounced instep. And following two entire city
blocks behind, skulks David Three Rats, who assures
himself he has gone unnoticed. But Magdalene is keenly
aware of him. In fact, she is the only one in the group of
drinkers not afflicted with the weakness of intoxication.
Her belly and body are designed for blood, not for alcohol,
and winter is her favourite season.
190 | Patricia K McCarthy
The air is whipped up with wind and snow; a dusty
flurry, whitening the half moon. The time is 5:30 PM.
Magdalene does not know where or how the night will end.
She wishes she possessed Sir William’s sharp intuitiveness.
She only knows at this time and place, with her husband,
and two friends Kevin and Derek (and one foolish
photographer following behind) that being in the presence
of warm bodies in multiple pubs only worsens her hunger.
Magdalene’s hot body brushes up against her husband’s.
She drags her fingers across his crotch and speaks
suggestively into his ear.
“You are so overdue, my love,” she whispers.
“Where?” asks Samuel, knowing her intentions.
“When we arrive at zee Oak.” Magdalene is a tease.
“Promises… promises.” Samuel squeezes her hand while
making his sarcastic comment.
Magdalene wants to bolster Samuel’s flagging spirit,
induced in part by alcohol but also due to his intense hatred
for his dead father’s games. What she truly desires,
however, is to question him in private about the worry that
troubles him greatly.
Kevin shuffles on Rideau Street at King Edward. He
gives away cigarettes to indigents, specifically to one buddy
who sits outside the liquor store in his wheelchair, despite
the frigid temperatures, with no feet or complete fingers.
Kevin happily places a lit butt between the man’s two stubs.
“Here you go, man,” says Kevin, patting his friend’s
shoulder in a gesture of goodwill, not bothering to confirm
if Samuel and Magdalene or his brother lag behind. He takes
their company for granted. He knows the next pub is close.
For Kevin the pub-crawl is joyful entertainment, a rite of
winter passage, to build up resistance to the biting cold
through the consumption of alcohol, thereby rendering his
body impervious to cold and viruses. What better way to
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 191
celebrate winter than to be joined by family and friends
inside a warm pub?
“Samuel, now is a good time, my gorgeous boy, to tell
me what you wanted to tell me,” says Magdalene, holding
“About what?” he answers coyly. “Let’s talk instead
about what you plan on doing to me once we stagger to the
“Now, darling, I mean it. There is more going on than
you are aware.”
“Oh yeah?” inquires Samuel. “I’m on to you, girl. I know
you drained someone at the Heart and Crown, don’t try to
hide it from me.”
“You are unfairly changing the subject.” Magdalene
protests. “What is up with the superintendent? Tell me now
or you will not get any in the pub.”
“Yup here we go again. Women and sexual blackmail go
together like crows on a hydro line.” Samuel laughs.
Samuel’s expression is serious. He realizes he needs to
broach the subject of his wife’s notoriety as the Vampire
Undertaker. Soon the city streets will be placed under
curfew if the dead body count rises. He wants to tell her
that everything will be fine, that their lives are perfect and
whole and rightly balanced but he knows better than to
make these foolish declarations. Now is the time for him to
confess the details of his conversation with the
superintendent and more specifically about his implied
threats and insinuations. Samuel’s instinct screams to him
that the superintendent has an unpleasant surprise in store
for the Crimsons. But instead, he pushes his worries down,
burying them deep within as a way of diminishing their
importance, and decides to tell Magdalene nothing more
than the bare essentials, anything to throw her off.
192 | Patricia K McCarthy
“The superintendent,” begins Samuel, “Thinks he knows
who killed Tina and Constable Fagan and he’s put two and
fuck-all together and figured out that I must have had
something to do with all the dead bodies in the city.”
“He thinks you are the Undertaker?” asks Magdalene; she
“He didn’t so much as say it out loud but he hinted at it,”
“Why and where did you run into him?”
“You know where…at La Maison Erotique.”
“I see… you made an unscheduled visit without me,”
states Magdalene, feeling hurt and left out.
“Nothing of the sort, babe, actually, I arrived at the
brilliant idea of introducing Sandrine to the house. She’s a
perfect fit,” says Samuel, happy that the dialogue on the
superintendent has been expertly re-directed to the subject
Magdalene looks long at her husband, and contemplates
his words. Taking Sandrine to the house of pleasures means
that at some point in time she will be sampled by Kevin and
Derek whom she knows are regular clients. The amoral
complexity of sexuality is truly an ever-changing landscape.
As much as Magdalene regards herself as sexually liberated,
she no longer wishes for her husband to partake in
Sandrine’s young body, nor does she want Kevin and Derek
to sample her either. Instead, she thinks Sandrine would
make a tasty meal. The truth of her vampire persona sinks
in deeper; the more people she drains the more she is filled
with a desire to keep on draining.
The group arrives at the Royal Oak, which is as busy as
every previous pub they have hit. Pub life bubbles and
crackles in the City of Ottawa. Magdalene feels right at
home and opens the heavy door, holding it ajar for her
group of wily men. She feels tempted to taunt David Three
Rats by waiting for him to arrive but her curiosity prefers to
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 193
allow him to enter alone, thinking he can continue to play
his game of monitoring her.
The pub is dimly lit with the television volume cranked
to an all-time high as sports analysts dissect the hockey
drama from the night before. Patrons crowd the bar and
every table is taken with the exception of one table off to
the far right, behind the front entrance, tucked away from
the regular set of tables and chairs to the front of the pub.
“Over here, lads,” says Magdalene pointing to the
corner, where the last empty table waits by divine
providence, as though Sir William ensured prior to their
quest for the ultimate gift in all humanity that nothing
would thwart their intentions.
“Kevin, please snag that corner table with Derek. And
Samuel would you kindly follow me? I need to speak with
you in private for a moment,” she asks of her husband.
Samuel is only half sober; the walk from the Market to
Laurier has helped greatly but he is nonetheless highly
susceptible to the deleterious effects of alcohol and once the
warmth of the pub settles into his body, he immediately
behaves with newfound drunkenness.
“Why?” Samuel does not pick up on Magdalene’s subtle
“I swear to God, Samuel, if Auntie were here right now
she would call you a clunkhead idiot for asking.”
“That’s actually clunkhead hooligan,” corrects Kevin.
“We is clunkheads.” Kevin laughs “Beer and more beer!” He
yells loud enough that the hostess might hear him. He does
not want to take any chance and pulls a fresh twenty-dollar
bill out of his pocket and waves it in the air. “Oh, hostess,
my darling, please come at once! We need to get more ale
into you, V-man, before you go to the bar for another
Derek merely laughs at his brother’s foolish antics and
reaches into his back pocket for his pouch; preparing to step
into the men’s washroom for a quick hit off an herbal treat.
194 | Patricia K McCarthy
Samuel does not hear Kevin. He watches his wife walk
toward the stairs that lead down into the Royal Oak’s party
room, the room reserved especially for obnoxious sports
bashes to avoid heaping abuse on regular patrons; and
where occasionally poetry readings are also held on Sunday
afternoons. By divine providence yet again, the room is
empty. Magdalene waits for her inebriated husband to join
her. She pulls out her pocket mirror, a habit, and looks at
the polished glass. There is still no image, absolutely no
likeness whatsoever of her vibrant complexion. But
Magdalene’s luscious lips have not changed; they are the
very same lips men lusted for in the past and the very same
lips men will continue to lust for in future. She waits
patiently for her husband to figure out that he needs to
come downstairs, while simultaneously using the quiet of
the moment to reflect on the intent of the superintendent’s
conversation with Samuel. Logically, she deduces he is
blackmailing Samuel over his illegal grow operation and
wants to broker a deal to supplement his income.
Magdalene waits and waits, biding her time, thinking
about Sir William’s compassion; he remembered every
single woman he drained, over three hundred thousand.
Magdalene is not taken aback by the profound sense of loss.
Rather, a very old dream reawakens in her memory:
walking along a pier; the smell of oil hangs in the air; Sir William
holds her hand. She comprehends at that moment why she
dreamt of Sir William; oil is a desired commodity and he
represents that part of her that desires ultimate power. In a
heartbeat, Magdalene comes full circle with her thoughts
and reaches the conclusion that a pre-emptive attack is best.
The demise of the superintendent is not only duly needed,
but now a fact of death. The safety of her family is
paramount. She tilts her head upward, listening to the
sounds of her husband’s hand slide along the wall, bracing
himself for support.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 195
Samuel gingerly navigates his way down the staircase,
nearly tripping and cursing to himself over the narrow
construction of the steps.
David Three Rats tentatively peers inside the Royal Oak,
expecting to run into the Vampire Undertaker. He counts
his lucky stars that it was he who found her before anyone
else. She is the one! She is a bona-fide vampire; a vampire
endowed with inviting strawberry blonde hair and a robust
bosom; the woman whose identity none would suspect but
him. David Three Rats bubbles with enthusiasm. His plan is
simple: patience. He slinks up to the bar hiding under a
dark blue baseball cap, tucks himself in between two rotund
patrons and whispers to the bartender, “Pour me a glass of
“What?” asks the distracted bartender.
“For the love of Mike,” exasperates David Three Rats,
raising his voice, “White wine, man! No wait, make those
two glasses. It’s wise to save time and make them chilled
would you please. A sip will take my mind off the fact that I
am perpetually surrounded by Philistines. Is it any wonder
why a man drinks on occasion?”
Finally, Samuel enters the private room in the basement
of the Royal Oak. Magdalene is on her knees, hands held in
prayer, bowing her head, waiting for her husband, who
upon seeing his wife standing erect and upright on her
knees, breaks up laughing. He unzips and pulls out his cock,
flaccid and warm. A pending blowjob in public turns on the
lust he carries for his wife and his mind attempts to focus.
“I don’t know, babe, it could be a futile exercise...
brewer’s droop, you know what I mean?”
196 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Nonsense,” assures Magdalene, whose gorgeous mouth
instinctively wraps around his cock while her hand tightly
squeezes the base. The sounds of intense sucking increase in
volume. Magdalene’s head bobs back and forth; she stops at
the tip and flicks her tongue across his penile opening,
causing Samuel to harden fast. Her movements are graceful
and purposeful, practiced through several years of marriage
and in bestowing on her husband lust for his cock to rival
any wife in Canada.
The feel of her silky smooth tongue against his cock skin
is intoxicating. Samuel closes his eyes and strokes
Magdalene’s hair. Despite feeling and acting drunk, the act
of receiving fellatio awakens his senses and he is once again
in the game, able to think and act clearly. He does not want
the blowjob to end; the warmth of a hot mouth; the
wetness of a probing tongue; the compression of full lips
bearing down on cock skin, all contribute to the experience
of feeling alive. But his thoughts turn to the task at hand.
He remembers that another envelope must be collected
from the bar manager in order that he can make a complete
fool of himself in front of a group of strangers. Samuel
laughs at the ridiculous day he has spent with his wife and
two runners. He wonders how his son, Finn, is doing with
Magdalene’s aunt, thinking that when they return to the
house, they will all go out for a bite to eat and celebrate the
end of his father, the absolute, final end. Afterwards, he can
consider how and what to do with the superintendent. An
unannounced visit to Kevin and Derek’s apartment tells
Samuel there is more to come from “Ottawa’s finest”; only
he is too afraid to contemplate the reality of the situation.
He either cuts the superintendent in on his grow-operation
or faces the consequences of refusing to do so.
Magdalene’s sucking is supremely skilled. She feels the
thickness of her husband’s cock and closes her hand around
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 197
its girth, squeezing and releasing, while her lips suggestively
cascade from tip to base. Her concentration is so focused
that she has no sense of what is about to happen.
MAGDALENE’S ACUTE VAMPIRE EARS automatically pick up
the smallest of sounds, human, animal or mechanical, while
loud noises filter through her mind. She hears footsteps
linger at the top of the stairs but is not moved to desist.
Sucking off her husband is proving to be difficult. Finally
forced to, she stops.
“Are you at least concentrating?” asks Magdalene.
“Sure am,” smiles Samuel. “What are we going to do
“Concentrate!” Magdalene orders in a pleading tone.
“Fuck!” exclaims Samuel. “I’m no good with booze…
kills my hard-on. Hey babe isn’t it great taking longer than I
normally would, eh?”
“Cain will be invited to stay in the city,” says
“What?” Samuel is enraged. “You’ve got to be kidding
Magdalene squeezes his cock to stress her point – the
decision is final. She hides the truth of her real reason for
wanting Cain to remain. His presence will serve a greater
purpose after all.
“How can I ask him to leave?” asks Magdalene. “We
have no authority over who stays or who has to leave in
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 199
“Don’t squeeze my wiener,” says Samuel. “It hurts
when you do that and how come I have no say in this?”
“My darling gorgeous boy, you know Auntie always
speaks the truth and she says that the woman of the house is
actually the man of the house because the man of the house
is really the woman.”
“What the fuck? I’m not following you.” Samuel
remarks standing oddly with a droopy cock, admiring his
wife’s engorged lips; red and puffy from the friction of
dragging up and down. “I can’t recall Auntie ever using that
Magdalene ignores his comment and resumes sucking
vigorously. A stranger walks into the room. Magdalene
reacts instinctively to the intrusion, chiding herself for not
paying full attention. She bears fangs at the stranger,
hissing; large canine teeth erupt, sloping neatly into a point,
curving out of her upper jaw – enormous fangs. The
stranger freezes in place, staring at the unbelievable sight –
a vampire! In a hot breath of a second, Magdalene releases
Samuel’s cock and lunges, not considering the implications
of her actions, merely reacting by instinct. She plunges
fangs into neck and drains the stranger in seconds; a medley
of tasty flavours explodes on her tongue: Portobello
mushroom salad with pecans and goat cheese, red pepper
and red onions in strawberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing –
Samuel doesn’t move with his cock still hanging out, not
speaking, and observing for the first time as his wife sucks
out the blood of a live human. He is in awe of her power;
the little hairs on his arms rise and he feels a wiggle down
his spine. His own understanding of the power that he
himself used when killing people grows, although he does
not feel the same sense of remorse. Watching his wife drain
a human excites him. Samuel’s recollection of the deaths he
caused by his own hands is vague but the impression his
200 | Patricia K McCarthy
wife has just left on his mind is like fire, seared into
“Jesus,” says Samuel. “You’re such a dumb, young
The dead body drops like a lead weight to the floor.
Magdalene turns to Samuel with a smear of blood at the
corner of her mouth and does not flinch.
“Is it my fault that he interrupted us?” she asks.
“Yeah…for sure it is. You look happy though. How do
you feel?” asks Samuel.
“Spectacular, powerful, invincible… horrible, reviled
and guilty too. I tasted his last meal,” says Magdalene,
looking with graveness at the lifeless lump on the floor,
welling up with tears at the loss of another nameless man
who stepped into the wrong place at the wrong time.
Magdalene’s guilt is crushing but her rational mind thinks
that the capricious balance of life is reaffirmed. Some live.
Some die. Some tell the tale to others.
“Well you’re not getting any more today! For crying out
loud! How many does that make today?”
“Only a few,” answers Magdalene, whose fangs recede.
“I never planned on our day unfolding like this. I started the
day with good thoughts and only planned on having one….
Things just happened, you know?”
“THINGS DON’T JUST HAPPEN!” yells Samuel,
letting his anger explode.
“DO YOU THINK I ASKED FOR THIS?” screams
“Asked for what?”
“To become a vampire,” states Magdalene. “It has to be
“What… my fault? You’re assigning blame to me? Do
you think I asked to be born the way I am, huh?”
“Well I never asked to be transformed into one that is
for sure… Your father did this to me!”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 201
“Yeah, right!” scoffs Samuel, “That’s why you were so
adamant about going on this fucking pub crawl because my
father said we should. I never wanted to go but you
insisted,” says Samuel, pointing his finger at his wife.
“I still believe we are smart to be here, regardless of
what has happened. I do not and simply cannot anticipate
everything that is going to happen,” retorts Magdalene.
“You mean you don’t and you can’t,” snaps back Samuel.
“Why the Hell can’t you speak in contractions anymore?”
“I DO NOT know,” answers Magdalene, shaking her
“You don’t!” yells Samuel.
“I DO NOT and I CANNOT!” shouts Magdalene. “So
now the truth is out. I am to blame,” admits Magdalene.
“No you’re not,” reassures Samuel. “But the police will
lay the blame on you for this,” he says, pointing to the dead
body. “We can’t just leave him here.”
“We can hide the body inside, under the tables. No one
will notice until the room is used. And where do you get
off calling me a young, dumb vampire?” asks Magdalene,
“And how come you changed the subject when I asked you
about the superintendent. You did not just run into him and
just chat. There is more going on than you are admitting to
me. Are we in any danger of being raided again? Is he
“You ARE a young and dumb vampire, killing like a
drunken sailor and for the record, I didn’t get off, you
know, this is the first time you failed me.”
Over their ridiculous argument, Magdalene hears a
digital mechanism click and looks past her husband to find
David Three Rats, smiling, showing no signs of fear.
“I camera in peace,” he says, holding up his instrument
for all to see.
202 | Patricia K McCarthy
Magdalene and Samuel stare long at David Three Rats,
causing him to doubt his bravery to come down the stairs.
He stands like a stalwart; his army-green surplus pouch
precariously slung across his shoulder, his beard growth
barely stubble, his cap low across his eyes.
“We are the only ones here who know the truth. I knew
to follow. This historic moment needs to be documented,”
assures David Three Rats.
“Are you completely out of your fucking mind?” asks
Samuel, still deciding whether or not to kill him but
stopping himself based on the fact that multiple people have
died while on their pub crawl. Again he blames his father
for the predicament, whose quest for the ultimate gift in all
humanity caused the trouble in the first place: Cain
returning to deliver the first letter; Magdalene being
tempted by patrons in pubs; and he not possessing the
influence over his wife to prevent her from acting like a
In fact Samuel’s curiosity builds. He now wants to know
how the day will end and what will become of the situation
with dead bodies and the superintendent. Will a swat team
raid their house again, just like his wife had asked, and if so
what will become of Auntie and Finn?
“How delightful to listen to your lovers’ quarrel,” offers
David Three Rats, holding out his camera in order that the
view finder could be looked at; the image of the man on the
floor is bold, colourful, tiny droplets of blood appear at the
neck; the holes plainly visible.
“We are regrettably influenced to death by pop culture
and admittedly I too have fallen prey. I expected you to
leave behind a desiccated carcass. But he actually looks
plump, just a little pasty white. Fascinating,” comments
David Three Rats, whose eyes cannot tear themselves away
from the dead body. Finally, he looks at Samuel and his
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 203
“Um, you may want to holster that Colt 45 revolver
cowboy.” David Three Rats points to Samuel’s flaccid cock,
sticking out of his jeans.
“Fuck!” Samuel quickly re-inserts and starts to laugh.
“Imagine if I walked back up stairs looking like this?”
Magdalene is not amused by the exchange. She stands
before David Three Rats and is entirely supreme; her belly
full, her breath slow and easy.
“You are a foolhardy man, Mister Three Rats,” she says
“Only after I’ve imbibed a few drinky-poos,” answers
David Three Rats; he smiles weakly. “But I assure you these
pictures will not hit the press, not so much as one stinking
newspaper in this God-forsaken city will have access to
them. I wouldn’t dream of debasing the experience by
giving credence to primordial media thieves. I don’t fear
my death, should you wonder. I actually fear living to a ripe
old age and becoming feeble and dependent on some fat,
mean old cunt of a nurse in a retirement home where only
the depressed go to die. You, on the other hand,” he says,
pointing to Magdalene, “Will not know that kind of end.
Immortality shall always follow behind you like a shadow to
a great oak tree.”
Samuel laughs some more. He zips up and walks up to
David Three Rats, lowers his eyes to his level and speaks
into his face, “Well, Mister Picture Taker, you have rung a
bell that should not have been rung in the first place.”
“Ringing bells is my forte,” answers David Three Rats
stoically, whose eyes are drawn again to the body. He
desperately wants to take more photos of the man but stops
himself, this time fearing for his life.
Magdalene’s glaring stare remains glued to him.
And Magdalene, having killed multiple people in one
day, when in fact her intention was never to drain more
than one a month to avoid becoming like her predecessor,
204 | Patricia K McCarthy
is feeling generous in spirit and decides at that moment to
leave David Three Rats alive. She walks past him, grabbing
her husband’s hand, pulling him back up the stairs with her.
Before leaving the area, she turns to David Three Rats and
calmly orders, “Pull the body into the closet then,” she says,
“If you really want to help the way you say you do then take
care of the disposal.”
The circle of symmetry closes. Magdalene enforces her
vampire code and co-opts an innocent bystander to make
him complicit in her crime, exactly in the same manner Sir
William co-opted his hybrid sons Raven and Cain to help
dispose of the multitude of women he had drained.
David Three Rats admires Samuel and Magdalene as they
ascend the stairs, back up to their waiting friends, Kevin
and Derek. He looks back at the body and closes his fingers
around his itsy bitsy red digital camera, waiting for his
newly acquired vampire friend and husband to leave him
alone, to complete his duty.
In silence, David pulls the body further into the room
and begins his soliloquy in a delicately toned-voice.
“He who dares wins and a picture is worth a thousand
words. A photograph naturally conveys compassion for the
dead with more poignancy than actual emotions are capable
of… alas, human emotion is fleeting. The mind does not
want to remember the horrible, but humanity must
confront the cowardly instinct to avoid the terrible. I am
blessed to be part of the beginnings, the miraculous
evolution of a new species on planet Earth and like all new
species the compulsion to dominate is inevitable. The white
man obliterated Aboriginals and wiped out the free plains
culture. The British co-opted Maharajah princes in India to
subdue the lower classes. Humans are naïve to believe a
visitor from another Universe would bring peace. In reality,
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 205
vampires, alien visitors or any new life form will impose
their will upon others because this is the natural thing to
do. Vampire punctures with a trace of blood suggest
innocent and unfortunate victim. I thank you corpse for
your timeliness and generosity and may your travel to
Heaven be a smooth one,” says David Three Rats, making
the sign of the holy cross.
Tears well up in his eyes and drops roll down his cheeks.
He wipes his eyes with a backhand swipe. The untimely
death of an innocent man greatly affects the depth of his
compassion and emotion. Yet he applauds himself for
having the gumption to follow Magdalene, despite not
having been formerly introduced. It is enough that he has
met her and been accepted. His heart fibrillates with the
excitement of the day; the electric anxiety pounding in his
veins. She didn’t even make a play for me, thinks David
Three Rats. He aims the lens and snaps multiple angles; the
flash exploding like a bomb, illuminating the picture of
stillness and death.
Magdalene and Samuel return upstairs and go straight to
Kevin and Derek, who have already ordered several
pitchers of ale; one of which is half finished. Kevin holds the
third envelope, unopened, waiting patiently for Samuel and
Magdalene. The noise in the pub rises to a furor as the
sports channel replays over and over, for the fiftieth time,
an impossible save, having prevented the opposing team
from taking the lead. Kevin is thrilled with the playback of
yesterday’s game and in particular the graceful skill of the
Ottawa Senators goalie. He remains completely oblivious to
what just occurred in the basement. Derek, too, sits quietly
watching the television from the far distance where their
table is located; his eyes blood-shot and mere slits. Neither
of the Coffey boys is concerned with time or worry; their
lives are the perfect balance of runner and friends to the
206 | Patricia K McCarthy
only two important people in their lives, Samuel and
“Hey, V-man,” begins Kevin, “Check out the hockey
highlights. You’re missing them, man, and what the fuck
were you two doing down in the basement?”
“Adding more spice to our lives,” answers Samuel, taking
his seat, looking at Magdalene with disapproval but keeping
his eyes on the entrance to the stairs to see if David Three
Rats returns promptly. He is filled with worry. The impact
of the day hits hard. Once more his drunkenness envelopes
his body and mind. Samuel reaches for a freshly poured pint
of ale and downs the entire contents.
“I see you collected the envelope, Kev, did the manager
want moulah?” asks Samuel.
“No way, man, I sweet-talked them into giving it to us
for nothing, providing you agreed to purchase at least four
pitchers of ale.”
Derek laughs and points at Samuel. “You have to guzzle
an entire pitcher before you can read the next letter, man.
That’s what the manager said when we went to collect. The
King of Spades left instructions that the manager wasn’t
supposed to give you the envelope until you drank a full
pitcher in front of him. So, Kevin explained to him that
you’re a first-class pussy and you can’t hold your beer any
more than you can handle a few hits off a spliff.”
“Fuck off,” declares Samuel to Derek.
“I gave the manager a spliff,” whispers Kevin, “He’s like
totally on our side, man, turning a blind eye to your
alcohol-pissed head, so here you go,” says Kevin, pushing
the pitcher to Samuel’s side of the table, “Hurry and drink
it so you can open the envelope.”
Samuel takes the envelope from Kevin, knowing his
father is not yet finished with playing games. One part of
him wants to open the envelope and the other part wants to
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 207
put a bullet in his father’s head, were it not for the fact that
he died over one year ago, evaporating into tiny particulate
matter. He leans back in his chair, while Kevin looks at the
manager, laughing and nodding his head, acknowledging
that yes indeed Samuel will soon consume the entire
contents before opening the envelope.
Samuel lifts the pitcher up to his lips, preparing himself
to drink the entire thing in one fell swoop. Magdalene says
nothing, feeling in her heart of hearts that everything is just
simply wrong with this picture.
PLAYING IN THE KITCHEN with pots and pans pulled out of
the bottom stove drawer, Finn farts unusually loud for a
two-year old child and erupts into laughter.
Auntie laughs along with him. She sets about pouring
another round of dark rum for her late husband, for extra
luck, including a full pint of stout, resting both glasses
delicately on the kitchen window sill. She feels trouble
crawl up her spine like a cold chill; a pounding knock is
heard at the door.
“What the blazes do you want?” asks Auntie of the
police constable. She does not stand back and invite him in;
she holds the door partially open, bracing her foot at the
bottom to prevent the constable from entering.
“Is Samuel Crimson at home?”
“Who?” Auntie toys with the inquiry.
“Samuel Crimson,” repeats the Constable, opening his
notebook to ensure he has the right address and correct
name. “His wife is Magdalene Crimson.”
“What no-good nonsense have you got brewing up for
them?” asks Auntie; her dander rises and her mouth is on
the verge of another tart reply.
“I’m afraid that’s police business, ma’am… Are they at
“So it’s both you want now not just Samuel?” asks
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 209
“ARE THEY HOME?” The constable raises his voice in
a display of pathetic authority and anger.
“Don’t get all high and mighty on me, boy! I raised
eight children from brats to adulthood before you were
born and if I had half a mind I’d put the boot to that rear
and smarten you up.”
“What is your name?” asks the constable.
“Mary McGee.” Aunt Aileen lies convincingly.
“Do you live here?” asks the constable.
“Be a good lad and be off before I crack your lip with
my backhand. And while you’re at it, leave a call back
number and I swear to the All Mighty I’ll slip the note
under his nose.”
“For fuck’s sake!” exclaims the constable.
“Listen, boy, don’t pull that rude language on me. I
know you’re just trying to do your job, however, useless it
may be, but whoever it is you think you’re going to round
up you’re best off to pop a stick of Wrigley’s in your mouth
and have a good chew. Of course you know, boy, gum in
my day was just plain old spearmint and peppermint and if
you were lucky you’d get half a stick to make last for the
entire bloody day. Now in this high fallutin’ modern world
where the young can’t be bothered to wait to save up for
anything and where advertising is king, they sell Wrigley’s in
fancy-schmancy packages that only a genius could open and
flavours that would curl your toes, you know?”
The constable doesn’t bother to decipher Aunt Aileen’s
gibberish and lowers his voice to a suppressed tone of rage.
“Tell Mister Crimson he is wanted for questioning.
Either he comes willingly into the precinct or we’ll come
and collect him,” says the constable, extending a slip of
paper on which his name and number are written, including
the address of the headquarters.
“Good gracious, boy, haven’t you got anything better to
do than work yourself up into a tizzy over one law-abiding,
210 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Mrs. McGee, I’m noting in my report that you were
non-cooperative and a nuisance.”
“If you were my boy I’d have filled your head with
porridge and several smacks across the top of the head
every bloody day of your unborn life. Now go home with
your dirt before I lose my patience. Besides, there must be
a parking meter in violation somewhere outside or a
doughnut shop where you can park your caboose and
lollygag the day away!!”
Auntie slams the door hard in his face, quickly shutting
close the lock. She glances at the suitcases in the hallway
packed earlier in the day for her and Finn, thinking which
hotel would be the ideal place to drop the bags and
disappear for a day until Samuel and Magdalene return
Auntie places a call to Magdalene on her cell phone and
reaches voice mail, leaving a message, assuming Magdalene
will have the good common sense to check it.
“Child, don’t come home in a hurry. A copper came to
the door and wants to question Samuel but he didn’t say
about what. Can’t be good, that’s for bloody sure. Now
don’t you worry, child, I’ve packed a wee bag of clothes
and bottles for Finn and we’re going to head out, might just
as well go to the pub down the street for a wee sip before
we’re off. I’ll ring you again with our whereabouts. God
Auntie hangs up. Her strong, sturdy legs walk back into
the kitchen and bend over, picking up Finn. The last thing
she wants to do is disrupt his playtime but her instincts are
as sharp as the day when she married. She knows it’s time
to collect the baby and depart before any more shenanigans
occur at the Crimson residence.
Kevin is having as much fun as he did surviving the
brutal mosh pit at Lollapalooza in Montreal. Clearly he is
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 211
enjoying the spectacle of watching Samuel finish off a
pitcher of ale. Kevin lends his moral support and urges
Samuel on, “You can do it, V-man, glug, glug, glug!”
Students in the pub are drawn to Kevin’s boisterous
enthusiasm. They take their eyes off the flat screen TV,
watching Samuel hold the pitcher up high. Beer flows into
and out of his mouth, spilling copious quantities. His neck,
shoulders, cheeks and shirt are drenched. Beer slowly
drains. His Adam’s apple bobs up and down. Samuel slams
the empty pitcher on the table and wipes his mouth with
the back of his hand.
“Fucker!” he declares, turning the pitcher over and
“Woo-hoo!” yells Derek, finally coming alive.
Magdalene, on the contrary, is hardly amused with the
turn of Samuel’s partial inebriation to full-blown
drunkenness. She is at her wits’ end with him and comes to
the conclusion she will not be able to count on him this day
or evening. It is not that she wants Samuel to take charge
and ensure all will turn out positive it’s just that she feels in
her bones their life situation will take a wrong direction,
leaving her exposed to the public. Magdalene pinches
Samuel in the shoulder to help focus his attention. She leans
“Remain alert, gorgeous boy, remember you are the
Knight who brings me Camelot and I know you will not fail
Samuel smiles like a fool and roars with laughter,
grabbing the envelope out of Kevin’s large fingers.
“I just thought I’d hold onto it for you until you did the
deed,” says Kevin.
“Never mind,” says Samuel. “I’m here, maybe a bit
fucking tipsy but nonetheless I’m here for now. Watch and
learn from a pro.”
212 | Patricia K McCarthy
The envelope is tightly sealed like the others, glued
across the entire width, including the corners, making it
impossible to squeeze a finger into the corner to create a
tear. Samuel looks to the next table and spies a knife,
staggering to his feet to grab it, and bringing it back to the
table with him, falling into his chair with a thud. He slices
open the envelope, drops the knife and pauses.
“This is the last fucking letter that I’m fucking going to
read,” he hisses to the group. “If there’s any more after this
then I’m fucking going home and the old man can go fuck
himself up a tree sideways.”
“Just open the letter, darling, and spare us your
dramatics.” Magdalene notices that David Three Rats has
David pauses at the head of the steps and looks over at
Magdalene, winks and nods: all is secured. He brandishes
his camera to prove it is being stowed away in his pouch.
He is prepared to return to his empty seat at the bar until
Magdalene stops him, motioning to come and join the
“Hey,” says Kevin, “It’s that dude with the camera.”
“Greetings to one and all,” says David Three Rats, “I
camera in peace.”
“So are you a real photographer? That’s why you were
snapping photos of us at the last pub, eh?” asks Kevin, “And
man, what’s your name again?”
“David Three Rats is my name and in answer to your
first question, good Heavens, no,” says David, “I take
pictures and espouse philosophy on occasion. An official
photographer I am not.”
“I get that,” says Samuel, whose beer-soaked brain
pretends to understand the subtle distinction made by
David Three Rats.
Kevin probes further. “Like how did ya come up with
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 213
“My good old, vivid imagination,” answers David Three
Rats, who takes his seat, sitting on Kevin and Derek’s side,
across from Magdalene and Samuel in order that he may
continue to observe Magdalene. He knows what she is but
he doubts himself because she looks entirely human. Her
skin is lustrous and healthy; a rosy pink; her eyes vibrant
and green; her body toned and young. In particular, her
smell interests David Three Rats; the pungent scent of fresh
cut grass that whisks him back to Montreal in the 60s
during the glorious days of summer when he rescued tiny
frogs from front lawns; the freshly cut grass trimmings
stuck to their slimy, wet backs and David horrified to find
God’s little angels at the mercy of merciless lawn mowers.
David Three Rats wants to ask the name of Magdalene’s
cologne but is hesitant to turn the conversation to personal
questions. Instead he engages Kevin and Derek in the
manner any man would address another man who is actually
a total stranger.
“Enjoying a few pitchers of ale I see,” remarks David
“This dude here,” offers Kevin, “Is our leader V-man
Sam and he’s on a quest to find something of great value to
humanity that his old man, The King of Spades, left behind
after he kicked the bucket.”
“How delightful of the deceased father,” responds David
Three Rats, “Oh, goodness me, I appear to be without a
“You a friend of Maggie’s?” asks Derek.
David Three Rats looks to Magdalene and Samuel and
does not speak. He waits for Magdalene to offer an
“I invited Mister Three Rats to join us for the evening.
Whenever we arrive at this so-called mystery surprise we
will be in need of someone to record the event.”
214 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Right on,” says Derek, eyeing David Three Rats up and
down. “You puff?” he inquires of him reaching into his
“Puff as in cigarettes?” qualifies David Three Rats.
“Cigarettes are for pussies,” says Derek, “I mean the
finest quality herb on the face of the planet.”
“Oh, when I was young and foolish most certainly I did
and fully enjoyed doing so, sometimes even reducing my
brain to a piece of furniture but now I only allow myself on
occasion to be hot-boxed if and when I find myself sitting
with a group of friends in a cramped kitchen.”
“Whatever,” says Derek, who excuses himself to the
“Well, man,” says Kevin, slapping David Three Rat’s
shoulder very hard, “If Maggie and V-man Sam welcome
you then so shall I.”
And with that statement, Kevin reaches across the table
and pulls one of the last two pitchers of ale closer, then
takes Derek’s empty glass and fills it with frothing beer,
handing it to David Three Rats.
“Drink up, buddy! You’re about to listen to a mystery
letter and then V-man Sam probably has to read another
quote aloud to the pub. It’s a fucking hoot, I tell ya, ‘cause
we just don’t know what The King of Spades has up his
sleeve, you know what I’m saying?”
David Three Rats smiles knowingly, believing he has
stumbled onto a secret society of vampires. The King of
Spades is obviously the original vampire; hence the royal
title of King and the reference of V-man is clearly a code
word to describe the husband of Ottawa’s only vampire.
But he is delighted to learn that her name is Maggie, more
appropriately Magdalene, Magdalena or Margaret, and that
her husband’s name is Samuel.
“I would be thrilled and delighted to listen to this
letter,” says David Three Rats, picking up his glass and
enjoying free ale. He does not want to mix hops with the
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 215
grape but on this rare and marvelous occasion of being
invited to join the vampire group, he makes an exception.
“Might I inquire about your name and your friends?”
“My name is Kevin,” says Kevin, “And the other dude is
my baby brother but you can call him D-boy, everyone
does,” answers Kevin, to which David nods and takes
another sip of his beer.
Samuel, in his drunkenness and slow-moving ways, eyes
David Three Rats closely then turns his attention to his
father’s letter. He unfolds the creases in the paper and
bends them back, preparing himself to read.
Magdalene remains beside him. The feeling of
trepidation subsides, now that the body is secured in the
basement. She settles into her chair, waiting for Samuel to
digest the contents.
As he did with the last, he slurs his father’s instructions
to the group:
The time is now. You are close. I would ask you to read this last
and final quote; the subject matter should be of particular interest
to Magdalene. Drink up and put some punch into the volume of
your voice. I applaud your humanity in accepting into your group
a new friend, someone whose participation in your acts will serve a
greater purpose that neither of you can now comprehend. Once you
have completed your duty of enlightening the pub of strangers, you
can then embark on another stroll, this time to Strathcona Park,
conveniently situated to the Royal Oak. Follow these instructions
1) Exit; turn left around corner
2) collect the instructions taped underneath window sill
outside the Royal Oak
3) follow directions
4) keep smiling and watch your step
216 | Patricia K McCarthy
Samuel re-reads the letter in disdain. Inside the envelope is
the final profound morsel of thought. He takes great pains
to take out the last sheet as the group looks on, frustrated at
watching him struggle to unfold the parchment. When at
last he digests the quote, he looks up from the parchment
and sees Auntie and Finn, having freshly arrived from
“That’s my boy!” Samuel doesn’t realize he is yelling.
He points to the pub entrance.
Each head in the group turns to look at the same time.
Finn is wired for sound, having replenished his energy with
more than one nap taken during the day. He screeches with
joy upon seeing his mother and father and his adoring
uncles Kevin and Derek.
“Trouble’s brewing up, boy,” says Aunt Aileen, with a
surprised look on her face for running into her niece and
nephew and their group of merry followers.
“I learned a long moon ago that the good Lord sends me
headlong into many a weary path for good reason, so I best
take a load off and while I’m at it, pour me a beer. I’ve got
something to tell you and my girl.”
IT IS AN UNLIKELY GATHERING; Samuel and Magdalene,
Auntie and Finn, Kevin and Derek and David Three Rats,
all packed in like wet sardines with patrons, booze and
boisterous noise. Samuel is poised to read the quote from
his father but first Auntie must relate what had happened at
the house, to explain her presence.
“Sure, sure boy, I’d half expected you to be pie-eyed
and useless after a few pints of strong ale but I see now that
you’ve slipped right off the bow of the ship and fallen into
the dark waters of complete and total foolishness.”
“Whadd’ya mean?” asks Samuel.
“Boy, you haven’t so much as a stitch of cotton in your
entire fool head to piece together one decent inch of cloth,”
remarks Auntie. “I best speak to Magdalene. I don’t want to
confuse his befuddled mind.”
“Hey,” begins Samuel, “I resemble that comment,” he
admits, pointing his finger at Auntie and laughing like a
fool. Samuel rises from his seat, dropping his father’s
philosophical quote on the table and teeters over to Finn
whose little arms extend out to his father, wanting to be
lifted by him.
“I can’t, baby boy,” says Samuel, “I might drop you.”
Instead, Samuel showers Finn with kisses and he giggles
218 | Patricia K McCarthy
Magdalene seizes the chance to absorb Sir William’s
quote which is on the nature of dreams. Naturally, thinks
Magdalene. Sir William was obsessed with dreams as was
she in the past. But she cannot nor will she ever dream
again while living as a vampire. Magdalene ponders the
significance of Sir William’s fascination with her dream
book and why he wanted it on the fateful day he had
kidnapped her. Dreams must be the connection between
the human and vampire world. And yet, Magdalene does
not fully understand the link between this passage and their
“A copper came to the door at home,” explains Auntie,
interrupting Magdalene as she reads.
“Fucking pigs.” Kevin interjects, polishing off his
twenty-fourth ale of the day without showing so much as
one sign of drunkenness. “I told you, man, they stunk up
our digs uninvited today and now yours! I know cops, man.
I’ve known them all my fucking life. A buddy of mine
served as a juror on a murder trial that lasted six fucking
long months and he explained all the variations of law to
me, so the law and me are like this,” says Kevin, crossing
his fingers. “When a cop comes to your door, man, it
means shit is gonna fly and when shit is gonna fly, man, you
best build a good bunker and hang tight until the assault is
launched. You like pigs?” queries Kevin of David Three
“Only the variety converted into bacon strips and pork
chops,” quips David Three Rats.
Kevin laughs and pats David Three Rat’s shoulder.
“What did he want?” asks Magdalene of Aunt Aileen.
“Not much,” replies Auntie, wondering when the group
will have the decency to offer her a pint. “He wants to
question Samuel and when I told him to go home with his
own dirt, he threatened to come and get Samuel if he
doesn’t present himself at the cop shop.”
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 219
“That’s not fucking good,” says Kevin, looking at
Samuel for a reaction, who half hears their dialogue,
continuing to play with his son.
Samuel’s mind is foggy and impressionable; the amount
of scotch and ale ingested in the last several hours has
rendered him numb to Auntie’s warning. But Magdalene is
very much aware of what must be done, sooner than later.
She decides at what time she will visit the superintendent.
The last set of instructions taped underneath the windowsill
outside the Royal Oak must first be collected. But while
being surrounded by family and friends, she decides not to
share her innermost thoughts with the group and instead
touches Auntie on the arm.
“Make no more mention of the police officer’s visit,”
assures Magdalene. “When have I failed you, my darling?”
she further asks.
“Course you know, child, those with real power should
never need to show the world that they have power, you
“I agree whole-heartedly,” says Magdalene to Auntie.
“Our fabulously effective Ottawa Police believe they alone
hold power because they have the law on their side but I
too am in possession of a certain kind of power the world
would be wise to avoid.”
Auntie crosses herself several times. She opens her snap
purse and takes out a fresh ten-dollar bill and hands it to
“Boy, be a good lad and get your Auntie a cold pint,
will you now?”
“I can’t think of any better way to spend my time than
to deliver beer to you, my dear Auntie,” responds Kevin.
David Three Rats entertains the thought that in all
likelihood Magdalene will kill again before the night is over.
He feels right at home amongst the ranks of a close-knit
220 | Patricia K McCarthy
family, all in service to one vampire. No one inside the
group adopts the habit of actually using the word vampire
and he, too, shall do the same. Feeling inspired by the fun
idea of a treasure hunt, David Three Rats pulls out his
camera and notes the number of pictures remaining in
memory. He is delighted to know he will join the group for
their stagger to Strathcona Park. Once there he can happily
take pictures to record the event. A montage of images
forms in David’s mind; he envisions a large collage, framed
under glass, on which a masterpiece of photos is completed
for his private viewing. But not wanting to fall prey to too
much alcohol, he nurses his beer, while helplessly being
drawn in by her presence, this time captivated by
Magdalene’s pupils – unusual shaped circles, each with a
small horizontal line on other side, in the middle, a distinct
difference about her that he did not notice in the basement.
The day initially began like routine but has become one of
thrills and mystery. David Three Rats looks up to the
ceiling and silently mouths the words thank you.
“Does anyone plan on introducing me to this young
man?” asks Auntie.
“He takes pictures.” Kevin and Derek speak in unison.
“We bumped into him at The Highlander Pub,” explains
Magdalene, “And one pub led to another and another led to
Auntie turns her attention to David Three Rats. She
reaches out her warm, wrinkled hands and grabs David’s
hand, turning over his palm in order that she can make a
discerning evaluation of his character.
“My glasses would do the trick,” says Auntie, reaching
into her purse with her free hand. “Ah yes, I see you are an
artistic type, sensitive, inquisitive, a deep thinker.” Auntie
makes no mention of the fact that her bi-focal lenses
magnify two tiny blood drops on David’s right hand, the
hand Auntie reads; blood that rubbed off the corpse in the
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 221
basement when he touched the punctured neck to see if the
holes were in fact real. She looks up and into his eyes and
does not read any trace of worry. Rather, she is befuddled
to sense he is entirely at peace with her strange brood.
“You have a long life ahead of you,” says Auntie to
David Three Rats.
“Oh joy.” David Three Rats smiles.
“What happened to that clunkhead Kevin with my ale?”
“Coming right up,” says Kevin from behind her back; in
his hands are two fresh pitchers of ale, one empty glass, and
one newspaper tucked under his arm. Kevin places the
pitchers and glass on the table, spilling ale as he does, then
whips out the newspaper and slams it on the table. He takes
his seat, licking his thumb, turning rapidly to page 22.
“Man, I took a dump before I bought ale and I saw the
day’s rag on the floor. You’ve gotta see what’s up,” says
Kevin, finally finding the right page and twisting the paper
around, upside-down facing him but right side-up facing
Derek. Kevin points to the headline: Woman’s Skull Found in
“Fuck me,” says Derek, reading the headline. “That’s
“Yeah,” agrees Kevin, “That is you-know-who and if her
head has been found that means maybe...”
“Her feet and hands are next,” finishes Derek. The
Coffey boys look to each other and flush red with
embarrassment. Their dirty task of disposing of Tina
Sharpe, now dead and buried for two years, was killed in a
moment of passion by Magdalene. Neither boy expected
the issue to come up again. Kevin looks to Magdalene with
With a sense of superiority, Magdalene taps Samuel on
the shoulder and he stops playing, handing Finn his keys for
distraction. He comes up beside Magdalene and sees the
article. Neither speaks a word. Auntie reads the article
upside down. David Three Rats glances at the page; the
222 | Patricia K McCarthy
very paper he read earlier in the day at the market pub, not
giving it a second thought until now – another connection
to the vampire family, muses David.
“Do you suppose that’s the trouble the constable thinks
belongs to Samuel?” asks Auntie.
“Look concerned, act interested and deny, deny, deny.”
Kevin and Derek reinforce their life credo in perfect
“Fuck,” says Samuel from behind Auntie. Finn begins to
“Watch the language boy,” chides Auntie.
“What did that cop want?” asks Samuel of Auntie.
“A wee chat,” she replies, “I don’t suppose he wants to
share tea with you.”
“No, I can’t imagine he does.” Samuel slurs; his eyes
droop and his shoulders are hunched and weary. The
impact of the day wears him down as the beer settles into
his stomach, making him feel bloated and tired. Magdalene
suppresses her rage, bubbling up from underneath. That
afternoon from so long ago, that afternoon when she drank
wine with Tina Sharpe and learned about her pact with her
husband is still very much real in memory; it always shall
be; the first kill, the first kill as a human woman and not as
a vampire, the precursor to her eventful change. She never
tried to tell Kevin and Derek what to do to dispose of
Tina’s remains; she only knows that they cut off her head
and hands and feet and dispersed of them each separately.
“OK, folks, let us get this show on the road. It is time
to finish up all beer and we are off,” declares Magdalene.
“We have a job to finish and I do not want newspapers or
cops or anything to distract us. All aboard?”
“Woo-hoo!” chimes in Kevin, “I’ll finish the ale!”
“Fuck,” says Derek, “Bossy women give me a boner.”
Auntie cuffs Derek on the back of the head. Samuel
laughs. Finn laughs because he reacts to his father laughing
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 223
and David Three Rats pushes his glass closer to Kevin for a
“Well if we’re heading out I would be wise to fortify
my body against the winter cold. Filler up, Kev,” says
David, feeling happy and thrilled.
Kevin, the ultimate master beer drinker, raises the
pitcher gracefully, slowly, all eyes watching him, as his long
arm tilts from up high. A stream of beer pours out of the
pitcher and appears to hang in mid air, floating, suspended
in a portion of time that has been frozen, before the very
first drop reaches the bottom of an empty pint glass. When
beer hits, it splatters up and out of the glass, spraying the
table and Finn’s face, who screeches. Kevin’s eyes do not
leave the pitcher; the beer is magical, like a third brother to
him, a force of nature that can transform the mildest of
persons into a fool of thought and intent. But not today, for
today their goal is cast in stone: a hidden set of directions
leading to Strathcona Park.
Kevin consumes the remaining contents of the pitcher
with ease and merely places the empty container on the
table, smiling to the group.
“But what about the quote, man?” he asks. “We can’t
leave until V-man does his thing.”
“Oh, for crying out loud, we will never get out of here
before midnight.” Magdalene is dismayed. “This time I shall
“Never argue with an angry and determined woman,”
adds Derek with a knowing eye, “Although angry women
make great bed mates once you get past the claws!”
The group breaks out into laughter.
“You don’t know my wife,” says Samuel, looking to
Magdalene with love; at her inviting eyes and mouth; her
warm breasts and hot body. “But I know just how to handle
224 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Quiet now!” Magdalene yells, and holds the
parchment, standing atop the chair in the corner. She
screams above the din of noise. “I SAID QUIET THE
WHOLE LOT OF YOU.”
Her throat clears; her voice is large and pronounced,
each syllable and consonant poised to come out of her
mouth in perfect diction, to pay tribute to the owner of the
passage, the passage Magdalene has already digested and
lays claim to in the frigidly cold, late day in winter,
knowing the quote comes from none other than Carl Jung.
The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most
secret recesses of the psyche, opening into the cosmic night which
was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which
will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness may
extend… All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the
likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in
the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and
the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all
ego-hood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it
never so childish, grotesque, and immoral.
Pub patrons stop and listen and after Magdalene recites
her ditty, everyone erupts into applause.
“Figures,” says Samuel, “I read and everyone just farts in
the wind but Magdalene reads and the world comes alive!”
Magdalene places the parchment on the table and kisses
Samuel and Finn, turns to the group and issues one last
“Auntie, kindly remain here with Finn and keep the
beer fires warm. The rest of us have a vital mission to
“I’d be delighted to, my child! Beer and I have been
longtime friends and Finn could do worse than spend time
with me in a pub.”
SAMUEL, KEVIN AND DEREK stand in the middle of the
dead-end driveway, the private driveway used only for
employees and deliveries into the Royal Oak that is directly
around the corner from the front doors. Kevin smokes a
cigarette. Derek lights up a new herbal treat. Samuel
buttons his coat, bracing himself against the cold that is the
only force of nature at this critical juncture capable of
shaking him out of his drunken stupor. Anxiously, they
watch and wait as Magdalene runs her pointed fingernails
along the bottom of the windowsills; as instructed by Sir
William, searching for the last, prized envelope. There are
multiple windows, all rectangular and tall, littered with
pollution and dust and in desperate need of a good cleaning.
Magdalene says nothing, only occasionally she looks at her
group of men. David Three Rats snaps several pictures to
commemorate the beginning of the treasure hunt.
Magdalene finds the last envelope, neatly protected by
thick, black plastic so as to go undetected by anyone, taped
securely underneath the sill. She rips open the plastic, takes
out the envelope and opens it, reading the instructions
(1) Walk east on Laurier Street to Strathcona Park, or
stagger if you must;
(2) Do not turn right onto Range Road or left onto
226 | Patricia K McCarthy
(3) Stop in front of the large fountain that precedes the
set of stone stairs;
(4) Walk down (36) steps or thereabouts;
(5) Turn left and look for four large tree trunks
grouped oddly together;
(6) Assuming the effects of alcohol have rendered you
entirely prone to ridiculous suggestion, peer over
edge and fall over, or conversely you may return to
the stairs and take the remaining steps to the
(7) Turn left and walk until you come upon a small
door set into the hillside.
“Well, that seems simple enough,” comments David
Samuel looks at him with all seriousness. “You don’t
know my father,” he explains to David Three Rats.
“From what Kevin has mentioned, he sounds like quite
“Past tense,” corrects Samuel, “The bastard is long
“Indeed,” counters David Three Rats, “Those in the
spirit world don’t often play dead very well.”
Samuel grumbles, reaching for Magdalene’s hand. He
takes no offence by the comment from David Three Rats.
Samuel understands what David means but he does not
want to acknowledge the poignancy of the statement.
“Don’t worry about V-man,” explains Kevin to David
Three Rats. “V-man’s got a lot on his mind and the poor
bastard hasn’t even had a decent hit off one herbal treat all
fucking day. He’s so fucked up from beer and booze that he
can’t think straight. Now, D-boy, on the other hand…”
Kevin trails off.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 227
“D-boy, V-man, the King of Spades?” queries David
Three Rats, “I imagine there are full Christian names in the
mix somewhere in this story.”
“Man,” says Kevin, “You just hang back with D-boy and
me and we’ll get you tuned up just like new.”
In winter, silence insulated by snow joins the group
with the darkness of an early February night. The end of
their journey will come as a surprise. There are no police or
threats from others, nor are there multiple voices speaking
in a crowded pub. The openness of Laurier Street is
complete with the picturesque surroundings of Sandy Hill,
bringing comfort to the treasure hunters. The group moves
easily and peacefully, not paying attention to the
treacherous condition of the sidewalk pavement. A black
patch of ice, hidden underneath a thin layer of light snow
catches Derek off guard. His feet lose traction and are
whisked up and away from him, as his body crashes down
on the hard, cold pavement with a painful thud. Samuel,
Kevin and David Three Rats erupt into laughter. Derek
curses winter. Magdalene stops to lift him up and Derek
chides the others for refusing to help him.
“Whoopsie-daisy,” says David Three Rats.
“Somebody shouldn’t mix their beer and herb.” Kevin
cannot help from taunting his baby brother.
“Ya drunken fool,” laughs Samuel, fully awake and alert
in the cold.
“Fuck off!” Derek brushes snow off his jeans and rubs
his bum where he landed with an unruly thump.
“Careful, Derek,” encourages Magdalene, taking extra
pains to hide her smile. She, too, is close to laughing at the
foibles of another. “Often the first winter slip is followed
up by a second.”
Magdalene’s warning comes too late.
228 | Patricia K McCarthy
Derek takes a second tumble, harder than the first, and
the men don’t bother to hide their joy at his misfortune,
laughing their fool heads off.
“You can all go fuck yourselves!”
The cold winter temperature soothes Magdalene. Her
vampire body belongs in the cold, in the dark of night, with
no other warm bodies to distract her. Her ears are grateful
for the silence the snow provides in deadening the
relentless noise of traffic on Laurier. The more distance she
puts between herself and the last body in the last pub fills
her with greater calm. She prepares herself for what lies
ahead, knowing fully that Samuel’s earlier words are
prophetic indeed: Sir William is a game player and the prize
at the end of their treasure hunt may not in the end turn out
to be a prize after all.
After their twenty-minute walk, the group finally
comes up to the very long set of stone stairs that begin on
Laurier Street leading to Strathcona Park, just before
Laurier turns into Charlotte Street at the bend, next to the
Russian Embassy. Derek hauls on a fat herbal treat, handing
it back and forth between himself, Kevin and David Three
Rats. Derek has already forgotten how they showed no
compassion for his ice wipeouts. The sweet, pungent aroma
of herbal delight clears his head of any negative thoughts.
Smoke hangs above their heads and lingers behind their
bodies as they walk behind Magdalene and Samuel. When
the feeling of euphoria hits David Three Rats, the volume of
his voice seems louder; the darkness darker; the cold wind
more cutting; every feeling and sense comes alive. His aura
of paranoia is just around the corner. He looks closely at his
traveling companions and asks himself how and why did he
come to acquire these wonderfully strange people as friends
in such a short period of time? The answer is Magdalene, of
course; she is the extraordinary one who drew him in,
unwittingly; her presence commanded that he come along
for the experience. A shiver runs up the spine of David
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 229
Three Rats when he puts the pieces together; strolling to
Strathcona Park, following a set of instructions by an old,
dead father known as The King of Spades, whom David
now fears is possibly the granddaddy of vampires. David
Three Rats shudders when the dreaded thought enters his
mind - just what might they find. He chooses not to
articulate his worry aloud. He mentally prepares himself for
Samuel and Magdalene take the stairs first, both
stepping over the heavy-linked chain that blocks off the
entrance to the stairs in winter, to prevent anyone from
actually using the stairs to avoid injury and lawsuits against
Samuel looks lovingly at his wife and winks; the cold
February air wakes up his mind, albeit temporarily, and he
touches his crotch as a gesture.
“You didn’t really finish your business,” says Samuel.
“Darling,” she states plainly, “I believe the onus for
failing to cum at the prescribed time belongs on your manly
“Why would a man want to cum in a hurry when he can
stretch out the pleasure as long as possible?”
“Jesus, Samuel,” replies Magdalene, “You sound just
like your father. He is making us go through all of this just
to prolong the agony.”
“Hey, just so that we’re on the same page I’m not my
father and I don’t speak with a Scottish accent,” corrects
Samuel. He looks behind and hears the three guys laughing;
they hang at the top of the stairs while Derek finishes off the
herbal treat, before throwing the roach into the bushes
beside the stairs. They wave at Samuel, telling him they will
be along shortly.
Samuel and Magdalene disappear from their sight;
walking ahead. The worn path in the earth, ground into the
grass and foliage is not visible in winter, nor are there
230 | Patricia K McCarthy
tracks in the snow. Yet, they instinctively know to follow
it; turning left as Sir William had instructed.
“I don’t know why he had to make us go through all of
this,” says Samuel.
“I think we were supposed to acquire a new friend,”
says Magdalene. “Remember in his last letter he made
reference to accepting a new friend who will serve a useful
purpose. That guy, David Three Rats, must be the very
person. He wanted us to follow these ridiculous letters for
“Yeah but why did I have to get so shit-faced?” asks
“Would you have read those quotes in front of all those
strangers if you were straight?” asks Magdalene.
“There you go! You are more stubborn than your
father.” Magdalene admonishes her husband. “And here we
are, at the door. Hey guys!”
The small, wooden door carved into the hillside is
squared at top and reminiscent of a troll’s door to a secret
hiding place. An old padlock seals the door shut and locked.
Interlocking, misshaped round stones are built up around
the door, on both sides and above, similar but not entirely
the same as the ancient cairns found in Inverness, Scotland
known as the Balnuaran of Clava. Small, red happy faces
have been painted on some of the stones, as an act of playful
defiance that oddly demystifies the unusual place in
Magdalene’s mind. The old, wooden door in fact conceals a
storage cave used by city officials to maintain the park. Yet,
the garbage and graffiti, used needles and empty crack
baggies tell a different story; that the hidden cave,
surrounded by trees, above and all around, is also used by
youth for debauched acts of sex and illicit drug taking.
Neither Samuel nor Magdalene can understand why Sir
William chose this particular door in Strathcona Park, when
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 231
any other location closer to the pub or their home would
have worked even better.
“Fuck me,” says Kevin, “The King of Spades must have
snorted something before all this shit began,” he says,
standing beside Magdalene and Samuel looking at the tiny
door and also not fully understanding why.
“Mind if I ask,” begins David Three Rats, politely, “Why
has Samuel’s father been given the nickname The King of
“Auntie gave him the name. She said he was a dark
brooding man and that he could read anyone just by being
in their presence,” answers Kevin.
“He was a soothsayer then?” qualifies David Three Rats,
reaching again into his pouch and pulling out his camera.
“A fucking soothsayer!” repeats Samuel laughing. “You
don’t know how ironic your comment is David.”
“Gentlemen,” begins Magdalene, eyeing the old padlock
that seals the door, knowing that Sir William has been dead
for over a year and therefore charged Cain with the duty of
putting on that particular padlock to prevent her from
easily turning the mechanism with her mind (as she did
previously with modern locks). She wonders what other
orders Sir William issued to Cain to carry out. Changing
the padlock is a pivotal action. City officials would have cut
it off long ago. Magdalene realizes it is also foolhardy at
least for the time being to demonstrate more of her powers
to anyone by even attempting to open the old padlock with
“We need to remain focused. Now tell me… who
knows how to pick a lock?” asks Magdalene.
“OHMYGOD,” exclaims David Three Rats, “I fucking
do! Really I do!” he assures, reaching to the very bottom of
his pouch, the seemingly bottomless burlap pouch, pulling
out a clear plastic wallet of fine workmen’s tools, the kind
of tools used in repairing cameras and eye glasses with
screwdriver heads as tiny as a baby’s fingernail.
232 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Get the fuck outta here,” says Kevin laughing and
patting his shoulder. “You carry this shit around with you
all the time?”
“I shit you not. I was a Boy Scout as a snot-nosed kid
and I learned to be prepared at all times, achieved all my
scout badges at the ripe old age of ten-and-a-half, before
even the older guys grew hair under their arms.” David
Three Rats lets out a laugh, moving to the door. He kneels,
taking out two specific tools from the clear plastic holder;
inserting one then inserting the second on top of the first.
“It takes a delicate touch but once I learned how to pick
locks, my father’s liquor cabinet suddenly held watered-
down bottles of booze and he never caught on.” David
This time Samuel, Magdalene, Kevin and Derek watch
with amusement. Derek has already lit up another herbal
treat and nods. David Three Rats goes to work on the lock,
feeling his way in darkness; inserting the tiny tools by
touch, having done so a hundred other times at night,
skulking into his father’s study room in secret.
Derek looks at his watch and calls out the elapsed time
to David. “One minute already, man,” he says, “Faster,
“Moment please,” says David Three Rats, squinting and
concentrating; the lock is tight, windswept with snow and
tiny particles of dirt that have obscured the key opening.
“Two more seconds,” he says.
“That’s two minutes,” calls out Derek, “The cops are
just around the corner, man, and soon your ass is gonna be
“Fuck off!” David Three Rats glares.
One click, two clicks, three clicks and presto! David
Three Rats picks the lock and turns the small handle; the
door is difficult to pry open; all is pitch black. Kevin flicks
his lighter once inside, bringing illumination to the cave,
which is plenty large with room to spare, enough space to
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 233
fit several lawn mowers and rakes and hoes; all stacked up
against the wall. A small shelving unit rests against the
north wall; on top of which is stacked several containers of
lawn fertilizer and black and red paint to touch up the
children’s climbing structure in the park, as well as several
cans of flat grey paint to cover up any graffiti in the park.
The cave serves no purpose other than storage of materials
needed for the maintenance crew, just as Magdalene had
deduced upon coming up to the door.
“Well, this is totally a fucking waste of time,” says
Samuel, looking around and finding nothing.
“Yeah, but now that we have access to this secret place
maybe we can figure out what to do with it,” says Kevin.
“Please people!” Magdalene pleads. “We need to pay
attention, more now than ever. Sir William would not have
brought us out here were it not for a valid reason.”
“Sure, a valid reason for him is fucking with us just for
the Hell of it,” says Samuel, who steps further into the cave,
pulling up cans of paint and bags of fertilizer to see if
anything has been hidden. He checks under the wheels of
the lawnmowers and finds nothing, attempting to push
them away from the back wall.
Derek hangs back, outside the little cave, refusing to
“He’s afraid of confined spaces,” explains Kevin to
David Three Rats, “The wimp.”
“Retard,” retorts Derek; he steps further away.
“Double retard with whipped cream,” insults Kevin
Magdalene stands inside and closes her eyes; she blocks
out the sounds of Kevin interchanging insults with Derek.
David Three Rats is content to stand beside her and watch,
listening for any sounds, waiting for Magdalene and Samuel
to make a decision. The cave is deadly quiet; there are no
parents in the park with children; the winter air brings in a
chill of wet and silence. Nothing happens. Magdalene is
234 | Patricia K McCarthy
calm; her thoughts are on Sir William, imagining him
coming to this location, attempting to discern his ultimate
reason. But nothing comes to her, no image of Sir William.
She raises her hand, eyes still closed, motioning everyone to
be silent. In the silence lies the answer, the answer that
David Three Rats fears greatly. He says nothing, waiting for
Magdalene to speak. His camera is on and ready.
“There is another door inside this very cave,” says
Magdalene; her intuition finally coming alive.
“Of course, C.S. Lewis,” remarks David Three Rats.
“What the fuck?” asks Samuel.
“Inside the closet is a secret door,” explains David
Like a four-headed monster, Magdalene, Samuel, Kevin
and David Three Rats all turn simultaneously to the rear
wall. There it is, a rickety shelving unit covered with tarp
and cleaning fluids; the actual wall behind it is not visible.
Kevin rushes up to the shelving unit and begins pushing
from the far end, forcing the unit to move along the floor,
making screeching noises as the friction of wood drags
across cement floor. When at last Kevin manages to push
the shelving unit fully away from the wall, he reveals a new
door, smaller than the first, also locked, almost resembling
a door to a furnace.
“Jesus,” says Samuel, “You were right… there’s another
“Ingenious minds are my specialty,” admits David Three
Rats stoically. “Let me get to work immediately.”
The tiny tools are once again put into action. Kevin’s
lighter flames out and the cave turns dark. He yells to the
outside for Derek to hand over his lighter in order that
David Three Rats can complete his task. When the cave is
lit again, only a mere sixty seconds pass before David opens
the second, tiny door. The group looks inside and gasps in
horror. The stench and the deadly sight are almost too
much to bear.
THE SMELL IS GROSSLY PUNGENT, putrid and foul;
stinking rotting human flesh, covered in thousands of dead
flies and maggots. The extreme coolness of the inner room
within the small cave acts like a refrigerator, holding inside
the rank odour of dead bodies stacked like cordwood; arms
and legs intertwined, covering the entire floor, reaching the
ceiling. The stench is overpowering but only after the door
is opened, much like cracking the shell of a rotten egg.
Kevin pulls his T-shirt over his nose to mask the
Samuel says nothing, staring in total disbelief.
David Three Rats dry heaves but does not vomit.
Magdalene is calm, barely demonstrating any outward
reaction. She looks into the future of her life, the reality of
living as a vampire for a very, very long time. Her road to
Hell will be paved with gold guilt and rotting bodies. The
impact of Sir William’s influence on the City of Ottawa hits
home. He killed discriminately during the last two years he
waited for her to give birth to Finn, the first offspring from
a hybrid human-vampire, Samuel, and a human woman,
herself. Sir William never spoke of his evil deeds nor was
there any newspaper coverage. But Magdalene understands
fully why and what had transpired - Sir William fed on
tourists to avoid bringing immediate suspicion on himself.
236 | Patricia K McCarthy
A missing tourist would not readily be played up in
Ottawa, to avoid inciting fear in the city. His logic and his
methods of draining tourists is and was a sound one, as it is
now for her, as she drains tourists, as she will continue to
The bodies are still in possession of full mouths of teeth
and hair attached to skulls with skeletons partially
connected by bones falling in every direction. The room is
so deathly dark and cool that the atmosphere is an eerie
postcard reminder of the black and white photos of
emaciated prisoners rescued from concentration camps.
“It has to be done,” states David to Magdalene, holding
up his digital camera, without coming right out and asking
“That is why you brought it along,” agrees Magdalene,
not giving thought to the ramifications of pictures being
taken. She is greatly perturbed by the presence of the dead
bodies and wonders once more how Sir William dealt with
his guilt, for she feels at a loss as to how best she can
reconcile her own guilt. She is not filled with a desire to
bury any of the bodies. Rather, her first instinct is to re-seal
the inner door and permanently disable the lock, thereby
containing the diabolical secret for all eternity.
“Wallets,” says Kevin, picking up a plastic bag left at the
base of the pile.
Kevin leafs through the collection, pulling out
identification cards, reading different cities. “None of them
live here,” he declares, “No wonder the police think there’s
a serial killer in Ottawa. There must have been a shit-load
of missing persons reports filed,” finishes Kevin, “But then
they wouldn’t tell the public the real truth, eh, unless they
actually had the answer.”
“Vampires are a diabolical business,” remarks David
Three Rats. Feverishly, he takes pictures, dry heaving
repeated times but not succumbing to full-blown vomiting
in the inner room within the cave.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 237
“Vampires?” repeats Kevin, looking at Samuel, not
making the connection of the bodies to Sir William, the
original vampire. “You mean him?” he asks David, pointing
“Samuel is a vampire?” quizzes David of Kevin.
“Yeah, man, why d’ya think D-boy and I call him V-
Samuel tries to think clearly before he speaks,
entranced by the sight of so many dead bodies. He does not
move; his feet nailed to one spot.
“I didn’t do this,” he admits, looking at his wife.
“I was referring to Magdalene actually,” admits David
“Maggie is a vampire?” asks Kevin, laughing, “Get the
fuck out of here. She’s too beautiful and kind to be a
vampire, that’s men’s business.”
“There is no turning back for you now,” admits
Magdalene, looking at Kevin and David Three Rats, with
her husband by her side, who places his hand on her
shoulder in a territorial but supportive gesture.
“Magdalene is the Vampire Undertaker,” whispers
David Three Rats.
“But V-man’s father The King of Spades is the real
vampire. I know now that’s what Samuel had admitted to
D-boy and me over two years ago. He’s his son so that
makes him a fucking vampire not Maggie!”
Where does one begin? How does one explain the
events of the past? Magdalene thinks back to the beginning
of the tale. Firstly, her husband admitted to being a half-
human vampire but only after he had accidentally killed
Jean-Pierre, his marijuana runner who had stupidly ratted
him out to the police. Where does one begin, in a room full
of dead bodies?
“Fuck,” exclaims Kevin, taking a step back from
Magdalene and Samuel. “Don’t get me wrong, babe, I
238 | Patricia K McCarthy
adore you and you gotta know D-boy and I will follow you
and Samuel into battle but this is a lot to take in right now.
Did the King of Spades kill all of these people? Does it mean
now that Maggie’s gonna turn D-boy and me into vampires?
“It doesn’t work that way, Kevin. There can only be
one. When he was alive, my father was no joke,” says
Samuel. “I don’t blame you and Derek for not believing me
when I tried to tell you the truth.”
“Yeah, man, the truth that you’re a vampire too,” says
“Hybrid-vampire,” corrects Samuel, “Half-human half-
“Maggie’s not a hybrid?” queries Kevin.
“I am the one and only one,” answers Magdalene,
looking and smelling like every average ordinary human to
Kevin but without doubt being an efficient killing machine;
a predatory full-fledged vampire.
“Fuck me totally,” exclaims Kevin. “Thankfully I drank
heavily today,” he says, “and I need multiple pints right now
to digest this,” he admits, removing himself from the inner
room and stepping outside to speak with Derek, muttering
the words aloud of hybrid human and vampire.
Samuel and Magdalene are left with David Three Rats
and the multitude of dead bodies. Numerous pictures have
been snapped. His camera’s storage capacity is full but he
suspects there is more to come.
“I had a sneaking feeling this treasure hunt wasn’t going
to be pleasant,” states David.
“I told you nothing is simple with my father,” says
Derek swallows his acute fear of cramped spaces and
lowers his head, walking into the cave and hesitantly
entering the second room, completely stoned. His eyes take
time to adjust but when they finally focus, the first sight he
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 239
sees is dead bodies. He reacts strongly, dry heaving,
involuntarily, without being in possession of the power to
stop his natural body reflexes. But unlike David Three Rats,
Derek’s sensitivity caused by smoking unabated since the
day began causes him to lose control. He throws up, unable
“They never prepared me for this eventuality in the Boy
Scouts,” admits David, with all seriousness, pinching his
nose from the smell of vomit.
Samuel laughs at David’s unintentional dry humour.
Magdalene manages to crack a smile.
Derek dry-heaves, then gives up and walks outside.
“Please pass me the bag of wallets,” requests Magdalene
Each wallet contains only one piece of identification,
having been picked clean of money and cards. Magdalene
opens one after another until coming upon the second last
wallet in the pile, in which tucked inside is hidden another
envelope. She knows a letter is sealed inside from Sir
William. She hands the plastic bag of wallets to Samuel and
shows him the envelope. Samuel looks at the pile of dead
bodies and turns back to his wife.
“How ironic, you know, this time I actually want to
hear what his letter has to say, to know just what the Hell
the old man was thinking.”
“Me too,” says David. “I figured if I could just get
through this day without being killed I stood a good chance
of ending on a positive note but this I never anticipated.
Just how in the dickens do you prepare yourself to look at
something so reviling? The answer of course is you do not
prepare yourself. You pull your head up and out of your ass
and get down to business. After all, the birth of a new
species is bound to wreak havoc on the living.”
240 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Gentlemen, let us step outside for fresh air and to read
this,” suggests Magdalene. “Darling, please shut the door
behind you and ensure the padlock is closed.”
Outside the cave, the freshness of the cold winter air
works quickly to eradicate the smell of death in their
nostrils. Derek is visibly upset, almost entirely white and
unable to stop staring at Magdalene, who knows Kevin told
him about her being the Vampire Undertaker. Now
everyone she loves knows the truth of her identity. Will
they continue to love her?
How the day will end is still a complete mystery.
Magdalene is anxious to read Sir William’s last letter. She
turns to Samuel and hands him the envelope.
“Here, darling, he was your father, you should have
right of first perusal.”
“Sure,” agrees Samuel, squeezing his thumb into the
letter to tear open the envelope. “You were smart to tell
Auntie to stay behind with Finn.”
“Thankfully I did,” agrees Magdalene.
The group remains together. Kevin stands beside his
brother, composed, patting his shoulder to reassure him.
“Have another puff,” suggests Kevin. “You and I walk
between the raindrops, remember?” he goes on, “All this
time nothing bad happened to us because we have that
special protection from the angels, so don’t you worry, D-
boy, all will be well again and you know, man, we don’t
have to worry about being turned into a vampire or a
hybrid whatever which means we can go on drinking beer
and smoking herbal treats until the cows come home. So,
that’s something worth celebrating, don’t ya think?”
Derek is too dumbfounded to respond.
Samuel opens Sir William’s last letter, the one
purposely hidden inside a wallet, knowing that it would be
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 241
found, knowing that Magdalene would have to eventually
come into contact with the harsh truth. He unfolds the
parchment slowly; the sound carries in the park; joggers are
beginning to appear, running past them. Samuel doesn’t
stop to shut the little wooden door. Rather, he looks past
the joggers and returns to the letter.
I regret having to bring you to this location; it was entirely
unavoidable and could hardly be considered a gift the likes of
which all in humanity has not discovered. The treasure at the end
of your hunt is in fact concealed inside the north wall of the
washroom in the newly renovated house next to your own. There
you will find a one-of-a-kind piece of apparatus. I have provided
all the necessary instructions to guide you on how to properly
operate it. I want to assure you that it was never my intention to
harm you or your wife. I would not expect you to cover up my
heinous crimes. Behind the door set into the hillside is a most
unpleasant find. I would ask you to consider burying each innocent
person. After all they never asked to cross paths with me; they were
simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. You may, on the
other hand, shut the door and go on with your lives. You will not
be thought the lesser for doing so. However I would make this last
request of you for humanitarian reasons and that is all.
Farewell for now,
Sir William Simon Hennessy.
“Farewell for now?” asks Samuel aloud. “You’ve got to
be kidding me!”
“The King of Spades speaks and we’re left weak in the
knees,” says Kevin.
“Fuck,” exclaims Derek.
“Promise me I get to come back with you,” requests
David Three Rats.
“Have you not seen enough?” asks Magdalene of David
Three Rats. “You could run home right now, download
242 | Patricia K McCarthy
your pictures and send everything to the police. I would be
the most hunted woman in all the world and you would be
known forever as the original vampire slayer.”
“Hardly,” scoffs David Three Rats. “Do you remember
how I introduced myself?” asks David.
“Not really,” admits Magdalene, “There have been a
number of events that have kind of sidetracked me. Remind
me, if you please.”
“I take pictures,” says David Three Rats, “I take pictures
because through the act of taking pictures we are privileged
to connect with genuine emotion in a visceral way, the only
real connection that has tangibility with humans.”
“Go on,” says Samuel, taking a keen interest in David’s
“Without humans there are no pictures and without
pictures there are no emotions and without emotions there
is no higher purpose for art!”
“You’ve lost me now,” says Samuel.
“I get it,” interjects Magdalene, “You are trying to tell
me that you have felt more alive with emotion in this day
with everything that has happened than you have felt in a
very long time and taking pictures seals the emotions.”
“For all eternity,” finishes David Three Rats, “I am in
for a penny and in for a pound. I became part of this
diabolical day for a reason! If you would allow me, I would
strongly recommend we wipe down the handle to the outer
door and every surface touched on the inside. There is time
to figure out what to do with the bodies.”
“First priority,” chimes in Samuel, taking charge, “Is to
return to our new house and take a hammer to the north
“A fucking hidden piece of equipment,” says Kevin.
“Maybe it’s some kind of mechanism that turns vampires
into humans or hybrid vampires into real humans or better
yet maybe it’s a device that magically turns water into
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 243
“Ya think the King of Spades is dicking us around again?”
asks Derek of Samuel, finally managing to squelch his fear
“Fucking right I do,” admits Samuel. “But we’ve come
this far so it’s too late to turn back the clock. First, though,
let’s collect Auntie from the pub with Finn, then head
“I’m going to make a wee detour to the liquor store,”
“I’m coming with you,” says Derek, also suddenly
overtaken by a desire to get thoroughly soused over the
news of learning that Magdalene is a vampire.
“Excellent,” says David, “D-boy and the Kevinator will
swing by the liquor store for refreshments and I’ll tag along
with Samuel and Maggie back to the Royal Oak to collect
Auntie and Finn. We agree to all meet at your house,
wherever that may be.”
“Agreed,” says everyone in the group.
The group climbs up the stone stairs to Laurier Street.
Samuel maintains his outer composure, all the while
wondering what will be found behind the wall. The fear of
what the superintendent might or might not do now seems
far off and meaningless, particularly after uncovering the
dead bodies hidden behind a small door set into a hillside.
Knowing that Magdalene, Finn and Auntie are safe and
sound fills Samuel with hope. Nonetheless, he braces
himself for what is to come.
PRECISELY TO THE INCH, Samuel measured the
dimensions of the bathroom’s north wall in the large Tudor
home: 15’6” x 20’3”. He clutched the sledgehammer with
authority, eyeing one particular spot, guessing the hiding
place of his father’s rare piece of apparatus. Watching in
earnest, sat Magdalene on the bathtub railing, Kevin and
Derek standing by the sink, Auntie perched on the toilet
seat and David Three Rats primed with his video recorder.
A grand sense of excitement had filled the room. They
waited for the first swing of the hammer to launch the
official act of demolition.
What would be found? Curiosity to uncover the truth
outweighed their fear of discovering something even more
diabolical than the grisly pile of dead bodies. And like a
tentative man strolling past a graveyard, Kevin bellowed in
song to defuse the nervous energy. Mostly, he wanted to
rejoice in the beauty of being surrounded by loved ones and
“In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I
first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone. As she wheeled
her wheel barrow, through streets broad and narrow,
crying cockles and mussels a-live a-live oh…”
“Fuck,” said Derek, “Here he goes again, singing like a
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 245
“Let it rip V-man,” said Kevin, swigging large gulps
from a fresh cup of dark rum, raising his glass winking and
toasting Auntie for having introduced him to the dark, wild
“Course you know, boy, dark rum will smarten you up
as much as it will make a dullard of your thinking. Just what
in the blazes do you think this boy Samuel is going to find
behind that wall? Could be he destroys a perfectly painted
wall for nothing,” said Auntie matter-of-factly.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind gift from The King of Spades,
Auntie, which means it has to be really old and probably
worth a shit load of coin!” explained Kevin.
“Sure, sure boy… wishful thinking is more like it. I met
that old biter and I’m willing to bet all he did was tightly
pack a few human bones in the wall and that’s about all.”
Auntie was oblivious to the cold accuracy of her
comment. When Samuel, Magdalene and David Three Rats
had returned to the Royal Oak as planned, they did not see
the point of mentioning the dead bodies hidden in the cave;
it would surely have spoiled Auntie’s high spirits. She was
thrilled and relieved to see them in one piece and gladly
accepted their new friend, David, who didn’t give her that
worried feeling in her solar plexus. Once Auntie embraced
David whole-heartedly, Magdalene and Samuel knew they
were right to have accepted him, despite Sir William’s
prophetic comments that he would come in handy which
could easily have been interpreted as a negative omen.
Instead, in the span of one, cold, diabolical afternoon of
drinking and draining, David Three Rats became a member
of the Crimson brood.
“You ready to get this?” asked Samuel of David Three
“Every millisecond,” he replied with video recorder
246 | Patricia K McCarthy
The hammer made solid contact, tearing easily through
the plaster. A hole in the north wall exploded into loose
pieces, dropping to the floor with flying chunks landing
inside the sink and tub. The marble floor did little to
insulate the noise, punching Magdalene’s ears. Nonetheless,
she listened attentively for sounds of Finn crying; glad he
was properly secured in his portable crib taken from their
home and brought to the Tudor home, and then placed in
the kitchen on the main landing. Being inside the bathroom
reawakened her memories of the historic time she and Sir
William spent while undergoing her transformation from
human to vampire. She had not reflected on those three
special days in the last year. Sitting with her husband and
friends, however, made her recall how Sir William had
prepared everything. There had been dishes of delectable
nibbles like chocolate and pastries and fruit and tender
strips of sirloin and cheeses. Literally, every piece of
furniture in the bathroom, including the floor, ceiling and
walls had been painted entirely in white; the whole set up
had offset the romantic scene of rose petals floating in the
tub water, sprinkled liberally on the floor, and then leading
from the door to the old-style bathtub with Roman claw
feet. Yet, and like any healthy, territorial male Samuel had
repainted the bathroom.
“Fuck! The old man packed this thing in real deep,” said
Samuel; his breath heavy; sweat beaded on his brow.
“You want me to finish the job?” asked Kevin, “Your
sensitive hybrid-vampire arms are probably getting tired by
“Again with the Irish stereotype... You looking for a
“Don’t get all sensitive, V-man,” said Kevin. “I know
you’ve been through a lot and those little man arms can’t
compete with my towering strength.”
Magdalene and Auntie erupted into laughter.
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Derek whipped out his pouch, pulling out a pre-rolled
herbal treat, ready with spark in hand, to fill the bathroom
with aroma. His mind had reconciled the devastating news
of learning that Magdalene the Magnificent was the
Vampire Undertaker. True to form, if his brother
welcomed her with open arms than so did he. The earth
shattering news only reaffirmed Derek’s belief in smoking
herbal treats at every possible opportunity.
“Suppose you’ve got to do what you were born to do,”
said Auntie to Derek, restraining herself from making snide
comments about him spending yet another afternoon in an
Samuel proceeded to fill the bathroom with thundering
sound that forced Auntie to raise her voice.
“Never liked secrets in a pinch, I tell you this much,
because for every secret kept there’s a loose tongue in the
mix ready to spill the beans,” said Auntie.
“Half of the time I never understand you,” said Derek,
“But I love you just for that reason alone.”
“Course you do, boy that whacky tabacky gives you a
different perspective from the rest of us madding crowd but
I warn you it will ruin your chances of helping a lassie along
to squeeze out a puppy or two.”
“What?” asked Derek, who hauled deeply and
thoughtfully on an herbal treat, allowing the smoke to fill
his leather lungs, while considering Auntie’s words despite
not fully digesting their meaning. Not once did he cough.
“She means smoking will render you sterile, you
retard,” insulted Kevin.
“Will not,” shot back Derek like a child, “That’s just
bullshit propaganda to fool the fools.”
Auntie roared with laughter.
Kevin leaned over and filled Auntie’s cup with rum. He
stopped in mid air when he came to Magdalene, realizing
that she would not drink anything at all, nor eat so much as
one morsel of food.
248 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Babe, I’d offer you some rum in a heartbeat.”
“But we all know the truth now Kevin. I survive on a
different kind of sustenance.”
Auntie made the sign of the Catholic holy cross several
“Fuck me totally,” said Kevin. “Hearing about, well, I
guess I can say it aloud now. Hearing about vampires on the
radio is one thing… even reading about them in the paper is
another thing but to actually see one. I mean to be
associated with one. You know the closest D-boy and I got
before knowing about you was when V-man healed in that
house on Range Road after he fought a battle with that
other guy. It was like time moved forward at a faster pace.
What was his name again D-boy?”
“Raven,” answered Derek. “When Samuel turned off his
lights for good he just turned to dust and the place smelled
like sulfur and flowers afterward... total fucking dust,
“Are you sure you wouldn’t someday consider turning
D-boy and me into vampires, and maybe Dave-O, too?”
asked Kevin sincerely.
“Like Samuel already pointed out, it does not work that
way,” answered Magdalene. “Why on Earth would you
want to become one in any event?”
“How come it doesn’t work that way?” protested
“There can only be one,” repeated Magdalene, saying
the exact words Sir William had used when he spoke with
“But how come Samuel gets to be half of one?” pointed
“The King of Spades sunk his fangs into the necks of
vulnerable pregnant women just before they gave birth.
That was how he made Samuel into the hybrid man he is
today,” answered Magdalene, “But you never answered my
question, why you would want to be one?”
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“For the power, man,” answered Kevin.
“And the chicks,” threw in Derek, “because chicks all
lust for vampires.”
“Vampires are sex,” added David. “It is the primary
reason why popular culture cannot resist the vampire
mythology. Power, lust and immortality are compelling
elements and young girls can romanticize practically any
kind of man, especially a vampire.”
“Sure, sure, boy,” interjected Aunt Aileen, “Tell that
fishermen’s tale to the papers and they’d think you were
out of her bleedin’ mind.”
The hole grew in diameter, widening at the outer edges
with jagged pieces of plaster sticking out. Samuel stopped
hammering and occasionally pulled out more plaster from
within using his fingers. He naturally blocked out Kevin and
Derek’s yammering, as he always did, and instead listened
for Magdalene to speak or Finn to cry. His head had cleared
from the effects of alcohol. A clearer sense of purpose had
returned. Finally he would see the end of his father’s
games; no more would there be cryptic letters,
philosophical quotes, crowded pubs or concealed dead
bodies. The act of destroying the wall was symbolic and
cathartic, allowing him to quietly reflect on the day’s
happenings but more importantly to contemplate the depth
of his hatred for his father.
“I hear what you’re mumbling,” said David Three Rats,
“Even though you’re saying it to yourself.”
“What?” asked Samuel, with plaster bits stuck to his
arms and face.
“We don’t always realize when our thoughts are being
spoken aloud, even if it’s just whispering,” said David.
“Oh yeah, what am I talking about then?” asked Samuel.
“The hatred you have for your father,” pronounced
David Three Rats.
250 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Jesus,” said Samuel laughing, “You really do pay
attention. Yeah, I have unresolved issues with the old man.”
“Anthropology has always fascinated me,” began David.
“Did you know that babies are born looking more like their
fathers than their mothers so that the father will take a
vested interest in the child instead of running off and
leaving the newborn high and dry? Yet, paradoxically, and
despite this biological link, sons rarely feel genuinely cared
for by our fathers, much less understood,” explained David.
“Fathers all seem to share one common characteristic and
that is emotional detachment from their children. And long
after they have died, the thoughts and feelings we cultivated
for them never really change. We merely learn how to
compartmentalize our understanding of our fucked up
relationship and put our hatred into a neat little block of
“Your father wasn’t the one and only one vampire on
the entire fucking Earth who bit women’s necks in their
ninth month just so that he could create a new breed of
hybrid children. The man was evil! He wanted to be the
first person to launch a new species, not a religion mind
you, but a new species. How many fathers do you know
like that?” shot back Samuel, “How the fuck am I supposed
to compartmentalize that?”
“A bit of a sticky wicket,” laughed David. “I am
convinced that every male should undertake studies in
sociology, if anything at least to understand the damaging
effects that socialization has on the male psyche. Thousands
of years of human male evolution have passed and still we
are at the same place with father and sons.”
“It’s a fucking hopeless situation,” agreed Samuel. “I’ll
never be that way with Finn that I can guarantee.”
Dialogue between Kevin, Derek and Auntie continued
unabated with Kevin occasionally breaking out into song, as
Derek puffed on herbal treats. Magdalene sat serenely,
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 251
taking in the demolition, watching Auntie sip rum, while
keenly paying attention to Samuel and David, absorbing
every word of dialogue exchanged between the two.
“That’s not all!” continued Samuel, hammering and
speaking, “He just fucking had to kidnap Magdalene.”
“Get out of here. You kidding me?” asked David Three
“Yeah, he kidnapped her two years ago when he found
out Magdalene was pregnant but no wait… he knew all
along she was pregnant. He planned it from the beginning
with Tina Sharpe who he must have had dialogue with to
keep tabs on me and Magdalene. I was so sidetracked with
hating him that I never saw it coming.”
“So, what did you do?” asked David, holding the camera
as steady as Lott’s wife, his body rigid like a pillar of salt,
recording each word, relishing the level of detail the clip
would possess (a fine story was in the making and he would
be the man at the helm, able to maintain creative control,
the only way to go for every independent artist).
“He hid her away in a house on Range Road. I went out
of my fucking mind trying to figure out where he took her,”
“Evidently it all ended happily. Magdalene is thriving, as
is your baby boy, and here we are,” said David.
“Yeah,” agreed Samuel, “Here we are playing right into
my father’s hand.”
As Samuel spoke the sledgehammer hit a metal object.
The clink of steel hammer to metal was sharp and loud,
causing everyone to stop speaking. Samuel dropped the
hammer dramatically. Magdalene stood up. Kevin stopped
singing. Auntie got off the toilet seat. Derek lifted up the
toilet lid and flicked his finished herbal treat into the bowl.
All froze in mid thought.
252 | Patricia K McCarthy
Samuel tore at the plaster with his strong fingers until a
single handle became visible, covered in white dust
powder. He wrapped his hand around it, placing his other
hand over top for support. He pulled ever so slowly. The
object concealed in plaster barely budged. Samuel rocked
the item back and forth and pulled again, steady and gently,
afraid of breaking the handle. Soon a metal box came into
view, attached to the handle. As Samuel yanked harder,
Kevin moved in closer, speaking over his shoulder, next to
“OK, man, easy… easy buddy you don’t want to break
the handle. Don’t pull so hard. Fuck, man, what did your
old fart of a dad think that cleaners would find this thing?
Why didn’t he just lock it away in a trunk?”
Samuel stopped, turning his face toward Kevin. “Move
the fuck back will you please? I can’t breathe!”
“Language boys,” chided Auntie, “I should use one of
these bars of soap to wash out your filthy mouths. Never
have I heard so much cursing in one night.”
Derek laughed. As he did, his hand reached around to
his back pocket, pulled out his pouch, and then lit another
fresh herbal treat. “To celebrate the uncovering,” he said to
Samuel wiggled the box up and down and sideways,
loosening it more each time within the dried plaster. He
placed his foot against the wall for leverage. He pulled it
further away from within the wall, inch by inch, working
the metal box out of its hiding place, until finally releasing
the box into the present day atmosphere. Sir William had
filled the wall entirely with wet plaster, completely
surrounding the box to ensure it could not be removed
“Anything worth having is worth losing a tooth over,”
“Huh?” asked Samuel.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 253
“When a man acquires something too easily he just as
easily discards it,” clarified Auntie.
“Now’s not the best time to talk about women,” said
Samuel, to which Kevin laughed.
“Do not stop. You are almost there, my gorgeous boy,”
A final sound of vacuumed air popped when the box
was entirely free of the wall. The weight was surprisingly
heavy; the box lurched forward to the floor. Samuel
grabbed hold of the handle and lifted the box back up,
placing it on top of the sink, blowing off loose bits of
plaster. A cloud of white dust rose up and around the box,
temporarily covering it in more particles. He cleaned the
box with his hands looking for a latch to open it. Instead,
there was but one tiny hole that would fit only one
particular key. Samuel turned to David Three Rats, who
filmed the entire uncovering.
“OK, Mister Locksmith, you’re on.”
“Very well, step aside,” said David Three Rats politely
and softly, handing the video recorder to Kevin. “Just aim
straight and the camera will do the rest. There’s at least
twenty minutes remaining,” said David.
“Should I make a witty introduction?” asked Kevin.
David Three Rats ignored his question and dug into his
burlap pouch. He did not pull out the previous set of tools
used in the cave in the park but instead a small black, plastic
container with a snap closure; highly specialized tools with
miniscule flatheads and screws, small enough to allow him
to work on watches.
“I never leave without these…a godsend when you have
locked yourself out of house and home.”
“I thought you’re never supposed to forget your Visa
card,” said Kevin.
“Focus people,” clapped Magdalene, losing her
254 | Patricia K McCarthy
Samuel laughed. Auntie nodded her head. Derek
Ever so delicately David Three Rats raised the pant legs
of his jeans as he bent lower, bringing the level of his gaze
to the exact level of the tiny keyhole. He brought out a
pocket flashlight, barely the size of a miniature lighter and
clicked on the blue light and placed the flashlight between
his teeth. Next he opened the black container of tools
before himself. From out of his pouch, he removed a pair of
glasses with 2.0 magnification and a pair of fine white cloth
gloves, sliding them onto his hands.
“So you won’t get dirty?” asked Kevin.
David Three Rats did not reply; concentrating
intensely. He contemplated which tool to use first.
“Didn’t you hear me?” asked Kevin.
“Shut up and drink your rum ya bum,” insulted Derek.
“Wanker,” retorted Kevin.
David Three Rats focused, looking deep inside the tiny
“Fuck. Shit. Cunt. Piss,” hissed David three Rats.
Before he inserted the first tool, he stopped and removed
the flashlight, and turned to Samuel and Magdalene,
wearing the glasses, making his eyes look like bulging fish
eyes. “There’s a trap sequence to this locking mechanism.”
“What the Hell does that mean?” asked Samuel.
“Simply put, if I fuck up and hit the wrong sequence of
tumblers when I use my tools the lock could shut down and
not open at all.”
“Then we’ll blow the box open,” offered Samuel.
“I have faith in you,” said Magdalene to David Three
Rats. “Please kindly ignore my husband’s suggestion and
Kevin’s curious questions.”
“Right-o,” agreed David Three Rats.
Instead of bending lower and putting strain on his back,
he dropped to his knees and went to work. The tiniest tool
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 255
with the flathead was inserted first and the second
screwdriver slid neatly underneath. David manipulated the
tools delicately, listening as his fingers worked. He turned
The group sucked in a collective silent breath, waiting
for David Three Rats to succeed in unlocking the metal
box. The noise of swallowing sounded louder in the
bathroom. Kevin gulped the contents of his cup of rum,
after which the bottle cap turned. More liquor poured out
of the bottle.
The lock turned and a distinctive click told the group
the metal box would open. David Three Rats looked
pleased with himself, turning to Magdalene for approval.
Everyone moved in closer to get a better look.
“Shall I do the honours?” asked David to Magdalene.
“Open the fucker,” answered Samuel for his wife.
“Unbelievable,” exclaimed David. “Your father’s games
are not over.”
“I told you,” said Samuel, “It was almost unbearable to
be in his presence when he was alive, the arrogant all-
David’s fingers trembled; he gingerly opened the lid.
Concealed inside the metal box was another wood box, also
locked like the metal box, only the lock on the wood box
looked ancient with a keyhole that modern keys could not
“Bet you don’t have special tools for this lock,” taunted
“That smart mouth is going to issue an apology,”
retorted David. “There’s not a lock invented I can’t pick. I
told you, my friends, those in the know in the Boy Scouts
pledged to do good and to never give up when the going
got tough. And of all these pimple-faced pubescent boys
who ran scared into their tents just because the sound of
256 | Patricia K McCarthy
bears roared in the woods, I never did. I stuck my head out
and dared them bears to come and every yarn I spin is
nothing but the finest of gold thread from rare caterpillars, I
swear, and if for some strange reason you’re asking yourself
why would a Scout Master leave behind a set of precious
lock-picking tools with a young kid…well, let me just say
we shared a special relationship, not devious by any stretch
of your sordid imaginations… he wanted to pass on his
knowledge to someone special who sincerely wanted to
David reached for the smallest of the smallest of tiny
tools, barely visible to the naked eye, its tip the size of an
eyelash and a handle delicately carved out of ivory and jade.
He held the tool gingerly in his hand and rolled it down to
the tip of his fingers, feeling the preciousness of his
“Don’t fail me now,” he said, speaking directly to the
tool. “I’ve never had occasion to use this particular tool but
the Scout Master who sold me these beauties told me the
time would one day come and gosh darn it he was right!”
“You want rum first?” asked Kevin, appearing not drunk
in the least, and giving Samuel pause to think just how
much Kevin could actually drink before ever showing signs
“Save me a drop,” said David Three Rats.
Lily-white fingers with virtually invisible dark hairs on
the knuckles held the small ivory tool. David inserted it
into the tiny hole of the wood box. Tool to keyhole fit like
fingers to a worn leather glove and only the smallest of
effort was expended to rotate the tool. David turned the
key to the right and the wood box made not so much as one
He got up from his knees, sighed and turned to the
group with a look of sincere worry. “Folks if it doesn’t
work this time I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.”
“Monkeys have uncles?” asked Derek.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 257
“JUST OPEN THE FUCKING BOX!” yelled Samuel,
“For fuck’s sake!”
“Honey, please,” pleaded Magdalene. “You are not the
only one. We are all anxious to know what is inside.”
“Have you been recording all of this?” asked David of
“Oh fuck sorry I just put it down for a second,” said
Kevin, rushing to pick up the video recorder that had been
left on the sink; its lens pointing toward the wall.
“A moment that can be edited,” reassured David.
“Do you want to?” asked Samuel of Magdalene,
“Because if I see another box inside another box inside
another box I’m going to have a brain hemorrhage right
here and now!” said Samuel.
“Somebody pinch that boy’s bum to take his mind off
his father, for the love of God,” exclaimed Auntie, “Never
in all my life have I heard so much rubbish over one dead
father. You’ve gotten more mileage out of hating your
father than a mini car gets riding on diesel fuel.”
“Rum works even better to forget the past,” whispered
Kevin into Samuel’s ear, to which Samuel relaxed and
starting laughing again.
“Yes, my darling,” said Samuel to Magdalene, “The time
Magdalene’s long fingers touched the tip of the box
with perfectly shaped points on each fingernail and paused.
Her sense of smell was overwhelmed by a flurry of essential
oils: lemon and opium and rose and amber, lavender and
sandalwood and lotus and jasmine, and even the more older
varieties and lesser known essential oils like champaka and
frangipani; subtle aromas that had soaked into the box’s
ancient wood; its colour stained dark with deep grooves
that ran back and forth across the lid. Magdalene sensed
that history and time had been married inside the box and
258 | Patricia K McCarthy
what would be uncovered would surely set her life on a
“Any time, gorgeous girl,” said Samuel, looking into
Magdalene’s eyes. She stared at the box.
“I was just thinking, darling, how glad I am to have you
and the boys and Auntie with me.”
“Don’t forget our locksmith and picture taker dude
Dave-O,” said Kevin patting his shoulder, “Without him
we’d just be staring at the metal box.”
“For the love of God,” chided Auntie, “I’m not getting
Ever slowly, Magdalene lifted the lid. Everyone leaned
in as close as possible to get their first look.
“OUCH!” yelled Kevin, laughing crazily, to which the
Inside, plush purple velvet was draped across with an
official wax seal and a tied drawstring; each individual end
capped with gold. Miraculously there was no dust. The
velvet cloth appeared old but intact. Magdalene lowered
her head to the box and inhaled deeply.
“There it is again, that smell of essential oils, just like
“Babe, please, you can’t torture me any longer,” said
Her fingers grasped the wax seal closing the velvet
cloth. She tore the seal in half, thereby opening the velvet.
Her hand shook with a slight tremble, the first feeling of
weakness she felt since becoming a vampire. The velvet
cloth was pulled away and out of the box.
Samuel, Kevin, Derek, Auntie and David Three Rats
leaned inward again.
Neatly carved inside the velvet cloth was another piece
of wood, designed specifically for holding the precious
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 259
“Holy cow,” said Kevin with genuine exclaim.
“OHMYGOD,” said Derek.
“Good gracious,” said Auntie.
“Are those even real?” asked David.
“Unbelievable,” agreed Magdalene, “Are these from
“Jesus,” said Samuel.
Auntie crossed herself. “The hairs on my arm are rising,
child, and when that happens it means a snootful of trouble
is brewing up.”
Magdalene reached into the box and removed a
perfectly shaped blood-red crimson ruby, as large as the
entire width of her palm, with exactly four square points on
the flat surface, shaped in a rectangle with neatly cut,
sloping edges. She held the huge ruby up to the ceiling light
and admired the positively exquisite stone, possibly the
largest ever known to man. She felt its power; its warmth,
admiring the shimmering shade of red as the light in the
ceiling had shone through the ruby. She reached for the
next stone, an extraordinary sapphire as large as the ruby;
only round; it’s colour a brilliant sparkling deep ocean blue,
perfect in its final presentation without so much as one
“Are you sure these are the real thing?” questioned
Samuel, touching the ruby with one finger. “What about
this one?” he further asked, pointing to an emerald; equal in
proportion to the ruby and sapphire but square and with a
luster that rivaled the greenest valley in Ireland.
“They have to be,” answered Magdalene.
“What do the Boy Scouts say about digging up precious
stones?” asked Derek of David.
“Beats me,” answered David, “But I can teach you how
to light a fire wearing just a pair of undies in the pouring
rain and only one match.”
The group broke up laughing.
260 | Patricia K McCarthy
Magdalene placed the blood-red ruby back into the
holding spot, along with its companions. It had been a very
long day and while she was pleased with the end result of
having uncovered Sir William’s prized possession buried in
the bathroom wall, she wanted most to put an end to her
fears about the pending issue of dealing with the
superintendent. She did not worry about making a
nighttime visit to his residence. On the contrary, she
looked forward to seeing the expression of horror on his
face, to know that he would regret having threatened her
husband. Her instincts were guiding her, to sever Samuel’s
link with the superintendent and La Maison Erotique
altogether. The time had come for him to disassociate from
his dealings with the house, despite Kevin and Derek
visiting the house regularly.
“Those things have got to be worth a fortune,” said
Kevin, “That can’t be it, man, all this effort to hide these
stones in a wall and having us run to different pubs. That
can’t be all.”
“Hold on,” said Samuel, who picked up the wood box
to properly inspect it, surprised again by its heaviness. He
turned it upside down to examine the underneath, looking
for other clues. With the lid closed there was no sound of
the stones moving inside (the velvet ensured the stones
would remain tightly packed inside their wooden holder).
“When all else fails the most obvious answer is the only
answer,” said Samuel to the group. “Watch and learn,” he
declared. He re-opened the box and gently removed the
stones, handing one each to Kevin, Derek and David,
allowing them to scrutinize the rare objects. “Don’t drop
Samuel removed the purple velvet and the inner
wooden holder. He pressed his thumbs into the box’s
corners and pushed. No result. He slid his fingers along the
creases, pushing at all angles and every side.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 261
“For the love of God,” said Auntie, “Hand me that
blasted thing before I hit you over the head with it!”
Auntie re-inserted the wooden holder back into the box
and held it up high over her head. Her gaze turned to
Samuel’s face that had a childish expression of anticipation,
as did Magdalene and the boys. She smiled.
“Hold your breath,” she said.
Auntie threw the box down, slamming it onto the
marble floor, shattering it into a hundred pieces. The group
stared in shock. Kevin laughed.
Auntie picked out the inner wood that held the stones
and set it aside, still intact. She sifted through the loose
pieces of the box and sticking out of one corner was a final
piece of parchment.
“Figures!” said Samuel, “How the Hell did he get it in
“The old ship in the bottle trick,” said David.
“He built the box,” said Magdalene.
“Who did?” asked Derek.
“The King of Spades, clunkhead!” answered Auntie. “Of
course you know, boy, that old biter knew from the start
how all of this hooliganism would end and I guess he saw I
would know what to do. He was the Devil, you know?”
Quietly and without saying a word, Samuel took the last
slip of parchment from Auntie’s fingers, staring at her with
a look that suggested he had reached the very absolute end
of his patience. But given that he had come this far he felt
compelled to go on. The last piece of parchment would be
read and destroyed; the pieces of the box burned in the fire
in the home and a bottle of champagne cracked to celebrate
the very end of his father.
“Are you ready for what he has to say?” asked Samuel of
“Lay it on us,” said Derek, severely stoned.
262 | Patricia K McCarthy
Samuel cleared his throat, unfolding the parchment at
the same time. He required no reading glasses. He desired
no alcohol. He wanted only to know why his father had left
behind such an odd gift, whose value on the surface was
obvious, should they wish to sell the stones on the open
market, but realizing his father’s true aim would be
revealed in his last letter.
The dreaming mind is filled with desire and when desire
flourishes, there is an ever-growing need to want more. And
wanting more is about control and as the mind desires control, the
dream degrades into chaos. And when a dream turns to chaos, a
portal is opened into the dimensions of past, present and future.
Your recurring dream, my son, has always been the same: you are
nailed to a cross with women and children dying all around you.
Each night you escape by pulling your wrists and ankles free from
the hard nails. Your dream was a nightmare until the day you met
me, then your recurring dream changed – I chopped down the cross
while a woman stands in the background carrying a bundle in her
arms. When she tosses the bundle into the air, you clamber
frantically to catch a baby with black-coal vampire eyes. I shall
give you the interpretation, my son that you have long waited for.
My dream became your life and your life was my dream. You and I
are forever connected Samuel. These precious stones are from
another time. Make use of the wooden holder inside the box to
stand each one upright, placing them above your head on your
headboard in precisely this order: Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire.
Take one hour before sleep 350 milligrams of Magnesium citrate
and 50 milligrams of vitamin B-6. The experience of your dream
will explain everything, much better than I can in this letter. I will
leave you with a small hint, the faster you age the farther you
travel forward in time and the slower you age the farther backward
in time you travel. And as a final note, both you and Magdalene
will understand the significance of this list:
Oliver Reed of Ottawa
Juan Carlos of Barcelona
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 263
Jonathan Vander Hoeven of Amsterdam
And that is all…
“Huh?” asked Kevin.
“The stones are a dream machine,” ventured David,
“Not quite like the Aboriginal dream catchers used by my
people but similar in intent.”
“Not just a dream machine,” interjected Magdalene.
“But a time machine,” added Samuel. “Is he for fucking
“Stones that let you dream and travel through time?”
“Ah, the whole lot of you,” scoffed Auntie, “Lock up
those Devil’s stones and bury the box and every bloody
piece in the ground and keep it there. You’re begging for
trouble, I swear,” said Auntie
“Does he mean for only Magdalene and Samuel to use
it?” asked David.
“She can’t,” explained Samuel.
“How come?” asked Derek.
“Magdalene doesn’t sleep,” answered Samuel, “So she
“Never?” asked David.
“Never,” replied Magdalene.
“But I thought all vampires sleep in the day?” asked
“Clunkhead,” said Auntie, hitting Kevin’s head, “How
do you think she’s been with you all these days and nights
for all these bloody years?”
“Oh,” said Kevin, “I never really gave it a lot of thought.
It’s a fucking dream machine, man, are you sure?”
“Bury that treasure,” repeated Auntie. “I tell you this
much it will bring you trouble. Any man fool enough to
peek into the future is fool enough to think he can change
264 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Yeah but you read fortunes with a regular deck of
playing cards so how can you say that, Auntie?” asked
“Boy, for the love of God, my fortune cards are not the
same as stones from the Devil.”
“The King of Spades,” corrected Kevin. “I’m willing to
take the first dream ride,” offered Kevin. “I’m not afraid of
the future or the past, man, and whatever happens I’ll be
able to wake up and tell you everything.”
Samuel looked knowingly at Magdalene. The secret
connection shared between husband and wife did not
require articulated words to express their understanding.
The list of names was Sir William’s final remaining list of
hybrid children, all half-brothers to Samuel, like Cain and
Raven. Neither Samuel nor Magdalene would speak that
knowledge aloud to the Coffey boys or David. They would
never know why Sir William left behind the stones but both
realized he had purpose to each action and his
foreknowledge of what would transpire on this day must
have been gleaned from a time-dream by someone other
than himself. Cain or Raven had provided that purpose to
Sir William. It was all very clear to Magdalene. The circle
of understanding finally closed one of the questions both
had had about Sir William. He was not prescient in his
knowledge of the future because of being a vampire. He
knew of the future because of the stones. Furthermore, his
hybrid sons were the vehicle that allowed him to glimpse
what was to come. Yes, indeed, the rare stones would be
worth a fortune, if in fact they were the genuine article.
Samuel felt tired. The last communication from his
father had been completed; his letters received; his
instructions followed and each pub visited; uncovering the
dead bodies and finally unearthing the rare gift and prized
list. The end had at last been reached. He and Magdalene
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 265
could go on with their lives in peace, fortified with the
mechanism that would permit them to learn what was to
“The show’s finally over, folks,” said Samuel to the
Coffey boys and David. “Magdalene and I are going home
with Finn and Auntie and call it a night.”
“But what about taking the first ride in the dream
machine?” asked Kevin, “And how the fuck am I going to
get to sleep tonight?”
“The same way you always do… with beer,” answered
“I don’t think I’ll ever sleep again after today,” said
“Course you will, boy, don’t be an idiot,” said Auntie.
Samuel and Magdalene laughed in unison. “As much as
I’m tempted to invite everyone over to celebrate...”
“Woo-hoo!” exclaimed Kevin, “A party!”
“We’ll stay for only one pint, I swear,” said Derek,
“I would be happy to come along,” offered David.
“Burn that box and bury those stones, I tell you, boy,”
urged Auntie, “And you might as well have a few drinks in
“Fine,” agreed Samuel. “You’re all welcome to come
home for a nip.”
“One drink and that is all,” reiterated Magdalene, who
was already planning the route in her mind to the
superintendent’s residence in Ottawa’s Glebe district.
“Woo-hoo!” exclaimed Kevin again.
Auntie dumped the contents of the garbage pail on the
floor and used the empty pail to scoop up the pieces of the
shattered box. Magdalene carefully wrapped each stone in
purple velvet, while Auntie slipped the wooden holder
under her arm. Samuel looked at the mess on the floor and
decided tomorrow he would repair the wall and re-paint.
266 | Patricia K McCarthy
David secured the video recorder in his pouch and returned
the items previously taken out: the eye-glasses, the tools,
and his pair of white gloves, while Kevin and Derek did
absolutely nothing but stare at everyone else preparing to
The walk from the large Tudor house to the Crimson
home was barely 50 feet. Finn was conveniently pushed in
his carriage, wide-awake and happily guzzling cold milk.
His mother had brought two bottles. The group walked
without talking, oblivious to not knowing that the end had
not yet been reached and in fact that a new beginning was
mere moments away.
Two Hours Later
WHEN A LOAD HAS BEEN LIFTED from a worrying mind
the sense of relief is akin to stepping into a hot bath on a
cold winter’s day. To finally relax without the shadow of
his father following behind was the one feeling Samuel
desired most, not frustration or rabid rage, and surely not
regrets for having been abandoned as a child. At last the
purpose of his life could unfold, undeterred by the past.
The future would not be without its challenges, as none are
above loss or despair. But at the very least he could proceed
in living his life free of the shackles of parental influence and
control – finally at the ripe old age of one hundred and
twenty-four, as one of the few living hybrid human-
vampires borne from the life-altering bite of Sir William
Simon Hennessy. He and Magdalene would discuss
privately how best to handle the matter of the list of hybrid
children, more than likely grown men close to his own age.
For now the time called for celebration. Only one minor
decision needed to be made in regard to the dream
machine: when to set a trial date. Samuel secretly
harboured doubts about the stones and whether or not the
dreamer could in fact travel back and forth in time. But at
least the ghost of his father was officially dead, like the man
that came before the vampire, like the vampire that was
born before the legend. Samuel felt free and giddy.
268 | Patricia K McCarthy
“Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling, from
glen to glen and down the mountain side. The summer’s
gone and all the flowers are dying…‘tis you, ‘tis you must
go and I must bide. But come ye back when summer’s in
the meadow or when the valley’s hushed and white with
snow…‘tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow. Oh Danny
boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so,” sang Kevin, at the top of
his lungs, standing in the kitchen, holding a mug full of rum
and spilling drops on the floor as he teetered. Magdalene
plugged her ears with her fingers; a cold pint of brown
English ale waited by Kevin’s side.
At the kitchen table sat the group of Treasure Hunters,
fortified with the confidence of having survived the pub
crawls and uncovering the rare apparatus, being rewarded
for their efforts with a new friend, David Three Rats.
Finn shrieked with joy as he writhed on top of the
kitchen table, in the midst of happy adults, soaking up the
attention and positive energy.
“So when are you going to do it?” asked Kevin.
“Do what?” asked Samuel.
“You know, man, take a ride on the dream machine and
travel through time. My offer is good, V-man, you just say
the word. And by the way what was that list of names all
“How should I know?” lied Samuel.
Magdalene left the kitchen table and went to the fridge
to take out a bottle of cold milk for Finn, who was long past
his bedtime but who preferred sleeping during the day than
at night. To be sure, it had been a long morning and day
and an even longer late night. After the business of tearing
through the bathroom wall had been completed, the time
was well past 10:00 PM.
“You can always Google these people,” suggested David.
“Or go visit them,” added Derek.
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 269
“They never learn,” chided Auntie, speaking to her
niece Magdalene at the stove. “They never learn to leave
well enough alone.”
“Do not fear, my pet,” said Magdalene. “We have
enough going on in our lives that we do not need to invite
“Yes that’s about the size of it, child, trouble is going to
find you again as sure as the sun is going to rise.”
“In the morning,” chimed in Kevin, ready to spill out
The sound of the doorbell was not heard the first time
over the volume of Kevin’s singing voice. It was Finn’s eyes
and head turning toward the doorway that alerted Samuel
and Magdalene. Derek did not hear it, having been banished
outside on the porch to spark up his twenty-fifth herbal
treat of the day. Kevin was moments from stepping outside
the door to enjoy a cigarette with his brother. Auntie saw
Finn’s eyes shift, as did David, and she knew what was
about to come; the hairs on her arm stood up.
“Child,” said Auntie, “Don’t answer that bloody door, I
beg you, child.”
“What do you mean don’t answer the door?” asked
“I will answer it, honey, just relax and enjoy your beer,”
“No, you relax. I’ve got this one,” said Samuel.
Samuel never bothered to look out the small window in
the front door, for if he had, he would have seen the cruiser
parked slanted in his driveway. He unlatched the lock and
opened the door, not giving pause to Auntie’s warning, and
feeling on top of the world.
“Mister Crimson, we’d like you to come with us please
to the station.”
270 | Patricia K McCarthy
“What the?” asked Samuel, “Do you have any idea what
time of night it is? Am I being charged?”
“You can choose to come with us now or we will speak
with you inside your home. I recommend you choose a
more private setting.”
“Magdalene!” called out Samuel from the hallway.
Magdalene dropped the lid on top of the pot on the
stove and issued a request to Auntie, “Watch the pot,
She walked calmly to the front of the house just as
Samuel was bending his head lower, getting into the back
seat of the cruiser. The constable remained at the
“Here is my card, Mrs. Crimson.”
“What is going on?” asked Magdalene.
“Your husband is being detained,” answered the
“On what grounds?” asked Magdalene, hiding her
“That’s police business, ma’am,” said the constable as he
Magdalene did not move from her position in the
hallway with the front door opened. She stared at her
husband as his head turned to look out the window. She
raised her hand and made the sign of a telephone, to which
Samuel nodded, understanding he would call her.
Magdalene stared at Samuel with the words of the constable
in her ear: ‘that’s police business, ma’am’.
The number to Samuel’s lawyer was posted on their
bulletin board, oddly enough left in the same place when he
had originally tacked up his business card those two years
past when their house had been raided.
Auntie was right on one count; that trouble would find
them again, and so it had. And yet, she was deadly wrong
on another, to bury the stones. Magdalene realized the
The Crimson Time (A Vampire Crawl) | 271
significance of Cain returning to Ottawa after all. He not
only had to deliver the first letter from Sir William but he
would now be in the prestigious position of knowing more
about the stones and their impact than her. Cain would
educate her on their importance and surely Magdalene
would need to apply great care in choosing the one person
to whom she could trust to take the first dream-ride. She
also kept secret her ultimate purpose for Cain, one that
could not be shared with anyone, not even her husband.
“What happened to V-man?” asked Kevin, returning to
“I am expecting a phone call from him, Kevin,”
“But he was just here. Did he have to leave?”
“In all my days and years of living on this God-forsaken
planet I never met a copper I liked. I tell you this much,
child,” said Auntie, looking at her niece. “The least said is
the easiest mended and I hope for your sake and that baby
boy’s that your husband knows well enough to keep his trap
The corners of Magdalene’s luscious mouth turned up
in a wide smile. She showed no fear over Auntie’s warning,
knowing that she would not act until hearing from her
Waiting in the kitchen, in the room she loved most,
with jubilant friends and Finn unable to sit still, her
fingertips tingled at the prospect of draining the
superintendent. The late hour was dark and the air
chillingly sharp. Indeed, Magdalene would happily wait for
Samuel to call. After all, there was plenty of time left in her
long vampire life. There was time for more living and more
draining; there was time for dead bodies and rare dreaming
stones; there was ample time to reflect and thrive as the
one, and only one true vampire very much alive.
To Be Continued
About the Author
Patricia K. McCarthy lives and writes in Ottawa, Ontario,
Canada. Her Crimson vampire series has received extensive
media coverage in national and local newspapers, as well as on
radio and television. She has also authored three collections of
erotic poetry. For details, visit her website
Her work has appeared in the following publications:
Capital Letter; WritingRaw.com (U.S.); True North
Perspective; Ottawa’s City Journal, The Puritan Magazine;
Man's Story2 (USA); Androids2 (USA); Vampires2 (USA):
Templar (US); Full Moon Tales (U.K.); The Ottawa Citizen
(Canada); Bywords Magazine; Quills Magazine (USA);
Underground Focus (U.K.); Open Wide Magazine (U.K.);
Aesthetica: A Review of Contemporary Artists (U.K.); Jann
Arden's official web-site; Lullaby Hearse (USA); Image Weavers
(USA); Dripping (U.K.); The Muse Apprentice Guild (U.K.);
Riot Angel (U.K.); the Sound and Silence Literary Magazine
(USA); Voyages (India) and the Taj Mahal Review (India), to
name only a few.
The Crimson series:
The Crimson Man: a fantasy
The Crimson Boy: a fantasy continued
The Crimson Woman: a fantasy realized
The Crimson Time (a vampire crawl)
The Crimson Crimes (a vampire revenge)
The Crimson Dream (a vampire escape)
To purchase copies of the Crimson Series either
individually or for retail sales, contact:
PKM Publications at:
Dedicated to my mother
Karin Ingeborg McCarthy
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