Author's Note: Things heat up with the Dracula tour as people start turning up dead. The tourists think it's all part of the fun, mistaking real vampires for actors paid to liven up their night. This makes them easy prey for the bloodthirsty predators in their midst. (Warning: strong language) ... I was just looking over my saved files for this work, searching for a couple of deleted scenes. And I realized that I was mistaken, thinking I'd written this in 2005 or 2006. The first saves are from December 2004. My, how time flies! One other thing. When I first started posting, I'd mentioned my dreamcast. I never did tell you who I cast as Dracula in my head: artist & musician Joseph Vargo. It's not just his look, it's his voice. His vocals on his Nox Arcana CD Transylvania cinched it. Queue up the last track and listen to the very end. That evil laugh? That is Joseph Vargo. Sexy as hell and perfect for the immortal Count!

Act II Scene V

(The front of the Boyar Hotel. Three members of the band, Griffin, Victor, and Johnny stand on the street. The band’s van is parked a short distance up the street, near one of the few working streetlights. Most of the surrounding buildings are dark, so the town appears abandoned. No one else is out. The door of the hotel is propped open. Light, muted music, and laughter emerge from the door. The band members smoke and chat casually in low voices, except Johnny who seems both a little drunk and a little loud. Livia comes out, practically glowing.)

Livia: Hey guys. Got a light?

Johnny: Sure, luv. Nice dress. You having fun?

Livia: The food was crap, but I’m having a good time.

Johnny: You still leaving in the morning with the rest of the tour?

Livia: I’m thinking I might stay for a while.

Johnny: Right on.

(Johnny goes to put his arm around Livia. In the process, he catches sight of the crescent moon.)

Johnny: Ooooh. Let me see your tattoo.

Livia: It’s not a tattoo. It’s a brand.

(She turns back toward the light, holding stray strands of her hair up so he can see it better.)

Johnny: That’s hard core. Victor here is into that body-mod stuff. You pierced, sweetie?

Livia: No piercings. Just the brand. It’s a family thing.

Victor: That’s nice work, really clean. Hard to get them to keloid just right like that. I’m a fan. Got me some Teflon implants under the skin in this arm and some on my chest – they make a spiral pattern.

(Victor takes off his shirt to show off his tattoos and body mods. Livia admires them politely. Johnny pulls her back to him, runs his fingers lightly along the brand.)

Johnny: It’s lovely. We’ll find some way to work it into the video. Maybe do some shots of the moon, play with layering the images. How are things coming with the shoot, anyway,Griffin?

Griffin: I was checking that factory out this afternoon. It’s got no electric hook-up, which is a problem, but I think I saw a generator in one of the lower rooms. If I can get that baby cranking, we’re in business.

Livia: What about Dracula’s tomb?

Johnny: Eh, luv?

Livia: You said they’re digging up Dracula’s tomb. Getting in there to film would kick ass.

Griffin: Nah. Alex was right. It’s not much but tents and an old foundation. No visual appeal.

Johnny: Griff here is our light and stage man, so if he says it won’t work in the film, it won’t work.

Victor: Hey look – somebody’s in a hurry.

(A motor guns. The Jeep approaches at high speed. Griffin recognizes Alex, steps out to wave, but she speeds past, and he jumps back to avoid getting hit.)

Griffin: Fuck!

Johnny: What’s gotten into her?

Griffin: Something must be wrong back at the camp. She doesn’t usually drive like that.

Victor: Where you think she’s headed?

Griffin: Only things down that way are the church and public offices.

Johnny: She going for the cops?

Griffin: I’m gonna head down that way and see. Catch you guys later. (Griff walks off)

Livia: What do you think could be wrong?

Johnny: Accident, maybe. That, or a bear. Those fuckers are nasty.

Livia: I hope everything’s ok.

Victor: Maybe they found a vampire.

Johnny: If they did, he’s going to star in my film. Vampires are sexy bastards.

(A woman wails off camera, coming from the same direction as the Jeep and the touring van.)

Victor: Wolf keeps that up and he’ll wake the whole town.

Livia: Someone having a little fun?

Johnny: Wolfie’s shagging that one blonde bartender over in the touring van.

(the screaming starts again, this time more urgent. A man’s voice is added. He sounds anything but orgasmic. Victor and Johnny exchange worried glances.)

Livia: That doesn’t sound good.

Victor: Shit.

Johnny: Maybe she had a boyfriend?

Victor: I want to go see.

Johnny: You know, Victor, you walk in on them in the van and it’s nothing, Wolf is going to wring your neck. I’d do the same.

Victor: It didn’t sound right, Johnny. Besides, my other pack of cigarettes is in there.

Johnny: Oh, I see how it is.

Victor: You coming, or what?

Johnny: What the fuck? I’m game. You coming, too, luv? We’ll make it a party.

Livia: Sure.

(They walk the short distance to the touring van. A streetlight casts the van in contrasting pools of light and shadow. Things are eerily silent. Victor approaches cautiously. Johnny and Livia bring up the rear.)

Victor: (stage whisper) Wolfie? Wolfram?

Johnny: Hey, Wolfie-boy, done with your little snog, mate?

Victor: Crissakes, Johnny. And here you’re yelling at me!

Johnny: If we’re going to interrupt him, why not do it in style?

Victor: (rolls his eyes) Shit. Wolf!

(They continue to approach the driver’s side of the van. There is still no noise and no movement, though there is an indistinct shape on the other side of the van, visible just through the wheels. Victor moves up around the front of the van, then cautiously peeks around the side.)

Victor: (stumbling back) Fuck me. Oh fuck! Fuck. Me.

Johnny: (giggles) I thought she was fucking Wolfie.

Victor: Stuff it, Johnny. This isn't funny.

(Johnny leads Livia up to where Victor stands. Johnny is still giggling at his joke. As he turns the corner and looks around, he is suddenly sober. Livia is the last to look. There is a slight lift of her eyebrows, but she does not appear as shocked or upset as either of the men. The other side of the van has a big smear of blood arcing down. It goes right across the “Falling Darkness” logo. The body of the bartender lies on the ground beside the van. Her eyes are open and glazed. Her throat has been torn out.)

Johnny: Bloody hell, she’s fucking dead.

Victor: (worried) Wolf?

(The back doors of the van are ajar. A booted foot is visible just beneath the door.)

Victor: Wolf? Don’t you be dead, too, Wolf. Goddamnit, don’t you be dead.

(Johnny stares at the dead bartender, clinging to Livia. Victor moves cautiously to the back door. When he finally rounds the corner of the open door, his face falls.)

Victor: Oh, shit.

Johnny: Don’t fuck with me, Victor.

Victor: Wolf’s dead, Johnny.

Johnny: I said don’t fuck with me, Victor!

Victor: On my mother’s grave, I’m not fucking with you, Johnny. Wolf’s dead. He’s got his pants around his ankles and he’s fucking dead!

Livia: He look the same as the bartender?

(Victor comes around from the end of the van, shaken. He almost trips over the bartender’s foot. He shudders.)

Victor: Yeah, he looks the same. Something ate his fucking throat.

Livia: We need to go back inside. Now.

Johnny: What the fuck? My keyboardist? My fucking keyboardist?

Livia: Johnny, really. We need to go back inside.

Victor: You know something about this?

Livia: I have enough sense to know that two people are dead and standing around in the dark is not going to improve our chances of survival.

Victor: Point. And we need to tell someone.

(Victor pulls a knife from his boot. Together, they head back toward the hotel but are startled by headlights coming back up the road. There are two sets now, the Jeep and one of the local police vehicles. Both vehicles stop in front of the hotel. Griffin is riding with Alex and Thompson, and they all get out. Alex has Griffin hand her a backpack out of the Jeep, and she hefts this over her shoulder. Three local law enforcement officers get out of the vehicle behind them. They look unhappy to be disturbed at this hour. Victor quickly stows the knife and waves the officers over.)

Victor: Hey! Hey! You guys speak English?

Alex: I speak enough Romanian to translate. What’s the matter?

Victor: We’ve got two people dead over there.

(Alex and Thompson exchange glances.)

Alex: Did I hear you right? Dead? What happened?

Victor: Something ate their fucking throats, that’s what happened.

Thompson: Where are they?

Johnny: Over by our touring van. A bartender and my fucking keyboardist.

Griffin: You’re shitting me. Wolf? Wolf’s dead?

(Alex relays the message to the officers. They exchange suspicious glances. But one heads over toward the van.)

Victor: I hope you have a gun, man.

Livia: (in Romanian) Don’t go alone.

(The officer makes a disparaging noise and continues.)

Griffin: What’s going on here, guys?

Johnny: How the fuck should I know?

Livia: Alex, why did you get the police?

Alex: Uh –

Thompson: There was an accident up at the camp. We had to report it. They came along to talk to the hotel staff. They’ve got to put us up for the night.

Livia: What happened to everyone else?

(The officer screams in the distance. Several shots are fired. Everyone jumps, staring. The remaining officers glance suspiciously at everyone, but they pull their guns.)

Officer 2: (in Romanian) What have you brought into my town?

Johnny: Maybe we should get inside, let the nice officers take care of whatever the fuck is back there.

Livia: They’re not going to be able to do it by themselves. They have no idea what they’re fighting.

Alex: And you do? Weren’t you in the bar earlier? Who are you?

Griffin: Let’s get inside. If they don’t give you a room, you can stay with me tonight, Alex.

Alex: I want to know what her problem is!

Livia: My problem is that people are dying, and if we stay on the street yapping, we’re probably going to die, too. So why don’t we all get inside, close the doors, and try to survive until morning?

Alex: Who made you the boss?

(Livia shoots her a look and strides into the hotel. The others are left staring out into the night, listening for more screams or gunshots. The town is silent.)

Act II Scene VI

(The camera cuts to the lobby. Mara is there, just exiting The Impaler. When she sees Livia, she waves her over.)

Mara: I was just going to go look for you.

Livia: Something’s killing people outside in the town.

Mara: What?

Livia: I was trying to get the band to take me up to the dig when we heard screaming. A bartender and their keyboardist both had their throats torn out. A couple of cops from the town went to investigate, but I’m pretty sure they’re as good as dead.

Mara: Did it look like –

Livia: Yes, yes it did. But it was really messy.

Mara: Well, obviously. It killed them.

Livia: I get the feeling it wanted to kill them.

Mara: We should go wait this out in our room.

(Alex, Thompson, and Griffin enter, followed by Victor and Johnny. Alex clutches her backpack. Thompson and Griffin head for the front desk. Alex looks over at Livia, then locks eyes with Mara. Alex’s eyes flick to Mara’s necklace, then back to Mara’s eyes. The two engage in a silent staring contest for a few moments. Alex looks away.)

Mara: Who’s that?

Livia: The dig assistant, Alex.

Mara: I don’t like her.

Livia: You and me both. But if anyone knows where the book is, I’m betting that it’s her.

Mara: This is getting complicated. And I can feel that other one very close now. I think we should retreat for now, watch how the night plays out.

Act II Scene VII

(Cut back to a window outside the hotel. Vlad and Marica stand to one side in the shadows. The window looks into the lobby. The previous scene replays now from this outside perspective. Livia and Mara conversing to one side, Alex, Thompson, and Griffin standing at the front desk to the other.)

Marica: Thompson is the dark-skinned man. See him with that woman? If anyone has your book, it will be them.

Vlad: Be sure to thank our Dr. Morgan for pursuing them here.

(Mara and Livia talk, then Mara turns to lead Livia to their room. As Livia turns toward the stairs, the brand on the back of her neck is clearly visible.)

Vlad: Wait a moment. I know that mark.

Marica: What mark, voivode?

Vlad: That little one with the crimson hair. She bears the mark of the alchemist. All his people bore that brand.

Marica: Brand?

Vlad: There was power in their blood. They slaked my thirst like nothing I had ever known. You will get that woman for me, Marica. She can help me regain control.

(In the lobby, Mara stops suddenly at the foot of the stairs. She turns and stares directly out the window at Vlad. There is a faint glow to her eyes, then a ghostly mist shines faintly from within her face. This is looks as if a second face, a man’s face, is trying to manifest through her skin. Vlad draws back in shock.)

Vlad: By all the hells …

Marica: What is it voivode?

Vlad: That other one, pale and tall. Who is that? She sees me here. I can almost feel her in my mind. (pinches the bridge of his nose and withdraws from the window). There is more going on here than I suspected. We must regroup. I need more soldiers to lay siege to this building. Everything I desire lies within.

Act II Scene VIII:

(Inside the front lobby. Mara and Livia at the foot of the stairs. Mara is still staring piercingly out the window. The glow has faded from her face but not her eyes. The others still stand at the front desk. Alex argues with the clerk in Romanian, nearly shouting. The party is in full swing beyond the doors to The Impaler.)

Livia: Mara?

Mara: He’s out there. He’s right outside that window. I would challenge him now if there weren’t so many people around.

Livia: Let’s just go up to the room.

Mara: It's going to be a long night.

Act II Scene IX

(Inside The Impaler. The tour group is over on one end, getting loud, drunk, and silly. Alex, Thompson, Griffin, Victor, and Johnny are in their own little corner looking jumpy and shell-shocked. They have a bottle on the table in front of them, and several of them have downed a shot or two apiece. Alex has her backpack on the floor beside her, leaning up against her chair.)

Victor: No shit. All that happened up at the camp?

Thompson: Yeah. They broke through to this crypt, then everyone went missing. We got the pictures –

Alex: (clutching her head and rocking a little) Ugh. Those were fucked up. Those were so fucked up.

Thompson: And then someone cut the generator.

Griffin: All the work I put into that thing!

Thompson: Yeah, well, I don’t think anybody up there’s going to be using it right now.

Alex: There was all this screaming. Someone had a gun. And then there was Dr. Morgan.

Thompson: I can’t believe you just plowed right through him.

Alex: What the fuck was I supposed to do? It was pitch black and people were grabbing at us from the shadows and I’ll be damned if I die on some god-forsaken mountain in the middle of nowhere!

Griffin: Hey. Chill out a bit, Alex. And maybe ease back on the vodka. You’re going to make yourself sick.

Alex: Like it matters right now? We don’t even know what the fuck is out there!

Thompson: Are you sure we don’t?

Johnny: Don’t start with that again, man. I’m the biggest fucking Goth here and I don't fucking believe in vampires. Were they all sparkly and lovestruck?

Griffin: (smacks Johnny on the shoulder) Shut the fuck up, man. People are dead.

Victor: Something's killing people.

Griffin: Wolfram. The bartender. And probably that cop, from the sound of it.

Victor: All the cops. Have any of them come back in yet?

Thompson: No.

Johnny: But come on, guys. Listen to yourselves. Vampires?

Victor: Look, Johnny, it wasn’t a bear and it wasn’t a wolf and it wasn’t the bloody toothfairy. The serial killer of your worst nightmares couldn’t do that kind of damage to a person in that short a time. No human killer, at any rate.

Alex: You know, I could have gone to Egypt. Egypt! But how silly, I thought, ‘I’m an American woman and that just won’t be safe.’ So I come to Romania and – and –

(Alex breaks down into tears. Griffin comforts her.)

Victor: I can’t believe those people are just dancing around like there’s nothing wrong.

Thompson: We tried to tell the people at the front desk. Do you blame them for laughing at us? They thought it was a great American joke. Vampires. Ha fucking ha.

Johnny: Fuckin’ quit it with the vampires already.

Thompson: Can you think of anything else that fits the facts?

(The tour group gets loud for a moment. The tour guide has fake fangs and is pretending to bite the ladies on the neck. A lot of the tour people are really getting into it.)

Johnny: Fuck it. I’m going upstairs. If I have to watch those people and their fake vampire bullshit for five more minutes, I’m going to be sick.

Victor: Someone has to tell Briggs about Wolfie.

Johnny: Shit. I forgot about Briggs.

Victor: They’re like brothers, man. How could you forget?

(Johnny scowls, glaring at the tourists)

Griffin: I’ll go with you. I think Alex needs to lie down. That is, if you don’t mind having her in the room?

Johnny: Just don’t fuck her in my bed.

Griffin: That’s harsh. She just needs to sleep, man.

Johnny: Whatever. Let’s go.

Victor: Hey guys – don’t get separated. I mean, don’t go anywhere in this hotel or outside of it alone. OK? Especially outside. For fuck’s sake, don’t go outside.

Johnny: Hope they don’t mind me smoking in the room.

Griffin: See you in the morning.

Victor: If we’re lucky.

--M. Belanger

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