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Synopsis

The Vampire Collector includes elements of:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
The DaVinci Code
In the Name of the Rose
CSI

FACT:
The Carta Monastery, which has been open for 292 years, is closed 18 years after the death of V Vlad the Impaler,the figure who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The Vampire Collector addresses what happened during those 18 years.


Chapter 1

1

Saturday afternoon, Helena went to walk around the ruins of the closed Monastery. She just wanted to go someplace by herself, and she knew if she said she was going to the river or somewhere else in town, the children would want to go with her, and she felt so indebted to Upa’s family, she didn’t feel she could say no.

The road to the ruins was more of a trail than a road, which was to Helena’s liking as it was less dusty this way. The walk did Helena good. She pondered her life the past few days, realizing she had been to Dracul’s castle, met AND advised the Queen of Romania, then ran off to a family festival with a family she had just met. She was accustomed to an unconventional life due to her profession, but even this was extreme for her.

Accessing the ruins was a bit tricky. There were many cockle burr plants, and more plants with thorns. Nothing impassible, just tricky hiking. Helena approached the ruins from the main entrance. As soon as she walked into the ruins,she was overwhelmed with discomfort. Helena felt flushed, her skin prickly. A strong feeling of nausea hit her. At first she thought it might have been digestive, but that didn’t make sense, so many hours after her last meal. No, this was something else, something more powerful than any physical ailment could create in such short amount of time.

Helena sat down on piece of the stone wall she had just walked through. Eventually, she slid down to sit on the Earth,knowing her connection with the soil would create a grounding effect for her clairvoyant energies. It helped the nausea, but the other ailments were not lessening.
She grabbed a rock and began drawing a pentagram in the dirt around her. The area of the pentagram that she was unable to draw because of the wall was acceptable to her; she knew the power of the pentagram and knew that if she pure in heart when drawing it, the energy of the drawing would penetrate the stone and continue in the spiritual sense.
As she drew the pentagram, she recalled the symbolism of each point in reference to Jesus’ Five Wounds on the Cross. She was hoping that this ideal in her head, as well as her own Christian faith, would, as the Bible put it, “Deliver her from evil.” She began praying the Rosary inside the Pentagram, and the various conditions that rendered her immobile began to pass.
Once she had returned to a state of something short of normal, Helena took out her flask of water and took a drink, but not before spilling some on one of the points of the Pentagram. Although Catholic and a believer of Jesus, she also knew that one of the points of the Pentagram for some symbolized Water, in reference to other cultures that also used the 5-star symbol.
“Now it was time to get to work”, she said to herself. “The Queen of Romania thinks I am one of the best clairvoyants in the World, I think it is high time I find out what just knocked me on my rear out of the blue sky like that!” With that, she criss-crossed her legs and put her hands on her knees, palms up. She closed her eyes and began nodding her head back and forth in rhythmic time, trying very hard to be aligned in movement with her heartbeat. As her breaths became longer, her heart rate slowed, and her head slowed as well.
Soon she was in a trance-like state. Not in a trance, but not operating entirely in the real world anymore. Although a beautiful day, Helena began to sense the world through with a light gray fog, the sign that spirits were indeed present. Now she wanted to find out why the spiritual world had called her so deliberately as to cause her body to react as it did.

A boy of no more than 13 was entwined with chains to a wood table. He was in a room that resembled a wine cellar, with three men doing various things around the lad. One man sat across the room watching the boy chained to the table.
The sitting man was noticeably older than the rest and had a different robe than the others. He had a beard that was more gray than brown, many age spots on his face. The man sat there, studying and thinking about the boy across from him.
One of the other men came to talk to the sitting man and asked “What are we going to do with him, Father John?” Father John sat there for a moment before answering. “What have we already done, Father Richard?”
Father Richard, the other man sitting beside the elder priest, answered quickly. “Well, we have prayed. We have done a great deal of that.”
“Yes, that’s always a good thing to do. What else?”
Father Richard continued his list. “The chains seem heavy enough to keep him secured. He had broken through the ropes and leather straps we had him secured with before.”
Father John spoke. “This is the evil in him now. There is no humanly way a boy of his age could burst through ropes and leather. No, that is the Devil in him, Father Richard.”
“I agree Father John, but we are not accustomed to addressing such demonic possessions; we are just simple monks who tend to our monastery.”
Father John replied to this. “We WERE simple monks, Father Richard. It appears our Heavenly Father has a new plan for us. Had anything else worked on the boy?”
Father Richard replied to this question. “It appears the possession is stronger at night than the day. Also, he does not eat, drink, or have to make water since the possession.”
“Very Interesting. Mind if I try something, Father Richard?” The priest nodded, aided him with standing, then walked besides the ancient priest to the table.
“Father Leo and Father Paul, please come here.” Father John made another request. “Can one of you please bring the pitcher of water at the table please?”
Father Leo went and got the water. When Father John was five feet away from the table, the boy started to jerk and squirm.
“The Devil feels our nearing.” Father John continued speaking. “Let us all make a circle and bless the water in the pitcher.” The other 3 monks did as they were instructed. Within moments, the water had been sanctified.
Father John instructed Father Paul to bring the water to the table where the boy was latched. The boy began squirming more and more now.
“The boy’s name is Raulf, yes?”
Father Leo replied first. “Yes, Father.”
Father John turned to look at the face of Raulf. “Raulf, you are a good soul possessed by Lucifer. We are trying to save you, but in the end, we must do what we must do to stop evil on this Earth.” Father John grabbed the water pitcher and poured over the chains.
Raulf screamed in pain. A putrid smelling steam arose over the area where the priest had poured the water.
“Someone give me a crucifix!” Father John had to speak loudly over the hissing body of Raulf.
Father Paul provided a wooden crucifix to Father John who walked from the end of the table to towards the top where Raulf was screaming in pain.
Father John held to the table for support. As he neared Raulf’s head, Raulf jerked strong enough to make the table move. As it did, Father John lost his footing and slipped towards Raulf’s tied body. The crucifix that Father John still held went into the side of Raulf’s body as easily as a hot poker through fresh made butter. Raulf screamed in greater pain, but no blood came from the deeply perforated wound.
Father John was now in a sitting position. The other priests came to the side of their fallen friend, trying to stand him back up. He declined their offer initially, pointing at Raulf’s body for them to observe the effects of the water and the accidental insertion of the crucifix, which still penetrated out from Raulf’s body.
Father John smiled and gave a small laugh. “Our Lord in heaven does work in interesting ways, does he not Brothers! Here we sat dumbfounded on how to heal the soul that was once the boy named Raulf, and mere moments later, a stumbling by an old man shows us the way!” Father John now attempted to regain his standing position, to which the monks made him erect. Father Paul handed Father John his walking rod, which he accepted, but not to walk with, but to point at Raulf’s body.
“See here Brothers! The demon has made Raulf strong, but has also weaknesses we did not know of!” Father John walked over to Raulf and pulled the crucifix from his body. Raulf screamed and shuddered again, but the wound did not heal, leaving a remarkable gash in the side of the boy.
Father John looked at the crucifix. “See here, there is no blood on the cross!” Father John handed the cross to the other monks for them to inspect.
“Why do you think that is, Father?” Father Richard asked.
“I believe I know, Father Richard, but I want to sit down for a while and ponder what has just happened before I give you an answer.” Father John turned to return to his seat, using his walking rod as he limped back to where he was.

The rest of the monks just stood there, gaping at the lad on the table that no less than a week ago had been a pleasant orphan boy who was left with the monks after his mother had died. The boy worked hard and did not complain, getting along well with the majority of the Order.
The possession appeared to come out of nowhere. The monks had all talked about what the boy had done in the past few days, comparing notes of his daily life, and nothing struck them as the reason for his mutation. Raulf also appeared to be in good health; his only complaint being a bug bite he had received the night he came back from fishing.
Yet what Raulf transformed into was not caused by a bug bite.

Father John spoke to the priest in the cellar. “Does anyone see a way to remove the Devil and restore Raulf back to the person we once loved?” Each monk, as if in turn, shook their heads. “Neither do I” said Father John, taking a deep breath before continuing. “Neither do I.”
After a long pause, Father Richard spoke. “I would want it to be quick and as painless as possible. Although I do not object to the suffering of the demon spirit inside Raulf, I would like to believe that part of the person we all loved is still inside that body, and I would not want his to suffer any more than he already has at the hands of the Devil.” The monks nodded in agreement to this.
Father John spoke next. “Poison is not an option then. It can be a painful way to die from what I have witnessed, and besides, Raulf is not eating nor drinking anything for us to lace, and the Devil inside him may very well be able to spew it out anyways.”
Father John continued speaking. “Everything that beast over there has reacted to has been connected to our Heavenly Father. The Holy Water burned him, the crucifix slicing into his side as if it we a knife. Whatever we do, it is apparent to me that we must employ all of the spiritual tools we have available to release Raulf from this hell.”

The Brothers of the Order debated diligently over what the correct course was with Raulf. After a good amount of discussion, prayer, and research in the Holy Scripture, a vote was taken: Exorcise the demon from Raulf, even if it meant Raulf’s destruction.
The four priests who had been in the cellar were still assigned the duty of Raulf’s possession. Father John requested that all of the monastery’s spiritual items be moved to the cellar for possible use with the exorcism. Crucifixes, Bibles, and other things were delivered to the cellar as requested.
Although no one talked about it, each of the priests had accepted the very real fact that Father Leo’s approach of decapitation was logical and likely. All of the priests wanted Father John’s approach to work, even leaving a slight area of hope inside their hearts that their friend Raulf would be returned to them. They knew Jesus had the power to deliver such miracles; their entire lives were based on it.
Raulf had changed color since being stabbed by the crucifix and burned with the Holy Water. This young lad who was pale in life had begun to turn purple, his veins in his body rising to the top of his skin, showing lines of dark purple throughout his body.
Fathers Leo, John, Richard and Paul agreed that Paul should be the one to execute Father John’s directions concerning the implementation of the religious paraphernalia on Raulf. Father John simply did not have the strength to engage in such a physical endeavor, especially if Raulf reacted as violently to the exorcism techniques as he did the crucifix a day ago.
Father Leo was near Raulf’s head, Father Richard was at the end of the table, and Father Paul was in the middle while Father John was sitting on a stool near the pile of religious tools. Father John handed Father Paul an ornate bronze crucifix that had stood on the table near the entry of the dining room.
“Put this on his chest.”
Father Paul looked confused. “Excuse me, Father. Did you say…”
“Put it on his chest. Place it on his body just as you would a table. Clear an area from where the chains bind him and place it directly on his chest.”
Father Paul replied to this instruction. “What should I do after I put it on his chest?”
“Prayer is always good. Chants may be better. I would let go of the cross as soon as you put it on his body; hard to tell what reaction we will get from him. The Crucifix that entered his body the other day did so through flesh; this is over bone and we don’t know what is going to happen.”
Father Paul took the cross and walked back to Raulf. Father Paul asked Father Leo to move the chains over Raulf’s chest as to create a vacancy for the cross.
“While we do this,” Father Paul stated, “ Can we chant the Alma Redemptoris Mater?” The priests agreed. All four of them began chanting at the same time:

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quæ pervia cæli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti …

At this point of the chant, Father Paul felt the slight surge he always felt at this point of the chant. He breathed easier now because he had always felt, perhaps childishly, that this little surge was God’s little gift to him to let Father Paul know that God really was there and really did love him.

Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quæ genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem…..
Father Paul moved towards Raulf’s chained body, the bare area of his chest vacant amongst all of the iron chain over him. The priest moved closer and closer to the body until he could place the cross on Raulf’s chest. The chanting continued, Paul chanting along with his brothers, when he placed the cross on Raulf’s chest.
The reaction was immediate. Raulf began screaming louder than at any time during his captivity. The skin under the cross began to sizzle, emitting a stink of burning flesh mixed with vinegar. The monks were startled by this, but Father John kept them unified by chanting the same chant, but louder than before.
The increased volume from the chanting kept the priest on task as Raulf’s body began jerking and gyrating on the table. Father Paul instinctively grabbed the cross on Raulf’s chest and immediately let go of it. He looked down at his hand; it had been burned from the heat of the usually cool metal cross.
An odd sucking sound came from Raulf’s chest. The cross had burned through the skin and bone of the lad and now lay directly on his heart. Now came a scream that no one had heard before; even the monks above the cellar stopped what they were doing when they heard the inhuman shriek emitted from Raulf’s possessed body.
Then Raulf stopped moving. The cross still sizzled, some sort of steam emitting from the cavity where the cross now resided inside Raulf’s chest.
“Is it over?” asked Father Leo to Father Paul.
Father Paul, who was wrapping his hand with a wet rag, looked at Father John for an answer. Father Richard spoke before John could reply to Leo’s question.“Do you think we should cut his head off?”
Father John rose from his stool. “I am not sure. Let me take a closer look at the body.” The old priest maneuvered across to the body, positioning himself next to the head of Raulf. In the following days, no one would have been able to get this close to Raulf’s head area, but now there was no movement, no sounds or any indication that the young man was still alive.
Father John asked for his stool to be brought to him, which Father Leo supplied. Father John sat down and began moving his fingers across Raulf’s hair in a gentle motion. Then the priest leaned his head over till it touched Raulf’s forehead, but still no movement came from the body. Father John whispered something into Raulf’s ear; still no movement.
Father Paul broke the silence. “Brother John, are you alright?”
Father John leaned back to an upright position. He had tears on his cheek and his eyes were red. “ Yes Brother Paul, I am well. I do believe Raulf has moved on and his torment is over.” The priest then took his hand and stroked Raulf’s calm face.
But then he stopped. “Father Richard, please come here. You have the best eyesight of all of us, yes?”
“I believe so.”
“As I moved my hand across Raulf’s face, I felt a bump near his mouth, can you inspect that for me please?”
Father Richard did as the priest requested, with Leo and Paul moving in for a closer look as well.
“Father Paul, can you hold his upper lip up as so I can look at his mouth?” The monks did as he was requested.
Inside Raulf’s mouth were two elongated canine teeth that were bruised purple in color. Father Richard informed Father John of his discovery. “Do you not agree that this is where the demon lived in Raulf? After all, what else could make a boy’s teeth alter so radically?” The priests agreed.
“Then what we must do is remove the teeth and emerge them in Holy Water.” The priests agreed with this as well.
After some deliberation, the priests came to the idea that the best tool to remove the teeth would be blacksmith tongs. They all agreed that no human hand should touch something that the Devil had been involved with, and no other tool seemed durable enough to apply the required force needed to dislodge the teeth.
Father Leo held the handles of the tongs while Father Richard guided the tongs onto the teeth. The tongs were not designed to grasp something as smooth and small as the teeth were, so the monks dipped the ends of the tongs into hot wax to make the ends stickier.
They had decided to remove the teeth one at a time. None of them knew what to expect, but the logical course was that one demon-laden tooth would be easier to manage than two, if chaos was to develop from this spiritual surgery.
Father Paul held a bowl filled with non-holy water. Father John stood behind Father Leo with a candle to add some light to the procedure. He led a prayer before they went for the teeth, asking for steady hands and wills as they went to battle against the Devil yet again.

Father Leo and Father Richard took a few practice attempts before making their first earnest attempt to remove the teeth. The hardest part of the operation was trying to limit the tongs to grasping one tooth. It would have been easier for them just to insert the tongs along the gum line and yank all of Raulf’s teeth. However, the body they were to perform this on was but a boy, and although they had a duty to attend to, they did not want to desecrate the body of their former friend.
Father Leo fastened the tongs to the left canine. “Ready when you are Brother.”
Father Richard applied pressure to the handles of the tongs. He was afraid that the tongs would shatter the tooth, making removal almost impossible, so he was conscious of how much pressure he placed on the tongs. With the tongs clenched on the tooth, he began to slowly pull the tooth downward, Father Leo insuring that the tips of the tongs were still fastened to the tooth.
The tooth came out much easier than Father Richard had expected. Actually, he felt it popped out easier than a normal human tooth would have. However, when he turned his body to deposit the tooth into the water bowl, he felt resistance.
“Leo, is there anything connecting the tooth to Raulf anymore?”
“Nothing I can see, Brother.”
It took a concentrated effort from Father Richard to deposit the tooth into the water bowl, the tips of the tongs submerging the tooth into the bowl before being released. After the tooth was let go, it popped out of the water and flew across the air back towards Raulf’s closed mouth, where it was pressed against Raulf’s upper lip in the same area it would have resided before being removed.
“Amazing!” stated Father John. “Do we have a lid for this bowl?”
Father Paul grabbed an earthenware plate and the procedure was conducted again, this time the plate quickly being placed above the bowl after the tooth was deposited. A noticeable THUNK was heard as soon as the plate was positioned on the bowl, the removed canine tooth trying to return back to Raulf’s mouth again.
Father Paul asked to his Brothers. “So are we ready to go after the next one?”
They all concurred. This time however, the opposite reaction took place. Rather than the newly removed tooth wanting to remain in gums of Raulf, Father Richard had to manage not having the tooth pull him and the tongs that grasped the tooth into the side of the bowl that held the first removed tooth.
“Get that plate off!” Richard exclaimed in surprise of the drawing power of the tooth to the bowl.
Father Paul removed the plate just as Father Richard placed the tongs above the bowl. Rather than place the tongs in the water this time, Father Richard released the tooth in the air as soon as the plate was removed, the two teeth merging together in the air to fall into the water below after they were paired together again.

Father John was the first to speak after they all confirmed that they had indeed just seen what they had witnessed with the teeth.
“Well, it appears that we have proven that our young friend Raulf was indeed taken over by the Beelzebub. Now that his body is free of the demon that killed our friend, let us undo these chains and prepare him for viewing by the rest of our Brethren.”
“Should we not finish condemning the evil inside the bowl?” asked Father Paul
“You may have a point, Brother Paul. However, our Brothers upstairs have heard screams and shrieks unlike anything they have ever heard before rising from this wine cellar. This, compounded with what they witnessed from Raulf during his last days before we were able to contain him breed an uneasy monastery. I believe it is everyone’s interest for them to see a peaceful, cleansed Raulf before we approach the evil inside the bowl.”
The other monks concurred with Father John’s viewpoint. Father Paul obtained rope to secure the plate to the bowl, although there hadn’t been any noises or movements from the ceramic pot since the teeth were joined together again. The remaining priests prepared Raulf for his return to the monastery, washing his body and brushing his hair. Concerning the gaping hole in his chest, they took cloth and wrapped it around his torso. This made the hole in his chest disappear once they placed the boy into clean clothes once they were done preparing him.
The monastery was saddened by learning that their young colleague was dead, yet most silently were relieved that the bedlam was over. Some were naïve enough to believe that they would be able to return to their regular monastery life before Raulf’s disturbing alterations, but the older,wiser monks knew their lives would never be the same again.
Immediately following their Vespers prayers, the monks met to listen to Father John and the other priests describe what took place in the wine cellar. Many monks genuflected upon hearing the disturbing details of the Exorcism, while others just sat stupefied in the story they were being told. In the end, Father John informed the monks that they would all need to join together for the final piece of the Exorcism: the banishment of the demon that possessed Raulf back into Hell.

To the monks credit, they did not underestimate the power that resided in the ceramic bowl from the wine cellar. Quite the contrary, they were adamant in their approach to destroying it.
“Jesus is the light,” said Father Richard, “ so we should sanctify the teeth during the day. I suggest Sunday as it is two days away, as well as the Sabbath.” This drew a number of positive nods from the monks.
Father John spoke next. “The Lord will be all powerful when we ostracize Satan from our Monastery, Brothers. However, from what we witnessed in the wine cellar, I believe we should expect the Devil to want to reject this exorcism back to Hell with equal strength. Father Richard is as strong as any of us, and he struggled mightily to control just one of the teeth. Is that not so, Brother?” Father John looked towards Father Richard, who replied to this question.
“Holding and steering that one tooth required as much strength as one needs when holding the legs when we castrate the hogs.” This brought about a few chuckles and smiles from the monks, but it also communicated very well the intensity that the teeth could exhibit.
Father John grinned, but then brought the conversation back on course. “It would also be logical to expect the demon inside the teeth to search for a new host, so I would suggest we use some sort of protection, both spiritual and physical, when we conduct the purification. The porcelain bowl has worked to contain the teeth thus far, so I propose taking the porcelain plates from the kitchen and construct miniature shields to deflect the teeth from possibly making any of us its next victim.”
A question came from one of the monks. “If indeed these things can fly through the air with great force, how do you propose sanctification? We cannot bless the water that already holds the teeth, so we would have to transfer them into another container and either pour the Holy Water onto them, or have another container already filled with Holy Water to receive the teeth. Either way, the teeth will have ample opportunity to escape and create havoc, even if they stay in their paired formation.”
Father Paul addressed this question. “Those are very good points, Brother, very good points indeed. I would also like to add that we do not know how much Holy Water it will take to destroy the Devil in the teeth. We were able to burn Raulf’s possessed flesh with the Holy Water, that is true. These are bone though, and the demon that filled all of Raulf’s body is now concentrated into two four-inch long teeth.” Father Paul took his hands and brought them within four inches of each other. “I believe it would be a great error on our behalf if we do not come prepared with ample amount of Holy Water for fear we would not complete our sacred duty.”
Father Leo spoke next. “What if we took one our wine kegs and filled it with Holy Water? The wood should be strong enough to hold the teeth inside of it, and there is a wooden tap to insert into the keg’s top after we get the teeth inside of it.”
Father Richard nodded in agreement. “For that matter, what would happen if we placed the teeth into the keg first, then added the Holy Water to the keg?”
The monks murmured to each other about this idea, to which no one raised an objection to the concept, nor offered a different plan.
So thus the Carta Monastery went about the business of fulfilling the drowning destruction of the Devil Teeth.

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Scott Norman

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