More Writings for the Reading! Vampire Part 3
June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m continuing along with the story, and will try to top you up with another instalment of “Ash and Dust” on the weekend. Busy busy busy, just as I should be.
It’s short, but there were no natural breaks without making it about three times as long. SO ENJOY IT. Quickly.
Bond put down his fork, his stomach pleasantly full of rum and roast quail. Although he normally had tremendous respect for his cooking staff, they had outdone themselves today. He only had to remove three pieces of bird-shot, which was not at all bad. The dinner had gone as well as could have been expected. Griffin continually tried to look up Mina’s skirt, and suffered two black eyes from it, minor indentations in the air that looked like black pools floating above his shirt collar. Hyde sat beside Bond, constantly burping and staring uneasily at his cane. Mycroft quietly tested each piece of food for poison before wolfing it down faster than Bond could believe. Nemo, completely unapologetically, had brought along a full kitchen staff, who had prepared sumptuous stewed and curried vegetables on top of jasmine rice, served with iced Feni liquor. He quite ignored the quail, pork, and pies served by Bond’s staff, but Bond paid it no mind. He was content that Nemo was boring Mycroft and Allain rather than himself.
The drinks were flowing freely, and Bond felt the tension within him slowly releasing. Well, only some of the tension. Mina kept flashing him looks that could only be interpreted as “hungry.” She assured everyone that she had been well fed before coming tonight and delicately picked at a quail to keep up appearances. Allain was about three bites from simply taking hers from her plate, and seemed to be entirely oblivious to what anyone else was saying. This of course made him perfect company for Nemo, who was entirely oblivious to whether anyone else was listening to him.
Bond quaffed another gin and tonic, and was concerned. Although he was pleased to be the centre of Mina’s attention, it was quite unexpected and a little off-putting, even as he felt a familiar feeling just beneath his gut. He resolved to act on it just after cigars, conveniently putting it off until the foreseeable future.
Hawley was roaring drunk, and had begun to make inappropriate, well, more inappropriate remarks to the serving staff. Bond called Hannah over, saving her from another invisible pawing, and asked her for a refill. Charles came behind him and whispered into his ear. “There is an unnamed gentleman at the door requesting the property owner.”
Bond arched an eyebrow. “The property owner? An agent of the bailiff on a Sunday night?”
“No sir. He appears to have a small tag with his name on it, acheap suit, and a writing board with papers on it. I believe he is selling insurance.”
“Insurance? Is he daft? Who would buy insurance from any old bloke that comes to your door at dinnertime?” Bond checked his pocket watch. “6:30? By Jove, what self-respecting family isn’t sitting down to dinner now?”
“Shall I loose the hounds on him, sir? Perhaps the hidden door or the bee trap?”
“No, no need. I will see him off. I am curious about it.”
Bond excused himself from the table, and gathering up his drink, walked to the front door. Standing in the light from the house was a tall man wearing, as Charles said, a cheap black suit and a tall, peaked Oriental cap. Bond looked up, and was certain the drink was taking him places. Why else would he be convinced that Fu Manchu, eminent villain and antagonist of the League, was standing on his porch holding a clipboard and with a name tag that read “Mu Fanchu?”
Bond smiled his most winning smile, a smile that had wormed him into more bloomers and out of more sticky situations that his imagination could make up. “Yes, I am the property owner.”
“Mu” rubbed his hands together and stroked the long moustache he wore. He uttered a low laugh, and leered down at Bond, speaking with a terrific lisp. “Ah yes, mister…what is your name? For you see, we have never met and I certainly do not know this is the Bond residence, and would never assume that you were Campion Bond. Your name please?”
“Campion Bond. And Fu, what in blazes is going on?”
“Ah yes, as I suspected! And, may I ask, who is the Fu you speak of? As you can clearly see from my name-tag, I am Mu Fanchu, and entirely without relation to any Fu Manchu. I do not even know anything about the intelligent, wildly handsome, and entirely successful Dr. Fu Manchu. I could only wish that I was related to him, but as you can see by my name tag, that is not the case.”
Bond stifled a smile. “Of course. What can I do for you, Mr. Mu?”
“Ah yes, by any chance would this fine, fine old wooden home be insured against destruction or damage? It is very important to be insured in case of…unfortunate accidents. You would not want to be under threat, would you?”
Bond made a show of thinking carefully and rubbing his chin. He mimed stroking his non-existent moustache in the same way as “Mu.” “Hmm, that is true. But, thank goodness, I am underwritten by Royal Insurance against fire, theft, religious incidents, native uprisings, floods, bear attacks, riots, stampedes, and other incidents of destruction or damage for the sum of ₤25,000. I am assured that it is enough.”
“Mu” stroked his moustaches so hard that Bond was sure they would catch fire. “But sir, sir, think of the premiums you must pay! My employers would be most happy to offer you half off the premiums for the same level of service you enjoy currently!”
“But you don’t know my premiums.”
“Inconsequential!” He thundered. “Think of the money you could save if you came to us right now!”
Bond laughed. “I have no need to save money, and am quite content with the service I have now. Good day sir.”
He shut the door in Mu’s bellowing face, and walked off, shaking his head. The doorbell rang, and Bond’s smile disappeared. He turned and opened the door again. Fu was still standing there, but had swapped his name tag to one that said “Herr Manchu.” He had put a fake moustache on, which did not hide his native whiskers, and a clearly fake chin curtain. Both were blond. Bond rubbed his eyes. “Herr Manchu, are you here to kill me?”
“No sir, I am-”
“Are you here to threaten the British Crown or her interests?”
“No sir, I -”
“Then why are you bothering me?”
“ Herr Bond, I have a wunderful assortment of cloths and cleaning supplies to sell to you today.”
Bond slammed the door in Manchu’s face. Manchu opened the mail slot and yelled through the door. “You will have no peace Bond! I shall disrupt your little party to no end! I have surveys, products to sell, intrusive questions to ask at awkward times! There will be no rest! Your party will be ruined!” He began laughing maniacally.
Bond reached up to a carved gargoyle set into the lintel. He pressed the thing’s left eye, and there was a small click. A second later, a mechanism dislodged two bee’s nests that hung above the door frame. With a crash, they fell to the ground and disgorged thousands of angry bees. Fu Manchu began running away into the night, crying out into the darkness, “You haven’t won yet, Bond. There will be no victory while Fu Manchu walks this earth!”
Bond finished his drink and turned back to the hall. He nearly walked into Mina, who stood behind him as silent as a ghost. He took a step back in surprise.
“Mina! I did not see you ther-” The rest was cut off as she stalked forward, grasping his face in her hands. They felt as cold as ice and as strong as iron as she whispered into his ear.
“What say we end this fool’s game, and truly follow our…instincts tonight?”
Bond blushed as deep as her hair. “Why Ms. Harker, I don’t…”
She shushed him with a finger to his lips, gently placing a kiss on it. “No. Do not call me that. Harker is a dead name for a dead man. Tonight, I am just Mina, and you,” She ran that finger down his chest as he stiffened his back at her touch, “You are mine.”