Count Vlad Dracula or Vlad III was born sometime in late 1431 in the citadel of Sighisoara, Transylvania. He was the son of Vlad II or Dracul who had been a military governor appointed by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. Vlad Dracul was a knight in the Order of the Dragon, a secret fraternity created in 1387 by the Emperor. These knights were sworn to uphold Christianity and defend the empire against the Islamic Turks.
The name Dracul can be interpreted in two ways. The first translation of the name from Romanian would be “Dragon”, but it sometimes also means “Devil”. Vlad III was known as Vlad Dracula, the added “a” indicates the meaning “son of.” Thus the name Vlad Dracula translates “Son of the Devil.”
There are stories of the cruelties Count Vlad Dracula. Some, like the way in which he had enemies impaled on spikes are based on history. Other stories such as his transformation from human to vampire most people tend to regard as myth. What most people forget, however, is that many myths have their origins in some kind of truth.
It was just after sunset in Los Angeles. Vlad Dracula walked along Hollywood Boulevard. It’s easy to melt into the crowd in Hollywood. There were Scientologists, and born-again Christians, purveyors of maps and tchochkes, and costumed characters posing for pictures. While many were attracted to the tall and well-dressed count, none noticed that he cast no reflection in the mirrors of the Hollywood and Highland mall.
The count was on the hunt this evening. He was hungry. The streets of Hollywood presented a smorgasbord from which to choose. His goal was to find someone that could go missing without anyone noticing. His ideal was to find someone who would provide interesting conversation as well as a hearty meal that could tide him over. Tourists were usually a good choice. No one would miss them for awhile. Americans with their two week vacations were okay, but better were Europeans or Australians who would be on vacation for six or eight weeks.
She was a local. Dracula didn’t know that. She carried herself like a Milanese model. Like other women on the street, she was dressed in denim. She, however, had that sense of Italian couture. The heels of her 6 inch stilettos were made not of metal, but of wood. He marveled that she could walk in them at all. She managed to take the everyday fashion of others and to give it a unique and elegant twist. She wore little jewelery, but all expensive – a Movado watch, a Cartier tennis bracelet, and a thin gold that lost itself beneath the fabric of her blouse. Her red-hair was pulled back and pinned in place with a pair of elegantly carved wooden chopsticks. When Vlad saw her, his mouth began to water.
Their eyes locked. She cocked her head at the stairs that led up into the center of the mall. He nodded. No words passed between them. None were necessary. She smiled at him, a secret playing at the corner of her mouth. He smiled back. His eyes drifted from her eyes, to her mouth, to her neck. Others stared at her bosom, but he had other interests.
Vlad always felt his dinner tasted better if she was relaxed and well fed. He wanted her last meal to be a good one. He had hoped she would take him up on going to a restaurant called The Grill on Hollywood. The Grill on Hollywood was the sister to the world famous The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills. The menu featured prime steaks and chops. There was seafood and ribs and an excellent chicken pot pie. He liked when his meals ate there. The extra fat in their blood streams tasted good when he drank them down. She opted for Koji’s Sushi and Shabu Shabu restaurant. There was still beef, but more vegetables and more fish. The dining at Koji’s was slower, and he was hungry now. Still, it never paid to rush a good meal.
He ate sparingly. It was easier to hide the fact he was not eating solids at a place like Koji’s. The conversation was good. Unlike most Americans, he found she was fluent in several languages including German, Italian, Spanish and Arabic. Having walked the earth as long as he had, Vlad also spoke several languages. He asked about her family. Her family had come from Germany and England.
The meal ended pleasantly, and he asked if he could walk her home. The one advantage to having found a local is that she had a place of her own where they could go back to. She was open to the idea. The street lights were on. The street vendors were gone. They walked arm in arm through the moonlight. There were still lots of folks on the streets. They walked up Orange Street to Highland and then over to her place on Sycamore. She took out a bottle of water as they walked and sipped on it.
As he walked along admiring the gastronomy of her build, she pulled the chopsticks from her hair and shook out the long tresses they had pinned up. He could hardly wait to get her to her front step. He licked his fangs.
He could hardly wait. She sensed his hunger. She took the cap off her water bottle and smiled at him. Then she squeezed hard and splashed nearly the entire contents down his front. This was no regular water. She had had it blessed at the Cathedral just that morning. Vlad’s skin blistered and the water steamed off his flesh. She jammed first one chopstick then another into his heart. These chopsticks were made of wood from an alder tree – the same kind of wood used to make the cross on which Jesus had been crucified. If the chopsticks had failed, the heels of her shoes would have given her additional opportunities. The chain that had hidden beneath her blouse popped onto the top of the silk material and revealed a large golden cross. She also had a can that looked like pepper spray that was actually filled with garlic juice if all else failed.
It didn’t fail.The men of her family may have been taken in by the wiles of Count Dracula, but Ruby Van Helsing had been taught by both her maternal and paternal grandmothers how to arm herself, and what to look for. She knew how to kill a vampire.