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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Dead Man's Bluff

The above letter arrives for one of the characters on the Thursday of the appointment.

If they check the address they can confirm that Czeminski is listed as the owner. Apart from that, for official purposes, the man simply does not exist. He is not on the tax department’s books, no birth certificate exists for him, no passport or immigration papers, no police record, no phonebook listing. Nothing.

If they go there during the day, number 117 is a dark stone house set away from the road. An unleashed Doberman in the yard discourages them from entering the property.

If they go there at night, Czeminski answers the door. He is quite handsome. He does not shake hands. The house is dark and dusty and there is an odd smell about it. He leads them into a well-stocked library, pours them a drink, motions them to be seated, and begins. “My good people, I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet you. My name is Alexander Czeminski, and I am a vampire.” He is.


1 Czeminski is a collector of esoteric books and paraphernalia. He asks them to bear him in mind if they ever have anything of that nature. He will pay handsomely. He bears them no malice.

2 He has heard of them and guesses that eventually they might track him down, for being what he is. He has asked them here to strike up a more civilized arrangement: they leave each other alone. If he can’t, then he will attempt to kill them; maybe tonight, maybe in the weeks that follow.

3 He wants to make a deal. He lives on the dark side of normal existence and is aware of the dark things that dwell there; be they monstrous creatures, or crumbling undead, or gibbering ghouls, or ancient godlings. He is privy to information, the rumours and gossip that travels along the telegraph wires of the dead, unheard by mortal ears. He offers to fence information in return for their protection against vampire hunters, clergymen, and others. If the bargain is struck Czeminski will appear in the future, giving odd tips, translating old documents, and scaring the hell out of them with sudden appearances.

© Mark Morrison

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