Andrew McCauley reached across his sleeping wife and fumbled with
the ringing telephone. Sleepily, he mumbled, "McCauley residence"
into the receiver.
get down here. We got something really weird. I have a man confessing
to murder and you just got to see this! 113 Jefferson Drive. Hurry!"
The telephone hung up in his ear, making him wince.
it was 7:00 AM and he had pulled late duty and gone to bed at
5:00 AM, only two hours ago. No rest for the wicked or the righteous
either, for that matter. His wife Anne Marie clutched her pillow
and rolled over.
on the clothes that he had hurriedly thrown off earlier, to save
time, he grabbed his keys and headed downstairs to his car. When
he returned home, Beth was going to give him hell when she saw
him wearing the day before's clothes. She had said that he was
starting to look as though he and TV's Columbo shared a wardrobe.
Grinning sleepily, he started his beat-up Mustang and headed for
address was easy to find. There were four police cruisers parked
in front of a house cordoned off with yellow police tape, with
the coroner's vehicle in attendance. He saw a figure hurrying
to meet him.
Whats goin' on?" he asked as the man appeared at the
driver's window. His co-worker was visibly shaken.
got us a sight here, Mac," Jake answered. "Theres
a suspect in the back of my patrol car. Hes a neighbor of
the man who lives in this house." He pointed across the street.
"He lives over there at 115. He calls the station and says
he has killed his neighbor, a Mr. Beltazar. He says he 'll wait
here for us. Well, he did, and get this, he says he drove a stake
through the man's heart while he was sleeping, just after sunrise
this morning." Jake took a deep breath and continued on.
"He says he had to kill his neighbor because he knew that
he was a vampire."
was wide awake now. At least more awake than he had been. What?"
he spoke in amazement. "That's his story?" He sighed
at the thought of what the mental condition of the murderer must
be. He must be planning on pleading insanity as a cover.
him on in, Jake. I'll be down to talk to him after he calls his
lawyer and I tie up the loose ends here." With that, he got
out of his car and ducked under the yellow tape and headed for
the front door of number 113.
officer stationed at the door beckoned him inside and pointed
the way to where a group stood on the other end of the huge dayroom.
was a musty moldy smell inside the house and sheets covered most
of the furniture. Heavy dark drapes hung unopened at the floor
to ceiling windows. This room, evidently, wasn't one that Mr.
Baltazar had used often.
could see that the furniture that wasn't covered was old dark
carved wood from a bygone era
a treasure trove of antiques.
The coroner stood with his back facing McCauley, turned from his
work only when spoken to.
do we have here, Tom? Is it cut and dried?" McCauley grinned
at his friend. His grim was erased by the strange look on the
aw right, Mac, real dry." He stood aside, bringing to view
what the small group of men had been blocking from view.
was a coffin! Ill be damned," McCauley thought
to himself as it came into range of his inquiring gaze.
first glance, it was hard to distinguish just what was inside.
Moving closer, Mac saw that there was indeed, a state, through
"something". The "something" looked like the
2000-year-old mummies that were kept under glass in the museums.
This had to be the work of a very a sick prankster!
was claimed this man was killed tonight. I'd say that's a gross
exaggeration, more like one hundred years ago, tonight."
he's wearing the exact same suit that I am," the corner said,
looking down at his own clothes. Someone snatched him from
a grave and dressed him in a new suit. Their taste is as lousy
as my wife's."
have no ID on this body as yet, and it will be awhile. This man
was not killed here tonight. He has been long dead. What we do
have is the theft and abuse of a long deceased person. I'll need
help with this one, so it will be awhile." He turned to instruct
the attendants who were looking askance for help in removing the
one last look, Mac said, "I am going in to headquarters to
question our so-called 'killer'. He has answers that we need.
Keep me posted, Tom."
was surely going to be an interesting interview... a body fresh
from the graveyard with a stake in the heart
the outer room at headquarters, there was a hush as McCauley walked
in. They all looked as though they had been in a serious heated
discussion that had been dropped abruptly.
need paperwork," Mac said as he headed toward where his suspect
was sitting with head held high and a satisfied look on his face.
The man was easily seventy-five years old and looked to be of
detective sitting with the suspect twirled his pen steadily in
his left hand as he told McCauley that this was Mr. Smith and
he had given a complete confession.
huh? He doesn t look like a Smith," McCauley answered, eyeing
the elderly man. Reaching for the said confession, he began to
he was done reading, he looked directly at the gentleman in custody.
"This won't wash... No way. We already know that body has
been dead for years. Why don't you just tell me where you got
it and why you did what you did this morning?"
is the truth." The man spoke with a slight accent and looked
directly at Mac. "It does not matter whether I am believed
or not. I had to do what I did. There was no other way."
leaned forward. "Then tell me why you look so different than
most Americans, but you say your name is Smith and you speak broken
Smith answered in a somewhat tired voice, I change it when
I come to this country. Is much easier to remember and pronounce.
I am from Rumania. My father brought all us here when I was small
child. We leave my village. People were killed. We buried them.
Soon they returned. They returned... Do you understand ? They
was my neighbor there in my small village. He was buried... Buried!
Later he came at night and stood outside our door and pleaded
to be let in. My father told me to never forget the face outside
the door and I never did.
parents sold everything and we came here, to America, away from
the trouble in my village. The man was really going on with
this façade of lies and getting wilder every minute.
tried another question. "So... you knew he was a vampire
and you drove a stake into his heart?"
It was a simple, plain reply. Mac relaxed against the back of
the worn desk chair and thought to himself, 'What is this man's
point in pulling such a crazy stunt? Did he himself really believe
that he had killed a vampire, or was this dementia setting in,
couldn't wait to see where this body had been taken from, and
surely this frail old man hadn't dug him up or removed him from
a crypt without someone's help.
a few hours there would be some answers to where this body had
come from and the identity of the mummy-like corpse. Meanwhile,
some coffee would be good.
Smith, I find your story most incredible. Why don't you think
about it for a minute and I'll be right back." Halfway to
the coffee pot, he stopped and surveyed the room. Was there even
one soul in this room that would believe for a minute even part
of this old man's story? Nope, especially not himself
thing was the psychiatric ward for the old gent. That just left
the matter of apprehending his accomplice, the one who must have
dug up and carried the ancient body to number 113 Jefferson Drive...
maybe even perpetrated this whole weird thing.
inquiries had found no evidence of any local cemeteries being
disturbed and the word was out to the rest of the state to be
checked. It might take some time.
was no family with the name Baltazar anywhere in the city. The
records showed that there was no power utilities registered at
113 Jefferson. It was not rented and no one lived there according
to the bank that owned the property.
turned in his paperwork and with a wink to his co-workers headed
for the door and the coroners office. It might be that Tom
had some answers.
found Tom sitting with his glasses on the end of his nose and
a doughnut in one hand and coffee in the other. Mac grinned at
him. "You look like a cop," he said.
might be an easier job. Im getting too old for this kinda
stuff. I sent some stuff out for tests. Near as I can see, this
Mr. Baltazar of ours died over sixty to one hundred years ago,
but get this: his suit is only two years old."
sighed. "You mean someone dug him up and then redressed him?"
The implications rising in this case were becoming more insane
all the time. What about the coffin? Does it have a funeral
parlor stamp on it?
looks like a real antique to me, Mac, foreign craftsmanship, but
someone else will have to determine that. Thats not in my
line. Theres not much to go on until the tests are back."
Tom swirled his coffee before looking up. "I dont know
what to tell you. Its pretty far-fetched and further than
a normal person would ever go for a joke or hoax or whatever it
is thats being pulled here."
looked straight at McCauley. There is something about this
that makes me uncomfortable. No one is reporting a crypt or grave
broken into and the only things I know that belong in this century
are the suit this John Doe is wearing and a piece of broken shovel
can have the suit and shovel handle traced, Tom, as well as fingerprinted...
and speaking of suits, I have the afternoon off. We have a funeral
to attend. One of our neighbors died a few days ago, old Liz Kendle.
The wife and I need to go pay our respects this afternoon. The
wife has known her almost all her life. The guys at the office
are on this and theyll keep me updated, as I know you will.
Something will break soon. I know that old Romanian gentleman
isnt alone in this. See you later." Picking up Toms
last doughnut, Mac headed for the door, and home.
always thought how peculiar it was that everyone always said how
good the deceased looked. Hell, Ms. Kendle definitely didnt
look good. She looked dead. Her white hair and waxen face, what
with the make up that the undertaker had applied, seemed to Mac
to accent the fact even more. No, she sure didnt look good
funeral seemed to go on forever and Mac awoke with his wifes
elbow in his ribs and a threatening look on her face. He hadnt
meant any disrespect by falling asleep. Running on just two hour's
sleep, he was dead tired.
service at the cemetery was quicker, and soon they were on their
way home. Macs wife drove, out of the goodness of her heart.
Anne Marie drove the twelve miles back to their home while Mac
napped beside her in the front seat, a little bit of drool dribbling
on his chin.
in their drive, Anne Marie glanced across the street at the soon
to be empty home of her old neighbor. A spray of yellow flowers
adorned the big oak front door. Ms. Kendle would have liked
that,' she thought.
Mac awake, she smiled as his startled snore cut suddenly short.
"Come on, dear! We are finally home and you can hit the hay
for a good nights sleep at last."
showered quickly and was in bed asleep long before Anne Marie
came upstairs. His rest was disturbed by strange dreams of mummy-like
bodies peering at him and calling his name... "Mr. McCauley...
jerked awake hearing his name still being called. "Andrew...
Mr.McCauley... Andrew. I have something to tell you. Open the
door, dear Andrew... Please
.Let me in..." It was a
voice was coming from the front steps just below the bedroom window.
Anne Marie slept on as Mac got out of bed and went across the
darkened room to where the open window was.
out, he looked below and was about to call out to whoever it was
when the sight of the form on his steps sent a warning flash to
his sleepy mind.. It was Liz Hendle! Liz Hendle whom he had seen
dead in her casket... Liz Hendle whom he had stood and watched,
as just a few hours ago, she was lowered into her grave!
is not a continuation of his nightmares. Damn, he wished it was.
He knew that he was wide awake and that their newly dead neighbor
was actually standing in the dim streetlights on their front steps
begging to be let in.
heard, in his mind, the words of the old man at the police station.
We buried them. Soon they returned... They returned... Do
you understand? They returned!"