Author’s Note: Tourists on a cheesy vampire tour get a big surprise: real vampires. And these aren’t the dreamy Twilight sort!
Act II Scene III
(A chamber in the excavated castle. Marica stands in the doorway. One oil lamp, looted from the camp, is the sole source of illumination. A hallway, shored up with wooden supports, leads into darkness. Kyle emerges from this. He is pale and has streaks of blood and dirt on his face. His eyes look strange, like he’s been drugged.)
Kyle: We can’t find the book anywhere.
Marica: He’s not going to like hearing that.
Kyle: We looked everywhere.
Marica: Then I suggest you get out and look again.
Kyle: I’m telling you it’s not there. It should have been right in the main tent, and it’s gone. I think Thompson took it.
Marica: You told me no one got away. Did you not tell me this yourself?
Kyle: Dr. Morgan is missing and there are tracks – someone took a Jeep back to the town.
Marica: Do you know the man you are disappointing? Do you know anything about what he does to people who disappoint him?
(Kyle looks at the ground. Vlad speaks from off-camera in Romanian. Just the sound of his voice, deep and resonant, causes Kyle to freeze with fear.)
Vlad: (in Romanian) They have not found it, Marica?
Marica: (in Romanian) Nu, voivode.
Vlad: (in Romanian) Tell them they must find it, or establish that it is absolutely not here. I would prefer not to have to invade the town. We do not have the numbers to safely invade the town. Not yet.
Marica: (In Romanian) Da, voivode.
Marica: (in English, turning to Kyle) You will look again. You will turn the entire campsite upside-down if you have to. Insure that the book is nowhere to be found. We do not have the numbers to risk a foray into town.
Kyle: All right, Dr. Antonescu.
(Kyle leaves. Marica watches him go, hugging herself a little. Her white blouse is stained in places with blood and dirt. Her hair has come undone and now falls around her face. From behind Marica, Dracula steps in from the shadows. He is wearing dusty clothes rotten from the tomb. He moves with the languid grace of a predator. He stands behind her for a moment as if scenting her, then wraps his arms around her, drawing her against his chest. She leans into him a little stiffly.)
Vlad: Marica, Marica. These people are undisciplined. What a sorry state they’re in.
Marica: My apologies, voivode.
Vlad: They are not your workers. I do not hold you responsible. They are – what was the word? American.
Marica: Yes, voivode. They are Americans, pillaging Romanian soil.
Vlad: I have lost much in the intervening years. This very castle – just dust around me. I almost cannot bear to look on it.
Marica: A great deal of time has passed, voivode. The world has changed around you.
(Vlad is making a slow seduction of touching Marica. She trembles at his touch, fearful but also eager. He gradually turns her around to face him, lifting up her chin so she must meet his eyes.)
Vlad: You tell me in the years that have passed my country has become a weak land. Impoverished. Diminished. This I swear to change.
Marica: It is not the world you remember, voivode.
Vlad: Ah, but no world is so different that it will not respond to power, and to pain. I am good at both of those things. Is there something wrong, Marica? You tremble. It is wise to be frightened of me, but I do not want you to be frightened.
Marica: Forgive me, but I do not understand how –
Vlad: How I live, after so many years imprisoned? I have told you. I am immortal. This is why I need the book. The book is how I became what I am. Long ago, there was an alchemist on my land. There were rumors about him. He attracted my attention because his tower bore the sign of the crescent moon.
Marica: A Muslim sign.
Vlad: I believed him a Turk, practicing his wickedness underneath my very nose. So I took a force of able men and we stormed his tower. But whatever he was, he was already dead. Withered and cold, he still sat among his books. And such books he had! I am a warrior, but I am not a fool. And so I knew there was value in that book. I took the book. I took his notes. I took his women, though I killed those who resisted. Then I studied. It was a long process, but I came to read the book, and such secrets it held!
Marica: And that book, it made you what you are now?
Vlad: It contains a ritual. When I performed it on myself, I could no longer die. But I thirsted. The book spoke of that, but it gave no warning of how terrible a thirst it was. Always blood, more and more blood. There was no slaking it. I had to put my brother in my place. Not that weakling Radu, but my father’s bastard, Lazar. He ruled as me while I strove to overcome it. But I could not.
Marica: And you had yourself imprisoned?
Vlad: What else could I do? I would not prey upon my own people! I was their protector, their voivode. Criminals, traitors, these I feasted upon. But there was no controlling it! My understanding of the book perhaps was incomplete. I had them bind me, wall me in the tomb.
Marica: And now that you are out?
Vlad: You have seen what a terrible thing my hunger is, have you not?
(Marica lowers her eyes and shudders. Tenderly, he reaches out and lifts her chin once more to meet his eyes)
Vlad: This is a new time. There is more knowledge. I know there was simply some error. We get the book and we solve the puzzle. I retain my power, and I take back my throne. Under me, this country will be great once again.
Marica: I almost want to believe you.
Vlad: Almost? Almost?
(Vlad squeezes her face in his hand, his eyes ablaze with fury. Marica winces against the pain.)
Marica: Voivode, you’re hurting me.
Vlad: You would do well to believe in me. You are a beautiful woman, Marica. Too beautiful to waste yourself huddled over books. Be loyal to me. Speak to these American rabble for me. Help me regain the book and my power, and you will be richly rewarded.
(He leans in to her, brushes his lips against her neck. She whimpers. With more force, he pulls her to him, his features predatory, aggressive. The camera fades as the two are locked in an embrace, Marica’s head thrown back, Vlad descending upon her neck.)
Act II Scene IV:
(The Impaler. The bar has been decorated with more vampire-themed party favors. The tour group, dressed in their finest, dine at sets of tables at one end of the bar. The tour guide is dressed in full vampire gear, complete with whiteface and a red-lined cape. Rather campy, spooky music plays over the speakers. Mara and Livia dine with the others. Most of the tourists are middle-aged and older couples, so Mara and Livia stand out. Livia is having a good time. Mara is somber, but making an effort to be sociable.
The tour group dines. Several of the tourists get drunk. As dinner winds down, the tour guide has the music changed to a waltz and he whisks one of the older ladies onto the dance floor. She giggles, waltzing clumsily with him. A few other couples join them. Waltzes continue and the tour guide returns the lady to her husband, then approaches Mara. She silently shakes her head, so he moves to Livia. She accepts and waltzes surprisingly well. Her hair is up, and as she dances, a strange mark on the back of her neck is visible. It is a scar or brand, shaped like an upturned crescent. Merriment continues, with many of the middle-aged tourists getting raucous and drunk.)