It was nearly midnight on a Saturday when I received a phone call from my hospital, the American Medical Center. I was asked to come to the clinic immediately. There had been some emergency. A patient. The details given were scratchy. My assistant did mention something about a guy ranting away about red eyes. From the tone of her voice, I could tell she was scared. Anca Cornel scared? That was one thing I had never seen her be. Luckily, I had my regular clothes on. I slipped on a jacket, put on my shoes and bolted through the door.
The American Medical Center is located at 68A, Nasaud Street, Bucharest 5. It was just a few blocks from where I lived. The cold spring night engulfed me instantly. I walked as fast as I could. Jogging was impossible, as there was a decided cool breeze. I reached the center at exactly half past midnight. Little did I know that a series of remarkable events were awaiting me in the next few hours.
I work at the Psychiatry department of the Medical center’s clinic in Romania. Seeing the pale face of Anca was enough for me to realize that something strange had occurred. I gave her the coffee I had gotten for myself. When she had regained a bit of color, I asked her to narrate the events of the night. A guy had come running into the center shouting at the top of his voice to save him. He kept looking out the door as if someone or something was chasing him. ….Anca swears she glimpsed a hooded figure dressed completely in black at the entrance. The next instant it was gone. Since then he had been wailing non-stop about blood red eyes and vampires.
Vampires? That’s crazy! I knew that a few people in Romania still believed in the legend, but that was all it was, A Legend. A region once ruled by Vlad “Dracul” Tepes, a Wallachian prince. It was his name that gave rise to the term Dracula. He was known for his cruelty and there were rumors of him being a Vampire. As far as the people living in the Carpathian Mountains were concerned, the legend of Dracula was very much real. I wondered if this was one of those cases where a guy who believes in these legends was driven out of his mind in sheer terror having seen some wild animal while hiking on the mountain roads. Such cases have been reported before in our clinic.
Anca was against me visiting the patient alone at this time of the night. She wanted me to wait until morning when all evil is supposedly driven away by the Sun. I would hear none of it. I went into the room and one look was enough to realize that my theories regarding hiking on lonely roads were wrong. He was an American. In his early forties. About 5 foot 10. Athletic, well dressed and handsome. I wondered if he could be a writer with a crazy imagination. I asked Anca to get some coffee for him and in about an hour’s time, he was well enough to talk. The story he was about tell me would be the strangest I had ever heard.
The man’s name was Charles Thompson. He had arrived at Bucharest five days ago for a business conference. He was put up at the Hotel Crowne Plaza in the Romexpo Exhibition Centre. His flight back was tomorrow evening at 5. A few hours ago, he was packing in his hotel room when he saw a hooded figure at the window. He was puzzled as the window was on the second floor with no trees nearby. The figure in black glided into the room and raised its head a bit. All Charles remembers seeing were two bright red eyes and what appeared to him as fangs dripping with blood.
He was off in an instant. Out the door, down the stairs and into the street. Running frantically in a direction that his feet took him. The stories he had heard from his friends back home about vampires started flashing through his head. He looked back and saw the hooded figure gaining on him. Swift like the wind. Soon he was fatigued. The last thing he remembers before passing out is seeing the figure stooping over him. The next thing he remembers is waking up in front of the hospital with two pricks on his neck.
I was stunned. Could it be true? He did have the red pricks on his neck to corroborate his tale. I was both puzzled and worried. I gave him certain sedatives to calm his nerves and went back to my consulting room. Anca was waiting. I related to her everything he had told me and I could see that she was scared. I put an arm around her to comfort her. I looked out the window to see the sun rising. Time had flown.
It was 9 when Charles woke up. The sunlight falling on his face was like the best tonic ever. I had ordered breakfast for both of us as it had been some time since I had met a fellow American. I had hoped to meet one but not in such bizarre circumstances. We were chatting when I saw the color drain from his face again. He was terror stricken as he looked at the door. Anca’s scream sent a shiver running down my spine. I turned slowly. Oh!! Those Eyes! Piercing red eyes and his mouth was dripping with blood. A hooded figure easily taller than 6 feet stood at the doorway. A sudden chill swept over my body as a cruel and blood-curling laugh shattered the silence.
Everybody was standing still when the figure looked up at me. I was surprised to see a smiling face of a man in his late thirties. An audible gasp from Charles and the words, “Nicolae? It was you!” came as an even bigger surprise to me. Charles knew the guy? Both Charles and Nicolae burst out laughing. What is going on here? I was standing looking dumb. I came to know that Nicolae Antonescu had also been part of the conference. But, why? It was all a prank? An evil prank at that.
Charles was bewildered as well. Nicolae apologized and said it was his way of getting back at Charles who had bullied him during his stint at Harvard. He had been Charles’s junior. Charles had pulled a similar prank on him during Halloween. After these many years, it was a surprise for Nicolae to see Charles in Bucharest. It was then that he had decided to pull this prank on him. He displayed his special lenses and his artificial veneers. He had used a ladder to get to the second floor and roller skates to chase him. The explanation was a simple one. After so many years, Charles realized how big an idiot he had been during his college life.
After things had been smoothed out between the two, Charles took us to lunch at his Hotel. It was his treat. I listened to a lot of funny stories from their college times. It was so much fun. Later, we accompanied Charles to the Henri Coandă International Airport where they gave each other a hug and parted with smiles on their faces. One smiled at his revenge while the other at being a fool. As for me, it was just another day in a psychiatrist’s life. I smiled wondering what would be next. Oops! Almost forgot! My name is Dr. Alexander Green.
Note: All events and characters described in this piece of writing are fictitious.
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