To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 17
Armed with their evidence and the results of their scientific research, the Curious brothers decided to go to the police station at sunrise.
They felt they had to try and convince the authorities that vampires were real, even though they had little hope they would be believed. However, as there had been so many unexplained deaths by severe hypovolemia without any blood at the scene, the police didn’t feel they had any other choice but to listen.
After all, they had no other leads.
“All this paperwork is one thing,” the Chief of Police said, “but for all I know, you could have made all this up.”
“Why in the hell would we do that?” Pascal asked, exasperated. “Besides, you can’t ‘make things up’ on the lab computers. It either exists, or it doesn’t. You can’t force the system to generate prints on something that isn’t there. It doesn’t--”
Lazlo interrupted his brother. “Look, Chief. If you really want to be convinced, come with us to the Beaker mansion tonight after dark.”
“What? Why? What’s there?” the Chief asked.
“You know Nervous Subject?”
“Yes. He’s on the Mysterious Disappearances roster.” the Chief said slowly.
Lazlo shook his head. “He’s a vampire. You can see for yourself, but I would advise you not to stay very long.”
The police chief gave Lazlo a suspicious look. “Well, if he’s a vampire, as you say, then that means he’s responsible for some of these killings! I should have a warrant issued for his arrest!”
“No!” Pascal cried. “It’s not his fault! He can’t help what he’s doing. It’s the one who made him that way! That’s the one who’s at fault, not the innocent victims!”
“The ones who died are the innocent victims, here,” said the police chief sternly, folding his arms. "But I can understand your point. I suppose it’s no different than a plea of insanity or other unstable medical condition, but we’ll still have to lock him up. We can’t leave him, or any other vampire, if that is what they are, free to take more innocent lives!”
The brothers looked at each other, and Lazlo nodded at Vidcund. “Go on, Vid. Tell him.”
“Tell me what?” asked the Chief.
“Well,” Vidcund began. “This research... I know it may not make much sense to you, but we’ve discovered the cause of the vampirism.”
“Cause?” interrupted the Chief. “You just told me the cause was being bitten by that... what-did-you-call-it... Grand Vampire, which you say we can’t get to.”
“Well, yes, but what the Grand Vampire does to make a new vampire is, essentially, give the new vampire a virus. That’s what we just discovered. Here... ”
Vidcund leafed through the many papers on the desk and pulled one out, handing it to the Chief. “This is a computer-generated image of the virus itself.”
The Chief looked at the print, then handed it back and shook his head. “I can’t understand any of that, so I’ll take your word for it. What are you saying here?”
“We’re saying this vampirism is treated by the body as a disease,” Pascal said. “And as such, it is quite possible a cure could be made. We just need time to develop it.”
“How long would you need?” The Chief asked, frowning thoughtfully.
“Impossible to tell,” Vidcund said. “The first formula we create might do it, or it might take much, much longer. It’s trial and error, unfortunately, at this point.”
“... and it doesn’t help that we have no support from the damn lab!” Lazlo commented. “If we had a whole research team working on this, it would take a lot less time, but do you know how we’ve been able to come this far?” He waved his hands in frustration. “By sneaking into the lab and working when no one else was around! It’s a load of shit!”
The police chief looked at all of them in turn, then cleared his throat. "Boys, if what you’re telling me is true, then I will personally make certain you get everything you need to continue your research. Manpower, money, equipment... whatever it takes. I promise you that.”
“Nervous!” Pascal called from the front veranda of the Beaker home. “Nerv, it’s us. Come on out!”
“Hi, Pascal,” Nervous said in a depressed voice, slouching out from the entrance archway. “I'm sorry to tell you this, but I have some bad ne-- Wait, who’s that?”
“Nervous, this is the Chief of Police,” Vidcund said.
“But I didn’t do anything!” Nervous cried, panicked. “Well, I did, but I can’t help it!” He looked around wildly as though he was thinking about running away.
“Nerv, calm down.” Lazlo said.
“What did you guys do?” Nervous said to them, and as the chief came closer he yelped, “Don’t let him arrest me!”
The Chief was staring at Nervous, wide-eyed with shock, but then he seemed to recover and spoke in a friendly manner to the vampire, who was still looking as though he might bolt at any second.
“I’m not going to arrest you, son,” the Chief said kindly. “... but I would like to take a look at you. I’d like to see what’s been done to you. Is that all right?”
Nervous looked at the chief, then at Pascal, who nodded.
"Well, okay..." Nervous agreed, his eyes still wide and frightened.
The brothers and the police chief walked up to where Nervous was standing, and the police chief gave Nervous an intense once-over with a flashlight.
“My God.” the chief said. “It’s true! All this time, it’s been here, right under our noses.” He turned to Vidcund, and wiped his forehead nervously. “Well,” he said. “I can tell you this, Curious. You’ll have all you need to do whatever you can. I’ll send a representative down to the lab as soon as it is daylight to work on getting that started for you.”
“Thank you, Chief.” Vidcund said matter-of-factly, but his voice trembled with excitement. Whatever they needed! An huge research team and the entire lab at their disposal!
“As for you,” the Chief said to Nervous. “You realize I can’t let you kill any more, son. I hate to take you in, but I don’t see any other way.”
“You said you wouldn’t arrest me!”
“You’re not under arrest,” the Chief said soothingly. “You’re just being, well... quarantined. We’ll get you to the hospital and... and... ” he trailed off. What would they do for him? The hospital was completely unprepared for such a patient. Yet Nervous had to go somewhere, and the hospital was the best place. At least, he could be sustained there through the central blood supply, without killing any more innocent people, and hopefully the Curious boys would be able to come up with a cure soon.
“Come on, son.” the Chief said, putting an arm around Nervous' shoulders and steering him toward the police vehicle parked near the curb. “You know it’s for the best.”
Nervous looked around at Pascal and then slowly walked away with the policeman.
“Nervous, we’re working on something that can help you,” Pascal told him bracingly. “Maybe you won’t have to stay this way much longer.”
“That would be great.” Nervous said without feeling, and turned away again sadly.
Vidcund watched him. He could tell there was something wrong with Nervous besides just being taken to the hospital. Nervous had seemed upset when they had first arrived.
“Wait,” Vidcund said to the policeman, and he held on to Nervous' arm. “Nervous, what’s wrong? I know it’s not just that you’re going away... ”
“Oh.” Nervous said. “No, I’m actually kind of relieved I’m being taken to the hospital. I hated killing, you know.” He wrung his hands worriedly.
“Then what is it?”
Nervous looked away from Vidcund and sighed. “I guess there’s no other way to say this than just say it. I... ” he gulped and blinked. “... I had some news from Reginald after sunset.”
“And?” Vidcund’s voice rose an octave and his heart fell to his feet. No, please no... anything but what I think it is... please...
“He’s getting married to Charity,” Nervous whispered. “The wedding will be held at midnight tonight.”
To Be Continued.