After returning to their hotel late at night, Sir John and Marie were at the bottom of the stairs and climbing up to their room.
“I noticed you omitted some aspects of our story,” said Sir John, casually.
“I was… it felt right,” said Marie. “I didn’t want to send them totally crazy.”
“Excuse me, monsieur,” said a voice from below.
“Yes,” said Sir John as the receptionist appeared at the foot of the stairs.
“Monsieur Jennings, I forget to tell you. There was a man here to see you,” he said.
“Oh, who?” said Sir John.
“He did not say his name, but he did say he’d wait. That was some time ago,” said the receptionist.
“Is he still here?” said Sir John. “What did he look like?”
“He was short, wore a hood and had a foreign accent, I mean, not French,” said the receptionist. “I didn’t see him go, but he’s no longer here. I suppose he must have left, but he didn’t leave a card or note.”
“I see,” said Sir John. “Well, thank you anyway.”
“My pleasure to help,” said the man and left.
“Very helpful,” said Sir John. He turned back up the stairs to see Marie looking back at him with a distracted expression.
“It’s not that at all,” she said. “If I am honest, I didn’t want him to know. To know about me. I’m worried what will happen, what he will say.”
“He’s a good friend,” said Sir John gently. “I’m sure he’d understand. Be impressed, even.”
“I think so too, and… I hope so,” she said. “But I’m still afraid.”
Sir John took his wife’s hand.
“Then we will wait,” he said, “and tell him together when you’re ready.”
Marie smiled then suddenly frowned.
“What was that?” she said.
“What?” said Sir John.
“From upstairs,” whispered Marie. “From our floor, I heard a sound.”
“Well it’s a hotel,” said Sir John, whispering too, “that shouldn’t be so strange.”
“In the rooms, yes,” said Marie. “This was in the corridor. I hear someone breathing.”
She crept up the last few steps as quietly as possible then turned at the top.
“Venir!” she said and there was a high pitched squawking noise. A slender, hooded man ran up the corridor and stopped dead in front of her. His hood fell back to reveal a frightened pale face which made another squawking noise. Sir John appeared at the top of the stairs.
“Phlebotomous?” he said.
“He-hello,” said the vampire.
“Mr Bosch,” said Marie. “What are you doing here?”
“I was just passing?” ventured Phlebotomous.
“In Paris?” said Sir John.
“They are having auditions for some exposition next year,” said Phlebotomous. “I brought some of my inventions.”
“Why are you skulking around the hotel,” said Marie. “You gave me a fright.”
“I’m sorry, but it got too sunny in the lobby and I wanted to see my old friends,” he said then opened his arms wide and grinned.
Sir John shook his hand and Marie tapped the other.
“Well, yes, very nice to see you, Phlebotomous, but we’ve had rather a long day. We’d better get to our room,” said Sir John.
“Of course, of course,” said Phlebotomous, who then looked as his feet.
“Is your accomodation far?” said Marie.
“Not too far…” said Phlebotomous. “It is rather late, though. There might be thieves or murderers out there.”
“You’re a vampire,” said Sir John. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
The vampire looked nervously out the window and Sir John sighed.
“There’s a chaise-longue in the room, you may stay there for tonight,” he said and Phlebotomous smiled.