The Count

“Light, yet robust. 1931, a good year.”

The doctor tapped at his chair impatiently. “Yes, yes, that’s great and all. Now can we get on with the diagnosis?”

The thin man in the dark suit took one more sniff of the dark liquid and slowly swirled the wine glass in his hand. “Oh Artie, you can’t rush art.”

Arthur rolled his eyes. The Count was good, and he knew it. With one vial of blood, the Count would provide an accurate description of a patient’s medical history and psychological conditions.

Of course, it was not without controversy. The Count may appear to be an esteemed gentleman, but he smelled of black magic. There were whispers of how the man made deals with demons and of screams that emanated from his house at night. Still, he was great with diagnoses. The Count was thus Arthur’s best kept secret, and the doctor preferred to keep it that way.

The Count took a lingering sip from his glass. He made a wry smile, and sat in front of his gold-plated desk. With a slow movement, he picked up his feather pen, dipped it in the ink, and slyly looked over the doctor.

“Let the concerto begin.”

One more sip, and the Count placed his pen on the paper. His expression quickly changed. His eyes were filled with a demonic fire as he began scribbling. A cruel smile formed on his lips as the room began to feel hot and heavy. He wrote furiously, stopping only to take another sip of blood or to dip his pen in ink.

Arthur looked on, fascinated despite seeing the performance for the nth time. He wondered if the Count would know if the apothecary down the street would have the right concoction for this one-

“Of course they would, dear Artie,” said the thin man, interrupting Arthur’s thoughts. The room had lost its heat, and the Count had reverted back to his old smiling self. He licked his lips as he gently placed his empty glass down and handed the doctor the paper.

Arthur looked at the writing, gasped a little, and nodded.

“Thank you for the good work, as usual. I’ll head over to Giles’ right now.”

The doctor took 3 dark vials out of his coat pocket and handed it to the Count, who took them with a smile. With a quick nod, Arthur walked out the door and into the night.

The Count walked over to the record player, and the first notes of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake played through the room. He took one of Arthur’s vials, poured its contents in a fresh glass, and sat down on his leather chair.

“1931 was a very good year indeed.”


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