The year was 1802.
And it was raining.
John Louis Bray hated the rain. He had been unceremoniously dropped at the crossroads a few hundred yards back. Protesting to the driver of the carriage that it was unfair, and even offering extra funds to complete the journey, the driver had firmly told him in broken English 'no'.
The coach was to go no further. For all the money in the world.
A huge crack of thunder echoed out across the mountain range, followed by a bolt of lightning, arcing across the night sky and illuminating the area in vivid white light.
The path Bray was on was set between dense forest on either side. Looking up at the sliver of sky between the parted forest rooftop, Bray beheld a breathtaking sight.
In the near distance, looming infront of him stood a huge castle.
To say the castle was gothic in appearance would be akin to saying Hitler had issues.
From the huge iron gates with gilded bat motif, to the pointed turrets dotted about the various faces of the castle walls, complete with gurning, hideous gargoyles. This place was in need of cheering up.
Bray pulled up his collar and marched forward, head bowed to the lashing wind and rain.
Was it his imagination, or had the rain got harder since he saw the castle?
The flame from the hearth flickered, creating an orange hued light show within the small study.
Books seemed to move and dance on the shelves and the curtains appeared to dart, left and right as the shadows played tag with them.
Vlad Drugula sat, slumped in the leather arm chair, the remains of a reefer still sat in the crammed ashtray on the arm of the chair.
He had been motionless for hours, that last hit really knocked him out. His mind swam in and out of reality. He was asleep, but not. Thoughts drifted in and out of his head, like a drunk driver trying to negotiate a straight road.
A sharp knock at the door merely caused him to slowly open one eye. Unsure if the knock was real, or just some random echo from a dream passed, he tried adjusting his vision to the light from the fire, then came a second knock. His arm flinched uncontrollably, knocking the fully laden ashtray to the floor. It sent up a cloud of finely powdered ash and butts. Sure of what he'd heard this time, he spoke.
"What?" he croaked, his parched throat struggling to form a sound.
"Something comes, master!" said a nasal voice from behind the study door.
"Who?" said Drugula, "Not an angry mob from the village again? I can't be dealing with that tonight. Or another scientist wanting to rent my cellar for laboratory space, not after old Frankenstein got caught with that body."
"No sir," whined the voice "something far more sinister."
"Oh no, not a bloody Location Manager from a film company again?" said Drugula, raising himself in his armchair, the leather creaking with the shift in weight, "I remember last time, we had bloody tourists for years after, wanting shots by this and photo's of that! Never again, I say!" he said.
"No sir, far worse!" replied the voice.
"Well? Who, or what is it? Spit it out, Eggnog, you despicable little creature!" demanded Drugula.
"An insurance salesman," said Eggnog.
"Well I never," said Drugula, reaching for his crack-pipe, "an insurance salesman, eh? Time we had some fun, Eggnog. Time we entertained our guest!" he said thoughtfully.
The rain began to thunder on the window.
Outside an owl hooted. Or was that the hit taking over? Drugula slumped back in to his chair.