Case #1 of the Ed Files
“A vampire problem”
I am known in my little corner of Southwestern Ohio as a suspense writer, and often a writer of supernatural tales.
As a result, I occasionally receive requests like the one that I describe below….
A local man whom I am acquainted with (I will call him Gerald) called me one day earlier this summer. After a bit of small talk, he informed me that shortly after dark, he and various members of his family were seeing strange, pale-skinned figures lurking around his back yard . (Gerald and his family live out in the country, about five miles from my house.)
These ghastly figures, he further reported, had glowing red eyes.
That is the sort of call that can instantaneously shift the feeling and focus of your entire day. And that was exactly the effect that the call had on me.
When the call came in, I had been typing in my home office, working on one of my upcoming novels. But I knew that I was probably done writing for that day.
“Gerald,” I said, “it sounds like you have a vampire problem.”
“Vampires?” he replied. He pretended that the word was entirely foreign to him, and completely unexpected. But that was exactly what he had been hinting at, throughout his entire description of the recent sightings in his back yard.
Gerald was, however, still very much in a state of denial. The first thing I would need to do, I realized, was to make him face the stark reality of the situation.
“Yes, Gerald,” I said. “What you are describing sounds exactly like vampires. And this wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve faced them.”
“That’s what I’ve heard,” he said sheepishly.
“And what exactly have you heard?” I asked.
“Rumors get around, you know? All those stories you write, and whatnot. There are some people who say that they aren’t entirely fiction.”
“My stories are mostly fiction,” I said. “But let’s not get off track. This is too important. I know that you live out in the country. There is a woods behind your house, I would guess—beyond your back yard. Am I right?”
“That’s right,” he said.
“That’s what I thought. I want you and your family to stay out of those woods until we get this problem resolved. Even in the daylight. In fact, I want you to remain indoors as much as possible while you’re at home.”
“Okay,” he said tentatively. “But what about—what about tonight? After it gets dark.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be there with you tonight. I’ll drive out to your house a little before sunset.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind—”
“Of course I don’t mind. Now, give me your address, please.”
I listened while Gerald recited his address, and I wrote it down. I could hear a little tremble in his voice.
I’ll tell you more about Gerald shortly; but for now let’s just say that he is not the kind of man who likes to admit a fear of the dark. He was trying to put on a brave front, and his efforts weren’t entirely successful.
“I’ll be there this evening,” I said. “A little before sunset. Until then, remember what I said, about staying away from those woods, and remaining indoors as much as possible.”
He assured me that he would. I was about to hang up when he stopped me.
“Oh, and Ed…I—I want you to know that I really appreciate this.”
“Don’t thank me yet,” I said. “Thank me after I get rid of your vampire problem.”