فصل 06

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فصل 06

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CHAPTER SIX

Vampire Scare

On Friday, two days after the three friends’ night at Central Park, New Yorkers woke up to this terrifying newspaper headline:

VAMPIRE SCARE IN MANHATTAN!

The Voice of New York wrote:

For the first time in the history of this city we have a vampire scare on our hands. Early Thursday morning, John Beacon, a homeless man of 39, was found dead in Central Park. Rumors said he was the victim of a vampire attack. Two teeth marks were found on his neck and the vampire had drunk half the blood in his body, causing his death.

Last week the body of a woman was found in the Hudson River, but no one thought of a vampire attack because the body had been in the river for many days and it was almost impossible to check for teeth marks on her neck. Police are now checking other suspicious deaths of homeless people in the Central Park area.

The Chief of Police, Timothy O’Leary, asks all homeless people to sleep in the city shelters at night, and not out in the open. He also advises citizens not to walk along quiet streets at night. New Yorkers are hardly ever afraid of anything, but this time they were terrified by the news. Late - night restaurants and theaters in the Broadway area were empty. People did not want to be out after dark. The show at the museum attracted even bigger crowds that wanted to learn more about vampires. Professor Morescu was not present at the show that day.

Michelle, Bill and Nick met at The Iceberg in the evening with five copies of different local papers that talked about the vampire scare. One paper had this headline: DRACULA IS BACK!

“What in the world is happening?” asked Michelle, putting her spoon into her ice-cream sundae. “Vampires in New York City - and I just know they’re connected with the show.”

“No one has ever heard of vampires in this city before the show,” said Nick.

“But who is the vampire?” asked Bill. “Is that what Phil saw that scared him to death?”

“How is the theft of the diamond connected with vampires?” asked Michelle.

“This case is so confusing, because nothing makes sense!” said Bill nervously.

“We’ve got a dead security guard, a weird show, a strange professor, two mysterious cleaners, a vampire’s coffin, a missing diamond, and two vampire murders…,” said Nick, who looked quite confused.

“What about the vampire murder in Central Park?” said Michelle excitedly. “We saw Professor Morescu in Central Park on Wednesday night - that’s when and where the homeless man was killed! Remember, I said his lips looked red that night. Could the professor be…”

“Oh, Michelle, please - he’s a bit weird but he’s a respected professor at Columbia University - I don’t think he’s a… vampire,” said Nick. “He’s been teaching there for over twenty years.”

“But we saw him in Central Park that night,” Michelle insisted.

“Just to make things more confusing, you guys forgot Mr Simms, the jeweler,” said Nick, laughing.

“You know,” said Bill thoughtfully, “we should use the scientific approach to this case.”

“What do you mean?” asked Nick.

“Well, we don’t know much about vampires,” said Bill. “If we had more information about them we would understand what’s happening and why.”

“You’re right, Bill,” said Nick, “we’re trying to play a game without knowing the rules. We need facts.”

“Exactly,” said Michelle. “I’ll do the research and get the facts - I’ve got plenty of free time.”

The next day Michelle was on her way to the New York City Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street when she saw Detective Ellis and two policemen walking into Simms’s Jewelers.

“I wonder what Detective Ellis and the police are doing at Simms’s?” she thought. “Ellis probably suspects him.”

Michelle was not wrong because Samuel Simms was one of Ellis’s first suspects, and he had asked Simms not to leave the city. That day he had a search warrant to search the luxurious jewelery shop.

It was a hot evening when Bill and Nick met Michelle in Central Park after work. Bill and Nick lay down on the cool green grass and Michelle sat between them.

“I’ve got a lot of information on vampires for you today,” said Michelle proudly.

“Great - tell us!” said Bill and Nick, looking up at the early evening sky.

“Well, first of all, they’re often called the undead or living dead, because a vampire is a dead body that feeds on living people. The vampire’s victims usually die and then become vampires themselves. You can’t see vampires in a mirror and they don’t have a shadow. They sleep during the day and go out after sunset to find their favorite food: blood. They can change their form and become bats, wolves or rats. And the only way to kill them is by driving a wooden stake through their hearts, by beheading them or by burning them.”

“Ugh,” said Nick. “There’s an old wooden stake at the museum.”

“Well, who fits the description of a vampire?” asked Michelle. Bill and Nick were silent. “Who works at night and is never seen in the daytime?”

“Victor and Daniza!” said Nick. “But that’s not much.”

“No, it’s not; they’re old but they don’t look like vampires,” said Bill, who was disappointed. “I mean they don’t look like bats, or rats… or wolves.”

“They don’t have to change their shape to be vampires,” Michelle insisted.

“And if they’re really vampires what would they do with a diamond?” said Nick. “Vampires don’t need diamonds or money - they need blood!”

“That’s just it!” exclaimed Michelle. “They need blood. Who killed the homeless man in Central Park and the woman found in the Hudson River? And maybe others. Professor Morescu said Victor and Daniza came from Eastern Europe; that’s where the whole story of vampires started long ago.”

“But what in the world are they doing here in New York City?” asked Bill. “Now I’m really confused.”

“Listen,” said Michelle, “first let’s find out who Victor and Daniza really are. Next Wednesday is the last day of the show and it closes at 10 pm. Will Max be on duty that night?”

“Yeah, he said he wants to work the last night,” said Nick.

“Great! Max will understand our plan and help us,” said Michelle enthusiastically, “because he was Phil’s friend. Now listen, you can hide inside the museum and wait until Victor and Daniza come to clean. Then take a good look at them and see what they do on the last day.”

“I just hope they won’t do something that will scare us both to death - like poor Phil,” said Bill.

The three friends looked at each other sadly and did not say another word.

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