Marvel Re-Imagined: Daredevil
DC Re-Imagined: Hawkman
Horror Inc: Dracula
Rating: T (Language, definitely language. Also themes)
Horror Inc: Dracula
Chapter Two: Fine Company
It’s strange how things go sometimes. You’re there right, sitting and talking with the client man who’s paying you a very handsome figure to just look over some real estate for him and suddenly you find yourselves talking about girls. How bloody childish does that sound? I never recall talking to anyone about girls as I went through school, but shit if none of the others didn’t speak about them. So there was this one guy, right, and I’ll never forget hearing him talking about this one. He sat there with a group of his friends, all the big guys who smoke at train stations and mailbox on weekends, bragging about this one girl he found down near a bar. Underage little thing she was too. So he bragged about how he tugged on her black hair and had her moan his name and me, I walked up to him and punched him in the face for doing my sister. I screamed, cried and swear I saw blood on my fists but I didn’t care. He was talking about my sister. I never went back to school after that day. They wouldn’t have me. That’s when you start knuckling down, trying to think of some way to make a penny shine. Me and Vladimir, that is Tupolev, we didn’t talk about my sister. We spoke about Mina.
Mina, Mina, she was a real beauty. Her eyes were a brilliant green and her accent was aural sex. French girl she was, one I met while across the channel licking the gutter to find a job. It wasn’t a good time to say the least. She was working as a travel agent, that’s what I told Vladimir, and she said she could see I wasn’t in a good state. Offered to buy me a coffee and hear what it was troubling me. One coffee at lunch became a dinner thing down at this quiet little restaurant that served Italian, and that became the sort of thing two blokes don’t mention in conversation because shit, you just don’t violate that sort of confidentiality. Vladimir laughed and said she sounded like a real lady, the sort he’d met and spoken with in the Balkans in the 90’s. He said that was something for another time, but to bring down myself and Miss Mina for some tea since that’s the British thing that British people do. Not sure I appreciated the stereotype, but I couldn’t bring myself to say no. There was something dark in his eyes, something sharp and hypnotic. Couldn’t put my finger on it.
Vladimir’s offer of tea became a quiet afternoon drinking beer in the dining room and listening to the cacophonous rainstorm outside. The painting with that bearded Tupolev was gone, but I didn’t realise that until much later. Obviously, on that god-awful rainy day as we drank bear, we spoke about hospitals. When it’s raining outside and everyone’s a pale thing with drenched hair with their feet stuck in buckets of hot water, you talk about hospitals. That was what Vladimir was interested in investing his money in and that was what my and Vladimir Tupolev had been discussing on that other rainy day which now was about a week or so ago. A week or so sounded right.
“With the fall of the Yugoslavian state, there were countless people caught up in that war who couldn’t find someone to stitch them together again,” he said as he sipped at his beer, looking into the gold liquid and smiling. “So there I was thinking of what to do with myself. Communism, Miss Mina, had collapsed and I had the money to do something in the new Capitalist era.”
“I wouldn’t have thought hospitals though, Mr Tupolev,” Mina replied. I just watched her lips moved and smiled. They were only pink now but they looked so soft and fragile, like porcelain. I imagined my fingers running over them, feeling her breath and inching in closer.
“Not many do,” Vladimir said, chuckling as if at some joke and putting his beer back on the table. “Are either of you musical? It truly is the greatest achievement of the human culture, music. Here, I shall play for you both.”
So me and Mina watched as Vladimir walked himself over to this shiny black piano tucked away in the corner and began to play a piece of Ludwig Van Beethoven. Ode to Joy it was. I could feel myself being lost in the notes, felt my arm wrapping itself around Mina’s as I drank my beer and listened to this dark man from East Europe playing that piece of music. Never really considered it my sort of thing to be honest, since I grew up with Mr Cooper and shit like that. Ludwig Van Beethoven, never really considered him to be all that crash-hot to be honest. Vladimir blew that idea right out of my head. As the music soared I leaned in and kissed Mina’s head, smelling her hair and thinking that nothing could be more perfect. The music, the company, the smell and the alcohol; it was intoxicating. Mina stroked my cheek as Vladimir continued to play.