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An Empty Grave (Dawn May 28)


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Three figures stood by the open grave as the horizon began to glow. One was dressed in black, a silver cross in one hand and a drawn sword in the other. A large man stood behind him with a lantern on a pole. To the other side was a man who spoke with a Hungarian accent. A pistol rested in one hand and a sword in the other.


"She should be returning to her grave with the first rays of sunlight," came the words of the Hungarian Count. They had been waiting an hour at the side of the grave, alert for any movement in the cemetery.


Evidence seemed to suggest that Wilhemena Boyle had risen from the grave, or that body snatchers had taken her. Yet the evidence in the prior daylight had revealed a woman clawing to get out of her casket and the dirt above it. Rather than shovels digging down, it looked as if there had been claws digging out.


Some whispered of witchcraft, which drew the attention of Reverend Able. Mina Boyle had also been his benefactor before her death, complaining that Mirtel Hardwick was a witch. Mere days later, Mina died under the most unusual of circumstances. No cause of death was apparent.


Count Forensi had arrived not long after, with speculation that Mina had become a vampire. They were known to rise the night after their deaths.


Peter Boyle would have none of it, convinced that Protestant ruffians had dug up his daughter's corpse to desecrate it. He was offering a reward for information leading to the recovery of her body.


Though interested in the reward, the strange alliance between Able and Forensi was determined to seek out a dark spirit that might be drawn to the grave. If it came, it would be dispatched.


Yet, to the disappointment of witch hunters, Mina Boyle did not return to her grave that morning. "She has found another lair," the Count explained. Reverend Able was not so sure. It had been a long night and he planned to go home and get some sleep. There was definitely an air of mystery to the whole affair. It was likely that witchcraft was involved ... but whose? The mystery beckoned him. There had to be more clues and the Count had no way of explaining how the vampire could have infected Mina without killing her. The redhead had died in front of many witnesses. There had been no vampire in sight ... .

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