The Noughties: Vampires.

About Sometimes I think the whole decade in fiction has been about vampires. The decade began with the final embers of Buffy and has concluded with the Twiglet phenomena. As Bella Swan's story continues to hold us in its grip, I as a tribute thought I'd reveal the following. In the late 90s when I still thought I could make a living as a script writer, I turned out a treatment for a vampire script. I can't remember why, or what it was for, but it does have its moments, most of them written by someone else originally. Not that such things have stopped Stephanie Meyer. Just add plaid.

The Dracula Murderer


Stuart Ian Burns

The Characters

Helen Goodfellow is a Samantha Mathis / Helena Baxendale-type. Early-twenties. She was a normal school girl until a vampire went on the rampage in her school and killed all of her friends, and her mother, who was visiting the principal / head teacher about her grades. She didn't have much of a home life - her parents were divorced, her father had disappeared. Her way of coping is to fall into a world of her own. She began to research vampires, reading all of the books she could, watched all of the movies she could get her hands on, and documentaries, and eventually began to uncover a number of strange serial murders which fit the Vampire M.O. No one really believing that vampires exist, she now travels the world investigating these murders and more often than not uncovering a vampire responsible. The whole enterprise is slowly sapping her mentally and physically, so it is lucky that this seems to be her final hunt.

Isaac Story is a George Clooney / Hugh Laurie-type. Early-thirties. He is returning home for the first time in many years because his mother is close to death and he is hoping to make a reconciliation with her. She gave him an interesting childhood, with her unusual behavior at times. He left for University as soon as he could, and has not had much contact since. When he left, he didn't tell the girlfriend he had been with for years, even though she had stood by him through all of his mother's moods. Although he knows he was a bastard to her is hoping to see her again.

Jennifer Ryman was Isaac's girlfriend. She is a Janine Garafalo / Helena Bonham-Carter type. Early-thirties. She now works at a city bar as she attempts to work her way through University.

Elaine Story is Isaac's mother. She spends much of the story in sick bed. She is dying because she is a vampire who has abstained from drinking blood for many years, trying to see the error of her ways, after leaving her son Isaac to bring himself up much of his teenage life, because she would be out many late nights feeding her need. Abstaining has slowly debilitated her, however, and she is slowly beginning to feel new urges.

The Synopsis

Helen stands on a railway platform. She looks at her watch. There is silence.

Isaac stands on the step in the open door way of a subway train. He tells Jennifer that he is 'so sorry.' She smiles sympathetically at him. 'I know.' she says, and passionately gives him a goodbye kiss. The doors close between them. The train is empty. Isaac goes and sits down.

Jennifer looks on sadly as the train leaves the station.

The train reaches Helen's platform. The doors open and she enters. She sits opposite Isaac. They simply sit staring at each other. "Its time," Helen says. He bows his head, the scene shifts to ..

... a typical rainy day in the city. Elaine Story lies at home, dying in her sickbed, her only comforts are Television, a home help / nurse who patronises her, and the view, through tinted windows, of a nearby building were a child is dancing in the rain. A medical monitor beeps her continued existence. The child runs in when he feels her staring at him, after sensing something uncomfortable. The nurse is on the phone:

'I'm so sorry to hear that. Alright. Bye.' she says. She puts the phone down and turns to Elaine, and tells her that her son will be slightly later because of traffic. Elaine does not move. She keeps staring out of the window.

Isaac Story is in his stationary car on a rain swept road. He puts the receiver down on his car phone, having just spoken to the nurse. He sighs and puts on the radio. Bill Wither's 'Lovely Day' plays. He turns the tuner on the radio to someone concerned with the drought, saying that at least its raining. Isaac clicks it off in disgust. A rare gap in the traffic appears and he begins to drive to catch up with the car in front.

Helen Goodfellow stands in the rain. She is very soggy. She carries all kinds of bags, one of which has large patches all over it demonstrating all of the places she has been. She has been trying for the past hour to hitch-hike, unsuccessfully. Although she has done this before, it is a bad day. Then, a car stops and window winds down.

Helen runs over. This is Isaac's car. He asks were she is going. She says its ..... He tells her he is going the same way, and to a chorus of honking horns, she gets her bags into the back of the car, and herself in the front seat. As they drive along, they engage it what they believe to be small talk, to pass the time, beginning with the weather and how long she had been standing there. There are many nervous pauses. As they drive, he tells her about going home to see his mother, about how sick she is. She tells him her cover story - about looking for her father to tell him that her mother has died. They find a common ground about losing their respective mother's before they can say all of the things they want to say. She tells him that she hopes he will get there in time. He asks her if she has been to all of the places on her bag. She tells him that her search seems to be process of elimination. He doesn't believe her, somehow, but doesn't think that he has any right to press the matter to a complete stranger. If she is lying, she will have her reasons.

Elaine's curtains are drawn now. The rain has stopped, and the sun has come out, so the room is still quite bright. She watches television, some soap opera. She is not interested. Rather than simply changing the channel, she simply stares at the channel changer / remote control. She does not blink. The light in the room is dimmed, slightly, as a cloud passes before the sun. Elaine smiles slightly. There is a relief in her eyes.

Isaac's car stops outside a youth hostel, is getting dark now. He helps Helen out with her many bags and they say their goodbyes. Isaac watches her go, still with a feeling that something was left unsaid by him. We follow Helen into the hostel. There is a slight spring in her step as she looks around the slightly cramped entrance hall.

The nurse opens the front door to the flat, to reveal Isaac carrying a quite bedraggled bunch of flowers. He introduces himself. It is dark outside. We next see him sitting on the edge of his mother's bed. She is sitting up now, drinking coffee. The nurse is replacing an I.V. He tells her that he is sorry he didn't come back sooner. She tells him that he couldn't be because he would have made the effort. He nods his head, in recognition of this truth. The nurse swears loudly. Isaac is concerned. She has cut herself. As he sees if she is alright, Elaine begins to sweat visibly, her eyes fixed on the wound like a puppy's eyes fixed on the hand of its owner clutching a favourite ball. They notice the sweating, and believe it to be because the I.V. isn't in place.

Helen leaves a cinema alone. She walks through town, glancing furtively from side to side. She is in the middle of the club district. Loud, beating music plays from clubs and pubs in the locale. Before her are a couple, enjoying a night out. She watches them half jealous. The beat becomes louder and louder sounding more and more like a heart-beat. The couple before her stop and begin to kiss. She halts in her tracks, reminded of something. The guy begins to kiss the girls neck. The beating becomes louder, until ... ... the landscape changes to become a scene from Helen's childhood. The heart beating is hers, as she watches a man with huge fangs bite hard into her mother's neck. She screams and runs down the street, and from a distance watches the Vampire begin to drink heavily from her mother's body. Her instinct is to look for help, but is paralysed with fear and unable to do anything ...

... we return to the older Helen, she turns herself from the couple and puts her hand out, quickly jumping into a cab.

Isaac has left his mother for a few hours, and has decided to find a bar. The place is quite plush. As he enters, one of the bar-girls clocks him and tries to hide. Realising she has been spotted, Jennifer Ryman decides not be rude and greets him at the bar, and asks him what he would like. He tells her, that he wants his favourite, and she pours him a Vodka. He asks her how she has been - and what she is still doing working at this bar. She tells him that she is trying to pay her way through college. They are the same age, so there has obviously been some water under the bridge. He tells her about his law degree, about the partnership offer he has had. He asks her when her shift ends. At this, she releases her pent up anger and asks him what the hell he is doing here. He tells that he wants to apologise. She begins to wash the bar with a cloth. He tells her that in all these years, he couldn't stop thinking about her. She stops cleaning for a second. He tells her that he wishes he had spent the past ten years, wondering what life could have been like if he had actually told her he was leaving, instead of taking off the way he did. She looks up at him ...

... and suddenly we see the younger Jennifer. She is smiling. We here Isaac telling her that he loves her, but there is something he has to tell her. She is quizzical, there is nothing good he could possibly say in this serious voice of his. He tells there that he has had some bad news. Alison, his sister, her best friend has been found dead. That they are having problems finding out the cause of death. Her face fills with grief ...

... we return to the older Jennifer. She tells him to return at half-past eleven.

Isaac and Jenny sit in a cafe drinking coffee. They have obviously been here a while, because a waitress arrives and gives them a refill. Isaac tells her it is nice coffee. The waitress smiles, half-disbelieving him. Jenny tells him that he doesn't change - theirs was obviously not the most monogamous relationship. He smiles at her, bitter-sweetly. There is a pregnant pause. She sips her coffee, he looks out of the window. He tells her that they have to talk about it. She tells him that there is nothing to talk about. He left when she needed him most, when his mother needed him most. That his way of dealing with it, hurt all of the people he was closest to. He tells that it was the last straw, that everything took over him, that he didn't have the strength to wait another year for University, that the opportunity to leave was there and he took. That it wasn't that easy for him. She tells him how selfish his decision was. Tells him that she rebounded with some complete bastard who used and abused her, then left her with ... a child, so he shouldn't tell her about how hard it was to deal with Alison's death, and the way she died. She gets up. She is late - she expects her baby-sitter to quit when she returns. He tells her he wants to see her again. 'What's the point?' She asks.

Elaine awakens. It's morning. The nurse is already here. She tells her that the IV needs replacing. 'What's the point?' Elaine asks.

Helen is at the library. She yawns, glancing at the clock on the wall, which tells her it is only nine-thirty in the morning. This isn't the large cavernous place one would expect. It is dank, dark and doesn't look like it has been decorated since at least the seventies. She sits at a table, a huge book in front of her. It is a bound copy of the local paper. We see the headline, 'Local girl dies mysteriously'. Then, headline after headline, 'Alison Story Murder - still no clues', (the name seems familiar but she doesn't think anything of it) 'Swimmer's death linked to Alison Story murder', 'Fourth murder, Community in mourning', 'Eighth victim claimed', culminating in the headline. 'No new clues to the identity of The Dracula Murderer.' We see Helen with a hand-written list of names, looking through a phone-book, finding telephone numbers. We see her on a pay phone, 'no ... no, I understand,' she says as she puts the phone down. We see her making a different call - 'I can be there in half an hour. Thankyou.'

We see Jennifer, she sits relating her story to Helen, who has obviously found her because of a comments she made to the paper. She tells her that Alison had been such a nice girl, impossible to fault. How tragic it had all been. About the media attention. We see Helen's face as she remembers ...

... she is being interviewed by some reporter, who is milking what happened for all it is worth. It must have been very hard for you, he says. How did you cope? He asks her many pointed questions - type which shouldn't be asked to someone who has just lost her mother and friends in a horrific way. He asks her what happened to her father. Helen tells him that she hasn't seen or heard from him, and that she would like to get in touch ... ... we shift back to Jennifer, who describes what happened when the media disappeared. Helen asks her if she had any support from her boyfriend, Alison's brother. No, Jenny says pointedly. Helen asks her if she can get in touch with him. Jenny tells her that he can be found at his mother's place, she supposes ...

... we are back in the carriage with Isaac and Helen. She asks him if Jennifer understood. He says that he told her as much as he could, but that it was hard for her, but she agreed to what they had asked for. He says that she said that she has forgiven him, although he isn't so sure. He asks her how she knew. She tells him she had done this long enough to have seen the signs....

... it is late afternoon. The doorbell of Elaine's flat rings and Isaac answers it. He opens the door and we see Helen standing there. 'It's you ...' she says. 'Hello,' he smiles.

Isaac sits with Jennifer in the Kitchen. Isaac is describing that he took it very badly. 'That's why you left.' Helen deduces. She asks she can meet his mother.

They enter Elaine' bedroom. She is sleeping. Isaac tells her that the doctors could not find out what was wrong with her. Helen looks at her closely then swears loudly. 'Get out,' she screams. 'What?' Isaac does not understand what is happening. Helen begins to chant loudly in some European-language. Elaine awakens suddenly, her eyes opening wide. As she chants, Helen reaches into her bag and produces a cross. Elaine convulses. Not really knowing what has gone on, Isaac tries to fight Helen. She fights him off. Elaine begins to transform, fangs appearing in her teeth, her ears elongating, her hair growing longer. The room suddenly fills with rushing wind, the fabric of clothes and bed linen waving heavily. Helen shrills her chanting louder. There is chaos. She pulls out the a stake. There is shadow across her face ...

... We return to the frightened teenager watching a Vampire devouring her mother. We watch her glance around, looking for something. She pulls a rung from a wooden fence, and approaches the vampire. With all of the courage she can find, she hits it around the head. The vampire falls backwards to the floor. Helen raises the rung ready to plunge it into the vampire, and for a brief moment ...

... we flash forward to older Helen, in the same position, as she plunges the steak into Elaine ...

... then we return to the younger Helen, as that Vampire reels with pain, then falls limp. Helen watches its features change into that of a human. 'Daddy?' she screams in utter disbelief, as his body begins to disappear ...

... and Elaine's body does the same. There is calm is calm in her bedroom. No sound, except for the slow, dark beep of the medical scanner signalling her death. Helen and Isaac stand there, looking at the stained, empty bed. Isaac is stunned. Helen boughs her head in prayer, as the scene shifts ...

... back to the subway carriage. Isaac asks Helen if this is the only option. There is another option, she says. They wait till a certain age, and without warning, they transform and the hunger begins, and they would kill someone they are close to. And when all of the death has ended, someone like her will arrive and they will die anyway. At least this way he might go to wherever with a clean slate, and she could not think of the idea that she would become what her father was. He sighs. He asks her if she brought it. She tells him she did and reaching into her bag produces the steak she used to kill his mother. He breathes deeply and begins to chant. The scene shifts between the two of them chanting loudly, then the chanting continuing as they hold crosses, and finally as they stand opposite each other in the isle of the train as each lift their steaks and begin to plunge them into their opposite hearts. The scene cuts to black.

We see quite a handsome guy sitting in the living room of quite a comfortable looking apartment, reading quite a think hardback book. He turns a page. A child appears and tells him that mummy said that if he doesn't come now they will go without him. Alright, he says. Then Jennifer puts her head around the door and re-iterates. Alright, he repeats and stands up, throwing the book back onto the couch. For the first time, we see the title - 'The Dracula Murderer' by Jennifer Ryman.

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