“The Third Death of Henry Antrim” sees St. Cyprian and Gallowglass hunt for a vampire during a Christmas party! It was first published in 2013 by Pulpwork Press in the 2013 Pulpwork Press Christmas Special.
Most vampires were staggering horrors with more appetite than brains. But some were quite intelligent—they could lull their prey with a crude form of hypnotism, and then strike at their leisure.
If there were one of the latter loose in Kensington, mingling with the bright young things, it could prove troublesome. It needed to be nipped in the bud, before it spread its plague through the upper crust. He did a quick calculation in his head, judging how much time had passed since her death and Porky’s discovery of the body. The body wasn’t stiff yet.
“How many people are at this party you didn’t bother to invite me to, Porky?” St. Cyprian said, turning to Caruthers. If the vampire had left immediately, it could be anywhere by now. But if it hadn’t, they might be able to put an end to it before it claimed anymore lives.
“Really Chaz, you hardly ever come to parties anymore. I just saved you the bother of an RSVP, what?” Caruthers shook his head. “Maybe thirty—well, twenty-nine now.” He looked at St. Cyprian. “But some have already gone home! And, well, some haven’t arrived yet. You know how it is, old sport…lots of to’ing and fro’ing and all that.”
“Yes,” St. Cyprian said dubiously. He looked at Gallowglass, who had several bunches of garlic looped about her person. “Where in the name of…Porky, why do you have so much garlic?”
“Is that what that is? I rather thought it was fennel,” Caruthers said, peering into the pantry. “I let my man do all of the shopping, bally nuisance, otherwise.”
“Never mind,” St. Cyprian said. “When did you last see Ms. Edgemont?”
“A few hours ago,” Caruthers said. “She popped out with someone for a bit of—ah—hanky-panky, what?”
That wasn’t unusual at parties. Necking was a long-standing social tradition, and most were only too happy to follow it. “Did you see with whom, by chance?”
“Fairly certain it was a chap, if that helps,” Caruthers said, helplessly.
“Well, it narrows it down, I suppose,” St. Cyprian said. He ran a hand through his hair. “All right, we’ll do this the old-fashioned way. Ms. Gallowglass, take the garlic and seal the first floor, windows, doors, stairs…if our blood-sucker is still on the premises, I want him nailed down tight. We’ll need a silver-backed mirror as well.” St. Cyprian scratched his chin and looked at Caruthers. “I don’t suppose you have such a thing as hawthorn or holly about, Porky?”
“Not unless my man bought some,” Caruthers said.
“Did he?” St. Cyprian said, looking at Gallowglass.
“Do they come in a tin?” Gallowglass said.
“Probably not,” St. Cyprian grunted…