Chapter Five

Katalin sat inside the carriage as it bounced down the dirt road towards the village. The other three women sat around her, talking amongst themselves. She envied them. They had absolutely no qualms about going out, kidnapping young girls and bringing them back to the castle to be tortured and murdered. She, on the other hand, thought it repulsive and wanted nothing to do with it, but she held no illusions about what might happen to her should she resist. She had seen the Countess’s cruelty and she knew that if she did the wrong thing, she could very well end up being next. She was the youngest of the four and the other three women never let her forget that. She was constantly bullied, beaten, and made to take part in the killings. Out of all of them, Dorottya, the oldest was the cruelest one. The woman seemed to have no soul and no conscience. Katalin didn’t miss the gleeful look on her face whenever a woman was slaughtered. She seemed to take a perverse joy in the suffering of others. Katalin always made sure to stay as far away from her whenever she could. Unfortunately, that didn’t always work. Like right now. She didn’t really know what had occurred. All she knew was someone had prevented Dorottya from seizing another victim and they were going to find the people responsible. Secretly, Katalin hoped that this person or persons would be able to stop their mission and perhaps rescue her as they did the young woman.

She sighed and turned her attention to the window beside her. She quietly watched the scenery, trying not to listen to the other three women who were coming up with sick little ideas for what they would do to the man and the woman.

Suddenly, she saw something streaking out of the clouds back towards the castle. Whatever the object was, it was large, too large to be a bird. But it went by so fast that Katalin doubted whether she had seen it at all. She craned her neck out the window looking back at where the object had been, but she couldn’t see anything. Mentally shrugging, she stuck her head back inside and concentrated on staring at the trees.

“Blimey,” Rose gasped when the Doctor stopped a few inches from the ground. “I’ll never get used to you going that fast. I think my heart is still up in the clouds.”

“Nah, your heart is right here, safe and sound,” the Doctor said, pointing to his chest. “Besides, you were the one who were worried that someone might see us. This way, we can avoid being spotted.”

He touched the ground and let go of her.

“And,” he said, gesturing up at the castle wall beside him, “I got you here in record time. That means more time to explore. Come on!”

Rose started to walk off, but the Doctor grabbed her arm.

“”Wait a tic, where are you going?” he said.

Rose gave him a confused look.

“I’m going to find the front entrance, so we can go inside.”

“Oh, sod the entrance. I can get us in all by my little lonesome. Watch.”

He flew straight up until he reached an open window several feet above the ground. Grinning, he flew over, peeked in, and then flew inside.

“Doctor?” Rose called up.

The Doctor appeared at the window and looked down at her.

“Welcome to my castle, little one,” he said, imitating Bela Lugosi. “Soon, you will be my willing love slave for eternity, bwahahahahahahaha!”

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Oh, please, get over yourself, will ya?” she said.

The Doctor snickered. He floated down, grabbed Rose, and flew back up with her. They glided through the window and he sat her down beside him.

“There ya go, in the castle. And look, we didn’t have to pay any admission fees if they have them, nor do we have to go on the guided tour. We can take all the time we need and look at anything we want.”

“What about the guards? I assume they still have someone guarding the castle,” Rose said.

The Doctor grinned. He opened his mouth and pointed to his fangs.

“I believe these little darlings will come in quite handy for that sort of thing,” he said.

“You are just gonna find any excuse you can to take someone’s blood, aren’t ya?”

“Sure. Because synthetic blood tastes disgusting. It may take care of my physical needs, but there is nothing like the taste of fresh blood. Ah, I can just smell the pleasant aroma now…”

He inhaled deeply. Rose frowned when he suddenly got a disgusted look on his face.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong? The castle reeks of stale blood, that’s what’s wrong. Phew! I’m so glad I can’t breathe it in. God! I mean, can’t you smell it, Rose?”

Rose sniffed the air.

“It smells like a musty old castle to me,” she said. “Besides I thought you loved the smell of blood.”

“Fresh blood, Rose. I don’t like smelling blood that’s a hundred years old. The smell of it makes me want to puke.”

“Then, don’t smell it.”

“Trust me, I’m not going to. Eeeeugh! You think these people would disinfect these castles before they open them to the general public. Some of us have sensitive noses, you know.”

“Well, I’m sure when they opened the castle to the public; they weren’t planning on having real vampires visit it.”

“Why not? According to you, this is supposedly vampire central. Wouldn’t you think they would take that into account when they fixed this place up. After all, vampires are people too. Dead people, but still people nonetheless.”

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Why don’t you just pinch your nose and let’s get on with the tour before someone realizes we’re in here, alright?”

The Doctor shrugged. He took Rose’s hand and the two of them walked down the corridor. They stopped by an open door and walked into a large room. Huge portraits lined both sides of the walls. They walked to one side of the room and stared at a large painting of a young dark-haired woman with cream colored skin. The Doctor let out a low whistle.

“Blimey, look how pale these people are, and I thought I was undead,” he said. “I’m telling ya, Rose. It’s a very bad sign when the painter feels the need to put in your jugular vein. Means you need to get out of the huge, dark gothic palace a bit more often.”

“Maybe this woman was a vampire.”

The Doctor snorted.

“Rose, dear, this woman makes vampires look tanned. I think she went far beyond vampirism and became Casper the Friendly Ghost instead. Even a vampire would tell her she was too pale.”

He raised his hand up and put it beside hers.

“I mean, look, am I that pale? I’m darker than she is, aren’t I?”

“Yes, Doctor, you have very dark skin compared to her.”

“Thought so.”

Rose shook her head, reached up, grabbed the hand, and led him to the next portrait. It was a young girl whose skin was just as pale as the other woman’s, prompting the Doctor to make more comments about her need to get out in the sun.

“Doctor, I don’t think that’ll do any good since I have a feeling these people are dead now.”

“Then again, Rose, you could be right about them being vampires. Too bad the pictures don’t have name plaques on them. Otherwise, I would make inquiries.”

“To who? All the other vampires hate you now. You did barbecue most of them, you know.”

“Oh yeah, drat, never mind then. Although, I could make inquires now. None of the vampires would know me at this time.”

“No, you are not walking into a big group of vampires with me at your side. I don’t wanna be an appetizer while you talk to them.”

“Oh, ye of little faith. You know I’d never let anyone take your blood. That honor is reserved solely for little ol’ moi.”

Rose snorted.

“Guess again, Lestat,” she said.

“Ah, come on, you almost let me take your blood that night we were in my office.”

“Yes, and that was a momentary lapse of reason on my part, not to mention you weren’t in your right mind and I was scared if I did anything, you would tear me limb from limb.”

“Really? I was that terrifying? Wow, no wonder I become king vampire then. But, then again, this physique is incredibly intimidating, so I can see…”

“Anyway, moving on…” Rose said, pulling his hand.

Not wanting to hear any more comments on how pale the people were, Rose led him out of the portrait room and down another corridor. They got halfway down it when Rose suddenly stopped and made a face.

“Oh God, it reeks.”

“What does?”

Rose clamped her nose shut and pointed to a door beside them.

“Here, in here, it smells disgusting. Can’t you smell…”

She paused, as she looked at the Doctor.

“Oh that’s right, you can’t smell anything unless you do it manually,” she muttered. “Well, that whole thing about the stale blood making you sick, I think that’s what I’m smelling now because I’m about to puke from the stench.”

She gasped when the Doctor hurried around her and grabbed the door handle. The smell intensified and Rose fought to keep her bile down. She looked over when the Doctor started to enter the room.

“Oi, I thought you didn’t like smelling stale blood,” she said.

“I don’t. But I’m curious about why there’s such a strong scent of blood in this room. I’m odd that way.”

He opened the door and both of them reeled back in shock. There was a dead woman hanging from manacles in the middle of the room. Her throat had been slit open and tracks of dried blood ran down her naked body. Rose glanced up at the Doctor who was staring at the girl with barely contained rage. Without a word, he walked over to her and stared at her in silence. Rose came up behind him and looked around the room. She noticed the bathtub in the corner of the room and walked over to it. Her stomach turned when she saw the inside was coated with dried blood. She looked down and noticed a wooden bucket sitting beside it, its interior also stained red with blood. Rose debated whether she should use the bucket to hold her vomit.

“Oh, God.”

Rose turned and noticed that the Doctor had somehow managed to turn even paler than usual.

“They…they dumped the blood in here,” Rose said, unnecessarily. “Why would they do that?”

“I know why.”

Rose looked at him.

“I know why the name Csejte Castle seemed so familiar,” he added.

“Yeah? Why?”

“Elizabeth Bathory.”

Rose frowned. The name sounded familiar, but she couldn’t remember where she had heard it.

“Who’s she?” she asked.

The Doctor sighed.

“She was known as the Blood Countess. She was a daft woman who was extremely vain and was worried that she was losing her beauty, kinda like Cassandra. But whereas Cassandra plastic-surgeried herself into a placemat, this woman decided the secret to eternal youth lay in the power of blood, particularly the blood of young, virgin women.”

Rose now remembered who this woman was. Her stomach sank into her knees while she stared at the tub.

“And she bathed in the blood, yeah?”

“Yup,” the Doctor said, popping the p. “She bathed in it and drank it. All because she was terrified of a few wrinkles. Because of that, hundreds of innocent women and girls were imprisoned, tortured, and killed.”

“Is she a vampire?”

The Doctor thought.

“I don’t think so. Although some people believed her to be, just like they thought Vlad the Impaler was one. No, I just think the woman was a sadistic, old nutter. Having said that, I believe we should cut our castle tour short and go back to the TARDIS. How does that sound?”

“Sounds like a wonderful idea to me.”

“Great. Then let’s get going before batty Bathory’s guards find…”

They turned and the Doctor trailed off when he saw two guards standing in the doorway glaring at them.

“Oh, hello. I’m sorry, is this room off limits on the tour? Our bad. You guys really need to put a velvet rope across the door so clueless yokels like us would know not to come in here. Fascinating room, by the way. Interesting décor. I especially love the dead woman hanging in the center of it. Must be a great conversation piece. You need to write Martha Stewart and tell her about it.”

He slapped his hands together.

“Well, we won’t trouble you any longer. I’m sure you two have other rooms to check and other young girls to torture and kill, so we’ll be on our way.”

They started towards the door. The guards drew their swords and waved them menacingly. The Doctor raised his eyebrows.

“I’m warning you here and now. It would be in your best interest to let my friend and I walk out of here, unmolested.”

He sighed when the guards advanced on them.

“Is everyone around me stone deaf or is the TARDIS not translating my words correctly? I hate it when I try to give people fair warning and they just ignore me.”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“Oh well, if you insist on attacking; far be it from me to deny you a fight.”

Without warning, he lunged at them and hit one of the guards in the face. The other guard gasped when the force of the blow made the man fly back out the door and smack into the wall. The man dropped to the floor, unconscious. The remaining guard looked at the Doctor who was giving him a smug grin.

“See, I’m not as puny as you think I am.”


“Yup, and we both came intruder window, didn’t we, Rose?”

Rose groaned.

“Word of advice, Doctor. Never use that pun ever, ever again,” she muttered.

She gasped when the guard lunged at the Doctor. He yelled when the Doctor threw him away from his body.

“I repeat, you better leave us alone before you end up like your buddy over there.”

He sighed when the guard leapt to his feet and charged him.

“Or…maybe you do want to be unconscious.”

With lightning quick speed, he grabbed the bucket, slammed it down on the guard’s head, grabbed him from behind, and rammed him headfirst into the wall. The bucket shattered on impact and the guard slumped to the ground. The Doctor grabbed Rose’s hand.

“Okay, let’s go before their buddies show up,” he said.

They ran out the door and Rose gasped when a guard rammed him from the side. The Doctor slammed down onto his stomach and the impact caused the box with the protective force field to fly out of his pocket. Rose screamed when the Doctor, whose head and right hand were in the sunlight, began to smoke. She ran to the guard and kicked his head. The Doctor threw him directly into the wall and quickly flung himself into the shadows while Rose retrieved the box. Grabbing it, she ran back to the Doctor who was moaning softly while he held his injured hand. She shoved the box deep into his trouser pocket and the Doctor grabbed her, picked her up, and ran to the window. He quickly jumped out and flew into the trees just as a group of guards and the Countess rounded the corner. The Countess looked around and then ran to the dazed guard.

“Where are they? Where are the intruders?”

The guard groaned.

“They went out the window,” he said.

The Countess looked at the other guards.

“Find them and bring them back to me. I want them both alive even if you have to drag them kicking and screaming every step of the way. Now go!”

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