Four nights ago, I was leaving my neighborhood pub when I was confronted by a small, hag-like elderly woman, barely five feet tall. She looked like a witch out of a bad fairy tale. Her long, gray hair was uncombed, and a beaklike nose dominated her face. What concerned me the most, as she stood before me, were her pulsating, glowing eyes which bored into mine, giving me an instant, excruciating headache.
When I tried to step around her, she blocked my path.
"Get out of my way" I said as I reached out with my left hand to move her out of my way.
"You'll pay for humiliating my friend," she said. She leapt up and bit me in the neck.
I felt a sharp stinging sensation as two fangs pierced my neck. I put my hands around her throat and threw her to the ground.
"You'll suffer now," she said, and ran away with more speed than a young sprinter.
When I touched the side of my neck, I felt a red-hot, four inch-wide welt. I staggered a few steps, but by then other people from the pub had been alerted to the commotion. My drinking buddy, Eddie Earnhardt, took me by my arm and drove me to the nearby emergency room.
By the time the doctors examined me, I was feverish and disoriented.
In half-hour later, another doctor approached me.
"I'm Dr. Beauregard Johnston," he said. "They've called me in because I have considerable experience in treating poisonous bites, including human ones.
I'm not sure this was a human bite," I said.
"What you mean?" he asked. Through my blurry eyes, I saw him staring at me intently, trying to make sense of what I had just told him.
"You wouldn't believe. I have an acquaintance in Europe I would like you to talk to. I believe he may be of help."
"If you think he can help, I'd be glad to talk to him," the doctors said.
I took my cell phone out and called Mr. Radescu, the vampire I had met in Bucharest. Fortunately, I had stored his number in my contact file. It was 11 p.m. in Bucharest. After several rings, I heard a deep, mellifluous voice.
"How can I help you?" he asked.
"How did you know I needed help?"
He chuckled. It is unlikely you called me just for a social chat."
"I was attacked and bitten by a small, witch-like woman."
"Did her fangs pierce your neck?"
"That is most unfortunate," he said. Where are you?"
"I'm in a hospital emergency room."
"Let me talk to the doctor."
"Dr. Johnson, my friend in Romania would like to talk to you." I handed him the phone.
"Hello, this is Dr. Johnson. Who am I speaking with?" Dr. Johnson nodded several times as he listened to Mr. Radescu. At one point he asked, "Wolfsbane?" Then he listened some more. Finally, he said, "I'll do as you say."
He returned my phone and shook his head. "I'm not sure what to make of this. However, your friend assures me the only way to cure you is to apply a poultice of something called wolfsbane to the puncture marks on your neck. I don't believe in this vampire nonsense, but I will do what is necessary to help you. Mr. Radescu said he would contact someone in South Carolina who would deliver the wolfsbane to us within the hour."
That was the last thing I remembered before I passed out. Two days later, I awoke in a hospital bed. A nurse's aide was sitting by my bed, and when she saw me open my eyes, she jumped up and ran out of the room. A few minutes later, a nurse came in, checked my temperature, and took my blood pressure. Then she reached to the side of my neck and pulled off a foul smelling compress.
She smiled at me. "I'm glad to see you're still with us. Your temperature is normal and the swelling is greatly reduced."
I tried to speak, but couldn't because my throat was so dry. "Here's some water," she said, putting a container with a straw to my mouth.
I greedily imbibed the cool liquid. "What happened to me?"
"Two days ago, you passed out in the emergency room. Your fever rose to 105°. A package of leaves arrived, and they were put into the poultice that I just took off your neck."
"Thank you," I said. As I lay in bed, I realized I owed my life to a 300 year-old vampire 4000 miles away in Romania. I knew that one day I would have to repay this debt.