An Exchange Between Police Officers

"Your coffee."

"There we go, thanks. How much do I owe you?"

"No, you don't need to-"

"Let me get the next one, then."

"Anything happened?"

"No one's been in or out."

"Do you think we'll be waiting ages?"


"It's just the waiting around that gets to me."

"Pfft. Get used to that."

"Sitting here for hours, and then a mountain of paperwork when we get back."

"Fresh-faced and you think you're going to be some sort of super spy? Appreciate the boring ones. This is truly the life."

"Well, how long have you been in the force? You must have seen some 'interesting' ones."

"Because I'm old?"

"I'm just saying. You'd rather be sitting here than doing..."


"Do you not think it's, like, unfair that with all the excitement going on back at central, that you're stuck on a stake-out."

"Like I said, nowhere I'd rather be."

"... But I'm still suprised they paired us."

"Listen, just say whatever it is you're trying to say, instead of-"

"Weren't you on the Erikson case originally? That's what I'd heard, 'cos that's all everyone's talking about now. If they've re-opened that, then why are you here and not... Y'know."

"Something about 'new blood'. They want a fresh opinion, and I want nothing to do with it anymore. Nothing else I can contibute to that case."

"Massive thing, though, right? It's like if they re-opened... Jack the Ripper or something. That famous."

"They never caught Jack the Ripper."

"Well, they're saying it wasn't Erikson, aren't they?"


"C'mon, you can't be that stiff. You're the one who arrested the guy in the first place, you must have some opinion on-"

"On Erikson? Oh, he was was guilty all right. They might find othwerwise, but that's not for me to say. My 'opinion' is that all they're going to find is more confusion, no satisfaction, and no closure."

"Well, what about the others that worked the case originally? They getting brought back?"

"Nar. Chaplin's retired. If you want to get bitchy in a car with someone, actually, he would have been your man. I bet he would be pissed if he heard about the re-opening. He said he wanted it closed as quick as possible because he couldn't go down to the local without someone asking him about it. He was my superior, see, so all the news coverage went through him. Never quoted me, but they would always be after Chaplin for a line or a picture. He was always on about: "you're only meant to have your name in the paper twice: when you get married, and..." Well, and then another time, I don't know."

"I was in college when it was happening, you know. Originally, I mean. They would turn the TVs to the news in the dorms and make everyone be quiet. Weird to I might have seen him, isn't it."

"Not really."

"So... do you not know anything about, like, the new case. Martin's saying it's the exact same as the ones from twenty years ago. Exact same. Down to the location they found the, uh, her. What do you think?"

"Who on earth is Martin?"

"Martin, blonde Martin. Just got promoted, still has his locker in the basement, though, is the only reason he talks to me. They don't think it's a copycat, but they don't really have any clue. Martin says they'll have to see if Erikson's had any correspondence while in the hospital. It's just like you said about Chaplin, though, he's more worried about the papers getting into all the vampire suff again, and-"



"Can you be quiet?"

"... Sorry. Just trying to... Fill the silence, not get bored."

"Well, for one, you tell 'Martin', that Erikson hasn't had correspondence with anyone while he's been inside. He's been living the same day, same routine, for the past twenty years, and all that's changed is his medication dosage."

"... You're gonna smoke that in the car?"

"Don't be precious, they never pull you up about the smell. Open that window if you want."

"Ok, and will you tell me about... Well, how much do you remember about when you first pulled Erikson in?"

"What is this? A fucking quiz? You're meant to be watching the door."

"I am! Look, I remember from the news; five victims, all women, right?. Erikson had been in the station recently because of- what was it? A robbery? He had given a witness statement or something. And that implicated him, so you had to get him back-"

"No, we didn't 'get him in', he turned himself in. He had come in to give a witness statement, like you said, but it was about the dead girls. At first, we thought he was one of those wannabe psychics, the type that claim they've had dreams about missing children, stuff like that. Most of them are just nosy and bored, and we thought that was the case with Errol Erikson. We knew he was the real deal when he started giving details that weren't even in the papers yet. Erikson had descriptions of the victims to the letter when 'The Tribune' could only get 'young girl, 19' from us... Everything. This was the first lead we'd had. Chaplin already almost cracking out the champagne, you know, a proper witness. But, that's when Erikson started mouthing off about vampires and the living dead. So we knew he wasn't playing with what we'd call a full deck."

"Right! He said he'd turned into a vampire and did it?"

"No, not right. He said he'd saw a vampire do it. He claimed he hadn't done it, but that it was his fault. That's what he said. "I didn't do it, but I came here to tell you all I know... It's my fault". That, to us, was a confession. Deep-seated, maybe. He was delusional, with his vampires, but we thought some part of him knew that he was the perpetrator, and that's why he was there talking to us. I can still hear him saying that, you know. Sitting there, shaking- "It was my fault". But when we asked him about his motives, that quick snap to "No, it wasn't me. The vampire, I'm telling you!""

"He was sick, then. Mentally ill, I mean."

"Well, sure, that's what his barrister said. At the time, I didn't have much sympathy for him, but now... Well, a part of me thought that if he got better, he would see sense and realise what he had done. So, even if he I thought he deserved prison over the hospital, it was still fine. He's been no trouble in there, but the thing is, he's still so out of touch with-"

"Is that our man! Look!"


"Turning the corner now, him in the blue hat."

"He's not going in. No. Not him."

"False start."

"Just keep watching."

"... About Erikson-"

"Oh, please-"

"Humour me; we'll get bored just sitting here."

"Speak for yourself. There's nothing wrong with a bit of silence."

"He's really had no improvement in the hospital?"

"Well, I'm no expert on psychiatry or anything, but maybe there are people it just doesn't work on. Even before we made him for the murders he was in therapy. Had a psychologist and everything. Fat lot of good that did."

"Did you guys interview the therapist."

"Of course we did. That's how we found out a bit more about the link with Erikson and vampires. He was in therapy to get over supposed abuse when he was a kid. He'd been bullied by his older brother, 'traumatised'. His brother had basically held him down and forced him to watch all these graphic movies. Had been relentless in trying to scare him for years and years, to the point where Erikson had been a nervous wreck. The older brother's dead now- no relation to any of this, cancer. The therapist was working with Erikson to help him get over his childhood fears. She said that he had taken her advice the wrong way and become obsessed with collecting all the old horror movies his brother had shown him."

"Vampire films?"

"Not all of them, but most. Huge collection. That was the robbery you mentioned. A week before any of the murders, we had already spoken with Errol Erikson because he'd had reported this robbery. Wasn't my division, so I got most of this second-hand. A uniform came to confirm while Erikson was making his witness statement- "yeah, that's the guy who reported his film collection as stolen last week,". While Erikson had been at work, someone had broken into his flat and nicked the TV, money, and that huge pile of films he had been gathering over the years. They remembered it because they though it was weird at the time that Erikson hadn't cared about petty cash or valuables, only getting the DVD's recovered.

"His therapist told us later that they had been his crutch, that having them there as videos helped remind him that it wasn't real. Keeping them, looking at the covers, was ownership to Erikson, he 'had power over them'. When he reported it, before we knew all this, the boys just thought he has a bit of a loser. The uniform couldn't believe him as a murderer, thought he was just some fat nobody with a film obsession and a boring life. He showed us his notebook with a list of all the missing goods, and to be fair, some of these DVDs would have cost a fortune. Not vampire stuff your teenage niece or whoever would watch. These were real video nasties, dirty. Erikson had surpassed the videos he saw as a kid. The films he had weren't just the ones his brother had forced him to watch. Anything that he thought would have scared him as a child, he went ahead and bought. He claimed he never watched them, just collected them for the sake of it.. When we looked them up, it turned out some of these had been banned in the UK, they were so grim. Erikson had to get them imported from... wherever. All to get control over something bad that happened to him when he was young."



"Did the therapist think he was innocent?"

"Didn't matter. Yes, she did."

"There was other evidence that he might have been innocent, wasn't there? That's what they're going back over now."

"Wasn't our job to find evidence of innocence, was it."

"I overheard Martin saying there was an old alibi that got confirmed, but now they can't find the vicar that confirmed it."

"Fucking Martin."

"What was the alibi?"

"For God's sake. He was- Erikson said that at the time of the first murder, he was in Neville Street church. That's what the Vicar said too, sure. But we reckoned that was about twenty minutes before the actual murder happened, going off an estimated time of death. So, me and Chaplin timed it. It took him about twenty minutes to run from the church to where the murder took place, so Erikson could have left and then done it. That's not evidence of innocence, that's a timeline."

"But... Didn't you say before, though, that Erikson was- that he was on the heavier side?"

"... Hmm."

"They'll be checking to see if he could have actually made that run in twenty minutes, I'd expect."

"... This damn thing..."

"Wasn't he a heavy smoker as well?"

"... The air conditioning in this car never works. I keep asking... they need to get it fixed."

"Pack a day, something like that."

"Listen. It's up to whoever is on the case now- Martin, or whoever- to look at everything we put together and determine what they think. It's out of my hands now, son. Do you understand?"

"Yeah. I'm s-"

"The people running it now are going to have to go through all the transcripts I did, looking at everything Erikson claimed. Let's hope they can make some sense of it all."

"That's fair enough. I don't know whether I would rather be here, or sitting and reading through stacks of notes on vampires, demons-"


"You what?"

"That's what he said it was, in the end. 'Tulpa'. You ever heard of one of them? No? Manifestations, he said. Erikson... was of the belief that if you feared something badly enough, you could make it come true from sheer obsessive thought. That's what he said happened when he lost his coping mechanism. All those DVDs gone, who knows where. He was terrified, so he claimed the killer sprang from his imagination."

"Ha! Jesus, I get it now. That it was his fault, but he hadn't done it. No wonder you all thought he wa-"

"At the time, what was easier for me to believe? That Errol Erikson ran for twenty minutes, or that in a fit of paranoia, he had believed so badly that everything he was scared of was real, that it became real?"

"I know, that's what I'm sa-"

"I visited him, you know."

"You did?"

"Yeah. Sometime afterwards, in the hospital. He was heavily sedated, but... He called it The Conglomerate. Everything he half-remembered from childhood. Every monster he had seen while trying to hide behind his fingers. Everything made scarier from years of nightmares and distortions. Worse, stuff that he could only imagine, and hadn't seen. The covers of all those videos he had never watched. Every stray thought. He said it was all alive, and out there in the world in the form of a vampire killer, and it was his fault, because he was scared."

"You can't credit any of that, do you? I mean, it sounds... you probably shouldn't give it a second thought."

"... It's all I think about."


"If I was wrong."

"About... Erikson? Or the vampire? Are you joking with me?"

"A week before this new murder, do you know what happened in the hospital? They decreased Erikson's medication. He probably had his first lucid thought in twenty years, and here I am sitting and wondering if it was fearful. Well, you wanted to know. That's why they don't want me on the case now that they're revisiting it."

"... I think... I don't really know if-"

"That's him."

"What? Who?"

"That's him now, crossing the road. White shirt with the grey sports bag. Get up, that's our man. Get up! Before he goes inside."

"Ok, on your mark- let's go."