My new novel/screenplay for cinema. HIRUDO is a working title.

March 7 2018
Chapters 1 - 12 HIRUDO
Chapter 1 The Beginning
Chapter 2 Emergence
Chapter 3 Post Mortem
Chapter 4 The Chase
Chapter 5 Reanimation
Chapter 6 Epidemic
Chapter 7 Escape
Chapter 8 Search
Chapter 9 Origins
Chapter 10 The Puzzle
Chapter 11 A Stitch in Time
Chapter 12 The Right Notes

Rachel Carlos Vampire
John Clavell Office Manager ‘Diagonal Engineering’
Richard Davis I.T. Support for Diagonal Engineering
Alan Roberts Chief Inspector
Frederick Carlos Father of Rachel (deceased) Brazilian
Elizabeth Carlos Mother of Rachel
Dr. William Forbes-Robinson Senior Pathologist
Wilkinson Assistant Pathologist
David Darley Senior Technician ‘General Hospital’
Arthur Rae Duty Sergeant central Police Station.
Jason Tinsley Owner of ‘Red Apples’ Guest house
Steel Churchwarden
Omar Cat


It was the evening of a Luna eclipse known as a ‘Blood Moon’ and the digital clock flashed 7.19 PM in it’s vivid green on black form.
There was an uncomfortable feeling and a flash of sharp, white teeth. This was the beginning.
The office seemed very quiet for a Monday morning, the normal chatter about weekend activities was not there. Rachel Carlos arrived several moments late greeted by a wagging finger from her boss John Clavell followed by a beckoning gesture. Rachel was ushered into Clavell’s office and ordered to close the door.
There were a few moments of total silence followed by a question; “Rachel, when did you last see Richard Davis?” Davis was an IT technician who serviced the computer system. The response came slow and hesitant; “Errm, Friday I think”.
Clavell flicked a switch and a four-screen CCTV record displayed nothing other than an embrace between Rachel and Richard. Clavell paused the footage and settled into his executive chair. “Rachel, the police are just outside and ready to question you. Do you understand?”
Rachel nodded and asked, “Why me?”
Clavell produced a scrap of paper from his top drawer, it appeared to be ancient vellum which was crumpled and scratched but had a clear inscription scrawled upon it which simply read; HIRUDO.
“Rachel, do you know what that means?” Asked Clavell. The response came as a negative.
Clavell; “ I found this in the car park by accident, do you know where it came from?” Again a shake of the head. Three CID officers entered the office and circled Rachel Carlos and a quiet moment ensued.
Roberts, the senior officer grabbed the scrap of vellum and pointed it at Rachel and revealed that both he and his fellow policemen were totally puzzled by the situation.
Roberts opened up the formal questioning after giving legal rights. “When did you last see Mr Richard Davis?” The response came rapidly this time and confirmed that they met late afternoon the previous Friday. The CCTV image was frozen on Clavell’s desk. Eyes darted and Roberts simply said; “And?”.
Rachel replied “We parted and went our separate ways, why?
It was established that the couple had a relationship and that the body of Richard Davis was found by a casual dog walker in a local park the following day and was totally drained of every ounce of blood?
Rachel was aged about 23, slim build, mousy hair and very long finger nails which were not extensions.
Roberts probed further and asked a direct question; “Did you kill Richard Davis?”.
A long pause ended with a defiant “No” as an answer.
Roberts scratched his scalp and made eye contact with his associates which resulted in a synchronized shrug of shoulders which meant ‘We don’t know?’
Rachel was a Cambridge post graduate in English language and her parents were from a very different background. Her Father was Frederick Carlos, a world renowned bio-chemist who came from Brazil and Mother Elizabeth who was English and majored in Genetics at MIT.
Rachel was an only child who was taken to where ever her parents career prospects led; be it America, France, India, Israel or Japan.
Frederick Carlos was a world expert on anti-coagulants which helped prevent stokes. Elizabeth Carlos drew together several strands of research and combined it with the work of her husband.
Rachel as a child was curious of their work and was shunned from several make-shift laboratories until the age of eight when she was ushered into a world of wires and chemical flasks. The location was Tokyo and in one corner of the room stood a glass tank which contained several slug-like creatures which turned out to be Leeches. Rachel was disgusted by them but her Father re-assured her that they were harmless and had a classification name HIRUDO.
Several days later Frederick sat Rachel down on a couch and warned her of a tiny pin prick and the process had begun.
After the injection Rachel spoke quickly to her Father. “Daddy, I asked my Japanese tutor what HIRUDO meant in her language and she did not know?”
Frederick settled his daughter down with a second injection and calming words which produced a deep sleep. Elizabeth stayed at a distance but gave a very slight approving nod to her husband.

Chapter 2. EMERGENCE.

Fifteen years have elapsed and Rachel Carlos is in England with a five star degree from Cambridge University but no job prospects. Several temp jobs are offered though an agency but nothing suited so a person who could speak five languages fluently.
The engineering company called ‘Diagonal’ hired her as a temporary office clerk and things went smoothly for several weeks. The work was mundane and monotonous but it paid the rent. Her Mother and Father now lived in ‘Silicone Valley’ in the United States and headed a highly successful business known as ‘Biotomic Inc’ which supplied a world medical market with an anti-thombin chemical called ‘Serum H’ internally but had the sales counter name ‘Lecotromine’ and was worth billions of dollars having passed years of clinical trials.
Rachel was 23, slim, attractive and single which made her the focus of attention for many of the male employees of Diagonal. One afternoon her computer crashed leaving her with several days of input files totally frozen. She reluctantly phoned IT support and Richard Davis answered the call and attended the the problem within the hour.
Davis was tall and wore his long brown hair in a ponytail. After a door knock he entered the office and proceeded to cure the computer. A few clicks on the keyboard were followed by a triumphal “Yessss”. He turned to Rachel and said; “See that key? Never touch it! It freezes the whole system”.
Rachel inquired about the function of the forbidden key and it’s existence but was was cut across by an invitation for a drink after business hours which she accepted.
A pleasant evening trading life details. Davis recounting his escape from south Wales which was totally over-shadowed by Rachel’s international saga. However, their was a bond and a relationship flourished.
Then came the ‘Blood Moon’ of July 1982!
Rachel was restless and home alone. The moon beckoned but to no avail.
The churning feeling effected Rachel throughout the following day and after several phone calls a liaison with Richard Davis was secured at the end of the working day.
The couple met around 5.00 PM and agreed a rendezvous at a local pub an hour later.
After a few drinks and a snack the couple left the pub and entered Riley Park opposite. The air was warm and scented from July flowers. “Shall we sit? Asked Davis. And it was agreed. The boys playing football disappeared and Rachel’s mouth met Richard’s.
Before long, the embrace did not seem quite normal and Richard Davis felt a horrible slither from his mouth and to his neck. After a numbing feeling followed…nothing!

In John Clavell’s office the four police officers cross-questioned Rachel Carlos but gained no obvious clues.
Roberts suggested they they resume the inquiry at the police headquarters before he mentioned that the bar staff of the ‘Six Feathers’ pub agreed that Rachel and Richard settled the bill and left around 8.30 PM. They had CCTV coverage but the tape was erased ready for a new week.
Rachel sat motionless and unblinking before she was taken away under close guard.
The body of Richard was taken the mortuary and given a preliminary examination by the head pathologist Dr William Forbes-Robinson who’s main claim to fame was helping solve ‘The Rope Murders’ several years previously using forensic science.
The aging Doctor tutted, sighed as he asked his assistant; “When are the family coming to identify the deceased?” Wilkinson replied; “They left Rhrondda this morning and should arrive mid-afternoon. “Good, because I can’t do much more without a firm ID.”
Meanwhile, Rachel sat in the interview room and was given a series of leading questions including the most important one; “When did you last see Richard Davis alive?” Her reply was; “Well, we sat in the park for a while and I started feel to chilly so we said goodnight and I went home, that’s the last I saw of him. What exactly is all this about?”
Roberts fiddled with his pen before fixing a gaze at Rachel and pronounced; “He’s dead!”
The parents of Richard dutifully arrived at the mortuary and identified the chalk-white cadaver as their son and begged for some answers from Forbes-Robinson. His response was to fend off the barrage of questions with the palms of his hands held before his face and simply said; “I don’t know, I need to do more tests and I promise to keep you fully informed when I come to some conclusions”. The couple were led away in a state of distress.
The pathologist nodded to his assistant and said; “Let’s get to work”.

Chapter 3. POST MORTEM.

The forensic eye of Forbes-Robinson searched every inch of Richard Davis’ lifeless body for clues while Rachel Carlos was escorted to secure accommodation within the police station.
After several hours of medical investigation, the Pathologist threw off his white coat and dressed to face the police. He entered the Victorian building and approached the Duty Sergeant’s desk and greeted an old friend. “Good evening Arthur, is Chief Inspector Roberts available?” The veteran policeman punched at his phone and waited for a reply and after a pause spoke confidently; “He’ll see you now Doctor.”
The old facility had winding corridors which led to Robert’s office followed by a polite knock and an open door.
Roberts invited his associate to sit and provide any clues to the Davis case.
The opening gambit was; “Well, I’m very puzzled by this one but swabs taken from the peculiar neck wound have registered as a powerful anti-coagulant chemical which actively prevents the clotting of fresh blood”. Robert responded; “Did the victim suffer from a blood disorder?” “Negative, Davis was a fit individual who jogged daily”
The policeman sighed deeply and said; “What do you reckon?”
The medical expert outlined his theory in careful stages.
Firstly, the victim’s throat wound was quite unique, a series small punctures in a circular formation which ruled out a dog bite or even a big cat. Secondly, the swabs revealed a very strange outcome which indicated the secretion of an animal of the genus Hirudinea, otherwise know as a Leech. Thirdly, there appears to be no evidence of a struggle during the attack?
The two men pondered on the problem for several moments before parting company for another day.
The following morning saw the arrival of a Solicitor to defend Rachel Carlos. Dee Westcliffe belonged to large law firm in the town and immediately requested the dossier on the case. She sat with the accused in her small room and flicked through the pages.
Westcliffe began; “This is very unusual Rachel, first of all we need concrete proof that you left Riley Park when said and had no part in the killing of Richard Davis”.
Rachel looked bewildered and stared into space until a quiet knock at the cell door drew her attention. It was the mortuary assistant Wilkinson clutching sealed hypodermic syringe. He addressed the solicitor politely and explained that Dr. Forbes-Robinson requested a blood sample from Rachel’s arm and simple hand gesture gave permission to do so.
The blood sample carefully labeled and was sent for genetic analysis at Cambridge University.
A careful examination if the entry wound on the body of Richard Davis mystified the forensic pathologist so he contacted some of his specialist associates at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. A return phone call from Professor Reginald Dyer was almost manic! Dyer’s voice almost faltered as he delivered the words: “Bill, you may have a possible epidemic on your hands!”
Forbes-Robinson gulped and asked for the Professor’s reasoning and it came starkly from the mouth of an expert and was promptly followed by a strict order:”Isolate Rachel Carlos NOW!”
The order swept like wild fire though out the police station every remotest contact with the detainee were told to seek an urgent medical examination.
The flames of panic swept through Whitehall and nationwide warnings were issued to every health authority in the land. This was RED ALERT!
It transpired that Forbes-Robinson postmortem of Richard Davis revealed five incisions on his left wrist which indicated the grasp of a human hand?

Chapter 4. THE CHASE

The order swept like wild fire though out the police station every remotest contact with the detainee were told to seek an urgent medical examination.
The flames of panic swept through Whitehall and nationwide warnings were issued to every health authority in the land. This was RED ALERT!
It transpired that Forbes-Robinson postmortem of Richard Davis revealed five incisions on his left wrist which indicated the grasp of a human hand?
The situation escalated to total ‘Lock Down’ And Rachel Carlos was removed to a separate facility under armed guards.
Professor Dyer was flown by jet from London and instantly questioned every person who had ‘physical contact’ with Rachel Carlos and none were forthcoming until the solicitor Dee Westcliffe admitted to having shared a professional hand shake with her new client.
Dyer quizzed the Lawer and asked the salient question: “Did Rachel Carlos scratch you?” Westcliffe rolled back her cuff which revealed several marks on her wrist which demonstrated a slight trickle of blood.
There was a huge movement of bodies before the solicitor was medically confined.
This was Roberts case and he wanted to solve it regardless.
The policeman and medic faced each other over a pile of documents. Roberts broke the silence; “Doctor, what are we going to do?” Forbes-Robinson arched his hands on the detective’s desk and simply stated: “ We wait for the next victim”.
Roberts slammed a large file on the desk and declared; “Not on my bleeding watch Doctor!”
A few days passed and the tension rose increasingly.
Forbes-Robinson had identified the residue of a narcotic substance on both Richard Davis and Dee Westcliffe’s wrist lesions. The case was starting to gather pace but maintained a core mystery.


A few days passed and the tension rose increasingly.
Forbes-Robinson had identified the residue of a narcotic substance on both Richard Davis and Dee Westcliffe’s wrist lesions. The case was starting to gather pace but maintained a core mystery.
Dr. Forbes-Robinson continued his examination of Richard Davis’ corpse days after the murder and nothing was adding up so he retired to his office and drank a cup of strong coffee whilst revising his report. Next came a violent bang at his door and an agitated Wilkinson entered quite breathless. After a brief pause the assistant blurted; “Doctor, Richard Davis is missing!”
The pathologist spilled his coffee and exclaimed; “WHAT!”
There was panic in the air and a thorough search made.
Roberts snatched his phone off the hook after the first ring and sat back in amazement with the mortuary story. There must be a logical explanation but there was none to be had.
On leaving the police station Roberts left precise instructions and mobilized a crack unit of detectives to solve the mysterious events.
How did a lifeless body raise itself from the mortuary slab and seemingly walk away?

Chapter 6. EPIDEMIC

What used to be Richard Davis stole some overalls and a pair of boots and a cap from the janitor’s room at the rear of the mortuary and slipped unnoticed into the quiet back streets of town and headed for the police station guided only by some strange instinct, he was in search of Rachel Carlos.
Dyer and Forbes-Robinson sat in the mortuary office and both men pondered over the events of the recent few days.
Dyer broke the silence and requested a progress report on the solicitor and then stated; “I want to interview Rachel Carlos”. No obvious change with Dee Westcliffe so the medics drove to the police station where Davis had successfully located his girlfriend; he had bluffed his way in via a back door found some cleaning equipment.
Roberts escorted Professor Dyer and Dr. Forbes-Robinson to the holding cell containing Rachel Carlos. They passed a cleaner mopping the corridor floor; it was Davis.
On arrival, Rachel sat on her bed sipping a cup of tea. Introductions over, Dyer began his line of inquiry after which Forbes-Robinson opened a small folder he was holding and placed his reading spectacles on the bridge of his nose and proceeded to read from a complex form. His index finger traced the numerous print outs, it was the results of the genetic blood test. The doctor gazed up from the document and his eyes met Rachel’s. He began; “Young lady, you possess a very unusual blood type, I’ve never seen anything like it before in all my years in medicine!”
Rachel place her tea cup on a small table and responded; “I don’t know what you mean?”
“Well your sample revealed none of the normal factors in any of the know blood groups, can you explain?” A curt “No” came from Rachel’s lips.
Forbes-Robinson continued, “We need to locate your parents to match your DNA.”
Rachel sniffed slightly and announced that her Father had died the previous year but her Mother still headed the corporation ‘Biotomic Inc. She offered to supply a personal phone number. The doctor thanked her for co-operating and the three men stood to leave.
The bogus cleaner was lurking outside the cell and the moment a crack appeared in the doorway, the ashen faced figure barged in and grabbed Rachel by the arm.
Roberts wrestled with the intruder as objects flew around the cell.
The medics cowered from the free arm that swiped at the air and within a blink, the figure dragged Rachel from her cell and down the corridor to the rear exit of the station. Roberts smashed the fire alarm box and the building was a frenzy of activity.
Officers spilled from every direction oblivious to strange couple leaving the car park.
Davis maintained a vice-like grip on Rachel’s arm, she pleaded; “Where are we going Richard? You don’t look right!”. The pair headed for Riley Park and a secluded corner was selected.
After a long silence a hollow voice emanated from the living corpse that was Richard Davis. He opened with a key question; “What did you do to me?”.
Rachel continued to struggle but it was obvious she held no memory of what the figure referred to.
Police officers streamed from the station every direction while Roberts studied the latest CCTV footage and was suddenly captivated by action in screen three and yelled; “their they are! And prodded a finger at the monitor.” A quick radio call and a small group officers targeted the park giving minute by minute feed-back which culminated with one report; “Spotted them!”
The party of both uniformed and plain clothed police edged closer to the couple sitting on bench. Roberts grabbed his coat and ran to his car, when reached the scene he demanded an update and was greeted with; “Nothing as yet Sir”.
The two elderly medics still visibly shaken by the violence in the police cell tried to make sense of what they witnessed and Forbes-Robinson repeated the phrase; “He was dead?”. several times. Then Professor conjectured that they faced a previously unknown infection transmitted via the act of ‘blood-sucking’ and Rachel Carlos was the carrier. His statement ended with the words; “We need a vaccine!”.
Forbes-Robinson wondered if Davis was also a carrier of the disease? And suggested as such. A chilling thought was shared by both men simultaneously!
Conferring with his junior officers but sentence was suddenly cut short by a cry of; “She’s got away Sir!”
The party scrambled and dashed to confront the rather pathetic figure of Richard Davis drained of blood sitting alone on the park bench, he was seized and handcuffed without a struggle.
Rachel Carlos was at large once again and potentially dangerous!

Chapter 7. ESCAPE

Roberts stared at the creature in his custody and wondered how much of Richard Davis remained inside that bloodless shell?
“Can you speak?” Asked Roberts and there was a faint movement of white lips which groped to answer the question and finally a voice was found and answered feebly; “Yes”.
Roberts and his deputy prepared to record an interview which was composed mostly of long silences from the subject under interrogation.
“How much do you remember?” asked the policeman. It was met with a vacant look from sunken eyes.
Davis finally responded with; “Mm mmm, mu, not much”. and recalled a fatal embrace with Rachel Carlos. “She left for….dead once she had drained me but I was still awake…..just!”
A transcription of the full interview was forwarded to both Dyer and Forbes-Robinson who marveled at the impossibility of it all.
Rachel tried to act as normally as possible and aimed to see John Clavell at Diagonal Engineering in the hope of borrowing some money to survive the next few days.
Her boss saw her enter the main office and went to greet her and asked;”What the hell has happened? The police have kept me totally in the dark, are you OK?
A confused string of events which left Clavell none the wiser but he withdrew £200 from petty cash and watched her disappear from his office in quite a hurry.
After the encounter Clavell decided to inform the police and Roberts raised his eyebrow at the news.
Rachel realized that all she had was £200 and the clothes she stood up in so she headed for High Street with a view of buying new items so chose a large apartment store and asked for assistance. As she browsed the various aisles Rachel casually asked for the use of a bathroom. The sales assistant waited patiently for ten minutes then just before calling her supervisor, Rachel emerged and paid for the new clothes and changed. On leaving. She bundled her old clothes into the store carrier bag and headed out tho seek lodgings.
Davis had been transferred to a little used facility attached t the the General Hospital and was wired up to an array of monitors. A team of technicians scurried about and one whispered to his colleague; “ don’t like this, there’s no ECG or anything and no one in charge seems the least bit bothered?”
Dyer and Forbes-Robinson were ushered into the small room and sat next to the living corpse. Dyer inquired; “Richard, can you hear me?” There was no response and all the screens displayed a flat line trace. Then suddenly a slight ‘blip’ appeared on the heart monitor and the two medics turned to each other and Dyer said; “My God, he’s back to life!”
After several hours the ashen complexion which had been been Richard Davis’ main feature eventually acquired a blush of colour. An intravenous drip was applied and one of the technicians beckoned Forbes-Roberts into the next room and closed the door behind them and began his string of questions.
“Doctor, what the hell is going on here? You bring a corpse to our ‘moth balled’ unit and the next thing its alive! I demand some explanations!”
The medic kept his composure and gestured to the senior technician David Darley to take a seat and tried to explain the evens of the past few days.
Darley sat open-mouthed and tried to interrupt several times but Forbes-Robinson pressed on.
“What is happening in your laboratory is nothing short of a miracle and science has no answer”. Their intense conversation was halted by the sound of crashing metal and cries of the laboratory staff. The two men dashed to the door and on opening witnessed Davis standing from his bed, gashing his teeth and snatching electrodes from his arm. The final movement detached the drip tube and the figure strode to an exit but finally gave a backwards glance.

Chapter 8. SEARCH

Rachel had two existences; one fixed in the real world and another in total amnesia.
Her real brain decided to view local card advertisements in a small convenience store.
She searched the cards promoting pet grooming, garden services and accommodation. The latter caught her eye;


Rachel requested a pen and scribbled the address on a scrap of paper and proceeded to ‘Red Apples’ Lilac Road.
A rattle of the door knocker resulted in total silence. Moments passed so Rachel persisted with another knock. This time she saw activity, maybe a distant light and human shape.
The door opened and a middle aged face appeared within a five inch gap and barked; What you want?”
Rachel said; “Accommodation?”
The door gap widened to reveal Jason Tinsley carrying a Persian cat. Tinsley warmed to what he saw on his doorstep and the cat ran off.
“Week in advance Miss”.
Rachel agreed and followed a the scruffy man into a scruffy house that smelled of boiled cabbage and ancient dust.
“I’ll show you the annex, Mum died two years ago so I thought I’d rent it out.”
The route passed a strange study. Bathroom and finally a kitchen which was by any standards, filthy.
Rachel asked; “So you live alone?” And Tinsley responded; “Only me, Omar the cat and my friends.” Rachel came back; “Your friends?”
Tinsley fumbled with a bunch of keys and stated; “Yes, my friends come to meet me in the dark, Mother showed me how”.
Rachel was led to a basic building with a car parking space enough for one vehicle.
“Did you park in the road?” Tinsley inquired. “, I was dropped off by a friend.”
A turn of a key and a blast of stale air greeted Rachel when Tinsley opened the door.
“I’ll open the windows for a while, anything you want just ask.” Tinsley proclaimed hoping for a cash payment for rent. Rachel simply said; “I’ll see you later.” then inspected the bedding. Tinsley departed.

Chapter 9. ORIGINS

The year is 1280 and location Oxford, England. The Franciscan Friar Roger Bacon is straining his eyes after study to read his own script prior to the next Mass of the day.
A violent slam came at his door and a local youth stood petrified after the latch was drawn. Bacon addressed the peasant boy in the simplest of terms and invited him into his cell.
He began. “What is the matter boy? Don’t be afraid, God is with you”.
Leofric responded; “Father, there is a plague in my village and we want you to help!” He continued with his rehearsed story. “Both my Mother and Sister are now dead because of a neck wound, this ain’t no wolf my village say. Can you help?”
Bacon laid down his quill pen and instructed Leofric about his next case. The youth was billeted with the Cellarer and his bretheren with strict instructions of care.
The morning was dense and foggy and Bacon saddled two ponies to meet Leofric’s family and villagers.
The ride was uncomfortable but Bacon had just one word in his head during his ride to the destination which was HIRUDO.
On arriving at Leofric’s village the Sun was high and Bacon was greeted by a small crowd. A large figure appeared at the doorway of the Great Hall, it was Ranulf, Leofric’s Father. After dismounting his pony he embraced a Bear of a man and was guided to the cool of the hall and was refreshed with food and drink.
Gulping down his cider Bacon paused to speak to Ranulf and asked; “Why do need my assistance?
Ranulf; “Father, the Devil is attacking my friends and family, we are simple folk but have laid traps and snares to capture the one that gnaws the necks of our loved ones but it has come to nothing! Can you help?” The answer came slowly but with conviction. Bacon made direct eye contact with the community leader and pronounced; “With God’s help my son.”

Rachel bathed and slept for a few hours the woke with hunger pains. She dressed and prepared to meet her new landlord. On leaving her annex she could hear the sound of a radio drifting from Tinsley’s kitchen window. She opened the backdoor and the cat ran past her legs and hissed.
“Mr. Tinsley!” was called several times until the radio was muted. The kitchen door creaked open and the owner beckoned her into his vile room.
“Come in and take a seat, I’ll make a cup of tea”. Tisley clearly had few visitors and he awkwardly boiled the kettle and gathered cups, milk and sugar.
Rachel sat and watched the balding forty something for a while and then he said; I’ll be Mother then should I?” and proceeded to pour two cups of tea.
“How’s the flat Miss? Tinsley inquired. Rechel responded; “Fine, just fine. No sugar thanks”. There was an awkward silence before Tinsley started is interrogation.
“What do you do?” was his opening gambit not expecting the slightest trace of truth from her answer. Rachel replied; “I’m an office temp”.
Tinsley nodded knowingly and then asked; “Is your friend taking you out?” Pause; You know. Your lift this afternoon”.
Rachel flustered slightly and grasped the meaning of his question and replied; “No. But I may pop out and grab a meal soon”. Tinsley jumped in quickly; “I could make you something - cheese on toast?”
Rachel scanned the filthy kitchen and declined his offer of food; “I’m not hungry at the moment.” A statement which was a total lie.Rachel clutched a few pound notes and headed for the nearest Chinese ‘Take away’ and ordered chicken, noodles and water chestnuts. She sat on a nearby bench and ate her meal in minutes but still felt empty.
She decided to return to her squalid lodgings and rest for a while. On her return, Tinsley was feeding his cat on the doorstep. “Nice time?” Tinsley inquired and Rachel scared the cat away and simply asked; “Do you like blood?” Tinsley was baffled and was no longer a landlord but was prey of HIRUDO.

Chapter 10. THE PUZZLE

Chief Inspector Roberts opened his e-mails several days later and scrolling his screen he spotted a message in his ‘in box’ from Professor Reginald Dyer which had a stark heading which read ‘HIRUDO - vide ut supra.
Roberts read on and caused him to scratch his head.

Dear Alan,
I have given the Carlos/Davis case much thought and have some leads which may be have use to you. The scrap of vellum retrieved from the ‘Diagonal’ company car park was inscribed with a simple word, HIRUDO. My Latin does extend beyond medical terminology and into Zoology. The word simply means ‘Bloodsucker’ and relates to the parasitic worm known as a Leech.
I analyzed the entry wound on the neck of Richard Davis and extracted a secretion which prevents clotting of blood.
I have researched all references regarding HIRUDO and have discovered the mention of the same in the records of the parish church of Ludlow. I study medieval churches as a hobby so I followed the lead. The scrap of vellum also included a line of script which was torn but enough survived for me to read ‘vide ut supra’ which in translation means ‘See what is given above’.

Roberts gazed at the computer monitor for a while then dialed a direct phone number to Dyer.
After few rings the phone eventually answered and the rather tense voice of Dyer responded. “Hello”.
“Good afternoon Professor, Alan Roberts. I’ve just read your e-mail. I can close a few things my end and pick you up in about two hours”. The conversation was both awkward and short but the outcome saw both men traveling to Ludlow at dusk.
Once on the journey, Dyer fumbled with his briefcase and pulled out a diagram. Roberts glanced at it fleetingly and asked; “What is it?”
Dyer admitted that his interest in medieval churches extended into solving ancient riddles set by early church builders. He began; “I have visited hundreds of churches over the years but this one stands out”.
Roberts studied the road ahead and inquired; “And?”
Dyer continued his tale. “Alan you may find what have to tell you are the ravings of a mad man, believe me this is true. I was asked a few years ago to help survey and record the internal Chancel roof of St Laurence, Ludlow and was astonished to find an amazing range of roof bosses which are dated to the time of ‘The Wars of the Roses’.
We recorded all the bosses and realized that many appeared to be missing or never applied”.
Roberts reached for a cigarette and asked; “Do you mind?” Dyer shook his head and continued.
The tale continued: “So there were obvious gaps but there was just one roof boss which defied exclamation - Number 10 showed a Woman’s head with a gaping mouth and fangs. The early records showed the titanic struggle for the the English throne but what was the extra element?”
The Policeman and Professor of Medicine arrived at Ludlow and proceeded to rouse the Churchwarden at 7.00 AM. The greeting was far from cordial but keys rattled and locks turned. “What are you looking for” asked the Churchwarden.
Roberts placed his index finger to his lips and whispered; “He has work to do”. and pointed to the elderly academic.
All three men drifted towards the high end of church and Dyer came to a sudden halt and proclaimed; “vide ut supra” and turned to face the duo and said; “See what is given above”.
Dyer circled several times and proclaimed that he thought the boss positions represented the fingering of a stringed instrument, a Lute maybe?


Ranulf guided Father Roger from the Great Hall and pointed ahead to a simple dwelling in need of repair. Roger crossed the courtyard and breathed deeply before entering the property. The fire was long extinguished and there was a strong smell of pine needles. The cleric glanced back and simply asked; “Ranulf, what is this?” and was quickly led to the bed which contained the body of a Woman with the appearance of white marble.
Roger felt the corpse and noticed marks on the neck. The monk questioned Ranulf; “Do you have Wolves?” “No Sir, not seen any for years.
Roger searched the cottage and drew a magnifying glass from his satchel.
“These are not marks I recognize but they are not the work of the Devil”.


Roberts and Dyer stared at the medieval roof above them and and stood in wonder. Dyer proclaimed; “We need a Lute player to solve this, I know a few”. Dyer exited the church on his mobile phone. Moments later he returned and remarked his expert was a man of the cloth and suitable.

The Lute player arrived a day later and was joined by Forbes-Robinson who ate breakfast with bleary eyes over a ‘Full English’, placed his cutlery correctly on his plate after his meal and simply asked; “What the Hell is going on here, I have a list of examinations as long as your arm and I’ve been asked to listen to Lute player?!”
Dyer calmed the temper of Dr Forbes-Robinson and sat in the Choir stalls in the church and listened to music not heard for centuries and the medieval masonry cracked at the seams. All those gathered looked at each other in amazement!
Roberts stood from his choir stall and demanded an explanation. “This total hokum, I’ve been drawn half-way across England to listen to a banjo player with a tin ear!”
Dyer beckoned to the Lute player to pause and he did. The professor addressed his small audience comprised of the churchwarden. Roberts the police officer and the forensic doctor Forbes-Robinson. He stepped back into into the central pathway to the altar (often mistakenly called an aisle) and spoke with force; “Gentlemen, we are on the brink of answering a timeless mystery.

Rachel settled herself into a soothing bath and wiped the remaining smears of blood from her mouth then in a quiet moment suddenly entered a frenzy of warm water and soap bubbles. The convulsions were severe and the bathroom was soaked.
She raised her body from the bathtub, dried herself off and prepared to leave for Ludlow.