Nick & Brian
Chapters 71 - 74
Written by Jayson Colin Vascardi

Legal Disclaimer: This is fiction and not meant to imply anything about any of the celebrities mentioned herein. If you are offended by material of a homosexual nature, or if such material cannot be legally viewed in your area, stop reading this now. Otherwise, I hope that you enjoy reading this work.
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Chapter 71

The Canadian tour has officially begun. The Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Britney, Aaron, and Christina are now all in Toronto, Ontario resting from doing the second concert of the tour at the Air Canada Center. The first concert of the tour was at the Molson Center in Montreal, Quebec. Now, management has worked into their schedule three days off, for the Halloween weekend. However, when management told them about this vacation, they neglected to mention that they had rented an old mansion about fifty miles outside of Toronto for the performers to stay in.

As the vans stop, everyone can't help but look up at the old mass of mortar, stone, and wood standing in front of them. It's a huge gray stone mansion with vines of ivy clinging to its walls. It looks almost like a cross between a medieval castle and a plantation house in the Southern United States, with a lot of Gothic and Victorian architecture added in. Shortly after the vans stop, an old man, who must be at least 70, if not older, appears at the gates of the house, and starts to unlock the heavy chains that lock the huge iron gates. After the man pulls the gates open, the two vans with the performers in them continue up the driveway, and stop in the circular drive in front of the mansion.

As they get out, the two huge oak front doors open, and a  very old woman dressed all in black appears at the top of the steps to the porch and stares at the guests rather coldly. She motions with her hand, and soon four young men, who must be her grandchildren, come out of the house and take the luggage.

Everyone comes into the house, and the old woman softens her cold look just a little, but not much.

"Before I show you all to your rooms, I want to say something," replies the old woman, "I set dinner on the dining room sideboard at 6. You can serve yourselves. Breakfast is ready at 9. I don't wait on people. My family and I don't stay after dinner. Not after it begins to get dark. We leave before the dark comes. We live in town, 9 miles, so there won't be anyone around if you need help. We couldn't even hear you, in the night. No one could. No one lives any nearer then town. No one will come any nearer then that, in the night, in the dark.

"Oh, and one more thing. You will soon realize that this house is behind the times. There is no electricity, at night, you will have to light candles. There is limited indoor plumbing. The toilets flush, and the sinks work, but there is no hot running water. If you want to take a bath, you will need to heat water on the stove in the kitchen. I will show you all to your rooms now."

The old woman turns around, picks up the front of her long skirt, and begins to ascend the staircase. As she reaches the top of it, she briefly stops and motions towards the huge painting at the top of the landing, "This is Count Damien Van Tassel, the late owner of the house." The old woman shows everyone to their rooms, before going down to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Six hours later, Kevin emerges from his bedroom with a silver candelabra in his hand. The hallway is dark, none of the candles have been lit. Kevin takes a candle from the candelabra and as he walks down the hallway, lights some of the candles. Kevin comes down the grand staircase, and lights the candles at the bottom of the steps, and continues to light candles all around the room, until it begins to brighten up a bit.

Since none of the candles were lit, Kevin assumes that everyone laid down for naps after getting into their rooms, because it was quite a tiring drive from Toronto, and sleeping while crammed into two vans with all of your luggage is not an easy task. Once Kevin finishes lighting all of the candles in the main hall, he goes into the dining room and begins to light the candles in there as well, seeing that the old woman did indeed leave dinner out on the dining room sideboard, and then left with her family, before the dark came.

Kevin notices a note on the sideboard, and picks it up to read it.

It reads:

I do hope that you all enjoy, or should I say survive, your first night in Van Tassel Manor. I did forget to mention one thing to you before I left. In the library, your management has set up a complete entertainment center with several electric generators and a large supply of horror movies. Not that you'll need them while staying in this house.
Katherine Van Helsing
P.S. I also forgot to mention that Count Damien, an ancestor of the Damien Van Tassel in the painting, is staying here. So, if you see a man who bears a striking resemblance to the painting on the landing, that's him.

As Kevin finishes reading the note, he jumps suddenly at the feeling of a hand on his shoulder. Kevin is more then a little afraid when he turns around, to see nobody there. Suddenly the room gets very cold, and the candles start flickering, almost going out. As Kevin's breath quickens, he can see it coming out of his mouth. "What in the hell is going on here?" thinks Kevin to himself.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Britney and Christina wake up from their naps, and Britney lights the candles on the bedside table.

"I really don't know what the hell management was thinking," replies Christina, "Making us stay in an old mansion with no electricity."

"Yeah, I know!" replies Britney, "How the hell do they expect us to stay gorgeous without electricity for our hair dryers and hot running water for baths?"

"My god, are we actually agreeing on something?"

"Yes, I guess we are. It's amazing isn't it?"

Just as Britney says this, a blinding flash of lightning streaks across the sky, lighting up the room, followed shortly after by a deafening roar of thunder. Britney and Christina get up from their beds, and go over to a nearby window to look out at the storm that has started. When they look down to the grounds below, they're horrified at what they see.

"Oh, sheesh, what a wonderful view," replies Christina, sarcastically, "We have a view of a cemetery!"

"Oh my god! Chrissy do you see what I see?" replies Britney, her voice shaky.

"If you see a transparent woman, dressed from head to toe in black, crying near one of those tombstones," replies Christina, her voice equally as shaky, "Then, yes, I do."

Britney and Christina scream at the tops of their lungs, and run from the room.

Meanwhile, deep below the ground, in a secret chamber off the basement of the mansion, a squeaking noise fills the room, as the lid of a century old coffin opens, and a man sits up. This man is none other then Count Damien, the one that Old Lady Van Helsing referred to. Only thing is, he's also the Count Damien in the painting on the second floor landing. Count Damien is after all a mere 150 years old, and of course a vampire.

Count Damien climbs out of his coffin and closes the lid, the rusty hinges squeaking in protest of the movement. The count stands six feet three inches tall, and despite his advanced age, doesn't look a day over 30. Well, that is with the exception of two very small streaks of gray hair on the sides of his head. Other then that, his hair is a medium brown color. His piercing green eyes and his muscular build only add to his handsome appearance. He is wearing a dark black pinstripe suit, and a black cloak. Count Damien grabs his wolf-head cane, before throwing his arms up and in a puff of smoke, transforms into a bat, and flies out the window.

Sooner or later, everyone, except for Chris, comes downstairs, and joins Kevin at the dining room table to eat the food that Old Lady Van Helsing prepared. Kevin informs them all about the entertainment center in the library, and about Count Damien Van Tassel. Justin informs everyone that Chris had a headache and decided to stay upstairs in his room tonight. So, after dinner, everyone adjourns to the library, and Kevin and Brian power up the electric generators, as AJ pops in a copy of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" into the VCR. Everyone sits down in the library to watch the movie. Justin buries his head in JC's chest, having no desire to watch the movie.

Upstairs, in Chris' bedroom, Chris lies on the bed, reading an old book that was on the bedside table. It's a first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's novel, "Frankenstein." The thunderstorm rages on outside, sending flashes of lighting streaking across the sky, roars of thunder booming, and sheets of rain pounding against the glass of the windows.

Outside on the balcony, a large black bat has just landed on the railing. The bat twitches for a moment, and in an instant takes on the form of Count Damien Van Tassel. Count Damien peers into the window, to see a young man, roughly the age that he was when he was cursed to the ranks of the living dead, setting a book on the bedside table and getting ready to blow out the candles. Count Damien's thirst is only increased in looking at the young man, and he cannot control the urge to attack. Count Damien waves his arms upward once again, and takes on the form of a gray wolf as he lunges through the glass window, breaking it.

Chris screams when he sees the wolf in his room, growling at him. Chris' screams turn into a dull whisper when the wolf jumps up onto the bed, and stands on Chris' legs. The wolf lets out a blood-curdling howl, as it turns back into Count Damien. Chris manages to scream one more time, as Count Damien sinks his razor sharp teeth into Chris' neck.

Chapter 72

Chris wakes up in the morning to find the two round holes in his neck are slowly bleeding. He quickly rummages through his suitcase and gets out a first aid kit. When one is as wild as Chris is, keeping a first aid kit in one's luggage is a good idea. Chris sits down at the desk, and cleans and dresses the wound. Knowing that he won't be able to explain the sudden appearance of the bandage on his neck, Chris is thankful that he packed several turtle-necked sweaters.

"I can't believe this," thinks Chris to himself, "I was bitten by a vampire! No, it can't be. I was attacked by a wolf, it's the only logical explanation. A wolf did break through my window.

"But, on second thought, how the hell did a wolf get up this high? This is the third floor, it has to be at least 30 feet off the ground, there's no way a wolf climbed up here. So, does that mean that it's possible? That it really was a vampire that attacked me last night? Flew up here as a bat, turned into a wolf, and came in here and bit me? Oh god this is just too incredible to believe."

Chris walks over to his luggage and grabs a small silver cross on a silver chain, and says to himself, "Just in case," as he hangs it around his neck.

Katherine Van Helsing arrives at the mansion promptly at 8 in the morning and proceeds to the kitchen to wash the dinner dishes and start making breakfast. She finds Kevin waiting for her in the kitchen.

"Good morning, Mrs. Van Helsing," replies Kevin with a smile as the old woman comes in.

"Is there something you wanted, Mr. Richardson?" replies Old Lady Van Helsing, with her usual cold stare.

"Yes, I was wondering what exactly you meant in your note," replies Kevin, "When you said, 'I hope you all enjoy, or should I say survive, your first night in Van Tassel Manor.' What did that mean?"

"Well, I suppose you're not going to believe me," replies Old Lady Van Helsing, "But this house is haunted. Some say that it is the gateway to hell, others say that the original Count Damien Van Tassel is still alive and masquerading around as his great-nephew. Probably because of the uncanny resemblance.

"I don't know if you saw it, but that painting above the fireplace in the dining room is the current Count Damien Van Tassel. Looks exactly like his great-uncle at that age."

"Yes, well, I highly doubt that the current Count Damien is the same one that built this place," replies Kevin.

"Well, of course it isn't the original Count Damien," replies Old Lady Van Helsing, "I'm nearly 100 years old, my mother was his nurse, and the original Count Damien Van Tassel died of cholera, 120 years ago at the age of 30. He'd be 150 years old now."

"Well, other then the resemblance, why would anyone think that the current Count Damien is the original Count Damien?"

"Probably because the current Count Damien is very much like his great-uncle," replies Old Lady Van Helsing, "He never comes out of his room during the day. The doors are locked all day long and he only comes out of his room after nightfall."

"Well, if the original Count Damien only came out of his room after dark, and the doors to his room where locked all day long," replies Kevin, "How is it that your mother was able to act as his nurse? Considering that you said that you and your family don't stay after dark."

"When Count Damien was alive we did stay after dark," replies Old Lady Van Helsing, "It wasn't until Count Damien's death that the house's spirits were released. Ever since that cold day October 31, 1880 this house has been plagued by ghosts and apparitions of evil. Wolves howl all night long, the walls occasionally bleed, and on the anniversary of Count Damien's death, the banshee wails all night long, and people in town have claimed to look up towards the Van Tassel estate on October 31, and seeing the death coach flying through the sky over the mansion. Come to collect Count Damien's soul."

"If Count Damien died in 1880," asks Kevin, "Why would the death coach keep coming back every year on October 31st to collect his soul?"

"Your guess is as good as mine," replies Old Lady Van Helsing, "It's probably just local superstition, or some drunkard decided to have some fun and tell a wild story. Now if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."

Kevin isn't sure what to think. Here he is staying in a very old mansion over the Halloween weekend. There was a horrible thunderstorm all night long last night, yet when Lance managed to check on the internet, it said that the weather in this area should have been a perfectly clear cool night. Kevin did indeed hear the wolves howling last night, he in fact even thought that he heard a wolf howling on the third floor of the mansion late last night, but of course that's impossible. Britney and Christina had told him that during the storm last night they saw a transparent woman kneeling at a tombstone weeping. And then of course there's Kevin's experience last night, the sudden coldness in the room and the feeling of someone grabbing his shoulder, when there was nobody there. "Is it possible?" thinks Kevin to himself, "Could Old Lady Van Helsing be right? Is this house really haunted?"

Meanwhile, upstairs in the bedroom that Nick and Brian are sharing, Nick lies peacefully on the bed, wearing only a pair of blue boxers. Brian lies next to him, also wearing only boxers. Nick is sleeping peacefully, enjoying the ability to actually do so. Last night, sleep was nearly impossible with the blinding flashes of lightning, and roaring thunder, not to mention the fact that there were wolves howling all night long. Brian's head rests on Nick's chest, as he calmly looks over some songs that might be appearing on the joint album. There are now 6 tracks for sure, but they still need 6 more tracks before they're ready to release the album.

Nick wakes up with a start when a sudden coldness envelops the room. Nick and Brian's attention is averted to the fireplace, as the yellowish-orange flames slowly burn out, and are soon replaced by green flames. Shortly after, the sounds of a woman sobbing fill the room, and then it appears. An apparition of a woman, dressed in 19th century clothing, sitting in a rocking chair by the fireplace, slowly rocking back and forth as she sobs. Nick and Brian's bodies begin quivering in fear, as the woman takes her head out of her hands and looks at them.

"Get out! It's not safe here!" rasps the apparition, "Beware! Beware!"

Then just as quickly as she appeared, she's gone, and everything returns to normal in the room. Nick and Brian, still to afraid to move from the bed, just start rocking back and forth in each other's arms, their screams caught in their throats.

As the night falls over Van Tassel Manor, the thunderstorms start up once again, and the wolves begin howling their blood-curdling howls. It really is odd to have these terrible thunderstorms plaguing the mansion by night. Lance checked on his laptop again, and once again it says the weather should be a nice clear night. Yet here at Van Tassel Manor, it's pouring rain, accompanied by blinding bolts of lightning streaking across the sky and deafening roars of thunder seemingly shaking the whole house.

"I'm telling you, Lance, this house is haunted."

"Haunted? Oh come on, Brian! There's no such thing as a haunted house."

"Oh yes there is, because we are in one," replies Brian, totally serious in what he's saying, "How else do you explain thunderstorms that according to the weather service are not happening? The constant howling of wolves? The lady in black that Britney and Christina saw last night? The cold spots, and of course there's the ghost that Nick and I saw in our room today, sobbing. Nick is so shaken up that he's been laying on that bed all day now, not saying a word."

"Alright, well, it's not logical," replies Lance, "But, perhaps this house really is haunted. I don't know what to think."

Lance looks around the room at everyone else, and sees their blank expressions, telling him that they don't really know what to think of the situation either.

"Good evening all," replies a man, as he enters the library. The man is wearing a black pinstripe suit, and holds a golden wolf-headed cane in his left hand.

"Hello," replies Britney, "You must be Count Damien Van Tassel?"

"Yes, that I am," replies Count Damien, "Sorry that I couldn't welcome you last night, but I was away on a very important business trip. Anyway, welcome to my home."

"Count Damien, I'm going to be blunt," replies Kevin, "Several of us have experienced things of a supernatural nature since we got here. I suppose you're going to think we're insane, but we think your house is haunted."

"Haunted?" asks Count Damien, before bursting out laughing, "What on earth would make you say that?"

"Um, how about that?" asks Aaron, as he points to a wall behind Count Damien. Everyone looks to where Aaron is pointing, to see that the wall is bleeding. Blood is literally falling down the wall as if it was a waterfall.

"Okay, well, I might as well be honest, " replies Count Damien, "You're right, this house is haunted. It was built on top of an old graveyard. Though the house's spirits for some reason weren't awakened until October 31, 1880, when my great-uncle, the original Count Damien Van Tassel, died of cholera. He was only 30 years old."

"Mrs. Van Helsing told me earlier that some people in town seem to think that you are the original Count Damien, and just masquerading as your great-nephew."

"Well, I suppose it's because of the genetic resemblance," replies Count Damien, "But honestly, do I look like I'm 150 years old?"

"No, you don't," replies Chris, as he rubs his neck, looking oddly at Count Damien for a moment.

"Something wrong with your neck, Chris?" asks Christina, as she sees him rubbing it.

"No, of course not," replies Chris, "I'm tired. I'm gonna go to bed now. Goodnight."

Chris gets up and walks past Count Damien and out of the room. Count Damien flinches at the sight of the silver cross hanging around Chris' neck, and quickly turns away. Looking at a cross for an extended period of time would cause Count Damien's eyes to literally burn.

"Well, if you'll all excuse me," replies Count Damien, "I have some more business matters to attend to, so I shall say goodnight."

Count Damien leaves the room, and closes the doors to the library behind him.

"So, his name is Chris," replies Count Damien softly, "Well, Chris, my love, I'm coming for you now."

Count Damien turns the key in the lock of the library door, locking the other guests into the room, as he throws his arms up, and once again transforms into a large gray wolf. The wolf runs across the great hall and up the stairs, running after Chris. Count Damien is going to bite Chris for the second time. Under the laws of which Count Damien was cursed into the ranks of the living dead, he must bite a person three times to pass on his curse. He has every intention of doing this to Chris, because he wants Chris with him for all eternity, as he has become victim to love at first sight.

Count Damien transforms back into his normal self when he reaches the hallway outside Chris' door, and being that it is his house, doesn't bother to knock on the door. Chris sits at the desk, wearing nothing but a pair of black silk boxers, removing the bandage from his neck. Count Damien walks over to Chris, pulls him upwards, and turns him around. Count Damien wraps his arms around Chris and pulls him into a tight, intimate embrace, as he kisses him on the lips. Being cursed to the ranks of the living dead did not erase Damien Van Tassel's desires for other men, but instead intensified them to a level of passion and desire that is unattainable by mortal men.

Count Damien did have a boyfriend at the time of his curse, but Count Damien didn't wish to pass this wretched curse onto him. It turned out to be more painful for Count Damien then he had planned. Watching his boyfriend grow old, and crippled, and eventually die, while Count Damien remained as handsome as he was many years earlier. Added to that the pain of knowing that he can never die, unless killed by a slayer, Count Damien refuses to go through this pain a second time. He has fallen in love with Chris, and that is why this time he is going to curse the man that he loves to the ranks of the living dead, if only to prevent himself from going through eternity alone.

Count Damien breaks the kiss, and looks deep into Chris' eyes for a moment, as Chris stares back at Count Damien unable to move, possibly from fright, but probably because of the fact that when Count Damien is around him, Chris himself has desires and urges that he has never felt before. The desire to kiss, make love to, and to simply love another man in an intimate and romantic way. Count Damien, who despite being the living dead, is still capable of having sexual intercourse. Count Damien quickly strips off all of his clothes, as Chris sheds his boxers, and the two of them climb into bed for a night of wild passion for the both of them, and a feeding for Count Damien.

As dawn approaches, Count Damien hurriedly gets dressed, and quickly uses his powers to magically unlock the library door from upstairs in Chris' bedroom. He looks at his love one more time, before grabbing his cane and dashing out of the room and down the stairs to the second floor. He quickly goes into the master bedroom, slamming the doors shut behind him, the doors being locked immediately afterwards. Count Damien hurriedly walks over to the fireplace in the room and pushes a small button concealed on the side of it. The entire fireplace whirls 360 degrees, sending Count Damien into a small room behind the fireplace.

He quickly walks down a small metal staircase, until finally he enters his sanctuary deep below the ground. Being a vampire can be very annoying at times. As much as Count Damien wanted to stay upstairs with Chris, he had to race down here and get into his coffin before dawn. Count Damien places his wolf-headed cane on a small table, and quickly opens the lid of his coffin, before laying down in it, and closing the lid as his mind slips into oblivion.

That is of course the other disadvantage of being a vampire. Count Damien must lie in his coffin from dawn until dusk so as to avoid the horrible existence of the sunlight, but he is totally helpless during the day. That is why a vampire's lair is such a heavily guarded secret. As much as Count Damien detests what he is, he does not want to die. At least he would rather die of natural causes, rather then having a wooden stake driven through his heart. And since the only way for a vampire to die is to have a wooden stake driven through their heart, or for them to be exposed to sunlight, Count Damien is stuck with what he is. He certainly doesn't much care for the thought of being exposed to sunlight. Of course who could blame him? At least with the wooden stake, he wouldn't really feel anything because it'd probably be done during the day when he lies helpless in his coffin. But to be exposed to sunlight means the agonizing pain of having his flesh blister and burn until he's reduced to a pile of ashes.

Meanwhile, back upstairs in Chris' bedroom, Chris slowly begins to wake up. Even after sleeping for several hours now, he is still more then a little tired from his encounter with Count Damien last night. Chris never thought that anyone could have that much stamina, or have orgasms as powerful as Count Damien had. Chris himself also had the most powerful orgasm of his life. So powerful, that he was still trying to catch his breath half an hour after it. Count Damien made love to Chris last night a total of three times in a row, and each time managed an orgasm that was beyond belief. After the third time that Count Damien made love to Chris, he asked Chris to make love to him. Which Chris did, more than willingly.

Kevin and Joey burst into the room and look at Chris for a moment before Kevin replies, "Chris, after you left did you see Count Damien?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Because he left shortly after you did," replies Joey, "And he locked us all into the library. We all had to spend the night in there."

"Hmm, well, I'm sorry I had no idea," replies Chris, "I would have told Damien to let you out had I known."

"Oh my god, Chris you're bleeding!" yells Kevin, as he notices the two round puncture holes in Chris' neck, "What the hell happened to you?"

"Last night, I had the most wonderful experience of my life," replies Chris, "Man, I've had sex before, but never like that. Oh my god, I never dreamed anyone had that much stamina."

"You had sex with Count Damien?" asks Joey, totally shocked that Chris engaged in homosexual sex.

"Yes, Joe, I did."

"That doesn't explain what those two holes in your neck are, unless...."

"Unless, what Kevin?" asks Joey.

"Of course! It all makes sense!"

"What makes sense, Kev?" asks Chris and Joey in unison.

"Well, look at the facts, will ya? Count Damien looks exactly like one of his ancestors, who supposedly died 120 years ago. Nobody ever sees Count Damien during the daytime, and have you noticed that there are no mirrors in this house, and that Count Damien is deathly pale in complexion? Now two round holes appear on Chris' neck! I'd say it's quite obvious. Count Damien is the same Count Damien who built this house."

"How is that possible, Kevin?" asks Joey, not understanding.

"Oh come on Joe, wake up and smell the coffee! Count Damien Van Tassel is a vampire!"

Chapter 73

"That's impossible, Kevin!" replies Lance, after Kevin, Joey and Chris all come downstairs and tell the others about Count Damien.

"Nothing is impossible, Lance," replies Kevin, "And after all of things that are highly out of the ordinary that we've seen or felt in this house, ghosts, cold spots, storms that go undetected by the weather service, and of course bleeding walls, I would say it is not all that far of a stretch to think that there's a chance that Count Damien is a vampire.

"Just look at the holes in Chris' neck for god sake! How in the hell do you explain those?"

"Well, I can't," replies Lance, as he starts thinking that maybe there's a possibility that Kevin is right.

"Kevin, didn't you say that Old Lady Van Helsing said that Count Damien spends all of his time during the day locked in his bedroom?"

"Yeah, Brit, I did."

"Well, then our course of action should be obvious," replies Britney, "We should go upstairs, and break into Count Damien's bedroom. If he's laying helplessly in a coffin or on the bed then that should give us an answer."

"Agreed," replies Kevin.

Everybody walks upstairs to the second floor landing, and Kevin, Joey, Nick, Brian, JC, and Justin all run at the doors to Count Damien's bedroom, using their shoulders as battering rams. After ramming their shoulders into the doors a couple of times, they finally burst open, and the group of performers enter the old bedroom, which is completely dark. The light from the hallway provides very little light, and Kevin quickly walks over to the window, and pulls back the curtains. However, this does not provide any light.

"The window panes are painted black, and they're bolted shut from the outside," replies Kevin, as he tries to open the windows.

Nick quickly goes out into the hallway and grabs a silver candelabra from one of the tables, quickly pulling out some matches and lighting the candles. He comes back into the room, and begins to light the candles that are scattered about the room to provide artificial lighting at nighttime, and in the case of this particular room, during the day as well.

As the room is filled with light, the contents of the room becomes much easier to see. And Britney and Christina scream as Brian quickly clamps his hand over Aaron's eyes. The scream draws the attention of Old Lady Van Helsing, who has just arrived to the estate for the morning, and comes upstairs to the master bedroom.

"Oh good gracious me," replies Old Lady Van Helsing, as she crosses herself in the traditional Catholic manner and grabs onto the rosary beads hanging from around her neck.

The reason for this is what everyone, with the exception of Aaron, sees laying in the bed. Covered up to the chest with the blankets, is a very, very old rotting corpse. The corpse is dressed in nineteenth century clothing, and there are strands of long gray hair on the pillow.

"Well, I certainly never expected this," replies Kevin, "Question is, who the hell is this?"

Nick comes over to the bed, and looks down at the corpse laying in the bed. Reluctantly, he pulls back the covers, and there, laying on the stomach of the corpse, is a note. The paper is very old, and Nick carefully picks it up and reads it aloud.

It reads:

My dearest Thachery,

Oh god how I loved you. I was unwilling to pass on this wretched curse to you, because of that love. But, now I wish that I had. Seeing you age and cripple into an old man and die, while I've remained as young as the day we met, has been torture for me. I really wish that I had passed on this curse to you. I hated the idea of you becoming the same thing that I became. A creature of the night, doomed to never again see a sunrise. A member of the living dead, with a thirst for human blood. But had I done it, had I passed on my curse to you, I would at least not have to be writing this now. I wouldn't have had to lose you. You would have remained young and we could have been together for all eternity. But now, alas, it is too late, my love. You're dead, and I, despite the coldness that has taken over my heart, feel this immense void. I truly did love you Thachery, and seeing you laying here dead is so painful. More painful still is the knowledge that I now must go through eternity alone. Oh how I wish I could be with you, my dearest love.

Always your adoring love,
Count Damien Van Tassel

"That must be Thachery," replies Aaron, having pried Brian's hands from his eyes, "And look who he looks exactly like!"

"What, Aaron?"

"The man in the painting," replies Aaron, pointing to the painting above the fireplace. The painting is of two men, one being Count Damien Van Tassel, wearing matching suits, with their arms wrapped around each other's waist. The late Count Thachery Wampir, when he was younger, looks exactly like Nick Carter.

"Mother did mention to me that Count Damien was a sodomite," replies Old Lady Van Helsing, using the term that was used throughout the 1800's to refer to a homosexual, "She also mentioned his lover's name to me. Its umm, let me think, Count Thachery Wampir. He was a Transylvanian noble, just like Count Damien."

"Well, if they were from Transylvania, why did they live here? In a Canadian mansion?"

"Well, Ms. Aguilera, from what my mother told me, Count Damien and Count Thachery fled Transylvania to escape being conscripted into the Transylvanian army. They originally fled to London, but Count Thachery's distant cousin, Count Vladimir Wampir found them in London and told them if they didn't come back and serve their time in the army, that he would turn them in to the Transylvanian government, at which point they would likely be killed. So, Count Damien and Count Thachery killed Count Vladimir, and then fled here to Canada.

"At which point they built this mansion, and lived happily together for about ten years. Then Count Damien suddenly got very ill after taking a walk one night, and died of cholera the next evening. Though I guess from the note, it's quite clear that he didn't die of cholera. Count Thachery mourned his lost lover, though he never dated anyone else. My mother wondered why, but she never dared ask. Count Thachery pretty much become a reclusive old hermit until his death on October 31, 1938, the fifty-eight year anniversary of Count Damien's supposed death."

"Can we get out of this room?" asks Britney, "I can't stand looking at that thing anymore."

Everyone agrees and heads back downstairs to the library to talk about what to do, know that they know for sure and certain that Count Damien is indeed a vampire.

Chapter 74

Several hours later, about half-an-hour before dawn, Count Damien enters the library, and is thrilled to see Chris sitting alone on the sofa, reading a book. Count Damien happily goes over to his love and sits down on the sofa next to him, as he kisses Chris on the cheek. Chris doesn't react, as if he hasn't even noticed that Count Damien is even in the room.

"Chris, my love?"

"Hello Damien, my darling love."

But the voice isn't that of Christopher Kirkpatrick. The voice came from behind them, and as Count Damien turns his head to look back at the doors, his mouth drops open in shock. There in the doorway stands Count Thachery Wampir, or that's the impression that Count Damien gets. Count Damien has never seen Nick. Last night when he met everyone else, Nick wasn't in the room. He was upstairs too shocked by the ghost he had seen earlier in the day to move. Now, Nick is dressed in nineteenth-century clothing which he got from the dresser in Count Damien and Count Thachery's bedroom. With just a little work on his hair, and a little bit of makeup, he looks exactly like Count Thachery Wampir.

"Thachery? Is that you?" asks Count Damien, as he stands up from the sofa.

"Yes, Damien, my darling, it's me."

"No, it's impossible, I saw you die!"

"Well, I'm back, Damien. I've wanted to come back for so long now. Now, I'm finally back to the man that I love."

"How? How is this possible?"

Nick walks across the room, and proceeds to talk to Count Damien as if he was Count Thachery, though he avoids answering Damien's questions. Silently, the other performers enter the room, just as the sun is coming up over the horizon. With the curtains all closed, one cannot see this however. Kevin closes the doors of the library, as Nick walks over to the window.

"You're such a fool, Damien!" replies Nick, scornfully.


"I can't believe that you actually think that I am Count Thachery," replies Nick, "I'm not. I'm Nickolas Carter, one of the guests in this house, whom you have not met."

"Why you damn jackass, you'll pay for fooling me," replies Count Damien, as he lunges at Nick. Before he can make contact with Nick however, he holds up a large silver crucifix, and Count Damien turns away in fear, only to see more crucifixes, held by the other performers.

"Count Damien, really, did you honestly think that after we discovered your secret that we wouldn't come prepared?" asks Nick, as he throws the crucifix he's holding across the room.

"You fool!" replies Count Damien, as he once again starts towards Nick with the intent of killing him. But, Nick is not afraid, because he has a secret weapon.

"Really, Count Damien, you're getting careless in your old age," replies Nick.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"It's dawn!" yells Nick, as the grandfather's clock starts to toll the hour, and Nick pulls open the curtains, as sunlight floods into the room, directly in the path of Count Damien.

"NO!!" yells Count Damien, as he turns away from the window. Count Damien lets out several blood-curdling screams as his flesh begins to blister and burn from the exposure to sunlight. Count Damien tries to run away from the painful rays, but is unable to move, as the other performers have gathered around him, holding up the silver crucifixes, trapping him.

"AHHHHHH!!!!" screams Count Damien at the tops of his lungs as his legs give way, and he collapses to the floor, writhing in agony and pain, as he's reduced to merely nothing more then a pile of ashes.

"AHHHHHH!!!" screams Chris as he sits up in bed with a start, covered in a cold sweat. Moments later the door bursts open, and in comes Lance, whose bedroom is next to Chris', and he rushes over to the bed.

"Chris, it's okay!" replies Lance soothingly as he sits down on the bed and starts rubbing Chris' back, "It was just a bad dream."

Chris' screams soon stop, as he pulls Lance into a tight hug, hanging onto him with a death grip.

"Oh god, Lance, it was so terrible!" replies Chris, shaking in Lance's arms.

"It's okay, Chris, everything is going to be okay. I'm here," replies Lance soothingly, as he hugs Chris tightly, desperately trying to console his band mate and friend.

Chris pulls away from the embrace, and looks deeply into Lance's eyes for a minute. In a fast, fluid motion, Chris leans forward and kisses Lance on the lips.

To Be Continued...

Yeah, that's right, Count Damien and Van Tassel Manor was all a dream. How will Lance react to Chris' kiss? Email me and let me know what you think! Do you think Lance and Chris would make a good couple? Should Lance at least try to find love with Chris, if that's possible? Or should he remain with Kevin, and hope that in time, he will come to love Kevin in a romantic way? Let me know what ya'll are thinking, okay? All comments, good or bad, and suggestions are welcome! And I will answer all emails that I recieve. Until next time, stay *NSYNC. :)

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