Smeralda stood by the window and sulked. Her bottom lip stuck out, red and ripe as a plum. Her behind also stuck out. She admired her hourglass figure and put her hand on her hip for added effect. The sheer black silk swayed as she moved, whispering over her smooth, ivory skin. She wound a curl around her fingers and tried a sultry lowering of her eyelashes. Mmm-mm, absolutely delicious darling.
"Ma'am?" came a wheedling, hand-wringing voice.
"Igor!" she said crossly. "Go away!"
"But ma'am," he said and she studied his reflection, noting he looked particularly sinister.
"Alright," she said, sighing heavily and absently seeing how far she could make her bottom stick out. "What is it?"
"There are some intruders in the castle ma'am," he said in his most sepulchral tone. "I would have informed the Count, only I can't seem to locate him at present. Should I see them off in the traditional manner?"
"Which traditional manner?"
"I was thinking the evil smelling fog," Igor said. "Or perhaps the wails of the departed. I would ask the children of the night but it appears there's a bug going around."
Smeralda considered this. It was tempting. Vlad was having one of his moments, but he'd probably be thanking her for it when he regained what passed for his senses. However, he would be angry first. She foresaw a tantrum. And when he was in a tantrum he went to bits, bats all over the place, and her hair had only recently recovered from his last little scene. "No, no," she said regretfully. "They're Vladdy's guests Igor. Really it would be most unwise. They're cooking us a dinner!" she added and pulled a face.
"In that case I should mention that I could smell garlic. Most copious amounts of it, in fact," Igor explained, wringing his hands and hunching so far his chin touched his chest.
"Yes ma'am, garlic ma'am."
"But I thought we didn't have any of...it...in the castle!"
Igor shrugged. It was in impressive shrug. His head almost disappeared into his shoulders. "I'm sure I don't know ma'am. I should have said not, but perhaps these intruders brought it with them?"
Smeralda, livid, stormed down to the scullery, Igor pattering in her wake. She could barely breathe for the stench of garlic, but she was so angry she braved the disgusting, hateful fumes to hammer on the door.
"Open up at once!" she said imperiously.
"It's not ready!" called a voice in dulcet tones. "Give us another ten minutes sweetie."
Smeralda stamped a shapely foot. "Igor!"
"Yes ma'am," Igor said. "The fog?"
"No you dummy! Get this door open. Immediately!"
"As you say ma'am," Igor bowed as low as he could go, which was pretty low. Smeralda was convinced she heard a thump as his forehead hit the floor. "Ma'am?"
"Yes alright Igor. For your sterling service tonight you may dress my hair for half an hour next Wednesday night. Now get on with it!" She watched him go off to fetch the battering ram, tapping her foot impatiently. You just couldn't get the staff these days, forced to bribe them to get them to perform the smallest task.
As she was waiting, from outside the castle there came the most terrifying, blood-curdling howling imaginable. So Igor had lied about the children of the night? How unsettling. And it sounded as if they had someone trapped. They did so enjoy their little games. Smeralda lost her temper completely.
"Vlad!" she screamed at the top of her voice. What was keeping him?