Cold to the Touch - By Brian Law

“Your Honor, the State calls as its next witness, Vlad Nicolescu,” the prosecutor announced.

The Judge turned to the defense attorney and asked, “Have you stipulated that Mr. Nicolescu is an expert in his field, Mr. Dennis?”

“Yes, your Honor, the defense has so stipulated,” the defendant’s lawyer replied, standing.

“Very well, then, Mr. Nicolescu, please take the stand,” the Judge directed.

The jurors watched with fascination as a pale, thin man rose from the spectator gallery and walked slowly to the witness stand. When asked to place his hand on the Bible by the Bailiff, he shook his head and said something to the Judge. And with that, the Judge just shrugged and waved the witness to the witness box without further ceremony.

The Prosecutor cleared his throat and addressed the witness, “Mr. Nicolescu, why are you here today in this courtroom?”

“I am an expert witness for the Prosecution,” came the hollow response.

“And just what is your expertise, Mr. Nicolescu?” the Prosecutor continued.

“I am an expert at blood extraction.”

“Is there a commonplace name for that, Mr. Nicolescu, one that the jury members might be more familiar with?” the prosecutor asked, glancing over to the twelve jurors.

A thin smile crossed the witness’s face as he turned to the jury and replied, “I am a vampire.” Hearing that, the jurors all abruptly straightened in their seats and paid rapt attention.

Continuing, the prosecutor asked, “And how long have you been a vampire, sir?”

“Ever since being bitten by another vampire in the year sixteen ninety-seven in a forest in what was then known as Bessarabia. I was twelve years old at the time.”

“And what training did you undergo in the ensuing years to acquire the skills needed to become a successful vampire, Mr, Nicolescu?” the prosecutor asked.

“I was taken in by a local group of vampires and ‘homeschooled”, as it were, for about a hundred years, give or take. My training included learning how to shape shift, how to seduce my victims, how to evade capture, personal hygiene, and dozens of other skills,” the witness answered.

“So, sir,” the prosecutor said, looking over at the Defense table, “would it then be safe to say that to become a Vampire one doesn’t simply acquire the needed skill set in a weekend seminar?”

The witness nodded and replied, “Correct. It takes generations of training under watchful eyes to become a true vampire, sir. To suggest otherwise is just false. There are no shortcuts.”

“Thank you, Mr. Nicolescu. Now, at the end of your training, did you receive any sort of certification or official recognition of your achievement?”

“There was a ceremony which took several days. Vampires from all over the world attended. It was a big deal. My name was inscribed on the wall of a cave somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains where it remains to this day with names of all the Vampires throughout history. But, no, no document or certificate,” Nicolescu recounted.

“So, Mr. Nicolescu, you are aware, are you not, that the defendant has been accused of sucking the blood of four people resulting in their deaths and is using the fact that he is a vampire as a defense?” the prosecutor continued. “In essence, the defendant is arguing he became a vampire without his consent and therefore could not help himself.”

“Yes, I am aware of that.”

Continuing the questioning, the prosecutor asked, “And you were asked by the prosecution to examine the defendant to determine the validity of his claim that he is a vampire. Did you so examine the defendant?”

“Yes. I examined the defendant over a period of days in his jail cell a month ago.”

“And what was the result of that examination process, Mr. Nicolescu? Is the defendant a vampire in your expert opinion?” the prosecutor asked.

The witness turned towards the jury and answered in a disembodied voice, “At the time of the murders, the defendant was not a vampire, in my expert opinion.”

“And what led you to that expert conclusion, Mr. Nicolescu?” the prosecutor asked.

“Several things. First, vampires do not typically kill their victims. That is a common misconception. They merely subdue their victims so that they can periodically harvest their blood. In my entire career as a vampire I have only heard of one vampire killing one of his victims, and that was accidental. It just isn’t done!”

Nicolescu looked over at the jury and continued, “Second, the defendant was extremely vague about when he was bitten by a vampire. His story changed often. And when pressed for details about how he felt in the hours and days after he was bitten, the emotions he described were not those of the typical victim of a vampire.”

“And then there was his daily routine after he said he was bitten. He went to work as a landscaper, outside and in broad daylight! Clearly not something a vampire could endure!”

“Finally, and this is probably the most important point, his body temperature at the time of my examination was normal,” Nicolescu explained. “Anyone who knows anything about vampires knows that this is just not possible.”

The prosecutor stood and said, “Thank you, Mr. Nicolescu, for your testimony. Your Honor, I have no more questions for this witness.”

The Judge turned to the defendant’s lawyer and asked, “Mr. Dennis, do you wish to cross-examine?”

As Mr. Dennis prepared to rise, his client leaned over and whispered something into his ear. His lawyer looked surprised and for a moment even a bit stunned. And then the defendant took his hand and put it into his lawyer’s hand and held on for a long moment.

“Mr. Dennis, we’re waiting,” the Judge announced.

“Yes, your Honor. Pardon the delay. I just have one question for Mr. Nicolescu,” the defendant’s lawyer responded. “You, sir, stated that the defendant’s body temperature at the time of your examination was normal. Yet, it is clear that at this moment, the defendant’s body temperature is clearly cold to the touch . . . subnormal. How do you explain this apparent contradiction, sir?”

Nicolescu just shrugged, crossed his legs, clasped his hands in his lap, leaned back in the witness box and replied, “No contradiction, sir. You can’t expect to put a vampire in a jail cell for several days with a healthy human and expect nothing to happen. Really, sir, you can’t be that naive.”



Leave a comment