Ruby drove into the parking lot of Trout Line Ferry Company. It was early May and the peak passenger season was still a couple of weeks off. Most of the residents of Fish Island worked in one of the island’s two towns, Traders Point Village and Maryville.
“Thanks for the ride, Sis,” Alan said, unfastening his seatbelt.
Ruby frowned. “I still don’t understand why the newspaper is sending you to investigate that place. Even the Catholic Church wants nothing to do with it, ever since it converted to devil worshiping over a century ago. Who knows what Castle Moldovan is like now, and you know what people say about it.”
Alan chuckled. “Yes, I know what people say about the old monastery.”
“And you’re still going?”
He reached down to the leather portfolio sitting at his feet, unzipped it, and took out his laptop. “It wasn’t the Black Water Daily Telegram’s idea that I investigate it.”
“So it was your idea? You’ve got to be kidding.”
Alan lifted the cover, typed on the keys, and then pointed at an image on the screen. A yellowed sheet of paper with elaborate handwriting filled the slim monitor. “This is a copy of an official Catholic Church document stating the exact reason the monastery on Fish Island would no longer be recognized and needed to be closed immediately.”
Ruby looked at the image of the old letter and wrinkled her nose. “You can read that old-fashioned cursive?”
“It’s written in early American Spencerian Script, so it was a challenge. But what I’m interested in is this part right here.” He pointed to the second paragraph. “It appears to say something about Lucifer, the undead, and . . .” He paused as he turned the computer so that Ruby could see the writing clearly.
“And what? Don’t leave me in suspense.”
He cleared his throat and put a finger under the word he was about to say. “It appears to say . . . vampire.”
Ruby’s eyes widened. “Vampire? You’re insane?”
“Read it yourself.” He shrugged.
Ruby leaned closer to the monitor. “It looks like a v─a─m─p─y─r─e . . . vampire?”
Alan nodded his head. “That’s what I got.”
“How do you know it’s legit?”
“Because I found it in the library’s archives.” He readjusted the screen to prevent glare. “The paper initially wanted me to research the history of Fish Island—or Lucifer’s Island, as everyone around here calls it—because we’re coming up on the bicentennial of Traders Point Lighthouse. While I was going through papers from that time period, I came across this one that was signed by Pope Pius the Ninth and dated eighteen-fifty-nine.”
“Well, that proves it’s a fake. Wouldn’t it be written in Latin instead of American cursive?”
“I wondered that, too, so I checked on it. The historian told me that it was possible that this was a copy of the original one that would’ve been written in Latin. Someone wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding when it came to the closing of the Monastery of the Holy Ghost. This letter would have been intended for the average laity. However, I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the Pope’s signature. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the Church demanded the monastery closed, and the religious order of monks disbanded.”
“Yeah, we all know there’s weird stuff going on in the castle. Are you telling me that the paper said you could investigate vampires instead of the lighthouse history?”
“Well, no,” he said as he closed the computer and stuffed it back into the bag. “It’s a kind of side project that they said I could work on, and maybe they’d run it on Halloween.”
“Okay, baby brother,” Ruby said, holding back a laugh. “I don’t think there’s any such thing as vampires, but if you want to go monster hunting, be my guest. Just don’t come back here with bite holes in your neck.”