However, upon arriving we find that the place had fallen into quite some disrepair. There is dust on every surface, and draped cloths over much of the furniture.
The clerk, an elusive and angular man who calls himself Vlad, assures me that they are still accepting visitors and in fact has one rather famous American musician staying with them at the moment.
‘So.’ I say, glancing at the dusty countertop. ‘I suppose we will at least stay the night.’
After some admittedly relaxing hours in the deathly quiet of the castle, it is nighttime and I feel the need to stretch my legs about the premises. I take along my new leather suit-case, so as to give myself more exercise and the suit-case some use.
As I enter a nondescript room, I see two things that give me a start. The first is a large portrait of the clerk, Vlad, staring down from an equally large frame. The second is a man dressed entirely in black, considering the portrait from behind trademark dark glasses.
‘Roy Orbison.’ I breathe. ‘I did not know you were the other guest here tonight.’
‘So. I often feel the need to stretch my legs during this time of the night.’
‘I as well. Though I admit I am somewhat frightened by such a large, empty building at night in a strange country.’ I glance up at the looming portrait of Vlad.
‘Ah,’ says Roy. ‘Indeed, I have not been able to find the clerk Vlad, and have heard stories in America of blood-sucking creatures that roam these lands.’
I would not think it possible for one such as Roy Orbison to feel fear at folk tales, but he does begin to look rather pale. Perhaps it is the moonlight reflecting off of his alabaster skin.
‘You know,’ I say diffidently. ‘You are a vitally important figure in the world. We should take care to ensure you are safe from any bites on the neck by nefarious nightcrawlers. Any injuries could threaten your importunate singing voice.’
‘So,’ agrees Roy. ‘But what substance can we use to protect me while still giving me the room and flexibility to breathe?’
I begin to dig into my jacket pockets and proceed to pull out several lengths of cling-film. ‘Might this suffice?’
Roy agrees, and I commence wrapping his neck carefully and delicately. After several layers have been applied, I stand back to admire my work. All seems calm, until we hear a creak in the hallway.
‘Perhaps,’ says Roy, ‘There are other parts of me at risk from some malicious creature’s bite?’
My palms start to sweat.
‘Would you have any more of this wondrous protective coating?’
My hands fumble at the latch of my suit-case, and I pull out roll after roll of cling-film. ‘It just so happens I have a little more.’
The hallway creaks again, and Roy’s glasses-covered eyes glance at the door. ‘Then please, proceed to wrap me completely in cling-film.’
I start at the feet and work my way up. As the spools unravel the room transforms from a dusty tomb into a beautiful ballroom, the moonlight glinting off of the gossamer shimmer of the beautiful clingy substance. The portrait of Vlad looks on in approval from within its frame, the hint of a smile tugging at his lips. Soon, Roy Orbison is completely wrapped in cling-film.
‘You are completely wrapped in cling-film. I assure you, you are now completely safe from any being that would do you harm.’
The hallway creaks again, and there is a scratch at the door. Convinced my life could not possibly reach any higher point, I fearlessly open the door and find Jetta, looking alone and worried. I bring her in to sit with me, as we gaze at the cling-film-wrapped pop icon.
‘I suppose it was only your terrapin in the hall. There was nothing to fear after all.’
‘So. But there may still be dangers to you. You shall remain wrapped in cling-film throughout the night.’
As dawn breaks, the clerk Vlad finds us and has me removed from the castle grounds. I return to Dusseldorf early, knowing I could not have had a better vacation if I had been gone a full year.