"My daughter! Carmilla!"
A woman climbed from the broken coach and reclined to Van Helsing´s arm. She was middle-aged, with a veil and a rose on her mahogany hair; she was marvelously elegant and, despite the heat, perfectly groomed. Van Helsing felt the scent of perfume and clean skin in his nose.
"I am a doctor," Van Helsing said softly and reassuringly. "I´m sure I can help."
In the coach, younger woman was reclining against the rich purple couch, looking exhausted. Her hair, dark brown with some gold in it, was pinned up; her traveling-gown was blue velvet. Her complexion was rich and brilliant, and her lips looked as red as rubies. Van Helsing´s own wife, Marianne, was one of most beautiful women he had ever seen, and this girl was equally lovely.
"Miss Carmilla?" Van Helsing tried.
"Carmilla von Herritzen," the girl smiled a bit.
Van Helsing took her wrist; it was warm and supple, and the pulse seemed normal.
"How are you feeling?" Van Helsing asked.
"I think I am unharmed," the girl said softly. "It´s just this heat..."
"My name is Van Helsing. My carriage is outside and there is an inn nearby.."
Carmilla´s smile widened. "Oh yes, I think I can walk."
"It is my fault, I am afraid," Countess von Herritzen said, when they were sitting in the tavern. "I wanted to pass the Karnstein woods as quickly as possible - there is a murderer, attacking young girls like my Carmilla..."
"So I have heard," Van Helsing said softly.
"Oh, mother, those girls left the safety of their homes to meet their lovers at night!" Carmilla said, sipping wine. "They were stupid, and they caused a lot of sorrow to their parents!"
"I hope we´ll get the new coach quickly," Countess said, watching her male servants who drank their cold beer so quickly than they could. Were her eyes really that color, Van Helsing pondered, more violet than blue? "I want to get home before sunset."
"It is summer, the days are are long," Van Helsing said. "Now if you excuse me..."
He rose and bowed.
Van Helsing was not even reached the broken carriage, when he met the peasants. Men and women, young and old, many were carrying pitchforks and stakes. Van Helsing stopped his horses, and two young men clinged to the reins.
"Where are they?" someone screeched.
"Who?" Van Helsing asked.
"Those devil women! Countess Karnstein and her murderous daughter, Carmilla!"
"They are vampires!"