It is summer, and I am persuaded to take a continental holiday by two enthusiastic acquaintances. Being a creature of habit, I am accustomed to vacations in the seaside resorts near to my home, but the proposition is put in such a way that I find it hard to make excuses.
We depart, and travel by train to Romania, where, after a series of misadventures, we are all captured by Count Dracula, Prince of Darkness. We are taken in a foul-smelling horse-drawn carriage to his castle, which towers blasphemously above the forests, fingering the torn sky with its crumbling turrets. We are, naturally, rent with terror. It is clear that the Count intends to drink our blood, turning us into undead monsters of the night in the process.
We are imprisoned in once luxurious apartments, overlooking Dracula's estate. It is evident that the twentieth century has not treated our host well. Ominously, he tells us in heavily-accented English that he has been forced to open up large tracts of his estate as a theme park, with log flumes, bowling alleys, rollercoasters, and burger bars, all of which are frequented by Western tourists who know nothing of the old ways.
Our sympathy is tempered by the sure knowledge that the Count intends to suck out our souls with his pointy teeth. We secretly devise a daring plan to flee. We encourage the Count to show us round the theme park, and, as we come to the bowling alley, hurl ourselves down the planks into the skittley darkness. We scramble through wires, pipes, and other obstructions until we find ourselves in an area devoted to crazy golf, where we mingle with the tourists. It is with some relief that we exit through the turnstiles. It is easy from thence to find a hire car, and complete our courageous escape.
Back home in Eastbourne, I wonder if we did the right thing. It infuriates me that Dracula may have needed my soul more than I do.