– a novella by Stephen Volk


Atmospheric, evocative of time and place, Stephen Volk’s novella is compelling reading. Peter Cushing, star of so many horror films, finds himself experiencing real horror – the recent loss of his beloved wife has left him alone in a world with no meaning. Barely able to function, he walks along the beach at Whitstable, finding a measure of comfort in the bleak seascape. And then he is addressed by a young boy, who clearly believes that Cushing is Van Helsing, the vampire killer…

Cushing the actor tries to put the boy straight, but the boy is appealing for help – he has demons to vanquish, and believes Van Helsing will do it. The more he hears, the more Cushing is convinced the boy is in real-life danger – from his mother’s boyfriend, the ‘vampire’ who visits him at night. The boyfriend who, it seems, is abusing the child.

What to do? Cushing’s dilemma illustrates so much – the tendency of ordinary people to believe that film and TV stars are the characters they portray, and the trust of children. For how Cushing deals with it, and how this poignant tale pans out, you must read for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.