I didn’t know what to call him, the man in the middle of the room. He was rotund, portly, stout at the edges, awash with yellow skin and plumed with scraggy grey hair. His large sullen black eyes had sunken into the back of his head, and from the protrusions on his back it seemed he had been tragically disfigured around the spinal column. Smith was fond of him for his certain peculiarities, such as how he could identify any species of fly. He said he was an anti-natalist, considering us unfit to bear children. Life was pain and death and he believed God made us to suffer it. Whenever he would converse with us at one of Smith’s little soirees, he would position himself to be closer to Ms Cherry, our seance group’s muse. Perhaps tonight would be the night that this mysterious man, who had never given his name on the pretence that it would signal a horseman to appear, would tell us why he carried a silver bell, inscribed with the name ‘Vlad Tepes’.