This is one of my April Fool's Day Van Helsing stories, this time featuring my friend, Pati. The sequel, which I wrote for her birthday, is If You Don't Want Someone to Read It.

Pati's Big Adventure

Cousin Shelley


 Carl and Van Helsing stood almost chest to chest, both men clearly aggravated. Carl still wore his helmet adorned with magnifying lenses. Van Helsing did his best to tower over the man.

"You told me to push the button!"

"No, Van Helsing, I said *don't* push the button."

Van Helsing put a hand on his forehead, and then shook his head. "Why? Why would you tell me not to push a button that I was already standing nowhere near? What made you think that was necessary? Did you think I would suddenly wander by it and decide to push a button I knew nothing about, like a small child might? Is that what you’re saying, Carl?"

Carl realized that Van Helsing had the better point in the argument. He smiled. He laughed a little nervously. "No, of course I know you have more. . . sense that a small child. I felt the need to say that, because. . . pushing that particular button at that particular time would have been. . . a very bad thing?"

"So. We. See." Van Helsing put a hand against the wall and leaned against it, doing his best to breathe evenly. "So now, my little mad genius, how are you going to get us home?"

"Oh, I'm sure I'll figure something out. I always do when we get transported through time without intending to go."

"Yes I know. But not before we get into some kind of trouble. . . ."

A sound from within the house brought Van Helsing to alert. He put a hand on a tojo within his coat and smirked at Carl, as if to say, "See, I told you so, there’s trouble now." Carl just shrugged and tried to look innocent.

When a woman appeared in the doorway of the room, Van Helsing said, "We mean you no harm," and put a hand up. "Just stay where you are."

When Pati saw who had ‘broken’ into her house, she could only stare and wonder if she was still asleep and dreaming.

Carl looked her up and down appreciatively, a sly smile on his face. He took a step forward, but Van Helsing blocked his approach with a leather-covered arm. "Wait! Carl, she could be some kind of. . . evil seductress."

"Oooh, a seductress!" Carl clapped his hands together and ducked underneath Van Helsing’s arm to approach the woman and take her hand. "I hope so."

"Carl! Don’t mind him, miss. He’s. . . lascivious."

"I didn’t know you even knew that word, Van Helsing." Carl gave him his best lascivious smile. Still holding her hand, Carl asked Van Helsing, "Do you sense any evil?"

Van Helsing sighed. "No."

"Well, then." Carl took her by the hand and led her through her own house, asking questions and standing far too close for Van Helsing’s liking. Finally, he noticed something. "Have you lost your spectacles? You’re wearing them here, " as he pointed to a picture on the wall, "but not now. Did we startle you so badly you forgot to put them on?"

Pati laughed and explained that she’d had surgery and no longer needed them.

"You mean, they fixed your eyes so you could see clearly? That’s amazing!"

And of course, Carl insisted on hearing all the details she could offer. Finally, she showed him her computer, and searched for information on the Internet to better explain it to him. Of course, she leaned over his shoulder the entire time, pressing against him. Carl didn’t complain. A seductress who wasn’t evil was a wonderful discovery, to his way of thinking. Van Helsing was off in another room, looking for ways to get them home, but Carl was so excited by the computer, he shouted, "Van Helsing, it’s a like a magic. . . box!"

She showed him how everything worked, including the printer, and of course he caught on quickly. He printed pages and pages of information to take home, and then took Pati by the hand again and led her back through the house to find Van Helsing.

"Carl, any idea how we can get home?"

"Mm, nothing yet. I think we might be stuck here for a little while. But I like it here. There are no beasts chasing us at the moment, no warlocks trying to cast spells over us, and nothing trying to eat us alive, for a change of a pace. And after all, there are seductresses here. An un-evil one, even." He beamed and looked at Pati again, taking her in from her to her head to her toes and back, smiling appreciatively.

"And LOOK!" He shoved his handful of papers at the man. "Look at all this! I’ve got all sorts of things here, including information all about how they can fix people’s eyes so they don’t need spectacles. It’s a very minor operation, I understand. Of course, I don’t have the same equipment at home, but I can’t wait to try it."

Van Helsing gave him a dark glare.

"Not on a living person, of course, Van Helsing, I would never ask you. . . or anyone else. . . . it’s research, nothing more. . . perhaps a dead animal, or. . ."

Amazingly, Van Helsing’s glare didn’t change.

Carl clapped his hands together. "Well. I’m tired. I think it’s time we saw how modern people. . . sleep." As he said this, he pulled Pati’s hand to his stomach and covered it with his other hand. His smile said he clearly wasn’t interested in modern sleeping habits. "Come along," he said, pulling her toward what he thought might be a bedroom. Van Helsing followed with what sounded like an unhappy grunt, but though Pati couldn’t see him, he was looking her up and down appreciatively, too.

Carl squeezed her hand. "Don’t mind him, he’s. . . possessive."

When they made their way to the bedroom, Carl wasted no time in finally removing his helmet and putting it gingerly on a chair. As he began hauling his robe over his head, a thought occurred to him, and he reached out and took Pati’s slightly trembling hand again. The woman looked positively. . . overcome. Clearly something was wrong. She breathed as if she’d just run a kilometer, and she hadn’t stopped smiling for such a long time, Carl had started to wonder if she might be paralyzed.

"Oh, I neglected to mention. . . Van Helsing will pout for days if we don’t let him join in."

The scream Pati let out brought Van Helsing running, weapon in hand, and caused Carl to actually hit the floor for a moment, afraid she was screaming because something was coming up on him from behind. But then she pulled off her sweater, whipped it around in the air five or six times and shouted again as she tossed it across the room, so he guessed she was all right.

A few weeks after they’d returned to Rome, Rome of the correct year and even the day, thanks to Carl’s genius, Carl approached the hunter when they were alone in the lab. "Oh, look at that, Van Helsing. Dammit. The notes I brought from Pati’s house, they’re woefully incomplete. I forgot. . . things." With a mock pout, he looked at the hunter.

"Well, then. I suppose we’ll just have to go back, so you can get what you’ve forgotten."

Carl dragged Van Helsing to his machine at a dead run. "I’ve already made the calculations. You know which button to push?"

Van Helsing gave him a dark glare, before he pushed it.