I have just finished Whitstable and have been touched, mesmerized and even humbled by such an awesome piece of writing. It is 1971 and Peter Cushing's adored wife Helen has succumbed to emphysema and he does not feel he has the strength to carry on alone. However somewhere deep within him Cushing finds the will to face another lonely day, just as his beloved Helen would have wished. As he strolls along the seafront perchance he meets young Carl Drinkwater who greets him as Van Helsing and as the gentle old man and the boy get into conversation a darkness reveals itself. Carl knows that Van Helsing can save him..."I'm talking about here and now and you're the vampire hunter and you need to help me." "It's your job. It's your job Vampire Hunter. You're heroic. You're powerful." Carl continues to reveal some dark secrets...."My mun's boyfriend. He visits me at night time. Every night now. He takes my blood while I'm asleep. I know what he's doing. He thinks I'm asleep but I'm not asleep. It feels like a dream and I try to pretend it isn't happening, but afterwards I feel bad, like I'm dead inside".
The story evolves with Peter Cushing in his soft and unassuming way attempting to find the truth behind the words spoken by the young man. Stephen Volk has managed to bring the gentlemanly Cushing alive before our eyes, an actor who spent his working life fighting evil is now confronted with the very essence of the devil in the form of Les Gledhill, Carls stepfather,and thus can see the true evil that human beings are capable of. "You see, Peter, real evil is not so easy to spot in real life. In real life, evil people look like you and me. We pass them in the street." An essentially sad, thoughtful story and one that will remain with you for a very long time.