Paul Munn is a vampire who sleeps at day in his grave and at night stalks Cambridge, Mass! In this document he tells us the tale of how he become one of the living dead.
Munn was a twenty-six-year old writer, an authority on the supernatural who spent his days banging away at his typewriter in his flat near Haaaavud Yaaahd. He had only one friend, a medical student, Rojer Threng, who would hang around in Munn's apartment and tell him the supernatural was BS--but Threng was not being very sincere! One night a beautiful woman, Margot Vernee, came to Munn's apartment seeking Munn's aid, and was horrified to see Threng there--you see, Threng loved Vernee, and she had rejected him.
Munn learns the story of the Vernee family from Threng. Hundreds of years ago, in France, twenty-eight-year-old Armand Vernee was burned to death for being a sorcerer. Ever since, the Vernee family has lived under a curse. When his son turned twenty-eight, Armand Vernee rose from his grave as a vampire, able to turn into a bat or a mist and thus circumvent almost any obstacle, and killed his son. His son in turn rose from the grave to kill his own child after said child's twenty-eighth birthday. And so on over the centuries, each Vernee dying at 28 and rising from the grave to kill his offspring when he or she reached 28. Margot Vernee is 27 and her birthday is soon , she has sought out Munn looking for help in escaping a horrible death and a horrible unlife as a vampire.
Munn falls in love with Margot Vernee, but he can't figure out a way to protect her from her mother, who comes to her night after night after Margot's 28th birthday to drain her blood. After several such nights, during which Munn futilely fights vampire Mom, Margot expires. Before she dies Margot warns Munn that, since she has no children, Munn is the person she will rise from the grave to torment and kill when he turns 28 in two years!
Two years later Margot attacks right on schedule, and Munn is inclined to surrender to her and join her in living death. But Rojer Threng is still in love with Margot and he achieves a spectacular revenge! He has constructed an elaborate trap, and with Munn as bait destroys vampire woman Margot Vernee. Munn, weakened by Margot's drinking his blood over several nights, dies in the trap himself and soon is rising from his own grave every night to pursue the wily Threng; as the story ends Threng has thus far eluded our narrator's vengeance.
Unremarkable in its execution, but not bad--"The Brotherhood of Blood" is acceptable, or maybe mildly good. The fact that Threng is introduced as a scientifically-minded guy who thinks the supernatural is bunk but turns out to be more knowledgeable about, and more adept at dealing with, the occult than Munn is a little jarring and is perhaps something that should have been smoothed out in an additional draft, but this wrinkle doesn't kill the story.
After its debut in the same issue of Weird Tales as stories I've blogged about by Clark Ashton Smith, Edmond Hamilton and Robert E. Howard, "The Brotherhood of Blood" was included in the collection Murgunstrumm and Others (1977) and Martin H. Greenberg and Lawrence Schimel's Blood Lines: Vampire Stories from New England (1997).
"Nellie Foster" first appeared in the same issue of Weird Tales as Robert E. Howard's "Black Colossus," Clark Ashton Smith's "Genius Loci" and Hugh B. Cave's "The Crawling Curse," all of which have served time under the MPorcius microscope. It has since reappeared in various Derleth collections and a 1999 Martin H. Greenberg and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough anthology of stories about people who kill vampires.
It is no wonder Greenberg included this piece in two different anthologies; "Nellie Foster" is quite short, and it is actually a good story. And it suits the purported feminist angle of Girls' Night Out, as I think you can call it a feminist story--not only does it pass the Baldanders test, but when a vampire is sucking the blood of the children in the little town, the men are no use--they don't believe in vampires!--so women have to save the day! Not only do women defeat the vampire (the Nellie Foster of the title) but men's typical underestimation of women protects the vampire slayer, Mrs. Kraft, from being harassed by the authorities when they find Foster's grave has been dug up and they seek the vandal.
Derleth is an important figure in the history of weird fiction and so it is nice to find a decent piece of weird fiction by him and one that is safe from cancellation because it accords with 2021 sensibilities!