"I asked some questions about Ashford after you left last night," Dr. Lee replied. "They're college students, apparently. He makes speeches at universities, that's where most of his money comes from, and he often recruits an adoring fan or two as well. I think there's some sort of scam involved, internship or work-study or something like that."
Jan Sleet nodded. "In any case, he gets unpaid and adoring assistants, and they get college credit and reflected glory."
"There's more than that going on," Christy said. "That girl was practically naked."
My employer laughed. "She was indeed, but famous artists have seduced willing fans since the first popular cave painter. If that was all that was going on, I'd say that at least they were getting college credit out of it. But Åsa's condition indicates that something far more serious is happening here."
Dr. Lee looked grim. "Solving this is your department, primarily, but it is stopped, as of now, whatever it was. Åsa is not going to leave this building again until this is figured out. I will lock her in the basement if I have to. And Christy's message to Ashford is the literal truth."
Jan held up a hand. "We need to know a lot more before we do anything."
Dr. Lee nodded. "Of course. We never act without reason." She smiled. "There is another factor, however, that you may not be aware of." She reached down next to her chair and pulled up a large poster. "These started going up this morning. A couple of people brought them to me." She unfurled it so we could see.
The image was a painting of a house, looking very much like a highly romanticized version of Ashford's house, including creepy overhanging trees, a stormy sky and a bolt of lightning. The text read, "First Blood," and the subtitle was, "The Vampire Poems, by Isaac Ashford." Near the bottom it said, "Coming Soon."