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Richmond Vampire 
by Christina Ciufo 

Like an antique book


written by a righteous Puritan minister,


a mausoleum seals its ancient, malice secrets


from the 19th century world.



Above its door and blackened steel gates,


cursive words edged by chisel’s tip





William Wortham Pool

April 1842 – February 1922




Across his resting place


and by James River’s


tranquil waters, several workers


covered and smudged


with Mother Earth’s soil


on their rough hands and faces.



Underneath their arms,


they carry dynamite, shovels


and pick axes to unearth a sealed





One by one, each dynamite


leans against the stone and tied


together with the explosion.



Dirty men are a foot away


from the cave. The leader of the group


with his dirty hands presses down,


igniting the light down the lines


to the dynamites.










Rock remnants



A huge crack forms


at the center





The vampire crawled the tunnel’s


ceiling. Its’ scarlet eyes


dialed at the petrified men.


Inching closer and closer


towards the tunnel’s entrance.


bolted towards the dreaded men


and into the howling woods.



Gulping down their fear


of what they unleased


onto the world, the men sought


out to kill the monstrosity.



Crescent moon hovers


over, like an opal necklace


worn on a young woman’s neck,


illuminating its enchantment


through the mausoleum’s thin cracks,


running down on its sides.



Ben Mosby, a young worker,


holding a lantern and shovel in his


dirt-covered hands, parts from


the group. Like the lantern’s flame,


his curious, determined eyes


sought out the vampire from the cave.



Half opened iron gates welcomed


Ben to enter through the slumbering dead.


Ignoring his heart’s pleads, he walked


through the gates and on the slumbering


dead. He grinned in satisfaction while


scanning around each edged name


and cracked tombstone for the vampire.



A gust of cold wind kissed his cheek.


He turned his head to William Wortham Pool’s


mausoleum. Its’ stone door was half-opened.


He gulped down his fear and approached


the mausoleum. He placed his hand


onto the stone door. Its’ sharp coldness


coursed through his arm and into his being.


He gasped. His hand grabbed tight onto the stone


while he opened it wide.



He shined his lantern in the darken way,


looking for the vampire’s traces. He stepped inside


and said in a bold voice,


“I know you are in here, you horrid vampire.


If you are terrifying, why do you stop being afraid


and come out?”



Ben heard a loud hiss emanating from the dark.


Suddenly, two scarlet eyes appear and emanated 


their impious savagery.



Dusk came while the dead


slumber in the Earth, the men


still spooked from witnessing


the feral vampire’s milky face


and black marble eyes, search


for their friend.



Lanterns pendulum


with the Autumn winds,


while they called out Ben’s name.



One of the men founded Ben’s footsteps


engraved in soil leading to the cemetery.


They followed the trial and with each step,


their hearts pumped their dread of what befallen


their friend.



They reached and went through a half-opened gate.


They looked at each tombstone and each mausoleum


for their friend.



“Look,” one of the men said. “Look, I found


Ben. He is inside this mausoleum.”



The men rushed over to William Wortham Pool’s


resting place. Rather than paying their respects,


they opened the mausoleum’s doors and shined


the lantern’s glow through the darken way.



Coloring flushed from their faces


Hands loosening their grip


on lanterns’ handles plummet


to the hallow ground. Shattered lantern glass


scattered around their feet. Their stomachs churned


by dread and revulsion of a half-undead Ben


against the apathic stone curled into a ball.



Layers of his skin was tattered and dangling,


like torn cow flesh hanging on a meat racket


for display. His upper body was scalded and blood-soaked.


His teeth, like shards of church glass, were shattered.


His determined eyes were burned out and became consumed


by horror.



As they approached Ben, his shaken, ripped hands


lunged and grabbed tightly onto one of the man’s shirt.



He leaned forward and said,


“Beware, beware of the Richmond Vampire


and its’ savagery appetite. It has no remorse


for the living and the dead.


Beware, beware of the Richmond Vampire


for even in morning’s dusk and when the dead


slumber, it still lurks for an unfortunate soul.”

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