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.
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.
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
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
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.”