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

 

scribe:

 

 

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

 

cave.

 

 

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.

 

 

Boom,

 

Boom,

 

Boom.

 

 

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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