White stone mausoleum with the name "Bloodhurst" on it. Caption reads: "It was one of those family crypt things."

Bloodhurst short story by Iris Carden

Charlie is nuts. Literally everyone, with the possible exception of Charlie himself, knows Charlie is nuts. He also has a particular love of certain substances.

That’s why, when he told us yesterday, he’d seen a vampire, we didn’t believe him. Julie told him to ease up on his using. Tom said, ” We can always count on Charlie to be Charlie.” I just shook my head, and Bill shrugged his shoulders. None of us believed him. That conversation had been at school, before first period yesterday.

At lunch time, he continued his story. He’d been at the old cemetery on the edge of town late at night. There was a mausoleum there, well he called it, “one of those family crypt thingies.” It had the name “Bloodhurst” on it. I know, right? Brilliant name for a vampire.

He said the door had a padlock on it, but while he was watching, the door opened, breaking the lock. A man walked out, looked around, swirled a long cape around itself, and turned into a bat and flew away.

His story had us in stitches. It was the funniest thing we’d ever heard, a much better story than most of the usual weird stuff he told us.

Charlie was insistent. He demanded we stop laughing, this was serious. We laughed more, of course. Then he said, if we didn’t believe him, we should go back to the cemetery and spend the night.

It was nuts, but it was Charlie. He was crazy, but he was our crazy, if you know what I mean. We finally gave in.

After school, we each went home and packed bags, with snacks, jumpers in case it got cold, that kind of thing. I made sure to charge up my phone.

We’d agreed to meet about eleven, which gave all our families time to get to sleep, so we could sneak out. You didn’t think we asked our parents’ permission for this madness, did you?

We rode our bikes, Tom’s the only one old enough to drive and he’s on his L plates, so he can’t drive unsupervised.

It turned out, Charlie had been right about the mausoleum with “Bloodhurst” written on it. It was there, white stone, with columns in front and a domed roof. Bloodhursts must have been a really rich family at some time, and apparently they needed somewhere fancy to be dead in. There was a lock, hanging loosely from the wall, no longer attached to the door. The whole thing was so old, I thought it has just fallen free from the door.

Julie remembered to bring a picnic rug for us all to sit on, so we sat on the lawn, among the graves, eating our midnight snack, and totally not expecting anything to happen at all.

Then it did happen. You expected that, didn’t you? I mean, it wouldn’t be much of a story, otherwise. The mausoleum door flew open, and a tall man in a dark suit and, I kid you not, a cape, came striding out.

He looked around, and saw us. He came running at us, and we scattered in five different directions.

Just my luck, it was me he chose to follow when we separated. I ran as fast as I could, and looked back over my shoulder to see him gaining on me. That’s when I tripped. I hit my head on something. It might have been a headstone.

I don’t remember what happened after that, but this morning, I woke up here in my own bed. I’ve got a scrapes on my hands and knees, and a big bump on my head from where I fell. For some reason, my neck’s sore as well. It looks like I might have fallen on twigs or something, because there’s two little holes in my neck, puncture marks, like someone stabbed me with two toothpicks. I don’t know how to explain that.

The sunlight coming through my window seems different today. It’s hurting my eyes. It’s excruciating. I think I’m getting a sunburn just from that bit of morning sunlight. I’ve got a horrible headache, and I’m nauseous, and my skin’s really cold to touch. If you touched me right now, you’d feel it.

I don’t know what’s going on. I mean, I don’t seriously believe that guy was a vampire, but I just feel really sick. I hope Mum lets me stay home from school today.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


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