It all started with a bet. We were returning home from the night-club around two o’clock in the morning when we decided to take a short-cut through the old cemetery.
For a laugh we were making rhymes about the names on the various headstones.
As we continued along the pathways we came to realise that this was a far bigger cemetery than any of us had ever imagined.
There were thousands of graves, some with enormous headstones, and some without any.
All around us the multitude of huge old trees cast their shadows, shadows that were made by the full moon that was blazing away high in the heavens.
It gave the cemetery an eerie, yet calming atmosphere.
As we approached what turned out to be the centre of the place, we became aware of several vaults, all standing regally in the moonlight.
Each of these vaults had a huge lock securing its doors.
We sat on the steps leading to one impressive vault and smoked our cigarettes and drank the remainder of our cans of lager.
Talking about what had transpired that evening in the night-club raised peals of laughter from us, laughter which rang through the silent graveyard.
“Hope we don’t wake anyone up,” laughed Keith, one of my posh mates.
“Nah! replied Steven, they’re all sleeping the sleep of the dead.”
This again had us all laughing.
Harry climbed the steps of the vault and tried the lock on the doors.
“Hey, this lock doesn’t seem so secure. let’s break it open,” he laughed.
“No sooner said than done,” replied Steven, and taking a small headstone from a nearby plot, he smashed the lock completely off the door.
“Come on then, who’s brave enough to go down into the vault,” enquired Harry.
Inflamed by drink and full of bravado, we all trooped down into the vault.
Several lighters were brought into use to illuminate the dark interior of the vault.
“Look at this then,” laughed Norman. This is the casket of Count Alucard, some local big-wig no doubt."
“I wouldn’t want to spend the night in here, would you?” said Keith.
Steven laughed out loud. “You mean you wouldn’t dare, more like.”
For some strange reason I found myself saying, “How much would you bet?”
The others all looked at me as if I were crazy.
“You actually mean you would?”
“Sure, but you would have to leave the cash here with me,” I replied.
Steven, the “leader” of the group said, “OK boys, empty your wallets. Let’s see how serious he really is,” and with that the wallets were all emptied onto the top of the casket.
Steven quickly counted it, and looking directly at me he said, “Five hundred and thirty quid. Are you still game to spend the night alone down here.”
Five hudred and thirty quid … I’d spend a week down here for that!
“Just give me the cash, and off you go. All night here will be a doddle,” I replied with a confidence that I did not honestly feel, but I desperately needed that cash, and anyway, what was there down here to harm me? It would soon be daylight, and my task would be over.
“OK lads, laughed Steven, lets be off and leave our hero here. I wouldn’t stay down here for five thousand quid.”
At that they all trooped laughing back up the stairs and slammed the doors to the vault behind them. I could hear them fiddling with the lock and fixing it back onto the outside of the doors.
So, here I was, all alone and five hundred and thirty quid the richer.
A couple of hours and it would be daylight, and then I could get off home.
It wouldn’t take much pressure to force the now broken lock off the doors of the vault.
As the sound of their voices drifted off into the distance I felt the silence of the vault closing in around me like a dark, cold blanket.
Imagination is a terrible thing, and sitting there alone on the cold floor I could imagine all manner of things occurring around me in the cold, dark vault.
I shrugged away my feelings and lit a cigarette.
The feeble light from my lighter flickered across the caskets that were stacked tidily all around me.
I didn’t need reminding just how many corpses were rotting away around me.
Each dull glow as is I drew on the cigarette did little to dispel the fears that were crowding into my imagination, but the cold of the vault and the beer in my belly were lulling me into a deep sleep.
Oh well, I thought. I’d be better off asleep as awake under these circumstances, so I succumbed to the blackness and let myself surrender to my dreams. I closed my eyes and slept.
In my dreams a beautiful young woman had enfolded me in a loving embrace, and I returned her passion with all the ardour that my pent-up emotions could muster.
It all seemed so real.
Never before had I encountered such a willing and beautiful woman, and I took advantage of my good fortune.
Of course it was all a dream, yet when I awoke it was still pitch black in the vault.
I lit my lighter and noted with alarm that it was midnight.
It had to be midnight, because it was still pitch black.
Surely I hadn’t slept for so long!
Funnily enough, when I rose from the floor, there was no sign of stiffness in my limbs.
I felt alive and renewed, although a little weak, and oh so terribly hungry.
Strangely I had no desire for solid food.
What I had was a craving for blood.
Fresh warm blood.
How very strange!
I stood for a few moments thinking just where I could find the answer to my problem, and then I remembered … my mates would all be in the night-club around this time. Wouldn’t they be surprised to see me walk in there…
Kitos. (27 minutes. Thinking and writing.)