Meanwhile, Mathew fished with Jackie and Frank near the lighthouse. Sandy Creek filters into the bay from a tributary near Black Hills Cemetery. They fished the stream all morning and into the late afternoon. Shafts of sunlight sparkled through the green sanctuary.
“Have you caught anything yet?” asked Jackie.
“I’ve caught nothing but a couple swollen cans of liverwurst and an old shoe; how about you?”
“Still nothing; Frank, have you caught anything?”
But there was no any answer.
“FRANK…FRANK…I think he must be lost again. I swear it happens every time we come down here.” Jackie walked up and down the stream looking for his friend, but there was not even a footprint.
Mathew pulled the silver crucifix out of his pocket, looking at the foreign words engraved on the back. “I wish I’d taken World Languages last year. The writing may be Latin. I wonder if the cross can lure fish.” He tied it to the end of his pole and cast it into the stream.
Slowly, footsteps approached. A figure moved through the shadows, avoiding brittle sticks. It moved near Mathew, with arms outstretched.
The hair on Mathew’s neck stood on end. Swiveling, he brandished a hunting knife.
It was the sheriff. “You’d better put your knife away if you know what’s best for you.”
“Sorry sheriff, I didn’t mean anything personal, just keeping my guard up.”
“Smart lad,” replied Arthur with a smile. “I know things have been tough for you this summer. Your dad hasn’t been around much, travels, doesn’t he?”
“That’s right. He’s a deliveryman for the Sears Company.”
“Well, I made a point of coming down here to warn you of something that’s been happening in town. There’s no easy way to say this so I’ll speak plainly. Your mother’s been petrified, by what, we’re not sure, but we suspect it could be a vampire. I know you’ve been taught in school to believe nothing like that exists, but only a vampire could’ve unearthed the graves in Black Forest Cemetery last night and petrified your mother. Now, I want to ask you a serious question. You won’t get in trouble if you answer honestly. “Did you steal anything from Mort’s Curiosities yesterday?”
Thinking it was a trick, Mathew lied. “Sir, I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s nothing in his junk heap I’d want.”
“Just to be sure, I want to ask you one more time; your life could depend on it. Did you take anything? Maybe you swiped an antique for a joke because one of your friends dared you to.”
Mathew shook his head, “No sir.”
A high pitched scream came from beyond the creek. “SOMETHING’S HAPPENED TO FRANK. HE’S TURNED GREY AND WON’T MOVE!” shouted Jackie.
“Mathew, I hope you told me the truth, but in case you haven’t, I’d advise you to stick close to me. If you see a black cloak, avert your gaze or the vampire will petrify you with its stare.”
Jackie ran toward them at full speed and kept going.
“I didn’t know he could run so fast,” mentioned Arthur. He should join the track team.” They turned around to face their adversary, but none came.
“Better stand behind me,” murmured Arthur. Walking toward Frank’s petrified body; the sheriff drew his .357 Magnum. He pointed it at the trees, waiting to shoot anything that moved.
They found Frank with a startled expression on his petrified features.
“It looks like he saw the Vampire from the east,” commented Mathew.
Arthur tried to look from the boy’s vantage point, when he saw it. A wisp of smoke mingled with a tall cloak stepped behind a tree. In the next moment, the peaceful air was broken by six gun shots.
The sheriff emptied his revolver into the phantasm, enveloping Mathew and himself in blue smoke.
“I think I hit him!” shouted Arthur. Let’s go check it out. They walked across the shallow creek to the other side, noticing a few scraps of stuffing and fabric lying on the ground. Suddenly, sunlight struck it, smoldering the vampire’s remains into ashes.
Quickly, the sheriff leaned down and scooped the evidence into a small match box. “You never know when something trivial may become useful,” he said. I’m afraid bullets won’t do any good against a vampire. No more bullshit kid. Did you take the crucifix?”
Mathew handed the cross to Arthur.
“I don’t want to give you nightmares, but the vampire will hunt you until it tastes your blood. The Latin engraving on the necklace means…
The one who breaks this chain will take my place.
“The vampire wants to make you its own.”
Mathew thought he was going to be sick.
“I’ll take you to Holy Sacrament Catholic Church. You can see your mother and we’ll talk to the priest. Father Mendel is a clever man. I’m sure he’ll find a cure for her petrifaction. We’d better send Hank down here with his tow truck to hoist Frank out of the woods. It’ll take a good four wheel drive and a hefty winch to move his body.”