Name: Lavella (known as Vella) Hart
Date: Became Tracker Summer of 1991
Vampire Tracker Part 1
My obsession with vampires started in high school. Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Gary Oldman and Winoa Ryder was my favorite movie and I devoured Anne Rice books. I spent hours perusing the shelves in the secondhand book store looking for anything I hadn’t read or a bit of history I didn’t know. I’d come home with my arms loaded with books, some smelled of mold, but I didn’t care, I loved vampires. Their life, their immortality, their live experiences was hypnotizing. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to live forever and look good at the same time. In my enthusiasm I dyed my hair black and powdered my face until it was white as the moon. My parent got a kick out of it all and indulged my romantic notions of vampire lore and with a little bit of elbow grease I soon lived in a black room.
A few days after I graduated high school Jeremy, my long time friend, and I drove out east to visit all the known places of vampire sightings. We spent months marking them down and charting our course. Any extra money we made went into a shiny metal coffee can we labeled ‘Vampire Hunting.’ For two months we’d camp out or stay in dirt cheap motels and make sure to eat as cheap as we could. Everything would be documented. Jeremy was the man behind the camera. I was the voice and face of our trip.
The first part of the trip was pretty unmomentous. We made it a point to interview a few folks in the towns we went to, follow-up with research at the library or museums. Most folks didn’t even know about the stories, and those that did gave us raised eyebrows. A couple of old folks said it ‘was best to leave the dead alone.’ But, they weren’t really dead right, they were the undead.
We’d been on the road for three weeks and were making our way down the highway to southeast Virginia. I had read a crazy story in an old book about Nat Turner, a slave who led a rebellion in Southampton Virginia and killed hundreds of people, whites and blacks. In this version he was a vampire. It said that ‘one night when the moon turned blue-green a vision of blood came to him.’ It’s up for debate whether he was a vampire or not at this point, but shortly afterward, he had hundreds of vampire slaves serving him.
We rolled into town and bought sodas at an ancient gas station. It had one rusty pump and an old timey metal soda machine. The attendant looked like he had worked there his whole life. He didn’t move when we walked in, just kept reading the paper. We set our sodas down on the counter.
The attendant pushed the newspaper back, looked us up and down. His hair was short and grey, his skin, dark brown but smooth. “That’ll be two dollars.” He returned to his paper.
We dug through our pockets and set several coins down on the counter.
“Hey, can you tell us where the Nat Turner rebellion was?”
He flicked the newspaper back and eyed us. “What’d you want to go there for? You look like a couple of decent kids, my advice to you is to drive right through town and just keep going.”
Jeremy and I looked at each other. “Uh, we’re kinda doing a summer project. Can you help us?”
He looked out the window at our car. The back was piled high with sleeping bags, pillows and junk pressed against the windows.
“Summer project, eh.” He took our money and put it in the register. “Well, if you must go. It’s down the road, turn right at the graveyard. From that point on there will be signs, just follow ’em.”
“Thanks.” I waved my hand.
He leaned over the counter, grabbed my hand and pulled me close. I could smell tobacco, coffee and garlic on his breath. “No matter what you do, be in town before dark. A person’s soul can easily get lost out there.”
Jeremy pulled on the back of my shirt and I wrenched my hand free. We ran out of the store and sped down the road. I swear my heart was going to burst out of my chest. Jeremy started laughing.
“That was some crazy shit Vella!”
“Dude, that was totally freaky. You should have smelled his breath. I think he was dead already.”
We followed his directions and parked along the side of the road next to a historical marker. Jeremy snapped a few pics of the sign. He looked toward the woods on the other side of the field.
“Let’s walk a bit. Maybe there will be something more in the woods over there and then we can come back at nightfall to film.”
We walked across a large field into the woods. I could hear the click of the camera as Jeremy took pictures. I veered off to the right hoping to find something, anything to make stopping here worthwhile. Further in the woods something caught my attention. As I got closer I noticed a large wooden cross buried in the ground. Carved into it was “Here lies my soul,” there was a name, but I it had been marked out.
I turned my head Jeremy’s direction. “Hey come look at this!”
Jeremy ran over. “Wow, let’s see if there is any more. I’ll walk this way, you walk that way, then we’ll come down the middle.”
Jeremy headed to the right and tripped, falling face down into the ground.
“Hey, you ok?” I went over to help him.
“Uh, I am, let’s just hope the camera is too.” Jeremy stood up and looked the camera over.
I looked down at the ground. “Oh my god, what the?”
At our feet were tons of small bones scattered about the ground in piles. It looked like someone had a woodland feeding frenzy here.
“Jer, this is definitely the spot.”
This flash is part of a vampire series for Friday Flash. Follow the links below to read more.
Vella and Jeremy Vampire Tracker Part 2
Ammon The Moon Flute Player The Cliff Dwelling Part 2
Lis, Andrew and the Flute Player The Cliff Dwelling Part 1
Lis Desert Vampires.
Andrew Vampires in the Jungle
Veronique Vampires at the Moulin Rouge
Veronique and Natalia Snow in Paris
Vampires ~ Flash Fiction ~ Friday Flash