The Horror of Vladimir's Castle

October 22, 2008
By Colton Jones, Fort Payne, AL

Even though the challenges teenagers force upon others can be funny, harsh, and sometimes cruel, I will not be intimidated by the arrogant fools of Maryville High School. Maryville is usually pretty dull, except for Vladimir’s Castle, the supposedly haunted house of an ancient vampire. The seniors always dare a new student to go inside the eerie castle and retrieve an artifact. Because I just moved here about two weeks ago, yesterday, Brian, the big jock football captain, decided it was finally my turn to embark on this artifact retrieving challenge. As a new student, I thought maybe this is my chance to prove I can fit in, but I was very wrong.

Halloween was a cold eerie Saturday night when I finally pulled up to the seemingly vacant castle. Outside, a huge black menacing gate featured ivory vines twisting and turning around the cold steel bars. I glanced back towards the crowd of students accumulating behind me, wishing I could talk my way out of the challenge and just go home, but there was no turning back now. Creaking loudly, the gate inched forward as I pushed, hardly giving way; inside, I was then met with a desolate feeling zephyr that raised the hairs on my neck. The barren landscape was anything but friendly; in fact, it was mostly dead. An owl hooted off in the distance as I made my way up the cobblestone walkway leading up to the house. I approached the sinister gothic styled entrance with extreme caution and dread, and I willed myself to go onward. The interior attic light seemed to flicker for a second, as if a candle were sitting upon the window sill. The archaic stairs creaked and groaned under my weight as I ascended upwards in this hellish gothic manor. Upstairs, the nauseating stench of scorched flesh made my stomach turn, and I had to grasp my nose to stop from retching right there on the ancient veranda.

Moving away from the acrid stench, with unnerving despair, I then reached a tattered Victorian styled door. Unfortunately, I knew I could not turn back and face the mortification that was sure to come. The rusty worn out door opened with surprising simplicity, but I knew that was not what I wanted when next came complete and utter silence. The only sound to be heard was the scuttling of rats scurrying for food. I could taste the rank muggy air when I inhaled and knew instinctively that if I delayed any longer I would actually begin heaving. The inside of the castle was exceptionally beautiful with a massive black stairway that escalated the full height of the castle. A dazzling crimson carpet lay across the colossal stairway and led to the entrance. A fine scorched chandelier, suspended above me with exquisite lit candles, looked like a looming ring of fire. A faint agonizing moan echoed down the stairs and interrupted my visual tour, and I knew someone was there with me. Then, I cautiously ran to the first bedroom I could find. Inside the room was a blood soaked cot with a single sheet of parchment penned on the cushion. I began to read the note and was astonished when I found out it was a memoir. Finally, I had my artifact so I turned to leave. I was quickly stopped, dead in my tracks, when in front of me stood the great Vladimir himself. Vladimir with silvery mesmerizing eyes approached me. To my surprise I was frozen, not in fear, but in an unusual euphoria I had never experienced before. This angel of darkness and death projected a deep sense of sorrow and remorse about him. His long black hair cascaded down his shoulders and shone ever so brightly in the moonlit room. Dark circles seemed to caress the edges of his silver eyes, and his pale complexion was almost translucent. Filled with a profound malicious detestation, his eyes seemed to pierce my soul as he looked me up and down. Strangely, a saccharine aroma surrounded him, and I was shocked to find myself slowly moving towards him.

“Come to me, child,” he whispered, as his soothing voice called to me. My emotions were in turmoil, for part of me knew I was in abrupt peril, but the other part craved to close in the few feet that separated us. “W-W-What are you going to do to me?” I croaked, my voice thick with emotion. He just flashed a devious grin and came closer to me. Suddenly, regaining my senses, I tried to run, but he was too fast for me. He grabbed me by the hair and dragged me back to the stairs. I jerked and shrieked and tried to get back to my feet, but my efforts were futile. He hurled me up yet another set of stairs and dropped me in front of a blood stained altar. I knew I was about to perish so I let out a bloodcurdling scream hoping a heroic senior would come to my rescue. Vladimir began to recite phrases in Latin, which I could not comprehend. He pulled my neck towards him and smiled, and then he sank his sharp, blood-stained fangs into my neck. I could feel his vampiric venom pouring into my bloodstream. The agonizing pain that followed made me stagger. All of a sudden I realized that I was now forced to live an eternity filled with hate and bloodlust. I could feel the terrifying transformation begin to take place within my bones. The blood inside my veins ran cold as ice, and my heart beat faster than ever. As I fell toward my human death, a funny thought struck me. I finally got to fit in, unfortunately, just with the wrong crowd.

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