Word of the vampire ripper spread like wildfire throughout the pit and to the prison administration outside. Bohdan was awaken from a deep sleep by two prison guards who bravely traversed their way into the miners building to find him. Leaving Cara behind in protest, Bohdan was led out of the building and up the tower to the administration office on the outside. Groggy, but awake, Bohdan was brought into the warden’s office and presented like a prize catch from a fishing pond. The warden, a tough asshole with no compassion for anyone looked upon Bohdan and scratched his face. “Who the fuck are you?” the warden asked, his name was Gary Oden.
“My name is Bohdan Malko,” Bohdan replied. He was tired of explaining who he was to people.
“Are you this vampire ripper I keep getting told about?”
“I’m just a vampire,” Bohdan replied.
“Then why do I keep hearing you’re something special? There must be a reason for all this nonsense.”
“I don’t know, I can’t help you.”
The warden shuffled some papers and read from the top sheet. “I have something here from the U.S. Marshals office about someone with your name being on a list of most wanted killers. There’s no picture but you fit the description. And you have the same name, why do you think they say you’re a killer?”
“All vampires are killers,” Bohdan replied.
“No shit, I’ve been warden here for a long time, you don’t think I know that?”
“I’m just saying, I don’t know why the marshals are singling out one vampire over the rest.”
The warden read more of the report. “Says here that Bohdan Malko, otherwise known as Bohdan the Vampire Ripper raped and killed over fifty young women and girls. Also says there is a huge reward for your capture. Is this you or not?”
“It’s not me,” Bohdan replied.
“You have the same fucking name, what’s the odds of two vampires with that name Bohdan Malko?”
“I don’t know,” Bohdan replied.
“I have a feeling this is you, and if it is, damn if I’m giving you up to the marshals. You are a cash cow if I ever saw one,” the warden said.
Bohdan had been down this route before being put on display for tourists. He didn’t want to be the celebrity vampire anymore and wanted nothing more than to fade into the crowd and disappear. “Do what you want, you will anyway.”
“I know, but I need some proof before I put you on display and charge admission. And I need to work something out with the feds so they don’t take you away. This is the best facility in the country to house vampires.”
Bohdan looked down on the desk and tried to read the papers upside down. What he read had nothing to do with housing vampires. It said penalty of death in bold letters on the third line from the top. “I think they want to kill your cash cow,” Bohdan said.
“I read that too, but I think I can work something out,” the warden said. “We don’t have the death penalty for vampires in Illinois. Since you’re here already, I can argue that you can’t be killed in this jurisdiction. Unless they can extradite you somehow I think I can make a killing on you.”
“Isn’t this a federal prison?” Bohdan asked.
“No, it’s a state run prison.”
“They allow you to charge a fee to look at the inmates? Is that legal?” Bohdan asked.
“Nobody’s stopped me yet,” the warden replied with a grin.
“What do you do with the money you make?”
“That’s none of your fucking business now is it vampire ripper?”
“I’m not the vampire ripper,” Bohdan replied.
“You are until I can prove otherwise. I’m making arrangements right now for a special display, so get used to the idea of being our number one attraction.”
Bohdan thought back to the time he was chained to the metal rack and put on display before the tourists on the tram line. For hours he faced the crowd behind the Plexiglas and the thought of doing something similar here angered him to no end. “I’ll commit suicide before I let you put me on display. I’m not an animal.”
“You do realize they call this place the Vampire Zoo for a reason. You’re all on display. The fact they decided to put you into a pit instead of building a wall or fence made this place a perfect way to display you.”
“Why was that decision made?” Bohdan asked.
“Some science fuck wanted to study vampires and decided it would be easier to do it from above. They had no idea that crowds would come to see the vampires, then wham, I got this brilliant idea to charge a fee. Next thing you know we’re flush with cash. We’re the only prison in the state that is self-sufficient.”
“Does any of that money make its way into your pockets?”
“Like I said before, that’s none of your fucking business, but I will say that I’m thinking about building a new house and the extra cash you bring in will help immensely.”
“You corrupt bastard, and I’m the one in prison.”
“Well, from what I read here, you like to fuck and murder little girls, and tear them up and leave them for people to find later. I think you’re getting exactly what you deserve if you ask me,” the warden said.
“I do like to fuck and murder little girls, I miss it greatly,” Bohdan said.
“You are a piece of shit,” the warden replied. “I’m going to take out a full page ad in the paper as soon as I confirm who you are. I’m going to have a cage built that can hang from the bridge so you can be seen from anywhere behind the fence. I’ll have you on display from sun up to sunset. Fuck, I’ll charge extra at feeding time so they can watch you do what you sick fucks do best. But I won’t be bringing in any little girls for you. Not even a slave deserves that.”
“Do you have a daughter?” Bohdan asked.
The warden paused for a moment. “Why do you give a shit?”
“How old is she?”
“Old enough that I can let her watch you rot in that cage. Do you know what it will be like to sit out in the hot sun all day? And in the rain? Fuck, it gets pretty cold in the winter too, you’ll be an ice cube vampire. But they will come from all over to pay to see you,” the warden said.
“You know why I like to fuck and kill little girls?” Bohdan asked. He was trying his best to get to the warden. “They’re easy, and they turn me on.”
“I bet, sick fucks like you are a dime a dozen, I’m surprised they’re not more of you in prison. How you got a reputation is beyond me.”
“I’m not who you think I am, but I do share in this rippers desire for girls. Maybe he is a copycat, maybe I inspired him,” Bohdan said.
“It shouldn’t take too long to identify you. I’ll wire the marshal’s office today and get someone down here to check you out. In the meantime, I’m ordering the cage be built and I want you isolated so the other vampires don’t try to kill you. They are some jealous fucks.”
“You don’t have to isolate me, the miners have taken me in,” Bohdan said. Bohdan knew that Preacher Jack wasn’t willing to give up his power, and that a meeting hadn’t been called yet, but he would rather live in a group than be put in a cell by himself. Back at New Systems Corrections Inc., he knew he had some protections from the other inmates. Here, he could be attacked by the Mormon’s at any time and by the guards in his cell. He felt he had some protection with the miners. Not much, but at least he wasn’t caged.
“I don’t trust either group, you are worth too much to me.”
“If you isolate me, I’ll kill myself,” Bohdan said. “Then your cash cow will be gone.”
“I’ll have the guards tie you up so you can’t,” the warden said. “You’ll be spending a lot of time in the cage and I can’t let you die, not that easily.”
“I don’t need my arms to end my life, I have other ways,” Bohdan said.
“You’re bluffing,” the warden replied. He looked out his window towards the pit. He could see the fence surrounding the hole and all the spectators standing up close to the bars looking down at the inmates. “Tell you what, you can go back into the pit, that’s fine with me for now. But when I get my permission, you will be hung up on display. You should think of this differently, you will be fed regularly, not like the other animals. You will have privileges no other inmate will have. I need to think on this, but as a celebrity, you will have a life the other vampires will envy.”
“Envy leads to jealousy, and then to anger and revenge,” Bohdan said. “I need to be among the crowd to survive. Don’t treat me any different than anyone else.”
“It’s too late for that. I got word you were here less than a day after you arrived. Nobody put two and two together at the state level, but the inmates figured you out very fast. I will guess by this time tomorrow, I will have more of a crowd than my guards can handle. I’m going to need to hire more staff.” The warden looked back at Bohdan and to the guards behind him. “Get him back in the pit, keep a guard on him at all times,” the warden said.
Bohdan was led back out of the administration office and back into the pit. He was escorted to the miners building and a guard stayed behind to watch him. Cara met Bohdan at the door and led him inside. “You’re just in time, they’re holding a meeting.”
Bohdan stepped into the largest room in the miners building. He saw Preacher Jack standing on a raised slab of concrete addressing the crowd of vampires who were gathered for the meeting. As soon as Bohdan entered the room, Preacher Jack stopped talking, it was as if they were talking about Bohdan and didn’t want him to hear what they were saying.
“Don’t stop on my account,” Bohdan said.
“What did the warden want?” Preacher Jack asked.
Bohdan looked at the guard that was standing next to him. The guard was shaking nervously but standing in attention like the warden expected. Bohdan turned and replied, “He wants to put me on display.”
“I assumed he would. Why did he let you come back?”
“I told him I’d kill myself if he didn’t,” Bohdan replied.
“Why? You prefer to live among us?”
“I’d rather live here than be locked up in a cell by myself.”
“You’d be protected in a cell.”
“I’d go crazy,” Bohdan replied. “What are you discussing? Me?”
“Yes, we were talking about where you’d fit in our clan. We didn’t know if you were coming back or not so we were about to dismiss the meeting, but now that you’re back, we can continue. Now that you seem to have some freedom, what does the clan want?”
There was some rumbling among the vampires present, but no single vampire spoke out.
“There has been an idea put forth that Bohdan be my second in command, how do you feel about that?” Preacher Jack asked the crowd.
“If he’s on display, what good he will be to us?” a voice called out.
Preacher Jack asked, Bohdan, “How often will you be on display?”
“He said all fucking day, locked up in a cage suspended from the bridge,” Bohdan replied. “I don’t think I’ll do you much good as a second in command.”
“Locked up in a cage hanging from the bridge? That’s cruel even for this place,” Preacher Jack said.
“You’re warden seems to be quite the asshole.”
“He’s here for a paycheck and he’s managed to increase his paycheck quite a bit. Illegally.”
“Why don’t you guys do something about that?” Bohdan asked.
“Like what? If you haven’t noticed, we live in a hole in the ground. To him we are nothing but a bunch of blood sucking moles.”
“Moles dig tunnels, you ever thought of that?”
“The walls are lined with brick, beyond the brick is clay so hard it might as well be stone.”
“How did they manage to dig this out if it was so hard?” Bohdan asked.
“I don’t know, I wasn’t here. I was busy killing innocent people and drinking their blood.”
“You’re a miner and you don’t know how they dug out a hole in the ground?”
“I used to dig tunnels into mountains. To find gold, not dig out clay to make a zoo. Don’t confuse the two,” Preacher Jack replied.
“Maybe you should put your skills to good use and find a way. Unless you like living in this hell hole.”
“Maybe you can lead us in digging a tunnel, with all your experience, it should only take a hundred years,” Preacher Jack replied.