The sound of a rock hitting Bohdan’s cage woke him up and let him know the tourists that came today weren’t happy. He had fallen asleep in the midday sun and ignored the very people who had paid to see him spin in the wind. He raised his hand and gave the crowd the finger in defiance. He knew it was a hollow gesture and that the crowd would take any interaction they could get from him. Then he felt the cage start to lower. Usually he stayed elevated until sunset, but for some reason, was being let down.
When the cage came to rest on the ground below, two guards unlocked the door and let Bohdan out. A rumbling came from the crowd as they didn’t know what was going on and didn’t want the star attraction leaving. The tickets were expensive enough.
“You’re going to the warden’s office,” a guard said.
“Now what?” Bohdan asked.
“You’ll see when you get there,” the guard replied and the two escorted Bohdan up the tower, across the bridge and to the administration building. As he passed by the crowd of onlookers, he tried to avoid eye contact and ignore the crowd. It did no good as he was greeted like a king.
At the administration building, Bohdan was led into the warden’s office where he was met by a young woman with a notepad. She was dressed like a dime store prostitute but otherwise looked like a professional. The warden, sitting behind his desk introduced the woman to Bohdan. Her name was Lucy Jo, she was a reporter from the Chicago Tribune sent to the prison to do a feature story on Bohdan.
Bohdan looked at the woman and shook his head. She was wearing a short skirt with her legs spread far enough apart that he could see she hadn’t shaved recently. He wondered what kind of message she was sending him dressed like that. “Are you sure you’re not a prostitute?” Bohdan asked.
“Why do you ask that?” Lucy Jo asked.
“I’ve never seen a proper woman dressed as such, is that the fashion in the city?”
“Yes it is, we run a fashion section in the paper, I’m good friends with the editor and I write a guest column.”
“I’ve never seen your paper, do many people read it?” Bohdan asked.
“It’s been in publication since eighteen forty seven, it’s the largest paper in the Midwest,” Lucy Jo replied.
“So what does your paper want to know about me?”
“Everything, now that you’ve been captured the whole world wants to know your story.”
“The whole world eh? I’m not sure I want the world to know that much about me.”
“For a famous killer, you certainly are modest. Most of the killers I’ve spoken to can’t wait to tell their story. They want their picture on top and a huge headline with their name on it. Why are you so shy?”
“I’m not shy, I’m private, there’s a difference,” Bohdan replied. “I’ll talk to anyone about most anything, but myself.”
“I hope we can change that today, I came a long way to interview you.”
“Chicago is two miles away, you didn’t come that far.”
“The city limits are two miles away, the office is twelve miles into the city. That’s a long way by carriage.”
“I hope you’re not too put out, I don’t really feel like doing this today,” Bohdan said.
Then the warden interrupted. “You will do the interview and answer her questions.”
“Looking for free advertising?” Bohdan asked.
“I want the paper to know that we were willing to cooperate, that’s all,” the warden replied.
“How many papers do you sell a day?” Bohdan asked.
“I think well over ten thousand by now,” Lucy Jo replied. She didn’t really know, but didn’t want to come off as ignorant.
“Ten thousand, I don’t know about this,” Bohdan said.
“Let me ask you a question, you can decide if you want to answer or not, alright?” Lucy Jo asked.
“Fine, go ahead,” Bohdan replied.
“Where are you from originally?”
“My family came from Romania, I was born in Texas.”
“Did you live in Texas long?”
“I did till I was ten, then we moved around working at different ranches.”
“Your family were ranchers?”
“Ranch hands, my father was. Then I was.”
“You’re an only child?”
“Are your parents still alive?”
Bohdan had to think. Now that they came through the tunnel, he had no idea if they were in the time or place he thought he was. “I don’t know for sure. I haven’t seen them in a long time.”
“How and when did you become a vampire?”
“It was eighteen sixty one, I was turned by a slave.”
“And when did you start raping and killing young women?” Lucy Jo asked.
Bohdan had to think for a moment. “That same year I think.”
“Do you know how many women you’ve raped and killed? They say it’s over a hundred.”
“No, it’s way less than that. Maybe twenty. You know how rumors grow over time,” Bohdan replied.
“Are you sure? Because if that’s all, your reputation would be greatly exaggerated.”
The warden became nervous realizing his cash cow may become bankrupt if word got out that Bohdan wasn’t the killer he was advertising. The warden said, “Twenty is nothing to scoff at. That would still make him one of the most prolific vampire serial killers in captivity.”
“One of? Are there more you know of?” Lucy Jo asked.
The warden was talking out his ass now trying to fix a potential problem. He didn’t want to come off as stupid so he tried to cover it up. “I’m not sure of all the figures, I’d have to contact Washington to find out for sure.”
Lucy again addressed Bohdan, “Why do you prefer young women and girls?”
“Because they’re easy,” Bohdan replied. “They don’t put up much of a fight, and they don’t taste like rotten eggs. Plus I can fuck them first. I’m no queer, I don’t fuck men.”
“There was a rumor that you were a homosexual and that you killed women because you thought they were disposable.”
“How do you explain me raping them first? If I were gay, I’d have a very hard time getting hard, if you know what I mean,” Bohdan said with a grin.
“Another rumor squashed,” Lucy Jo said. “How did you pick your victims?”
“By chance mostly.”
“You didn’t seek out certain types of women?”
“I was lucky to find the ones I did. I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. When you live out in the country, you take what you can.”
“I see, but with such a limited number of women, didn’t that play to your disadvantage? I would think they would have figured you out quickly.”
“And they did quite often. I lived on the run for most of my life, up until they captured me. I’m actually glad in a way they did. I’m so sick of running.”
“So you like the Vampire Zoo,” Lucy Jo stated.
Bohdan paused for a long time before answering. “Actually no, this place is a shit hole. They toss the vampires in a pit and let them fend for themselves. Then they charge admission to watch them. It’s very vile.”
“From what I understand, you don’t spend much time in the pit,” Lucy Jo said.
“That’s right, they hang me from the bridge in a cage on display.”
“At least you’re not with the general population.”
“I’m pelted with rocks twelve hours a day. I can’t sleep, I’m starving half the time, and I’m sunburned on one side from the light coming through the cage. I’d rather be on the ground, then at least I could get some shade and some sleep.”
“The warden tells me he’s planning another special event soon. He says they’re bringing up another girl from Texas for you to rape and kill.”
Bohdan looked at the warden and didn’t know if he should smile or scream. Although he would enjoy the girl and the attention, he was fed up with the circus atmosphere. “When is this going to happen?” Bohdan asked.
“Saturday, this time the president is coming,” the warden said with a smile.
“Chester Arthur is coming?” Bohdan asked.
“Yes, and some of his cabinet and a few from congress.” The warden could barely hold in his enthusiasm.
“When were you going to tell me?” Bohdan asked.
“I wasn’t going to at all, she let out the surprise.”
“I’m so sorry,” Lucy Jo said.
“That’s alright, he’d of found out one way or another.” The warden was pissed, he didn’t want Bohdan to know anything. As long as he was locked in the cage, nobody could tell him anything. But then he was allowed back in the pit during the night. Either way, the president was coming.
“Is the interview over?” Bohdan asked.
“Yes, but I need to get a picture,” Lucy Jo said. She brought a photographer with her who was set up in the main office of the administration building.
“Can I be in the picture too?” the warden asked.
“Of course,” Lucy Jo replied.
Bohdan stood up and was led to the lobby where the camera was set up. He stood against the wall and the warden stood next to him with a guard on the other side. The picture was shot and Bohdan was led back out into daylight.
“Can I see where he lives?” Lucy Jo asked as she followed behind the guards.
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” the warden replied. “There are a lot of dangerous vampires down in the pit, and they’d love nothing more than to get a hold of a fine looking woman like yourself.”
“I appreciate the compliment warden, but I think I can handle myself with these two guards.
The warden chewed on her idea for a moment. He didn’t want to do anything that would cause her to write a bad story about him or the prison, so he agreed. “I want you within an arm’s length of the guards at all times. If one of those bastards grabs ahold of you, that might be the end. It only takes a second for them to bite you, then you’re one of them. Forever.”
“I understand,” Lucy Jo replied.
The trip to the bottom of the pit was quick and Lucy Jo found herself walking along the north wall with Bohdan, the warden and two armed guards. She immediately noticed the smell and began to gag. “What’s that smell?” she asked.
“It was feeding day two days ago, that’s what’s left over,” the warden replied
Lucy Jo looked in the direction where the smell was coming from and saw a pile of bones and flesh covered with flies and maggots. “Do we have to go that way?” she asked.
“Not unless you want to walk by the Mormon house, its best we stay to this path,” one of the guards said.
“What’s wrong with the Mormon house?” Lucy Jo asked.
“You want to steer clear of the Mormon house, and the miner house as well. Stay on the beaten path between them both,” the warden replied. “Trust me, that’s no place for a woman.”
“I told you I could handle myself,” Lucy Jo said.
“Did you see that pile of bodies back there? That’s what they do to non-vampire humans. When they get hungry, they eat. I’m not going to be responsible if your eaten alive down here. As a matter of fact, I want you out now. Story or no story, if you die down here they may shut me down. Take her out of here!” the warden said.
“Yes sir,” one of the guards said and motioned for the reporter to change direction and follow.
Bohdan stepped in closer to the warden to whisper in his ear. “I’m surprised you had the balls to bring her down here.”
“Why? Do you think I’m scared of her?”
“No, I think you’re scared of me.” With that said, Bohdan grabbed the warden by the neck and pulled him into the bushes before the guards knew what happened. In an instant, Bohdan had swept the warden away into the darkness out of the view of the guard’s altogether.