Bohdan didn’t want to take the chance of just walking out the gate with the rest of the crowd, his chances were good he’d make it, but this was his best opportunity to leave this hell hole zoo for good. The area where the killings were to take place were still within the fenced in perimeter of the zoo and he couldn’t just fade away like he wanted. Then he spied something in the distance that gave him an idea. It was the meat wagon that brought the slaves the vampires feed on parked next to the stable. The horses were eating as the workers checked on the slaves to sort out the dead ones from the lives ones.
Bohdan slipped off his fine leather coat and tossed it on the ground acting like nothing happened. He quickly looked around to see if anyone noticed and darted into the stable. From his vantage point, he could see about a dozen live slaves sitting, tied up in the back of the wagon. If he waited until they unloaded the slaves into the pit, he could jump inside and ride away hidden inside.
“What are you doing in here?” a voice called out.
Startled, Bohdan turned to see a stable boy with a pitchfork in his hand. “If you’re looking for the killing, it’s that way,” the boy said pointing back towards where Bohdan came.
“No, I’m looking for the outhouse,” Bohdan lied.
“Outhouse is way across on the other side, by the pit,” the boy said.
“Alright,” Bohdan replied. He was well aware where the outhouse was. It stunk up the pit most warm days as the smell filtered down. “I’m looking for a place to stay for a while, my ride left me,” Bohdan said. “He said he’d be back by dark. Do you have a place here I can hang out, out of the wind?”
“You can stay here, if you don’t mind the smell of horse shit,” the boy said. “Was your friend sick or something?”
“No, he didn’t say. I think he didn’t want to see the show they were putting on. He’s a bit squeamish.”
“I don’t blame him, I saw what was left of the last girl he killed. My pa had to help bury her. What a bloody mess. When I get older, I’m going to join the Marshal’s office and hunt these sick bastards.”
“You realize not all vampires chose to be vampires,” Bohdan said. “Some of them were turned against their will.”
The boy looked closely at Bohdan. Like he was examining him. Bohdan took notice and closed his mouth so the boy couldn’t see his teeth, he had probably said more than he should have. “No offence, but if I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were a vampire.”
Bohdan didn’t reply, he just shrugged his shoulders.
“Cat got your tongue?” the boy asked.
Bohdan turned away and replied, “I need to find the outhouse, I’m going to explode.”
“Go to the guardhouse by the pit, you can’t miss it,” the boy said.
Leaving the stable meant walking out of the fenced in gated area and past the guards. That was exactly what Bohdan wanted to avoid. He preferred to stay hiding in the stable, but the boy almost figured him out. He needed to grow some balls and head out the gate and hope nobody recognized him. Bohdan waved to the boy and left the stable heading towards the gate. There were plenty of people heading out so he found his way into the middle of the group, put his head down and walked right out into the open area.
No longer was he in the fenced in area and nothing prevented him from leaving the prison. His goal now was to wait until the slave wagon was unloaded and sneak inside. But that wouldn’t be for a couple of hours. Feeding time alternated between morning and evening depending on which day of the month is was. This time it was late and Bohdan had no choice but to wait and find a place to hide. For now, he hid behind the guard barracks, inside the cellar.
Hours passed and Bohdan watched from the outside of the pit as the slaves were dumped over the wall to the hungry crowd below. He had often seen the same event play out from below, and it was strange seeing it from this angle. The sounds of the eager crowd of vampires was muffled outside the pit, and he could hear the screams of the slaves before they were shoved out the back of the wagon to meet their fate below.
By now it was getting dark with the sun falling in the west. The meat wagon had pulled away from the edge of the pit and a cloth curtain was pulled across the opening. The cloth allowed fresh air into the wagon, keeping the slaves cool and alive. The crowd that had gathered to see Bohdan rape and kill the girl had long dispersed leaving the area he had to traverse open and visible to the guards that were working. To Bohdan’s advantage, the guards kept their attention inside the pit, not to the area surrounding it. He was confident he could walk the hundred feet from where he was hiding to the meat wagon without being seen. So he took off and made his way inside, hopping up over the edge and pulling the curtain closed.
The trip away from the prison was uneventful and calming. Except for the constant rattle and bouncing on the hard clay path as they left the Vampire zoo behind. In the dark, Bohdan decided to sleep, if he could. As long as the wagon kept rolling, he could take advantage of his solitude to rest. He knew there were two men driving the wagon, one armed on the lookout for bandits and Indians.
Bohdan woke the next morning to the smell of bacon and the sting of cold steel on his chest. It wasn’t the bullets that had shot him, but the barrel of a gun jabbing him to wake him up.
“Who are you?” the man with the gun asked.
Groggy, Bohdan looked up at the man and closed his eyes, His plan was fucked and now he’d be driving back to the prison. So he needed to lie. “Alex Penner,” Bohdan replied.
“What are you doing in the back of my wagon Alex Penner?” the gunman asked.
“I needed a ride back home, my ride left me,” Bohdan replied.
“This isn’t the pony express, we don’t give rides.”
“Neither does the pony express from what I understand.”
“Are you some sort of smartass?” the gunman asked.
“No, I just happened to know that the pony express delivers mail. I think you’re thinking of a taxi.”
“I don’t give a shit what you call it, unless you plan to pay me, your ride is over.”
“Where are we? How far from the prison?”
“Fifteen miles, maybe,” the gunman replied.
Fifteen miles was a long way back in eighteen eighty five. Far enough away that Bohdan felt confident that no one from the prison would be able to find him. “I’ll leave,” Bohdan said.
“What about the fifteen miles I took you? I think you owe me for that.”
“I don’t have any money,” Bohdan replied.
“I can take it in trade.”
“All I have is the clothes on my back, I have nothing to trade.”
The gunman looked at Bohdan and smiled. “You have one thing I want.”
“Take your clothes off,” the gunman said with a grin.
“You’re not fucking serious are you?”
“I’m dead serious, I haven’t been laid for a long time.”
“Laid? You fucking queer, I’m not some whore you can screw on demand.”
“Let me get Johnny, he’ll help me.”
“Is Johnny cooking your bacon?” Bohdan asked. He thought this guy was a joke.
“I like to use the grease fat, makes it slide in easier,” the gunman said.
The irony was that Bohdan raped without emotion more times than he could remember, but now that he was faced with the same fate, couldn’t stand the idea. He would never allow anyone to rape him, especially a queer. But Bohdan had no choice, although he had the strength of three men, Johnny and the gunman managed to hold Bohdan down long enough for the gunman to rape Bohdan and leave him for dead on the road.
By the afternoon, Bohdan had recovered and was up walking towards Kansas. He had no transportation, and for the next three days walked the roads back towards Abilene to catch a train back down to Texas where he came from. By the third day he found the train tracks that connected Chicago to St. Louis and managed to jump aboard. He stowed away in a luggage bin and hid until the train pulled into Abilene two days later.
In need of food, Bohdan left the train and walked into town. He was starving but felt he was well on his way back to his former life. His life in Texas. What he needed now was a girl to feed on, and he only knew of one place where he could find one in any town. It was dark and Abilene was vaguely familiar to him. Too familiar for his comfort, with a sense of Deja vu he walked the dirt streets until he found what he was looking for.
He stepped up onto the wood walkway and looked into the saloon window. He could see men playing cards and nude dancers begging for tips. On the wood platform below, Bohdan spied a woman’s coin purse and picked it up. Tonight was Bohdan’s lucky night, as he jingled the purse and heard the tinkling of money. He opened the purse and poured out several dollars in change. A lot of money to be left on the ground; must have belonged to a prostitute.
Tossing the change in his pocket, Bohdan dropped the purse back on the walkway and entered the saloon. He hadn’t felt this free in a long time, and in a way it scared him. But he remembered he was Bohdan the Vampire Ripper, and he felt confident again.