Cemetery Knight: Part 1 (Short Story) 

Note: This sample story is based on the screenplay: http://amzn.to/2sACVuD

The night is still and quiet as Ian McKnight stands waist high in a long hole. He shovels dirt into a mountain to his left in a steady, fast pace rhythm, staring at the earth beneath his feet.
Ian’s wavy shoulder length hair is tied back at his neck, his arms exposed to the chilly night. Rain pours down but Ian continues to work unaffected, almost content. He carries on digging until his head is a few inches below the surface. With one swift leap without using his hands for leverage, Ian lands flat on the grassy ground above. He dusts off the dirt from his long coat and wanders off with his shovel.
With no street lamps nearby, Ian’s nearly cloaked in complete darkness. However, small stone markers are visibly lined up in rows on the ground as Ian stops in front of a freshly placed marker. It reads:

Mary Clarese. May 15th, 1999- May 14th, 2015. She only dreamed of helping others. She will always be our baby.
Ian sighs as he reads the gravestone. “Missed it by a single day.” Ian shakes his head as he stabs the ground in front of Mary’s gravestone. He begins digging her fresh grave with a grim look. The night ticks away as he continues working, peering up at the stone every other moment to show respect.

The next day, Ian sits behind his desk in the funeral home. Behind his tinted window, the sun beams down across the cemetery.
He works diligently on finalizing Mary’s funeral, his desk riddled with paperwork. A short man with circular glasses knocks on the door and wanders in.

“How are you doing below, Stefan?” Ian asks, leaning back in his chair. Stefan Beckett shrugs and drops into one of the chairs designated for grieving family members. He sighs as he exhaustedly wipes his face with both palms.
“She’s ready for this afternoon,” Stefan mutters. “Jesus, Ian. You saw her, right?”

Ian nods, clenching a paper so hard that it rips. “Her parents mentioned she went missing when she was nine. Whoever kidnapped her… tortured her repeatedly for years and carved a symbol into her chest. They dumped her corpse on the side of the street like she was a piece of trash.”
Another sigh from Stefan as he shakes his head with disgust. They had never witnessed such a horrid victim enter their funeral home. The fact that she had spent nearly a decade subjected to the torment makes it even worse.

Growing agitated, Ian yanks open his desk drawer, and pulled out a black coffee tumbler, chugging back the contents. Ian hates when humans act so viciously, so beastly to one another.
“Woah, buddy, leave some of that for later,” Stefan chuckled, but grew worried when his friend continued to chug. “Ian, take a breather.”

Finally, Ian pulls the tumbler away from his lips and calms down. Stefan continues to watch him with worry.
“Do you need something stronger? How’s your stock, are you almost out?” Stefan asks.

Ian shakes his head. “I’m fine. And I haven’t touched my reserve in… a year.” Stefan appears impressed until Ian takes another massive swig from the tumbler. His worry returns but is forced aside as the office door is thrown open, revealing a distressed woman being held up by her equally upset husband. Stefan shoves the tumbler away from his mouth as a drop falls onto the desk unnoticed. It appears to be a red, thick substance, something that shouldn’t be ingested.
“Mrs. Clarese, is everything okay?” Ian asked as Stefan gives the couple his seat. He shuffles out of the room unseen as Mrs. Clarese continues to cry. Mr. Clarese notices the speck on the table and points.

“Are you hurt, Mr. McLaren?”
Ian quickly cleans up the speck, which stains the napkin blood red. The couple proceeds to ask if everything is prepared, if Mary has been well taken care of, and a long list of questions that Ian answers calmly.

The funeral goes off as expected, with crying relatives and sad speeches accompanied by even sadder music. She’s buried with her family and friends surrounding her, dropping roses on her white casket as it’s lowered into the ground. Ian and Stefan stand respectfully in the back, waiting until everyone departs before shoveling the dirt back into the hole. Stefan watches quietly as Ian drops the dirt inside, his eyes sadly drawn to the innocently white casket.
Exhausted from the heartbreaking day, Ian chugs from his tumbler as he shuffles into his library at home. All walls are covered in stocked bookshelves, ranging from century-old to brand new books. The walls are also bare paintings and photos of Ian with influential people over the decades, nearing several decades without his physical appearance changing.

Ian sets down his tumbler on the small table next to his chair and walks over to the wall panel in the right corner. He grabs a small doorknob and opens the panel, revealing a small fridge room with rows upon rows of blood sacks. He stares at the left side, which is slightly frosted over and well taken care of. He grabs a small bag from the right side and slams the door shut. He refills his tumbler with the blood, tosses the container into the garbage and collapses into the chair. He sits quietly as he chugs back the bloody contents, shaking his head as he leans it back.

The early morning is just like any other as Ian walks down the street to work. However, he suddenly freezes and sniffs the air, which smells strongly of rusty iron. His eyes widen with shock as he bolts around the corner. He cuts through several alleyways until stopping by a playground. His eyes catch something out of place. He strides over to a section of the playground that’s been taped off, with dozens of police officers standing around.

He glimpses a massive pool of blood on the ground before a police officer steps directly in his path. Her brunette hair’s tied in a bun, and her face is lined with an array of emotions. None of them positive. It’s a small town, so everyone knows each other. But Ian has never seen this woman.
“Sorry sir, no civilians allowed past the tape,” the office states. “This is an active crime scene.”

“I’m Ian McKnight. I own the funeral home…Can you tell me what happened?”
“Sorry, still a civilian.”

She ushers Ian away from the tape and returns to work. With too many officers patrolling the area, it’s impossible for him to get a proper visual of the crime scene, so he continues on the work.
He reaches the funeral home and catches an odd, but somehow familiar scent. He can’t quite put it together, but it smells faintly like burnt soil. Like death, but not what you’d expect from the home. Ian enters to find Stefan pacing nervously back and forth. He peers up as the doors open, sighing when he sees only Ian enter.

“Did you hear what happened?” Ian asks as Stefan shakes his head.
“They called an hour ago for me to prep the autopsy room. Something about a possible animal attack?”

“There was definitely enough blood for that,” Ian states, leaving out the part where there was too much blood.
Ian wants to ask his friend about the scent just as the doors open and in steps the female police officer he had previously met. An officer pushes a gurney with a closed body bag on top inside. She looks from Stefan to Jason with a simple nod.

“I’m Detective April Montgomery. This is the vic we spoke on the phone about,” April states as the officer wheels the gurney down the hall. “Send me the report as soon as you’re finished.”
She exits as Stefan scurries downstairs to the autopsy room downstairs. Ian stands in the corner as Stefan snaps photos of the victim’s body. Her neck is mauled to pieces, with dry blood covering her face and remaining neck.

Stefan carries on with the autopsy as Ian stands stiff, the foul odor somehow stronger in the room.
“Can you smell it?” Ian mutters as he peers around the room for the source of the scent. “It smells like…”

“Death? That would be our victim,” Stefan chuckles. “For someone who’s been around for a hell of a long time, you’re not too observant.”
But Ian remains silent, not in the mood for jokes. The scent was different from a corpse. It smelled of death, but more like spoiled…. dirt. When the smell becomes too potent for him, Ian shuffles towards the door.

“You alright, man?”
“Just tell me when you know the cause of death,” Ian spits out.
“But you know I can’t do that -”
“Just do it! Please.”

Stefan watches as Ian stumbles out the door. He has never seen his friend so agitated in the thirty years they’ve known each other. Stefan was a young boy who idolized Ian, who had just opened up the funeral home in town at the time.
After several hours of stressful waiting, Stefan opens the office door and stands still in the doorway. His face is a strange, sickly pale hue with a look of utter fear. He clutches a file in his shaking hand by his side. His eyes focus on Ian with an uneasy expression. Neither speaks for a moment, unsure of how to tackle a lingering question that hangs in the air.

“Are you sure?” Stefan finally whispers with a heavy quiver to his voice. “Are you sure you’re the only one of your kind?”
“Of course, I am. I told you, there was a war between the factions of vampires a century ago, which effectively killed us all off. I-I was the only survivor because I coward in hiding until it ended.”

“And you’re sure no one else survived?”
“It’s been a while, but I’m sure I’d catch their scent,” Ian states, a little uneasy. “There can’t be another.”

“Then tell me the truth… have you fed on anyone besides my blood I gave you?” Stefan asks, staring daggers into Ian’s eyes. “Don’t lie, Ian. Have you fed on anyone?”
Ian stands and shuffles over to stand in front of Stefan, growing increasingly concerned.

“I swore to you when we first met. It’s been nearly a century since I’ve fed that way. Stefan, what did you find?”
Stefan shakes his head like he doesn’t believe what he’s about to state. “I-I found two puncture wounds on her neck… she was completely drained of blood.”

Overcome with shock, Ian stumbles back and leans on the edge of his desk. He’s the last surviving vampire; he knows it. There’s no other vampire in the world. He would have sensed them around. He would have… caught their scent. His face suddenly flushes with mixed emotions as he peers up at Stefan.
“I think there’s another,” he mutters, nearly disbelieving his own words. “I don’t know how, but there has to be another.”
Before Stefan can speak, Ian catches the same spoiled dirt scent… the scent of death. He brushes past his longtime friend and follows the smell, still unsure of its meaning. Stefan follows blindly as Ian tracks the scent through the cemetery.
He follows the foul scent through the rows of gravestones, coming to a dead stop in front of a freshly covered grave. Begrudgingly, Ian peers up to find himself standing in front of Mary Clarese’s grave. The soil has been disturbed like someone clawed their way out.

“How did I not realize sooner?” Ian muttered, frustrated with himself for his lack of knowledge. “It’s been so long since I caught that scent.”
“What are you talking about, Ian? What scent?” Stefan asks, which is greet by a heavy sigh from Ian.

“It’s what we smell like to each other. A scent that only vampires can track but I don’t understand how… this shouldn’t happen,” Ian explains as he stares at the disturbed ground. He peers over at Stefan with a horrified expression. “If she’s been turned, that means we have a new vampire on the loose without any guidance. This is only the beginning if we don’t stop her soon.”
After tearing their gazes away from the grave, Stefan heads back to submit the autopsy report as Ian sets out to find the rogue vampire. It’s young, lost and with heightened abilities that make her the perfect murder machine.

He follows the scent the best he can, but it’s been nearly a century since he’s used the vampiric ability. He stays in shaded areas during the day, venturing into the light for brief moments only. Ian doesn’t seem to be affected by the sunlight, expect that he grows sluggish when out for too long.
Ian continues to follow the scent well into the night, without much luck. He searches the town, but the scent is wild, jumping all over the area without a proper path.

He follows the scent into a small wooded area but isn’t confident with his tracking skills. That is until he hears a set of frantic breathings. One sounds terrified, mixed with crying. The other sounds hungry.
Ian speeds through the forest and stumbles to a stop near a creek. Mary Clarese, pale and animalistic, clutches a younger girl with her mouth close to the girl’s neck. The white dress she was buried in is stained bloody. Startled, Mary snarls at Jason. Her face is covered in dry blood, most likely from her previous kill. Ian holds his hands up as a sign of no harm.

“I’m Ian McKnight. You’re Mary Clarese, right?” he asks with a pleasant smile, but the girl snarls in return. “Mary, I know what you are. Why don’t we let the girl go and talk?”
Mary tightens her hold on the girl, inching towards the girl’s exposed throat. The innocent girl whimpers, making Mary hiss and bear her teeth at Jason.

“It’s okay. I’m not here to hurt you. I’m like you.” To prove his point, Ian bears his own vampire teeth with his hands still in the air. “I just want to talk.”
Ian takes a step towards the pair as Mary snarls and lunges at the girl’s neck. With no other choice, Ian uses his heightened speed and bolts towards Mary, snapping her neck. Ian stands stiff and in shock as Mary drops to the ground. He forces the crying girl to stare into his eyes, tilting her head up by the chin.

“You got lost in the woods, and you met no one. You started to cry when you thought you’d never get out,” Ian states as the girl stares at him in a trance. “Go home.”
“Go home… saw no one,” the girl mutters as she turns and walks away in a daze. With a heavy sigh, Ian scans the forest for other intruders before peering down at Mary. She lies on her back with her head tilted at an unnatural angle.


Copyright © 2017 Julaine Piette


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