The Tomb, 1936


The blood trail led to the burial ground.

I’d not visited the Coffin family burial ground since shortly after the War of the Rebellion. My own losses were still raw, and the death of Anne Coffin had hit me hard.

It was with a heavy heart when I stepped into the burial ground and glanced about the graves of men and women and children I had known. Some of them I had helped bury, like Anne, and others I had watched, like Geoffrey Coffin, who had been laid to rest in 1649. Standing among the stones served as a bitter reminder of friends long dead.

The blood I followed was splashed upon grave markers and grass alike, and it came to a stop in front of the Coffin family’s tomb. It had been built almost 70 years earlier, and it should have been left alone.

Splattered against the lichen on the old door were drops of blood. The bolt had been scraped free of rust, and the hinges showed signs of fresh wear.

None of it was right.

This was not where Victoria was hiding.

As old as she was, the child vampire would not have needed to open the door. Nor would she have been so careless with her food as to splash it wantonly around.

I hunkered down, took my pipe out of my pocket and packed the bowl with some fresh tobacco. I lit it, shook out the match and smoked steadily for some minutes, examining the scene before me.

After a quarter of an hour, I finally saw it.

The trap was cleverly made.

Tucked into the crumbling mortar of the threshold was a length of sharpened iron, barely visible. In the seams of the door, I saw the same, and in a heartbeat, I understood the trap.

Stepping close to the tomb would trigger the iron in the threshold, which in turn would slash out at my feet. I had no doubt the iron was sharp enough to cut through the leather of my boots, and the sudden blow would have sent me into the door, where the hidden blades would bite deep into my flesh.

I doubted the door would have held my weight, and even if it could, it had probably been adapted to collapse inward, where once wounded, I would be easy prey for whatever was in there.

I stood up and headed home.

It was time for a cup of coffee.

#fear #horrorstories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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