ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Bury the Undead (An Excerpt)

Updated on March 2, 2012

A Cemetery Girl Mystery

I don’t get the attraction to vampires these days. I really don’t. I mean, historically speaking, they are ruthless, soulless and will attack even their nearest and dearest for blood.

Have I ever met one would be a logical question to ask. And it has been asked.

Yes. I have met a vampire. I met a whole nest of them, in fact, not just one. It happened shortly after my abrupt departure from New Orleans and it was an experience I’d rather not repeat. So the idea that they are romantic heroes (or heroines) in current fiction and film is baffling to me.

“But they’re beautiful, sophisticated, cultured,” is the party whine – I mean, line.

Well, of course they are. Of course vampires have this unearthly beauty, the piercing eyes, silky soft voices to soothe the trembling heart. So do the fae and I want to interact with them even less than I do vampires.

Vampires need those little nifty tricks – like any predator, they need them to seduce and reel in their prey. The really lucky ones end up dead, their bodies completely drained of blood. The smart vampires leave their victims’ bodies hidden somewhere discrete. The Renfield types leave their leftovers in a ditch.

The not-so-lucky ones who live to tell the tale end up giving a highly distorted version of the truth, which would explain the over-saturated market of the handsome, sensitive and misunderstood vampire in what is known as urban fantasy.

I want to make this absolutely clear – vampires are dead. More to the point, they are Undead. As far as I’m concerned, the only real difference between a vampire and a zombie is that the vampire tends to retain the social and intellectual skills he or she had in life. But they are still just as NOT alive.

And they are not nice. Forget that brooding, sensitive hero image they’ve been cultivating over the last forty or fifty years. They’re slightly mad with a healthy dose of insanity; require copious amounts of blood to survive (preferably fresh and human); and need soil from their original grave in order to sleep in a protected space when on the move. And those are the sane ones. Let’s not talk about the not-so sane ones.

And the people who love them? Necrophiliacs with serious self-esteem issues.

I was thinking all of this as Dottie Perswalski tidied up my tiny galley kitchen. The kitchen is tiny because my living space was tiny – being a crypt in a previous incarnation was why. The dead don’t take up much living space, especially if they’ve been cremated. The crypt fell into disuse after numerous break-ins and the urns were interred elsewhere in the cemetery. That was more than ten years ago. Dottie was one of those originally interred in my crypt. She’s a ghost and in life had been housemaid to a rich family in Wickerman Falls, some ten miles away. The daughter of immigrants, Dottie was happy in her life until a fire burned the place down one night in the winter of 1925. It killed everyone inside, including Dottie. She had been sixteen when that happened and is clearly of a generation that belonged in the here and now. She hangs out in my crypt because she still isn’t used to the new one. Go figure.

I don’t mind Dottie’s presence so much; actually, I kind of like hearing her chatter, even if it did border on the obnoxious. I guess it’s like having a younger sister, but being an only child, that’s all speculation on my part. Right now she was fussing over the pot of soup on the hot plate, even though she couldn’t generate enough energy to actually stir it. That was my cue to get up off the couch and cross the short distance to where she hovered and picked up a spoon to stir my tomato soup.

The couch came from a thrift shop in Wickerman Falls. So did the tiny, drop-leaf table, a couple of high-backed chairs, a dresser and my bed frame. All of them had seen better days, especially the couch, but they were still serviceable and that was just fine by me. I don’t need much to live on, just enough to survive. Most of what makes the crypt hospitable for me to live in was the generator tucked discretely into an alcove outside the front door. The alcove had a roof and door; it was leak-proof and blended in perfectly with the exterior of the crypt. If you didn’t know where to look, you wouldn’t find it. It was never warm and cozy during the winter, but it kept me safe and it was mine until it was time to move on again. I like it that way, but I will admit that I sometimes feel the pull to stay in one place for a little longer than a few months.


I was thinking about vampires because, in the course of fussing and chattering, Dottie had let it slip in her gossipy way that the “oh, isn’t he dreamy” pastor was in a bother over some vandalism that kept occurring at night at the church, some of it on the inside next to the podium. I considered telling her that nighttime was usually the best time to commit vandalism, but refrained. Dottie didn’t understand my sense of humor.

I kept muttering “uh, huh” as she spoke, which, I realized too late, only encouraged her. Then she changed topics and began comparing the pastor to some guy named Rudolph Valentino and that’s where I lost interest, especially when the dreamy sighs began. I wondered what she would make of today’s movie stars – Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt or (I shudder to think) George Clooney. I wouldn’t get any peace, that’s for sure.

My name is Cadence Galloway, Cady for short. I’m 5’9”, have grey eyes and traveling feet. I don’t own a car, a driver’s license, a bank account or even a gas card. I try never to be in one place long enough to establish residence. For any job I take on, I’m paid in cash, off the books and the only cellphone I have is one that I can put minutes on as needed. I change the phone every six months, on the dot. They’re cheap to come by and I recycle the old ones in the handy drop-bins at any electronics store. Needless to say, since I don’t get mail, I don’t need to throw away 99% of the trash stuffed in a mailbox, thus saving a couple of trees.

I have a refurbished laptop computer that I bought for a couple hundred bucks at a mom-and-pop electronics shop two years ago. It came with all the basic programs on it. It includes a writing program that I use for keeping a journal about my travels, but no wireless internet – I go to the library if I need to use that.

I have colored my hair so many times over the last twenty years that I’ve forgotten what its true color is. I never color it the same shade twice in a row. My itch to travel and be on the move comes from being on the run rather than any desire to see the country, although it has been an educational journey. In twenty years, I have crossed the United States from the East to the South to the West. So far, I didn’t see the need to travel north and frankly, I hope I don’t have to. I don’t enjoy cold winters.

I’m on the lam, but not from the law. Let’s just say I don’t want to become the latest in a long line of experiments just because I can talk to ghosts.

The pastor Dottie was mooning over was Pastor Devon Maclaine, who presides over the local, albeit small, Presbyterian church. Most of the locals tend toward the mediumistic side. I think he is too good to be true. Since I landed in Sleepy Eye Cove in late January, he’s been encouraging me to join in on the social scene, such as it is. He even suggested the local historical society. I think my job at the cemetery gave him ideas that it would be good for me.

As of late, he had begun dropping hints about the local softball league. Tryouts were in late March, practice beginning in April and the season ending in September. Since I wasn’t planning on sticking around that long, I passed on the idea. Twice. I know he hasn’t given up on making me a part of his softball team, so I avoid him on general principle. Abby Somers, a part-time gardener at the cemetery and practicing witch, says he has a lost-cause complex. I suppose that’s one reason to go into the seminary.

And a very good reason for me to keep my distance.

“Quit sighing so loud,” I said, feeling cranky. “I get it, I get it. You think Maclaine is cute.”

Dottie pouted. “And why not? He has a singular light about him that only Mr. Valentino possessed.”

Typical teenage girl, according to Abby. I had asked her about it shortly after moving into the crypt and was faced with the permanent teen angst. I wouldn’t know, not having any experiences to compare it with. My teenage years were more concerned with escaping Danvers State Hospital with help from one of the nurses. The place was shut down a few years later. My alleged doctor was not.

I continued to ponder the idea of vampires as I stirred my soup in slow circles. I’m not exactly sure why they had leapt immediately to mind when Dottie mentioned the vandalism at the church. She hadn’t mentioned anything in particular that would have labeled it a vampire problem. And besides, vampires are unholy creatures of the night – hallowed ground is impossible for them to breach unless it had been defiled. As far as I knew, the local church was not.

But then, I was a recent resident of the area, so what do I know? I guess the thing to do is ask around. There were plenty of locals to talk to, and most of them were my neighbors. Ghosts are really chatty, probably because so few of the living can hear them, so it wouldn’t be too hard to get them talking about the past. Plus, they wouldn’t ask any of the awkward questions that the living seem so fond of. Pastor Maclaine was not on my list of those to ask.

My soup was bubbling, so I turned off the hot-plate and lifted the pot, pouring the red liquid into a bowl. Steam rose in a cloud, and I inhaled the tomato scent with a sigh.

Vampires. God, I hate those bloodsuckers. At least they clean up easily with a broom after staking. I shuddered.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 

      7 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Great stuff, keep going, so far I love it!

    • Deep Metaphysical profile image

      Deep Biswas 

      7 years ago from India

      Good one. I too never understood the admiration for the vampires. I mean it all started from Count Dracula or from the blood countess. The two stories are based on two ruthless and cruel individuals, one, Countess Bathory and two, Vlad III. Bathory used to bath in the blood of her maids, she killed over 50 young girls to do so. While Vlad was the Romanian emperor who impaled over 10000 people causing horrific deaths! So why should we, portray as admirable romantic heroes or heroines, the 'successors' of these two monsters? I don't get it. But I loved your story Juniper.

    • LaThing profile image


      7 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Wonderful Piece! I agree with LAB, would like to see more of it. I am not into vampires, but this one is written well.... Vampires, to me they are just BATS! lol


    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      This looks interesting. I will be watching. It is well written.

    • Juniper Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      J. J. Brown, Wordslinger 

      7 years ago

      I do plan to continue writing this particular story and have even mapped out a lot of Cady's backstory (some of which has surprised me). Thank you so much for your kind words!! Have a great weekend and best wishes to you! ;-)

    • LABrashear profile image


      7 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

      Please tell me you are going to continue with this. I think it is great so far. I cannot wait to read more. Good job! Voted up and sharing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)