Home > Vampireville (Vampire Kisses #3)(11)

Vampireville (Vampire Kisses #3)(11)
Author: Ellen Schreiber

Supposedly, when the factory first opened, a fateful accident occurred when an elevator malfunctioned and plummeted to the basement, claiming several employees' lives. A rumor spread throughout Dullsville that on a full moon, a passerby could hear the mill workers' screams.

But the only ghosts I'd heard shrieking were actors covered in sheets when I was a child. We were visiting the factory for WXUV's Haunted House with my family.

"This was the haunted house's entrance," I recalled, heading for the broken metal door at the front of the mill. The words GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! were still spray painted on the door from Halloweens past.

Alexander lit the way with his flashlight. I pulled the heavy door open and we crept inside.

A few spray paintings of humorous epitaphs remained on the concrete walls.

Alexander and I cautiously walked over discarded boxes and headed for the main part of the factory. The twenty-five-thousand- square-foot room was empty of everything but dust. Round, discolored markings remained on the wooden floors where the machines had been bolted in place. Half the panes of glass were gone after decades of vandals, baseballs, and misguided birds.

"This room draws in too much daylight," Alexander said, looking at the missing windows. "Let's keep looking." Alexander kindly held out his hand, like a Victorian gentleman, and with his flashlight led me down a dark two-flight staircase.

We passed through what must have been an employee locker room. The windowless room seemed ripe for a vampire to call home. Several metal lockers remained against the wall and even a few wooden benches. It now seemed like a dumping ground for garbage, littered with pop cans, bags, and a few discarded bicycle tires. No coffins were evident.

The basement was huge, cold, and damp. Several mammoth-size furnaces filled the center of the room. I could almost hear the deafening roar of the once-burning kindling. Now the metal doors were rusty and unhinged, and a few were lying against the cement wall.

"Wow, with a few more spiderwebs and a couple of ghosts, this place would be perfect," I said.

"This could be ours," Alexander said, holding me close.

"We could put your easel over here," I said, pointing to an empty corner. "There would be plenty of room for you to paint."

"We could make shelves for your Hello Batty collection."

"And bring in a huge TV to watch scary movies. I wouldn't have to go to school and it could be dark twenty-four hours a day."

"No one would bother us, not even soccer snobs or vengeful vampires," Alexander said with a smile.

Just then we heard a barking sound.

"What was that?" I asked.

Alexander raised his eyebrow and listened. "We'd better go." He offered his hand and he led me out of the basement toward the front of the building. In a small alcove Alexander found another staircase and lit our way back to the main floor.

While Alexander explored an office room, I investigated a hallway filled with boxes, a piece of cardboard covering a window, and a Stone Age freight elevator.

I removed the cardboard from the window to shed streetlight into the oversized lift.

The heavy metal elevator door hung partially open. I couldn't see clearly into it, so I snuck underneath the rusty door. When I stepped into the elevator, I heard a horrible screeching sound. I quickly turned around as the door slammed shut.

I stood in total darkness. I couldn't even-see my own hands.

"Alexander! Let me out!" I called.

I banged my hands against the door.

"Alexander! I'm in the elevator!"

I felt along the side panel, vehemently trying to find a button to push. The surface was smooth. I fingered the adjacent wall and discovered what I thought might be a lever. I tried to pull it, but it didn't budge.

Normally I was comforted by darkness and found solace in tightly enclosed places. But now I was trapped.

My mind began to think of the poor souls who found their fate sealed in an elevator at the Sinclair mill.

I imagined bloody fingernails stuck to the inside door from decades of entombed young vandals.

I felt like I was going to be trapped forever.

I heard the cables rattling. Then heavy footsteps walked on the boards above me. "Alexander! Get me out! Now!"

I wondered if the cables were still intact; if not, the elevator could plummet to the bowels of the basement at any moment.

I even thought I heard the screams of the ghosts--until I realized the screams were coming from me.

Suddenly the door pulled open, and I could barely see the oversized black pants and combat boots standing before me. My eyes squinted, trying to adjust to the moonlight that shined through the uncovered hallway window.

I was standing in the middle of an oval-shaped ring of dirt, the front part messy, as if something heavy had dragged over it.

Alexander pulled me out before the door closed again.

I squeezed him with the little breath I still had in me.

"You saved my life."

"Hardly. But I think you found something."

We stood at a distance and examined the elevator's contents. Gravestone etchings covered the walls. In the corner sat an antique candelabra and a pewter goblet.

"Jagger had the same etchings at his Coffin Club apartment!" I said excitedly. "It's just missing the coffin."

"He must have left in a hurry."

"Why would he leave? Jagger could remain undiscovered for several eternities in this place. And this elevator could easily fit two coffins."

"He must have felt threatened."

"By the ghost story?" "This old elevator isn't moving anywhere," Alexander reassured.

"Then what could possibly threaten Jagger?" I wondered.

While Alexander examined the elevator, I tried to catch my breath and combed the hallway for any more clues. Next to the boxes I noticed something silver catching the moonlight.

"What would this be doing here?" I asked, holding a garage door opener in my hand.

Alexander came over to me and examined my discovery.

At that moment, standing in the window right behind him, was a ghostly, attractive teen with white hair, the ends dyed bloodred. His eyes, one blue and one green, stared through me.

"Jagger!" I whispered.

"I know," Alexander answered, repeatedly clicking the opener in frustration. "He was here."

"No. He's here now! He's right outside!" I said, pointing to the window again.

Jagger flashed a wicked grin, his fangs gleaming.

Alexander quickly turned around, but Jagger had vanished.

"He was standing right there!" I cried, pointing to the window.

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