By C. Michael Forsyth
CHOCHOLOW, Poland – Residents of this remote rural village have fought a losing battle with vampires for generations. But they’ve finally hit upon a solution to their woes: they stopped giving bloodsuckers permission to enter their homes!
At least 420 people had been killed by vampires and scores of others forcibly “converted” since the vampire plague erupted in 1879, according to church records. But since early November, when citizens wised up and stopped giving vampires the okay to come in, the killings have dwindled down to zero.
“It simply never occurred to any of us before,” says town councilman Dominik Wozniak. “We all feel a little foolish now. I suppose as word spreads, we’ll be the laughingstock of Eastern Europe.”
According to most serious texts on vampires, the creatures can only enter a home after having been invited in by the owner. In most communities around the world, people began to refuse admittance to vampires centuries ago.
“That is why vampires are virtually extinct throughout the globe, even in the third world,” explains expert Donald Floodgut of the London Institute for Paranormal Studies. ”Their blood supply ran out and they starved.”
The problem in isolated Chocholow is that only a handful of the roughly 1,135 villagers are literate.
“Also, few people own DVD players and those that do are generally too devout to watch horror films,” says the researcher. “There was no way for them to find out about the old don’t-let-them-in trick.”
Eight years ago, the beleaguered villagers dug up some pamphlets on vampire-fighting that had been sent by the Vatican in the 1930s. They turned them over to the most educated man in the village, housepainter and poet Aleksander Gorski, and begged him to scour them for anything that could aid them in the war on vampires. He now admits he didn’t give the vampire material his full attention.
“I prefer to devote myself to classics of literature by authors like Tolstoy, Proust and James Joyce, and to the writings of the great existentialist philosophers,” explains Gorski, 38.
“The vampire booklets didn’t seem very challenging to me, so I gave them a quick once-over. Obviously, I must have missed the part about not letting vampires in.”
This past October, councilman Wozniak paid a rare visit to Krakow to settle the estate of a distant relative. On Halloween night, he caught a midnight showing of a Swedish movie titled “Let the Right One In,” in which a girl vampire enters a home without securing the owner’s permission and immediately begins to self-destruct.
“When I got back home, I asked Aleksander to take another look at the old books to see if there could be any truth to such a thing,” recalls Wozniak. “He said he didn’t think so, but I cajoled him until he put on his glasses and started thumbing through one of the booklets. Sure enough, he found a page that talked all about not inviting vampires in.”
Wozniak hastily called for a meeting of the village council, which imposed a set of new rules.
A strict 6 p.m. curfew was put in place, and “no vampires allowed” signs have been posted on every front door, including the local hotel. No one is allowed to admit visitors after sundown.
“You can usually tell who the vampires are from their pale faces and their sharp, long teeth, but just to be on the safe side, we tell people not to let anyone in,” says Wozniak.
“It seems to be working — we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
Researcher Floodgut predicts that within six to 10 weeks, the vampires of Chocholow will be history.
“Vampires are like fruit flies,” he reveals. “Cut off their food supply and they quickly disappear.”
What the people of Chocholow lack in education, they make up for in bravery. During the decades since the first recorded vampire attack in April 1879, they have valiantly battled the legions of the undead.
“Our young men would arm themselves with wooden stakes and crossbows and there were pitch battles in the streets between vampires and humans,” says Wozniak. “Sometimes in a single night we would lose a dozen fighters.
“If only we had known we could simply stay at home and lock the doors.”
When vampires got the upper hand in these fights, the gutsy humans would barricade themselves in a building and make a last stand.
“We would always give the same defiant shout, ‘Chodz!!’ and brace ourselves for the vampire onslaught,” remembers Wozniak, 48.
“It’s a Polish phrase similar to your ‘Bring it on,’ but it literally means, ‘Come on in.’ In retrospect, we would have been better off shouting something like ‘Go away, vampires!’”
Shopkeeper Cyprian Tomaszewski says that for weeks his family had been terrorized by a vampire who fed from his 21-year-old daughter nightly.
“Each night he would appear at the back door and demand to visit my daughter Agata’s bedside,” says Tomaszewski, 54. “I knew that it was only a matter of days before she would die and join the ranks of the undead. But the monster said that if I resisted, he would take my other five children and my wife as well.”
When the shopkeeper learned of the vampire-busting “secret weapon” at the council meeting, he was overjoyed. The next night, when the vampire knocked on the door, Tomaszewski told the fiend – once a local baker named Bronislaw – that he couldn’t come in.
“The look on his face was priceless,” Tomaszewski recalls with a satisfied smile. “He looked like a little boy who’d been told he wasn’t getting any toys for Christmas.
“He said, ‘Excuse me?’ And I repeated myself.
“Bronislaw said, ‘You’ll be sorry,’ and stormed off in a huff.
“About 20 minutes later he showed back up wearing a greasy, black, shoe-polish mustache and claimed to be a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. But I wasn’t buying it. I told him to get lost and he slunk off sadly into the darkness.
“I hear Bronislaw tried the same thing at two or three other houses on our street before he gave up.”
Residents are ecstatic that the long nights of terror appear to be over, but anger remains. Many feel that generations of village intellectuals let them down.
Aleksander Gorski had become a local hero in 1998 when one of his poems was published in an anthology of promising young Polish poets. Hundreds of villagers proudly displayed copies of the book in their homes, even though they were unable to read. But now that it’s known that Gorski overlooked the simple solution to the vampire problem for years, he’s gone from hero to zero. There’s talk of gathering every copy of the book in town and burning them in a bonfire.
“It’s not fair,” Gorski moans. “I never claimed I was an authority on fighting monsters.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth. All Rights Reserved.
If you found this story by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth entertaining, you might enjoy his novels…
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