Study Guide

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Part 2, Chapter 8

By Seth Grahame-Smith

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Part 2, Chapter 8

Some Great Calamity

  • Since Abe has retired from vampire hunting (and there's no 401k for that), he hands business off to Jack Armstrong and Joshua Speed.
  • Armstrong and Speed go off to St. Louis to kill a vampire that Henry says needs to die. Only they really stink at the job. Imagine the Three Stooges hunting vampires. It's that bad. Except there are only two of them.
  • Speed thinks Armstrong is a dumb ox; Armstrong thinks Speed is a talkative dandy. Fun fact: they're both right.
  • They're supposed to kill Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell, dean of medicine at Kemper College and vampire extraordinaire.
  • But McDowell is paranoid, which is actually useful when people are really trying to kill you.
  • Armstrong and Speed find him teaching medicine and they follow him after class to the morgue in his school. Except it's not a morgue—it's a blood-harvesting operation. Yuck.
  • Yep, that's pretty creepy and the world would certainly be better without Dr. McDowell, but Armstrong and Speed mess the whole thing up. Surprised, we are not.
  • McDowell escapes and founds his own medical college, which he outfits like a fortress. 
  • And Armstrong and Speed survive the whole debacle, minus a hand (Armstrong) and a working leg (Speed broke his). Lesson learned: this is what happens when you outsource vampire killing. 
  • Where is Abe anyway? Oh, that's right, he was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1846. 
  • The whole family moves to Washington, D.C., and Mary pops out another kiddo in 1846—a second son named Edward Baker. 
  • Abe doesn't like Washington. It's not fun, and it's full of slaves. 
  • Also, it's full of vampires. 
  • Or at least, people who know about vampires and are willing to do their bidding. Every politician seems to know about vampires and lots of the Southern politicians seem to be working for them. No wonder Abe is so ticked off.
  • In another dream, Abe's family is attacked by vampires, and his baby is now a vampire, and that baby is himself. Dreams are weird.
  • Back in the waking world, Abe is hanging out with Poe in Washington, just riffing on vampires.
  • Poe tells Abe why vampires love America, and it's not our healthcare system.
  • See, back in the 1600s, there was this countess named Elizabeth Báthory in Hungary, and if you used to be obsessed with vampires like we were, you know that she was known as the Blood Countess. 
  • Elizabeth was friends with a vampire named Anna Darvulia, who made Elizabeth into a vampire as well. 
  • And then they did what vampires do: torture young girls and drink their blood.
  • Then the peasants did what peasants do: form a mob and storm the castle. It was a typical mob with pitchforks and torches, not like the hip flash mobs we have now.
  • All over the continent, vampires were threatened by mobs and vampire hunters, so they came to America, where they could eat freely in a lawless, vast country. 
  • But Poe is worried that this happy state of affairs can't last, that some "great calamity" is approaching (98).
  • Unfortunately Poe doesn't get to see the stuff hit the fan, because he dies in 1849. 
  • His death is a little mysterious, but we may suspect vampires. Or rabies. Or alcoholism. Or all three.
  • In 1849, Abe returns to Illinois because being a US Representative is not fun; and he joins another law firm, this time with William H. Herndon.
  • Things are going fine with Abe, until his youngest son dies in 1850, which, of course, crushes Abe and devastates Mary.
  • Speed and Armstrong and Henry go to console the Lincolns, and Henry even offers to raise their son from the dead. How does that conversation go? "So sorry for your loss—unless you want to make him a little boy vampire?"
  • And then we hear that Mary writes a poem to help her get over her loss, which, no joke, is actually pretty helpful if you don't have a therapist handy.

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