It was only mid-morning, but Lucretia had already collected thirty pints of blood. She had them stored in three coolers, filled with crushed ice, in her car. So far, she had only had trouble with one old geezer when she demanded entrance to his home in order to fulfill the mandate of the mayor. Mayor Bill had issued an order that every resident of Looneyville must give blood for the local blood bank.
The recalcitrant senior who had given her so much trouble was lying on his living room floor, having been hog-tied and forced to give blood. There were several strong-armed men walking around town, itching to evoke compliance. Children were exempt from the blood drive, but everyone else was expected to cooperate.
The reason people no longer volunteered at the monthly blood drive was because when they did agree to give blood, too much was taken, leaving them weak and trembling.Word got out that the workers at the bank were too greedy and had become dangerous. It took time to restore lost blood, but no one in the blood business seemed to care.
Several people were in hiding, not wanting to give their precious blood, but the workers had uncanny ways of finding them. No one was safe from the drain. People were leaving town in droves, but there were still plenty who had no place to go, thus assuring a good supply.
Mr. Timms, the owner of Corpuscle Blood Bank, briskly rubbed his hands together in anticipation of the great event that happened once a year. The blood being collected was not for any unforeseen emergencies such as car accidents, shootings, stabbings, etc. but for the yearly Feast Of Halloween, also in honor of Fagan, the oldest vampire who ever lived.
Vampires from several towns were invited. Every hotel in Looneyville was already booked solid, with vampires arriving in droves, at night, of course. They did not want to risk the horrible burns that would occur if they showed up in the daytime.
A huge, ornate punch bowl the size of a barrel stood in a side-room of the blood bank. Every blood worker had contributed to its contents. Mixed together, it was bound to give the drinkers quite a buzz. Mr. Timms hoped so. Last year's ritual was rather dull. The vampires were forced to rely on volunteer donations for the event. There was not enough refreshment to go around due to the stinginess of the community.
When someone discovered what was really going on, the supply had dwindled even more. It was embarrassing when Fagan, himself, showed up unexpectedly. Mr. Timms was forced to give him the dregs of the barrel. Fagan accepted Mr. Timm's apologies, but seemed disappointed with such meager offerings. He was a huge vampire and needed his nourishment.
Mr. Timms and Mayor Bill had decided that this year was going to be better. Even though they were not vampires, they had nothing against them.Thus, the city-wide mandate was established. If the citizens did not like it, that was tough. Several willing non-vampires had been put to work collecting blood. They were to be paid from the town's coffers.
The workers were told not to take blood from one man, an ornery seventy-year-old, a real curmudgeon who lived at the edge of town. No reason was given, but it was impressed upon them that under no circumstances should they draw blood from this man. Word failed to get out to a new worker, and he approached Moe's shack with confidence.
Moe saw him coming and sicced his hounds on him. The employee sprayed them with Mace, and they ran, howling, underneath the front porch. The worker bounded upon the steps and knocked. Two beady eyes peered at him from a crack in the door.
"Whadda ya want?" he inquired. The worker pulled his needle from a pocket.
"I want your blood."
"Oh yeah? People in hell want ice water." The worker shifted from one foot to the other.
"Come on, let me in. I haven't got all day."
"Ye'll git in over my dead body!" the old man retorted.
"If that's the way you want it," replied the worker. He kicked the door. It flew open, knocking Moe across the room. He landed on the sofa, looking dazed. It took the worker five minutes of wrestling and shouting to get Moe's compliance. He finally got his vial of blood and departed, with a torrent of blistering curses following him.
"Ye'll be sorry!" Moe screamed. "Jest wait, "I'll fix you!" The worker sneered and disappeared.
The night of the feast arrived. The community center was jammed with vampires. They wore their best Halloween costumes. Low, eerie music came from speakers set high on the walls. Live bats hung from the ceiling.
The vampires mingled and drank. Servers were kept busy filling glasses from the barrel. If any blood was spilled, a vampire would fall to the floor and lap it up. Many toasts were made to Fagan. He was not not there, but was revered and remembered with many ribald tales from the celebrants.
Vampire Mac was at the micro-phone speaking when he suddenly clutched his throat and fell to the floor. All conversation stopped as two male vampires rushed to give him aid. He writhed and screamed in agony. His eyes bulged, and he began to convulse. Before anything could be done, he was dead, something almost unheard of regarding vampires.
Shock rippled through the room. How could this be? Five minutes later a female collapsed. She died in the same manner as Mac had. One by one vampires choked and died. Some vomited the blood they had drunk at the feast. Others lingered in pain for a little while, but soon most were dead, sprawled here and there in various, strange positions. When they were discovered, the citizens of the town had no choice but to bury them. They were put into a mass grave in the country. Most of the town people knew the dead had been vampires and were puzzled that they had perished as humans do.
Word of the catastrophe reached the ears of Fagan, who promptly began an investigation. He sent samples of the blood barrel used at the feast to a first-class lab used specifically for vampires. Test results came back two weeks later. The many strains of human blood were studied against samples taken from protesting citizens.
It was discovered that even though most humans carried a variant that could possibly make vampires sick, there was one that was deadly. It only took a small amount of it to kill a vampire, and it came from Moe, the grumpy old codger who lived at the edge of town. Not only was his blood not to be taken, but the worker who drew it had not been informed that Moe's blood was super lethal with Mortality. Thus, it had killed over two-hundred-fifty, and the Kingdom of the Vampires was never the same.
Published on October 1st, 2022
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