The chemical attacks started when I was five. Every source of water or food we found was poison. Even the rain was contaminated. Eventually my parents succumbed, choking on their blood, their skin blistering and cracking. Those of us who were young enough to adapt, to survive if you can call it that, were changed. Our bodies were stripped of any ability to fight infection, to produce the very things we needed to survive.
“Kira!” Damien was standing in the doorway, the hood of his sweater yanked down to hide his pale eyes. “They brought in a fresh one.”
I trailed behind him through the dirty hallways to the dingy medical center. Clear tarps hung from the ceiling to make ghostly walls. A corpse lay pale and stiffening on the examination table, a deep contusion on his skull.
“What happened to him?” I asked quietly.
I wondered if he was somebody’s father…husband… The medic jammed a needle into a finger, releasing a bright red drop. He pressed it to the sensor waiting for the metallic beep.
“Damn it!” Vix yelled, kicking a metal barrel before storming out of the room.
It had been weeks since she’d been able to drink. She wouldn’t last much longer. Damien nudged me, handing me a metal bowl. We didn’t have long before the blood started coagulating. The room had filled up with the others, bowls clenched in their pale hands. The body was flipped, a scalpel drawn across the still-warm jugular, and we all took our rations.
I followed Damien back into the dark warehouse, pulling myself up to sit on a crate next to him and staring at the bowl of black liquid in my hands. He had already chugged his share, tilting his head back to get the last drops.
“It’s only going to get worse the longer you wait,” he sighed, wiping his mouth on his sleeve.
I choked down a mouthful of the sickeningly warm liquid.
“We weren’t meant to live like this,” I murmured, fighting the urge to vomit.
Damien shook his head, holding his bowl at an angle to let the last remnants settle into a puddle.
“We weren’t meant to live.”
I’ve been thinking about vampires lately and what might drive the average human to consume blood other than a supernatural intervention. This wasn’t based on a writing prompt…just an idea rattling around in my brain.
~ R. E. Rule