Meredith stooped to collect the newspaper from the floor, and tried to scan the headlines as she carried it back towards the kitchen. Tigger ran laps around her ankles, nearly tripping her until she relented, opened the fridge, and shovelled food into his dish.
As she rinsed the spoon she listened to the din rising from the street, fever pitched before the sun had even broken the bonds of the distant horizon. Somewhere below a thousand engines gunned, and horns barked back and forth as though idle threats could get the gridlock moving. She flicked the radio on and slipped bread into the toaster, then with a glass of water in hand, sat down to read the paper.
Death. Suicide bombs. Famine and disease. Scandal. It all became a blur. Best left unread, and far less painful to simply ignore.
On page four, a Letter to the Editor caught her eye. Vampire Offers Cure for Terror. She grinned, and read on.
The past year has seen a myriad threats to this nation’s people — Anthrax was, for a span of months, our favourite terror, and prior to that many lived in fear of attack from the skies. This constant anxiety is surely the worst that has been seen since the days of The Blitz. It saps strength and drains our people’s spirit, their fortitude.
It has occurred to me that I am one who could help. I am, simply put, a vampire. Descended from undistinguished forebears, I claim no title of Most Powerful, Most Fierce, or Most Aged, but I can offer what so few of my kind chose to share with mortals. I speak, of course, of immortality.
I am sure that you have read enough books and seen a sufficient number of moving pictures to be aware that, by drinking the blood of a vampire, one becomes a vampire in kind. How many would not wish for immortality in the face of the current threat? Come what may, I know that I am safe from Anthrax, and am sure that it would take far more than a flaming ball of aircraft fuel to end my life. As a patriot, I am prepared to offer myself for the greater good of the Empire.
By the time this letter is printed, I shall have drained my blood into the reservoir from which our city draws her water. By the time this letter is read by the public, my life-force will run beneath the streets and pour forth from ten million taps. I shall be in each person’s meals, their bathing water, their coffee. All who wish, and all who consume me unwitting, will live for ever more in safety.
This shall be our finest night.
Meredith paused, then held her glass up to the light. She could almost imagine a scatter of haemoglobin spinning on unseen currents. What were the chances? Who could possibly guess?
She stood to refill her glass, and Tigger purred at her feet, a ball of fur so full of warm, rich blood. Meredith smiled down at him, cocked her head, and lunged.
(c) Stephen Minchin, All Rights Reserved
Tags: a cure for terror, Bloodlust-UK, Short Story, Stephen Minchin, Vampire, Vampire Fiction, Writers
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