I crave that which sustains me, yet I fear that which I crave.

As a human, I suffered extreme haemophobia. At the merest suggestion of blood I would either faint or flee in a blind panic… usually while screaming or vomiting, or both. This irrational fear was my achilles heel in an otherwise ordinary, masculine life. It was the default option my mates would stoop to, whenever they felt the need to mock me or were too lazy to think of an original blow during drunken banter at the pub.

Now, post-human, I must drink of the disgusting substance every few days. My Mother-in-Blood, someone I naively believed to be another attractive cougar, biding her time to drunkenly make her move on me at the pub, couldn’t resist the irony. After overhearing a conversation regarding my dread of the sight of the blood, she, as anyone would, decided I had to be turned into a creature of the night that survived purely by drinking blood straight from the arteries of others.

That’s right. Not only do I have to partake of the loathsome, vile liquid… it has to be fresh. It can’t be chilled. It can’t be disguised as a bloody Mary, in a tall glass with a stick of celery and a dash of pepper. It can’t have been carried in a container of any kind. It must be pure, unadulterated, and fresh from the artery.

How do I get around this? Chloroform and a scalpel. I refuse to follow the teachings of my Mother-in-Blood. I will not terrorise my victims by ripping their throats with my fangs, spraying blood haphazardly and killing the victim in the process. Violence is not my style, and I still cannot stand the sight of blood. Instead, I let them come to me in the bar. I let them take me home, sneaking me quietly into their bedroom so their flatmates or parents won’t hear us, and do my best to give them a happy, memorable night of lovemaking.

Then, after they drift off into a blissful slumber, I place a chloroform cloth over their mouth and nose and gently touch the spot at the base of their throat where the artery flows closest to the skin. Wielding a sterile, sharp scalpel, I turn my face away and make a small incision. My hands won’t shake as long as I don’t see any blood. The incision has to be perfect. Not deep enough and the blood won’t flow. Too deep, and they risk bleeding out. Once the cut is made, I place my mouth over the wound and draw deeply.

The lack of fear in my victim makes the blood sweet and tender, with a hint of flavour reminiscent of their favourite drink. Sometimes, like now, around Halloween and Christmas, they taste like pumpkin spice lattes. Others taste like their favourite cocktail, wine, or beer. Occasionally they may taste like chocolate milk, or gatorade.

Once I’ve imbibed enough to sustain me for a few days, an amount which they won’t even notice missing, I clean the incision with an alcohol swab and apply pressure with a cotton bud, all without looking. My victims sometimes feel a tender spot in the morning, which they write off to our passion of the previous night.

Sure, I could end this existence. I could just stay up late one night, let dawn’s first rays of sunshine purge my form from this earth. I could even just eat a garlic pizza. But I’m not that strong.

I crave that which I fear, and I loathe myself.

Author: Brett Holzhauser

Speculative fiction to die for

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