Feeding time
by
Gerald Sheagren

The shrieking jolted Myra from a deep, dreamless sleep, causing her to sit bolt upright in bed, her heart beating like a kettle drum. Slowly regaining her senses, she peered in the direction of the bassinet, let out a weary hiss of breath and collapsed back onto the pillow. My God; every hour on the hour!

She thought back, way back, to when this whole terrible ordeal had begun. Her father was a vampire, Count Vladimir, and her mother was what she referred to as “straight.” Thankfully she had taken after Mom; just a normal, self-respecting woman, who worked by day and slept at night and could see her reflection in a mirror. And again, thankfully, she had been raised by her mother, while good old dad was hobnobbing across Europe in search of blue-blooded victims.

When she had become pregnant by Bill, who had promptly fled to places unknown, she had hoped and prayed that her baby would be normal. Upon hearing the news, her father had quickly bat-winged it in from the Florida Keys, insisting that when the time came the baby would be delivered by a midwife of his choosing; a slovenly, overweight woman by the name of Ivona Bouska. Hospital delivery rooms were to be avoided at all costs, in case the newborn turned out to be less than normal, or quite normal in the viewpoint of Count Vladimir.

And despite all her prayers and wishes, and to her father’s absolute delight, the boy turned out to be a blood sucker, with wolf-like teeth already sprouting from his tiny pink gums! There was to be no mother’s milk for her little bundle of joy! Ivona was to supply all the blood that was needed and Myra, swimming into a deep dark hole of depression, had no desire to know where she got it. And to make matters worse, the little shit slept all day and did his crying and screaming at night, the windows covered by heavy black curtains to keep out the slightest bit of light. The one big rule, the gospel according to Ivona, was “only one small nightlight in the room and only one.”

Cursing her bad luck and her son’s tainted genes, Myra had considered driving a stake through the little bastard’s heart, ending the curse and her nightmare in one moment of insane retribution. But she feared what her father would do in his rage. So she bent under the burden of his wishes, day after day after dark day.

When the endless shrieking became unbearable, Myra launched herself out of bed and headed for the kitchen, yanking open the refrigerator door and pulling out a glass container of blood. Heating a pan of water on the stove, she filled a baby’s bottle with the blood and set it in the boiling water to warm. As usual, the kid would probably have it emptied in the blink of an eye, screaming for another an hour later. She called him “Kid” for, as of yet, she had failed to find a suitable name. Maybe Dracula, she thought to herself with a giddy laugh. Or, if she decided to give in to her father’s wishes: Count Vladimir the Second.

When the blood was adequately warmed, she went to the bassinet, where the kid was screaming, red-faced and teary-eyed, his tiny hands and feet pumping a mile-a-minute.

“Shut up! Will you please shut the hell up! Here’s your goddamn blood for Christ-sakes!”

She snatched the baby, cradling him in her arms, as she fed the rubber nipple into his eager mouth. He took two sucks, screwed up his face as though he was experiencing an extra sour lemon, and sprayed the blood into her face, wailing at the top of his lungs. As of late, he was getting finicky about what he drank, showing his displeasure in a number of obscene ways. What was she supposed to do; venture out, lure some hapless soul to the apartment and slaughter him or her right there for a supply of fresh blood?

“Shit, damn, fuck! I should have driven that stake through your heart, you little bastard!” She grimaced at his yowling face; the red-tinted eyes; the pointed teeth. “Why should I have to put up with this crap? Why me? Why has God forsaken me so?”

Before she could realize or react to what was happening, the baby wiggled from her embrace and jumped for her neck, burying his little teeth into her carotid artery! She stumbled back, gasping, as blood spewed nearly halfway across the room, leaving a blotchy pattern along the carpeting. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t pull the little devil from her neck, his teeth sinking deeper every time she yanked on his body. And, then, in one terrible second of dawning, she knew exactly what she had to do. With a long, continuous scream, engineered to give her courage, she held the kid tight against her chest and ran across the room, hurling her body through the glass of the window; the window with the most spectacular, thirty-story view of Central Park.

***

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