It started as muscle spasms in her abdomen, and worked into a strange, tingling craving that she could no longer assuage with regular food. Suzan ordered her groceries on line and had them delivered to the house. As the days went by, she found she couldn’t digest food as she had before, wanting her meat cooked very rare or not at all, a steak dripping with bloody juices, hamburger meat tartar. Several times she had run to the bathroom to throw up her meager meals, only to experience a strange feeling of emptiness unlike she had ever felt before—and a hunger quite different from the norm.
At first, Suzan thought she had a virus, but then began to suspect a more sinister ailment. The craving became more pronounced and more frequent. She knew Ellen had a small blood supply in the cellar cooler, and so Suzan fetched one of the blood bags. At first, she could only stare at the vermillion liquid, its properties her sole study for many years. Before it had been an elusive entity, almost an enemy in her pursuit to eliminate many blood diseases, but now it became her life-giving force, a friend, a need.
Counting to three, Suzan drank the blood in one big gulp and immediately felt its wonderful relief, a dampening of the burn within her and the calming of her soul. Her initial horror and disgust was now replaced by acceptance and need; although, she had to laugh with the irony of it all.
The serum she had worked so hard to perfect hadn’t eradicated the need for blood but merely delayed its progress in her system. She would have joined Ellen eventually in pursuing that which would alleviate their twin cravings. If only the doctor had waited to give her lover the serum, if only, if only.
Suzan knew she couldn’t go on living with the “if onlys,” the guilt and regret. Ellen would never have wanted it that way. So, parlaying her guilt into action, the doctor concentrated on solving her newest dilemma: how to go about procuring more blood after the meager cooler supply was gone. Of course, she could always steal from hospital blood supplies since she still possessed her credentials to treat patients at two facilities; but she couldn’t do so indefinitely, nor could she keep moving from town to town. No, Suzan had to find her own way of procuring more of the sustenance she needed without alerting anyone to her clandestine activities.
In her journal, Ellen had described the steps she took to satisfy her hunger, but Suzan found her dead lover’s methods almost too brutal. Yet could there be a kinder, gentler way to kill a human being for his blood? As a doctor, she had taken an oath to first do no harm, but she reasoned that her new status in life now canceled out those old precepts and commitments. She no longer had to think as a physician or even as an ordinary woman. In fact, she no longer considered herself a doctor. She was a free spirit, free to do and enjoy whatever she wished.
As she thought about her new freedom, Suzan idly twisted the filigree thimble with its retractable cutting blade, a unique item that she wanted to keep as a remembrance of Ellen. Now it would be put to good use as her growing hunger compelled her to act.
At first, Suzan thought about taking the grocery delivery boy, Rory-something, but decided against it. The kid probably still lived at home and would be immediately missed by his family. She certainly didn’t need Detective Mears snooping around again. Of course, she ruled out the detective as a blood source for obvious reasons: too important on the police force to just go missing, and too big physically to be done away with—even though Ellen, in her desperation, had considered relieving him of his life’s blood.
That left strangers, a whole city full of them, ripe and ready for the taking, a giant warehouse filled with her drug of choice…or more aptly, her drink of choice. Ellen had told her to view the blood as fine wine, made from the grapes of the gods, the best vintage, and the drinking of blood a sanctified ritual. Suzan could even use Ellen’s best crystal goblets to collect the sacred drink. Why not? Such a sanguinary ritual needed the best sacramental vessels. And as Ellen also told her, in ancient times wine mixed with blood and opium was used to achieve a state of nirvana. For immortals, the blood alone served as the ultimate rapture, the zenith of cerebral and physical pleasure. Thus, armed with this new knowledge and her own growing need, Suzan could hardly wait to begin this new phase in her life. Seek, kill, indulge, enjoy, and live!
The hunt had begun…