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Authors: Josh Savill

The Feeding House

BOOK: The Feeding House
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For a long time my name was something that really didn’t matter to anyone at all in fact its more than possible that if you mentioned it to any living soul they would have no recollection of my name or my face. I was a ghost, forced from birth to walk in the shadows, and although the living hadn’t a clue who or indeed what I was, plenty of the dead souls of this world animated or not, had a good idea who I was and what I did. Some even knew my birth name, something I didn’t know for the first 33 years of my “life”.

As I was eventually informed my name is Jack Crowe
, and for 33 years of my life, I was a harvester. For those of you reading this who don’t know what a harvester is I shall get to that in a minute but first here’s a bit of backstory to get you up to date. It sure as hell isn’t a nice story but it’s my life and if we all stop and be honest for a minute the most interesting stories are never the nice ones. If they were then why are the newspapers always so full of death and disease I wonder? 

I was born into a loving hard working family in the mo
st backwash part of Mississippi. We were a farming family and that’s what I was always meant to be it seems since ironically being a harvester. Apparently my family was a very close knit caring kind of people. There was my mother, father and two brothers, both farm hands, by the time of my birth and my sister who apparently, despite being only 5 years old, was becoming very handy in the kitchen baking cakes with my mother.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend longer than a couple of months at that place, because one of the downsides to living peacefully off the land is that although it’s nice to not ever have to speak to
anyone. Not knowing anyone also means that if you go missing no one is going to know about it for a very long time.

I was about three months old
the day when the vampires came. Not that there needed to be a lot of them, after all one vampire has the strength of about 20 men and that’s if it hasn’t fed in a few weeks. They engulfed the house, a group of about 6, but you would have thought there were many more if you had been there. It’s said that my father put up a fight as best as he could but it was useless. They tore him to shreds not even bothering to feed, just killing for the fun of it.

My brothers were
killed just like my father their innards apparently redecorating the bedroom wall. My sister and my mother were feasted on in the old fashioned way however, some vampires are just sticklers for tradition. It’s truly amazing to see a person being feasted upon. There’s no gore no blood anywhere, no mess to clean up. Most importantly you see the person age and the life drain from their eyes until they look ancient and withered its actually possible at this point to keep them alive for it isn’t until the last drop of blood is taken and the instinct to survive leaves them that finally they die.

The vampires had not come to feed however
. No there are plenty of other means that over the many years of trial and error had been perfected. This was way too 2000 BC for a feed. This was a hunt, it was me the new born infant of an unknown family that they had come for. Someone who no one knew existed, from a family who wouldn’t miss them. At an age where they could be brought up and taught in any way the vampires deemed worthy. I was an involuntary recruit just like every other harvester in history. Once they had me they burned the house down and left the body’s inside. Once the rubble, that was once a house, was discovered by a local farmer two months later everyone naturally thought it was just a normal house fire and a very sad event. But no one ever knew that a child was missing.

This taking of an infant and burning the house down ritual had been going on since the dark ages apparently. You see originally vampires being the humans
’ natural predator would attack small villages and feast at will until the “livestock” numbers began to dwindle. Then the vampires slowed down and began to get weaker and easier to kill and this was something people really began to notice and take advantage of until the only thing left to do, for the small amounts of remaining vampires, was to hide amongst the humans isolated forever feeding when they could on prostitutes and other unwanted and unloved people in the bottom of the barrel of life. But their blood, not being quite as pure, did not supply all the required sustenance to survive.

It wasn’t until
1433 that the first, and to this day current, high chancellor Gabriel Dreno united all the vampires under one common cause with his newly devised way to feed that turned out, over time, to be a great success. And that’s where I come in. The system relies on Harvesters. Harvesters are stolen from their homes as babies and transformed into black-bloods this process only works on infants as they have not yet fully developed as humans, a black blood is half vampire half human meaning that we are stronger and more agile than a human but not to the extent of a vampire. We also have longer life averaging around 150 years. We do not eat at all It’s a peculiar side effect of mixing vampire and human that no one understands fully. But it doesn’t mean we don’t like to drink, a lot.

Harvesters are sworn to aid vampires in the feeding process
. Our job is to go out and hunt the most pure blood humans that we can find. Virgins and the likes are always good. Priests always seem to go down well and the way they dress makes them pretty much walking targets. We find them, we kidnap them and we bring them back to the feeding houses. These feeding houses are usually large mansions in the middle of nowhere inside the cattle are hooked up to blood extraction machines and closely monitored to make sure they stay alive for the maximum amount of time before death. We need to get as much blood out of them as we can. Once a person gives up on life and wants for nothing but death the blood becomes undrinkable like a bottle of corked wine so one cow usually lasts only a couple of days. Although a good catch might hang in for a week or two if you’re lucky.

For a long while this was my life and I will be honest with you it wasn’t exactly a bad one
but all good things must come to an end. But believe me when I say that this was not the way I had expected.

Oxford, Mississippi, 1881

The streets were quite, thick fog hung heavy in the damp air of the night. It was painfully quite for any normal man but not for Jack Crowe. He had been in this position so many times before, too many times to count. He struck a match against a wall and cupped it from the elements as he pressed it to the end of the cigarette that hung from his mouth. Jack was perched upon the side of a roof looking down on an alley below. He was dressed all in black from his hat to his boots. A large cape like black jacket covered his body. Harvesters were made to wear all black as all other colours offend the eyes of their vampire masters it was lucky however that Jack had acquired quite a fondness for it.

Tonight was the night that Jack would claim his next victim
. He had been following a preacher of a failing evangelistic church for some weeks now, picking up on his habits and his routines. Another great thing about hunting men of the cloth is they always seem to be compulsive about sticking to one particular way of doing things, must have something to do with the nature of the job but this made Jacks job a lot easier.

This preacher’s parish was failing
. He knew few people, and of those few, only a handful actually saw him on a weekly basis. He was the perfect candidate and was pure of heart and body which means this blood would be all the more nourishing.

Jack watched him
, slyly jumping from building to building, as the preacher made his way down the back alleys of Oxford, not another soul around for miles. Toying with them was always fun, getting them just that little bit worked up before they’re taken. Human fear is an attractive scent to his vampire masters and the women often doused themselves in this smell as a form of aphrodisiac. Jack ran through the routine he had perfected from years of work almost bored by it now, his facial expression a wry smile.

He threw stones, made noises moved quickly in and out of the preacher’s vision and finally
, when the fear had reached a critical level, Jack dropped down in front of him landing without any sign of strain or effort from a leap off of a three story building.

The preacher froze with fear but managed to spit out a few words “The lord is my shephe
rd he shall walk beside me through the valley of darkness. Head my words foul spawn you cannot harm a man of God.”

Jack slowly looked up at him from under his hat
. He always loved the things that priest came out with. It was one of the few joys left in his job “The lord may be your shepherd but unfortunately for you lamb’s on the menu tonight.”

Jack grabbed the man sharply by the throat his fingers digging deep into the preacher’s soft flesh as he desperately tried to make a sound or at the very least t
ake a breath. Jack took the cross from around his neck and threw it to the floor “You won’t be needing this where you’re going” he said as the preacher’s facial expression turned into pure horror. With a light cast of his hand Jack threw the preacher into the wall leaving him covered in brick dust and in a deep state of unconsciousness on the floor.

Jack picked up the limp body of the preacher and carried him a
cross to his horse and carriage. Opening the large metal doors on the back Jack threw the man inside and quickly locked the doors. Again he opened a flask of whiskey and took a large sip. He’d been drinking so long that the burn didn’t seem to affect him anymore. In fact he couldn’t even feel it but the warm reassuring feeling of alcohol spread across his chest congratulating him on yet another job well done.

It was about an hour’s journey from the centre of the city
, where Jack had picked up the preacher, to the feeding house located far out of the reach of any prying eyes or medalling law enforcement officers. Jack had grown up at the feeding house he was raised here he lived in the servant’s quarters, obviously, but it was a very lavish life style, as money means nothing to vampires. The house was old and unkempt; vines grew around every pillar and window frame and the stone the house was made from had become weather damaged and chipped, just how the vampires liked it. It made it look more threatening and far less lived in. People would never have expected that around 15 vampires plus harvesters lived in his mansion, if whoever came looking for the house ever actually found it in the swamp that it was located. It was a dangerous and treacherous place but it had always been home to Jack.

Jack pulled the wagon to a stop outside of the front porch of the house and slowly jumped off the driving seat of the wagon.
He was a tall man, just over six feet, with broad shoulders and a strong but slim physique. The vampire blood that coursed around his veins had caused his facial features to become sharp and menacing and you could see by his skin that the whiskey and cigarettes had made their mark leaving his skin pitted and weather damaged.

Something that should be explained about the harvesters is that th
eir long life and faster regeneration times than normal humans means that they have taken this as an excuse to smoke and drink as much as they possibly can. Drinking bottle upon bottle of whiskey per day and rarely being seen without either smoking a cigarette or just about to light one up. Although sometimes the damage showed externally very little internal damage was ever done there had never been a harvester with kidney or liver failure or anything that would have to do with drinking or smoking, suppose this was a bright side to being a black blood.

Lighting up a cigarette Jack went round to the back of the wagon and opened the steel doors, the preacher fell out onto him armed with a cross yelling prayers at Jack in Latin
. He had no idea of their meaning but knew that they weren’t meant to be pleasant. Jack threw the man down to the floor but he did not stop he held onto the cross and chanted the same line over and over again. Jack looked at him with morbid curiosity.

Something that the church had never fully caught onto was the idea that if God exists
, as they say that he does, he has no say whatsoever over the goings on of vampires. All the myths and rumours of crosses and chants, garlic and stakes, all these fantasised ways to kill a vampire had never worked. No vampire knows when these ideas started but they are glad they did for priests looked like walking targets and if you followed the scent of garlic you might just find a good meal at the end of it. The only way to kill a vampire that has ever been seen to work is to completely remove the head.

Several vampires and harveste
rs who were outside the house at the time turned to watch this praying man knelt on the floor turning his cross franticly to try and get it into the view of everyone around him. After a while he stopped, realising the futility of what he was doing. It was at this point that Jack introduced him to the back of his hand sending him flying a few feet into the dirt and leaving him once again unconscious.

Jack dragged the unconscious preacher to the front door where
a younger harvester was waiting. The young man was still in training, which means he was not yet allowed to go out and hunt alone until he had proved himself worthy to do so. For now his duty was to take the cattle inside and plug them up to the feeding machines.

“Looks like you got a real kicker there sir,” said the young man.

Jack grunted at him and threw the preacher down at his feet “should be good for at least a few days of feeding now take him away boy there’s going to be a big feed on tonight and we need as much blood as we can get our hands on.”

BOOK: The Feeding House
10.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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