Tuesday, October 16, 2007

B R Y A N ' S B L O O D P E O P L E

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B R Y A N ' S B L O O D P E O P L E
A Short Story of Delight and Intrigue

S i l a s T . C o m b e r b a c h e

Bryan was eleven. He lived in a suburb of Brazil with his mother and sister. They were vicious bitch-cats, and Bryan's life was filled with misery and constant antagonism. Bryan often bled due to a rare pituitary disorder that caused his body to produce more blood than his body needed, kind of like putting five quarts of oil in your car when it only holds four. Once a week, Bryan had to bleed off about a gallon or so of blood through a creaky wooden apparatus like a beer tap that was punched through his epidermis, all held together by big medical rubber bands that were cracked and sticky. Bryan would drip his salty black blood into a shallow ceramic bowl and carry it slick black and wet to his bedroom window. He would place the bowl on the concrete ledge outside his window and peer out in terror from behind thin fabric curtains as the cave bats used their echolocation to find the bowl and swarm in and crawl all over it and into it like so many starving ants.

Bats are, as the name may suggest, related to rats: they are quite capable of learning how to find the cheese at the end of the maze and they will return to a place over and over again with increasing numbers to find food. It wasn't long before Bryan had quite a following -- of blood-slick bats. They would darken the sky like thunderclouds just after dusk, their echolocation noise humming due to harmonic overlap like the low A of a darkly played viola, the bow scratching and dragging across the strings.

Too many bats, not enough blood. What to do? Bryan put his sister in the window. He tied her down screaming and knew he could keep her alive by feeding her his blood -- which he did. For a while. She lived for a few days. His mother was next, that fucking bitch.