Short Story
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                      “It Was Consensual”
                                                     By Rose Titus

     The shipment was late.  It never was before.  She depended on it, for her
very survival.  They all did.  Without it, she would surely starve…  and the
supply in her refrigerator was now empty.  She sighed and wondered what to
do…  

None of her people lived close to her, so she couldn’t call on them for help.  
She could pay someone, maybe?  The nerd who worked at the all night
convenience store and was always complaining he was broke.  She knew he
was broke because she heard him talk about it all the time to the kid who
worked the cash register, can’t afford this, can’t afford that, can’t pay to fix the
van…  She looked up the number of the store and pulled her phone out of
her purse and called.  She thought of him first because he followed her
around the store every time she was there, asking if she needed help, so it
was obvious he liked her.   Somehow the kid figured out her name.  Must’ve
memorized it from her credit card.  Each time she came in to buy panty hose
he yelled hi Daphne from the stock room, as if they were old friends.  And he
knew what she was and didn’t seem to be afraid.  She could afford to pay him
and would offer up to five hundred cash for such easy work…  That’s what
she planned on telling him…  no, it won’t hurt too much…  I’ll be careful with
you…  you just might feel a little faint after but you’ll be fine and I won’t take
too much…  “Hello?  Is Jason there?’  “Huh?  No, lady.  He don’t work tonight.  
Who’s this?”  “Thanks.  Never mind.”  She hung up.  “Damn it.”  It was a dumb
idea, anyway.

     What was she going to do?  She was beginning to feel hunger.  Soon, it
would become painful inside.  Then she would grow weak.

     It was the year 2093.  The world had finally discovered them, even though
they had remained well hidden for centuries.  Vampires were the only ones
able to survive the plagues and germ warfare unleashed upon society by
extremists almost a century ago.  They allowed their immune systems to be
researched, and thus prevented the complete annihilation of humanity.  All
they wanted in return was to be allowed to exist in peace, no more
persecution.  Many people were grateful.  Many were still fearful.

     And some hated them with irrational rage…

     She checked her e-mail for any information on where her delivery was.  
Half of the trucks were destroyed.  Blown to bits.  “What?”  Humanity First
claimed responsibility.  There was a bomb in the parking lot where the
delivery trucks were kept.  It was an odd name for such a group since science
had recently labeled their kind as a more highly evolved race of humanity,
and the research had saved humanity from extinction.  But not all people
were logical.  If the shipments did not arrive on time, it would cause the
hunger and desperation that everyone feared in them…  “How could they be
so damn stupid?”  And what the hell did these idiots have against shipping
cattle blood across country in refrigerated trucks to people who paid for it?

     She turned on the TV.  It was on the news right now, what had happened
earlier in the day.  The leader of Humanity First was shouting to a rapt
audience of his followers.  “Now their evil hunger will be unleashed upon
society and everyone will see the monsters they really are!”  Just terrific, she
thought.  If anything does happen it would be the fault of those fanatics to
begin with…

     She turned it off and gazed out the window.  The sun was slowly dimming
in the sky.  She would call in absent from work.  She didn’t feel in any shape
to deal with anything tonight; she was growing weak and irritable.  And soon
she could become seriously dehydrated…

     She decided to just walk the streets for fresh air.  It might make her feel
better.  Maybe the delivery would come, somehow, and arrive when she got
back.  Or maybe not.  Maybe she would collapse in the streets and be found
close to starvation before dawn…

     She wandered around the dark streets hoping to take her mind off her
problems, but the hunger was all she could think about…  she continued on.

     And then she saw him.  Tommy Lassiter, also known as the
“neighborhood pervert.”  Every neighborhood had one nowadays.  Creep,
she thought.  The guy kept getting arrested and they kept having to let him
go because victims would never testify.  He would say terrible things about
them in court and destroy them.  A century ago, she remembered, DNA and
an accusation were enough to put someone away.  But after the wars,
resources were so scarce, and the prisons were so full…   Laws changed to
make justice convenient and unclog the system.

     This piece of trash had been in the local papers more times than she
could count.  One of the many people captured and released because there
was no more room to house criminals anymore, and no funds to build new
facilities.  On television mothers raved in front of cameras about what he had
done to their children…  “But it was consensual,” he would always say, “Hey,
like, kids are pretty grown up these days, know what I mean?”  And he would
go on like that, every time he was caught, and that’s how he got away.  It was
his main defense, and remarkably, it worked.  So far...  People now told their
kids to avoid this filth.  And cops were just waiting for someone to be brave
enough to do something and finally put an end to it all, but it had not
happened yet.

     And what was this paragon of virtue doing now?  She watched.  “Shit,”
she hissed.  He was following a little kid.  And what the hell was a kid doing
out on his own this late?  The creep was following the little boy down an
alleyway.  Then the kid saw him, too.  And tried to run.  But he was trapped.  
She knew this alley ended with a brick wall.  She followed them, not sure what
to do next…  

     …  And there he was, taking a knife out of his belt.  The kid was up
against the wall.  “Hey, kid.  I ain’t gonna hurt yah.  Just do what I say, and I
ain’t gonna hurt yah.”

     “Leave me alone!  I’ll tell!”

     “You’ll tell?  Nobody tells!  I’ll tell what you did.  You know what I’m gonna
say?  You liked it and you wanted it.  You begged me for it, and you came on
to me.  And what are your little school friends gonna think about yah then?  
Hey, what the--?”

     She leapt from behind.  He was bigger than her, but she was strong, like
all her kind.  She was on his back, one hand of his muscular shoulder, the
other in his greasy hair pulling his head back.  She bit down hard.  He
screamed loud in her ear.  But she ignored it, and drank, filling herself.  She
then realized he tasted horrible, as if he lived off junk food and pot.  But he
was all that was available right now.  His knees began to shake, and he sank
to the ground.  She held on while he went down to the pavement.  He was
paralyzed with shock and terror, unable to respond.  All he could do was
whimper.  She drank until satisfied…

     He collapsed, and she let go.  He fell bleeding to the pavement.

     She wiped her mouth, “You okay, kid?”  She now remembered the boy,
worried that he must be even more terrified than before…

     “Hey, lady!  You just saved me from that creep!”

     “Well, so I did.”  She heard the molester moan.  He was alive, but might
need a transfusion.  She looked at him, “If you ever, ever say to anyone that
this experience was anything but totally consensual, I will go on TV and tell
the entire world how bad you wanted it.  I know there are a lot of people out
there with a vampire fetish.  A lot!  Especially these days.  You followed me,
and begged me for it, didn’t you?  And you loved it.  You moaned like a male
whore, which is what you are!”

     The rapist looked up at her weakly and mumbled, “I really did like it.”

     “What?”

     “Can we maybe do that again some time?  Only next time with you in a
French maid outfit?”

     “Pig!”  She kicked him where it would hurt the most.  He wretched and
vomited on the pavement, covering himself with filth.

     She saw the boy cowering against the wall.  “Are you, like real?  I saw
people like you on TV, but I wasn’t sure if it was like a movie?”

     “I’m real.  Don’t worry.  I won’t hurt you.  Why aren’t you at home with your
parents?”

     “They’re just fightin’ again.  They drink, and then they start yellin’ and
stuff.  I don’t like it, so I go out and play.  They don’t got no food in the house,
so I was gonna buy some candy.  I got some change in my pockets – “

     “Hey, you know what?  I don’t have any food at home either.  I bet that
convenience store sells sandwiches.  Come on, I’ll buy you something.”

     “Okay!”

     He took her hand, and she led him safely away into the night.