The baby’s head crowned. The midwife called for another push. The baby’s father pushed down hard on the mother’s bulbous abdomen. The baby came out easy the rest of the way. The mother was relaxed now. She didn’t cry out because her labors did not hurt her anymore. She was dead.
The baby was underweight and blue. It was cold and hungry. It had tiny sharp points pushing through soft cyanotic gums. The baby was a golum, an unnatural. He was a blood drinker, this one.
The father beheld it with bleary eyes. His thoughts were scattered, unclear. His belly was taut and bloated, but empty of food. Sounds of chaos reigned outside. The hovel was shared with the remaining members of his clan.
Jerusalem was falling. The unclean swarmed the Holy City and razed Yahweh’s Temple to the ground. The siege bore fruit, bedlam was all around them. It was as if an ancient and unforgiving evil was unleashed. All, he knew, was lost.
The baby’s father went to the fire. The clan gazed at him with crazed, starving eyes. The midwife stood beside the fire, stoked flames. She was a member of the father’s clan and there to help with the delivery. The offer for her expertise an unusual one, but it made her grateful beyond words. They offered her something far more valuable than gold in these days. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem.
She stirred the water to boil. The midwife looked to the father with the last of her tears. Screams bounced off the outside walls of their barricaded hovel. The Romans beyond were furious and unrestrained.
They were coming.
Even though the Romans neared; the clan was far too weak to run. They had nowhere to go. The Romans will brutally roll over them in a swarm. The father knew his women would soon be savagely raped and most likely killed. He will taste a blade himself before long. His whole family wiped out.
But they won’t be hungry when the Romans finally arrive on their doorstep.
The father went to the midwife. He couldn’t look at her. The children of the clan grabbed anything sharp they could find. They hovered over mother’s dead body. They began with her legs, worked their way up, seeking meat.
At the fire water boiled rapidly. The father stood beside it. He stared hard at the bubbling water, seeking answers not forthcoming. The father could hear his dead wife being cut into, quartered by her own children. His mouth involuntarily watered at the sound of flesh carved.
He gazed at the half-dead newborn vampire in his arms. The baby will save them. He will keep them alive for a time.
And into the pot it did go.