HOW TO #1: Feeding
This is the essence of vampirism. We. Drink. Blood. So for those of you browsing the bookstores for Vampirism for Vegans, the book just doesn’t exist (although someone is working on it).
Today, there are more feeding options than there have been in eras past, tailored to fit the various personalities, beliefs, and ethics of the modern vampire. We will cover just a few of them.
The most widely recognized method for a vampire to feed is through a single live host. The vampire will pierce the host’s skin with his or her fangs, and usually drink from one of two1 major arteries close to the skin’s surface. This is either the external carotid artery, in the neck, or the radial artery, at either the wrist or the elbow. Depending on the size of the host and the amount of blood consumed, feeding on a single host may kill them or leave them alive but severely depleted.
The next most common method of feeding, and the one most commonly used by (mostly fledgling) vampires either squeamish about feeding off of a living host or else ethically opposed to it, is using blood donated to a blood collection center.
There are advantages to this method. A big advantage is that the blood is pre-screened to be top quality, and catalogued. A blood connoisseur who prefers AB negative blood over O Positive will get AB negative every time.
One disadvantage is that because of the dearth of donors, and because of the collection centers’ primary mission of using the blood for human medical purposes, this supply comes at a premium. A one pint single-serving packet may cost upwards of $250, depending on type and availability.
Another concern is temperature. Blood packets are kept chilled to retard the breakdown of cells. The packets should be carefully reheated in a warm water bath before consumed. If heated too quickly, the blood cells break down and their nutritive benefits are lost.
A third option, and the latest trend in vampire feeding, is the practice of “browsing.” In this method the vampire feeds from a number of voluntary human hosts. The vampire drinks less blood from more people. Therefore the hosts are not left near death, but simply in a mildly euphoric state. A pleasurable symbiosis is created between vampire and his hosts.
One concern however associated with browsing, is the potential for disease. This is less of an issue for the vampire (we’re dead after all) than it is for his human hosts. The conscientious vampire therefore counteracts with a sterile apparatus, using IV needles and surgical tubing. People will not volunteer to be food unless you take care of them in return.
Aside from having a renewable source for food for vampires and providing a natural high for humans, browsing may provide other benefits as well. Arthur, for example, has met several of his professional contacts through feed parties he’s thrown over the years.
1 There is a third access point for blood on the male anatomy, but decorum prevents us from describing it.