Colby Feldman felt mighty fine after selling five hundred eighty-one eggs and eleven ducks at the Tyndale market.
He also felt the telltale tug on his arm.
“My dearest husband….Look! a fabric merchant!”
Colby knew exactly what the words “dearest husband” meant, so he sent his wife off with a bit of coin for fabric, thread, cookware, and all those other things you need around the house but don’t think about; women folk-type things.
Securing his remaining coins tightly to his waistband, He did what any other husband would do; folding his jacket into a pillow, he took a nap next to their wheeled cart for he would be there a while.
Colby’s thoughts drifted off to their grown children and how they had moved into town. The skilled trades were in high demand and paid much more than farming. He was proud of them.
Heavy-lidded, he was just about to fall asleep when he heard a crunch in the gravel path.
It was two young men, perhaps twenty-somethings, well dressed and with soulful eyes. One was a bit taller than the other and they had matching black pants, white shirts, and messenger bags. The brims of their hats were broad.
“Sir? Excuse me, sir?”
They looked like the people who went from farmhouse to farmhouse calling themselves “missionaries.”
Sighing, Colby lifted his head and then sat up. He was a bit off-put as he had just gotten comfortable.
“How can I help you?”
The taller one spoke.
“Have you heard about our….”
“I already go to church, I am just trying to take a nap while my wife spends my money.”
The two young men eyed each other with a knowing glance and then smiled at Colby.
The tall guy continued.
“Ha ha! no sir, nothing like that. We are from First Blood Charities, a well-known foundation in many towns. I know you have limited time, so I will get right to it.
“A small cash donation will go a long way in feeding an orphan vampire child for a month. “
“Alternatively, you can donate a few pints of blood. We brought everything necessary for a bloodletting.”
Colby furrowed his brow, not quite sure he had heard right.
“A vampire orphan? Blood donation? That is preposterous!”
“No sir. They are quite real and in dire need of assistance. Allow me to show you some literature from the Nosferatu Newsletter.”
Colby watched as the young man fumbled through his messenger bag. There was a jar of leeches, medical wrap, needles, blades, flexible tubing, and various odds and ends that Colby wasn’t about to have attached to him. Something about these two didn’t sit right all of a sudden.
He had a stout wooden stick in his cart and he casually positioned himself to reach for it if necessary.
“Ah! Yes, I found it. Our latest issue of Undertower. May I read a few passages to you? “
“Every year, vampires are brutally slaughtered in their sleep with wooden stakes to the heart, poisoned with silver, and tortured with garlic for sport. These atrocities are ignored by our world leaders and as a result, thousands of orphan vampire children are in danger of starvation. A donation of cash or blood will….”
Colby was a little short on sleep and patience.
“This is disgusting, and a mockery of everything sacred. Be on your way.”
“Sir, sincerely. We are only trying to help.”
Curious, a small crowd gathered.
“No, you two are sick in the head. Vampires can’t have children.”
One of the townsfolk of Tyndale spoke up.
“That’s hate speech, countryman. It isn’t acceptable to say such things anymore. Things are different now.”
Colby looked around in disbelief. There were a good number of folks with bandages on their arms. Had they given blood?
He knew vampires were a thing and may or may not have exposed a few to sunlight in his day. Now was not the time to discuss such things.
“Have you all donated blood to this cause?”
The townsman was incredulous. “Of course we have. It’s for the CHILDREN!”
“You hate orphans!” Yelled one in the crowd.
“Vampire lives matter!” Yelled another.
“Whoa!” Colby explained. “I didn’t know. I’ll give two pints!”
“I have just one question though, are these victims of vampires, or are vampires giving birth nowadays?”
More gathered. Colby estimated the whole Tyndale market came and wanted to see how this played out.
A woman in the crowd began screaming and threw an egg, clearly missing Colby, and the white and yolk spilled out of the broken shell.
“You are an orphan denier! You want the vampire children to starve to death!
Colby was exasperated. “Lady, I said I would donate. You see, if they are not children of vampires, they are victims of vampires, and such vampires should be exposed to sunlight one limb at a time and die slowly.”
This was the last straw for the folks of Tyndale market and they took Colby to the Magistrate.
He was given one day in the stocks for threats and speaking ill of orphans.