A.J. Walker


The Pudding Ban

The Pudding Ban

There are always unexpected consequences to change, but the side effect of the 2013 Black Pudding Ban was to prove severe.

In northwest England since the 60s and the advent of the pill and free love, the resultant difficulty in locating virgins had become a major concern for many vampires. It coincided with a time when many of them were becoming humanists though. So, as the age of Aquarius was welcomed through a drug induced haze, the vampires were also led into their new age of humanism with their own alternative life style.

In contrast to the bright psychedelia of California the new beginnings for the ancient communities of Lancashire came out of Lesley Bradshaw’s butcher shop in damp Oswaldtwistle. His black puddings became a way of consuming blood without resorting to unfortunate incidents with friends, neighbours or livestock. Black puddings were literally to become the lifeblood for many in his community.

By 2013 after four decades of living with their human friends simply going back to the former way of life was distasteful to most. After black puddings were outlawed, for some spurious moral reason dressed as health & safety, the butcher's shelves emptied and there was an inevitable rapid climb in recorded disappearances of young people throughout the northwest.

Elizabeth was a fervent vegetarian though everyone knew she had a quirky love for black pudding as well as for John. A mortal, John had never had a preference for older women, but despite her 600 years Elizabeth had always looked younger and more vital than him, especially after a good helping of pudding. He had eventually been made aware of Elizabeth’s predilection for blood and why, and confessed he found it quite arousing.

When the ban came she felt she had wanted to fight it, she didn’t want to go back to the old days of stakes, fear and hiding. And she feared for her love. Unfortunately the majority in England could easily live without the black pudding delicacy. There was no chance of a groundswell of support to overturn the ban. It was not clear how long it would take for a reliable underground supply of pudding to fill the void.

Elizabeth quickly started to suffer without her dose of pud. Her rosy cheeks went first and wrinkles spread across her face like a rapidly shriveling prune under a time lapse camera. As for the bingo wings, less said.

TV and tabloid news was full of chupacabra attacks on cattle and disappearances of young people. Mostly these were accepted as nonsense and teenagers being teenagers, but John and Elizabeth knew the truth, and worried.

John would do anything for Elizabeth; they were soul mates, if not cell mates. He knew if he gave it time nature would take its course.

One night he cradled Elizabeth in his arms as she lay across his lap breathing the shallow breath of the dying. She looked more like his grandmother than his young love. Closing his eyes, he lifted her head to his shoulder and moved his head aside.

He waited.