by Lady K Bear
vampire hummingbird (for real this time)
|In the bright afternoon, the tiny red bird buzzed about, visiting her favorite flowers. She needed to drink from them in order to fly in the manner she was accustomed, and there was never a one that she neglected. Today, however, she caught a scent on the breeze, tantalizing and sweet. A flower she'd never seen before was at the lower end of the field. The field itself was situated in the crater of a volcano that had been inactive for many years. Intrigued, she buzzed about, examining this new friend in her field. The flower stood on a tall stem, which appeared black to her, as did the outer petals. It had many outer petals, but the bright orange of the center was what drew her like a beacon, in addition to the strong scent it gave off. The bird somehow knew that this was a great gift, and she positioned herself to drink. She consumed nectar from that flower exclusively, failing even to return to her nest and leaving the tiny eggs exposed to the elements and certain death. She drove her mate and all others from the flower, guarding it with her life and becoming the sole collector of the addictively sweet nectar.
After several days, the flower died, shriveling and blowing away in the wind, leaving no trace of leaf or root. The bird now disdained any other nectar, and soon after seemed to perish as well. She woke at nightfall, her eyes had changed and she could now see clearly without the aid of the sun. She followed the bright oranges and reds she was used to, but now these colors belonged to other birds and living organisms, not her beloved flowers. It was easy enough to return to the place where she and her mate had constructed their nest. He was asleep in one of the bushes, his tiny body glowing like the center of the flower had done, and radiating from him was the same seductive scent she had remembered. He woke briefly as she drove her beak into him, draining him of his lifeblood as though it were the nectar she sought. Yet, this liquid was not satisfying enough; she needed more. She turned from his drained husk and zipped off, seeking out other sleepers. How had they come to get the nectar she had so carefully hoarded? It mattered not; she would take from them what was hers, and did, feeding throughout the night, leaving drained carcasses of other birds in her wake. As the sun began to rise, she tired, and found for herself a shady place to rest. She did not know that her feathers had turned to a deep brown, which would conceal her presence from anyone seeking an easy meal. As the day drew on, the feathers deepened in color and she began to resemble a small pile of dead leaves. Her form filled out a bit as the sun went down, and as she grew closer to waking her feathers became once again the bright red of heartblood.
She set off again, buzzing about and following the reds and oranges of the valley's sleepers. She found the blood of birds to be the closest resemblance to her beloved nectar, and it was easier to drain these animals completely in one feeding. The larger animals tasted slitghtly different, and it was nearly impossible for her to drain them, no matter how quickly her tiny body used the energy they gave her. She rarely fed from the same large animal twice. She never fed from reptiles, because they did not give off any light nor scent to draw her. She lived in the valley for several months, ignoring the usual instincts to mate and nest and raise young; her life was now about the pursuit of nectar. The flower she had fed from before never bloomed there again, so her only source was the blood of other birds and animals that happened through the valley at night. Some of the animals were so large that they thought no more of her than of a biting fly, and she was able to find a place to hide upon these beasts, where she was quite concealed. In this manner she was carried from the valley where she had grown up, to be unleashed upon the world when the musk ox arrived in the lower plains the next evening.