SHELBURNE – In the old days they just used their teeth. Now, maple vampires are equipped with a wide array of technological tools to aid them in their annual blood harvest. No longer do they require a living sacrifice, but the ancient rites are still observed as preparations begin for this year’s unholy summoning.
Tubes, buckets, and pipes are arranged in just a certain way, symbols are scratched into the thawing earth, and horrific torture devices are shoved deep into the veins of the unsuspecting victims. Euphemistically called “taps,” these small bits of metal are how the maple vampires draw the blood out of their victims. With a soft chanting and a strong bond, these maple vampires (they prefer to be called “sugarers” these days, another euphemism) weave their spells and tremble in anticipation of their feast.
The victims stand rooted to the ground, unable to move or fight back, caught in a powerful trance that has been perfected over the course of centuries. Here in Vermont they are perhaps more loved, more likely to be hugged than in most other states, but that will not save them when the planet finally reaches its determined point of orbit, the winds change, the temperature climbs, and the ritualistic hunger takes hold of all creatures, human or otherwise.
Once sipped in private ceremonies, tree blood is now a major export for the state. Ghastly horror has become big business, which is always its way. And the trees do not die. They are left with just enough life-sustaining energy to keep them going another year until the cycle begins anew. There is no Lorax to speak for them, and our guilt fades with even the smallest taste of that decadent elixir. We have tasted death, and it is delicious.
Image Credits: LadyDragonflyCC.