Phil read the requisition form with disbelief, read it over again, hoping he'd caught it wrong the first time. Shit. He'd better fire up the forklift. He hated these calls the most. Once, a few years back, one of the barrels had fallen and broken while he was transfering it to the loading dock, spattering everywhere. His clothes had been ruined, and he hadn't been able to get the smell off his skin for weeks.

Maybe the form was wrong, maybe they'd put an extra zero in by mistake. He tapped out the number for the central office on the decrepit old phone on his desk, got Mabel from shipping on the phone. There wasn't a mistake. The boys at R&D wanted a hundred thousand gallons, transfered ASAP, to be kept out of heat and humidity. He stubbed out his cigarette regretfully, sighed, stood up, and headed down to the refrigerated area. He flicked on the fluorescent lights, and stared mournfully out at the rows upon rows of blue plastic barrels, each one stamped with the biohazard symbol and OSHA warnings.

There was a lot of blood, but the boys needed it.

Sharon worked the bolt until she could hear the rusted metal slide open with an angry rasp. She picked up the bucket she'd set down, trying not to look at the ruddy coagulating mess inside. She stepped gingerly into the tenement, and gagged at the smell of urine that settled over the hallway like a noxious cloud. She picked her way over wadded up newspapers, old syringes, and less identifiable bits of waste, till she came to the third door on the left.

The boys were still sitting cross-legged on the sagging mattress, just like when she'd left. One of them began a wordless inhuman howl when she walked into the room. They both got up and toddled on their stubby four year old legs to her, and started sniffing at the bucket and drooling. She sighed, left the bucket on the floor, and left her sons to their dinner. That was the last from that hooker. She was going to have to do something, and soon. She hated this, hated it with all her soul, but there was nothing she could do. There were a lot of people in this city, and nobody was going to notice a few more missing.

There was a lot of blood, but the boys needed it.

This was a nodeshell, I had to do something with it.

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