Listen to this story narrated by master storyteller Otis Jiry.
Prudence was a third generation Hoffenberg whose family owned the biggest hothouse nursery in the state of New Hampshire.
The Nursery – Heavenly Sent Gardens – specialized in exotic flowers and rare roses. The entire Hoffenberg family was involved in the business, from top to bottom. They stuck together ever since immigrating from Germany in 1919.
What started out as a flower stand, bloomed into a multi-acre showroom of flowers from around the world. Rarity and Quality was their business motto. Shoppers from the whole east coast, and from around the world, regularly visited the famous nursery.
Prudence’s day was taken up with ordering specialty flowers from Asia to Zambia. The best seller list was a who’s who of the flower world.
The top five were: the Kadupul flower, mainly found in the jungles of Sri Lanka. This incredibly rare flower only blooms at midnight and dies before dawn.
Campion flowers was their second bestseller. Once they could only be found in the British territory of Gibraltar. This flower also has a short lifespan and prior to the Hoffenberg’s obtaining some, they could only be found in the botanical gardens on Gibraltar and London.
Their number three best-seller was the Ghost Orchid, that only grows in Cuba and Florida. It was the demands for high temperatures and high humidity that made the ghost orchid so rare.
Number four on the hit list, was Chocolate cosmos native to Mexico. Sadly, this flower has been extinct in the wild for years.
Wrapping up their top five was, Blood Roses from Halfeti. Turkey accounts for 25 percent of all species of roses and none more famous than the Blood Rose of Halfeti. The secret was what to feed it.
Heavenly Sent Gardens worked with experts in Turkey for years before finally obtaining the secret to keeping it healthy. It came at great cost.
As Prudence walked past the section of Blood Roses in her daily hothouses inspection, she stopped to admire one that was blooming. Once again she wondered if it was worth the price.
Haydin Hoffenberg, Prudence’s 21-year-old grandson, was very much involved in the family business. His job however was unique, and dangerous. He had to go out and find the main ingredient for the Blood Roses very special feeding times.
Blood. Not just any blood. It couldn’t be older than one hour and must be given at right at midnight.
The second generation of Hoffenberg’s were the first family members to approach Turkish agriculturists who led them to the, then underground, market of Blood Roses. A corrupt Turkish regime later made their importation legal.
Only very special people ordered blood roses. Not only because they were very expensive, but because they had to sign a contract stating it was their responsibility to provide fresh blood (defined as less than an hour old) for the rose. How they did that, was up to them. No refunds.
Rather than bleed family members dry, the second generation of Hoffenberg’s chose to kidnap a feeder victim, and keep them alive for as long as possible. A special underground bunker was built during the cold war with Russia just for that purpose.
Located on their own land, near the hothouses, the bunker became the last resting place for numerous victims over the years. Haydin Hoffenberg’s job was to “maintain the feeder victim,” and make sure they stayed as healthy as possible, despite living in restraints.
It was harder than it sounds. Not catching the victim, but keeping them alive. Sometimes they just gave up and died after a year or so. Others lived for years. They even had one feeder who lived there for a decade.
Finding new feeder victims was a delicate process.
After decades of refinement, the family had a formula for selecting feeders. They should be in their early 20s, healthy, and have very few (if any) family members. Orphans were all right, if they were at least in their teens.
Homeless people weren’t as reliable, as they didn’t tend to be too healthy. They were sometimes just taken as temporary substitutes, while the family kept searching for the ideal candidate.
This system thrived for nearly 80 years before crashing down in a night of horror.
Among his duties, Haydin had to feed the blood roses. He became an expert at hooking up IV’s to drain the feeder’s veins. It was his habit to go down in the bunker about thirty minutes before midnight. It gave him plenty of time to set things up and go back to the nursery.
Being raised in a family of psychopaths, Haydin saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. It was a family thing. Looking at the victims as feeders, made it easier for him to do his job. He was a little excited about finding the new feeder.
He was living in the streets of the city, but looked healthy, and best of all, he was a loner shunned by other denizens of the streets. He knew that because he asked around.
He caught the new feeder sleeping in an alley. Gave him a shot that would have knocked a gorilla out, and managed to get his big body into the back of his SUV. When he got home, he got his younger brother, Nicholas, to help him take the feeder down into the bunker.
As he walked outside he looked up at the full moon overhead. It was beautiful. He pulled his keys out and unlocked the metal cover protecting the door over the bunker. He idly wondered if the feeder was conscious yet?
He flipped the light switch, but it didn’t come on. Annoyed, he wondered when the last time was since he changed it? He warily went down the stairs until he reached bottom.
He started to take a step, heard a growl, and stopped! The growl got deeper! Something was thrashing around in the room. He heard something tearing, and then a roar of rage! The werewolf slammed into Haydin and knocked his breath out!
Another low growl…and Haydin screamed as the werewolf slashed him apart with it’s deadly claws and teeth!
The public was stunned when the family announced it was closing down the business two days later. Everything was sold at 75 percent off. The only thing that Heavenly Sent Gardens didn’t sell were the remaining Blood Roses…and that’s because they were all dead.
As It Stands, how do you make your garden grow?