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Story 2

Oh, why must there be blood on his hands? They’ll find him out and send him away again. He should have refrained. But instinct reacted before thought advised. He should scram from the hospital but somehow the floor tiles were too interesting for him to leave.

“Excuse me” The worry in it cut deeply into his preoccupation.

“Yes?” He looked up slowly.  

It was a lady in frumpled clothes. She seemed to him like a cat caught out too long in the rain; sodden and deeply unhappy.

“They said you saved my girl.” She sat next to him and placed her hand on his arm. Her face displayed a tattoo of anxiety. “You held her together until they took her here.” 

He nodded. The fluorescent lights swam. There. Not there.

“She needs you.” He flinched. “You’re the same blood type as she is. She needs a blood transfusion.” How did she know his blood type?  

“The blood banks are empty.” Her grip hardened. “Please.”

“Isn’t there anyone else?” He squirmed.  

“No.” Silly, stupid man. Would she have come otherwise? He wanted to plead defiance and leave. His throat and muscles wouldn’t obey. Her hand was still on him, a great weight despite its slenderness.

She got up and pulled on his arm. “Come with me.” His seat ripped away from him; plastic on skin Velcro.

She pulled again. It lifted him to his feet and in tow behind her.  

“Come.”

***  

“We’re making mummies.” He thought.

There were bandages everywhere in the room that they’ve come to; in piles next to algae-coloured safari beds, as neat rolls on surgical trolleys but mostly wrapped around people on the beds. Their pained moans drummed summonings for nurses and doctors who attended to them in a rush; pushing aside and snapping impatience at visitors with each pass.  

The duo stood by a makeshift bed. A young lady slept in it. Her chest was bandaged and there were ugly splints on her leg and arm. Cuts and abrasions showed wherever there was skin. She seemed whole. But he knew the ruin hidden under the gauzy strips. After all, he had pinched together, using his hands, the torn edges of her flesh earlier. Remembering his actions, it was enough for him.

He tried to retreat but his captor still clung onto his arm. She pulled him back to the bedside firmly, cooing gently “She needs your blood. Save her again. Please.”  

A tiny red dot appeared on the bandages covering the lady’s sternum.  

“I can’t. I have to go now.” He tried to retreat once more. Again, she prevented him “Please.”  She cooed.

“My blood is bad!” He exploded. “It’s not a cure! I can’t save her that way!” He blinked and swung his head around; expecting to see a sudden lull but caregivers still rushed around and patients still moaned.  

The dot slowly grew into an irregularly-shaped stain. A clean red stain.

“I know. The hospital knows. It’s ok.” He goggled at her “You wouldn’t be responsible for her after that. It’s ok.”  

But it’s not. He spent so much effort hiding and containing his taint. Now, they wanted him to taint others? Fat chance. Yet, she’ll die now. If given his blood, she’ll have some time before it consumes her. She could do wonders with her life. Maybe there might even be a cure by then.

Maybe there might not be a cure.  

“No. I can’t.” He disengaged her fingers from his arm and turned to leave.

“I can go now.” he thought, oddly happy in his decision.

“You bastard.” He didn’t turn around. That’s why he didn’t know what hit him. Only that he was on the floor and the side of his head felt remarkably numb and big.  

“Bastard! Then why did you save her? Did you save her to die in front of me?! Bastard!” She slammed something into him. Pain screeched. He rolled around madly but the blows landed easily. Each one harder than the last and snapping things in him. No one came to stop her. He hissed at her with broken teeth but quieted soon after she’d shattered almost everything in him.

The young lady’s bandages were still stained. It had gone crusty maroon. A fat tube ran into her veins. It was transferring blood from newly dead to barely-alive. The lady in frumpled clothes slumped against the bed. She even managed a little smile.

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