I was still in the hospital. The pain was back and the morphine wasn’t worth shit. So, I just lay there, curled into a ball and whimpering mostly silently. Unfortunately, between the IV morphine drip and the blood transfusion, I couldn’t bend my right arm and my arm kept twitching as I tried to keep myself from drawing it toward my center. The light was hurting my eyes again, even though the shades were drawn and they’d turned off the overhead lights. The nurse had come in to check on me not that long ago but I’d felt okay then. How long ago had it been? A half an hour? An hour? Two?
“Knock, knock,” a male voice called from the now open door, the light searing even through my closed eyelids.
A moan escaped me as he quickly eased the door closed behind him.
“Sorry,” he moved toward the side of the bed quickly, his slip resistant soles not making a sound against the industrial flooring. “I’ll go get the nurse or the doctor to look in on you, okay?” He reached to pat my shoulder reassuringly.
I’m not really sure what my brain was thinking. Maybe it wasn’t. I sure didn’t remember telling my body to move, even though it did. Quicker than I thought I was capable of moving in my condition, I seized his arm, holding on for dear life, it seemed. I finally opened my eyes.
“Wow,” he smiled, trying and failing to disguise a grimace. “You sure are strong.”
For a dead woman. The thought crossed my in a brief moment of clarity. No, no dead. Dying. The clarity slipped away and something else took over. My hand shook where it was still attached to the orderly.
He gently laid his hand over mine where it rested on his arm and slowly tried to pry off my fingers without hurting me. Reflexively, my fingers dug in deeper. His grimace returned. “Easy, Dr. Rossi. Just let go and I’ll be able to get you some help. Okay?” He squinted, looking deeper into my eyes. “Dr. Rossi? Are you in there?”
Next, he leaned in closer, moving his throat toward my mouth. At the time, some part of me thought he was offering me a buffet. Now, I think he must have seen my lips moving reflexively and thought I was trying to speak. My eyes drifted closed as he came within inches of my mouth. I tried to move my face away when I was assaulted by some abrasive cologne, but then was hit with another scent that had my eyes popping open and, before I knew it, I was leaning in and breathing in deep.
“Ma’am?” he said on a startled breath, trying to jerk away.
I didn’t let him, but extended my arm around his shoulders and brought him back. My teeth were already sinking in before any portion of my mind had the faintest inkling as to what I was doing. The hot, thick, metallic-tasting liquid started flowing and I started lapping at it without thought.
He tried to get away. He was yelling and shoving and hitting me but I didn’t notice. Everything I was at that moment, mostly instinct really, was focused on the liquid flowing down his neck. My brain didn’t register what it was and I didn’t really care.
The weaker his struggles became, the more I started to come to. At some point, I realized I was holding the orderly and let go. He slumped into the floor and my mind reeled trying to grasp what was wrong with him. I could smell blood. I looked around and there was blood everywhere. On the sheets, my gown, my arms. I could even feel it on my face. “What?” I said under my breath. At first, I though the blood bag had somehow ruptured and the orderly had fainted. Yeah, that made sense. But I had a nagging feeling I was kidding myself. So much blood.
I leaned over in the bed on shaky arms to check on the orderly. He was slumped over on the floor with his head leaned against the night stand at what had to be an uncomfortable angle. I reached over to touch his neck, which was covered in blood, along with the front of his scrubs. The blood wiped away to reveal a wound, which was quickly covered in more blood.
The door banged open and I closed my eyes and turned away to protect them from the light from the hallway. There was a terrible shrieking noise as one of the people in scrubs ran over to me on the floor. How did I get in the floor? And what was that noise?
“Dr. Rossi? It’s going to be okay,” the woman tried to yell over the loud noise. Someone ran up to the woman and handed her something. A needle. It glinted. The noise stopped. Darkness.