Your blood sacrifices must’ve pleased Gthog (all hail Gthog!), because this latest story has been flowing like the sacrificial blood from his infernal altars, by which I mean relatively consistently.
If you haven’t been following along so far, you can catch up by reading Part 1 here.
Maria watched the unconscious raven haired girl take shallow breaths in the hospital bed. She wasn’t a girl really. She was a junior at UC but, as a registered nurse with a mortgage, Maria couldn’t think of her as an adult.
Maria checked her patient’s IV’s and pulled up her charts on the monitor. No change in vitals. Pulse weak but steady. Dr. Constantin had looked in on her again last night. He had entered yet another potential diagnosis for the girl’s mysterious condition: “Chronic fatigue?” Maria shook her head at the suggestion, but couldn’t think of a better explanation. Maria was resolved, she was going to recommend a full blood panel on the girl. There was no family in the area, and Sophie Canclosi needed someone to look out for her.
Maria went to the window and opened the curtains to led the mid morning light into the little room. Sophie did not react the way Maria expected. When the sunlight hit her, the girl’s eyes shot open and then snapped shut. Her brows and forehead were scrunched as if the day itself was causing her acute physical pain.
“Stop it! Turn it off!” she cried.
Maria drew the curtains shut quickly.
“Oh, thank you” Sophie lay back against her pillow. The assault had ended.
“What’s the matter, Mama?” Maria used the voice she normally reserved for her niece. “Did you go out on the town last night with Dr. Constantin?”
Sophie smiled weakly. “No, just some wild dreams. I was running through dark woods. Something was chasing me.”
Maria looked closer at the dark circles under Sophie’s eyes. She was still exceptionally pretty. She must have been beautiful when she was healthy. Whatever the cause of her condition was, it had taken its toll.
“Nothing’s chasing you now,” Maria said.
Sophie changed the subject, “How long have you lived in the United States?”
“We came over when I was ten. My sisters, my mother, and my father.”
“Do your sisters still live nearby?”
“My older sister lives in Carthage with her children. My younger sister died a long time ago, she would have been your age by now.” Maria smiled a little.
“That’s sad,” said Sophie dreamily.
Maria turned back to the computer screen and looked at Sophie’s charts.
The next few days at St. Alena’s Hospital were more than a little strange. Sophia’s condition worsened. Her lips became dry and cracked. Her skin was pale and gray. Her sensitivity to natural light increased so that her room was shrouded in perpetual twilight. Despite the girl’s deteriorating state, no one could come up with a believable explanation for it. Even the brilliant Dr. Constantin had stopped theorizing as to the cause.
“She doesn’t eat unless we practically force it down,” Maria stared across the cafeteria. “I don’t care what Dr. Constantin says. That girl needs a new set of blood tests. Something happened to her after she came here.”
“What are you going to do?” Lauren asked.
Maria gritted her teeth. “I’m gonna wait till he shows up for the night shift and make him see things my way.”
“And if he doesn’t?”
Maria paused, “I’ll go to Dr. Wilson the department head. She won’t stand for this. It’s bordering on malpractice and no one’s standing up for Sophie.”
Lauren knew better than to dissuade her friend when she was in such a mood. Instead, she changed the subject.
Lauren lowered her voice and looked about for eavesdroppers. “Did I tell you Dr. Brown is officially missing? They checked his apartment finally and no one had been in there for days.”
“What do you think happened?” Maria asked.
“I dunno, the last time I saw him he was jabbering about getting HD security cameras for the blood bank.” Lauren lowered her voice to a whisper. “Do you think that had something to do with it? Do you think someone was actually stealing blood? Could Dr. Brown have have seen something he wasn’t supposed to and someone killed him for it?”
Maria stared at her friend for a moment, absorbing the information.
“No. People don’t steal blood. That’s crazy.”
I can’t WAIT to find out what happens next.