This prose is dedicated to the demons and vampires that live within each of us.

Nimbly, she picked up a scalpel from the plethora of tools, carefully sanitized, on the table still reflecting liquid ethanol not fully evaporated from the surface. It was just another day in this crisp white and frankly disillusioning place. Yet she felt a slight nibbling in her mind. Did she forget something? Pausing, the scalpel still in her hands, she pondered, absentmindedly running her finger against its sharp metal edge. Then, she frowned, her brows creasing. That was it. She thought about her usual two-hour train ride to the laboratory. Why can’t I remember anything? She jolted from the sharp pain and looked down at the fresh red seeping from her latex gloves.

Fumbling, she shook off her gloves and took some tissue from the working table, applying them to her fingers. It was strange how she managed to hop out of bed, fully energized, when she had to make herself crawl out of bed in the wee morning for the past three years she’d been working at this laboratory far out in the east. The air had felt thinner, as if she was halfway up a mountain rather than ten metres above sea level. The air was colder, too. She remembered everything that happened before the train ride. She furrowed her eyebrows and strained herself to recall exactly what happened. But she couldn’t. She simply couldn’t. Did I fall asleep? She questioned.

At this point her hands shook as she took another piece of tissue. A pool of blood had accumulated on the table while she was preoccupied with her thoughts. Why can’t it stop flowing? She shivered as an odd sensation moved down her spine. Shaking, she looked down at her fingers, which were now completely red, shimmering under the artificial laboratory lights. Fresh red, just as red as the lips of the woman he had kissed as she stood rooted, watching.

She remembered that night with utmost clarity. He said he had to attend a meeting elsewhere around town, and she had reluctantly obliged. The dark of the night shone down like an oil slick upon the ocean, silent and unwavering. She’d understood that he was working so hard and so late into the night so they could afford a bigger house somewhere in the central parts of town, but she did miss the companionship. His work took away so much of his time there was hardly any time together at all. They used to have their routine morning hug and kiss before they each set off to work in the morning, but recently he had seemed too preoccupied with the matters at work and sometimes set off straight after breakfast with just an absentminded peck on the cheek. She’d felt empty then, but she consoled herself with the thought that all of it would tide down really soon. She remembered him standing at the door, waving her a goodbye. She had gazed back at him, and felt a bitter twinge in her heart as she realized she was looking back at a stranger. They had lost so much. Was it worth it? She had quietly watched him leave, his back a shadow against the dim neon lights of the diners and bars that always led on a melancholy feel to the night.

Now that she thought about it, she realized how naive she’d been. How could she have missed the signs? It was so, so glaringly obvious – though he did do a good job in concealing it from her. I trusted you. Her anger raged within her chest as she delved deeper. She didn’t notice that the blood had stopped flowing and that they had dried, cracks of mauve upon her skin and her wounds.

-To be continued-


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