I wince as they insert the needle into my arm, for the third time. I’ve never had good veins, so it always takes them two or three jabs to get it right. I can feel my blood travelling up that little metal tube, as I cover my eyes with the palm of my hand. Despite the fact that I wouldn’t be able to see anything with my hand over my eyes, I still shut them tightly. I could never stomach the sight of needles, especially ones pressed into my own flesh.
Blood tests were a regularity for me, as they were for everyone, so my parents could never understand why I blanched at the sight of a syringe. “You’re so strange, Elaine,” they always said.
I can feel my heartbeat now, as the little vial attached to the syringe fills. I can feel it just like I did when I unlocked the front door last night to greet an eerie silence, and the scent of burnt meat. I had frowned, before cautiously taking off my shoes and my coat, hanging them on the rack, and tiptoeing into the living room.
I remember snowy white patches dotting that old fuzzy grey rug, a mismatched pattern like the silky coat of a jaguar. They formed a pretty little pathway, each dot a pathstone, leading behind that old sofa we had spent so many nights lounging away on. It felt as if a boa constrictor was wrapping itself around my ribs.
Last night we were watching a detective show. The criminal had been cleverly caught, and blood tested at the end. The colour of it was a dark, milky, unsatisfying grey, and the detective had triumphantly claimed him as the murderer, the dark colour of the blood the final nail in the coffin, as the theme music crescendoed victoriously before the credits rolled. Louise had laughed at that, wine glass in hand, before standing up, swaying slightly.
“They really couldn’t have made it any less cliche? I really don’t understand why you like these shows, Elaine, you’re so strange.”
I smiled in return, taking a sip out of my own glass. I burst out giggling like a madwoman, though, as Louise trips over the corner of the coffee table on her way to the kitchen, dropping her wine glass and then promptly falling right on top of it. Drops of her blood, the colour of the white petals of a daisy, almost as white as mine, fell onto the crystal covered carpet.
“You’re so clumsy, oh my god.”
I remember walking calmly to the kitchen for a band-aid.
I also remember seeing Louise’s wide, dead eyes staring up at the ceiling as her body lay, crippled on the floor, deep gashes in her skin, the last traces of her perfectly pure blood crusting over inside her wounds. She was crudely hidden behind the sofa, as if she had wanted someone to find her like this, to play a last game of hide-and-seek before the realisation hits.
Louise’s childlike wonder was one that infused her life throughout the entire nine years I had known her. And just like a child, she was blind to suffering. That was why her blood was so white, they said. Because she’s a good person. She’s never done anything wrong. Neither have I, neither has anyone in this room. And it should stay that way for the rest of your life.
And now, I wait, to see if my blood turns into that same drab and dull grey of the criminal we saw on TV last night, the telltale sign that means I’m a danger to society, and must be exterminated at once.
Am I a bad person?
The pressure suddenly leaves my arm, and then is replaced by a cotton swab that pushes the pressure right back on. I get told to hold the swab there, as they examine that small little metal cylinder that holds my future.
I zone out while the results are being sent off to all my various doctors, doctors like the ones I had as a child. They have special ones to test children’s blood, because occasionally you get a child whose blood is just naturally black, as pitch black as my childhood bedroom seems when I finally turn off the lights to sleep, and there are ‘special protocols’ for them, but mine was always ‘perfectly pure, as it should be.’
A knock at the door startles me. The last knock, or rather, bang, I had heard was accompanied by a harsh, male voice, shouting, “Open up!”, and, “Police!” I shudder.
The doctor is smiling at me with a kindly, practiced smile, one that annoyingly betrays no secrets. Her blonde hair is pulled back into an immaculate ponytail. She’s probably delivered this news a thousand times before.
“Don’t worry, you have been cleared off of the suspect list. You are pure. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to you.
The air gets caught inside my windpipe, and that snake coiled around my ribcage gives one last, final squeeze.
I quickly nod and smile, as if I had expected this result, as if I was as innocent as my blood said I was. Thoughts whizz on a merry-go-round inside my head, accompanied by a deep-seated excitement that thrummed with power inside my ivory-white veins.
I remember stabbing her with the shards of that wine glass, seeing those pearly drops of alabaster blood drip down onto the floor, and hearing her scream in terror and plead for the life she was just about to lose. I remember using the last fragments of broken crystal to slit her throat, and watch her blood run down her snowy neck in milky rivulets. She was choking, coughing up that intolerably white liquid that used to run inside her blood vessels. She couldn’t even scream anymore.
Then I pulled her behind the sofa.
Yet, I am still pure. Purer than she.
Perhaps I am an anomaly. An exception to the rule that governs all crime shows, all detective novels. I am the only person in the world holding this blank cheque. And I feel invincible.
This story is part of the Demiurge Student Publication for the UWCSEA East High School. Visit the Demiurge page to read more student writing.
Demiurge is an online platform where East High School students can share and showcase their creative literary work. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.