The Phlebotomists

I went a little further back in Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog to find another writing prompt from Feb 5. This was a randomized prompt that gave me two literary subgenres: grimdark and parallel universe. Here is what I came up with.

The Phlebotomists

Blood runs deep, so deep that sometimes one just has to jump in and take it. Ana’s blood was tainted with cancer. Her blond haloed head lay on the stark white pillow. Her pale face was still and her eyes were closed, long lashes painting a crescent above the purple circles of death and under her eyes. Her skin looked whiter than the sheets she was composed on and her blue hospital gown did nothing to add color to her complexion. Ana didn’t stir as her parents kissed her goodbye and exited the tiny cubicle.

Nurse Jana and Dr. Rick wheeled Ana down to the operating room where only a couple of her organs were to be donated to children who could live. Only a few weren’t riddled with cancer, such as her eyes. The room was stark with a bright light in the center. A masked anesthesiologist administered a drug to put Ana into a deep enough sleep that she would not know what was happening to her. And then she would die in peace before the phlebotomist came in. She was waiting outside the door, licking her lips.

This was Hooper Memorial Hospital in the rural town of Jasmine, Missouri. Vampires worked secretly as phlebotomists, draining former patients dry and preserving their blood for future patients. They served a purpose, albeit a top-secret one.

Once Dr. Rick had finished with Ana’s body and she had expired, he signaled for Jocelyn to come in and take her blood. Jocelyn leaped through the doorway, her body twisting and converting into something that looked more beastly than human. Her eyes were red and drool dripped from her large jowls, highlighted by two long incisors. Dark brown fur covered her entire body and her clothing had disappeared. Her paws had long, talon-like claws on them. On her backside was a short, fluffy tail.

Jocelyn’s eyes glowed a deep burgundy and she approached the body on all fours. Standing on her haunches, she looked from Ana to the doctor and nurse, both of whom looked uncomfortable.

“We will leave you to do your work. She is all yours, Jocelyn,” Dr. Rick said as he turned on his heel and took a pale Nurse Jana by the elbow, leading her out the door.

Jocelyn circled the table that held Ana’s body before vaulting onto it with Ana’s tiny body between her four paws. She looked around one more time to ensure the coast was clear, then tore into Ana’s neck, sucking as hard as she could to drain every drop. She picked up the corpse in her mouth and shook it from side to side, tearing an even larger hole in its neck. She then moved to the other side, biting and chewing before she grabbed the front of Ana’s neck and ripped her throat out, lapping up every drop of blood she could find.

When she was satisfied with how much blood she had taken, she began to use her large, dog-like tongue to lick the wounds on the body. Gradually, she returned to her human form, still licking Ana’s neck and throat. She stood back and straightened her clothes and lab coat, examining the body to make sure she had gotten rid of any signs of harm done and left the room with the naked body still on the table.

Jocelyn felt flush and powerful and she made her way to the lab. She always felt this way after she fed and it was a tremendous feeling. Every move felt animalistic and sly. Every heartbeat sounded louder in her ears. All of her senses were heightened. She could hear and see everything around her. She wished she could go outside like this, but she worked day shift and it wouldn’t end well for her to be outdoors while the sun was out.

Once she got to the lab, Jocelyn went over to the machine in the corner. It was large and boxy with tubes around cylinders that turned. It looked and worked very much like a dialysis machine. She sat down in the chair next to a large funnel and prepared her body to expel part of the blood she had just taken in. She had gorged on a child and it did sicken her somewhat, so she used that to convince her body to regurgitate. She expelled the blood into the funnel, wave after wave. The blood began to run through the tubes that turned and turned. She could hear the machine working to get rid of the impurities. The blood would be bagged on the other side and would then be ready for transfusion.

Just as Jocelyn’s stomach was recovering, she heard a commotion out in the hall. All of the phlebotomists looked alert, some even growling. A commotion usually only meant one thing–one or more Errants had gotten into the hospital. Errants refused to comply with the rules. They were selfish and wanted to keep all the blood to themselves after they drained it–free food. Phlebotomists, on the other hand, believed in earning their keep and giving back to the people who helped feed and protect their kind.

An Errant burst through the door in animal form, growling and gnashing its teeth. The phlebotomists moved into action, activating the locks on the refrigerators that housed the blood. Two phlebotomists changed into animal form, ready to put this Errant in its place. Two more Errants breached security and blasted their way into the lab with security guards hot on their heels. The guards had drawn their batons, hoping to crack a couple of skulls.  All in all there were three phlebotomists counting Jocelyn, which evened things up nicely. Jocelyn had just fed, too, which gave her more of an advantage.

One of the Errants flew toward Jocelyn, who was still standing near the machine. He smelled fresh blood and wanted it, grabbing for the slowly filling bag. Jocelyn raked her claws down his arms and snapped at his face with her fangs. She nipped his snout and he yipped, but continued to grab for the bag. Blood flowed down both arms, matting his fur. Jocelyn lunged for him, wrapping her arms around his waist and pinning him to the floor. He was not going to get that bag if she could help it. She took her claws and raked them down his chest and stomach. She could see his stomach and bowels through the long slits in his flesh. They were pink and hardly had any blood. He was hungry. She went for his throat with her mouth and tore at it, breaking open the skin and fur and pulling a section of it free. His blood pulsed slowly in his carotid artery. His head fell back and he went limp, but Jocelyn didn’t leave his side. She didn’t trust that he was really passed out. She went for the artery and drained the little blood he had so that he was immobilized.

Meanwhile, the other two phlebotomists had subdued the two other Errants with the help of the security guards. They were handcuffed to each other, back to back, growling and hissing. The guards and phlebotomists looked relieved and as Jocelyn glanced around, nothing appeared to have broken in the scuffle.

“Damn lucky,” Jocelyn said. “At least the fridges have no glass. Took me years to get that.”

One of the phlebotomists kicked at the feet of the Errant closest to him.

“Don’t pester them,” Jocelyn warned. “Just get them out of here before anyone comes along.”

The Errants were now in their human forms and could be escorted out by the guards without anyone being the wiser. Jocelyn looked back at the Errant she had wounded and drained.

“He’s not going anywhere on his own two feet. Can someone get a gurney and transport him back to where he came from?”

The Errant was licking his wounds as best as he was able, trying to heal, but with little blood, it was not happening quickly. He would need time and food for that to happen.

“Give them each a pint and get them out of here,” Jocelyn demanded, knowing full well a pint each wasn’t enough for them.

The guards carried the injured Errant while the phlebotomists led the two that were handcuffed out of the lab. Jocelyn moved equipment, chairs, and tables back into place. She cleaned up the little blood that was on the floor and put the paper towels she used in the biohazard container. She always thought that was funny–that vampire blood was treated as a biohazard when vampires don’t carry diseases.

Jocelyn sat back down to monitor the blood going through the purification machine. She watched the droplets fill the bag. She had the satisfaction of knowing her work was important to the humans. Blood definitely ran deep, and it was her job to leap in and take it.

*****************************************************************

Not sure how grimdark I was able to get in 1500 words but I have ideas for developing this into something bigger. This is my first vampire story and I really had fun writing it. Tell me what you think!

In other news, I am off work today so that workers can fix the leak in my basement. There is a lot of jackhammering going on, so my cats are going nuts. Hopefully once we test the fix, we will be able to finish our basement so Hubby has his Man Cave. Yay! Enjoy your day, all. Tomorrow is Friday!!

 

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