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Friday, April 16, 2010

BLOOD WILL TELL


Life is never fair. And perhaps it is a good thing for us that it is not.
-Oscar Wilde

Several of my friends have emailed me asking just what a blood courier is. Others have suggested that I write a story on it. So I did.

It is called BLOOD WILL TELL. When we think evolution, we think of the life forms we can see. But what if evolution would occur on the microscopic level? What if red blood cells achieved intelligence? Would they be happy at the world in which they find themselves? And if they didn't, what might they do?

In my story intelligent blood is starting an offensive against Man. One lone telepath finds himself a helpless spectator as the race of Man is subjugated. When the war is over, and he finds himself totally alone, how can he go on and why?

Here is a snippet of BLOOD WILL TELL in which the protagonist is explaining why a telepath has a hard time in finding a job where he can function without going insane :



Numbers proved comforting. Black and white. Zero and one. Computers were safe. Sadly, I just was less than stellar when it came to technology. Concepts I could handle. But anything hands-on proved disasterous. Another way of paying the bills went the way of the fifty cent coke. No matter what job I chose, I had to deal with people and their thoughts, lusts, and fears that clawed at me.

My forty-first birthday found me working for Healthshare, the blood center that serviced Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. I had always thought that each hospital had their own vast supply of blood. I had been wrong. Hospitals only kept a small roster of blood types and an even smaller supply of the more rare blood component called platelets, used to stop bleeding. Healthshare was to hospitals what the mint was to banks.

And I was a courier for the blood mint. Say a premature baby needed a random platelet across town. Off went my pager, and down the road I would go to the blood center, charge out the blood, and drive it to the ill baby. Did a cancer patient in Jennings need a pheresis, a larger bag of platelets? Off went the pager again, and an hour later, the cancer patient was being transfused with the needed blood. I was finally helping people without being near them and their clawing thoughts for very long.

I had found some small measure of peace. No answers, but I had given up on that dream of youth. Unfortunately, some dreams become nightmares. And some nightmares kill.

Christmas Eve found me on call. The day was half over, and I felt run over. DeRidder, Jennings, Kinder. The major hospitals from all three of those small towns had called me for blood, one right after another. It had taken me nearly the whole night to answer all three calls. And I had no sooner collapsed in my chair in my efficiency apartment than the pager wailed on my belt yet again.

But this time, it was a friend. Kim Marcotte. Her husband, another good friend, had just had a terrible motorcycle accident the night before. Recovering from surgery, he was asking for me, half crazed with fear. I sucked in a ragged breath. Robert was a good friend, so good that he had been the only one I had ever trusted enough with my secret.

I could've driven the way to the hospital blind-folded, which was lucky considering how hard it was raining. I found Kim near beside herself. Looking as if she had aged five years, she stood outside his door, wringing her hands and waiting for me to arrive so she could talk to me in private.

Kim reached out to me with both hands. I flinched at the intensity of her thought : 'Oh, God, let Luke be able to help Bob!'

"They're going to put him on the psychiatric floor, Luke. The damn psycho ward! You're his best friend. He's always said the best thing that ever came out of his being a tech for Gambro was when he and you met at Healthshare. If anyone can reach him now, it's you. Please help him.”

I had seen Robert go through hell and not put up a whimper. Something had to be terribly wrong. Maybe beyond my ability to help wrong. I hate it when I'm right.

My head pounding from the cascade of howling thoughts from Robert and the others on the same floor, I walked into the private room. I pulled up short. He looked like hell. His right leg and arm were broken. The whole right side of his face bandaged. His left eye reached out to me in fear and hope. I flinched from the impact of his acid emotions.

"Luke! Thank God, you've come."

I walked over to his bed and squeezed his good hand. "You called. I came. How can I help?"

His lower lip started to tremble, and a gnawing buzzing like hungry wasps erupted inside my head. In all my life, I had never heard anything like it. He looked hollow-eyed at me.

"You hear them, don't you?"

"Them?"

"Don't fold on me, Luke. I never told anybody your secret. But I know you hear my thoughts."

His voice went low and shaky. "You hear them. Oh, God, tell me you hear them."

I squeezed his hand harder. "I hear the buzzing, Robert. But you took a pretty hard whack to the head. I don't know what a concussion sounds like, but ---"

"But shit, man! I've banged my damn head before. This is different. The buzzing's from ... from ..."

"From what?"

He nodded to the blood bag on the pole above his bed and stared fearfully at the tubing connected to his arm. "From this damn blood."

"You're kidding me, right?"

"Do I fucking look like I'm kidding? With each drop, I feel them eating away at me. It’s like a fire in my blood! The longer I lay here, the less of me there is."

He wailed, "Oh, God, pretty soon there'll be nothing of me left!"

I reached up and turned the wheel to the blood line, shutting off the flow. He sucked in a shallow breath and slowly shook his head. He looked like he was about to cry. I hiked up my right shoulder from the pain of his despair eating into me.

"It's too late, man. There's too much of it in me. And not enough me.”

I went sick as the buzzing from inside his head grew louder, and the "Robert" I knew grew fainter. I was scared, dry mouth, heart racing sacred. I had never run into anything like this before. For the first time in my entire life, I went within myself and focused one word into his mind with all I had. It was a shot in the dark, but it was all I could think of.

He took my hand, still on the small wheel shutting off the blood, and squeezed weakly. "T-Thanks for being with me at the en---"

The fear dropped from his face like a stone, and the life left his eyes. "Robert" disappeared from my mind, only the buzzing remained. He moved my fingers from the wheel, turning the blood back on.

"All better now," he smiled in a voice that almost sounded like the Robert I knew. Almost.

Right then, the pager on my belt went off, and I jumped what felt a foot. I grabbed at it with suddenly clumsy fingers and finally managed to turn the damn thing off. I checked the number.

"Women and Children's Hospital."

Robert pulled his lips up in what wouldn't have passed for a smile in a morgue. "Ah, a baby needs blood. We like to get them young. Better hurry off. And do be careful out in that rain, hear?"

I slowly got up on legs that seemed to have become wood. "We who?"

Flecks of something alien gleamed in his eyes. "Why anyone who wants to bring order out of chaos. Better hurry. We wouldn't want to lose a baby now, would we?"

"No," I whispered. "I've already lost enough tonight as it is."

The smile got wider, colder. "Tell Kim to come in, will you?"

I turned and got the hell out of the room. Kim met me at the door, her blue eyes hollows of worry. She grabbed my hands in a vise of wiry fingers.

"H-How is he?"

I struggled to keep my face calm. "He's ... He's not afraid anymore."

*********************
Here is a music video of a song that plays an important part in the ending of my story

11 comments:

  1. Man, you are one scary writer. Stephen King can move over to make room for you right now.

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  2. What a cool concept for the premise of a story, thanks for sharing your piece Roland.

    I find the writing gripping and would love to see more.

    Today's guest blogger is Rachel Alpine!

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  3. I debated whether I should read this or not - I'm a fainter when it comes to blood and such (even reading about it) - but I'm sure glad I did. I couldn't stop reading!

    Well done. Now, I need more.

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  4. As always, this was awesome. You're so incredibly talented. It's hard to stamp down the envygremlins. This is easily good enough to submit as a short story somewhere.

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  5. This was phenomenal, I wanted more.

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  6. Love this! It flows with an eerie presence that is satisfying yet also leaves you wanting so much more..wonderful story.

    Btw I love that song....

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

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  7. This is beyond gripping! There is a real sense that thought waves are really connecting with all that is needed to know. Words are really irrelevant! Like a higher order of communication seems to be beyond the story, but actually happening! Quite confronting and yet creates a hunger to feel more!

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  8. Ooh, creepy. Aliens invading the blood; that could be interesting.

    It started out pretty slow; too much background. I think it could actually start out at "Christmas Eve found me on call. The day was half over, and I felt run over." You can fill in the background within the story, as the MC goes through his courier duties. Introducing characters and their reasons for needing the blood transfusions would make the info dump feel necessary to the story.

    Good flow, steading pacing. I really like your MC, his dedication to his profession. And you set up the conflict quite nicely.

    Well done.

    .........dhole

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  9. Wow! This is such a great post. Thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for popping by my blog and leaving me a comment. I just followed you over here via the comment you left. I'll be back to catch up on some of your other posts! :)

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  10. Love the concept of intelligent blood - very cool :)

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  11. I like it. Reminds me of the x-files. Very cool. Sorry I can't be more help with analytical interpretation.

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