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“Donate Blood. Save Lives. We Pay High.”
On any other day, I wouldn’t give much concern about this sign, but today was especially bad. All I sold today were a handful of packs of cigars. I haven’t had anything to eat all day. It was getting late, and helping save a life should make me feel a bit better.
The sign pointed into a 3-story hospital. The facade of the building was faded, probably a decade old. The interior was well-lit, and nothing seemed unusual about this place. The receptionist seemed glad to see me, and I felt a sense of hospitality, so I entered.
The receptionist, Heather, asked what I was looking for. “I’m looking to donate blood. The sign said you pay high?” I asked, quite excited.
“Yes, sir. 100 dollars a pint. I feel you’re interested. What’s your name, sir?”
“Jose. Jose Mendoza.”
“We’ll be done in under half an hour. Come this way, sir. We’ll get you prepped.” She said as she started walking down the hallway. Happy for a chance of easy money, I followed.
The hallway was empty, but for a late night shift in a small town like this, I guess this was the usual. The walls were painted with a faded shade of red, which was quite appropriate for a procedure like this. Empty rooms lined the hallway left and right, which pointed to a blood bank at the end of the corridor. Large swinging doors closed the room off from non-employees.
Heather led me up a staircase into the 2nd floor. It was like a carbon copy of the 1st, save for the blood bank exchanged for a blood testing room. Again, no sign of human life. We walked through the swinging doors into the blood testing room.
“Jose, this is Dr. Noah and Dr. Williams. They will guide you through the blood donation procedure. You’ll be safe. Take care.” Heather left, not before making an eerie half-smile. I was just thankful to see a bit of legitimacy to this hospital. These doctors seemed to be veterans in the business.
“Mr. Mendoza. Please sit. This won’t take long. We promise.” Dr. Noah said. The man had straight, flowing hair extending to his neck, with a deep, reassuring voice.
“So…Mr. Noah. You need my blood type, medical history, anything? I think I’m a Type C.” I was clueless about these things, not like I was ever able to afford to go to a hospital.
“Oh, don’t worry sir. We’ll figure these things out later. Right now we want you to relax. Feel at home.” Dr. Williams said. She put her arm over Dr. Noah’s shoulder. The two must have been long time co-workers, since they were pretty comfortable with each other.
I took my seat on the blood testing area, which had a left and right hand armrest attached to it. Next to me, on the table, was the biggest syringe I’ve ever seen. Good Lord, I could have fainted right there and then.
Ms. Williams seemed to trace where my eyes gazed at, as she tried to calm me down.
“Sir, don’t be afraid. This would feel like nothing more than a pinch of the skin. Here, put on this blindfold. It should help.”
She wrapped a black piece of cloth around my eyes, snugly fit at the back of my head. Suddenly, all my other senses started to kick in. The smell of iron seemed to be stronger now. This room must have had thousands of donations in the past.
My fingers could feel the dents and scratches on the metal armrests – signs of struggle. This is going to be painful. The touch of cold metal didn’t make me feel any better either.
“Mr. Mendoza, we shall procure the rest of the tools needed for your procedure. In the meantime, sit back and relax. We won’t be out for long.” Ms. Williams said. The two walked out of the room.
A sense of eeriness started to befall upon me. I have no idea how this procedure should go. No personal information was asked from me either. Those half smiles, giggles, signs of excitement, are making me think twice of my decision to enter. But the thought of pocketing 100 dollars and eating a nice Big Mac always counter my doubts.
Wait, did I hear crying?
The entrance door to the area creaked heavily. My ears focus hard. A child, male, seemed to be bawling as he walked in the room.
“Who’s there? What’s happening, kid?” I say, as dread and worry washes over me.
“I..I…I’m thirsty. I think I’m dying.” The child’s voice, was dry, raspy, almost like an elderly man.
“Wha…wha…why don’t you go to any of the doctors?” My fear grew ever higher.
“They can’t help me, only you can.” He was pleading, tugging at my jeans.
“What do you want, kid? Get this blindfold off me, and I can help you.” Not only was I keen on helping this kid, but also on getting out of this eerie place.
“Okay, sir. You promise to help me?”, joy finally accompanied his childish voice. He skipped behind me to remove the knot on my blindfold.
“I promise. What do you want anyway?”
Right before he could answer, the blindfold fell out of my eyes. The 2 doctors walked in. One was holding handcuffs, and the other with dozens of syringes. Then the child whispered into my ear:
“A pint of blood, ice cold, freshly drained. You can give me that, right?”
The monster behind me sneered. The shock froze me on my seat. Paralyzed in fear, the syringes pierced deep, up until every ounce of blood was drained from my body.
The last thing I heard was the monster slurping his delicious drink of blood.
Credit To – Brian Tan