The story so far:
“Is that her name?” I mumble. A blank look from the woman and I nod, “Sarah, yep.” “Come with me, please.” She turns. I follow. Sarah will be smiling weakly from her ICU bed with dark circles under her eyes. I prepare myself for pale skin. For the complexion of Nosferatu. She won’t look good. The girl lost a lot of blood. My mouth feels dry and sticky. I can still taste the merlot. merlot I pulled the cork out of the bottle. The sound of merlot crashing against delicate crystal echoes through the white hospital corridor. I have to stop and grab a wall. The wine swirls around my head. “Have a glass.” I insisted. “No thanks,” she had said, “no thanks.” The woman stops outside a door where some one with an ID card clipped to the lapel of his white lab coat stands. He runs his hands through his hair. No bedside manner in ER I think and smile inside. Stitch-em up and ship-em out. He looks at me. I look back, unsure of protocol. It is so sterile, seems like a speak when spoken to setting. He shrugs his shoulders. “What does that mean?” I ask. I have to really. What kind of doctor does that? He just looks down and opens the door. God she’s pale. Paler than I thought she’d be. Her bed, at the end of the room, zooms away from me and there is that sound again. The crush of merlot against crystal. The doctor clears his throat from somewhere in the room, which now seems huge and echoes. I turn to find him right behind me. “She didn’t make it. Lost too much blood,” He wants to add ‘obviously’. I can see the word shoving his adam’s apple up in his throat like a trap door. Chair. I need a chair. No chair. I sit cross legged on the white linoleum. Sound stops. Black fuzz invades the edges of my vision, like the room is growing mold in time lapse. “Easy, buddy,” says Doc, “just breathe.” Breathe, right. “Now what?” I ask. The doctor clears his throat again, “I can leave, you can spend some time with her.” I don’t even know her. The doctor continued, “You’ll have to explain to the police what happened, then you can go home. You ok?” That’s an interesting question, which I’d like to point out, but all I can do is nod. Exit doctor. It’s just me and the girl now. What would I want to spend time with her for? I didn’t pick her up to get to know her. I’m still sitting on the floor. But I start to see her crawling in deathly pale slow motion off the bed and toward me. Her hair hanging limp, her lips, still red, motion some word I can’t understand. I make myself turn and there is nothing, just the underside of a gurney. I brace myself on the wall, touching the gurney seems… disgusting. And there she is. Pale. Pale. Pale. Dead. So pale. Is that death, then? That’s it? Just quietness and pallor. I examine her for signs of a struggle between good and evil. Heaven or Hell for that one in the bed? Nothing. It’s like wax. And she hasn’t even been dead that long. The room smells though, it’s hard for me to concentrate on feeling anything. And what should I feel? We were in a bar. I took her to my apartment. Then the thing happened. I decide to leave. I’ll wait for the cops in the hall. My fingers brush the stainless steel doorknob, she’s crawling off the bed again. She doesn’t want me to leave. I turn again to face the dead woman in the bed. Something grips my heart. I didn’t love her, so what the **** is this? I didn’t know her. She iced herself with a broken wine glass in my apartment. A cleaning bill is all I should be thinking about, but her cold, still face is not serene and it bothers me. There is a wrinkle in her brow. There are signs left over of pain. There is a knock on the door.