2

Too Much TV? (Part 2)

Terrified, Julie woke up in the dark. There was no noise. Then she heard Steve’s voice, “Julie, are you OK?” He sounded worried. “Steve, where am I?” Steve didn’t answer for a minute. He needed to find out how much she remembered. “Julie, honey, I think you fell and hit your head. Do you remember what happened before that?”

She thought back. “You came into my office and said you needed blood. You had me put it in a man in the morgue. I thought he was dead. Then the man woke up and smiled at me.” Steve laughed, “That’s a pretty incredible story. I guess it does explain why they found you in the morgue. You must have been looking around and slipped on something. I’m just glad they found you.” He got up and turned on the lights in his office.

Julie went home and got into bed. She couldn’t sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw the man smiling at her. That night at work, she couldn’t focus on anything. If someone spoke to her, she felt like she’d jump out of her skin. Luckily, it was a busy night and no one seemed to notice.

The rest of the week went by uneventfully. Julie decided Steve must have been right. She had fallen and dreamed everything. She settled into her new position and got to work.

She was scheduled for the night shift for the first month. She was having trouble adjusting her schedule, so Steve prescribed something to help her function effectively at work. At least that’s what he said. He wouldn’t tell her what it was, but it seemed to be helping.

She started to have horrible nightmares. They always involved putting a lot of blood into someone and having them appear to come back to life. Steve was always in them. He seemed to have some strange power over her in the dreams.

Finally, Julie’s director came to see her. He was concerned that she seemed to be having trouble adapting to her new position. Her reports were disjointed and poorly written. Her staff had reported that she seemed to be in a trance most of the time. The director told her that he was putting her back on the day shift and if he didn’t see an improvement in two weeks, she would be terminated. She was devastated.

Steve called Julie, “I’m really disappointed, Julie. I thought you were the right person for the job. But I guess I was wrong.” She was in tears when she hung up. She didn’t understand what was happening. Hard as she would try, she couldn’t even remember most of what had happened since she started at St. Simeon’s.

A week later she was called to her supervisor’s office. She figured it was the end of her career at St. Simeon’s. She knocked on the door and was surprised when a police officer opened the door. “Are you Julie Newberry?” Flustered, Julie answered, “Yes, I am.”

“You are under arrest on suspicion of trafficking in human body parts. Anything you say…” Julie went numb. They hadn’t been reviving the dead; they’d been resuscitating their “donors”.

3

Too Much TV? (Part 1)

I’ve been wanting to try flash fiction. Here’s part 1 of 2:

Excited, Julie looked around her. She still couldn’t believe that she was running the blood lab at St. Simeon’s, the largest hospital in the city. Thinking back, it all seemed like a dream.

She had been working as an assistant director at the county hospital when she got a call from an old boyfriend who was a staff physician at St. Simeon’s. He asked Julie if she’d be interested in a position that was open. He pulled some strings and here she was. She really didn’t understand why he was being so helpful; Steve had been an insensitive jerk while they were dating. All he would say was that she would be perfect for the position.

Julie introduced herself to the staff and got to work learning the procedures. Steve stopped by to see how she was doing. He wanted to make sure that she was comfortable with the position. On his way out, he mentioned that he had told her director that she would be working the night shift for the first few weeks so she could ease into the position. She would be due back at the hospital at 11:00 pm.

That answered one question. He was still the thoughtless jerk he had always been. Why hadn’t he checked with her about the hours she would be working? And why was her director listening to him anyway?

At 11:00 pm, Julie returned to the lab. It was located in the basement of the hospital with all the other diagnostic departments. And the morgue. She felt uncomfortable down there by herself and hurried to the lab. There were several techs and phlebotomists on staff overnight, and she soon relaxed.

Julie was going over reports and budgets when Steve appeared at her door. The uneasy feeling returned. He looked terrible, pale with blood on his lab coat. He said, “Come with me,” and turned away. Julie got up, “What are you doing here…,” when he interrupted. “I said, Come with me.”

She followed him into the hallway. Looking down the hall, Steve half-whispered, “We were trying a new procedure and something went wrong. We need blood.” He was looking around while he was talking, but they were alone. Julie told him that she would put the request into the system, and he would have it in 15 minutes. Steve grabbed her arm, “We need it NOW.”

Julie thought quickly. “Steve, I’m sorry, but I can’t just take blood without telling anyone where it went. Can we do the paperwork after?” He relaxed his grip, “Fine. Whatever. Just get the blood.”

“What type do you need?” “What type what?” Julie looked at Steve, “What is wrong with you? What type blood?” Steve looked confused, “I don’t …I mean O negative.”

He followed her into the storage cooler, “We need at least two pints.” Julie decided to quit asking questions and grabbed the blood. “So which operating room are you using?” Steve looked confused again. He mumbled, “We’re not in OR; we’re in the morgue.”

It was Julie’s turn to be confused. “You want blood for someone who’s dead?” Steve finally came back to his senses. He barked, “Just grab the damned blood and come with me.” He practically pulled her behind him to the morgue.

Normally, the morgue would have at least one doctor and one assistant on duty. For some reason, it was dark. Steve called out, “Jeff, you back here?” A voice came back, “Second door.” Julie was pulled into the room. There was a small light, but the patient was barely visible. It was a man with a terrible gash in his chest. He didn’t look like he was breathing.

Brusquely Steve told her to give the blood to the patient. “I’m an administrator. I don’t actually work with patients.” Steve looked as if she had lost her mind. “Give him the blood now. I told you there was a reason I got you hired. You’re going to help me when I have this type of situation. You know what I’m capable of when I’m not happy.”

Julie shivered and hooked up the needle. As soon as the blood started going into the man’s veins, he started to look better. About halfway through the second bag, the man suddenly sat up and smiled.

Julie fainted.