Jenny couldn’t wait for 4:00. She was exhausted from her regular shifts at the hospital and moonlighting weekends in the Bloodmobile. A little less than an hour to go. As she cleaned up her station she was thinking how she’d never met anyone named Agatha until now. That was the name of the woman whose blood was steadily filling up the bag at the other end of the trailer. She hoped that Agatha would be one of the last walk-ins for the day so she could get some reading in. She was close to the end of Me Before You and even though she knew it had to be a sad ending she couldn’t wait to see how it would actually play out. It would make a great movie. She started to ask Agatha if she’d seen any good movies lately when she heard the door click open. Shoot, another donor. She looked towards the door and was surprised to see a man in a lab coat. She was trying to reconcile the lab coat with his unwashed hair and worn jeans when he came towards her.
Once he stepped into the Bloodmobile he could see that a needle was already doing its work in the crook of Aggie’s arm. The nurse had stopped talking mid-sentence and looked at him with her mouth open in a puzzled half-smile. She was pretty in a less perfect way than he was used to. Her hair was pulled back in a loose bun and she wasn’t wearing much makeup. He wondered why she was wearing scrubs instead of the white uniform all the other nurses had worn. He looked back to Aggie. Her eyes showed no sign of infection. As if pressing play after an extended pause, his enemy and Aggie both spoke.
“Hi, are you here to donate?”
“Oh, hi, Jason, how are you?”
“I’m not Jason. I’m Dr. Eleos, I’m –”
“What – ”
He grabbed the nurse’s wrist with his left hand and used his right to strike under her rib cage with the surgical knife. It didn’t go in easy, like it had every other time. She screamed. Aggie tore the needle out of her arm and lurched out of the door. He yelled after her that she’d be fine, she hadn’t been infected yet, calm down for Christ’s sake, and at the same time tried to still his squirming foe. He had to get her heart for it to count as a kill. But it wasn’t fucking working. She was clawing and twisting and screaming. It was a goddamned mess.
Jenny was fighting for her life without knowing why she had to. Agatha was gone, please God getting help. The man (doctor?) yanked her to the floor and wrestled her into a chokehold. She bit down on his forearm as hard as she could and he dropped his scalpel, cursing. She lunged for it and without even thinking she rushed him, pushing back his forehead and dragging the knife across his throat the way she’d learned to cut mat boards in art class. He sputtered and gasped. His eyes were frantic. His blood was everywhere. So much blood. Not lifesaving blood but noxious gore. She heaved at the mineral stink of it. The sound of approaching sirens drew her out the door and she crouched on the grass in tearless sobs.
He’d lost. He’d come so close, but in the end he had failed. His enemies would continue to spread the virus and eventually everyone would die because he hadn’t been able to save them. If only he’d had one more life. That face, her face . . . why so surprised? And scared. Not like the others . . . The screen was starting to go dark. It hadn’t been like the game. The game. Levels, kills, syringes, pills. Oh, God. The screen went black.