7 - First Kill
Grace was working a double shift, the whole time wanting to cry from exhaustion. She only had three days left until she could go home to Lorcan. She craved his touch. It had been an unusually busy three months for the healers and she was more than ready to go home.
It was a surprisingly slow night considering how busy it had been, but Grace wasn’t put off by it, in fact she was quite enjoying the opportunity to sit back and read a book while the nurses dealt with the patients. She found it quite enjoyable tonight, despite the fact that her thirst was heightened by her exhaustion.As she read she felt her eyes getting heavy and, after a few minutes of trying to keep herself awake, succumbed to the pull of sleep.
“Grace wake up!” One of the nurses was screaming even over the sound of the alarm at her boss.
“What happened?!” Grace yelled back, momentarily groggy but at the sound of the alarm snapping awake and retying her healer’s apron around her back.
There were three newcomers; the first was a young, female, newly-turned vampirate with a bad cut across her chest gushing blood everywhere. Grace recognized her from the previous year when Mosh Zu had helped her with a bad feeding problem.
“Take her downstairs,” Grace told the youngest nurse among them, “last door on your left. Bandage her chest and I’ll be down in a few minutes.” She wanted to ask the woman what had happened, but knew that this was not the time. She moved on to the next.
The second new-comer was a man with bite marks on his thorax.
“He’ll be fine,” Grace told the eldest nurse, “Find him a bed. He lost too much but he’ll be fine.”
“Should I give him a blood transfusion?” The nurse asked, pulling up a stretcher.
“No. He’ll be perfectly fine.” Grace answered, obviously dismissing the nurse.
The third was an interesting case, the likes of which Grace had not seen for over four years.
“I’m taking this one,” Grace announced urgently, putting the hurting vampirate on a stretcher and rushing into the compound. She barked orders to nurses about how to keep the other patients comfortable while she pulled the burn out of the vampirate.
She set up the first empty room she found with a proper bed and transferred the patient onto it.
Taking one of his hands in each of her own and sitting cross-legged on the bed next to him. She laid her hands flat, palms up, underneath his, the man’s palm down. She closed her eyes and pictured his hands in her mind, clearly. Then she added the burn, and saw herself calling the burn from him and pulling it into herself. She felt the pain as the ever-present burn leaving his body and being absorbed into herself. It stung, but she had done this before and she could handle it.
It seemed to take forever to pull all the burn from the man’s hands, and it did take nearly an hour. Finally she felt the last threads of the burn come free and dropped her hands. The man was unconscious by this point; Grace weak from the work. She got up slowly, her hand to her forehead.
“Nurse!” Grace called through the doorway, straightening up. The nurse came running.
“Can I help you?” The nurse asked in a sweet tone.
“See that the patient is comfortable, and tell me when he wakes,” Grace answered. The nurse nodded and Grace left the room to check on the other two patients.
The human – she discovered – she’d seen before, though she could not remember when or where.
The woman was still in a bad way.
Sitting on the bed, Grace removed the bandages from her chest and pressed her hands to the woman’s wound. Grace closed her eyes and imagined herself giving the woman new skin to make up for what she had lost. It was tender and pink, but it held back the blood and formed nicely with the woman’s chest, which was all Grace cared about.
This task took longer than the pulling of the burn from the man, though the injury was not quite so severe. Grace found it more difficult to regrow skin than the last time she had been at Sanctuary, and found her mind wandering too much.
She opted out.
After mending a thin layer of skin barely strong enough to hold back the blood threatening to gush from the wound she re-bandaged the woman’s chest and started towards her chambers, finding her strength not as strong as it should be. She thought a nap would help.
She woke up three times that day. The first time she simply lay there, willing herself to sleep again. The second time she used the washroom. The third time she threw up.
Something is wrong… Grace thought idly as she realized that she was caked in a layer of sweat.
She changed and walked purposefully to Mosh Zu’s quarters.
“Grace?! It is very late into the day. Whatever is the matter? You don’t look at all well,” Mosh Zu asked, surprised at Grace’s sudden arrival in his quarters.
“Something is wrong with me,” Grace answered, gratefully sitting down when he beckoned her to a cushion.
“What has happened?” Mosh Zu asked serenely.
“I found it hard to go about my work tonight. Pulling burns from a sun-wound left me light-headed, and mending skin was… Harder than it should have been,” Grace answered. Mosh Zu looked about to respond when Grace continued, “And tonight I threw up. I woke up just now and threw up all over the floor of the bathroom. I changed, of course, before coming to see you.”
“How have you been feeling of late?” Mosh Zu asked casually, pouring a cup of tea.
“Fine. Nothing like this has happened ever before,” Grace answered.
“Are you and Lorcan sexually active?” Mosh Zu asked suddenly, handing her the cup of tea. She jumped at the questions as she took the cup and it spilt on the carpet.
“Oh!” Grace exclaimed. Mosh Zu seemed not at all to care about the mess and simply looked at her intently, waiting for an answer.
“Well, yes,” Grace answered, not sure what all this had to do with her weaknesses tonight. Mosh Zu nodded intently and Grace raised her eyebrow at him.
“Grace, I would like to attempt something, if you’ll allow me,” Mosh Zu told her. Grace nodded, trusting completely in her old mentor. Mosh Zu placed a hand on her stomach and closed his eyes. When he opened them again mere moments later he said, “Grace, there is something you need to know.”
“What is it?” Grace asked, awaiting a response.
“You are pregnant.” Mosh Zu held her gaze and for a moment she was too stunned to think. Then she burst out laughing.
“I hadn’t thought that you’d a sense of humor,” Grace giggled like a school girl for a few moments before seeing the serious look on Mosh Zu’s face. “You’re serious.” She whispered.
“I am.” Mush Zu answered. Grace gave a nervous little laugh that turned into a sob.
“What— How?” Grace tried to control her tears.
“I suppose I could explain to you exactly how a woman gets pregnant, but I do not believe that that is necessary,” Mosh Zu answered.
“How— how long have I been…?” Grace couldn’t finish the question.
“I’d say about three months,” Mosh Zu answered.
“But my weight… Aren’t I supposed to gain weight?” Grace asked, almost breathlessly.
“Not always, and in any case, yours is not a normal pregnancy,” Mosh Zu answered.“I leave tomorrow night,” Grace said, “I will tell Lorcan when I return to him.” She nodded and thanked Mosh Zu, wanting to collect her thoughts and rest.
“How are you feeling?” Grace asked the woman the following night when she went about her rounds.
“Better, thank you, Grace.” The woman answered.
“Of course. I’m going to check your wound and see if it needs anything more,” Grace explained, taking off the dressings on the wound. The new pink skin was still too soft and the blood was still red underneath.
“You will hardly notice I’m touching you,” Grace said encouragingly, placing her hands on the wound again and closing her eyes.
Grace focused again on growing the skin until she felt knew that it was suitable. Smiling she opened her eyes and admired her work. She felt better tonight than she had the night before and allowed herself a ten minute break before checking on the man with the burnt hands.
“And how are you tonight?” She asked, smiling at the man with bandaged hands.
“Pissed. How long am I stuck here?” The man answered in a rude tone.
“Until your hands are healed, Mr.…?” Grace told him.
“None of your business. How long until my hands are okay?” He spat at her, literally spitting at her.
“I’ll just have to check them, to make sure and you could be leaving as soon as tomorrow,” Grace answered, taken aback by his rudeness. She had never known such a rude patient before.
“Long as I’m out so I can rip that bitch’s head off,” The patient said, sounding bored.
“Rip whose head off?” Grace asked, trying to make polite conversation as she removed the bandages.
“Lola Lockwood Sidorio’s. Oh, my mistake Lady Lola Lockwood Sidorio. Never seen less of a lady in my existence though,” The man answered, sounding upset. Grace tensed for a moment before she continued what she was doing.
“That hurt!” The man yelled, kicking her in the stomach in his rage.
“I’m sorry,” Grace said. She had touched the man’s hand, trying to get a better look, and had not realized it would hurt him, or that he would kick her for it. Her vision swam in and out of focus for a moment and she felt like throwing up.
“I’ll just re-bandage your hands,” Grace quickly re-wrapped his hands and left the room, holding her stomach.
She made her way to the bathroom and threw up again. She held her stomach and found that it hurt quite a bit more than it should. She took a deep breath and coughed. She covered her mouth, and it came away bloody.This is not normal… Grace thought, but she imagined it was simply her pregnancy and ignored it. She washed up and went about her business.
It was not until dawn was nearing that she found blood on the front of her uniform and returned to her quarters.
Mosh Zu had already taken over her patients, but she thought she would have him see her just once before she went home.
“Grace,” Mosh Zu had obviously been expecting her when she walked into his quarters.
“I was wondering if you would tell me,” She took a breath, “If you could see me once before I go home.”
“Of course,” Mosh Zu answered. He motioned for her to lay down on the bed in the corner of the room. “Just relax,” Mosh Zu told her. She just nodded.
He stood next to her and put his hands on her stomach. He seemed confused for a few moments before he took his hands away and looked at her with an unreadable face.
“That was awful quick,” Grace said, resting on her elbows.
“Grace, there is no longer anything for me to tell you. Did something happen?” Mosh Zu told her.
“I…My patient kicked me,” Grace answered, shaking her head slowly.
“Why did you not tell me?” Mosh Zu asked.
“I did not think it was important.”
“I’m sorry Grace, but you are not going to have a child.”
Mosh Zu turned and sat on the largest cushion in the center of the room. Grace left Mosh Zu’s quarters and ran to her own. She sobbed at the foot of her bed for nearly an hour before she saw the sun rising.
“Can I go now?” The man asked when she got to his room.
“Follow me,” Grace answered coldly. He man got up and followed her without question. When they were at the top level he noticed that it was daytime.
“Excuse me? I can’t go out there,” The man said, motioning his still blistered hand. Mosh Zu hand taken the bandages off early.
“Well, seeing how it’s your fault I’m not going to have a child because you kicked me, I think you can go anywhere I tell you to,” Grace answered, void of all emotion. The man took a step back, but Grace was quicker and grabbed his wrist.
She dragged him outside into the sun and threw him to the ground. She saw immediately the effects of the sun on his flesh, but it bored her. She ripped his shirt off and he screamed. His body pulsed and rippled as it rippled and contorted into a red, disfigured picture.“This is taking too long,” Grace said. She walked over to him and ripped his head off, throwing it over the side of the island. She then ripped his limbs off one by one and did the same to all his pieces.