As he laid there groaning on the floor, Paddy cursed himself. The level of stupidity would have killed him during the war. Going out after work was not something he usually did and of course, there were only problems. Why had these idiots failed to clear the bricks? Could they not even do their brainless work? He knew out of experience that there were only few things less interesting and challenging than clearing bricks to him. Paddy had ended up staying in longer to clean up the mess that they let behind and his back still hurt from the brick that fell when he started. Why did he have to work with idiots? It was cold, yes, but it was not as if Paddy had a proper choice. Illegal workers do not exactly have a right to a sick leave. There would be no time left to practice that Paganini piece he had been trying to learn. How was he ever going to be a successful musician, if he did not even find the time to practice? But then again, he needed to eat. It was also not like he was a good musician, more of a disaster if he was truly honest with himself. Still groaning, Paddy stood up. Full of dust and judging by the people leaving the pubs, it was far later than he had planned. Making his way through the crowd of drunk idiots Paddy pondered the stress that the next days could bring. Belfast at night was an ugly city. Paddy knew that the glossy tourist magazines claimed different things but he did not care. He hated the city with all his heart and he just wanted to leave. It was cold and the people could be at nice as they wanted it just was not peaceful enough for him. People might claim whatever they wanted but the war was not over and every day it became more painfully obvious. The times when Belfast had felt like a home were truly over for Paddy. He heard some sounds behind him as he entered the lane leading to his little house but he did not mind further. It was probably drunk teenager pretending that they were old enough to do the same mistakes that their parents had done, just because they had been old enough during the war to remember what had happened. It felt weird to think of the war as something that was in the past. Paddy knew that he had been young when the disaster started but he had forgotten how young he had been, especially in his mind. Now that he had to fit into the world again, it was more than obvious to him. His times as a nameless soldier were over. Now he had to be Paddy Kelly again and he was not exactly sure that he wanted to. If he was perfectly honest with himself he just wanted to play a bit of violin. Not that he could play much or that he was any good but he at least wanted to try. The last thing that Paddy had noticed was that the stupid wound had started to bleed again. He had gotten it when the damn bricks had fallen and now there was blood all over him again. Paddy hated it. Blood was a damn sticky liquid. The pain however, that was an entirely different problem. It went through is entire body and Paddy could have sworn that he felt fingers grab him, hold on to him, keep him where he was. It was more unsettling than anything that he had ever experienced. Now the blood on his neck started to dry and Paddy felt a strong nausea building up. What had happened? Why did it hurt so much? He could barely concentrate enough to register his surroundings but something was moving. Slowly his focus returned. At first it was just a shape. Maybe a man? Then he saw the creature next to him move slightly. Slowly, Paddy began to panic. His breathing rate increased along with his pulse and then he hurt this inhuman voice. It sounded like the most beautiful female voice but at the same time it did not sound like a woman at all.
’Shush, we don’t want more of your precious blood to be spilled.’
He could not even tell whether the voice was male or female. His precious blood... Paddy was sick and tired of this concept. Ever since he went to donate blood for the first time, people kept on telling him how important his blood was. O negative, the universal donor, saviour of many. To Paddy the way people treated him for his blood group was just another form of racism: racism brought to a new level perversion where people were divided into useless and useful depending on how many lives their blood could save. He spent an entire war fighting one form of it only to be confronted with another, subtler one upon his return. At least donating blood was for a good cause. His sister had tried to explain the system to him when she had come home from medical school. Paddy cried out as he felt an intense pain in his neck. It was even worse than before. Just like if someone was poking into a wound that Paddy did not even know he had. Now the blood was everywhere, running down his skin, covering the floor and there was this pain...the mesmerizing pain. It was worse than being hit by shrapnel, a feeling that Paddy knew far too well. The last thing he thought before he fainted was that maybe his sister could stitch him up.
O Negative is a spin-off of Songs of Gore.
Should you prefer to read a hard copy, the paperback (ISBN: 978-1093496796) is available at www.amazon.com/dp/1093496797