The doctor removed instruments I was unfamiliar with from his bag and laid them on the chair sitting next to the one he was in. He sat the black bag down on the ground next to his feet.
"Raya, I need you to relax as best as you can. You know this procedure is not easy to perform. Again, forgive me if I cause you any pain."
He picked up a long black strip and tied it around Raya's upper arm. I caught the scent before seeing it. I knew what it was, even in the dimly lit room. I had already hunted, so the pull of it was not as strong. The doctor reached into his dark bag and removed a pouch darker than anything else in his possession, yet I was vexed by the strange item.
"What are you doing, Dr. Strange? I would like you to be as detailed as possible about what you're doing and why. I did not introduce myself earlier, but my name is Fullun. Raya tells me that there is no cure. Is this true?"
"I am giving her a blood transfusion. What has Raya told you of her condition? I'm asking so I know what to tell you and how to approach the details of her condition," the doctor queried.
I watched as the doctor placed the dark pouch on the settee. The pouch appeared to be black but, to my eyes, I could see that it was a dark crimson. Immediately, I knew it was the blood I craved so much. I listened intently as he talked to me. In my head, I could feel his words beating like a heart.
"Raya was very vague about the details of her condition. She says it affects her blood in some way, draining her of life, causing her to require new blood daily. The blood given to her is from other humans."
"Yes," the doctor said as he cut me off. "That is what I'm doing now. I have to insert a needle in a way that will allow blood to be quickly injected and mixed with her own."
Little did he know or even comprehend, I had seen blood outside the body before. Usually it was from my prey. I learned to loathe it in its entirety. Yet this sight in front of me was altogether different to me. It fascinated me.
I watched as he inserted a long thin tube into Raya's arm. She did not flinch, even though I could see that she was visibly shaking. Then he connected a clear plastic tub that was much longer than the long thin tube, which I assumed was the needle. After this, he connected the dark pouch to the clear plastic tube. He raised it up as he stood up. His complete focus centered at the task at hand, though he briefly looked in my direction.
"Now, we wait." He paused. "What would you like to know?"
I noticed his features clearly in the dimly lit room. He stood next to the settee. I could see he was close to my own staggering height. His hair was dark and chopped short, close to his head. His eyes were a stark contrast to Raya's, a hazel blue color with red specks near his pupils. His nose was prominent yet not overly elongated. His lips were a perfect cupid's bow, a beautiful full mouth that was surrounded by neatly trimmed hair. He wore a black overcoat, complimentary to modern fashion. He appeared knowledgeable despite his youthful appearance.
The transfusion was finished with little to no effort at his hand. I was relieved. Not for my sake but for Raya's. The sickness itself was taking its toll on her, making it a wonder that she was able to function properly without much effort. As I looked at Raya, I could see her eyes were closed. I knew by her breathing that she was not sleeping.
"Why do we wait?" I questioned, more out of curiosity than anything else. My ignorance vexed me. I directed my attention back to the silent doctor.
"Well, to be honest, there is blood in my hands. She needs it to live, as I'm sure you're aware."
I waited for him. He cleared his throat as he continued.
"Well, I haven't shared this information with Raya, but if you feel you can help her, then I don't see the harm in sharing it with you. To answer your earlier question, it is true that there is no cure. At least none we know of yet. ...Not to say one cannot be found—"
"So you're saying that there is a cure?" I asked, unsure of when the question left my mouth. "How is this possible? What needs to be done? Who can I talk to so I can better help her?"
"Hold on a second, one question at a time. I understand your eagerness to help Raya. Your rushing things won't help her situation. You need to do everything with a clear, calm mind. This is the best advice I can give you now. Do you see this pouch?" He gestured towards it.
I nodded my head. I was eager to understand everything I could about Raya's illness, and I knew this situation needed not only all of my attention but everything I could offer to it.
"This pouch contains what's known as NB—new blood. Raya has a very rare blood type that acts as a parasite in her body, affecting every inch of it. Because it's so rare, her blood affects her immune system—her ability to stay healthy. Raya has lost it. Her blood type is something called BP1 Negative, or what is also known as Blood Parasite N. There are different stages of blood levels. However, based on this, it is possible to find a cure. We just haven't done enough research on each of the stages because every person we used for each stage has progressed to the final—fatal stage rather quickly!"
He cleared his throat.
"So what is the difference between those who have been used in your research and Raya?"
"Well, Raya has been to numerous doctors who are curious about her condition. For one, she was born with it, according to what we know. She is in Stage 2 of the sickness, and she has been the slowest to progress in it. Everyone dies withing six years yet, for some reason, Raya has been able to live through it for twenty-six years. She does not suffer from any normal side effects we usually see such as high fever, dizziness, shakiness, loss of blood, and a weakened immune system. She signs of them but on a minute level. She has enabled us to learn more about this condition. I understand that if she is given a new blood type than the one currently in her body—one that is on a stronger molecular level—the process will dramatically slow. Possibly even curing her. However, we are very limited in what we are able to do for her."
I listened to his words, trying to fully grasp the reality of them. What did this all mean? Was it possible for a cure to be found? I knew that taking Raya with me was risky. If my plan did not work, then Raya would have lost her life. Was it worth the risk of her being with me for so long? There was only one source of blood I knew that was possibly stronger than the one in her body. The problem was how to give it to her. If I succeeded in that regard, how it would affect her?
I didn't know how my face looked like then, but the doctor must have noticed it. He looked at me in the way Raya did when she was at a loss for words.
"I can see you don't know what to think about everything I said. But Raya is stronger than you know. I will come by again tomorrow to give her another blood transfusion—"
"That won't be necessary, Dr. Stranger. I am taking her with me later today so I can take care of her child. It has become too much of a burdern for her to do on her own." I stated, my voice holding a morbid finality.
"How do you intend—forgive me for being so frank—how do you intend to keep her alive? She won't survive more than a few days without any new blood."
"I would not say it if I was not sure of my words. I have already made all the arrangements on Raya's behalf."
Raya's eyes opened slightly. Her face was expressionless, something I could not make out. She would have much to say once the doctor was gone. I had yet to ask for Raya's trust. With everything to come, I would need this from her beyond a shadow of doubt.
The doctor cleared his throat. The blood in the pouch was gone.
"Raya, I'm finished. Thank you for your patience with me. I know it's always difficult for you to have me do this. You never show discomfort, but
I know. It's my understand that Fallun intends for you to go with him. Is further treatment unnecessary?"
I waited for Raya to answer, wondering if she would give me her complete trust. She must have given his words some deep thought because her response held the slight waver of hesitation.
"Yes, Dr. Stranger. That is correct. I trust Fallun to take good care of me. He's been a family friend for some time now, I completely trust his judgment. I know no harm will come to me as long as I am with him."
Raya's answer surprised the doctor. I wonder if he was surprised as I was.
"Raya," he began as he removed the blood stained tubes and the pouch into his bag, "I will take my leave. You know where to find me should you need my services."
Raya slowly got off the bed.
"I'll show you out. Fallun, wait here until I come back. I'll just be a moment."
Raya led the doctor out of the room, taking the candle with her. With the room in total darkness, I was grateful for it—for once. I waited for Raya to return, not knowing what to expect.
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