There’s blood on the floor. How did it get there? Am I bleeding? No. Not that I can see. Should I strip naked and check my entire body? No, with that much blood on the floor, I’d see it soaking into my clothes.
But if it didn’t come from me, where could it have come from? When I woke up, no one else was here.
Am I in a kitchen? Perhaps a chef was butchering a lamb. Or something bigger? A deer? There really is a lot of blood. But it doesn’t look like a kitchen. No sink.
Was there a fight? Did someone kill someone else here? There are no marks in the blood, no sign of a scuffle. And no blood anywhere else, just on the floor. Surely there’d be bloody handprints or footprints if there’d been a fight? And a body.
There’s no body, so whoever’s blood it is, they’ve gone. Or maybe they were never here? Maybe I’m in a lab, one that tests blood for viruses. Maybe the last batch of blood was filled with some horrific virus that knocked me out and made me spill the blood on the floor. Am I a scientist? For that matter, what’s my name?
But I don’t see any lab equipment. And I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt, not a white coat. I don’t think I work in a lab.
Is it definitely blood? Perhaps it’s a play, and the blood is coloured cornstarch? No, I can smell it, taste it from here. A metallic feeling at the back of my throat. It’s blood, for sure.
Am I in a hospital? Did a blood transfusion go wrong? No. No beds. No doctors. No bleeping machines.
Can I stand up? No, it seems not. My head is too fuzzy and my legs are like blancmange.
Where was I before I woke up? I have a faint memory of riding a bicycle. Do I ride bicycles? And I was lifted. Into the air. How could that be? I remember looking down and wondering who’d take my bike home.
A voice. Was that a voice? It was so gnarly and garbled it barely sounded human. Was it speaking English?
There it is again. “Human subject 1459. Prepare for exsanguination.” I’ve heard that word before. I can’t remember what it means. Something to do with blood? Sanguinello is a blood orange, isn’t it? Maybe someone is making me a drink.
No. I know what’s happening. I know why there’s blood on the floor and I know what’s about to happen. If I lie still with my eyes closed, perhaps they’ll let me go. That whirring noise could be the sound of a door opening.
I woke up to find blood on the floor. In a moment or two, there’ll be more blood and I won’t be awake anymore. I hope they learn something useful.
Ben Coppin lives in Ely in the UK with his wife and two teenage children. He works for one of the big tech companies. He’s had a textbook on artificial intelligence published, as well as a number of short stories, mostly science fiction, but also horror, fairy tales and other things. All his published stories can be found listed here: coppin.family/ben | Twitter: @bubbagrub