Blood Drive (Part 1/3)

“Excuse me, but is there anyone here who wants to participate in the blood drive?”

The attention of the entire classroom swiveled towards the open front door, thirty-one pairs of eyes – some expectant, some curious and some wary – examining the somewhat unremarkable attendant who had entered following a polite series of knocks. Class had barely started, a pity in that it was likely to have been a very exciting event given that the teacher himself looked bored to death, but, students being students, most were relishing the welcome interruption to what had had the prospect of being an actual class session.

I did, however, take the liberty of being amused at how excited the teacher seemed to be at the interruption, at his zero hesitancy on closing the textbook. Some days, no one did feel like class. Today seemed like one of those days, and there was no reason to kick out a voluntary distraction.

“Well then, I’d apologize but since I’m abandoning the lesson for good cause, we’ll just hold off learning about things you already know until next week, shall we?” The teacher announced with a chuckle, rolling up his sleeves and heading out past the amused nurse. Many others stood up, each with their own observation of the situation – “I’m actually wondering if we’ll ever get any lessons done at this rate?” “If I didn’t live where it’s supposedly infested with malaria-” quite a lot of people snorted at that, having heard the same rant every time the blood drive happened, “-I’d have been able to get a free freaking cinema coupon!” “Do you think I’ll still have problems with blood pressure?”

I turned my eyes back toward the desk, a sudden buzz in my head. This was the first time I’ll be actually available for a blood donation at all, age and medication having interfered the last two occasions this had happened. But then again, I thought, I hadn’t really been medicated then – unless you count Tylenol as viable blood donation risks.

 

Truth be told, I’d been scared. I was never very fond of needles, more so than the average person; I had embarrassing childhood accounts of rolling on the hospital floor in resistance to prove it. But still, it really was a good cause, and I did know, albeit theoretically, that those needles couldn’t hurt any more than the injections that we didn’t really have much choice but to take. I tended to overreact, pinching my thigh to distract myself even with those injections, but I did know that it couldn’t actually hurt that bad… right?

I thought back to a friend of mine, one that I particularly looked upon. He was probably the one life who had the most hardships throughout my knowing of any acquaintance, and he had been a very vocal enthusiast of blood donation. He’d only recently contacted me to alert me of his twentieth donation, to which I’d responded with the appropriate awe. I pushed my reminiscence the tiniest bit more to recall that time when he’d given me the most heartwarming speech in terms of his wishing for my happiness, and that tipped it for me. I stood up as flippantly as possible, and ran downstairs to where the vehicles were parked.

Another nurse directed me to the cafeteria, where the paperwork had to be filled out. I sat down nervously next to my classmates, eyeing the blood-plasma yellow paper. My mind supplied that it was pretty ironic that the blood drive paperwork had the color of what was essentially the liquid part of blood, but I kept that to myself. It probably wasn’t even intended, anyway.

“First time?” a voice asked as I turned, startled. The nurse who’d called us out for the event was hovering next to me, having obviously sensed by hesitance. I looked around and realized that no one else was having problems with simple paperwork. Flushing slightly, I nodded. She smiled sympathetically, and pointed out the boxes I needed to fill, and the boxes I didn’t really have to, unless I wanted to. Purely out of spite, I filled out my address as the nurse observed it in obvious amusement, probably taking note of my rebel soul.

She shuffled me over to the makeshift receptionist’s desk, where a man in a suit (looking horribly uncomfortable, god, that suit must be absolutely suffocating-) stamped my papers and sent me off with a, “Go up and into the bus labeled with the number four, if you will.”

I complied and went inside, and immediately let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding until then. The familiar sight of my classmates greeted me, and the ease in which they were holding themselves convinced me that hey, maybe this isn’t going to be so bad after all.

TBC…


I’m…. trying my hand at narrative diaries? With a little bit of fiction touch to them?

So this is basically a snippet of my life, about a month back during midterms when I couldn’t just write it up.

Also a PSA that blood drives are important for hospitals because they often don’t have enough to give out transfusions to those who need it! Doesn’t even hurt that bad, really, and if you live in Korea you’ll get snacks and movie tickets and a little blood donor identification card that allows you a discount whenever you get a transfusion yourself, so yeah. Give life, give blood!

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Writeworld Prompt #2: Short Story

I’m back with another one of those stories! Once again, this is an image from the writeworld tumblr blog.

Original image source is here

Backgrounds - Workshop by Scummy

The dull, gray atmosphere of the city rushed past me as I turned up the collars of my coat to shield my face from the cold. Winter in the cities were brutal – at any rate, they certainly didn’t grant me any mercy. It was just like the city itself. Merciless as it went on in its own course, tripping down the unprepared while they scrabbled to get a hold of themselves. Freezing in place the ones who weren’t strong enough to fight, or the ones who simply refused to go on anymore.

I turned a corner to avoid the worst of the wind, and kept my eyes on the ground as I marched forward. People bumped into me as they passed, my mumbled ‘sorry’ deafened by the roar of the wind, and one of them ended up slamming me to a wall. I jerked my head up to see who it had been, maybe shout a few words in anger – not a word of apology, wow, was everyone raised in a barn these days? – only to face a deserted street, the people rushing past as if they hadn’t seen a thing. And they probably hadn’t, ignorant of their surroundings as they were. Oh, how I longed for the warmth that only a civil human could bring me! The warmth that seemed so far away, now, that it had been so long since I had last felt it. The city was truly a miserable place.

I heaved a sigh as I dusted off my jacket and unraveled my scarf. But just as I was about to wind it again, a gust of wind flew it out of my hands because of course everything has to happen to me. I ran after it, cursing my short stature as my fingers brushed the edge as it flew through the alleys. After a minute or two of sprinting around alleyways, it caught on the side of a shop sign, and I momentarily sagged in relief. I retrieved it and glanced at my surroundings. Sure enough, I’d been led into the completely unfamiliar side of town. Looking up to the sign that had saved my scarf, golden embellished letters reading Anciens et Nouveux stared back at me. A quick glance inside told me that the shop was open, and I stepped inside, hoping to ask for directions.

The door opened with a soft ding as I entered. The smell of wood, coupled with what was probably several fine layers of dust rushed into my nostrils, and I inhaled a deep breath. It smelled of home, something that I hadn’t been reminded of for a long time.

In the center was a huge yellow armchair – the kind in which you sit on and drink hot chocolate on a day such as this, if you have the time and space for it. I brushed my fingers across the armrest, feeling a phantom of warmth that was oddly reminiscent of body heat. I lifted my head to look around the shop more carefully. In every corner was an assortment of little things, things that one wouldn’t have any use of in a practical world but for the sentimental value. In every visible nook and cranny was an explosion of colors – so different from the dull gray tones of everything that surrounded me in the outside.

My eyes zeroed on the windowsill, where a steaming mug of something was placed next to an ornate box painted gold. I made my way towards it and noticed that there was a note:

Yours, if you would please.

The steam emitting from the mug indicated that it hadn’t been long since it had been placed there. Pondering about the lack of human presence in the seemingly open shop, I perched myself on the windowsill and flicked open the clasp of the box.

It was a music box, of sorts. A figurine of a ballerina had popped up from the inside, frozen in mid-twirl, waiting for someone to allow her to continue her dance. I tentatively wound up the spring, and the soft notes of Clementine started flowing from the box. I absentmindedly picked up the mug. The note had to be an offer, right? For whoever would enter the shop?

I closed my eyes and took a sip, losing myself in the soft notes coming out from the box.

“Irie?”

I jerked awake, my eyes flying open as I sought to make sense of my surroundings. The music had disappeared at some point, and I vaguely remembered sitting down on a windowsill at a shop somewhere, but this place was definitely not the shop that I had been in, but someplace familiar. Someplace that I hadn’t been in in a long time. Someplace that had…

“Lizzie?”

My little sister jumped and squealed in delight as I called her name, having grown so much and yet stayed the same since I had last seen her. She was dressed in a checkered skirt, the knee-length stockings and mary janes bouncing around as she flitted around like the exuberant eight-year old that she was.

“It’s really you! But when did you- when did you come back? You didn’t even give us a call!” She all but squealed, excitement evident and yet summoning a pang of guilt on my part for not having contacted for so long.

“Well, I wasn’t really expecting to come over so soon.” I said, nervously brushing back my hair. “In fact, I don’t even know how I just did.”

Little Elizabeth’s smile faltered for a second, face morphing into one of confusion before focusing back on my face.

“But you’re here, and that’s what matters, right?”

I had to smile back. “Yes, for now.”

After learning that both our parents were out for business in town, and having my little sister escort me on a tour of everything that had changed about my own home, we went down to the beach with a picnic basket to watch the sun set atop of the sea. The sky was flooding with so many colors, colors that filled me with warmth and yet had been lost to me for so long, I felt a strange emotion blooming in my chest. It wasn’t entirely foreign per se; it was something that I had tried to suppress so hard since coming to the city, that, by doing so, prevented me from connecting with everything that had been around me. An invisible barrier of cold that I had despised so much, and yet was projecting myself.

“Irie?”

“Hmm?”

“You ‘kay? You look like you’re going to… I dunno, cry or something.”

I blinked twice at that observation, not realizing that tears had welled up in my eyes. I hastily brushed them aside, and shot her a grin.

“It’s nothing.”

She let out a contented hum at that, and started to doze off in the warm sunlight, bundled up against the nonexistent cold as she was. I held her with a fond gaze for a while and picked her up gently, packing up and heading for home.

The sun hadn’t disappeared completely yet when I laid her sleeping form back in the bed. I stared at her peaceful expression for a moment, cherishing the moment that was so common and yet so deprived to me at the same time. My forlorn gaze was interrupted by the sudden ringing of familiar notes floating through the air.

Recognizing the music that had magically brought me here, I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sensation of being swept up by the soft melodies carrying me through space and time. When I opened my eyes, I found myself exactly as I had dozed off in the antique shop, perched on the windowsill. Next to me was the music box, slowing down as the spring that I had wound up made its final turns and coming to an end.

I got up to leave, brushing imaginary dust off of my jacket, when another note, one that had decidedly not been there when I had first come in, caught my eye.

Here’s to hoping you had a good experience of your true heart’s desire.

A&N

Smiling, and deciding not to inquire about the mystery and magic surrounding the shop, I stepped out the door and onto the sidewalk. I still didn’t know the road home, but my feet stepped onwards with a purpose.

The weather had not eased up any, the wind just as harsh as it had been before, but suddenly, it was feeling so much more bearable. A pleasant warmth had settled itself in my chest, warming my body up to the tips of each finger even as it numbed from the cold. It was as though I had dropped an armful of ice from where it had been freezing me from the inside. The world was still a dull, banal grey of concrete, but it had a glow to it, a sheen of color that had been previously unnoticed because of my own reluctance to see properly. It wasn’t such a desolate environment – not if we decided to see it otherwise.

I glanced around, observing the undertones of color of every passerby walking past. Everyone trying so desperately to hide their warmth, to hold onto the icy coldness unbeknownst to themselves while hating every moment of it.

A faint buzz awoke me from my musings, and I scrambled in my pockets to retrieve my phone. Without looking at the screen, guessing who it might be already, I flipped the screen and held it to my ear.

“Hello?”

“Hey, sweetheart. How have you been keeping up?”

I couldn’t help the smile that started to creep up as I answered. “It’s the city, miserable as always, but it’s certainly started to look up lately.”

“That’s good to know, hun. Listen, your sister had the most amazing dream today and told me to pass it on to you….”

I now grinned widely and shamelessly, as an elderly man radiating turquoise walked past. “Tell me all about it.”

“Well, apparently she dreamt that you suddenly showed up at home….”
 

‘active now’ #1

This one is a little something I wrote on a whim, and then got slightly out of hand.
(Just in case – Don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned my other works yet. I’m just desperately trying to distract myself from finals)
A little bit of personal and secondhand experience (or maybe a lot) influenced the general inspiration. To be precise, I was inspired by social networking sites in which a lot of drama can occur!
This probably isn’t going to be too long – three, four parts, tops? Hope everyone enjoys it, though :)

“You cannot be serious.” Helen muttered, running her hair through her auburn locks, glaring at the monitor like it had personally offended her. On the screen, the tiny black script glowed unblinkingly up at her, seemingly mocking her while stating that the object of her affections had been ‘active 1m ago’.

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Writeworld promt #1: Short Story

I wrote this on tumblr, from an image prompt by the writeworld tumblr blog!

This is just a snippet, but I might continue :) image source can be found here

Evening stroll by Miles-Johnston

Lorelei stared into the distance, the wind picking up her yellow overcoat as it danced through the air. Bursts of lights flashed across her features as she stared ahead, eyes steely, into the distance. She was lost in the view when she felt a soft nudge at her ankle.

“You sure you can manage on you own?”

The little blue critter at her feet, Leal, whispered softly, his own eyes also entranced with the view upon them.

Lorelei flashed a crooked smile upon her partner-in-crime, and quickly reverted her eyes back to face the front. A burst of blood orange, almost red, diffused into the sky, and all the others, equally colorful as the sight before them, ‘ooh’ed in quick succession.

This was not the first time that this had happened in their eyes; nor would it possibly be the last. However, the beauty never ceased to be so compelling.

“I think I could handle my own, at least for now.”

She murmured softly, wiping away all traces of regret from her mind. It had already happened; there was no use trying to deny it anymore. Regret would eat at her heart, would keep her from the great things she had planned for herself in place of Destiny. No use mulling over anything – the deed is irreversible.

“I know you are perfectly capable, but we all just worry, you’ve just taken a big step, after all.”

Treowe, a turquoise and rather long critter chimed in, the others nodding after him.

Lorelei smiled. “It’s funny that you worry about me now- I mean, I’ve just set my own entire village up in technicolor flames, what could possibly stop me anymore?”

Leal cringed at that. “Well, if you put it that way-“

“I’ll be fine.” She insisted. “It was something I had to do, wasn’t it?”

The sight before them was starting to resemble a fireworks display now. Explosions of all shapes and colors went off between the buildings, completely destroying any and all evidence that could suggest that it was once inhabited. A particularly gorgeous building went down, and Lorelei found herself absentmindedly mourning the loss of all the effort that must have been put in to make those now-crumbling stone walls.

“Just- know that we’re always here for you, okay?”

One last bang echoed through the plains, and everything went still. Every critters eyes flew back to the once-colorful display before them, now merely a wide, inexplicable patch of black in the meadow.

Lorelei adjusted her backpack and lifted her umbrella up high. It was time to go.