I think I’ll share a bit of my sci-fi story SanGuine with you. This is a short that I wrote back in 2007 or so. It’s a story about a guy named Santino Guine who’s a BloodBurner, basically someone who can manipulate blood to heal, hurt and amplify a person’s natural abilities. This one was published on the e-zine Chaos Theory: Tales Askew (upper right corner). If you’re into sci-fi and noir, you’re gonna love it…either that or your blood will boil.

 

I am Jesus Christ.

At least to them I am. They touch the soles of my boots, I take them into my arms, and they are whole again. Then they pay me. Jesus was paid once, right? A Bible is hard to come by these days, so I wouldn’t know. Not that I would care to anyway. The only thing I care about right now is the woman sitting across the table.

“How do I know you won’t just take my money and sprinkle some smelly powder and wave incense through the air?” She waves her hand through the air. Her veins are verdant lightning bolts cracking across her arms, neck, and forehead.

“You don’t pay me until I patch you up.” I flick my Zippo open, touch flame to my cig, inhale, exhale, and a pile of red smoke barrels through the air.

The cocktail waitress stops by. I point at my empty glass. She nods with a synthetic smile and scuttles off.

“So what ails you, Miss…”

She shakes her head, or at least she tries to. Mid-shake her head starts spasming, twitching, and she becomes generally discombobulated. I smother a laugh behind a lungful of Alphrosnic tobacco.

“The BT Virus?”

She starts to nod, stops, and says, “Yes. I was in the Mentanet when I opened the wrong file. Next thing I knew someone was digitizing the contents of my brain, can’t even remember my own–” her hand shakes violently “–name.”

“How long?”

“Infected for eighteen hours.”

“Gonna be dead soon.” The cocktail waitress returns with my drink. I take it and dip my head. That’s as close as I get to saying thank you.

“I know, that’s why I came to you.” Her words are a high-pinched hiss. She throws a nervous glance over her shoulder. People in the bar could care less. They’re used to me and the people I bring in. There’s an understanding in the air. I’m the one that put it there.

“Are you always this callous to your…clients?” She grabs her drink and downs it before it sloshes and shakes from her hand.

I throw a glare over my specs. “I’m not the one dying, lady. Now, if you want to continue to live and think me a heartless brute of ill-repute, then hold your hands out.”

She holds out a hand.

“You do know the difference between singular and plural, don’t you?”

She holds both hands out.

When she glowers at me I see that the pupils and the whites of her eyes are coated in black with neon green characters written in digitized ink scrolling down her eyes. This woman only has two hours to live. I shove my smoke in the corner of my mouth and get to work.

I take out my pocket knife, flick it open. Of course she jerks back.

“Wha…Are you going to cut me?”

“Thas the only way I can heal you,” I say around the cylinder in my mouth.

“What if you have–”

“All diseases transmitted through the blood were cured five years ago. In order for me to cure you I have to bleed into you. The good stuff’s in my blood.”

Her fingers curl like wilting flower petals. They smell just as sweet.

“I don’t know if–”

“Lady, you’re gonna be dead in an hour.” I blink.

She blinks. And she puts her hands on the table soaked in alcohol.

I touch the blade to her palm and make a delicate incision. I do the same to her other palm and to both of mine. When blood starts to dribble out like a thing unleashed, I press our palms together and our blood mingles. Then I heal her.

First, I keep her blood from pouring out of the cut. I go into her arteries and veins and it feels as if my blood, her blood, is being shredded and gnawed apart by the virus. I follow the scattered paths of pestilence, burning the virus from her system as I do, and stop at the blood flowing to her brain. The virus burns hottest here. I feel the decay burrowing into her body, soaking into it like poisoned sunlight. It makes me shudder and quake and sweat in my own skin and I know that she must be doped up on—yes. I can feel a faint smudge of nascacin in her system to dull the pain. The virus is eating through it like candy.

I throw myself deeper, almost drowning in toxins and broken blood cells. I brush the source of the virus surrounding the chip at the base of her brain that allows her to connect to the Mentanet. The virus is a familiar one, one that works in chains. I grab hold of a few links, my body jerking as I take a bit of the virus into myself, and penetrate them down to the core to the moment of conception. It fights and thrashes against me like the devouring beast that it is, but I am stronger and take a drag on the cigarette in the mouth that I can no longer feel. My blood is like a star shooting and slicing through viral chains. I overload it with artificial light and store-bought love and machine-gun diligence and pretty soon the thing is unraveled. I soak every drop of her blood in antibiotics and increase her white blood cell count before I follow the reverse path to my own arteries and veins, drawing dissolving remnants of the virus into myself as I do.

I open my eyes and take my hands from hers, the cuts on our palms zipping shut.

The lady rocks back in her chair, her eyes now a startling shade of green. She lifts her arms and sees her veins are veins instead of twisting lines of poisoned poetry.

“Oh, my, my–” Her jaw comes unhinged.

“Yeah, speechless. I get that every time.” I take the SiphonSlider from my pocket and lay it on the table. “I also get paid every time.” I take my currency card from my pocket and slide it into the slot on the SS. “If you would oblige me.”

Elation shines beneath her skin, smothering her ire, and she slips her card into the other slot. The LCD screen comes to life and rattles off our names and account numbers. She touches her name: Eloise Dictana.

“How much?” Eloise asks.

“Ten thousand credits.” I pinch my cig between my index and middle fingers as I sip my drink. Ice clinks as I stare at her over the rim.

“I don’t have that much money.” An ugly dent batters the middle of her forehead.

“You have enough money to afford a Mentanet chip and nascacin painkillers. Trust me, ten thousand is a drop in the bucket for you.” I nod at her drink. “And if you wanna look dirt poor, don’t order two glasses of Trissjoie.” I sip at my cheap Byroqdu.

I can feel her blood warm, but not from the virus this time. She opens a window on the SS, keys in the amount and transfers it to my account. A line of arrows trail from her end of the screen to mine and both the machine and my heart give a content little chime.

TRANSACTION COMPLETE

Eloise snatches her card out as I calmly retrieve mine.

“I find out your money’s funny I put the virus back in your blood, only this time I lace it with something truly nasty.” I look up at her as she stands. “Remember the Silent Syndrome scare in ’06?”

The blood I just healed drains from her face. She leaves.

I finish my cig, smash it out, and reach for another. The singer on stage is belting out something about poisoned love, and don’t I know it. I like to think of it as more that love poisoned me, poisoned all of us. At least it would if I ever tried the junk. Not to say that I have anything against love, just that I don’t see the point of it. Too much work and not enough pay. Women today are worse than they were when the sun was still burning. Crazy beautiful broads. I throw back a drink. Here’s to women and poisoned love.

 

I think it could work as a series. What do you think?

P.S. Be sure to check out episode four of Dark on the Rock! Share and vote, please!