Rich stood outside of his closet doors, looking down at the single drop of blood. He was sure it was blood and he was sure it wasn’t his. He had looked over Loaf (his Basset Hound) completely and there were no wounds on the dog. “I’m too old for monsters in my closet,” he mumbled, trying to shake a growing sense of dread. “Are you? Are you really?” whispered an older, wiser part of his brain.
They caught Stan before he took off and told him to give blood and plasma at Bathory House instead. “They pay tons more,” Craig said, telling him how much more, “and the nurses are totally hot.” Brenda nudged him hard in the ribs. “Hotness aside,” she shared, “they know their stuff; they have all of the latest tech, and there’s never so much as a bruise afterwards.” “I’ve never even heard of it,” Stan replied. “Private stockpile,” the two said in almost perfect sync. “Weird,” he whispered. “Don’t lie about being a virgin, though,” Craig said as a brief shadow of fright moved across his face. “It may be weird, man, but don’t lie about that.” Brenda nodded, looking quickly away.
He felt pretty good considering the wheels totally came off last night. As Burke stumbled into the bathroom, he marveled at the success he was having putting one foot in front of the other. The sink felt wrong, though (too small, too low). He opened his eyes. There was dried blood all over the basin and bloody towels wadded up on the floor. More importantly and disturbingly, it wasn’t his bathroom.
She walked slowly by them in her coronation robes, the triple crown high upon her brow. “And thus,” whispered the Lord Chamberlain to the High Chancellor, “does a red queen again take the throne; there will be blood.” Triva turned her head to cast a glance at him – the scarlet eyes a hallmark of her lineage, the smile unexpected and unsettling. “You and your family must go into hiding at once, old friend,” the Chancellor said softly as he moved away.