He woke up to some muttering.
“…jeez, he didn’t look great before, and somehow he took off the bandages. With that much blood, he’s definitely bled out. Why did I even bother bringing him here anyway?” The voice sounded like a woman’s, probably.
He was pretty groggy when waking up in the morning, and he was pretty sure it was morning now. He thought he heard a rubbing sound. He half opened his eyes. He thought he saw the figure of a woman, but her face was covered by the bandages he’d taken off. She was holding them up to her face and… licking them?
“What the hell?” is what came out of his mouth, unbidden.
“Eeeeek!” The woman flung the bandages in the air as she jumped back a fair distance. Perhaps it was better to say she fell backwards, since she landed on her rear. He thought it was a pretty cute reaction. “Who said that?” The woman said. She stood up and looked around the room, first at the doorway, then everywhere else. Even under the bed.
Thunk. The woman hit her head on the bottom of the bed. She sat up, holding her head, and looked towards him. She shakily pointed at him with her other hand, “Are… are you a zombie?”
“Like hell, idiot.” He looked down at his arms, just to make sure. Nope, perfectly normal.
“B-but you’re dead.” She stood up, and leaned close to him, then sniffed. Then, her eyes took on a glazed look. He thought he saw her drooling.
He flicked her forehead. “Stop acting like an idiot, obviously I’m not dead.” Normally, he wouldn’t have been this forward with a stranger. For that matter, he wouldn’t have been so confident with those he knew, either. However, finding himself not dead, he felt he could be a bit more brazen. Plus, he couldn’t help himself for some reason.
The woman held her forehead and complained like a child. “That huuurt!”
“That’s because I don’t like people looking at me like I’m, I dunno, a donut and coffee.”
“Don’t be silly, I don’t even like coffee. I prefer hot chocolate.”
There was an awkward silence that stretched on for what felt like minutes, but was probably no more than ten seconds. “So, uh… why am I here?”
The woman straightened up, suddenly serious. “I found you bleeding in an alleyway, and brought you here.”
The man put his head in his hands. “Right, so, why am I here and not in a hospital?”
“Because, umm…” she put her hands behind her back and fidgeted. “This was closer?”
“That’s what ambulances are for!” He wanted to throw a book at her, but they were out of easy reach. Also, he didn’t want to move that much. “You barely even stitched me up properly! Look at this, it’s not even close to regular!”
The woman looked like she was about to cry for a second, then her face turned into a frown. “Hey, it was good enough that you’re not dead, right? Where’s my gratitude?”
He felt a slight bit of regret for yelling at someone who saved him. “Sorry, you’re right. Thanks for saving me.” He paused for a moment, thinking. “Hey, wait a minute, you thought I was dead just a minute ago! You didn’t even believe in your own work!”
She looked at him sheepishly. “Well, that’s because you’d lost so much blood out in the alleyway… I mostly did this on the spur of the moment, you know? It’s not like I’m in the habit of picking up injured humans or anything.”
“People. Injured people, off the street, or from anywhere else for that matter. I mean, if that were true, I’d have more than one bed, you know? Do you think I want to sleep on the couch?”
“Why didn’t you just take me to the hospital then? Also, you’ve been sleeping on the couch?”
“I didn’t take you to the hospital because I thought you’d die on the way there! Also, I haven’t really slept yet, but it’s morning now so I’m going, Mr. Grumpypants.” She sauntered off to the doorway, not looking as upset as she sounded. So… that seemed like permission for him to stay here and rest up, he guessed.
He wasn’t really tired anymore, though, so he scooted closer to the bookshelf so he could reach some books. Besides occult stuff, there were many works of fiction, mostly science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He looked at various picks from those, but there wasn’t anything that caught his eye. The occult books mostly looked uninteresting, as well. Pretty creepy, actually. Some of them were in weird languages. Nothing he recognized. Then, his hand stopped on one book. “Blood magic” it read. He pulled it out and looked inside a little.
It was even creepier than he had thought. Weird things like stereotypical magic circles, the kind one expects to see in a horror movie where someone is sacrificed to the devil. Descriptions of strange rituals, and denotations of how much blood was required for each. He closed the book, and was about to put it back, when something stopped him. He looked at the cover again. “Blood magic”. He was sure it read that. Yet, looking at it again, it obviously didn’t say that. The letters weren’t even in the English alphabet. Clearly, though, he knew it said “blood magic”.
He assumed he was hallucinating or dreaming, so he decided to see where this dream would go. He opened to the first page, and started reading. Surprisingly, it started with a rather dry history. It listed off a lot of names of people who were somehow important for various things. He quickly got bored, and flipped over a few pages. He skimmed some of the lines.
“Blood magic, while not inherently evil, has never been more than grudgingly accepted.”
Well, of course not, it even sounded evil.
“…many spells require blood of humans, and thus any great quantity is hard to obtain without loss of life.”
Basically, it didn’t require that people die, but they would anyway. Creepy. Pointless, too, since it obviously wasn’t going to do anything except make a mess.
“…most potent is the blood of users of blood magic, but this is obviously impractical except in the smallest of magical arrays…”
He imagined someone trying to do some kind of fancy magic, but just killing themselves instead. Well, that’s probably better than murdering others anyway.
Everything he saw was creepy, but he was fascinated by it anyway. Maybe… he wasn’t a good person, inside? Well, just reading probably wouldn’t hurt. Besides, magic wasn’t even real.
Next, he came upon a section titled “blood control”. The description was basically what it sounded like, a method to control the movement of blood. Specifically, one’s own blood. It explained that it was mostly an insignificant ability, since it was useless without having stored up one’s own blood in containers. However, with enough stored blood, it could be controlled with your mind to do many things, such as making a shield or quickly forming a small magic array. In the end, the ability could be activated with a simple array, after which the will of the user would be able to indefinitely control their own blood using their willpower.
He closed the book. This was getting too creepy. He put it back on the shelf, and pulled off a random fiction volume. Dracula, actually. One of the classics. He started reading it, but his mind was wandering. It wasn’t boring or anything, but… he couldn’t stop thinking about the other book. It was stupid, really. He kept reading. Then he realized he hadn’t actually paid attention to anything he’d read for at least ten minutes. He closed the book, and put it back on the shelf. He took the weird book, or perhaps it was more of a tome, off the shelf again.
It wouldn’t hurt to try it, and laugh when it failed, right? He didn’t have to promise his soul, or anything, to a demon or something. He just had to draw a little circle with his blood, and there was plenty around here.
It actually took him more work than he’d initially thought, since he didn’t really have a good surface except the small table beside the bed, and it was hard to get any significant amount of blood except off the floor, which required him to awkwardly reach down beside himself, so he didn’t have to move his stomach and the stitches. He awkwardly held the book in one hand, since the other one was bloody, as he copied the array, as it seemed to be called. Then, he placed his hand on it. The blood appeared to sparkle for a bit, but that was just a trick of the light. Now he had a bloody end table that he couldn’t set anything on without getting it bloody too.
He sighed. If the book had had real magic, he should be able to float the blood up into the air with his willpower. He concentrated for a second on making a floating sphere of blood from the array on the table. See? Nothing. Magic wasn’t real. He threw the book to the other side of the room, right through the tiny little ball of blood he’d made.
Magic wasn’t real. Yeah. Reading about it in the book was just causing him to hallucinate. Plus, the blood loss. For a moment there he thought he’d seen a floating ball of blood. Man, he needed to sleep some more.
He wasn’t tired though, so he picked up another novel off the shelf. Some kind of thriller with vampires in it. He read for a while, until he got hungry, then he decided to try and sleep.