Blood on the Leaves.

Flash fiction (500 word fictional short story) piece penned for an upcoming literary competition. Took me a day to write and kept editing to an absolute minimum. Have a read.

 

There it was, clenched proudly in her hands. Years of hard work and persistence. All of which were accomplished in the claustrophobic confines of this underground lab. The small vile contained the root vaccine that could finally relieve the world of this virus pandemic.

Millions had perished in the virus’ wake and many millions more were set to succumb to a similar demise over the coming weeks. Unless we found a cure. And it seemed we had.

‘We’ve done it.’ Leena placed the vile into the incubation proprietor and collapsed back into her nearby chair.

‘Now what?’

‘Our discovery is going to save millions. Maybe more. Let’s call it in.’

Hearing this, I hadn’t ever considered a collective vision for the vaccine. Only my own. My own self-seeking motivations.

Leena pulled her mobile from her pocket and began to dial. An intensity welled up in me, forcing me forward. I gripped my fingers firmly around her mobile and ripped it from her grasp.

‘What in the world do you think you’re doing, Jin?’

‘We need to talk about what we are going to do with this first!’

‘It’s a vaccine, Jin, what did you think we would do?’

‘This is my life’s work, Leena! Thousands of hours! My blood and sweat are in that vile-‘

‘-Mine too, Jin,’ she erupted, before soothing herself immediately. I could see that she sensed the danger of the moment.

My heart punched at my chest, willing itself outward into the dull white of the underground laboratory.

She pulled herself up slowly, held her hands out in front of her torso and stepped quietly to the side to barricade the vile.

‘Jin, let’s just think about this a minute.’

Soon the revulsion had crawled its way to the surface. It was overwhelming now.

She stepped forward and that was all I needed to engage. I grabbed at a handful of her coat and swung around violently. Leena’s jaw caught firmly with the side bench and shattered on impact. Blood gushed from her mouth as she clambered on the concrete. I seized the moment and threw myself onto her weakening body. And punched.


‘Please, no!’ Leena spluttered, her voice hindered by a throat surging with blood.

My fists traded skin for blood. They forced a deep chasm into the side of Leena’s face and even when I knew that no life resided in her any longer, I punched some more. Metallic red trickled from my fingers and soaked into the gleaming coats on both our bodies.

It was done.

I retrieved the vile from the proprietor, turned it slowly in my bloodied hands and revelled in the moment. This vile would set in stone my honour. My distinction. I sighed triumphantly at the thought: to hold all pharmaceutical companies to ransom, amplify the fee and relish in the inevitable bounty coming my way.

Many would suffer for such gluttony, but I didn’t care.

After all, Leena’s wasn’t going to be the only blood on my hands.


 

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