Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 27)

Mrs. Banner made her entrance then, calling the class to order while juggling a bunch of cardboard boxes in her hands. She let the boxes fall onto McKayla’s table, and asked her to start passing them around the class.

“Okay, guys, I want you all to take one piece from each box,” she said as she produced a pair of rubber gloves from the pocket of her lab coat and pulled them on. The crack as the gloves snapped into place was strangely ominous. “The first should be an indicator card,” she went on, grabbing a white card about the size of an index card and displaying it to us; it had four squares marked on it instead of lines. “The second is a four-pronged applicator”—she held up something that looked like a nearly toothless hair pick—“and the third is a sterile micro-lancet.” She displayed a small piece of blue plastic before splitting it open. The barb was invisible from this distance, but my stomach plunged.

“I’ll be coming around with a dropper of water to prepare your cards, so please don’t start until I get to you.…” She began at McKayla’s table again, carefully putting one drop of water in each of the four squares of McKayla’s card.

“Then I want you to carefully prick your finger with the lancet.…” She grabbed McKayla’s hand and jabbed the spike into the tip of McKayla’s middle finger.

“Ouch,” McKayla complained.

Clammy moisture broke out across my forehead and my ears began a faint ringing.

“Put a small drop of blood on each of the prongs.…” Mrs. Banner demonstrated as she instructed, squeezing McKayla’s finger till the blood flowed. I swallowed convulsively, and my stomach heaved.

“And then apply it to the card,” she finished, holding up the dripping red card for us to see. I closed my eyes, trying to hear through the humming in my ears.

“The Red Cross is having a blood drive in Port Angeles next weekend, so I thought you should all know your blood type.” She sounded proud of herself. “Those of you who aren’t eighteen yet will need a parent’s permission—I have slips at my desk.”

She continued through the room with her water dropper. I put my cheek against the cool, black tabletop and tried to hold on as everything seemed to get farther away, slithering down a dark tunnel. The squeals, complaints, and giggles as my classmates skewered their fingers all sounded far off in the distance. I breathed slowly in and out through my mouth.

“Beau, are you all right?” Mrs. Banner asked. Her voice was close to my head, but still far away, and it sounded alarmed.

“I already know my blood type, Mrs. Banner. I’m O negative.”

I couldn’t open my eyes.

“Are you feeling faint?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I muttered, wishing I could kick myself for not ditching when I had the chance.

“Can someone walk Beau to the nurse, please?” she called.

“I will.” Even though it was far away, I recognized McKayla’s voice.

“Can you walk?” Mrs. Banner asked me.

“Yes,” I whispered. Just let me get out of here, I thought. I’ll crawl.

I felt McKayla grab my hand—I was sure it was all sweaty and gross but I couldn’t care about that yet—and I worked to get my eyes open while she tugged me up. I just had to get out of this room before it went full dark. I stumbled toward the door while McKayla put her arm around my waist, trying to steady me. I put my arm over her shoulders, but she was too short to help my balance much. I tried to carry my own weight as much as possible.

McKayla and I lumbered slowly across campus. When we were around the edge of the cafeteria, out of sight of building four in case Mrs. Banner was watching, I stopped fighting.

“Just let me sit for a minute, please?” I asked.

McKayla breathed out a sigh of relief as I settled clumsily on the edge of the walk.

“And whatever you do, keep your hand in your pocket,” I said. Everything seemed to be swirling dizzily, even when I closed my eyes. I slumped over to one side, putting my cheek against the freezing, damp cement of the sidewalk. That helped.

“Wow, you’re green, Beau,” McKayla said nervously.

“Just gimme… a minute…”

“Beau?” a different voice called from the distance.

Oh, please no. Not this, too. Let me just be imagining that horribly familiar voice.

“What’s wrong? Is he hurt?” The voice was closer now, and it sounded strangely fierce. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping to die. Or, at the very least, not to throw up.

McKayla sounded stressed. “I think he fainted. I don’t know what happened, he didn’t even stick his finger.”

“Beau, can you hear me?” Edythe’s voice was right by my head now, and she sounded relieved.

“No,” I groaned.

She laughed.

“I was trying to help him to the nurse,” McKayla explained, defensive. “But he wouldn’t go any farther.”

“I’ll take him,” Edythe said, the smile still in her voice. “You can go back to class.”

“What? No, I’m supposed to…”

And then a thin, strong arm was under both of mine, and I was on my feet without realizing how I got there. The strong arm, cold like the sidewalk, held me tight against a slim body, almost like a crutch. My eyes flipped open in surprise, but all I could see was her tangled bronze hair against my chest. She started moving forward, and my feet fumbled trying to catch up. I expected to fall, but she somehow kept me upright. She didn’t so much as stagger when my full weight tugged us both forward.


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