Sorry for two deathblack dreams in a row, but it’s about all I’ve managed to get done recently.
“Drink it,” he said to me.
I looked at the glass in front of me, filled with the dense, almost sticky redness. Even though I wasn’t close enough to feel it, I knew it was warm.
The man was preoccupied, settling a syringe and tubing into a foam-filled small metal case, and didn’t look at me, but he spoke again, knowing I hadn’t followed up on his first request.
I looked at the cup again. It was full to the top, or almost, and I could almost feel how it would feel as I swallowed it.
Resolutely, I reached out and took hold of it. The warmth was comforting, in a way, but also mortally horrifying. It was almost exactly the warmth of the hand that held it, and the two warmths took hold of each other, so you weren’t sure where one ended and the other began, or if they were even two separate things to start with.
By the time he had finished saying it to me, I had already lifted the glass partway to my mouth. The rim of the glass touched my lip, and I hesitated. The man took in breath, as to speak again, and I tilted the glass so the redness filled my mouth and throat.
I swallowed, and it wasn’t until I had done so that the flavour came to me – thick, and salty, as I had known it to be, but with the added intensity of iron. I gagged, but nothing would happen.
I had only drunk a fifth of it.
The man looked at me, and I drank again. Some slid out to the side of my mouth, running down my face and chin, but I didn’t stop.
Now, one half of it was gone, but I was heaving and knew I couldn’t take any more of it right now, straight.
“Could I have something… to add to it?” I asked the man.
He looked sideways at me, then left and returned in a moment with a tomato. He cut it in thick slices with a thin knife, and added the paler red of the tomato to the deep red of the glass.
I winced, but thanked him.
I drank again. I was able to partially chew and swallow the tomato when it came in my mouth, but even this distraction from the slurry redness wasn’t enough.
One quarter was left.
I wished to sit, to wait, for the previous quaff of it to go down, but the man would not wait.
I closed my eyes, and drank the rest, then opened them when I knew I had to have some other sensation other then the great globs of tomato surrounded by the red going down my throat.
I finished it, and put the glass down heavily.
“Good,” said the man.
He took my arm, and rubbed a small piece of cloth with something heavy-smelling – alcohol? – on a particular place on it, then covered it up with a small bandage.
“You can go, now.”