It's not blood... It's oil!

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The knife opened the man, slit his skin to spray across the room, some droplets reaching as far as the piano in the corner.

He hissed, wet, grabbing at his throat and coughing a little.

We all jumped back as if the liquid would burn us, corrode us. We cried out in horror as the man lurched around, his desperate eyes moving from face to face, searching for something that might save him.

His eyelids fluttered and he drew a breath we all expected to be his last. Dark liquid swelled out of the wound as he took his hand away from it to hold his fingers before his eyes. What he saw there seemed to calm him, to bring him back to life.

“I’m fine!” he said, falling to his knees and rubbing his palms in the pool collecting at his feet.

“I’m fine!”he said again, as if he was beginning to believe it himself. “I’m fine!”

We continued to back away, fearing the desperate insanity of what was surely a dying man. But his eyes weren’t glazed or frantic, but clear. His breathing calmed as he focused on the liquid that dripped thickly from his fingertips.

Gently, he touched his wet finger to the tip of his tongue.

“My god!” he exclaimed, grinning and spitting. “It’s not blood!”

He sucked at the finger, brought it back out of his mouth clean. The crowd jerked back as he sprang to his feet and rushed forward to show them his hands.

“My god!” he cried again, a wide grin cutting his face as he stopped in the centre of the room. “It’s not blood, it’s oil!”

(Wrote this drunk on subway, thinking of the early 1900s. Thought it might inspire a picture, video, anything.)

Created: Mar 25, 2014

Tags: poem, story

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