I recoiled in shock, snapping back into my own head with painful velocity.
“Ah, there she goes again.” Nurse said, a slight urgency to her voice as her heels clicked on the tiles, towards the bathroom.
Opening my eyes, I sat up and stared at The Head in terror. She held my gaze calmly, her face an impassive mask. My eyes stung, and at first I thought it was because I was crying; until I realised my eyes were seeping red again. I could feel the scarlet drip down my cheeks, streaking liquid heat against my face and I shuddered in revulsion.
“What have you done to me?” I asked in a broken whisper.
The Head didn’t say anything back to me, only smiled. It was a kind smile, which made it all the more terrifying. Then I felt it again. Although, in the past I had experienced it differently, I knew it was the same thing. This time, instead of a blood-curdling fury, a malicious pleasure lanced up my spine, making me feel weak and shaky.
“What did you do?” I repeated, gritting my teeth and blinking the red out of my vision.
Nurse returned just as I was opening my mouth to yell at her, damp towel clutched between her fingers. She looked between The Head and I in confusion, before bustling over to me, wiping away the blood from my cheeks.
“Headmistress, I suggest we call the school doctor.” Nurse said calmly, returning the towel, which was sticky with my blood, to my feverish cheeks.
“I couldn’t agree more,” she nodded, “I shall make the call now.” Then, she turned on her heel and swiftly walked out of the infirmary.
“Now, Karin, you’re going to have to lie back down. You’ve lost a lot of blood today and the doctor will come and give you more.”
“I don’t feel like I’ve lost blood,” I said. It was true, I wasn’t even the slightest bit dizzy or dazed.
“Maybe you don’t, but you will later.” Nurse frowned at me, concern filling her eyes.
“Something went wrong, didn’t it?” I said suddenly.
“With my GE. Something’s gone wrong and now I’m different from Rowan and Ryan and Audrey and everyone else,” I told her, searching her face for answers. I didn’t want to read her mind again for fear of my nose joining my eyes in their quest to rid me of my life force.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said stiffly. I didn’t believe her for a second.
“Look, I’m not going to force you to tell me what’s going on. But at least give me this: am I in danger?” I asked, pleading.
Her mouth opened to answer, but snapped shut as Annis strode back into infirmary. I silently cursed her for coming in at the moment she did. Just before The Head reached us, I saw Nurse give me the smallest, slightest of nods before resuming her post of face-washer. I pushed forward, just for a second, hoping that I could get in before I bled even more, and said, thank you. Nurse’s eyes widened for a moment, before smiling a little.
“I have called for the doctor. She will be here shortly.” Annis told us, worry carving lines into her perfect face. “How are you feeling, Karin?”
“Like shit.” I said shortly, blinking more so my vision wasn’t so drowned in crimson. “When will the bleeding stop?”
“I don’t know.” Admitted Nurse, “I can’t say.”
I felt surprisingly calm, despite the fact I could probably die of blood loss promptly.
“How long have I been bleeding?”
Nurse glanced up at the clock, “a little over ten minutes.”
“How am I even still alive,” I laughed weakly.
“It’s not a heavy flow. In all honesty, you haven’t lost a great deal.”
I shook my head, feeling irritated. Annis stood at the end of my bed, her long fingers were wrapped around the frame. It was intimidating; her looming over me like that, but I tried not to let it show.
In the past day, I had come to realise that there was more going on here than any of us could ever know. And whatever I had promised to Rowan about not prying into the school’s secrets was going to have to be forgotten.