Friday, November 8, 2019

#FridayFlash - Night Orderly

Felix pushed his cart down the hall, shoes squeaking on the linoleum. The cleaning crew had been by recently, and the air was still heavy with antiseptic. Most of the lights were off, the other nurses at the station were quiet, and all the patients' doors were closed.

He loved this time of night.

Felix rapped hard on the first door, then opened it and entered without being acknowledged. "Time for vitals," he announced, turning on one of the side lamps. The patient grumbled as she woke slowly.

He took her arm as she struggled to a sitting position, wrapping the blood pressure cuff around her lower bicep with brusque motions. She grumbled under her breath, eyes closed, and frustration rolled off her in waves.

Breathing deep her emotions, a frisson of pleasure rolled up his spine. He'd been on the day shift too long, had missed this particular flavor.

There were more emotions furing the day, but Felix found it not to his taste. There was sorrow and stress, but too much hope and happiness. And far too busy for a proper feeding, for him to enjoy the depth of the bleakness.

He took her temperature, noted everything in her charts, then slowly removed himself from her room. She flopped back in her bed with a sigh, and Felix lingered in her doorway long enough to catch the wave of sleeplessness as she attempted to get comfortable.

This was the best. The hard work and body fluids were hardly a drawback in the face of the constant frustrated unease of sick people woken in the middle of the night. Felix even sometimes enjoyed the body fluids because it meant someone had lost control. Then there was often embarassment, worry, stress, sorrow, and a dozen other emotional flavors.

Moving to the next room to begin the process with the old man in there, Felix wondered anew if he was the first psychic vampire to figure out how perfect hospitals were for feeding.

Surely he wasn't, but in a decade of nursing, he'd yet to encounter another one. Not even the suggestion of one visiting the sick and dying. The grounds were so rich that many dozens of psi vamps could each feed until they were overfull and barely put a dent in the emotional supply.

Felix had to repeat himself to the old man, raising his voice. Papery skin felt clammy and dry in his grip, and Felix was rougher than strictly necessary. The old man cried out, and he mumbled an apology that he didn't mean. The pain was like a layer of frosting, a sweet and cool treat.

He sipped as he made his rounds, not needing to over-indulge. No need to let himself become intoxicated just because he was back where he belonged.

Felix smiled as he wheeled his cart back. Maybe he should let go, feed a little more. Maybe even cause someone to backslide a little, so they would marinate in their own stress.

Maybe even cause an emergency and have the excitement for dirt. Crash carts were always a good way to finish a meal.

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