0 - Where It All Began

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 P R O L O G U E 

          White masks, sterilized gloves.

         The light above the emergency room bed was far too bright, throwing the faces of the nurses and neonatal surgeons into deep shadow. The cold fluorescence mottled the operating table, and in the center, a scrawny baby boy.

         A nurse murmured under her breath, handing the doctor an instrument from the wide array of tools she had laid out on a tray.

         The surgeon turned to fix her with a gaze of steely-eyed indifference.

         “What was that, Kosher?” he said almost lazily.

         The woman stiffened and averted her gaze.

         As the man turned away, she said in a louder voice, “We shouldn’t be doing this. It’s not—”

         “We have performed this procedure many times. It is perfectly safe, and if you feel uncomfortable being in this room, leave.”

         The nurse turned away, having half a mind to really leave the room.

         Several times did not mean it was safe.

         She had only heard the rumours whispered once or twice between nurses. At first, she had brushed it away.

         “Impossible,” she’d said, the first time she was let in on the secret. The mere thought was ludicrous enough for Catherine Kosher to scoff at the nurses that had spoken of it. Her curiosity eventually got the better of her, and for the past few months, she set her mind upon entering the operating room to prove to herself that the rumours were untrue…or true. Catherine’s mind had gotten muddled sometime in the last two months, torn between a morbid excitement of seeing the operation with her own eyes, and finally being able to dispel the ridiculous thought from her mind.

         But now that she was physically in the room with the cool-headed surgeons, she found herself gagging in repulsion. The baby—the shrivelled, weak baby that had been taken from his mother seconds after his birth, lay unmoving on the hospital sheet. She guessed, from the increased speed of whispers travelling from surgeon to cardiologist to surgeon, that his heart was seconds from stopping.

         The obstetrician was sitting in a low chair in the corner. Though his eyes had seen it happen many times, he looked to Catherine like he was about to pass out. His hands, bloody from the difficult delivery, were still stained red, for he had forgotten to take off his gloves.

         “Quick, give me the needle.”

         Catherine let herself be pushed to the side as another nurse rushed to fill her spot. She watched, horrified, as the nurse handed the surgeon a syringe, its two-inch needle glinting. She barely caught a glimpse of its opaque, pale green contents before it was injected straight into the baby’s heart. His chest jumped, and moved his entire body with it. Catherine inched forward, in a repulsed trance. Once, twice, three times the heart hammered, shaking the baby. The room stilled, all eyes focusing on the center of the table. Then, after a moment of held breath, it started beating again, a faint, but steady thump-thump that made the baby’s chest jump, thrumming with life.

         “Blood type?” murmured the surgeon.

         The obstetrician looked down at the wristband in his hands, crumpled from his balled fists. His hair was plastered to his head from sweat and nerves. “AB negative,” he said. His eyes widened when he realized they had never performed an infusion on an AB negative before. None of them knew what results it would yield.

         He snapped his gloves off and reached for the table beside him, where a pen and long sheet of paper lay. With trembling fingers, he picked up the pen and wrote,

         DATE: 04/17/1926

         GENDER: Male

         NAME: George Marcus Campbell

         BLOOD TYPE: AB-

         CLASSIFIED AS: Unknown

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