Toby was a little light headed as he changed out the sixth bag of blood he had transfused from his own veins into Quinn's. The color had returned to her face, but this was the only sign of encouragement Toby had received to indicate that the transfusion made any difference in her condition. Toby gently removed Quinn's wrists from the restraints that Neilson had attached to the headboard, carefully laying her arms along side her on the bed. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of a movement so subtle that he turned to study Quinn's face closely, thinking he might have just imagined that she had stirred.
Toby watched intently, and Quinn's lids fluttered, her eyes opening slowly. She looked up at Toby with a shocked expression that rapidly gave way to a baffled relief.
"I think I'm dead." She said simply.
He shook his head. "No. You are not dead. I gave you a transfusion of my blood."
"You're not supposed to give blood." She said slowly, sounding confused.
Toby gave a slight shrug and she craned her head, looking around the room apprehensively. She shuddered when her eyes located Neilson, his body in a rumpled heap on the floor, the one withered arm protruding from his torso like a rotted out root.
She looked back at Toby, her eyes searching his and asked, "What happened?"
He leaned in so that his forehead was almost touching hers, and closed his eyes. When he opened his eyes they gazed intently into hers. "I can't explain right now. I have to get you home, and I have to clean up. I killed him to save you, but it isn't that simple. The trouble that we could both be in because of this is even bigger than it looks." Toby glanced over at Neilson's corpse as he spoke, "and it looks bad enough."
A tear rolled down Quinn's cheek and she buried her face in Toby's chest. "I don't know what to think."
Toby gently lifted her chin, forcing her to look at him. "You don't have to think. Quinn..." His voice broke as he said her name. "Trust me."
She nodded as he removed the IV he had run into a vein in her arm. He noted with some chagrin that the small puncture mark the needle left in her arm closed before he had the chance to apply pressure.
Scooping Quinn up in his arms, the sheet still draped over her, Toby carried her out of the house through the back door, walking around the back yard to the gate. He looked out at the street, which appeared as empty as it had a few hours earlier. Toby slowly opened the gate, cutting a path along the fence in the shade, so that he was able to reach the sidewalk without having to walk through Neilson's front yard.
He crossed over to the other side of the street quickly and carried Quinn home. As he lowered her into her own bed, she grabbed his wrist.
"Will you talk to me tomorrow?" She asked.
He winced. "I'm coming back later today, I promise. I just need to clean up."
"I think he killed Alvin," she whimpered.
Toby brushed a tear from her cheek. "I don't know if he killed Alvin, but I do know I killed him. Now I have to go clean up, and I promise I will check on Alvin." He said.
"You are going to come back today?" Her eyes were heavy with exhaustion.
Toby nodded. "Everyday, but you need to rest now."
As he walked back down the street toward Neilson's rental house, Toby turned things over in his mind. What he wanted more than anything was to make Quinn understand, though he knew understanding is a tricky thing. The mind primarily functions in opposing directions. In planning, contingencies are constructed around probable sequences of thought and action that may never even occur, whereas moments that do occur are not remembered in sequence, but by order of their magnitude. Moments are like pixels, and viewed through the lens of memory, create a different picture from every angle.
YOU ARE READING
A Singular WitnessScience Fiction
Quinn wants to escape her claustrophobic hometown after her father dies unexpectedly from a rare parasitic infection, and an internship filming feed in cities around the world for a software company developing a virtual running game seems like her t...