It was hours later when the last drop of red blood trickled down his ghostly hand, into the bowl and overflowed into the growing crimson lake on the floor.
His face was sallow and translucent without the pinkish hue of blood coursing through his veins. The jaundice was now left unchecked and he appeared otherworldly in the lamplight, no longer human.
The chest no longer rose and fell.
He was still.
I had cried and rocked in the corner as I watched and waited, surprised yet again that I had any tears left after all of the sorrows of the years.
I cried for myself, for innocence long gone.
And I cried for him. He had been dead even before this. There was no cure. No treatment. He would die sooner rather than later anyway, most likely choking on his own blood and vomit, suffocated by hemorrhaging from within. At least I had spared him that indignity, hadn’t I?
When the flow of tears and blood had stopped, I stood and packed my few belongings.
I stood at the doorway to the bedroom for a few moments more, staring at the shell of what had been a brilliant doctor, my lover. I wanted Nathaniel to wake, to hold me, to tell me everything would be fine. He would not. I knew he would not but the heart wants what the heart wants.
I craved his forgiveness but I could not have it. Not in this life.
Gathering up my skirts, I tiptoed through the sticky blood covered floor and kissed him once more on the cold lips.
Kiss me back…
I touched his cheek.
There was no life there.
I turned on the landing to look back, panic welling up as the horror of what I had just done broke through my clouded senses. A bloody trail of footprints followed behind me, fading with each step. My stomach turned.
Then I ran.