Prompts and Teasers: Circulatory System

I found a contest a while back and one of the prompts was “Knowledge of the circulatory system can save time.” I had intended to enter, but I forgot. I don’t even know if it’s still going on. Well, I wrote a piece for it and want to share it with you. 🙂 Be forewarned… it gets a bit grisly.

Circulatory System

Knowledge of the circulatory system can save time. A basic concept from Physiology 101.

I snap on the pale green gloves, comforted by the latex stretched tight against my skin. The surgical instruments on the table glint in the fluorescent light, each one honed for precision. They mean nothing without a steady hand. That I have. I ball my fingers into a tight fist, and the squeaky crunch of the latex echoes in the acoustics of the operating room. Few people know about the symphony of sounds during a surgery, music to my ears. My entire body tingles in anticipation. I am the conductor.

I turn to my patient. All lean muscles, his body stretches down the length of the metal table. No doubt, the gym is a regular part of his weekly routine. Out cold from the anesthesia, he doesn’t even snore. He’ll want to stay that way.

I dial down the drugs and sit, waiting. Ten minutes, and he’ll be fully awake. I have the time, and it’s worth it. These will be the most important surgeries in his life. He deserves one last conversation, and so do I.

Not until his mumbled sigh do I realize I’m dozing. Snap out of it. Going into surgery drowsy is a no-go.

“Where am I?” The grogginess in my patient’s voice tells me he’s not quite with me. A few more minutes is all he needs.

I step close, brushing the light brown hair from his forehead, and a silky lock curls around my finger. The Greek would claim him as their own with his sculpted features. And the plastic surgeon in me can’t help but admire his jaw line. “I’m Dr. Leyla MacIntosh. I’m going to take care of you.”

His blue eyes widen, and recognition flickers in them. He lifts an arm, and the handcuff trapping his wrist clanks against the table bar. He frowns. “What’s the deal?”

“I’ll be handling your surgery this evening. We should talk first.” I turn to my instruments and touch them one by one, ensuring each is perfectly aligned. A quick glance reveals his eyes following my hand movements.

His eyes narrow. “Let me out of this, bitch.”

Even helpless as he is, he’s defiant. No surprise. His cocky overconfidence was his downfall, making his capture easy for even one as slight as me. All it took was a shot of ketamine in the parking lot, and he was mine.

Not so powerful now. And that’s what it’s all about: power. At least that’s what they say. The psychiatrists think they know it all. Yet they don’t have the answers I need. His answers. “Why did you do it?”

“She was the sweetest of all.” He smirks.

The grief I thought had died bubbles to the surface. I’m transported to the courtroom, looking into his victorious face all over again. And when he laughs, I know my face has bared my every emotion. I swallow the lump growing in my throat. It hurts like hell, but I manage to push it to the pit of my soul.

Conversing with a cold-hearted killer leads to nothing good. I grab a syringe and fill it with pancuronium. As I push it through his IV, his laughter fades. I tie a mask over my face. It’s for my protection, not his. I wear it like an emotional shield. I am the surgeon again. Controlled. Calculated. Precise.

I pluck a blade from the surgical table and position myself between his legs spread wide in the stirrups. His penis lies limp against his thigh, and his testicles rest against the cold steel. I step forward for the first incision. He’ll never rape another. Too late for my daughter, but not for other girls. Not for other girls. I refuse to cry.

He doesn’t move as I slice down, outlining the shaft, but his skin pales and beads of sweat break across the surface. The bleeding is negligible and requires minimum blotting; I’ve only cut through the top layer of skin and return to the surgical tray for a heavier blade, one for cutting deep into flesh.

“Don’t worry. Your weapon is still there.” I run my hands over my tools. “I just need something to finish the procedure.”

There’s no doubt in my mind he hears me. The pancuronium paralyzes; nothing more. He hears, sees, and feels everything. It’s deserving. The police said my daughter was awake until he slit her throat. A small glitch in the system, and they set this bastard free.

The ten blade is my favorite. I hold it over his face. “This is much more precise than the hunting knife you used.”

I work quickly, cauterizing the bleeders as I go. Yes, knowledge of the circulatory system can save time. It can also prolong life. I smile for the first time in a year and toss the scrap of useless flesh into the biohazard bin at my feet. “It’s done. The discomfort should be minimal. At least in comparison to what my daughter suffered.”

I stretch the ache from my neck and make my way to his head. Though he can’t move, I read panic in his eyes which sparkle bright with pain. A light tremor courses down his body. My sign the paralysis is fading. Our time grows short. Time for the last incision. I make it straight down his sternum and throw my blade on the table. I won’t need it again. But the syringe prefilled with adrenaline; that I need. “When you took my daughter, you tore out my heart.”

I push the shot through his IV line, and grab the last instrument I’ll need for his surgeries. I lean over him, placing my hands on either side of his head, nearly touching nose to nose. The bone saw in my grasp clatters against the table, metal against metal. He can’t see the curve of my mouth hidden by the mask, but the shock in his eyes reveals my happiness shines above it. That’s good enough for me. I straighten and flip the switch. The bone saw spins, filling the room with a buzzing whirl. I hesitate only a moment, hovering the saw over his chest then I press down. A splatter of blood arcs at me. I barely flinch as it hits my mask. I don’t even stop when his pinkie twitches.