Jeremy looked at the ruby red blood, the way it shone in the light. Everything in the room faded into the background, he felt his stomach do a slow, lazy flip, then darkness fell.
He woke a few minutes later, feeling nauseous and confused, there was a cold cloth on his forehead, his father and mother stood over him, his father with worry in his eyes, his mother with disgust in hers.
“I thought you’d outgrown this”
“So did I.”
His mother shook her head and walked away, his father sat on the edge of the couch, “are you feeling ok? Do you want anything?”
“No, thank you. You should go after her, try to calm her down.”
his father grimaced, “We both know I’ve never really been able to do that, she’ll calm herself.”
Jeremy closed his eyes, somewhere in the house his mother slammed a door, both of them winced. “Maybe I should go have a word with her…She still loves you you know.”
“It’s just she so wanted to share this with you.”
“I know dad. It’s fine.”
Jeremy could feel the thread of guilt gnawing at him, it was just a bit of blood, that was all, but every time he saw it he passed out.
His father stood, “Are you sure I can’t get you anything?”
“Yeah dad” He looked at his fathers back, he was already scurrying from the room before he had even started to answer. Jeremy sat up slowly, already he was feeling better, he didn’t know what his mother had done with the blood, but he wouldn’t be surprised if it was smeared over his sheets, or walls. It wouldn’t be the first time it happened, when he was ten she had rubbed a bloody cloth in his face in an apparent attempt to cure his phobia. There was also the time she had thrown some on him while he was in the shower, arguing that it wasn’t a big deal because “It washed off anyway.” He knew she meant well deep down, she always put him first and she always had.
Somewhere in the house he could hear his mother screeching, he couldn’t make out the words but he didn’t need to. She was comparing him to his sister, dead for almost ten years now and still the child his mother loved the most. He would never compare to her no matter what he did, even when she was alive he was always second best. She’d been killed while she had been out alone, his mother insisted it was just an accident but Jeremy knew better. She had tried to kill someone and had obviously chosen the wrong victim, though no one ever stepped forward to claim responsibility. If only he could be more like her, if only he wasn’t effected by the blood. Their mother had been proud to pass on her families traditions, the matriarch of a great dynasty and now that would all end with him. How could he pass on the traditions to his own children if he couldn’t even do them himself. It was their god given right to thin the herd, to make the world a better place, but he was just too weak to do it. He smiled bitterly, he wasn’t the only child that was too weak for the job.
The screeching died down, no doubt she was sobbing now, it always ended with sobbing. He felt the familiar twist of guilt in his stomach, it was all his fault after all. He was the problem. He stood from the couch and made his way upstairs, his head down and his shoulders hunched. He opened the door to his bedroom, half expecting the room to be covered in blood, but it was as he left it. He gently closed and locked the door, it wouldn’t keep her out, but it would make it a little harder for her to get in.
He lay in bed unable to sleep, staring into the darkness, he had escaped punishment tonight, but it would come eventually, it always did.