Seven days left until the release date for Permanent Damage. Ten stories. A teaser every day for each story to whet your appetite, give you a hint of the plot and the feel of them.
Today, a problem that will hopefully go away by itself . . . .
What’s that dripping sound? If that’s that damned faucet again, the manager is going to —
He stopped, hand still on the bathroom light switch, and looked down at the floor . . . and then up at the ceiling, to its source.
Blood. That was his first thought. Water, just water, was his second thought, some burst rusty pipe somewhere staining the water this dark.
His third thought returned to the first. Blood.
No rusted water was this thick, spattered and spread like this. He knew blood when he saw it. He’d had a hundred nosebleeds, growing up, sensitive, sickly child. He knew the way blood looked and flowed.
He remembered the numbers he’d left in the room behind him. Clock numbers, important numbers, the time, he was already late —
I do not need this, he thought. I don’t have time for this.
He licked his lips nervously. He should call someone — ?
He grabbed his wastebasket from by the sink — ugly little thing, brown plastic, childish floral pattern embossed gracelessly in its side — and pulled the plastic garbage bag out of it, set the bag aside, and set the wastebasket down in the puddle to catch the dripping blood.
There. That would do for now.
He didn’t shave. Just pulled the bathroom door shut behind him, got dressed, and went to work.
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