It was a simple enough word, thought Jack as he lay in the middle of the casino staring skyward at the hidden cameras that speckled the ceiling overhead.

Of course he understood the complexity of what blood truly was. He’d had the anatomy course in college where he had managed to pass with a low B average. Jack never really cared for the course and figured it for a waste of time for someone planning to become an Archetect. He took the class to fill a science requirement because he had procrastinated too long during regristartion and Anatomy was the only class with seats still available.

He also recalled there were actually 3 types of blood cells. Red, white, and platelets.

Lastly, Jack surprised himself when he remembered that blood was actually made up mostly of plasma.

It was truly amazing what goes through your mind as you’re lying on the ground in a puddle of your own blood while the people around you are moving about in hysteria and chaos. Jack wondered if he should feel guilty that his last thoughts weren’t circling his wife or his three children; but clinging to some obscure facts from a past he had all but forgotten.

As an Arcetect he also found himself admiring the worksmanship that had gone into this ceiling that he now found himself forced to stare into. Jack wasn’t so much impressed with the renisance style paintings that covered his last vistage. He admired the way a ceiling this vast could be domed with just the minimal of support beams and how even those few supports he saw were expertly blended into the background of the casino itself.

No, this wasn’t meant to be admired by the masses now surrounding him. They were meant to ignore the craftsmanship and focus of the glitz of it all. Only a true Artisan like Jack was meant to see the hidden beauty this structure held.

I wonder how long it’s going to take for someone to get around to helping me, he thought. It seems like everyone’s too busy trying to loose their kids college fund to notice a guys been stabbed and is dying in the middle of the floor. Even security seemed to be taking it’s sweet time getting around to finding out why someone’s spread out on the floor and not leaning over a craps table praying for just one more seven to come.

Of course tossing dice when you can no longer feel your extremities would be somewhat difficult. He could just see the dice rolling off his fingertips with all the force of a newborns drool as it ran down its chin. Not much chance of making it across the table when you can barely muster the force to make it past the pass line.

I guess I could blame the randomnous of my thoughts on the lack of oxygen finding its way to my brain right now, he rationalized. My family couldn’t really expect me to maintain control of my thoughts while I’m faced with problems like these could they?

Jack tried to remember how it was he had gotten into this spot in the first place but found it difficult to focus.

He recalled that he had been drinking quite a bit before he felt the sharp flash of pain that plunged into his right hand side. Was he drinking for a reason? Jack couldn’t recall. Vodka Tonics had that effect on people. And now the loss of blood was compounding the problem.

Why isn’t anyone helping here? Jack pondered. This is proving to be a true testiment to the lack of altruistic nature in people these days. I guess there’s no real money in heroic efforts anymore.

Jack decided it might be best to call out for help at this point; but as he tried he found his lungs wouldn’t fill with air. His mouth, on the other hand, rapidly filled with blood and his plea for assistance turned out to be little more then a gasp and choke on his own fluids.

I guess the blade must have puncutered one of my lungs., Jack speculated as he attempted to regain some measure of himself. Not much chance of getting anyones attention that way then.

He briefly considered trying to grab hold of someone but found there were too many people in the casino and no one was really near enough to him to grasp.

I realize the casinos slow down after 2 in the morning, but you’d think I could find someone to help.

As if in answer to his prayer, Jack finaly did see a young lady moving towards a slot machine nearby where he was grasping to the last few breaths of life he had remaining. Jack strained to move his arm into place in the aisle where the young lady was sure to have a better view of him.

He was thrilled to see the young lady suddenly change direction and begin moving in his direction.

With the last bit of energy he could muster, Jack reached out and grasped at the young ladies pants leg when she was near enough for him to manage it.

It was then that the fear and shock truly did overcome him as he watched his hand pass right through both the young ladies denim pants and he leg as well and reemerge on the other side.

What the hell? He thought as he watched the young lady continue past him and take a seat just three machines away from where he now lay. My hand… It passed right through her!

Jack dug deep and strained to bring his hand up to eye level in an attempt to assertain what had gone wrong with his plan. He soon discovered the problem.

Jacks hand had become all but transparent at the end of his wrist!

A light panic began to grow deep inside himself and he found that the harder he strained to figure out what was going on, the further up his arm this new translucent condition began to spread.

It was like a vicious cycle. The more he faded, the more he paniced. The more he paniced the more energy he explelled. The more energy he expelled, the more he faded.

The disease spread rapidly at this point throughout the rest of his body. Jack could feel his legs and torso becoming lighter and lighter. The thought terrified him.

Suddenly Jack saw the paint on the ceiling he had just been admiring begin to loose color. It was rapidly being replaced by a bright glow that was moving towards him at an ominous rate.

Again Jack tried to scream, but found the words lost in another throat full of blood. He stared at the light willing it to leave with every last drop he could muster. Pain ran through his mind as he strained against all of creation to hold back his new predator.

Suddenly, it began to work!

The glow faded, replaced again by the ceiling that had been there beforehand.

I did it! He thought. I won! I’m going to live!

But even as he thought this he still felt the fading disease crawing over his body at a faster rate then before. He was being erased and didn’t know what to do about it. Had me made a mistake in wishing the light away? The thought filled him with a moment of terror as he vanished all together.


It was a simple enough word, thought Jack as he lay in the middle of the casino staring skyward at the hidden cameras that speckled the ceiling overhead.

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