He found them in his bed when he woke up. Little stains, not much bigger than his fingertips, lost in the middle of the universe of his grey sheets, rusting with the time, turning themselves more brownish than red. He wouldn’t ever think it was something more than curious.
When the next morning he discovered new stains, he simply changed the pair of bed sheets, putting the dirty ones in the washing machine. The human oxide didn’t disappear completely from the cotton, just paled itself a little bit. And he didn’t worry too much, neither for the sheets nor the blood; those little spots could be anything. He could have bled from the nose, even though he didn’t bleed the pillow.
One day that week, he let the alarm clock ring until it was too late and he had to hurry that morning. He completed his diary routine without looking anything with care and he left his department. He returned almost ten hours later and it was then when he saw it. The blood stain was resting at the feet of the bed. It was so big that he couldn’t cover it with both hands; the blood was dry and cracked. He gave it an incredulous look while he pulled his clothes off and looked at his body.
He didn’t have any wounds, or scars, or injuries. Nothing was hurting him, nothing seemed out of place.
He put the sheets in a bucket with water and changed the bed with new ones.
The clock found him awake, he sat himself up slowly and turned on the light in the dark room, lighten it slightly. There weren’t any stains that morning, which calmed him down and made him believe it was just a bad dream. But the celebration finished early when he looked at himself and discovered the big red spot on his sleeping shirt.
Slowly and shaking, he pulled it out and found his stomach intact. Then he threw the shirt to the trash.
He started to find a new stain every morning, something it wasn’t there the night before, and it wasn’t much time until every sheet and bed clothes were ruined. He went to the doctor, to several hospitals, where nurses told him that, at first glance, he didn’t have any pathology to care about. He didn’t have any hidden wounds; he looked like a normal person, strong and healthy. They took him even more blood, for a test. He bought new sheets.
It was Saturday when he returned to the hospital, desperate, with the same clothes that he had slept in. The blue sheets turned completely red during the night. And he was stained with the same blood; so much that he looked like he was out from a crime scene. The results from the analysis said he was low on iron and low blood count, probably caused by stress, but nothing that explained the blood.
A brainstorm made him consider the bizarre possibility that someone was entering into his apartment at night and bleeding over him, so he put a camera in front of his bed before going to sleep. The next morning he wake up with a wet pillow and blood drying in his head. He sped up the recording where he only saw himself alone in the room for eight hours with the red sea growing slowly around him.
He wanted to throw the mattress, but he couldn’t stop imagining the worst, a neighbour finding the rests of his nightmares and the investigation taking to him. He couldn’t blame anyone who would accuse him of a crime when it looked like he had spilled more blood than anyone. And in those worst imaginations he couldn’t explain his innocence. So he decided to hide the mattress behind the closet and bought another one, entirely new, who lasted a little more than a week before the new blood reached it by the cloths.
There was a time when he was obsessed with it happening to him while in public. Wherever, work or university, the thought of the blood appearing from his skin, from his pores, like running away from him, leaving him alone, marked in red; the idea terrorized him. But it never happened when he was awake and he knew he couldn’t cut everything off when he had taxes to pay.
When he closed his eyes, completely defeated by fatigue, he dreamed that he was adrift in a black ocean. The sky was black and without any stars and with the exception he could see his hands and body, he could think he was blind. He could feel the water, around him, but the lack of fished and sea beings perplex him. He was calmed, at last. And he hadn’t realised of those dreams until the blood arrived.
That morning he woke up, wet from head to toes but also fearless, and when he felt the floor on his feet he felt the small red puddle between his fingers. The little pool had grown away from the bed. The sheets were dripping slowly, every drop making up a rhythm. Like an echo in his ears, dripping, dripping.
He started to clean up the mess; he decided to aerate the oxide and metallic smell that drowned the place. The left the mattress to dry and he went for a shower. The blood started to appear. When the water hit his body the blood sprouted. He looked at himself and he thought he was a red river, a red river, a red river.
He sat on the floor of the bathtub and he put his head on his knees while the water fell into his back. He closed his eyes and he was again in that ocean. He opened them and he was a red river. He closed them and he was drown by the smell of the salty and black water, the mumbling of the sea that was the same mumbling of his blood running in his veins. In the middle of the absolute darkness, he closed his eyes, without wanting to wake up ever again, and he left himself to be adrift.