“I’ve come to suck your blood!” Hampton entered Mrs. Churchill’s room with a toothy smile and the old woman giggled like a schoolgirl. Mrs. Churchill was Hampton’s favorite patient and he always went above and beyond to get her to smile.
“I’m afraid all you’ll find in these veins is dust,” she said with a hint of melancholy. Hampton wrapped the blood pressure cuff around her arm and smiled.
“Nonsense, you’ve got enough to feed a football team’s worth of vampires,” he tried to reassure her. He felt an instant connection with her when she pointed out how much he looked like a vampire. He was a nurse, but she took to referring to him as Dr. Acula when they were alone. She had no idea he was a real vampire, but the running gag seemed to please her. After Hampton checked her vitals he sat down next to her. He always saved her for last to give them some time to chat.
“How’s your night going, Emma?” He asked. “Need anything?” Her eyes sparkled and she glanced towards the open door.
“I need a few minutes with the new orderly I’ve seen walking around,” she smiled. Hampton gave her a playful shove.
“Emma! You should be ashamed of yourself. A woman your age? You’re gonna kill that poor man.” They shared a laugh, then Emma released a gentle sigh.
“What I wouldn’t give to be young again,” she said. Hampton leaned over and kissed the wrinkles on her forehead.
“As soon as I figure out how, I’ll let you know,” he said as he stood up to get back to work. He learned to keep the visits short. The more time he spent with her, the more he wanted to turn her. But that would mean she’d be old permanently, and he knew she did not want that. He decided to ask the new orderly to check in on her frequently. He had not met the man yet, but all accounts painted him as someone friendly and helpful.
After asking at the nurses station, Hampton found the man in the breakroom. As soon as he entered, an awful smell assaulted his nose. Hampton’s hand flew to his face to cover his nose as he processed the scent. It was something he had not smelled in at least a century, but was instantly familiar. The new orderly was the only man in the room, and he stared at Hampton with burning eyes. He must have realized what Hampton was. The nurse put on his best smile and nodded at the werewolf.
“I don’t have a problem working together if you don’t,” he offered. The orderly relaxed visibly and nodded. He stood from the table and walked towards Hampton with an outstretched hand.
“I’m Josie,” he said. Hampton nodded and shook his hands.
“Hampton. I’m surprised they didn’t tell you there was a vampire working here,” he said. The two men walked to the table and sat down, but Josie gave Hampton a confused look.
“You mean you told the hospital?” He asked. Now it was Hamptons turn to look confused.
“No, I meant Mrs. Chang. You got a permit to work here, right?” Josie shook his head.
“Do I need one?”
“YES! Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. But Mrs. Chang runs this city, and all nightfolk need her approval to work with the public,” Hampton said. “Usually she avoids mixing us, but I’d be happy to go with you and point out that we’ve already met.” Josie nodded.
“Thanks, I appreciate that. I’m new in town, and didn’t know I needed to check in with anyone.” Josie said.
“Yeah, you definitely need to get registered. It’s not a big deal, but it helps them keep track if someone gets turned publicly,” Hampton started to explain, but the moment he realized Josie wasn’t registered something else distracted him.
“Wait! You’re not registered!” Hampton jumped up excitedly. “You can turn someone and no one would know! You gotta come with me!” He grabbed Josie’s hand, but the man remained seated.
Hampton relaxed a bit, and released Josie’s hand.
“Sorry, I got excited. There’s a patient here that I’ve grown attached to, but if I turn her she’ll just stay old. If you turn her she’ll grow young again, right? At least I’ve heard that’s how werewolves work. It kind of resets the body… right?” Hampton asked eagerly. Josie nodded, but gave Hampton a grim look.
“Yes, but it’s hard on the body. A lot of people, even in their prime, don’t survive it,” Josie explained. Hampton chuckled and cocked his head towards the door to get Josie to follow him.
“Trust me. Emma’s willing to take that risk,” he said.