Novelette: The Stone Man

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by Sarah Totton

stoneman-300Sarah Totton’s short fiction has appeared in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2011 Edition (Prime Books), Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2007 (Prime), Black Static Magazine, and Writers of the Future XXII. Her short story collection, Animythical Tales, was published in 2010 by Fantastic Books. She works as a veterinary epidemiologist on public health and animal welfare issues.

 

I met her for the first time at the shock demonstration. She was the shock demonstration. Live demos are an essential part of a medical student’s education. Sure, videos and textbooks have their uses. So does the new Resusci® Anne: simulated bleed-out, simulated pop if you crack the ribs doing compressions — but you can only learn so much from anatomical simulators. Real people are more complex. And at Moloch Inc. they’re cheaper.

Moloch ran these demos to give us Company medical students an edge over non-Company medical students. I’d been up all night on my work-study, and I’d slept in. I hadn’t read the lab manual beforehand, so I arrived late, unprepared for what I was about to witness.

Dr. Fitch was there in his greens surrounded by vital sign monitors. The Company students in my year stood along the observation deck. I caught Nick’s eye as I crossed the floor, and he looked skyward with his ‘Not again, Jonesy’ expression.

I took off my Company jacket and dropped it by the door. Fitch stopped talking and looked at me, narrowing his eyes on the name tag pinned to my scrubs.

“At what level of blood loss does one enter shock, Mr. Jones?” he asked me.

END EXCERPT

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