by Fiona J Mackintosh

As soon as he sits down, all soft brown eyes and faded tee shirt, I have the urge to stroke a bare finger across the smooth crease inside his elbow, but I know how to wait for what I want. Instead, I draw his arm towards me with my blue-gloved hand, tie the elastic round his bicep, and tap, tap, tap.

‘Make a fist for me please.’

The veins rise and flow down to his palm. I stroke the antiseptic wipe across his perfect skin where there’s one brown mole flush with the dermis like a beauty mark. As the fluorescents buzz above us, I ease the needle in, and rich red hemoglobin fills the vial.

A snap as I untie the tourniquet.  

‘Full panel?’

He nods. ‘Annual physical.’  

I keep my hands steady. ‘I like a man who’s not afraid to know his own body.’

A glance from under his lashes, as long as a girl’s. ‘Hypertension runs in the family. Can’t be too careful.’

As I exchange the vials, his heart clenches and unclenches under his tee shirt, pumping erythrocytes and leukocytes through the tube.  

‘Do people ever faint?’ he asks.

‘Once in a while. Some don’t like needles, some don’t like blood.’

‘Not you though. Vampire woman,’ he smiles. 

The word oscillates between us, a sound wave I can almost see. I attach another vial. ‘Nearly done. Sorry it’s so many.’ 

He doesn’t know this last one’s for me.

I slide out the needle and press a Band-Aid over the tiny puncture wound. He shrugs on his jacket and gives me one last smile. 

‘Thanks. See you next year, I guess.’ 

He’ll see me sooner but doesn’t know it yet. I raise my hand in farewell and peel off my gloves, counting the hours till I can stand in the shower, rubbing his plasma on my breasts and thighs and smearing the gorgeous crimson all around my mouth.   

Fiona J. Mackintosh (@fionajanemack) is a Scottish-American writer, a past winner of the Fish, Bath, and Reflex Flash Fiction Awards. Her stories appeared in Best Microfiction 2019, the Best Small Fictions 2019, and the 2018-19 BIFFY50, and she received an Individual Artist’s Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2016. Her flash collection The Yet Unknowing World is forthcoming from Ad Hoc Fiction (http:/

You can read samples of her work at