Death Toll 8
Her white uniform is drenched in blood. She can’t tell if it is hers but she knew her vitals are really bad. She lay on the floor with a surgical knife in hand. Her last breath was her uttering his name. Then she closed her eyes for good.
She is a nurse working for a local hospital in a far flung area. She just finished her masteral in Education and is musing whether to take up Med school or get a PhD in Manila. Her childhood wasn’t that smooth though, her parents were public figures, hence she was accustomed to moving every year. That is the reason she didn’t have much friends back then. It is still her issue up to now despite having stayed in her current address for a few years already. Add to the part that she had awful memories growing up.
Out of her boredom and the need to fit in, she installed and registered on Tinder. She met lots of guys online but nobody fancied her and equally none attracted her. Until she met Henry. He was too good to be true. He had a PhD, has his own company and is actually pretty interesting. They hit it off pretty well early on. The exchange of what was supposed to be a simple intellectual chat became a routine for her. She actually looked forward waking up seeing a message from him. But she was not the only one happy about it. Her colleagues actually liked the change she made. She became cheerful, bubbly and they found her to be really friendly, despite working with her for almost three years . Days became exciting for her. She deserved it.
One day the head nurse of her station informed her that she needed to go to PhilHealth in Manila to submit patient MDRs. Normally she would just give an eye but this time, she was surprisingly calm, even happy. The head nurse was quite delighted with the change Carla had. All of them did. Even those people who hated her guts before.
Overjoyed with the turn of events, she immediately called Henry up and told him about her upcoming visit to the big city. Henry was delighted, despite being flooded with work, he promised to see her even for a short time.
With the company driver, she went to Manila and did what was asked of her. Then she saw Henry. The first meeting was always nerve-wracking, she thought. Much to her surprise, it was actually fun. They talked and greeted like old friends. He was courteous, an old soul, his words. They hit it off pretty good. They promised to keep in touch when she gets back to Tarlac.
Back in her hometown, text exchanges changed drastically. They are involved. Video calls, to viber to voice calls. Whatever the means, they did it. Days became weeks and weeks turned to months. And she knew she is in love with the guy. Clearly, he feels the same way with me too, she mused. She was right. She just received a call from him, which lasted for hours. As usual, they talked about stuff. From the asinine, to weird, to sober stuff. This is the kind of talk she wanted. Then they talked about him visiting her at the end of the month. She was thrilled. She already had a lot of plans for them on that day. She slept like a baby after the call.
Day started off well but turned sour when she didn’t get any text messages or calls from the guy. She was worried. Days turned to weeks without hearing from him.
What the fuck is his problem?? Been trying to call him pero wala! Shit if this is his idea of a joke, I swear…
A number of thoughts came to mind like a freight train. May asawa ba sya? Baka nabuking sya? Or he met someone new? Back on Tinder, she started looking for new guys. There were a lot, but they didn’t beguile her like he did. No sparks, as they say. Fuck sparks, she hissed. So there she met this guy, Fisher. They had lots in common and after two weeks, they met. He was very different from Henry, she thought. More reserved. Quiet. Nevertheless, she enjoyed her date talking about stuff, even stuff about Henry. They spent the night on this modest bed and breakfast just outside Tarlac, away from prying eyes. It wasn’t usual that she’d go with a guy alone and stay overnight, but her anger over Henry’s “ghosting” prompted her to do something extreme. They were making out when her phone inside her bag vibrated.
Aren’t you gonna answer that call, Fisher asked in between kisses. It’s probably just my dad checking in on me.
The phone vibrated differently, shifting to text alert, to call alert and back. She ignored it and didn’t bother taking it out of her bag. She cried herself to sleep beside Fisher.
The next morning at work, she was surprised that she saw a log full of both texts and missed calls from Henry. Her heart dropped but decided she won’t return any. She didn’t even bother reading the messages. She worked the entire day with her new phone adrenaline without using her phone. She was only interrupted when she heard her name mentioned thru the intercom. She was requested to tend to a patient at the emergency room. She was specifically requested by the patient.
Wow, paimportante, her co-nurse chimed.
Outside the emergency door, another co-nurse she met in the hallway asked her if it is her boyfriend inside. She expected to see Fisher but saw Henry at the front desk instead.
Hi Carla, Henry sheepishly greeted her. He then went to narrate how he moved from Manila to Tarlac to be with her. She accepted his story with a grain of salt. This guy is unbelievable, she thought. Just then, the head chief of the Emergency Room approached her and introduced Henry as their new Communications and Marketing Head. Surreal. Henry continued his story that he resigned from his work, left his life in the city and applied in her hospital.
She was impressed how he quickly made friends in her hospital when she took years just to be close with her colleagues. Just when everything seemed right, Fisher came. She didn’t know what to do so she ended up introducing Henry as a new employee of the company. The two men immediately showed despise for one another. She was supposed to meet with Fisher after work but he didn’t show up. She she drove her car and headed home. She got a call from Henry and the two talked for hours. She knew she had to choose between the two guys eventually.
The next day she visited the Admin Office and looked for Henry. They told him he just went out to the Municipal Office the next building to sort out his employment papers. She hurried out and found him at the car park. He was arguing with someone over the phone. She heard him curse and he looked really mad. So she waited for him to hang up the phone.
She approached him and inquired who he was talking to. Henry dodged the question and instead asked her out on a date. She was about to answer when a black van stopped in front of them. They were ordered to get in at gunpoint, so they did. She felt a needle pierce thru and in seconds, she fell asleep.
Somebody took the blindfold and gag off her and she immediately saw Henry in front of him covered in blood whimpering.
Good, you’re awake dear. It was Fisher’s voice.
You wouldn’t want to miss out on the finale, he smirked. With that, he raised a surgical knife and stabbed Henry’s stomach in quick succession. She screamed and cried and begged for Fisher to stop. Don’t worry dear, you won’t miss him for long, he teased. Fisher pulled the knife out off Henry and proceeded to close in on her. She went hysterical.
The wooden leg of the chair she was seated on gave in and she broke free. She ran but the ropes prevented her from running with ease and was immediately caught by Fisher by the hair. He dragged her back to the room with Henry’s body.
She was able to pick surgical knife he dropped when he chased after her. And stabbed him in the eye. Fisher screamed and kicked her multiple times. She fell but not before she had another shot at him in the leg. Fisher was limping and fell on his face as he tripped over her legs. Carla got up and headed back to Henry only to find out he is not there. The rope is the floor but no sign of him.
Just when she was about to reach the door she felt a cold metal go thru her back. She turned around and saw Henry coming in for a second attack.
That’s my brother you idiot! This is all your fault! We were just planning to ask for ransom and you killed him! He was stabbing me with a fake knife but you used the real one on him. Now you die by the same blade!
She failed to put up a fight as her bruises and cuts were too painful to manage. And she was just tired. She felt the knife enter her chest. Henry knew she won’t survive this so he walked away.