Here’s a little treat. It WAS the first scene to Blood & Holy Water that I added after one beta reader told me the book started to late in the story…
But then multiple other beta readers told me to cut it. It never made it to publication, but I thought you’d enjoy reading about how Ava initially found Fin.
Blood & Holy Water — Deleted Opening Scene – Ava’s Perspective
Ava’s miracle was somewhere at St. Elizabeth’s hospital. She’d been searching for it for over two months and the only thing she did so far was give a father the strength to handle his son’s diagnosis of leukemia. Definitely not miracle material. She had scoured the Intensive Care Unit, the Surgical Floor, the Neonatal Intensive Care, and many other departments with no success… not that Ava was complaining. She loved being on Earth.
Today, for the first time, she focused on the Emergency Department. She stood in the hallway outside treatment room three, peering through the glass. She had watched the wrinkly gentleman pass out in the waiting room and followed him here. It wasn’t him, though, that she couldn’t take her eyes off of. It was the young doctor who cared for him. His eyes were kind, yet they seemed to hold a secret. Ava was careful to stay in the shadows.
Rule #1 of being an angel: you don’t show yourself to humans.
With graceful movements, the doctor had his hand on the patient’s shoulder then wrapped a rubber strap around the man’s arm. He was talking, but Ava couldn’t hear from the hallway. She transported into the room and stood in the corner, careful to stay invisible.
The doctor’s words halted and he stiffened. He looked over his shoulder towards Ava for a moment, shook his head and returned to his patient. “Mr. Smith, I just want to run one more blood test before.” He clicked a vial into a device with a needle and adjusted Mr. Smith’s arm, exposing the vein in the crease.
The old man’s voice was shaky. “I’m sure I’m fine. I feel better already.”
“You were dehydrated and those fluids definitely perked you up. How did you let yourself get this way?”
The man nodded. “My wife was sick. I had spent all my energy taking care of her, I forgot about myself.”
The doctor shook his head. “You can’t do that. Who’ll care for her if something happens to you.” He inserted the needle in Mr. Smith’s arm.
Ava focused on the man, closing her eyes and opening her thoughts to what was inside him. She faintly felt the call of death, there had to be something wrong… It was so faint though, she doubted the blood test would discover it… unless Ava guided it along.
She transported beside Mr. Smith and took a deep breath. She lifted her invisible hands above his head and began to pass them through his body, waiting for something to stop her. She squished her eyes shut and sent all her concentration to her hands, trying to pick up on the slightest change. She felt sweat begin to form on her temple. She passed easily through his head, his shoulders, but felt the pull of death at his heart. She was dizzy, but ignored it. She focused on this man’s heart… an infection in the layer around his heart. If she could just push this out… into the syringe… it may alert the doctors of what was going on. She squeezed her eyes and pulled all her strength. Collecting a few white blood cells on her fingers and guiding them into the syringe the doctor was filling.
She pulled her hands out and opened her eyes.
The young doctor was staring right at her… not at her… through her. She checked herself, did she accidentally step out of the shadows. No. The doctor looked back at his patient.
Ava wiped sweat from her forehead and beamed a smile. She had done something good. When that lab ran the blood, they would see the signs of an infection. That should cause a further workup.
The young doctor pulled the syringe out of his arm and applied a bandaid. “We’ll let you know as soon as the results come back.”
The old man looked at the syringe. “I’m surprised you need more blood. The lab had been here and took a few tubes already.”
The doctor clutched the tube of blood and his lips tightened when he spoke, almost careful to hide his teeth. “We missed one. I just want to make sure everything is okay.”
Mr. Smith smiled. “I appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time for me. Whatever is in that bag of fluid has really helped.”
“That’s all it was, intravenous fluids, so far it appears you were just a little dehydrated. I’ll let you know as soon as I can how your tests come back. Did you want something to read while you wait?” The doctor put his hand on Mr. Smith’s shoulder and gently squeezed.
“No, I’m good. I’m just going to relax in this comfortable bed.”
They both chuckled, the doctor still with tightly closed lips.
The man looked at the doctor and gave him a sincere nod. “Thanks again. Not just for your help but for the extra time you gave me.”
“No thanks needed, I’m only doing my job. I’ll be back with your results.”
The doctor left the room and Ava was compelled to follow him. Was he her miracle? She hadn’t felt a pull to someone else this strong in quite a while. He turned down a hall that led to the lab but when he arrived at a part of the hall with no other people, he quickly brought the syringe of blood to his mouth. Ava could swear she saw his teeth sharpen, and then he suck it empty. And the speed at which he did all this did not appear human.
“No!” Ava yelled into the shadows. Nobody could hear. How could he? That blood needed to be tested. Mr. Smith counted on it.
What was going on?
Why would he drink blood?
She shook her head. There’s no way.
The doctor threw the empty vial into the sharps container and wiped his lips, fangs fully showed themselves before disappearing right in front of her eyes.
Ava continued to follow him as he left the room. How could he be one of those beasts? His kindness, his empathy, his skill and control. Even though she didn’t have much experience with vampires, she’d read about them. She’d seen one of their victims once in her century long life. It was an image Ava wished she could forget.
The vampire stopped at the main desk in the department. Behind it sat a handful of people in scrubs. He stopped in front of a twenty-something nurse with shiny brown hair secured in a ponytail.
“Jane,” the doctor… vampire said.
The woman looked up and a flirty smile appeared on her lips. “Yes, Dr. Obrien.”
Don’t do it! He’s a vampire.
“The man in treatment room three, Mr. Smith, I think he has an infection. Could you schedule an electrocardiogram?”
Did she bat her eyes at him? Had the vampire not noticed?
“Yeah. His heart rhythm seemed slightly off.”
She shook her head, “I listened to it. I didn’t notice anything.”
“It was very faint. Maybe it’s nothing. I’ll go break the news to him that he’s going to be staying a little longer.”
The vampire turned towards room three. Ava fisted her hands. Had the vampire known about the infection all along? The pull of her miracle intensified. She took a few steps behind him, but she willed herself to stop. It can’t be a vampire. That’s impossible.
She transported back home to Sojourn.
Thanks for reading this deleted scene. I’d love your feedback, should it have stayed in the novel, or was it good that it was deleted?