CW: blood, wound.
Lizzy wishes she could’ve stayed there forever with Sophie. The thought of the apocalypse was far in the back of their mind. The harsh realities of the seemingly empty, still world outside becoming a distant memory. Hours seemed to pass for the both of them as they stared intently at the painting, Lizzy tightening her arms around their girlfriend. Unfortunately, something dragged the two out of their dream, or rather someone. They heard screaming coming from outside the gallery doors, a cry of pain, a cry for help. Sophie immediately shot up, pulling herself from the warmth of Lizzy’s shoulder and instinctively grabbing their hand, before dragging them both to the front doors of the gallery.
“Sophie, wait we don’t know who that is”, Lizzy said in a hushed tone as she watched their girlfriend peek through the glass of the front door.
“Yeah but what if they need help? What if that was me? What if that was you for god’s sake Lizzy we have to help whoever they are”.
Lizzy knew that she was right. Sophie always has a knack for helping others without hesitation, even in an apocalypse it would seem. She saw the fiery determination in their girlfriend’s eyes and knew that however much she tried to explain caution that it would not matter. Lizzy sighed; Sophie nodded resolutely and kissed her girlfriend on their forehead before dashing out into the street.
The quiet, calm image of Princes Street that they had left behind when they stepped into the comfort of the gallery was not what they were met with when they ventured outside. The soft white snow was being replaced with “ash…?” Lizzy held out their hand and let the soot dance its way onto the centre of the red glove. It look so delicate as it rested there, Lizzy recalled the day she had gotten them. Sophie had wrapped them up carefully in newspaper and had tied that with a little red bow, she had apologised to Lizzy for not being able to afford something more exciting for Christmas. But Lizzy adored them anyway, it reminded them of how they both managed to get a place of their own, despite using all their savings and running away from home with next to nothing. It showed perseverance. It showed how much they cared for each other.
“Liz! Help us out over here”, Sophie’s panic snapped Lizzy out of their thoughts. She brushed the ash that had formed on the gloved and began to run over to their girlfriend’s side.Lizzy gasped and stopped dead in their tracks. Blood was pouring out of the woman’s torso and trickling down her side like rain on a window. A large gash was across her stomach, stretching from her right hip to the bottom of her left ribcage. Lizzy felt sick making its way from the pit of their stomach and into the back of their throat. Instinctively she wanted to turn away and not have to look onto the poor woman’s wound but Lizzy knew she had to help. Grimacing as she held it down and kneeling down next to Sophie while a million thoughts ran through their mind.
‘What happened to this woman? What could do something like this? Oh god what if it was nearby?’ Lizzy’s eyes darted up from the woman’s stomach and to their surroundings. ‘She can’t have gotten far with an injury like that, we have to get out of here’. She moved closer to Sophie, placing their hand on her shoulder, eyes still scanning the street, ready to run at the sign of any movement.
Meanwhile, Sophie had taken off her white scarf and was pressing it onto the injury in an attempt to stop at least some of the bleeding, the red soaking into it looked like something from a horror film. “Hey, it’s going to be okay, we’ll get you help okay?” Sophie’s voiced trembled as she spoke, her tears falling and splashing off her hands, the knuckles now white from the pressure she was putting on the woman’s wound. The woman’s brown eyes reminded Sophie of a wild animal’s, wide and frenzied, as if being hunted by a predator. The woman grimaced as she loosened her grasp on her stomach. Sophie grabbed her hand and held tight, squeezing it every so often to reassure the woman. A reminder that she is not alone.
“What happened to you? Who did this?” Lizzy asked tentatively unsure whether the stranger would be comfortable to answer. All she could think about is if they were still nearby. Lizzy knew she had to get Sophie back to the flat safely, maybe barricade the windows and doors? But they couldn’t leave this poor woman to die alone.
“I…my son…it…they…”, the woman coughed, blood beginning to trickle down the side of her mouth. Sophie and Lizzy knew she wouldn’t be lasting much longer. “Where is your son?” the panic was beginning to form into fear, Sophie heard it in her girlfriend’s voice as she spoke. “Lizzy please, we should try to get her into the gallery. She can hardly speak and she’s already lost so much blood”, she reached out to hold her girlfriend’s face but quickly recoiled when she realised how much of the stranger’s blood had gotten onto her hands. Sophie saw the distress that was forming on Lizzy’s face and how she was constantly moving her gaze from the woman to the buildings and streets beyond them.
“P…ple…Lu..Luke…my…” the woman struggled to get the words out, her voice raspy and strained. She opened her mouth once more to speak, those brown eyes no longer looking at the girls but instead staring straight up into the ashy sky that loomed over them. No words came out. Just her final breath as she fell limp, her head falling, the hand that clutched her wound relaxing.
Lizzy let their tears fall as she looked over to Sophie who was now shaking. She stared at her hands, now tainted with red. She choked back a sob as she looked up to Lizzy, her eyes meeting theirs, “We didn’t even know her name”. She reached out to Sophie to hold her but stopped suddenly as something appeared to move further down the road. Squinting their eyes and concentrating on that spot, waiting for movement. Lizzy initially thought it was their mind playing tricks on them when she abruptly stands up, grabbing their girlfriend and dragging her away from the body and rushing towards the gallery.
“Lizzy! What are you doing?” Sophie asked through choked sobs.
“I don’t know Sophie! I don’t know what I saw, we have to get inside” Sophie could hear the dread and fear in Lizzy’s reply. Before she could question her girlfriend further she heard what could only be described as a shrill, inhumane scream from behind her. She knows she should’ve just kept her head forward and ran towards the gallery but curiosity has gotten the best of her. She turned her head to see what sort of thing could make a noise like that. She wished she hadn’t.
A Queerativity Tale is a Queerativity original story updated by a new Queer Artist at the beginning of each month. If you are interested in writing an issue for A Queerativity Tale, please email [email protected] or fill out the Get Involved Form.