I have been working on this short story for a very long time. I am hoping sharing this small tidbit here will force me to finish it!
The dripping blood was always blue. An interesting pale blue. Not that printer-ink cyan-blue, not even that simple blue of a summer day’s-
“Haemocyanin! That’s what makes it blue! It doesn’t have iron in it. It’s copper. Copper makes it blue.”
He wondered why he remembered that very specific detail out of all the other very specific details from that whirlwind of a day.
The rows and rows of prehistoric creatures were clamped tightly onto conveyor belts, moving with a slow constant hum as their blue blood dripped out of those thick 8mm gauge needles he’d previously forced through their shells.
“Just behind the first carapace joint. Yes, right where the head joint meets the body. Yes I know it kind of all looks the same at the beginning, we’ve all been there. Oh come on, you’re going to have to try harder than that. Push, boy, push! I thought I hired a man not a woman! Yes of course they can feel it. No don’t be ridiculous we don’t have time to worry about that. Ah there we go, yes. Nice. Don’t worry they’ll survive. I’ve punctured one old hag at least 50 times. I’m sure of it, I cut off one of her legs just to be sure. They always come back. They like it more than we do.”
He laughed to himself.
33 percent – that was the magic number. The maximum volume of blood they said we could extract from each animal before it could no longer recover.
“But I think somebody just made that number up. We always take more.” He winked.
He was always winking.
He stood on the pier, the cold air dancing off his lips in thin wispy curls. The night was dark, cold and constant, but the lights that flashed along the pier penetrated the darkness with warm tungstic crackling.
The tip of the cigarette glowed softly, and the ashes lengthened, teasing him at the wastefulness of the whole affair. He placed it on his lips, and pulled, inhaling deeply, quickly, perhaps too quickly, and he felt the tickling at the back of his throat that he knew would be soon followed by his coughs.
He suppressed them.
Toes splashed lightly in the cold water, and he closed his eyes as he exhaled, letting the smoke leave his body in no direction in particular.
It had been a long time since he’d come here.