A Heartbreaking Short Story | Blood Test by Daniel Norrish

We forget that life is a fragile thing. Daniel Norrish’s attention to detail makes Blood Test a heartbreaking short story that will haunt you days after reading. 

After all, there’s very little you could have done.


A Heartbreaking Short Story

By Daniel Norrish

{For the “Prognosis Negative” Competition}


You sit in the waiting bay of your doctor’s office. Your two children are playing in the corner with the free toys. The walls here are all painted white and there are photos and paintings of seascapes every few metres. An image of a lighthouse wrapped in immense waves. A ship calmly sailing towards the sunset.

The door opens and the sound of cars and birds fills your ears for a moment before it’s closed again. A young woman has entered and she coughs twice before sitting beside you.

You turn away, not wanting to catch whatever she’s got.

The doctor appears and she calls you name.

“Come in please.” She says as you look up to meet her gaze.

The doctor doesn’t smile. That’s strange, she usually does.

You stand and call the children over, then the doctor interrupts.

“Can the children wait out here this time?”
“Alright” You reply.
“Great, come on through.”

Now you’re nervous. They kids watch you walk away and they seem confused.
“Take a seat.” The doctor says when you’re alone. It’s just the pair of you, watched by a fake yellow skeleton. The prop seems strange, almost like a warning. That dead thing telling people that this is what they will look like if they don’t listen to the medical advice.

“How are you feeling?”
“No different. Did you get the blood test back? You could have just given me the results over the phone.”
“Yes, we have the results. I’m afraid we can’t give you these over the phone.”

You say nothing. Something is wrong. This isn’t right, it’s not normal. The doctor walks over to you and crouches down so that your eyes are on the same level. Then they pull out a strange rod with a light on the end. They shine it in your eyes and wince back at the peculiar plastic thing. The doctor puts a hand on your knee. You lean back, but something tells you there’s no escaping whatever they’re about to say.

“I’m so sorry, but you have neumerinia.”

You breathe out quickly. Your heart rate spikes. What was that?


“Pardon me? You said, like the disease?”


“Yes. You have acute macro neumerinia. I’m very sorry, but it’s in the advanced stages. There’s very little we can do.”

Your hands are trembling and your chest seems to be pulsing up and down far too quickly. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

“No, no. We don’t have to do anything. There’s nothing wrong. There’s nothing wrong with me.” You say as you stand.

“Please sit, please.” The doctor tries to order you, but what good are they now? What good is anyone if there’s very little we can do?

“No, I don’t need to sit. I have things to do, I just…” You stop.

What were you doing before this appointment?

“I need to go.” You finish as you step back into the waiting bay. The doctor shouts something, but you don’t bother listening.

There’s very little we can do.

“Come on. Time to go.” You say as you collect the kids. You take each by the hand and they stumble as their little legs try to keep up.

The sick woman coughs again, but you don’t bother avoiding her any more.

“You really shouldn’t drive.” The doctor says as you open the front door and step outside.
The world is still revolving, still peaceful. Cars pass without noticing your tears. Birds chirp to one another without caring.

How can everything out here possibly be the same?