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"Bleeding Out"

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Joonas was dying. 

That’s all there was to it. He’d gone out to buy more beer for his and Joel’s party, and now he was bleeding out in an alleyway. 

He’s sprawled out on his stomach, his cheek against the hard asphalt. There’s a deep tear in his flesh, slotted between his ribs. It hurts to breathe. 

It’s raining. It soaks through his jacket and slowly washes away the pool of blood forming under him. It’s cool on his face, mixing with what Joonas thinks might be tears. 

Help, Joonas tries to say, someone please find me. I’m here. Even if he’d had a voice, it’s useless. The street is dark and quiet and there’s no one to be seen. No one will come for him. There is only the sound of the trickling rain. 

He wants to call someone, to dial emergency. His phone had fallen out of his hand when he’d been stabbed and it lies away from him. Joonas tries to reach for it, but the movement pulls at his wound and his arm falls uselessly back down to the pavement. 

Distantly he wonders if someone has noticed how long he’s been away, if they’re starting to get worried. Maybe they thought he’d just gotten lost or wandered off again. Before he’d left he’d considered taking the car to the store, but he’d already had a few drinks and the store was only a few streets down. One of the others had offered to go for him, but Joonas had insisted. 

He thinks of the others. They were partying, drinking and laughing less than half a kilometre away from where he lay dying. They were celebrating his birthday. He thinks of Joel. They were supposed to celebrate every birthday together for the rest of their lives, and Joonas had failed him. 

His phone lights up, Joel’s caller ID appearing on the screen as it buzzes. So they’d worried after him, Joonas huffs out a pained laugh. He stretches out his fingers, trying to reach the screen. His fingers just barely make contact before it hurts too much and he has to draw back again, but it's enough. 

The call is picked up and Joel’s voice comes through, demanding to know where he is, if he’d somehow gotten himself lost. Joel tells him to hurry up and get back soon, that Niko had brought cake. They were going to wait until he came back to eat it. 

Joonas’ eyes go blurry with warm tears, and he lets out a soundless cry. I’m not coming back, he thinks. Please come look for me or keep going without me, but please don’t wait. I’m sorry. Next year you won’t have to wait anymore. It’s just going to be your birthday from now on. We won’t get to share anymore. 

Joel keeps calling his name through the phone, his voice crackling from the water in the speakers. Joonas tries to roll onto his back, to get the rain to stop dribbling into his open flesh, but he’s tired. It’s getting hard to breathe. He’s so dizzy and he can barely keep his eyes open. 

His eyes slip closed as Joel finally hangs up, leaving him alone, with only the sound of the trickling rain.