The clock chimed three times, signaling that it was finally midnight. My medical instruments were neatly arranged on the table in order of necessity and use. I took up the scalpel and gripped it with one latex glove, the rubbery material rippling with my grip. I watched Shawn’s horror as I dragged the tip of the knife across my left palm. The only sound in the room was the dripping patter of my blood into the metal pot in between us. Shawn’s eyes drag down to the growing puddle, almost entranced. That wonderful metallic scent wafts through the air. I remove the next sterile scalpel from the tray and give it to Shawn. He hesitates but eventually takes it from me. His trembling hands try to draw a straight line down his soft brown skin. It ends up jagged and wide rather than narrow like mine. When I raise my gloved hand to stop him, he looks up at me and immediately pauses. I take the half-blooded hand and place it over the pot.I take his scalpel and firmly drag it down the rest of his palm. This process is very particular; get one thing wrong and it’s all for nothing. He takes a deep breath through clenched teeth. I twisted his wrist, allowing the blood to flow more quickly into the pot. I frown, as there is still insufficient blood to complete the ritual. I stare at the pitiful pool of blood in the center. We need more. At least enough to completely cover the bottom of the pot. Shawn looks at me with a newfound sense of confidence. Or maybe that was anger, I can’t be sure. He quickly attempts to pull his hand away from mine but my grip is too firm, trying to squeeze out every last drop of this liquid gold that I have centered my life on. I pull on his arm making his face come directly near mine. I feel his ragged breaths from his nose. I hear his jaw clench, preparing for the pain that he clearly wasn’t ready for. In sharp movements, I bring my hand with the scalpel and slice a perfectly vertical line across his neck. There is plenty now. The pot slowly but surely fills to the top.