Vivica wasn’t at the door when Emily knocked. That was unusual for her - she was a pretty early riser. Emily opened the door. Vivica was sitting slumped next to her desk, blood in a puddle on the floor. Emily shoved the door all the way open, running in. She was about to check Vivica's pulse before noticing the incisions on her wrist and throat, a sharpened spoon fallen from her hand. There wouldn't be a pulse. The cuts were straight, precise, careful - like Vivica's art had been. An envelope, made from a neatly folded sheet of paper, lay on the desk, just outside a pool of blood. Professor Esserethel, it read. A blood-soaked towel lay underneath her wrist. Drops of blood dotted the floor beneath the sink, though the sink itself looked like it had been rinsed clean. Emily held back her emotions. Suicide was uncommon among her patients. The ones who were most at-risk were kept under strict observation, but Viv had been doing so good recently. Dr. Estrella had even commented on how calm she'd been after the earthquake. There just hadn't been any warning signs. Emily clenched her fists. Her nails dug into her skin, the pain giving her something else to focus on besides Vivica's body. Emily stepped out of the red puddle, leaving vivid footprints. Emily carefully slipped her shoes off next to the door. She didn't want to track blood around the hospital wing. She closed the window screen and softly shut and locked the door. She walked down the hall to the receptionist.
"Could you buzz Dr. Larsen and admin? Vivica...um. A patient's, um, expired, and I need a doctor to pronounce her... gone... before we can start any of the post-mortem procedures." Emily was proud of how steady her voice was. John stared for a moment, then picked up the phone and made the call.
Emily stood awkwardly, the tile floor cold on her socks. “Did Vivica have any, um, family we need to contact?” John typed a few keystrokes on the computer, then shook his head. Emily nodded, biting her lip. In the corner of her eye, Emily saw Katarina Larsen walking up. “Okay. Okay. I’ll, uh, I’ll help Kat then.”
Kat and another nurse, David, walked ahead of her. Kat entered Vivica’s room. She gestured at the body. “Emily, could you confirm there isn’t a pulse?” Emily nodded. She slipped her shoes back on and carefully touched Vivica’s shoulder and Read her. She shook her head. Kat frowned sadly.
“David, can you get the room and the body ready for the morgue? Emily, you’ve done enough here. Could you get the paperwork filled out? Her chart and an incident report?” Emily nodded. Kat shook her head. “Gosh. I didn’t think Viv…. I’ll - I’ll have the charge nurse call the police.” Emily slipped her shoes off again, grabbed Vivica’s chart from next to the door, and headed to rinse her shoes off. The changing room had a bathroom off of it to shower if needed. Emily washed the blood off her soles. Then she rinsed her hands. There were spots of blood on her fingertips, on her nails. The dark red almost looked black, like tar. She scrubbed them again, rubbing soap over her hands vigorously. Another nurse came in - Jose, maybe? Emily was pretty sure she’d seen him in the physical wing of the hospital once or twice. He waved, stepping into a stall to change into scrubs. Emily made a quick smile at him. It felt fake, like a cheap Halloween mask, chafing the skin. Emily slipped her shoes back on. She grabbed the forms she’d need from John, and David handed her the folded envelope she’d left for Professor Esserethel. She walked to an empty office, flipping open the folder with Vivica’s chart. There were so many blanks on the first form.
Name: Vivica Roth.
Date of Birth: Unk.
Planet of Origin: Sc.
Address: Perm. Hosp. Res., Rm. C181
Home Phone: N/A.
Patient’s Employer: N/A.
Emergency Contact: N/A.
Approved Visitors: Prof. E., Laurelai Esserethel.
Marital Status: S.
Language Preference: Eng.
Hearing Impaired: Yes.
Vision Impared: No.
Natural Investiture: fBz, aBz (Comp.).
PMHx: Left ear, neck - severe burn damage; hearing in left ear impaired. Severe insomnia. Frequent hallucinations. Complete Bronze Compounding dependence. PTSD. Minor agoraphobia, severe pyrophobia. See psychiatric history for specific mental health treatment plan.
Notes: Do not permit new items to remain in the room without a doctor’s approval, regardless of type. Vivica may attempt to use them to assault orderlies.
Emily pushed the folder to the side and started filling out a suicide incident report form. It was the first time she’d had to fill one out personally.
(1) Identifying Information
Name: Vivica Roth
Date of Birth: Unk.
Planet of Origin: Sc.
Address: Perm. Hosp. Res.
(2) Suicidal Act
Place: Einladung Hospital, CW, Rm. 181
Time: ~4:00am, 12 Scholus
Method: Lacerations on right wrist; severed carotid artery; significant blood loss.
Discovered by: Emily Azizi, ~7:15am
(3) Psychiatric and Medical History
Emily copied down the notes from Vivica’s chart. Vivica is - had been - such an interesting patient. You never knew what you were going to get with her.
Left ear, neck - significant preexisting burn damage; hearing in left ear impaired. Severe insomnia. Frequent hallucinations. Complete Bronze Compounding dependence. PTSD. Minor agoraphobia, severe pyrophobia. Prone to mental breaks. Recent psychological evaluations indicated increases in emotional and mental stability.
(4) Family Psychiatric History
(5) Personality and Lifestyle
Often detached from immediate circumstances. Enjoys artistic expressions. Can have quick mood swings. Generally curious.
Emily wiped a tear away before it fell onto the papers. She had a portrait Viv had done of her in some papers at her apartment. Vivica had given it to her on her birthday.
(6) Typical Patterns of Reaction to Stressors
Increased detachment from reality. Hallucinations. Mental breaks.
(7) Recent Stressors
Short temporary relocation due to earthquake. Attempted assault on nurse - non-malicious.
(8) Role of Drugs or Alchohol
(9) Interpersonal Relationships
Professor Esserethel, Laurelai Esserethel
(10) Suicidal Ideation
Assaults on others - rarely injures self.
(11) Deterioration of improvement prior to death
Mood and stability seemed more positive prior to death; handled stressors of earthquake and new visitors well. No obvious signs of emotional deterioration.
Emily tried to think of anything Vivica had said the past week, any sign at all of her plans. The sharpened spoon meant she’d been planning this for some time, but Emily couldn’t think of anything out of the ordinary Viv had done. If anything, she’d seemed happier. She’d even said Bennington had been feeling particularly purple, which was generally quite positive for her, and Vivica wasn’t a good liar. There just didn’t seem to have been anything. Emily banged the desk. I should have seen something. This can’t have been out of nowhere. She picked up the envelope. Maybe Vivica said something in here that would explain why she did what she did. She toyed with it, then set it back down. She’d let the Professor read it first. Maybe Vivica had something to him that would help this make sense.
Emily kept filling out paperwork, writing final notes and the date of death on form after form. She turned it in to John, and asked him to make sure Professor Esserethel got Vivica’s note. Eventually, a police officer came and asked her a few questions. A hospital psychiatrist left a voicemail on her mobile, trying to set up a meeting. She ignored it. She’d deal with it tomorrow. Katarina told her she should go ahead and head home, get out of the hospital for a bit. So Emily did. She drove home in her scrubs, walked in her apartment door without turning on the lights, shut the blinds, and went to sleep.