What a day at the office.
I examine the damage in the bathroom mirror, and confirm it's about as grisly as I thought. There's a narrow gash beginning at my left temple and running back along my skull to a point above my ear. It's crusted over now, but there are dark trails of dried blood running down through my hair.
I run my hand tentatively over my whole head, checking to see if I feel any other flakes of blood in the fuzz of my buzz cut. Seems okay.
My cheek, on the other hand – oh boy. It's mottled and dark with blood and bruising, and there's definitely gravel trapped under the skin. I remember getting injuries just like this on the playground when I was younger, except at that point it was usually from my palms hitting the pavement, rather than my face. How I've grown.
I grab the stiffened and stained towel hanging over the side of sink that I have unofficially dubbed "the blood blotter," and turn the tap water on as hot as I can stand it. As the towel relaxes back into shapeless wetness, I continue to examine my cheek.
Once, when I was in elementary school, the school secretary had pushed gravel out from under my skin with warm and gentle hands under rushing water. She'd happened to come by as my own teacher had been about to molest my palms with tweezers, an act I had resisted with howling. Something about running water and a soothing voice – all enough to distract a small child and make her forget that yelling is usually what you do when foreign objects are under your skin and about to be forcibly removed.
No soothing voice here today, though. Just me and the blood blotter.
I lean into the sink, put as much of my face as I can under the faucet (it's a little sink, so believe me, this is not easy) and start wiping downwards with the towel, pushing out the grit.
It stings, but pretty soon, a little exploration with my hands seems to indicate my face has gone from pebbly to reasonably smooth. Well, it no longer feel s like the rocky, cratered surface of the moon, at least. I check the mirror again. It's puffy and red-looking, and there's fresh watery blood staining me with pink streaks from cheekbone to jaw line, but it looks pretty clean.
I peel off my clothes, noting some new tears and stains I'm going to have to deal with, and begin the visual and tactile examination of the rest of my body. Sometimes I wish Gideon had bought a house that had a full-length mirror somewhere. Aren't people vain anymore?
I look pretty good (wound-wise AND aesthetically. I mean, I'm hot. C'mon.) except for the slice on my head and some scratches on my arms. A warm shower ought to fix those up. In fact, I can see that the wounds are my arms are already closing up nicely.
Only one of the perks of being a tea-leaf-ordained monster hunter.