troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Blood-Stained Letter
This is when you have a letter, or note that for some reason has gotten blood on it. Letters and notes tell much about the person who wrote them, but when there's one that has splotches or splatters of blood, you know there's another story being told as well. Since most paper is white, the presence of blood stands out on it, and people, when they see blood in unusual places, have a tendency to start assuming the worst.

In mystery settings, these often become clues, sometimes a Dying Clue, for the Great Detective who finds them. Journals and books can also count, as well as newspapers and documents. In some cases, the blood makes it difficult or impossible to make out what the letter actually says.

Compare Couldn't Find a Pen for situations when a message is actually written in blood, which may overlap with this, as well as Apocalyptic Log and That Was the Last Entry.

Examples

Comics
  • The entirety of the narration of Innocence Lost is in the form of a letter from Sarah Kinney wrote to her daughter and creation, X-23, in the event she was unable to tell her about her origins herself. Unfortunately, that's exactly what ended up happening. Even worse, because the letter was so badly fouled by Sarah's blood, Laura was never able to read it herself until she was given the copy Sarah had the foresight to also send to Wolverine just in case.

Film
  • Saving Private Ryan: Caparzo tries to give Fish a letter to his father after he's shot, but he wants it recopied so his family won't see the bloodstains on the original.
  • The film of Tin Tin had a dying man highlight letters on a newspaper using his bloody fingerprints to spell out a ship's name.
  • The Avengers: After Coulson is killed, Nick Fury presents his beloved collection of Captain America collector's cards to the team, still wet with his blood. After the team has gone to face Loki, Agent Hill says the cards were in his locker, at which point Fury admits he needed something to motivate them.
  • The Monuments Men. Stoltz looking at the blood-splattered letter Jeffries is narrating in voiceover cues the audience to his death just before we see it happen.

Literature
  • Lord of the Rings: The account of the failed attempt to recolonise Khazad-Dum, discovered by Gandalf and the Fellowship when navigating through Moria, is explicitly described as hacked, chopped, partially burnt and smeared with long-spilt dried blood. Especially on the final page, carrying only the scrawled runes They Are Coming!
  • Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a short story called "The Horror of the Heights" about an aviator who discovered fantastic creatures living high in the atmosphere, but who later crashed and all that was recovered from the wreckage was a torn and bloody journal telling of something that had been following him.
  • Invoked by Miles Vorkosigan a couple of times.
    • In A Civil Campaign, Ekaterin notices that the seal of Miles' letter of appology to her was marked with the most old-fashioned and traditional smear of red-brown. The color of blood. Then she realizes that it is his blood.
    • In Cyroburn, Miles seals his letter of instruction to the Barrayaran Consulate with a thumbprint in his own blood, knowning that the Consulate will test it and so confirm that the letter really is from him.

Live-Action TV
  • The Stargate SG-1 episode "2010" has an Ominous Message from the Future appear through the gate, written in Jack O'Neill's handwriting, and stained with blood, warning them not to go to a certain planet. They're Genre Savvy enough to do as it says, especially after they tested the blood and determined it was O'Neill's, thus proving the letter to be a Note to Self.

Music
  • Randy Travis' song "Three Wooden Crosses" has a blood-stained bible that was given to a hooker by a preacher who was dying from an accident, and which she read to her son, who also became a preacher.

Video Games
  • World of Warcraft. In one of the questlines around Darkshire, pre-Cataclsym, you find a torn journal page that is described as being barely legible through thick blood. The updated version yields a book called "The Legend of Stalvan", noting the final blood-stained page has been added.
  • One of the Team Fortress 2 hidden pages shows a blood-stained newspaper article about Mann Co. inventing 'Ro-Bots'. In standard in-universe Australian behaviour, the 'Ro-Bots' are designed for violent purposes only, implying the origin of the bloodstain.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Ace Attorney Investigations. A directive card has a bloodstain on it, showing that the order was carried out.
    • Gyakuten Kenji 2. Case 4 features a bloody letter due to it being on the body when it was impaled.
  • In the lower levels of Bastion Keep in Diablo III you can find the body of a soldier with a bloody letter from his wife telling about their son growing up and how she's praying for his safety.
  • There is one that drops from mobs in the Dead Hills in EverQuest which urges you to leave the country and never come back.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • A letter smeared with blood is found near the corpse of a woman whose family was captured and killed by Falmer.
    • Another one is found in the Dragonborn add-on near the body of a man who was killed in his lover's house.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, a side quest involves a man telling you to get a deed to a house in the middle of nowhere from another guy. If you kill the guy and get the deed, the first guy will notice the blood on the deed, gets angry because he didn't want that guy dead, and pays you only $5 (as opposed to $200 if you paid the man).
  • Several of the files you find in the Resident Evil series are described as being spattered in blood, but one in Resident Evil 0 is so blood-stained you can only make out some words and a few stray letters of the first half. Even though what you can get out of it sounds important you never get a clean version, much to many a player's frustration.

Western Animation
  • In Gravity Falls, the page in a mystical journal on how to summon the demon Bill Cipher is covered in blood, with the words "Do not summon at all costs" written directly in blood.

Real Life
  • This note was written by a man in the World Trade Center on September 11th, and eventually made it to his family ten years later. DNA testing of the blood on it was able to confirm the identity of the writer.
  • Shortly before Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, kicking off World War I, his attache was injuried in another assassination attempt. The attache was carrying the only copy of Ferdinand's speech to the Governor of Bosnia-Hertzogovina [sp], so when it came time to deliver it Ferdinand had to wipe the blood off the paper to read it.
  • This happened all the time in WWII; This article describes intelligence personnel perusing blood-splattered documents taken from dead German soldiers for clues as to what their plans were.

Blood-Splattered Wedding DressBloody TropesBlood Upgrade
Bags of LettersMail and Delivery TropesChain Letter
Beneath SuspicionMystery TropesBluffing the Murderer
Animal AssassinMurder TropesBloodbath Villain Origin

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
16185
46