Sci Fi Thursday! Chryses’ been stabbed in the shoulder, Sci has as arrow in her leg and Billy has been rescued but wants to kill the woman who removed his ear. Enjoy!
“We’re losing the light and we’ve got to move, so make your decision.” I say to Billy. Smoothly he glides from Jessica’s side, stands behind the blond and in one swift move grabs the girl’s chin and twists sharply, snapping her neck. Then he moves to the next and the next. He burns his rage out after the fourth one, leaving only two.
I see Colin, Marc and Tyler scavenging weapons from the fight and checking bodies for life. Racing the approaching dark they pull belts and shoes from bodies. I look back to consider the two survivors one of whom is the messenger girl and a young man who looks a great deal like her.
“Are you brother and sister?” She answers by nodding. “Have you been eating human flesh?” I ask. Her grimace and flinch tells me no. “Look at me.” She does and all I see is tremendous sorrow and fatigue. “Do you want to live?” She shrugs. “We aren’t like them, you understand? We work, we train, we grow and we are hungry a lot, but we aren’t like them. We will never hurt you on purpose.” She nods. “I need you to understand, because even though we aren’t like them I will not hesitate to take your life if you give me reason.”
“This I already know,” she says.
I’m going to like this one. “What is your name?” I ask.
“Edward. But he doesn’t talk,” she adds.
“Get them up. Get into formation and let’s go,” I say.
As we head back down 4th Avenue, we are moving faster and more carelessly than is wise, but we are tired, injured and desperate for home. I feel a strong arm slip around my waist, taking a great deal of my weight off my injured leg and before I can object he says, “Shut up Sci, you need the help.” I slip my arm over Tyler’s shoulder in silent agreement and for balance and he says low, “Is it a good idea to take them with us?”
“Probably not. I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough death and killing for today.”
As we approach our compound the gate swings open and people come to grab Chryse and I. Ulysses and Toby clearly made it back. Fires are burning, boiling water and bandages. Sarah is sterilizing needles and I see spools of dental floss ready for stitches. Benches have already been brought down for the injured and Jessica leads Billy to one and gently sits him down. He grabs her arm as she turns to help the others, hanging on to it fiercely, not wanting to let go.
She looks him right in the eye and bathes him in the glow of her gentle heart. “It’s ok. I’m coming right back. I promise.”
In this light, with his rage gone, he looks like a lost teenager and I fight back tears for all that he has lost already and all that he is sure to still lose.
Ulysses is marching across the courtyard wielding a hacksaw meant for the arrow in my leg. He hands me scissors and I cut my pants at the knee and away from the wound.
“Lay down.” They strap my hips and thighs down to the bench with dead men’s belts. “This is going to suck. Bite this. Tyler, hold her shoulders.”
Ulysses works fast and he’s not wrong, it does suck, badly. Once he yanks the arrow out, Sarah moves him aside and presses the entry and exit holes with warm cloth soaked with something sharp smelling.
“Broken?” She asks, meaning my leg.
“Good. It clean?” she asks Ulysses.
“Looks like it, I don’t see anything missing from the shaft,” he responds.
They are checking to make sure nothing is left in the leg. The wound itself isn’t the problem, it’s infection.
“This is going to suck too,” Sarah says as she gets her tools ready for stitches.
She’s not wrong either. I watch Jessica cleaning Billy’s head and once the blood is gone it looks like they took off the ear in one cut with a sharp knife. From here it doesn’t look infected yet and under Jessica’s deft hands I see Billy’s eyelids growing heavy.
I can’t see Chryse, but I hear her grunting in pain, Her wound is by far the worst and most dangerous.
“How is she?” I ask Sarah.
“I don’t know yet. I can’t tell without imaging if any of her tendons were hit. The bleeding isn’t surprising, so they missed the arteries, which frankly if they hadn’t she’d be dead already.” Sarah says shrugging.
“Everyone else ok?” I ask.
“Minor injuries only,” Sarah says. “Done. Wrap this.” She says to Tyler as she moves off swiftly to give Chryse her undivided attention.
Tyler unstraps my hips and legs.
“Sit up slowly, Sci.”
“Where are Clare and Edward?”
“Toby’s got them,” he says.
“Did anyone feed them?” I ask.
“They will eat with the rest of us.” I sit up, momentarily dizzy. He wraps the wound tightly and then lifts me up and starts to carry me inside.
“Make sure that leg is elevated!” Sarah shouts at his back.
He carries me up to my room, which was once a studio apartment and lays me in my bed. He leaves and comes back with pillows and stuffed sacks to put under my leg. There is a knock on the door and someone’s hands pass in a bowl of vegetable soup, bread, water and a piece of precious jerky. He helps prop me up in bed and hands me the soup. I’m grateful that he’s not trying to feed me. That might have stolen the last of my pride. I eat half the soup and hand him the rest. He doesn’t fight me. I know he’s hungry. I do the same with the bread and jerky. With the food entering my system and the adrenaline leaving I’m growing sleepy, but faster and harder than I should.
“You drugged me,” I say as I drift off unable to resist. The water. It was in the water. I fall asleep feeling his hand cradling the top of my bald head and I dream of tomorrows from a world long gone.