As her mandible clenched tighter around my muscles, adrenaline pumped from my endocrine system and shot my nerves into overdrive. The burn went away and I became hyper aware of the barrels pointed at my head and at the woman attached to my arm. Quickly, I reached around to my gun, which hung by it’s harness around my neck, and pulled a capped dart from grip chamber. With my teeth, I pulled the cap from the needle and slammed the tip into the infected woman’s back. Almost instantaneously, she goes down; her jaw slackening and her fingernails unhinging from my flesh.
“Stay where you are!” My team moved in. I held the woman half in my grip before putting her down on the ground and standing up to face my teammates. “Hey,” I put my hands up, which were covered in blood, and looked particularly guilty of a crime that I didn’t commit. “Hey, I–” I felt something pierce my uninjured arm. “I–” I looked over at Charlie, the one who had shot me and pleaded with him. “Charlie…man…” I fell to my knees and felt several arms wrap around me before I hit the ground.
I saw so many faces. They were cloudy and unidentifiable and moved too quickly to register. I was strapped down, soft restraints on both wrists but I didn’t strain against them. I was naked, covered by a sheet. Medical professionals pumped medications into an IV. My sensations were so muddled that I couldn’t tell in which arm the IV was in or even if it was my wrist or somewhere higher. I could tell I was being monitored, sedated and operated on. In which order, I’m not sure but I…..
It was quiet when I finally awoke. The lights were dim and footsteps were careful. I could tell the facility I was in was still abuzz but the wing I was in was hushed. The restraints were gone from my wrists. I raked my fingers across my chest and groaned out of satisfaction. Anesthesia makes my skin itchy and from what I was feeling, I had more anesthetic than blood. My right hand was immobilized by a tight sling and my neck was stiff, but that itch…god damn it. I arched my back and had my arm contorted to get that one itch on my spine just above my cheeks when the nurse walked in.
“Sir! Sir, are you all right?” She hurried over to me and pulled my arm from under me just before I could reach it. “Sir,” I struggled against her. “Sir, stop!” I ceased my defense and looked at her.
“Roll toward me.” She took a hold of my slung arm and carefully log rolled me toward her midsection. And somewhat lovingly, scratched my back. “It’s your sedative and pain medication.” Vulnerably, I relaxed and enjoyed the simple pleasure of being taken care of. Her gloved fingers rolling across my back wasn’t exactly the optimal skin to skin contact a real itch requires, but I could feel her short nails through the gloves and they did the job.
“Thank you and…sorry.” She had a red mark on her arm from where I had pushed her away in my initial struggle.
“It is quite okay. Most people that wake up from what you have recovered from are usually more shell shocked. So, you’re doin’ okay.” She smirked with one side of her mouth and rolled me back onto my back.
Wake up from what I recovered from… From a bite? Plenty of us had been bitten before and recovered with plenty of time to spare. Hell, I’ve been bitten before and recovered in a day and a half, what made this one so different? “Exactly what happened?” I looked at her, inquiring about her tone.
“Well…” She was a young thing, maybe twenty- two. Her blond hair was pulled back in a pony tail and her brown eyes were bigger than billiard balls. Her scrubs wrapped around her like they were measured and fitted. She was hot. And she was stalling. I could tell because she had said I recovered from a hard surgery. I was busy looking her up and down but I was listening and the only words my ears picked up were “hard surgery.” Now, she was jabbering on about her day. Hot and….not so opaque. I could see right through her, so I gently grabbed her hand when she stood to check the IV pump just to the right of my head. “What’s your name?”
“My name is Becca. It’s nice to meet finally meet you Mr. Rhys.” She genuinely smiled at me and unhooked a tube from the IV pump and replaced the capsule at the end with a freshly unpackaged one. “I’m going to go updated the doctor on your condition. Rest. It’ll be a little while…” Before she finished talking, my eyes fluttered and I was gone again.
– – – – – – – – – – –
“Hey… hey.” Someone was shaking my injured arm a little too hard. “Hey!” Her furtive whispers became unfurtive when she raised her voice. I turned my head over to the sound of her voice and opened my eyes.
“Hey. Hey!” I put my hand on her’s, which was messing with a strap on my sling. Her cold fingers seemed nervous. “It’s you.”
Holy. Shit. It was her. Her brown hair was now wet and I could smell the feminine floral scent on her skin. She had on a blue t-shirt that was two sizes to big and scrub pants that where one size too small. She was a mess. Though…not as much of one as when I first found her.
“You made it!” I grinned from ear to ear which made her more nervous.
“I did. I suppose. I’m glad you did too. I’ve been watching you.” She rolled a stool over and put her hands in her lap. She seemed scared. “Look.” She started talking and then quickly stopped. “I mean… look.” She began again but struggled.
“Hey.” It seemed to be a word we could connect on. I said it reassuringly as I struggled to sit up. She helped me with out thinking and quickly pulled her hands back once she realized what she was doing. “Look.” I began her sentence for her. “I know what you might be nervous about and there is no need.” I was intimate with the process of recovery. From the medical stand point to the psychiatric. I’ve been through it all and this beautiful creature was just beginning her journey.
Her chin was down and she was crying now, wrought with guilt. “I just feel so bad. I mean, you almost died. I don’t even know you and you almost died because of me.” She touched her cheeks with one hand and winced. The infected tend to clench their teeth and the side effects, even after being cured, were still there. Chronic pain and a steady habit of clenching are only a few of the leftovers.
I lifted her chin with my finger and thumb and got my first good look into her deep green eyes. “You see this?” I gestured to my wrapped shoulder. “This can heal. You can too, you know…”