Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lib and Ket: after-battle scene

“Here. You missed a spot.” Lib took the cloth from me and dipped it in the river. Then he stood squarely in front of me and gently washed the remaining blood from the side of my neck. The river water was cold and I felt goose bumps rise.

“Thank you,” I said, and tried to suppress a shiver.

His eyes were intent on my neck, but they flicked momentarily to mine. “No problem.” He worked for a moment more. “I saw you hit that guy.”

I shuddered. “He was disgusting.”

His mouth was set in a grim line, and he clenched his jaw. After a moment he handed me the cloth and said, “Sit. Let’s check that bandage on your leg.”

My wound was high on the outside of my thigh, and even though I was a hardened warrior that had come through a very bloody battle, my face flamed as I inched up my sarong.

Lib was no longer the boy who had marched out of Melek three years ago. He was nineteen now and my captain and trying very deliberately to keep his touch impersonal.

When he saw the state of my bandage he sent me a stern, disbelieving look. “This dressing is filthy.” He took his knife from his armband and began to cut the bandage off. “Is he worth letting your own wound putrefy?” he asked in disgust. His hands stilled for a moment and he mumbled, “Sorry.”

Lib continued his work with steady hands that didn’t falter even when I flinched at the tearing pain. When he finally uncovered the wound and saw that it was not as bad as he feared, he let out his breath.

He cleaned it and applied a fresh dressing with no further comments about either my wound or Zeke, but I couldn’t stop thinking of what he had said, of what his disapproval had implied.

I had neglected taking care of myself in favor of taking care of Zeke.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

So glad I just found your blog. Love this scene!