@naiya-dyani And Part Three!
As she tipped back the flask and set it aside, her eye caught a glimpse of Kiet’s face, pinched with pain. She winced as she selected a small cloth from her now-open kit. No matter how necessary this was to heal his wound, she knew how painful this was. And it hurts to cause pain while trying to heal.
Setting her chin against the swirling emotions, she used the cloth to dab out the liquids, beginning at the center of the wounded area and working her way outward. As she worked, her soft eyes focused on her hands, her thoughts tried to drag her back in time. To a place, to a time, to a person who had been there when she had known pain like this.
You do this to yourself every time! the practical side of her mind scolded as she lay aside the soiled cloth. You can’t live in and pine for those days anymore.
It’s like ripping myself asunder not to! the other side returned as she dripped more liquid from the flask onto a clean cloth and began the cleaning over again. No matter how painful those memories are now, I can’t let go of them. I miss them. I miss home.
A tear dropped from the side of her nose into the wound. She jerked, then quickly laid aside that cloth, dabbing at her face with the back of the other hand as she did.
Not now. Not here.
Cleaning her hands again, she inspected the wound once more. It looked fairly clean now, but. . . she shook her head slightly as she reached into her kit for bandages. She glanced up at Kiet as she wrapped the first length around his leg. Her lips pressed together in an expression of pity as she watched his pale face a moment.
And here is Kiet, with his own past. His own memories. His own pain. She dropped her eyes to watch her fingers. And with a title of Criminal over his head. Is cleaning and bandaging the physical all you can do?
She wrapped the last length around. As she secured it in place, she smoothed her hand soothingly over it, lifting her eyes to look at him again. She opened her lips as her voice came out in an almost tearful whisper. “I’m sorry.”
Kiet blinked at the words. “What?” he managed, voice cracking.
“I’m . . . I’m sorry I had to cause you pain.” She swallowed as she steadied her voice. “I’ve done my best. We’ll have to leave the rest in Hands far more capable than mine.” She smoothed over the bandaged leg again, then gently laid it down on the floor.
“Hands far more capable than mine. . .”
Kiet swallowed hard. It was a risk, but. . .
“Do you mean–do you–trust in the God of heaven?”
Megyn nodded. “Yes, I do.” She zipped up the main compartment of her backpack, then laid the bag next to her. She cocked her head a little as she scooted up next to him. A tremor ran through her heart into her frame. I thought I was the only one who knew about you, Lord. What are you doing here? Why did you bring me here?
“Oh,” Kiet said quietly. His forehead creased. “I do too. Well. . . sort of, I guess.” His stomach twisted. “I don’t know that I could really call it that right now. He must hate me now.”
Before he could stop the words, a broken whisper slipped out. “I didn’t mean to do anything wrong.” His heart pounded. You’ll just hurt your case saying things like that–she’s a Mockingbird too!
That wasn’t what I expected. Something like relief rippled through Megyn as she watched his face. But it quickly shifted to pity as she watched the distress etching lines in his face.
“What do you mean?” she asked, her tones gentle as she laid a hand on his shoulder.
“I. . .” Kiet met the woman’s eyes searchingly. She seemed. . . honest. Genuine. Was there a chance she wasn’t trying to get information?
No–you can’t trust her! part of his mind shouted.
She helped you. She’s not like the others, the other part whispered.
He gritted his teeth, head whirling. “I-I made a mistake. But I don’t know what’s wrong and what’s right. . . or who’s wrong and who’s right. . .” His eyes stung. “I never meant to do anything wrong. I’m sorry.”
Sympathy filled Megyn’s heart. This sounds like he’d been talked into this, without really knowing he was really getting himself into. He’s all alone.
You know what that feels like, that still, small voice whispered. This is why you are here.
“It’s alright,” she assured him as she watched the tears filling his eyes. “There is a warrant out for any and all suspected of being affiliated with the Sparrows. If you haven’t done anything worthy of punishment, you might be released.”
Kiet’s shoulders hunched. “But I don’t know what’s worthy of punishment. I don’t know what’s wrong to begin with. The government isn’t doing much to help people–and they’re so harsh–but is it really right to rebel against them? Especially with all the fires. . . but he said something about the rumors being false. . .” His stream of words stopped as the blood drained from his face. I just gave him away. Please God, don’t let her notice!
Megyn winced. “I–I know.” She let her eyes sink to the cold floor. The shadows shrouding it seemed to darken her heart with sorrow as she bit her lip. She closed her eyes, lifting up a silent prayer.
“I don’t know if anything we do does any good.” Her feelings formed words on her lips as her voice grew quieter. “And–I don’t really know much about the Sparrows and if their cause is right. Or even if our cause is right.” She lifted her head. Her eyes locked into his, full of her raw feelings mingled with a compassion that burned and a strength she did not feel. “But I’m sorry you have to be a victim of all this confusion and chaos.”
She shifted her position to face him as she laid her other hand on his other shoulder. “I promise I will do everything I can to help your wound heal. And, if there’s anything else I can do, I will. Even if all I can do is show you love–and pray.”
Tears spilled onto Kiet’s cheeks. Despite his best efforts to suppress them, sobs wracked his chest.
When was the last time someone had shown kindness like this to him? Sometime in that other world; it had to be. Aside from the gruff affection of the apothecary, he’d had to fend for himself, subject to the attacks of whatever thieves he couldn’t fight off. A set of new scars now accompanied the two on his face.
And now, in the pit of his worst moments in this world yet, gentle hands and a kind heart reached into his cell.
It was as if God had sent them himself–except. . .
“I think God hates me.”
Megyn wrapped both arms around his shaking form. She clasped one hand around the back of his head as she laid it on her shoulder. “He doesn’t hate you,” she murmured as she rested her chin against his head. “He may be displeased with us at times, but He can’t hate those who are His own.”
His instinct fought against her words. “Do I even count? I’m not strong enough for him. I’m–” The scars on his face burned as the message meant by them rang in his ears. “I’m a coward. He wouldn’t want me.”
“We don’t have to be strong enough.” Megyn murmured, squeezing him tighter as emotion choked her words. “I–I know.” With a mighty effort, she swallowed most of it down. “All we need to do is trust that He is strong enough and obey what He says.” She smoothed the ruffled hair on the back of his head. “And He can turn a coward who’s willing to trust Him into a hero who honors Him.”
She lifted his head to look him in the eye. “I don’t think you’re a coward.”
His chest twisted. “You–you don’t know. . .” Know the fear he’d lived in when he was younger. Know the hands that slashed his face. Know those words that whispered in his ear even now. Coward. Pathetic. Worthless.
She didn’t know the panic that still seized his heart in a grip of ice when the slightest thing reminded him of those days. She didn’t know how weak he was. How scared he was. How worthless he was.
“I am,” he said, voice slipping out as a whimper. “I’ve only been this scared once before in my life. I was pathetic then and I’m pathetic now.” The words came in a rush as a new round of tears built in his throat. “I don’t know why you’re even helping me. I’m not worth the effort.”
She clasped both her hands around his face as her heart twisted. “Because you’re a person, made in His own image!” she exclaimed softly. “Someone He loves so much He died for and that He calls me to love in the same way! And it’s my duty, as an FRMS agent, to help all citizens of Outopia, no matter how great or how small they may seem.”
A tear rolled down her cheek. “We all can be scared. I am scared sometimes, so much so that my heart freezes the inside of my chest. But He has not given though who are His own a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind. He is with us; we don’t have to face fear alone. All we have to do is lean on Him.”
Kiet’s eyes squeezed shut as his tears ran onto the woman’s hands. “I’m tired of being scared,” he whispered. “I just want to go home. I’m not even from here. But I’ve forgotten so much, and I don’t know how to get back, or how I got here in the first place.” He let out a shaky breath. “Enna Sora would know what to do. She would be strong–and help me be strong. She would help me. But I don’t know what happened. The only way I know it’s not my imagination is because of him.” He looked up at Kedori, who stood to the side, watching silently with swimming eyes.
“He’s from my village–or country, or world, or whatever it is. Enna Sora adopted him, too. I wish I knew what happened–why we’re here. I don’t know who else from my world is here too.”
Megyn’s heart groaned within her as another round of tears threatened to spill from her eyes. He’s a stranger too, lonely, lost and longing for home. She bit her lip to hold them back. She managed, although her eyes dimmed more as memories flooded her mind. Faces she’d loved. Places she’d wandered. Spaces she’d dreamed in.
The tears finally trickled down her cheeks in silver trails as she whispered, “I don’t belong here either. We’ve both been torn from what we knew to be thrown into the unknown. ” She set her chin, determined to steady her voice. Swallowing down her overflowing emotions, she brushed the tears from his face.”Maybe that’s why we’re both here. To–to help each other be strong.”
She glanced at Kedori. “To help us all be strong. And trust Him for strength.”
Kiet let out a shaky breath. They weren’t the only ones. Something was going on here. Something strange. But. . .
“Do you think–there’s any way to get back? There are so many people I left behind.”
She bit her lip as she mournfully shook her head. “I’ve tried. But I could never find a way out. I’m–I’m sorry.” She wrapped her arms around him again, hugging him close to her as she wrestled herself.
I left so many behind too.
A stubborn thread of hope tugged at him. There has to be some way. If there’s a way out, there’s a way in. Maybe she just hasn’t found it. Just hold on until you do. You have to get back. You have to.
He sucked in a breath, cheeks growing warm as he drove the pain of loss back into the recesses of his mind. “I’m–sorry for acting like this. I don’t know what came over me. I just haven’t had anyone to talk to, that’s all. I shouldn’t have spilled it all on you.”
“It’s okay. Really,” she whispered. “Sometimes you just–have to.” As she loosened her hug, she rested a hand on his shoulder. “I’m glad to be here for you.”
“Thank you,” he murmured, blushing. His forehead twisted as he glanced at his leg. “About the wound, though. . . it’s going to take a while to heal, isn’t it? We don’t have those–guns, in my world, but we do have arrows, which I guess would give similar enough injuries. Those take some time.” He looked up. “I guess I should have mentioned–my mother is a healer, and I was training under her before I ended up here.”
Megyn nodded as she managed a smile. But it vanished in a sigh as she replied,”Similar, yes, though gunshot wounds cause significantly greater trauma and more shrapnel.” Her gaze glimmered with sadness as she looked him in the eye. “I’m afraid that it will take a while. And–there’s a high risk of infection. I know that keeping it clean in these conditions isn’t easy, but we must try.”
Kiet swallowed and nodded. “I’ll do my best. Do you think you’ll be able to come back sometime soon? I know you must be so busy, but–” He shifted his wrists in the chains against the wall. “–I can’t really do much with it myself.”
“I’ll be back tomorrow,” she assured him as she swung her backpack onto her back. “All you need to do is try to keep it out of the–“stuff” on the floor.”
She managed an encouraging smile as she laid a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry. Lord willing, I will be back. I’ll be praying for you.”
“Thank you,” Kiet said quietly, a smile touching his face. He glanced at Kedori. “And–would you be able to tell him I said thank you for coming? Seeing a good friend from my world means more than I can say.”
She nodded. “Of course.” Turning to Kedori, she signed the sentiment to him.
Kedori bit his lip. The same goes for me, he signed to his friend. I’d thought I was the only one.
He smiled. I’ll do my best to visit tomorrow.
And maybe, he thought, I’ll be able to figure out some way to get you out of here.
As they turned to leave, a hint of peace eased the tension in Kiet’s chest. Maybe–just maybe–things would turn out alright.
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.