February 21, 2021 at 7:48 pm #125086Kayla Skywriter@kayla-skywriter
@emberynus-the-dragonslayer Hello to you too. I’m doing well, although I am very busy. I’m currently in the middle of hippology season (hippology is a contest run by 4-H where contestants compete to see who knows more about horses) and so I’ve got either a meet or practice ever week end and they’re all over the state. So… yeah busy but evidently not too busy to write.
@dakota I do not mind Altan having a partner for the investigation, although he might. I don’t share my email over the internet, but if your character’s description is in the doc I’ll look at it there. I’ve had a small part written for the beginning of the investigation for a while. The way I have Altan written is that he’s practically the adopted son of the police chief and also the up and coming detective. So, if that works for you, I can add in the fact that Altan will have a partner and then post that part. If you’d like me to change something to fit your character better I can do that too, just let me know.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forFebruary 22, 2021 at 12:47 pm #125093
@kayla-skywriter Okay, that’s fine. I don’t typically share my email on the either.:)
Yes, Latisha’s description is in the doc. And from the sounds of it, the way you’re part begins is fine. If you’d like, we can set up a Google doc or some other online writing platform, to write this together on.
One way she could be added is that the Chief wanted a partner for Altan, but, since many of the other officers were busy, he couldn’t find one . . . until he sees an ad for Latisha Naish, P.I. in the newspaper. Maybe the Chief could even drop by her office for an interview or something, to see if she was qualified before he tells his son that he will have a partner (which you don’t have to include in the part you post. He could just say that he did.)
That’s just a suggestion. What ever you want to do is cool with me. 🙂
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.February 22, 2021 at 6:26 pm #125109Kayla Skywriter@kayla-skywriter
@dakota I think setting up a google doc would be great. Here is the first part, I did use part of your idea. Hope you like it.
The precinct had seen better days. When the building had first been built the walls had stood proudly at attention, but now they seemed to have lapsed into a sloppy parade rest. Hundreds of officers and detectives had once roamed the halls, attempting to solve the puzzle of crime. Now only a few remained, and even detectives were now forced to carry weapons at all time to protect themselves.
This was where Altan lived, the only work he knew. The Chief had practically raised him, and after his several days absence, he’d been called home.
“You wanted to see me, sir,” Altan said to the back of his red-haired boss.
“Yes,” Chief Flanagan replied as he turned from the window to face his detective, “let me make this absolutely clear. Where the blithering blue blazes have you been?”
“I’m sorry, sir, I had an urgent matter that needed my attention,” the young man rushed to explain.
“And what urgent matter was so important that you didn’t see fit to inform me first?”
Altan paused to be sure of his wording, “I met someone who needed my help.”
“For a full forty-eight hours!” the Chief questioned incredulously. He shook his head, “Altan, you know I try to be patient with you, but please just tell me everything. I don’t have time to play this game.”
“I met a girl.” The words spilled out of his mouth before he could realize what he was saying. He winced. That was not how this was supposed to go.
“A girl!” The Chief exclaimed, his temper stoked. “Altan, I expected more from you.”
“No,” the young detective quickly tried to explain, “it’s not like that. I think I know her from somewhere.”
“Just because you passed her in the street on rounds doesn’t mean that you can just shirk your duty and disappear without notice.”
“No. I… I remember her from before.”
The anger in the Chief’s face extinguished as if someone had dumped water on it. “Oh Altan.” He waited, trying to decide how to proceed. “Did she stir any memories?”
Altan looked down. The Chief waited, after years of working with Altan he’d learned to let him take his time. “Not full ones. It’s more like she made me fully aware that I’d forgotten something. It’s all in the way she talks, and the phrases she uses. It brings something back.”
The Chief nodded slowly, “Well, I am glad you found another lead. However we have a more recent case to work on at the moment.”
Altan nodded and gave the Chief his full attention. This was detective work, not family business.
“There’s been a murder, a young man by the name of Wesley Kossa, he went by Wes.”
“He worked for the government didn’t he?” Altan asked with a bored quirk of his eyebrows. He’d have to be blind not to notice that most of the victims in his work were fellow government employees and most of the men he filled the jails with were the common folk.
“Yes,” Chief Flanagan admitted, “but that doesn’t make him any less deserving of justice.”
“I never said it did,” Altan defended himself.
“Anyway, this hasn’t been made publicly known yet so keep it quiet. If anyone bothers you for details send them to me.”
“I will do that, sir,” Altan answered, “but you haven’t given me any details so spill yet.”
“There aren’t any details yet, that’s for you to find out, Detective Altan Vermilion.”
“Point taken,” Altan acquiesced.
The Chief remained silent for a moment, but did not release his detective. “Altan…” he began, then tapered off as if not certain he wanted to continue.
Chief Flanagan sighed and barged on, “I have decided to issue you a partner.”
Altan’s eyes widened and he opened his mouth to object.
“I know,” Chief Flanagan interjected before Altan could completely disregard protocol. “You think that a partner would only slow you down or some such nonsense. But, I’ve seen her work and she’d be an excellent match for you. She is experienced in the private sector and I believe will be a great hire for the Outopian Police Department.”
Altan bit the inside of his lip to keep from saying something he’d regret. “Who is she?”
“Her name is Latisha Naish. She’ll meet you at the crime scene.”
Altan shifted, deciding something in his mind. “Why?”
“Why are you giving me a partner? Haven’t I proven myself?”
Chief Flanagan pulled himself up straighter and Altan knew he’d gone too far. “Altan. You are a good detective, perhaps one day you will be a brilliant one, but you need to learn your place. You are an officer of the law just like everyone else in this office.”
Altan studied the floor. The tiles could use a good scrubbing.
“That being said…”
Altan chanced a glance up at the Chief.
“ The reason I’m assigning you a partner has nothing to do with your capabilities. Detective Naish is here on a trial basis and you are more familiar with the workings of this building than anyone here, with the possible exception of myself. You were the perfect detective to get her accustomed to this job.
“You also have only minimal field experience, where as she is very capable. You both have much to learn from the other, and it is simply not safe for a detective to go out on to the streets alone. Either I partner my detectives up or I’ll have to assign patrol officers just to keep you safe. If you two are with each other I don’t have to worry about you!”
Altan bit his cheek this time, to keep the smirk from sneaking onto his face. The Chief did care.
Chief Flanagan scowled, letting Altan know his smirk had been noticed. “Dismissed.”
Altan nodded and headed for the door.
The Chief turned back towards his window and stared outside in silence.
“As for this girl you met.”
Altan froze in the doorway.
“Don’t let her distract you, son,” the Chief warned, “the past is gone. You can’t change it and neither can she.”
Altan brow furrowed. He ducked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forFebruary 23, 2021 at 5:56 pm #125213
@kayla-skywriter The part is cool!
Here’s the Google doc link.
I’m currently working on a Tisha intro part. I’ll add it into the doc and we can discuss how to make it connect with Altan.
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.February 24, 2021 at 3:34 pm #125248Naiya Dyani@naiya-dyani
Next Kedori/Kiet/Megyn part!
Their footsteps echoed in the hall, hollow and haunting. Megyn glanced around as they passed the same cells, the same prisoner’s faces. Some stared at her with the same dead-while-alive expression. Others stared at the walls or at their bound hands, not even raising their heads as they passed by.
All save one. A young boy–maybe eight years old–staggered to his feet as she approached his cell. The chain between his ankles clanked on the stone as he stumbled to the door.
Her heart twinged with pity as he reached a skinny hand through the bars and lifted dark, hollow eyes, framed with thick lashes, to hers. Their plea was silent, yet louder than thunder of charging horses.
A tear rolled down her face as she turned away. Her chest ached with each step she walked past his cell. I have to pass you this time, she thought as she bit her lip. A tremor raced over her as her eyes flamed with fierce determination. But I won’t always.
It seemed to take years to walk to Kiet’s cell, despite the fact that they both hurried with their longest strides. As they passed Cell 860, a frightening uneasiness settled over her. That all-too-familiar intuition that something was wrong. Very wrong.
Please–no. She stepped faster, almost running past the remaining ten cells. Only once did she look back. Her eyes watched Kedori as he lengthened his own strides to keep up with her. His breath wisped in the air like smoke. He studied her with eyes full of anxiety. What’s the matter? they begged to know.
Her heart thudded against her ribs as she stopped in front of Cell 870. “Kiet?” She called, her voice low. Her eyes searched for him in the darkness beyond the bars.”I’m here.”
A quiet groan echoed within the cell. Her eyes widened as they found him in the shadows. “Kiet!” she gasped as she dug the key from her pocket. Her heart thudded faster as she stuck it in the lock, twisted it and then shoved her shoulder against the door. As it slid back with a creak, she rushed over to kneel beside him. “Kiet, can you hear me?”
He moaned. Groggily, he lifted his head, his eyes wandering around his cell. She caught her breath as his eyes, glazed like glass marbles, met hers. Crimson stains flushed his cheeks. Air shuddered in his lungs with each shallow breath he took.
“Oh no!” she murmured.
Kedori touched her shoulder as she laid a hand on Kiet’s forehead. She turned just in time to see a tear roll down his face. Is he– His hand shook before he finished the sentence.
“Fever,” she whispered with articulate lips as she wrapped her other arm around Kiet’s sweaty form. “Infection.”
“Kiet. . .” She sighed as she lowered her hand from his flushed forehead. “I’m so sorry.” Her first-responder composure kicked in as she hugged him and laid his head on her shoulder. But as she turned her face against his sweat-soaked hair, her heart smote her.
Definitely a 100-plus degree fever. How could he have gotten infected so fast? It looked bad yesterday, but not that close to a major infection. You cleaned it; what did you do to him? What are you going to do with him now?
He groaned, stirring restlessly in her arms. “Shh . .. it’s okay,” she soothed in a calm, yet sorrowful voice. Her lips tried to quiver as she smoothed out his sweaty hair. “Shh.”
“Bena. . . ?” he mumbled. He tried to lift his head.
Bena? Megyn wondered as she laid his head back down on her shoulder. Who is Bena? Something inside her wrenched her soul into a knot as her mind whispered, Maybe someone from his past. Someone he misses . . . you understand.
Pain shot through her heart. “It’s not Bena, “she murmured close to his ear. “It’s Megyn Harris, the FRMS agent from yesterday. I’m here.” She hugged him closer as she rubbed his back. “You’re gonna be okay.” With a deep breath, she raised her face to the ceiling. Her lips formed the words, Help him.
He groaned again as she slipped the key from her pocket. It glinted in the low light as she gripped it in her hand. Would it. . .
It has to.
Her chin lifted. She unwrapped one arm from around Kiet while she moved the other to around his waist. As she supported him away from her, she prodded the lock on the chain binding him to the wall with it. A spark of delight flashed in her eyes as the lock dropped open.
As she dropped the key to the floor, Kedori’s hands lifted the chain free from the wall. It crashed to the floor as he let it fall and wrapped his arms around Kiet.
Kiet flinched. A shudder shook him as he groaned in protest.
“Shh, it’s okay,” Megyn soothed. She twined an arm around Kedori for a moment as she whispered, “You’re okay.”
Quickly, she shoved the key into the lock holding the chain linking his wrists. After a moment of jerking it back and forth, the chain sagged loose as the lock sprang open. Yes!
The key clinked to the floor as she supported Kiet with both arms. Kedori threw his arms around him as she lowered him to the floor. She cradled his head in her hand while she rested it on the floor.
Both her hands flew to her coat. One slipped off her backpack while the other swiftly pulled open the zipper. Shedding the coat, she folded it together into a rough rectangle. Laying it on the floor beside her knee, she lifted his head with both hands and rested it on the makeshift pillow.
As soon as her hand released his head, she sprang to her feet. Kedori, she signed as he knelt beside Kiet, stay here with him. Use the canteen of water and a scrap of bandage from my pack to bathe his face.
An almost frightened expression crossed his face as his hands sprang into action. Where are you going?
To get the Tower Warden. I’ll be back. With that, she turned to the door, grabbing the key from the floor at the same time. One hand shoved it into her pocket as she shot out of the door and dashed down the hall.
“Oh, Jesus,” she prayed in a panting whisper, “please keep him safe.”
Kedori poured water over the bit of cloth with shaking hands and placed it on his friend’s burning forehead. A vague memory flickered through his mind–moans, pain, and feverish eyelids of his own. Was this what that was like for those saving his life, each moment filled with the fear of things turning south?
He ducked his head, struggling to keep his breathing steady. Kiet, he thought, you were the first real friend I ever had. You’re the only person here I truly know. Please–you can’t die. Not now.
Squeezing out the now-warm cloth and dribbling fresh water onto it, he let a jumbled prayer slip from his hands.
I already had to lose my mother, he thought. Please, tell me I don’t have to lose you, too!
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.February 25, 2021 at 7:46 am #125257Emberynus The Dragonslayer@emberynus-the-dragonslayer
Here’s Rosetta’s introduction:
The chime of a clock broke the late morning silence. Rosetta sighed, shifting her feet in the thickly drifted snow. “An hour late.” she murmured. Her eyes flicked to the alleyway. “Jordan, where are you? The sparrow meeting was supposed to be over by now. But what if the police got involved? What if he didn’t even make it to the meeting?” she sighed again.
A few moments more she stood, staring down the alley. Finally she stomped her foot again and unfolded her arms. “That does it. I’m not just going to stand around freezing to death and not knowing where he is!” she looked around quickly, “The first place to look would be at Joan’s. . . if he’s not on the street. That boy!” she bit her lip, “Well I guess it’s cat and mouse again.” with strides that seemed far too long for her short build, she hurried off down the alley.
After about half an hour of walking she stood in front of Joan’s door. She hesitated. She didn’t like to interact with people. She didn’t like to be seen, but neither did Jordan, and he still trusted Joan. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door. Dropping her hand, she waited, rubbing the grip of her sidearm.
After a moment, the door opened and Joan looked out. Her expression softened and she smiled. Rosetta smiled too. Act natural. She told herself. Talking to another sparrow shouldn’t be nerve racking. It’s not like you haven’t talked to Joan before.
“Hello. Joan. Sorry to bother you so early. I was only wondering if you had seen Jordan lately.”
“It’s alright Rosetta. Would you like to come in and get something to eat? I’ve got a little stew.” Joan answered.
Rosetta noticed her carefully sidestepping the question, but she acted like she hadn’t and replied graciously, “No. I’m sure you need all the food you have for the children. I only want to know if Jordan is here.”
Joan sighed, “He’s not.”
“Then where is he?” Rosetta’s heart pounded hard. Joan hesitated. Rosetta stomped her foot impatiently. “Joan. Where is he?!”
“He’s at the sparrow hospital.”
“What?” the younger girl’s face went blank.
“But you can’t just run over there-”
“And what’s going to stop me?!” Rosetta challenged, lowering her voice to an almost sinister whisper.
“Rosetta, please.” Joan put a hand on her shoulder.
Rosetta pulled back. “I’m not a child! I’ll go if I want to go.” spinning on her heel, she took off down the street. She didn’t look back. Jordan. In the hospital? That was the last thing she expected. Jordan dying on the street would have been easier to believe. How had they ever gotten him to the hospital? He must have been hurt badly.
She gritted her teeth hard. She didn’t care what Joan said, she was going to find Jordan. Ian bossing her around was bad enough. He was her brother. But she wasn’t about to take orders from a girl she barely knew.
After running what seemed like a marathon, she arrived at the clinic. Smoothing back her rose-colored hair, she slowed to a professional, rhythmic stride. She stopped at the door and knocked sharply, using the sparrow’s knock. Dropping her eyes she surveyed herself with satisfaction. She looked professional enough, not to mention beautiful and intimidating.
The door opened and a young man opened the door. He opened his mouth to speak, then stopped and stood speechless. She flashed a strategic smile to further disarm him and spoke smoothly.
“Hello. I’m here to see Jordan Vickery. I learned from Joan that he was here.”
“Uh- yeah. I guess he might be.”
“Might be?” she raised an eyebrow, and put a hand on her hip. “Sir, I didn’t expect a sparrow clinic worker to be so unprofessional.”
The man’s face reddened, “Um. Yeah. I guess you wouldn’t. I mean- sorry. What’s your name? I don’t remember seeing you at a sparrow meeting.”
“Oh? You remember everyone you see at sparrow meetings?”
“No. But I’d remember if I’d seen you before.”
“Is that so? Well, you can call me Rosetta. Now how bout telling me where I can find Jordan?” she glowed at her success.
He gave her the room number. “It’s on the third floor.”
A voice interrupted him from inside, “Olyver, who are you talking to?”
“Um- just a girl- named Rosetta.”
A tired-looking nurse appeared in the doorway beside him. “Hello? What do you want?”
Now for the professional act. Rosetta straightened her back and spoke clearly, “Yes, ma’am I was hoping to visit Jordan Vickery. Joan sent me.” she didn’t even flinch despite her bold lie.
“Hmm. Jordan can’t have visitors.”
“May I ask why?”
The woman rolled her eyes. “He’s a sparrow agent. He was attacked and we have to protect him. You never know when his attackers might show up for a little ‘visit’.”
“I understand, but I am also a sparrow.” Rosetta spoke slowly and deliberately as though to a small child, “I was sent by Joan. You may know who she is?” her eyebrow flicked tauntingly.
“Of course I do.” the woman reddened.
“Good. She sent me to check up on Jordan.”
“Well you can go away and tell her that Jordan is fine.” the woman slammed the door.
Rosetta stiffened. “So it has to be this way?” her lip curled as she looked up. “The third floor is it?” Circling the building she counted rooms all the way up. Her eyes locked on a window. “There.” Looking down, she spotted a crack between two bricks of the wall. Her eyes narrowed as she kicked the toe of her boot into the crack and stepped up. Carefully she searched with her hands for cracks. She smiled to herself as she found the perfect crack.
Little by little, she inched her way up the wall. It was one lesson she could thank Ian for teaching her. Though she hated admitting that he had taught her anything worthwhile. She gritted her teeth at the thought. At that moment, her foot slipped. She gasped and dug her fingers into the cracks of the wall. Kicking her foot against the wall, she finally found her hold again. She breathed slowly when at last she reached the window. Sliding her foot onto the wide brick sill, she tested it. It felt solid enough to hold her slight figure. She eased herself onto it and peered in the window.
Her eyes locked on the bed. Jordan. She gasped. He lay there so still and pale with shut eyes and one arm lying limply across the sheet. For a moment she was too stunned to move. Never in her life had she imagined she would ever see Jordan looking like that. He almost looked- she bit her lip, cutting off her own thoughts. She had to get in there. Slowly she crouched on the sill and took a knife from her pocket. Carefully she pried at the bottom of the window till the rusted latch gave. With a small cry of victory, she pulled the window open and swung herself inside. Retrieving her knife from the window sill outside and returning it to her pocket, she shut the window and hurried across the room.
Sold souls and dead promisesFebruary 25, 2021 at 7:49 am #125258Emberynus The Dragonslayer@emberynus-the-dragonslayerFebruary 25, 2021 at 4:29 pm #125269
@emberynus-the-dragonslayer Thanks! And as for you . . . OOOH . . .COOL post!! 🙂
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.February 25, 2021 at 5:30 pm #125273
And the next Megyn/Kedori/Kiet part.
“You want me to release him from the Tower?” the Warden exclaimed. He twisted around as he strode ahead of her, eyes rounded in shock.
“Only temporarily,” she assured him, almost sprinting trying to keep up with him. “He’s too ill to be kept here. He needs nursing, something he’s not going to receive here.” She flipped away a stray strand of hair with a toss of her head. “I know, there are a lot of legalities and protocols at stake, but if you want Hulsba to survive for any questioning, I–I beg that you will allow me to admit him to the hospital until he recovers.”
As they entered the cell, Kedori looked up at her with swimming eyes.
It’s okay, she signed, kneeling beside Kiet. I’m talking to him.
The Warden laid a hand on Kiet’s forehead. “He is–very sick,” he admitted as he quickly lifted his hand away.
Megyn caught hold of his arm. Urgency tensed her voice as she lifted wide eyes. “Please, Sir, if you have any affection left for your fellow man–”
He held up a hand. “No begging is necessary, Miss Harris. You may take him.”
She sighed as a flood of relief overflowed her. “Thank you, Sir.”
He eyed her closely. “However, precautions must be taken to ensure he does not run. Any attempts to free him on your part will be met with severe consequences.” He reached to his belt, unhooked a pair of handcuffs and handed them to her.
A flicker of nervousness passed through Megyn as she took those thick chains into her hands. But she nodded as she hooked them around a clip on her own belt. “Of course.”
Satisfied, the warden slipped his arms under Kiet. Megyn felt her eyes widen with surprise as he lifted Kiet from the floor. “Let’s go,” he ordered, turning to the door.
With a nod, she snatched her backpack from the floor, flipping her coat over her arm. She swung her backpack over her shoulder as they hurried out of the cell. “Thank you, Warden,” she murmured as she grabbed Kedori’s hand and squeezed it.
“Only until we get into the courtyard. You’re on your own then.”
Her heart sank even as she replied confidently. “We’ll manage.” Lord, help us manage.
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of dark eyes, gazing at her from a cell. The tears ran in silver rivulets down his face. With quivering lips, the young boy reached out his hand to her again. This time a voice spoke, though his lips barely moved. “Help . . .”
“I will return,” she promised in a hasty whisper. She grabbed his hand, squeezing it for a moment as she passed. The next she let it go as she hurried after the warden.
Minutes later, they burst out of the Tower into the courtyard. A rush of bitter wind bore down upon them, thick with bits of ice and snow.
The Warden stopped. “I’m sorry, Miss Harris,” he said as he awkwardly set Kiet on the ground, “but I have to stay here.”
Kiet swayed, nearly falling on his side as the warden stepped back. Megyn sprang toward him, throwing her arms around him to steady him. Kedori, she signed with one hand as he came up beside her, Support him on the other side for a minute.
The warden rubbed his jaw. “If you can get one of the guards to help you, go ahead. I had the intention of sending one later anyway, to ensure Hulsaba was properly secured.” He lifted his hand in a polite salute. “You must excuse me. Good day, Miss.”
“Thank you,” She managed a clumsy salute back. “Good day, Warden.”
She shrugged her coat off her arm. With one hand, she draped it over Kiet’s shoulders. “I’ll try to keep you warm.” she whispered to him. Let’s lay him down, she signed to Kedori. Careful.
As they laid in him on a snow drift, she glanced around. A few guards stood by the gate. One of them watched with an eyebrow angled down. As their eyes met, he lifted it higher in a blend of amusement and curiosity.
Megyn turned to Kedori. Stay here with him. I’ll be right back. With a determined sigh, she lifted her head to eye that guard for a moment, then hurried over, crunching the snow of half-trodden drifts with every step. As she approached, he folded his arms.
“Excuse me, Sir,” she said, giving a slight nod to the guard standing next to him.
Something glittered in his dark eyes.“Yes?”
“I need some help. I have a prisoner I need to take to the hospital for treatment, and I–”
The guard next to him guffawed. “Why bother with those miserable–” He cursed with a sneer as she bit her lip. “Who even are you anyway? What–”
The other guard jabbed him in the shoulder with his elbow. “Quit it,” he hissed.
“F.R.M.S Agent Megyn Harris,” she told the mocker in a quiet tone. “It’s my duty to help those who are injured or ill.” She turned back to the first guard. “Would you–be willing to carry him to the hospital for me?”
The mocker snorted. The first man licked his lips, obviously hesitant. He glanced at Kiet, then back at her. “I don’t. . . think so. Sorry.”
“Please!” She took a step forward, eyes glistening as she met his gaze. “He has a bad infection. If I don’t get him to the hospital and treat him, he may die.”
The other guard shrugged.“Who cares? It’s not our job to help that filth.”
Heat surged through Megyn. She straightened her back as she turned flashing eyes to him for a moment. “Sir,” she managed in an even tone, “I am trying to talk to this man. Would you be so kind as to be quiet?”
With one last snort, he turned away. “Don’t let her talk you into it!” he called over his shoulder as he walked away.
How can people be so heartless! she cried out within as she turned back to the first guard. “Please . . .” She lifted her gaze to him again.
He looked back at her, his lips pressed tightly together. “Well . . .” His arms fell to his sides as he heaved a sigh. “I suppose. . .”
A smile flitted over her face a moment as she sighed in relief. “Thank you, Sir.” She turned to hurry back to Kedori.
“Anthyr,” he corrected as he fell in step with her.
“Thank you, Father,” she whispered under her breath as they approached the boys. Anthyr bent down to lift Kiet up in his arms. This man will help us, she signed to Kedori. Let’s go.
“Lead on,” Anthyr said as she turned back to him. He watched her in silence as she made sure Kiet was comfortable in his arms and smoothed her coat over him. “There,” she murmured.
With a sigh, she lifted her head. “I’ll need to walk next to you, to monitor his condition.” She sent a glance at Kedori as she walked to the gate. Satisfied that he was following them, she nodded to the porter, who swung that gate open wide.
“Whatever you say, Miss Harris,” he replied.
Megyn darted a glance around. Where’s Pasha? She wondered. She’d fully expected him to spring to Kedori’s side and raise his hackles at Anthyr. But the big white dog didn’t appear as the gates crashed closed behind them.
Kedori crept up beside her, touching her arm as the gates crashed closed behind them. She turned. Will he be alright? he signed.
Her heart twinged. What can I say? Kiet is alive. But with the fever and infection…? She bit her lip as she signed, He is very sick. I think he will recover if treated properly. I will do my best, and pray for him. I’m sorry about all this. She reached out her arm for a one-sided hug.
His eyes met hers. He bit his lip, then slipped his arms around her.
Poor guy, Megyn thought. Her fingers wrapped around his shoulder, holding him close. “It’ll be okay,” she whispered.
As she released him, a bitter gust shoved against their backs. Megyn shivered at the touch of its icy breath. Without her coat, it sliced through her tan suede shirt to her bones. It’s going to be a long walk. With a slight lift of her chin, she set her teeth and lengthened her steps to keep her position by Anthyr’s elbow.
“How far is it, Miss?” he asked, as though to make some kind of conversation.
“About a mile,” she replied, gritting her teeth to keep them from chattering.
“Long way to go, especially for nothing. And it’s freezing cold.” He glanced down at her, with a hint of human affection in his eyes. “And without your coat.”
The wind swirled wisps of her hair around her face as she looked him squarely in the eyes. “To me, it’s not for nothing. It’s my duty, my desire to serve and love these people, no matter what the cost may be.”
At the word “love”, his eyebrow lifted. That hint in his eyes brightened as he commented, “Really? You love the rotting prisoners in those cells?”
“I love everyone.” She pressed her lips together for a moment. “Trying just to be love that gives all it has, serves with all its strength and lays down its own life so another might live.” Her eyes glowed as she gazed earnestly at him. “There is no greater love than that.”
Without a word, he turned his face back to the street. Something bumped her arm. She glanced over at Kedori, just in time to see him unfasten his coat. Here, take it, he signed.
Her eyes widened as she vehemently shook her head. No, you keep it on. I’ll be fine. She signed in reply. Please just keep it. I don’t want you to freeze.
His lip quivered as the wind gusted again, swirling snowflakes in and out of his hair. But you’re cold.
I’ll be fine, she responded. Please, keep your coat on.
His chin set. Determination filled his eyes as he took the coat off. He walked faster to match her pace. We’ll keep trading, he signed. You wear it for a while, then I will. Please . . .
Kedori . . . Emotion glistened in her eyes as she looked at him. He is so caring. One of the others in Outopia who cares and yet needs someone to care for them. She bit her lip at the thought.
Alright, she signed, then reached out a hand to take the coat.
He laid it over her shoulders, holding out the sleeves for her to slip her arms through. As she did, he smoothed it out, then walked close beside her.
Thank you, she signed, gratitude shining in her eyes.
He nodded. You’re welcome.
Maybe the walk won’t be so long after all, she thought as she guided them to the hospital.
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.March 1, 2021 at 4:53 pm #125539Naiya Dyani@naiya-dyani
Next Kiet/Megyn/Kedori part:
The drab granite walls of the hospital rose out of the drifts of dirty snow ahead. Megyn shivered as another gust of wind drove its fingers through her clothing. She pressed her lips together as she glanced back at Kedori.
The wind stirred in his hair as his eyes met hers. He bit his lip, as though to keep it from quivering. Slowly he lifted his hands. Is Kiet doing alright?
She glanced at the limp form in Anthyr’s arms, then slipped her hand under the coat that covered him. Taking his wrist in her fingertips, she felt his pulse as she laid a hand on his forehead. Cold and fever stained his cheeks a deep red, making his pale lips look even whiter. Sweat had started to freeze in streaks across his forehead. And his pulse raced through his veins, frantic with his heart’s battle to keep up with the infection.
Slowly, she lifted her hand from his forehead. A broken sigh blew a wisp of frost into the wind as she turned her face to Kedori’s anxious eyes. He’s not doing well, she signed back.
Tears dropped from his eyelashes onto his rosy cheeks. His lips trembled as he sidled up next to her.
Without a word, she wrapped her arm around him. “We’re almost there,” she whispered into his hair as she rested his head on her shoulder.
“This is the place,” she said as they approached.
Anthyr looked down at her, a question written on his face while something else burned in his eyes. “The hospital? Looks like an abandoned warehouse to me.”
“It was, until Dr. Benson bought it.” Giving Kedori one last squeeze, she stepped ahead as she reached for the door handle. “It was the cheapest building of size he could get.” She yanked it open against the tug of the wind and waved her hand inside. “This way, quickly.”
Anthyr hurried through the door, Kedori at his heels. Megyn pushed the door shut, then scooted past Anthyr. “This way,” she called over her shoulder as she darted ahead down the hall.
She cast quick glances at the other patients as she hurried past them. Most of them were sleeping; a few watched her pass with questioning faces. They seem okay, for the moment, she thought as she stopped by one of the few empty beds. I’ll check on them after I settle Kiet in.
Shedding her tan suede to just the black tee underneath, she swished up her ponytail as Anthyr’s boots pounded on the floor behind her. “Where do I lay him, Miss?”
“Just a moment,” she replied as she stepped to the bed. Quickly, she pulled back the yellowed sheet, smoothed out the mattress underneath, and shook up the limp pillow. Slipping her hand underneath it, she turned to Anthyr. “Lay him down. Carefully.”
As he lowered Kiet down, the boy groaned. His face twisted with pain as he tried to roll on his side.
“Shh, it’s okay.” Megyn soothed, laying a hand on his forehead a moment as she slipped her hand out from beneath his head. With swift fingers, she loosened his clothing and removed his shoes.
Something banged against the bed frame as she bent over to lay his shoes on the floor. She glanced down at her waist, a puzzled frown furrowing her mouth. The handcuffs swung from her belt, bumping her leg with every pass.
It felt like someone stepped on her soul as she unhooked them. It feels–so wrong somehow, to bind him, when he’s fighting for his life. And I’m called to be a person who heals, not one who chains, her heart protested as she took Kiet’s wrist in her hand. Kedori was watching, staring at her, she could feel it. He won’t understand. She thought, biting her lip. I have to do this, but–
Anthyr’s shadow darkened the bed as he stepped to her side. “I’ll take care of that, Miss Megyn.”
She looked at him. The smallest smile lifted her lips in relief she handed him the handcuffs. “Thank you.”
Steel clinked as he took Kiet’s wrist in his hands and stepped around her. She turned to Kedori. The look on his face shot a dart of pain through her heart as she signed, The Warden told me we have to secure him, so that he doesn’t run. I’m sorry.
Anthyr cuffed Kiet’s wrist to the bedpost as she sat down by the boy’s leg. As she slid up the pant leg, he stepped to her side. “Here’s the key, Miss Megyn,” he said, holding it out. “In case you need to remove them temporarily for medical purposes.”
She nodded, glancing up briefly. “Thank you, Anthyr. You can lay it on the stand over there.”
He set it down and returned to her side. “Is–that all, Miss Megyn?”
Megyn lifted her head as she unwound the first length of bandage from Kiet’s leg. Anthyr stood beside her, looking down into her eyes. Though inquiry was written on his face, something like regret dimmed his gaze.
“Yes,” she nodded. “Thank you so much for your help.”
“You’re welcome, Miss Megyn.” He ducked his head in a quick nod and slowly turned to leave. She pressed her lips together as, for a moment, she watched him go. Perhaps the guards aren’t all as calloused as they seem, she thought as she turned her attention back to Kiet’s leg.
Kedori crowded against her shoulder as Anthyr’s heavy footsteps dimmed into the background. After unwrapping the last length of the bandage, she bent over the wound. A red swelling surrounded the wound site. It had started to spread through his flesh, staining the skin up his leg with a scarlet flush. This isn’t good.
She snatched up her backpack from the floor. Laying it on the little table by the bed, she pulled out the canteen with one hand as the other dove into another pocket. As she tugged out a piece of cloth, she twisted the cap off the canteen. Quickly dousing the cloth, she washed the leg, then dropped the used cloth into a bin.
Her mind raced as she dug another cloth from her bag. I should have Matt examine him. He’ll know the best course of action to take. She bit her lip as she bathed Kiet’s face. Father, please – guide our hands, our words. He’s so sick and miserable, inside and out. And–I just–hurt for him and Kedori. Her eyes turned to the deaf boy as she laid the cloth on Kiet’s forehead. Comfort him. Give me the words to say.
She lifted a hand to sign. Stay here with him. I need to go get the doctor. I will be right back.
As he nodded, she stepped back out into the hall, drawing the curtain closed behind her with a hollow swish. She sped down the aisle at a swift jog.
Where is he? she wondered as she scanned the area. He could be anywhere. He works so hard–
Relief washed over as she turned. The doctor stepped out from behind a canvas curtain, wiping blood from his hands with a cloth. As he caught sight of her face, his eyes darkened with concern. “What’s wrong?”
“There’s a patient you need to examine right away.” She looked him in the eye. “The Sparrow suspect I asked you about yesterday.”
He cast the bloody cloth into a bin. “Let’s go.”
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.
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