shock and recoveryMature

Chapter Twelve
Word Count: 717

He knew her silence could be traced to the loss of her companion, and so he let her have it; as a small mercy he allowed their pace to decrease even if it meant a riskier trip.  There was only so much sacrifice a person could make in a day - he didn't have to be human to know that.  She had been through plenty, she'd earned a break.

He could feel his muscles knitting together beneath the torn skin of his torso where the knife had sunk in first, and then the demon's claws.  He still struggled to grasp the sequence of events.  He should have been faster, more ready for the surprise attack.  He'd missed on his first shot.

Judah did not miss.

Something had made him miss.

Pre-knowledge quivered down the length of his spine and he loathed it.  He hated that he didn't know already, that he was being told to wait.  Something he didn't understand was slowing him down, was making him less than the warrior he knew he was.  But there was no arguing with The Holy One.  The knowledge would be given to him when The Holy One decided, and no sooner.  Regardless of how frustrated it made him.

Or how many wounds his lack of knowledge would cause to his physical body.

He chewed over the events quietly, absorbed in them.

They stopped when he sighted a small trailer for a semi-truck, knocked off its hinge and sitting crookedly on its right wheels, propped against a smaller truck.  Shuffling her inside and slamming the doors closed behind them, he said as gently as he could, "Take off your shirt, I need to see your wound."

In the darkness he could feel her hesitation, but whether she was simply too exhausted to argue or she understood what needed to be done he couldn't tell.  Either way, she lifted the material over her head with a weak breath and turned her back to him so he could inspect it.  Though her vision was seriously diminished in the blackness, his was not.  The cut was deep, but clean.  "This will hurt for a few days but it's manageable," he said to her as he fished out a medical kit from the duffle bag she'd been carrying - the lightest one, filled only with his changes of clothes, a few flashlights, and the medical supplies - and threaded a needle to stitch her up.  He ran a freshly dampened alcohol swab over the cut and smiled with the needle between his teeth when she clamped her jaw shut against the hiss of pain.

She was stronger than he'd expected.  She had yet to cry over the loss of her friend; as much of a nuisance as Judah had considered him she had clearly cared deeply for him.  He considered that she might be in shock, but it changed very little about how well she was holding herself together.  She cringed when he laced the stitching into her flesh but made no sound.

Once he was finished and had put away the medical kit, he grabbed a clean shirt and two flashlights from the same bag and offered the shirt to her.  "Here," he said, to alert her to the gesture, knowing she could see nothing.  "Put this on.  We'll eat here and rest for a while before we continue."

"We don't have to," she said, shaking the t-shirt out of its fold and lifting it gingerly over her head.

On any other occasion he would have taken her at her word and they would be on the move again; but he knew better.  They needed to rest - she especially - even if she couldn't admit it.

As if the thought arrived late, she said, "What about you?  Don't you need to patch anything up?"

Definitely shock, he thought.  That kind of delayed remembrance of his injuries was a pretty strong indicator that she wasn't playing with all of her capability.

"No," he said, unzipping Mikah's duffle bag.  Her deceased companion had been carrying the food supplies.  Flicking on a flashlight, he offered it to her and gestured with the beam of light to the food.  "You should eat."

He did not know what she saw on his face in the dim light but something flickered behind her hazel eyes.

The End

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