Off KilterMature

Two days had passed, but Bingham had barely noticed.  She seemed to sleep through everything that went on around her.  Now they were hiding in the home of the Kartasians, close family friends of Bruces'.

“I know it’s hot.  You won’t have to be in for long.”

Locan’s hands, which had gently guided her only moments ago, were now jerking her towards a gilded drum, “Your shoulder’s infected.  That’s why you keep complaining that it hurts.  It should have healed by now.  Doesn’t your shoulder feel hot?  The water’s warm but we need to immerse you in it to keep you alive.”

She was still leaning against his arms in protest.  She had seen what went into that bathtub.  And his insistence that had at first seemed diplomatic had gone from frustration to certainty, heightening her hysteria.  He would toss her in that bath of boiling water if he had to.

She turned towards the tub, which had been filled with water from a cauldron at a rolling boil.  She grabbed the inside of Locan’s elbow and tested a toe at the edge.  Recoiling like a rattlesnake, she almost bowled him over.

“I need you to…” his voice bounced out of range for her to hear, “You are in trouble… I can save… Trust me.”

Finally exhausted, she abruptly stopped straining against him and he wrapped an arm under her legs.  She felt the searing heat of the water rolling around her shoulders and up her neck when a sudden piercing pain shuddered through her wound.  The burns on her flesh were nothing in comparison to that wound.  It seemed incredibly hot, impossibly painful. 

As each excruciating minute dragged by, behind her voices again began to come into focus, “We can’t spare a messenger-“

“I just want to send some farm boy ahead so that we don’t arrive and break something up…”

“It’s not our place to play politics, we’ve done our job.”

“Our job is to protect them, even from…”

Bingham felt her thumbs and forefingers brush against the sides of the bath as someone lifted her out of it.

“…can’t believe that…”

“I don’t think we have time anyway.”

“…besides, we are almost home.”

The End

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