Mai is sleeping peacefully now. She cried out only once while I washed her wound with salt water, although it must have been excruciatingly painful. I can hardly bear to look at it, now - it is livid after being washed, and I am worried that I have put her through more pain than was necessary.
I carefully add a log to the fire, because it has almost consumed all that I placed on it earlier. Fires are harder work that I had anticipated. I thought you just lit it and sat back. Evidently not.
I need some sleep too, but someone has to watch over Mai. I can’t leave her there, unprotected, not after all that has happened.
“Jenny?” a small voice says. I look around – Mai has woken.
“What is it, Mai?” I say, trying to keep the irritation out of my voice. I wanted her to get some sleep.
“Where are we?” I try not to think about it, but she sounds like a small child, helpless and vulnerable.
“In the cave, remember?” I say tiredly. She shakes her head.
“I had a nightmare. Jed…” Of course, I should’ve known. She would nightmare after such a thing.
“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” I say, trying to make it sound true. “He won’t hurt you here.” She smiles at me thankfully, and snuggles down under the blanket again. I am amazed to see that she is asleep in moment, although her mind is so troubled.
While she sleeps, I go over to her and push up her sleeve. After my first glance of her wound, she wouldn’t allow me another, but I need to see it. I look at the wound carefully.
Though I hate Jed for what he has done to Mai, I can’t help admiring his handiwork. Well, not admiring. But I am surprised at the detail – you can really recognise Mai through the dried blood. She isn’t as thin in the picture as she is now, but apart from that, it is a perfect network.
The picture is about six inches tall, and three inches wide. It shows Mai sitting on a bed, her arms folded tightly over her chest, as though she was trying to keep herself together. It is a scar that will never heal, I know. Whatever form Mai is in, if it has smooth skin, that scar will show.
She mutters in her sleep, obviously having another nightmare. I move away from her, but she doesn’t wake.
Gently I stroke the wound, breaking scabs. It is messy, and if she were awake it would be painful too, but it will heal more quickly. I daresay it causes bigger scars, but if it’s going to scar anyway, then what is the point?
Soon all of the scabs are gone. It starts to bleed. I dip a rag in the salt I keep in a corner of my first-aid bag, and dab it into the wounds. Mai flinches awake.