Awaiting an Antidote

Annalise sat at her usual post beside Adrian's bed, stroking his hand and allowing her mind to wander to other places. Normally, she tried to keep herself from imagining the kingdom without Adrian, but now, she was far too exhausted to guard her mind against such things.

As he usually did every few hours, Adrian broke through his unconsciousness and opened his eyes. Annalise leaned forward and kissed his brow. "How are you feeling, Adrian?" she asked, voice gentle and concerned.

Adrian attempted to sit up, but he was still too weak. "I'm a bit hungry, actually," he said, his voice clearly attempting to be as cheery as was possible in the present circumstance.

The doctor, who had just returned from making his daily rounds among the patients of the court, came to Adrian's side. "What would you like to eat?" His eyes scanned the contents of the cupboard. "I'm afraid I haven't much in this room to offer you. I can fetch you something, if you'd like."

"Something easy on my stomach," Adrian replied, his words still strained. It wouldn't be long before he lapsed again into a deep sleep.

Hope welled within Annalise. Adrian was hungry! Perhaps recovery was closer than both she and the doctor had imagined! She let out the first laugh she'd laughed in days.

Clearly, the doctor was pleased, as well. Even he was smiling as he walked over to the cupboard and rummaged around on one of the shelves. Annalise grasped Adrian's hand tightly and ran a hand through his damp hair. "You'll be feeling better soon, Adrian; the doctor said so."

The doctor reached further  into the cupboard and pulled out a  banana. "Bananas are good," he said. "They should be fairly easy to eat with - "

But when he turned around, he saw nobody was listening. Annalise had rested her head on Adrian's bed and was crying as Adrian fell back into his sleep.

"I thought his hunger was a good sign," Annalise cried. "But it's hopeless...hopeless."

The doctor placed his hand on Annalise's shoulder in an unexpected show of comforting affection. "My Lady," he said slowly, "we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that things might not turn out as we hope."

"I'll die," Annalise whispered, raising her face to meet the doctor's. "If he dies, then I will, too." Another wave of sorrow washed over  her spirit, and she laid her head  back down and wept.

The End

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