“If you don’t wake up I won’t be saving your portion, sweet one.” She cackles as she cups his chin and forces his mouth open. “Every child I have reared has eaten for me eventually, and you are no different. I know you can hear me, though you walk the Great Land, so open your mouth and feed that little bud of yours!”
The sleeping man is pale against her chest. But the tight cloth bandage she wove around his side is not so soaked through as she thought it might be; it shows only a small patter of vermillion now, rather than the great wet splotch of yesterday that stained the under-rug. Still, the dark crescent bruises beneath his shut eyes have failed to disappear.
Singing to herself a little hymn, she sets the full and sloshing spoon to his lips, which lag, then open just enough.
“That is fine, my Lord! A little further and we shall have all this good supper down your gullet where it belongs! I haven’t stocked us this well for it all to go to waste on a lazybones…”
Then, as she watches, his jaw slips down, and he is blinking bleary green jewels on the floor of the house.
Her hand flies forward, and soon his mouth is shut again, only this time his teeth close reflexively on a wooden spoon full of…
“Oh, thatsh… thatsh… thatsh damn good!” he yammers, speaking around the spoon with some difficulty as he rolls his tongue around, curling the muscle around and over and through every bit of meat and vegetable. He savours every drop of broth with closed eyes and a humming sound made deep in the back of the nose-mouth passage.