Chapter Twenty-Four, Part Three: The Eye of FatimaMature

“That’s the sad thing, R-River- we haven’t any. I’m the only veterinarian in these here parts. The Infirmary is automated, which qualifies as stupid.” With teeth champing like horses on a hill, the Doctor turns to Kenny and adds, “Now see, Kenny?” Then he stops and rests for a moment, panting a little faster now that there are potentially vengeful feminine hands in the general vicinity of his many broken bones and bruises. “Use the right words, and women aren’t so scary! Oh ow, that’s… Ow. River! M’ cold.”                                                              

“Are you saying, Sweetie, that I’m a Chinese Finger Puzzle?” River breathes the words. Then, she backward-spoons her body into his, hoping that her slightly warmer temperature will stop the tremor she sees growing in his muscles. Her arms she wraps around him, like always, muffing his mouth. 

“No, ‘m saying yor a shy-neez woom. An undisifurabuw widdwe, wwapped in a mythtewy inthide ananigma. Thank you for moving your hand. Ow, no, don’t pinch me there! Please, it hurts! River! Stop ittt! Wah-ahahhhhh! Ahah-ahhh…” 

His pitiful, confused cry is enough to make her shiver, too.  Has she touched something? Is there something Kenny missed? 

She reaches over the arm he’s plastered to his side and  palpates his right shoulder. 

There is a lump there, close to the secondary bundle of nerves. A bruise ought to be forming… but she can’t see it without turning him. 

Then, a wet, hog-slop gurgle draws River’s attention to the blue tinge around his lips. She sucks in a breath and smacks him hard on the cheek. 

“My love, I need you to open your eyes for me. I want to see your pretty face. Been admiring your strong chin.” 

No answer.

The End

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