LfBH – 7: The Cure

I know it’s been awhile.  I wanted to write something a little less unpleasant with this piece.  I like Felix and he deserved a break.  So, not as action-packed, probably boring, but Felix needed this moment.  He was making me sad.  Enjoy.

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Silas drew a breath, deep and soothing, the scent of the fire flooding his lungs. The fact he’d even managed to purloin some wood was a miracle in itself. Rain pelted the tin roof, the sound an odd cross between a ring and a roar, making sleep no more than wishful thinking, and warmth even further from attainability. The fire was absolutely a blessing. Silas pitied those in the barracks without it. It would be a long, cold night.

A sharp cough broke the trance the flames had lulled him into, and he pushed the brazier lightly with a cloth-clad foot. The fresh meat they brought in on that wagon was in the bed beside Silas, on his side and looking more like an eggplant than a person. It didn’t stop him from stirring, though. How he could even move was beyond Silas. That man was beaten to a pulp before he was dumped just inside the door, left unattended in a heap. No one bothered with a name, or to take care of him. What did they care if he died? Silas tugged him onto his bed, and tried to keep him warm and stanch the bleeding from medley of head wounds. Whether he would live still remained to be seen, but it looked grim.

Silas’ patient’s arms flew up suddenly, blocking invisible blows in the stillness of the cabin. The other occupants stared at him for a moment, but all went back to what they were doing without another glance. Silas settled on the bed beside him, and grabbed his wrists lightly, trying to still him.

“Hey! Hey, it’s alright! It’s alright…” he pressed, letting him go gently, and grabbing the rag from the basin of rainwater he’d been collecting and started gently mopping up any new blood that made have dried on his face. “Just hold still, you’re real banged up.”

“The hell am I?” he asked hoarsely, trying to focus his right eye on him, the only one that wasn’t swelled completely shut.

“Blackford Hill,” answered Silas, setting the rag aside, and using the cover of the blanket to dry his face as gently as he could. “What’s your name?”

“Oh. That… right… I remember.” He sighed, and tried to sit up, but only grimaced as he gave in and lay back.

“Broke a few ribs. You didn’t answer me though.”

Felix looked at him sidelong, wondering how he wound up in this person’s care. “Felix. Count… Felix Malrais.”

Silas lofted a brow. “I guess money can’t buy you out of this hellhole anymore.” He sighed, and glanced around at the six others sharing a tiny room with three beds. “Looks like you outrank us.” He joked.

“Ha ha.” Felix muttered dryly. “Lot of good that’s doing me, isn’t it?” He pushed himself up, this time fighting the agony in his ribs, and leaned back against the wall. “What sort of detention camp is this?”

Silas scooted back on the wall, laying perpendicular on the bed. “Bunters, pedophiles, mandrakes, rapists… even adulterers. Can’t get away with nothing these days.”

Mandrakes?”

“Yeah. You lie with your own ilk, you’re like to get tossed in here, anyone finds out about it. Got the girls, too. More men than women, though.”

“Fuck.” Felix knocked his already aching head back against the wall and closed his eyes with a hiss of pain.

“That’s you, then, huh? Me, too. That one there,” he pointed across the room at a dark, bearded fellow. “Got a ten year old wife. That one? Fucking his half-sister. And that one there had a roll in the hay with his father’s goat.”

“Fuck off, Silas,” was the weak response he got from the man who had lain with his sister. The rest seemed to ignore him. Silas had a loud mouth, and they were all growing tired of reacting to it.

“Can you believe it? We fuck a few men here and there, and we get lumped in with that lot. Piss poor situation, yeah?” Silas shook his head and glanced to Felix, feeling genuinely bad for him. The only ones who ever got beat up so bad were the ones who rebelled or the ones who panicked. Silas would put money on Felix being the latter. “Anyway, they bring you here to cure you of your ‘maladies’.”

Felix shook his head. “Fantastic, but I’m not sick.” He snapped.

“Me, neither. But you just gotta let them do their thing. Try to be good. I never seen them let anyone out, but it’s the only hope we got.”

“So, we pretend to be ‘getting better’ so they can keep us here and make us miserable? I don’t think so.” Felix touched his face, and grimaced. He must have looked like an elephant went through a meat grinder.

“Stop poking at it.” Silas smacked his hand, and Felix attempted a glare, but the swelling wouldn’t let his face do much of anything.

“I murdered a temple full of priests and burnt it to the ground. I shouldn’t even be here,” he noted and closed his eyes. “I’d rather face the noose.”

Silas’ jaw dropped. “What the fuck? Why would you do that?”

“They murdered someone important to me. For a stupid reason…. I wanted to marry him and I went to the priests to request it be allowed. They said no. Didn’t shout or act angry….. Next thing I know, my servants village is being raided and they drag Dacien out, injuring many of my servants in the process. We found him in the pond behind the temple.” He shook his head, his voice suddenly very solemn. “I suppose I just snapped.”

Silence filled the room, and Silas just stared, stunned. “Unbelievable. They deserved it. Fuck them, you were completely justified.”

Felix cracked a weak smile. “Thank you. Doesn’t bring Dacien back, though.”

“No… I guess it doesn’t.”

“Thank you…” Felix muttered.

“What for?”

“It was you, wasn’t it? Who put me here? Made sure I didn’t drown in my own blood? I know it was you, because we’ve been talking for at least twenty minutes now, and not one of those men have bothered to interject. They don’t seem the type to rise against authority.”

“I do?” Silas laughed.

“You do.”

“Well. You’re welcome. Now I’m going to sleep. Don’t die tonight. I don’t know if I want to wake up in the same bed as a corpse.” He jostled himself into a horizontal position at the other end of the bed, his feet up by Felix’s head.

“You’re fucking charming, you know that.” Felix slid back down and ducked under the blanket, miserable, but at least there wasn’t a gun in his face.


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4 Comments

Filed under Letters from Blackford Hill, Writing

4 responses to “LfBH – 7: The Cure

  1. Elina

    I read this the other day, but I didn’t get a chance to comment as I had to run to work. Per usual, you are amazing Kit, and I admire your talent. Love the dialogue, in particular. Very nice flow. Can’t wait for more!

    Elina
    XOXO

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