Thursday, August 22, 2019

Drabble No.7: Where We Were Pt 7

Where We Were Pt 7

Miranda began to worry about their rescue on the third day.  Despite what the Jengu said, there was no sign of his men coming to their aid. 

Jerome was quieter than usual, their escapades having drained him more than he wanted to admit. The Jengu man was limping, but he caught fish efficiently, and his knife was sharp enough to cut slivers off the palms to burn. 

On the fourth night they were sitting around the fire as the sun set, when Miranda noticed the unusual pallor on the Jengu man's face. 

"Are you unwell?" she asked as he waved away a nicely roasted fish. Sweat lingered on his brow, but he shook his head.

"Infection," Jerome said as he delicately picked the flesh of the fish off its bones. "He needs medicines."

"I don't get sick."

Jerome shrugged. "The cephalopods have rotting remnants of their meals in between the suckers. Infection is common."

"Are you a healer?"

"I know the basics."

"We have to look at the wound," Miranda said, scooting closer. "Clean it."

"Leave it." He waved her away. "We have no medicines."

"On the contrary, we do." Jerome finished his meal and struggled to his feet. "Boil some water in the conch shell," he told Miranda before he hobbled down toward the water.

"Is he always so bold?" the Jengu demanded. But Miranda saw how weak he was becoming, and the words held no real ire.

"He knows that if you die our fate will be unpleasant. So he'll do whatever it takes to keep you well." She unwrapped the makeshift bandage and reared back at the smell. 

"I take that to mean it's bad."

"It's festering." She used two thick palm leaves to handle the old bandage, tossing it into the fire. She poured some of their purified water over the red, oozing wound. He hissed, and his head fell back, but he made no other sounds. 

"Put this in the boiling water," Jerome said, handing her a dull yellow conical item.

"What is it?" She held it in her hand, trying to decide if it was a rock or some kind of plant.

"Sea sponge," the Jengu muttered. He eyed Jerome. "Clever."

"They grow deep in the ocean, but I saw some washed up here. Boil them and they can have medicinal properties." 

Miranda tossed the sponge into the large conch they'd broken in half to use as a makeshift pot. After it boiled for several minutes, Jerome instructed her to remove the concoction from the fire to cool. After several minutes, it was a thick yellowish paste. 

"Here." Jerome ripped his shirt some more, and held it out. "Spread the paste on the wound and wrap it."

The Jengu stiffened at her touch, but held still despite what must have been immense pain. 

"You'll need more water than usual, and rest," Jerome told their new master. "Until the poison leaves your body."

"I made the right decision," the Jengu muttered as his eyelids fluttered closed. 

"You did well," Miranda told Jerome, handing him another fish. "Perhaps we'll survive this after all."

Jerome shrugged. "Perhaps we will."

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