Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ghosts 8/37

Chapter 8

An ER fanfic that takes place following the "Bishop Stewart" Arc

He awoke to pangs of hunger he could no longer ignore, and a cough that signaled the start of even more concerns.  As long as the rain continued he wouldn't go thirsty, but rainwater alone wasn't enough to sustain him, he would have to find food at some point tonight.  He pushed his wet hair back off of his face, only to lose himself in a wave of coughing, how many days had it been?  How many days since the remainder of what had passed as his life had crumbled around him like the walls of this small house?  The grumble of his stomach reminded him again of the moments overriding concern..he had to find food...when had he ate last?  He'd found those two turnips at the edge of a field... yesterday?  No..that had been two days ago..what had he eaten since...had he eaten since?  He rubbed his hand across his face, then clenched his jaw as he forced himself to his feet.

Abby, looked over to the bed as Luka moaned, then rolled to his side, the sodden wad of paper she had pulled from his pocket still clenched tightly in her hand.  What are you doing?  She found herself questioning her own actions as she unfolded's his business... even that reminder wasn't enough to stop her as she began to read...

10 Ways to Recognize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Oh, God, was this what it was about?  Abby clamped her hand to her mouth as she continued to read.  Was Luka sicker then even she imagined? She found herself looking across to where he slept with even more concern then before, why now, why couldn't things have continued like they were?  She dropped her eyes back to the paper...what were the many had she seen and done nothing about?

[1) Re-experiencing the event through vivid memories or flash backs ] She had no doubt she had seen this.  All those nightmares he'd passed off as nothing...the times she'd caught him staring out a window and seeming unaware of her even being there.  All this time they had been signs that he needed help and she'd failed to see them. Had he even acknowledged them to himself?  She dropped to the next symptom.

[2) Feeling “emotionally numb ] ” Could she consider him this way?  He went through the motions of saying he cared, had it been an act.  All this time had he been pretending to make things better for her?  Luka..please tell me this isn't what you've been doing?  She glanced back at the bed as the plea to him moved through her thoughts.
[3) Feeling overwhelmed by what would normally be considered everyday situations and diminished interest in performing normal tasks or pursuing usual interests ] Was this Luka?  Abby found herself leaning back against the couch...staring at the man she thought she knew and feeling like she was looking at a stranger.  How could she not have seen any of this?  Without thinking she wadded the paper up again and tossed it on the table next to the box...she couldn't do this now.  He needed her and if she knew too much, if she thought too much about the lies he might have told her, she couldn't be there for him.  She shifted her gaze to the ceiling, oh please...I don't want to lose him, what am I supposed to do?

Eyeing the fields as he stood outside the wall he had to force himself to think.  This was a farm, what crops would they have grown?  Was it possible some had been plowed under...that there might be something left for him to find?  Which way?  Where should he go?  The sea...if he got to the sea he could catch a ship..but were there any guarantees that he would find safety even there?  Did it even matter what direction he went?  He brushed his hand back through his hair as his eyes slowly panned the landscape around him, then dropped it as they settled on a short outcropping of trees. 

He had to try...with fresh resolve he moved towards them, keeping his gaze on his feet as he walked through the field.  Nothing, he found his frustration mounting, not a potato...a turnip, not even a wild onion survived, it had been stripped bare like too much of his country.  Out of necessity he stooped and pulled a handful of grass that had taken root, balling the blades he popped them in his mouth.  It was something, maybe he could fool himself into thinking it was more.  As he chewed he started walking again, his gait a shuffling limp as he favored the injured leg. 

How much longer could he do this?  Sleeping by day, existing on next to nothing, he spit the wad of grass out as he walked, the juice only seeming to irritate his throat.  God, please..not something else to worry about, if only the rain would stop, or he could find something warmer to wear.  He found his mind wandering as he tried to find ways to distract himself, anything to keep himself from giving up.  He could be warm in the memories...he could be sleeping under thick blankets wrapped in Danijela's arms.  He could return to the times before rationing when going for food didn't mean risking your life.  He barely noticed the rain as he walked now, his hunger satiated by thick stew and warm buttered bread...if only it could last.

As he crested the rise his vision was down to little more then his hand in front of his face, the worsening rain now joined by a thickening fog brought on by dropping temperatures.  He should stop...should find somewhere to wait it out.  As he stumbled and fell Luka was sent sprawling, a cry of surprise breaking before he could stop it.  Another root...he grabbed his leg...gritting his teeth as he waited for the pain to subside.  As it finally eased he groaned and forced himself up from the muck and to his knees, his eyes searching for the offender.  The cry that broke next was unstoppable...Oh, God, he scrambled back..ignoring the pain of his leg and rocks that tore into him, his eyes locked firmly on the pale hand that now rose from the ground in front of him.

to be continued...

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