Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Healing 23/30

Chapter  23

A follow-up to the Congo arc, this story interweaves with the actually aired episodes

With Luka tucked safely into bed, Martin Johannesson made his way back downstairs and into the kitchen where he knew his wife would still be.  As he entered, she turned from the counter she was working at, her dinner preparations abandoned.

"How did it go?"  The woman filled a cup from the kettle that sat on the stove and carried it over to the table with her question.

"Ingrid...you know I can't tell you how his session went."  The man walked over to his wife as he spoke.  "I persuaded him to stay the night though, I don't think he should be home alone."  He placed a hand on each of his wife's forearms.  "I'm going to go over to his apartment and pick up some fresh clothes for him, I'd like you to sit with him while I'm gone, can you do that?"

"Of course."  Ingrid's expression had settled into one of concern, the request unusual for her husband.  "What if he wakes up?" 

"I'm not sure he will, but if he does he may not know where he is.  I fully expect him to have nightmares tonight, and I don't want to take the chance of him being by himself when that happens."  The doctor paused, not wanting to betray patient confidentiality while at the same time wanting to prepare the woman for what she might encounter.  "Ingrid, I'm sorry I can't tell you about what we discussed."

"I understand...but what should I do if he does wake up before you get back?  The woman repeated her question, then watched her husband with the eyes of one who had been married for over 50 years.  He was worried, she could see it on his face, hear it in his voice, whatever he had heard in the young doctor's session had affected him in ways his other patients hadn't.

"Stay with him, try to reassure him...he may be terrified."  He stopped, afraid he had already said too much.

"It'll be all right, Martin."  Ingrid smiled at her husband before kissing him.  "You should go, we'll be fine."

The older man returned the kiss, then released his wife.  "If you need me, call my cell, I'll try not to be too long."

"I will."  As her husband left the kitchen, Mrs. Johannesson turned the pots on the stove as well as the oven off, dinner could wait, the man upstairs could not.

The next thirtyminutes seemed to be the longest of her life, she'd told her husband she would be all right, now she wasn't so sure.  If she had thought the fever had made Luka restless the night before, it was nothing compared with what he seemed to be going through now.  Whatever had been discussed in his session seemied to have unleashed demons she could only imagine.  As he struggled to free himself of the bedding that was tangled around him it became more then she could watch.  Rising, the woman moved closer, unsure of whether she should intervene, but unable not to.  "Shh, Luka... it's all right."  Without thinking she reached out to free him of the blankets only to draw her hand back as he jerked back in terror.

"No."  His eyes flew open with the cry.

"Luka...it's all right."  She repeated the reassurance, though she wondered if he even heard her.  His breathing had quickened with the fear and whatever he was seeing seemed to have caught him fully in it's hold.  What had happened to him?  Ingrid found her own fear rising the longer she watched the young man in front of her.  Where was Martin?

He'd fallen asleep the moment he had laid his head on the pillow and almost as quickly the dreams had begun...he hadn't realized the rebels were even at the clinic until they stopped.  He only wanted to tell them what they were....he groaned as he felt the man's blow strike, the pain as real as when it had originally happened.  He could taste the dirt in his mouth as he lay there...and then the hands were on him...pulling at him...the voices screaming as they yanked him roughly to his feet, then numbness as they wrapped the electrical cords around his wrists.  He could hear Chance's screams...oh, God..don't let them hurt her.  She's just a little girl.  His breathing came more quickly, panic rising faster then he could control it...and always the voices screaming....why couldn't they stop screaming?  He couldn't breathe.  Luka fought against the bedding that held him, seeing it as something other then what it was and unable to free himself from it's hold.  "No."  He jerked back as they grabbed for him again, his eyes open even in sleep.  If only they weren't always screaming....

"Luka...listen to me, Luka...it's only a dream...you're safe."  Ingrid's voice trembled as she tried to reassure the man in front of her all the whilewishing her husband would return.  What was she supposed to do?  Martin had been right, whatever he was seeing had him terrified, she couldn't just stand there doing nothing, but how was she to know what he needed?  Against her better judgment the woman retook her seat, if she were closer to his eye level, maybe that would make things easier for him.  "Luka...you're safe here...nothing can hurt you."  It seemed like so little, yet it seemed to be helping.  She repeated the phrase over and over even after his breathing had slowed and he drifted back to sleep, afraid that if she stopped he would wake yet again. 

to be continued...

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