Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Healing 24/30

Chapter  24

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

Ingrid's own fear and sense of helplessness escalated as she watched Luka do battle with the nightmares that held him captive.  Where was Martin?  She'd lost count of how many times she had walked to the bedroom door, hoping to hear the sound of him returning downstairs.  After the first failed attempt at untangling the covers that were twisted around Luka, she'd decided not to try again and instead she could only watch as he struggled in vain to free himself.  She'd given up her efforts to console him with words as well, whatever he was reliving apparently too strong for her reassurances to reach him. All that remained for her to do was the one thing that was the most difficult, nothing.

At the sound of the door opening downstairs Ingrid tore herself away from her vigil and went to the top of the staircase.  "Martin?" 

"Yes, I'm sorry it took me so long, traffic was terrible."  The doctor offered the apology as he made his way up the stairs to join his wife.  "I brought..."  He paused in mid-sentence as he saw the concern on his wife's face.  "Ingrid, what's wrong?" 

"You were right about the nightmares."  She paused then began again.  "Martin, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that if I touched him it would make things worse, but he was struggling..he'd gotten the blanket twisted."  The woman's voice carried traces of her own fear and helplessness until her husband silenced her.

"Shh, it's all right, you couldn't have known."  He reassured the woman before handing the small bag he carried to her.  "I'm sorry I couldn't tell you more."  Drawing her into his arms he held her a moment before kissing her.  "Thank you for staying with him."  He kissed her a second time then released her.  "I'll go check on him."

Ingrid nodded as her husband drew away.  "I'll go and finish dinner."  Even as she said it she knew it was the last thing she wanted to do, but she knew too, that she had to stay busy lest her concern overwhelm her.  "You'll call me if I can do anything else?"

"Of course."  Martin smiled at his wife, clearly reading the unspoken in her words.  "He'll be all right." 

Turning from his wife, the doctor entered the darkened room then slowly approached the bed.  She'd not exaggerated his restlessness and what bedding hadn't fallen to the floor were twisted around him as if they were meant to restrain him.  His breathing came ragged, whatever he was reliving drawing what little strength he had from him.

"Luka..."  He spoke the man's name softly as he took a seat on the edge of the bed, unsure if he would hear him.  "Luka, it's just a dream." 

The force of the push from the man behind him was strong enough to send him facedown into the dirt and for a moment Luka did nothing but lay there, the strength to again pull himself to his knees gone.  When several minutes passed without the screaming he'd grown used to, he pushed himself back up...what was different?  They'd left him alone again...he squinted into the sun as he watched them load the dead into one of the trucks, only to see them force Chance and her mother in on top of them as well.  "No!"  The scream was his this time, and just as suddenly he felt the blow meant to silence him before the hands began pulling on him, forcing him to his feet, only to have to support him as they gave way beneath him. 

"Luka, you're safe...it's all right."  Dr. Johannesson eased the bedding loose, hoping the freedom of the simple act might be enough to calm his patient.

They were going to kill him...kill all of them.  His stomach rolled as the smell of death assaulted his senses, then just as quickly it became part of him as he was tossed carelessly on top of those who had already been killed.  They were going to die..all of them.  He found a comfort in the simplicity of it, all that they had been through and this was the end result.  Despite the heat of the day he found himself shivering again and his rational mind told him that the malaria was worsening.  An unfamiliar laugh broke at the thought, was that what would kill him?  After all of this...he would die from a mosquito?  It could be so easy, he could simply go to sleep and it would be over.  None of the rest mattered now, not the fact that he was lying on the bodies of those who had already met their deaths.  Not the knowledge that Chance and her mother might very likely meet a fate worse then his.  All that mattered now was that he was so terribly tired and he was finally being allowed to sleep.

"Luka...shh, it's only a dream."  The doctor repeated the words until the man's breathing had finally quieted and he seemed to have entered a more restful sleep.  They had only touched the surface during his session, but it had been enough to stir the fears he had obviously held inside since his ordeal began.  It had been enough to unlock the memories that he had suppressed in order to go on.  "Shh...sleep now, you're safe here."  He whispered the reassurances quietly hoping the words would reach the young man wherever he was.  As difficult as the session had been, and as painful as the memories uncovered were, it was only the beginning, he was sure of that.  It was with that same certainty that he knew the young doctor had come to him with a deeper purpose, and it was only time that would reveal what that was.

to be continued...

No comments: