Friday, April 9, 2010

Chapter 11 - CRUTCHES

A touch on my tender face woke me next, but everything was tender, I just wasn’t prepared. A gentle finger lifted my eyelid and a bright light flashed into my eye. I threw my face away from the light and almost succeeded in getting my arm over my face as well.

“Well, at least we know you’re not blind,” said the man with the light. “Relax, the lights are out. Open your eyes. Tell me what you can see.”

I considered my condition. I felt a lot better, not great by any means, but better enough to appreciate it. I slowly opened my eyes. There was a small amount of light coming from the door, but I could see all right. He brought the light in the room up slowly, but my eyes were still very tender and I had to stop him before he got much further. I closed my eyes anyway; they felt like balls of granite in my head.

“You’ve done a lot of healing in the last few days,” the man said, as he continued with his examination. “You are a very lucky young man. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone who survived a PTS boost without being frozen. I think we’ll have you on your feet in a couple more days, though it’ll be about three months before you can get rid of the crutches.” He pulled my blankets down and started prodding me in the belly.

“Crutches?” I grunted. My stomach still felt much abused, but perhaps that Clydesdale was really only a crotchety old billy goat after all.

“The gravitational forces have dislocated several bones in your feet, and there are some pulled and torn tendons in there too. We’ve reconstructed them, but you shouldn’t be putting any weight on them for quite a while; the hands and the feet are both very delicate mechanisms.” He pulled my blankets up and checked my IV bottle. “This is almost empty. How would you like to try some solid food? I bet you’re pretty tired of a liquid diet.”

“Yes, please.” I found myself gushing at the idea. I was starving, again.

“All right, I’ll go on down to the mess hall and see what I can rustle up for you. By the time I get back, that should be finished and we’ll take it away.”

The food he brought me was a good start; it took the edge off my ravenous hunger, but it was far from satisfying.

A couple hours later, having heard that I was awake and my bandages were off and that I wasn’t blind, my mom came in with a couple magazines she thought I might be interested in.

“Mom,” I greeted. I couldn’t sit up or give her a hug yet, but I touched her cheek when she bent down to kiss me on mine. I glanced at the magazines while she cranked my bed up a bit, though focusing on them brought tears to my eyes. “Thanks mom. Say mom, could you do me a favor? Would you get me something to eat? I’m starved.”

Mom beamed at me and dabbed at my tears. It was the first time I had actually seen it. A big grin came across her face and she actually lit up. Her boy was hungry. Everything was right in her world. She couldn’t be happier.

What she came back with wasn’t up to her usual standards, but it went a long way toward taking another edge off my hunger. If I could con a couple more people into getting me something to eat, I might actually get full.

Dad came in a little while after mom left, and sure enough, he went and got me some cold meats and some chunks of cheese. Dad didn’t cook; it’s probably why he married mom. She wouldn’t let him cook and he was perfectly happy to let her do it for him.

He was also willing to tell me what little he had learned about what had happened. “Apparently something went wrong with your cryo-pod. The ship’s mechanic has it all broke down; he’s trying to find out what exactly went wrong. They can’t have that happening very often, its bad for business. The captain assured me that they’d had a clean record until now. He’s even comping me the cost of this trip because of it.”

“Did you get your report sent?” I asked. I wiped at more tears with the corner of my sheet. The granite balls in my head gouged out whole waterfalls every time I moved them.

“No, I haven’t yet. I’ve been too worried about you. I need to get it out, though. I’m not too sure how good the communications are in the asteroid belt.”

An orderly came in a few minutes after dad left to check the various instruments still attached to me, and so, what the heck, I tried again. Bless this crew - if I could convince every person who came in here to bring me something to eat, I might survive after all. Then I remembered what Durmas had said to me. ‘It will tax you to the limit and the best way to replace that burned up energy is sleep, food and sleep.’ That was a very sobering thought. I had been using my magic - a lot of it. All the pieces suddenly fell into place and goosebumps washed over my entire body. There was nothing wrong with the cryo-pod. Durmas had also said that I had a very good instinct. I hadn’t understood what he meant at the time, but now I thought I did.

I was dressed in the heavy leathers at the time, and I should have been hot, hotter than the others, but I wasn’t. I had instinctively managed to cool my body down.

Faced with freezing, I had managed to heat my body up. I thought a little deeper into the subject while I ate my third lunch. I had used Fire Magic to do that. Durmas had told me that changing the temperature of something drew on Fire Magic. Air Magic: I must have used Air Magic to satisfy my need for air when I couldn’t breathe - maybe that was too simple, but I never felt as though I was suffocating. I just couldn’t get a satisfying expansion in my cramped and sore lungs. That left Earth and Water Magic. Durmas said that making food drew primarily on Earth Magic. The food had included meat, and if you get right down to it, my body is made out of meat, meat and bones, so I must have drawn on Earth Magic to keep me from being flattened, and the instinct was to preserve my core, hence my feet being neglected. Water Magic: my strongest according to Durmas. Maybe I used that to keep my blood flowing, who knows. No wonder I’ve been so hungry. I’ve been burning up a lot of magic, and sleeping a lot too. In fact, I’m still burning a lot of magic. The doctor said that I was doing a lot of healing.

I looked at one of the magazines mom had brought me. I was tempted to turn them into something else I could eat, since I couldn’t stand to read them, but I resisted the urge. If what I suspected was true, I was burning enough magic at the moment. I had a lot to think about, and a crewman was just walking through the door with supper.

"No, I haven't yet. I've been too worried about you. I need to get it out, though. I'm not too sure how good the communications are in the asteroid belt."

An orderly came in a few minutes after dad left to check the various instruments that were still attached to me, and so, what the heck, I tried again. Bless this crew - if I could convince every person who came in here to bring me something to eat, I might survive after all. Then I remembered what Durmas had said to me. 'It will tax you to the limit and the best way to replace that burned up energy is sleep, food and sleep.' That was a very sobering thought. I had been using my magic - a lot of it. All the pieces suddenly fell into place and goosebumps washed over my entire body. There was nothing wrong with the cryo-pod. Durmas had also said that I had a very good instinct. I hadn't understood what he had meant at the time, but now I thought I did.

I was dressed in heavy leathers at the time, and I should have been hot, hotter than the others were, but I wasn't. I had instinctively managed to cool my body down.

Faced with freezing, I had managed to heat my body up. I thought a little deeper into the subject while I ate my third lunch. I had used Fire Magic to do that. Durmas had told me that changing temperature of something drew on Fire Magic. Air Magic: I must have used Air Magic to satisfy my need for air when I couldn't breathe - maybe that was too simple, but I never felt as though I was suffocating. I just couldn't get a satisfying expansion in my cramped and sore lungs. That left Earth and Water Magic. Durmas said that making food drew primarily on Earth Magic. The food had included meat, and if you get right down to it, my body is made out of meat, meat and bones, so I must have drawn on Earth Magic to keep me from being flattened, and the instinct was to preserve my core, hence my feet being neglected. Water Magic: my strongest according to Durmas. Maybe I used that to keep my blood flowing, who knows. No wonder I've been so hungry. I've been burning up a lot of magic, and sleeping a lot too. In fact, I'm still burning a lot of magic. The doctor said that I was doing a lot of healing.

I looked at one of the magazines mom had brought me. I was tempted to turn them into something else I could eat, since I couldn't stand to read them, but I resisted the urge. If what I suspected was true, I was burning enough magic at the moment. I had a lot to think about, and a crewman was just walking through the door with supper.

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