Thursday, 8 October 2009 - 11:42 pm

Cut off

The infirmary is still full. Many of the injured have been sent back to the dorms to rest and heal – mostly those with minor injuries or broken bones. Those with open wounds are kept close because of the risk of infection.

We’re getting low on supplies. We used a lot of clean bandages yesterday, enough that I was shocked when I went to the storeroom today. There are stacks of soiled ones but no way to get them clean enough to reuse. There’s little chance of getting any more.

I told Simon that we needed to get enough water to start boiling some clean and he grumbled at me; it’s a battle he’s had before. I would offer to help, but I think I’ve used up any credits I might have had here. All I can do is hope that Simon manages to win the argument this time.

The fella who lost his arm – Clancy – has been doped up since he got into the infirmary. He moans about the pain even through the haze of drugs and we had to tie his remaining hand down so that he wouldn’t reach over and mess with his dressings. He doesn’t understand what he’s lost yet. A part of me wonders if it would be better to bring him off the painkillers so that he has a chance to realise what’s happened and come to terms with it. I can’t tell which would be worse torture for him.

The acid didn’t touch Clancy anywhere except his arm and Simon took off all the flesh and bone that was affected by it. Now I wonder if removing the arm might have been the best thing to save Clancy’s life in the long run. If the burn is gone, will that stop the poison from seeping into his system, and stop him from getting the Sickness? Is that one way to get away from it? It’s not something I’m eager to test. It takes months for the Sickness to develop, so we won’t know for some time, and he has to make it through this first.

It’s not looking good for him. Simon’s got that grim tautness about him whenever he goes to check on Clancy’s dressings, the one he has when he thinks things are really bad. He’s not a trained surgeon – he told me that he had learned all that stuff ‘in the field’. He’s done everything he knows how to do, but he doesn’t think it’ll be enough. There’s too much bleeding and the risk of infection is so high here. His chances aren’t good.


I can’t help but think of Matt when that comes up. How bad it got, and how lucky he was. How lucky I was that I didn’t lose him. It makes my throat clench and I want to find a way to stop it. I just don’t know how.

Matt feels the same. He can’t stand to be around the injured when dressings are being checked or changed, or when Simon or Peter or I talk about the dangers. I managed to catch up with him between rounds, and he looked so torn. He doesn’t want to watch someone else get sick like he did; it scares him, knowing how close he got. But he doesn’t want to leave, either, and go back to the dorms like cutouts want him to. At first I thought it was because of the Sharks, but it wasn’t. He thinks the cutouts will try to keep him away from the infirmary, away from me. He’s probably right.

There wasn’t anything I could say. It’s ridiculous that we can both be here in Haven and never see each other, but it’s true. The Seekers I see the most are the hurt ones. I had just got used to seeing him every day, used to having that one warm spot in this place. Now it was going away and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

So I kissed him. I don’t know what part of my brain prompted me to do it – it happened in a rush, but it didn’t stop nearly as quickly as it started. It was one of those kisses that gets away from you, all caught up in itself. When it was done, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves, so we just stood there, leaning on each other.

I was called away before either of us figured out what to say. A short while later, he headed back to the dorms on his crutch, escorted by a grumpy cutout. We had time for a short farewell – a word, a wave, that’s all.

Now I remember that morning last year, all those months ago, when I woke up in his bed. I felt this way then, wondering if I’d done something stupid and ruined the good thing we had. Wondering if was a horrible mistake.

This time, I really hope it isn’t.