Author’s Note: This is a concluding piece to my Three Word Wednesday post ‘Burden’, the link of which can be found above.
She clawed her way along the road, trying to catch the bottle of water that laid in front of her. Even though it was a bitterly cold night her brow prickled with sweat, her clothes drenched under the armpits. Her ruined ankle throbbed with pain, delivering a random stab of sharp agony every once in a while. Still, with struggling motions, she managed to wrap one trembling hand around the bottle.
It contained no relief though, the water coming out as a thick gel-like substance that did nothing to slake her terrible thirst. Her jaw worked over the mulch in her mouth in some vain attempt to draw sustenance from it. She had lost count of how long she had been out on the road, the growing pain and fever keeping her from any sleep.
She had no idea when the monster came, only knowing that it did. A harsh, prolonged growl that drew closer and closer with an accompanying rumble in the ground. Weakly she tried to struggle away, even as the beast cast its shadow over her prone form. Arms lashed out to attack her, pulling her this way and that as she thrashed, crying from the agony of their assault. As the beast sunk its fangs into her neck, she felt the vision fade from her eyes as she fell into oblivion.
“Easy…” A voice said softly as white light filled her view. “You’ve been unconscious for a while.”
She tried to speak, but her throat was parched. A plastic rim was put to her lips, hands guiding her head into little sips of cool, crisp water. “Don’t overdo it, we’ve had you on IV fluids but…”
“Who-” She managed to get out before spluttering, her lungs aching.
“I’m Doctor Monroe, of the Remnant Armed Forces Organization.” The woman replied. “One of our patrols found you on the road and brought you to our base here at Marham.”
“Janet.” She stated, taking another sip of water before cracking a small smile, her chapped lips aching from the movements of her mouth. She still found the will to mouth ‘Thank you’ though.
“Well, we were calling you Jane Doe, so we were close. It’s very nice to meet you Janet.” Doctor Monroe smiled, before her face fell. “What can you remember about what happened to you?”
“My ankle… broke it.”
“Well,” Doctor Monroe said, pausing before continuing. “Your ankle had become infected, which was causing the fever and delirium you were brought in with. Unfortunately, we were unable to treat that infection and had to amputate.”
A rush of emotions played across Janet’s mind, easily visible on her face. Tears welled in her eyes, but the one question she could ask came quietly from her lips. “No other way?”
“No other way.” Doctor Monroe said with a shake of her head. “It was that, or death. The pandemic cost us so much in the way of resources and expertise, we’re fortunate enough to have what we have on the base.”
She tried to push herself up, but her arms were weak and her head span from the effort. As she collapsed back on the pillow, Doctor Monroe was up and looking over her. “Just rest for now, there’ll be time to get you up and about on crutches later. For now though? You’re in safe hands.”