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The Journey of Me, Zanna Deen. Chapter Four

We see the hospital before we even hear it. It had at least 10 white tents placed all over the place with a couple doctors and more nurses rushing around everywhere. Dr. Bilgert and another doctor, I believe Dr. Shawl, only make house calls. I could still see, even from way back here, some sick and injured people walking around.

We walk up the little hill to the second white tent with a made bed in the back corner. “You can set her down over there.” Dr. Bilgert said. While Eric sat her down, Dr. Bilgert went to go get his bag and a nurse to help him. He returns with a girl that doesn’t look more than 17. This surprised me. “What do you need, Sir?”

“I need you to go get the book about fractured knees, okay?”
“Yes, sir” and she left.
“So, Heidi, I need you to answer a few questions for me, okay?” he asks.
“Sure,” she replies.
“Okay,” he takes out an ink case and a pen. “I need you to tell me what happened before you fell and after.”
“Lets see, I was walking with a crate of flowers in my hands. I couldn’t see my feet well so I guess that I tripped over something on the ground. When I did fall, my knee hit a stone, I think.” She cringes at the thought.
“Okay,” he’s hurriedly scribbling down what she says. “What did the stone look like? Was it big and round, small and sharp?”
“I think it was big and pointy,” she tries to illustrate it using her hands.

Just the thought of seeing her sitting here, weak and feeble sickens me and so I have to leave. “Excuse me.” I say and hurriedly exit through tents’ flap. I take a deep breath as soon as I’m away from most of the tents. I enjoy the air; it makes me feel great. I wonder around for a while, seeing if I could do anything at all, but not really wanting to. So after a while of playing duck and cover, I walk out of the field of tents to head towards town.

I wonder aimlessly through the towering walls of the homes of the village people. Tan stones piled on top of one another; stone after stone after stone. The windows are high above my head and I see laundry lines strung from window to window with clothes already drying as fast as possible with the evening sun.

At this time of day, which is early evening, people are getting ready for the great festival. This one is to honor our kings’ birthday. His Royal Majesty King Quium. That name may sound funny, but in the past we’ve had funnier. First there was Sulomberg, then Quincy, and also Faloni, which is extremely funny name. But this is our youngest king yet, 19; well, now he’s 20. The others were, like, 40 and 50 when they took the throne.

At the market I find some useful herbs for our food, so I buy some. Then, about after 10 minuets of just random looking, I decide it’s time for me to head back and check up on things. As I head back, I see people hanging up streams of flowers. People are putting flowers in their windows, laying leaves out. All in all, it’s a real festival. The smell of sweets are in the air. A festive thrill hangs around every corner.

People greet me as I walk through the busy streets. “Hey, how’s it going? Are you excited? It’s going to be huge!” I answer back as politely as possible. “Great, I’m thrilled. I know! I can’t wait,” that kind of thing. Kids are racing around, laughing, dogs are barking, parents correcting their kids; it seems like a good night for a festival.

I walk up the hill to the tents. I’m about to enter one of them, but a hand on my shoulder stops me. “Yes?” I ask as I turn around.
It’s Eric. “We can’t go in there,” he says.
“Why?” I ask with concern in my voice.
”Because…” he turns to look down at the town. “Well. Heidi’s decided to keep her leg. The doctor gave her an option. It wasn’t as bad as we thought, but there still is some damage.” He admits, looking at me.
“Okay. What is he going to do then?”
“Well, he’s going to put a brace on and see if that will keep everything straight and in check.” He gives a week smile. “Then we’ll just have to wait and see how it all turns out.”
”Will she be ready for the fire works and the party?” I ask with concern. “I still have to prepare, but I was just curious.”
”Oh, I think she’ll be ready by then. Why don’t you go home and “prepare” then I can bring her home?”
”Um. Okay. That sounds good. I’ll meet you there.” I turn to leave but his voice stops me.
“And don’t forget, Zay. You’re still going with me.”

I turn to look at him, but he’s already walked inside the tent. I turn back around and stalk off down the hill. Past the tall buildings and onto the small path that leads to our houses past some of the prairie fields. As I go up to Heidi's house, I see these kind of animal tracks in the dirt. These were too big to be a dogs or other local animal. Way too big. I glance at the door to check if it's been messed with, but it doesn't appear to have been. So I quietly move to one side and rest a hand on the door. I lay an ear to it, listening hard. There is no noise or movement that I could detect so I gently push the door open. Inside is the same as I left it, the stew forgotten and cold on the stove, the bits and pieces of hide and food were still on the table and ground. The stools that Heidi and the doctor sat on were still in its' place. Nothing seemed wrong.

Quickly and quietly I rush in, heading for the knives that were on the counter. I grabbed a few and went up the stairs to my room. In here I had my belt, bow and arrows, my basket, and my dagger. I thought about reading my bow, but that would take to long to sling it than to throw, so I took my belt and tied it around my waist. I stuck the knives and dagger in the belt and looked around for anything else usable. Nothing.

So I make my way down the stairs again to the kitchen. I check around again one last time before I turn to the soup. My heart was beating wildly. To distract myself, I relight the fire under neath the stew then go back outside to look around. I go back to the tracks and check them out, looking closely. They were wide, about both of my hands spread apart, thumbs touching. It had claws that were sharp and very long, almost as long as two fingers, but not nearly as wide.

This worries me a great deal so I go back inside, deciding that is the safest place for now. I sit down on a stool, watching the stew. I rock back and forth, pulling my knees up to rest my chin on them. Suddenly, I remember that it should have something else to go with it so I force myself to get up and start making some bread. As I make it, I start to worry how long until Heidi is ready to return home. And I'm not looking forward for tonight. Maybe it'll be okay. Just Eric and me. Maybe, but I really doubt it. Just the thought of it has me chewing on the inside of my cheek.

I hear talking going on outside the door, so I go over to investigate. Opening the door, I see Heidi leaning on Eric. Eric is the one who's talking; worrying about if she's alright, any pain, need to rest and so on. Heidi doesn't seem to good. She's pale and a light sheen of sweat on her forehead. I hurry out to help them. Heidi tries to smile at me but just grimaces.

"Are you alright?" I say, concerned.
"I'm great." she says a little breathlessly.
"Why aren't you carrying her?" I demanded of Eric.
"She didn't want me to. She said that me carrying her made her dizzy and she also insisted that I let her walk. So I did. Don't get mad at me." He says a little defensively.
"Is that true?" I ask Heidi.
"Yeah." She says with just a breath of air.
"Okay, now it's time for you to be carried." I look pointedly at Eric. "Carry her." I say.
He looks to Heidi. "Are you okay with this?"
She sighs. "I guess."

Eric lifts her up into his arms, almost effortlessly. We head back to the house. I open the door for them and he sets her on a stool. "Would it be better if she was in her bed, resting?" Asked Eric.
"Yeah, that would be best."

Eric picks her up again and ascends the steps to head for the door to their right. I hurry before them to open the door, again. After he steps in, I go to the bed and pull back the covers. Eric lays her on the bed. Then I fold the covers back over her.

"How do you feel?" I ask.
"Fine." She sighs, sinking deeper in to the mattress.
I push Eric towards the door, making it clear that we need to leave. "Do you need anything?"
"No, thank you." She says.
"If you change your mind, we'll be down stairs."

We head back down stairs and I check on the stew. It was almost ready and so was the bread. I put that in the oven. Eric sat down on the stool closest to me. I look at him and see him read the distress and worry in my eyes. He quickly pulls me against him and rocks me back and forth.

"Do you think she'll really be okay?" I asked, worried.
"Yes. The doctor said that it was nothing serious. Don't worry, Zanna." He comforts.
"But what if it doesn't get better?"
"It will. Now stop worrying. Okay?"
"Okay."
I pull away and look at him. "Seriously, Zanna, she's going to be okay." He says. I just nod my head. "By the way, what's up with the knives?" he asks, eying my daggers.
"Nothing. I just saw some Dragon prints outside and started being overly cautious." I smiled weakly. "Hungry?" I asked as I went to the counter.
"Yeah. Starved." He replied
I got three spoons and three bowls from the stack and went back to the stew. I gave a few spoonfuls for each bowl. I gave one to Eric, who started to eat right away, and sat one down on the table for later. I head up the stairs, heading for Heidi's room, before I remembered that I still had on my belt. So I go upstairs, heading for Heidi's room. I suddenly remember the dagger and knives on me, so I make a spur of the moment decision to go to my room and change. I get into my room and set down the bowl on the side table before I unlatched the clasp and set it on the bed. I then take the soup off the table and head across the hallway for Heidi's room. I knock quietly, waiting for a signal to come in.

"Come in." I heard Heidi say.
"Hey, Heidi. Feeling any better?" I ask as I set the bowl of soup on her side table. She nods her head and started to sit up. I quickly lay my hand on her back and helped her up. I gave over her bowl of soup. She nodded her head in appreciation. I sat back down again on the side of the bed, watching her eat. "How do you feel?" I asked when she finished.
"I feel fine. My knee is bothering me a little." She said as she reached down to rub her knee. "But the brace will take some getting use to."
"You okay? Nothing else bothering you?" I asked again.
"Nope." She reaches over to take my hand and gives it a genital squeeze. "Don't worry about me, Zanna. I'm sure Eric has told you that plenty of times." She jokes.
"Yep." I say while smiling, but it doesn't last long. "But who'll take care of you when Eric and I leave for the festival?" I ask, worried again.
"Joe will be here to take care of me. Don't worry, all right? Besides, when is he getting here, anyways?"
"Eric said that he would get her before we leave which shouldn't be long."
"Then don't worry about me! I'll be fine and well taken care of, okay? Promise me you'll have a good time." She says.
I sigh a little and roll my eyes, "If it makes you happy, I promise."
"Then go and have fun, for me. I'll see you soon, then.
"Okay," I say as I leave. I leave the door a jar, just in case.
I go back down stairs and to the table. I start to eat my stew when Eric asks, "She alright?"
"Yep. Fit as a fiddle."
"Nothing wrong?"
"Nope. Nothing."
"Okay, then."
I finish my stew then take Eric's and my bowl to the tub and wash out our bowls. Scrub them and then set them upside down to dry. I lean against the counter thinking about random stuff when I suddenly remembered my belt, and the security it made me feel when I wore it. "I'll be back." I say as I head for the stairs.
"Right," I hear him mutter as I pass him. I get to my room and refasten my belt onto my waist. I remember seeing the clouds in the distance which means it'll probably be cold tonight. So I locate the closet in the back of the room and I dig around a little bit until I find a long midnight blue cloak. I keep digging until I find a similar one.

I walk down the stairs and hand one to Eric. He looks at it curiously then at me. "What's this for?" He asks as he shakes it out.
"I was just thinking ahead. I saw it might get colder tonight." I say as I go towards the knife rack and place two of the three knives back. "I guess all that there's left to do is wait for Joe to come home." For some reason I was very excited for tonight. "Have you checked outside for him yet?" I ask, growing a little impatient.
Eric picked up on my 'excited' mood. "No, I haven't yet, but would you like me to?" He asks as he stands up, fastening the clip together, from the cloak, at the base of the throat. "I could if you really want me to." He smiles at me uncertainly.
I return his smile. "If you want to. I won't object." I get the fleeting impression that I might be leading him on, which isn't good. But for some reason, I didn't really care.
"Okay" He says as he heads for the door. He ducks outside as I wait inside for him to return. I think of Joe and fix him a bowl of soup. Next I clasp on my cloak. Not more than 7 minutes later, he comes back in, smiling. Joe is trailing behind him.
"Hey Joe. How was your day?" I ask politely. "Wasn't too hard, I hope."
"No. Very pleasant, actually." He says smiling. "Where's Heidi?" he asked. "I want to see her."
"She's resting upstairs." Eric says. He seemed very eager to be on our way.
"I'll take over from here, then. You two go have fun at the festival."
"Thank you, Joe. I hope you have a nice time with Heidi." I said as I walked over to Eric.
"Now we shall be on our way." Eric says. He drapes an arm over my shoulders, and leads me out the door, towards the town. First there was a parade, which the king would be carried through, then it would lead out onto the fields. That was where the fireworks would start. Here and there I could see the blaze of a torch, being lit. Lights were also sparking up at the edge of town. The town was too crowded for all the fireworks and they had these safety hazards, so they have to move it to the fields and planes.

"Well." Says Eric. "Let's have ourselves a good time, okay?" He asks as he looks down at me.
"I don't see any objection to that." I say as I look up to him. Our faces are really close, now that we're both looking at each other. I can even feel his breath fan out around my face. He tries to hold my gaze for a while, but embarrassment washes through my body, making me blush. I turn my head away, looking at the wondrous early bird fireworks going off in the sky. The passing people's faces were lit up with the color of the white rockets. Apparently tonight is going to be spectacular.





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