Break in, Part four
and the final part of the chapter. seriously, when i got my brief, i wasnt expecting this to turn out to be such an epic. it seems to have evolved as i wrote it.
I dont know how disjointed all four parts will be because i wrote them over a long period of time and, foolishly, didnt read the previous part before going onto the next.
I think that i have also evolved somewhat. im getting the hang of writing and even though i coud *REALLY* do with going on a course in english and basic grammar, i think that i have gotten a tiny bit better (or even just focussed).
anyway. i think that feedback is essential for this - i dont know if i have gotten tenses, or "possesives" mixed up (im not even sure how to tell one from the other, to be honest) so please... tell me what you think.
The blackness seemed infinite, absolute it seemed to stretch for eternity, for ever. The blow to the head had shut the caretakers mind down, and it seemed very reluctant to surface back into the world of conscious thought. His body, although damaged was not in mortal danger, and it busied itself in the routine tasks of healing and recuperation. His mind, however, had taken more than physical damage. Without the self protecting walls of his denial, the reality of the situation of the world and the realisation of what he had done was laid bare before him. He had faced many personal demons before, but the culture shock and the fact that he had released his rage, a rage that was willing maim and possibly even kill was almost too much to tolerate. If he came out of this darkness, he would bear scars, both on his body and in his soul.
As he spun and drifted through the limbo of a semi-coma, the deepest parts of his mind tried to come to terms with the situation, re-evaluating what must be done, trying to find balance and acceptance. The caretaker was fighting for his sanity…..
His first conscious memory was the sound of blood roaring in his ears. He was still adrift and spinning in the darkness, but surfacing fast. Lying completely still and unmoving, his awakening senses investigated the condition of his body. His chest felt tight and restricted, each shallow breath caused discomfort and if he breathed deeper a short sharp pain lanced in his side. The back of his head, where the rock had hit, was very tender and seemed to be the cause of a nauseating headache. His throat was parched as if liquid hadn’t passed that way for some time. The rest of his body felt bruised and battered and it felt like there was no part of him that didn’t ache. The evaluation over, his senses explored his surroundings
With his eyes still shut, the caretaker concluded that he was on a bed, in a quiet room. He thought that it must be daytime because he felt sunlight on his battered face, and light was shining redly through his lids. His awareness was sharpening now and he could sense that someone was close, possibly leaning over him. A shiver of fear ran up his spine as he realised that his weakened state had made him venerable. Gathering himself, he finally opened his eyes…
… And he found himself looking directly into the worried brown eyes of the Librarian.
“Are you ok?” the librarian asked with a concerned frown.
The caretaker tried to reply, but only a strangled croak came from his parched throat. Quickly, the librarian turned and fumbled with something out of the caretakers view. Turning back round he gently cradled the back of the caretakers head with one hand. The caretaker could feel some padding there. Evidently someone had bandaged his head. The reason for the librarian’s actions became obvious as a glass of water loomed into the caretakers periphery.
“Sip slowly” the librarian gently said.
As he gratefully swallowed the cool water, the caretaker wondered how long he had been unconscious since the fight. The fight! He flinched uncontrollably as his memories flooded back with intense clarity. His sudden movement caused extreme pain in his chest, causing him to cry out loud.
“Calm, caretaker! Don’t move so much. You have been hurt” The librarian got up off the bedside chair that he was sitting on, leaned over the caretaker and put his hands on the caretakers shoulders, trying to still him.
Dizzy and in pain, the caretaker managed “hurt? Where?”
The librarian sat back down and calmly reached down beside his chair. He picked up a book and opened it at a bookmarked section. The caretaker’s nausea and dizziness made it hard for him to focus on the title. “Starting from the top,” The librarian began, “you took some, err...” He flipped the page and scanned it for a moment before continuing; “...blunt force trauma to the... um... occipital bone”. Before the caretaker could digest the information, the librarian reached down for a second book and opened it at another bookmarked section.
“As well as having multiple minor facial lesions and bruising,” the librarian quoted, “the impact of the length of wood to your ...err…” he took another glance at the book “…thoratic cage might have caused a disruption, or fracture, of one of your ribs. It probably has also caused some bruising to some of your costal cartilages”.
There was a brief silence as the caretaker regarded the enthused Librarian with a long blank stare. Never a good patient, especially when in pain, the caretakers tone was irritable “what the hell are you talking about?”
The librarians reaction to the gruff tone was startling. He broke eye contact, fidgeted and looked very uncomfortable.
“Um... well... you see...err…” the librarian shot a panicked glance at his pile of books, as if they would help him.
The caretaker suddenly realized that just before, when he was reading from his books, the librarian became confident and able to communicate. Without them he reverts to being timid and uncomfortable he uses his books like a shield, thought the caretaker, they are his defenses against the world.
Trying to soften his tone, the caretaker said “I’m sorry, librarian, I do not fully understand. Id like all that in plain English”
“Oh!” exclaimed the librarian. “Um... well. You have” as his eyes flicked towards his pile of books again, the caretaker finally focused in on them and realized that they were a selection of first aid manuals, books on anatomy, and some medical journals. He saw the librarian struggle within himself, then take a deep breath and blurted out.
“You have a bump on the back of your head, some bruises and scratches on your face, you have bruising on your chest, and I think one of your ribs might be cracked…um”.
The news dizzied the caretaker. He could almost feel the emotional lurch as yet another part of his sanity was slightly eroded. The librarian mistook the look on the caretakers face as one of physical pain.
“Don’t worry, though” consoled the librarian “the discomfort shouldn’t last too long and I don’t think you have got serious concussion”.
The caretaker took as deep a breath as possible and, ignoring the sharp pain in his side, he tried to rally his thoughts. “Concussed?”, he thought “is that why I’m feeling so weird?” the answer eluded the distressed caretaker.
“Um...” murmered the Librarian “Balthazar is alright too”
“Who?” said the caretaker, Confused.
“Err... Balthazar. The young kid that we were trying to get to safety”
“You were trying, you mean”. Once again the caretaker noticed the librarians lack of self. “He is a hero and does not even know it”.
The caretakers thoughts were spinning crazily. Trying to focus on the situation was becoming harder. “Either I am going mad, or this concussion is messing with my head”.
Weakly, the caretaker replied “that’s good news, librarian” a sudden thought “but what about the other people? They were after our food!” he cried.
Shifting uncomfortably again, the librarian responded “relax, Caretaker. While you were fighting them, the older kids charged and beat them back far enough for you to be pulled to safety”
Trying to pin the librarians shifting eyes with his own, the caretaker thought “that’s not the whole truth. There is something that you are not telling me”.
“And……?” queried the caretaker carefully.
Unable to withstand the caretakers gaze the librarian cried “We tried to keep them back. They followed us into the school!”
Alarmed, the caretakers world spun again “tell me!” he whispered hoarsely “what happened? My god, are they still here?”
“No. It’s ok. They left hours ago”
“Hours? How long have I been out for?” before the caretaker could pursue that thought, the librarian continued.
“We locked ourselves in the west wing. The younger kids took Balthazar and you to the library and the older ones went to get their weapons”
It was getting too much for the caretaker. He was starting to fade, his mind was shutting down. “Weapons?” he mumbled “what weapons”.
“Don’t you remember? The librarian asked “they made catapults and slingshots a few days ago” the caretaker just grunted, so the librarian continued. “They fought them, caretaker! They managed to chase off the attackers and secure the school! So, you see, we are safe now. Everybody is safe”.
“And the food?” was the caretakers only response.
The librarian squirmed and looked distressed. He took a deep breath and said carefully.
“I didn’t want to alarm you. You are still very poorly after the fight…. I’m sorry, caretaker, so sorry, but before we could stop them, they managed to steal all our food!”
The last thing the caretaker saw before oblivion took him again was the distressed librarian wringing his hands and looking very small and frightened….