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Subject: Chapter 313 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Monday, November 12, 07:00:02am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Chapter 307 - Part 1 (16 and above)" on Monday, October 22, 07:10:11am

Extra warning: There are some mild curse words and unpleasant moments here. Sorry! I'll rate it 16 and above, just to be safe.

Dreams in the Dark (313/318)
by Katherine Gilbert

He couldn't make any sense of it, the images fuzzy, confused. Green valleys would give way to terrible, daunting mountains--the relative safety of familiar company suddenly replaced by the baying of dogs, or questioning at gunpoint. One scene followed another, like a Hollywood studio's vision of time lapsing; he smiled wearily. At least there weren't pages flying off a calendar; he had always hated that cliché. But none of it made any more sense for this small bounty.

He couldn't understand it, had no grasp of reality. There just seemed to be nothing besides the impression of centuries of utter fatigue--a vast canvas of land, pain, and fear bleeding together until nothing seemed clear. It was only after he opened his eyes that he realized he hadn't entirely been dreaming--but he had no more idea of where he was for that.

Michael could do little but hold his breath, as he finally came more fully into consciousness--eyes darting cautiously, wondering what the hell had happened. When he tried to think back, all he could see were those multiple images again--but he did remember a little more. Sophie and Ackerman had been with him; his gaze wandered worriedly. But neither of them seemed to be near him now.

He was trying valiantly, needed to take in where he was, what had happened to him--and he did his best, with his curiously cloudy mind, to analyze. He was clearly in a hospital somewhere--the lines of small beds, and white linen, along with that antiseptic smell, horribly unmistakable. It wasn't particularly crowded here, most of the beds empty--and there was no sign of anyone putting out any particular money to be here; the cots were too close together for private care. It was clearly a regimental wing of a hospital, then; a sudden, terrible fear came back to him--a shadow of the terror which had lived with him for almost a month. But that still didn't tell him which country he was in.

There was little way to determine this fact, as he looked around--as desperate a question as it was. There were no signs on the walls to give any hint as to languages, the only voices anywhere nearby so distant and low as to make the local dialect entirely imperceptible. But this truth alone was unbearable, the panic setting in, as a little more of his memory returned. He had been on the run, had been doing his damnedest to return to England on foot; his eyes darted, far more terrified. If this were a prison camp . . .

This possibility was far too much, could well have loosened whatever hold he currently had on reality--his thoughts still far fuzzier than he had ever known them to be; he did his best to calm himself, knowing that panic would help him not at all. "Think!"--he told himself, his hands clenching hard beside him in the bed. "Try to find some sense in this." But the terror got in the way again--his heart thumping hard. If this were a Nazi infirmary, if he were their prisoner . . .

No. He wouldn't let himself go on like this; it wasn't helping. He struggled his way back to rationality like a man trying to swim up a battering waterfall. If he had been captured--which would, unfortunately, explain the sudden disappearance of Sophie and Ackerman--why would they be treating him so relatively well? True, he felt like Hell--felt a thousand years older--but he did seem to be in some sort medical facility. Why on earth would they waste their resources on him, if they were only going to torture him later for what he knew?

This theory wouldn't actually have flouted the supposed logic of war, but he tried not to think about this right now--a hideous new idea coming up, instead. Continuing to stare up at the nondescript ceiling, his heart thumping hard, his hand started to reach down his leg, terrified of what he might--or, rather, might not--find there, so many old war stories coming back to him. After all, if they wanted to keep him here, wanted to assure that he had no chance of escape, an amputation would make that outcome fairly certain; his fingers discovered his intact thigh with the sort of muted joy it had probably never been greeted with before. And he *had* been injured enough to make such a surgery arguably necessary.

This was his fear, as he tried to ascertain whether his body were still as intact as he hoped. Shifting slightly, he could feel as far down as his knee, which was where an odd change occurred. There was something hard covering just below it, a cast; he sat up swiftly, pulling off the covering sheet--the sudden movement a bad idea, as it turned out. But even through the nausea which quickly overwhelmed him, there was a penetrating sense of joy to see that his entire leg still appeared to be there.

The next few minutes were caught in the highly unpleasant results of his attempts to change position; fortunately, a small, kidney-shaped bowl had been left beside him for this very contingency. Even through the stomach-wrenching illness, his mind worked--finally having cleared somewhat. Wherever he was, it was obvious that he had just come out of surgery; the anesthesia had to be the cause of this utter cloudiness in his mind. Even once the illness ceased, his hand covered his mouth, his eyes tightly closed, doing his damnedest to make his head stop spinning. But that still left the question of where he was--and what sort of surgery he might have undergone.

It was the deeply unpleasant possibilities this last question brought to mind which made it difficult to keep the illness from returning, but he struggled against it as best he could, his thoughts still whirling. It wasn't, unfortunately, unlikely that he had been captured. Even as a prisoner, his value was obvious, would undoubtedly outweigh that of the other captives. He, at least, could be used for publicity, maybe even as a bargaining chip--although he doubted that the RAF, whose base his unit had been transferred to, cared enough about him to make that as viable as their enemies might hope. Still, keeping him relatively whole made sense. And, given how bad the pain in his leg had become in those final days of the journey that he remembered, surgery definitely wouldn't have been out of line.

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Chapter 313 - Part 2 (16 and above)KatherineG.Monday, November 12, 07:02:20am

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