Okay, back to Michael's Folly... I think that I established that although Orla has more compassion, relatively speaking, she also is capable of dealing in the dark so to speak. The inhabitants of the this world are no longer the idealists that their parents were. They have been awakened into a world of kill or be killed and have conformed to those standards. Their parents or more accurately their ancestors had stayed behind to help to save and hopefully rebuild a decimated planet, Orla and her contemporaries must figure out how to save their race, without the benefit of any weaponry technology. It is always possible that their ancestors left something behind that could help them now, but they have no idea. The Winiks destroyed too much before anyone had a chance to look. Hence, Orla, a woman who might have been a champion for compassion and life became instead a woman who must try to reconcile her emotions to reality. It makes her angry and sometimes very vengeful. But, you will see more of Orla and her darker side as the book continues. Here in this chapter you see her soft side and her harsh side mix.
Lena was awakened abruptly when her bed jumped off of the floor and skidded sideways. “Oh, my Gods, Mrs. Seanain are you alright?” A tall dark haired and dark eyed orderly asked as he readjusted the various tubes and wires that were running to her body.
She was groggy and disoriented. When had they put in a catheter, and when did the I. V. get put in? When did they put her into a Monitor bed? Who was this man?
“Mrs. Seanain, I’m so sorry that I bumped you. But, it’s a good thing that you are awake, we are going to be moving you out soon. But, someone will stick by your side the entire way, and be there to answer any questions you might have… alright?”
He seemed to really need a response from her so, she nodded and grunted. That seemed to fit the bill because, a moment later he patted her hand, told her to hold tight, and disappeared into a crowd of orderlies.
The infirmary had certainly gotten busier since her arrival. Not that she could make any sense of anything when she had arrived. Had there been a major offensive in which they had taken heavy casualties? No, that couldn’t be it, there was no-one except her in any of the beds. What was going on? Nurses, orderlies and even Doctors were moving with real purpose. Nobody seemed exceptionally rushed but, they certainly were busy with something.
A voice that she recognized caught her attention. She could not see the speaker but, recognized the calm voice of Orla in the other room.
“Frankly Sergeant I don’t care what he said, I expect to have the infirmary moved, and running by this evening. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be pretty but, it does have to be done. Is any part of that unclear?”
Lena heard the voice of a young woman reply. “No ma’am” The response was nearly run over by Orla’s next comment.
“Good, I suggest you stop wasting time and get moving. ” Despite the harshness of the words, Orla’s voice never raised or sounded irritated. She sounded more like a person who was calmly trying to teach something very basic to someone who just wasn’t getting it.
There was a pause as if the room full of people took a shared cleansing breath, and then it was over, and people seemed start moving a bit quicker. Lena saw a young blond woman with a Sergeant’ stripe on her sleeve walk past her bed, and felt pity for her. But, the girl didn’t seem to be shaken by the encounter with Orla, only determined.
Orla’s voice broke into Lena’s musing. “Has she asked after her husband yet?” Orla’s voice had come closer. Lena could see the Doctor that Orla must be talking to, if she strained to look back over her shoulder.
“No, she has been asleep. We saw no reason to disturb her. The past few days and the weeks before have probably exhausted her more than she knew.” His eyes wandered over to look at Lena. He could see that she was awake, and watching him.
“Did you induce sleep?” Orla asked with a bit of irritation.
“No, as I said she was exhausted. She didn’t even stir when we hooked her up to the bed.” He acknowledged Lena with a smile.
Orla noticed where his smile was directed, and she peeked around the corner to see Lena awake and watching. Orla smiled with true warmth, and came all the way around the corner to sit at her side.
“What was that you were saying about Michael? Is he alright? Where is he? Can I see him?” Lena was full of questions, and barely allowed Orla to sit down before she began asking them.
“Peace my young friend. Michael is as well as can be expected. But, I don’t think that it would be a good idea for you to see him right now.” She was rubbing and patting Lena’s hand like a mother would.
Lena struggled to find the words… she wanted to know if Michael was alright. She wanted to see for herself. He beat her, and he used her, and he made her into a living incubator… but, she loved him. When they had first met he had been the sweetest boy in the world. It tore her apart inside thinking of how she had betrayed him to his peers. He might never forgive her, and then what would she do? She felt a tear come to her eye.
“There, there Lena dear, there is no need to cry. Michael is not beyond help. But, it will take time and care.” She wiped a tear from Lena’s face with a kerchief.
How could she know? Did she really understand or was she guessing? “How…?”
“My dear, you are not the first woman in the world to be in love.” She said gently.
“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to offend. Of course you would understand… I mean you and Tessa…” Lena stuttered.
Orla broke out in spontaneous crystal clear laughter. “Oh…you are a dear one, Lena Seanain!” She said between giggles.
“I’m sorry. Did I say something… wrong?” She certainly didn’t want to offend this woman, and she wasn’t quite sure what it was that she said that had caused this reaction.
“Lena, Tessa and I aren’t lovers. We never have been. But, we are the very best of friends. You know the kind of friend that is closer than a relative?” She giggled again, and made a face. “Honestly I can’t even imagine being with her, without making myself a bit sick, and I’m sure she feels the same.”
“Oh… oh, I’m so sorry! I’m so embarrassed! Can you forgive me?” Before she was finished apologizing, Orla had already forgiven her and was comforting her.
“Never mind, you aren’t the first person to misread our relationship… and you probably won’t be the last.” An orderly came to the foot of the bed looking decidedly sheepish. “Ah, it looks like it’s time for them to move you to another room. Don’t worry I’ll walk with you.” Orla rose and helped the orderly maneuver the Monitor bed around a partition, and down a short hallway.
Lena was fully awake now, and she realized that her distress concerning Michael was probably misplaced, and certainly not something that should her priority. She hated being weak or showing weakness. But, when it came to Michael it was difficult. It was hard for her even now, to not remember the man that he had once been, and hope that somehow he could be that man again. It was so hard… but, right now she needed to make her children her priority, and if she had time she could perhaps help Michael find his way back to her.
Right at this very moment however she was wondering what the hell was going on? So she asked Orla just that.
“I was wondering if you weren’t curious or just didn’t care.” Orla replied.
“Neither… Just half asleep.” Lena said with a grin.
Orla smiled broadly at that reply. “Fair enough Lena… in answer to your question; we are evacuating the entire city this week.”
“What?” Lena said in true surprise.
“That’s right; those darn Winiks are dropping the nightmares into the city now. The front line moves further north every day. So, we’re evacuating the city and moving north. We, the Conclave are evacuating the infirmary and the nursery first.” She spoke while she walked.
“The Conclave, what is the Conclave?” She had sat up because being wheeled around on her back was making her nauseous.
“That’s right; I had forgotten that you have missed quite a bit in the couple of days.” She seemed to grow a bit excited. “First of all we decided to become independent of the Council of the Kingdoms, and form our own Council. Now the Blessed and the Chosen answer only to themselves. Of course we haven’t informed the Kingdoms of that little fact yet but, I’m sure they will come knocking soon.” She put her finger to her chin, and looked off into the distance for a moment and then went on.
“We also talked to Doctor Kusnir, a man that we captured in your home along with your husband. He was very keen on keeping his head attached to his shoulders, and was more than willing to tell us anything and everything that we wanted to know to insure an intact anatomy. One of the things that he told us might interest you. The reason that Rosaleen could not perform any magic while in captivity was because apparently he and his partner, Doctor Lutrova have found a drug that will paralyze that part of the brain thatthe Winiks virus awakened… rendering the Blessed non-magical.” They moved into another room.
The most dominating thing in the room was another bed. It was a very strange bed. The head of it was very similar to the Monitor bed that Lena now occupied but that was the end of any similarities. Connected to the headboard was a large coffin sized, fully enclosed, clear cylinder. Draped over the majority of the cylinder was a standard hospital blanket. Inside the cylinder was a slightly bluish tinged fluid, that appeared to be just a bit thicker than water, and fully immersed in that fluid was Rosaleen. For the most part the blanket covered her up to the neck. Lena thought it was strange that Rosaleen had no wires or tubes of any kind attached to her body… at least none that she could see.
“Is she alive?” How could she be alive? She had no breathing tube.
“Oh yes dear, she is very much alive, thanks to you.” Orla beamed with pride, as if Lena were her child.
“But how… what is that thing?” Lena never saw Orla’s smile.
“That is a Cillin Tank, commonly called a Womb. It was specially designed for burn victims mostly. But, Rosaleen’s body had been so damaged that this tank offered her the best chance of recovery. She was taken to surgery when she was brought in to repair a whole host of internal and external injuries. Then she was placed into this tank where she has slept since. It is too soon, the Doctors tell me, for any prognosis. But, I’m hopeful that she will make a full recovery, or relatively so.”
Lena stared in fascination at the tank. She only glanced at Rosaleen. When she did, she felt shame. “I’ve heard of these things.” Lena managed to blurt out. What could she say? “She can breathe the water?” The words spilled from her mouth without being summoned. She wanted to run away and hide, and never think about what her husband had done ever again. But, instead she lay here only a few feet away from the woman that he had… had… oh the shame was going to consume her.
“Yes she can breathe the water, and in the water is the latest generation of antibiotic as well as a pain killer, and some other stuff that will help her body heal.” Orla turned to look at Lena and saw that the woman was pale, and obviously in distress. She quietly motioned the Doctor to Lena’s side. He needed no prompting to give the woman a sedative.
Lena never noticed Orla’s concern, or the Doctor. Her eyes became fixed on the red hair submerged in the fluid. That is what she saw as her eyes closed and sleep took her.
“Was that really necessary Orla?” Dr. Miller said when he was certain that Lena was asleep.
“Yes, I believe that it was. She needs to see what Michael did up close and personal, or she may try to help him escape before we can do anything to try and help him.” Orla despised hurting the girl. But, she had seen the look on her face when Michael was mentioned. She relayed this to the Doctor, who reluctantly conceded. Lena was a soft heart which made her a classic enabler. Michael had been just as soft but, then the virus had activated in him, turning him from a simple carpenter to a Witch overnight. It was more than he could control. All of the anger, resentment and ambition that had been building in him had finally gotten a catalyst, and an engine to drive it. “Do you think we can trust Doctor Kusnir?”
“As long as you keep a knife to his throat he will be your man. But make no mistake about it, he will not be loyal to you as long as he thinks he can conduct his experiments his way, if he were in the employ of someone else.” Doctor Miller had heard of their plan to have Doctor Kusnir work for the Conclave. It was ridiculous as far as he was concerned. But, it was not his decision.
“Hmm, perhaps I could accommodate his appetites.” She left that cryptic sentence hanging in the air, and left the room.
Dr. Miller just shook his head. He knew that Orla would not go down the dark path but, he was a bit intrigued about how she might convince Doctor Kusnir that he could be happy working for the Conclave. The Conclave, just thinking of the title made him feel just a little prouder.
Orla is one to simply rip the bandage off and see what comes of it. Lena, has some thinking to do.
Live well and be good to each other.