Swamped Chapter 16 Page 5

You decide not to even bother causing trouble. After all, you might well have a problem with your arm wound, and if so, better to have it dealt with now. You just follow Doc until she stops outside a door.

She looks around a bit, then unlocks it and drags you in.

This is not at all like the infirmary back at base. There’s a bed in one corner, but you can’t help but notice it’s got chains attached to it. There’s also a lot of locked cabinets. Doc really seems to like to lock things up, which somewhat worries you.

“Don’t touch anything,” she says. “If you’re wondering about the locks – unlike you Bogknights, we don’t have the luxury of a proper medical supplier. I have to settle for what I can get my hands on, a lot of which is dangerous or addictive except in the tiniest of doses.”

“And, um, the chains on the bed?”

“That’s when I’ve got a wounded patient who won’t listen.” She drags you over and locks a manacle onto one of your ankles. “It also comes in handy for making sure a prisoner doesn’t try anything. Now, let’s have a look at that wound.”

She pulls your armor and shirt off, then starts unwrapping the wound.

“Hmm, looks about as good as can be expected given the circumstances. I’ll give it a quick cleaning just to be sure. And you could probably stand to have some new bandages anyhow.”

You stand there awkwardly as she goes off and opens a cabinet. She comes back with a small ball of cotton and a bottle of something.

“This is what I was talking about before. Alcohol’s good for this sort of cleaning, but I can’t count on getting ahold of the mixtures that are actually designed for it,” she explains, dipping the ball into the bottle and dabbing it on what’s left of your shoulder. “Even when I do, there’s more than a few poor souls here desperate enough to drink it. But mostly I end up with rum and brandy. Far from ideal, but it’s really the same with everything we get here; we count ourselves lucky if we get the good stuff. Usually, when we do get it, it’s by taking it from you.”

She walks away again and locks up the bottle, then opens another cabinet and pulls out some bandages.

“That’s what it’s like on this side of the swamp. I hope you remember that when you get back.”

She wraps up the wound again, and locks up her supplies.

“Right. Before I dress you back up, is there anything else wrong? Physically, I mean. Can’t help you if you miss your stuffed bear or something like that.”

“My father, actually,” you mutter.

“Family issues? You and everyone else on this base. At least you might get to go back one day. Us, we’ve got no family except the Marshguards.” She grabs your clothes. “If that’s all it is, I can’t help you any more.”

“My father’s missing,” you say, a little defiantly. “Maybe he found his way here.”

“Wouldn’t know. We don’t talk about our pasts here. Safer that way. So I sure as heck don’t know anyone who might be your old man. If he’s here, you’ll just have to hope he finds you on his own. We’re done here, so get dressed.”

She puts your clothes back on and unlocks the manacle before leading you out. It occurs to you that you’re not likely to get a chance to do laundry while you’re here.

Doc’s taking you back to your cell now. You wonder if it’s worth striking up a conversation, or doing anything else other than just being pulled along.

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i do, in fact, miss my stuffed bear

Wait is that…Mary? Doing…chores?