Stream of Consciousness

Doc blew out a small breath, not even knowing where to start with Mike in order to help him mend even physically, let alone emotionally and mentally, but he put the emotional and mental aside for the time being as that was Jarrel’s forte, and instead, he focused on the physical. So, he started with the antibiotic shot and then a small sedative type pain reliever, as he could see that Mike needed that in order to fully relax. And sure, enough within moments of getting the shot Mike began to drowse. Not because the doctor had given him too much, but merely out of sheer exhaustion.

The Sheriff had returned by that point, having left Luke and Wade with Buford who had informed him that Jarrel was on the way. “Jarrel’s on the way.” The Sheriff glanced over at Mike who only briefly opened his eyes when he heard the Sheriff’s voice. “You sedate him?” The doctor shook his head. “No, just the mild pain reliever I told him about. He’s simply exhausted, and the pain reliever has relaxed him enough to where the need for sleep is winning over his desire to stay awake. I also gave him the antibiotic. There’s so much injury here, I don’t even know where to begin to clean these wounds. He needs a serious bath in order to get these wounds cleaned properly, but it’s not going to be comfortable and I hate inflicting any more pain on these boys than they are already in. I may have to completely sedate the boys for that, but for now, I’ll keep my word and only do the mild sedative, unless Mike agrees…”

The doctor put a hand on Mike’s arm to hold his attention. “Would that be okay with you Mike? If I sedated you and your brothers completely so that we can properly bathe you. I promise that we’ll keep you here safe at my house while you’re asleep if you allow me. You boys need a good scrubbing and I don’t want to cause you more pain.” Mike was too exhausted at this point to care, sleep beckoning too strongly. So, he merely nodded and murmured a soft ‘okay’. As the doctor had said, his will wanted him to stay awake and alert to protect himself and his brothers, but exhaustion was simply winning over at this point.

Meanwhile Luke and Wade were watching with mouths watering and eyes wide as saucers as Buford prepared sandwiches for them along with some cut fruit… apples, peaches, and some fresh strawberries tossed in as well. As they had never been allowed to watch their uncle prepare any meals, but were only given what scraps he chose to give them, when he chose to give some, they couldn’t recall ever seeing that much food at one time and place, let alone such a variety of different things. Of course, they had seen such meals in the far past and recesses of their mind, but with them having only been five and three years old respectively, those memories were dim, hidden by five years of abuse and neglect.

Buford smiled when he brought the plates over to the boys, but spoke a word of caution as he set them down. “Now you boys take it easy and don’t choke the food down. It’s all yours to eat, and no one’s going to take it away. So, breath between bites…” But Buford’s words fell on deaf ears as both boys were already inhaling the food, shoving as much as they could in their mouths before it could be taken away, or before they woke up from whatever wonderful dream they were having. Not that they had many occasions in the past for wonderful dreams, but maybe they were finally having one now that Mike had killed their uncle and they were away from anyone hurting them. They had been very hungry walking in the woods so it wouldn’t be impossible that they were dreaming about food.

As he watched the boys eat, Buford thought about making and offering more, but he had remembered reading once about people who were starving or thirsty, that it was best not to shock or overtax the body with too much at once. So, he had only made a half sandwich for each of the boys, a whole sandwich split between the two, and then had cut up one apple and one peach with each having a single strawberry on their plate, feeling that was a good start. They could always have more, later, as it wouldn’t do any good for them to overeat and then puke it all up again. The sandwiches had a couple kinds of meat on it, however, as well as cheese, lettuce and a slice of tomato and some mayo. So, it was a fairly full and balanced meal. Something their starving bodies had been craving for a very long time.

Jarrel came into the home without bothering to knock as the boys were licking their fingers and plates clean, literally not wanting to leave a crumb behind. He sat down at the table and smiled as the boys then downed their lemonades to wash it all down. “Hey Luke, Wade! Glad to see you back home again. Where have you been all this time? You had us all so worried. We scoured the woods with the dogs, but they couldn’t pick up any scents past a cave where you had been in recently. I honestly don’t think that any of us thought we’d ever see you again. So, this is a wonderful surprise. Isn’t it Buford?” Jarrel spoke in a cheerful, upbeat tone completely ignoring the condition the boys were in, or at least as far as Buford could tell, but then again, the man wasn’t quite right in the head anymore.

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