Her Loyal Seal(6)By: Caitlyn O Leary
“Clint, you can’t be serious. You’ve carried me for miles. You have been amazing. I sure as hell haven’t noticed anything as trivial as insect bites.”
He guessed she hadn’t. He saw where blood had seeped through the gauze at her wrists, and now he was seeing where the shirt was stuck in places from the dried blood. It was going to hurt if she moved around while she slept.
“I’ll get out the repellant before we head out tomorrow. I have an MRE for you to eat right now.” He pulled it out of his back pack.
“What’s an MRE?”
“It stands for Meal Ready to Eat. It’s not gourmet, but it beats a protein bar.” He pulled out a chicken teriyaki packet and opened it for her.
He tried not to wolf his down, but failed like usual. Lydia didn’t seem to have much of an appetite, and only finished half of hers. He looked at her and realized her eyes were glassy.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine. It hurts a little.” Talk about an understatement. She had to be in a hell of a lot of pain. Clint touched her forehead. Good, no fever. But still, she needed more pain meds.
“Darius,” he yelled.
“Right here. I’m your bunk mate.” Darius was wearing the standard issue poncho. He squatted down next to Lydia.
“How you doing, Ms. Hidalgo?”
“Call me Lydia.” She looked over her shoulder at Darius and gave him a wan attempt at a smile.
“Okay Lydia, can you tell me how you’re doing? What’s your pain level on a scale of one to ten?”
“Probably a four.”
“Now how about you don’t lie to me.”
“Lying is a sin. I think I’ll keep my mouth shut.” She gave a wobbly smile.
“She’s stubborn, she would have made a good a good SEAL.” Clint was happy to see her smile even more. “Dare, she doesn’t have a fever, but her eyes are glassy and she only ate half of her dinner.” Clint took the food from her hand.
“Can’t say I blame her, you gave her the teriyaki. You should have given her the stroganoff. Lydia, you’ve got to eat to keep your strength up. We brought enough to feed us and your family.” Lydia turned to look at both of them, wincing in the process.
“I’ll try to eat more later.”
“Let’s get you a shot so you can sleep.”
It took five minutes for the shot to take effect, but when it did Clint finally relaxed. He would bet his bottom dollar her pain level had been closer to ten.
“Dare, did some of the cuts on her back need to be stitched up as well?”
“I considered it, but with all the movement, they would just get ripped out and cause more damage. It was better to do butterfly bandages.”
“Dammit. What is the likelihood of infection?”
“Pretty high. Her mother told me she was sick with a cold when she was taken. We need to keep her wounds dry. We need this damn rain to stop.” Lydia shifted in her sleep and moaned, then she started to cough. Darius gave her a grim look. Clint pushed closer to her front so that they were touching, trying to give her as much warmth as possible. He watched as Darius moved closer to her back without touching her, so that he too could provide some body heat.
This time Lydia let out more of a relaxed sigh. Clint closed his eyes, maybe he would be able to get some sleep.
By day three Lydia was burning up with fever. Clint was amazed she was conscious as often as she was.
“Clint?” she whispered. “How is Beth? How are my parents?”
He looked up ahead and saw Mason was carrying Beth. They all slowed down, but by Drake’s calculations they would still make the rendezvous point on time.
“They’re fine, Lydia.”
“I know my father has made some mistakes.” She stopped and took in deep breaths. Then she started to cough. She coughed even more at night. Some of the wounds on her back were getting red and ugly, and as predicted, she was getting an infection in her lungs. Even though Darius was trying to hide it, Clint could tell he was worried.
“Don’t talk Lydia, everything is going to be all right.”
“Clint, you have to promise me...” She coughed again.