Luckily no one followed, or not soon enough to catch me. The electro plowed down the highway at over a hundred miles per hour. When I reached the dirt road, I jammed on the brakes, but let off enough to avoid skidding. Turning to look behind me reminded me of the chunk shot out of my shoulder, but let me see no one followed.
Quickly, I went along the dirt roadway I used previously, stopping several times to get out and use down tree limbs to sweep away my tracks, and then to block passage. After the third time of that, exhaustion began to affect me. I drove deeper into the forest, and parked, disabled the vehicle, grabbed my pack and dragging it behind me, limped my way back to the green cabin.
I felt a massive sense or relief when I saw Attrea and her owl sitting on the small front porch. I released my pack in the dirt ten feet from her and slowly sank to the ground. Weak from blood loss, I had no control over my movements.
She was next to me, holding my head with one hand, examining my wounds with the fingers of the other. “These must be cleaned and bandaged immediately.”
I nodded waiting for her condemnation, a lecture about what I’d done, but she, said nothing about either.
Inside the cabin she had me remove my shirt, which nearly caused me to scream in agony, then she applied an unguent that numbed the pain.
“I did not feel a bullet inside you. From the way it looks it went through. But we do not know if it damaged anything internal. I have no way to treat an injury of the nature.” She pinched the entrance wound closed. I winced but did not cry out. “I will sew these closed and we must wait and see how you are in a day or two.”
I didn’t pass out, but it was close. She poked around inside, as if examining me there and finally washed both wounds and sewed them closed. Finally, she tended my hand and fingers, bandaging every wound separately.
When she was finished, she took my shirt and put it into a washbasin, which filled with hot water without her touching anything.
“Where are you from?” I asked not expecting an answer, thinking after what I did perhaps I didn’t deserve one.
“When I believe you are ready, I will tell you everything. For now you only need to know that my purpose is to assist your escape. After your return, I suspect you now know that escape is mandatory or death will arrive with blunt certainty.”
I could only nod. “I had to know after what I saw from the light on your hand. I had to know if that was real and if I was to blame.”
She placed a hand on my uninjured shoulder. “You should not blame yourself. They made their choices and you made yours. If I’d been where you were I know I’d have fled too.”
I drew in a deep sigh like breath and said, “They wouldn’t use my antibodies to cure Blythe. She was my companion, we were bound and planned a life together.” I glanced at her and saw a question in her eyes. So I continued. “At first they said she wasn’t a compatible match. I believed them until I overheard the woman running the treatment project. She told whoever she spoke to that if they treated and cured Blythe I might leave with her and not return to help others.”
The weakness I felt earlier from blood loss stung me. I leaned my head back and finished. “I left them in part to punish them for killing her, but now I know I was driven by rage more than self-preservation.”
“Come,” she said and helped me stand. She guided me to a small bedroom that I knew was hers. It looked feminine, neatly organized and smelled like her too. She led me to the bed, helped me sit, removed my boots and nodded to indicate I should lay back and rest. I did and fell asleep with her holding my hand in hers.