Chapter 48 - Popped Stitches
Minding his speed so as not to intensify Brandons pain Ezekiel surely and patiently led the man in the direction of the kitchen....the place Glen spent her early mornings most days.
But...The moment Ezekiel guided Brandon further into the kitchen he realized that he had a problem on his hands.
“Well...Well...What do we have here...?” Lander nearly growled as he glanced over the two of them. His brother stood across the kitchen with a loaf of bread in his hand, and a plate on the counter top in front of himself. He looked away from Ezekiels and Brandon long enough to sit his bread down on the plate before him.
Ezekiel resisted his initial urge to groan and instead focused on ignoring his sibling for the moment in favor of getting the mortal off of his feet. Brandon’s eyes were barely open but he barely let Ezekiel support him. He refused to lean on him much even though he was obviously in agony. Ezekiel didn’t like it...but he didn’t force him either.
Ezekiel made a move to guide Brandon further in, but the mortal, whimpered and bit his lip and resisted. Ezekiel stopped....he felt the mortal shaking slightly and breathing. Deep heavy breaths against his side. Calming breaths. Steadying in-hails and exhales.
Ezekiel let him gather himself in silence, watching the mortal struggle through his agony and hating that he couldn’t do more.
But Lander wasn’t as considerate in the least.
“Hey....!” He called out nearly at a shout, but when the mortal didn’t look at him or even respond ti his call, Ezekiel brother positively shouted it again. “Hey You Mortal!” He barked across the kitchen, forcing the Brandon to flinch and finally look at him. “So is this how you show your gratitude to my family...by leaving your fluids all about our home? Haven’t you heard that your people’s blood is unsanitary?” He asked rhetorically.
“Leave him alone...” Ezekiel said with a roll of his eyes.
“Prick....” Brandon whispered back as his only response, clearly not in up to speaking much at that moment in time. Without another word he let Ezekiel walk him slowly across the tile in the kitchen.
“Ooohhh....this guy’s got a mouth on him, huh Ezekiel? Feisty.” Lander picked back like a small child and Ezekiel hissed at him, in frustration.
“Seriously Lander!? Give it a rest.....” Ezekiel snapped at him, then he sighed as he concentrated on walking Brandon further into the room, and lowering him into a backless high stool beside one of the kitchen counters. Brandon released him quickly, once more reinforcing the idea that he detested being touched for any reason. But Ezekiel didn’t have time to be offended by or curious as to the reasons behind his behavior.
Instead Ezekiels glanced at his brother and then about the empty kitchen, getting a sinking feeling in his stomach that he didn’t want to acknowledge.
“Where’s mom?” He asked his brother, already knowing that he wouldn’t like his answer.
“She’s out in the Western Village, helping them deliver the Andersons baby.” Lander told him. “Apparently the Leopardess in that Clan went into labor early this morning.”
“Shit.....” Ezekiel said, moving back and looking at Brandon’s side. His black gloves covered most his side, holding his shirt to the wound that was hidden beneath, but it was easy for Ezekiel to see the blood spreading through the fabric of Brandon’s clothing like water across the surface of a sponge.
Frustratingly Ezekiel began feeling an instant flare of thirst over take him, a dry burn on in his throat but he pushed it away as he looked at his brother and away from the red spread on the mortal’s side.
“Lander what is he gonna do? He needs a patch job done on his stomach wound and mom was the only Healer in the village that knows about a mortal being here.” Ezekiel scratched the back of his head and then shook it. “I could take him to Kim’s...but I doubt he’ll make it all the way over there with his stiches popped and open.”
“Popped open? Lander hissed slightly in Brandon’s direction instead of responding to Ezekiel’s questions “How the hell did you manage to do that?” Brandon shot Lander a stiff glare. And Ezekiel sensed that the ridged set of his body wasn’t entirely due to the wound in Brandon’s side, but to the fact that he didn’t want Lander speaking to him.
“It....” Brandon bit back at his brother. “It just happened alright?” The mortal sighed and looked away, seeming to get more exhausted as the moments went.
“Well I guess you’re screwed....huh?” Lander informed Ezekiel with an unconcerned shrug as he began to pop a top on one of the condiment bottles before him.
“So....” Ezekiel mumbled putting a hand to his chin and feeling completely lost for a solution. He knew that he was good with most of the animals, and had even stitched up a few jagged cuts on one or two of the horses and cows....but he didn’t want to hedge the mortal’s wellbeing on the patch jobs he had had to do on a few animals.
“So genius...if it’s so important just call Erin out here to deal with it.” Lander told him, being more helpful in that moment then he ever managed to be. Then he turned and opened the door to the freezer, the whir of cool air echoed out of the opening as his brothers blond head dropped down to peer inside.
Ezekiels smacked a hand against his forehead in shame that he hadn’t thought of his cousin first. “Of course! I’ll, call Erin up here! Since she’s not going out on patrol for now, it won’t be too inconvenient to have her travel out this way and do the stiches. “Ezekiel exclaimed, looking at his brother who only rolled his eyes and grumbled under his voice.
Brandon’s head came up and he shared Ezekiels gaze for a moment. “Who’s Erin?” The mortal asked him softly.
“She’s our cousin and consequently an apprentice Healer in our Clan.” Ezekiel answered him as the mortal looked away.
“Ok...that’s great....but....” Brandon panted to him. “Is she going to have something to numb the tears in my stomach too?” He inquired, holding a gloved hand tightly to his side. His obvious pain making Ezekiel fell even more foolish and guilty for his blunder with the medication up in the room.
“Unfortunately no.” Ezekiel told him, as he walked across the kitchen and reached into one of the jars sitting beside a bread box and toaster oven. When he withdrew his hand he was holding an egg white flip phone. He looked up into Brandon’s light green eyes for a second then looked back down at the phone in his hand.
“A local Healer further in the Southern Village named Kim is the only one who is in possession of things like morphine and tranquilizers. She passed them along to my mother the night that you appeared, but most of the medicine like that is kept on reserve for the animals. I’ll see if Erin can go grab some more from Kim before she comes this way...but stopping that leak is more important than pain relief.” Ezekiels saw the mortal grimace, but when he withdrew into a pained silence Ezekiel decided to leave him alone and go and make the call.
“Where are you going?” Lander asked him, returning from his expedition into his fridge to shoot Ezekiel a glare.
“I’m going into the lobby of course....you know the reception anywhere else in this house is crap.”
Ezekiel sighed he knew that because their village happened to be in such a remote area, far from most cell towers that most of the appliances that required such things tended to fail unless they were turned on in certain areas of the house or the villages.
“So what...?” Lander hissed, reaching into the fridge, grabbing a pack of meat, various condiments and a bag of salad, and then slamming the door closed with far more force then was needed. He walked the ingredients to that counter top, snatched up a knife and pointed it at Brandon who was looking paler and paler as the minutes ticked by. “Am I going to have to stand here and watch that eyesore for you?” he complained.
“Lander stop it....And now that I think about it? Why are you here? I mean aren’t you supposed to be out on patrol with the others right now?” Ezekiel asked his difficult sibling.
But Lander just smirked at him and looked down as he finally popped open the bag of meat that he had taken form the fridge earlier. “I’ve got a meeting with the Sherman’s out in the South...so I circled back this way to grab a bite and what happens to me....” Lander began to lament unnecessarily. “I get stuck with fucking babysitting duty...”
Ezekiel growled in expiration. “Forget that I asked! Just stand there and call me if his condition changes?” His brother grumbled obviously about to argue, but Ezekiel was above trying to listen. “The signal only takes a few moments to kick in and the call will only last a minute at the most. Then you can be on your merry way....Okay?”
Ezekiel sighed and not waiting or caring for a response he made his way towards the door. His hands held the open cell before him as he steadily pressed in a sequence of numbers that would get him into contact with his cousin.
“Okay...stay still Brandon. Ill be right back.” Ezekiel said glancing at the man. To his surprise Brandons eyes on him were needy and vulnerable in their pain and Ezekiel felt his own gaze softening in empathy, before he was lifting the phone and pressing it to the side of his head.
Then Ezekiel stepped out into the hall as the ringtone trilled through the speaker, leaving his brother and Brandon alone.