Chapter 53 - Erin
Leaving the Mortal in the kitchen Ezekiel made his way to the front door just as the second knock sounded. He opened the door to a familiar and welcome face.
“Oh my God!” Erin exclaimed as her soft hazel eyes contracted to thin slits and her nostrils twitched as she inhaled heavily.
She stood out in the sunlight, dressed coolly with simple boots, jeans and a red blouse and her tall frame filling the doorway. Having traveled from the middle of the village carrying a medical kit a soft sheen of sweat shown on her forehead and throat, and her short brown hair brushed her shoulders as she steeped further into the house, turned to Ezekiel and frowned. “It reeks of blood in here Ezekiel....Is all of this coming from the...the intruder?” she asked softly, almost timid.
Ezekiel softly closed the door behind her as he said “Yes....the mortals bleeding pretty heavily, he seems to have popped half a dozen of his stiches and mom was busy so I had to give you a call.” He explained to her, then he smiled and half hugged his cousin to his side. Her tall willowy frame rested against him, making him happy. “Thanks for coming out, by the way. I know Drin says you needed your rest.”
“If it was up to my loving husband....I’d be stuck in a small dark padded room until this baby comes to term.” Erin replied wryly as she rolled her eyes and returned his affectionate hug, then pulled back.
“I adore Drin....” She asserted softly. “But I’m not even showing yet and he’s already trying to confine me to a bed...” She told him, glancing down at her middle. “The baby and I will be fine...” Erin finished with another smile, then her hazel eyes glanced about the hall in curiosity. “So?” She began to ask Ezekiel. “Tell me what’s going on with this intruder....is he dangerous?”
Ezekiel’s first instinct was to say “No” But after a moment of hesitation he admitted to himself that he still knew next to nothing about the mortal in their midst’s. So far all Ezekiel knew for sure was that Brandon wasn’t one to shy away from conformation.
So Ezekiel gave his cousin a small shrug and replied.
“Possibly, but don’t be nervous I’ll be with you and as of two days ago he stopped being an intruder and became a guest of the Clan...and since then he’s been mostly agreeable. And he’ll be here for a while now that the lock down has been put into place and until we get this moose killing business handled and take down whatever that thing in the forest is that’s hunting down the livestock ; The mortal will remain as a guest.”
“Oh....alright. He’s a guest not and Intruder.” Erin said with an excited nod. Once more she glance about the hall as though she might catch a glimpse of the mortal. “So...um......what’s he like? I’ve never met a human before....” She asked Ezekiel next, turning fascinated eyes on him. “Can you tell me why he’s hurt? Can you tell me what he looks like? And can you...?”
“Hold on cousin. Wait wait.” Ezekiel said as he turned on his heel and motioned for his cousin to follow him. “You have a job to do first, so simmer down with the questions for now....” Ezekiel guided her towards the kitchens door way after leading away from the front hall, down the hall and turning to his left. “Besides, You’re about to meet the mortal yourself...” Ezekiel finished with a motion for her to proceed him into the kitchen.
With another excited head bob she brushed past him and walked into the kitchen where Ezekiel knew Brandon would be sitting. The first thing Ezekiel was expecting to hear is cousin say was “Hello” but what he got next was a startled gasp. “”Oh! Ezekiel.....is he dead!?”
Ezekiel turned into the room and glanced over his cousins shoulder and was slightly unsettled to see Brandon face down on the countertop, his hair thrown forward obscured his eyes, so Ezekiel couldn’t tell if he was awake. He sat with the side and back of his shirt soaked with blood, and a small circle of blood at the side of his feet, next to a tablecloth that was also stained.
Brandon appeared unmoving and for a second Ezekiel feared he was unbreathing. And as Erin rushed over, with Ezekiel and began to take a pulse Brandon moaned. A short pained sigh of discomfort, letting them both know that he was in fact still alive.
Taking a breath that he wasn’t aware of holding, Ezekiel focused his hearing and in a few seconds he was able to pick up the slow and heavy rhythm of the mortals heartbeat. With a sigh Ezekiel softly brushed the mortal’s hair off of his eyes. “He’s unconscious...” he told her.
“Ok...” with Erin said. “I’m sorry about that...I just....I know that their kind a very fragile.” she began a relived breath of her own Erin turned and sat the medical bag that she had appeared with on top of the counter beside her.
Then with a cautions step she moved in front of Ezekiel and after a moment he backed up and let her take his place. He watched her brush Brandon’s hair back a softly to peer at his face.
“Wow, look at him.” She began speaking softly as though she feared to disturb the mortal. “He’s as white as a sheet Ezekiel....and what’s with the gloves over his hands?” she inquired, but Ezekiel just shook his head so she went back to looking at Brandon “Well anyway, he looks like he’s only a few years older than me...and he’s covered in blood.”
Not wanting to think about all of the blood around him. Ezekiel hissed at her, as he stepped back a few steps. “Erin ogle him later please. We need to patch the man up before he kills over on us.”
He said getting as far from the mortals scent as he could get in that moment and still tasting the blood saturating his tongue. Even at a short distance the smell got to him. He still felt the claws at his throat. He felt the beast simmering just beneath his skin. It wanted out. It had almost gotten out.
And he had almost unleashed it on his own brother. Which shamed him. But when Lander had tried to attack the mortal, hurt Brandon, Ezekiel had wanted to tear him apart. He couldn’t understand it. The need to put his sibling in his place over a complete stranger, to make sure that he never tried to hurt that stranger again. It was wrong. But he remembered the rage that had gripped him, the protective urge that had overcame him. The same urge that had forced him to save the mortals life only a week or so ago....
But why Ezekiel felt anything at all for the stranger eluded him. All Ezekiel knew was that the feeling was getting stronger, more pronounced....as was Brandon’s scent.
Erin sent him a hiss of her own as she glanced up from the morals face to look at him. “Ezekiel, I’ll get him patched up, don’t worry, but let me have a moment. I mean I’ve never seen one of his kind in person before...he looks so...” Erin shook her head, reached out and touched Brandon’s face. After a moment she bit her bottom lip and trailed off, so Ezekiel coaxed her to continue.
“He looks so....what?” he asked her, but she just shrugged and pulled back.
“Well he’s sick and extremely low on fluids.” She said to him, her hazel eyes troubled. “Can I see the wound? Where is it?”
“It’s just beneath his shirt on the left.” Ezekiel told her and then watched his cousin as she carefully peeled the mortals clothing up a few inches to examine the wound which was nothing but a huge, red, inflamed mess of crooked and snapped wires and uneven torn angles of skin, smeared with blood.
Ezekiel let her have a moment to concentrate, then he asked her. “So what are your first impressions about him?”
Again Erin shrugged, but as she set the shirt back down over the wound, she smiled softly. “Well, for a mortal he’s quite handsome. I hadn’t expected a mortal to have such....a pretty face though...I was sure that most of them would be all strange and frail and possiblly not as attractive as Drin...” Erin commented openly and shook her head.
She pulled back from the mortal, and walked over to her medical supply bag, and as Ezekiel joined her he continued to talk. “His skin is very dry and his hair looks a little dull so he may be malnourished. But aside from the obvious he appears to be in good physical condition and his blood smells toxin free to me. He’s also got the cutest cluster of freckles on his nose that I have ever seen.”
As she stooped to take a breath Ezekiel paused, leaned over and confided softly in her ear.
“Hey, just so you know...I was just asking about his injuries, Erin.”
His cousin shot him a surprised look and as her face flushed slightly in embarrassment and Ezekiel tried not to laugh.
“O...oh....I knew that.” Erin muttered weakly a few seconds later, as she cast her eyes back at Brandon and fumbled to get past her embarrassment. And for the most part Ezekiel didn’t press her about the comments she had made. He knew that they mortal wasn’t hard on the eyes...and Ezekiel also knew that thinking that the mortal was attractive, wasn’t nearly as inappropriate as some of the things Ezekiel had already thought about.
Like biting him and tasting his blood. Making him moan...
So Ezekiel held down the chuckle that he wanted to have at his cousin’s expense and let her regain her composure.
Something she quickly did as she refocused on Ezekiel earlier question. “Well as for the busted stiches...His....entire left side is soaked in blood, and for the most part the blood is still flowing a little, so he’s in danger of going into shock if we don’t move fast....” Erin began to explain, the flush dying out of her cheeks as she got the serious look and tone of a healer.
She outlined her thoughts as concisely as Ezekiel knew his mother would, showing that one day she would take on the title of Healer. Erin tuned and finally opened up the medical bag that she had brought.
Ezekiel helped her move the supplies around on the countertop as Erin continued to speak to him. “His injuries are caked in blood so I couldn’t see much beneath his clothing except some heavy clotting and bruising...So the first thing we’ll do is boil some water and wash him off. Then I can check on the extent of the tearing, but for the most part I can tell that I’ll probably have to de-stich and re-stich him up.”
Ezekiel nodded. “So you’re going to pull out all the old stiches first, then re-stich him up?” He winced at the idea. “That’s going to be painful, did you bring anything for the pain?” he asked her.
But his cousin shot him an apologetic look. “No, I’m sorry, but I didn’t have any herbs on stand by for this kind of thing. Do you think he’ll be able to handle it?”
“I don’t know...but he’s pretty stubborn, so he should be okay.” Ezekiel admitted and his cousin nodded.
“Well no matter what we’ve got to clean him, so first we’ve got to wake him up...” Erin answered and Ezekiel agreed, but at that moment a voice interrupted them.
“I’m not sleeping.” The mortal suddenly spoke from behind then and as Erin and Ezekiel turned back around to regard him, Brandon suppressed a gasp of pain and straitened up in his seat. “I just....I just needed to catch my breath.” He breathed shallowly as his eyes fluttered up and down then closed again as though the act of keeping them open was too much work.
“Oh....good.” Erin began with a clear smile. She walked over to Brandon and just as he opened his eyes to see her, she took his hand. “Hello there my name is Erin and I’ll be taking care of that wound for you ...“Ezekiel watched her as she took hold of Brandon’s hand and instead of shaking it, she simply held his gloved palm in her own. “And just to make things easier on us both...may I have your name mortal?”
Brandon shook his head and pulled his hand away from her, seeming to still struggle with his breathing before he answered her softly. “My name is Brandon...just Brandon. You can leave off “The mortal” part.”
“Ok....I will. ” Erin said, not seeming perturbed by the obvious way that Brandon shied away from her touch. “And now that that’s out of the way....I’m going to have to tell you...” Erin bit her lip and steeped back.
“What I’m about to do is probably going to hurt. I don’t have any medicine to stop the pain. I’m sorry but the wound need to be cleaned and sealed to stop the fevers.”
At that Brandon shot Ezekiel a miserable look, which surprised Ezkeiel because he was sure that Brandon was ignoring his presence in the room entirely until then. Then he looked back at Erin and smirked, like he wasn’t nearly bleeding to death. “Lets do it. I can take it.” He said.
And Ezekiel didn’t know why that just made him angry to hear Brandon respond with such clear indifference to the suffering that he was about to endure.