I open my eyes with difficulty. I feel groggy, and my mouth is parched. I can hear the world outside. Children are playing, people are talking in the distance. I focus my gaze. I am in our bed, alone. I must have had a terrible nightmare.
I try to get up, but I can’t move. I feel sick, and now my head is throbbing. I touch it, and my hair is caked and lumpy. I smell blood. Mine. I can’t move my left leg, there is an excruciating pain shooting up from it. I look down, and my lower leg is red and swollen around a deep oozing cut. But the wound has been cleaned and is covered in yellow powder.
So, it hasn’t been a nightmare. It was all real. I start shaking. I’m not sure if it’s because of fear or because of my fever.
I hear the key in the door, and I hold my breath.
‘Good morning Maddy.’
How can it be? That perfect smile. He comes and sits on the bed next to me. I recoil.
‘How are you? It’s nice to see you awake at last.’
‘How long have I been sleeping?’
‘Two days. Now that you’re awake, I can wash your hair. Wait here.’
And he disappears again, locking me in the bedroom. I hear him moving something, then he unlocks the door and comes back in.
‘I’ll carry you to the shower. I put a chair there, so you don’t have to stand up.’
He picks me up, carries me under the shower and sits me on a chair. He runs the water on my head and washes my hair very gently. It hurts, but I don’t say anything. I think I’ll pass out any minute now, but, despite the sick feeling and my throbbing head, I hang on. I don’t want to be unconscious again. My brain struggles to make sense of it all.
‘Kiri, I need a doctor, I’m not well.’
‘I’ll look after you, honey, you’ll be fine. I have some medicine to give you. You need to rest.’
He wraps my head in a towel and carries me back to bed.
‘Take these. I’ll make you some food.’
He hands me a glass of water and stands over me until I swallow the pills.
He locks the door behind him, and I can hear him in the kitchen. I know I should do something, but I’m exhausted. I can’t think. I’m drowsy, and my body just feels heavy and unresponsive.
I must have fallen asleep, as I hear Kiri unlocking the door and see him with a tray in his hands. He puts it on the bed, pulls a chair next to me and lifts me to a sitting position.
‘I’ll feed you, Maddy, you don’t have to do anything.’
I find it hard to swallow and can’t eat much, but I know I need to force myself. There is no hope of getting better and out of here, if I don’t get any strength back. But a few mouthfuls later, I just want to go back to sleep.
I must have been out for a few hours, as it’s now dark outside. I hear noises and people approaching. I’m not sure who they are, but one of the voices sounds like Sanka’s. I can’t move from the bed, and there is nothing around me I can use to make noise with. I notice the music has been turned on and it’s loud. I can’t be heard.
I feel so tired. I can’t keep my eyes open, and I drift back to unconsciousness.