65 – Prayeron March 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm
The priest was a wise looking man, his face looked like it had seen a lot. Grant watched him as he stared at the kid on the hospital bed. He was thinking about something for a while before he sat down and picked up a flannel. The bowl of water was sitting on the side table and the priest dipped the cloth into the water. As Grant watched him, he started to wonder whether he actually could trust this guy. He felt like he could. He had no idea what he was doing right now but he felt at least some warmth for this man. The priest placed the wet flannel onto the forehead of the kid, who Grant maintained was as dead as dead can be. A couple of minutes had passed since Mark and his gun had left the room, and Grant was sitting on the floor with his back against the cold wall watching the priest in silence. He was about to speak when the priest beat him to it.
“Reverend Lewis-Anthony” He said. Grant made eye contact and the priest smiled. He stood up from the chair and went to the corner of the room and dragged over something that Grant recognised as medical equipment on a trolley but had no idea what it actually did. “but please, call me Lewis”.
“Grant”. He replied after watching the priest plug the electric machine into a long industrial cable that was trailing across the floor. “But please, tell me what the fuck is going on here.” the machine let out a long high-pitched beep which coincided with one from the machine that was already wired up to the kid. The result was a harmonic sound which seemed to ring inside Grants eardrums. Lewis smiled at him.
“I can only apologise for the way you have apparently been treated.” he said. “It seems they may have been a little heavy handed.”
Grant opened his mouth to tell Lewis just how heavy handed they have been, but he surprised himself with a question instead.
“Are you a real priest?” He asked.
“Of course.” Lewis replied, slightly shocked. “Of course I am.”
“Why the hell do you have General Woundwort and his clan out there sweeping up survivors?” Grant said. “It’s not very Christian.”
Lewis looked behind the machine as if he was looking for something.
“Are you medically trained? Do you know what this is?” He said. Grant didn’t answer. Lewis sat back down on the stool. “Security in this world, Grant, is and will continue to be a very rare commodity. The work we are doing here, in this building and on these grounds requires a lot of security. Those men out there may not be the most stable form of it but in our current situation they are all we have. Now, do you know how to use this machine?” He asked again, with a warm smile.
Grant shook his head. “I’m a butcher.” He said. “Was. Sorry. I WAS a butcher.” Lewis continued searching the back of the machine.
“Then I guess we’re just going to have to figure it out for ourselves,” he said as he unplugged a cable which sent the machine into another beep cycle. “This is Jones,” he said. “He was living in a supermarket near here when he was bitten. He lost a lot of blood and Mark, Steve and his team have bought him back to us to pray for him.”
“Listen, Lewis, I hate to tell you this but that kid is dead. I’ve had one eye on him since I came in here because any minute now he is going to open his eyes and try to take a chunk out of your face. I don’t know if you’ve seen the world out there but I honestly don’t think praying can help him.” He said, looking at Jones.
“You think I am blind to this Grant? Of course I’ve seen the world out there. Maybe we both see different things, but I know one thing: Prayer is needed more now than ever.” He sat beside Jones again. “I’m convinced he will wake up healthy, he’ll need treatment as he’s very malnourished but we have the means.”
“He’s a thin as a rake.” Grant barked, sinking his head into his hands. It occurred to him that it may be early morning; it certainly felt like it. He had been awake all night.
“Jones is unique. He was bitten and infected but he has remained motionless ever since. Our theory is that he lost so much blood, the infection couldn’t travel in the way it would in a healthy person. It couldn’t take hold. He’s appears to be breathing very abnormally but breathing nonetheless… His heart is beating, very slowly: one a minute we recorded when he arrived last night and that’s where he differs. An infected human doesn’t have a heartbeat at all. If we shock his heart into a regular rhythm, he may just stabilise.” Halfway through his sentence he had stopped talking to Grant and started talking to himself while he visually checked over the kid. ”He arrived last night and we welcome him and his friends to stay as long as they wish.” When Grant spoke, his attention snapped back to the closed door.
“They’re free to go too?” He asked.
“Of course!” Lewis said. He looked at Grant. “We’re rebuilding a community here, not a prison! We’d like you stay Grant, we have food, water, a little electricity and a strong desire to begin rebuilding. We have secured the grounds enough to stay perfectly safe, but like I said, it’s entirely up to you.”
“What if I want to take someone with me?” He asked. Lewis stopped what he was doing. “Kirsty.” Grant continued. “You have a woman called Kirsty here. I want her to come with me.” Lewis stood up and walked over to Grant.
“Okay.” He said. “If she wants to leave, then she can leave.” He turned to the door. “Mark!” He shouted. Mark opened the door. “Kirsty? Does this name ring a bell?” Mark looked at Grant and seemed to verbally stumble..
“Erm… Yeah. She’s with Steve.” He was reluctant to say yes, Grant could tell. Lewis sounded a little elated.
“Excellent! Bring her to me please.” Mark nodded, and slowly left the room.