“We need to get some fluids into you. You’ve got the fever. It’s those damn mozzies out in the swamp. No one ever thinks about Ross River Fever till those damned little blood suckers with wings takes a bite out of ya.” He felt the pillow and his head thereon, being gently elevated, realizing that Adam was now on the floor near his shoulders. The woman dipped a spoon into the bowl then lifted it to his lips. “It’s chicken broth. Made it myself.”
Ryan had no choice in the matter. The spoon was pressed against his lips then poured down his throat. He had no strength or ability to fight it. After the first taste, he welcomed the warm liquid. It could be dirty dishwater, or laced with rat poison, but it tastes damn fine.
After a few spoonfuls, the pillow was lower to the ground to give him a chance to breath and rest. A minute later, the process started again.
“The soup should make you feel better, and give you a bit of strength. Once you have some food in your stomach, we’ll give you some aspirin to help calm the fever. We’ll get rid of those chills and have you feeling up to snuff in no time.”
He nodded, unsure of her message. Her words were lost to her accent and the feeling of cotton being packed into his ears and head. The background noise made it that much harder to know what she had said. He was sure he heard the barking of dogs in the mix now – normal dogs, big dogs, but dogs just the same. He was both relieved to at least identify something familiar around him and concerned as to the breed, personality and purpose for the animals.
A bottle of Tylenol materialized from behind him, apparently handed to the woman by Adam. She opened it and dumped two caplets into her hand. “You aren’t allergic, are you?”
Ryan replied by trying to shake his head, but the pain from the movement was agonizing. She popped the pills into his mouth and lifted the mug to his lips. Luke warm tea washed the pills down. Thankfully she gave him two more tastes of the liquid before his head was again lowered.
“Hope you don’t have any allergies,” she grinned at him. Her teeth were yellowed and several were missing. “That shot I gave you should help to take care of that fever. I didn’t have any for people, just animals, but I think I got the amount right for a bloke your size.” She laughed, or rather cackled. “You are one hell of a well built bloke, aren’t ya?” She poked playfully at his arm.
Her actions confused him even more, despite feeling better because of the food and liquids. I’m being held captive, tied up and incapacitated, yet she is nursing me? If this was just to help me, if it was charity and concern, why the hell would she tie me up? If this was about an act of aggression, why care about my health? Like the dogs barking in the background, it was a puzzle. In his present condition, Ryan couldn’t find the pieces to start putting it together.
The medication, the exhaustion from the fever and the food in his stomach were too much of a challenge. His eyes lost their fight, closing tightly as he went in search again for his Pacific hula princess and her warming charms.