Happy times are here again!! ;) It's Wednesday, flash day! This week's update to Fortitude was inspired by the prompt: I didn't mean to make a scene. Enjoy.
Fortitude Part 27
“Teddy? Are you okay?”
“Maybe.” Now he definitely sounded hurt.
Figuring out how to get down to him without dropping the lamp was tricky, and sweat was trickling down my back by the time I dropped to the floor by his feet. I held the light up. Teddy was cradling one arm, and his shoulder had an odd hunch. Dislocated.
“You sure know how to make an entrance, Teddy.”
“I didn’t mean to make a scene. Do you think anyone noticed?” he joked in a weak voice.
“Yes. The gentleman on your right is quite incensed.” I pushed away several pieces of broken wood and knelt beside him, placing the lamp off to the side. “Is there anything hurt other than your shoulder?”
Teddy shook his head and then groaned. His eyes were wide and he looked dazed. He could just be in pain, or he could’ve also hit his head. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. Just let me check you.” I carefully felt along his good arm and both his legs. Then I had them move them. “Does your back hurt? Any sharp pain?”
“No, just some throbbing.” Teddy looked up at me, his eyes shiny. “My shoulder really hurts.”
Good thing for Teddy that Michael was a clumsy oaf. He’d dislocated his shoulder once falling out of a carriage, and the physician my parents called for allowed me to watch him put it back in place. “I can make that better, but it’s going to hurt.”
“It already hurts,” Teddy said through clenched teeth.
“Okay. I’ll make it feel better soon.” I stood up and looked around the space. There wasn’t anything I could use to prop Teddy up, other than the wall, and that was a good ten feet away from where he’d fell. I’d need him upright in order to pop his joint back into the correct position.
Hurting Teddy was the last thing I ever wanted to do, so I blanked out as much of my emotions as I could as we struggled together to get him to the wall. His breath was coming fast, and sweat was dripping down his face and mine. I removed my coat and vest and flexed my hands.
Teddy nodded once, closing his eyes and resting his head against the wall. I grabbed his wrist and his elbow, supported the weight of his arm, and pushed it into position. Teddy groaned.
“Hold on, this is the worst bit. On the count of three. One. Two.” I whipped his arm up and in and the joint slipped back in with a muted pop. Teddy cried out. I knelt beside him, holding his arm to his chest. He leaned his head forward against my shoulder.
“Good. The worst of the pain should be gone, but you need to keep this arm supported.” I fashioned a sling with my vest and buttoned it around his neck.
“Thank you.” Teddy kissed my cheek.
I hugged him to me, gently, and just breathed with him for a few moments. It could’ve been so much worse. Finally, I sat back on my heels and picked up the lamp. “We need to find a way out of here.”
“I’m no good for exploring. We came here for a reason, Will. Look, there’s another lamp on the wall. Charge one up and then take the other. Find whatever it is that Schvesla expected us to find, and a way out, then come back and get me.”
It went against every protective instinct I had, but Teddy was right. Stumbling about in the darkness could get him hurt worse. I went over to the wall and yanked down the lamp, making sure it worked.
“This lamp is more than charged.” I set it down beside him. Shaking out my coat, I laid it over Teddy and tucked it behind his good arm. “You need to stay warm. I’ll be back soon, okay?”
This time I kissed him, a soft peck on the lips. I wanted to strip him and check every inch of his body, but that would have to wait. There was only one way out of the room. The door creaked and fell off one hinge when I opened it.
No one had been here in a long time.
Dust lay thickly on the floor. At least I wouldn’t get lost; I could just follow them backwards. I stepped carefully, trying to stay to one side. Then the wood ended and I was surrounded on all sides by dirt. Was it supported? If the tunnel collapsed around me, Teddy and I would both die.
The tunnel went on forever, and I was about to turn back when it angled sharply upward. I crouched beneath a large stone that capped the tunnel. “Damn dead end!” I hit the side of my fist against the rock and it shifted.
With both hands, I pushed against the stone. It was still heavy, but I managed to move it up and to one side. I really, really hoped there was nothing up there waiting for me. I tamped down on the light of the lamp and then pushed it out of the hole. I stood up slowly, peeking over the edge.
I was in a cell, a really old cell, if the rusted and decayed bars were anything to go by. There were tattered scraps of fabric on one side of the narrow room.
And the gray bones of a long, bare foot.
Where the hell was I? The urge to find out was strong, but common sense held me back. I’d been gone a long time, and there was no way I was going to try to try and get Teddy out through unknown danger. I had to go back and figure out another way.TBC
Okay, you know you want more! There are other great updates to be read here: