A young man, appearing no older than 18, stood in the pouring rain, half doubled-over coughing heavily. He forced himself to stop coughing and to stand up straight. He looked down at his hand, which he had been covering his cough with, to see fresh, red blood dripping from it. He grimaced, wiping the blood off on his dripping breaches. He did not seem to care, or even notice, that it was raining—pouring in that case.
His mind was screaming, and his head buzzing with what he had just learned. But he was determined—ill or not—that he would lead a normal life. But despite the fact that he continued to tell himself this, he couldn't help but hear the words of that healer.
"I am very much sorry to inform you, young man, but you have a most severe case of Schelme's disease. And, as I'm sure you have heard, it is incurable—at least by any of our technology and remedies. But of course on the brighter side, it isn't contagious and you can keep it at bay, for the most part, by keeping a good, healthy diet…."
The words of the healer faded out as the boy ran; he didn't know where he was going, and he didn't care—not in the least. He just wanted out—away from all those people, all the people who always seemed nice, too nice…
The young man shook his head to rid it of that memory. He looked up slowly, hearing thunder in the distance. He knew he should go inside, or he'd have a nice bit of pneumonia along with Schelme's. But he didn't care; maybe if he got pneumonia he would die quicker—rather than the long, slow death that surely awaited him anyways.
He shook his head once again, hoping to rid it of his pessimistic side and erase all the memories that made that side exist; it didn't work. He looked down at his dripping hands as rain water dripped freely from them his sopping hair fell into his eyes. He sighed deeply, willing himself to control the cough, even though he could feel it creeping up his throat.
- - -
Riggs woke with a start, cold sweat making his forehead damp. He sighed, laying back down on the soft pillow and wiping his face off. He sighed once again; he had all but forgotten about that evening. But however hard he tried not to remember it, the memory was always in the back of his mind—at the very least.
He consciously slowed his breathing and closed his eyes, forcing himself to calm down. When he reopened his eyes he remembered it was a Saturday—blessed Saturday.
He sat up and put his bare feet on the cold, hard wood floor. He knew shortly that he would be returning to his quarters anyways, but he had to get something to eat before the accursed sickness overcame him. He dressed quickly and headed down to the dinning hall, where he was greeted by a buzz of talking from the many students and instructors in the room.
He walked to the buffet table and retrieved a plain bagel, before going to sit at the staff table. He took a seat next to his fellow instructor, Tava.
Hoping sorely that the previous night hadn't been a full moon he greeted her, "Good morning, Tava."
Tava looked up from her breakfast, her green gray eyes only half open. Her black hair fell around her tired face as she replied with a sleepy, "mmph…"
Riggs sighed, realizing now that the previous night had beena full moon and half wishing that he hadn't sat next to the werewolf. He took a bite out of his bagel, he wasn't hungry, but then again he never was—he couldn't remember how it felt to be hungry, what an appetite tasted like because he couldn't remember a time when he hadn't been sick.
He stretched his neck in a circular motion, trying to wake up a little bit more. He took another bite of bagel as someone a little more personable than the werewolf sitting next to him greeted him.
"Good morning, Riggs," Said a soft female voice.
Riggs looked up to see Saphrin, the head healer of the school, standing slightly behind him and to his left. Her green eyes made a perfect match with her long, straight, blonde hair and her dazzling smile. She smiled sweetly, leaning over slightly and putting he hands on the chair beside him. She wore a long sleeved, button up, white shirt; and black pants. Hanging from her shoulder was a worn leather satchel that she was hardly ever spotted without. It held all her healing herbs, bandages and commonly-needed medicines—along with some other things that no one had ever heard of before.
"Good morning, Saph," Riggs returned her smile; he was used to the healer popping up unexpectedly.
Out of the corner of his eye Riggs spotted Tava eyeing Saphrin with distaste. Tava could be seen eyeing just about everyone with distaste after a full moon—and she could be seen doing so to Saphrin more often than not. Why Tava had a particular distaste for the school healer, he had yet to learn.
"I suppose you're planning to go back to sleep after breakfast, since the term hasn't actually started yet," Saphrin said with the hint of a smile on her fair face; since the beginning of the term wasn't until Monday, everyone who was already at school had plenty of free time—including the teachers.
"Actually," Riggs stated in a matter-of-fact voice, "I have some paper work to do, so I will not be going to sleep."
Saphrin smiled in an amused way, "good, then you can fill out those forms for your new students this term while you're at it," She replied smartly, pushing away from the chair she was leaning on and tossing a paper packet to Tava, "drink your tea, Tava," She snapped in her healer voice before heading across the dining hall and out the inside-leading doors.
Riggs watched her leave, a disgruntled expression on his face—he didn't want to fill out the forms.Riggs sighed, finishing off his bagel and watching, with a rather amused look on his face, as Tava obediently poured the contents of the packet into a steaming mug of water. She then counted slowly to 10 before drinking the bitter tea without bothering to add sugar or cool it.
Riggs stood up and pushed his chair back under the table, "Well, good day to you, Tava," He said, preparing to leave again.
Tava looked up again her eyes all the way open and her expression more alert now, "Right, I'll see you later Riggs," She said, taking the steaming mug from her lips to talk.
Riggs left the hall, thinking how much of an effect that tea had on her. It was amazing how Saphrin managed to come up with such things—he only wished she could come up with a cure for his sickness.