Caleb heard the soft crackle of semi wet wood giving off fire and the smell of Christmas marshmallow roasts filled his hazy mind. His body and mind reeled with pain that was thrumming through him in time with the beats of his heart held aching in his chest cavity. He slowly opened his eyes reaching one sore arm to wipe the cold sticky sweat from his face. He was in what looked to be an underground room, as the floor seemed to be only a slight bit of concrete laid over dirt. He was lying on a leather couch that looked as if it could hold the secrets on heard by those who hold a phycology degree. There was a wool blanket tossed about his waist his chest was bear and covered in sweat and some remnants of what looked like blood but not much. His shoulder was heavily wrapped with gauze, where he imagined was where he had been shot. His rips where also bandaged. There were a bunch of medical supplies laid to the size of him on a make shift wine crate. There was only one window and it seemed to have been haphazardly boarded over, that above all else sent chills over the surface of his skin.
He heard footsteps coming down cracking wood stairs. There was a large heave of wood against wood before the doorknob began to turn. He quickly closed his eyes and feigned sleep. The door closed once more and whomever this was walked into the room. He heard wood clatter to the ground and than the adding of logs to the ember within the fireplace across the room. Caleb sneaky as he could looked out with slitted eyes. The person before him was kneeled down stoking the fire with a metal pole. They wore a black hoodie with the hood up and dark jeans. They lifted themselves into a standing position.
"I know you are awake." It was a deep female voice but it was like listening to a vintage wine being decentered. He couldn't explain it. "You don't have to be scared," she said before turning to face him.
She was… Beyond what would be considered the average standard for beauty. She was lithe and he features sharp and angular, milk white skin, thick long dark lashes rimmed bright rainforest green eyes, so bright and so serious. Her lips were snow-white poison apple red and long black hair draped out from where the hood stopped, it was braided and unkempt.
"What happened?" It was the first question of hundreds that came to him. His voice was raw and husky like it hadn't been used in weeks, although he could just be thirsty.
"You were attacked outside of a bar in upper Manhattan," she said, and the way she spoke he felt as though she should have shrugged. Caleb remembered the mugging the painful sounds of at least one of his ribs cracking under the pressure of someone's dirty boot. He could remember the screams and that sound… A chill ran down his spine.
"I remember that… how did I get here?" He asked hesitantly the unwavering gaze of this girl unsettled him even more than the situation itself.
"I carried you here. I cleaned and bandaged your wounds. The bullet was imbedded pretty deep in your shoulder but I was able to pull it out and pad it and stich it up. We'll have to redress them soon." He starred up at him but the pain was starting to affect him again dizzying with its sharpness. Caleb thought about all the questions whirring around in his head. Had she said she carried him here? He somehow found that hard to believe given her size.
"And who are you? Are you a nurse?" Caleb asked looking down at the meticulous bandaging.
"I am not, don't worry they won't get infected. You can call me Vitima," she said and seemed to know that her eye contact was making him edgy so she went back to stoking the fire.
"Do my parents know what happened to me? Did they catch the guys who did this to me?" Caleb felt so lost, and there was a major question he felt almost afraid to ask. Why was he here and not at the hospital?
"No one knows anything. They are looking for you, there is a missing person's add that has been put out all over the Tri-state area for a Caleb Reid. That's why we are here, we need to let all the media hype to settle down plus you must heal before we can travel. This is the safest place for us right now. The men who attacked you are dead. I didn't mean for it to come to that but that moron began firing off that damn gun, gave me no choice." She never turned back to look at Caleb's shocked face the entire time she spoke.
"You killed them?" His mouth felt even drier than before.
"How?" This was all proving too much for Caleb to comprehend in his weakly state. "And the sound? The animal sound. I remember it."
She turned and seemed to compose herself slightly before gently placing her hand on his forehead softly he hand was warm warmer than most and he couldn't tell if it was due to the fire she'd been tending. "No fever that's a good sign."
"You killed those men and saved me and brought me here… Why? How?" Caleb was stuttering slightly and he couldn't' care in the slightest about bold conversational skills at the very moment.
"Killing humans is not something I make a habit of."
"Humans?" This young woman must be a few dimes short of a dollar.
"There is much that you and I are going to have to discuss. For now you need to rest, I have some food prepared for you and fresh water we will talk once you have drank and eaten properly, is that fair." She asked her tone leaving little to no room for argument. Caleb just noticed how very hungry he was and his throat holding a thirst he had never known so he nodded in consent.
She went over to a table where there was a metal plate surrounded by tin foil and a large old looking canteen. She picked it up and walked over to him handing the canteen and Caleb swiftly as he could uncap and drained half of it in quick gulps. He exhaled at the end relieved that the desert in his mouth had been tended too. She unwrapped the foiled and steam rose from the plate. He smelled that whatever was cooked on the plate had been cooked over an open fire.
"I hope you like venison." She said she draped a towel over his lap and placed the food down in front of him. It appeared to be a deer steak chopped up into little pieces done somewhat rare with a side of roasted potatoes and carrots. Caleb thought back to this five star restaurant in the theatre district his father would bring him to in the winter that always served top cuts of venison steak it had always been one of Caleb's favorites.
"I do." Caleb rasped. She handed him a fork and Caleb stabbed a piece of meat and brought it to his mouth before chewing. There wasn't much flavor and it was a bit more rare than he liked it but it was defiantly fresh and he was truly just so hungry.
"I apologize if it's a bit gamey the adrenaline can tend to do that, the doe noticed me just a bit too early on." She began toying with the medical box on the wine crate.
"You caught this?" Caleb said in surprise. He knew people who hunted but this was just so odd.
"I did. And the past owners of this place were obviously farm folk. It's overgrown now but there is a pretty good-sized garden in the backside of the house. We'll be good here till you can travel." She said and she pulled a prescription bottle of pills from within the white box. e knew people He finished the last of his bland but filling meals and she collected the dish and put it to the side.
"Okay I've eaten." Caleb said softly waiting for at least some answers.
"You have to take this first it's for the pain." She held out two orange pills and the canteen. He downed them and kept looking at his caretaker with such confusion and curiosity in him. She lifted herself and collected the plate and walked to table and placed them down. Caleb's head very quickly began to spin with drowsiness.
"So talk," he slurred his head beginning to droop.
"I am going to redress you wounds now, goodnight Caleb," she said walking back towards him with such grace but he was already fading back into the world of painless sleep.