The Awakening, part 15

I can hardly believe my luck when I see that Caleb’s prepared the food today as well. There is a steaming pot on the table, placed strategically on a disc of wood. I inhale, enjoying the smell of hotpot, and take a seat. My stomach is rumbling, but I hesitate. It would be impolite to eat without him, especially as I am staying at his home and he has gone through the trouble of providing food for me. And since there are two clean plates layd on the table as well, I think it’s safe to assume that he hasn’t eaten yet, either.

I bite my lip as I decide to wait for him. I feel kinda awkward at the moment. How is it going to work, me staying here? And how am I to earn my keep when he keeps doing everything himself? I can’t imagine Marissa letting me sleep in and just do nothing.

As I wait for him, my mind drifts back to what I experienced upstairs. Was it some kind of hallucination, a memory, or a premonition? I could almost feel the rough fabric of Giles’ uniform as I hugged him. No. That’s not right. It wasn’t exactly me. More like me seeing through someone else’s eyes. There were thoughts and feelings that weren’t my own. I’ve never experienced such things before.

Before I have a chance to dwell on whether there’s something extraordinary going on or I’m simply losing my last shards of sanity, Caleb enters the kitchen. His hair is somewhat tousled by the wind and he has a restlessness about him that I can’t quite discern. His expression, once again, is unreadable. I find it increasingly annoying that I can’t tell what he’s thinking at all.

“How are your feet?” he asks as he seats himself opposite me.

“Much better. I feel no pain while walking. I.. .thank you.” I feel a bit embarrassed. I’m not used to having people take care of me. So I concentrate on eating and avoid looking at Caleb for the rest of the meal. Childish, I know, but I’m apparently not very good at managing awkward situations.

“When we are done here we shall check on your wounds and change the bandages.” My eyes shot up at that and I look at him, startled.

“I, um… I think I can manage them myself now. But thanks for… everything?” I didn’t mean for that last part to sound like a question. He probably thinks I’m not quite right in the head. But then again, he most likely had that opinion the first time he saw me, housebreaking in order to sleep in a stranger’s bed. Yeah, can’t do much worse than that.

“After having seen the disregard with which you treat your health and wellbeing, that might not be the wisest course of action.” I can hear the amusement in his voice. I’m irritated, but I automatically give him one of my blandest smiles as I respond.

“As you wish.”

I’m looking down on my plate again, but when I finally raise my eyes after finishing my meal, I see no trace of humour in his face. He is studying me with an indecipherable look, just as he did yesterday.

A few minutes later, I am still sitting on my chair as Caleb unbandages my feet. Truth is, I’ve never felt so awkward before. It doesn’t sit right with me to have someone waiting on me when I’m quite capable of managing things on my own. After examining my legs, he stands up.

“It would seem you have some healing talent. The herbs I used should have only removed the possible infection and eased your pain somewhat. Good. This means we can begin training right away.” With that, he goes outside.

I get a bit confused at that. He sure says as little as possible, leaving out half of the information. Training for what? And that talk about healing talent didn’t make much sense either. Until I look down and look at my feet myself. The cuts I had are barely noticeable. The soles of my feet still feel somewhat tender when I stand and try to walk without bandages, but I can tell that the wounds have healed.

I follow Caleb. He’s waiting for me in the center of the small meadow, about fifty feet from the house. I admit that I’m somewhat surprised to see him completely unarmed. I was almost certain that we’d be clashing wooden swords or something like that. That’s how the boys begin when they are enlisted by the king’s troops. As I near Caleb, I hear him sigh.

“That chest I put in the attic is there for a reason. Go back and get yourself some footwear before you hurt yourself again. Your feet are not completely healed yet.” He sounds kind of exasperated, but it’s hard to tell since his face is as blank from emotions as ever. I rush back inside and up to my room. The glow is back, but I try to look only at the chest as I open it, in fear of other visions intruding my head. Luckily, nothing happens as I rummage the trunk. I find a couple of simple dresses that appear to be approximately my size, and pair of weathered-looking brown leather half-boots. Which also seem to fit, though not perfectly. I pull on the boots and hurry back out, immensely relieved when I escape the attic without recieving any voices or visions.

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