Last night was my turn to care for Tony. I think he is going to survive the injuries inflicted by the Central Sharks. Although severely bruised, he is no longer a shade of death gray. The knife wound to his abdomen heals with no sign of infection. His temperature is normal. I credit the Stewarts and their knowledge of homeopathic medicine for his miraculous recovery.
Tony opened his eyes a few minutes before my shift was ending. At first, he looked confused: I don’t think he remembers Matt and Jonas carrying him from the workshop to the 2A hall three days ago.
“What day…time is it?” he inquired as he tried to change position without causing pain.
“It’s almost 6 am and…it’s Friday” I yawned. “You really should try not to move too much.”
Tony took a deep breath and grabbed his left side to ease the pain of inhalation. “Been here long?”
“My shift started at 2am”. I reached for the water pitcher sitting on the crate next to his bed. “Marty, Gretchen and Cecelia will be here soon. Want a drink?”
Tony reached for the glass of water; the grimace on his face suggested the arm movement caused discomfort. “Thank you,” he said as he sipped the water.
“Where’s the Runt?” he inquired as he motioned I could take the glass.
I thought back and tried to remember. The last couple of days had been hectic. The Runt’s absence was a bit puzzling. Keeping up with the boy had not been high on my list of priorities. When had I seen him last? When I cooked the eggs?
“Not certain, but I’m sure he’s around somewhere. The boy rarely gives me a moment’s peace.”
Tony smiled “the boy likes you.”
I laughed and snickered. “The boy does not like me. He’s a demon child. He never sleeps. He aggravates me day in and day out. He’s probably been down the hall for the last four hours sabotaging my room.” I was getting ready to list several examples of the Runt’s evilness when Marty, Stacey and Cecelia stepped into the room.
I looked at the Stewarts. “I think he’s better.”
“I can see that” Marty replied.
I grabbed my diary from the crate and kissed Tony on the top of his head. “I’m gonna go get some sleep. I leave you in safe hands. If I see the Runt, I’ll tell him you’re awake.”
Thoughts of slumber quickly filled my head as I made my way down the 2A hall toward my room. I stopped to read the community bulletin board. To my pleasant surprise, someone posted an invitation to the Fall Festival. The invite included everyone in the local area.
I love Fall Festival; it is a reprieve from the madness. As a sign of goodwill, the local gangs lay down their weapons. For two days, all fighting stops, disputes between rival gangs put aside for another day or forgotten all together.
As I stared at the poster, dreaming of last year’s event, I was unaware JT walked up behind me.
“Are you going?” he said innocently reaching out to touch my shoulder.
Fearing an intruder, I spun around and threw a punch. JT ducked and avoided the first blow. The second landed square on his jaw.
“Hey, it’s me!” he cried.
The familiar sounding voice caused me to stop flailing my arms in what was quickly becoming an out of control windmill. “JT, why the crap are you sneaking up on me?”
“I didn’t sneak! I’m on guard duty.” He waved his flashlight around as proof of his duties. “I noticed you were staring at the poster and stopped to see if you were going?”
I felt foolish and a bit embarrassed. “I’m sorry,” I said apologetically. “I hope I haven’t given you a bruise.”
JT snapped his flashlight onto his belt. “It’s OK, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.”
I turned to look at the poster.”I love fall festival. It’s fun. We should probably think about participating in the festivities again this year by putting up a booth of some kind.”
“Is that in addition to the Matt and Jonas kissing booth?” JT replied as he glanced at his watch and suddenly realized he needed to be somewhere else.
I laughed. “Yes, in addition to the kissing booth.”
I walked the remaining few steps to my room when I realized I didn’t asked JT if he had seen the Runt. I thought of running after him but the pull to my bed was stronger than the pull to find out if the boy was still breathing and causing mischief. The sun was rising, if the gutter-rat were around, he would undoubtedly make his presence known soon enough.