Reads: 239

Hank entered the radio room to find a large group of people standing around.  ‘Everyone out please.’ He requested in a tone not to be questioned. He was not looking forward to this conversation. Before today, Hank had a great deal of respect for the man called Mouth. What he had just done to Page however was despicable.  What make it worse, the woman had considered him a friend until today. All but Woody left the room. ‘You too Woody. This conversation must be heard by no one.’

‘Just hung back to ask how Page is.’ He said worried. ‘We heard her yelling all the way down here. I don’t have to tell you how weird that is. That woman and boy talk so low, some times it is hard to understand them.’ Hank nodded.

‘She was reasonably upset.’ The doctor sighed. ‘I just talked her out of leaving the bunker.’ Woody paled and shook his head.

‘Whatever you do, don’t touch anything.’ Woody warned. Mouth did something so it is a privet connection. You mess with anything and it could make it open for the world to hear.’ Hank nodded. ‘I will watch the door for you Doc.’ He promised before walking out and closing the door behind him. Hank sat before the radio and clicked on the transmitter.

‘Hello, is this Mouth?’ He asked

‘Yes it is, and either your voice got really deep, or your not Page.’ The broadcaster chuckled amused by his own cleverness.

‘My name is Dr. Hank Carter.’ He said holding back his annoyance. ‘Page told me that you are normally a very honorable person, and when you promise something, you keep it. Before this conversation persist, I need your world it will stay between the two of us.’

‘Err, okay.’ Mouth said confused.

‘That means no jumping on the air and broadcasting it nationwide.’ Hank warned ‘Your solid oath young man.’

‘Okay, I swear it.’ He replied. ‘Anything you tell me will stay between you and me. Is this about Page and Kidd?’

‘Yes. It is.’ Hank growled. ‘She sent me down to tell you verbatim, to fuck off and find someone else's life to ruin.’ There was no response for a long time.

‘She will calm down.’ Mouth sighed. ‘She always dose. I swear that girl is the most reluctant star left on earth.’ Hank shook his head.

‘You are blind young man.’ He said annoyed. ‘What Page suffered through has left her with a severe case of PTSD. As she stated so clearly to Martin after your broadcast, you spewed a story she was not ready to talk about to the whole world before she had a chance to talk about it with her loved ones.’

‘Look,’ Mouth started annoyed ‘I don’t understand what the problem is. Page always gets mad at me when I talk about her on the radio. So she made one little mistake. It is nothing to get this worked up over.’ Hank stared at the radio confused. He had spent enough time with Page during her recovery to get to know her. She did not seem the type to suffer fools, and this Mouth man seemed to be a great fool. Than something occurred to him.

‘Mouth until today, Page considered you a friend.’ He started ‘I did not hear your full broadcast. What exactly did Martin tell you?’

‘Well, long story short, he said they went to bunker down at a cabin rental place. Some ass jumped them and captured Page. Kidd with the help of a behemoth and an army of halflings rescued her.’ He let out a deep chuckle. ‘I haven’t seen movies as exciting as that woman’s life.’ Hank shook his head and sighed. Mentally he cursed Martin. The man was a good leader, however he seemed to lack any form of tact, or common sense.

‘Mouth,’ Hank sighed. ‘Martin left out a critical piece of the story. Before I tell you, I must insist on reminding you of your oath.’

‘Why do I have a bad felling about this?’ Mouth said sounding nervous.

‘The man at that cabin captured Page by shooting her in the chest with a beanbag.’ Hank said. ‘He raped and tortured her for four days. Had Kidd not of thought to get help from Ulysses, she would have been dead before the fourth day finished. It goes against my oath to tell you any medical details. I can tell you it took over eighteen hours in surgery to save her life. What she suffered through, will physically affect her for the rest of her life.’ He was answered with nothing but silence. It lasted so long this time; Hank thought Mouth had turned off his radio.

‘Please,’ Mouth pleaded. ‘Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke?’ The man sounded close to tears and Hank felt bad for him. It was terrible news to deliver to anyone.

‘I am sorry, that is what happened.’ He told Mouth. ‘Page will not speak of what was done to her those four days. She is not ready. I hope you understand her rage now.’

‘Yeah.’ Mouth sighed. ‘I will not correct what I told people. The real details are no ones business but Page and who ever she trust with the information.’ Hank thought better of the man called Mouth. ‘Look Hank, you have to talk to her for me. Tell her I will not broadcast the story again and I promise I informed her brother and Ty before I made that first broadcast. They were both panicking over what had happened to her.’

‘I can imagine.’ Hank sighed. ‘You know our frequency. They are welcome to call here and talk to her and little Kidd. I will explain what happened to Page. It may mean the brutal mauling of our base leader; however, I believe he disserves it.’

‘Yeah,’ Mouth growled ‘he may have just cost me a good friend.’

‘I will talk to Page.’ Hank promised. ‘Once she cools down that is. Has she always been that hot headed?’

‘Hot headed?’ Mouth asked confused. ‘Page has only lost her temper once that I know of. That was just after the fall. She even kept her cool when that ass Stan nearly cost her her foot. Hell, she is pretty much in love with the guy who shot her on accident in Pineview.’ Hank frowned. He had been afraid of that. Even after Kidd had been shot, as soon as she learned he would recover, she calmed down immediately. She still growled at poor Chris every time she spotted him, but she did not go at him as she had with Martin upstairs.

‘I think her outburst of anger could be from the PTSD.’ Hank sighed. ‘I had not realized it had gotten that bad.’

‘She is a good person Hank.’ Mouth said worried. ‘I can’t even try to take a guess how many people she has saved between Lakeside Washington, to your bunker. If you can help her, many people will be grateful to you.’

‘I will do my best.’ Hank sighed feeling as if the weight of the world was just put on his shoulders.

 

Page inhaled deep. 'Okay, exhale.' Hank instructed. She did as told. He nodded and took the stethoscope out of his ears. ‘Your lungs sound good. I wish all of my clients healed as well as you do.’ He took her right hand into his hands and examined the collar of scars around her wrist. ‘Any pain?’ The doctor asked as he flexed her wrist.

‘It’s a little tight.’ She admitted a little disappointed. She was worried if it did not heal right, she could never use a bow again. The thought just depressed her.

‘The physical therapy we are doing will help with that.’ Hank assured her. ‘When you and Kidd are ready to move on, I will show you some exercises to keep it loose.’ He smiled to her ‘Do not worry Page. You will be able to shoot a bow again. You may need some wrist support, but nothing more.’

Page wanted with all her heart to believe him. When he told her about the damage to the soft tissue, and ligaments from hanging from her wrist for so long, it had scared her. The last thing she wanted to do was learn how to shoot a gun.

‘I trust you Hank.’ She sighed looking back to the scar. ‘I don’t know how I will ever be able to repay you for what you have done for my son and I.’ Hank glanced at her before moving on to her left wrist.

‘Well, you could repay me by not punching me when I say what I am about to say.’ He said glancing to her. Page frowned confused. Of all the people she had met in the bunker, she liked Hank the most. ‘I gave Mouth your message this morning. We talked a little. It seems Martin misinformed him how serious the situation had been.’ As Hank spoke, the more annoyed Page became with Martin. ‘Mouth promised not to rebroadcast the news. He says the real story is no ones business but yours. He also informed your brother and Ty that you were safe here before he told the news to the world.’ Page nodded sighing.

I am still pissed that he put it on the air.’ She said ‘He knows how much it bugs me when he does that.’ Hank chuckled amused.

‘He mentioned you were his most reluctant star.’ The man informed her. Page nodded.

‘It has made life a little difficult.’ She admitted. ‘Your bunker was the first settlement we have come across that doesn’t know exactly who I am. If it had not been for Kidd being hurt, it would have been a refreshing change for us.’

‘Your range of motion is excellent.’ He assured her releasing her wrist. ‘Any pain in your back since your walk?’ She shook her head.

‘It wasn’t my back that bothered me.’ She said putting her hand on her ribs. ‘The pain was here. Not from breathing, but almost like a bad stitch in the side. I just never had one that high before.

‘That would be the muscle where we had to cut into you to put in the chest tube.’ Hank said frowning. He lifted her shirt and probed the scar. ‘Any pain?’

‘No none.’ She informed him relieved. She had worried something was wrong.

‘It’s nothing you have to worry about.’ He assured her. ‘It is just your body telling you not to press yourself too much.’ he gave her a hard look. ‘It has only been three months Page. You heal fast, but these things take time.’ Page nodded straightening out her shirt. ‘How did you sleep last night?’ She glared at him.

‘What the hell did you slip me?’ She demanded. ‘I out slept Kidd this morning. That almost never happens.’

‘You have not slept well for a week.’ He scolded. ‘The pills got you to sleep. The rest was all you.’ He looked toward the closed door. ‘Speaking of Kidd. How is he doing?’

‘In truth, I am not sure.’ Page said worried. ‘He has told me a little about the time he spent in the woods. Sometimes he gets this look on his face and it’s like he isn’t home anymore.’ She shook her head. ‘I don’t think I am the only one who has PTSD Doc.’ Hank nodded.

‘I was worried about that.’ He sighed sitting down.

‘I want to help him Hank.’ Page said rubbing her eyes. ‘But how can I help him, when I cannot even wrap my own head around what happened.’ She got a queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach as her mind went back to the cabin. The pain of the ropes ripping into her wrist every time she tried to relive the pain in her legs from standing on them for so long.

The memory was so vivid, she found herself rubbing her right wrist. She looked to see Hank watching her worried.

‘All you can do,’ he said taking her hand. ‘Is let him know you are there. When he is ready to talk about it. Just listen.  You would be shocked how helpful it is just knowing you have the option to talk about it, without having to worry about being judged.’

Page had a feeling he was not just talking about her son. She trusted Hank and knew she could talk to him. Not yet however. She was not ready to talk about her time with the bastard.

‘Thank you Hank,’ she started, but was interrupted by a loud crash past the door. The two got up fast and went into the hall to see what was happening. Kidd was picking up a tipped over tray of blankets. He gave her a guilty look before glancing to Dogg who sat wagging his tail. The pup had his toy clenched in his jaws. Page sighed. ‘Kidd, what have I told you about throwing his toy around in the base?’

‘Sorry mom.’ He sighed ‘We got bored waiting.’

‘We eh?’ Hank asked smirking. Kidd gave him a sheepish grin and Page smiled shaking her head. Hank looked to her. ‘Everything looks good.’ He assured her. ‘If you have questions or concerns, you know my door is always open.’ Page nodded understanding. Kidd finished picking up the mess and the two went toward the radio room. Woody step into the hall and smiled seeing them.

‘I was just looking for you two.’ He greeted cheerfully. ‘You have a guy on the horn looking for you. Sounds like a jarhead to me.’ Page chuckled amused.

‘If it is who I think it is,’ she said as they headed for the radio room. ‘He was a jarhead.’

‘This Ty guy the one you keep blowing off Martin for?’ Woody teased. Page nodded ‘how’d you two meet?’

‘He shot her.’ Kidd giggled. Woody stopped shocked, but Page kept walking as she chuckled amused. She looked down to the smirking boy.

‘You are just full of mischief today.’ She chuckled. ‘When we get done with the radio, I will have to find us something to work the silly right out of you.’

‘Can we go back outside?’ He asked excited ‘Maybe Joy or Ulysses will be out there.’

‘We will have to wait and see.’ Page stated frowning thoughtful. ‘I don't know if that storm has passed or not.’ He nodded and Woody rejoined them.

‘Girl, you lead a strange life.’ He said shaking his head.

‘You have no idea.’ Page sighed thinking of everything they had seen on the road. Inside the radio room, Woody went to the microphone and pressed the talk button.

‘Still there Ty?’ He asked.

‘I’m here Woody.’ Came Ty’s voice. The sound of the man’s voice after such a long time nearly brought her to tears. Woody step aside and let Page sit down.

‘I’ll just wait outside.’ He said ‘Just so you know, that's not like that radio you had. It is an open frequency and there could be someone listening in.’ Page nodded not happy with the information. Once Woody was gone, she depressed the button.

‘Hi Ty.’ She greeted smiling.

‘Page thank god.’ Ty sighed ‘Is Kidd there too? Are you both all right? Mouth said some prick jumped you guys and broke your phone.’ Page sighed rubbing her eyes.

‘Unfortunately, it was not that simple.’ She replied. ‘I want to talk to you about it, but Woody informed me that this is an open frequency and we may have ease droppers.’

‘Are you two okay?’ Ty asked

‘I am healing.’ She assured him. ‘Kidd is fine. He is right here with me.’

‘Hello Kidd.’ Ty greeted ‘how is your arm? Strong enough to play catch with me?’ Kidd grinned to Page before he pressed the button.

‘Hi Ty.’ The boy greeted ‘My arm is a lot better. We even had a snowball fight yesterday with Ulysses. He is the behemoth here. He is huge, even bigger than Romeo. Oh, and there is a tiny halfling called Joy that lives by the bunker,’

‘Breath Kidd.’ Page laughed amused. The boy blushed as he grinned up at her.

‘Let him talk.’ Ty chuckled. ‘I feel like I have been waiting years to hear that voice. When did you start talking again buddy?’ the boys smile faded

‘It was after mom got hurt.’ He said just above a whisper. Page pulled the boy into her lap and hugged him close.

‘I am okay now sweetheart.’ She assured him.

‘Where are you Page?’ Ty pleaded ‘if we are close, I will make my way there.’

‘We are in the middle of bum funk nowhere.’ Page chuckled ‘I honestly have no idea how to get you here. I will ask Woody to come in and tell you after we finish talking. Where are you right now? Did you make it to Treetop?’

‘We didn’t stop’ Ty sighed ‘We pushed through as soon as we heard about Kidd getting shot, then when you both vanished.’ he was quiet for a moment. ‘Well, let's just say we did something not so bright and now we are at the settlement Theo told you about.’ Page flinched surprised. That was well past them. How had the two passed them in such a short time?

‘What did you do?’ She asked confused ‘Did you find a working car?’

‘Nope, we took a boat.’ Ty explained and Page understood. She had seen the river weaving to and from the interstate. She and Kidd had even stopped to fish in it from time to time. ‘We don’t have big heavy carts to slow us down. Just our packs, so we grabbed a boat and just took the river to where you were last seen.’

‘Wait,’ Page frowned thoughtful ‘why would you call that stupid?’

‘Ever travel a river in the middle of winter?’ Ty asked. ‘Let’s just say it's not the friendliest form of travel. We wrecked the boat on an ice flow and just barely made it to shore. Theo is laid up with a broken ankle.’

‘Oh Ty,’ Page sighed ‘you two should not have put yourselves through that. You could have been killed.’

‘We were worried about you two.’ He said.

‘I think it was a grand romantic guest urge.’ Came a dreamy females reply ‘if you ever in Florida tiger you can rush to my rescue any day.’ Page raised an eyebrow at that.

‘Do you mind?’ Ty asked annoyed

‘I don’t mind at all.’ A man’s voice replied ‘When you’re done, I got some questions for Miss Gallagher myself.’ Page sighed shaking her head. Woody had warned them that this was open to everyone.

‘Ty,’ she started ‘you and Theo stay put. It is not safe to travel in the winter. As soon as spring hits, we will come to you.’

‘Go to the castle.’ Ty said. ‘Call me from there. Woody will tell you how. We will meet there.’

‘The castle?’ Page asked confused

‘Trust me,’ Ty chuckled ’You will know it when you see it.’

‘You can come play with my castle if that's what you into honey.’ The dreamy female said in a purr.

‘Jezz,’ Page said annoyed ‘Ty we will talk again when there are less people on to interrupt.’

‘Okay.’ Ty sighed disappointed. ‘Just remember the castle.’

‘I will.’ She promised.


Submitted: January 16, 2016

© Copyright 2021 CJones. All rights reserved.

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