Love in the Land of Dragons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 13 (v.1)

Submitted: July 06, 2015

Reads: 313

Comments: 13

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Submitted: July 06, 2015

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Chapter Thirteen

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Carlton Chambers wasn’t a particularly religious man. Even though as a child growing up in Albany, New York, his Father and Mother would drag him and his siblings off to church every Sunday morning. However, even at his young age he knew his Father really wasn’t that concerned with the holy teachings from the pulpit, but instead only wanted to make business contacts with the other wealthy men in attendance. Just as his Mother would use her social skills getting in touch with those same wealthy men’s wives.

And when the minister would finally present that Sunday’s sermon, young Master Carlton would only stare up at the stained glass windows to try and detect any possible hidden image bearing some secret message that only he could decipher, while just basically ignoring what the said minister would be vaguely preaching about the Bible.

Even years later, where he would witness the magnitude of death and destruction below him while flying through the skies over France during the “war to end all wars”; he never ever considered that it was God who looked over him and kept him safe. If anything, it made Carlton Chambers ever the more cynical and agnostic.

If God was so loving and caring of his people, then why allow all of this carnage to happen in the first place?

At best, he reasoned, God was a distant, disinterested observer of the human condition. At worst, God never even existed.

But on this particular evening, in this small bedroom on the second floor of a Sanctuary house located deep in a backwoods farming province within an exotic and mystifying world called China; Carlton Chambers knelt down beside the bed that contained a severely injured and unconscious twenty-year old Teacher/Missionary by the name of Elizabeth Ander and prayed. And in those prayers he asked for God’s forgiveness and, most importantly, for God to spare Elizabeth’s life.

As for now, she did seem to be resting comfortably, although an occasional soft moan would still pass over her lips.

So after his prayers were prayed, Chambers returned to the corner chair to re-take his residency and wait for the return of Father John Polsky, who hopefully would be in the company of Dr. Xiu.

Chambers slowly closed his eyes in another attempt to get some rest himself but to no avail. His mind raced over the concern of Elizabeth’s well being and the safe return of the Good Father with the Doctor in tow. He found himself constantly glancing at his wristwatch. A watch that seemed to have become frozen in time. Every second a minute. Every minute an hour.

But after what seemed like an eternity, Chambers eventually was able to drop off to sleep. An erratic sleep, but a sleep nonetheless.

Suddenly, he was awakened by loud voices from somewhere downstairs. He immediately dashed for the door and swung it open. A sense of relief washed over him, as he recognized the voice of Father Polsky coming from the kitchen, as the Good Father was engaged in conversation with Pia and Miss Chang. However, that same sense of relief was tempered with a sense of dread when he did not hear the voice of Dr. Xiu.

“John! John!” Chambers called down in panic.

Quickly, Father Polsky came out of the kitchen and glanced up where Chambers stood by the railing.

“Has Elizabeth taken a turn for the worse?” Father Polsky apprehensively asked, as Pia and Miss Chang stepped from out of the kitchen and stood directly behind him with looks of concern upon both their faces as well.

“Did you find the Doctor?” Chambers asked with trepidation, but before Father Polsky could utter a reply, a short, thin man with dark, swept back hair and wearing wire rim glasses, was the last to emerge from the kitchen. It was Dr. Xiu.

“Thank God!” Chambers muttered, then in a much louder voiced uttered, “Quickly, Doctor! She’s up here!”

Dr. Xiu, carrying a black leather medical case in his left hand and a knapsack over his right shoulder, bounded up the stairs and on into Elizabeth’s room, as Chambers immediately followed.

“She was shot through the lower back,” Chambers began to explain, “and I think she….”

“Father Polsky has already informed me of Miss Ander’s condition,” Dr. Xiu crossly interrupted, as he placed the case and knapsack down on the floor, “so please let me make a preliminary inspection of the patient’s wounds, if you would.”

Pia and Miss Chang soon entered the bedroom and stood nearby, while Father Polsky waited just outside.

“I’m very pleased that Father Polsky has informed you, Doctor!” Chambers irritatingly countered, “But a lot of time has passed and Miss Ander has been in and out of consciousness and is obviously in a lot of pain.”

Dr. Xiu did not reply while he opened his medical bag to take out a stethoscope to listen to Elizabeth’s heart.

“I think she may need more morphine for the pain,” Chambers opinioned, before Father Polsky stepped in to the room and gently took a hold of Chambers arm.

“Carlton,” Polsky soothingly began, “why don’t you come down stairs with me and let Dr. Xiu do his examination.”

“I’m not leaving her!” Chambers stubbornly blurted out, yanking his arm away from Polsky’s grasp.

“Of course you’re not leaving her,” Father Polsky kindly reassured him, “you’re just taking a break for a few minutes. Elizabeth is in the best of hands with Dr. Xiu, as well as Pia and Miss Chang. So the best thing you could do for her right now is just step aside and let them help her. Yes?”

Chambers begrudgingly nodded, then re-addressed the Doctor, “You let me know as soon as possible what her status is, understand?”

“I will come down and let you know what my prognosis is as soon as I finish the examination,” Dr. Xiu stoically replied without glancing up, as he listened to Elizabeth’s heart with the stethoscope.

Chambers then followed Father Polsky out the door and down the stairs.

“Lets go into my study, shall we?” Polsky requested of Chambers, who did not reply but faithfully followed the Priest into the study.

“Please, have a seat,” Polsky kindly instructed, as he himself took the chair behind his desk.

“Are you going to give me my lecture now, Father?” Chambers asked, as he took the seat directly across.

“No,” the Good Father good naturedly replied, as he opened up the bottom drawer of his desk and began searching for something inside, “I think your own conscious has already done a much better job than I could ever hope to do.”

“You’re right about that,” Chambers agreed, holding his head down.

“Right now I think we both could use a drink,” Father Polsky noted, as he retrieved a bottle of Scotch and two shot glasses from out of the desk drawer.

“Is that the official Church policy in times of crisis,” Chambers cynically joked.

“For now its my official policy,” Polsky smiled, as he filled each shot glass to the brim, and slid one over the desk towards Chambers, who readily picked it up.

“To Elizabeth’s health and recovery!” Father John toasted, holding his glass on high.

“Elizabeth’s health and recovery!” Chambers repeated, as he clinked Polsky’s glass with his own before they both chugged down the whiskey.

“Even if it was a foolhardy thing for you to do,” Chambers softly began, “Thank you for going to Canton to retrieve Dr. Xiu.”

“I think we’ve both done our share of foolhardy things tonight, don’t you?” Father smirked, as he poured them both another drink.

“Agreed,” Chambers replied, downing the second Scotch, “by the way John, how did you get through the rebel’s roadblock?”

“When I got there, it had been abandoned,” Father Polsky lied.

“Abandoned?” Chambers replied with astonishment.

“Yes,” Father Polsky explained, “since you had apparently crashed through their barrier and effectively dismantled it, I’d guess they just decided to call it a night.”

“I guess they did,” Chambers skeptically replied, “I do have to say you were very lucky, Father.”

“Well, I did have God on my side,” Polsky smiled, as he offered Chambers a third refill in which he declined.

“John, that roadblock was only ten miles from the Sanctuary.”

“Yes. Very troubling.”

“Troubling? It’s way more than that. The Rebels are becoming more and more brazen. If something’s not done soon, they’ll soon be knocking at your door. No. Scratch that. They’ll be kicking in your door.”

“I’ll send a message to Colonel Liu first thing in the morning,” Polsky tried to reassure, “then he’ll have Sergeant Kiang and his men beef up their patrols.”

Chambers laughed, “John, you know as well as I do that Liu and Kiang and their men are just as bad as the Rebels. Worse in some ways.”

“But for now they’re the closest thing to a police force this providence has,” Father Polsky sternly reminded.

“And as long as you and I continue to make “financial contributions” to their "personal interests" then maybe, just maybe, they’ll make an attempt to push the rebel forces back, but make no mistake, you know and I know they’re all just basically mercenary whores willing to sell their "protection services" to the highest bidder.”

“And your employer John D. Rockefellar can bid pretty high, wouldn’t you say, Carlton?” Polsky cynically noted.

“Yes,” Chambers agreed, “but we have no choice. The Rebels have already attacked three of our cargo barges headed up river just this month.”

“I thought your company had Naval escorts?”

“We do,” Chambers answered, “but the Navy doesn’t have enough gun boats to escort all the barges we plan on running. And if you remember, the Rebels blatantly attacked a Naval gun boat last month. That’s why I really need you to get me that list.”

Father Polsky poured himself a third refill and gulped it down before answering.

“I’m working on it.”

“Well, work on it a little faster.”

“Carlton, these things you ask of me takes time.”

“Time is quickly running out, John.”

“You’ve put me in a very precarious position. Matters such as these take finesse.”

“Look, I know as a Preist you’re in a delicate postion here, but you have your ear to the ground, so to speak. You can pick up information. About plans. About people. Information my company or I could never ever hope to acquire on our own.

As we now both know, the Rebels are already in this province and are headed this way. I know their members and leaders are incognito. They hide amongst the people out there. I need you to find out who they are and let me know. Then we’ll take care of it from there. Understand, John?”

Faher Polsky solemnly nodded, “But you understand it's not as simple as you make it out to be.”

“It is that simple, John.”

“No Carlton! It is not! Say I go to a Farmer and ask if he knows someone who is part of this revolutionary guard. Perhaps use some of those cash “donations” you provide the Sanctuary to encourage him to cooperate. Now what if that Farmer has an ongoing feud with a neighboring Farmer over some land boundaries. Or that Farmer’s son is trying to court the other Farmer’s daughter to his chagrin?

He could just as easily inform me that this Farmer he’s having a dispute with is involved with the Rebel alliance or the son is. So I turn over the names he gives me to you then presto! You solve his problem. But the real problem is, someone innocent gets jailed or more than likely killed. So you can understand my reluctance.”

“Yes, John. I do. But you must understand, if you don’t provide me with some names soon, then a lot of innocent people will die. Maybe like that beautiful and innocent girl laying upstairs right now fighting for her life!”

“Again, Calton, you’re putting me in an insufferable position.”

“And may I remind you of those cash donations my company’s been providing you to help spread the Gospel and build more classrooms. I’d really hate to see those funds suddenly dry up, considering all the noble work you do for this province.”

“Well, looks like I have no choice then, do I?” Father Polsky frowned.

“No, John,” Chambers affirmed, “you do not.”

Just then Dr. Xiu came into the study.

“Gentlemen,” he began, “I’ve just finished my examination of Miss Ander and will now give you my prognosis.”

Chambers silently prayed that the Doctor would be optimistic for Elizabeth’s full recovery, but the look in Dr. Xiu’s eyes made Carlton Chambers sadly begin to believe otherwise.


© Copyright 2019 Nikki Evans. All rights reserved.

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