He wondered if he were in hospital but decided he wasn’t. The air smelled too clean and occasionally his senses were teased by wood smoke. The ‘nurse’ was certainly no NHS variety or. If she were, she’d be struck off for getting too close to a patient. He guessed he was in some village being cared for by the locals.
There was little else he could do but wait to get better or die. The air was cooling. Nightfall, he guessed. He felt covers being placed over him and then the woman lay at his side and bade him to rest easy.
It was dawn when Rhiannon realised that for the first time Kendal had slept the night through. She placed a hand tentatively against the pulse point in his neck.
“I’m not dead but I am bloody angry. What are you doing here?”
“You’re awake, thank God.” Relief surged through her.
“You won’t be thanking him when I have finished with you. I told you to leave.”
“Well, I didn’t.”
Porter shook his head.
“How long have we been here… where ever here is?”
“Here is the village you asked me to make for and we have been here three days.”
“Three days! That means that you missed your transportation out of Columbia. Layla won’t have waited.”
“There’ll be other boats. We will catch one when you are fit to travel.”
“When, where and how are we getting on a boat with Cortez’ men looking for us!?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t had time to think…”
“That’s just it, you didn’t think.”
“Look…” Rhiannon tried to speak but Kendal continued.
“You should have gone, luv. You’re not stupid, you know the danger you’re in, not to mention the danger you put this village in. Do you have any idea what he will do if he finds out they helped us?”
Rhiannon stared at him, suddenly uncaring that he’d been seriously ill – still was.
“Do I have…? He’ll send his thugs in here and they will put a host of bullets in the head of the village chief before shooting a child because he’s crying, leaving some poor women to hold him as he bleeds to death. So, yes, you fucking asshole, I do know and so do they, but they still chose to help us.”
“Rhiannon.” He struggled to sit up.
“Shut up, just shut up. I’m not trained like you and Layla, whoever she is. Death and killing, they mean something to me even if they don’t to you. Maybe, you fucking jerk, I just couldn’t have another death on my conscience. I see death when I close my eyes – a young priest and child – and I didn’t want to see yours as well. Can you just try and understand that?”
She put her hand up.
“No, I need some space for a while. You can’t follow me, you aren’t strong enough. So, just lie there and think about showing some gratitude.”
He watched as she walked away.
“Shit, that did not go well,” he said to himself.