Chapter 51

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Hailie was sitting on the floor in Eli's room. She could have gone to hers but his was bigger, at least that was the reason she gave herself. The notebook lay open on her lap. The cats paced the room meowing constantly.

"Be quiet. I need to find something to help Eli," Hailie said. The cats came over and peered at the page. She pushed them away. "Move. You are blocking me." Juliet meowed. "No you cannot help. You cannot read. Go find something else to do."

The cats jumped on his bed, in Juliet's case climbed up the sheets since her belly was too big, and burrowed themselves into the sheets. They knew Eli was sick and they were worried.

Hailie flipped through the pages. There were entries on sea creatures, even one on the huge jellyfish that had stung Eli. There was nothing in the entry to heal a sting so she moved on. There were stupid entries like improving your vision or hearing, or just general things like how the city was set up. Even a full map. She couldn't care less if she tried. She threw the book against the wall. For five years she'd protect the blasted thing and it couldn't tell her how to save Eli.

Hailie walked over and picked it up. Maybe she should look once more. She went to the entry on the necklace that she'd overlooked before. There was something about upkeep of the necklace and something else about the disadvantage of more pearls. It gave her an idea.

She went to the med bay. Celeste was emptying drawer after drawer. Whatever she was looking for couldn't be found. She slammed them shut.

"How bad is he?" Hailie asked. Eli was lying on one of the beds looking like a dead man. She swallowed and pushed the thought away.

"I don't even know. I can't wake him up to ask him how he is," she said. "Watch him. I need some air. Call me if anything."

The minute Celeste left the room, Hailie opened the drawers and took out some alcohol and a rag. She wetted a corner and then went over to Eli. She silently apologized for what she was about to do and then pulled the necklace off his neck so she could clean the skin underneath.

He wasn't breathing. She ignored that fact. His chest didn't move. She kept her eyes on his neck. His lips were blue. There were beads of sweat all over his face and neck and his skin felt hot. The pearls were getting darker. She'd read that. Darker pearls. He was dying for sure. She made sure his skin and the necklace were completely clean then let the necklace go. She waited anxiously, praying she didn't kill him early. His chest rose and fell in steady beats. She sighed and slumped into the chair next to him. He was breathing. His lips were slowly losing the blueness. There was no more gasping as if he was a fish out of water. She silently begged him to hold on just long enough. She would go find the moss personally if necessary. He just needed to hold on until they got there.

Hailie took out the book and turned back to the page with the pearls. Celeste had said that she didn't know how bad he was because she couldn't ask. According to the book, she didn't have to. It said something stupid like hold the pearls in one hand, or if they were already wearing them that would work, and touch the person with the other. Skin contact was necessary. If the worry and concern was strong enough then she should be able to feel his pain and know how badly he was injured.

Hailie thought it was a load of crap but it couldn't hurt to try. She held the pearls in her right hand. She looked at the welts and rash covering his entire upper body. Worry and concern? She had plenty of that. She took a breath, prayed this worked and rested her hand on his forehead. She pulled it back immediately. That couldn't be right. She rested her hand on his cheek. Tears came to her eyes. She fell into the chair next to the bed.

A man who always looked so big and strong was dying from an allergic reaction to a jellyfish sting. The thought was so ridiculous she almost wanted to laugh. In his defense it was a really big jellyfish. She leaned back in the chair but her eyes never left his face. She could see his right arm from the corner of her eye. It was swollen more than the rest of him. Even his palm had been stung. That was the arm he'd used to pull the leg away from her. This man was an idiot. Why would he do that knowing how allergic he is?

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