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Skye woke with a start, caught somewhere between her dream and the real world, her sweaty hand clenching blue Dylan's t-shirt tighter. Her thumping heart vibrated against her chest as she lay there without moving.

Unsure if she was truly awake, Skye willed someone to go by the open door so she could be certain she'd been dreaming. Please let that horrible nothingness be a nightmare.

A perky whistle sounded, and Paul walked by on his way to the exam room. Skye's shoulders slumped in relief as she fully woke. The deep, savory smell of beef broth came to her, and Skye smiled. See everything is okay, it's just fine. It was just a bad dream; it's surprising I don't have more of them.

She looked up at Dylan, but he was still sleeping. Her eyebrows creased. He usually felt her waking before she was alert and had his eyes open.

Skye pushed herself up. Dylan's face was flushed. She raised her hand to touch his forehead, and it was as if she touched fire. She ran her hands down his arms. He was burning up.


He groaned as he peeked through his heavy eyelids.

She put her hands to his face. "Dylan?"

"Not feeling so great, Darlin'."

Tears welled in her eyes. She gave his forehead a quick kiss and ran door. "Doc! Doc! We need you!" She had just sat by Dylan when Paul was at the door.

As he checked Dylan, Paul's experienced eye soon knew the problem. Dylan's fever was high, he had chills, and when he peeled the bandage back on his bullet wound, it was red and puffy. A bit of pus lingered around the opening.

Skye gasped at the sight, and Paul closed his eyes. Infection. The worry every doctor had with this, and every other type of wound, more so now with medicine being harder to come by.

Paul looked at each of them. "Okay, so we are dealing with an infection now."

Skye swallowed hard, her eyes wide. "What do we do?"

Paul outlined a plan of compresses, over-the-counter medicines, as well as, a few vitamins and herbs he liked to use in some treatments.

"But what about antibiotics?" Skye asked.

Paul ran a hand over his face before he and Dylan exchanged a look.

Dylan snorted. "There are no antibiotics, darlin'. Doc ran out a few days ago, and I was all set for a run to get them."

"What?" Skye searched Paul's face. "Tell me this isn't true!"

Paul shook his head. "I'm sorry."

"But this other treatment," Skye asked, "how does it—what is its success rate next to antibiotics?"

"Well," Paul said as he nodded, "it's surprisingly good. I've been using it to save on other medicines, but I haven't used it on any injury as serious as this."

"What have you used it on?"

"For the most part, it's been small cuts, but a few more major ones, and I had decent results."

"Decent?" Skye raised a hand when Dylan tried to hush her. "No. Decent isn't enough, not at all. Where are the antibiotics?"

The men again exchanged a look.

"See, Darlin'," Dylan said, "That's the thing. We've scavenged all there is in this area. I was gonna have to try further out."

Skye's voice dropped to a whisper. "We don't even know where some medication is?"


"Please, don't Darlin' me. This isn't a time for that. We need to do something." She raised Dylan's hand and kissed it. "This is life and death." Her voice broke. "Yours. We need to have a plan, not a decent one, a good one. A better than good one."

"Skye's right," Paul said, "we the best kind of plan. I'm confident enough in this treatment and Dylan's strength to try it for twenty-four hours. If the wound shows no sign of improvement, or it gets worse, someone will have to go for medicine."

Skye frowned and asked, "But what are we waiting for? To get them will take time. Send someone now."

"Dar—Skye," Dylan said, "Most of the men have gone, they went to clear out those Sick Tricia saw. Least, that's what Doc told us earlier."

Skye had forgotten, and the reminder jarred her as if she'd walked into a wall. She brought her hand to her mouth. "No," she whispered.

Dylan ran a hand over her dark hair even as worry covered his own face. "It's okay. We'll try this out, and if it doesn't work, they'll be back, and Wade'll get the meds. It'll be all right."

Skye stood, facing Paul. "Okay. Tell me what to do. I'll do whatever you need."

Paul nodded and gave Skye and Dylan a weak smile. He waved Skye to follow him down the brightly lit hallway to the exam room where he kept the extra medical supplies. He hoped this worked, he really did. It would be, by far, the most severe wound used in this treatment.

The problem was, the one he hadn't wanted to share with Skye and Dylan yet, is that after clearing the Sick, the men had sent back someone to tell the community they wouldn't be coming home right away. Some were taking the Sick to the containment area, and others would scavenge.

Paul would like to think that would solve Dylan's problem, but it was anyone's guess if they would find medicine. And while the men knew antibiotics would be a significant find, they weren't aware of the urgency.

Besides, their absence left the little mountain town sparsely protected. The few men and women left served as crucial lookouts.

While Paul was sure every person in this community owed Dylan something and would be happy to pay on that debt, he wasn't sure who would be left to go. Especially since he wasn't sure where they should search. Going that far out, without a solid plan was something usually reserved for Dylan and his team. Dylan was down, and the team was gone.

Paul pursed his lips as he walked into the exam room and pulled open the closet door. Yes, he really hoped this would work.

A/N: Oh no. Will they get back in time? If not, what will happen? Thanks for reading! Please click the little star if you enjoyed the chapter. :)

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