Twelve days. It had been twelve days since we took the first vial, the first dose. Six days. Six days since we started the second dose. The scales across my neck and upper back were shriveling up with three falling off. The bright purple of my veins had regressed to a bluish-purple. And my last canine tooth still fell out, but the fang to replace it had yet to grow it.
Despite the alleviating or stopping of the symptoms, my scale had continued to grow over my mate scar. It had only been by a millimeter, but that still meant I was infected. That I would eventually die.
My grip on the empty vial in my left hand tightened, more pressure being applied with each new thought of my impending death. Sure, there was still time to find a cure, my mate scar was only about half covered and so far, Azalea seemed to be on an effective path. Yet, the Purowick Scale had been around for over 1,200 years without any kind of cure. Many physicians considered it to be one of the rarest and unknown infections. So, it seemed pretty unlikely that a cure would be found in the limited years I had left.
The glass vial smashed into my hand, shards of glass digging into my fingers and palm. I bit my lip slightly while I opened my palm. Turning it sideways, I let the loose glass fall into the cracks of the worn, wooden boards. My blood decorating the knot in a particular board.
“Evelyn…. woah what happened? Did you drop the vial or something?” Wylie asked, his slow steps quickening to heavy stomps. He gingerly took my left hand in one of his and titled it from side to side.
“Something like that,” I answered in a listless tone, my eyes fixed on the knot now covered in my blood which steadily streamed down. It was just like my life, gradually dripping away from me, never to come back.
He placed my hand down on my left leg, his steps and breathing growing distant. Something snapped open proceeded by various items clanking together. Likely a draw or door was shut and Wylie’s steps thudded louder. The flimsy mattress sank further from his added weight. He gently took my hand again, carefully removing the glass from my fingers.
I slightly winced with each piece that slid out of my flesh. The dull pain reminding me I was alive, yet with limited time left.
“Evelyn, I honestly can’t begin to imagine what you are going through with all this. I can tell you’re scared and I’ve never seen you this hopeless. And frankly, that scares me. I mean ever since I met you, you’ve been persevering, barreling through anything that would have deterred anyone else or caused them to stumble and lose hope. Heck, that first night I found you where you had been close to bleeding out to death, you were clinging to the last bit of life you had left. I went back after getting you and Lyle situated at the inn just to see if I could find any of your possessions. All I found though was a trail of smeared blood, that went along for several yards. I never told you, but I know that you had tried to crawl to find some kind of help with the little strength you had left,”
He briefly let go of my hand and I kept it held in the air for him. Something minty filled my nostrils as he gently dabbed at my various cuts with a wet piece of cotton. “Even after Fletcher initially rejected you, I know that rattled you. That it caused you to question everything you had known and you lost a part of yourself. A part that you had to rebuild into something new and you came out such a stronger woman due to, but even still, despite the difficulties of those few years, I’ve never seen you like this. At a point where’d you’d have no care over hurting yourself,” Wyle squeezed the back of my hand, his voice straining.
Letting go of it again, he followed up by wrapping linen around each of the cuts. “So, yes, seeing you like this scares me because it isn’t you. You aren’t hopeless, defeated, ready to let yourself die without crawling back. For the past few weeks, as I’ve seen you become more and more like this, I’ve grown more aggravated and uncertain, not getting why you were letting yourself go. I’m sorry for not realizing this sooner, for not doing something sooner. I now understand that everyone has their limits, that even you can only be relentless for your life for so long,”
He stopped, placing both of our hands together on top of my left leg. He wrapped his right arm around my back and pulled me towards him. He pressed a kiss to the top of my head before placing his chin on top of it. “So, I’ve decided that I’m going to be relentless for you. That I am going to crawl for your life, that I’m going to be undefeatable for you, that I’m going to be pushing you towards the hope of a cure until you’re able to do it again on your own. And even then, when you can hope again on your own, I’ll keep nourishing that hope,”