It’s still a battle of wits, but our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.
The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because the enemy if it is the enemy, doesn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.
It was the smell, all hospitals seemed to smell the same. Antiseptic.
And the first face I saw was Breeman’s.
If I could speak, which for some reason I knew I couldn’t, the first question would be, ‘Where am I?’
“Welcome back,” Breeman said. “You gave us a few days of grave concern at the crash. You’re in the base hospital, and lucky to be alive.”
OK, a few days missing, but lucky to survive? I got out without a scratch, or did I?
I looked sideways and down. Nothing but bandages, and, yes, plaster. Broken bones?
“How you survived being thrown from the wreckage is anyone’s guess. A search party found you last night, almost dead. Broken legs, shattered shoulder, ribs, even a skull fracture. The doctors are astonished. So am I.”
She was holding my hand, a very unlike commanding officer thing to so, and it looked like a tear in her eye. Perhaps our so-called casual fling was a little more than that.
“But you rest. I’ll come back later when you’re better.”
Last I remember, except for some sore ribs, I’d been intact, and unharmed from the jump out of the helicopter.
Now, it appeared, I was the very epitome of a crash victim. What the hell had happened to me from the time I was in the cell, getting that injection, and now?
Clearly, the people in the other camp didn’t want me to die. But, surely they realized I would tell Breeman about my experiences at the camp.
Or not. If anything, what I would have to tell them would be considered the ramblings of someone in very bad condition, mind wandering in the desert while fighting for his life, and then on return, ramblings fuelled by very high doses of painkillers.
And the fact none of it could be corroborated. It was unlikely any flyover would locate the base if anyone was foolish enough to fly in the no-fly zone.
And, pushing the paranoia limits, I guessed that they would have someone in the base who was feeding them information, that’s how they knew so much about what was going on here.
I would have to lie low and choose my friends carefully.
© Charles Heath 2019