A Young Wife
Tucked away in the rocky hills of Seg that overlook the desolate Red Valley, are dwellings carved into stone. The two suns of Seg were about to rise to scorch this valley throughout another day.
Everyone is sleeping and leftover night felt completely still. A stillness only known after sandstorms.
The only resident awake, the young wife of Chern the communities only Mycochemist, had gone to bed and got up three times but could not sleep. She sat at the doorway of her home, in the rock, where she wore a light Mycofabric nightdress and looked out over the valley.
Above all, she felt bored and depressed. As a result, there seemed to be a lump stuck in her throat as Chern snored in the bed behind her.
From her stone home, she could see the eastern horizon where Seg’s moons shone lavender. Suddenly through the stillness, there came a sound of disrupted footsteps.
“Who is walking around at this time?” First, she saw a figure slowly head towards her. Second, she noticed the moonlight visitors outsider Desert Survival Suit.
The figure is Geich, the man who delivered their annual vaccines, and he fell to the ground near where she stood.
“What is the matter?” She asked as she ran to him and knelt down.
“You are Yosov, Chern’s wife?”
“Yes. What is wrong?”
“Wake Chern. I have been bitten by a Valley Serpent on my walk from the clinic and I fear I don’t have long.” Geich held his leg down at his knee and winced in pain.
Yosov ran inside and tried to wake Chern.
“What? Why do you wake me?” Chern turned over in the bed his strong chin lifted as he woke. “What is wrong Yosov?”
“The vaccine man is dying outside from a Valley Serpent bite. Come quick and bring medicine.”
“What!” Chern quickly stood up. “Yosov go to my lab. At eye level, along the wall after you walk in, is a bottle with a Serpent drawn on the label. Grab it and meet me outside. Quick!”
Yosov ran out of the room towards Chern’s lab while Chern pulled on a robe and footwear.
“My poor man. How long since the bite and how many miles did you walk afterward?”
“Hour ago and many miles.” Consequently, Geich felt as if flame was consuming his body and let out a short yelp.
Yosov came back, gave a bottle to Chern, and looked flushed and excited.
“Quickly.” Chern uncorked the bottle. “Drink this.”
Geich lifted the bottle to his mouth, drank, handed the bottle back to Chern, and immediately curled up into a ball.
“This pain,” Geich whispered under his breath before he passed out.
“Help me, Yosov, to get him inside. We must find him a bed to rest. He will be ill for a while but hopefully will recover.” They lifted Geich into their home and placed him gently onto their extra bed.
Yosov left and came back with water and tried to force Geich to drink.
The morning started to break through the grey of night. Both suns began their journey from the horizon through the sky. The desirable heat of night turned into the unbearable heat of the day.
Chern worked frantically in his lab. Yosov could hear the glassware chime and other muffled noises from the Mycochemist at work.
She moved to the doorway to look out over the valley now bright red in the sun where heat moved in visible waves.
From the corner of her eye, she noticed Geich’s travel bag.
“Vaccine.” She thought to herself as she moved into the heat and grabbed the bag. “This must be delivered.”
“Damn if I cannot find the proper ingredients for an order of Vinum Gallicum Rubrum for our neighbors,” Chern called from his lab.
Yosov returned to the bed of Geich and held a wet warm rag to his feverish forehead. His breath grew shallow as she examined his dust blown face. Chern walked into the room with a fungus broth and handed it to Yosov as she tried to get the broth in between Geich’s parched lips.
“Will he live?”
“He might. But it may take weeks to find out.”
“What do we do?” Yosov tried to force more broth.
“I think I have a plan.” Chern pulled up a chair next to Yosov. “I will deliver the vaccine to our Clan, since I have deliveries to make anyways, and I will inform the people of the situation.”
“Shall I stay here and take care of him?”
“No. Yosov you need to go to the Medical Clinic in the middle of our valley and inform the other of his kind.”
“What about Geich?”
“He will be fine while he sleeps. We will be gone for a day maybe a little into the night and we will make sure he is well hydrated and medicated.” Chern stood up. “Now come, Yosov, let’s start. We have a big day ahead of us.”
“Yes.” Yosov stood up and both of them began to prepare their Desert Suits for their journey. They had to ensure that their whole bodies were covered with the cooling water conservation fabric. Chern packed his completed orders along with the vaccine and Yosov prepared food and water.
“May your journey be safe my husband.” Yosov kissed Chern on the forehead.
“And yours also.” Chern embraced Yosov and looked into her eyes as if he would never see them again.
“Until tonight.” They both headed out into the morning sun’s heat. Chern began to climb into a rocky cavern behind them towards the scattered homes of the community and Yosov started the slow walk into the Red Valley.
“Well, this adventure should cure my boredom.” She thought as she walked. “I should have never questioned my marriage. Chern is a good and noble man.”
She reflected on how Chern had cared deeply about the dying outsider and the effects of the situation on the community. It amazed her how quickly he found solutions and with such surety.
These thoughts and many more fell upon her and left as quickly as waves of heat striking upon her Desert Survival Suit.
“Today is a hot one.”
Cracked red playa crumbled under her feet. Red dust lifted by her feet quickly blew up against her mask. She could hear her breathing from within a translucent fabric that shielded her face. Her eyes remained locked on the playa in front of her as she scanned for Valley Serpents or pockets of collected dust where a traveler could find themselves stuck for hours in deep sand.
The Medical Clinic looked windblown and rusted from the outside. Yosov felt nervous and decided to sit and eat her food before she tried to find the other outsider. She sat on the playa crosslegged and enjoyed a large Moot harvested from her home before the journey.
“Why are you here? Who are you?” Terra pointed a blaster at Yosov’s head. “I saw you on my scanners. What brings you here?”
“Please. I have come to talk with you and I have no weapons only food.” Yosov calmly packed her lunch away in her travel pack. “I am Yosov wife of Chern.”
“Okay, Yosov wife of Chern, since you had to tell me his name, why are you here?”
“Are you the outsider who works at this clinic?”
“Yes, I am. Now, what is your message?”
“The other outsider is ill and could die.”
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