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The Glacier Infirmary

by BP | Score: 6600

"I told you not to move."

"I thought I could take him."

"Oh shut up, no you didn't."

Christy pressed a damp rag to the cut above Benny's eye. Pain shot through like a cold knife, running a chill down his spine. Of course he didn't think he could take the guy. He wasn't stupid. More importantly, he wasn't blind. At five-foot-six Benny wasn't likely beating anyone on the Glacier, let alone haulers topping off at six-four.

Still, it was nice to *do* something. To feel like something he did mattered. Even if it resulted in what was likely a nasty concussion.

Christy took the rag off and inspected the cut. In the dim room Benny couldn't make out every emotion on her face, but the flashlight provided enough light to tell him she wasn't pleased. Returning with a fresh cloth, she balled it up and pressed it hard against him. Benny groaned.

"You ever get tired, Christy."

She scoffed. He could only imagine what thought had made her do that. "Plenty."

"What?"

At first he didn't think she'd answer. She was focused on his cut as well as the other scrapes and bumps he'd picked up from the scuffle. But, Benny didn't want her attention there. He didn't care about the cuts. He also didn't care that he shouldn't pry. Something had made her laugh, and Benny was sick of guessing.

His hand touched hers, lowering it from his face. He wasn't entirely sure he was doing it, at first. It felt so foreign to him. To be this forward. To take even the slightest bit of control.

"What, what?"  She asked. Whatever had made her laugh a moment ago was gone.

"What did you want to say? When I asked you if you ever get tired, what did you think that made you laugh?"

"Don't be ridiculous. Just let me look at this. I don't want it to get infected."

"No."

"No? You want to die? Is that it? Fine. Get sick. Get infected. Get tetanus for all I care. Just don't die while I'm around."

"No. Wait." He was reaching out to her now. His hand around her arm. When she spun around and glared at him, he expected her to turn the flashlight on him. Used it to beat his hand away.

But she didn't. She *looked* like she could. Even like she wanted to. But she didn't. Instead she stared at his hand, his fingers wrapped  tightly around her slender arm. It was smooth, he thought to himself. Completely clean of marks. So different than most people on the glacier.

A moment passed. Outside the wind moaned. Voices fought against it, arguing. But whatever it was about  was lost. There was only them. Benny didn't let go.

"I thought about tired you make me."

"Me?"

"You, Thrash. All the idiots burning their lives away. Do you have any idea how many of you apes come crying to me after you get a cut? Two seconds in my office and you all breakdown, crying about this girl or this guy or how bad you all feel for yourselves. Ten thousand boys on this berg and not a man among them. That's what makes me tired. And that's why I laughed. Because for a second I convinced myself you weren't as pathetic as them. But then you went and proved me wrong."

Christy's words punched. Benny could feel them in his throat, choking him. He used to think the same thing about himself.

"Why are you clean?"

What?"

"Your arm. Why aren't there any marks on it."

Christy froze. Again, Benny assumed she would hit him. It would be so easy for her to do it and she'd have every right. Instead she hurled the rag at him and walked to the door.

"Get the fuck out of my office."

"It's the communities office."

"Get the fuck out!"

"Alright, alright."

What a disaster. Between the fight and this, Benny wondered if he would make it through the weekend. He didn't know how many people offed themselves. They seemed to average one a week, but no one believed the officials and their numbers and Benny was too cynical to think the people were any more trustworthy. He'd always thought that that was the thing separating him from the rest of them. His ability to disbelief everyone in equal measure; not fall for the myth that the people around him were better simply because they were not in positions of power. Maybe that was still true, and he was one of the few who didn't fall for it, but if tonight taught him anything, it was that that didn't make him any different from the rest of them.

He was halfway out the door when Christy's hand slammed into his chest. He turned to look at her, but the door slammed shut a second later, cutting off the remaining light. A word started forming on his lips, but again, Christy cut him off, shushing him.  When she finally stopped pushing him, they were back at the table he had been sitting on when she was inspecting him. Way back when they used to be friends.

Again he tried asking her what was wrong but her hand went to his mouth. Even in the darkness he could see the wild glare in her eyes as she drew up an inch from his face.

Leaning forward, she brought her mouth to his ear and whispered, "Listen."

His eyes darted around the room. What was she getting at? There was the wind. The occasional groan of the ice. And voices. But that was standard. Along with the electric thrum from the generator, it was all you heard all night long.

Except there was no thrum. The constant dull hum was gone. And underneath the wind and the ice, the voices were growing louder, and more distinct. 

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Location A glacier
Words Reach 100 words
Prop Include a flashlight
Words Reach 200 words
Letter Use the letter K
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Character A clean paramedic
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
Words Reach 900 words
Event There's a strange noise

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