“I don’t even want to talk about it,” Kevin said. “I just want to forget the whole thing.”
“Well, it’s not going to be that easy,” Candy told him, as she laid a wet cloth over the wound. “You’re hurt pretty bad.”
“You’re telling me,” he said. Kevin winced as Candy wiped the blood from his back. “Hey, take it easy. That hurts.”
“Sorry,” she said. “But it’s still bleeding.”
“It is?” he asked worriedly. “I thought Lance said it would start healing over.”
“Well, he was wrong,” Candy said. “It’s bleeding worse than ever.”
She pushed the cloth right on the wound.
“Lance, get in here!” Candy called. “Something’s wrong.”
Lance ran into the hut and over to the bed where Kevin was laying face down.
“I’m bleeding worse,” Kevin explained. “But I can’t see how bad it is. I knew I was going to die.”
“For the last time, you are not going to die,” Lance told him. “Now shut up so I can see what’s wrong.”
“Yes doctor,” Kevin sighed. He turned over and cringed with paid every time Lance touched his wound.
“It finally has stopped bleeding,” Lance said. “It should be okay during the night.”
“And if it isn’t, then I take two aspirin and call you in the morning,” Kevin laughed.
“And drink plenty of liquids,” Lance added.
Kevin hardly slept at all that night. Most of the time he just laid there staring at the darkness. Finally morning came. Lance was there bright and early to check on Kevin.
“Are you awake?” Lance asked him.
“No,” Kevin said sarcastically. “I’m sound asleep. The pain in my back put me right to sleep like a baby. Come back later when I wake up.”
Lance lifted the blanket from Kevin’s back, only to reveal a swollen lump that was wet and sticky from liquid flowing from it. The middle of the wound was whitish yellow, with traces of blood staining. Lance swallowed hard when he saw it.
“Oh no,” he gasped.
Lance closed his eyes as if he were wishing for it to go away. When he opened them, he saw that a fly that has been buzzing around the room had landed on the swollen lump. He waved the fly away and ran outside. He filled a bucket with clear cold water from the river and went back to the hut to try to clean off the infected lump. Lance carefully touched a dry cloth to the wound, trying to soak up some of the wetness. This immediately broke open the cut and released another flow of the yellow liquid. Candy had awaken, and she came over to see how Kevin was feeling. She stopped and stared when she saw his back. By this time the pus had oozed off of the wound and onto Kevin’s back.
“Oh jeez, am I bleeding again?” he asked.
“Candy,” he repeated. “Am I bleeding?”
“Huh?” she said, startled. “Oh honey, you’re all infected.”
“Candy,” Lance said. “Go get some help. I want some people to hold him down while I get all this stuff out.”
“I don’t need anyone to hold me down,” Kevin told them. “I can take it.”
Lance touched the infected bullet wound very gently with one finger. Kevin squirmed in pain.
“I’ll go get help,” Candy said, as she walked out of the door. Darrel and Steve held down, Kevin’s arms while Steve and Cari held his right leg and Stephanie and Cathy held down his left leg.
“Why does he have to operate on me,” Kevin asked in a scared voice.
“Because he was in medical school when we got stranded here,” Kris told him.
Lance lit up one of the “cigarettes” and let Kevin have a few puffs to calm him down. Kris poured a little bit of water on the wound and Lance went to work. He cut it open and let the pus come out. Everyone was having a hard time holding Kevin because nobody wanted to look. The sight of it turned their stomachs, so their grip loosened.
“Why don’t we all just closed our eyes, or look away or something,” Steve suggested. “Or we’re going to throw up all over Kevin.
“Close your eyes,” Kevin said. “I’m having enough trouble as it is.”
Finally Lance was finished. The wound was cleaned out and now all that had to be done was to wash it out with water.
James had been waiting outside the whole time. The sound of Kevin yelling and screaming had scared him because he knew it was his fault. Everyone except Candy, Lance, Kris and Kevin came outside. James walked slowly over to them.
“Mommy?” he asked quietly.
“What is it?” Stephanie want to know.
“Kebin died,” James said.
“No,” Darrel answered for her. “Kevin is fine.”
“Him is mad?” James asked.
“Well, let me put it this way,” Darrel told him. “I wouldn’t go in there just yet.”
“How come?” James wanted to know.
“You’re not the person he wants to see right now, Sure-Shot,” Brent said.
“Him don’t like me,” James cried. “I hurted him.”
Stephanie was about to tell James that Kevin wasn’t really mad, but he wasn’t too happy about the situation either. But then Candy came to the door of her hut and called for James.
“James,” she said. “Could you come in here?”
“No,” James answered.
“Go ahead James,” Cari told him, as she gave him a push.
“Him will shoot me?” James asked Candy.
“No,” she said. “He just wants to make sure you know he’s not mad at you.”
“Him not?” James wanted to know.
“No, he isn’t,” Candy told him.
“Good,” James said happily. And he ran into the hut to see Kevin.
Kevin had to spend the next two weeks on his stomach. He lay there most of the time alone during the scorching heat of the day while everyone else was out swimming. But soon he was outside and feeling much better. His back was always a little bit weak, a kind of reminder of the time he was shot in the back.
To be continued …