Brutal took a deep breath as he and Percy flung the unconscious Bill Wharton onto the bunk in his cell. As soon as they walked out, Harry Terwilliger quickly locked the door. After several moments, his heart should have slowed down to its normal rate. However, it did not.
He cast an anxious glance toward the office area, where he had left Dean sitting on the floor after he had knocked the new inmate out, If I hadn't come in when I did, Dean would be--. He broke off the thought as lumps formed in his throat and the pit of his stomach. His eyes burned; he quickly rubbed them before the excess moisture could build up.
Paul Edgecomb, Harry Terwilliger, and Percy were standing together. Harry wiped his face and blotted the trickle of blood from his lip. His nose and mouth were already swollen where Bill had thrown his head back and head-butted him in the face.
When I walked into E Block, I saw Paul with his pistol drawn, but he couldn't get a clear aim at Bill, the way he was jumping around and pulling Dean this way and that. Percy had his baton out and was holding it in the air; Paul was begging him to hit Bill, and Percy was just standing there and watching, this curious expression on his face!
It was all Brutal could do to keep from drawing his baton and beating Percy Wetmore until he was just a red spot on the floor. A tremor of fury ran through Brutal at the thought of what had just happened. I know the little shit doesn't like us, especially me, but to--.
Brutal joined the others, watching Paul closely. Paul has a hell of a urinary infection. He should've gone to see the doctor over two weeks before. When he takes a piss, he moans and gasps loud enough that you can hear him ten feet away from the W. C. door.
Paul had looked like hell when he arrived this morning. Now, he looked as if he would pass out at any minute.
Luckily for Percy, Paul's voice broke into his thoughts.
"Percy, you go and tell the Warden what happened. Tell him the situation is under control. It isn't a story. He won't appreciate you drawing out the suspense." Paul faced him. "Brutal, you take Harry and Dean down to the infirmary and get them looked at," Paul requested. "Make sure they're all right."
He stared at Paul, assessing him. If they all left, he would be on the block by himself. That was against the rules, but when all was going well, it was sometimes done for no more than five or ten minutes. This was definitely not a good time. What if Bill woke up? He should have died from the blow I gave him, but it only knocked him out. He just might come to, and there's no telling what he'll try. "What about you? You're just about ready to collapse."
"I've got the mile until you get back," Paul said. "Go on."
Although he was skeptical, he picked up the telephone, which had been knocked onto the floor. Depressing the lever the receiver rested on, he discovered to his relief that the phone still worked. "Motor pool, send a car to E Block. I've got two injured guards that need to get to the Infirmary."
There was no way he was going to try to walk them across the yard. Harry didn't look too good. When he moved, he tried not to show any sign of pain, but his eyes and the sharp intake of breath betrayed it. Dean was probably going to be worse off. Two injured guards and one man to tend them both was an open invitation for the inmates in the yard to try something if they tried to make it on foot.
Brutal walked to the small corridor located behind and to the left of the duty desk, just past the entrance door. Dean was sitting on the floor, his eyes downcast. He gasped as if every breath were a chore. His lips were turned downward at the corners.
The sound of a car driving up reached his ears.
"Come on, boy. Let's get you looked at," Brutal said gently.
Dean got to his feet. Brutal reached out to steady him as he swayed.
At the infirmary, the two injured guards were immediately taken into treatment rooms. Calvin Evers, the motor pool guard, helped Harry into the second treatment room; Brutal walked with Dean into the first one. Dean sat on the examining table. He was shaking. Brutal stood beside him and laid an arm across his shoulders. "'S'okay now. You're gonna be all right," Brutal whispered as he planted a couple of quick kisses on his cheek and hair.
Dean wiped his eyes without looking at him. "IÃ¢â‚¬"I've started shaking," he murmured hoarsely, "aÃ¢â‚¬"and IÃ¢â‚¬"can't stop."
Brutal slipped his arms around Dean, who leaned on him. Brutal rubbed his back gently, patting it occasionally.
There were footsteps outside the door. Brutal backed away from Dean a few inches. The door opened; Dr. Fletcher walked in, a clipboard in his hand.
As he approached and inserted the earpieces of his stethoscope into his ears, he scrutinized Dean. "I need you to unbutton your shirt for me," he said gently.
Dean complied; the prison doctor placed the bell of the scope on Dean's chest in several places. "Your heart rate's up," he observed. Then, he looked at the ugly bruises on Dean's neck and touched them. "There's some swelling, but I don't think it'll cut off your airway. It might make it painful and a bit difficult to breathe, but you should suffer no permanent problems." Dr. Fletcher's brow furrowed. "How did this happen?"
"An inmate caught him with his wrist chain," Brutal replied.
"Wrapped it around his neck and jerked him around by it.
Doc took the top off a large jar of tongue depressors and picked one out. "Say ahhh," he told Dean. Dean opened his mouth; the doctor looked into it. "There's swelling on the inside of your throat, too," he stated.
"Is he going to be okay?" asked Brutal.
Stepping back, the doctor nodded. "Dean, put some ice on your throat for the first day or two. That will help keep the swelling down." He left the room and came back a few moments later carrying a large red tube with a black top on it. It looked like a strangely shaped hot water bottle; basically, that was actually what it was.
Dr. Fletcher unscrewed the cap. "Fill it with ice and put the cap back on," he instructed. "Wrap it in a piece of cloth and put it on the injured area.' His eyes widened. "You're one lucky fellow," he said. "Just a little bit more pressure and you'd have had a crushed voice box and windpipe."
After being told to take it easy for a few days, the doctor left, closing the door behind him.
As Brutal and Dean emerged from the treatment room, Harry walked out. The motor pool guard was standing outside the door. "Doc said I've pulled some muscles and will be sore for a little while, but nothing was broken," Harry said.
Everyone was silent as the guard drove them back to E Block. On the way, they passed Percy Wetmore, who waved to them as he strode in the direction they were heading.
The motor pool guard slowed down. "Doesn't he work on the same block with you?" asked Calvin. "Want to see if he wants a lift?"
"Just keep going," Brutal snapped. He knew if he were in such close proximity to the man who had almost let his best friend and lover die, he would have lost his self-control and seriously hurt the little shit.