The Farquin child jumped from an interior balcony. He had pushed two couches together and gathered every pillow in the large house into the space between. Maybe it would have been a plan good for a little flight and a soft fall, but the boy didn’t know that one of the pillows had a long pin stuck through it. He landed on the pin with his left foot, but wouldn’t come free again. No doubt, the pin was stuck in one of the bones of his foot, but the nurse was afraid to merely pull it free, so I was called.
I gave the child a drink made from the scrapings of a willow to dull the sensation of pain, and cut the pillow from the pin. Even this slight jiggling caused the child to rear back and shake his foot violently. I heaved an emptying sigh.
“No, Ms. Seacole. You ‘please.’”
I took the boy’s foot and rested it on my lap. “Janick. Your father would be very proud of you for being so brave. I know your mother wasn’t too pleased with the jump, but,“ —and here, I looked up to the balcony some fifteen feet above—“Some people might be very afraid to fly so far.”
“I’m not chicken.”
“No, I know it. You’re exceedingly brave.” I took a pair of hemostats from the bag and handed them to Janick to examine. “You’ve already broken more bones than most boys your age—“
“More than Gareth!”
“Certainly more than Gareth will ever break, may he live to one hundred.” I put my hand firmly on the arch of the boy’s foot. He winced, but put on a brave face. “You have done more jumping and sliding and crashing and rolling than even most city guards can claim to do. I daresay you have an excellent future, following your father. Tell me, which district would you like to work in?”
“The whaaaaaaaaa!” His response was lost in a scream. My second pair of hemostats I had snuck up, out of sight behind my leg, in my off hand. In a single clean jerk, I had removed the pin. Deftly snatching a ball of wool, I placed it on the small hole and held tight with my thumb.
I waited for Janick to stop fussing and wrapped his small foot with a long strip of cloth. When he was calm, I patted his head and handed him a licorice taffy wrapped in paper. As he ran away, the nurse came and collapsed next to me on the divan.
“That was so stressful; thank you ever so much for making us your priority. I know you’re very busy.”
“Oh, this was a nice change. I’m always glad to see the Farquin family doing well.”
“Not as well these days, I’m afraid.”
“Well, the pin was such a—“
“Not that, Miss. The problems with the guard, now-days. There are murders, miss! Guards are ending up dead all over the city. And the master says that it’s all the work of one man! Imagine, someone killing all those guards just trying to keep us safe and for what?”
I turned and locked eyes with the nurse. My eyes were pure concern. “Shaina, you must simply tell me everything.”
She nodded, solemnly, and then cocked her head slightly to one side. “Come to think of it, Lana might know more. Her master does tend to talk more. There’s a great deal of gossip coming out of that house, wouldn’t you know!”
I threw an eyebrow up. “No, I wouldn’t. I may need to pay them a call. It would be inconvenient; they are out of my way a good deal. But it pays to be informed of the goings-on.”
“Oh, miss! It’s my day off tomorrow, and I’ll be seeing Lana. Could I write you a letter?” She turned, then, and grasped my hands with hers.
“It’s nothing. Not after you came down and saved me from this. I’m no medicine-worker. I can sit up with the boy when he’s sick, and I can make a salve for the chafes of armor, but this and a thosuand other things have put me in your debt.”
The wheels of my brain set into motion, and I locked eyes with the nurse. “Shaina, if you learn anything interesting, about this or anything, please do think of me. And if you need anything, remember. I’m just down the street.”
“Of course, Miss. You’ll be the first person I think of.”
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Posted on March 21, 2017 23:19