Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Re-Read: Chapter Thirty One- Needed

"I'm not good deception."

When Walter mentions a woman named Gladys, Wanda looks around to see if someone else in the room, but Jamie explains that she was Walter's wife who did not make it. As Walter continues mumbling, he reaches out in Wanda's direction and Ian nudges her towards the cot. Looking to Ian for help, he simply encourages her to take Walter's hand and she does so as carefully as she can. When Ian begins to wipe Walter's face, Wanda wonders if she looks like his late wife. He tells her no; Walter's wife was a stocky redhead. Taking the rag from Ian, Wanda continues to comfort Walter as he talks to his Gladdie.

During this time, Doc wakes and checks on Walter. Ian informs him that Walter is delusional and Doc wishes he had morphine, not just alcohol, to help with the pain. Ian suggests that Jared may produce another miracle and Doc can only hope for the best. Ian also mentions Geoffrey's questions during Wanda's class. Unthinkingly, Doc suggests it would have been more convenient if the Soul in Melanie had been a Healer. Jumping to her defense, Ian says they are lucky it was Wanda. Doc agrees, but simply means it would be helpful if Wanda had an interest in medicine. Noticing Jamie asleep on another cot, Ian and Wanda decide to go get some sleep, but when she releases Walter's hand, he asks if she has to leave. When she decides to stay, Ian moves a cot beside Walters and lifts Wanda onto it. Leaving her holding Walter's hand, Ian scoops up Jamie and heads to their sleeping quarters. Doc situates himself behind his desk, sorting through papers as Wanda drifts off to sleep. 

When Walter wakes in the morning, he recognizes Wanda as herself. She asks how he is and he asks for Doc and more liquor. After drinking more, Walter succumbs to his pain and is unable to stay conscious. Ian and Wanda begin to leave for breakfast, but as she pulls her hand away, Walter once again asks after Gladdie. With that, Wanda once again takes her place beside Walter as Ian leaves to retrieve food for them. Walter murmurs his wife's name, but beyond her touch, he does not seem to need much from Wanda. Doc remains by his desk and Wanda notices the defeat on his face. 

A noise from above the caves draws Doc and Wanda's attention, as do the frantic footfalls heading their way. Doc moves to meet the person coming down the hall and is surprised when he comes upon Brandt. Breathlessly, Brandt demands to know where it is. Brandt scans the room as he enters and Doc catches his arm as he takes a step towards Wanda. Before he can answer, the noise returns and Doc asks if it is a helicopter. Brandt confirms his suspicions and tells them that it is the Seeker, the one looking for Wanda. Melanie becomes alert at the mention of the Seeker and Doc asks if it is looking in their area. Brandt says it appears the Seeker is running sweeps and not focusing on a particular area. He also tells Doc that they are packing in case they have to move in the night, but Jeb does not think it will be necessary. This visibly relaxes Doc as he slouches against his desk. Brandt then asks if Doc has rope handy to tie up the parasite as Kyle had instructed, believing Wanda will use this opportunity to signal the Seeker. Doc steps between Brandt and Wanda, telling him "You're not going to touch her."Without a word, Brandt takes a seat in Doc's chair, leans forwards, and stares at Wanda. The silence is broken by Walter calling for Gladys and Doc giving him more brandy to ease the pain. 

This is the worst day of Wanda's life on this planet, including her last day in the desert so close to death. The helicopter continues to circle and Brandt's stare does not waver. Things are a little better when Ian brings breakfast and lunch. Ian does not appreciate Brandt's presence and reason for being there. While there, Ian moves another cot beside Wanda and disrupts Brandt's line of sight. Though these actions are tiresome, they are nothing compared to the severity of Walter's pain. After Doc gives Walter the last of the brandy, his pain intensifies as his moans turn to screams. Wanda, or rather Gladys' presence, comforts him, but even that can only do so much. 

Jamie comes to see Wanda and bring her food, but she does not allow him to stay long, asking Ian to watch him all night to make sure he does not sneak back down. Though Brandt does what he can to distance himself from Walter's suffering, even plugging his ears and humming to himself, Doc seems to feel every scream and ounce of pain Walter does. After witnessing Doc's care and compassion, Wanda knows that she can never mistrust him again, but the hospital will always be a horrible place to her. The helicopter finally leaves for the night, as does Brandt, but not before taking their light. As the night wears on, Walter's screams intensify and Melanie secludes herself, knowing she can do nothing useful in this situation. 

Jared comes in the next morning as Wanda murmurs words of comfort to Walter. When Jared asks Doc about it, he tells him that she is the best painkiller he has been able to find. To this, Jared tells Doc that he has acquired some morphine, though he would have returned sooner if the Seeker had not stalled him. Doc jumps into action, dispensing a dose to Walter, whose relief is almost instantaneous. Doc is pleased with the results, calling Jared a "Miracle Man," but his enthusiam is short lived. Jared informs Doc that there is only enough morphine to stop the pain for three or four days. Realization comes to Doc, understanding Jared's meaning, though Wanda is at a loss. Melanie informs her that there is enough to give him an overdose and kill him. Though Wanda does not want him to suffer, she is not accustomed to, not only the finality of a human's death, but the death of someone she holds dear. Her friends on other planets blur together, almost interchangeable, but here, "when he was gone, there would be no one who could fill his place."

Cradling Walter's head in her arms, Wanda lets her tears fall. Doc interrupts her thoughts, telling her to take a break. She asks Doc if Walter will be here when she gets back, wanting the chance to say goodbye to her friend. Doc tells her that Walter will be asleep for a while and he is in no hurry. Setting Walter's head gently on the pillow, Wanda moves to leave, but not before stealing a glance at Jared. He is staring at her, his face composed save for the traces of surprise and suspicion. 
"I met Jared's gaze for one long second, then turned to hurry down the pitch-black corridor that was brighter than his expression."

From Stephenie Meyer's playlist: "As You Are" - Travis (Chapter 31, pages 326-327)

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