Castor woke up to his brain painfully pulsating against his skull and blinding burning morning sun flooding into the room. He winced and tried to cover his face with his hand. A sharp pain soared from his chest, along his arm and to his fingertips.
“Fuck!” Castor put his hand down. He remembered the cracked rib and the accompanying pain. “Fuck,” he murmured again to himself. Castor tried to open his eyes again. The light! “Fuck,” Castor closed his eyes again. He tried to move his face away from the window, a searing pain stopped him again.
“Are you alright?” asked Anneli.
“C-can you close the curtains,” whined Castor feeling quite sorry for himself. Anneli jumped from the bed and closed the curtains. Castor suddenly felt some relief. “Can I have some water as well please?” Anneli jumped from the bed and hopped to the table at the corner of the room. He poured a glass of water from the jug placed on the table next to a book about local birds. Castor gulped down the whole glass of water ignoring the pain he felt. “Another please,” said Castor giving the glass back to Anneli.
“Do you want to take the medicine now as well?”
Castor slowly took the bitter pills.
“The caravans are leaving at noon. Do you want to eat before we leave.”
“Maybe, we should wait a few day until the next group of caravans comes through here. I’m not in any hurry to get to Cumulus.”
“But then you will have to pay the fees again.”
“It’s fine. I have enough, I can probably still afford to get us to Pyropolis even if we spend a bit more money. Besides I am still in a lot of pain so travelling will be difficult”
Anneli could tell from his voice and the guilt in his eyes that that was not the real reason. Anneli climbed on the bed and lay his head on Castor’s lap.
“Is it because of Dominic?”
Castor smiled nervously, “of course not,”
“But you got upset when you two argued.”
“I was not upset!”
“You got drunk almost immediately,”
“Well, I was a little upset.”
“Why don’t you just apologize.”
“I am not going to apologize! He is the one who said terrible things!”
“What did he say?” asked Anneli.
Castor looked guilty and upset, Anneli saw that he did not want Anneli to know. This irritated Anneli. Everything that had to do with Dominic and Castor was out of Anneli’s reach.
“Nothing, it doesn’t matter what he said. We just had an argument it is not a big deal.”
After half an hour the medicine numbed Castor pain enough that he could move with some effort. It was already half eleven so Anneli and Castor gather their few belongings and walked to where the caravans had been placed outside the village.
Dominic approached Castor and Anneli, slowly and cautiously.
“I’m going to wait by the caravan,” said Anneli to Castor as Dominic reached him. Anneli unhappily walked away.
“About last night-”
“It’s alright Dominic, I over reacted as well.”
“I’m so relieved, I thought you would never forgive me.”
Castor had not forgiven him.
“It’s fine,” replied Castor, “I wasn’t thinking clearly.”
“But I really am sorry, I shouldn’t have accused you of that.”
“Accused me of what?” asked Castor crossing his arms. Dominic laughed nervously.
“You know, I just got really upset and said you and Anneli were too close but-”
“I think you’re exact words were ‘it is disgusting how you let that thing hang off you like that. It makes it seem like you are having an inappropriate relationship’ or did I paraphrase?”
“But Castor I-”
“It’s fine, it’s fine! Just forget it. Cumulus is only two days away maybe we should just…maybe we should just not talk for the rest of the journey.”
“I’m sorry Dominic, I need to cool my head.” Castor turned and walked back to Anneli.