[livejournal.com profile] on_thecouch 22.2: A Light Touch

Oct. 27th, 2009 10:22 pm
foreverwarrior: (Miranda (Victorian Elegance))
[personal profile] foreverwarrior
When: July 2, 1863
Where: Gettysburg, PA
Alias: Maggie Rhodes


She could feel the country holding its breath as the battle raged into its second day. Two armies clashed: one North, one South, one blue, one gray. The pervasive July heat made the stench of gunpowder and gore nearly unbearable as she went from one medical tent to the next. As a field nurse, it was her sworn duty to give the surgeons whatever aid she could. Though she'd seen a fair few battles herself, the butchery of this one was almost appalling. This was America's Culloden.

Night had fallen on the once-sleepy farming town of Gettysburg, but she couldn't stop. There were bedsides to visit, letters to write, fevers to tend, medicines to administer. She may not have needed sleep, but her body cried out for rest.

She was just walking past the morgue pit where the discarded limbs and bodies had been piled when she felt the first stirrings of an Immortal. Shortly after that, she could hear the panicked cries as he came to amongst the dead. She set her lantern down near the edge of the path, and holding a handkerchief over her nose to keep out some of the revolting smell, she climbed into the pit.

"Help!" he cried weakly.

"I'm coming," she called back, scrambling over the disgusting refuse.

A hand reached out and caught her wrist, nearly scaring her witless. Strong fingers gripped her arm. Fingers that had once been cold and dead were now quickly warming back to life. She tried not to think about exactly what she was touching as she helped him out of the pit.

"What...? What's happened to me...?" he stammered once he was out of the vile mess. "And who are you?"

Lamplight glowed orange on what was once a gray uniform. His piercing blue eyes regarded her with open curiosity. A day's growth of dark stubble covered his jaw. His face, much like the rest of him, had been smeared with the muck of war.

"Come with me," she said curtly, gathering the lamp and blowing out the light.

Through the darkness, she led him back to her tent. She knew that someday, something like this would happen, especially given the violence of this war. She opened up a footlocker and retrieved two items: a haversack and a saber.

"Here," she said briskly, handing the things to the new Immortal. "There is a creek a few miles west of here. You can stop there to wash. There's a fresh change of clothes in the haversack. Follow the road another five miles and you'll see a house, three stories with a light in the middle attic window. The woman there is another like us. She can explain more."

"I don't rightly understand, ma'am," he replied.

"You can't stay here," she answered, simply. "And you can't go back to your family. You're probably already on the lists. Everyone thinks you're dead."

"But..."

"No, you're not. You're Immortal. From now on, the only way you can be killed is for someone to take your head. That's why you need the sword. Always keep it with you."

"An Immortal? Ma'am, I still don't understand."

"In time you will, but please, you have to leave, now, while it's still dark."

She ushered him out of the tent and into a nearby copse of trees. "Remember, first the creek then the house."

"Three stories tall with a light in the middle attic window," he repeated. "How can I ever repay you, ma'am?"

"Just keep your head, and you'll do fine," she smiled.

"And this other lady? Who can I tell her sent me?" he asked.

"Maggie," she answered. "Maggie Rhodes."

"Thank you again, Miz Rhodes," the new Immortal said, politely bowing. "I promise you, if I am what you say, I'll find a way to repay you. Might be awhile, but I'll find a way."

With a quick kiss to the back of her hand, he disappeared into the night. She smiled to herself, secretly charmed by his Southern manners.

~ TBC ~


Quinnleigh Kincaid
Highlander OC
668 Words
Prompt: We never touch people so lightly that we do not leave a trace. - Peggy Tabor Millin

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