“Well, I say we just sit tight right here for a spell until Spooks… Mr. Lowsley gets better.” River sounded concerned. While he didn’t particularly care for or respect Lowsley’s opinions, he still didn’t want the man to bleed out from surviving a hit from what Henderson called “a God-damned monstrous Ogre-Nazi-Boogeyman!” River certainly wasn’t a doctor (And neither is that waste of breath we came here for. Where in God’s name did all that schooling money go if he doesn’t the first damn thing about doctoring?) but he knew enough to know that moving Lowsley right now was less than ideal. Henderson, however, shook his head.
“Didn’t you say this camp was just a waystation? In other words, someone’s coming for Mr. Gesalle soon. We need to leave.” Everyone agreed, and rather than carry Lowsley’s unconscious form, everyone donned Nazi uniforms and left the camp in the truck sitting passively at the back of the camp. Callahan drove, though he didn’t speak German. He insisted and River was simply too exhausted to care.
Fortunately, the ride was uneventful. As they approached the town, River instructed Callahan to drop them off near the Vineyards, home to the French resistance in the town. “Then I want you to drive this damn abomination of a vehicle into that river and let it drown. Got it Wings?” As Callahan drove off with a look of amusement in his eyes, River knocked on the old French woman’s door. She was unhappy to see him in a Nazi uniform.
“Now look here, I understand what this looks like, but I assure you were got these threads off some dead Nazis. You think some filthy Nazi would sound as dignified as I do? No ma’am, this here is a perfect accent, made in the fine hills of Virginia, not the harsh hell-pit of Berlin. Now, please, one of our friends has been injured while killing Nazis, and we need to get him lying down and getting better.” After a few more indications that he was not, in fact, a Nazi, the old woman took them into the house and began applying home-made remedies to Lowsley. He didn’t look good. His breathing was haggard and rough, his chest bloody and caved, and where his skin wasn’t purple, it was stark white.
“Think he’ll live?” Henderson asked. River looked passively as the old woman gingerly applied fresh bandages to Lowsley’s chest.
Henderson was reading through Lowsley’s journal with the fervor of a new disciple. The image of the ogre kept flashing throughout his mind and Henderson wanted to know more in a frantic attempt to save his own life should the supernatural once again attack. River had been pacing most of the day, and continued to do so as the sun set. Callahan was enjoying a plate of strawberries the old woman had given them.
“We need to get Lowsley to the Embassy. We should leave soon, so as not to miss that smuggler, assuming the old boy returns.” Said River.
“You know, these are the best strawberries I have ever had. They are incredibly succulent.”
“You think he’ll be okay?” Henderson sounded pessimistic. River looked at him for a moment without saying anything.
“I’m serious, these berries are unbelievable. You need to try some. Juice just explodes right in my mouth.” Callahan extended the plate towards the other two. River ignored him.
“If we leave now, we probably won’t be stopped by any Nazi’s and we can move slow enough to—”
“Now? French-lady just said she’d bring some raspberries and wine!” Callahan looked legitimately upset. River looked ahead without any emotion on his face and slowly turned his head to look at the pilot.
“Wings, I’m only going to say this once. If you open your mouth again in the next ten minutes, I may be forced to exert a righteous vengeance upon your uncaring mouth. You hear me boy?” Callahan smiled and nodded, remembering how strong army ties were and falling back into that old style. Quietly, they all grabbed Lowsley and lifted him up, trying not to apply pressure and hoping he could survive the trip.
Lowsley opened his eyes slowly, the sunlight blinding him. The last he could remember, his chest felt like a train had slammed into it, and now he laid on a hospital bed feeling weak, but alive. For several minutes he stayed still, trying to figure out if anything was missing. Nothing was. Eventually a nurse came over and saw he was awake.
“Finally awake? Good. You were touch and go for a few days.”
“Where am I?” Lowsley’s voice was thick and sounded unused. The nurse smiled as she checked his pupillary reflex.
“The American Embassy, Mr. Bell.” Mr. Bell? Ah, I’m so proud of all of you, remembering… Lowsley fell back onto his bed and fell asleep for a few hours.
When Lowsley woke again, he was staring at a grinning River Daniels. The exuberant Virginian held a small bouquet of flowers and had a small folded piece of paper in his other hand.
“Well, you seem a bit caddywompus, Spooks. Rough night?” Lowsley looked at River with a sense of confusion, figuring he had been insulted but not sure how.
“Bless your heart Spooks. I’ve got to admit though, you were right about those Nazi-boogeymen. If it weren’t for you, maybe I wouldn’t have been the first from our group to have killed me a Nazi-boogeyman; right between the old peepers. I do say it was a beautiful shot that only a true God-fearing Virginian could have pulled off.” Lowsley let his body relax and he looked up at the ceiling, his face in a grimace.
“So Mr. Daniels, did you come to insult me while I’m at death’s door? Or are you here for a purpose?” River frowned and nodded.
“Well, I understand that your sensibilities are a little damaged, but you should remember that I did say you were right. Now, these are for you.” River handed Lowsley the bouquet of roses which the Englishman took with a sense of disdain and appreciation. “And this too. Thought you might be bored out of your mind here. Besides, seems like you might be able to do something useful with it.”
River handed Lowsley the folded paper and gave him a strange salute. Lowsley figured it was an American thing. He opened the paper and saw a strange assortment of symbols on it. It was clearly a message or some manner, perhaps related to the occult. Lowsley stared at it curiously, trying to recollect what the symbols meant.
“And Spooks? Get better soon, boy. We need you out there.”