Phoebe dropped the blanket down around her hips, then began to peel hastily-applied layers of gauze away from her chest. “I don’t think we need to,” she said; the gash had already healed tremendously. Blood still oozed over white dermis at the top, pooling in-between yellow at the fattier area of her stomach before soaking into her underwear. But it was now shallow enough that it no longer exposed any ribs or organs.

“No, I wouldn’t feel right just leaving it. I wish I had anesthesia for this,” Bluebell mumbled as he gripped her skin with forceps and threaded the nylon in. Phoebe didn't have the chance to tell him that, at this point, she probably wouldn't have needed anesthetic anyways. She watched him work. His hands were large, but warm and nimble. His eyes were squinted, and sometimes he stuck his fat, alligator tongue out of his mouth as he concentrated on sewing her shut.

Image: A close-up of Phoebe, naked, from the chest-down. Her lower half is covered by the blanket. Bluebell’s gloved hands are visible as he stitches up her wound, pulling a hooked needle and thread through the skin. There is a row of sutures up her stomach and the gash is still open on her chest- it is deep and bloody. End description.

“All done, and maybe it won’t scar so bad this time.” Once the thread was clipped, Bluebell marveled at his work for a moment before realizing that the stitches ran right between her bare breasts. “You can put your blanket back on. Here’s your water- oh, it’s cold. I’ll go heat it up,” he said, already leaving the study.

Phoebe thanked him when he returned shortly after with two mugs. The scent of coffee wafted around the room; when she wrapped her cold hands around the ceramic, she was right to guess that Bluebell hadn’t actually refilled her water. He took a sip from his mug and Phoebe did the same. The drink was uncomfortably sweet. He hadn’t added any milk, it was just black coffee and sugar. No, she thought as she drank more. Maple syrup.

Image: A top-down view of a white coffee mug. Phoebe is looking down into it, and her distorted reflection is visible on the coffee’s surface. The background is transparent. End description.

From the kitchen she heard Cat, Julia, and Asmeret. Only snippets of their conversation could be made out, primarily bits where Julia was trying to convince both of them of something. She mentioned how well Isra’s animal tranquilizers had worked on Silver, and then how she had to do a “bitch of a Consumption” in the garage because of him. Phoebe nursed her drink, and slipped into her gray pajamas which Bluebell had also fetched. The warmth of the liquid spread through her; in spite of the caffeine, she felt her eyes growing heavier with each sip.



I'm appalled and very shaken by the invasion of Ukraine. Below are ways to donate and support:
Russia-Ukraine War: Info And Ways To Help
Razom for Ukraine (more donation links and resources)
Ukrainian Red Cross
Twitter thread of Ukrainian artists

I would also highly suggest following a news outlet providing live updates rather than doomscrolling on social media. Please be wary of false information and propaganda, speculation, misattributed images, etc.