He hands me the bottle, and I take a big swig.
“Take another,” he suggests, and I do.
He goes back to one of the footlockers for more supplies. I don’t look at what he’s bringing over and stacking on the floor next to the bed. I don’t think I want to know.
“Scoot back on the bed,” he says softly. “Lay on your side with your left leg up.”
I do as he says. My whole body is tense despite the whiskey running through my system.
“Try to relax,” he says quietly.
“I’m going to clean it out first,” he says. “I need to make sure there isn’t anything still stuck inside that could cause problems later.”
“Do I get a bullet to bite on?”
“I can get one if you like.”
I glance down to see if he’s serious, and I think he is. I shake my head, and he nods slightly before looking back to my leg. I look around the room, trying to find something I can focus on while he goes to work. I end up just looking at the latch on one of the footlockers, wondering what’s inside of it.
I grit my teeth as Eckhart goes to work.
“There’s a little piece of something inside,” he says. “Hold on.”
The sudden pain runs from my leg to my hip, then up my spine. The scream that comes from me is uncontrollable, but not as loud as the next one.
Eckhart’s arm crosses my stomach, holding me in place. His fingers grip my wrist as he holds me to the bed.
“No! No! NO!” I scream and thrash as everything comes back to me. I pull my knee to my chest, wedge it between my body and Eckhart’s chest, and kick at him with all my strength. “Get your fucking hands off of me!”
He almost falls from the bed but manages to catch himself right at the edge. I pull my legs up to my chest and push myself backward until I’m against the headboard. Eckhart looks at me with wide eyes as he presses his hand to his sternum.
“I’m not them,” he says. His voice is calm and soft. “There’s a piece of concrete in the wound. I have to get it out, or your leg is going to get infected. If it gets infected, you are going to be in a lot of trouble.”
“Keep your hands off of me.” I grit my teeth as I speak each word so there’s no room for misunderstanding.
“I have to touch your leg to get it out,” he says.
As the pain subsides, I start thinking a little more clearly. The wound in my leg keeps throbbing, and I can feel it bleeding again before I look at it.
“Let me get it out,” Eckhart says again, his voice still soft. “I’ll only touch you as much as I have to, I swear.”
“Don’t hold me down.” I slowly stretch my leg out again, wincing as the skin tightens and moves around the cut.
“This is going to hurt,” he says darkly. “It’s going to hurt a lot. You have to stay still, or it will be worse.”
“I’ll be still.”
“It’s not going to be easy.”
“Just don’t…don’t hold me down.”
“I won’t if you can stay still.”
He takes a deep breath before moving closer to me again. He keeps his eyes on me as he reaches out slowly and places his hand on my ankle, right below the gash. I see a flash of metal as he picks up a pair of tweezers.