Writing Prompt: : Some days it is the only thing that helps.

As strange as my dreams sometimes are, it is almost stranger when I don’t have any. I went to sleep last night, slept and if I dreamt, I don’t recall it. I feel strangely like I missed something. But it is time to leave thoughts of sleep behind. The coffee pot is brewing and it is time to see what stories today’s prompt starts. Ready? excellent, let’s go.

I think this may be my favorite prompt this week. I really like the set up. I think I will have to go back and elaborate more on the set up though. In fifteen minutes you are never going to get more than a rough story idea, but I really like this one.

Wednesday, September 21st: Some days it is the only thing that helps.

“Some days it is the only thing that helps,” he said.  I nodded and watched him dip his fingers into the small metal can.  He delicately lifted a small portion of the balm from the can and carefully spread it on his leg.  The balm he used was barely enough to cover the injury.  Everyone knew that wounds from the Karatan took a long time to heal.  The toxin in the plant slowed the healing process down so that even a cut that should have healed n days would linger for months.

The wounds were painful and sapped the strength of anyone with even the smallest cut as the body did it’s best to fight the toxins and heal itself.  Hunger and thirst were constant and the wounds throbbed, burning like fire.  Worse than the pain, the exhaustion and the hunger was the possibility of infection.  It was always a danger out here in the swamps but with an open wound the risks were greatly increased. Most people died from infection before the wound could heal.  We all knew the larger the wound, the lower the chances of surviving it.

Devan’s wound was no small slice. He kept it as clean as possible and made certain to wrap it with clean bandages.  The sergo balm would help prevent infection.  It was one of the few things that would help.  To ensure it worked Devan should have been slathering it over the wound in a thick layer before wrapping it.  The layer he applied was thin and I realized he was rationing it out, trying to make the small amount we had last longer. 

I nodded to him and stepped outside.  We needed more of the balm.  Unfortunately it wasn’t as easy to get as regular supplies.  I snorted and shook my head.  Regular supplies weren’t all that easy to get now either.  With the war in the east supply runs had been fewer in the last few months and everyone was learning to get by on less.  However the sergo balm wouldn’t be in any supplies sent.  It was made from the roots of the sergo plant.  It grew deep in the swamps.     Because the leaves could be used to distil a poisonous toxin the plant was on the banned list.  Anyone caught with  any part of the plant could face severe penalties.  Possessing the balm itself was fine as when tested it had no trace of the feared poisons.  It was just possession of plant parts that was illegal. 

Unfortunately that made creating the balm rather difficult.  I looked around.  As things stood we were barely surviving.  If we lost Devan things would go bad.  We needed him and his skills to get us through the winter.  It was less a decision and more a subconscious impulse.  I’m sure if I stopped to think about it all of the reasons why it was a bad idea would have surfaced.  By the time they did surface, I had already gathered all of the tools needed for brewing the salve and headed off into the woods.  If I could create the balm far from anyone’s sight and just return with the salve, perhaps we could all make it through alive.

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