Fighting the Dragon Part Five
On the first day Beth had just sat down to stare at the putrid mixture of “food” when five slight dark skinned Thai ladies approached and demanded her food. She made the mistake of hesitating to ask them why and they immediately started
kicking her in the head until she was laying on the ground semi-conscience as blows and kicks landed over her entire body. The next few days were nothing more than a cloud of confusion and pain as her body became swollen and sore from the beating
and the heat sucked the moisture from her body. Soon her throat was parched and her lips were swollen and cracked and it took all her energy to crawl into the shade as the Asian prison population looked on with suspicion and hatred. Despite being
oppressed their entire lives because f their dark skin, they were quick to apply the same measure of oppression on this new foreign lady who had obviously led a privileged life previously.
Tapping around with her stick the old blind lady discovered Beth’s body laying across her path and she knelt to check her pulse and condition. Almost immediately the other women started warning her to stay away from the “black devil” and let her die, but Jeab wasn’t afraid. Because of her blindness the other women feared her and held her in some kind of reverence and she’d learned to use their fear against them by making up “dreams” she’d have about each woman designed to control them through intimidation. She’s make them “pay credit” to Buddha by doing good things, or in the case here at the prison to keep them from doing bad things. Waving her stick around and around she told everyone listening that this badly beaten girl was here to help them, that if more harm came to her the benefits of her presence would never come to their lives. Special things were going to happen here because of this girl she muttered and kneeling by her side she quickly directed the closest two girls to come pull her onto a mat and bring some water.
For days old Jeab stayed by Beth’s side making her drink water and take whatever food she could hold down. A bad fever from infection came and Jeab told one of the girls to bring the doctor. The fat Chinese doctor came into the courtyard and because he was afraid the old blind lady would put a curse on him he quickly treated Beth and left some medicine with the Jeab to treat her. Jeab’s mutterings never stopped, whatever she was saying she said just loud enough for the others to know she was saying something, but not loud enough to know the words. No one there had ever seen the old lady take to another prisoner so closely and one by one they started to believe that perhaps there was something special about this young black girl.
Pulling herself from unconsciousness the first indication she was coming out of it was the intense pain that comes from being in one position so long, cramped aching muscles and the need to urinate. Fighting to open her eyes they felt almost glued shut so she brought her hands to her eyes and rubbed away a light crust that had formed and fought more to open her eyes. Blinking quickly to moisten the corneas everything seemed bright, but turning her head she was able to get some relief from the brightness and her eyes started to focus. Bit by bit a shape started to come into focus and she began to recognize an old lady with a face like wrinkled leather sitting next to her. Suddenly she noticed the old lady was talking but she didn’t know what she was saying. It took what seemed like hours before she managed to move her body around enough to feel like standing and when she did stand the pain was so bad she just stood there shaking while urine ran down her legs as her bladder screamed in welcomed relief.
It was night and she was sitting naked under a shower on a box and the old lady was scrubbing her and then massaging her, going back and forth between the two. She had to admit her body felt a lot better and it was good to be clean. Beth’s mind has cleared enough to be embarrassed for her nakedness and to notice the growing pains of hunger deep in her gut. Grunting with satisfaction the blind lady made her drink some more tea and then thrust some clothes at her that resembled old red pajamas. With some difficulty she got dressed but she felt much better and by now was able to stretch and move around on her own. It was five days since she arrived, five days since attempting to eat that first meal that led to her beating. Still, it almost felt like she’d been reborn. The old lady grabbed her hand and led her to the wooden table in the courtyard for the evening meal and this time everyone left her alone to eat.
That night she feel asleep late and was only awakened in the morning when a female prison guard shook her roughly saying today was the day she must see the doctor before her execution and that she must come now to be examined by the doctor. Rising to her feet she was much less sore than the day before, much more clear headed, yet it felt like the nightmare was just beginning. Following the prison guard for several minutes to a large building they climbed a few steps and she was pushed into a examination room where a large fat Chinese man stood there sweating and looking at her. He held a medical chart in one hand and motioned for her to sit on the examination table with the other. He told the guard to leave and she argued with him demanding to stay, she knew the old lechers habits. He threatened to call the warden and reluctantly the guard went outside to wait. Looking up Beth saw fear in the doctors eyes as he glanced around the room making sure it was empty.
Placing a stethoscope to her chest he loudly told her to breath in and out and questioned her on her health. He was asking her specific questions about her ability to move, could she run, was she healthy, etc. She thought the questions strange but said nothing. The doctor asked her to bare her hip and gave her what he said was a vitamin B2 shot that would give her some strength and then using an pneumatic injector he asked for her arm and she heard a “hissst” and felt something move under her skin and stay there. Moments later he called the guard but not before whispering to her to rest and get as strong as she could.
Watching the E500 leave the prison compound I knew the doctor would soon be home so taking a shortcut Marco and I left so we could be waiting inside the doctors house before he arrived home.
To be continued…