A continuation of a previous Challenge – Tempted
“…And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.” *
The chaplain closed his book and sat watching the man who lay, without responding, on a thin hospital mattress. “You can hear me. I know you can. Why won’t you talk to me?”
Two blue eyes fixed on the chaplain before they closed in protest, refusing to answer, refusing to accept.
“Enough, Brother Martin!” Warden Emory’s voice commanded. “Enough of this coddling. Mr. Curry doesn’t need to talk in order to hear. And I’m sure he’ll hear perfectly well when I tell him I’m transporting him to the prison today.”
“Not yet! He’s far too weak! He won’t endure two days there in his current state!” the chaplain objected.
“Then he’ll continue to heal in the prison infirmary before moving to his permanent residence.” The warden lingered over the word ‘permanent,’ allowing the note of finality to take its toll. “I think some time under Dr. Lang’s special care is just what Mr. Curry needs.”
Beneath two closed lids, the blue eyes twitched, ever so slightly.
“Your eyes betray you, Mr. Curry,” Emory whispered, his vile laugh confirming his contempt for the wanted outlaw. He leaned closer. “Just like your partner did!”
A wave of nausea preceded the Kid’s mental transport to that night – The storm, his horse rearing at the loud crack of thunder, the pouring rain, the mud, the cliff, Heyes’ grip, slipping, slipping, then…Nothing.
Curry’s eyes blinked, defending against the assault of bright light.
“Good! You’re awake.”
The greeting seemed to come from across the room and the Kid lifted his head. A man was throwing back the curtains that covered one barred window, allowing sunlight to flood the room.
The man pulled a chair to Curry’s bedside and sat. “I’m Dr. Lang.” He smiled, a condescending smile. “Are you hungry?” The doctor glanced toward a tray waiting on a bedside table.
With no response from his patient, Dr. Lang lifted a bowl and waited.
Curry reached for it, eyeing the runny porridge before eating.
“Your bodily injuries are healing well, Mr. Curry. Amazing after the fall you suffered. You should be well enough to join the general population soon.”
The Kid simply glared, certain the news could not be construed by anyone as good. He finished his food without comment.
“But it is your mental state that concerns me. It’s why Warden Emory asked me to look in on you.”
“My mental state is fine.” Curry’s words rang cold and hard.
The doctor’s question had been intended as a lure and in Curry’s weakened condition, he took the bait.
“It is! I heard the warden’s lies. I heard the chaplain’s Bible readin’, talkin’ about Judas the Betrayer, collectin’ thirty pieces of silver to sell out a friend, insinuatin’ it was Heyes who put me here! Nothin’ but lies! All of it!”
Dr. Lang bent to retrieve the bowl and spoon from the floor, where they had fallen during Curry’s outburst. “Yet you would like me to believe your mental state is, in your words, ‘fine’?”
A look of disdain served as the Kid’s answer.
“I might be more inclined to describe your state as one of denial.” Dr. Lang rose to leave, but before exiting the room, he turned again to his patient. “Mr. Curry, I do wonder, after your fall, did your partner come to your aid?” He paused, allowing his question a moment to penetrate before continuing. “And where is Mr. Heyes now? Think about it, Mr. Curry.”
Dr. Lang tossed a copy of a newspaper, several weeks old, which landed on Curry’s bed just as the door swung shut.
Tightness gripped Curry’s chest as the newspaper’s headline seized him.
Kid Curry Jailed – Hannibal Heyes’ Whereabouts Unknown
Witnesses say a man calling himself Joshua Smith, yet fitting the description of the wanted outlaw, Hannibal Heyes, escaped capture after collecting a ten thousand dollar reward on his partner, Jedediah ‘Kid’ Curry…
Curry hurled the paper.
Standing just outside the room, both Dr. Lang and Warden Emory heard the thud of something striking the inside of the locked door.
“Excellent, Dr. Lang! Excellent!”
The two exchanged arrogant smiles.
“Our experiment is working exactly as we had hoped!”
* Matthew 26:15 King James Version
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