I hold my hand over his chest, just until I can barely feel the warmth rising from him. He lives, still as death, half his greenish pale body covered carelessly with a thin, stained sheet. I keep my eyes on that side of him, trying to ignore the gash torn through his other hip. I start to read his heat.
There’s a growl from next to me. “Faster.”
“You know it takes patience.” I say quietly. And he knew the shackles that weighed cold and solid around my wrists got in the way of the read. They all knew.
Though, I could still read faster than they thought. I felt he wasn’t dead. I felt the treatment path. They knew about that part. that’s why I was here, a healer heat reader is useful in keeping their armies alive in the fight against my people.
They don’t know that I can read his importance. His determination, and his hatred.
This man would be incredibly hard to kill. But this time it’s not a bad thing, not a thing I will have to fight. This time it’s exciting.
My keeper tugs my hand away from his body with the shackle. “What this one need?”
I duck my head to hide the flash of excitement in my eyes.
“Take me to the doctor, I must tell him something.”
. . . .
That night I sit alone, finally, in my cell. Legs crossed on the flat sleep mat, calm. My mind races, despite my forced outer calmness.
The man lying on the table this afternoon, he hated the army, the war, his superiors, as much as I do. He wants them to parish.
When I read his heat it wasn’t life simply life, death, or rot heat. I read his heat as the leader of the resistance.
Our Resistance. Salvation.
This man, I’m excited to see better.
To see who my partner in saving my world will be.