Time trickled past in agonizing slowness, blurred faces peering as the doctors did their rounds, as the nurse adjusted the drip… He longed for contact, to feel the touch of sensation on his skin, to look into the eyes of another. He remembered the eye contact; strange… there was something special about that young doctor, a certain empathy…
The ward emptied, he was alone again, alone with maddening thoughts. He tried to focus, picturing the birds, the peace… Then quite suddenly he was there, hypo in hand, a tiny squirt of liquid like a fountain of relief. Alex tried to speak but his mouth would not obey him, tried to read the name tag but his eyes wouldn’t focus. He felt the prick, relief coursed through him as the blanket of darkness swept over him.
The sound of water assailed his ears. He opened his eyes. Gushing waterfalls cascaded down an immense rock face converging in a small lake. The doctor sat beside him smiling broadly.
“You wanted to feel something?” He inclined his head towards the water. Alex needed no further enticement. Pulling off the hospital gown he dived into the pool. Overwhelmed by sensation as the tingling fresh water enveloped him he surfaced laughing. “Doc” as he’d begun to call him sat on the bank smiling. Sun was gleaming between the trees – early morning Alex surmised. Reclining on his back he looked up at the sky. Tropics? … he could feel the warmth of the sun on his skin, a hundred memories invaded his consciousness as he swam in cool relaxed strokes across the lake reveling in the sensation of rippling muscle once more, of power, of command.
The sun now showed its face above the trees as his ears alerted him to Doc’s calls. He was standing on the bank waving a shirt of some kind and pointing. Gliding back to shore Alex scrambled out of the water.
“You might feel more comfortable in these, there are others coming,” he said with a grin. Alex looked down. Of course he was naked. The hospital gown appeared to be gone, instead Doc held a pair of light cotton shorts and T shirt. Alex pulled them on. He was enjoying this “dream”.
He could hear merry voices on the wind. There were children coming, a whole crowd of children, boys and girls, mixed races, the older holding the hands of the younger, but none older than ten and some as young as five or six.
Excitedly they tumbled out of their things and went splashing uninhibitedly into the water at the shallow end of the lake.
“Seems they don’t need these either,” Alex said laughing, pulling at his T shirt.
“No, but I thought you might feel more comfortable with some on.”
“For sure! Don’t want them thinking I’m some sort of perv, especially as there’s no adult with them!”
“There’s no need much of the time. There are no perverts, nothing that would hurt them.” Doc looked at the splashing children a faint smile hovering around his lips.
“I always loved children,” he continued, “Here they have a place that’s good for them to live and no more school, at least not the kind they used to have.” The smile grew to a grin. “Would you like to see a school?” Alex nodded.
“You might have to wait till next time, your visit is almost up.” He glanced at his watch.
“There will be a next time then?”
“Oh yes, lots of next times.”
“But what is it…?” the question was drowned as a blanket of forgetfulness enshrouded him once more, muscles twitched and became unresponsive.