Dietrich jerked upright in the bed and screamed,
Uncertain of where he was or how he
Got there. The covers clung to his sweaty
Body; he fought to free his hands from their
Clammy grasp. Freed at last, he cradled his
Face in them and gasped for breath, his heart pounding.
Suddenly Father Benedict was there,
Sitting on the edge of the bed, a cup
In his hands. “Here, my friend, sip this water.”
And as Dietrich did so, the Father smiled.
“You’ve had quite the night. I feared for your health.”
“How did I get here?” Dietrich asked. “And what
Terrible acts have I done? I must know!”
Again the Father smiled. “You have done nothing
But sleep and test my healing skills. Early
Yesterday you came to my door and collapsed.
Your wounds proved severe but not fatal… though
I confess I wondered how you got them.
I cleaned you up and put you to bed.
Since then you’ve done little but sleep, sometimes
Tossing and moaning, sometimes like the dead.
What demon haunts your dreams, Dietrich? The wolf?”
“I changed, Father. I prowled the woods, preying
On human flesh. I battled someone who sought
To destroy me and I tore out his throat.”
“A nightmare, nothing more,” Benedict said.
“But Father, it was no nightmare. I saw –“
“You saw only in your dreams,” Benedict
Murmured with a shake of his head. “I’ve been
By your side all day, afraid your injuries
Were beyond my meager abilities.
This blanket just thwarted all your efforts
To sit up in bed. Do you truly believe
You could have escaped their gentle embrace
And romped through the woods without my notice?”
He laughed at that. “You are no more a wolf
Than I am. Now rest; regain your strength.”
After a couple more sips of water,
Benedict patted his shoulder and made
Him comfortable. And as he dozed off,
Dietrich barely noticed the gritty feel
As he rubbed his fingertips together.