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The Heart is a Changing Place

The Heart is a Changing Place

By:   emmastark

 

Copyright:    2001

Rated:          ~R~

Disclaimer:     All original TAT characters belong to Stephen J. Cannell and Universal.

Warning:        War situations, aftermath of torture, oblique thoughts of suicide.

Comments:     Please

Summary:       A warm, rainy night in Vietnam, in the POW camp.

The Heart is a Changing Place

 

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It was warm and dark and raining.  The air was heavy. A cricket trilled and somewhere far off, at the edge of hearing, someone fired a gun.  Rat-tat.  Pause. Tat.  Long pause.  Rat-tat-tat.  Pause.  Rat-tat.

 

The men huddled together against the rain, in their roofless bamboo houses.  Rain ran down their backs in small, warm torrents.

 

"I can see through people, now," Murdock said softly. Dreamily.  His head rested in Face's lap. Occasionally his body jerked from the electricity that had run through it a few hours before.

 

"You always could, a little," Face said.  He'd draped himself over Murdock a bit, his head and shoulders, to keep the rain off Murdock's face.

 

Murdock took Face's hand and drew it over his eyes with trembling fingers.  Face could feel Murdock's lashes beating against his palm like moths' wings.

 

"Pale red blood cells tumble through your capillaries in single file, leaving oxygen behind like gifts, caterpillars crawling through the narrow places," Murdock murmured in a hazy drawl.  "The heart is a changing place, and they come out the other side with wings, blood-red butterflies that flutter through your arteries, struggling to get free.  Why won't you let them out, Facey?  They want to fly free through the jungle."

 

"Hannibal wouldn't like it," Face answered.  He smoothed Murdock's eyes closed with gentle fingers.  Smoothed the long, dark hair.  "They'd get lost."

 

"Lost," Murdock said.  "Lost.  Maybe we could follow them and they'd take us to a better place.  I don't like it here."

 

A drop of water ran down Face's temple and landed on Murdock's cheek.

 

Murdock opened his eyes and stared up at Face.  "Do I have butterflies?" he asked.  "Maybe we could run away together."

 

The rain fell relentlessly through the heavy air. Like the sky was falling.  Like the sky was crying.

 

Murdock pressed his hand over Face's eyes, and Face could smell the mud on his hand, but all he could see was darkness.  Face took Murdock's hand away from his eyes.  Held it in his own.

 

"You see things true," Face said.  "I only see things real."

 

BA crawled over to the two of them and drug Murdock's body into his own arms.  Face's arms felt very light and empty, suddenly.

 

"Do you have butterflies, mudsucka?" Murdock asked.  A spasm hit him, and BA cradled his body close.

 

"Ain' no butterflies, you heah me?  S'all in yo' fool head.  You jus' hush, now."

 

Murdock lay quiet in BA's arms.  Face leaned against BA, and let the rain wash down.

 

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~fin~


The Heart is a Changing Place by emmastark

 

 


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