Read Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi Chapter 5
Delalieu follows me to my door.
“Gather the troops in the Quadrant tomorrow at ten hundred hours,” I say to him by way of good-bye. “I’ll have to make an announcement about these recent events as well as what’s to come.”
“Yes, sir,” Delalieu says. He doesn’t look up. He hasn’t looked at me since we left the warehouse.
I have other matters to worry about.
Not counting Delalieu’s stupidity, there are an infinite number of things I must take care of right now. I can’t afford any more difficulties, and I cannot be distracted. Not by her. Not by Delalieu. Not by anyone. I have to focus.
This is a terrible time to be wounded.
News of our situation has already hit a national level. Civilians and neighboring sectors are now aware of our minor uprising, and we have to tamp down the rumors as much as possible. I have to somehow defuse the alerts Delalieu has already sent out, and simultaneously suppress any hope of rebellion among the citizens. They’re already too eager to resist, and any spark of controversy will reignite their fervor. Too many have died already, and they still don’t seem to understand that standing against The Reestablishment is asking for more destruction. The civilians must be pacified.
I do not want war in my sector.
Now more than ever, I need to be in control of myself and my responsibilities. But my mind is scattered, my body fatigued and wounded. All day I’ve been inches from collapsing, and I don’t know what to do. I have no idea how to fix it.
This weakness is foreign to my being.
In just two days, one girl has managed to cripple me.
I’ve taken even more of these disgusting pills, but I feel weaker than I did this morning. I thought I could ignore the pain and inconvenience of a wounded shoulder, but the complication refuses to diminish. I am now wholly dependent on whatever will carry me through these next weeks of frustration. Medicine, medics, hours in bed.
All this for a kiss.
It’s almost unbearable.
“I’ll be in my office for the rest of the day,” I tell Delalieu. “Have my meals sent to my room, and do not disturb me unless there are any new developments.”
“That’ll be all, Lieutenant.”
I don’t even realize how ill I feel until I close the bedroom door behind me. I stagger to the bed and grip the frame to keep from falling over. I’m sweating again and decide to strip the extra coat I wore on our outside excursion. I yank off the blazer I’d carelessly tossed over my injured shoulder this morning and fall backward onto my bed. I’m suddenly freezing. My good hand shakes as I reach for the medic call button.
I need to get the dressing on my shoulder changed. I need to eat something substantial. And more than anything else, I desperately need to take a real shower, which seems altogether impossible.
Someone is standing over me.
I blink several times but can only make out the general outline of their figure. A face keeps coming in and out of focus until I finally give up. My eyes fall closed. My head is pounding. Pain is searing through my bones and up my neck; reds and yellows and blues blur together behind my eyelids. I catch only clips of the conversation around me.
—seems to have developed a fever— —probably sedate him— —how many did he take?— They’re going to kill me, I realize. This is the perfect opportunity. I’m weak and unable to fight back, and someone has finally come to kill me. This is it. My moment. It has arrived. And somehow I can’t seem to accept it.
I take a swipe at the voices; an inhuman sound escapes my throat. Something hard hits my fist and crashes to the floor. Hands clamp down on my right arm and pin it in place. Something is being tightened around my ankles, my wrist. I’m thrashing against these new restraints and kicking desperately at the air. The blackness seems to be pressing against my eyes, my ears, my throat. I can’t breathe, can’t hear or see clearly, and the suffocation of the moment is so terrifying that I’m almost certain I’ve lost my mind.
Something cold and sharp pinches my arm.
I have only a moment to reflect on the pain before it engulfs me.