“Helen, what happened to you? You are covered in bruises, and I can see bald spots on your scalp. What are you doing on the floor? What happened to your dress? Oh my God, Helen, your face—your lips are swollen.”
“Shush, speak quieter. Even though, our hut is on the outskirts of the village, you never know who might be listening,” Helen spoke in a hoarse whisper. “Please, Tori, bring me some water and a bit of bread. I am not well. I will tell you about it anon.”
Altori took the pot of water off the hook over the small fire, dipped a cloth into it and quietly walked to her sister. “Let me wash you first, Helen—at least your poor face.”
Helen only nodded. Unable to stand, she lay on the floor.
Altori placed a pillow under Helen’s head and carefully washed her face and hands. They were covered in bruises black as night. Her golden hair was matted with twigs and leaves sticking out of it. She winced as Altori washed her face.
Helen put a hand up. “Water,” she croaked. The look of pleading in her eyes made Altori move swiftly to fill a cup. She held it to Helen’s mouth and watched her cracked lips part and her swollen tongue nearly lap the water. Altori’s put her arm around her sister, propping her up while she drank. “More,” she croaked as Altori ran and filled the cup again.