“You don’t expect me to just give in, do you?” she wheezed, between painful-sounding grunts.
“Funny,” Jak said, his voice flat. “That’s just what you seem to expect from me.”
“Kill me, then,” Cheela pushed him.
“I’ve got a better idea,” Jak said. He dug into Eirig’s purse at his belt and came out with the little canister of painkillers. “I should have done this last night.” He knelt, straddling Cheela’s stomach to pin her, and set aside his spear. Shaking out a handful of pills into one hand, he dug under Eirig’s blanket and produced a flask of water. “Breakfast time,” he deadpanned.
Cheela spat at him, pointlessly. She was almost his size, but he had her tied up and trapped. Jak forced the pills into her mouth, clapping the water to her lips immediately after. She gagged and struggled, but had no choice but to swallow or drown.
Watching her Crechemate forced to drink, Dyan realized how thirsty she was.
When the flask was empty, Jak stood up. Cheela gasped for air, and rolled over onto her side and retched, but the pills stayed down.
“That was four times what I gave Eirig,” Jak observed, “and he’s still out cold.”
“Umm umm mot,” Eirig objected sleepily, but he didn’t so much as roll over.
“She could die,” Dyan pointed out. “She could overdose and never wake up.”
“True,” Jak agreed, flashing a grin that showed all his teeth. “Or someone could drag her out of her home under false pretenses, lead her out into the desert and try to chop her in half with a monofilament whip. Life’s hard like that, isn’t it?”
Cheela cursed him as he stooped and worked at waking Eirig, but he ignored her, and after a couple of minutes of struggling, she passed out.
“I had weird dreams,” Eirig confessed, when Jak pulled him to his feet and shook off the last of his painkiller-induced slumber.
“Oh yeah?” Jak asked. “Were you on the run in the Snake River valley?”
“Worse than that,” Eirig said. “Someone chopped my arm off.” He raised his stump as if to do something with his missing hand and shrieked.
Jak laughed. “Curse you, Eirig,” he said to his friend. “Can’t you take anything seriously?”
“What would be the fun of that?”