“So glad you made it back!” Gretchen called out from the kitchen as she heard her husband come through the front door.
She hurried out of the kitchen to give him a hug and a kiss, but as soon as she saw him she came to an abrupt stop.
“What the hell happened to you?!” she cried out.
Norris looked at her with one eye. The other one was swollen shut with bruises all around it. His right cheek was also swollen, and he had a split lip. A bandage was wrapped around the top of his head, and his left arm was in a sling.
“I’m home,” he croaked out as he tried to smile, showing a gap in his upper teeth. “I need to sit down.”
“My God!” she cried out, hurrying over to him. “I thought all was well?”
She helped her husband as he limped to the sofa, groaning all the way. He collapsed on the sofa, closing his eyes.
“Can I get you something?” she asked with concern. “Something to drink, eat, or painkillers?”
“Just let me rest for a bit,” he replied.
“I need to know what happened?” she pleaded.
“Can you let me rest for a bit?” he asked, looking at her. “I will let you know as soon as I regain my strength. If you could please get me a drink and some pain killers. It would be greatly appreciated.”
He closed his eyes again as he leaned his head back onto the cushion.
Gretchen looked at him for a minute with deep concern. She saw he had a bandage wrapped around his stomach.
“Maybe I should take him to the hospital?” she thought. “Who knows who wrapped him up?”
She figured she would make that decision after she finds out what happened.
Gretchen went into the kitchen and made Norris’s favorite drink, grabbed some pain killers, and a couple of chocolate chip cookies. She went back into the living room, and sat next to her husband.
“Here you go,” shew said.
He opened his eyes, reached for the pain killers first, and put them in his mouth, then took the drink and emptied half the glass.
“Thanks honey,” he said, leaning back. “If you don’t mind putting the cookies on the table.”
“At least take a bite of one to help the pills go down,” she instructed.
“I’m holding the drink so if you don’t mind feeding me like a baby,” he said, trying to grin.
She had him take a couple of bites before putting the cookies on the table. Gretchen then went over to the chair and sat down to give him some room.
For the next few minutes there was quiet as Norris relaxed, and Gretchen sat there impatiently.
“Maybe I should just get him to the hospital,” she thought.
Moments later, Norris opened his eyes, looked around dazed, then fixed his eyes on Gretchen.
“Sorry honey,” he said. “Getting from the ship to here was exhausting.”
“Just take your time,” she told him even though she wanted him to explain everything in a minute.
“I knew there were risks going to the land of Og, but it has gotten rough there,” he said, taking a deep breath and letting it out with some groans.
“Please tell me what happened?”
“As you know this is one of the few lands left where the people still have a hard time getting along,” he told her. “They are doing much better, but as you can see they still have a ways to go.”
“I thought there were people with you to protect you and others?” she asked, getting a little peeved.
“We did, but we were no match for the mob in the final days we were there,” he said.
“You shouldn’t have gone,” she said.
“We went there for a good cause,” he explained. “It started out well. We were making progress with these people. Many were understanding and wanted to go the right direction. The majority of this mission went quite well.”
“Give me a moment,” he said. “All this talking is making my body hurt.”
“Just take your time,” she said once again. “I don’t want to make things worse. Should I take you to the hospital?”
“No, no,” he replied. “They took care of me. Now, the slow process of healing.”
“We will just see how you do the next few days,” she said with concern.
He just nodded his head, and silence for another few minutes.
Gretchen looked at him for a bit then had to gaze out the window so she wouldn’t start crying.
“It happened so fast,” he blurted out. “One moment all is well with everyone laughing and ready for change. Then the ones for divisiveness came in. The ones who rule the land and the ones who spread propaganda they call news came along. They quickly stirred up the people, and next moment we were struck. Punches and thrown items took us down. Thankfully, we were able to get back to the ship and set sail.”
“I’m sorry for the failure,” she said.
“I wouldn’t say it was a complete failure,” he said. “I saw hope in many of the faces. Like many of the other lands many of the people are tired of living this way, being ruled by the corrupt few.”
“One day they will change.”
“Take out the current leadership and media, replacing them with ones who want to bring justice and happiness to the people. Need to replace the ones who just want to feed off the misery of the people,” said Norris. “That will catapult the land of Og to greatness.”
“You think that will happen?”
“Only the masses will decide where they want to go if they rise up,” he said, closing his eyes. “Now to rest, my love. I feel like I have worked out for a week, then beaten by a stick for another week.”
Gretchen left him alone, praying for a better world. Not just portions of it.