She didn't know what made him so different from any other of the multitudes of soldiers she had nursed in the past year. Yet there was something special about him. Maybe it was his dark hair and soft features that drew her to him. He was a great deal like Albert, and Albert's well-being was of paramount importance to her. Whatever the reason, his welfare mattered more to her than any other of her patients, and she had yet to even speak to him.
He should have woke up days before, yet he lay there, silent, still, sleeping. She didn't even know his name. He had no identification when they found him. By all accounts and purposed, he was probably listed somewhere as either missing or dead after that horrendous battle. Someone was probably missing him and possibly even mourning him. Someone so like him definitely had to have left people who loved him. She prayed that they would soon be spared their pain, and that he would wake up and eventually return to them, wiped his dark brow with a cool, damp cloth, and took the seat where she had encamped for two weeks, holding on to his seemingly gentle hand.
He did finally awake, unbearably conscious of the throbbing in his head. He breathed in, and the air seemed stale and pained him the farther it entered his body. He tried to open his eyes, yet his dry eyelids only managed to scratch his eyes like sandpaper. It was tempting to just fade back into the blackness, that void in which he had been lost
Then suddenly, he realized that something was touching him; a hand. It was soft and somehow reassuring; like the embodiment of love
It gave him courage and strength to try to escape the void. He endured the painful scratching and opened his eyelids. He couldn't focus as the light slowly began to flood into the open slips of his eyes. The more he opened his eyes, the more he noticed that things were very foggy. Yet through the haze, he looked to where the softness of someone else's hand was holding onto his own.
The only word to explain the hand is dainty; long finders connected to a small hand with a slender wrist. He looked beyond that hand that carried so much meaning, to its owner. Rays of sunlight shone, highlighting brilliant, golden hair and illuminated the depths and sparkle of brilliantly emerald eyes.
A single tear fell away from one of those emerald eyes, and then he experienced a new sensation; the sound of a soft and loving voice. "Good morning. I am very glad to see that you are awake. I was beginning to think that I would never get to meet you." He tried to say something in return, but couldn't because his throat and mouth were too dry. She obviously knew that this would be and sweetly put her soft fingertips to his lips. "No, don't try to speak. You must rest. There are all sorts of questions that we all will have when you are stronger. I must get the doctor now, to attend you."
Then she left, leaving the angelic sound of her voice playing in his head, making the throbbing much more bearable. She returned soon with a doctor. He soon found himself being examined inch by inch, trying to listen to the mutterings between doctor and nurse. Then the doctor spoke, "You seem to have come through it all right. You may be weak for a while. An explosion apparently knocked you unconscious two weeks ago, causing some trauma to your brain. We have searched for some sort of identification on your person, but have found none. Could you possibly tell us who you are so that we can notify your commanding officer?"
He thought about it. He thought very hard about it, but all that he could remember was the void and then waking up and seeing her. He looked to the doctor and then to her, waiting, wanting to know, and all he could do was shake his head no.
"Well son, do you know from where you came?" Again, he could only shake his head no.
Both the doctor and his nurse were obviously disheartened by this lack of news, yet they continued on. The doctor thought a moment and then said, "Well, this could still be just a temporary circumstance. However, we do need a name for the records, so for now, you will remain John Doe. I must attend to other patients. Nurse Darcy will remain if you require anything. Good day, Nurse Darcy, he nodded to the nurse then headed out of the room.
The nurse took her seat next to him again and took his hand again. "You don't mind my holding onto your hand do you?" she asked.
He shook his head no. "Is that the only answer you know?" she asked. He smiled and shook his head no again.
"I can see that you are going to make my life very interesting Mr. Doe." She replied. He thought about what she was saying and more than he wanted to regain his memory, more than anything, he knew that he wanted to do just that and so he gave her a different answer; he nodded his head.
She looked down at this man, this body in which he found on the battlefields of Courcelette and managed to get to this makeshift hospital in a war-torn church, and couldn't help but feel extreme gratitude. There was just something about him with his raven black hair and now that she could see them, his silvery gray eyes that she couldn't stop thinking about.
She turned to a table next to the bed and poured water from a pitcher into a glass. She put the glass to his lips and said, 'This may feel strange, but you must be very thirsty and you need this."
The water did feel odd in his dry mouth, but it felt good. She continued giving him sips of the wonderful water as he was allowed to listen to her voice some more.
"I have been waiting a fortnight to see those eyes of yours. I must say they are quiet remarkable. You are quite remarkable; to have survived such an explosion with no life-threatening injuries. I may bore you, but you see, I have helped keep you alive these two weeks, and so now you are my prisoner and must listen to me drone on and on. I don't normally just drone on and on. I like to think that I am often more of an observer of human behavior, and that often requires one to keep quiet and let others make all of the noise. In this circumstance though, you cannot make the noise because your throat has been parched. I know nothing of you, so I do not know what you would like for me to talk about, so I will just tell you something about myself.
My name is Katherine Victoria Darcy, Katie for short. You must think my accent is odd. I'm from the United States you see, Oklahoma. My parents were both born in Derbyshire, England though. My grandfather Darcy owns one of the biggest estates in Derbyshire. I'm not bragging, it's just part of my story.
He and my father had a falling out of great magnitude before I was born. My mother was the daughter of a tenant farmer, and my grandfather wanted my father to become a barrister or take some sort of noble profession fitting for a Darcy. My father was the youngest child of the Darcy clan. Though my grandfather, Henry, has no designs yet on departing this life, my father's eldest brother, Edward was supposed to inherit the estate. Unfortunatley, he and his wife, Isabella, died in a horrible shipwreck a few years ago. Their son, William, is now heir. My father's second brother, Charles, is now a captain in the navy. His sisters both married well-respected men. My father was expected to fall into the Darcy mold and didn't. He wanted to own land of his own in the United States. He had read in a newspaper about how they were giving away land for free in America, in a newly opened territory called Oklahoma. This seemed to him to be the most wonderful offer in the world.
He and my mother eloped and caught a ship to the States. They made it to the Oklahoma Territory eventually, though not during the first land run. They ended up living around this place that was called Tulsey-Town by the Cherokee Indians. Now it is called Tulsa, and I believe that it will be a prominent place soon, it already has boomed a great deal.
Oil was discovered there. Oil was discovered on my parent's modest ranch, and they have been capable of giving my twin brother, Albert, and I a very good life. My grandfather also somehow came to the conclusion that my father was living the life that was meant for him and actually doing quite well. Ties were reestablished with the family, and my brother and I spent a few wonderful summers in Derbyshire with them.
Albert decided that he wanted to study the law, and my grandfather helped him obtain entrance in Oxford. He and my cousin William attended University together and quickly became the best of friends. When the war began, neither one thought twice about enlisting. Somehow, they have both managed to stay alive, though I cannot help but worry constantly about them. We have already lost our cousin, Harry.
Back at Dovedale, the home my parents built in Oklahoma, I grew tired of waiting for the States to enter into the war. I wanted, needed to do something to help my family in their time of need. I finally talked my father into giving his permission for me to join the V.A.D.'s. He knew that I would not take no for an answer. I would have lost my mind staying at home, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Anyway, I turned twenty-three not that long ago, and was sent to the field, where we found you. I haven't heard from Albert or William in a couple of weeks. I know that information is hard to come by right now, with all of the advancing and retreating, but some word, any word would be good."
She stopped her tale as the tears started to fall from her eyes and choke her voice. John Doe's guardian angel was beginning to falter. He needed to do something to help her., though he didn't know what. He reached out, gently grasped her hand, and using all the strength that he had in his body, managed to cough out a single word, "Katie."