Prim removes all the items from the man's soiled clothing before tossing them into our wash tub for soaking. There isn't much, a few pieces of melted peppermint, a wallet, and some little rectangular gadget. Prim opens them man's wallet in hopes of discovering his name, which she tells me is Mellark Peeta Wayne. It seems like an odd name but I assume it's no stranger than being named after an aquatic potato.
"There's a photograph of him and a blonde woman, but there's no writing on the back like Mama and Daddys."
"Put it back Prim, you were just looking for a name and you've found it, s'not right to keep going through his things."
"Okay, his card says he lives in New York, wonder what he's doing way out here? I'm going to check the geography book at see how far it is exactly."
Prim loves knowledge, she reads anything we can get our hands on, Daddy use to special request books from old man Ripper, but I don't know what to even ask for so I just trade for whatever he comes across.
"1,800 miles, he's a long way from home."
"That he is little duck. How long do you thi-"
I'm cut off by the sound of the man's groan as he stirs, Prim is at his side and back to her clinical demeanor in an instant.
"Mr. Wayne? It's alright I'm going to need you to calm down and relax so you don't exasperate your injuries."
"Uuggh, what happened? I feel like I got hit by a truck."
"You crashed your automobile, you're pretty banged up so I just need you to relax as much as possible alright?"
"Are you the nurse or doctor, I need something, everything hurts. Please!"
"Neither, My name is Primrose, I'm a healer."
"A healer?" Prim hums in response while checking his injuries and breathing and other things, and he lets his eyes wander around our home for the first time, confusion marring his features with everything he takes in. When his eyes land on me he asks Prim quietly as though he's afraid of the answer, "Am I dead?"
"No Mr. Wayne, you are very much alive if your pulse is any indication."
"My name, it's Peeta Mellark, Wayne is my middle name."
"Oh, I'm real sorry, I read it in your wallet and they must've jumbled up the order of the names on your picture card." He looks at Prim as though she's sprouted a second head.
"Umm, where am I exactly?"
"You are in Seam Woods, at the Everdeen home."
"You said I wrecked my car? Why am I not at the hospital?" Prims face falls, I think he's insulted her so I take over with the explanation.
"There are no hospitals here, Prim is the best healer around, but if she isn't up to your standards you're welcome to go freeze to death in that automobile under the lake I pulled you from."
"KATNISS! That's enough, I'm sure he's in enough shock already."
"What do you mean no hospitals? Just call 911." He turns to Prim before pleading "I'm sorry, truly I am, I just need something for the pain I'm sure you're a great...healer but I need morphling."
"I'm afraid the only way to make a telephone call would be to ride to town with Ripper, Katniss can ask about when he'll be goin' in next in the morning, but I'm afraid your stuck with us tonight. I've got some syrup that will help you sleep, I'll give it to you real soon. Can you tell me the last thing you remember before the accident?"
"Uuugh, I don't know." Prim frowns at this, Peeta clenches his fist in pain as she continues her examination.
"Maybe when you're not feelin' so lousy you'll remember." She walks into the kitchen to retrieve the sleep syrup leaving Peeta a moaning mess.
"She really is the best healer, the only one better was Mama."
"Is she here? Your Mom? Maybe she could get me to the town." I can see the sweat glistening on his forehead from the pain.
"Nope, she's dead."
Prim returns with the sleep syrup mixture and gives him 3 spoonfuls, it only takes about 5 minutes before his moans of pain turn to whimpers then a light snore. Prim cover him up again and returns to her knitting before speaking.
"We should probably take turns keepin' an eye on him."
"Alright, why don't you go get some rest while he's asleep since I won't do him no good if he's awake." We both know I'm no healer, she concedes and gives me a hug telling me to wake her if anything changes before retiring. The evening goes by quietly, I fletch a few arrows and get some knitting done, knitting isn't my forte, but my items are still functional so that's all that really matters. After a few hours I find it hard to keep my eyes open so I rest my head on the back of the chair I'm seated at and close my eyes, just for a moment I tell myself, I must fall asleep though because next thing I know I'm jarred from my slumber by something and fall right out of the chair.
"Uuugh, help me." Peeta whimpers in pain as I pick myself up from the floor, instead of fetching Prim like I know I should I go to his side.
"Where's it hurt?"
"My leg and my head."
"Sorry about your leg, it got caught when I was pullin' you out, the glass I broke to get you out cut it."
"You here to finish me off sweetheart?"
"Don't call me that, my name is Katniss, if you can't call me Katniss then don't address me at all." I tell him as I turn on my heel to get Prim.
"No, please, I'm sorry. Please don't leave me alone, I've been alone in the dark for what feels like days now." I turn back feeling guilty for the fear I hear in his voice, I know how sleep syrup works, you're not really asleep but not awake, it's like you're stuck somewhere in between and have no control to pull yourself one way or the other.
"I was just going to get Prim to come check your leg."
"No more of that stuff please. It doesn't help the pain, it just keeps me trapped."
"That's up to Prim, if you don't want the sleep syrup anymore than you're going to have to relax, stress is bad for healing injuries that's why she's been keeping you asleep."
"I can't handle that kind of sleep anymore, I think I'd rather die."
"You're not going to die in my home, I forbid it." I'm sick of death in my home, I don't want to dig anymore graves.
"Okay, I won't die if you won't drug me anymore. Deal?"
"Like I said, it's up to Prim."
I rouse Prim and she jumps back into healer mode, Peeta it's much more subdued during her examination this time than he has been. She cleans his wounds before applying new ointments and covering them again.
"So Peeta, can you tell me what you remember about the accident?" His face screws up and he closes his eyes.
"I don't, I don't know. Everything's like murky, I can't remember a lot actually."
"Well, why don't we start with what you can remember, do you remember where you grew up?"
"Yeah, a small town in Maine above the bakery my family owns."
"Good, what about your family can you remember them?"
"I remember my Dad, well sort of, I know his face and he's my Dad, but I can't remember his name. Same with my brothers, I know I have 2 and I can see their faces but I can't seem to find their names."
"And your Mama?" He shakes his head.
"No, I can't even drum up an image of her, I can't seem to remember much of my childhood, just Dad and my brothers faces."
"Do You remember your birthday?"
"And how old are you?"
"What year is it?"
"So you don't remember your current age?"
"Well, how old do you think you are?"
"I don't know, I have a licence so I'm obviously at least 16, but I'm not living at home anymore so I suppose I can raise that to at least 18?" I don't miss the way his voice rises at the end of the sentence in question.
"Well, according to your picture card..."
"Yeah licence, you are 22."
"Really?" Prim nods and he looks momentarily bewildered.
"How old were you in your last memory?"
"I don't really have any memories of my life, all I can remember is a vague outline of my family."
"Do you know where you live currently?"
"Here until you can get me to the hospital?" He gives a small grin to Prim as he says it and she falls into a fit of giggles.
"Oh you! You know what I mean, I read your picture card so I know the city you live in, can you remember?"
"Uhhh, Maine I guess, I know I loved baking when I was little, I imagine I still work there so I'd have to live there."
"Hmm. Well the picture card says New York, ring any bells?"
"New York? Why the hell do I live in New York?"
"Apparently because you want to." she tells him with a shrug.
"Why do you keep calling it a picture card?"
"What else would I call it?"
"Well it's actually called a drivers licence, or ID, or identification card."
"Ahh, I see, thank you for the clarification."
The house is quiet for a moment as Prim and Peeta get lost in thought, Prim thinking on everything she know of brain injuries and Peeta, well who knows what this strange man is thinking.
"So" Prim starts cautiously, "We know that you are 22, your name is Peeta Wayne Mellark, you grew up in Maine with your Dad and brothers and at some point you moved to New York."
"Sounds like a lot is missing, what do I do?"
"Just try and relax as much as possible, focus on what you can remember and see if they can lead you to other memories, even little memories can help you connect the dots."
"I really am grateful for everything and I don't mean for it to sound like I'm not, but when do you think we'll be able to make arrangements for that phone call?"
"Let Katniss get some rest and she can go as soon as she wakes up."
"I can go now, by the time I get there the sun will be up."
"You'll do no such thing! Go sleep Katniss, he'll be fine until then." I frown, I'm really not comfortable leaving him alone with my baby sister, granted she's not much of a baby anymore, but still.
"I'll be fine Prim, the sooner he gets that telephone call taken care of the sooner I can rest easy."
"You don't have to worry Katniss, he couldn't hurt me right now if he wanted to."
"I won't hurt her, I swear I'm not some creepy murderer or anything."
"How do you know? You can't remember how old you are, how can you remember if your a murderer or not?" He frowns but doesn't respond.
"Well, I don't feel like one, I don't want to hurt anybody."
"Good, because if you so much as hurt her feelings while I'm resting I'll bury you alive."