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 Muerte raised his eyebrows and left the room without comment. Sam peppered the chocolate bar against the closed door. What did this gorilla actually form? After a while she slowly got up from her bed and tried to ignore the stitches in her abdomen. Sam quietly went to the door and picked up the chocolate bar. Incredulous, she turned the candy in her hands. She should be smart about this guy.

The next day Muerte entered Sam's room in the early afternoon. In his huge paws he held two cups and a jug. Silently he poured out steaming coffee. He handed Sam a cup and leaned his cup against the opposite wall. "Just in case you do not like Colombian coffee and would rather see it in my face." He explained to her.

Sam grinned and poked his nose over her cup. With a soulful smile, she inhaled the aroma. The two silently drank their coffee. Sam felt uncomfortable. Except for Rosa, who saw her three times a day, Muerte was the only person she could talk to. So she was not allowed to be picky when choosing her conversation partner.

"Why do you come to me and do not stay at your post at the door?" she wanted to know.

Muerte gestured to Sam's cup, chin outstretched. She turned her over. "Empty."

He sat down next to Sam's bed, leaned forward and looked deep into her eyes. "Because I have the job from the highest point to regularly convince myself of your recovery progress."

Sam turned to her right side in bed and rested her head on her hand. "So, have you been a nurse in your first life?"

Muerte lowered his voice conspiratorially. "No, but I'm a first-rate women's understanding." He tried to make a serious expression. The attempt ended in mutual laughter.

Muerte was the first to regain control and stroked a curly strand from Sam's forehead. Sam looked at him confused. Did they flirt with each other? Muerte got up and left her alone.

In the following days he brought her books, cigarettes, chocolates and at the end of the second week of Sam's stay in the infirmary a trusting relationship had been established between them. Sam now found Muerte very likable and appreciated his dry, reduced style. She learned that his real name was Brutus Ramirez. It was not long before Sam told him in detail what circumstances had brought them to this prison. Only the matter with Anita and the drive with Miguel to the prison contained it before him.

On the first evening of the third week, Rosa entered the room as Sam and Brutus pondered over a game of lady. She held a plastic spatula and a pot of Vaseline in her hands.

"Time to anoint your scars." she trilled happily.

Brutus got up and took both things from Rosa's hands. Rosa looked past Brutus and winked at Sam before she left the room. Hesitantly, Brutus cleared the board and looked at Sam questioningly.

"Only if you do not mind."

Sam looked up at him in confidence and opened the loop on her neck, which closed her hospital shirt. One hand put her on her breast to cover her nakedness with the fabric, with the other she stroked the long hair from the neck. Brutus sits on the bed behind Sam.

The bedsprings groaned.

"Well, hopefully that will be fine." Sam smirked.

Brutus calmly opened the lid of the white can and began using the plastic spatula to rub transparent Vaseline onto the back of his hand.

Sam looked at his face. Only a few days ago she would have called it gross and brutal, today it was strikingly masculine on her. She felt like a teenager on his first date.

Brutus dipped two fingertips into the shiny mass on his hand and looked at her in surprise. "Is there a problem?"

Sam turned his bare back to him. "No, no problem, as long as you are careful."

He looked at the irregular red welts on her back, which had made a painful acquaintance with the uneven floor of the common room.

"Looks like my grandmother's pattern for a pleated skirt."

Sam glared at him in mock rage. "Very attentive, Mr. Night Watchman."

Brutus slowly began to pass the Vaseline on Sam's skin. "Chief warden, young lady, we want to preserve the manners."

Sam smiled. She had apparently misjudged Brutus, but she had always been able to rely on her intuition and knowledge of human nature. But of course she had not met him under any particularly happy circumstances.

She relished the touch of his fingers and looked regretfully over her right shoulder as he paused. "Already finished?" she asked.

Brutus held out the can of Vaseline. "There's a scratch from the middle of your back to under your upper arm, so maybe you want to do it yourself."

Sam remembered that had to be the cut that the attacker had missed when he kicked his ribs. The cut stretched almost to her right nipple. Sam raised his right arm and looked at the Brutus sitting behind her through the crook of his arm. "You do not want to leave a poor, seriously injured woman to her fate, do you?"

He hesitated. "Up to you."



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