Summer strolled through the woods, plucking flowers and leaves. She plopped them into her basket, next to a folded blanket. When covering her harvest, it looked like she was gathering strawberries, the only fruit out this early. She worried less now that she had an acceptable purpose. No one seemed to understand why she collected the inner back of hazels and willows, why she cut hellebore and mint and chamomile. Most thought she was up to something nefarious, something demonic. It couldn’t be less ethereal, rather it was intimately earthy.
Her door burst open and she jumped, a handful of bark falling into the boiling water. Damn, she’d wanted to add that slowly.
“Mary, help me.”
Summer hurried to the man carrying his son. It didn’t occur to her that he’d called her by another name. “Here,” she said, pulling a trundle out from under table. Charles set his son, Geoffrey, down on the hard surface. She would have to get him moved once she’d finished her examination.
“This is the same sickness?” she asked, peeling back one of Geoffrey’s eyelids to peer into his eyes. They were bloodshot, but otherwise normal.
“Yes, this infernal disease doesn’t want to leave him. He fell down again.”
Summer nodded. “Take him to my bed,” she said when she’d finished checking him over.
Charles picked the sick boy up. He wasn’t a boy so much as a young man, and his father grunted under the weight. Summer cleared the way and then closed the bedroom door on her patient.