Chapter 5: Private Justice

“The burns on his back are permanent. We treated them with antibiotic ointment and bandaged it to protect it. He’ll need to wash it and bandage it twice a day, but allow it time to breathe to heal.

“He has a fractured rib, which will need time to heal on its own. The most severe of his injuries was the gunshot wound to his arm, that cost him a lot of blood. We’ve given him transfusions. The other concern is his face. The swelling will go down, but until he can get that left eye open, we won’t know the extent of the damage to his retina. We don’t anticipate there being any vision deficiencies.”

“I can see fine,” Keitaro said.

The doctor and the detective looked toward the hospital bed.

“Good morning, Keitaro. I’m Doctor Featherton.”

“I’m Detective Danillo.”

The middle-aged doctor with reddish hair and glasses stood off to the left. The bruting detective crossed his arms at the end of the bed. And from the guest chair on the right, Victor tilted his head back to show off the collar.

“I’m still attached.”

Keitaro pushed himself up. All at once, pain overwhelmed and paralyzed him. He moaned and rested so the agony could subtly diminish. Trying to lean on his left hand to prop himself up made him remember the bullet ripping into his bicep. He rocked to the left to sit straight, and the fractured rib thrashed through his entire torso.

“Easy now.” Doctor Featherton approached the beside. “On a scale of one to ten—one being none and ten being the worst of your life—how much pain are you in?”

Having ten cotton balls shoved into his cheek and a five-pound eye patch over his left eye best described Keitaro’s physical discomfort. Add to that the excruciating, continuous pain of having moved every injured part of his body simultaneously and Keitaro reached,



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