Yoshiasu and Fuyuki had long before decided to spend their summer vacation in the mountains. They rented a car and a cabin in a very remote place, close to the one of the Native counties. The place was wild and almost untouched, so they’ve found great joy in discovering brand new spots of unharmed beauty. The first days in the mountains went on eventless: it was just them and Mother Nature in all her splendour. Although after 3 or 4 days they’ve lost communication with the outer world due to a huge solar flare, they were not concerned. They had enough provisions and they knew that communications would be fixed sooner or later.
But problems strike when they are least expected; at first,the trip started well and the weather was fine. They ventured far enough but there were no reasons to worry; not until Yoshiasu slipped on some rotten leaves and lost balance. Instinctively he grabbed a branch but he also closed hand over something/ somebody unhappy about that. The tiny creature bit the hand that came upon it and ran away as the man gave a cry and released the branch. The small red bite mark was sore. In less than an hour the pain grew more intense and the hand became red and swollen.
Suddenly Yoshiasu felt sick and was sweating profusely. Before they could realize what was really happening, Yoshiasu lost consciousness, leaving Fuyuki scared to death and desperate. They were in the middle of the wilderness and Yoshiasu looked badly. Fuyuki calmed down and tried to take some measures. He laid down Yoshiasu on a higher ground; he put his coat over him and the rucksack under his neck. He garroted the swollen hand to stop the poison to diffuse in the bloodstream. He made a mental notice of the place and descended to the nearby rivulet to look for some plants.
He was so absorbed in his search that he didn’t notice the old man that was approaching him. He only became aware of his presence when he heard him call out:
-Are you looking for something? Can I help you?
Fuyuki looked up and stared slightly confused into the wrinkled and suntanned face from which two piercing black eyes were fixing him. On the other hand, the old man himself looked surprised at the flushed young face with wide, worried eyes.
-Could you help me?! My friend was bit by something and now he’s lost consciousness…Please!
-Was it a snake?-asked the old man.
-No! Rather like a small spider but it fled before we could see it. Help me, please! I’m afraid that I might lose him…
They both hurried to the place where Yoshiasu was lying. His condition was the same. The old man studied the hand and the bite mark and mumbled something. He then made a quick decision; he took Fuyuki and they fetched some materials for a stretcher, tied Yoshiasu on the improvised transport facility and they proceeded downhill.
Old John Whitefeather was very old indeed and during summer he lived here alone in his hogan. He had a few sheep and some horses but his main activity was that of medicine-man. From spring till late autumn he was collecting herbs and fruits for various healing potions and ointments. That da,y he was out collecting some plants when he spotted the franticaly searching young fellow. Since tourists were scarce on this area, an instinct of a lifetime told him that this particular person was in trouble.
The spider bite wasn’t lethal but it was nasty; it was both painful and persistent and it looked like this young man was overreacting to some of the poison components. Old John offered to help and thus he learned that the two young men were a couple and that they were in vacation. Old John was surprised to see the amount of strength that fragile looking young man could put up to help his companion.
While preparing an ointment and some herbal tea, he took a closer look on Fuyuki. Almost everything about this young man was deceiving: he was an almost feminine beauty, with very unusual lavender-blue eyes; he was slender and well built but looked fragile and vulnerable. He was soft spoken but he wasn’t tiring or complaining about anything. He had no eyes but for his suffering companion but he had a sharp attention to everything Old John was saying. So despite the first impression that he was made of glass and that he might shatter any moment, he proved to be calm and resilient and deeply dedicated.
Old John cleaned the bite mark, put an ointment and he bandaged the swollen hand, showing Fuyuki how to do it. It was Fuyuki’s task to change the bandages until the hand would return to its normal aspect. While Fuyuki guarded Yoshiasu, wiping the sweat from his face, Old John made a strong tea from a concoction of herbs and roots and let it cool. The dark-brown liquid was having a strong smell and an even stronger taste; but for Yoshiasu it was the only hope to overcome the poisoning.
Every fifteen minutes Fuyuki forced down his throat 2-3 spoonful of the tea. This went on and on, day and night until the redness subsided on Yoshiasu’s hand and he’s got back from the unconsciousness. The first thing he saw, opening hazed eyes on the world after days of struggle, was the thinned face of Fuyuki and his worried eyes.
-What happened?-he whispered. His throat was sore and dry and his head was still heavy.
-You’ve been bitten by a nasty little thing when you fell on the slope. Luckily this gentleman found us and cured you, getting you back from the shadows-said Fuyuki, his voice trembling from the sudden emotion.
Yoshiasu slowly turned his head towards the other shape; the old, sun beaten face of a venerable Native man, with intelligent, intent black eyes was looking benevolently down on him.
-Welcome back among the living, young man-he said in a deep, throaty voice. You’re back on track; in less than a week you’ll be as good as new.
-Thank you, sir…whispered Yoshiasu. I never thought that something so small like that could knock me out.
-I’ve told you: it was small but nasty and it had no sense of humor-said Fuyuki with a playful smile. You have to rest and eat to get back your strength. Luckily you don’t have to eat my cooking; Mr. Whitefeather is cooking delicious meals. All I do is watch and learn; maybe there’s some hope for me in the cooking area…he chuckled.
Old John watched from the corner of his eyes their conversation. It became obvious for him that they were sharing a special relationship; there was a communication beyond words in every gesture and in the lights flickering in their eyes. No matter how unusual it looked to him, love was clearly and visibly connecting the two young men. Old John made a mental note and left them to enjoy each other’s company.