She tried again to sit up, but she nearly vomited and gave up. The gray-haired doctor finally turned around, revealing a large syringe in his hand. He was mumbling something in Arabic.
"What's that?" she said. Seeing the concern on her face, he spoke to her in comforting tones as he came near. "No," she said, but she had no energy to resist. She grimaced as he held her arm and the needle entered it. When he removed it and turned back to the table, she began to cry. She wasn't a crier, but she'd never felt so helpless. She wished she knew what these men really intended for her. How much pain would she be in if not for this doctor? She might still be alone by the desert road if not for them.
After a few minutes Asu returned with a plate of food and a cup of water. "Here, eat. It's good. Make you strong."
It did smell good. Asu propped up pillows behind her and helped her sit up. She ate a little. It was different from anything she'd ever eaten, but she liked it. After a minute she said, "I need to lie back down. Thanks for the food."
He helped her lie down again. "You see?" he said. "You will be very happy here, Michelle. I will make sure of it."
She smiled politely despite the uneasiness he gave her. She turned on her side, away from him, to rest. He remained seated beside her, stroking her hair. Sleep came again quickly, but as it did, a thought came to her: How did he know her name?