Tobal awoke in the hospital confused and groggy. His muscles ached from being in bed too long. He did not know where he was or what had happened. Gradually memory returned. He groaned and reached his right hand up to touch his face. He felt his entire face covered with gauze and panic began to grip him. Everything was black and he couldn't see. Desperately he tried sitting up and was reaching up with both hands to rip off the gauze when he felt an arm pushing him gently but firmly back down as an alarm started going off somewhere on his left.
"Take it easy son", Uncle Harry said pressing him back down into the bed. "You've got to rest. You've gone through a rough time boy".
"What happened?", Tobal asked weakly.
"Some young lady almost gouged your eye out", chuckled his uncle dryly. "She scratched the hell out of your face. Peeled it like an apple. Doc says you are going to have some nasty scars. How did you get her that mad at you anyway"?
"I don't remember", Tobal whispered. A flush of heat and embarassment crept into his face as memory returned, tightening his skin and causing a burst of pain to flash across his face. "I was dancing and bumped into her, then I turned around and her dress tore. The next thing I remember is her clawing at me like a wild animal".
"I can't see!", he panicked clutching and tearing at the bandages.
His uncle calmed him down once more pulling his hands away from his face and the bandages.
"Well, it's the bandages, that's why you can't see, " his uncle continued, "there was something on her fingernails, to strengthen them or something and they peeled away some of your skin. We don't know why but it's raising hell with the healing process. The doc tried pulling the skin back together and sewing you up but there will be some scarring. It's going to be awhile before you get healed up. Don't worry about it, doc says your eye is going to be fine, but it was a close thing and he doesn't want any infection setting in. You rest now, just lay back and sleep a little more. We'll talk about it later OK"?
Tobal heard someone move near his uncle and felt something tug at his arm as the nurse injected something into the IV tube fastened to his wrist. He felt a wave of dizziness sweep over him and barely heard the creak of his uncle's wheelchair as it left the room.