Harack opened the infirmary door grudgingly. The expression on his face bordered somewhere between furious and humiliated. After glancing around the room to make sure no one else was there, he called out to the hedgehog rummaging around in some drawers in the corner.
"Sister Burlspike, can you look at something for me?"

The albino hedhog was new the the infirmary. before this, she was a wanderer and a well know physician in the lands of Mossflower and Southward. When Harack took her attention away from the window, she let go of watching the young dibbuns swimming in the pond and looked at the squirrel. "Hmmm… OH. Sorry."

The teenaged squirrel sat down on a stool.
"My nose. I have a rash that won't go away. And… my left shoulder itches a lot. I think it's poison ivy or something, but one of the mousemaids bumped into me and it hurt a lot more than it should have."

When the squirrel sat down, the young hedgehog looked at the nose. It was turning a slight pink color and the shoulder had lost a lot of its hair. The skin was starting to crack and bleed a little. Sister Burlspike clicked her fingers in distress. Mange? Running over to the the medicine cupboard, she pulled down a small shaker and hurried over to the squirrel. It had been a while since she had encountered any type of mange, but the last one, she wasn't able to cure. Turning the shaker upside-down, she began shaking out the charcoal contained in a fine powder and when she had fully coated the arm, she began rubbing the black stuff in. I will have to wash my hands REALLY well after this. When she was done spreading it, she picked up a yellow bottle began emptying a small line of paste onto her white, furry hands in a yellow line.
  When she finished with the cream, she began rubbing the cream into the squirrel's shoulder, trying to do it as soothingly as possible. You could never tell with mange.
  Lifting a bright and perky face up to look the squirrel right into the eye. "Just call me Yeala.  What is your name?"

"Harack. Sister… oh I don't remember her name. The one that smells like roses... she sent me to you."

"You know, I have only been here a little time my self, but I think that you are referring to sister Rindy." She finished applying the solvent and began wrapping it in a cloth. "Keep this covered. I don't want anyone else catching this. Mange is a nasty thing." Just then, the door to the infirmary opened.

"What's mange?" Harack asked. Sister Burlspike didn't seem to hear him.

A young mousemaid, only a season younger than Harack, opened the door just enough that he could see her while she remained just out of Sister Burlspike's line of sight. She stuck her tongue out at Harack. Then she tried it again. He ignored her. She switched to stretching and pulling her face in a serious of drastically unflattering poses. Harack looked out the window. The mousemaid disappeared.

Whispers and giggles in the hallway–proof that most of the play group had come up after him and were in on the joke. The mouse reappeared and waited in the doorway until he glanced at her. She did a sassy imitation of Harack several minutes before, pawing her shoulder and rubbing her nose, and waving her hands in the air expressively. Laughter erupted behind the door. Harack grabbed the nearest bottle and threw it. The mousemaid ducked neatly out of sight and the bottle shattered on the doorframe, next to where her head had been. She popped back to stick her tongue at Harack again before running off with her posse.

The door was flung open.
“What was that?!” Sister Rindy’s melodic voice rang out and the distinct scent of roses floated into the room.  She looked down at the ground and gingerly stepped around the shards of glass.
“Oh, Harack!” she said, smiling at the young squirrel “I’m so glad you actually came.  I was just coming to check on you. ”

Harack looked away sheepishly, already feeling bad for throwing a glass medicine bottle, only to meet Sister Burlspike's angry gaze.
"Sorry, I'll clean it up," he muttered hastily before she could scold him.

Sister Burlspike almost lept up to pick up the broken glass. "No need, Sister Rindy. I just game him a full checkup."

"And Sister Burlspike," Sister Rindy asked tentatively, "What does he have?"

Not quite sure what to say, she looked around quickly, shuffling her foot around in the most timid way. After a few seconds, she went over to the window sill and closed the windows that had been proped open to let the nice spring breeze roll through the room. "This really needs to be kept quiet you know."
   She walked over to the door in kind of an awkward shuffle and peeked around to see if anyone was snooping. Satisfied with what she saw, she closed the door and locked it. The snap of the dead bolt echoed around the entirely empty room. "This is rather bad."
   Slowly she began to unwrap the fresh bandage on Harack.

Harack, confused and nervous, shied away from Sister Burlspike's paws.

Sister Rindy's eyes widened in shock.  "Mange?" she asked, staring at the scabby, raw flesh.  "We should inform the Abbot.  It would be terrible if this spread throughout the brothers and sisters in the abby."

The squirrel's eyes darted back and forth between the two sisters, one scared that his malady would be discovered, the other afraid that it hadn't been caught and proclaimed soon enough.

"Would somebeast please tell me what you're talking about? What is it?"

Sister Rindy eyed him with pity.
"What you have, my dear, is called mange," she told him gently, annunciating her words very distinctly. "It makes your hair fall out and your skin bleed and scab and turn very flaky."

Harack turned and looked at the fear in Sister Burlspike's face. He stared back at Sister Rindy, eyes hard. His gaze was steady and dry.

"Tell me what I don't already know. I'm not a dibbun anymore. I can take the truth. What are you hiding from me?"

Sister Rindy took a step back, surprised that he'd spoken to her so boldly.  She took a deep breath and closed her eyes,  letting her eyelids block her sight from the horrid sight of the mange on his shoulder.  Her mind drifted to the last time she had seen mange and she shuddered.  She sighed and then looked the young squirrel in the eyes.
"This disease will leave you skin very tender and sore, to the point that you will hardly be able to bear anybeast touching you.  That is, if any beast could ever stand to touch you.  It is most likely that all of your fur will fall out and that your skin will turn black as pitch, and will crack and bleed like chapped paws. Some beasts get it really bad once and recover after about a season.  If you do recover, your skin will still be very scarred.  If you don't recover, you life will be reasonably long, but your death will be slow and very painful."
Still addressing him, Sister Rindy looked at Sister Burlspike pointedly, "And it is VERY contagious.  We don't know where it comes from or how it is spread but you must avoid contact with other beasts as much as possible."

Harack's eyelids fluttered, but his face was otherwise calm. He turned his head and placed his right paw tenderly on the rash. When he drew it back, tiny spots of blood dotted his paw. He looked at it for a long time.

"That is all?"

"As far as I remember.  I'm sorry."

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