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Sagas of the Wild West
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 "Oh...oh, goodness."  Emeline's heart broke, and even before the wagon stopped, she hopped  down from the wagon and ran to help a woman who could barely walk, taking the woman's baby and wrapping inside her coat, then helping her to the side.

 

“Em!’ But she was already down and covering the infant wither coat.

 

"You need to stay back so we can get the wagons in!" she called, but she doubted she would be heard over the shouts and noises.

 

“He’p us out here, git on back!” He shouted at the throng of people. “Let the wagons through!” There really weren’t that many people, but with debris strew everywhere, the spacing of the people blending with it congested all but room for horses to maneuver through.

 

“Alright! Clear the way!” A familiar voice boomed, Marshal Guyer. “We’ve food, coffee, blankets, but you need to let us get through.”

 

“Need ta git some riders up here, rope the big stuff an drag outta the way!” Pronto shouted.

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Shouts came from further up the main street and some Lost Lake riders came trotting back down with Quentin Cantrell in the lead. He looked around from the saddle and nodded to Pike. "It's not quite as bad further up but we'll clear all of main street." He turned back to the riders who were behind him. "Clear the street boys!...Only the main street, leave the rest. There's not enough of us to clean up everything so don't wear yourselves out!" The hands began to tug their lassos loose. Pairs of riders began working on the bigger pieces of debris sticking out of the snow. Cantrell reined up near Pike and the Marshal. "I hate to mention it, but there could be bodies under the snow...any ideas?"

 

Tag @Players @Flip @Stormwolfe and anyone

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“Not much we can do, Cantrell.” Speed said with some reluctance. “Ground’s hard as granite!” The man was right, there were sure to be bodies buried in the snow, but what they really would have a problem with would be trying to bury them.

 

“Can’t hardly pull ‘em out, animals’d get to ‘em.” Pike added, “Glad you boys come along, If there was a place left that were safe to put them what was deceased, thet might work.” He looked around, “‘cept fer the church thar, it don’t look none to promisin’.”

 

“The ones out on the street, now, maybe we can get some men to help with putting the bodies in the church. As for those buried in the snow, if it ain’t froze solid, maybe we can get to them but I dunno.” Speed added.

 

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Cantrell nodded. "I was more referring to the fact that our wagons and horses could do a number on the bodies since we can't see them...even if all we do is get them off the street and into one of the burned out buildings it's better than running over them several times." Cantrell looked back along the street as the larger pieces of debris were now mostly to each side, leaving a pretty wide space for traffic now. "I sure don't care to hunt for them but I figure it's the decent thing to do once we have taken care of the living."

 

Tags @Flip and anyone else

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"Come on, now..."  Emeline shepherded her charge toward the boardwalk, stepping gingerly over debris, the child held tightly in her coat.  "Let's get to the church, it looks like we can set up there." 

 

She smiled at the woman, reaching with her free hand to touch her shoulder.  "We'll get everyone fed and warm while we figure out what we need to do.  I know that Kalispell knows you are coming and will have rooms ready."

 

"Did you say rooms in Kalispell?"  An elderly man approached, his gait unsteady. 

 

"Yes, they know something bad happened here, we're ready to help the survivors."  Emeline nodded to the man.  "Come along with us to the church."

 

"No, I can't." the old man protested, "my Martha, she's in there, trapped.  I can't leave her." 

 

"Oh...here," she slipped off her coat and handed it and the baby back to the woman, then patted the man on the shoulder.  "You go with these two here, to the church, take care of them for me, all right?  I'll help your Martha."

 

Gathering her skirts, she ran over to the wagon that Barnabas was driving.  "I need a couple blankets!" she called up to him, "and some water!"  Then she pointed to the rubble of a boarding house.  "I'll be there!"

 

@Flip @Wayfarer @Longshot @JulieS @Nuclear @Juls @Stormwolfe

 

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Pronto handed down the request blankets and a canteen of water. He looked to what had been the boarding house. “Hold on Em, I ain’t lettin’ you go there alone, whatever’s left don’t look none to safe, so, lemme git down an’ I’ll go with you.” He grabbed a length of rope and climbed down.

 

“Okay I feel better bein’ along, not thet I don’t believe you kin handle this, I jest ain’t believin’ thet the rest of thet building’s safe fer anybody to be traipsin’ around in it.” And from the looks of it, it was not safe, the fact was, very few buildings still standing did look safe.

 

Once on the ground, Pike looked around at the destruction wrought by Mother Nature. Whitefish was through as a viable town unless come spring there were those will to rebuild it, but that seemed hardly likely due to the death rate suffered by the community. He shook his head and followed Emeline toward the wreckage of the Boarding House.

 

Tag @Bongo

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Avant la mort.

 

The warm Summer sunlight filtered through the slit-like, glassless windows in the highest room of the medieval castle, illuminating the pale, lifeless, but heart-breakingly beautiful figure who had been placed carefully on the enormous marble catafalque. Monks chanted dolefully, courtiers wept openly, and the several different liveried knights who had loved Arabella in life, and oft times clashed sword and shield in pursuit of her hand, or even just the kerchief from her hennin as a token of her esteem, now stood united in heartbroken grief. All except one, the evil black knight, who knelt weeping at the base of the catafalque, the peerless example of holiness and beauty that Arabella’s life presented finally turning him to the path of good.

 

Then, suddenly, she was the girl on the funeral bier, and sitting up and turning in her flowing white shroud, she found herself walking along an enchanting grassy riverbank; all green and yellow with daisies. Looking across the wide, blue flowing stream, she saw that on the other side were some familiar figures, waving and beckoning to her. There was Mammy, and Pappy, and even little Johnnie, still four years old in those rags she’d patched up so many a time, no longer that dead, stiff thing that stared out from a horrible tintype  memento mori photograph. Most importantly, there in the middle, was the Lord himself, just like in the pictures, with a beautiful golden blond beard and flowing long hair, and wearing a spotless white nightshirt, not at all like that ornery old grey thing that Pappy had worn. Why, this was the River Jordan, and she knew that she must cross it to reach her long-lost loved ones on the other side.

 

But something was impeding her. Something had a hold of her foot. Looking down she saw that it was that pesky rascal of a black knight. He had a hold of her boot, both boots, and was pulling and pulling so. Maybe he was helping her to take them off. Yes, that was it, sure she’d need to take off her boots and stockings to wade across the Jordan to the other side. But no, he pulled and pulled, and he pulled her back so far that suddenly she was back there, back in the cold, that unbelievably freezing cold, and the horrifying sensation of snow in her mouth and up her nose, each compulsive convulsion of her lungs pulling more and more of it into her, literally drowning her. She tried to scream in pure blind terror, knowing that she was about to die, but her mouth was too full of snow.

 

And still he pulled at her boots.

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Mike looked in the direction where the girl's head laid to see if it was still above the snowline.  Seeing that it was starting to sink again, he stopped his pulling the planks off the rest of her body and immediately lifted it back up again.  He was kneeling in the snow and so he rested her head on his lap to prevent it going back down again.

 

Looking around, he could see that most were busy clearing and searching the wreckage.  Seeing one of the ranch hands, he called out to him, "Ben, get over here."

 

Ben immediately turned and saw Mike there sitting in the snow.  Seeing that he was cradling someone's head, he rushed over and saw that she was trapped under a pile of timber which included a couple of larger beams.  He started removing the pieces that he could.

 

As Mike watched Ben, he also periodically checked on the girl, who was showing signs of consciousness.  After a few minutes, Ben had removed all he could on his own and told Mike he would go and find some men to help remove the larger ones.

 

While he waited for Ben and the others to return, Mike remembered something about how those who were coming in and out of consciousness could hear you speaking.  "Everything's going to be fine, miss.  It'll be just a few more minutes and we'll have you out of here."

 

@Javia

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“Hold on Em, I ain’t lettin’ you go there alone, whatever’s left don’t look none to safe, so, lemme git down an’ I’ll go with you.” He grabbed a length of rope and climbed down.

 

"Yes, all right."  Emeline had honestly been expecting the objection, and wasn't surprised, and gave Barnabas a nod.  "There is an old woman called Martha who is stuck in the building...her husband told me." Taking the blankets and canteen, she waited for the man, then followed after him.  Although she knew he'd want to be protective, she was determined to help where she was needed, and she trysted that he would let her, so long as it was reasonably safe.

 

“Okay I feel better bein’ along, not thet I don’t believe you kin handle this, I jest ain’t believin’ thet the rest of thet building’s safe fer anybody to be traipsin’ around in it.”

 

"This town doesn't look safe."  She glanced at Barnabas and shrugged.  "It's just too bad we couldn't have gotten here sooner, but at least we should be able to get everyone back."  Although she doubted they could get that organized today, but the Kalispell group was well-equipped for a couple of days. 

 

"In here..."  Emeline stepped over the debris of the porch to get to the front of the building, then peered inside.  It was broken, furniture, walls, ceiling, all churned together with snow.  "Where do we start?"

 

@Flip

 

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"Everything's going to be fine, miss.  It'll be just a few more minutes and we'll have you out of here."

 

Arabella’s eyelids fluttered a little at the sound of the stranger’s voice, and then three things happened simultaneously, each of which, as she played them over and over again in her mind over the next few months, were the worst possible things that could have happened.

 

First of all, in her blind suffocating panic, she started to struggle wildly. Her bottom half was pinioned by the heavy beams, but her head and upper torso were free to thrash about and she was sure that her numb arms and hands must have struck Mt Wentworth several times before he would have been able to restrain and calm her.

 

Second, even though rough gloved fingers had pragmatically cleared the suffocating stuff out of her mouth, her body’s natural instincts still strove to remove all the snow that remained in her gullet; she convulsed, she coughed, she spluttered and she choked as she woke up, that choking made her gag, and before you could say “Jack Robinson”, she had completely thrown up the meager contents of her stomach. “… and not all of it went on the snow, neither.” she would later recall.

 

Thirdly, (and this was the thing that she ruminated on for months with all the masochism of a medieval flagellant), to her utter mortification, she realized that she had wet herself. This, in itself, was actually a good thing. The fact that she could feel the warmth down there indicated that she had not been paralyzed below the waist by the crushing blow of the falling timbers. Furthermore, even this piddling amount of heat helped stave off the ravages of frostbite that were already starting to nibble at the skinny girl’s extremities. Her hands and face, being exposed, were in the biggest danger of that, but at some point one of her rescuers rubbed her fingers and cheeks vigorously with snow to bring the blood back to them. She wasn’t really sure who had done that, but she always liked to say that it was Mr. Wentworth.

 

She now opened her eyes to the face of that particular gentleman for the first time, and she was still dazed and confused enough to think him part of her dream. Was this what that evil, but strangely exciting, Black Knight looked like when once you lifted his sable helm? He was handsome, sure, but lots of gentleman were handsome, there was more than that - a dark mystery that grabbed and held a woman’s heart. There was another thing, too: she was a stranger here, but somehow he looked familiar to her. Although she was grabbing for breath in the freezing, frigid air as she lay in his arms, she managed to splutter out a plaintive question.

 

“Are … you … a … Virginian?”

 

@JulieS

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21 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

First of all, in her blind suffocating panic, she started to struggle wildly. Her bottom half was pinioned by the heavy beams, but her head and upper torso were free to thrash about and she was sure that her numb arms and hands must have struck Mt Wentworth several times before he would have been able to restrain and calm her.

It took Mike a few minutes to stop the girl from thrashing about as he tried to do it in a way that would make things worse then they already were.  While he was doing this, Ben returned with some men and a woman who upon seeing that Mike was trying to settle the girl, knelt down.  She told Mike that the girl's airway needed to be cleared so that she could breathe properly.

 

Mike quickly nodded as he was still in the process of getting the girl to calm down.  As he held the girl down, the woman proceeded to clean the airway.

 

21 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

Second, even though rough gloved fingers had pragmatically cleared the suffocating stuff out of her mouth, her body’s natural instincts still strove to remove all the snow that remained in her gullet; she convulsed, she coughed, she spluttered and she choked as she woke up, that choking made her gag, and before you could say “Jack Robinson”, she had completely thrown up the meager contents of her stomach. “… and not all of it went on the snow, neither.” she would later recall.

As soon as the girl began to convulse, Mike let go of her shoulders.  The next thing he knew was that the poor thing was throwing up all over the woman who had been helping her.  Standing up the woman, looked down in dismay at what had landed on her skirt and the snow surrounding it.  Quickly, she turned around and headed off somewhere, presumably where she could clean her dress, Mike didn't know for certain as he was to busy watching the men remove the beams.

 

22 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

“Are … you … a … Virginian?”

The question came out of nowhere and surprised him a little.  It was good to know that girl was at least coherent, even if she was a bit muddled.  He smiled as he looked down at her, "No ma,am. I'm from Washington D.C."

 

@Javia

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The question came out of nowhere and surprised him a little.  It was good to know that girl was at least coherent, even if she was a bit muddled.  He smiled as he looked down at her, "No ma,‘am. I'm from Washington D.C."

 

Every time Arabella tried to speak, she started to pant, almost uncontrollably. Also, the attendant movement of her diaphragm caused the girl to feel an inexplicable pain in her stomach where the beams were lying across her the heaviest.  However, her natural propensity to talk toiled against these obstacles and she managed a faint “Washin…” followed by a few gulps of the freezing air, and then “why…. that’s Maryland …. Good ol’ …. Southland.” It seemed to give her great comfort that the man holding her was a Southerner, even if only by the very broadest of definitions.

 

She tried to sit up a little in the snow, but immediately winced with pain and let herself slump back down in his arms “I … think … I’m dying.” she gasped, her voice barely above a whisper, and then looking up to his fine, handsome face. “What… what is … your name?” she asked, with more frankness than she would have done in any other circumstance; but she felt herself slipping out of consciousness and wanted to at least scratch that one nagging itch of curiosity, almost as if she expected to report to someone when she reached that other shore and say “Miss Arabella Sumter Mudd, reporting for duty! I died on 12th day of December in the year of our Lord 1875, in Whitefish, Montana Territory, in the arms of this gentleman or that gentleman

 

She followed his eyes to where the men were about to try and lift the beams off her and a sudden panic hit her, and she began to struggle again. “No!” she panted. “Don’t let ‘em do it! Don’t let ‘em do it! It’ll hurt me! It’ll hurt me!!” she cried and fell back exhausted from the effort of it all, tears starting to roll down her cheeks, salty tears that did not freeze but dripped away and down onto the snow.

 

“Please don’t let ‘em do it!” she wept.

 

 

@JulieS

 

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