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Sagas of the Wild West
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"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?"

 

Pronto looked around shaking his head. “Where ever thet is, we need ta be real careful.” He took a step, wet wood and all manner of debris covered the floor, timbers that had given, either stuck by fallen trees, or the sheer weight of the snow, were at various and precarious angles as it they could finish their fall at any moment. Not a place he wanted Emeline, but he had leaned by now, she was a strong woman.

 

“HALLOOO!” He called out hoping that just maybe the woman would call out in reply.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"A ride to where?”

 

The words seemed to come to Oleander’s ears as if through water. Warped and wading through the air. Wrapping around her eardrums and waiting there for much too long. Oleander had to close her eyes just to listen. “A ride … a ride to …” Damn, the name of the town. The name of the town had disappeared amongst the rubble. Probably slipped out when she was hoisted out from underneath the beams.

 

The words flew right out of what scrambled mess was her mind as something was placed into her hand. Suddenly her vision was pinpoint sharp as the woman with Oleander handed her food. Food. Now that was a friendly sight. Oleander’s fingers clamped down on the biscuit and salted meat and not a moment later was it being stuffed into her mouth. She shot the woman a thankful look. Oleander’s stomach cramped with hunger and satiation all at once, and yet it set a weight in her that kept her from floating up into the air. Or at least that’s what it felt like.

 

“Tell ya what, ya help me get these horses settles an’ we’ll take one’a the spare teams an’ go lookin’ for that mule’a your’n.”

Oleander nodded and looked over the woman’s shoulder, back to the horses. Oh, the horses. What a fond sight they were. Oleander slid in next to one of them with ears back and whites showing. Its nostrils flared as she approached and she met its deep gaze, placing one hand along its muzzle, the other along its withers, feeling its breath shift under the harness. “This.  This I can do for you.” Her breath slowed with the horse’s. She nodded to the woman. “Good horse. Lead the way.”

 

@Bongo

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When Barnabas called out, it was silent for a moment, but then there was a faint moan, and Emeline looked over at him, raising an eyebrow, certain he had heard it, too.

 

"Hello!" she shouted, "we're here to help!  Where are you?" 

 

Again, silence, followed by a weak cry.  "Here, in the back..."

 

Glancing at Barnabas, Emeline shuffled through debris toward the back of the building, occasionally grasping his arm for support, until they were blocked by debris.

 

"We're here to help you...Martha, right?"  Peering through small spaces, she could see the woman, although it was hard to judge her condition.

 

"Thank you, dear."  The woman sighed, then was quiet.

 

"What do you think?"  Emeline shrugged as she looked from Barnabas to the debris.  "I think I might be able to crawl over?"

 

@Flip

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On 6/15/2020 at 6:58 PM, Javia said:

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.

Mike raised his eyebrows.  The poor thing was really struggling both mentally and physically.  Part of him wanted to correct the girl and tell her that had spent most of his life in the north but he decided not to.

On 6/15/2020 at 6:58 PM, Javia said:

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.

 

"Hey, don't worry...it'll be okay," Mike said calmly, "It will hurt for a little bit but I promise you it will be much better later on and I'll stay here until they get those beams off you."

 

Moving into a better position he wrapped his arms around so that she would stay still as the men lifted the beams off as there was no telling how severely injured she was in the lower half of her body.  When he was satisfied that he had a secure hold on her, he nodded to the men to start lifting the beams.

 

@Javia

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"Hey, don't worry...it'll be okay," Mike said calmly, "It will hurt for a little bit but I promise you it will be much better later on and I'll stay here until they get those beams off you."

 

She sniffed, nodded, and emitted an “All right” in a tiny little voice that was blown away by the still fierce gusts of freezing, snowy wind. She drew a grimy sleeve across her nose to wipe away the mucus that had gathered there, and then gripped on to the front of the handsome stranger’s coat with all her might and braced herself against the oncoming storm of pain.

 

Moving into a better position he wrapped his arms around so that she would stay still as the men lifted the beams off as there was no telling how severely injured she was in the lower half of her body.  When he was satisfied that he had a secure hold on her, he nodded to the men to start lifting the beams.

 

Arabella was muttering under her breath, trying to be brave. Mostly prayers, but as the second of movement approached, this broke down into a stuttering muted cry of “No, no, no, no, no, …. Oh!”

As the beam lifted, it became clear that far from being a smashed and broken doll, she was a perfectly intact little lady, who had just been squashed deep into the snow by the falling wood. She would later discover a number of bruises and scratches about her person, but nothing too painful or life threatening. That would come later, after the long traipse in the snow to Kalispell.

 

She looked up longingly at the gentleman holding her so romantically in his strong arms.

“Why, that didn’t hurt at all!” she beamed, displaying a serviceably healthy pair of teeth. In an age when dentistry was a crude art, and hygiene not always of the best, Arabella had a set of clean healthy teeth which, if they looked a little yellowish against the deathly pallor of her skin, she could at least boast that she had exactly one of each and every shape and size imaginable.

 

She fixed him with her best and strongest gaze and willed herself to look as pretty as possible. She could have lain in his arms forever, but the sensation returning to her limbs, she got a powerful itch to stand up. “Would you please help me to my feet?” she asked in as genteel tones as she could muster. “Why, I must look a fright!” she added coyly, fishing for a compliment as she wiped away a gobbet of vomit from her cheek.

 

@JulieS

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10 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

She fixed him with her best and strongest gaze and willed herself to look as pretty as possible. She could have lain in his arms forever, but the sensation returning to her limbs, she got a powerful itch to stand up. “Would you please help me to my feet?” she asked in as genteel tones as she could muster. “Why, I must look a fright!” she added coyly, fishing for a compliment as she wiped away a gobbet of vomit from her cheek.

"You look pretty good to me," Mike replied, thankful that the girl wasn't badly injured and seemed to be okay.  He had already seen enough pain and sorrow to last a lifetime with the people he had already helped.  Some, like the girl, would eventually recover but for others it would be a long time before their injuries would heal, if ever.

 

As he helped the girl up, he kept an eye out just in case.  For all he knew, her bravado was masking her pain and it could hit her at any minute, especially as she got warmer.  He motioned to another man nearby who was carrying blankets.  The man quickly came over and gave him a blanket, before going over to another victim.  After wrapping the blanket around the girl, he began to rub her arms vigorously in order to help get her circulation going.

 

A few minutes later he could see some colour coming back into her face.  There wasn't much he could do for her now except to see that she made it a place where she could get warm.  He knew that would be a couple of fires burning to keep those who had been rescued warm but he wasn't sure where they were exactly as he had been busy with getting people out from under the wreckage of buildings.

 

Feeling a bit frustrated and knowing that he would have to get her to one of those fires, he looked at the girl, "Are you able to walk?

 

@Javia

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"What do you think?"  Emeline shrugged as she looked from Barnabas to the debris.  "I think I might be able to crawl over?"


“Lookin’ at this I try not to. I’d feel better was I the one to go after the woman.” The last thing he wanted was to risk Emeline, she was smaller, even bundled up as she was. He looked at her, “You go slow an’ easy, take the end o’ this rope, maybe lash it about you. I’ll be comin’ right behind ya’, jest you be careful.

One of the things he had learned about this woman was she was strong, determined, wouldn’t take no for an answer, and could be downright cantankerous. Maybe it was why he was drawn to her as he was.

“Em, careful now, no tellin’ what we’re up agin’.” He cautioned, as if it would do any good. Emeline was no fool, and unlike him, was no risk taker.

 

Tag @Bongo

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After wrapping the blanket around the girl, he began to rub her arms vigorously in order to help get her circulation going.

 

She smiled weakly, standing up made her feel a little dizzy and sickly, but she was all right in that department as she had already emptied the contents of her stomach. “Ohhh! Ohhh!” she cooed with a look of slight rapture on her face. “I’m gettin’ pins and needles!” She basked in the comfort of being warmed up, of being brought back to life. Of just not being alone after all those days walking to the now destroyed town. The fact that her handsome rescuer was the one doing it was just a massive bonus.

 

The darker flip side of all of this was that, for the first time since the disaster had struck, she was able to look around, and what she saw was terrifying. Fire was the predominant horror, licking up buildings, bellowing out smoke, frackling and crackling like the jolly bonfires at the Camp Meetings back home, but these flames were consuming people’s homes and livelihoods and lives. There was something else different: as well as the usual woody fire noises, something meaty and fatty seemed to frazzle and sizzle in the mix of sounds.

 

Ironically, there were also purposely built blazes, to help those like Arabella, who had been dragged from a snowy, freezing grave. Feeling a bit frustrated and knowing that he would have to get her to one of those fires, he looked at the girl, "Are you able to walk?

 

She nodded bravely and, gripping on to his tall strong form for stability on the icy ground, she moved her legs forward. They wobbled a little, but her heart stayed steadfast and she kept on at it, willing each little step to happen.

 

“What happened?” she asked simply.

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“This.  This I can do for you.” Her breath slowed with the horse’s. She nodded to the woman. “Good horse. Lead the way.”

 

"That there's Duke," Addy introduced her to the Belgian lead horse, "an' his friend is Daisy.  They're a good team, had 'em a few years."  She nodded to the pair tethered to the back of the big wagon, another Belgian and a Percheron mix.  "Them two are Mike an' Frank.  Ya look like ya got a way with th' animals."

 

She easily recognized a kindred spirit when she saw one and she'd do what she could to help.  Reaching under the seat, she pulled out a spare coat and scarf and held them out.  "I'm Addy," she introduced herself.  "Ya been here in Whitefish long?  Oh, an' don't be frettin' none, Kalispell has places set up for all'a you, ta help out."

 

At least for the winter, the people from here would have shelter and a chance to recover.  It would be tight, but she was confident that it would work out.

 

@Nuclear

 

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“Lookin’ at this I try not to. I’d feel better was I the one to go after the woman.” The last thing he wanted was to risk Emeline, she was smaller, even bundled up as she was. He looked at her, “You go slow an’ easy, take the end o’ this rope, maybe lash it about you. I’ll be comin’ right behind ya’, jest you be careful.

 

Emeline nodded, slipping off her long coat before wrapping the rope around her waist and turning to let Barnabas tie the knot.  "If I tie this it'll be off in two minutes."  She smiled, although she was nervous.  At least she'd set aside modesty and was wearing pants and a thick wool shirt so she could move around more easily than if she was in a skirt.

 

As he secured the rope, she watched his face.  "I won't do anything stupid," she promised, although she might if circumstance demanded.

 

“Em, careful now, no tellin’ what we’re up agin’.”

 

She nodded again, then started to slowly navigate herself up the pile, glad that she had her winter gloves to protect her hands against nails and broken glass.  Never in her life had she imagined that a building could be like this, a jumbled mass of...broken.

 

Going was slow, occasionally, Barnabas had had to give her a boost, but she made it to the top, only six or seven feet, but it may as well have been twenty. 

 

"I can see her!"  The old woman was against the far wall, on what appeared to be a bed, but there was so much rubble around her it was hard to tell.

 

"Martha?  I'm Emeline, and I have Barnabas with me.  Are you hurt?"

 

"I don't think so, dear." The woman managed a smile.  "I was too weak before all this, and now, I can barely move."

 

Well, at least it would make things easier that she wasn't injured.  They just had to figure out how to get her over the debris.

 

Shuffling forward a bit more, Emeline started picking her way down, but suddenly stopped.  "Barnabas...my coat, I need my coat..."  Once she had it, she fiddled with it a bit, then made her way down to the woman.

 

If he looked under the coat, he'd see the still, twisted body of a young woman.

 

@Flip

 

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