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Sagas of the Wild West

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Relief Effort


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"Go ahead an' lay down," Addy said, nodding, "it'll make it easier ta get to that wound."  She gave him a quick smile, then shook her head.  "We heard it was bad there in Whitefish."  She couldn't imagine what the decent people there had gone through.

 

Dragging over a stool, she sat next to the bed, a bowl of warm water in her lap.  "Good thing that got cauterized, like as not ya would'a bled ta death."  She didn't ask who had done the deed, wasn't her business, although chances were someone else had done it, since the wound would have been hard for him to get to.

 

Gently, she started cleaning the wound, first with the warm water, and when she heard Weedy swear, she shouted.  "Porter James, mind yer tongue lest Beelzebub hear ya an' come take ya home!"

 

"Yes'm." 

 

The reply was muffled, and Addy grinned.  "I'll make us some hot cocoa once he's done, that'll make it up to him."

 

After the wound was clean, she got her bottle of witch hazel out, it would further clean the area, and would be soothing as well.  "I gotta pretty good supply'a herbs an' poultices so I can take care'a th' horses.  Most work fer people, too, but I can't promise yer not gonna have a cravin' fer oats!"

 

@Jack

 

 

 

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"Go ahead an' lay down," Addy said, nodding, "it'll make it easier ta get to that wound."  She gave him a quick smile, then shook her head.  "We heard it was bad there in Whitefish."  She couldn't imagine what the decent people there had gone through.

 

Jay felt a pang of guilt when she said that because the town had become victim to his gang. The most 'bad' had been caused by Thomas, though, who took it upon himself to set a home on fire, which then spread.

People could usually deal with the loss of some valuables or food, not so much with the loss of their home.

 

For a moment Jay allowed himself to close his eyes while Addy was scolding the boy in the barn for cursing. Who could blame him when he had to scoop up stuff in the middle of the night without proper light.

 

The reply was muffled, and Addy grinned.  "I'll make us some hot cocoa once he's done, that'll make it up to him."

 

After the wound was clean, she got her bottle of witch hazel out, it would further clean the area, and would be soothing as well.  "I gotta pretty good supply'a herbs an' poultices so I can take care'a th' horses.  Most work fer people, too, but I can't promise yer not gonna have a cravin' fer oats!"

 

The she approached with a bowl of warm water and a cloth. Her touch was gentle but it still inflicted a lot of pain thanks to the slight infection of the wound. Jay could brace himself all he wanted, there was no hiding that the cleaning hurt. He drew his knees up and every muscle in his torso tensed up but he kept quiet. Only when she ran her cloth over the actual wound, did he reach for her arm and hold it with an iron grip for a second. "Be careful."

As quickly as he had grabbed it, he released it, realising that he was using force on someone, who was trying to help. Living with a gang of robbers had caused the Englishman to become much rougher than he used to be.

"Sorry. That hurt." He mutter and agreed to her using the witch hazel.

He stared at the light of the lantern and tried to concentrate on the dancing in the slight wind coming in through the gaps.

 

"I gotta pretty good supply'a herbs an' poultices so I can take care'a th' horses.  Most work fer people, too, but I can't promise yer not gonna have a cravin' fer oats!"

Her joke made a slight smile tug on his lips. "Already like 'em."

He watched what she was doing with weary, slightly glaced over eyes even though he trusted her much more than Thomas.

 

Steps were nearning the room and Jay remembered that he had asked the kid not to tell Addy about the blood on his shirt, which had put him in a bad spot. At least that burden was off him now.

 

"Can you fix this?" He silently asked because he was feeling bad enough to think that he could possibly join the many men, who became victims to bullets.

 

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"I can mend a shirt as good as I can a body," Addy chuckled as she gently applied a poultice of herbs over Jay's wound.  "My sewin' ain't pretty, but it'll get th' job done.  I think I got some bluin' around here I can use on that stain, whiten it up a bit."  

 

Once the salve was applied, she put on a fresh bandage and started wrapping the wound.  "Good thing whoever shot ya was off a tad, otherwise you'd a likely bled ta death real quick."  She grinned.  "I'm glad ya didn't, then me an' Weedy wouldn't'a had someone ta try'n burn down th' barn." 

 

She glanced over as Weedy came in and hesitated in the doorway, looking at Jay.  "I didn't tell her nothing!"

 

"Anything," Addy corrected and shook her head.  "Ya boys keepin' secrets?"  Rolling her eyes, she patted Jay on the shoulder.  "Ya just stay there, I'll get th' cocoa started.  Ya all right, Weedy?"

 

"Yes, ma'am."  The boy came in and closed the door, then smiled.  "Yer makin' cocoa?"  Glancing at Jay, he added, "That's my favorite!"

 

"Well, ya done a good job in th' middle of th' night, it's a treat, then we can all get back ta bed."  At least there was nothing pressing for her the next few days, until after Christmas, so she could help take care of Jay until he was stronger.

 

@Jack

 

 

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"Oh...I hope you don't need to mend me like a shirt. No sawing please." His voice was low and weak. Yet he had not forgotten how to take a joke. He actually liked that she was cracking a joke even under bad circumstances.

"Good thing whoever shot ya was off a tad, otherwise you'd a likely bled ta death real quick." 

 

Jay didn't tell her that it had been an old lady without glasses. Instead he asked. "You've been in the war...." Briefly he flinched when she wrapped a bandage around his waist. "...how bad is it. Any reason for concern?" If anyone knew it was her. But even if she said it was bad, he could not see a doctor, not with the law trying to catch him. They'd do worse to him than that bullet.

 

When Weedy told him that he didn't say anything, Jay felt the need to explain. "I didn't want to worry you. I thought it's no big deal."

Of course that might have been his hope but the truth was that he was worried to be discovered and if he hadn't been slightly feverish, he would probably up and leave that night.

"No cocoa...thanks."

Jay closed his eyes, exhausted from the day and her actions. He was hot, yet shivering against the cool air of the room. So he fished for his jacket to cover himself up.

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"You've been in the war...." Briefly he flinched when she wrapped a bandage around his waist. "...how bad is it. Any reason for concern?"

 

"Seen worse."  She shrugged.  "Seen better, too, but we'll see how it is in th' mornin'.  Then herbs should help clear it up."

 

"No cocoa...thanks."

 

"All right."  Addy set a pan on the stove with a bit of milk in it, then poured water from the kettle into a mug that she filled with herbs.  "Gotta take this, though, it's willow bark tea...bitter, but it'll take down th' fever."

 

Sighing, she pulled the jacket away.  "Yer hot enough as it is, don't need ta add ta th' heat."  She handed him the mug.  "Drink, an' I'll let ya have a proper blanket."

 

Too hot was bad, but so was shivering.

 

@Jack

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Jay had no energy to lift his head or his body far enough to drink some bitter tea. He tried once but let himself sink back onto the wool filled pillow.

He drew he knees up a little closer as another shiver raked his body and he closed his eyes.

 

The Englishman was asleep before Weedy could finish his cup of cocoa. He slept a little better than before but the fever kept rising until the earlier hours of the morning when he had a vivid dream about that bank job, that had gone awefully wrong in his mind. It had been the one that caused the fall out with Thomas, the one where his leader had shot an innocent man to death.

His babbling was incoherent, hard to understand but it was clear that he was trying to argue with someone. "No.....stop.....don't do it ...innocent." were a few of his words. It could have been anything. For Jay it was a way of working through what had happened in front of his eyes. He could have prevented it but didn't. Now in a feverish nightmare he had a chance to redo it and actually aimed his gun at Thomas to kill him.

 

Until noon the next day he did not wake up, not even when they tried to shake him awake.

 

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It would have been better if Jay could have finished the tea, but sleep could be just as healing, so Addy covered him with a light blanket, then quietly dragged in the pallet, blankets and cats as Weedy finished his cocoa, then they settled down for the rest of the night.

 

When she woke, Addy checked to make sure Jay was still breathing, then she quickly pulled on her day clothes and sent Weedy to the cafe to get them some food before she started her chores in the barn.  Occasionally, she would check on Jay, allowing him to sleep as long as he needed, she had plenty to do anyway, feeding the stock, mucking stalls and finishing the clean-up of the kerosene.

 

A couple times when she checked on Jay, he was mumbling, and the bits she could pick up were odd, but then, dreams were odd.  Still, it was enough to make her wary.  At least it seemed that his fever had broken, and the cats that had spent most of the time sleeping with him padded off into the barn, where Buster would lead the mice hunt.

 

About the time that she was starting to get concerned about Jay, she looked in and saw that he was awake, at least some.  "Afternoon.  How ya feelin'?"  Hopefully, he'd be alert enough to know she was talking to him, and she could get some food into him so he had some fuel to heal.

 

@Jack

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Her voice tore him out of his days and finally forced him to open up his eyes. They were probably after him, maybe the marshall had found him. He needed to wake up fast if there was still a chance to get away.

When he glaced over eyes opened, his gaze fell upon a woman's face. Addy....he was in her room, in her bed even.

"What?" He groaned and was suddenly painfully reminded that being in her bed had completely different reasons than any man would wish for.

Jay turned to throw away the blanket because he was way too hot and see the bandage.

He needed to take a pi*+ very urgently, so he pushed himself up way too fast, got dizzy and almost fell off her bed. It took a moment before he could actually stand up. "Terrible..." His voice was rough and not as friendly as it probably should be.

The urge became too big so he got up and staggered towards the door, tore it open and barely made it out of the barn before he relieved himself.

His knees got weak very quickly though and caved under his weight, so the grown man sank into the snow like a little kid, who wanted to play in it. And did the snow every feel good. Cold and soothing. So he just sat there and leaned his back against the outside of the barn.

 

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He was up so suddenly that it startled her, and Addy skittered back, although when Jay stood and wobbled, she moved in to support him, but then it quickly became evident that he had a mission that she didn't want to be part of!

 

Standing back, she kept an eye on him until he was outside, and even then, she just turned her back so he could have his privacy but she would hear if he fell.  And when it was evident that he was done with his business, she turned and stepped out to stand beside him.

 

"Ya all right?" she asked, giving him a chance to gather his wits and decide how he was feeling.  "How's that wound feelin'?  I'll take a look at it in a minute.  Got some stew keepin' warm if you've a mind ta eat, too."  For now, she'd let him sit in the snow, unless he started shivering.

 

@Jack

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He had his chin on his knees and his bottom was soaking wet from sitting in the snow. The coolness felt good though.

Jay turned his head a little to see her but never lifted it off his knees because he didn't have the energy. He was feverish and sick and all from a tiny little bullet. "Like a pile of horse shit." He commented because at this stage he wasn't sure any more whether he'd actually recover. His mind was foggy to blend out the pain.

Her offer of food was generous and Jay would have jumped on it any other time. Right no he was not hungry, nor would anything stay down.

He probably deserved what was coming to him now. Making the acquaintance of a lovely lady and then dying before he could actually enjoy any of it. What else did a bank robber deserve?

His thoughts became dark and he closed his eyes.

About 10 minutes later he had passed out and was sprawled out in the snow like he was some load, that had fallen of one of Abbys carriages.

 

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