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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chapter 8

The horses were a different kind of misery for me.  There were only two of them which meant that I had to take turns riding behind the two men.  I offered to walk but they both called me an idiot and to shut up.  Maybe Roman said it a little different than Alex but it amounted to the same thing and neither one was the least happy when I started heaving and puking again, this time from horseback … and on the horses’ backs which pretty much irritated the horses too. 

Eventually we stopped for the night in a place that gave us rock against our back on three sides.  It made for a safe camp but not a particularly warm one and the fire that Roman built was barely enough to heat water on.  The cold rain that started not long afterwards quickly put it out. 

The lukewarm soup Roman made me eat was the first cooked food I’d eaten in almost a year and it was hard not to puke it up.  The ceaseless verbal sparring between the two brothers only made things worse.  Slowly I worked my way as far from the two of them as I could get without being growled at and drawn into their brangling.  They reminded me of some of the girls at Mother Mary’s when they got their periods.  When they devolved to the point of witching about the weather I knew they were just arguing to argue. 

“You’ve gotten soft Alex.  It’s just a little rain.” 

“It’s a damn typhoon and you know it.  And cold as hell on top of it.  I told you we should have stopped before now and gotten a room for the night.  We weren’t that far from Culverson’s.” 

“With what?  Our looks?!  We saved the bulk of our goods but when we got cut off from the rest of the team I had to use everything I had on me to pay Brewster so he could get gone with his crew.  It was no small thing for him to risk his life to pick us up in the boat.” 

“That wasn’t a boat, it was a canoe.  And we could have used her to make a few bucks and been sleeping in comfort right now.” 

Shocked Roman snapped, “Why you sick … I sure as hell am no pimp and I can’t believe you’d be willing to …”  It was a good thing at that point that it was raining because Roman’s anger was a hot inferno.  I snorted to myself that Alex was about due for another nap and sure enough roman gave it to him after a brief tussle in the dark. 

Silence followed until Roman said quietly, “That … what he said … it won’t happen.” 

Just as quietly so not to set him off in my direction I told him, “No it won’t.  I’m not going back to that life.” 

“You sure?” he asked caught between derision, doubt, and curiosity. 

“Yeah.  You sure where you’re dragging me the people – the men – won’t try and make me?” 

He was furious all over again at the implied insult for about five seconds then deflated and said, “Alex … no one else in the enclave would even think what he said.  Don’t judge us by how he’s acting.  He wasn’t always like this.  We aren’t like this.” 

I adjusted the old piece of plastic I had scavenged from the trash years earlier to keep as much rain off of me as possible.  “So you say,” I told him.  “And either way I really don’t care.  I’ll fight if someone tries to do more than think it.” 

“You’re in no shape to fight.” 

“Don’t bet on it.  Even if I lose I won’t be going down alone.” 

“Easy Thorn, already told you we aren’t like that.” 

Shaking my head I said, “Alex is right, you need to get out more.  Everyone is like that, some just hide it better than others.  But the goody-two shoes crap is only for show or to gain them something even if it’s just a night out of the rain.” 

Roman didn’t have much to say despite looking like he’d like to.  Maybe he isn’t quite as lost in fantasyland as I thought.  Only time will tell that … or maybe it won’t.  I still don’t know where I am going to take you. 

Things were finally quiet after that except for the sound of the rain falling and a snore that was occasionally louder than the latest deluge.  Feeling oddly free I fell asleep only to be woken while it was still dark and raining by a swift kick to my backside. 

“Here’s your chance,” Alex hissed. 

“Huh?” I asked fighting another sudden round of nausea as I often did upon first waking up. 

“Roman went to go check the trail ahead for washouts.  So run.  Go.  Leave.  You promised.  No blackmail remember?” 

“Of course I remember,” I told him between heaves.  “And I’ve already told you you’re free and clear even though technically I could hold you to the remainder of the contract.” 

“Then get out of here.” 

“I would but I made a deal with your brother.” 

“You what?!” 

“Not that kind of deal,” I snapped.  “I’m done doing that sort of thing.  I just promised him I wouldn’t run off.  He’s too angry for me to fight right now … and a deal is a deal.” 

“Dammit.  Of all the whores I coulda bought why did I have to get stuck with one with scruples?”  He started trying to drag off my clothes.  “Well if you won’t leave you might as well make it worth my while to put up with you.” 

I didn’t have a lot of strength but I could still fight … and fight dirty.  Alex drew back to slap me only something grabbed that arm and pulled him off me. 

“What the hell Alex?!!” 

“Oh get off your high horse Bro.  She likes it rough,” Alex said with a grin.  “You can have a turn next.” 

I crawled away to the bushes with my stuff to puke and try and fix my clothes.  I let them argue then used the dark to take off.  I knew it was stupid but I didn’t’ feel like I had any choice.  I had to find someplace safe for you.  About all I did was get away which was good, but everything else seemed to get worse. 

The rain made it hard for me to see which made it hard for me to figure out which way to go.  Every path I tried was full of wet leaves and slippery.  If there weren’t wet leaves there was standing water and mud which was slick.  I worried about falling and hurting you.  The cold also seemed to get worse but that might have been because I was getting wetter.  The cold I could have dealt with, it was the getting wet to go with the cold that became the problem.  I fashioned a raincoat the best I could from my plastic but it only helped to keep the worst of the rain out of my eyes.  I finally had to stop and regroup when I realized I was just going in circles. 

The world is suddenly so much bigger than I am used to.  I remember it being like this so I’m not completely helpless but I’ve forgotten so much.  One of the things that I have not forgotten is that Tim told me that to go straight instead of circles you find a point of reference and keep your eye on it.  That wasn’t easy because of the dark but I did find the tippy top of a funny rock in the distance and I noticed when I tried to follow a trail down it stayed on my left and if I started going up it stayed generally on my right.  I decided down would be better than up. 

Stopping every so often to make sure the funny rock stayed where I expected it to be I slowly, slowly made my way down between trees and around rocks.  The way was mostly covered in leaves so I knew that I wasn’t on the horse trail which had been mostly gravel and dirt and was probably mud from the rain.  I got so tired and sick to my stomach after about an hour that I decided to take a break by wedging myself between a couple of trees only I must have fallen asleep. 

The next thing I kind of remember is being lifted.  There was some other noise but it didn’t register too much.  I was dreaming that I was back at Mother Mary’s and Brian was hauling me back to the dorm where us sisters stayed between customers then I dreamed I was back on the boat but I was too empty to puke.  Then I didn’t dream at all. 


  1. My heart just really goes out to her. This is such a sad sad story. Thank you

  2. Okay that leaves me wanting more lol.

  3. Kathy You never fail to amaze me with your ability to write story's that keep us coming back and wanting more. Thanks for the story and the time you give us.