Chapter Three Begins…

Journey to the Other Side

Our saga continues-

Chapter Three

The next couple days melted into one another, separated by dozing and sleeping. Mollie was only out of bed when carried to the outhouse. After breakfast, he removed her bandages, applied medicine and carried her back to bed. She only wore bandages at bedtime now, so she learned to ignore her leg. It was too hideous and upsetting to look at even though the swelling was subsiding.

Travis did not own any books, or a computer. Apparently he didn’t believe in electricity so that ruled out radio and TV as well. The lack of available water was barbaric. No telephone was cruel and unusual punishment.

Mollie came to the conclusion that Travis was one of those survivalist nuts.  She envisioned the barn to be stocked with lockboxes of rifles, ammo, dried and canned foods, gallon jugs of water. Camo colored fatigues and jackets, gas masks, binoculars, rain hats & slickers.  This mental survivalist inventory list kept her amused for a while, but then she would move on to thinking about how many men might be in the ‘militia’ with Travis. Were there women too? Probably. Men did not have exclusivity when it came to fears and paranoia. How often did the militia meet? Where did they hold their meetings? Since she didn’t see anyone visit Travis, either they met elsewhere, or did not meet often.

Mollie allowed her imagination to attended some clandestine militia meetings. She sat in the back, hoping to hear something interesting.  Most of the meeting was rednecks venting over how this country was “going to have a rebellion soon”.

Travis left the house once she was propped up and tucked in and did not return until lunchtime. After feeding her and escorting her to the outhouse, he left and did not return until almost dark.

In case she needed him, Travis put his cowbell on her night stand. Mollie often got tempted to ring it, just to have him come in and be with her. If only she could think of a valid excuse to ring it.

At least he slept inside the house now. The first few nights she was there, Travis slept in the barn and she got no sleep at all. Every noise and every creak frightened her. At breakfast, she pleaded with him to sleep in his own bed, where they both could be warm and comfortable. He sat looking at her in disbelief.

“Wait. You want us to sleep, in the same bed, together?”

“People do it all the time.”

“Married people!“

Mollie laughed, “I won’t make you marry me.”

“Really? What if I roll over in my sleep and brush against you?” he asked. “I’d rather not be bashed in the head with a cane.”

Mollie giggled. “I promise I won’t bash you either.”

“It’s not a -”

Pleeeease!” She interrupted. She didn’t want to hear his reasons why it wasn’t a good idea. She just wanted him inside the house with her. “It’s your house, it’s your bed – you should be sleeping in it.”

Travis opened his mouth to say something, changed his mind and sighed instead. Mollie smiled to herself. He was almost convinced, now she just had to wait for him to make the final decision.

Why did she feel so comfortable and trusting with this man? She had no clue. The weird thing was, she didn’t really care what the reason was. Normally she was Miss Analyze Everything to Death. Maybe she knew him in a past life. Maybe it was the laudanum.

All she knew was that she didn’t feel like a scared little girl when he was close by.

When she woke up the morning after Travis slept next to her, she lay there comfortable and cozy; in fact for the first time since she found herself in these woods, she felt completely safe.

She woke up alone. Feeling the sheet on his side of the bed and finding it warm, she knew it had not been very long since Travis left. The smell of coffee was enticing. She hated drinking it black, but the man had no sugar or coffee creamer in the pantry.  Determined to do something herself, Mollie reached under the bed and grabbed her cane. She wished she had slippers to wear. Her already chilled foot protested the ice-cold floorboards.

She made her way to the wood stove and poured herself half a cup. Then she held the cup with both hands close to her face, to enjoy the aroma and to warm her hands. When she heard Travis stomping his boots on the porch to knock off dirt or whatever before entering the house, she smiled. He was right on time for her much-needed outhouse run.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *** ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, after breakfast and Travis left the cabin, Mollie snuck out of bed. She was getting pretty good at using the cane since she went “exploring” twice a day. That, and she could tuck and prop her leg up nearly as good as he did, to keep him from knowing she had gotten out of bed. She kept her mouth shut about these new skills because she loved him tucking her in and carrying her everywhere. She caught herself thinking about it often.

She had already explored – OK, snooped – around the kitchen and the loft. Today’s mission was to check out a picture on the front wall, above the table. She just noticed it last night while they were eating supper. Now that she was only taking the laudanum before bed, her mind was a lot clearer and more observant.

In the bright of day, she saw that it was a framed photograph that hung in the corner. It was black and white with an old-fashioned setting, and it was Travis in the picture. He was so HOT, she could hardly stand it.

And that’s when it came to her. She had seen him before – it was in a photo that was nearly identical to this one. The closer she looked, she remembered in the other photo he was wearing the very same flannel shirt. He had the top two buttons undone and chest hair was peeking out. She nearly drooled when she looked at it.

Except, in the other photo, the black and white image was faded, and the border had cracked and turned yellowish brown, as old photos are known to do. He still looked very hot in that photo, which was why she remembered it, and where she’d seen it before, so vividly.

No. Way!”  

She denied even thinking about it, it was so absurd! It was only her imagination and the result of watching too many movies. Way too many sci-fi movies to be specific.

And yet, it would explain everything going on, except for the why and how. She had seen the evidence, pasted into her great-grandmother’s family album, with her own eyes. This very same photo of him. Under it, written in great-grandma’s neat and precise handwriting, read “My Cousin, Travis Richardson- at the County Fair. 1894.”

“Holy Shit!” she said.

“I beg your pardon?”  A voice that was not Travis’s spoke behind her. “I assure you that shit is not, nor ever will be, holy.”

After a short pause, giggles burst out from this person.  Why didn’t I stay in bed next to the cowbell? Mollie got up from the table and turned to face the comedian. He was not much taller than she was, and he could not have been older than 20. What she noticed next about him was his halo.

 

To be continued…

Through the Door: Continued…

Chapter Two LogCabin

She knew she did not wake up in her own bed before she opened her eyes.  The pain throbbing through her right leg clued her into that. When she did open her eyes, she found herself back inside the little log house, tucked into the cozy bed in the loft and covered with the beautiful quilt.

Well, all of her, except her right leg. It was propped up using a cooking pot covered with a pillow, and swaddled in what felt like a pound of gauze. She saw that her pedicure managed to survive the ordeal but her foot was swelling and turning a gruesome shade of purple.

She sat up to look around and found no one else in the place. On the table were her torn and bloodied Levi’s next to a large animal trap – also bloody. Her face suddenly reddened. What panties did I put on yesterday morning? She hoped they weren’t old worn granny-panties. Oh crap! Yes they were granny-panties because she wore those on Monday’s. Monday was bad enough without adding uncomfortable underwear to it.

Her blouse and bra had not been removed. Frankly, she wouldn’t have minded if her bra vanished. Eight hours were her tolerance level for brassieres. It had been over 24-hours now.

And where the Hell was everybody? Somebody rescued and doctored her last night. Where were they now? Maybe, they’re at the local donut shop fetching breakfast.  Although it would be more likely they were in the barn gathering fresh eggs.

“Man, I’ve got to pee,” she said to the empty room.

When it got really urgent, she decided to find somewhere to relieve herself.

“Some hospital this is,” she sighed, ”not even a nurse call-button.”

Gingerly, she maneuvered to the edge of the bed. With both feet together she could tell how swollen the right foot was. Anticipating horrible shooting pain, added to what she considered the constant pain,  she squinted her eyes shut and put a teeny bit of weight on it.

Not as bad as she expected, but that was without any of her weight on it. Maybe it wasn’t broken, just cut. Feeling braver, she tried to get off the bed.

“Just where do you think you’re goin’?”  The voice came from behind, startling her. She sat down on the edge of the bed again and looked behind her.  She couldn’t answer his question because she immediately forgot what it was.

When she didn’t answer, he asked, “Do you speak English?”  At least she could nod her head ‘yes’ to this question.

She could not breathe in enough air. Or swallow. Her heart pounded so hard that she could hear it pumping blood through her veins. She felt brain-dead.

It wasn’t only his deep voice that was masculine. He had a ruggedly handsome face,  no “pretty boy” looks on this sun-browned cowboy. When he took off his hat she saw that his hair was on the long and shaggy side, but it was clean. His shoulder and arm muscles filled out his worn shirt nicely. And, Lord have mercy, the man had the most devastating eyes.  When he smiled, she saw that he had a dimple.

He was perfect.

She had the feeling that she had seen him before. But where, was a mystery. She would remember the perfect man – wouldn’t she?

“Do you need something?” he asked. He came up to the loft and felt her forehead with the back of his hand. His frown confirmed her suspicion she had a fever.

“A bathroom.”

“A what?”

“Toilet?”

He shook his head and shrugged. In his puzzlement he was even cuter than before. If that was even possible.

“Um- outhouse?”

Without any warning he scooped her up and carried her outside. Like she was a rag doll that didn’t weigh anything. Her weight, too much for her liking, didn’t make him break a sweat. Ever so gently, he put her down on the outhouse’s ‘porch’ and opened the door for her. Then he gave her a cowbell.

“Ring this when you’re finished and I’ll come back.”

“Thank you,” she said, while thinking you’ve got to be kidding me.

Expecting to be grossed out, she was surprised at how clean the outhouse was. Way nicer than any port-a-potty she ever used. There was a Sears & Roebuck catalog on a shelf left of the hole. Most of the pages had been torn out. Her grandma told her about using catalogs or dried corn cobs for toilet paper. Now, here she was, her spoiled butt used to Charmin, having to scrape herself with the tractor section. She better not get a paper cut on her hoo-hah.

She felt like an idiot ringing the cowbell. He came out of the barn and scooped her up into his arms again. The way he held her against his chest, and put her arms around his neck to hold on – was so fine.  She wished he would stay inside the house with her. Maybe he was the strong, silent type.

When he got her leg propped and the rest of her tucked in, he told her that he wanted to take a look at the wound.

“You should just look at the ceiling, or out the window,” he told her. “It’s not sight for a lady to see.” He gently began unwinding the gauze from her leg.  She watched him.

“I’m not a lady, really.”

“OK, but I warned you.”

When she saw her leg she tried to stop the tears leaking out of her eyes, but couldn’t. Her legs were one of her best features – until now. The entire leg had hideous bruises and looked like Dr. Frankenstein had sewed it back on. There were a multitude of huge black stitches, in a circle around her leg, about four inches from the top of her ankle. She could not look anymore.

“Don’t worry hon,” he said, handing her a handkerchief that was in his back pocket. “The stiches have pulled a bit because of the swelling.”

He called her hon!

“Could you bring me some ice?” she asked.  He just looked at her. “To help the swelling and the pain,” she explained.

“Sorry, but we don’t get ice up here unless it snows.”

“Oh.”

“I sent for the Doc to have a look, so we might as well leave it unwrapped.”

“I hope he brings some pain meds.”

“Pain meds?”

“You know, the hard stuff. Codeine. Demerol. Oxycodone.“

By his expression, the chance of any pain relief was nil. That was too damned depressing to think about.

“You should get more rest,” he told her. “Doc should be here soon.”

She was a bit woozy. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but she was too wound up. However, she was dozing when the doctor arrived.

“Doc” was just how she imagined him. An older gentleman, with graying hair and a thick mustache.  He was on the portly side, but not chubby, and his eyes twinkled when he smiled.

As if she weren’t in the room, Doc and Mr. Perfect discussed her injuries, and the stitches he did. The conversation became interesting when they stepped out of the loft and lowered their voices to a whisper. Mr. Perfect told Doc that she just couldn’t stay here – he was too busy this season to play nursemaid to a dim-witted city girl. And there’s something really wrong with her brain.

Enough of this crap.

“I may be a city girl, but I’m not dim-witted enough to stay where I’m not wanted.”

“Speaking of where you’re wanted,” Mr. Perfect challenged her, “Why the Hell were you roaming, or should I say trespassing, in the forest at night?”

“She challenged him right back. “What are you trying to catch with those big-assed traps – besides women, I mean?”

Doc nearly choked on his coffee.

“Bears, mostly.

“Look, I don’t want to be a burden,” she interrupted, pulling herself up in a sitting position. “I’ll just be on my way” She scooted off the bed and stood up. The pain that shot up her right-leg and took her breath away. She fell over sideways. Neither of her legs could hold her up. Dammit.

With all the dignity she could muster, she climbed up the bed and stood again – this time not putting pressure on her wounded leg, and steadying herself with the bedpost.

“Of course, I’ll need to borrow a pair of pants,” she said, looking directly at the guy who ruined hers.

“I’ll be happy to give you a pair of my pants,” he said, “and a ride back to wherever you came from.”

“I came from here, actually, on this very spot,” she told him.

“You came from my house?”

“No, I came from my house, which somehow turned into your house when I walked through my door.”

She knew how ridiculous it sounded, and wished she’d kept her mouth shut. But there wasn’t anywhere he could take her back to.

Then Doc joined in the conversation.

“Listen – my clinic is fully booked with patients. I can’t take her there. She needs to stay off her feet, keep the wound elevated, and swab it with the medicine I will give to you. You already set up a bed for her -“

“Just wait right there,” Mr. Perfect interrupted, “That happens to be my one and only bed.”

What a big baby! She thought but did not say. After all he may be taking care of her.

“I won’t take up that much room,” she said sweetly, then smiled at him.
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.photo credit: Al_HikesAZ via photopin cc