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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 22

Eva had composed herself in the time it had taken to move Rex into the kitchen, grimly wiping away the tears and trying to ignore the breakdown she had experienced. Emily had started boiling water while Bartley was unrolling field dressings. Her Father sat in his chair, the lines of worry etched on his face. Eva walked over to Rex, who was laying across the hastily cleared dining room table. His face was contorted in pain as he clutched his right hand. Two fingers had been cleanly severed off and a portion of a third was missing. The skin around the wound was already hot and swollen, the blood turning from red to a dull black. She didn't want to say what she was feeling, she wasn't sure anyone did. Rex had been bitten by Evan. Evan had been bitten before whatever the fuck had happened to him had happened. She sincerely hoped the two weren't related. Rex had been like a second father to her growing up.

She looked over at Thomas, whose face was still ashen, as he jerkily reloaded his revolver. His brow was sweaty and his nerves showed, though to be honest, after her collapse in the foyer, she shouldn't really judge. She watched as Bartley and Emily cleaned the Rex's wound, running the injury through warm water and dousing it with alcohol as Rex let out a cry of pain. After several minutes Emily began wrapping his hand in the lineaments, as Bartley walked over to Caleb, wringing his hands clean on a towel. Eva moved closer to her father, feeling the looming presence of Thomas over her shoulder, and listened as they spoke in hushed tones.

"Caleb, his hand is bad. I've bandaged it up, but there's something not right about it. Evan, or whatever the fuck Evan turned into, bit his fingers clean off. It's already starting to show signs of infection. With the kind of stuff oozing out of that wound I'm afraid to even try to cauterize it closed. We need to get the Doc up here right quick."

Caleb ran his gnarled hand over his face, pulling at the edges of his mustache, his mind working at the best possible solution. The smart thing to do would be send off a rider to fetch the Doc, that a single rider could get there and back with the Doc in about half a day if they pushed the horses. Still something tugged at his sense, even he knew that things weren't right today. With little Evan turning into some kind of monster and Rex getting bit, and that damned black sun overhead, today was not a day to do things the normal way.

"Bartley, go hitch up my wagon. We'll take Rex ourselves to the Doc in Sedition. It may not be as fast as sending a rider to fetch the Doc but I don't like the idea of people running around alone right now. There's something wrong, we can all feel it even if we don't want to talk about it. I think it's safer to stay in a group, to keep together until we know more. We'll take Rex together."

Eva went upstairs and got ready herself. She poured some water from her pitcher into a bowl and scrubbed her face and hands clean and slipped into a fresh pair of pants and shirt. She slipped her vest back on and affixed her chaps as well, securing her gunbelt on he hip. As she grabbed her hat, she made her way downstairs to the gun cabinet they kept in the sitting room. She took her Winchester and ammo belt out and flung them over her shoulder, checking to make sure that the rifle was loaded. Eva cut back through the kitchen, noticing that Rex had already been moved out to the barn. She went out the kitchen door and followed the path around.

After her father's injury had rendered him unable to ride, he had purchased an old stagecoach that he refurbished to meet his needs. It was easier for him to travel when he needed to and far more comfortable. It could easily fit 6 people in the cab, which was plush and cushioned for long travel. There was a luggage rack which had been converted to hold her father's chair as well. Bartley and one of the ranch hands had hitched six horses to the front of the stage. They had already helped her father into teh cab, and were now loading Rex into the cab. Emily looked on, her face still streaked with tears, slightly shaking. Eva told her and they ranch hand to fetch her horse and they took off running. Thomas and Bartley had just finished securing Rex into the cab when her father craned his head out of the cab's window.

"Eva, you don't need to come. You've just gotten back. You should rest. Bartley and Thomas will accompany us. We should be fine."

Eva just fixed her father with a hard stare and nestled her gloves on as Emily came back with her horse. She checked the straps and harness on her saddle and slipped her rifle into its holster. She stuck one foot in the stirrup and smoothly mounted the horse.

"Dad, if you think you can stop me from coming along to help Rex, you're plain crazy. He's been like an uncle to me and I'm comin.'"

Caleb just smiled and nodded to Bartley. She watched as Bartley deftly maneuvered his ample frame into the driver's seat and spurred the horses on. Thomas Moore stayed close to the stage, face still sully and ashen and trying not to show it. She told Emily to stay over in the bunkhouse with the rest of the help until they returned and to not wander off. She gave one more look at the farm and spurred her horse after the stage, not realizing, that this was the last time she would ever see her home.

End of Line.

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