If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have picked up on the fact that I’m working on a story about a woman traveling the Oregon trail. You may even remember a post where I talked about researching what to do when someone is drowning. Well, below is a sample, uncut and unedited, of what came of that research. Enjoy.
Was no one going to try and save him? Sure, he was a pain but they couldn’t just let him die!
“What are you men waiting on? Somebody save him!”
They looked at each other then turned to stare at her.
“Can’t none of us swim, Miss.”
“Sides, another man said, “couldn’t nobody survive this long under that rig.”
“So you’re just going to give up?”
Unacceptable. Yanking free of her skirts, she jerked her shoes off then ran and dove into the water.
Down through the icy, dark depths she swam, praying she’d jumped in at the right spot. Somewhere around here, in the middle, she thought. God, please. If only she could see. But, then, something hard struck her shoulder.
Throwing out an arm, she caught hold of it, realizing at once that it was a wheel. Lungs burning, she felt around hoping for…Yes, there, a rope. Or, no, hair…a braid. It had to be CAthan.
She followed his hair with her hands until she touched his head. There was his shoulder, and right there his arm. Twisted in an odd angle, but it was definitely his arm. What was it caught in, the wheel? She bumped against him as she searched for how to free him. He didn’t seem to be fighting. Had the man been right, was it too late to save him? God, no, please.
There, he’d caught hold of one of the spokes of the wagon’s wheels. The current had tangled his arm in it. She ran the risk of breaking his arm, but if she could just tug it to the left, then the right…Did shehave it? Was he free. Giving one mighty tug, she hauled him to her, then began pumping her legs like a mad woman.
Up they swam, her legs and one arm working as hard as ever. Cathan was a dead weight, pulling them down. What would she do if both of them drowned? God, the kids. Have mercy for the kids’ sake.
Then, her foot touched bottom. Heaving upward, her head broke the surface, and she sucked in a lungful of air. Hands grabbed them, and in a moment they had Cathan on his back on shore, but there wasn’t time to lie down beside him and rest.
Kneeling beside him in the sand, she pinched his nose closed, tilted his head back and fitted her mouth over his. One breath, two breaths, three, check for a pulse. There but too slow. Four breaths, five. “Come on, Danaher, don’t you dare die on me!”
Six, seven, and then, a choking cough and a gasp of air.
His lungs expanded, he coughed again, and she turned him onto his side before collapsing onto the shore beside him. She didn’t know who’s gasps were who’s, but it didn’t matter anymore. He was alive. They were alive. Thank God.
Now, it’s your turn. What are your thoughts? Want to read more?
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