Sarah woke early in the morning. It was Thursday again. Riding day. She was excited. The last few days Sterling had been civil. He was still a little cold to her, making sure she didn’t misread his civility as anything more than that. She had began accepting that she wasn’t going to get the marriage she had hoped for.
She quickly dressed and made her way to the barn. Sterling was already there, patting his horse before strapping on his saddle. Sarah made her way to Sonny. “Good morning sweet girl!” she sang. Sonny whinnied and Sarah gave her face a hug. She strapped on the saddle and they exited the barn. They had left a bit earlier than last time and the sun was just barely peaking over the horizon, giving just enough light to see. They galloped through the fields and stopped occasionally to take in the nature around them. Sarah felt free, she took a deep breath and smelled the air. “It’s been a long week, I’m glad we are doing this.” She said turning to Sterling. Sterling nodded and then continued forward.
They crossed a small creek and began riding into the hills. The horses became restless as they turned a corner and Sarah called to Sterling, “Hey, something is bothering them, should we turn back?”
Sterling was about to answer when some coyotes lunged out of the bushes. Sterling’s horse jumped and sent Sterling into some rocks. Sarah could see the large gash on his leg and the blood dripping down.
“I’m okay, stay on your horse.” He attempted to stand but lost his footing on his injured leg and fell down again.
He tried to reach for his rifle in the holster on his saddle but his horse was panicking as the coyotes moved closer.
One came forward and jumped at Sterling. He braced for the attack but it never came, he heard a yelp and looked up. Sarah stood over him, holding a large branch in her hands. She had swung it and sent the coyote flying back. She yelled at the dogs before swinging the branch again and again. After finally scaring them off she dropped the stick. “Are you alright?” Sarah had tears streaming down her face.
“This is really bad Sterling, we need to stop the bleeding. Sarah poured some of the water from her canteen over it, making Sterling grimace in pain. She ripped the hem of her dress and wrapped it around his wound tightly. “Okay, you’re going to have to help me. I can’t lift you by myself. Sarah pulled his arm over her shoulder and they got him up to his horse. “Hold on,” she said as she took the reins of his horse and climbed on to Sonny. She led his horse back across the creek and through the fields. He was slumped over, barely keeping conscious from loss of blood. “Sterling, we’re almost there! I can see the house.”
“Hmm..” Sterling groaned as he gripped his horse.
As she got closer she began to yell. “BRICK! GARRETT! HELP!!”
She continued to yell, her voice becoming hoarse, when she saw Brick step out onto the porch and run toward her, Garrett following behind.
She stopped and they pulled Sterling off the horse. “What happened?” Brick asked, worry painted across his face.
Sarah choked, tears streaming down her face. “We were on our ride when some coyotes surprised us and Sterling got knocked off his horse. His leg is real bad. I- I...”
“Garrett, let’s get him inside. You know what we need.” Brick was all business.
Sarah followed them, blood and dirt on her hands and dress.
“Martha!” Brick hollered as they entered the house.
Martha walked out. “Oh my goodness! What happened?”
“We need some clean towels and bandages.”
“Yes sir.” She ran off, returning quickly with what they needed.
Sarah sat in the chair, watching as they laid him on the couch.
Sterling groaned as they cleaned the wound and dressed it.
They carried him upstairs and got him comfortable in his bed.
“He’ll be okay, but we’ll call Doc to be safe.” Brick said as he entered the room again. Now that things calmed down he took a look at Sarah, her eyes red and dirty streaks from her tears stained her cheeks and her dress ripped, muddy, and stained with blood. Brick knelt down next to the chair and took her hand.
“Sarah, I am so proud of you. You saved him.”
Sarah took in a shaky breath. “I was terrified. All I knew is I couldn’t let him die.”
“And I’m grateful to you for that.” Brick smiled. “Now, lets get you washed up and into some clean clothes.”
Sarah stood outside the bathing room as Brick filled the tub for her. “Thank you,” she smiled as he left her.
“Thank you my girl. You were so brave today.” Brick squeezed her shoulders and walked upstairs.
Sarah sat in the tub for a long time. By the time she got up the water was ice cold. After she changed and fixed her hair she made her way upstairs. Entering her room her eyes searched for Sterling. He was asleep in their bed and she quietly made her way to his side, pulling up a chair and sitting next to him.
Brick entered a while later with the doctor. "I'm Doc Turner, Mrs. Evans, how is our patient?" He gave her a smile and walked over to Sterling. After checking his vitals and such he lifted the blanket to see the wound. "Good job cleaning this out Brick. Hopefully we'll avoid an infection. If the pain gets bad let him have some whiskey. I'll be back in a few days to check on him." Brick patted the doctor on the back before walking him out.
A few hours later Sterling opened his eyes. He looked down to see Sarah had fallen asleep, her head resting on the bed beside his hand.
She stirred and lifted her head, blinking the sleep from her eyes.
"Sarah,” he whispered.
Sarah's head turned quickly and met his eyes. "You're awake." She let out a breath of relief. "I'll go get your father, he'll be so happy." Sarah moved to get up but Sterling placed his hand on hers.
"Wait. Just for a minute."