Sunday, 15 January 2012

Sarah's Journey by Ginger Simpson

When Sarah Collins set her sights on California for a new beginning, she never figured a war party would attack her wagon train.  After her friend, Molly, succumbs to her injuries, Sarah is the sole survivor, left alone to find her way back to civilization.  Stampeding buffalo, the black prairie nights, and eerie noises contribute to her woes, and just when she believes she's faced the worst, a rattlesnake bite threatens to accomplish what the Indians failed.  Is it her time to die, or does Sarah have a purpose yet to accomplish?


Sarah collapsed to the ground and buried her face in her hands. Sobs wracked her body as she mourned each person’s passing. She’d barely gotten to know them. Only fifteen days ago in Independence, Missouri, these twelve wagons had gathered, full of excited and happy faces, ready to journey to a new life.

She cried until her tears ran dry, then finding composure, convinced herself weeping wouldn’t help. At twenty-two-years old, she was determined to see twenty three. But how? She could walk for help, but in which direction, and how far? Even if she filled her canteen with fresh water from the stream, how long would it last before she reached another source? What if the Indians came back? It appeared they had taken all the weapons leaving her defenseless. She couldn’t just sit and wait. Besides, in the warm spring weather it wouldn’t be long before the bodies started to decay. Leaving appeared to be her only option.

She pulled a ladle from a nearby water barrel and took a long draw. The coolness quenched her thirst and eased her parched throat, but another scan of the deserted campground stirred her fear. It was time to begin her trek and she wasn’t ready. In fact she felt scared to death. She dropped the dipper back in place and struggled against consuming hopelessness by remembering her faith. God had seen her through other troubled times, surely he wouldn’t abandon her now. He saved her for reason, but what?

At the very least, she’d need a change of clothing for the trip, and something to keep her warm at night, but all her belongings had burned. She gazed at the Morgan wagon, one of the few still intact. Maybe she could find something there. Sarah loosened her long hair and combed her fingers through it to capture all the escaped locks in with the rest. She pulled her blonde tresses back and retied the ribbon at the nape of her neck.

Her face puckered into a scowl, preparing to view Molly Morgan’s remains for a second time. Sarah had thought it painful enough to see her during her earlier search for survivors. Such a waste of a young life. She steeled herself as she climbed up onto the back. Molly had died, but Sarah felt strangely remorseful for rummaging through another person’s belongings. It didn’t seem right. She lifted a foot to step over the tailgate, but paused with her leg midair.

Her head tilted inquisitively. Was that a sound? She sighed. Now she was imagining things. Her supporting leg wobbled, and goose bumps peppered her skin—not from the cold, but from the feeling of death all around. She lowered her suspended limb to steady herself, took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment.

Clearly, she heard the noise again—a moan from inside the wagon. She threw open the tarpaulin and peered in.

“Molly? Is that you?” Sarah held her breath.

“Help me.” The voice inside the wagon sounded weak and barely audible, but it belonged to a woman.

Sarah scrambled over the tailgate and knelt next to the bed. “Molly, it’s me, Sarah. I’m here.”

Molly moaned low in her throat—her front soaked with blood from an arrow protruding below her shoulder. Earlier, she had been on the floor, but somehow had managed to get to the pallet of blankets and pillows. Sarah had been sure the woman was dead. She should have checked for a pulse as she had with others, but after so many… God forgive her, had she wasted precious moments of this sweet life?

Sarah wiped her own dry lips with the back of her trembling hand. She wasn’t a doctor. What could she do to help? Before she could determine the extent of the injury, she had to remove the arrow, and there seemed only one way to do it—quickly and painfully.

She gazed at Molly’s ashen face. Her eyes were closed and beads of perspiration dotted her brow; her copper hair cascaded over her headrest. Sarah caressed the young woman’s cheek. “Molly, this is going to hurt like the devil, but I have to get this arrow out of you.”

Her eyelids fluttered and she gave weak nod of acknowledgement. Discomfort creased her forehead and made her appear much older than her nineteen years. Before Sarah’s nerves failed her, she rose and locked her fingers around the wooden shaft and yanked with all her might. She expected a scream, but instead, Molly’s body flinched and went limp.

Sarah fell to her knees. “Please, don’t be dead, Molly, please, please, please.” She slapped Molly lightly on the cheek. “Wake up! You have to wake up.”

 Sarah's Journey is available via Eternal Press and also Amazon and various other ebook sites. I hope you enjoyed the taste I've offered you.  If you enjoy western historical novels or tales of the old west, please stop by Cowboy Kisses, my newest blog, and check out some of my posts.  I have some very interesting guests lined up, too.

1 comment:

Jen Black said...

Ginger, there are so many exciting stories in an Amercan setting I have no idea why so many writers turn to English castle settings! This sounds so exciting!