Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here.
Part 5 can be found here.
Part 6 can be found here.
* * * * *
Caleb watched silently as Roy dropped his pistol, screaming and grabbing at his hand with the other, before dropping to his knees. Tom’s shot had hit him in the hand, and Caleb turned away from the grisly sight.
Jesse moved to attend to Jake’s shoulder as Tom bent to pick up Roy’s weapon and tuck it into the waistband of his pants. Tom looked at Caleb with a frown and nodded toward the barn.
“Get a horse saddled for him.”
“No!” Roy’s scream filled the silence, drawing all eyes to him. His eyes darted to the barn and then back at them. “You can’t go into that barn. You have no right.”
Caleb felt chills run up his spine as he looked at the wild eyes of the man that now stood, bandaged hand now tied tight to the other. As he stepped toward the building, Roy continued to yell and threaten.
Caleb moved quickly toward the barn, praying the Lord would continue to work on his behalf. The look in the man’s eyes had left a feeling of dread deep in the pit of his stomach and he wondered what he was about to find in the building.
He ran his eyes around the dim interior, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. Sighing at his own imagination, he moved to the stall at the front of the barn. As he lifted the saddle to settle it onto the horse’s back, a slight sound in the back corner of the barn pulled his attention.
He eased the pistol from his holster and crept silently toward the sound, feeling the hair stand up along the back of his neck. Aiming the weapon, with his finger on the trigger, he swung around the end of the stall and stopped short. The sight that met his eyes brought bile rising to his throat.
As the girl whimpered in fear, Caleb holstered his gun and moved slowly to crouch next to her. She was filthy, covered only by what was left of her tattered under garments, which left numerous bruises exposed to sight.
Her face was covered in dried blood, smeared there from the split and swollen lip. Her eyes were bruised and filled with tears, just barely visible under her matted and tangled brown hair.
“You don’t need to be afraid any longer. I am here to help you.”
He held out his hand to her, but then realized she couldn’t move due to the rope that held her fast to the wall.
“I’m going to untie these ropes. I am not going to hurt you.” When she only cowered away from him, he stopped and stared into her eyes. “Do you understand? I am not going to hurt you. I have to untie these ropes so that we can get you out of here.”
He waited, but she just looked at him. “The sheriff is outside. Roy is going to jail for what he has done to you and to others. Do you understand? Don’t be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you.”
He waited until she finally relaxed, then bent to undo the ropes that held her against her will. She winced and sucked in a breath as the rope slid on her bruised and raw skin.
“I’m sorry. We’ll get you something to put on your skin as soon as we can.”
At the sound of Jesse’s voice, Caleb stood up.
“What are you doing back there? I thought you was gonna’ …”
“Jesse go into the house and ask Lana for a blanket.”
As Jesse took another step closer, Caleb held up his hand.
“Please Jesse. Just go ask Lana for a blanket.”
Jesse turned and left the barn, frowning deeply as he began to silently work through the possibilities.
* * * * *
Part 8 can be found here.
Part 9 can be found here.
Part 10 can be found here.
Part 11 can be found here.
Part 12 can be found here.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012