Well, I promised you a couple of sneaky book previews, so here is an initial little taster of ‘Foundling’. Please bear in mind that these previews are unedited, and are therefore subject to change in the final version of the novel.
In this scene we see our protagonist, Jake Malloy, having an arrow removed from his arm…
~ When Jake stumbled through the ranch house door, streaked liberally with blood, and with Aketcheta’s arrow protruding from his arm, Clara did not scream, merely rushed to his side and supported him as he made his way to the chair by the stove. She settled him down and knelt beside him to examine the wound.
The arrow had embedded itself in the flesh of his upper right arm. The wound was a narrow slit, already bruising black and purple. It seemed to have missed any major arteries as the entry point was not pulsing blood, and instead it had planted itself into the wide muscle of the lower shoulder.
Jake’s face was ashen; almost grey, but he was not complaining.
“Tell me what I need to do,” she said calmy looking up at him, her eyes wide.
He grimaced. “Get the damn arrow out.”
“I realise that much, but how?”
“I’m guessin’ it’s a flint broadhead. Twist it.”
She frowned but took the arrow shaft gently between her fingers and slowly turned it. Jake sucked in a sharp breath.
“Okay, it’s not lodged in the bone. You’re gonna need to push it through.”
“Push it through what?”
“My arm!” He laughed, his voice rough. “You can’t pull it out – you’re not strong enough, and anyway you’ll tear my arm to pieces with the flint teeth.” He glanced around the room, his eyes settling on one of his bottles of moonshine. “Get me the whiskey.”
She pushed to her feet and rushed to get it, presenting it to his good hand.
He shook his head. “You first.”
“Me? But why should…”
“Listen. You’re gonna have to snap off the shaft of this arrow leavin’ a short piece, which you’re then gonna place the flat side of the blade of my knife against. You’re gonna to hit that blade hard – damn hard – with the flat of your spare hand to force the arrow out the other side of my arm. Then, if the arrow hasn’t broken inside me and if you haven’t passed out, I’m gonna make you wash the wound with alcohol and sew it, front and back. It’s gonna be difficult, and it’s gonna be bloody; I’m probably gonna curse you and cuss despicably, and you’re gonna need a strong drink.” He nodded at the bottle hanging limply from her hand.
She slowly lifted the bottle to her lips and swallowed deeply. The whiskey was strong and she coughed as it hit the back of her throat. Wiping her mouth with the back of her arm she passed the drink to Jake. He tipped the bottle up and drank until it was almost empty. His eyes became hooded, his voice slightly slurred. He directed her as she fetched the things she would need from around the house.
When she was kneeling at his feet again ready to begin, he grabbed her hand.
“Whatever I say to you in the next few minutes, I don’t mean it. It will just be the pain talkin’.”
“Will you allow me one thing before I start?” she asked him.
“He grinned rakishly at her. “Now you’ve just put all kinds of possibilities into my head. But why do I get the sinkin’ feelin’ I ain’t gonna like it?”
She pulled her hand away and took a deep breath. Slowly she gently pushed his Stetson away from his head. His hair fell around his face; dark and long. She placed the hat on the floor.
“What d’you do that for?”
“I need to see your eyes when I do this. I need to see how much pain I am causing you, and I can’t see that from the hard set of your mouth. Your eyes are always in shadow.”
He nodded at her slowly. “I am always in shadow, Miss Casey – all of me.” ~