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   Chapter 6 NO.6

Deny Thyself By LadyRosabella Characters: 17968

Updated: 2017-12-20 15:40

Keeping her eyes closed until she was sure she was alone in the wagon, Evlyn quietly eased herself from the makeshift bed and into a standing position. She slowly tested her weight on her injured foot. Pain shot through her, she bit her tongue to keep from crying out. "Okay, " she murmured to herself, fighting back pain-induced tears, "I just need to find a different way to walk. A way that won't put pressure on the bottom of my foot." Evlyn stood still for a moment, her one foot lifted so just the tips of her toes touched the wagons floor. She took a deep breath; her foot was throbbing painfully. She swallowed and let her foot touch the ground, just barely. Turning the foot so she stood on the outer edge, she took a cautious step forward.

She sighed in relief. Though her foot still throbbed painfully, walking on the side of her foot caused no additional pain. "This is manageable." She whispered to herself with a tight smile. "Assuring Callie and Benjamin I can walk may prove to be more difficult." No matter, they wouldn't send her back to bed unless they saw her out of it. And she didn't intend for them to catch her up just yet. She limped towards the wagons back opening and listened for her friends' voices. She could hear fellow wagon families setting up camp, gathering buffalo chips, and caring for animals. The noises that met her ears were near, but not near enough to have been coming from the outside of her wagon. She pushed aside the canvas and took great care in climbing down. Walking on the side of her foot was proving to be easier and easier, even if it was a bit of a strain on her ankle. Outside for the first time a two days, she blinked her eyes against the setting suns brightness. In the distance she could see Callie's back, she was carrying what looked to be a basket. She was walking away from the wagon, to what looked to be a river. Evlyn was glad; she wouldn't see Callie for a bit. Not if she intended to do the wash before dinner. Evlyn frowned as she looked around for Benjamin. He would be the most difficult one, because he would not stand for her nonsense. 'Not that wanting to be free from a wagon is nonsense.' Evlyn assured herself as she searched the area.

Green eyes, inhumanly green eyes with evil red flecks, glittered with a morbid longing for what was about to happen. Talk about sacrifices. A smoke offering would be lifting the heavens today. If no one interfered with the offering. A silent laugh bubbled forth; people are stupid, so stupid.

Evlyn turned her back entirely to the wagon as she widened her search range. She never saw the hand that held the flaming pole, never saw the figure slip around the side of her wagon and touch the bottom of her dress to the burning pole. Evlyn took a deep breath, breathing in the terrible scent of buffalo chips, she set forth at her slow limping gate. It was time she started to pull her own weight around here. She had to find some buffalo chips to make a fire, then she could have food waiting when the others returned. She wiped a hand across her forehead. It was very warm this evening, just walking she could feel the heat on her body, droplets of sweat slid down her back.

"EVLYN!" Mrs. Gurtslinger's voice sounded from the left.

Fiddlesticks! Evlyn frowned; she almost made it! Pausing, she turned to face Mrs. Gurtslinger who was running toward her.

"EVLYN!" She heard Peter's tense voice from behind her.

Peter dropped the bucket of water he carried when he saw Evlyn's burning skirts. Running like a deer, he reached her before Mrs. Gurtslinger did. Trying to be as gentle as urgency would allow, he pushed her to the ground and dropped down beside her. Tugging off his worn and dusty jacket he covered the flames that had nipped up most of the back of Evlyn's dress and white underthings.

"What are you doing!" Evlyn cried indignantly. He kept her body pressed to the ground, her head could only raise a few inches. She spit a few times to clear the grass from her lips and mouth. "Peter!"

"A blanket!" Peter called to Mrs. Gurtslinger. "Get me a blanket. Peter continued to pat at the flames until he was sure they were completely out. Turning his jacket sideways, he tried to cover what her dress used to. Already a crowd of people was wandering over to see what all the fuss was about.

Peter bent his head near Evlyn's. She felt his warm breath tickle her ear, when he whispered. "Don't move, the fire burned most your dress. I have my jacket over you. I'll block you from the people. Lay still." Turning his body to face the crowd, he blocked most of Evlyn's. "We're handling the problem here, people. Nothing to see." He said wishing he could will the people to leave.

"What happened to her?" A small boy asked, trying to peer around Peter at Evlyn. "Nothing to concern you. Now clear out of here, all of you."

The people, perhaps a bit miffed by his curt words, 'cleared out' as Mrs. Gurtslinger returned with a blanket.

"Get back, Peter." Mrs. Gurtslinger said as she tossed his jacket at him. She wrapped the blanket around Evlyn and helped her to stand up.

Evlyn, balancing carefully on her injured foot, was a little dizzy from all the commotion. "What happened to my dress?" She asked her face pale, a blade of grass clung to her upper lip.

"It was on fire." Mrs. Gurtslinger said. "Just burned up."

Evlyn's eye

shamed that he still wanted to. "It isn't right, Pirate. It isn't right! I know she's married. She has children for goodness sake!" Peter lowered his head. "I should be praying for forgiveness." He whispered more to himself then to his horse.

"Mr. Gurtslinger!" Mrs. Gurtslinger called out as she approached the area where their horses were tethered.

Mr. Gurtslinger sat the horses hoof back on the ground and stood up slowly. His muscles weren't what they used to be. "I'm here, dear." He called as his wife hurried toward him.

"Everything settled for the evening?" Mrs. Gurtslinger asked as she approached.

"Mostly." Tyrone wrapped an arm around his wife's shoulders and walked her back toward their wagon. He was silent, knowing that she would speak her mind when she was ready.

"Where is Peter?"

Tyrone smiled. "Scouting." He glanced down at his wife. She wanted something. He was sure of it.

"Mmmm... did he seem upset to you?" She asked doing her best to appear disinterested.

"Not really." Tyrone waited until he saw his wife's frown before he added, "Until I mentioned Evlyn Riebe."

Linda Gurtslinger stopped short and looked up at him her eyes wide. "I knew it! I just knew it!"

Tyrone couldn't help but chuckling. "What is it you know, dear?"

"Why, Peter is upset with Evlyn." Her eyes squinted slightly as she nodded her head vigorously. "Yes, yes. I thought he was. He was very distant and gruff when he helped put the fire out. Now I know." Her hand flew up to lay on her cheek. "Oh, dear!"

"What are you 'oh, dearing'?" Tyrone asked, fully amused by his wife and wondering just what it was she was up too.

Mrs. Gurtslinger's brows furrowed in concentration. "Now I have to figure out why! I was quite certain that he was rather fond of her but now..."

"Dear, if you don't mind my input, I would react the same as Peter if I were in his boots."

Mrs. Gurtslinger's head flew up; her expression was of complete surprise. "Why... why... Tyrone! That's terrible of you!"

It was Mr. Gurtslinger's turn to look surprised. "Terrible?"

"Well you didn't act that way when you were courting me!" Mrs. Gurtslinger declared. She was just a bit miffed by her husband's input.

"I think we were just a bit different."

"Really? And besides age, how is that?"

"For one thing you weren't married and running from your husband and children! Goodness, Linda, I would think you of allow people would find that deploring."

Mrs. Gurtslinger froze. Not one sound came from her open mouth.

Tyrone mentally checked himself. He shouldn't have been so gruff with his wife. "I'm sorry, Linda. I didn't mean it like that. I just-"

"It isn't true, you know." Linda spoke softly but a determined fire lit her eyes.

"Isn't true? What isn't?"

"The rumors about Evlyn. I spoke with her right off about that. She's never been married and the couple she's travelling tells the same story as she does."

"You're sure?" Tyrone asked. He had to be sure. Peter was going to be ecstatic when he heard this. That man had been a regular grizzly bear since he'd heard Evlyn was running from her husband.

"Dear, " Mrs. Gurtslinger said with a smile, "don't you think I would make sure about something like that?"






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