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Thread: Moving West - Chapt 30 - A Fight for Life

  1. #1
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    Moving West - Chapt 30 - A Fight for Life

    As she felt herself going down into the water, Mariska tried to kick herself free from the saddle so she could swim toward shore. Despite her best efforts, she continued to drop and found herself on the bottom of the lake. Her left foot had been pinned in the stirrup. Right above her foot, the stirrup had been pinned between the horse and the protruding edge of a rock, leaving no room for her foot to escape. A wave of fear rushed through her as she realized that no amount of struggling would free her foot, and that she was about to drown. Shoving those fears aside and forcing herself to remain as calm as possible, Mariska remembered the hunting knife in the scabbard she kept looped around her saddle horn. That knife was razor sharp, but she had no idea whether it would cut through the thick leather of the stirrup, but it was that,or drown. Quickly she pulled the knife from it's holder, and after three attempts, the stirrup parted. With her lungs ready to burst, she swam as hard as possible, in a desperate race for the surface and life. As her head broke water, and she gulped in air, Mariska knew that if she had been two feet deeper, or had been a second or two slower in remembering the knife, she never would have seen Sean again. Not only that he would most likely never know exactly what had happened to her, nor where her body lay.
    She also realized that all she had won, was the chance to fight further for her life. While she was within what normally would have been an easy swim for her, the struggle under the water had drained her strength. She was exhausted when she pulled herself on shore, but at least she had made it. As long as the wind continued to blow in that direction, the fire might well jump the lake and be upon her again. With that in mind, Mariska gave herself a minimal rest period to regain some breath and strength, then pushed herself to her feet, and moved on into the woods.

    Distance and speed were the most important factors now. She had long been a good runner, and even as tired as she was now, she set a good pace, covering an impressive stretch of land. When she could no longer hold that pace, it was reduced to a brisk walk, that eventually gave way to a normal walk. That was followed by a repeat of that process, but with much shorter durations. As she attempted to get to the other side of a ravine, her foot caught under something, perhaps a tree root, and she went down the side of the ravine. An inspection after landing, revealed no broken bones. However, her right ankle has been twisted and appeared to be badly sprained. The swelling was immediate and substantial. Looking at that swelling, and considering her situation, Mariska told herself, “What I'd give to see Sean or Dan pulling up with Dan's wagon right now!”.. However, wishing would not make it happen, nor would it save her from the flames that might be catching up to her. She found an old tree limb and used it as a support as she limped for awhile, but finally, she was reduced to simply crawling. How far, and how long she crawled, she did not know. Her dress was in tatters, her arm and legs bruised, raw, and bleeding. Still, pain meant she was still alive, that hope still existed, so she continued to crawl, no longer sure she was even going in the right direction...All she knew was that to quit was to die, and that would mean the end of the dreams she shared with Sean. As long as she had a breath left in her, she would continue to try and make it back.

    Nightfall brought her some relief. She could tell that the flames were not yet an immediate danger, so she risked a short nap to replenish her strength, then began crawling again. All through the night she fought her battle to live.. As she stared at the sunrise, Mariska continued to crawl. It was extremely slow crawling, covering almost no ground at all, but no matter, she crawled. Somewhere in the process, Mariska passed out without warning. From where the sun was in the sky when she awoke, she apparently had not been out for very long. However, this time, she was staring at a pair of boots....a familiar pair of boots.... “Sean” she weakly tried to call,.... “Sean..”... Then Sean's strong hands were on her, and lifted her into his arms.

    Honey, I told Dan that you would make it somehow... I just knew it”, Sean told her with his eyes watering, and a large Irish smile on his face. The wagon is just a little ways further. We will have you back at the house before you know it. Yes, the house is still standing. When the fire changed directions and trapped you, that left Dan and Anna's place safe and sound.”

    As Dan led the way to the wagon, and Sean carried Mariska, this exchange was heard....

    ”Mariska, I'm not sure what you have been eating on this trail, but I do believe you have put on a few pounds since the last time I carried you”.......


    Careful my husband, I have just enough strength left to use this knife to scalp you....”
    ----------------
    All done with AR2.5
    Brush, Marker, Chalk, Glitter, Knife, and Spray
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    Last edited by barnburner; 02-04-2011 at 12:03 PM.
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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra View Post
    Whew! It's going to be a movie, I know it!Great going Mike!
    LOL..if so, all ArtRagers will be invited to the premiere.
    Thank you so much Sandra... Your continued support as I work with this story is something I value greatly.
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  4. #4
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    Poor Mariska and am so glad she made it to safety. Yeah, it is going to be a movie of the Year and we will all come to the premier Barney. Good illustration to go with the story. Next, they are going to travel again, me thinks....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AT-TA View Post
    Poor Mariska and am so glad she made it to safety. Yeah, it is going to be a movie of the Year and we will all come to the premier Barney. Good illustration to go with the story. Next, they are going to travel again, me thinks....
    Thanks AT.. Your continued interest in my story is very much appreciated. Haven't had a chance to figure it out yet, but I suspect you are on the right track. It does indeed seem to be getting close to traveling time...
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  6. #6
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    I still say, very good, her breath when she lost the knife, good job barnburner

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by javier View Post
    I still say, very good, her breath when she lost the knife, good job barnburner
    Thank you very much Javier. Your kind comments are appreciated.
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  8. #8
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    lesson: never never tell a woman she has put on a few pounds.
    I loved the art as well.

  9. #9
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    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Exciting writing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The pic seems different to me a little, seeming rather in control, but the pic is really good as a stand alone (IMHO).

    The writing is very fast paced. She is having a rough time of it, but I admire her so much. . . a survivor, and one with a sense of humor at that!
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  10. #10
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    Dramatic new episode Barnburner. I also like how you painted the underwater scene.

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