“Hey, what’s up Boo?” Officer Dixon answered brightly. Grateful and glad in spite of her puzzlement simply to hear the sound of Boon’s voice.
“Tilly! Oh, thank goodness.” Boo sobbed in desperation despite that she was trying her level best to stay calm. “I need help….there’s been an accident….”
“What’s happened, Boo?” Tilly answered in a concerned tone.
“….I shot someone…!”
“You shot someone? Who the hell did you shoot, Boo? And for god’s sake why?”
“Tilly, please. It weren’t on purpose, it was an accident. I was out by the north pasture, where we used to play in the pines. And there was a wild dog, I’m sure of it….” Boon sobbed in obvious distress.
“I was certain it was a wild dog, Tilly….”
“Okay…?” Tilly prompted.
“….but then there was this girl….aw hell, Tilly. I shot her.”
“Okay Boo, just try and stay calm, okay? Is she still alive?”
“Yeah, she’s still breathing. And she has a pulse, but its running awful slow, Tilly.”
“Okay, where is she wounded, Boo?”
“I hit her in the shoulder, just below her collar bone….aw hell, Tilly. She’s out cold.”
“Okay, calm down, Boo. A wound like that won’t kill her. Leastwise not with that junky old rifle of yours.” Tilly spoke evenly, trying her best to keep Boo calm.
“Oh sweet Jesus, Tilly. I hope you’re right.”
“Just stay with her Boo, staunch the bleeding best you can and don’t let her move. I’ll call an ambulance from Markham and I’ll call Doctor Cox too. Cody can get to you quicker than the ambulance.”
“Aw Tilly, I’m scared. What if she dies…?”
“Come on now Boo, keep it together. You know full well a shoulder wound aint gonna kill a body. Just take a deep breath, and keep your head screwed on. Me and Cody are on the way….okay, Boo?”
“Okay….” Boon sobbed gratefully.
“Where are you exactly, Boo?”
“I’m parked out by the old tree house, remember? From when we were kids?”
“Okay, I’ll be right there, you just hang on Boo. And try to stay calm, everything’s gonna be fine. Okay?”
“Oh Tilly, please hurry!” Boon cried.
Boon Jenner pocketed her phone and draped her coat over the girl’s naked form. Applying gentle pressure to the wound in hopes of stemming the flow of blood. Trying her hardest to do as Tilly said and stay calm.
“What the hell were you doing out here…?” Boon appealed to the unconscious figure as tears tumbled from her eyes.
“…and why the hell are you neked…?”
And taking deep breaths to calm her nerves, Boon sat down beside the unconscious stranger and monitored her pulse and breathing. Focussing on what Tilly had to say as she anxiously waited for Officer Dixon and Cody Cox to arrive.
She was right. The stranger certainly wasn’t going to die from a shoulder wound. But still, a bullet inside you was no trifling thing. And it was unsettling that the girl was out cold. Surely that wasn’t good.
And as the dawn gloom began to dissipate beneath the bright morning sun. The more anomalous aspects of the girl’s features became increasingly apparent to Boo. And increasingly unsettling as well. The girl was awful queer looking without a doubt.
The stranger had great big creepy looking feral eyes which stared open and unheeding at the early morning sky. Looking for all the world like the girl was jaundiced or some such, but with the discoloration more of an amber than a yellow.
And she had weird, kinda pointy ears. Large and elongated, maybe like a fairy or an elf or something equally fantastic. And she was paler than a ghost, like she hadn’t seen the sun in an awful long time.
And the girl had clearly never heard of wax or a razor. Plus she was in dire need of a good hot bath, the girl smelled strongly of sweat, earth and blood. And not just fresh blood, the girl smelled of stale blood as well. And eventually Boon realized it was more than normal body odour which bothered her senses.
The strange girl was vaguely redolent of the reek of carrion. Truth was, she stank of death.
And then Boon noticed the dark crimson stains on her lips and under her finger nails. And pieces of what looked awful like fresh meat and fur stuck in her teeth.
“Just what the hell kind of girl are you…?” Boon appealed again to the unconscious figure.
“And what the hell have you been doing…?”
And as she continued to anxiously wait, Boon speculated that maybe the stranger was a vagrant, or perhaps some kind of hermit or something.
But there was something about her that suggested not. Derelict as she may be, Boon had never seen a railroad bum as curious looking as this.
But Boon didn’t have to dwell too long in her speculations. Both Tilly Dixon and Cody Cox knew every mile of road in the district and both arrived at the scene in no time flat.
Mathilda got there first and Boon hurried over to meet her lifelong friend. Immediately throwing her arms around her for comfort.
Grateful when Tilly decided to show a little compassion and hug her back rather than scald her for a fool or ignore her distress. Such being an even split bet with Tilly Dixon. Hot and cold as she tended to run.
“She’s still out cold Tilly….” Boon cried in nervous agitation as she led Tilly to the wounded stranger.
“….I thought I saw a feral dog Tilly….or a wolf or something….”
“A wolf…?” Tilly remarked incredulously “Around here?”
“Aw hell, I don’t know….I didn’t know it was….”
“….I mean….I didn’t know it was a girl, Tilly.”
“Okay, Boon” Officer Dixon soothed. “It’s gonna be alright. Just let me take a look at her.”
And Tilly barely had time to check the girl’s vital signs before Cody Cox, the local doctor and childhood friend to both arrived. And immediately went to work assessing the extent of the stranger’s injury.
“Hey there, Boo” Cody spoke reassuringly “I see you had a little accident?”
“Hey Cody” Boon replied “yeah, I guess you could say that.”
“How you holding up. You gonna be okay?”
“Yeah. Just as soon as you tell me that girls gonna be okay, Cody.”
“Well….let’s just take a look….”
The girl was maybe somewhere in her thirties with extraordinarily long dark hair, she appeared to be in very good health except for the bullet wound. Lean and muscular and obviously very fit. A little on the skinny side perhaps, but certainly not malnourished. In fact It struck Cody that the stranger had the physique of an athlete.
She was white as a sheet but Cody put that down to her natural colour as much as due to blood loss. And Cody also noted the curious features which Boon herself had observed. And also that here was a queer kind of beauty to the girl, despite her lack of grooming and obvious need of a good scrub.
“Kind of pretty for a wild dog, isn’t she Boo?” Cody Cox remarked, attempting to divert Boon from her trauma. Hoping that perhaps the humour or irritation at a little jibe would do the trick.
“Very funny, Cody” Boo replied impatiently.
“Despite the smell….phew…” Cody added, finally registering the faint odour of carrion the girl bore.
“Just as well you only carry that antique peashooter, Boo. Else you would have laid her low fer good.”
“Is she going to be okay, Cody?” Boon pleaded, ignoring Cody’s attempts at levity.
“I’m certain of it, Boo. Just relax and be thankful that you never could shoot straight.” Doctor Cox replied.
“But why is she still unconscious?”
“Can’t say, but it’s probably better this way. Trust me Boo, she’s going to be fine.”
“Yeah, well. I’ll believe that when I see her walking and talking.” Boon uttered nervously as she paced to and fro. Wringing her hat in her hands in agitation as anxiety gnawed at her heart.
“Boo….” Tilly Dixon soothed as she smiled warmly and took Boon’s hand.
“Trust me, she’s not going to die. You just wounded her.”
“Tilly’s right about that, Boo.” The doctor added, certain of the assessment.
“You sure ‘bout that, Cody.”
“Yep” Cody replied with a reassuring smile.
“Not a doubt in my mind, Boo Jenner. Nobody’s going to die today.”
Thank you for reading