Okay, I know I'm later at getting this posted than usual, but I'm on vacation! :)
It has been a good week here at my grandparents' house. We washed windows at my aunt's house nearly all day Tuesday, I helped move a bed from an upstairs room into the dining room after Grandpa and I had cleared everything out of the dining room except the china cabinet (This was for a friend of my grandparents.), I made a fall wreath for another friend of Grandma's who had been asking when I would be there to do it (I had made her one before.), I relaxed and lounged around, slept in, went out to eat with Grandma, Mom, and S, (Grandpa was gone.), and have enjoyed my time.
Writing? What's that? :P I really haven't gotten much written since the last time I posted. Sorry. And I won't get anything written the rest of this week either. We are heading home this afternoon and then this evening my Heart-Sister comes down and will be here nearly all day tomorrow. But, I am hoping to get back into writing next week.
So, until then, enjoy this next part of
"Come on now. That’s right.” As she scooted back away from the edge.
She wasn’t sure she really wanted to go up first. And she wasn’t sure she wanted to face Don and Cath. They’d probably never trust her again.
Tom was talking again. “There, that’ll hold. Now stand up.”
Stand up? Was he crazy? She couldn’t stand up on that ledge! Why she’d probably get so dizzy she’d fall.
“Come on, Mel,” Tom urged quietly. “Everything is going to be okay. Don’t think about where you are. You won’t fall. Grab a hold of the rope and look up.”
Somehow, she was never quite sure how, Mel managed to stand, though she trembled and her legs shook. It was one thing to climb up the cliff because you had to and you didn’t have time to think, but to stand up on the ledge after you have had a long time to fully realize where you were was something else.
“Why, where in the world are your boots?” Tom asked in astonishment, realizing his cousin was only wearing socks.
“At the bottom of the cliff,” Mel whispered.
Tom didn’t say anything else to her, but hollered up that Mel was ready.
The rough rope on her already raw hands almost made her cry out in pain as she was slowly drawn upwards. By keeping her eyes shut tightly, Melody tried to pretend she was being pulled into the hayloft of the barn. After what seemed like hours, she felt strong hands grasp her and pull her onto something solid.
“Thank God you were decisive, Mel,” Don said softly as he quickly untied the rope from around her.
“Oh, Mel!” Lou flung herself at her cousin and burst into tears while Liz hugged her without a word.
“Come on, girls,” Cath directed calmly, though Mel thought she heard a tremor in her voice. “Let’s get Mel away from the edge and let her have a drink. Mel, you’re shaking. Are you cold?”
Mel shook her head and sank to the ground. “I don’t know.” Eagerly she took the canteen, though her hands shook. Never had water tasted so good as it did then! At last, with a long, shuddering sigh, she let Cath take the canteen back. Lou still clung to her and Liz tried to tell her about the wild ride back to the ranch, but Mel didn’t hear much of it. She was too exhausted.
Afterwards, Mel was never quite sure how the boys got Dick to the top of the cliff, but at last he was there and being placed on a hand-made stretcher. Feeling in a daze, she watched as Tom and Jim each took an end and started down the trail with Cath close beside.
Vaguely she wondered where the others were and how late it was. Into her thoughts came Don’s voice.
“Come on, Mel.”
She looked up to see Don’s hand held out as though to help her up. Wishing her hands didn’t hurt so much, she offered one, but to her surprise, instead of gripping it to pull her to her feet, he turned it over and looked at it before holding out his other hand.
“Let’s see the other one,” was all he said. After looking them over, he asked, “Where are your boots?”
“At the bottom of the cliff. I couldn’t climb in them. Should I go get them?”
Don gave a slight snort and shook his head. “Hardly. Jim can pick them up when he takes the horses back.” Then, without another word, he stooped and lifted her in his strong arms.
“I . . . I think I can walk,” she stammered, not feeling at all sure of her claim.
“Nope.” Don’s answer was quick, as he set off with his long, steady strides down the path after the others. Mel didn’t argue, but let her head rest on the broad shoulder of her cousin. It was wonderful to feel safe again.
When they reached the horses, Liz and Lou mounted and Don helped Mel into the saddle of her horse. “You don’t have to worry about guiding him at all,” he told her. “Jim is going to bring the horses in as soon as we reach the truck and he’ll lead yours now.” As he talked, Don had unstrapped a blanket from the back of Mel’s horse and had put it around her. “Wind’s a bit chilly,” he remarked quietly.
Mel didn’t protest. In fact, the arrangement was just fine with her, for though she loved riding, her feet and hands hurt badly and she felt rather lightheaded. The warmth of the blanket made her realize just how chilled she must have gotten sitting still in the shade for so long. Or was it the excitement?
The slow ride down to where the truck was parked always seemed rather hazy in Mel’s memory. Several times a hand touched her and Jim’s quiet voice said, “Mel, are you all right?” Each time she nodded and wondered why he had asked.
Upon reaching the truck, Mel remained seated on her horse and watched as Dick’s stretcher was carefully loaded in the back and Tom and Cath climbed up beside it. When she noticed Liz and Lou had dismounted and were climbing into the back, Mel wondered if she should follow them. Before she could do more than feel around for the stirrup with one aching foot, Don was beside her.
“Here, I’ll carry you to the truck. You shouldn’t be walking on these rocks without shoes on.”
“How’s Dick?” she whispered anxiously.
“I think he’ll be all right though his leg appears broken,” was the reassuring answer. Don set her gently on the front seat of the truck. When she insisted she could ride in the back, he replied, “It’d be too crowded. Stay here.” And he shut the door. Moments later they were on their way to the house.
There was a blur of activity when the truck pulled up before the ranch house. Mel’s aunt and uncle were there waiting, and Dick was swiftly transferred from the truck to the car in the midst of a babble of words from the excited younger girls, calm, direct instructions and replies from the older boys, and soothing ones from Cath and Aunt Mary.
You have one more part, will you be back?
What did you think of this part?