What I'm Working on Now
So, I started something new! As I often do, i use xx when I don't have a name for one of my characters, so it isn't a typo!
Xx stared up at the vast blue vault of the sky. He had always known this day would come. Any man who lived by the gun usually died that way. Even now, blood from the gunshot wound low in his left side was leaking through his fingers, soaking into the dirt beneath him.
Only a matter of time. He might have had a chance of finding help if his horse hadn't been shot out from under him. He grunted softly. Maybe that was a good thing. His people killed a warrior's favorite horse when the warrior died so that his spirit wouldn't have to walk to the happy hunting ground.
Closing his eyes, he waited for death.
Norrie McDonald shaded her eyes against the mid-day sun as she watched a trio of vultures circling in the distance. Something had died. Probably a calf, perhaps a cow. A deer, maybe.
Clucking to her horse, she went to check it out.
She didn't see anything at first until she crossed the river. There, partially hidden by a boulder, she found the source of the vultures interest.
Reining her mare to a halt, she stared at the man. He looked Indian but he was dressed like a white man, right down to his boots. He'd been shot. Blood caked his shirt front and stained his hand. Flies swarmed around him. He wasn't moving. Leaning forward, her arms folded on the pommel of her saddle, Norrie tried to decide what to do. She didn't have a shovel, so she couldn't bury him. And she certainly couldn't lift him onto her horse and take him back to the ranch.
Heaving a sigh, she decided to ride back to the Lazy Double D and send one of the hands out to bury him. Maybe, before she left, she should make sure he was dead.
Dismounting, she knelt beside him, her fingers searching for a pulse.
At her touch, a low groan rose in his throat and she found herself looking into a pair of cold gray eyes. Startled, she scrambled to her feet and back away.
He stared up at her a moment, then licked his lips. "You got any water for a dying man?"
Nodding, Norrie retrieved her canteen. Kneeling beside him gain, she removed the cap, lifted his head and held the canteen for him. He drank greedily, then closed his eyes.
Norrie recapped the canteen and slung it over her shoulder. "Can you get up?"
He looked at her through heavy-lidded eyes as gray as storm clouds. "I don't know."
"Well, I can't lift you." Taking the bandana from his neck, she pulled his shirt from his trousers and pressed the cloth over the bullet hole. Next, she ripped a strip from his shirttail and wrapped it around his middle to hold the bandana in place. "You're gonna have to help me," she said, offering him her hand, "unless you want to feed those buzzards."
He glanced upward. Then, grunting softly, he took hold of her hand.
Norrie wasn't sure how they managed it. He was a big man, broad-shouldered and long-legged, but somehow, she got him on his feet. With his arm draped over her shoulders, she walked him to her horse, gave him a boost into the saddle. Putting her foot in the stirrup, she swung up behind him, then leaned forward and grabbed the reins.
It was five miles back to the ranch. She just hoped he stayed conscious until they got there.