Could Mary and Marshall possibly be saved?
Catch up with Chapter 27…
Start the series from the beginning…
Marshall took a bite of the scrawny bird, relishing the taste of the tough meat. He knew that it wasn’t much, but it was all they had managed to catch.
He glanced over at Mary, who was eating her share of cactus with a determined look on her face.
He was proud of her. It was against her better nature to eat such meager fare, but she was learning to be realistic. Life was tough out here. She was a proper lady, and yet, once she got over her whining, as she was still want to do, she girded her proverbial loins and dug in.
They had to make do with what they had. Marshall had learned that lesson long ago, and now it was Mary’s turn. And she was doing an admirable job of it.
“So whats after this?” Mary gestured at the labyrinth of salt pillars around them.
“We keep heading west. We should notice the elevation changing soon, tomorrow or the next day. And then we’ll make it to Denver.”
Mary gnawed on a bone, trying to suck as much meat from it as she could.
“What’s in Denver?”
“It’s a city, Mary. It’ll have a Wells Fargo office. I should be able to send your grandfather a telegraph. Your family would have by now found out that your train got derailed, and you are missing.”
“I’m hardly missing. I’m right here,” she said with consternation.
“Yes, ma’am, you are.” Marshall chuckled at her fierceness. Her face was smudged with dirt, her clothes were torn and more dust colored than the smart blue they had originally been. But what mostly tickled his fancy was the way she gestured wildly with a bone in her hand. He knew her type, she would have been mortified to have ever eaten anything other than a cucumber sandwich wit her fingers.
But there she was, eyes full of fire, waving around a chewed up bone of some bird that she not only ate with her fingers, but caught, killed, and cooked as well.
Suddenly Marshall held up his hand, signally Mary to silence. He cocked his head, trying to focus in on whatever sound that had caught his attention.
They held still for a few moments, and then he kicked out their fire, and picked up Mary’s discarded coat.
“Time for us to go.”
“Now what?” Mary was on her feet and retrieving her cudgel.
“I’m afraid,” he whispered. “We’ve got company.
“What are you talking about? Company?”
From behind one of the pillars, Marshall saw a low sleek back rush past. He pulled Mary against the rock nest to him.
“But I though you said they wouldn’t follow us.” She covered her mouth, realizing that making noise would only alert the beasts to their location.
“Move,” Marshall directed.
It felt as if they played hide-and-seek, darting in and about the salt pillars for hours. Mary’s heart pounded in her throat, but she new time played evil tricks, especially when under duress. And this certainly was a situation of duress.
“I thought we were safe from these creatures.”
“Different creatures,” Marshall grunted. “They aren’t making that chittering nose.”
“You’re right, they aren’t. They aren’t making any sound at all.” She gasped and muffled her sob by biting down on her fist.
“Stay alert, and do as I say, we will get through this,” Marshall said.
“When will we get through this. It’s been days.”
“What do you expect? We are on foot and in their territory. The best we can do it avoid them. Right now they don’t seem particularly interested in us.”
He grabbed her hand and began running. With the saurans distracted, maybe they could make it through this section of terrain. Mary stumbled. With a cry she fell to her knees. “I’m sorry, I can’t.”
“You don’t have a choice,” Marshall commanded. “You must.”
He hauled her back to her feet. This time she limped along behind him, unable to run. Maybe she should stay behind, let the beasties have her. After all, being eaten alive by nasty little lizards couldn’t be any worse than marrying whomever her grandfather had lined up for her.
Suddenly, an ominous shadow fell across them, casting the area into darkness. Marshall looked up, his hand went to his hip. He wished he had his revolver, but it was lost with the rest of their belongings when they had to jump from the derailed train.
“What is that contrivance?”
“I think he’s flying, but I don’t know how.”
“By jove! It can’t be. Miss Mary Dryer, whatever are you doing out here in Kansas?”
©2023 Lulu M. Sylvian
Who could have discovered Mary out in the wilds of Kansas?
And how are they flying? Tune in next time…