Selfishness and greed are survival instincts
Trapped In The Wild - Sandra Brown
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Trapped in the wild
From the American by SAS
They were all dead. Everyone but her.
She was sure of it.
She didn't know how much time had passed since the impact or how long she had been here
Sat hunched over with his head between his knees. It could be seconds, minutes
Light years. So time could stand still.
It had seemed like an eternity to her. The ugly crunch of bursting metal
until it died away with one last groan. The mutilated trees, innocent victims of the
Crash, stood still again, hardly a leaf moved. It was eerily quiet, no
Loud more, nothing.
Absurdly, she wondered what it would sound like when a tree fell. Did it
any sound at all? Yes. She heard it. So she was still alive.
She raised her head. Hair, shoulders and back were covered with small pieces of Plexiglas -
Remnants of what was once the window hatch next to their seat. She shook
carefully turned his head, and the particles rained down, fell to the ground with a soft clink. you
forced himself to open his eyes.
She wanted to scream, but the horror tightened her throat. A bloodbath, more hideous than
an air traffic controller's worst nightmare.
The two men in the row of seats in front of her - good friends, after the loud laugh and
judging good-natured jerks - were dead now. One's head was through the window
beaten. She registered this fact, but didn't look closely. There was a huge one
Pool of blood. Hastily she screwed up her eyes and didn't open them until she saw her head
had turned away.
On the other side of the corridor is another dead man, his head on the backrest, as if
would he have slept when the plane crashed. The lonely wolf. She had him like that in her mind
baptized even before the plane took off. Since it was a small machine, it was
Payload severely limited. While passengers and luggage have been carefully weighed
were, the lone wolf had stood apart from the group, his whole demeanor was
been haughty and hostile. His rudeness had every attempt
Conversation with the other passengers, all of whom were delighted with their successes
Skills boasted, nipped in the bud. His aloofness had him from the rest of the group
separated - just as their gender had isolated them. She was the only woman on board.
And now the only survivor.
When she looked ahead, she saw that the cockpit had been torn from the fuselage. It was
several meters ahead. Pilot and copilot, both friendly and good-humored young men,
were covered in blood and obviously dead.
She swallowed. The bearded copilot had helped her get in and still with her
flirted. He rarely had women on board, and when he did, never those who like photo models
The other two passengers in the front seats, brothers, were still from theirs
Belts held. They had been killed by the splintered log that stuck the
Fuselage like a can opener. Your families would be with one
need to cope with double loss.
She started to cry. Hopelessness and fear overwhelmed them. She was afraid,
to pass out. She was terrified of dying. And fear that they won't
For the other passengers, death had come quickly and painlessly. They were
probably all killed on impact. Her death, however, would be slow and
be excruciating. As far as she could tell at the moment, she was miraculous
remained unharmed. She was going to perish slowly. With thirst and hunger, here in that
She wondered why she was still alive. The only explanation was that she was sitting in the back
would have. Unlike the others, she had someone there in the cabin on Great Bear Lake
that she had to say goodbye to. She was the last to get on. All places
were already occupied, except for the one in the back row.
When the copilot had helped her on board, the rough conversations between men were abrupt
falls silent. With your head tilted slightly so as not to bump yourself on the low cabin ceiling,
she had gone back to the only vacant seat. Not a very pleasant feeling when
only woman on board. Like stepping into a dim, smoky back room
with a hot game of poker going on. Some things were just that
Reserved for men. Just as some things were exclusively female.
Equality or not.
An airplane carrying passengers from a hunting and fishing cabin in the Northwest Territories
flew back was such a manly affair. She had tried to be as invisible as
to make it possible, persistently silent, just looked out of the window in silence. Once, briefly
after takeoff, she had turned her head and was looking at the man on the other
Aisle-side encountered a look so obviously contemptuous that she immediately turned her head back
had turned to the window.
Besides the two pilots, she was probably the first to notice the storm
would have. Accompanied by thick fog, the torrential rain had made her nervous. Soon fell
also to the others how hard the machine lurched. Instead of boastful behavior
were now making brief remarks that one would probably have no choice but to do it
to get through, and how happy you are that you don't have to "drive" yourself, but the
But it was anything but easy for the pilots. It soon became clear to everyone. In the end
There was a general silence, worried looks were on the two men in front
directed towards the devices. The tension increased when the radio contact broke off. On the
Instruments could no longer be relied on either, because the readings were measured
obviously inaccurate. Because of the impenetrable cloud cover they have had since launch
can no longer see the ground.
When the plane sagged in a spiral, nose first, and the pilots into the cabin
shouted, "We're going down!" they all accepted their fate with astonishing calmness.
She had leaned forward, her head between her knees, her hands inside
Neck folded and prayed all the way down. A month of Sundays.
She would never forget the first push when the machine hit. She had no idea
why she wasn't dead on the spot could only be imagined that she was because of her graceful
Physique was pressed between two seat cushions that had softened the impact.
However, under the circumstances, she was not sure that she would be able to survive
should actually be seen as a welcome alternative. The hunting lodge on the northwesternmost
The top of Great Bear Lake could only be reached by air. Miles more untouched
Wilderness lay between the cabin and Yellowknife, their original destination. The sky
only knew how far the machine had strayed from its flight path before it crashed.
Authorities could search for months without ever finding her. And until they were found -
if anything, she was utterly alone and on her own in her struggle for survival.
This thought made her act immediately. She tore at her belt frantically. The closure
snapped open and she fell forward, her head bumping into the front seat. She settled on everyone
four down and crawled through the narrow passage towards the huge hole in the torso.
She avoided looking at the lifeless bodies, instead looking through a crack
up in the tattered metal. The rain had stopped, but the clouds were still hanging
deep, gray and heavy and threatening in the sky. Thunder rumbled. The air was cold and damp.
She wrapped her red fox coat more tightly around her and turned up her collar. No wind.
She must be grateful for that. The wind here could be icy cold and cutting ...
Moment! If there was no wind, where did that whistling sound come from?
She waited, holding her breath.
There! Yet again!
She turned her head and listened. It wasn't easy as her own heartbeat was in her
She looked at the man who had been sitting next to her across the hall. Was it
just desperate wishful thinking, or had the lone wolf's eyelids just twitched? you
hurried back, pushed the bloody arm of a passenger that was hanging limply over the armrest and
which she had evaded so focused just a moment ago, stubbornly aside.
"Oh please, dear God, let him be alive," she pleaded fervently.
She stared at his face. Motionless, no fluttering eyelids. No moan came from his lips.
She looked at his chest, but since he was wearing a padded jacket it was impossible to tell if he was breathing
She reached out her hand carefully and put her index finger under the man's nose,
very close, right next to the nostrils. And made a little sound as she dampened it
Felt a draft. Only weak, but definitely there.
"Thank you God. Oh, thank God. "She started laughing and crying at the same time. She
slapped the man lightly on both cheeks. “Wake up, mister. Come on watch, please
You up. "
He groaned but didn't open his eyes. The sooner he regained consciousness, the sooner
better, she knew that instinctively. And she needed reassurance that he wasn't dead or
would die - at least not right away. She just had to know that she wasn't alone.
Cold air would probably help revive him. So she decided to take him off
get out of the plane. It wasn't going to be easy, he must have weighed a good fifty
Pounds more than her.
She felt every gram as she undid his seat belt and his weight against her with force
fell. She could catch most of it with her right shoulder. Half supporting him, half
dragging, she dragged him down the hall to the opening.
It took her half an hour to travel three meters. The bloody arm
blocked their way, she overcame her disgust, angled it and laid it on the dead man
on the lap. Her hand was covered in blood, warm and sticky. She gave a horrified whimper
out, bit his trembling lower lip and pulled the man on, inch by inch.
The thought crossed her mind that she might be doing the man more harm than that
helped when she moved him. But she had come so far she wouldn't now
stop. Setting a goal and achieving it was suddenly very important, and when
it was only to prove to herself that she wasn't completely helpless. She had herself
aim to get him outside. She would do that if it killed her
Which could well happen, she thought a few minutes later. She had him so far behind
pulled forward as it was possible. Every now and then he moaned, but otherwise he showed no signs
that he would regain consciousness. She let him lie and forced her way through the branches
the jaw. The entire left side of the fuselage had been torn away, it had to
so pull the man through the branches. She broke off as many branches as she could
was, and then returned to the man.
It took her five minutes to turn him around so that she had her arms under his
Armpits. Then she dragged him backwards through the narrow tunnel
she had created. Pine needles pricked her face, the rough bark scraped her skin
from the hands, but luckily her heavy clothing protected most of the
She gasped from the exertion. She wondered if she should take a break, but feared
then not being able to muster the energy to continue.
The man was moaning almost continuously now. She knew he was in excruciating pain
had to, but she couldn't stop now.
She finally felt cold air on her cheeks. She pulled her head out from under the last branch
and stood in the open. A few more stumbling steps backwards and she pulled the man that
last bit after. Exhausted and drained, with sore muscles in arms and legs,
she just let herself fall on her bottom. The man's head landed in her lap.
She propped herself up on her hands and leaned back, her face up to the sky
agile until she could catch her breath. As she sucked the cold, acrid air into her lungs,
it occurred to her for the first time that it was good to be alive. She thanked
God for that. And for the second life he had spared.
She looked down at the man. Only now did she notice the bump. A huge swell, right
on his temple. That must be the reason for the unconsciousness. She pushed his shoulders
up and pulled her legs out from under him, crawled to his side and started his jacket
unbutton. She pleaded not to find a fatal wound. No, just the checkered one
Flannel shirt that no hunter seemed to do without. No traces of blood at all, starting with
The turtleneck of his thermal sweater down to the laces of his heavy boots.
With a sigh of relief, she leaned over him and slapped him carefully again
on the cheeks. She estimated him to be about forty, but life couldn't do too well
meant by him. His long, curly hair was a warm brown. His
Tanned skin looked like it was burned by the sun year in and year out. To his eyes had
dug fine lines. His wide mouth was narrow-lipped, the lower lip only insignificant
fuller than the upper lip.
Not a face that belongs in an office. This man spent most of his life on
the fresh air. An appealing face, maybe even a classically beautiful one. It shone
Hardness, an uncompromising aloofness that she already notices in his being
With a queasy feeling, she wondered how he would react if he did it again
came and found that he was alone with her in the wilderness. You didn't need to
long to wait. A little later his eyelids fluttered and he opened his eyes.
Eyes as steel gray as the sky above. Those eyes were closing now, to be right
on to rise again. She wanted to say something, but because of her excitement, she dared not. And then
came the first word from his lips - incredibly vulgar. She winced, pushed this
Expressively, however, on his pain. He closed his eyes again and waited for several
Seconds before he opened it again.
"We crashed." She nodded silently. "How long ago was that?"
"I'm not sure." Her teeth chattered. She wasn't cold, so it had to be out of fear.
In front of him? How so? "Maybe an hour."
Groaning, he felt the bump on his head with his hand and sat up. "What is
with the others?
Propped up on one knee, he tried to get up and swayed. She wanted to hold him, but he did
fended off her outstretched hand. "Are you sure?"
“Are you sure you're dead? Yes. I mean, I believe it. "
He turned his head and looked at her. "Did you check your pulse?"
She was wrong. As for his eyes. They weren't gray like the sky, they were
much harder, much darker and more threatening. "No, not that," she admitted tightly.
His gaze caught her for several seconds, then he rose from under the great one
Effort. He used the tree behind him as a support until his sense of equilibrium broke
had stabilized to some extent.
"How ... how are you feeling?"
"As if I'm about to throw up."
Well, one could certainly not accuse him of having an indistinct expression. "Maybe
would you better go back to bed then? "
He still held his head and gave her a disapproving look. "Then explain
So get ready to get back on the plane and get your pulse on the others
feel? "He saw the color drain from her face and smiled contemptuously." I thought so
"I got you out of there, didn't I?"
"Right," he replied dryly. "You got me out of there."
She certainly didn't expect him to fall on his knees in front of her because she had saved his life
had, but a thank you would have been nice. “You are an ungrateful one
"Save yourself that," he cut her off.
She watched him swaying as he pushed himself off the tree trunk and onto the wreck
stumbled on. He pushed the branches out of the way with a force she would never have.
She sat down on the muddy ground and put her head on her knees drawn up.
She was tempted to let the tears run down. She heard him move around the cabin. As
She looked up to see him through the glassless window of the partitioned cockpit. Completely
Without emotion, he felt the bodies of the two pilots.
Minutes later he made his way back through the fallen tree. "They had
Law. They are all dead. "
What should she reply to that? Like: "I told you so"?
He dropped a first aid kit on the floor and knelt. One tube
He took out three aspirin tablets and tossed them into his mouth, swallowed them without water.
"Come here," he ordered gruffly, handing a flashlight to her
Look me in the eye and describe exactly what happens. "
She turned on the flashlight. The protective glass was broken, but the lamp
still worked. It shone first in his right, then in his left eye. “The pupils
He took the lamp from her hand and turned it off. "Well. So no
Concussion. Just a terrible headache. Are you all right?"
"I guess so."
He eyed her skeptically, but then nodded.
"My name is Rusty Carlson," she introduced herself politely.
His short laugh sounded like a dry bark. "So Rusty, huh?"
"Yes, Rusty," she confirmed piqued.
This man's manners were impossible. "Do you have a name too?"
“Oh yes, I have. Cooper Landry. But this isn't a nice little garden party, so
Forgive me if I don't touch my hat and say, 'Nice to meet you'. "
For being the only two survivors of a plane crash in the wild
it didn't start well. All Rusty wanted now was comfort and reassurance
that she lived and would go on living. But what she got from him was nothing but contempt
absolutely for no reason at that.
“What's the matter with you?” She asked him angrily. “You're pretending to be me
to blame for the crash. "
"Maybe you are too."
She gasped in disbelief. "I beg your pardon? I'm hardly responsible for that
“No, but if you don't have that much time for the soulful, tearful farewell to
Had left your sugar daddy, we might have cheated the storm
can. Why did you want to fly earlier than him? Maybe the lovebirds have each other
"That is none of your business," she pressed out between her teeth, those of one
excellent and expensive dental surgeons had been perfectly lined up.
His expression was unmoved. "You had no business being in a place like this."
Glance slid over her. "A woman like you."
"And what kind of woman am I?"
"Let's leave that. Let's just say I would be much better off without you."
With that he drew a dangerous looking hunting knife from a leather shaft on his belt.
Rusty wondered if he wanted to cut her throat with it now, to keep himself off the table
To discard the tag that it obviously represented for him. But he just turned around
and hit the branches of the tree to clear the way into the fuselage.
"What are you doing now?"
"I have to get the others out of there."
"The ... others? Why?"
"Unless you value their company."
"Do you want to bury her?"
“That was the idea. Do you have a better one? "
No, of course not, and so she was silent.
Cooper Landry chopped off the thinner branches until only the thick ones remained, around them
you could walk around it or step comfortably over it. Rusty made himself useful by
she got the cut branches aside.
"So we're staying here?" She asked.
"For now, yes." He went through the tunnel into the trunk and called her over. "You
take him by the feet, okay? "
She stared motionless at the dead man's boots. She couldn't do that. In your
her entire life had nothing prepared her for it. He couldn't expect her to
would do something so macabre.
But one look into his unyielding gray eyes told her that he was exactly that of her
expected, without any comment at that.
They recovered the bodies from the plane. Cooper did most of the work alone,
Rusty helped him when he asked. You could only accomplish this creepy task by
she turned her mind off completely. Her mother had died when she was just a teenager
then her brother two years ago. But in both cases she had only seen the dead
when they had been lying in a satin-lined coffin, with soft lighting, calm
Organ sounds and flowers. Death seemed somehow unreal to her. Even the lifeless bodies
looked more like mannequins, copies of the people she had loved.
These bodies, on the other hand, were real.
Without thinking, she followed the brief commands that Cooper Landry gave soberly,
factual, without feeling. He's a machine, she decided. He showed no emotion when he did
Dragged corpses to the communal grave, which he used with his hunting knife and hatchet
found under the pilot's seat. At the end he piled up stones
the grave site.
"Shouldn't we say something?" Rusty stared at the messy pile of rocks that
hungry predators from digging up the bodies of the five men.
"Say something? For example?"
“A couple of quotes from the Bible. Or a prayer. "
He shrugged indifferently and wiped his knife clean. "I do not know any
Bible quotes. And I ran out of prayers a long time ago. "He returned the tomb
turned his back and stomped back to the plane.
Rusty hastily said a prayer, then hurried to follow him. More than anything else
she was afraid of being alone. If she didn't keep an eye on the man, she would
he might leave her here.
Which was actually unlikely. At least for the moment. Because he came from exhaustion
almost around and was about to faint again.
"Why don't you lie down and rest?" She suggested. Her strength was already there
long to end. Only the adrenaline kept her going.
“Because night is about to fall. The seats have to be taken off the plane so that
we can stretch out inside Otherwise, you may have an opportunity to go to the first
To spend a night outdoors time in your life, "he added sarcastically and
disappeared inside the hull. Just a moment later, Rusty heard him heartily
"What is it?" She asked him when he came out again, frowning grimly.
He held his hands in front of her face. The palms of the hands were damp. "Kerosene."
"Kerosene?" She repeated blankly.
"Highly explosive kerosene," he growled, impatient at her ignorance. "In there
we can't stay One spark and we'll fly to China. "
"Then we won't make a fire."
He eyed her contemptuously. “When it's dark, you'll want a fire.
In addition, a spark is enough. Two pieces of metal rubbing against each other, and
we are history. "
"We'll pack what we can carry and we're on our way."
“I thought it was better to stay with the plane. I read that somewhere. The
Search team will be on the lookout for a crashed plane. How are they supposed to us
find when we move away from the crash site? "
He cocked his head arrogantly. “So you want to stay? You're welcome. I go. But I can
Tell you right away that there is no water around here. Tomorrow morning I'll be as
First go in search of water. "
His know-it-all was just unbearable. “How do you know there is no water here
“No animal tracks. Sure, you can drink the rainwater, but who knows how long that will take
holds up. "
When and how did he find that there were no animal traces here? She still had
didn't even think to look around. The thought of having no drinking water was
but just as scary as the idea of facing wild animals
wanted to get it. How did you look for water? How to defend against wild ones
Without him she would perish miserably. She was grim after a few minutes
Clearly. So she had no choice but to join him and his
To trust survival knowledge. And to be grateful that he used them too.
Rusty swallowed her pride. "All right, I'll come with you then." He didn't even see
on. She didn't know whether he was happy or upset about her decision. The way it looked, it was
he doesn't care at all. He already had things in a pile that he had rescued from the wreck
placed. Determined not to be ignored any longer, Rusty crouched next to him.
"What can I do?"
He nodded toward the hold of the plane. “Go through the suitcases. All.
Take whatever could be useful. "He handed her several small keys, which he held
apparently removed the body before burying her.
She looked doubtfully at the suitcases. Some of them jumped up in the crash, the things of the
Victims lay scattered on the damp forest floor. "Isn't that ... a penetration into that
Privacy? Your families could ...
Cooper swung around so abruptly that she backed away. “Imagine that
Facts! "He grabbed her shoulders and shook her." Take a look around! How
great do you think our chances are of getting out of here alive? I'll tell you - in a moment
zero. But before I go down, I'll fight like the devil to survive. This is a
Habit of mine. "
He came very close to hers with his face. "This is not a scout excursion, lady,
this is about bare survival. Etiquette and ownership don't count here. If
So if you want to come with me, do exactly what I say and exactly when
i say it. Did they understand that? There is no time for piety and feelings. Waste
Don't you cry to those who didn't make it. You are dead and there is nothing we are for
they could do. And now finally move your bum and do as I told you to
He pushed them away and gathered up the furs that the hunters brought home as trophies
wanted to bring. Mainly caribou, but also wolf, beaver and a mink.
Rusty held back the bitter tears and began to search through the suitcases. Preferably
she would have hit him. Even more she would have slumped into a pile of misery and
would have cried his eyes. But she did not grant him this satisfaction. And she would
give him no other reason to leave her here either. Probably would
The tiniest signs are enough to do just that.
Half an hour later, she dragged her haul to the pile he was already in
had put together. Apparently he was happy with her choice, the two flasks
trapped with indefinable schnapps. Cooper wasn't picky, he took one straight away
hearty sip. She saw his Adam's apple bounce as he swallowed. He had a strong one
Neck and an angular, firm chin. Typical of a stubborn donkey, she thought to herself.
He locked the flask and carelessly tossed it with the other things, along with
Matches, a travel case with sewing kits, and clothes she'd collected.
Not a word that she did a good job. Instead, he nodded his head
on the small suitcase she was holding in her hand. "What's this?"
"That belongs to me."
"That was not my question."
He snatched the case from her hand and opened it. His big hands rummaged lovelessly
the neatly folded pile of thermal silk underwear, nightgowns and lingerie. He pulled
Leggings through the ring he had formed with his thumb and forefinger. "Silk?" She stared
at him with an icy look without answering. His grin was more than suggestive. It indicated
Things she didn't even want to think about. "Very pretty."
Then that grin disappeared abruptly and he tossed her crumpled leggings. "To take
You two long johns, two pairs of wool socks. A hat, gloves. This jacket, "added
he added and threw a ski jacket on the pile of clothes. "One pair of underpants, two sweaters."
unzipped her toiletry bag containing makeup and personal care products.
"I need all of that," she said hastily.
"Not where we're going." He went through the contents and sorted it out ruthlessly
small fortunes of creams and make-up ended up on the boggy floor. "Hairbrush,
Soap, toothbrush and paste. Not more. Oh, and since I'm not a monster, so do these here
still. ”He handed her a box of tampons.
She snatched the little box out of his hand and stuffed it back into the cosmetic bag,
along with the other things he'd left her.
That big grin reappeared on his face. “You think I'm one
outright bastard, right? You're just too well brought up to say it. "
"No, I'm not." Her brown eyes sparkled. "I think you're one
His grin only widened. "And it gets worse before it gets better."
sat up and looked at the overcast sky. “Come on, we should
As soon as he turned around, Rusty left colorless lip gloss, a shampoo bottle and
slide a razor into the toiletry bag. Maybe he didn't have to shave until she
were back in civilization. She already.
She winced guiltily when he turned and gave her a hunting rifle
countered. "Can you handle it?"
She shook her head. Only yesterday she had to watch like a beautiful ram
had been struck down. Instead of being happy about the luck in the hunt, she cared about the animal
"I was afraid so," muttered Cooper. "But you can wear it." He put the
wide leather belt over his shoulder, holed his own rifle and pushed a dangerous one
looking gun in the belt. "A flare gun," he explained as he suspicious of hers
Met look. “I found it in the cockpit. Keep your ears down for one
Search helicopter open. "
With a shoelace he had turned a turtleneck into a backpack. The
He now tied his arms around her neck. "Well, let's go then," he said after a fleeting look
Rusty took one last look at the wreck, then followed him. His broad back
it was easy to follow, it was not so easy to lose sight of it. She found that she
if she focused her gaze on the point between his shoulder blades, in
a kind of trance, so that the horrible images of the blood covered each other
She struggled on, every step drained of energy. Her strength left her with frightening
Speed.She had no idea how far they had come, but it would
it would not be long before she could no longer set foot in front of the other. Her legs
trembled with exhaustion. She no longer fought off the branches swinging back, they whipped
Cooper's back blurred before her eyes, blurred like the image of a ghost.
The trees seemed to have tentacles that grabbed her, her on her clothes
held on, caught in their hair. She stumbled and looked down. The ground seemed to her
to meet. How amazing, she thought.
Instinctively she reached for the nearest branch. "Coo ... Cooper ..."
She hit hard, but she felt infinitely relieved to finally be able to lie down, herself
when the ground was cold and wet. And it was a luxury to close your eyes.
Cooper muttered a suppressed curse, lowered his backpack and rifle to the floor.
He rolled her roughly onto her back and lifted her eyelids. She looked at him without realizing that
her face was deathly pale.
"I'm sorry if I stop you." She was a little surprised that her voice was like that
sounded weak. She could feel her lips moving, but she wasn't sure if
she actually uttered the words. But somehow it seemed important to her to
sorry for being such a burden on him. "I just need to rest a minute."
"Yeah sure, it's okay ... uh ... Rusty. Take a rest. "He was already on
To create the collar closure of her fur coat. "Are you in pain anywhere?"
"Pain? No. Why?"
"Just one question." He opened her coat and slipped his hands under hers
Sweater, gently pressed on her abdominal wall. Is that even allowed? she thought
dazed. "You may be bleeding somewhere without knowing it."
His words tore the fog in her head. "Internal bleeding?" In a panic, she wanted to herself
“I don't know ... Wait. Hold still! ”With a low whistle he let out his breath
through the teeth. Rusty propped himself up on his elbows to explain the reason for this deep crease
to see his forehead.
Her right pant leg was soaked in blood, the wool sock had the bright red liquid like one
Soaked up the sponge, which now ran in and over the lace-up boot.
"When did that happen?" His voice was razor-sharp. "Why don't you have any of this
She looked piqued at Cooper and shook her head. "I didn't notice," she said
He took out his hunting knife and cut her pant leg right at the crease until
up to her underwear. She held her breath in shock and fear.
Cooper, on the other hand, who stared at her leg, let out a resigned breath. "Such a crap."
Everything was spinning in her head. She was sick.
It was pounding hot in her earlobes, and her throat burned. Each hair root felt like one
Needle in her scalp. Her fingers and toes tingled unbearably. She was already
once fainted when the dentist put a root canal on her. Rusty knew
But why the hell did this have to happen to her now? Here, in front of him?
"Slowly, very slowly." Cooper held her shoulders and carefully placed her on top of his
Floor back. "You don't know how and what you injured yourself from?"
She shook her head dully. “Must have happened on impact. I don't have any
Felt pain. "
"The shock. And now?"
Only now did she become aware of the pain. "To be endured." His eyes demanded the truth
of her. “No, honestly, it's bearable. I've lost a lot of blood, haven't I? "
"Of course." He rummaged in the first aid kit. "I have to wipe the blood away so that I can
can see where it's coming from. "
He pulled out a clean t-shirt from the backpack she was carrying and started with
his work. Rusty felt the pressure of his hands, but hardly anything else while they were in those
Branches looked over. Perhaps it was premature to thank God she was still alive.
Maybe she was bleeding to death here on the floor without her or Cooper mind
could undertake. He would probably even be glad that he was finally rid of her.
His faint curse tore her from her macabre reflections. She raised her head and looked at her
injured leg. There was a deep wound on her shin, the tear started just below
her knee and pulled herself down to the sock. She recognized muscle meat, tendons. It was
disgusting. She whimpered.
"Damn it, stay where you are."
Rusty obeyed the unsympathetic invitation. "How can that have happened without that
I felt it? "
"Probably burst open on impact, like the skin of an overripe tomato."
"Is there anything you can do?"
"Clean it with iodine." He opened the brown bottle and dipped the tip of the T-shirt
"Is it going to hurt?"
He ignored her frightened look and dabbed the wound with iodine. Rusty bit her
Lower lip so as not to scream out loud, but there was pain in her face.
"Breathe through your mouth if you think you are vomiting," he advised her flatly.
"I'm almost done."
She screwed up her eyes and only opened them again when she heard the sound of tearing
Fabric heard. Cooper tore another t-shirt into strips, tying it tightly on hers
"That'll have to be enough for now." He said it more to himself than to her. Then he took it again
the knife at hand. "Raise your hips."
She did it without saying a word, without looking at him. He cut off the pant leg, right on hers
Thigh. She felt his hands on, under and between her thighs. Its rough
Knuckles brushed her soft, warm skin, but she didn't need to feel embarrassed. What
As for him, he might as well have cut up a steak, so much emotion showed
"You can't walk with that."
"Of course I can!" Rusty felt a panic rise.
She was afraid he would go on without her. He stood over her, legs apart, and
looked around. His eyebrows were drawn together and he was chewing his lip when
would he think hard about something.
Was he weighing his options? Should he leave her here or not? Maybe
he was also thinking about killing her as a quick act of grace instead
to let her die here of her wound.
Finally he leaned over to her, put his hands under her armpits, and put her on.
"Take off your coat and that ski jacket on."
Without protest she let her fur coat be taken off her shoulders. With the hatchet
Cooper chopped off three young trees and freed them from their branches. Silently watched
Rusty, how he formed an H from the logs and the connection points with laces
which he had pulled from the boots of the dead men. Then he took hers
Fur coat and put the sleeves over each trunk. Rusty winced when he saw a hole
poked through the lower hem of the precious fox cloak.
He looked at her. "What is?"
She swallowed, aware that he wanted to test her. "Nothing. The coat was a gift
He looked at her for a few seconds before cutting a second hole and then the one
Trunks stuck through.
The result was a primitive stretcher. No Indian who adhered to his tradition would have
known for that, but Rusty admired Cooper's ingenuity. And it was infinite
Relieved that he didn't seem to plan to leave her here or otherwise
to get rid of.
He dropped the construction on the floor next to her, picked Rusty up and placed her on top of the
soft fur. Then he covered her with several furs.
"I haven't seen an animal up here that has fur like this," she said, stroking it
Fingers through the fine, thick hair.
"I beg your pardon?"
“This is what the Inuit call the musk ox. It means 'the bearded one'. I didn't chase him
but bought the fur. Keeps you very warm. ”He tucked the ends under her back and legs.
"You have to take care not to fall down and stay covered yourself."
He wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. He winced when he saw the bruise
touched on his temple. If Rusty had been hit like that, she would be
Probably bedridden for a week. The headache half made him feel
"Thanks, Cooper," she said quietly.
He froze, looked down at her, and only nodded curtly. Then he turned away and
collected the makeshift equipment. He threw the two rucksacks on her lap,
likewise the shotguns. "Just take care of them, okay?"
"Where are we going now?"
“Southwest. Sooner or later we'd have to go to a civilization outpost
"Oh." She dared not move, had a bad idea that this trip wasn't a
Sunday stroll would be. "Could I have an aspirin?"
He took the tube out of his pocket and shook two tablets into her hand.
"I can't take it without water."
He snorted impatiently. "Either dry or with brandy"
He handed her a hip flask and watched her closely. With contempt for death she set them
small opening to the lips and took a swig of the tablets
wash down. She coughed and gasped, tears welling up in her eyes, but she handed him over
dignified the bottle back. "Thanks."
A grin flickered around his lips. “You may not have much sense, lady, but you do
have guts. "
And that, she thought, was as close to a compliment as it was from Cooper
Landry could ever expect. He tucked the ends of the logs under them
Arms and marched off, dragging the stretcher behind him. After just a few steps
Her teeth began to chatter, and she would soon have countless bruises
Decorate the rear. She realized she wasn't much better off on this stretcher than when she was
would run. In what the rocky forest floor did to the satin lining of her fur coat, dared
they don't even think about it.
It was getting darker and colder. Light precipitation began. Sleet shower, like that
the meteorologists probably called it. Icy grains no larger than grains of salt. Your injured
Leg began to throb painfully, but she would have bitten off her tongue rather than shut
whine. She heard Cooper's strained breathing. He wasn't doing very well either. If
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