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The Executions

THE EXECUTIONS
An Archaeological Mystery

By Catherine Grant




When National Park Service historian Derek Chavez opens a box of memorabilia belonging to William Grant IV, he doesn't realize that he has just begun an investigation that will involve his archaeologist wife Cassie Mitchell and her forensic anthropologist pal Rory Saint. The three of them begin to uncover, of all things, the mystery of four men found with bullets through their skulls, and evidence of mass trauma to their bones, all buried in the mid-1860's. Who would have hated enough to execute four men within sight and sound of Fort Union, New Mexico and put them in a common grave?




When Lieut. Wil Grant leads a patrol into the foothills west of Fort Union, New Mexico on the afternoon of October 18, 1862, little does he know that the day will change the course of the rest of his life. Luckily he has more to live, unlike the rest of his patrol. Four hours later, they're dead, and he lies beside his slaughtered horse, pouring his life's blood into the sand, awaiting rescue.

Grant's luck stays with him until Grace McGregor, an abandoned rancher's wife, finds him, binds his wounds, and takes him off to her three-room house. There she begins to learn that not all men are harsh and cruel, that some can be kind, generous and giving, and that she can desire a man's touch instead of fear it. Grant and Grace begin to heal more than physical wounds when the husband that Grace thought abandoned her returns to demand food, drink and a wife's duty.

What retribution will U.S. Army Lieut. Grant demand for the abuse of the woman he loves? And how will Cassie Mitchell, Derek Chavez and Rory Saint put it all together over a hundred years later?

[excerpt]

CHAPTER ONE

HUMAN REMAINS

 

Present Day. There I sat opposite The World Famous Dr. Rory Saint, in a clean, quiet, state-of-the art, air-conditioned anthropology laboratory in the heart of the Sonoran desert, staring at four skulls, three of them with holes in the middle of their foreheads.  I knew I’d be the envy of every archaeologist in the southwestern United States at that moment, if they only knew what I was getting to do.

"So, who do you think dunnit?”  I asked.

"Oh, come on, Cassie," Rory rolled his eyes.  "You're the one with the big imagination, not me.  You just wanted me to re-examine the remains.  I'll do it for you and Derek and for that ten grand he's promised me, and it will be a lot better than sitting in some Third World country wondering if I'm going to get shot.  I just wonder what you two want me to look for after all these years.”

"Anything archaeologist Charlie Morrison missed fifty years ago.  Anything he got wrong.  Any part of the story we can fill in," I prompted.  

My hubby Derek Chavez’s a historian working for the National Park Service.  I’m an archaeologist, same employer.  We like mysteries, the kind you can’t solve by asking questions of people still living.  We live to dig up the dirt on bad guys.  He does it by looking at moldy old pieces of paper.  I do it by getting my hands muddy, rounding up a bunch of experts, poking at bones and artifacts, taking Derek’s historic facts, and putting all the pieces together.

"Charlie was damn good for his time.  What makes you think he missed a thing?”  Rory asked.

"He's not you," I suggested slyly.  "Plus, he didn't know what you know about the military in the 1860's and 1870's.  These four guys were buried in a shallow, mass grave within sight of Fort Union, New Mexico sometime between 1862 and 1872.  Three of them were shot through the head with .38 caliber bullets.  One man had been beat to hell, both legs broken, with his shoulder holding a . 50 caliber lead bullet.  One guy’s sternum had a bayonet wound in it.  FU-4 over there, the ring-leader, had his head smashed in, as if the bullet didn't kill him and someone decided to finish him off with a sledge hammer.”

Rory didn’t even flinch.  He may look mild-mannered, but he’s a man of steel underneath that white lab coat.

I continued.  “None of them was wearing their boots or coats, nor did they have anything in their pockets.  Some of them might have been American Indians.  Whoever killed one guy let him keep his abalone shell pendant and a shell and turquoise bracelet.”

I adopted my sassiest attitude.  "These dudes must have been pretty bad for the military to beat 'em up so badly, dump 'em in such a crummy little grave, take everything they owned, and then walk away without so much as an amen.”

"So you just answered your own question, Cassie.  You believe the Army did it.” Rory thought he was pretty smart, making me admit my prejudices without him coming clean first.

I spit and blustered and circled the wagons.  Humph.  

"Okay, so you got another idea?”  I demanded.

"Not until I've read the reports and field notes of the archaeologist who did the original excavations.  And not until I've done my job by measuring, photographing and inspecting through microscopes and deciding what other sorts of analyses need to be done.  AND not until Derek has done his job and comes up with some good historical material, too.”

"Oh, you want some facts, " I observed.

He snorted and picked up FU-1’s skull.  "You got it, Cass.”


                                      * * *


A month before Present Day.
My husband, Derek Chavez, one of the world’s most brilliant historians, staggered into his office carrying a big, old wooden box with a hinged lid. Perfectly respectable peers hovered around him like he had something to do with the Second Coming, and they were his prophets. I stood back in admiration. I love Derek. I feel like a prophet myself. At home, that is, in private. I certainly wasn’t going to do any such thing at the office.

“Okay, so what’s all this bowing and scraping?” I asked like all of this was somehow beneath me. Being the boss’ wife and working down the hall in another division, I can get uppity at this end of the hall from time to time. Most people in Derek’s office just find me a sort of minor annoyance and tell me to go play in the dirt if I get too obnoxious. My being an archaeologist, they think this is funny and somehow appropriate.

This time, though, Derek was all excited, so his co-workers were excited, and they ignored me entirely. He gathered us all around. He wanted an audience while he revealed his Treasures.

“Wait’ll you see what I got,” he announced in hushed tones. Word spread faster than a rumor that the next regional director was going to be the Machiavellian devil now running the planning office. Half the people in the building filled the little conference room across from his office faster than if someone had shouted “Crispy Crème!” at the top of their lungs. That’s because Derek’s office is right next to the Information Technology people, who subsist on donuts.

When he had a good-sized audience gathered, he quieted the crowd by dramatically opening the lid of the age-stained box. Not a soul breathed. He turned the lid so that everyone could get a good gander. Carved into the top was the name “William Grant.”

I sucked in my breath. My Lord, this was going to be good. It had something to do with the G-J Ranch, that humongous spread surrounding the ghost town of Loma Parda, southwest of Fort Union National Monument. Everyone in the conference room knew the importance of the G-J Ranch. William Grant IV owned a ranch, including most of the abandoned and damned village of Loma Parda, otherwise known as “the Sodom on the Mora” – River, that is. The ranch and the sinful little village that it once held adjoined Fort Union, now a National Monument, but once one of the most important U. S. Army forts in the west.  Grant wanted to donate 4,000 acres of his ranch, all of it free and clear, to the United States Government, just to keep his family’s legend alive. And it was up to Derek to determine whether the place had enough historical significance that the United States Government would want the place.

“This box, my friends, contains the personal records of the William Grant family, going back four generations to William Grant I, who got this little ranch off on the right foot. None of the stuff in this crate has ever been seen by anyone outside of the Grant family before. Those of us in this room are the first people not named Grant to ever lay eyes on the treasures in this box.”

He waited expectantly. No one applauded. I waited six seconds, realized what he wanted, and then obliged by clapping my hands. His staff and my co-workers down in the Archaeology Division, and then the folks from the Submerged Resources Division, and finally someone from Historical Architecture all decided to join in. We had a halfway decent cheer going when curator Genevieve Yellowfeather bustled up with her long, black braids flying behind her, her cowboy boots thumping on the carpet and all of her silver rings clattering.

“What are you doing here!” she spoke with dead calm into the immediate silence that fell.

“Opening up a box,” I piped up helpfully.

Derek slit his throat with his finger, but I knew it was mine he wanted to slice open, with a real knife.

“Derek was just getting ready to call you, Genny, because he has a ton of great records he needs to get an accession number for, and–oh, good! You brought white cotton gloves! Because he needs them – and he wants to tell us what he has here! You’re great for coming!” I gushed.

The daggers Derek were throwing at me were nothing compared to the ones he’d have been digging out of his own back if Genevieve had caught him without those white cotton gloves going through hundred-year-old documents that hadn’t even been accessioned into her curation facility. I knew it, so I’d given her a call the second I’d seen the box roll up to the elevator downstairs. What did he do before he married me? Sheesh.

Still throwing daggers at me (I threw a few kisses back his direction), he pulled on the gloves and signed the forms and gave me a pleading look, so I went over and started complimenting Genevieve on her latest ring and matching earrings while Derek dipped into his box. I heard the “oohs” behind me and turned around to see Derek bring out a big, framed, black and white photograph of the original McGregor ranch-house, a little three-room log cabin with a wide front porch. Genevieve passed out sets of the gloves, and Derek started pulling out the goodies as Genevieve sat next to him and kept up a running inventory. The dozen folks in the room acted as if it was Christmas and this was the best one we’d had in a decade. I heard another rumble of excitement as he brought forth a pistol. I’m no expert, but it looked very much like a Colt .44, something everybody in the world over the age of forty has seen on television a million times. Only this one looked really old.

 

That evening, Dirk pretended to be P. O.’d with me for about ten seconds, but couldn’t keep it up. I asked him how long he thought he could keep that box hidden from Genevieve, and he admitted not even a day because Megan, who had the office next door to him, was her best friend, and it was probably better that I had snitched since I needed to build up points.

“You can tell on me next time,” I promised.

He muttered and grumbled and made a pretense at being put out. Then he grinned.

“You had to leave too soon.”

“Oh, yeah? What’d you find?” I teased, cuddling up to him, hoping our teenager was busy emailing her friends or killing aliens on video games or something.

He felt around under my shirt to see what I had for him.

“Mmmm. Something nice,” he murmured.

“No, in the box,” I reminded him, but I didn’t let him take his hand away.

“Oh. There. Photographs. Colt revolver. Scrapbook, with old newspaper clippings from Las Vegas, New Mexico. One about the discovery of four bodies at Fort Union in 1958. Another about the execution of four soldiers guys from Fort Union in 1863 after a saloon brawl in Loma Parda.”

He waggled his eyebrows at me.

“Oh?”

“A local rancher and his two Hispanic ranch hands, both of whom had signed up the previous spring, as well as one of the soldiers who went looking for him.”

“Sounds like they might be the same guys. Anything else?”

“A diary. Kept by an officer’s wife, between January 1862 and December 1873,” Dirk replied suggestively.

“She was at Fort Union for eleven years? During the period the guys were killed?”

“Yeah. She could have sub-titled it ‘Eleven Years in Hell,’” he chuckled.

“You think she might know something about our burials?” I asked.

“I’m on it tomorrow,” he promised, “as long as you can keep Genevieve out of my office. It’ll take me a while to read it, and if our event of interest took place near the end of the period, well, we may not know for awhile. I don’t know who or what I’m looking for. You know the Army. The clues will be buried in code.”

“Well, I’ll keep our favorite curator off your back,” I vowed.


 

 

 

 

                      CHAPTER TWO

                       THE AMBUSH

 

October 1862. Lieut. William Grant leaned forward and patted his buckskin gelding on the neck, soothing him. The black German shepherd that followed him everywhere circled nervously under the horse’s legs. Both horse and soldier ignored her.

“Easy, Duke,” he spoke in a clear, but low voice. He couldn’t blame the horse for feeling nervous. He didn’t like the looks of this box canyon, either.

“Looks like they went in here, I’d say no more than twelve hours ago, sir,” the tracker kneeling on the ground spoke up. “Still looks like six of them.”

“All right. Sanchez and I will go check it out. You two stay out here.” He touched his heels to Duke’s belly and turned him towards the cliffs he could see rising at the end of the box canyon.

They’d been chasing this and any number of other small bands of renegade Southerners for months now, ever since the Battle of Glorieta Pass at the end of March. Grant didn’t know what was more irritating, hunting Apaches and Navajos or Confederate deserters. At least the Indians, in his mind, had a good reason for putting up a fight. They thought their land was being taken away from them. Damned if he understood why the Texans who’d lost at Glorieta felt they had to stick around and take potshots at the Union Army. They couldn’t possibly win, and they’d all get rounded up sooner or later. Just a waste of manpower sending out these patrols every time someone got a rumor of another band of them stealing cattle and causing trouble in the local countryside. The boys of the New Mexico Volunteers didn’t like it, and next thing you knew, they’d be running short of officers in the First New Mexico and having to borrow out of the regular Army, like Grant here.

Not that Grant didn’t like working with the First New Mexico Volunteers. They were good men, for the most part. Still a little rough. They’d only been regrouped since May, but these small forays working with officers in the regular Army was bringing them into fighting trim, and it wouldn’t be too much longer before the entire regiment would be in top notch shape.

The lieutenant and his tracker and the big, black dog proceeded up a dry streambed, following the readily-visible tracks of the horses ridden by the Rebels. The canyon appeared to be cut about a mile into a local limestone outcropping, the walls rising to about five hundred vertical feet at the far end of the box. Out here, the mouth opened a thousand feet or more, still narrow enough that the two guards should hear if anyone tried to leave. Unless the Rebs jumped them from an ambush, the canyon was small enough that the reinforcements should hear any ruckus they kicked up.

The tracks stayed in the wide, shallow, dry streambed. The gray-coats hadn’t tried to hide their passage. Grant allowed his attention to wander to the rocks up ahead, letting Sanchez watch the tracks. Like the last autumn he spent in New Mexico, this one had been full of clear blue skies, warm days and crisp, cold nights. Here, in this canyon, the trees ranged from deep green juniper, piñon, and towering ponderosas to blazing golden cottonwoods near the streambed. The contrast in colors, especially against the buff-colored cliffs in this stark, clear air, dazzled the eyes. He’d grown to love this country, with its vibrant hues and stark landscapes, so different from the cool greens and rich earth of his native Illinois.

“That way,” Sanchez indicated. A narrow pathway left the streambed and climbed towards the southern wall of the canyon.

“A way out?” Grant asked.

Sanchez shrugged.

The lieutenant turned his horse up the narrow path, noting that several mounts had passed that way recently. It appeared to be a cattle trail, not the sort of thing any person had made, but the Rebels had taken advantage of it. So they hadn’t boxed themselves in after all. Grant grunted, reassessing what he had taken for either stupidity or a trap.

“Let’s check it out, then you can go back for the others,” the lieutenant noted.

He spoke too soon.

The loud report of a musket exploding to his right sounded simultaneously with a searing pain in Grant’s right thigh. His horse screamed, reared and collapsed, throwing him clear of the saddle. Dazed, the officer hugged the ground, trying to get his bearings and understand what sort of hell he’d just ridden into.

Gunfire erupted around him, and a plume of dust fountained into the air in front of his face. He glanced around for shelter and saw only the body of his horse, lying five feet away. Pushing away with his right leg, he screamed in agony. He’d been shot there. The left served him better.

Another scream. Impossibly, this one also came from his mouth. The left sleeve of his blue uniform coat grew dark with blood. Grant whipped off his yellow kerchief and tied it securely around his upper arm, hoping to slow the flow of blood. Damn if he’d die before he’d gotten off even one shot at the bastards.

“Sanchez!” he yelled, sticking his head cautiously up over the edge of the saddle as he reached for the new breech-loading Springfield he’d been issued not two months before. At least he’d be able to load more efficiently than anything those Rebs could possibly have.

Damn. Sanchez lay by his horse, his arms and legs askew, face up, eyes staring sightless, not moving.

“Private. Answer me,” Grant ordered. He suspected the man couldn’t hear him.

Grant’s standing orders to the other men had been for one to come to their aide and assistance, if they heard any gunfire, while the other went for help. God Almighty. Help couldn’t come soon enough, and this was a death sentence waiting for the one about to ride into the trap. How long before Pvt. Montoya got here? Could he shout an order to stay away in time?

Grant eyed the rocks and trees within shooting distance, gauging where his enemies lay. Looking around the ground, he found a stick. He took off his hat and balanced it on the end of the stick, holding it in his left hand. Pulling his Colt revolver from his holster, the one he’d used so effectively at the battle of Shiloh, he slowly raised the hat above the horse’s withers. It tumbled off the stick in a fuselage of leaden balls, but now the lieutenant knew  that one shooter  was stationed behind that rock about thirty feet to the north, another behind the bole of that big ponderosa off to the right, and a third up in the piñon over to the left. There had been two other shooters, but he couldn’t tell where they were.

Grant, now that he could see the gray-coated man in the piñon, took careful aim and fired his revolver. The rebel soldier didn’t even cry out. He simply collapsed in his perch in the tree, dropping his musket to the ground. The captain smiled grimly. One down and five to go.

He raised his head slightly to take aim at the ponderosa, meaning to draw the soldier out, firing quickly twice in sequence. He didn’t make it. He heard the musket shot, and then all went dark.


                                    * * *


A dead branch stuck out of the trunk of the lightning-struck piñon.  Grace swung the axe down on it, hitting it squarely, and breaking it off with a solid crack.  The tree probably fell two summers ago during that magnificent thunderstorm that stampeded the cattle, the time when Gus and his two hands spent a week finding them all.  The men got drunk when they got home after that round-up.  Grace grimaced as she attacked the skeleton of the tree, imagining it to be her unlamented husband.  Chopping off his limbs in her imagination gave her only small satisfaction for the world of abuse he provided her all those times he came home drunk.

The extra strength the anger lent her left her exhausted, and she had to stop lobbing off the dead branches in order to rest and catch her breath.  She moved away from the charred tree and into the shadow of a nearby piñon, the dense needles providing a cool shade in the breeze that swept over the ridgeline.  As the air shifted a bit to the south, Grace caught the sound of a dog barking.

Odd, she thought.  Ben Donaldson lives over three miles away.  I've never heard of his dogs wandering so far.  Also, they're cattle dogs.  They wouldn't be barking so much.  She listened for a good minute more, trying to identify the animal, but she couldn't.  Grace McGregor knew the neighbors' dogs better than she knew many of their owners, most of whom were men, people Gus would not let her get to know too well.  She fed their dogs on the few occasions when their masters came to help with the round-up or to play poker and drink Gus' bad whiskey and eat Grace's food.  But being cattle dogs, few of them spoke to her.  She'd rarely heard any of them bark.

Jess, the dog who looked to her, appeared out of the surrounding piñon-juniper brush land, panting from the steady trot he had set himself.  A gray and brown brindle with short hair and straight ears, he blended perfectly with the shadows of the short New Mexico forest.  The quintessential cattle dog, Jess was an animal meant to work on the southwest ranch.  She knew he felt affronted at the moment, to be guarding Grace while she gathered wood instead of watching cattle, but a ranching  dog’s job included a wide variety of tasks, and so he’d have to take the quieter work in stride, while he lived for the next round-up.

Jess knew what was up, better than Grace, so she found a secure place to stow the axe, retrieved the Springfield carbine  from where she had leaned it against a living ponderosa, and mounted up on Max, one of the sensible quarter-horses she'd been surprised to find in the stable when Gus left the last time.  Grace could only imagine that her husband had meant to come back for him and Minx, his partner, then got drunk and forgot about their value.

As she so often did, Grace said a silent prayer that Gus now lay dead somewhere and would never come to claim either the two horses or his wife.

The dog continued to bark.  Rather than try to chase the sound on the shifting breeze, Grace followed Jess, who seemed to know exactly what they were looking for and how to get there.  Indeed, the sound of the animal's sharp woofs became steadily louder. 

The dog's barking halted abruptly as Grace and her mount came to a steep drop-off.  She did not need to rein in Max.  He saw the cliff as soon as she did and shied away, skipping a little in the icy mud.  An expert horsewoman, she kept her seat.  It helped that Max knew how to keep a rider on his back and sidled with her in mind.  They always worked as partners, even when startled.

Jess had already found a safe way over the edge, being smaller and more agile.  He barked once to let them know the way, poked his head up to make sure they saw him, and then disappeared down the narrow pathway between two limestone columns arising along the canyon wall.  Grace dismounted to allow Max a little more discretion, took the ends of his reins, and started down the steep path.  After the slide on the mud, she knew it wouldn’t do to ride Max down the slope.  The horse followed gamely after snorting a perfunctory complaint about know-it-all dogs.  Grace chuckled at the running feud between the two of them, but pointed out that they all needed each other.  Max simply muttered something under his breath.  Jess, being too far ahead, probably didn’t hear a word either of them said and wouldn’t have replied anyway, just looked on with his usual doggy grin.

Jess found the strange dog at the bottom of the canyon, standing next to a mound of bloodied blue wool and a dead horse.  The big, black and brown Alsatian growled menacingly at him, but wouldn’t leave his position straddling the strangely still shape of the soldier crumpled at the base of the cliff.  Grace gasped when she saw the heap of blue wool, boots, hat and leather.  She wondered if the dog guarded a corpse.

She dropped Max’s reins, knowing he wouldn’t go anywhere but to the nearest clump of grass.  She pushed the Springfield into its place in his saddle boot and took down the canteen.   Glancing at the big Alsatian, Grace decided to pull a strip of jerky out of the saddlebag, thinking it might convince the dog she was a friend. 

“Jess,” she suggested sternly.  “Why don’t you back off some?  I think you’re making this fellow nervous.”

Her dog grumbled a little, obviously not liking the idea of letting Grace get between him and the bigger dog, but he knew who was boss, so he sidled off to one side, keeping the hair bristling up along his shoulders and spine just to show how fierce he could be.  As Jess moved away, Grace slowly advanced towards the big black dog, keeping an eye on his ears, tail and hackles to see how he’d welcome her.

He accepted her more readily than he had Jess.  He waved his tail slowly while his ears stood straight up and alert.  He stopped his growling, and the fur along his shoulders lay down.  He bent his knees slightly and lowered his head, and kept lowering it as Grace moved closer.  When she reached him, he sniffed the back of her hand politely, and then turned over on his back to let her know he recognized her as a superior being.  Grace saw immediately that she had been wrong to think of the dog as male. 

The bitch spun to her feet the moment Jess began to move forward, and Grace barked “Stay!” in her dog’s direction.  He whined briefly, but obeyed.  Grace turned back towards the big dog, and brought out the jerky, breaking it into two pieces.  She tossed one to Jess and gave the other to the Alsatian simultaneously, waiting until the two of them should establish their pecking order before she began to play favorites.

Having established that she was friend, not foe, the bitch nuzzled the man’s jaw, whining.  Keeping one eye on the dog, Grace placed two fingers on the artery that ran through the soldier’s throat.  It took only a moment to find his pulse, weak, but steady.  She closed her eyes and sent another silent prayer to her Lord, this one in thanks for keeping him alive.

It didn’t take long to figure out why he looked so twisted.  He lay with his right leg bent unnaturally sharp beneath him.  When Grace tried to straighten the leg, it turned in her hands in a way a leg was not meant to move.  The man moaned without coming to consciousness.  A fresh spurt of blood soaked the leg of his gold-striped Army trousers.  She realized he suffered a compound fracture, and she had just done him further injury. 

It took a great deal of tugging, pushing, rolling, and cursing, but with the help of a slight downhill slope, Grace finally managed to move the well-built man’s torso away from his badly broken leg.  At first she feared that he might have broken his back as well, but she decided if he had, there was little she could do about that, except ease his dying.  Once she had him fully extended on his back, she could assess his injuries and see what she could do about tending to them.

The right leg was only the worst of a number of injuries.  Had he fallen over the cliff edge? No, those were bullet wounds, large ones, one that had shattered his right femur, another, smaller one in his left arm, and a third to his head.  Even as Grace began to put the story together, she heard a throaty whinny off to her right.  Not thirty feet away lay the heaving side of a horse.  With a shrill scream, it tried to gain its feet, but failed, and collapsed to its side once again.  Again, the animal’s sides rose and fell, slowing until the dun-colored mound almost disappeared into the canyon wall again.

Grace took a deep breath before climbing to her feet.  She went to Max’s side and retrieved her Springfield rifle, the brand new model that Gus had treasured so.  Grace had hidden it from him that last night and had known she risked his awful wrath for doing so, but it had been well worth the risk.  She didn’t know what she would have done without that weapon since he had gone.  Now she checked the chamber to make sure it held a live round before walking to the wounded animal’s head.  A single shot ended its misery.  The dog did not interfere, but merely sniffed at the suddenly still body when she had finished her job.

Only then did she see the other three bodies, two men and another horse, all deadly still. Dark blood, still red and glistening, slowly streamed from numerous wounds on both men’s bodies. Oddly enough, Grace knew at a glance that neither blue-clad soldier lived. How she had guessed the first man still breathed and these didn’t she couldn’t have said.

Just in case she might be wrong, she felt under each man’s jaw for a pulse, but even their skin had started to cool. Both stared at her with dull, unseeing eyes. She tried to close their lids, but rigor mortis had started to set in,

Grace turned back to the broken pile of a man.  She wondered, had she been able to ask, what he would prefer, a bullet or three months of painful healing.  Glad he couldn’t answer such a question, and knowing what she had to do, she took the rifle back to Max’s saddle. Pulling up her skirt, she pulled off her petticoats to tear up for bandages, and began to scout around for some long straight poles with which to fashion some splints. 

 

 

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