Thursday, December 26, 2019
Poplar Mountain Part 59 by Dellani Oakes
With the help of the women, and family, the brothers get the upper hand on Squires.
"Don't shoot!" Turner called. He walked into the clearing with his hands clasped behind his head.
Dollie leveled the shotgun at his balls. Phineas ran up, yanking Turner's hands behind him. With Dollie's help, he lashed the man's hands together before going to his father's side.
Wilt smiled feebly at him. "Just went through the meat," he mumbled. "I'm all right. How's Patty."
"I'm all right, Uncle Wilt. You saved my life." She fell into Will's embrace.
They could hear the rumble of a truck on the dirt road. Worried voices came from a few feet away.
"What the hell's going on? Who's hurt?" It was Doc Starbuck. "Get me some light!"
In response, someone turned on Will's truck lights. The other truck stopped a few feet away. Mr. Bertram and others from the school scrambled out, giving what help they could. Wilt and Lucius were carried into the house. The sheriff and his men were trussed like hogs and loaded on the back of Mr. Bertram's truck.
"I had my wife call the state police," Doc Starbuck said. "It'll take those city boys awhile yet, but they'll sort this out."
"We got another body back here," Mr. Bertram called. "Doc!"
A low moan sounded from the back of Will's truck.
"Who's this?" Doc asked.
"Name's McCleary. He's a friend of Daddy's," Will told him. "Squires beat him up, damn near kilt him. Can you save him, Doc?"
"Maybe. Let's get him down to my office. Will this truck go?"
"Tire's shot out. Dollie's car's up at the barn. I'll go get it."
Will drove Dollie's car down to the clinic with Patty and Doc tending the injured man. Mrs. Starbuck met them at the door, holding it while they carried McCleary inside. The men took him to the surgery and laid him on the operating table. Patty cut his clothing off while Doc examined his wounds. Will cleaned the wounds the best he could with iodine soap and warm water.
"Well, he's a lucky one," Doc declared. "Doesn't seem he's got internal injuries, but he's got him some broken ribs and and I think his arm is fractured. We'll get him set up good as new. You good to help, Will?"
"I'll help too," Patty said. "Mama's a nurse. I've helped her some."
"You're hired." He told them what he needed them to do.
An hour later, they had McCleary squared away. By that time, Wilt and Lucius had joined the medical parade. Phineas had bound his father's shoulder wound well. The bullet had gone clean through, blessedly missing the bone. Aside from cleaning and stitching, Doc didn't have to do anything more for him.
Lucius sat quietly in the corner. Mrs. Starbuck, who also had trained as a nurse, gave him a shot of morphine for pain. Feeling cloudy and befuddled, he waited his turn.
"Now, boy, we got a shoulder to fix." Doc washed his hands before positioning Will, Phineas and Mr. Bertram. "Miss Dollie, you go on out, now."
She did as she was told, joining Mrs. Starbuck in the kitchen.
"You two hold him. Will, you help me pull. Lucius, not gonna lie to ya, this is going to hurt like seven kinds of hell. You ready?"
"No, but do her up anyhow."
Nodding, Doc took Luke's arm. "On three," he told Will. "One, two, three—Pull!"
They yanked on Luke's arm. Phineas and Mr. Bertram held him to the chair. With a snap and pop, the arm went back in place. Lucius roared with pain. Dollie ran into the room, clutching his face to her chest. It hurt horribly, but a small part of Luke couldn't deny that having his face in her cleavage was worth it.
Doc chuckled. "Miss Dollie, don't smother the boy. He won't be fit for much if he can't breathe."
Giggling nervously, Dollie let go of Luke's head, but stood by his side as Doc put his arm in a sling.
"I never saw such a bunch for getting the hell knocked out of them," Doc Starbuck said. "And you keep coming back for more."
"The Henrys are a stubborn bunch," Wilt said proudly. "But nobody ever accused us of having an ounce of sense."
Rachel Henry came down sometime later, pale and worried. She she was too shaken to do much, so she sat and talked to the men while Mrs. Starbuck and the Belloits fixed breakfast. Seated at the long table, everyone was full of questions.
"What did the state police say, Mama?" Will asked.
"They've arrested Squires and his men. They wanna talk to Timothy when he wakes up. I told them all about the coal and the land troubles and how I think they kilt Earl."
"Is that safe, Mama?" Luke asked.
"Truth's bound to come out eventually. Better they hear it from me."
"In my mind, Earl's a hero," Mr. Bertram said. "He told me he'd never sell. Seemed to think I wanted him to. I had to come to him with that offer, Rachel. Broke my heart to." He hung his head. "Despite the problems we had, Earl was a friend of mine."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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