I loaded our horses, and these generous people stuffed our packs with food and what medicines they had. When all was ready, Mama Norma’s sister helped me get Ishkin onto his horse, where I roped him into place, so he wouldn’t jerk around too much and fall off. I thanked Mama Norma for all her help and tried to give her the last of my silver, but she wouldn’t take it.
I tied the reins of Ishkin’s horse to Flecha’s saddle, and as I mounted my mare, I saw Mama Norma looking at Ishkin in that same sad way she did when we first arrived. I wish I knew who he reminded her of, but I guess it’s not important. If I had to guess, I’d say this village was probably caught in a retaliation attack as a result of the civil war. Some of the smaller groups that are fighting for local control can be vicious, killing even women and children.
But maybe something else happened. They weren’t talking and I wasn’t asking. There are too many things I don’t want strangers asking me, so I’m sure not going to pry into anyone else’s past.
Ishkin and I did the best we could, but it was hard to make good time heading west, due to snow on the ground and some rough areas we had to cross. I’m beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t head toward the remains of the old Interstate. I know there’s one to the south. I’m afraid of exposing ourselves to thieves, refugees, and whatever group is currently controlling the area, but if we don’t start making better time, we may have no choice.
Tonight Ishkin and I are camping in the remains of an old barn:
It doesn’t look like much, but the walls are thick adobe bricks, which at least keep out the wind. I made Ishkin a nest of old straw covered in a tarp, and used our other tarp to build a shelter around him, to keep his body heat in. I made the mistake of trying to get him to drink some boiled aspen bark before giving him the cannabis and some grain alcohol. He couldn’t choke down the aspen tea, so I gave him the muscle relaxing things and then the aspen, and that seemed to work better. He feels a little cooler now. I also boiled some jerky and made him drink the broth, so he would at least get a little nutrition.
His tent sure looks cozy from where I’m sitting by the fire. I wish I could go in there and sleep with him, but he’s twitching too much. I guess I’ll just sit here and read for awhile, then see if I can sleep a little. It’s hard to sleep though, when I’m cold and worried.
Having a sick kid on your hands is no picnic.
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