Day One Hundred Eighteen
This morning I took my only dress, cut it into strips and wrapped the injured hoof, after cooling it in the stream. Then I wrapped all four of Flecha’s legs as a precaution against other injuries. I loaded as much of my gear as I could carry onto my own aching back, strapped the rest onto Flecha, and led her out onto the trail.
What a horrible day. Sometimes the rain came down in sheets, sometimes it just drizzled. At times I waded in mud and water as deep as my ankles. I tried to keep Flecha on higher, smoother ground, but didn’t always succeed. Sometimes she had to pull through the mud too, and the wrapping on her hoof would come off and I would have to stop and wrap her foot again.
It was rough going. I stumbled over things. I fell on a log and cut my hand. Sometimes the wind blew the rain in gusts that tore at my clothes and chilled me through. I dropped my packs in the water, I tripped on a branch and fell onto some rocks, and am probably turning three shades of purple underneath my wet clothes. And finally, after losing the rest of my food in a puddle, I leaned up against Flecha’s shoulder and cried. I could go no farther. If Flecha and I don’t both end up with pneumonia after today, it will be a miracle.
I barely had the heart to make a shelter for us. What good would it do? We’re going to die out here and it’s all my fault. I’m cold and wet, my food is ruined, and not even the stupid birch bark that I was told would light in any weather will ignite.
So close to Kentucky and I feel like I’ve failed! I’ll never get there. I might as well just lie down in the mud, since I’m covered in it already, and die. The only reason I don’t is because Flecha is watching me. She didn’t fight me about going under the tarp tonight. And she’s standing here looking at me, wearing my only dry blanket and resting her sore hoof on one of my leather bags, which I emptied and stuffed full of leaves and grass to make a cushion for her. Sometimes she reaches down and nuzzles my neck. It’s almost like she knows I’m trying.
Poor Flecha. She deserves better. I know I’ll have to get up in the morning and try again. Maybe it’s just the rain and the mud, and being lost and hungry that’s making me feel this way. But I don’t even have the heart to go back into the rain and find something to eat. Everything seems too hard tonight. It’s easier to just be hungry.
Flechita has moved a little closer. She knows I’m feeling bad. I guess we’ll just have to be strong for each other, and try again in the morning. It can’t rain forever. And there has to be a town or a cabin or something nearby. I know I’m not the only person left in the world. But tonight, it sure feels like it.
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