Whisper In The Wind (Chapter 8, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 8

Realizing sleep was not in her agenda, she headed outside to clean the barn and then take Mystique on a ride around the property. It offered the perfect opportunity to consider plans for the new ranch and forget about her mixed-up love life, or lack of. "Good thing work never ends around here or I'd be brooding all day." Once outside, a chill overtook her and hairs stood on end. She rubbed the back of her neck, but the sensation of being watched lingered. The burn barrel caught her glance and she realized she had forgotten to burn the rattlesnake. She stared in shock at the empty burn barrel. "Who would want a dead rattlesnake? Wait, no one knew I received it, did they?" She shook her head and went into the barn. "Garrett may have seen it. Or it was Scott. He knows more than he's saying. Who do you trust when your own voice is unsteady?"

"Hey, girl," Caitlin said to Mystique, opening the stall door. In an instant, a board broke loose and the jagged edges cut her arm and hand. "Ouch." Her voice exploded into sobs and echoed throughout the barn. Mystique whinnied and snorted, but stayed in her stall. Blood drained from Caitlin's face as she fell to her knees, doubling over in pain.

At first, her breathing was quick and shallow, but within minutes it turned slow and deep, as if someone had placed his hand on her back and rubbed in a gentle loving manner. "Whoa," she said reaching for anything to steady herself as she stood and found the room spinning.

Uneven steps led her to the house where she grabbed kitchen towels to wrap around the cuts. The bleeding refused to stop. "You can do this, Caitlin," she repeated on the drive to town, knowing it was quicker than waiting for someone to come and get her.

The centerline appeared as four lines, so she opened her eyes wide and then squinted. It never returned to one line. "Please let me get there in one piece," she prayed over and over until she reached the doctor's office in town.

Once the car was parked, she rested her head on the steering wheel. Deep breaths calmed the nausea rising from her stomach to her throat. Minutes passed before she stumbled out of the car and into the doctor's office. After being stitched up and bandaged, she returned home.

She nestled into the porch swing, a blanket over her legs to keep out the cool air. Each heartbeat caused her hand and arm to throb, making relaxing near impossible. Omen or freak accident registered in her mind, but neither seemed plausible. For one, she did not believe in omens. For two the barn was newly repaired. Her head dropped in the realization that Scott may have done it. "Why?" she asked as a sharp pang like a knife stab struck her heart. "I can't believe he would do this to me."

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