Collision Course - Part Four
Jamie pulled his horse up short as they crested the hill and the valley opened before them. They had only stopped twice to rest the horses and grab a bite for themselves. It had been a long and hard ride but they had made good time and Jamie was relatively certain they hadn’t been followed.
“Murtagh,” he called his kinsman who had been bringing up the rear and keeping a close eye on Frank who looked like he might drop off the back of Claire’s horse at any moment. “I want ye to ride back a ways just to be sure we were no followed.”
“Do ye want me to go up to the house on my way to meet ye at the cave?”
Jamie flushed red. “No. I’ll go when I’m ready.”
Murtagh nodded and bit his tongue. The lad knew the danger of being on the property without warning folk he was around. Of course if the rumors were true it could be dangerous for him to go to the front door too. But it wasn’t a fight Murtagh was ready to have yet. It would keep until they were tucked safe away in the cave.
As Murtagh rode back, Claire eased her horse forward slowly trying to keep Frank from falling off.
“Where are we going?” To the house down there?” she asked.
He shook his head. “Canna take him to the house––too dangerous, especially wi’ him looking like he does,” Jamie muttered. He hadn’t expected Frank to look so like Black Jack. Given that the last he’d seen his sister had been when Black Jack carted him away, the last thing he wanted was to show up again with a man in tow who looked exactly like him but had clearly been beaten and cut up. “There’s a cave no too far where ye can treat him properly and rest a bit. The soldiers from the fort will check the hill wi’ the stones first thing along with Leoch.”
“But you don’t think they’ll come here?”
“To Lallybroch? Eventually, perhaps,” Jamie admitted. “Randall kens it’s where I’m from and he certainly recognized me. But Dougal and Leoch will keep them busy for a time and they’ll no know about the cave. We should be able to get the pair of ye back to the stones safe.”
Claire looked about to continue the conversation when Frank groaned from his tenuous perch.
Jamie led them downward into the valley and toward the treeline.
It took some careful maneuvering to get Frank down from the horse and on his feet. The uphill climb and rocky terrain meant Jamie was forced to help Frank up to the cave itself.
“I’ll go fetch ye some water,” Jamie said, searching for an excuse to get away from the cave and the sight of Claire with Frank.
“Oh,” Claire muttered, clearly disappointed. “Uh… well, I’ll get started on checking Frank’s wounds but I think he’ll need stitches.”
“Aye,” Jamie nodded. “Ye have yer box there, no? Is there more ye’ll need?”
“A bit of drink for sterilization and to help him with the pain,” she reminded him. “And possibly someone to help hold him still––or at least to hold a light.”
“Ah,” Jamie responded, flushing. “Well… Murtagh shouldna be too far behind. I’ll go fetch him––after I bring ye the water of course.” He turned to go and ignored Claire’s attempts to call him back.
She groaned with frustration and worry. She wanted desperately to talk to him, to explain… but what was there to explain? It was Frank who had no idea what was going on. Grappling with her medical box she returned to Frank’s side.
“Now will you please explain who in God’s name these people are and what the hell is going on,” Frank snapped as Claire began peeling back the improvised bandages gingerly.