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This week I'm sharing six paragraphs from Sarah's Heart, the predecessor to Sarah's Passion. This is the main story and one I loved creating. The ending, although typical for the time and era, escaped the imagination of those who only enjoy happily-ever-afters, so I wrote Sarah's Passion to tie everything together in one neat little bow.
There is no need to set up the story as I'm sharing from the opening scene. Hope you'll want to read more:
Sarah Collins struggled to open her eyes against the glare, but the pounding pain in her head urged he to keep them closed. She swept the tip of her tongue across cracked lips, her mouth as dry as the feathers in her pillow—yet she felt no downy softness beneath her, only an uncomfortable jabbing in her back. Her palms groped along something gritty. Where was she?
Suddenly patchy memories flooded back. The taste of bile filled her throat. She struggled to sit, groaning as she pushed herself up from the dusty ground and the offending stone stabbing at her spine. Her eyes misted with tears, and fear clutched at her chest as she surveyed what remained of the wagon train.
Grasping her constricting throat, Sarah stood, scanning the eerie site. The bodies of her new friends lay scattered amongst the smoking ruins, some oddly contorted and others positioned just as they’d fallen. Her heart ached for the mother who sat propped against a wagon wheel, clutching her baby to her breast—both obviously dead. Sarah covered her mouth to stifle a scream. Oh sweet Jesus, why kill a defenseless infant?
Was she the only survivor? As evidenced by an attacker’s body lying a few feet from her, someone had interceded and saved her life. There had to be someone else alive. There had to be! The hair on the back of her neck bristled.
If not for the carnage, the day would be beautiful—wispy clouds floated in a powder blue sky, and an endless sea of waving prairie grass announced the arrival of spring. The only sound came from water bubbling in the nearby stream as it traveled over a rocky bed.
Sarah remembered everything now. They had just made camp when war cries sliced the air. A few hours of daylight remained, but one family’s illness prompted the wagon master to halt travel for the day. Supper fires hadn’t even been lit when a band of whooping Indians with painted faces stormed the group. There must have been twenty or more on horseback. The last thing Sarah recalled was running to fetch her rifle.
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