Now that you all have been brought up to speed, on to chapter 4.
Cassie and Maude stripped the soiled clothes from the still unconscious woman and started to clean the dirt and grime that covered her. Once her face was cleared of the dirt Cassie felt her heart skip a beat and her breath catch. She was indeed a very beautiful woman. She had seen that face in her dreams. She could only stare at the woman until she felt an elbow in her ribs. She came back to life to continue.
"Where did you go just now?" Asked her mother. "Do you know who she is?"
"I only know her from my dreams. For the last few weeks I have seen this very woman every night. I don't know who she is or where she comes from just that she visits me every night. Which brings another point. Mama maybe you shouldn't be so close to her. This may be typhoid and I don't want to risk you getting sick."
"Cassie, This is thyphoid, I've seen it before and she is going to need a lot of care over the next days . More than you can possibly give her yourself."
"When have you ever seen this before. I don't remember there ever being any cases around here before."
"You wouldn't remember it happened before you were born. That's how i got to know your father and fall in love with him"
As they worked she told Cassie the story from her past.
My father owned one of the saloons in town that's where I grew up. My first real job was dealing poker at one of the tables. I was allowed one glass of beer a night and there was always someone standing behind me as protection from the rowdies that very often didn't like losing. I was being courted by Doc at the time. We enjoyed each other's company, but we both knew that we weren't in love. We were friends and that is all we would ever be. I was 19 when typhoid hit. There was a draught, much like this one.
He didn't come into town often as his ranch kept him busy. That night he came in because he found one of the other ranchers sick on the road and he needed doc. He stayed throughout the night to wait for word and we talked. We walked around town and really talked. We watched the sun rise from the bridge over the river. He asked me if I ever thought I could live and be happy living on a ranch. I said yes. We were married two weeks later. We started our married life tending the sick. Once the crisis was over we moved back to this ranch. And the rest is history.
They heard the clatter of hooves as they finished. Cassie looked out the window next to her. "It's Dan with doc." She said.
"Good. You stay with her I'll show him up."
Cassie stood by the bed and wondered why she felt the strong pull to the girl. "Who are you? Why are you here? What brought you to this area? "
"We won't know that until she wakes up Cassie."
"Will she doc. Will she wake up?"
"I'll do everything I can to make sure she does, now you just move so I can examine her. I've wired St Loius for the serum and asked them to rush it We should have it by the end of the week." He pushed Cassie out of the way which was no easy task as she stood half a foot taller and was more muscular. He placed his bag on the bed and opened it. He withdrew his stethescope to listen to the girls heart and breathing. "Her lungs are clear so we can rule out pneumonia. Heart beats regular but slow. She has a very high fever and the rash. She has typhoid. I could smell it as soom as I entered the room."
Cassie didn't know if there was an actual smell or if doc was only kidding her and she had to consciously stop herself from sniffing the air.
"First thing we need to do is get that fever down and get fluids into her."
"Just how the hell are we going to do that doc? She's unconscious."
"Believe me there are ways. Keeping the fever under control is the main thing we need to do until the serum arrives. That will take a lot of work. I'll try to get you some help from the settlement. I'm going there after I leave here as they have a couple sick people also. Any idea who she is?"
"No. We all though she was a boy until Jake told us differently. She does look very familiar even without having dreamt of her every night."
"We'll just have to wait until she's well to find out her name. You go get some cold water so we can start sponging her down. Cassie left the room with her mother and doc talking softly behind her.
"Maude, looks like we stepped back in time."
"Certainly does Doc."
"Makes me wonder who will fall in love this time."
She had no answer for him, but asked, "did you say someone at the settlement was sick? "
"They met us on the road in."
"Can they be moved doc?"
"Sure. What's on your mind?"
"Why not bring them here and any other people who get sick. This ranch is central in the area. It would make your job easier. Less traveling from place to place."
"Sounds good to me. Have you discussed this with Cassie?"
"No need to doc. I agree with mama."
"Then I'll get it done. " He stated as he took the pail of water from her. They each took a cloth she carried and began to sponge down her fevered body. It was a process they would complete many times as no sooner had her body cooled from the washing, the fever would return and they would start again.
On the porch in her rocking chair Granny chanted the healing prayers taught to her many years ago.