Husband Wanted: Four
Historical Romance Novellas
Quietly Blessed & Loved Press
Navajo Medicine Woman & The Civil War Vet
Texas Cowboy’s Muddy Bride
Widow & Her Baby Meet The Handyman Along The Oregon Trail
For a Third Chance at Love
The Navajo Medicine
Woman & The Civil War Vet
The Navajo Medicine Woman & The Civil War Vet - A Navajo woman
decides to become the mail order bride of a wounded vet, but she
hasn’t told him she’s Navajo and when she arrives at the train
station, she has no idea what effect her appearance has on him
because he has a severe case of PTSD from the war, and what happened
Frank could hear
voices yelling before he opened his eyes. He had learned early on
that this was what he needed to do every time he awoke. There was no
more waking up, sitting right up, stretching and having a moment or
two to wake up. This was a completely new way of life.
He heard some
Navajos speaking in what sounded like an angry argument. Why hadn’t
he ever learned this language? It might tell him exactly what they
were about to do, and whether or not there was going to be any more
torture or worse yet, death.
Lately, he began to
think that it would be better to die than to be tortured anymore. By
the sound of the voices, he could tell they were pretty far away from
his location. Whether or not there was a man close by him, he had no
idea. He opened his eyes slightly to see who might be close by. There
was no one.
What he saw was the
empty room that he was in. It looked like he was in a cave somewhere
underground and it was dark and damp. He was extremely hot and hated
the feeling on his clothing sticking to him. This wasn’t as bad as
he thought. If he could just sneak out quietly, he’d have a chance
to escape from the captivity that he had been held in for days.
In fact, it could
have been weeks, he just didn’t know. Time slipped away when he was
in a place with no windows, clocks or any way to tell the time of
day. He stood up but was quickly pulled back down. He looked around
and saw that his ankle was chained to the wall, not allowing him to
Blood stained his
army pants and his white shirt was no longer white. It was stained
brown with dirt and in some spots an even deeper color, which he knew
was blood. Someone must have heard the chain rustling because the
voices stopped and he heard footsteps approaching.
He closed his eyes
and hung his head, hoping they’d believe that he was still
sleeping. His luck wasn’t so good. Four men came into the bare room
and stood directly in front of him. He didn’t need to open his eyes
and could feel the men standing in front of him.
Suddenly, he felt
the men grab him and pull him up to a standing position. They
continued to shout at him in a foreign language, which he couldn’t
understand a single word of, despite his best efforts. In the past
days, however long he had been there, he had been beaten severely,
with his hands tied behind his back.
He would pass out
because of the pain and they’d wake him up by splashing cold water
on his face and then commence to beat him again when he regained
consciousness. They had broken all of his fingers one by one. He had
no idea how to stop the torture.
All they kept doing
was screaming at him in their foreign language. During the worst pain
ever, he’d scream at the men inflicting the pain on him, “I have
no idea what you’re saying. How can I give you what you want when I
can’t understand what you are telling me.”
No matter how bad
things got, he never gave up hope that his group would come through
and find him. He didn’t cry or whine, or beg for his life. He knew
better because he had training.
About a thousand
miles away, there was a twenty-year-old woman named Rebecca who had a
completely different lifestyle, but was equally as lonely as Frank.
Rebecca had a great
upbringing. Her mother was the main part of her life and was such a
good woman. She worked with other Navajo Indian woman, finding the
best herbal remedies, and their cures. She was able to cure anything
of the common cold and headaches, to major aches and pains and
No matter what
ailment anybody had, her mother would mix some herbs together and
make sure that they felt more pain by the time she was finished. She
was never your common doctor, but among the Navajo community,
everyone would come to her for their aches and pains.
She was also
classified as their midwife. She loved to help women in the last few
months of their pregnancy, and she also would help in the birthing
process. The use of sagebrush would help the woman during childbirth.
Some woman called her a God, especially if she saved someone from a
life-threatening situation, such as steak bites, bee stings, or even
a severe fever.
Others just called
her their doctor. Those who used herbal remedies seemed to live
longer than everyone else. There were many different ways to make
these herbal medicines. At home, she’d cook with these herbal
medicines to prevent the family from getting heartburn and
indigestion. Other times she would use them in hot teas, boiled teas,
tinctures, using alcohol and water extracts, cold soaking so that
they could make the powders into ointments, and salves.
mother would make medicine for someone outside of her tribe, she’d
make sure that she made her medicines before she went to them. Then
she’d place the medicine into her medicine bag and carry that with
her wherever she went. She didn’t want others outside of the tribe
seeing how she made her herbal medicine and steal her ideas.
The one person her
mother did share all of her secrets with was Rebecca. They had a
garden in their backyard, and to an untrained eye would just look
like flowers, plants, and even weeds; but to a Navajo woman it would
look like a medicine cabinet.
At the age of
twenty, Rebecca’s father had been killed on a fishing trip with
friends. This had been a big blow for her family. She was an only
child and the only one who was as close to her mother as he was.
After his death, however, her mother didn’t want anyone close to
She sank her every
waking moment into her plants and finding new cures. Rebecca knew
that she needed to figure out what she wanted to do with her life,
and fast. A few of the other woman on the reservation had been
talking, and they were going to be mail order brides.
When Rebecca had
first heard about this, she laughed at the girls. “Who would want
to travel far away just to be forced to marry some man who just
bought you? Why would anyone sell themselves for marriage? Are you
all that desperate,” she asked, astonished.
The women laughed at
her. “For one, you never know how far you’re going to travel?
Plus, you aren’t forced to marry anyone. If the man you meet isn’t
who you want to be with, then you can come home. Most of the time,
he’ll be a gentleman and send you home; other times your family
will have to send for you.
Worst case, you’ll
have to find work to come back home. Lastly, you aren’t selling
yourself, nor are the men buying you. They are simply paying for you
to travel to them. You don’t have to marry him, especially if
either of you don’t like each other.
Women who don’t
know the facts are the reason why there’s a bad name for mail order
brides,” one of the women told her.
She apologized to
the woman, turned around, and went back home. She couldn’t stop
thinking about it, and the more she thought about it the more it made
was she ever going to find someone who was like-minded as her, but
not necessarily a Navajo like her.
If she stayed here
on the reservation, she would have to pick from other Navajo men that
also lived here. She never had left the reservation a day in her
life. Did she want the rest of her life to be as close-minded as to
staying here forever?
She spoke to her mom
about her feelings. She expected her mother to tell her she was
crazy, and if she did this, she’d be disowned. To her surprise, her
mother listened to all of the facts while sitting close to her
daughter in their living room.
When Rebecca had
finished telling her mother everything, she sat watching her mother’s
reaction. She couldn’t read her mother’s feelings; she never
could. After a few minutes of silence, her mother finally spoke. “I
think you should go for it,” her mother said softly.
Rebecca asked, surprised at her mother. She had never expected in her
wildest dreams that her mother would approve of her traveling far
away to meet a man and marry him, let alone meeting and possibly
marrying a man who wasn’t Navajo.
“Just because a
man isn’t Navajo doesn’t mean that he’s not a good man for my
daughter,” she said, seeing the look on Rebecca’s face turn in
After about a week
of thinking about this situation, she went and found those same girls
who she had spoken to. When she told them that she wanted to put her
ad in the paper as well, they looked at her as if she had lost her
“I thought girls
who were mail order brides were desperate and crazy,” one of the
girls mocked her.
“That was before
you all taught me what the business was all about. I thought about
it, and I don’t want to stay here on the reservation for the rest
of my life. I want to see the world and meet new people. Can you help
me, or not,” she asked the woman.
They were quiet for
a moment and then agreed to help her. She chose to not add into the
ad that she was a Navajo female. She wanted a man to like her for who
she was, not for what her race was. A few of the woman disagreed with
her decision, but it didn’t matter to her. She had already made up
It was 1870 and
since the end of the civil war, the period was still in conflict with
the Navajo. Four years before, the Navajos were forced to do their
long walk, when they surrendered and were captured by the soldiers.
In certain areas, because of the way the Navajos had rebelled on
American’s later, caused Americans to hate Navajos.
In turn, this caused
Navajos to have a bad name. Some American soldiers hated Navajos
because there were some Navajos who took soldiers hostage during the
war. Most were never found. Rebecca found this sad, but she was angry
at the same time. It wasn’t her fault, or anyone in her family or
Therefore, why would
so many Americans hate her just because of the color of her skin when
the Navajo could bring so much good to the American culture?
Against the advice
of the other woman, she sent in her application. After she sent it
in, she forgot about it and went on with her everyday life. She
helped her mother in the garden and learned as much as she could
about traditional Navajo herbal remedy medicines.
Frank now lived in
Kansas. He was no longer physically held captive, but that didn’t
mean he wasn’t held hostage in his mind. During the day, he didn’t
leave the house often. He stayed inside, struggling to get through
each day. At the end of the day, the struggle was even worse to get
through the night.
Not only did he
struggle from flashbacks and images in his mind that he wished he
could erase, but also he struggled because of his loneliness. His
friends would attempt to bring woman around, but he never felt any
kind of connection with any of them.
Finally one day, his
best friend, a man he called his brother, came over waving an
envelope. “Look, buddy, I an answer. I mean, I got a few responses
before, but I wrote them back for you and they were crazy. This one,
though, this one is the real deal,” he called as he rushed into
Franks home without knocking, like usual.
“Whoa man, it
smells in here. You need to open up some windows and get some fresh
air flowing through here; air out the stink you know.” David
stopped dead in his tracks before going any further, wrinkling his
“I don’t need to
air it out. I can’t smell anything. Who cares what anyone else
thinks,” Frank replied, sounding grumpy as ever.
“Well at least
open up the curtains. I can’t see a damn thing, especially through
this thick smoke. God, what are you doing in here, smoking a cigar
the moment you put one out? Those are going to kill you, you know.”
David was only
trying to help, but Frank didn’t want the help. He didn’t want to
be bothered at all by anyone. “Frank, listen, don’t be mad, but I
did something to help you,” Frank interrupted David in a gruff
“I don’t any
help. I want to be left alone,” he growled. “This lifestyle that
you’re living isn’t healthy. I know you are lonely, you’ve told
me before. What would you say if I told you I found a young woman who
is willing to come live here with you?
to cook, clean, God knows you need that, and keep you company.”
David held his breath, not knowing what Frank would say back to this
proposal. He thought that Frank would either be angry with him and
throw him out of his house or be grateful in what he had done, but
probably not show it.
Frank was never the
kind of man to show his emotions, but when he had come back from the
war, he was worse than ever. He was only a twenty-one-year-old man,
but he acted as if he was at least fifty by locking himself in his
house, never coming out, and having poor hygiene and housekeeping
“You did what,”
Frank asked, his voice rising. “I put an ad in the paper for mail
order brides. I was receiving letters back from a woman and I would
write them back to find out more about them. I know that even if you
agreed to do this; you wouldn’t have known the questions to ask
these women to find out who was crazy or worthwhile to come and live
here with you,” David told Frank.
Frank opened his
mouth and closed it again, not knowing exactly what to say.
David took this
opportunity to continue speaking to him, telling him what he had
done, and what he had found. “So, after many crazy women writing me
back…er… should I say writing you back...” He paused and sat
down on a couch close to where it looked like David was. It took his
eyes a bit to adjust to the dark room, but when they did he could see
David’s silhouette sitting alone in a chair.
“I finally found
this woman who sounds amazing. Gosh, if you don’t accept her, I
will.” David laughed, hoping the old Frank would come out and laugh
right along with him. Frank didn’t make a sound. This could be a
good thing or a bad thing.
“Her name is
Rebecca, and she’s from Kansas. She’s twenty years old. She
cooks, cleans, loves to talk and work in her garden. She is really
into herbal medicine. I didn’t give much personal information about
you, but I did say you have anxiety and depression.
If I didn’t, she
would arrive and be in for a shock. She said that was fine; she’d
bring her herbal medicine, add it into the food, and have you drink a
few teas a day and you’d feel better in about three days.”
waiting to hear Frank say something, whether it get out or tell him
more. He heard nothing. “Come on Frank, tell me something. I did
this for you,” David pleaded.
Finally, he heard
him reply. “I didn’t ask you to do anything for me,” Frank
growled, anger rising in his voice.
“I know you
didn’t, and if you’re angry with me I understand. All I ask is
that you read these letters. I’ve numbered them one through six.
One is the first one I wrote to her and six would be the last one she
wrote to me... well you,” David said, as he set the letters down on
the table piled high with junk mail and garbage magazines that Frank
would never read.
He thought about the
location of where he just put these at and realized that if he kept
them there, they’d be soon completely lost, never to be seen again.
He grabbed the letters again, rubbing his thumb over where she had
printed his name and address. He didn’t know why, but he was
feeling something strong for her and was afraid that allowing Frank
to take over would end up getting her emotionally hurt.
“Where can I put
these letters where they won’t be lost? I have been writing her
back the same down, or the next day at the most. If you sit on these
letters for a month and don’t write her back, she’s going to
think you don’t care. She probably has other offers, as amazing as
she is, and if you wait you’ll lose her,” David insisted.
Frank became angry.
“I don’t write letters. I don’t read letters. I don’t want a
wife, and I especially don’t need some out of the country wife, who
only wants to come over here so she can become a legal resident.”
David cut him off.
Frank, she lives in Kansas, weren’t you listening to me? I will
write her back for you if you’d like, but she wants to come here
and meet you face to face. There’s no way I’m going to allow her
to come here if you are going to be mean to her, that’s why I came
to you.” David was getting angry at the same time.
He had become quite
fond of this woman during their correspondence and didn’t want her
to get hurt because Frank wanted to have a pity party. David didn’t
have to go to war because of personal illness problems, so he had no
idea what Frank had gone through during the way, but he didn’t
think there was any reason for this.
Frank and he had
both been orphans when they were growing up. Neither of them had ever
been chosen to be adopted because of their age, so they found family
in each other. They schooled together, played together, and got into
typical boy mischief together. He was thrilled after four years when
he returned from the war. He had missed him and couldn’t wait to
show Frank his new home.
He worked hard from
the time Frank had left doing construction. He saved up his money and
soon he had moved into his own house and was able to pay his bills on
time and put some money, saving for his future. The problem was, when
Frank came back, he used the money the military had given him and got
a modest home of his own and locked himself away inside, refusing to
come out and converse with anyone.
Of course, he had no
family, but some of his friends from the orphanage wanted to come and
say hi but got the door slammed in their face. “So, what do you
say, Frank? Be angry at your friend, the man you call your brother if
“If that’s the
case, I’ll take these letters, tell her that something came up with
you, and I’ll bring her over here and I’ll marry her.” David
stood up with the letters in his hands and walked towards the door.
He took a deep breath to say something else, but Frank stopped him.
“Leave the letters
on the table,” he said in a low voice.
David turned around
to face him. “Don’t hurt her. If you don’t want to answer her,
tell me by tomorrow so I can write her before someone else sweeps her
off of her feet, please,” David insisted. He almost regretted
coming over here and talking to his friend. Frank didn’t say
another word, so David tossed the letter back on the table full of
junk and walked towards the house.
“You know what
Frank? You need to realize that there are people here that want to
help you and you are pushing them away. If you keep pushing everyone
away, one day we are going to leave and never come back,” he called
out over his shoulder.
Then, not wanting to
hear Frank’s response, he hurried up and walked out, closing the
door behind him.
“Who says I want
anybody’s help? Maybe I wished you would all get lost and never
come back,” Frank mumbled when he was sure David was out of
After a few minutes,
he turned his chair around and reached towards the table, grabbing
the letters. He picked them up and began the letter that David had
labeled one. As he read, he rolled his eyes. David was telling this
woman how he was an injured war vet, that suffered from depression
and anxiety and who needed someone with a lot of patience and a big
“I wouldn’t be
surprised if she told him to get lost,” he chuckled as he finished
the letter, folded it back up and found number two. He was shocked to
see that nothing he had said scared her. In fact, she thanked him for
his honesty and explained that she not only believed in herbal
remedies, but she learned everything there was about them from her
She said that no
matter where she went in life, she was going to have to plant her
secrets in the backyard, and she hoped if he chose her that this
wouldn’t be a problem. She talked about losing her father and her
mother pushing her away. She told him that she just wanted a new
start in a new area and Arkansas sounds like a good place to start.
As he finished the
second letter, he folded it and put it back in the envelope. He sat
back and closed his eyes. Would he be able to allow someone into his
home, into his life, and possibly into his life? He didn’t know if
he had it in him.
Rebecca waited for
her next letter from Frank. Normally, she would have gotten one by
now, but it was only two days past the time she had counted it would
have taken him to receive hers and write her back. “Relax honey.
Maybe he had a busy week at work and was unable to write you,” her
mother tried to comfort.
work. He’s an injured war vet,” she replied back to her mother.
Suddenly her mother stiffened. Maybe you don’t want to find love
this way,” her mother started. She stared at her in horror. “Mom,
you and I spoke about this! You were okay with everything, don’t
you dare back out on me now,” she said, her voice rising with
“Baby, I’m not
backing out on anything. I was just simply saying that maybe if he
doesn’t write you, that’s a sign,” her mother stopped. They
weren’t a family that constantly spoke about religion, yet they did
believe. The Navajo believed in the Almighty, a spiritual force that
is a source of life.
There wasn’t one
God, a man in the sky, but they believed that it was formless and
existed in the universe. The sun was viewed as a power of the
Almighty, so if you see a Navajo praying towards the sun, they
weren’t praying to the sun, but praying to the Almighty.
The sun was just a
symbol for that. There were many gods that worked together to create
and continue keeping the universe functioning. She wondered if this
would cause an issue between her and the man who chose to accept her.
“Here Rebecca, a
letter came for you today,” her mother said as she handed Rebecca a
letter. Rebecca took the letter and stopped. The handwriting on the
letter looked different. She hurried to her room and grabbed one of
her other letters she had saved from him, and held it up to this one.
Sure enough, the
handwriting was completely different. Curiosity got the best of her
and she opened the letter up and began to read. Frank had been
completely honest. He told her how sorry he was, that he had not been
the one who originally wrote her. He explained how it was his best
friend who was trying to help him out.
He continued to tell
her that he had brought him the letters and he really liked what
she’d said in them. He really wanted to get to know her. He
explained that he had never tried herbal medicines, but if it could
help with depression and anxiety, he was willing to try it. He also
went on to saying that his housekeeping skills weren’t the best
since he had come home from the war. He’d been injured, and they
had to remove part of his shoulder and clavicle because he was shot
and then got an infection due to poor medical care.
When she finished
reading the letter that Frank thought for sure was a deal breaker,
she felt closer to him than ever. She wrote him back and asked him if
she could please go there and be with him. She explained that she
hadn’t really felt anything special for him during the first set of
letters, but once she received this last one, she felt something
special, like a connection.
She assured him that
if he didn’t like her, all he had to do was say the word and she’d
leave immediately. It was a huge jump for her, and after she mailed
it off, she was so worried that she had gone too fast, and would
scare him off.
For weeks, she was
worried that he would get scared, and she’d never hear from him
He loved the letter.
It brought hope into his hopeless world. He responded that he’d
love to have to come to his home. He warned her again about how he
lived. He explained that he did smoke cigars, although he wanted to
stop, and he only had two of every dish, so he wouldn’t ever have
piles of dishes if he didn’t feel like, or was hurting too badly to
do dishes. He hardly had any food at his home and didn’t have a
garden. He had a few friends and neighbors who daily brought him
She didn’t care
about any of this and promised when she arrived she’d help with the
housekeeping chores, and see what she could do about getting some
food into the house.
His next step was to
set it up for her to come to Arkansas. After she had the train
ticket, she sent him one last message telling him that she had the
ticket and was on her way. Instead of sending a letter, like they
normally did, she sent a telegram so that he’d receive it quicker.
She was going to
leave in three days, and she would be traveling for two and a half
days total. One day from Kansas to Texas, then she would wait
overnight for the next train. From Texas, she would spend another
full day on the train heading to Arkansas.
Suddenly, panic sank
in as he looked around the house. She was going to step one foot into
this house and turn around, running to head back to Kansas. “I’ll
be lucky if she gets a full foot inside this house,” he said aloud
That afternoon, he
walked into the bathroom and stopped when he saw his reflection in
the mirror. “She’s going to hit the hills running if she sees me
looking like this,” he said as he dipped his hands into the basin
that he’d filled with water, so he could shave what had grown on
He’d never let his
facial hair get so out of control. He would normally stay smooth
shaved, but once in a while he’d grow out a mustache. “This is
ridiculous,” he said as he lathered the soap onto his face. It took
him a few tries using the razor to get all of the hair off his face.
When he was
finished, he looked up into the mirror and forced a smile. It looked
fake, so he stopped. He looked a lot younger than when he had first
walked into the bathroom, but he could still see the dark circles
under his eyes and the age he had put on since he first left for the
It had been nine
years since he had first left to go into the war. Normal people don’t
look as old as he did after only nine years. Most people don’t have
to see the things that he saw during those four years. Every friend
that he had gone in with was gone. Many he watched die before his own
Some died from
wounds, but more died from infections or other illnesses. None of his
friends had been kidnaped and held hostage as he had, thankfully. He
was walking back to the chair when it happened again. Suddenly, he
was now back in that cave, at least he thought it was a cave.
He was on his knees,
with his hands behind his back. His ankles were tied, but not to his
hands. Still, he couldn’t go anywhere. There were men surrounding
him, shouting to him. He gave up days ago trying to figure out what
they were saying. He thought to himself that they must think that he
understood them and he was just faking not knowing. His fingers
The day prior they
had broken all of his fingers. Not just once, but every knuckle had
been broken by, who he assumed, was the leader of this tribe. As he
broke each knuckle, he would shout at him and wave a long knife in
his face. Frank just shook his head and repeated, “I only speak
English. I don’t understand. Please speak English.”
This would irritate
the Navajo and he’d just grab the next finger. Now, the same leader
held the same knife up to him and was screaming things at him that of
course he couldn’t understand.
He learned to force
himself to go somewhere else in his mind. He was on the beach,
relaxing in the sun…no, the shade. He was too hot to try to imagine
himself lying in the sun. This man wouldn’t allow him to go
elsewhere in his mind though.
Pain flooded through
his body another man came up behind Frank, lifting his head up,
forcing him to look at the leader, while the leader pulled his fist
back and began punching his face over and over until he blacked out.
“So, you’re sure
this is what you want to do? Are you ready to travel all the way to
Arkansas and live with a stranger? Have you told him yet that you’re
Navajo,” Rebecca’s mother asked, as she stood watching her
daughter pack her suitcase two days before she was scheduled to
talked about this. Yes, I am sure this is what I want. If it doesn’t
work, we’ve both agreed to stay friends and he’ll help me come
back. If it does work, he’ll send for you to come to the wedding.
As for the telling him if I’m Navajo, I don’t see why that is
such an important thing that I share with him.
always taught me that someone needs to love you for who you truly
are, and if not, they aren’t worth your time,” she quoted her
mother’s very words.
How could she tell
her daughter that this situation is a bit different?
“The thing is
Rebecca, you said he’s an injured war vet... correct,” her mother
When Rebecca told
her yes, she continued.
“Well, has he told
you how he was hurt? I mean, by whom,” she asked Rebecca.
“He was shot.
Furthermore, no he didn’t get the name of the man who shot him,”
Rebecca tried joking with her mother, hoping to lighten the mood.
However, it didn’t work.
eyebrows furrowed and she continued. “In the Civil War, where he
was wounded, sometimes the Navajo were the ones who hurt the American
soldiers,” she paused, to let that sink into Rebecca’s head,
hoping she’d understand.
started stubbornly, “I still don’t see what that has to do with
me,” she continued.
Her mom just shook
her head. “All I’m trying to say is that maybe you should have
let him know, so if he was injured by a Navajo Indian and has a fear
or hatred of them, he won’t take it out on you when you arrive.”
understood where her mother was coming from and sat thinking about
this for a moment.
Finally, she spoke.
“Well, you’d think if he did have such a big problem with the
Navajo, he’d have mentioned that to make sure that I am not Navajo,
Her mother could
hear the uncertainty in her daughter’s voice now and immediately
felt bad. She shouldn’t have ruined her excitement. “I’m sure
he’s going to love you just the way you are. I’m just doing what
every mother does and worry nonstop about you. You’ll be fine,
you’ll see,” she said, walking over to Rebecca and holding her
“I love you, baby.
Remember, if anything happens and he’s unable to bring you back you
let me know immediately and I will get you home.” t
They hugged, and
then she helped Rebecca finish packing.
They spent their
final days sitting together talking, and sharing her final recipes
with her daughter. She made her up a few special medicines to give to
him when she got there. On the last day before she left, her mother
gave her the greatest gift of all, her very own medicine bag.
Usually, a woman who
practices medicine keeps her very first bag until she passes away,
and then it’s passed onto her daughter. She felt in her heart that
now was the time to pass it on. She was going to need it now, more
The day finally
In Arkansas, Frank
had gotten David to help him come and do a quick clean of his house.
Even though Rebecca had told him not to worry about it and that she
would clean when she got there, he didn’t want their relationship
to start by her being his slave.
He wanted the house
to be clean and there to be some food in it. Frank had plenty of
money. Since he was wounded in the war, his home was paid for, his
medical was paid, and he had money being put into his bank every
month. He didn’t worry about money. He worried about his mental
health. He honestly didn’t know if he was ready to start a
David was worried
that if this didn’t work, he’d lose his friend forever because of
As the men cleaned
the house, the woman in Kansas hugged tightly at the train station.
Rebecca was both nervous and scared. Outwardly, she showed excitement
and those were her true feelings, but would they stay the same when
she arrived in Arkansas?
At that moment it
was as if Arkansas was a foreign country to her, so far away and
filled with the unknown.
After the first day
traveling by train, Rebecca had never been more nervous. She arrived
in Texas in the middle of the night, got her luggage off of the
train, and waited with her medicine bag on her lap until early the
next morning when the next train arrived.
She rode the next
train all day before finally arriving at layover that kept her stuck
in Mississippi for six hours, before finally bringing her to her
destination. She was sure by the time that she arrived in Arkansas at
eleven o’clock at night, Frank would be nowhere in sight, and she
wouldn’t blame him.
To her surprise he
was there, waiting for her. He was inside of his buggy stretched out
relaxing. When he heard the train breaks screeching to a stop, he sat
straight up rubbing the sleep from his eyes. When he realized that
his hopefully soon to be bride had arrived, he jumped up.
He sat up and rushed
out to the exit of the train station where she would be leaving. He
didn’t recognize her right away, but then again she wasn’t
anything that he was expecting. He watched the people getting off the
train, which was only three men, a Navajo Indian woman, and then a
There must be
some mistake, where was Rebecca?
“Hello? You must
be Frank, correct,” he heard a female voice. How had he missed her?
When he turned around, he was shocked to see the Navajo woman staring
at him. Now he knew there had to be some mistake. He would never have
been able to get along with a Navajo woman.
There’s no way
this was the woman who had written all of those amazing letters to
him. There would really be no way he could live with this woman. He
tried to hide his feelings and put a smile on his face, but suddenly
he was angry with David and wished she would go and live with him and
let him go back to his dark smoke-filled house.
“I’m not what
you expected. I’m sorry; if you’d rather, I can stay here and
take the next train that is going to take me back to Kansas.” She
had seen the look on his face. What look did she see that made her
say that to him; fear, shock, or horror?
He was feeling all
of those, but she didn’t think that her looks were that obvious.
“No, don’t you be silly. Come on Rebecca, my buggy is over here
this way.” He guided her to his buggy. She came with him, but she
now carried with her more than luggage. She carried with her worry
and pain, knowing that he didn’t like something about her. She
could read it all over his face.
The hopeful look
that he had as he was waiting to see the beautiful woman he expected
coming off of the train was replaced with a look of unhappiness and
As they rode back to
the house, she attempted to make conversation. “I have brought some
of that herbal medicine that I told you about. In fact, my mother
made up a very special remedy right before I left and put it in my
bag. I’d love it if you’d let me make you some tea when we get to
the house,” she offered.
He made a grunting
noise, showing that he had listened to her and approved.
She looked out at
the Arkansas land while they rode for just over an hour. “Is there
something wrong,” she began.
He cut her off. “No,
I’m just tired. I know you had a delay that kept you quite a few
more hours than expected. That wasn’t your fault. I’ve just been
sitting up there for hours, and I’m exhausted. I bet you are
exhausted as well,” he assumed.
“I did sleep quite
a bit on the train,” she said back to him to assure him she wasn’t
exhausted. She was hoping that he’d be willing to stay up for a
little bit and talk to her. She was sure if he went straight to bed
and left her alone, she’d never be able to sleep. She was sure
something was wrong, but just didn’t know what.
Suddenly, he heard
the voices again, those horrible screaming Navajo voices. He learned
to hear the difference when they were talking, joking, laughing, and
most importantly angry. When they were angry, it meant that soon they
would be coming into the room where they kept him at and torturing
him some more.
He didn’t think he
could handle any more. A few days before he had his fingers broken,
and just the day before he had been beaten down so violently that he
hadn’t yet stood on his own. In fact, there was no reason to even
attempt to stand any more.
Every time he tried
in this room, he was pulled right back down because he was chained to
the wall, and when the men were around they just dragged him
everywhere. He had tried to stop fighting so much and just gave up.
This didn’t work like he thought it would.
They didn’t enjoy
torturing someone who didn’t give any reaction at all. Instead of
achieving his goal, which he truly didn’t know what that was, they
became angrier and hurt him worse until they achieved what they
wanted, which was him scream and crying out in pain.
The screaming was
getting closer and closer. He looked around the room and for a place
to hide, but then remembered he couldn’t have hidden even if he did
find a spot because of the fact that he was chained to the wall. No,
instead of everything that he had been doing, he was going to try
something new. He needed to remember his training, and finally fight
He shook his head as if to shake away the voices from his head
forever. “Yes,” he called back to her. For a moment he forgot
where he was, and what he was doing. He looked around for a moment
and she could tell that he had gone somewhere in his mind for a
“Do you have a lot
of those,” she asked him.
“A lot of what,”
he asked, trying to hide the fact that to him he was physically back
where he was held hostage a few years prior.
“Do you have
flashbacks a lot where you disappear from reality? I saw on your face
that you had a lot of pain, and almost terror written all over it.”
“I’m fine,” he
She felt that she
had already stepped over her boundaries and began talking about
something he’d rather not talk about. She opened her mouth up again
to speak, but shut it quickly. Whatever was bothering him, she wasn’t
going to force him to speak about it, but she wanted to instead treat
him with her remedies.
treatment, he’d be more calm and able to talk to her about his
“Well, at least
promise me that you’ll drink the tea I brought for you tonight
before you go to sleep,” she asked softly.
He looked back at
her. She had a genuine smile on her face. From an outsider, it would
look like she was really trying to help. He knew better, though. She
may be trying to poison him, or to erase his memory. Thinking these
thoughts really made his mind begin to race.
What if David was in
on it too? Someone could have hired David to pretend to write these
letters to some woman and then he fell right into it when he read the
letters and responded. She was sent here then to wipe him out, to do
what all of those Navajo Indian men couldn’t do; kill him.
He shook his head
again as they rode up his driveway. If he was wrong, his paranoid
delusions were going to push away a good woman. All he had to do was
be careful and not let her know that he knew, or thought he knew what
she was about, and what she was there for. He wouldn’t eat or drink
anything that she made… wait, what was he thinking?
How long was he
going to starve and dehydrate himself just to prove a point? Heck, if
they wanted him to die, at least he’d die happy next to a beautiful
woman. He thought that she was a very beautiful woman. She had a nice
tan complexion, with dark mysterious eyes. She had two long braids
that hung down both sides of her body.
While braided, it
hung down to her belly button but when she let it out, it went almost
to her knees. The last thought he had before stopping in front of his
house was that if this was a set up, then at least they’d sent a
beautiful woman, not an ugly one.
He chuckled to
himself. What was the difference in what she looked like if she was
here to kill him?
“Here we are,”
then he paused. He had a two bedroom, but he didn’t remember
cleaning it out. The second bedroom held all of his war memorabilia,
such as his uniform and metals. He didn’t think he’d be able to
go in there if he tried because of the memories. He pulled the reins
to stop the horse and jumped down. He tied the horse up to the post
in front of the house and then reached up toward her in the buggy, to
help her down.
“I don’t have
the best house in the world, so I hope you like it,” he said
“I don’t care
about what a house looks like. At the reservation, half of the time I
stay outside in a tepee, so anything indoors is luxurious for me,”
she said, smiling warmly, hoping he’d loosen up and warm up to her
She could tell by
the rough way he helped her down out of the buggy, quickly letting go
of her hand, that was going to take a lot more time and patience. She
wasn’t used to not being liked. When people began talking to her,
they saw what a kind and loving person she was, and they quickly fell
in love with her as a person in general.
“Let me get your
luggage inside, and then I’m going to sleep, I’m tired. I don’t
think I had a chance to clean out the spare bedroom, so you can sleep
on the couch for tonight, if that’s okay,” he said, looking up at
her to gauge her expression.
Maybe she’d wait
until he was fast asleep and just come into his room and slice his
throat. He gritted his teeth together. He wouldn’t allow that to
happen, even if he never slept again, he thought to himself as he
carried the luggage into the house and set it down.
this tea first while we sit and chat. Ten minutes of your time is all
I ask. Otherwise, I’ll never be able to sleep in a new house,
please,” she begged him as she walked straight over to his stove.
He had a teapot on
top of it with water in it and she fired a burner up and began to
heat up the water. She kept him talking, not wanting him to fall
asleep and not be able to take the tea. She knew that without the
tea, he was going to be paranoid and scared of her.
“Listen, I know
that this isn’t an easy subject, but I feel like it’s one that we
need to have it. I know that you were in the war and I saw the look
on your face. My mother warned me before I left Kansas that I should
have told you that I was Navajo.
“I don’t agree
with what the Navajo did in the Civil war and I’m so sorry if
something bad happened to you. I want you to know that I had nothing
to do with it, and I want to do everything in my power to help you.”
She poured the
steaming hot water into a mug that she had already added the herbs
into. Her mother had put the perfect amount of herbs into small bags,
which allowed the hot water to seep into and release the medicine
into the water. She put a saucer over the top of the mug, allowing
the steam to stay contained and the medicine to become more potent.
“If you, at any
time, are truly uncomfortable with me and think that I’d want to do
any sort of harm to you, or you just aren’t attracted to me, then
please tell me and I’ll walk out that door as quickly as I came
in,” she finished, bringing him the hot cup.
He had been sitting
in his favorite chair, watching her carefully. He wasn’t sure what
herbs she was putting in the water and he couldn’t tell if he could
trust her or not. He was scared; he knew that.
As she walked
towards him, she lifted the cup to her lips and took a sip herself.
His shoulders relaxed slightly and then a voice came in his head.
“She could be faking it. How do you know she really took a sip?
That’s how they get your trust, remember.”
He began to go into
another flashback. He panicked. He didn’t want to feel the pain
again. “Here, take this, please. It will help you relax and make
the flashbacks stop,” she said. She sounded so caring. Nobody truly
cared about anyone else without ulterior motives, he thought to
himself. He wasn’t sure what made him do it, or why, but he took
the mug from her hands and drank the entire cup down in two gulps.
She stared at him,
shocked. “Well, I was going to tell you that you had to drink that
within ten minutes, but I guess I don’t need to waste my breath,”
she laughed, and took the mug from him and returned it to the
“There are some
sheets in that closet over there and we’ll clean that room out
tomorrow. I know how woman need their space and privacy,” he
chuckled. He obviously didn’t know her.
“I don’t mind if
I stay on the couch. You must have things stored in that room that
would be an inconvenience to move. There’s no reason I can’t
sleep right here. It’s only a place I’ll spend a few hours every
night,” she said to him. Her understanding touched his heart. He
tried to quickly cover that up, not wanting to fall for her tricks,
and be caught up, but the medicine in the tea was already taking
effect, and he felt so calm all of the sudden.
He let his mind
drift and for once, the flashbacks didn’t take ahold of him. For
the first time, he allowed himself to look at her and look at the
real Rebecca, not the Navajo. Frank wanting to stop feeling
comfortable and go back to feeling hostile and angry again, because
his anger kept him safe.
It kept people away
from him and when nobody was near him it meant that he couldn’t get
hurt. He laid his head back in the chair. All of these thoughts were
exhausting him. So much for not sleeping the entire time she was
here, he thought to himself, as he felt his eyes rolling in the back
of his head.
“Are you getting
tired? Can I help you to bed? Or, you can sleep right there on the
couch, I don’t mind, I’ll take the floor or the chair,” she
told him. “No, I’m going to take the couch and I want you to take
the bedroom. I have a full size bed in there, and you’ll be more
comfortable,” he offered.
She put her hand
over her heart full of shock that he was offering her the bed, when
before he insisted that she sleep on the couch. “No way, I’ll
take the couch and that’s final,” she told him, crossing her arms
in front of her chest.
Just because the
medicine was making him feel good and he was offering up his bed in
the moment didn’t mean that he’d feel the same in the morning
when he woke up and wondered what she was doing laying in his bed.
She refused to take
advantage. He stood up and that was the first time she had seen his
arm was injured. This entire time of him bringing her back here,
tying the horses up and bringing the luggage inside, she hadn’t
noticed that he had been injured.
Now, as he stood up
and grabbed her luggage, she noticed that he held his right arm close
to his body, and it looked as if it was shorter than the other one.
Then she remembered the letters; he did say that he was an injured
She had just never
asked how he was injured, and she hadn’t cared. “May I ask what
happened to your arm,” she asked softly.
He looked down,
almost as if he had forgotten that he was injured, and a faraway look
crossed his face. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked anything.
I actually just now noticed. It wasn’t important to me to ask in
our letters when you told me that you were injured because I would
never let physical injury come in the way of me meeting someone.
yourself so well that I didn’t notice at all until now, when I was
watching you stand up.” She continued to speak softly hoping that
her soft tone would keep him calm and he would realize that she meant
him no harm.
“No, it’s okay.
You meant no harm by asking of my injury. I was actually injured by
my own soldiers in the war.”
A look of confusion
came across her face.
He set her luggage
down in his bedroom beside the bed and lay out on the couch, kicking
his feet up. “They weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, they were
trying to save my life. Wait, no I’m sorry, that’s wrong. They
did save my life.” She sat on the edge of the chair he was sitting
in at first. She wanted to sit on the edge to show him that she was
willing to go and lie down and leave him alone whenever he was ready.
He suddenly wanted to open up and talk though.
“I was kidnapped
and held hostage for a long time. I don’t really know how long it
was, because I lost track of time after the first week. Just when I
gave up hope and prepared myself for death, the door of the cave they
held me in was busted down and in came my soldiers.
rushing in with guns drawn never looked so good, let me tell you,”
he smiled, remembering. This was the first time that he had thought
back on his ordeal and not had a flashback that took him away from
reality. It was also the first time he thought back and smiled,
having a good thought.
He seemed to forget
that the entire ordeal may have been brutal and horrible, but it
ended victoriously for him. He had been saved. If only he didn’t do
what he did before walking out of there…? “I am so glad that you
were saved, and you’re here now,” she said looking at him in a
completely new light.
The man who everyone
saw as a mean angry war vet was actually a very kind, warm-hearted
man who only held fear. This fear was what others misinterpreted as
anger. She would bring out the real Frank, if only he’d give her
the chance. She looked up and saw that he was passed out sleeping
He had probably
never slept so well in years, she imagined.
She took the sheet
out of the closet he earlier pointed to and covered him up. She then
walked into the room, left the door open, and lay down on the bed.
She didn’t bother to change into nightclothes, or even pull the
covers back. She wanted to make sure that he knew when he woke up and
saw her that he’d know she wasn’t closing doors in his house and
hiding anything from him. She lay down, closed her eyes and smiled as
the familiar feeling of peace swept over her.
As she drifted off
to be with her mother and family back in Kansas in her dreams, Frank
didn’t know it but he was having the last flashback he’d have. He
dreamt every night that he was being held hostage, he knew he was
dreaming and he knew that he had been saved but in her dreams nobody