Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #52
…Herbert Love completes the final five feet in free fall; Mr. Behind, meet Mr. Ground…
About mid-lane leading to Sumter South, he hears the whimpering of a female cry.
Realizing there is no other way to reach her, he becomes a middle-aged tree climber. It is rather late in life to begin this practice (of animal or nimble youth), but he manages several good footholds, enough height for his long arms to gain him vertical parity with a young woman he believes to be Jefferson Smythwick’s teen aged daughter, Abigail. He remembered seeing her at the Cotillion of this summer past.
“Miss Smythwick? Honey, are you chilly? I have a blanket for you in my wagon. Would you please come with me?”
It is not the warmest of Florida mornings, even at this midday. Chiffon is not a fabric that stands up to a crisp breeze and she acknowledges her state of discomfort with momentary eye contact. Love seizes the moment and reaches for her trembling delicate hand, which prompts a descent more easily done.
After two backward moves, which should only have been one, her rescuer completes the final five feet in free fall. Mr. Behind, meet Mr. Ground. The rear landing is more comical than serious, though it manages to rouse the girl to a conscious stream.
“Are you all right, kind sir?!” She scrambles down to lend a hand.
“Yes I am, but I must say that that last step is a doozy.” The pair chuckles at the notion. As the once dignified Quincian brushes the terra firma from his pants, reality resets itself in the countenance of the young Smythwick, as she pans the horizon for what is left of her home. She starts walking in the general direction of where she last saw her father, drawn behind the next largest structure, the stable and groomsmen barn. It had not been totally consumed by fire, perhaps because of the presence of freshly harvested alfalfa. A large oak on the backside of the building used to suspend the rope swing of her childhood.
Had he known what awaits them, around the next corner in this neo-war zone, he would certainly have sheltered this fragile spirit. On each side of the oak, a deadly collar has snagged Jefferson Smythwick and his hated overseer known only as Pigface.