As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

WIP - The Talisman - Chapter 4 - Part A

Chapter 4
Part A

Adrenaline pumped through Trish's veins. Her heart pounded, threatening to jump out of her chest and yet she stood firm. No man would take her virtue without a fight.
She turned her attack on Old Curly. He was on his knees, his eyes stunned, his right arm in the air as if to protect himself from her blows. Just think of his head as a tennis ball. She shuffled her feet on the uneven ground, took her stance and swung a beautifully executed backhand. Curly fell back. A strange ker-thunk whispered in the darkness. Both men lay motionless.
Trish stood still, surprised at her easy victory. Smoke from the campfire drifted toward her. The branch slipped from her fingers. Why had the man who ate her supper turned at the last minute? It was as if he'd wanted her to hit him. It took her a minute to absorb what she'd done. She could see by the campfire's dancing light that he was still breathing. She shuddered, willing the gruesome scene to depart. Remembering her need to escape, she knelt by the newcomer hoping to find a knife to cut the rope off her wrists. She did her best to search him, her hands roaming across solid muscle, finding the empty sheath. Why would he have a sheath and no knife? She sat back on her heels and looked at him.
She'd sent his pale cowboy hat flying when she hit him and now she couldn't reach it to return it. A glimmer of guilt for robbing him of his cowboy appeal, tickled her thoughts. No, he doesn't deserve my sympathy. He was going to help Curly rape me. Still, she couldn't keep herself from marveling at his wavy locks of dark brown hair and felt jealous as his eyelashes appeared thick and long against tanned cheeks. His nose came to a gentle point punctuating defining cheekbones and a strong jaw. He looked totally at ease with his mouth pleasantly relaxed. She resisted the impulse to twist her head and get closer. Where was his knife?
The fire crackled and spit as a log shifted, making her jump. She stood, trying to evaluate Old Curly from a distance. He lay in an awkward position with his legs tucked under him, his eyes open. Her gut twisted, bile rising in her throat. Was he dead? She dared to get closer and found herself jerked to a halt. The stranger lay on the rope tethering her. Tugging at it, she pulled the rope free and stepped closer to Curly. The shaft of a knife stuck out of his chest, a pool of blood on his clothes and another dark puddle growing on the ground under his head. He had to be dead. She reached for the knife and pulled. It stuck firm. She turned away, her hands trembling.
Moments later shuddering angst encompassed her whole frame. What had she done? She mentally shook herself knowing she wasn't out of this mess yet and forced herself to do what she must.
She turned back to the dead man, placing her foot on his chest. "I'm not --" She grasped the knife and gave it a firm tug. "Going --" Another tug. "To die out here with the likes of you."
The knife came free. She staggered back, almost falling into the fire. She returned to his body and wiped the knife on his coat. Her strength, driven by shear willpower lagged as she stumbled to sit on the decaying log Curly had forced her to drag to the fireside. She sat with her back to his dead stare. Propping the knife between her feet, she worked at the cord securing her wrists. A sharp zing at her wrist warned her to work more carefully. At last she was free. Trish examined her cut wrist in the flickering fire light. Where was that canteen?
 Locating it behind the rock Old Curly had used to anchor the her tether, she poured water on her cut. The cloth she'd used as a hot pad would have to do for a wrap. Piercing the cloth with the knife, she gave the fabric a savage yank to tear it. Using her teeth as well as her fingers from her injured limb, she managed to tie a rough bandage on her wrist. Her stomach grumbled.
…to be continued
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