Out of the water
out of the water.
Kicking clumsily with his feet, one arm nearly useless, the other holding the unconscious girl against his body, he somehow managed to tow her the the bank. He propped her head against the slick muddy bank. She weighted no more than 120 pounds, but unconscious she seemed twice that heavy.
His own strength was fading. Fighting pain, he grasped a handful of buffalo grass with his left hand, put his right arm between her legs and with a mighty effort he heaved her upward. She flopped lifeless in the mud, her legs still in the cold water.
Coughing and gagging, his eyes running with tears, August rested his head against the cool mud bank. Several long minutes later, fighting renewed pain, he again grasped handfuls of grass and managed to pull himself from the water.
The girl lay motionless beside him. August hung his head, gasping for breath, and hoping she wasn’t dead. He grunted. Funny how things change, a few hours ago he was entertaining the idea of killing her.