August lost his letters

In this way August finally reached the water’s edge.

A hand suddenly gripped his shoulder; he turned his face at the touch. The indian girl was beside him, she had his hat between her hands extending it to him. The thought of donning his hat was ludicrous. A smile tugged at his cracked lips, then he realized the hat was full of water. She tipped the hat and he drank.

Before he reached his fill she pulled the hat away.

“More,” he croaked. Then the cramps hit his stomach and he retched.

The squaw pressed her fingers to his lips and shook her head, saying something in Comanche. He understood the gesture, if not the words. She extended the hat again and he sipped slowly. He stopped drinking and stared at his hat.
“My letters!” he said, his words indistinct through swollen lips.

He took the hat from her and ran a finger anxiously around the inside of the sweatband. What he extracted was a soggy mess; the illegible remains of two letters.

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