Hope's Road

Hope's Road by Margareta Osborn Page B

Book: Hope's Road by Margareta Osborn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margareta Osborn
Tags: Fiction
made sure he stayed put.
    â€˜No, Mr McCauley, not just yet. We need to make sure we can turn you over first. Just give us a few minutes more, okay?’
    Fuck it, thought Joe. Bloody rocking chair. He hadn’t meant to go that far forwards but he’d been so excited seeing it was a hare not a rabbit and the kid had popped up at the same time he’d squeezed the trigger, and he’d been trying to miss the boy, hit the hare . . . and then he’d been so damned wobbly lately. He’d really fucked it up. What in the devil’s name had he just done?
    Tammy cast a worried look across at Trav and Billy and was relieved to see the boy appeared none the worse for wear. A little wide-eyed at the whole drama and covered in all sorts of muck, but that was all. He was sitting on the ground with a hand on an old border collie, who was lolling ecstatically at his feet, tongue hanging out, mooching and begging for a scratch.
    Hunter was crouched in the dirt beside his son. Not touching him, just watching the boy. Tammy found that kind of sad. Surely he’d want to cuddle him – especially after all this? Heck, she’d thought Billy was dead the way he was lying over old Joe. Thought the old man had somehow done both himself and the boy in.
    She turned back to her uncle. Thanks to the ambos he was now loaded onto a stretcher, a pad strapped around his forehead to staunch the bleeding of a nasty cut. There seemed to be no other obvious injuries apart from the fact he was having trouble with his left leg. The taller of the paramedics muttered about a possible broken hip, but they couldn’t be sure without an X-ray. They’d given him a green whistle-like thing to suck on, which apparently contained a painkiller, but that hadn’t seemed to make much difference.
    â€˜If you think I’m gettin’ in that bloody ambulance you’re gunna be sorely disappointed!’
    â€˜Now, now, Mr McCauley. You need to go to the hospital to be checked over.’
    â€˜I’m not goin’ to some bloody hospital to be poked and prodded by the likes of you. Get me offa this thing right now!’
    â€˜Sorry, Mr McCauley, no can do. You need help and you need it now.’
    â€˜Don’t you Mr McCauley me, you young whippersnapper. If you think you’re so bloody clever just fix me up and leave me here then. I’ve got me dogs for company, I’ll be right as rain.’
    The old man suddenly gasped as the stretcher hit a boulder. He grabbed at his green whistle and sucked back on the painkiller like his life depended on it.
    â€˜Sorry about that, Mr McCauley. That’s probably why you cut your head. Those rocks are big and sharp. Now, we just need to adjust this bandage on your head again. It’s not quite right.’
    Tammy moved up behind the paramedic to peer over his shoulder. The bandage wasn’t holding the blood and the wound was weeping outside of the gauze. Nothing like a head wound to turn everything claret.
    â€˜ You ! What the bloody hell are you still doing here?’ said Joe as he spotted her looking down at him. ‘I don’t need you up on my hill. Jigger off back down to those irrigated flats where you belong. Get the hell off my farm, you –’ The old man gasped something and grabbed again for his medicinal whistle.
    . . . land-grabbing little fucker . In her head Tammy finished the sentence with him; she was thrown back to the age of six. She could almost taste the Tabasco sauce on her tongue. She quickly stepped away from the stretcher. The paramedics were giving her sympathetic looks and she could feel the colour starting to steal up her neck. How embarrassing and unfair to be thought of like that.
    She had all the land she could deal with right now. She didn’t want anything off this horrible old man, except maybe acknowledgement he was family. But the way he was carrying on, why the hell would she want that?
    A

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