Margaret was dumbfounded. At first, it did not register that someone had grabbed her. She almost believed that she had lost her balance and was falling into the creek. However, the deafening pounding of the hooves, the unmerciful grip on her waist, and the heavy bucket pulling on her hand told her otherwise. Instinctively, she tried to turn her head to see her captor. However, her long, thick hair that served as her modesty protector also served an obstruction to her view. When she looked down at the bare, sinewy leg, in dark contrast to her own alabaster skin, she knew. She knew.
She started to panic. As if sensing that she was about to scream, her captor placed a large, calloused hand over her mouth. Though she was terrified beyond all reason, she marveled at this savage’s ability to hold her mid-air next to him with one hand and cover her mouth with the other. Margaret caught herself wondering how he was able to communicate with the horse.
Margaret’s mind was racing. She did not know what this savage wanted with her. However, she had heard all the horror stories while she was working in her grandfather’s store. She had heard stories of thievery, destruction, and slaughter. These possibilities did not worry her. She reasoned that if this savage wanted to slaughter her, he could have easily done so as she was getting the water from the creek. There was no one around to stop him. No, she told herself, the reason had to be something more sinister, something that was not discussed in the company of a lady. This realization prompted her to begin to struggle even harder to get away.
The bucket would be of no use to her, so she let it drop from her grasp. The newfound freedom in her arm was short-lived. Her captor deftly swung her face down across his lap. She became keenly aware of the small piece of cloth worn by her captor. As her waist moved up and down with the rhythmic gallop of the horse, she felt his strong hands holding her in place. Had she not feared the outcome of this ride, she would have been angry at the indignity of her predicament. However, as frightened as she was, she had decided that she would not go without a fight. That is something she had learned from her father. You must be willing to fight for what is important to you.
The thought of her father spurred her into a fervor. Her mind hurriedly turned to escape. How could she loose the iron-like grasp this savage had on her? She saw her opportunity in the shape of his muscular, brown calf. She noticed how starkly it compared to the white of the horse they were riding. His skin reminded her of the color of tanned leather. She knew that Indians were naturally dark skinned. However, she also knew that every inch of her captor’s skin had been exposed to the sun since the day he was born.
With her target in sight, she leaned toward his calf and bit it as hard as she could. She felt the muscles of the calf tense with the assault, and she heard a loud scream. The satisfaction she received from knowing she had inflicted pain prompted her to bite harder. The sound of the savage’s cries of agony were the fuel to the fire that Margaret needed to intensify her assault. She dug her teeth in deeper. She could taste blood, but she did not care. She was determined to make it out of this situation alive and with as much of her modesty in place as possible.
Images of her father kept running through her mind. She knew that if anything happened to her, her father would blame himself. She knew that she was the main reason he was still alive after her mother had died. He lived for her. An assault on her was an assault on her father, too. This thought provoked her even further. She could not stand the thought of anything hurting her beloved Dada. She could hear him encouraging her to survive, “Fight, Maggie me love! Give ’em hell!” She was determined to do just that. She was going to “give ’em hell,” or she was going to die trying. She was prepared to fight to the bitter end. However, what she was not prepared for was to have the savage unceremoniously shove her from her perch on his lap to the unforgiving ground below. Winded from the impact, Margaret was taken aback by the savage’s response to her attack. In fact, it took her a moment to realize that she was free. Every muscle in her body ached. Her head, which had taken quite a bit of the impact, throbbed. However, she was relieved to be free.