The Wind


She awoke lying in the tall grass of the prairie. Despite being wrapped in a quilt tightly from head to toe and in the sun, Sarah still felt chilled.

It was much better than what she had been going through. The night before, she was deathly ill with a fever so high it was believed she would not make it till daylight.

Slowly Sarah pushed apart the blanket and sat up. She looked around but saw nothing save the high waving grasses.

The only sound was that of the unceasing wind that blew day and night, playing tricks on the mind. It was a maddening tumult that made a life among the Conestoga wagons nearly unbearable.

Though unnaturally quiet, Sarah did feel better and was soon on her feet. As Sarah pressed through the grass, she found no sign of the thirty wagons she had been a part of since St. Louis.

She called out to her husband. He did not answer.

Finally, she found deep wagon ruts gouged into the thick sod. She followed it for as far as she could before finally sitting down and crying in utter despair.

How long she sat there and cried and screamed and wailed, Sarah did not know. What she did know was that she knew the sound of a wagon train, with the plodding of the oxen hooves, the crack of the whip, the sound of the wheels creaking and cast iron pans clanking beneath the heavy wooden wagon frames.

Then she saw the first Connie of the westward-bound wagon train. Sarah scrambled to her feet, racing towards it.

The startled oxen tried to move off the trail. They were beaten back onto the path by a man walking on the left side of the team.

“Help me,” Sarah said. “They left me behind.”

The man failed to acknowledge her. He didn’t even look her way.

Sarah ran down the line screaming for help.

The fifth wagon back, where a woman walked beside a man, she wailed, “Please help me.”

“Did you hear that?” she asked her husband, her face a mask of fright. “It sounds like a woman crying.”

“It’s only the wind,” he said.

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