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Medicine Woman

Set in the Old West

A Love Story Written by Lipstick 'n Bootss' Willow Windsong

 

Cate fought the shadows of the evening as she made her way back home to a three-room structure at the end of town with the barest of necessities.

She had arrived in Stone Bluff two months ago when the town had advertised for a doctor. Perhaps her situation would have been more advantageous if she had concentrated her talents elsewhere, back in the east from where she had arrived.

Things were much different there; women doctors were coming into their own, finally being accepted by communities and valued for their abilities.

Her first mistake had been applying as Doctor Fanning, unaware that folks residing in the more western part of the nation didn’t take kindly to women doctors.

Once she had arrived she had basically been shunned by the town. That is, until this evening. Mrs. Pennymite’s tiny dog had experienced a nasty gash when he had plowed head-long into her husband’s newly erected barbed-wire fencing, or as Mister Pennymite called the dangerous strand – devil’s wire.

Cate tensed her lips together in a tight scowl. At least she had been useful to the dog. Twenty stitches, which he had tolerated with the most minimal of whimpering.

The impromptu surgery had gone exceptionally well which had pleased the dog’s misses. However, when she had noticed that Mister Pennymite had also been injured when he had extracted the dog from the wire, he had automatically refused treatment, speaking to his wife as if Cate wasn’t even in the room, “Ain’t no woman doctor gonna ever lay a hand on me. No sir-ree. And that goes for the other ranchers and farmers round these parts, too. That’s why there’s a new doctor coming to town. A real doctor. A man.”

He had scorched Cate with a warning look, his meaning unmistakable.

Well, she hadn’t wanted to treat him anyway. The man had a week’s worth of sweat and grime on him as well as smelled to high-heaven. She had much preferred treating the little dog which had held far more desirable manners.

The moon suddenly split through the cloud cover, lighting the path as she made her way down the narrow street.

Two months of her life; it had taken the situation that long to register the truth of the matter. If she remained in Stone Bluff she would be treating more animals than humans in the forthcoming years as the new doctor that Pennymite had mentioned would be replacing her.

No doubt that she would be booted out of her current living quarters. Inadequate as they were, at least they served as a starting place.

 

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