As promised, here is the same time period as the last chapter, but from the conscious characters' points of view.
I still don't own anything. But hey, those of us in the U.S., Simon Baker directed episode tonight!
"It's water hemlock," Kimball said, taking the plants from his step father's hand and frowning. "It has the potential to kill with one bite."
"Oh, God," Teresa said, looking down at her husband. His eyes were rolled back in his head, and if it wasn't for the convulsions that were jolting his body she would think that he was dead. "Jane, Jane, please." She bit her lip and looked at her son. "Where are Grace and Wayne?"
"They were tending the fire," Kimball said. "We should get him up there."
Teresa nodded. "Okay."
Kimball moved around his step father and attempted to lift him. He made it about half way before grunting, falling to his knees, and spilling Jane onto the ground.
Teresa gasped and rolled Jane back onto his back brushing the dirt off of his face. "You okay?" she asked Kimball, and when he nodded, she lifted her husband's upper body. "Get his feet," she ordered her oldest child, and he obeyed. They carried Jane up the slope to the wagon.
"Get some of the charcoal," Kimball said to his sister. "We have to force feed it to him."
"Charcoal?" Wayne said, looking confused.
"It will absorb the poison," Teresa said, wiping her eyes and looking down at Jane's head in her lap. His eyes straightened out briefly, and then rolled to the side again before closing. "Hang on, Jane," she whispered. "We're going to help you." She wiped her eyes again. "Just hang on."
Grace got the charcoal and knelt next to her mother. "Open his mouth," she said.
Teresa tried. "His jaw is clenched," she said. She looked up toward the heavens. "Why do plants like this exist?" She shouted desperately.
"Whoa!" Wayne jumped to the side as he approached, his stepfather's seizures becoming more violent.
"Hold him down!" Kimball shouted, kneeling on Jane's legs below the knee. Grace held one of his arms to the ground, and Wayne took the other one. Teresa, charcoal powder clenched in one of her fists, braced her elbow against the side of her husband's face and used her other hand to slowly pry his jaw open. She winced when she managed to get a finger between his teeth and they clamped around it like a vice, but she let the charcoal powder fall into his mouth and then painfully withdrew the digit.
"What do we do now?" Grace asked.
"We wait," Kimball responded, rubbing his back. "And we hope that he wakes up."
"How long will that take?" Wayne asked.
"However long it takes," Teresa said before her son could speak. "He'll wake up."
"I hope so," Kimball said. "For your sake."
"He will," she said. "He will, won't you?" she asked, looking down at her husband. "You have to."
"Come on," Wayne said to Kimball. "Let's go unload part of the wagon so he can lie down."
"There's no need," Grace said. "There's room for one to lay in there. We'd only have to remove things if she wants to stay with him."
"Remove things," Teresa said, nodding.
Kimball and Wayne looked at each other. "Okay," Kimball responded.
Teresa swallowed hard. "Thank you, boys."
When the wagon was unloaded enough, Kimball and Wayne lifted their stepfather into it and settled him down. Teresa climbed into the wagon, laying down next to him and feeling his forehead, his chest, and looking at his eyes, searching for some sign that everything would be okay.
He was breathing, and he'd stopped convulsing. She supposed that'd have to be good enough.
The following morning, they loaded their things into the prairie schooner and set off, Teresa's orders. "He would want to keep moving," she said. "I'm staying in the wagon with him, Kimball, you're in charge of driving the oxen."
"Yes, ma'am," Kimball said, sounding less than enthusiastic.
She sat back down next to Jane and took his hand between hers while she prayed. He didn't believe in anything, she knew that, she accepted that, she understood that, but it didn't mean that she couldn't still ask for help for him. He was a good person, he was devoted to his family to the point where he would cross this great wide, open country to find the man who had killed them, and she couldn't think of a reason why his life wouldn't be spared.
The sun rose higher, and was almost to the noon position when she heard him moan lightly. "Jane?" She looked down and saw his head move to one side and his eyelids flicker. They fluttered open momentarily, and then shut again. "Jane!" She said. "Are you okay? Jane, look at me." She put a hand on the top of his head and ran it through his hair, squeezing his hand with her other one. "Jane."
He was still again. She shook her head, biting her lip. "I already lost one husband," she whispered. "Don't do this to me."
He grunted again, and his body tensed for a small cough. "I think he's coming out of it," she called. From her spot walking next to the oxen, Grace's red head turned to give her mother a brief smile. Wayne and Kimball exchanged looks.
After a few minutes, he turned his head slightly and grunted, his eyes coming open once more, and then shutting. Teresa squeezed his hand again. "Come on, Jane," she whispered, her lips near his ear in the hope that he'd hear her without her having to raise her voice. She looked at his lips, and then pressed hers to his own briefly, withdrawing to look down at him. "Come on, Jane."
It was another several minutes before he opened his eyes and, for the first time since he'd spoken to her yesterday, they focused. His mouth shifted slightly into a small smile, his eyes only half open, but locked on her in a conscious effort. "Teresa," he mumbled.
Hope you enjoyed it! I have most of next week off thanks to Thanksgiving, so I'll try to update a bit more frequently. : )