Yelena grabbed the hem of her ankle-length skirt at the seam and tore up about six inches. She then ripped horizontally around its bottom until she had a workable rag - and a calf-length skirt.
She turned toward her patient Samuel, who had already lost consciousness. She tore the rag in two, using one piece to wrap his bleeding arm. His knife wound was deep, and he had already lost quite a bit of blood. She continued to put pressure on the wound. After a minute or two, the blood flow slowed dramatically.
She wiped the sweat from her face and looked out into the distance. Other than the small oasis a few hundred yards east, all she could see was sand. There wasn't a soul in sight, and she had no way to communicate with anyone.
The heat was almost unbearable. The shortening of her skirt was a welcome relief to her legs. She grabbed the skirt's new bottom and tucked it into her clothing's waistband.
Samuel needed medical attention; of that she was sure. He also needed water. His breathing had steadied, but he was perspiring heavily.
Lord, I need to go to that oasis, but I don't know if I should leave Samuel, even for a few minutes. Guide me, Lord. Give me the wisdom to know what to do, for I certainly don't have it on my own. In Your Son's precious and holy Name I pray.
She opened her eyes and looked at Samuel. The corners of his mouth were turned up slightly, as if trying to grin.
Yelena closed her eyes and sighed deeply. "I guess that means you'll be okay for a bit."
Yelena picked up the other portion of her torn dress, put Samuel's empty canteen over her shoulder, and trod toward the oasis. Every several steps, she glanced back at Samuel. Her gait quickened the closer she got to the haven, until she practically ran into the water.
She stopped when she was ankle-deep in the cool pool, kneeling down and splashing water on her legs, arms, and upper torso. She smiled for the first time since she had arrived in this desolate place.
Removing the canteen from her shoulder, she filled it with the pool's water. She drank the canteen dry, refilled it, and closed the cap. Next, she held the rag in the water, allowing it to saturate with fluid. Without wringing it out, she exited the water and looked back out into the desert.
She could see them from her vantage point. Her smile immediately disappeared. Lord, help me keep my focus where it should be: where You want it to be. Breathing deeply, she walked back, her eyes fixed on Samuel as she approached.
Arriving at his side, Yelena knelt beside Samuel and rubbed the wet rag on his forehead, along his cheeks, and under his neck. She unbuttoned the top two buttons on his shirt and placed the cool cloth there as well.
The canteen, hanging from her shoulder, swung as she worked, coming within inches of striking Samuel's temple. Noticing this, she took it off and placed it next to him. At that moment, he opened his mouth a bit. Yelena opened the canteen and put a few drops of water into his mouth.
Samuel's uninjured arm shifted slightly, and his head moved toward Yelena. She backed away somewhat as his eyes cracked open.
"You!" Samuel was clearly trying to yell, but his voice barely reached a whisper.
"Don't exert yourself, Samuel." She looked down at him somberly. "You must conserve your strength."
His eyes ablaze, Samuel attempted to lift his arm, groaning as pain shot through his body.
Yelena pursed her lips and glanced off to their right, where a lifeless body lay in a pool of blood. "Dead by your hand."
"And you did this?" Samuel glared at his knifed arm, and then at Yelena.
"I bandaged and tended to your injury, yes. The wound, however, was inflicted by Joseph, in self defense."
Samuel's look changed to confusion. "I killed your husband, yet you cared for my wounds?"
Yelena nodded. "You are his brother."
"His brother who wanted him dead for being an infidel to Allah. I don't understand."
"It is what Christ would have me do. My gift to you."
"A gift for your enemy? This Christ is an odd man, yet you follow Him. Are you crazy, woman?"
"Perhaps. But today you are glad I am crazy, are you not?"
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