She was pointing at my left arm. I could see that blood had stained the night shirt sleeve from the middle of my upper left arm to the elbow. I guess she had grabbed my wounded appendage when she flew into my arms out in the hall.
I didn’t feel any pain yet, probably because the shock to my body hadn’t worn off. After all the wounds that I had endured in the last few months, I could tell it wasn’t anything serious. However, in this day and time, any wound could get out of control.
To prevent a possible infection, I asked, “Liebchen, could ya get me some alcohol?”
This stopped her dead in her tracks. “What does that mean?” she asked.
I looked at her and said, “What?”
She looked at me sternly and demanded, “Ya called me some name. What does it mean?”
“Oh, I guess that just slipped out,” I confessed with a grin.
“Jim Hager, what does it mean?” she insisted.
I chuckled, blushed, and looking awkwardly at the floor, explained, “It means sweetheart.”
She looked at me for a few seconds and then, in a low voice, asked, “In what language?”
“German,” I answered.
She looked at me in awe for a few more seconds and then admitted, “No one has ever called me by a loving name in another language.”
“I meant it as my pet name for ya and only ya. I hope ya don’t mind. Like I said, it just jumped out of my mouth, when I thought of ya,” I professed.
“I think it is a most beautiful gift, Jim,” she asserted, while we both looked into each other’s eyes with love and adoration.
Suddenly, Daphne jerked back to the present and said, “I need to get you some alcohol for the wound,” she chimed.
“Just give the desk clerk some money and tell him to send Doc Morton a message to deliver some alcohol in a bottle to our room,” I advised.
She nodded, and putting on a very long robe, went to the second floor landing. She called down to the desk clerk, and when he appeared, she threw him a silver coin and made her request. He hurried off like a jack rabbit to do her bidding.
Once Daphne was in the room, I removed my night shirt and donned some underwear and my trousers. She cleaned the wound with water and a clean hand towel. The wound was not deep. It was merely a graze. However, we waited for the desk clerk to appear with the alcohol so we could disinfect the injury.
It didn’t take long before we heard a knock at the door, and the desk clerk handed over the alcohol bottle. Then he sheepishly asked, “Sir, when may the bodies be moved from the hall? It’s causing the hotel patrons some grief.”
I’ll have ‘em removed when my cavalry squad gets here,” I promised.
He nodded and went downstairs.
Daphne applied an abundance of alcohol to my arm. After the third application, I was used to the pain and quit grimacing.
Finally, I said, “I think that will do it. I need to get dressed before the squad of cavalry arrives.”
She acquiesced to my request, but not before she had wrapped the wound with some cotton material she produced from one of her boxes.
I gingerly put on a shirt and tucked it into my trousers. Then, I donned a vest that covered my bracers (suspenders). Just seconds later, we heard the sound of multiple boots coming down the hall.
I immediately opened the door and entered the hall.
There were about 10 troopers being led by a sergeant, who happened to be the sergeant that was on duty when I reported to the cavalry camp the day before.
He was a crusty old soldier. He didn’t salute when he stopped in front of me, but looking around me at the bodies down the hall, retorted with a smirk, “Well, Lieutenant, I see you have been busy.”
“Captain,” I said.
“What?” he asked.
“I’m a captain,” I corrected.
“Oh,” he murmured. Then he thought better of his salty disposition, and coming to attention, saluted.
I returned the salute and said, “Take the bodies to the mortician, and have one of the men to relay to the Colonel that I will be coming to camp in just a few minutes.”
He replied, “Aah, yes sir.” Then he hesitantly asked, “Sir, what happened?”
Pointing at the dead men, I recounted, “During the early hours of the morning, those men gathered in front of a room down the hall and were prepared to kill my wife and me. Fortunately for us, they went to the wrong door. They yelled for me to come out, but we were located in this room.” I pointed to the door of our present room.
I continued, “I was armed when I came out of this room and accosted them. They turned to fire, but I got two of them before they could get a shot off. One man shot and grazed my left arm, but I dispatched him.”
The sergeant and the men stood in shocked silence, looking back and forth between the dead men and me.
Finally, I directed, “So get the bodies to the funeral home, and I will go brief Colonel Daniels.”
The sergeant looked at me as if I had grown a second head. Then he snapped to attention, and turning to the troopers, barked, “Ya heard the captain! Get the bodies to the mortician!”