Dr. Polk squats beside Tucker’s leg, unwinding the blood-soaked bandages. The last layer is stuck to his skin. Willow sets a bucket of steaming water beside her, which she uses to ease the material away from the loose tissue.
“These types of injuries bleed like crazy.” She states the obvious as a small dark pool forms around his hoof. She glides the warm sponge down the leg with one hand and probes the lose skin with the other. Tucker hangs his head and snorts out a breath.
“It’s not as bad as it looks.” Dr. Polk glances up and our eyes meet. She turns back to the cut. “In fact, it’s strange. A few millimeters in either direction and he would have severed the tendon.” She shakes her head, sending the pom-pom on her hat bobbing. She stands, pulls a syringe out of her jacket pocket and a small bottle. She inserts the needle. “Do you have any idea what he caught it on?”
“No. There’s nothing out there.” I turn to the outside doors, as if I can see through them, down to Tucker’s field. Blood on snow, nothing else in sight. “I’ll look again tomorrow.” But I’m sure I’ll find nothing.
Dr. Polk slips the needle into his neck and checks her watch. “We’ll let this take effect and then stitch it up. It may not heal too pretty, but I’m confident he’ll be sound again. I’ll give him a dose of antibiotics to ward off infection.”
She sinks down to look at the wound, probing lightly with her fingers. “See, this is a ligament that runs right alongside the line of this cut. The tendon sits just behind it. It’s almost like surgical precision the way the injury split open the leg without hitting anything major.”
Her words conjure the memory of Wade in his truck, the syringe rolling on top of the console. Dr. Polk becomes a watery image as my eyes fill with tears. Tucker is so trusting. He would stand still, maybe even nicker when a stranger came up to him in the field. He’d never suspect a man, maybe with a treat for him, would then bend down and flay open his leg with a razor-sharp scalpel. And walk away. Leaving him to bleed out, leaving a message in blood. For me.
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