“I couldn’t make it,” sobbed Oh-Pshaw. “My knee—I don’t know what’s the matter with it, I can’t walk on it, it keeps doubling up under me. I fell down on it every other step and each time it hurt worse. I only got a little way and then I knew it would take me hours to get back to town, so I came back to tell you. H-how did you get the m-man loose and up on shore?”
Sahwah explained briefly.
“You run and get help, I’ll stay here with him,” said Oh-Pshaw, looking fearfully around her at the shadows which were lengthening in the gully. There were no lingering sunsets in the Devil’s Punch Bowl; night fell swiftly as the dropping of a curtain when the sun got behind the great cliff on the western side. Little did Sahwah dream what an ordeal Oh-Pshaw was committing herself to when she bravely turned around and returned to the Devil’s Punch Bowl when she realized that her slow progress was likely to endanger the life of the injured man. To sit beside the Devil’s Punch Bowl in the dark, and listen to the terrible gurgling of the water through the basin! The blood curdled in her veins at the mere thought of it, and yet she choked back her terror with a stern hand and said no word as Sahwah rose from beside the unconscious man, called “All right!” over her shoulder and disappeared between the trees like an arrow shot from a bow.
Inside of five minutes after Sahwah left it was dark as midnight in the Punch Bowl, dark with an inky blackness that clutched at Oh-Pshaw as with hands while the hideous gurgling filled her ears and turned her blood to water. She was going to faint, she knew it; the strength went out of her limbs; icy drops gathered on her forehead. Then she remembered. She dared not faint. She must keep her hand pressed tightly over the wound in the man’s head to keep the blood from flowing. Sahwah had said so. Sahwah said he would bleed to death if she did not. Sahwah had just started to do it, when she had come back and reported her failure to bring help. Now she had to do it. She pressed her hands tightly over the wound as Sahwah had showed her, and tried to close her ears to the gurgling. But the old terror had her by the throat, suffocating her, paralyzing her hands. They dropped uselessly at her sides; she crouched limp and panting and nerveless beside the helpless man. Then, for the first time in her life Oh-Pshaw began to fight the fear. She forced her clammy hands back over the wound, she cast desperately around for something to think about beside the murmuring horror at her feet. She began to sing, in a scarcely audible voice, and through chattering teeth: