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Carriage Accident

This scene is the first part of an entire chapter that was deleted from Painting Rain. I was several thousand words into this particular scene before I realized that I had no idea where I was going with this story line and that it really didn’t serve a purpose. So it ended up on the cutting room floor.

This scene happens during her trip from Dalthia to Faria. I hope you enjoy it!


I wallowed there until the carriage gave a mighty jolt and I was thrown from my seat. I fell to my knees, catching myself on the bench opposite where Sarah was trying not to slide from her own place. Then one side of the carriage dipped low, throwing me against the door, where my panicked gaze darted out the window and fell to the ground, which was much closer than it should have been. The leather strap that supported this side of the carriage must have snapped.

I knew the moment the floor beneath me hit the ground. The door that my hands and knees were pressed into leaned closer to the ground that continued to race past. There was a great scraping sound and the conveyance rattled all around us, as I heard the coachman calling out, trying to stop the horses.

I braced my arms on either side of the door, hoping it wouldn’t give way and toss me onto the ground. I wished I could use my feet as leverage, but they were trapped beneath me, kneeling as I was.

I heard Sarah struggling and looked over to see her clinging to the window frame on her side as she picked up one foot and planted it on the wall, close to me.

With one final shudder, we came to a stop, the air filling with dust and the sound of our breathing as well as the horses’ whinnies as they voiced their agitation.

My arms remained locked in place, afraid to move. My knees were throbbing where they pressed against the door, and I feared my hands would be permanently branded where they clutched the frame of the window.

A horse drew alongside the window and my guard slid off, hurrying over to duck down and peer inside. “Are you injured?” West asked, his breathing labored.

I managed to shake my head.

“Let’s get you out of there.” He pulled the door open and my knees slid a few inches, forcing me to hold tighter. He quickly moved directly in front of me, wrapping an arm around my waist as he pushed me back with his body. “Now, let go of the carriage and I can pull you out.”

I released my white-knuckled grip and held on to his shoulders as he half lifted, half dragged me out and set me on my feet.

“Are you well?”

I shook my head, still too stunned to make my mouth form words. Stephen was helping Sarah to climb out of the teetering conveyance and I breathed in relief when she was free of it.

The back wheel was gone and the front wheel looked to be damaged, probably from all the extra weight it had born when the back wheel was lost.

My heart was still frantic, so my words were breathless when I asked, “Do wheels normally come off entirely?”

“No. I don’t know what happened. I noticed it starting to wobble. I was going to call out for George to stop, but it hit a rock and slipped right off the axle. It spooked the horses, which is why George had a tough time stopping them.” He looked me over again. “Are you injured?”

I waved his concern away. “My knees will be bruised, but that’s all.” I looked around us. I hadn’t been paying attention to where we were while I had been caught up in my thoughts. “Do we know where the wheel went?”

“I’m sure we can find it, but even if we get it back on, we can’t drive with the front wheel cracked the way it is.”

“How far are we from a village or town?”

“We passed one not twenty minutes ago.”

“How long have we been traveling?”

He looked up at the sun. “Near three hours, I would wager.”

I returned my attention to the damage. “Is this repairable?”

“That I don’t know.”

“It can be repaired,” George said as he patted the horse’s side and walked over to join us. “But it won’t be quick and it won’t be easy.”

I sighed, wondering what he meant by not quick. Did he mean hours or days?

It was then that I noticed the missing luggage and my heart stopped. “My trunks.” I stumbled to the back of the carriage, hoping I would somehow find them. They weren’t there. I spun to face West, my voice panicked as I demanded, “Where are they?”

“They came loose and fell off when the carriage tipped. We’ll collect them right now.”

But before he had finished I had already started running back the way we had come, hoping the trunk with my paintings hadn’t been dashed to pieces when it fell. I needed those paintings, not just to show Master Sterrino, but for myself.

West jogged his horse up beside me. “Climb up, Highness. This will be faster.” He reached his hand down and I hesitated for only moment before grabbing his forearm and yanking my skirts out of the way so that I could step up on his boot. He pulled me up in front, my legs draped over one of his. He nudged his mount into a trot and I searched the trees that lined the road. “Do you know where they fell?”

“Yes, it’s just up here.”

I looked ahead and saw a gouge in the road where the carriage had hit the ground. We came to a stop and I grabbed his arm, sliding myself down. It didn’t take me long to find them. I had packed my paintings in the sturdiest trunk I could find. It sat, upside down, but intact and unopened. The trunk containing my wardrobe lay a few paces away, on its side with the lid gaping open and many of my clothing items strew about. I didn’t know which to go to first. I wanted to open the trunk with my paintings and see if there was any damage to them, but having my clothing spread out in the undergrowth, including items that should have remained discreetly tucked away, was embarrassing.

I pointed West toward the sturdier trunk. “Please upright that very carefully while I gather my other things.” I hurried to grab up chemises, stockings and gowns, my face heated as I hoped that West would pay attention to the job I had given him and not to the unmentionables I was gathering. With my arms full, I went to upright the clothing trunk and found that one of the hinges had broken, and two corners were dented and cracked. I dumped in my load, knowing that it would just have to hold until we made it to Faria, then turned to pick up the rest. I spotted West, who had a gown draped over one arm and was just bending over to pick up something that looked very much like a stocking. “No!” I shouted in alarm.

He straightened, his face questioning. I ran over and snatched it up, putting it behind my back as I tried to look him in the eye without my face bursting into flames. “I’ll take care of these. You go look for the wheel.”

His brow raised and he was obviously fighting a smile, maybe even trying not to laugh. I grabbed the gown from his arms and whipped around, hurrying to the next piece of wayward clothing. I didn’t turn back in his direction and when Sarah appeared at my side, it startled me.

She dipped into a little curtsey. “I’ll take care of that, Highness.” She held out her hands and I let her take the cloak and chemise that were folded over my arms, as well as the ribbons and stockings that were clenched in my fist. She tipped her head in West’s direction. “Go check on your paintings.”

I relented, knowing that I would never be able to pack everything back into the trunk and watched as Sarah shook out, dusted off and refolded my things. West was walking back toward us, rolling the truant wheel. At least it had been found. I smiled at his success, but his answering grin reminded me that he had just seen my underthings sprawled in the grass. I turned, determined to see if my canvases were unharmed.

I approached the trunk, looking it over and seeing that it really did appear to have weathered the fall. Perhaps a bit dinged and scratched, but unbroken.

I pulled the leather cord from around my neck. A key hung from it and I inserted it into the trunk’s lock and opened it. My rolled up canvases looked jumbled, but as I inspected them, it was clear they were not torn or crushed. I breathed in relief and relocked it.

“Disaster averted?” West asked as he returned to my side after taking the wheel back to the carriage.

“So it would seem,” I answered without looking at him.

He held out a hand in front of me, and I took it, letting him pull me to my feet.


What did you think? Can you see why I chose to abandon this plot thread? Let me know in the comments!