Thursday, 9 June 2011

An extract from Drive to Redemption by Mike Deane

Appomattox 1865

He was alone, separated from his unit. His breaths came fast and shallow as he fought to suppress the panic he felt inside. It was growing dark and he could hear the sound of fighting all around. The only trouble was that he didn’t know which way his fellow Confederate men were, and which way would lead to a Yankee bullet. He moved slowly, eyes open wide, searching for an ally. Up ahead he could see a small wooden hut, set back from a clearing. He made for it. Maybe he could ride out the skirmish in there. Find his unit when the fighting had finished.

He slunk across the clearing, making for the door of the building. He opened it slowly, his pistol drawn. Gradually he pulled the door back until he could stick his head inside. It was dark, difficult to make anything out. Then the butt of a revolver crashed into the side of his face. He staggered backwards, stunned by the blow, the pain not yet hitting him. He tripped over his leaden feet and collapsed to the ground. He dropped his weapon and as he lay there defenceless, his face feeling as if it was being branded, he stared up at the advancing Yankee soldier. He saw the rifle being levelled at him and figured that this was the end. He thought of his family. Of his wife, Maria, his daughter, Katie, and son, Jim. Thought of how he had left them to look after the farm while he went to war. Went to fight for what he believed in. And how it had led to him waiting to be shot like a stray dog. He wished with all his heart that he had stayed at home, there were plenty of other fellers willing to get shot at.,why did he have to go and join them? He said a final silent goodbye to his family, closed his eyes and waited for the end.

Nothing happened. Still he kept his eyes closed, wondering what was taking so long. Still nothing. He dared to look. He was alone. The Yankee’s revolver lay in the clearing, just a few feet away. He rose carefully, in case this was some unholy trick that was being played on him. Nobody fired. He picked up the gun, all the while looking around for an attacker. He examined the weapon and found the reason for the Yankee’s rapid disappearance. A bullet had jammed in the barrel, rendering the weapon useless. Tom Boland said a silent prayer of thanks, walked off the battlefield and headed for home.

Drive to Redemption is now available from Amazon, Halebooks, and all the main on-line retailers.

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