The Guns of Lazarus Thorne
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by AC Croom
Category: Historical Fiction
Description: With his daughter's life on the line?Lazarus Thorne turns once again to the gun to see her live?or die trying. The streets of Three Wells, Arizona turns into a bloody battle ground as outlaws seem to come out of the very woodwork. Shootings leave the town bereft of law until Marshal Shay O'Hara steps in to restore order. He asks Lazarus Thorne to assume the role of lawman. Lazarus is torn between duty as a man that has recently found himself in the role of father to an eight year old daughter he was never told about until the murder of the only woman he ever cared about, and facing the threat to Three Wells. Will he take up the gun again to protect friends and family? How far will Lazarus Thorne go to insure the safety of his only child? Will law be restored to a quiet Arizona town, or will Three Wells become another Tombstone, with open bloodshed in the streets. Excerpt: Spreading the doors wide, Conner was faced by no fewer than four determined men with silver badges on their chests and guns drawn. He drew the Lady of light and shot two of the men dead. The Sheriff and Deputy Jamie Hill opened fire and everyone involved dove for cover. Shots were fired blindly, shattering windows and ricocheting off splintered wood. Sheriff Percy Meriwether took a chance and ran for his office door for more ammunition. Conner fired and the bullet took the old Sheriff in the center of his lower back. Percy?, wounded but not dead, dragged himself through the door and into the safety of the office. His Deputy, seeing that he alone was left to face this man lifted himself up and ran away down the street firing blindly over his own shoulder. Conner stood from behind the water trough that protected him and walked back into the saloon. He went behind the bar and took a bottle off the shelf. He poured a shot glass full and tossed the burning liquid down. Then he began to clean and reload his Ladies. The bartender was still crouched behind and at the other end of the bar, trembling in absolute fear. Conner paid him no attention at all as he whispered and crooned to his beloved Ladies.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: December 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [267 KB]
Reading time: 149-209 min.
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April 6, 1862
Shiloh Battle Field, Southwestern Tennessee
Nineteen-year-old Lazarus Thorne marched along the dusty Tennessee road bearing the weight of musket, kit, and rations for one day. The gaggle of young replacements, of which he was part, stood tall and proud, stepping along the route in perfect drill order as they had been taught. Each held a look of smug superiority...until they passed the smoldering remains of a Confederate field piece and caisson.
The charred, bloated, and dismembered bodies of the unfortunate artillery crew lay in impossible positions, waiting the attention of burial details assigned this section of the writhing, ever-changing battlefield near Shiloh church and offered proof that many of them would not rally at day's end.
First Sergeant Frank Myers called a halt to the force march for a ten minute break. Marcus Voit, immediately in front of Lazarus, grinned and dropped where he stood, to sit in the dust of the road, blocking others from advancing. Jones, a gangly youth of sixteen, stood rooted in place, unable to take his eyes off the dead soldiers of the gun crew. Lazarus sat next to Voit and shared a sip of water with him.
"Jones, come share a sup of water with me and Lazarus," Marcus said trying to get the boy's attention off the dead soldiers. "He's gonna lose it." Voit nodded toward the other men in the unit that were just as spellbound by the destruction before them.
"Yeah, I see 'em over there. He won't be the only one. You know, Marcus, the Sergeant told me to expect to see Hell, in all its glory, before this day was over. How many do you think will make it to gather at sundown?"
Voit nodded sadly. "I don't know, Laz. All I know is that me and this here Springfield is gonna make damn sure we are one of the lucky ones. Them damn Yankees gonna have to eat lead ball to get to either of us."
The rumbling of volley fire up the road caused the grizzled old sergeant to start barking orders, dressing his ranks to move his detail at double quick toward the sound. Along the edge of the remaining trees, shadowy images moved within the sulfurous smoke lying close to the ground, cloaking men and machines of war, transforming them into ghostly apparitions waiting to bring the fires of Hell or a trip to Heaven upon all who opposed them.
Sergeant Myers shouted while he ran beside his young charges. "Voit, Thorne, Jones, fall out and join Third Corps over yonder in the woods to the left. God go with you boys." The replacement company never slowed its pace.
The three recruits fell out at the double and crashed through high grass along a wagon trail that cut off the main road. They reached a clearing where other replacements were receiving their assignments, turning and moving off to join units. There they stopped, welcoming the chance to catch their breath while waiting for their orders. From Thorne's left, a smiling, redheaded sergeant separated from the nervous men surrounding him.
"I'm Sergeant Jeremiah Dixon. Welcome to Third Corps. The others have their assignments. You three will follow me to C Company and fill ranks with my men...Names and state of origin?"
"Lazarus Thorne, Sir...Virginia."
"Marcus Voit, Sergeant. I'm from Georgia."
Dixon turned to Jones. "And, what's your name, soldier?"
Sweat was pouring down the teenager's face as he stared at the troops under cover of the trees. His face was pale and he seemed near collapse.
"Adcox!" Dixon shouted to a nearby soldier with medical insignia embroidered on the epaulets. "Take this man to the surgeon. He seems ill."