I shared my first short story with some time ago. Here’s another one. I’m not going to say this is the best thing I’ve ever written, but I will say this is probably best thing I’ve ever finished and I’m not really sure that it’s finished either. I am slowly writing a larger work, perhaps a novel, that this short story is inspiring. I think of new little twists and characters all the time and add them to my idea page. And I often go to bed thinking about where I left off and writing and rewriting events in my head. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know if you do and why, that would be really helpful. And if you don’t, I’d like to know why too, but be kind it is my heart and soul on the line…
A sudden commotion just beyond the tree line and the crack of rifles startled me. The ladies began screaming and fleeing in every direction, the men trying to assist them. I sought shelter at the edge of the wood beside a small structure as men in uniforms converged on the blanketed lawn from all sides—the woods behind, the field across, and around the sides of the main house. I cowered and averted my eyes as the action intensified.
I heard a voice urging me to leave, to flee this horrific scene. I felt a hand press on my shoulder, trying to rouse me from my crouched position. The pressure slowly dissipated as I sensed another pulling the pleading voice away from me as they ran hand-in-hand deeper into the wood. I dared not move.
At times, it felt as though someone was standing over me firing into the field and then they were gone. I heard leaves rustle and sticks break behind me, but no one called to me or reached for me again. My ears began to ring with the cacophony of chaos that engulfed me. There were desperate screams, haunting moans, and dangerous ricochets.
A resounding crack from an unexpected direction beckoned me to raise my head and seek the source of such a sound. A soldier was perched on the roof of the main house firing down into the field, most of his body concealed by the pinnacle. His hat, cocked over his brown unkempt hair, shielded the sun from his deadly eye. After each crack, he paused to assess the damage he had inflicted. He was skillful and efficient, making each shot deadly. As he reloaded, I observed a steady hand, a sure countenance, and a faint glint of blue in his eye.
Soon another soldier joined him from that vantage and together they began to terrorize those below. The men in the field tried to scare them from their advantageous position, but the perch was too well-hidden from their rifle sites. They quickly realized any prolonged attempt at removing the sharpshooters would result in their demise and retreated in the directions from whence they came.
As soon as the shooting on the lawn ceased, I struggled to my feet and began running toward home. There must have been men at my feet in horrifying states, but I never saw them. I was fixated on getting home, getting away from here. As I ran, my skirt twisted; I often stumbled, but never fell.
On the front lawn, a group of soldiers, with the focus of having just received new orders, split into two groups and were off—one in the direction of the fleeing aggressors and the other after my luncheon party. Again I froze, unsure of what to do.
The sharpshooter, apparently the ranking officer, turned and moved toward me, his hat now pushed back revealing both eyes. I stared at him unable to move. As he drew nearer, he must have seen how terrified I was. I was struggling to catch my breath and nearly collapsed when he reached for me. His sure hands and strong arms pulled me to him.
“It’s alright now,” he said, as he held me up. “My men will clear the area and find your friends.” I heard his words, but it was the tone of his voice, the rhythm of his chest, the strength of his arms that comforted me. He pulled away slightly, but only for a moment. As I sunk back into his reassuring embrace, he uttered, “You feel good in my arms, as if you belong there.”
His words caught me unaware. I pulled away slightly and looked up into his now-brilliant blue eyes. There was truth in his words; I had felt it too. He must have known my thoughts, seen it in my eyes, sensed it somehow, because he pulled me to him again, only this time he kissed me. And I let him. It was a forceful kiss with all the passion of a chance meeting. And yet I melted into him as if we had always been one.
When we finally parted, propriety returned. I blushed, averted my eyes, and took a step back. He turned to see if his men had returned. No one was there. He turned back to me with a smile spreading across his face and started to say something when a group of soldiers returned drawing his attention.
“Sir,” one of the men began. “We were able to…”
“I must go,” I interrupted. I turned and began running down the lane toward home. The sharpshooter called after me. I didn’t respond and I heard his men snickering as I ran away.