“Please go ahead of me. I’m deathly afraid of spiders.” Announcing her fear, Lila turned to face Neunan as he squeezed past her. When their bodies touched, Chance paused and placed the candle on a stone outcropping from the wall and drew Lila to him. The pitcher hung precariously from the girl’s hand as her arms encircled the soldier’s neck and their lips met. Her kiss was hot and demanding as Chance’s hands groped her backside. She offered no resistance or complaint as they forced their impassioned bodies against each other. Then, as abruptly as she had given up her body, she stopped and pushed Chance away.
“Take the candle. I’ll direct you. It’s only a little further. Besides we’ll have time for more of this once you’ve eaten.” Her finger tips flipped the hair above Neunan’s collar.
The flickering candle did a poor job of illumination as they entered the enlarged portion of the cellar. Hogsheads and casks stacked one on top of the other lined one wall of the damp intersanctum. Nearing the back of the room, Chance had moved ahead and torched several cobwebs that impeded his progress when suddenly, his eyes picked up a faint glimmer of white that seemed to float before him in the humid darkness. Leaning forward, he brought the candle closer; its glow broadening and brightening the cellar’s corners and crevices.
Chance stiffened. Then he drew back in horror! Protruding from a stack of wooden crates was a shoeless, waxen white, human foot!
Stricken with fear, Neunan cried out and turned to run but before he could take a step a huge, black mass knocked him sprawling in the gravel of the floor. The figure rushed past the soldier’s twisting body and threw itself onto Lila Samples. The unexpected assault sent the puny candle flying before its flame extinguished against the cellar wall. In the darkness, Chance rolled under a stout table and fought to untangle the small revolver from the fabric of his pant’s pocket. Sounds of a struggle, grunts, scraping shoes in the flooring and open handed slaps reverberated in the storage chamber.
Finally the fight ended with two hard blows landing on flesh and a desperate little scream. Then only silence. Chance exhaled and eased the hammer of his gun back, the cylinder rotating in his hand as he fought to see what had happened.
“You all right, Yank?” a masculine voice whispered in the murk. “Hey? She didn’t get you did she?”
Chance remained quiet, testing the direction from which the muffled inquiries were coming.
A match rasped against the stone wall and a crouching man emerged from the gloom. He located the extinguished candle, lit it and held it aloft to extend its illumination.
“Come on out from under that table. It’s about over. That little hellion isn’t goin’ to hurt you none.”
Neunan leveled the pistol at the speaker and using his free hand, grasped the moldy table top and pushed himself upright .
“You can put that away, too. I saved yer bacon, Boy. She meant to stick you in the gizzard and feed you to the hogs.”
Lila Samples lay in a disheveled mess, her skirts hiked above her thighs and a trickle of blood running to her chin from a cut in her lip.
“Who are you?” The young soldier kept his firearm directed toward the man’s midsection.
“Carl Enoch, Second Iowa Cavalry.”
“How come you’re not in uniform if you’re in the army?”
“I took a little French leave to find a friend of mine who was listed on the company rolls as a deserter. You can move a damned sight easier at night without all that brass on yer clothes.” The cavalryman spit into the gravel at his feet. “Looks like I found my friend.” He nodded toward the protruding foot. “I knew he wouldn’t desert. He comes from good stock and he wouldn’t do that. He’d have come back to camp if these she-devils would’ve let him”
About Ed LeCrone
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Published March 1, 2010
History, Romance, War, Literature & Fiction.