Railhead

The Raid at Natchitoches Parish Railhead

 Shapeshifters have always been a part of the folklore in Southern Wisconsin . Some folks there credited sightings of werewolves to the last of the Native American shamans. Others looked for more rational reasons of these occurrences. Perhaps the following tale about President Lincoln’s special forces in the Civil War  can set the record straight.

Here’s an xcerpt from ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION:

 

The full moon had just crested over the highest peak above

the valley-shaped hollow in the Kisatchie and began its downward

descent. I was gasping for air. “I can’t keep up,” I yelled out

to Jeridia. “Keep going, I’ll hold them off.” There wasn’t much

time for any maneuvering tactics. I turned toward the entry of

the narrow pass and kicked the short tripod of Doctor Gatling’s

crank gun open.

I didn’t think I would last long. For all my strength and

endurance, I could only manage to carry three cartridge holders

in my bandolier for the portable machine. The Southerner’s

hunting animals were gaining ground and I knew that they would

be on me in the next few minutes. I could hear their unearthly

snarls nearing as I armed the weapon. With an almost

nightmarish reflex I pulled a forty-round magazine from my

bandolier and fed it into the gun’s hopper.

When I saw the flash of the beasts eyes a’glistening

from their reflections of the moonlight I began to crank. I

ground the Gatling’s handle hard turning the six chambers to

load and fire automatically one after another. The rim fire

copper-based cartridges barked out of the six revolving barrels

in loud billowing puffs of acrid smoke.

Hair and entrails sprayed in every direction as the first

grisly knot of the Creole beasts came abreast of my position.

Startled, the remaining furry hounds ran for cover to avoid the

spit of the Gatling. They jumped into the brush and the brambles

siding the backbone trail of the hollow. But they kept on

a’coming.

One quick glance over my shoulder told me that Jeridia and

the two others in our clandestine raiding party, Ward-Hall and

Sevidore would be able to outdistance the mangy pack that had

been tracking us if I held fast. I slammed another round of shot

into the top of the Gatling.

#

   It wasn’t our fault that we were deep inside the Creole

country of Louisiana in the middle of that cool October night.

It was that dammed pantywaist General, McClellan. He was the

reason. Because of him we were there to disrupt the use of the

newly completed Texas and New Orleans Railroad

bridge that led over the Red River gorge in Natchitoches Parish.

Everyone knew that the real states rights war for union and

emancipation was being fought along the East Coast. The fierce

battles ran throughout the original thirteen states in open

daylight up at Bull Run, Antietam and Williamsburg. That is

until McClellan refused to fight.

At the start of the war, McClellan’s knowledge of war science

and his railroading experience were taken to mean that he would

make an excellent gatherer of men, a mover of troops, a real

leader. His military schooling background placed him in great

demand as a field mobilizer and he became President Lincoln’s

first choice as the Union Army’s Field Commander.

But that dammed West Pointer dandy thought that he could

defeat Lee and his Virginia born Confederate Army simply by

staring them down, instead of overrunning them. While McClellan

sat encamped at the Berkley Plantation, the Confederate Army was

growing stronger in the South, slowly expanding into the

uncommitted Western Territories, using their railroad trains to

bring in new recruits.

That’s where Ward-Hall, Jeridia, Sevidore and I came in. Old

Abe just couldn’t sit by and watch the South tie the vast

western lands to the Confederacy. He had to make sure that the

Southern cause was contained and then defeated.

 

The Raid at  Natchitoches Parish appears in ifs IMAGINE FANTASY SCIENCE FICTION.