Clash snippet Chapter 11


BennettFinalEdit copy

Fort Ligonier 

After hearing Liam’s report, Washington took him to see General Forbes, who had finally arrived at Ligonier – having to make the journey by litter, too ill to sit a horse or ride in a wagon.  They entered the General’s tent, to find him in bed, dictating notes to his secretary about troop dispositions for defense and construction.  “Ah, Colonel Washington, I presume this young man is the famous Mr. Mallory.  Come, sit down.  Please pardon my appearance, Mr. Mallory, dying of the bloody flux, you see; damned nuisance to say the least.  So, tell me, Mr. Mallory, how are things in Fort Duquesne?”

General Forbes put the fort on full alert after hearing Liam’s assessment of the conditions at Duquesne, and the probable attack from the ever audacious Ligerny – an attack shadowed by Mulhern, Liam and Wahta.  Colonel Washington ordered Sergeant Mulhern to step up the patrols.  Mulhern was pleased to have Liam and Wahta as companions.  They sent the rest of their patrol back to warn the fort, while they followed and planned a small ambush for the inevitable retreating French force.  Soon, they heard the booming of two French cannon, and headed over to see about eliminating that threat.

The advancing twelve hundred French were met with a withering musket volley, followed by an artillery barrage of grape and canister shot.  The French were overcome and demoralized in the face of the blistering attack and dozens of attackers fell.  Liam took aim, and let an arrow fly, hitting the artilleryman in the hand as he was about to light the fuse.  Mulhern and Wahta raised their muskets, and with Liam advanced on the six French soldiers manning the cannon.  None of them were armed other than with ramrods, and six pairs of arms were soon raised in surrender.

Encouraged by the results of the French attack, Forbes decided it was time for an all-out assault on Duquesne.  Despite the misery of his illness, Forbes insisted on being in command, and accompanied his twenty-five hundred men – though he sent Washington to the front of the march, to take charge of the actual fighting.  They were still a few miles away when night came, so they made camp, sent out a patrol, and set a line of double sentries around the perimeter.

At the fort, Ligerny – under orders to avoid surrender – supervised the setting of demolition charges, and the preparations for his garrison to leave in the middle of the night.  They would head for Fort Le Boeuf, fifty miles north on the Lake Erie shore.  If he could not defend the position, then he would at least deny the British not only the use of the fort, but also the use of his store of cannon and ammunition.  Jimmy Two Birds also made his plans for evacuation; soon, his wagonload of goods and his whores were headed to Trent’s old place, though he remained behind to say farewell to Ligerny and to prepare for the British.

Liam, Wahta, Daniel, Markus, and Sergeant Mulhern, having led the patrol in a wide circuit around Fort Duquesne, were camped by the Allegheny River ford, which the army would use in the morning.  The explosion shook the ground where they lay sleeping. At once, the night sky was aflame with fire, and the smoke rose so thick that it concealed the stars.

The patrol members were startled awake.  Liam and Mulhern stood together, as more explosions ripped through the now blazing fort.  “Aye now,” exclaimed Sergeant Mulhern, “sure that’ll make taking the fort a mite easier, but what a bloody waste of ammunition.”

Liam nodded and pointed. “There go the last of the French troops, most likely the demolition team, and there – on horseback – that must be the commander.  Not much chance we’ll catch them now.”

General Forbes, unable to sleep, was drinking a concoction of ground hartshorn mixed in beer, a mixture his surgeon suggested.  While unsure how much good the drink was doing him, it was certainly better than being bled, or purged.  He had the mug to his lips when the first explosion surprised him, the mug falling from his grasp and spilling on his blanket.  “God’s bollocks, the French bastard blew the fort,” he said to the doctor, “go find Colonel Washington.  I need to know the extent of the damage, and the whereabouts of the French.”

Washington and a platoon of infantry crossed the Allegheny, and met up with Liam’s patrol.  He saw Liam conferring with Wahta and Markus, who then ran in the direction taken by the French away from the fort.  “Well, Colonel, that surely was a rude way to wake up.  Two Birds told me this might happen, but I thought the French would at least put up a fight.”

“From what I can see,” replied Washington, “most of the fort itself is burning, though there are some buildings outside the walls that are still standing.  I hope your friend Two Birds made it out of there.”

“Climb on down from your horse, Colonel, sir,” said Sergeant Mulhern, “I have the boys making coffee, and it will be a while before Wahta and Markus return with news of the French.”

Liam held the halter while the Colonel clambered out of the saddle.  “I wouldn’t be worrying too much about old Two Birds.  I’m guessing the rascal will be there to greet us in the morning, probably draped in a Union Jack.”

This elicited a chuckle from Washington. “I look forward to making his acquaintance.”

Wahta returned two hours later, bearing the bloody body of Markus in his arms.  He laid him gently down, and said only, “Huritt.”  Daniel and Liam looked at the scalped and mutilated form of their friend.  Tears streamed down Daniel’s face, but Liam stood like a stone, his face a mask of hatred.

“What happened?” growled Liam.

Wahta met Liam’s eyes.  “We split up when we reached the trees.  I went ahead, to see if I could find the beginning of the French soldiers.  Markus stayed behind, to see if others were lagging.  I was on my way back when I heard him scream.  Huritt had followed us, and taken Markus by surprise.  When I saw Huritt, he was scalping Markus.  He saw me, but disappeared into the shadows, waving the scalp in triumph before I could take a shot at him.  I am sorry, brother.”

Washington came over, knelt, and covered the body with a blanket.  He looked at Wahta, and asked, “What about the French?”

“They are too far away for pursuit.  They are moving quickly toward Fort Machault.”

General Forbes arrived at the ruins of the fort in the morning, the dysentery having kept him up most of the night.  “Gentlemen, we will need to rebuild this fort.  It is the key to controlling the Ohio, but it is too late in the season for the entire army to stay here.  Therefore, I will return to Ligonier with most of the troops.  Those who stay will start building Fort Pitt.  Colonel Washington, I must ask you to make all possible speed, and take the news of our victory  to Philadelphia.  Please take what men you need.  Now, if you will excuse me, gentlemen, I feel my strength ebbing, and desire to sleep.”

Washington looked at Liam and Daniel, and said, “I would have you, along with Sergeant Mulhern and Wahta, accompany me back East.”  Liam made to protest – his desire was to follow Huritt –  but Washington forestalled his response with a hand on Liam’s shoulder, “I know how badly you want to catch up with that Shawnee, but I need your skills with me.  The war is not over yet; there are still battles to be fought.”

Liam grasped Washington’s hand, and with one last look at his friend’s body, replied, “I will go with you.”

Promo – Buy Links


Clash – Snippet chapter 5

BennettFinalEdit copy

Colonel George Washington looked up from his camp desk as the tall, lean Negro entered his tent.  He dressed as the Mohawk warrior he was.  Teeyeehogrow had been his name since he became an adopted member of the Mohawk.  “You wanted to see me, Colonel, sir?” Teeyeehogrow said

“Yes, please, come in, have a seat.  You may not remember, but we have met before, Rufus, isn’t it?  Your master came to my place in Virginia for a visit a couple of years ago, and you were with him.  So imagine my surprise to find you as part of my Mohawk scouting contingent.  I am most curious to know how that came about.”

Teeyeehogrow, somewhat startled to be recognized as an escaped slave, gave a few seconds’ thought to bolting back out of the tent, but knew that he would not get past the guards at the entrance.  He sat down warily, his skin covered in a thin layer of bear fat shimmering in the candlelight.  “Yes, Rufus was my slave name.  I am now known as Teeyeehogrow.  It’s a long story, but if the Colonel wishes to hear it, I will oblige.”

“How could I not wish it, pray you, continue.”

“I was sold as a young boy to work your friend’s tobacco fields outside of Baltimore on Chesapeake Bay.   My master  is, as you know, a kindly gentleman.  One day, he noticed me solving a problem for the slave foreman. He took me from the fields, and gave me a proper education. After a few years, my job became teacher to the slave children.  When my master’s children grew to an age where they needed a tutor, he gave me the task of teaching them and the slave children, an enormous responsibility requiring a tremendous amount of trust on my master’s part.  It was a wonderful experience, and I truly loved doing it, but I desired more than anything to be free – to not belong to anyone, to do what I chose to do.

“I was sent to Baltimore to pick up some needed material for the slave school I had started.  When this opportunity presented itself, I ran.  One thing I should mention, as it is important to know that I did not abandon my charges completely.  I made sure there would be someone to take my place before I could leave.  One of the other children, now a young woman, has taken the reins, so to speak, and the teaching continues.”

“One moment, please, Rufus.  Guard!  Bring me a wine cask and two goblets from the quartermaster tent.  Thank you.

“I know how thirsty one becomes in the telling of a tale.  I am fascinated, and you haven’t gotten to the exciting parts yet, I warrant.  It could not have been an easy journey.  Ahh, here is the wine.  Now we can continue and be refreshed at the same time.”  Washington filled two goblets, and handed one to Teeyeehogrow.

“Thank you. It has been a while since I have had a taste of good wine.”  Teeyeehogrow sipped, and nodded in appreciation.  “This is exquisite, Colonel — from France, I believe.”

“Exquisite, and quite expensive, I might add.  I import it from France, as you surmised.  I don’t think I will be getting any more from there for a while.  Tensions are running pretty high, not only here on the frontier, but in Canada and Europe as well.  I’m not usually a pessimist, but I don’t know how war can be avoided.  Anyway, let’s enjoy the wine, and please continue with your tale.”

“I didn’t go to Baltimore.  Instead, I boarded a ship and headed up the coast to Boston.  It was easy to convince the ship’s captain that I was on business for my master, given that I had a letter stating so.  Of course, it originally had Baltimore as my destination, but with a little manipulation on my part, I changed it to Boston.  I gathered enough supplies to last a week or so, and headed off in a northwesterly direction, hoping to find my way to the Albany area.  For some reason I can’t explain, I felt drawn there; I felt like my true home was in the land of the Iroquois.

“I took the better part of six weeks, hiking through dense woods, fragrant meadows, and endless hills.  Along, of course, were the pantheon of traveler’s miseries – drenching rain, howling wind, hordes of flies and mosquitos, and blistered feet.  I foraged for berries and the like, occasionally taking corn from a farmer’s field, and I hunted small game with a bow I acquired in Boston.

“I had avoided being seen since leaving Boston, until – while tracking a rabbit – I came upon two farmers, out doing some hunting of their own.  They yelled at me to stay put, but I had no intention to do that, and took off in the other direction, heading for a fast-running stream just ahead.  The farmers took shots at me, one ball thudding into a tree just to the right of me, the other scudding harmlessly in the dirt behind me.  The stream was running high from heavy rains the past week, but I had no choice.  I jumped in, and let the current take me away.  I managed to get a look behind me, to see the farmers at the stream’s edge, arguing.  I guess they decided that I was a fool, and they would find me downstream, drowned, for they turned back.”

Teeyeehogrow paused, and drained his goblet.  His rapt attention interrupted, a startled Washington rose and refilled Teeyeehogrow’s cup.  “Without a doubt this is one of the more exciting tales I’ve ever heard,” Washington said as he sat down, his hands folded on the desk. “Pray, continue.”

Teeyeehogrow took another sip, and continued. “I let the water take me for a few minutes, and then I heard the louder sound of a large rapid – or worse – ahead.  I grabbed an overhead tangle of an uprooted tree hanging in the water on the far bank.  With no little effort, I pulled myself ashore, soaked, sore, and without supplies – but safe for the time being.  I made my way up the hill and slipped into the woods, following the ridge as it meandered alongside the river until I was too tired and hungry to go any further. I coiled into a restless sleep.

“I awoke to find that I was surrounded by six seated Mohawks, which I later learned was a hunting party.  Trying not to show my fear, I sat up and unsheathed my knife.  The brave nearest me reached behind him, and then offered me a piece of dried venison from his pouch.  In reasonably good English, he told me to eat, and to come with them, as there was a party of whites from the nearest settlement on my trail.  I found myself in the position of being able to choose my destiny for one of the very few times in my life.  That is how I came to be here as Teeyeehogrow of the Mohawk.”  He set his goblet on the desk.

“I have been with the Mohawk for close to two years now, and am respected among my warrior brothers.  I have a wife, a captive Abenaki; she, too, has adjusted to her new tribe and family.  We have a good life, and I would not surrender that life easily.”

Washington opened a drawer in his desk, and withdrew the sheet of paper he handed to Teeyeehogrow.  He looked at Teeyeehogrow, saying, “Ordinarily, in a case like this, I would be forced into a position of turning you in, but I like to think of myself as a fair and reasonable man.  Besides, there are extenuating circumstances in this case, as you will see by the document I just handed you.  I will give you a moment to look it over.”

While Teeyeehogrow read, Washington sat back with a smile on his face, watching for Teeyeehogrow’s reaction with a sly smile   “How did you come to have this most welcome news?  For once, I am at a loss for words,” Teeyeehogrow said, his smile reaching ear to ear.

Washington handed the goblet back to Teeyeehogrow. “Let me be the first to congratulate you on your freedom,” he replied, standing to shake Teeyeehogrow’s hand.  “I happened to stop by your old master’s place on the way to this campaign.  He was very distraught at your absence, and was much afraid of what would happen if you were caught.  As I was getting ready to depart, he handed me that letter, and asked that I keep an eye out and an ear open for news of you.  He had an idea you would be heading to the frontier, so I agreed, never thinking that we would cross paths.  What do you think the odds of that happening are?  Do you believe in fate, Teeyeehogrow?  Perhaps we’ll have some time to discuss the nature of the universe later, but for now I have much work to do.  All that letter needs is for you to fill in your slave name, and I will make it official.  Your prior master, Simon, did not know what to put down for your new last name, so he left that for you.”

Taking a quill pen from the Colonel, Teeyeehogrow filled in the space with his full name.  “I think it only fitting that I honor my old master.  I shall be known as Rufus Atkinson-Turney, though I think my Mohawk family will still see me as Teeyeehogrow, which in Mohawk means man with a double life.”

promo-buy links

Snippet – chapter 3 – Paths to Freedom

Wahta remained quiet until they left the fort. When they reached the other side of the gate, he turned to Liam. “They have a lot of weapons for such a small group of soldiers, and that Captain Higgins spoke much, but not much truth.  I wonder why that is, Snake Slayer.”

Liam grunted, “It can’t be good.  We shall speak of this with Mishka.”

They made camp that night among a stand of birch reflecting the moonlight, giving the copse a slightly eerie glow.  Mishka and Wahta went about camp chores preparing their dinner, while Liam sat off alone on the other side of the fire. He took the letter from his deerskin pouch.  He had thought about reading it earlier in the day, but was afraid of its possible contents.

The pain he had suffered over the years sometimes returned; his buffalo dreams would then return, and haunt his nights to display a frightening fate. Other visions, though, usually woke him, and they soothed him. He steeled himself and began to read.

March 6, 1770


I hope you are well and are out of the reach of Grantham’s seemingly long arm.  He has made it known that he will reward anyone who brings you in; your condition doesn’t matter. 

The town continues to grow. As we discussed before you left, we have rebuilt the walls to accommodate our new residents.  There was quite a bit of dissension as to the need for the walls, as many do not feel there is any danger nowadays.  Fools all. 

Your children thrive. Jack and Caleb are growing fast, and though they miss you and Rebecca, they are happy enough.  Jack has taken a keen interest in learning to read, and spends a great deal of time with Liza for that. He is also learning about the plants Pierre taught Liza to use for medicines.  He may turn out like Pierre, wouldn’t that be a blessing?  Caleb, on the other hand, is more like you, and spends all the time he can on adventures with my Bowie.  Rest assured that we will turn that spirit of adventure into something good.  Lord knows we need more trained woodsmen.

There are rumors out of Fort Pitt of some unrest among the tribes, and that the army is stockpiling weapons.  The question is, are those weapons meant for the army, or will they be used as enticements to the tribes?  I fear that London’s new laws and tariffs may bring trouble ahead.  The residents here are somewhat divided, between those who adhere to obedience to the King and those who do not.  We plan to increase our patrols of the area as a precaution, and have sent William Crane to deliver the news from here to Colonel Washington.

Again, please take care.  Reverend Grantham has stepped up his preaching on the subject of the importance of following the dictates of God, of which he deems himself God’s true and only voice.  It should come as no surprise that he is of the group loyal to London.


Liam chuckled as he read about his boys, but the rest made him uneasy.  He folded the letter, returned it to the pouch, and turned his attention to Mishka.  “Have you noticed any soldiers visiting the villages around here?” he asked, “There’s quite a cache of weaponry in that fort, too much for that small of a garrison.”

Mishka gingerly pulled a piece of the cooked rabbit off the spit and handed it to Liam.  “Not that I’m aware of in this vicinity.  If there had been, I’d know.  My adopted father, Mingan, keeps his eyes and ears open to the doings of the other members of the Three Fires, the Potawatomi and the Ottawa.”

“I don’t like coincidences; my brother Daniel wrote that Fort Pitt is rumored to have been stockpiling as well.  And, before I left Mallory Town, British patrols were nosing around Mingo and Delaware villages.  My guess is the tribes are being swayed to side with the Redcoats if things go to hell between London and the colonies.”

Mishka, a look of confusion on his face, replied, “I can see how that would be a cause for concern, but that doesn’t really hold out here.  There are not that many white settlers around, and I don’t think the army would be fighting any engagements on this frontier.”  He paused for a moment, and then with a big grin said, “Perhaps they anticipate strengthening the garrison just in case some enterprising backwoodsman and a huge Mohawk decide to take the fort away from them.”

That had both Liam and Wahta laughing.  Wahta reached over and pounded Mishka on the back, causing him to lose the grip on his piece of rabbit and send it into the fire. “They need many more guns for that,” Wahta said, handing Mishka another piece of rabbit.

Snippet chapter 7 _ Clash of Empires


The militia detachment found itself relegated to the demanding task of pushing and pulling wagons and cannon over hills, and through the tight spots that remained despite the efforts to clear the blockages in the road.  Much to Braddock’s dismay, the column could not make more than three or four miles a day, due to the terrain and the resulting increased need for repairs.  Wagon wheels and axles did not react kindly to the constant pounding produced by ruts and scraping along the sides of rocks and trees.  Then, to compound matters, it began to rain – a steady downpour for two days that turned the track into a slippery and rut-creating morass. 

“Lord a’mighty, but if this ain’t the muddiest I’ve ever been,” remarked Boone, “I may never get clean again.”  On the seventh day of the march, everyone involved with the movement and repair of the wagons was bone tired and mud-caked from head to toe, and still faced the first of many river crossings in the next leg of the march.  The Casselman River was neither very wide nor very deep, but it was fast moving, and strewn with rocks and fallen timber.  It would take the better part of the marching day to get all of the wagons across and up the slope on the northern side.  When General Braddock became aware of yet another delay in what was becoming a much longer trek than he either imagined or would tolerate, he stormed into his command tent, and yelled at his orderly to get his officers together on the double. 

“Gentlemen, I am sorely vexed at the speed at which we progress,” Braddock raged through clenched teeth. ”I have had enough of these delays and breakdowns.  I realize we cannot change the ground or the weather, but we can change our tactics.  Starting tomorrow, Colonel Gage will take half of his 44th and half of Colonel Doherty’s 48th, the most experienced halves if you please, along with two supply wagons. Two cannon will accompany him, with enough militia for protection and for the brute force needed to keep those wagons and cannon moving.  They will make best possible speed to the Monongahela River.  Colonel Doherty will take command of the remaining troops of the 44th and 48th,  ,  and proceed at a normal marching pace.  That should leave him in a position to assist Colonel Gage in the event he makes contact with the enemy, or to assist the baggage train if the enemy attacks it.

“The rest of this army and its baggage will follow along at this snail’s pace.  My staff and I will accompany Colonel Gage.  I realize that this strategy goes against the old adage of the folly of splitting one’s forces, but I believe that in this case we can dispense with that old adage.  After all, gentlemen, we are only up against savages, and the inept frontier force the French have at Fort Duquesne.  We could without doubt prevail even if our force were split into four pieces!  That is all for now, you are dismissed.  Captain Trent and Mr. Washington, please stay, I would have a word with you about our scouts.”

While the rest of the officer corps hurried out of the general’s tent, Trent and Washington remained seated.  They exchanged looks, but said nothing — waiting for what they suspected were orders they would not like.  “What I require from your scouts, gentlemen, ” began General Braddock, “is that they find me the best possible fords over the Youghiogheny and Monongahela rivers.  I deem this more important than the search for the enemy.  The French commander by this time knows the size of our force, and will not be inclined to leave his fortification to meet us in open battle.  That would be the height of foolishness on his part.  No, he will wait for us behind his walls; walls that we will batter down with our cannon.  I doubt our troops will actually see much action, as I expect the French to surrender the fort to us once we have them cut off, breech their walls and destroy their gate.  Any questions?”

Washington masked the confusion and disbelief on his face with great effort, and responded, “General, I understand the need for the best places to ford the rivers, but do you think it wise to assume the French or their native allies will not attempt some sort of engagement, especially when we are crossing those rivers and are at our most vulnerable?  I have spoken with Captain Trent, who knows this area better than anyone, and he assures me that there are numerous places where ambushes can be set up.”

“Mr. Washington, ”  chided General Braddock with a dismissive wave of his hand, “even if there are, I do not countenance the use of this type of ungallant warfare, even by the French; it is not an honorable way to do battle, and I will hear no more about it.”

Available on Kindle, paperback.

Goodreads link:

Facebook Page:

Snippet Paths to Freedom -chapter 11

Morning – April 18, 1775         

“Gage will have stationed troops along all of the ways out of Boston,” counseled Dr. Warren as he and Revere looked out over the harbor where they watched the early morning activity aboard the warship HMS Somerset.

“Aye and by the looks of all those longboats being lowered from that warship, they plan on ferrying troops, probably to Cambridge,” replied Revere, “from there straight north up the road to Lexington.  Unless the target is Concord.  We have considerable munitions stored there.”

“I agree, but I still think Hancock and Adams are the primary targets,” said Warren, “Has Marguerite received any more information from that Lieutenant Colonel?”

“Surprisingly very little, though he did tell her that he would not be seeing her tonight.  Perhaps he doesn’t know the full plan yet.  Gage will want to keep this close to the vest,” replied Revere.

Dr. Warren thought for a moment and said, “Let’s go to my office.  We have some planning to do.”

Dr. Warren’s office was agreeably empty of patients as he and Revere entered.  He instructed his aide to bring refreshments and then dismissed him for the day.  “We cannot be sure that they intend to use those boats for all or even part of his force,” Warren said to Revere, taking a sip of the coffee his aide had brought, “Gage is no dummy.  He has to know that we will have noticed the unusual activity aboard that ship.”

Revere nodded and went to the window.  His eyes eventually came to rest on the steeple of Christ Church, recently closed as the parishioners grew tired of the current minister’s Loyalist preaching, and refused to pay him.  He turned back to Warren, and replied while pointing to the church, “I know the sexton of that church.  He’s loyal to our cause, and that bell tower is tall enough for a lantern to be seen from Charlestown.  I suggest that he light one if the troops are heading along the road to Boston Neck.  If they are boarding those longboats, then two lanterns will be the signal.”

“Excellent idea,” replied Warren, “we should send Thomas over to Charlestown.  He can relay our signal plans to Colonel Conant, the militia commander there.  The colonel can arrange to have a horse ready for you so you can get the message to Hancock and Adams in Lexington.  You’ll have to cross the bay at night, and within sight of that warship.  Do you know some boatmen who can row you across without being seen?”

Revere chuckled, “Aye, I may know a few who have become adept at avoiding unwanted interference.  However, it seems prudent that we have more than one rider out given the patrols that we know will be on the roads.  I will talk with the tanner, William Dawes.  He frequently uses the road on Boston Neck for his business.  We can also take advantage of the fact that Thomas will already be in Charlestown and knows the countryside.”

Dr. Warren rose from his seat and shook Revere’s hand, “Go my friend, and make the necessary arrangements.  I will draft three copies of the note we will send to our fellows in Lexington.  Please ask Thomas, and Mr. Dawes to come by here this afternoon to pick them up.”

Revere left Dr. Warren’s office.  His first stop was to William Dawes’ tannery, and then to a tavern he knew would be frequented by the type of boatmen he needed.  Next he met with Robert Newman the sexton of Christ Church explaining what he required him to do, and finally to his home to send Thomas on his way, and to get some sleep. It promised to be a long night ahead.

Afternoon – April 18, 1775

Thomas left Revere’s home, and headed to Dr. Warren’s office to pick up a copy of the note for Hancock and Adams.  From there he headed to the wharf where he kept a canoe for the short paddle across the bay to Charlestown.  As he turned a corner he collided with Marguerite who was on her way to see her mother, grabbing her before she fell to the pavement, the movement resulting is an unintended embrace.  They locked eyes for a few seconds before she gently pulled away.  “Well good morning Thomas,” she said with a smile, “I was hoping to see you today, but wasn’t expecting to literally run into you.”

Thomas grinned sheepishly, “A very pleasant surprise indeed.”  He then turned serious and asked, “And how is your Lieutenant Colonel Whitby?”

Marguerite, her smile receding as she spoke, “He is not mine, good sir, nor am I his, despite his overtures of love.  Now if you will excuse me, I have to go.”

Thomas backed up, and watched her walk away wondering how that fleeting moment of closeness turned so sour so quickly.  After all, she did say she was hoping to see him.  He was still confused as to his feelings about Marguerite but had to admit to himself that if the embrace had lasted a few seconds longer, he would have attempted a kiss.

William Dawes closed up his tannery early, saddled his horse, and rode to Dr. Warren’s as requested by Revere.  His route took him past Boston Neck, and he was surprised that the sentry post was manned by more than the usual number of Redcoats.  He had decided that he would not change out of his normal work clothes, using the attendant odor of the tanning process as a means to get through the check point later that evening, knowing that the usual sentries were used to seeing him on that stretch of road.  However, as a courtesy to Dr. Warren, and his patients, he waited on the street outside the Doctor’s office while he was being announced.  Dr. Warren brought him up to date on the plan, and it was decided that Dawes would linger down by the waterfront a few blocks away until he was summoned to begin his ride.

Snippet Chapter 4- Paths to Freedom

A short bit from book 2 of The Mallory Saga – Paths to Freedom:

It was during the excitement and the gathering of the crowd that the rider chose to make himself scarce.  He had done what he was hired for, and was now waiting in the church to be paid. “You know, I’ve a mind to ask for more.  Seems I’ve come to realize what your scheme is Reverend Grantham,” the rider smirked, “yep, I’ve put the pieces together.  First, there’s that troop of Redcoats I saw getting ready to march, then there’s that ploy to get the militia out of the way.  I reckon you plan to takeover this town, and I’d like to share in the spoils.”

Grantham smiled as he looked over the rider’s head, nodding his own slightly. Excusing himself, explaining that the money was in the next room, and they would talk about an arrangement, Grantham left the room.  The rider, his thoughts on the good time he was going to have when he got back to Fort Pitt, didn’t hear Brightman, and could only desperately claw at the knotted rope that was now squeezing his life away.  Brightman threw one end of the rope over a ceiling beam, pulled hard and hauled the rider off of his feet.  He watched in amusement at the rider’s macabre dance; his feet jerking around, stopping suddenly, his head slumped at an odd angle and finally a heap on the floor as Brightman let him drop.  “Well, Reverend,” sighed Brightman spying Grantham with the mill manager entering the room, “another sinner sent to hell.  A tedious task but a necessary one, wouldn’t you say, Mr. Thompson?”

John Thompson stared in horror at the sight before him.  He placed his kerchief over his nose to blot out the stench of voided bowels.  “Yes, a necessary one,” he blurted out just before vomiting on the floor.

“I see you understand.  I am glad. I didn’t want you to become tedious to us,” replied Brightman, “now help me with this unfortunate reprobate.  We’ve already made a hole for him out back.”  They picked up the rider’s body, and made their way to the back door to a secluded garden area behind the church.  Thompson stopped suddenly causing Brightman to drop his end of the corpse.  “Oh, you noticed that there are two holes.  I always like to be prepared, but it seems I won’t need the second one. Today.”