Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh
Genre : Historical Fiction
Nathan's eyes flew open. Sounds, screams and gunshots penetrated the cold air of his upstairs bedroom. The pungent smell of smoke invaded his nose. He coughed.
Am I having a nightmare? Shadows danced wildly across the ceiling and down the walls.
Heart pounding, he threw off his covers, jumped out of bed, and rushed to the window. His little brother, Israel, followed.
"What is it, Nathan?" Israel whispered.
Nathan pulled his brother against the wall behind him.
"Hey! I want to see!"
"Shush, Israel." Nathan looked through the window at the valley below, his heart racing. Men in long coats and fur hats were running through the village brandishing swords and raising rifles.
The Bukolovs' and the Gorbenkos' houses were burning. Bodies lay on the ground. He couldn't tell who they were, but he knew they were friends.
Momma rushed into the room. "Get away from that window, Nathan!"
"Those are Cossack soldiers, Momma!"
"Cossacks," echoed Israel.
"Get dressed, Nathan. Hurry."
Nathan hesitated at the window.
"Now!" she shouted, grabbing him with such force he lost his balance. "Get dressed. Bring your coat." Nathan turned from the window.
Momma pulled Israel's clothes from the hook behind the door, hurried him into them, and down the stairs.
Nathan shoved his trembling hands into his shirt, the horrible scenes replaying in his mind, houses ablaze, soldiers on horseback, dead bodies, his friends in terror.
Why are the Cossacks here? What do they want?
He pushed his feet into his boots, jumped up, and hurried to the chest at the foot of the bed. Lifting the lid, he pulled out a knife in its sheath and shoved it into his right boot. He reached back for a leather bag containing lead balls and patches, and a powder horn. He fastened the pouch and powder horn to his belt. The firelight danced across his father's pistol. He picked up the gun and balanced it in his right hand.
Momma said I can't use it until I'm older. She doesn't know I've taken it out when I've gone hunting and practiced shooting it. I'm sixteen. I'm a man. Why should I have to wait? The thought calmed him.
Nathan shoved the unloaded gun into his belt, went back to the window, and stared at the nightmare below. He turned away and tried to close his mind against the violence. His rifle, loaded and ready to fire leaned against the wall in the corner. He slipped his arm through the sling, hefted the rifle on his shoulder, and grabbed his coat. He ran down the stairs.
The back door banged in the cold January wind. Nathan pushed his right shoulder against the door and forced his way through. A bitter gust whipped down from the Caucasus Mountains and hit him full in the face, pushing him off balance.
Nathan gasped as acrid fumes attacked his nose and stung his eyes. He blinked away the tears and peered through the smoke. Momma moved like a ghost across the yard, her robe billowing behind her. Her long, black hair blew wildly in the wind. She was only halfway across the yard pulling Israel by the hand.
Why isn,t she already in the root cellar? Then he knew the answer,she had waited until he was out of the house.
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Tell us 5 Random things about you the person, not the author
#1 : I have six children and fourteen grandchildren.
#2 : My first novel was published when I was 69.
#3 : I was homeless in 1998.
#4 : I have a cat named Blacky who owns me.
#5 : I live at the edge of the Ozarks hills in southwest Missouri.
Where to connect online
Twitter : @tomblubaugh
Website : http://tomblubaugh.com