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Fallen Timber
Timejacker #10-B Interlude
© 2023 James LaFond
Fallen Timber remembered the Battle of The Pumpkin Field where he had served under Turtle and had advised Captain Tom Redstick, the most savage warrior ever sired by a Scottish Highlander on a Muskeagon bride, that they should array to receive the charge. Also, as the fangs of this snake formation, the Allied tribesmen would stack muskets and support the German machine gun on the right flank as the British infantry under Major Bracken did the same on the left flank.
They knew in their souls that they would empty their machine guns and pistols, that old muskets and rifles and quieter and older friends of war would come to the fore in the battle deeps.
Big Jim Bowie held the center of the line as the biggest white man in order to sweeten the bait. The more the Zulus went center, the more easily they could be killed. The canoe warriors worried him on the river behind. Major Bracken assured him though, that the German crew above were armed with bolt action Mauser rifles made in 1898 and that the canoes would be emptied of their roughly 500 men.
Only 60 men faced off a mere hundred yards from 6,000, half naked, ashen black men, their cowhide shields fluttering in the cold January wind. 500 of these were behind them in the river, though being knocked about by the windy chop.
The center of the line was held by Bowie and the Texans with the James-Younger Gang. Between center and left were the Dog Soldiers next to the Major. Just to Fallen Timber’s leftt were the Roughnecks.
In a back swept crescent behind each machine gun manned by 3 Germans was a thin line of 7 Germans with bolt action rifles. The roughnecks had two buckets of hand grenades, terrible little bombs, and were armed with two .45 pistols each, having chosen the grenades rather than the Thompson sub machine gun.
Fallen Timber did have two aches in his aging heart, each eclipsing the other as the image of The Prophet, and his brother Tecumseh, both of which younger men Fallen Timber, their elder, had followed under the Creator, The Master of Life, lurked like shadows in the dark reaches of his mind.
The Dreamer was dying. He had visited him thrice and each time he was closer to death in his bed. Every time they threaded the blanket of Time with this ship their needle, the Dreamer died a part of him again. He did not know if he could bare to see him again. Only The Major, The Colonel, and two men of the crew visited the Dreamer. The rest of them all assumed the ship was guided through Time by a mechanical device of some sort, but which Fallen Timber, and later Crazy Horse, had divined, must be an insane mind taking them on their terrible journey.
That gnawed in his soul deep and distant, ‘Dreamer, I will bring you a scalp, will come see you again, should I survive.’
But the other sorrowful thing was before him. Poor Niggеr Jim had been freed and sent with a message to the Zulu King. The Zulu Medicine Man and a group of Mexican slaves had then raised Jim on a cross like Jesus, nailed to it by old rusty railroad spikes as he wailed and cried. The only sounds other then the lapping of waves, the flutter of Zulu shields and the cocking of guns that could be heard, was the moaning of poor Jim.
After some somber moments Big Jim Bowie stepped forward a few paces and hollered, “Jim, as soon as we do fer yer friends there, we will take you down.”
Jim moaned, “Don’ botha’, Sa. Dey done poisoned me; mah stomach burns like hell fire!”
Jim turned and nodded to Cole Younger, who raised his rifle and shot poor Jim dead, a bullet knocking his head back against the crude cross.
Jim Bowie then drew his knife and stepped boldly forward and declared, “I would fight the biggest savage who so done fer my man Jim!”
Every man on both sides of the 100 yard expanse cheered, as a giant of an ashy New African strode forward with his spear and shield to meet the biggest man on their side in a duel between the lines.
Fallen Timber hissed to Captain Tom, “Do we have six thousand bullets?”
Captain Tom grinned and stepped up on an ammo crate and cheered, “Big Jim!”
Fallen Timber knew he had fallen away in years from the thrill of war, for he alone on either side of the field did not cheer.
Big Jim and the giant Zulu approached each other to cross blades and Big Jim stopped, sheathed his knife, drew his .45 auto, racked the slide as they had all been taught, and shot that big Africa between the eyes.
Silence reigned on the field and Big Jim bellowed, “That’s fer Niggеr Jim, and this is the way our tussle is gonna go! Get used to that feeling, Negroes! The Whiteman is back!”
A storm as if of great flapping vulture wings rose up as the 6,000 warriors began to beat spear upon shield and chant, “Zulu! Zulu!” and stamp their bare feet on the icy ground.
In this time of excitement, the commander and co commander of each team had been instructed to yell, “Hold fire! Meat wall!”
The idea was to let the front ranks get within 20 feet before firing so that a rampart of enemy bodies might be built near their very feet. Their rounds would mostly drop men and not blow through. The two German machine guns assigned to the flanks could shoot through many men and would open up on the flanks first to keep mobs of spearmen from splashing through the shallows at their backs.
“Hold, hold!” he yelled, his Thompson in his hands and leveled as thousands of massed warriors ran at high speed towards them with the chant, “Zulu!” on their great lips.
‘Count: five, four, three, two, one:’
Then he yelled, “Fire!” and they fell as thick as they ran, stunk as thick as they fell, and piled up as fast as a wet January snow in Wisconsin.
They were all out of bullets in seconds, the first heap of bodies providing enough obstruction for their following fellows to give time to reload. The machine guns opened up and he lost hearing in his left ear, for good. Grenades exploded.
Fallen Timber dropped his bullet stick and slid in another, racked the slide, and cut down brave brown men hurdling over the knee high tangle of their fallen fellows.
He dropped the empty bullet stick and slid in another, racked the slide, and cut down more spearmen scrambling over the waist high ruin of their fallen fellows.
Grenades exploded and rifles cracked.
He dropped the empty bullet stick and slid in another and racked the slide, waited, and cut down more brave Zulus as they hurdled and climbed the chest high rampart of their fallen fellows.
‘I am going to be sick of fight after this.’
A Dog Solder was screaming and loosing arrows in front of the line, working in a crouch as they shot over his crazy head.
He was pulling an empty trigger. He dropped the bullet stick, put in his last load, racked the slide and gunned down men who trudged, marching like, arms all akimbo, over heaps of dead comrades, holding their shields as if they served a purpose, and died in an ever rising heap of dead and dying humanity.
He dropped his Thompson and grabbed his trusty musket, primed and ready and made to advance as the machine guns took a break to cool their barrels. Rifles could be heard firing behind them into the river.
Odd warriors scrambled over their dead to fall to Dog Soldier arrows and bullets.
Big Jim Bowie gave the call, “Man the meat wall!” and they advanced to climb that reeking edifice of leaking death as the Germans watched their flanks and the Roughnecks hurled bombs over the 30 pace deep and ten man high heap of fallen.
“Man the meat wall!” snarled Captain Tom.
Fallen Timber then saw a Zulu leap above on the shuddering tangle of heaped humanity and whirl a hickory club at Tom. Before the club reached Tom, the warrior was riddled with bullets and Tom had been shoved aside by Fallen Timber, who but dully felt the hickory throwing club thud into his temple, and at this time in his life, did not much care that he was dead, but embraced the star spattered night.
This is the last open posting of Timejacker, 3 chapters and an epilogue remaining. If you want the entire draft in PDF, email the author and make a donation and he will send a copy.
If you are black, the Timejacker PDF is free, as a symbol of the author’s appreciation for serving as an uncompensated inspiration.
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