Excerpt from Chapter 1:
Before he reached the barn a woman’s scream ran a chill up his spine. The sound was cut short, followed by an ominous silence. Nathan felt sick. Momma?~ Read the entire Chapter 1 of Night of the Cossack by clicking here.
He glanced toward the cellar. He couldn’t see Momma or Israel. Fearing the worst, he turned and stumbled toward the underground room. His eyes still stinging, he stumbled to the entrance, using his rifle as a crutch to keep him upright.
“Momma?” he whispered.
Silence. His heart stopped.
“I hear you, Nathan. We’re all right.”
Nathan staggered down the steps with relief. His mind swirled with images and terrible sounds. His thoughts returned to Aza. He turned back to the steps.
“Nathan, stay here!”
“I must go to Aza, Momma. I heard him scream. He’s panicked, he could hurt himself.”
“What can you do for him, Nathan?”
“I can calm him down and turn him loose into the woods. If they set the barn on fire, he’ll die. He’ll be safe in the woods. I must go!”
“You’re more important than your horse. I, we need you here with us. Stay, Nathan. I couldn't bear to lose you.”
Nathan was torn. Breathing a heavy sigh in resignation as he pulled the cellar door shut, he let his eyes adjust to the dark. He leaned his rifle against the wall.
Momma wrapped her arms around her older son. Nathan felt her shiver. He knew she was more afraid than cold. Had she heard the scream?
She sank to her knees, pulling Nathan down. “I know you’re afraid,” she whispered.
Nathan tensed. “I’m not afraid. I’m a man—the man of the house. You’ve said this yourself.” He pulled away from her. “You say I’m brave and strong. You tell me I’m like Papa, but you treat me like a little boy.”
“Nathan, you’re both. You’re my little boy, but at the same time you’re a man. Can you understand?”
Ignoring her question he said, “Papa should be here to protect us. I didn’t even get to tell him good-bye.”
“Don’t be angry, Nathan. He loved you very much. He loved all of us.” She slipped her arms around him again saying, “It was an accident. There was no chance for anyone to say good-bye. Dying wasn’t his choice. You’re a man, Nathan. You look just like him—tall and strong, yet gentle. You have his black, wavy hair, hazel eyes, even his strong chin. What would I do without you?”
Nathan didn’t say anything. He couldn’t stay mad at her. Her soft voice melted his heart. Even when she’s afraid, she comforts me. Momma’s right. About all of it. It isn’t her fault Papa died.
His anger, no longer directed at her, receded.
“Momma, are we going to be all right?” asked Israel.
“I pray we will, son. Who can know with certainty?”
“I’m scared, Momma,” Israel said.
“I know, son, I know.”
Nathan felt her arms leave him. In a few seconds, he felt her rocking against him. He knew she was holding Israel.
Tom Blubaugh is a freelance writer living in Southwest Missouri with Barbara, his wife. They have six children and fourteen grandchildren. Tom’s first novel is Night of the Cossack. He considers writing to be a God-given talent and feels led to develop it. His first novel was published at his age of 69. Tom says it’s never too late. He is now writing a sequel.
Tom is celebrating his first novel on December 8th with an official book launch. Visit Tom's blog at: The Write Trail Blog for additional details.