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Captain Frank Gaffrey is fighting demons inside and out, in this western adventure. Plagued by injuries from the Civil War, his search for a place to heal has led him to a beautiful Montana valley. Gaffrey wants to be left alone, but trouble seems to follow his every move. Whether an angry cattle baron bent on revenge for the death of his son or two sadistic trappers determined to kill him for rescuing an Indian girl from their clutches, Gaffrey struggles to outwit his pursuers and stay alive. And then there's the Grizzly, who makes it clear that anyone who enters his valley does so at their own risk. The hunters and the hunted meet in a final violent confrontation with a surprise ending.
The air was so thick with smoke that it was difficult to breathe or see for more than a few feet. Explosions mixed with screams of dying men and horses. Body parts were lifted up on great geysers of dirt and mud as artillery shells rained death upon Union and Confederate alike.
Captain Frank Gaffrey had no thought of winning the battle. His only thought was of survival. His desperate, frenzied actions were fueled by alternating bursts of adrenaline and fear. Outnumbered and outgunned, Gaffrey tried to protect the shattered remnants of his company as best he could. The fighting raged around him. His lungs burned for air as he shouted orders to the living and dead alike. Minnie balls found their mark time and again with sickening thuds. Private Simmons’ body lay mangled, his lifeless eyes staring through the haze at the midday sun. Sergeant Johnson’s left knee was a splinter of bone fragments, ligaments and blood. Johnson leaned against an abandoned supply wagon and emptied his revolver into the Blue Coats with fixed bayonets rushing towards him. Freddie, the young drummer boy stood next to his shattered drum, weeping.
To Gaffrey’s left and right, cannon balls exploded. Swords and bayonets clashed. Curses and shouts formed an eerie death chant. Everywhere Gaffrey looked, terrified men were engaged in bloody hand-to-hand combat. Gripping his saber in his right hand, he drew and fired his revolver with his left at a Union infantryman poised to bayonet a wounded lieutenant. The bullet found its mark between the man’s shoulder blades, and he slumped to a lifeless heap on the ground.
Gaffrey felt the stinging point of a saber slash the left side of his face. Gaffrey quickly brought his own saber up to block the lunging Union officer’s sword thrust. The force of the officer’s blow knocked him off balance. As Gaffrey fell back across the carcass of a horse, his revolver flew out of his hand. The enemy officer seized the initiative. He lunged forward swinging his saber in a wide sweeping arc. Missing his intended target, he fell on top of Gaffrey, pinning him against the dead horse.
Dazed and bleeding, Gaffrey looked up into a man’s face no less desperate and frightened than his own. Scrambling to his feet, the Union officer gripped his sword with both hands and raised the blade high above his head for a final death thrust. In a brief moment of hesitation that often accompanies acts of killing, the Union officer allowed Gaffrey a chance to survive. In that instant, Gaffrey managed to grab the knife he kept hidden in his boot and, propelling himself to a kneeling position, plunged it deep into his assailant’s ribcage.
The dying man let out a long, hissing moan and collapsed on top of Gaffrey. Gaffrey heaved the dying officer aside and trembling with exhaustion, regained his footing. As he stumbled toward another wounded comrade, Gaffrey felt himself being lifted into the air on a cloud of mud, dirt, and debris. He didn’t hear or feel the explosion immediately. It launched him into the sky above the din of violence and destruction. Gaffrey felt like a bird, above it all—free to fly away, but he began his descent. He wanted to keep flying—far away from the bloody horror below, but it was pulling him back like a giant squirming beast, ready to devour him. As he looked down, he saw what the end of the world might look like, a place of fire and devastation, and unspeakable suffering.
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"Gaffrey’s Dream is a page turner where one incident flows smoothly into the next with no lulls in the story." - Reviewed by: Reny Higgs
"While the incidents, settings, and characters in Gaffrey’s Dream are credibly and realistically drawn, they have symbolic significance as well. Instead of being stereotypical they are archetypal, that is, universal in significance. The drama herein is not unlike a morality play depicting in an Edenic valley in Montana the old, old conflict between good and evil and the role of justice and love in that eternal struggle." Reviewed by: Jack Higgs
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 178
Paper Weight (lb): 7.8
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