Battle of Waterloo
June 18, 1815
The acrid scent of black powder filled the air, but the war was over. With Napoleon vanquished at last and on his way to St. Helena's, Captain Colton Kingsley and his men could breathe a long awaited sigh of relief. Though worn to the bone and wanting to do nothing but rest, he was on his way to answer a summons from Wellington.
The city was filled with wounded and every space was being set up as makeshift hospitals. It would be easy enough finding a bed this night as Captain Kingsley, but Colt would sleep alone. He was weary and had no desire to bother with some bored matron, thinking to comfort a lonely soldier, only to have her feelings hurt when she was sent away in the middle of the night. He'd been called a bastard on more than one occasion when he wouldn't share his bed after finding release. Colt was no vicar, just a man, and though he was a hardened soldier, the debauchery of the city made him ill. His trusty bedroll would once again serve him well.
It was past dark when the deserted farmhouse Wellington was making use of came into view. Colt was thinking that the quiet of the night seemed unnatural as he caught sight of a shadow flitting through the darkness of the clearing behind the house. Purely due to 12 years of experience...he soundlessly slipped from the saddle, and had to bite back a deep groan as fresh pain seared through his left side. During the last stage of battle, a French soldier rushed him. Before he could react, the soldier's sword sliced shallowly into the left side of Colt's belly, leaving a wound as long as his hand.
Colt blocked out the pain clouding his mind as he tied his stallion's reins loosely to a drooping branch of a nearby tree. Silent as the night, he crept to the side of the farmhouse. Incredibly, the shadowy figure seemed so intent on his mission that he hadn't seen or heard Colt approaching. Colt could practically smell the man's determination, of what, he didn't know.
Now that he was against the house, he could hear the Duke of Wellington and the General speaking in low voices to one another. Where was the person that went with that shadow? Colt asked himself this as sweat stood out in great beads on his forehead and trickled down his temples. Colt had to grit his teeth against the sharpness of the ache in his belly as he hunched low and maneuvered around the corner to the back of the house.
Colt stopped and leaned his back a moment against the rotten wood siding so he could raise his sleeve and wipe away the sweat dripping into his eyes. His loose white shirt was streaked with dirt and his blood, the crimson jacket long ago pulled off in the heat of battle.
It was pitch dark and he knew that shadow was up to no good. Anyone with legitimate business would have simply knocked on the front door, or at least anyone who valued their life. Sneaking around the Iron Duke's back meant sure death, but not before you spilled your innards about why you were there and who sent you. As a Captain in His Majesty's Army, Colt was well versed in such ways to gain information, and he had never witnessed a man able to withstand those methods.
There he is! Colt saw the man clearly in the glow of the lantern hanging outside the kitchen door. He was only about 25 feet away. The man was plainly French. As he reached for the handle on the door, Colt called out in cold, clipped English, "You there! Hold!" As the Frenchman turned toward him, he caught a glimpse of a metallic sheen, and knew it was a gun.
Colt drew his own flintlock, cursing the pain and exhaustion that slowed his reaction. He heard the explosion and felt the leaden ball slam into his left shoulder just as he raised his right arm and fired. His strength was drained and he sank to his knees.
He heard the kitchen door of the farmhouse bang open and Wellington's appalled voice gasped, "It's Colt, he's been hit! There is someone else there too, who is that?" Colt looked up through blurring vision to see the Frenchman, eyes wide, crumple to the ground, blood pouring from the hole in his chest. Colt was aware of Wellington barking orders at the General as his strength finally gave out and he fell to his side, a tortured groan ripped from deep in his chest. The feel of the ground jarring his wounds caused his breathe to hitch in pain and blackness to edge into his mind. He fought to hang on, he wanted to know who the Frenchman was.
Wellington could see the pain clouding Colt's eyes, and see it set into the angular planes of his face, the clench in his jaw. Wellington said with a note of desperation in his commanding voice, "Hold on, Colt, just-hold-on..."
He felt the Duke of Wellington grasp his head between his hands and Colt tried valiantly to focus on his face, but it was too much. Blackness took over Colt's mind as he slipped into oblivion, then he heard no more.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish