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Timothy L Baker

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Category: 

Historical Fiction



Amazon
Amazon

Collection of short stories involving mountain men, pioneers, Indians, soldiers, warriors, battles, skirmishes, crime and wars.

American Lives Past is a collection short stories on mountain men, pioneers, Indians, war, battles, skimishes, criminals starting from 1751 to WW II running chronologically each story in a different place setting and separate character casting. There is the story of a boy named James grew up in the pioneering of Virginia then went off to fight the Revolutionary War but when he came home there was his wife with a great surprise. Then Jason Wright the mountain man who was searching for another place to build a log cabin but was beleagured by accidents of animal attacks in the mountains and eventually returned home. The strange tail of an Indian tribe and one particular brave that had mixed triumph and tragedy strike him as he lived his life. Fighting Flatheads in Montana is exactly that, a white settler his house burned to the ground by Indians and all of his loved ones killed vendicated himself by warring vengeance upon the Flathead tribe responsible for the killings. Fianally Jake Jackson War Hero of the WW II era was responsible for having victory in many areas of the war, fighting special services for his American people. There are many other stories in American Lives Past but these featured are the major portion of the pages of that book.

     
Excerpt
JASON WRIGHT
MOUNTAIN MAN
Jason Wright walked through the forest in the cool of
the morning in the mountains west of the clutch of Virginia
looking out ahead of him as well as upward into the treetops
for any game he might shoot with his black powder flintlock
muzzleloader rifle. He had not eaten the evening of the day
before as he had not spotted any game to shoot that afternoon.
Th at was strange, in the three months he’d been away from
civilization he’d not been one day when he’d not had three
squares until the day before when he’d only eaten twice.
Jason heard the pleasant sounds of the creek down the
mountain to his right and thought he could use a drink of water
from its fresh mountain purity so he altered his forward path
toward the side of the mountain that would lead him to the
creek. Downward he trod and the steeper the mountainside
as he went the heavier his steps came down upon it. Then the
mountain leveled off near the creek where the creek bottom
was and he could see revealed through the trees that the
water was indeed cascading over rocks and roiling toward the
direction the torrent was traveling an in eloquent manner.
He came to the creek and knelt down laying his rifle aside
on the dirt bank and scooped double handfuls of water up
drinking in huge gulps the water so pure that he couldn’t think
American Lives Past 37
of a more pristine place that he’d ever been to partake of a
drink of sparkling clear water where it ran from left to right.
He was very peaceful and calm and only wanted breakfast
to eat, something in the form of wild game that he could hunt
and roast over an open fire. He’d settle for a squirrel or a bird
of almost any size, even a fairly small one like a robin or blue
jay to quell the hunger pains of his belly.
Then he spotted out in the middle of the creek a large
snapping turtle. Quickly he half rose half jumping at the same
time pushing downward and as his body went forward from
the weight of itself backward with his feet. He raised one leg
and stretched it forth and took a huge stride in the water
then planted it firmly raising the other one and repeating the
process and ran forward to capture the turtle. He had entered
the water where it hadn’t been knee deep but it was before long.
Lowering the top half of his body to catch the turtle he
stretched his arms downward to grasp the creature and capture
it. Suddenly a water moccasin flung its head out of the water
and struck his left arm above the wrist with its fangs sinking
deeply into his arm and venom passed into his body. He was
scared and more than perturbed slightly, he was panic stricken
actually. The snake released its charge then dropped back into
the water and swam away.
Jason charged for the closest riverbank the one opposite
the side he’d jumped into and ran partway across to grab the
turtle. He had grabbed his sheath knife and pulled it out of the
sheath and held ready by the time he reached the bank. Once
he gained the shore by the time he had both feet planted he
had the knife in place making an incision in the flesh beside
the bite quickly cutting downward first then outward in the
fashion of a V cut. He pressed his lips to the intentional wound
and sucked the poison out of the blood coming back up toward
38 Timothy Louis Baker
his heart many times spitting out the fluids and sucking some
more out repeating the process many times.
When he felt he could rid his body of no more poison by
that method he looked at the markings left by the process. He
could see nothing but blood but let it bleed so as to further
insure that no more poison could stay in his veins than would
have to be left so.
Th e venom hit him hard and quick. His vision was getting
blurred and his knees were shaky. He felt sick and thought he
was about to vomit. He blank facedly sat down on the creek
bottomland and he held his knees with his arms and held his
head down on his forearms.
Jason remained thus for several minutes then began to lose
his balance so perched and fell over on his side on purpose
before he did fall down. He was dizzy and he could barely see
by the time he opened his eyes to see the dirt beneath him. He
lost all track of time and reality and passed from consciousness.
He lay there for many hours of the day passed out as the sun
went from the eastern sky to the western sky with fever raking
his body from head to foot. Sometimes he suffered sweating
from fever and unconscious as he was he felt it in that state and
sometimes he suffered cold chills making him shiver violently
and uncontrollably, which he also felt in that same state. He
fought for his life physically and mentally while he lay there
unawake to the world but nonetheless unconsciously aware
of what was happening to him in these stages of the venom
passing throughout his body then gradually at least partly out
of it. He nearly died.
When the sun declined down behind the mountain in the
evening he awakened sprawled out on his forepart facing the
ground. He coughed out bile that was in his mouth discharging
it onto the ground that had accumulated there while he had
American Lives Past 39
thrown up in his passed out state then opened his eyes coming
to in full. He raised up on his elbows and forearms and looked
out of his eyes at first squinting and then tasting the bitterness
in his mouth and realizing what it was he coughed some more
and spat on the ground several times until the taste subsided to
his approval that he could at least tolerate. He breathed deeply
then widened and completely opened his eyelids. He was still
covered with sweat but the fever had abated a few minutes
before he regained consciousness.
Jason took deep full breaths of air and filled his lungs with
it taking it in then expelled what came out of his lungs and
what was left of that air taken in that had not been absorbed
into his lungs.
He noticed he was thirsty then he noticed hunger and
although he was not composed enough to know that was a
good sign it was. He crawled the few feet to the creek bank and
raising up on his knees bowed his back leaning over putting
his left hand with that arm outstretched so that he could reach
down and scoop up water with his right hand in the familiar
dipping motion as always when he got a drink of water from
the streams, creeks, and rivers he frequented on his mountain
escapades in the wilderness.
When he had drank and he was finished he continued to
kneel on his knees and straightened up bringing his arms to
his sides and looked out across the river. He looked down at
his left arm and above the wrist was the dried blood of the
wound he had purposefully cut with his knife to suck out the
venom.
Jason looked on the ground around about him and thought
about his rifle and where he had laid it on the riverbank while
getting a drink of water before seeing the turtle and chasing
it. He saw it off to the right only five steps away. He didn’t feel
40 Timothy Louis Baker
up to standing up so put both arms underneath of himself and
hands and knees on the ground and crawled to it.
He grabbed it with both hands cunningly as though
something would prevent him from taking it up and then
he rested it in his right arm lowering his left to his side as he
again rose up on both knees. He looked at the firearm and
then raised his left arm and stroked the rifle partly lovingly
yet partly aimlessly with his left hand. He was not all together
yet composed in his thoughts but was wide awake. He was
dazed and actually crazed with the paranoia of a wounded
man alone and confused by the experience he had. His eyes
focused and glazed over as they were his vision focused upon
the rifle and he gradually began to recollect reality a little
better for several minutes while he continued to stroke the
gun with incrementally slower and slower motions during that
time. At the end of that time he suddenly came to his senses
fully sane again. He stopped stroking the muzzleloader and
remembered exactly what had happened that morning then
recalled what had passed in the past few minutes. Th en he
gathered his weight under his feet and swaying rose up to a
standing position.
He viewed the surroundings of the creek bank and
looking actually saw and perceived what things were where
and remembered he was alone in the mountains. He knew
he had been bit by a water moccasin, he knew he had been
unconscious most of the day; he knew he was about over the
effects of the bite, and he knew that he was hungry.
He turned away from the creek and walked off into the
forest staggering a little and walking slowly catching his
balance whenever necessary. He had less than an hour before
it would be too dark to walk. When it did get that dark he lay
down on the ground and slept.


Professional Reviews

Adina Pelle
The book is a collection of stories that follow different characters each representing a past time of American history, The collection has an epic, quiet and dignifying biblical feel and it reminded me of the great old days my grandfather spoke about inspiring awe and curiosity in my young mind.


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