The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link
subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link
subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link
subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link
subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link
subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link
subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

Barb

 

 

FTimestamp: In Memoriam

 

A Timestamp for "Man Plans, God Laughs", which is part of a sequence of stories, following 'In Earnest'. Follow the link to see the story order

Spring seemed reluctant to let the bite of winter leave. It stayed cold and windy long after the calendar had turned to March. Harlan looked forward to when Scotty would come home on leave from the cavalry. He'd been away such a long time Harlan had forgotten him and changed him in his mind. With him gone, the silences in the house were because he was gone, and every painful event somehow tied to his absence.

He found himself talking about his grandson to people who weren't very interested in how the war was going, how Scotty was doing in the Army, or his promotion. He thought it would be good to have a celebration of sorts when he came home, to let the boy know his efforts were appreciated.

He laid down Scotty's last letter, dated several weeks ago, but received yesterday. The boy was anticipating something of a reprieve in the summer from his duties.

At two o'clock in the afternoon he was sitting at his desk, sifting through the pages of an anticipated merger.

"Now this will never do. Albert knows better than to put this drivel into a contract." He picked up his pen and slashed through the last bit of paragraph on the page. He looked up at the sound of his voice. More and more he caught himself talking out loud when the house was empty.

"It must be age," he said aloud. He stopped and grew rigid, listening. "Is there something I'm forgetting? An appointment?" He reached for his tablet where he kept such matters listed, then cocked his ear to the side again before the first page was turned.

A knock sounded on the office door.

"It's Skimmerhorn. That's what I was listening for." A black weariness pressed down between his shoulder blades. "Enter."

Harlan sat back in his chair and looked at the envelope on his desk addressed from Virginia. He took the letter opener and sliced open the top. If his hands shook, it was only because he had worked through his dinner. Skimmerhorn looked away discreetly.

Headquarters
2nd Brigade
2nd Division
Fairfax County, Virginia

March 15th 1864.
Harlan Garrett Esq.

Dear Sir,
It is with most painful feeling that I sit down to impart to you the sad tidings that Scott has fallen. His last battle was fought bravely. I can truly say that we have met a loss that every member of this unit feels deeply. He was universally esteemed by both officers and enlisted men, possessing the confidence of all. The postal clerk is at my door now so I have time to write no more. Yours Truly, C.C. Spencer.

His stomach contracted and a cold perspiration dampened his forehead. He saw Skimmerhorn step towards him but couldn't hear the man speak for the roaring in his ears.

****

Curtains were drawn and the lamps turned low at the Garrett house. In the sitting room Elizabeth was shriveled up like a fall leaf wrapped in black silks. One week since the letter and the servants still attended the visitors to the house: long ago relatives, acquaintances, business associates, Scotty's friends. The Willoughby's had come to pay their respects, offering their own news in hushed tones that Carter was wounded in the same battle where Scotty had lost his life, and now languished in a regimental hospital.

He wished no ill-will, but it stung mightily that his grandson was struck down and others had lived.

Turning, he studied Catherine's portrait above the mantel. Her eyes were a deep blue, haunted and defiant as they had been in his grandson. Yesterday, he'd found himself upstairs. Responsibility, he mused as he walked up to Scotty's room. His life had been too ordered to ignore responsibility now. But he'd stopped in the doorway just short of crossing the threshold.

"Rob," Elizabeth said quietly, her silks whispering as she got up from her chair. "Will you write Murdoch, or shall I?"

"Is that your response to this tragedy?"

He heard the inhalation, the outrage in one single breath.

"Scotty's gone, Elizabeth. What matter would it be to him?"

Her voice was gentle as she took his rigid hands in hers. "You cannot believe that, brother. He has a right to know."

"Bah, rights."

He remembered Murdoch Lancer all those years ago, wanting to take his grandson away until common sense and the threat of litigation made the man rethink his options. His sigh was ripe with annoyance. He shook Elizabeth's' hands away and walked to the fireplace, looking up when Skimmerhorn slipped into the room on noiseless feet.

"I left orders we were not to be disturbed."

There was a bright heat in Skimmerhorn's eyes, like fever. He held a telegram aloft in his hand.

Harlan stopped and frowned, put up his fingers and rubbed the bridge of his nose after reading. "Well, he said. "This is from Colonel Lowell, the regimental commander." He read the words two more times.

"It appears Scotty is alive after all."

 

 

~end~

Want to comment? Email Barb