Cheeseburger Gothic

The King's Ohio Rifles

Posted December 10 into Books by John Birmingham

Jason Lambright has released an extract from the draft of the alt history novel he's been working on. THE KING'S OHIO RIFLES. It's set in a WW1 where the US is still part of the British Empire.

Whole thing is here.

Elizabeth Moore was bumping along the road to Binche, she had an ambulance full of wounded. One of the men was sobbing, she took deep drags on her harsh cigarette.

The scene back in Thuin was bedlam, there were so damn many hurt and maimed men waiting to be evacuated, and so few ambulances and medical staff. The loading had been done to the soundtrack of heavy artillery fire, she had sat in her seat and watched as a round pulverized one of the few intact brick houses left.

It was damned unhealthy.

As she drove along the pitch-black road with her wholly inadequate blackout lights, she knew that this road was dangerous as hell, too. She had to constantly make her way around craters and other debris, she feared getting stuck as she navigated through cow pastures.

As usual, the lamentations of the men in the back stretched her nerves tight. And they were like piano strings tonight. The word she had received back at the aid station in Thuin was bleak, the Germans were breaking through along the line and they weren’t taking prisoners.

What would they do to her, she wondered, if captured? Probably something very unpleasant. She was in a grey area. Not really Army, not really a civilian, and definitely a woman. She really didn’t want to find out. When she heard about the German no-prisoners threat, she believed it. She didn’t intend to be captured, and she took a few measures to prevent rape followed by death.

She dodged a corpse. Her expert eye judged it fairly fresh one, allied. She drew in hard on her cigarette, she was glad she had spotted the dead man in time. Elizabeth hated the squishy feel beneath her wheels.

Some figures loomed out of the darkness. Maybe the mates of the dead man, she thought. She peered, she squinted. The blackout lights weren’t helping her much, and these buggers weren’t clearing off of the road. Her lips pressed into a thin line. Stupid gits. She flicked her cigarette out of the cab and drew a breath. She was going to give these idiots a real tongue-lashing.

At the precise moment that she was about to yell, her shout died frozen in her throat. Her blood ran cold, a bolt of lightning-like adrenaline shot through her body from head to toe.

Germans.

6 Responses to ‘The King's Ohio Rifles’

Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted December 10
Totally looking forward to reading the whole story!

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted December 10
So, SOOOO good :D

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted December 12
i think i must be tired. Or just distracted from smoking a pack of bushies (2million hectares of prime aussie bush in every breath) a day without a filter. I kept looking at the title and thinking it said Oreo and then my brain going off on a tangent that companies were like monarchies and had armies . . . . yeah maybe too many oreo's for lunch. Actually that rings a bell - was it Kim Stanley Robinsons Mars books that had that idea that countries didn't rule themselves but companies carved up the earth?

she_jedi asserts...

Posted December 12
Look I am on board for the King's Oreo Rifles, they sound delicious

jl mumbles...

Posted December 12
Yeah. I wonder if they come as deep fried or chocolate covered? Me, as a kid I always liked pulling them apart and licking out the filling.

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 13
Surely pulling them apart and licking out the filling is the ONLY way to eat an Oreo?

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