Sara Reeder – 17 years old, lives on a dairy farm south of Springfield, Missouri, near Wilson Creek
My name is Sara Reeder. I’m the only daughter of Lucas Reeder. My three poor brothers are all dead and buried in a little plot near our home. I pray for them each day. The oldest two died when I was six when they went to tussling and fell in a pit of rattlesnakes. We could not save ‘em. My other brother died a few weeks later of a bilious fever of some sort. My ma died when I was about two, so I have no recollection of her. Our slave, my dearest Abram, cared for me and played with me and taught me to read. I have lived with my pa and Abram all these years. He’s a retired army major and mostly deaf because a cannon exploded in the War with Mexico. War is all around us now. It is horrid and fills me with dread. I wish the Yanks would just go home and leave us alone.
Which living person do you admire the most?
I so admire my pa with his strong arms and advisement. He’s as strong as an ox. He hates the Yankee president. That Lincoln cheated his friend out of justice usin’ his lawyer wiles and slippery tongue. My pa loves the Yanks and our Southern boys and wants no more war, and desires to have a comeuppance for Lincoln for bringin’ this war upon the land. His best friend is our slave, Abram.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Though folks tell me I’ve got a gladsome singin’ voice, I wish for all the world I could play an instrument like our dear Abram does when he plays his banja. He brings such joy to us all, includin’ the soldier boys. He’s gray-headed now and his old hands get some pained, but he’s brave, and I love him so.
What is your most marked characteristic?
You mean my unbecoming attribute? Well, my pa would say it’s my bullheadedness. I see a path that needs followin’ and I do it. I ain’t as a’feared as I oughta be. I guess you’d say I need to let others’ calumny just abide. But I can’t. Pa worries that I have too much fight in me.
Who are your favorite writers?
Well, my pa has a slew of books on botany and the sciences, but I prefer the great novelists, Alexander Dumas and Cervantes. Of an occasion, I’ll read a tract of some minor author, but my books are my treasures. And, of course, I dwell often on God’s holy word in the Bible.
Which living person do you most despise?
There’s none to compare with that foul snake, Frank Richards. He’s bent on stealin’ our livestock and craves to rape me. He’s out there, runnin’ with them marauders, bringin’ devastation to the land.
Who is the greatest love of your life?
I’ll admit I was often smitten with a handsome face and a beguiling singin’ voice, but my heart belongs now entirely to Joseph Favor. I believe God’s hand brought us together, and though he went off with the cavalry, I will find him and be a good wife to him.
What is your greatest fear?
I have two fears. One is that this loathsome war will go on forever. The fightin’ and the dyin’. My second fear is that Joseph will not have me. He’s so conflicted, what with his memory thwarted. I know he loves me but he’s in a powerful lonely place.
Title: Asunder, A Novel of the Civil War
Author: Curt Locklear
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Romance
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Book Cover Credit: Karen Phillips
Author Picture Credit: Sandra Timm
“I’M TRAPPED!” Sara Reeder, a headstrong, beguiling, Southern sympathizer is caught between charging armies!
“AWAKEN, SPIRITS”… “Tell me where my husband, Joseph, fell in battle.” Cyntha Favor, an ardent abolitionist and believer in Spiritualism, seeks to free her dead husband’s tormented soul.
EXCEPT… Joseph, a Union soldier, is not dead! Knocked unconscious in battle, he has lost all memory. Nursed to health by Sara and her father, Lucas, a disabled veteran, Joseph feels drawn to Sara, yet compelled to find his past.
WAR SURROUNDS the Reeder home. Transformed into a field hospital, their only support is Dred Workman, a Union traitor.
FORMER SLAVE, Josiah Reynolds, is protector and confidant of Cyntha. Deep in slave territory, he knows the danger he faces.
THE FOX SISTERS –President Lincoln’s wife invited spiritualists to invoke séances in the White House. These most famous of all Spiritualists become Cyntha’s hope.
MARAUDERS terrorize, kill and move ever closer to the Reeders’ farm.
With RIVER PIRATES, INTENSE BATTLES, and CAPTIVATING ROMANCE,
from Texas to New York, Missouri to Minnesota, the WAR rages. Can love triumph? Who will survive? ASUNDER is a GRIPPING EPIC.
Sara looked down at the embers and then at the white smoke that rose between her and Joseph. “These embers are your love for an unknown woman, and this smoke is hiding me from you.”
“My whole life is clouded with smoke,” Joseph responded. “I need your patience and time.”
Sara lowered her eyes.
Joseph looked admiringly at her, then began to pull the wet clothes out of the caldron and loaded them into a handcart. His sleeves were rolled up, but he still got his shirt wet. Sara, too, gathered the bulky clothing, soaking her blouse. She wiped a wisp of hair from her forehead with her wrist. Joseph watched her. Though he felt confusion about the woman in his flashes of memories, he felt an overpowering attraction to this petite, tough-minded girl. He was grateful for her benevolence towards him. He would miss her singing and her smiles. He felt conflicted, bound both to the woman of his dream and to Sara.
He grabbed the handles of the barrow and forced it forward. Not speaking, they cut to the south through the trees on a meandering path, Sara walking a few feet behind him. The hot sun bore down on them, riffling in and out of wisps of clouds. At length, they reached the clear creek, flowing steadily, the bed filled with large, round, smooth rocks protruding above the waterline. The sunlight danced and shimmered on the water. Yellow, curled, elm tree leaves floated on the water like tiny golden boats. More leaves tumbled from the trees with each breeze gust. Turtles basked on the sun-drenched rocks.
Sara picked a daisy by the water’s edge. She twirled it, ran it briefly under her nose, kissed the petals, then handed the flower to Joseph. He took it, smelled it, and placed it on a shelf rock near the stream. Sara pulled her skirt hem up and tucked the front and back into the waistband, revealing her strong legs from halfway up her thigh, down to her ankles. “I know no other way to do this without ruining my skirt,” she said, blushing. “I hope you don’t find me untoward.”
Joseph rolled his pants legs up to his knees. “Not at all. We’ve got to get these clothes done for the soldiers. I hope the glare of the sun off my white legs doesn’t blind you.”
They removed their footwear and socks and rolled up their sleeves to the shoulder. Sara tied her hair back with a pink ribbon from her skirt pocket.
Together, they unloaded the soapy clothes on the rocks, then taking a piece at a time, they dragged the clothes through the flowing stream until the suds were washed free. After that, they wrung the water out and spread each garment and bandage cloth on a sun-blanched rock to dry. Whenever Sara was bent, rinsing a piece, Joseph watched her. When she raised up, he ducked his head, working with his own shirt or cloth, at which time, he noticed out of the corner of his eye Sara sneaking a look at him. Neither said anything to the other. Joseph struggled to think of a clever or uplifting thing to say, but his mind was crisscrossed. I wish she’d sing, he thought. Occasionally, Sara splashed some of the cool water on her sunburned cheeks.
The water was cold despite the late summer heat. Goosebumps rose on their legs and arms. By the time they were finishing, the fronts of their own clothes were again soaked. Sara’s white shirt pressed against the corset of her full breasts, following their contour. A ribbon of water trickled down her neck.
When she laid out the last pair of trousers, she turned to Joseph. He had quit his awkward glances, and now stared at her with complete admiration. He walked carefully to her, for the flat rock bottom of the stream was smooth and slippery with algae. He placed one hand around her waist and pulled her to him, their feet sliding on the glass-like surface of the stream bed. With his other hand, he traced the outline of her chin, then softly touched her cheek.
Her heart racing, Sara raised her arms, placing one about his waist, the other at his shoulder. She glided that hand up and down his neck in a slow, deliberate, affectionate manner.
He stroked her wet arms, feeling the suppleness and the tightness of her muscles. Her skin shivered with pleasure under his touch. With his forefinger he brushed her full lips. She closed her eyes, and ran her fingers into his blond locks and gently tilted his head towards hers till their foreheads touched. They held each other in that manner, her with eyes closed, deep in his embrace while he gazed at the loveliest face he knew.
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CURT LOCKLEAR – award-winning author, history teacher, musician, composer, and positive education consultant. In my career, I have delivered presentations to thousands, small and large groups. My talks are always sprinkled with jokes and intriguing stories. If asked, I can play a few Civil War era tunes on my banjo and/or guitar.
My father trained a race-horse in the Kentucky Derby. My mother was a librarian. I’m related to the first wing-walker. My heritage is Southern and Northern. My Rebel forbearer once cleverly hid from a Yankee squad in corn crib. My Yankee forbearer was a bugler.
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