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Sin Studly
04-02-2006, 11:52 PM
Edward Kelly grimaced as the harsh burning liquid touched his tongue. Raw. Very raw, but it would be a good batch. It always was when he stilled it, he'd seen firsthand the consequences of sloppiness and laziness in that field of work. The cast-iron still and sacks of yeast and barley made him think again of his father, Red. They always did. Sold a batch of toxic rotgut marked as sly brandy, as his mother reminded him often, and two days after Christmas he was gone, blind and bloated up with fluid as though he was already a month-old corpse. There were the rumours, of course, in the small communities he'd lived in there were always rumours. Red hadn't been poisoned by a bad brewing, they'd say, he simply drunk himself to death over the forty-five years he'd lived, which was definitely a possibility, as Ned knew. More troubling were the rumours from the old country, that Red had voluntarily been transported as a police informant to escape justice from the Irish mobs he'd grassed up. But rumours like that would lead to a broken mouth for any man saying it, while Ned was around at least.

Considering his father's death, Ned reflected that there were other occupations he would prefer to guarding the fermenting mash in the coldest winter of sixteen years. So proud he was of the days when he could proclaim himself to be a feller and splitter, or even his short-lived career as a bareknuckled prizefighter. But darkly, he remembered occupations he'd just as soon not return to, like his month-long crime spree of horse thieving and armed robbery with the dashing bushranger Harry Power. Those hard times had sickened his young heart, and he had returned to his parents half-starved and delirious from exposure a short time before Power's charmed life as a highwayman came to an end at the Beechworth Gaol's gallows. Indeed, he wished he could return to his days as a labourer, but as a fugitive of the law, and with his mother and infant sister struggling to stay alive in the dank of the Beechworth cells, there was nothing else he could do to feed his brother and sisters and still save up enough of a surety to secure her release from the gaol.

Lost in his reflections, the distant rifle shots brought him to attention, startling him so badly he almost cried out aloud. Joe Byrne, his closest friend, picked up the rickety sawed-off shotgun, almost falling apart with age and use. "I'm supposin' that'll be the troopers"
"Aye", replied Ned, as he slipped his tiny .38 revolver into his pocket and lifted his enormous carbine. A .577 muzzle-loading Enfield, it was shipped in from Africa, the recycled tool of a mighty Empire. With its enormous bore it was obviously designed for piercing the skulls and chests of elephants, not men ; and it's unsuitability for bush combat was increased by the fact that the stock and most of the barrel had been filed off. The stock was tightly bound with string and wax, and dwarfing Ned's large hands it looked like a comically oversized pistol.

Riding hard into the wilderness to greet the interlopers, they stopped overnight and snuggled together to escape the freezing cold of the frost. Too cautious to build a fire, they shared a tin of sardines and drank unboiled water from the creek, hoping that any dysentry would fail to strike them until after the battle was over. As they reached the camp, Ned affixed his sash of green over his chest, and the four men set their hats back on their heads and drew the chinstraps up under their noses, the symbol of affiliation with the rebel Greta Mob, those who had fought and died for a Diggers Republic free of the British yoke. Even suave and stylish Joe Byrne wore his hat Greta fashion, despite being appalled by the ridiculousness of it.

"For Ireland, Joe"
"No, for ourselves, Ned. For your mother"

The police encampment in the Stringybark Creek was far from stealthy, the police obviously expecting to find the Kelly Gang several more miles from where they had cleared out the bush for their distilling hut. Aside from the four huge logs felled to provide firing cover in the case of an ambush, there was only a small tent, tethered horses and two policemen tending their fire.

The four men walked towards the camp in a line, with only Ned and Byrne armed, Dan and Steve bravely standing their ground and hoping the police would not notice their empty hands. Ned recognised the policemen, Constable Strahan, the expert tracker who had treated Ned with some kindness in what seemed like another lifetime, and Constable Flood, the hulking brutal trooper who had once declared that he would shoot Ned down like a dog and riddle him with dozens of balls and bullets before asking him to surrender. They stepped closer to the campsite, got to thirty yards before Ned took the initiative.

"Bail up! Throw up your hands!", shouted Ned. Flood's hands went up immediately, but Scanlon dived for the cover of the fallen log. As he leaned over it aiming his pistol at Dan, a thundering crack sent birds fleeing their trees, and for a split-second Ned seemed to disappear in the smoke and fire of his enormous carbine. The massive lead ball struck Scanlon in the eye, blowing out the back of his head in an explosion of gore followed by the fine red mist of blood. The shock of the passing ball had mashed and mangled his brains, yet he did not die. Throwing down his gun he stood to his feat and screamed "God! Oh God, I surrender!"

He staggered foward, clutching at his ruined eye, before tripping over the log and thrashing around wildly in the bushes, screaming all the while. Flood, his face drained of all colour, tried to avert his eyes from the horrible death throes of his comrade, and looked instead to the Kelly Gang advancing on him.

It was then that Ned realised his mistake. The man he thought was Flood had indeed sported a full black beard similar to Ned's enemy, but he was gaunt, thinner in the face. He was a stranger. Joe Byrne looked up from the now-dead body of Scanlon, to report that his identity too had been mistaken. The man they recognised as Scanlon was Constable Lonigan, the man who had ruptured Ned's testicles and pistol-whipped his scalp open in a brawl outside the Benella blacksmiths. The man who had caused Ned to vow, in front of dozens of witnesses, that 'If I ever kill a man, Lonigan, you shall be the first'. Ned had spared the life of the man he thought was his enemy, and shot the man he thought was his friend, only to find he had instead killed the only man he had been heard to threaten.

The ironies meant little, however. A policeman was dead, and Ned was his killer.

Sin Studly
04-02-2006, 11:52 PM
Constable McIntyre, although badly shaken by the sudden appearance of the Gang and the grotesque death of Lonigan, was determined to keep up a show of courage. As the four men, Steve and Dan now armed with scavenged police revolvers, crowded around him, he struggled to think of something to say. Glancing at Lonigan, he muttered "Such a shame.... I wonder what made the fool run"

"I thought you were Constable Flood," stated Ned, "And it's a damned good thing I was wrong, for if I were right I would not have shot you dead but roasted you alive over your damned campfire!"

Joe strode towards him, a police shotgun cradled in the crook of his arm. "Interesting piece for a police party...", he said coldly as he checked the load. "And loaded with shot, too. I'm supposin then, that you came here to kill us?"

"No," replied McIntyre, "We came here to apprehend you."

"With a fowling scattergun?", asked Ned.

"That.... that was for shooting kangaroos"

Ned knelt beside the trembling man and stared coldly. "Where are the others?"

"Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlon are out on patrol, but I'll not help you kill them too, you bastard. You can as soon shoot me dead where I sit, and may God damn you."

Ned laughed, and smiled at McIntye, his yellowed teeth showing over his full red beard. "Nay, I'm no coward, son. I'll not shoot a man whose laid down his weapons.... assumin', of course, that he promises to leave the Force forever. We don't want your lives, only your guns and your horses"

"Aye, I'll leave the force.... it's a shame what they've done to your poor mother."

Ned glared icily, and not another word was spoken until the arrival of Kennedy and Scanlon. As Kennedy approached the camp astride his prized white thoroughbred, he was slightly confused to see McIntyre standing in wait for him, unarmed and alone.

"You'd best lay down your guns, Sir," he called, "for they have us surrounded."

Ah, thought, McIntyre, another practical joke from a bored trooper. Something had to lighten the long days of camping in the cold, hunting down killers and thieves. Smiling, he jokingly put his hand over the butt of his pistol and was about to call a reply, when the four bushrangers burst from their cover.

"Bail up! Get your hands up!"

Panicked and struggling to release his pistol from the leather strap, he slid off his horse as the first warning shot went into the air. Firing a quick snapshot at Ned, three more shots rang out and Scanlon groaned and slumped forward on his horse. Kennedy fired again, catching Dan high up on the arm, glancing wildly around, he saw Scanlon falling heavily into the scrub, and McIntyre mounting his thoroughbred to make good his escape. To his left Scanlon was struggling in the dirt, still trying to unsling his Spencer rifle when Joe Byrne put a bullet through his side, piercing his lungs and heart.

Kennedy ran.

Taking cover behind trees and keeping his persuers down with scattered fire, he managed to hide behind a thick eucalypt long enough to replace the firing nipples on his revolver and load six more cartridges. Ned, close behind him, had taken Scanlon's Spencer before abandoning it, it's complicated loading mechanisms unknown to him. Kennedy was silent now, and Ned advanced cautiously. Just as he was about to shout to Kennedy to surrender, the trooper swung out at him from behind the tree and fired.

The pistol ball grazed Ned's ribs, but in return he sent back a heavy slug through Kennedy's armpit. Seriously wounded, Kennedy turned and staggered through the bush, with Ned calmly and steadily in persuit.

"Surrender!" cried Ned.

Kennedy swung around, raising his gun-arm again and Ned cooly put a bullet through his chest. The wound was mortal, and Kennedy fell to the ground dying. As Ned advanced, his foot struck on metal and he was given his second awful revelation of the day. It was Kennedy's revolver. He had already dropped his gun, and was turning to surrender when Ned put the fatal bullet into him.

The Kelly Gang propped Kennedy up against the base of a tree, covering him in a blanket and trying to make his last minutes of life comfortable. Ned forced some creek water into Kennedy, and packed and lit a pipe for him. Hacking awfully, blood frothed against his lips signifying a lung shot. Ned put the pipe down, stood, and offered his pistol to Kennedy.

"Well lad, I've shot ye. I spose it's only right and fair if you were to take me gun and shoot me now"

Weakly, Kennedy shook his head "I forgive you, and may God forgive you too"

Ned and the others sat with Kennedy for almost an hour, while he talked of his life. He told them of his young wife and daughter, and of the infant son that was taken with dysentry not more than a month before, and buried. He struggled to write his last letter to his wife, begging Ned to deliver it to her when he could. His pain became more intense, and his breathing shallower as Ned unclipped his pistol and put it to his head.

"NO! For the love of God no, let me alone here. Let me here to live, if I can, for the sake of my poor wife. Please, let me live."

Ned hesitated for a few moments, then nodded and lowered his pistol.

And shot him in the heart.

"Erin go bragh, brave trooper"

T-6005
04-03-2006, 12:00 AM
I've read better by you, Justin.

EDIT - Take that literally. Not as "it's bad"

Preocupado
04-03-2006, 12:32 AM
Honest? You gave life to Ned and i love it.

Little_Miss_1565
04-03-2006, 08:15 AM
Are you currently reading Nick Cave's novel, by any chance?

Rocky-girl
04-03-2006, 09:28 AM
Strange history. I supposed it must be kind. But it written well, but I became tired reading it all. But now I think that I generally like it, because it shows an old australian life, it seems to me so misterious.

the_GoDdEsS
04-03-2006, 11:32 AM
Write Glenrowan Hotel some time and I'll melt forever. I like hearing about the Kelly gang. And I think the way you put it into a short story is impressive.

Also, I'm afraid this thread will remain with just a few replies because people on here are just... not that literate.

Sin Studly
04-03-2006, 12:59 PM
Are you currently reading Nick Cave's novel, by any chance?

No, I was reading "A short life".

Little_Miss_1565
04-03-2006, 01:03 PM
No, I was reading "A short life".

You need this. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1880985721/sr=8-1/qid=1144094558/ref=sr_1_1/002-4598510-1412040?%5Fencoding=UTF8)

Sin Studly
04-05-2006, 11:39 AM
This is my take on history, not a piece of pure fiction.

WebDudette
04-05-2006, 11:57 AM
Although I don't know the history behind it I found it incredibly interesting and well writen.

Paint_It_Black
04-05-2006, 11:59 AM
Very well written, of course. Great narrative.

I would have preferred the story to have been told more strongly from Ned's perspective, with more inflection. I'm always far more interested in the characters of a story rather than the actual events. But perhaps that would improve if you told the entire story. Obviously the excerpt you chose is action intensive, and you covered it very well.

It certainly felt like you know the history well, and I especially enjoyed the little touches that heightened the realism.

I'd need to read something considerably longer to say much more about it.

As I've said before, you should attempt to write professionally. You have the talent and the ability, and it also just seems to fit what I know of your character.

Sin Studly
04-05-2006, 12:03 PM
I'm trying to write more character-intesivley for the Glenrowan siege, which I'm doing now, but I find it a struggle between the action, Ned's perspective, and Joe (my hero's) perspective.

I know in this one I started it out good, but sort of lost the character's perspective after the first few paragraphs. Some day I'll patch it up, perhaps even turn it into first-person.

Paint_It_Black
04-05-2006, 12:12 PM
I'm trying to write more character-intesivley for the Glenrowan siege, which I'm doing now, but I find it a struggle between the action, Ned's perspective, and Joe (my hero's) perspective.

I know in this one I started it out good, but sort of lost the character's perspective after the first few paragraphs. Some day I'll patch it up, perhaps even turn it into first-person.

I just read the first part of your other one. I like it more already. For various reasons, it already has a greater emotional intensity than this one did.

I'd suggest not going with the first-person perspective. I find it's rarely as enjoyable that way. I think it's fine the way it is. If your goal is to someday tell the entire story, my advice would be to get it all done as a first draft, decide how you want it to all go together and then just make sure it all flows. Then you can work on the fine details and making sure there's enough character perspective and all that.

the_GoDdEsS
04-05-2006, 12:15 PM
I like the anticipation in the second one and this atmosphere and mood it creates. It takes you there right away, visually. I like being sucked into the story. And the silence before the storm. I approximately know what it'll be about, and can't wait to read the rest.

Sin Studly
04-05-2006, 12:28 PM
I just read the first part of your other one. I like it more already. For various reasons, it already has a greater emotional intensity than this one did.

I'd suggest not going with the first-person perspective. I find it's rarely as enjoyable that way. I think it's fine the way it is. If your goal is to someday tell the entire story, my advice would be to get it all done as a first draft, decide how you want it to all go together and then just make sure it all flows. Then you can work on the fine details and making sure there's enough character perspective and all that.

You're proving to be quite a useful tool. Simona, on the other hand, would call one of my turds a chocolate-fudge sundae, so it's good to hear proper feedback.

Paint_It_Black
04-05-2006, 12:33 PM
Well, I know you enough to assume you'd appreciate honest feedback. And, as something of a writer myself, I know that comments such as "I love it!" or "It fucking sucks!" really aren't helpful.

the_GoDdEsS
04-05-2006, 12:34 PM
Hlúpy západniar. It's my aspiration for a zadoček lízač.

Sin Studly
04-05-2006, 12:51 PM
Shut the fuck up, Sim, a BRITFAG is making better comments than you are right now. Zadocek lizac indeed!

the_GoDdEsS
04-05-2006, 12:55 PM
I meant that literally too, psisko.