Memphis Fast Fiction Home
Annabeth Novitzki

The good lieutenant escorted her home from the dance, he and the belle weathering scornful looks from the old families and pro-secession youth.

He opened the white picket gate that encircled her home, and let her through. As she passed, her elbow grazed his side and he winced.

“My good sir, are you alright?” She asked, a concerned look on her face.

“It’s nothing. Merely bruises from a few locals that had too much to drink, and wouldn’t bow to proper authority. I assure you, they came out far worse than we did.”

“So brave.” She pressed her linen handkerchief into his his palm. It was soft and warm, and he imagined it smelled of her. “Here, this shall protect you from such danger in the future.”

“My lady, I doubt that even such a wonderful gift as this would be enough to protect me from a rain malicious blows.”

She smiled, a demure but knowing smile, and then whispered in his ear. “But then, it shall be my responsibility to kiss each bruise to make it better.”

And that is how she left him for the first, but not the last, time – stunned and reeling on her sidewalk.

Memphis Note
The Union occupation of Memphis went on for most of the Civil War, and in that time, the two sides had to more or less learn to live with each other. Resentment still festered against the Union, and fights between drunken groups of men were not uncommon – which was the primary reason alcohol sales were banned. But, even with that tension, some Romeo and Juliet connections had to have been made.

Scott Brown

“Father? Is everything alright?” The young nun said as stepped into the rectory, the lantern in her hand flicking ghostly shadows against the walls. “I heard screaming.”

She gasped as he eyes adjusted to the dark. Sprawled across the floor was an unconscious man and dirty satchel with documents spilling out of it. There was blood. So much blood.

“He fainted as I was pulling the bullet out.” Said the priest, slumped against the wall. His voice quivered as he spoke, and even in the low light, his skin stood out as ashen.

“I think he’s a soldier. A spy, guessing from what’s in his pack.” The priest was talking very fast, stammering. “One of ours. One of theirs, I mean. Oh, mercy, what does it matter.”

He looked up at the nun, tears welling in his eye, the wounded soldier’s blood streaked across his face.

“The gospel says to give comfort to all men, but they will surely kill this man, and us with him as collaborators. What are we to do?”

“For him? All we can.” She knelt beside him, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder. “And let the rest fall to the hands of the Lord.”

Memphis Note
During the Union occupation of Memphis, the religious establishment faced a sharp watch from the occupying forces. There were concerns that religious leaders would try to foment discontent and funnel to aid the Confederate guerillas in the area.

Jonathan McCarver

It was the same dream every night.

He was back at Shiloh, on his horse. Saber out, trying to shout over the din to his troops. Then, a whistle in the air, a sudden roar and a searing pain, whiting-out his vision.

He awoke screaming every time.

The nightmares were so bad that he’d taken to sleeping in the guest room to give his wife respite from his horrors.

His days were spent in a exhausted daze from the lack of sleep and the morphine solution prescribed to dull the pain. But even the narcotic couldn’t cover up that incessant itch, just below the knee on a leg that was no longer there.

Once he’d tried to quit the morphine, convinced that it was at the root of his nightmares. He hadn’t made it through a day before the vomiting and fever had driven him back to the drug.

Which is why he viewed the small jar of off-white powder he held with some trepidation.

The doctor said it was just the thing to snap him out of his morphine dependency; that he was giving it to all the injured veterans.

Extract of Peruvian Coca, the label read.

Memphis Note
The Civil War was the first war that lead to a marked increase of American drug abuse. Doctors gave heroin, opium and morphine to soldiers to dull the pain. Over-use of which lead to addiction. Addictions that had to be kept up upon returning home. Initially, cocaine was seen as a way to break opiate addictions, but was unfortunately just a replacement for them. Memphis wasn’t an exception to this rule, with drug abuse spiking dramatically in the last quarter of the 19th century.