Lazarus Graves: The Scythe of Death
A Two-Fisted Dieselfunk Tale!
Dr. A.C. Jackson dashed into Examination Room Four. His assistant of three years, nurse Rita McCray, crouched by the window. Her face was a mask of fear and shock. “What is it, Rita? What’s wrong?”
“Those rubes have Reverend Mason surrounded in the street!” Nurse McCray cried.
“What?” Dr. Jackson gasped as he ran to the window.
He knelt beside Rita and peered over the window sill.
Four white men – their clothes and boots spotted with dirt and splashes of blood – surrounded a pudgy black man whom Dr. Jackson quickly recognized as Reverend Malcolm Mason, pastor of Third Baptist Church.
“I’m going out there,” Dr. Jackson said, leaping to his feet.
Rita grabbed his wrist and held his hand to her chest. “Dr. Jackson, don’t! You’ll just get yourself killed.”
“I have to do something,” Dr. Jackson said.
“Look out there,” Rita said, thrusting her finger toward the window. “The movie theater…my brother’s grocery store…the hospital…all on fire! Those devils have brought Hell to Greenwood. The best we can do now is lay low until this all blows over.”
An agonized scream tore across the blackened sky.
Dr. Jackson looked out the window in time to see Reverend Mason fall to the ground, blood pouring from a gaping wound in the side of his head.
Dr. Jackson slid down the wall and collapsed onto his haunches. “Damn, too late. Reverend Mason is…”
“I know,” Rita sobbed. “Reverend Mason was a good…”
A loud knock on the front door startled them.
Dr. Mason slowly rose to his feet. “Who?”
“Don’t go to the door,” Rita whispered.
“I have to,” Dr. Jackson replied. “Someone might need my help.”
He sauntered toward the door.
Another knock – this one stronger than the first – shook the mahogany door.
“Who is it?” Dr. Jackson called.
“My friend here is hurt and needs some medicine,” a nasal voice replied.
“You don’t sound like a negro,” Dr. Jackson said.
“You don’t either, boy,” the man on the other side of the door snickered.
TO READ THIS STORY IN ITS ENTIRETY, PLEASE VISIT http://chroniclesofharriet.com/2012/07/05/lazarus-graves-the-scythe....
Good little pulp avenger story.
A heart breaking origin which shows up one of the terrible ironies of the dark avenger pulp genre- the section of the community that had the most reasons to long for such heroes was completely unrepresented by the genre.
Have you read 'Doc Voodoo: Aces and Eights' by any chance? I've just started reading it and it has a similar pulp protagonist. The voodoo connection is very interesting and shows that there's a lot of fertile ground there for such dark avenger stories. A way to 'punk the past and the injustices done.
I have not read Doc Voodoo. However, I most certainly will.
I was inspired to write this by the great Charles R. Saunders, author of the 'Imaro' series of novels. He wrote the pulp novel 'Damballa', a magnificent read. The protagonist uses a combination of African herbal knowledge and western science to fight injustice.
Dark. Brutal. Painful. Nice! Great start!