1 Hearts Beating Boldly: The Dream

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the first part of a seven part addition to the Rose Houston saga. In this story, an American Street Cop and former United States Marine retires from a long career to care for a dying wife.

Submitted: February 19, 2017

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Submitted: February 19, 2017

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USMC Sergeant William Travis Austin is running as fast as he can.  His lungs are straining for air, and his legs are on fire and feel like they’re made of concrete.  “Wait-a-minute” vines clutch at his legs, branches slash his face.  His own sweat blinds him. 

Reloading on the run, he sprints past Hernandez.He can see Duarte at the edge of the clearing and Jackson on one knee beside the helicopter.  They’re both shooting into the jungle’s edge.

He turns, goes down on one knee and gets ready to fire.  Hernandez empties his rifle, throws a grenade in the general direction of the enemy, turns and sprints past him.

He empties his rifle and turns to run.  An explosion picks him up and throws him toward the pickup zone.  He is dazed and numb and can hear Hernandez calling to him.  “Come on, come on, get up, get up, let’s go.”  He looks up and sees Hernandez’ bloodied face, “Come on, I gotcha, let’s go.”  Hernandez lifts Austin to his shoulder and sprints toward the helicopter. 

Duarte is beside them, firing into the jungle.  The door gunner on their side is firing his M-60 into the jungle behind them. 

Austin lands face first on the helicopter floor and slides across.  The helicopter lifts off.  He slides toward the opposite door but the other gunner grabs him before he slides out.

They pass low over the trees and in a moment, he sees the Song Bo River come and go beneath the helicopter.

He thinks they’re safe and then the helicopter bumps and gyrates erratically.  They’re losing altitude and he knows they are going down. 

“Captain!  Captain! Travis!  Hey!  Hey! Wake up! Wake up!”

He opens his eyes and sees and hears two uniformed Los Angeles Street Cops, Rosalinda Torres and Hattie Davis, shouting at him.  Just then, Hattie hits his hand.He is confused.  How did they get to Quang Tri Province?

He’s standing as if to run but is disoriented, dizzy and losing balance.  Each of the two cops grab an elbow, “Steady, steady, you’re okay.  You’re here with us, in your office, that’s the squad bay, we just finished briefing.  You fell asleep and had a bad dream.  It was a dream.  A dream, that’s all.  A dream.”

He sits in his chair and they come closer, each placing a hand on his nearest shoulder.

Tommy Jorgensen, the Watch Sergeant, steps into the room.  “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay.  I just fell asleep.”  He’s embarrassed. “I’m sorry.”

 “Where are you?”

“I’m in my office.”

“What year is it?”

He rubs his face with both hands and looks sideways at the Watch Sergeant, “It was 2001 when I fell asleep.”

Jorgensen, stands, smiles, remarks, “No need to get froggy about it, you didn’t sleep that long Rumpelstiltskin,” turns and leaves.

The Precinct Commander strolls past the door to his office a little too casually, looks around the squad bay, turns, enters, closes the door, and stands looking out the wall window into the squad bay.

Turning, he sits in the chair of honor, the chair that sergeants and officers sit in when they have to explain something that requires the Captain’s attention, directly in front of the Captain’s desk,.  “Napping on the job, again?”

“Yeah.  Yeah, a little.  You know how it is.”

“Yeah.” 

“How’s Almira doing?”

“Bout the same, some days are good, some aren’t.”  He pauses, “The good days are fewer.  She doesn’t sleep well.”

“How much longer does she have left?” 

“I don’t know, a few months, a year.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Take care of her,” he looks down at the back of his right hand, “we bought adjacent burial plots in the cemetery near her family. I’ll bury her there.”  He takes a deep breath, his eyes and red and watery, “She’s always said she wants to be buried in Texas near her family.”

“After that?”

“I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I guess, I’ll figure that out when the time comes.”

The two men are alone; the Commander looks around the office, the walls, stripped of the personal effects of the departing Captain, are barren.  “I guess getting blown up and then having the extraction helicopter shot down wouldn’t be something you’d soon forget.”

“No, well, I don’t know.  I never think of, well, actually…”  He shrugs, “I don’t remember being scared.  I remember thinking, ‘Shit,’ when the helicopter started going down.  The dream isn’t scary, it’s just a lot of adrenalin and trying to get somewhere I can’t get to, and then, when I wake up, it’s impossible to get back to sleep.”

The Commander shrugs, “Well, you are on duty.”

The two men chuckle softly.They chuckle anew each time they stop and look at each other.  The Commander, wounded long ago at a place nicknamed “Hamburger Hill,” finally says, “Yeah, well, yeah, the adrenalin does that,” and shrugs.  “Have you talked to one of the department shrinks?”

“Yeah,” he pauses, “yeah.”

“What did she say?”

“I can’t escape Almira’s death.”


© Copyright 2017 Eddie C Morton. All rights reserved.

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