Sergeant Zeke Anderson hugged his wounded
Lieutenant closer to him as
the kid trembled violently.
"It's all right, sir," he spoke soothingly,
"you're gonna be all
The wounded officer moaned as his eyes rolled
back in his head and
Zeke hugged him tighter, as if he could somehow
hold on to the life
that was quickly draining out of the kid. The
knew better, however. A slight tremble rippled
through Zeke as he
felt the young Lieutenant release his final
breath, the tension in
body leaving with it.
Zeke felt tears well up in his eyes as he clung
to the limp body of
the Lieutenant. He wanted to scream. Instead,
he laid his slain
officer down gently and quickly brushed the tears
away, hoping the
"He gone, Sarge?" Taylor whispered hesitantly,
more stating than
asking. He'd hovered protectively around the
Sarge and Doc as they'd
done what they could for wounded Lieutenant.
"Finally got a butter bar with potential, now
we're gonna have to
break in a fuckin' new one." Taylor muttered to
Shuffling his feet for a moment, he resisted the
urge to glance again
at the lifeless form, knowing the tears would win
the battle if he
did. Feeling himself losing the battle anyway,
Taylor moved away.
Sgt. Anderson continued sitting by the body a for
a few minutes. The
kid hadn't been with the platoon long, but his
loss was going to be
felt deeply by the men, nonetheless. Running on
Nam time, ya got
attached to guys quick, and the Lieutenant's
nature that had made him especially easy to like
him. Damn!! He
really liked this kid. Well, at least he'd make
body made it home.
"Saddle up! We're movin'!" Sarge ordered,
slinging the limp body of
the young Lieutenant over his shoulder.
Sighing, Zeke focused himself on the
business-at-hand. There wasn't
time to grieve for the young officer now. The
dense mist that had
settled in around them as the rain let up was
going to slow them
so they couldn't afford to waste any more time
getting to the LZ.
"Bravo six, this is two-five," Sgt. Anderson
reported in, "we're
coming in from your November-Echo."
"That's a roger, two-five," came the response,
"we'll keep an eye
As the soggy platoon trudged wearily into the LZ,
Sgt. Anderson flop his Lieutenant onto an empty
plot of ground.
He'd planned to send the kid to check out the
ridge rising a dozen
meters up from the western edge of the short,
flat hill they were
using for their LZ. Well, he couldn't spare
anyone else, Anderson
would have to do it.
"Sergeant, I need you to take a couple squads up
there," Cpt. Wallace
pointed to the steep ridge, "There's NVA coming
from below, I don't
want any surprises from above."
"Yes, sir." Sgt. Anderson responded flatly.
The direct approach from the LZ would have been a
anyone, but after working his way across the wide
short hill from the steep ridge, Anderson had
marched his men north
and found an another path to the top. Despite
needing to maneuver
around the steep, rain-slickended gullies that
criss-crossed up the
hill, it had been easy hike. Zeke had been in
combat long enough to
know better than to take the easy path, but he
was tired and more
upset than he cared to admit over the loss of the
As they reached the rocky crown of the ridge,
Anderson thought to
himself that the day's luck must have shifted
Assuming there weren't any nasty surprises
waiting for them in the
caves they'd seen from the LZ, the position could
be easily defended.
As he began to inspect the area, the Sergeant
thought about the
devastating havoc the NVA would have wreaked on
the men below had
taken control of the ridge first.
"Bravo six, this is two-five. No sign of any
Sgt. Anderson reported, "pretty easy access up
"Anything interesting inside those caves?" Cpt.
hoping they'd make this mission worthwhile by
stumbling across an NVA
"Negative, Bravo six, caves just an optical
illusion. Nothing but
some deep crevices."
"Roger that, two-six," the Captain responded,
trying to keep the
disappointment out of his voice. "Can you hold
the position with
"Affirmative, Bravo six," Sergeant Anderson
"Watch your tail up there, two-five," came the
"Roger that, two-five out."
Zeke had caught the disappointment in Cpt.
Wallace's voice, but he
still relieved that the "caves" had been nothing
more than the scant
light filtering through the dense mist making the
even deeper. Finishing his inspection of the
ridge, the Sergeant
paused to looked down on the men formed in a
semi-circle below him.
As he viewed the serene, mist-obscured scenery
around the LZ, the
Sergeant felt oddly removed from the impending
fight. It felt as
though he were a fan sitting high up in the
stands preparing to cheer
on his favorite team.
Behind him Zeke could hear
his men chatting
casually as they hunkered down. Everything
around him seemed
and Zeke wondered for a moment if he was really
sound asleep in his
bunk back at Ladybird. He felt a twinge of hope
that maybe he'd wake
up from this dream and be able tell the
Lieutenant all about it over
"Two-five, this is Bravo six, we're in over our
Zeke jumped, startled by the voice crackling over
the radio. He
noticed the intensifying sounds of battle below
"Got a Spooky nearby, he's coming in to clear the
area," Cpt. Wallace
announced, "Get your guys ready to move, the
choppers will be right
"Acknowledged, two-five out." Zeke responded,
pulling himself back
into reality. "Saddle-up guys, we're heading back
The Sergeant jumped. The order had come out of
around to locate its origin.
"Sir?!" Sgt. Anderson responded automatically to
tone of the voice, but then hesitated.
His eyes settled on a vague human shape standing
in one of the deep,
mist-shrouded crevices. The Sergeant could just
make out the filthy
green army fatigues, but couldn't quite see the
face, or the name.
"Get the guys under cover," the voice ordered,
"I don't want to have
our butts exposed if that Spooky forgets to
release his trigger as he
Sgt. Anderson still hesitated. Who was this?
Was it some sort of
NVA trick? Zeke could hear the devastating fire
of the C-47 coming
closer and auto-pilot kicked in.
"What's up, Sarge?" Taylor questioned, noticing
that Sgt. Anderson
had become distracted.
"We're taking cover!!" The Sergeant shouted,
spinning around to face
"Huh? I though we..." Taylor began as Zeke
pushed past him.
"You heard the Sergeant, Taylor! Move!"
Taylor jumped. He looked around, but there was
"Move it, Private!"
"Yes, sir!" Taylor responded automatically to
the forcefulness of
command and he slid into the nearest gully.
"Take cover!" Sgt. Anderson bellowed. "Move it!
Move! Move! Move!
The urgent tone of their Sergeant's voice sent
the men scrambling for
cover. A couple of the less experienced men
hesitated and were
rewarded by a hard shove from Zeke to get them
moving in the right
direction. The Sergeant paused as the heavy fire
neared him, scanning
the ridge quickly to be sure all the men had
Sgt. Anderson heard the scream at the same
instant the air around him
turned into a mass of exploding debris. Strong
arms were pulling him
deep into the gully, away from the flying shards
of rock and bullets.
His head ached and spun mercilessly, his shoulder
felt like it was on
Sgt. Anderson looked hazily into the deep brown
eyes of his savior.
"Zeke! Your gonna be all right! Just hang in
Who was he? The Sergeant tried to stay coherent
enough to identify
the young face hovering over him. Feeling himself
consciousness, he tried to fix the image of the
unfamiliar face in
mind. Concern filled the deep brown eyes that
burned into his memory
as they slowly faded into the mist.
"You were damn lucky, Sergeant," Cpt. Wallace
shaking his head at the thought of what might
"Yes, sir," Sgt. Anderson absently replied,
distracted by the
activity outside his window. He hated laying
around when he ought to
be looking after his men.
"Sir," Zeke startled the Captain by suddenly
focusing on the
conversation, "I was wondering who it was that
pulled me into that
gully, didn't recognize the kid."
Cpt. Wallace stopped smiling as he looked at his
Sergeant with a
mixture of concern and bewilderment.
The Sergeant's injuries hadn't been as serious as
his blood soaked
fatigues had made them appear as he was loaded on
the evac chopper.
He'd been cut up pretty good by the debris
exploding around him, but
none of the wounds had been deep. The nasty
knock on the head he'd
gotten sliding into the gully hadn't seemed like
anything to worry
about either - until now.
"I'd like to thank the him, sir," Zeke
continued, puzzled by the
Captain's change in demeanor.
"Nobody up there but your guys, Zeke," Captain
responded, "look, I better let you get some
rest," he hastily added
a perplexed look came across Zeke's face. Leaving
the infirmary, the
Captain worried that his Sergeant had been
in-country too long.
"Taylor, you see somebody pull Sgt. Anderson into
Captain Wallace quizzed the young soldier waiting
for him outside.
"No, sir," Taylor responded, "Sarge was the last
one to dive for
cover, nobody else near him."
"See anybody up there you didn't know?"
"No, sir!" Taylor answered quickly, hoping the
the issue. He wasn't so sure what had happened
up there, but he
hadn't seen anybody up on that ridge besides his
buddies. There was
no way he was telling anybody about hearing the
order to take cover.
He was afraid he'd end up in the loony bin if he
Zeke felt his head start to spin as he strained
to hear the distant
conversation. The spinning turned into an ache
and he settled into
the bed. In a few days, when the Doc turned him
loose, he'd check
around and find the guy himself.
"I'm telling ya, Sarge, I didn't see nobody else
up there," Taylor
For weeks the Sergeant had hounded everyone that
had been up on the
ridge with him. No one would admit to seeing
anyone beside his
buddies, or hearing any orders except Sarge's.
Taylor'd been edgy,
though, and Zeke was sure he knew more than he
Cpt. Wallace watched the scene from the doorway
of the infirmary. It
added to the irritation he was already feeling at
being pulled out of
Ladybird to have a chat with some lame-assed
the trip from being a total waste, he'd brought
the Sergeant and
couple guys along to restock the pantry while the
with the Doc. He'd have left his Sergeant tucked
safely away at the
Firebase if he'd known that Zeke was going to be
the topic of the
It seemed that the Doc had heard from some of the
kids that had been
medevac back to Chu Lai that the Sergeant was
still determined to
out about the guy that he believed had pulled him
to safety on that
ridge nearly a month ago. None of the other men
had seen the guy, so
the Doc had decided that Sgt. Anderson was going
a little loony and
wanted to pull him out of the field for a while.
Zeke HAD been a
little obsessed with finding the guy, but it
hadn't prevented him
duty his job, so the Captain had just spent
nearly an hour convincing
the Doc that the Sergeant was fit for duty.
Watching Zeke corner
Taylor, again, to question the poor kid about
some imaginary savior,
Cpt. Wallace wondered if he was doing the right
thing. Anderson was
one of his best men, he hated the thought of
losing him, but maybe
Doc was right, maybe Zeke did need to spend some
time in Psych.
"Problem with Taylor, Sergeant?" the Captain
inquired, waving the
"No, sir. Just chatting with the boy."
"Zeke," Cpt. Wallace began quietly, suddenly
deciding to be candid
with the Sergeant. He paused and stepped closer
to prevent anyone
else from hearing the conversation before
continuing, "the Doc thinks
your losing it - hounding the guys about some
imaginary kid. Look,
your one of my best men, but I gotta know if your
heads still in the
Sgt. Anderson was floored. He knew the Doc
thought he'd been seeing
things up on that ridge, but it never occurred to
him that Cpt.
Wallace would doubt him. It dawned on Zeke how
strange his behavior
appeared - storming around the base, determined
to find some kid that
nobody else would admit to seeing. The Sergeant
to himself that he must have imagined the whole
"Come on! Let's get back to Ladybird," Cpt.
Wallace had watched his
Sergeant's face and knew that whatever had been
going on with the
he'd just put it behind him.
"Any of you men know which one of these officers
is 2nd Lieutenant
Goldman." Sergeant Anderson shouted as he passed
one of the trucks
quickly filling with the replacements headed for
A boy turned to face him. The Sergeant barely
managed to suppress
shudder that threatened to crawl down his spine
as he stared into
hauntingly familiar eyes.
"Naw!" Zeke thought to himself as the upstart
about a salute, "Just tired."
Continuing with the business of loading up the
newbies, Zeke tried to
keep his thoughts away from the memory of the
fire from the C-47
tearing up the ground around him - pain searing
across his shoulder -
his head spinning as the world around him faded
into blackness -
brown eyes looking down at him as a soothing
voice told him to "hang
in there, he'd be all right." That dream - those
eyes, he hadn't
thought about it - them - in months.
Zeke tried hard to push away the vision of the
young face hovering
over him as he lost consciousness. So this kid
reminded him of that
disastrous mission, didn't mean anything. Man!
The firebase was just
overrun, again. He was worn-out, that's all it
was. Zeke forced
himself to focus on the faces of his new men as
he boarded the truck.
No way he was tangling himself up in that mess
again, he'd already
nearly landed himself in Psych because of it.
The Sergeant chatted with the new Lieutenant,
avoiding eye contact as
much as possible. The kid was a pretty typical
cherry butter bar,
Zeke didn't figure him to last long.
"Kid ain't nuthin' but trouble," the Sergeant
told himself a fresh
chill ran down his spine.
Eager to escape, the Sergeant searched for the
was his name? - Horn. Spotting him, Zeke
squeezed in next to the
letting the beautiful sounds the newbie produced
from his small
instrument push the Sergeant's old demons away.
"Ell-teeee!" Sergeant Anderson shouted as his
Lieutenant fell a few
feet in front of him.
Zeke inched toward Lt. Goldman, staying as close
to the ground as the
interlaced tree roots beneath him would allow.
to wrap his fingers around the officer's wrist
and yank the Lt.
towards him. The movement prompted a fresh wave
of bullets, directed
at the crumpled form being dragged away.
The Sergeant flinched as the bullets kicked up
shards of rock and
thick chunks of tree root that tore at his
clothing and cut deeply
into his flesh. He felt an anxious wave a nausea
rise up as he
realized that the blows from the debris exploding
around them were
increasingly being absorbed by the man he'd been
trying to pull to
safety. The Sergeant knew the ambushers were
aiming at the movement,
and in his hurry to save the Lt., he'd just made
Myron his cover.
Zeke stopped pulling on the officer as a large
piece of debris tore
the side of Lt. Goldman's head.
Ruiz let the burst from the M-60 run long, his
He had just passed the Lt. when the officer went
down and had felt
rounds zip by him. Intently focused on
obliterating the jungle
the attackers, Roo didn't notice the first
splashes of rain as they
pattered softly against his helmet.
The breathless G.I.'s listened to their thudding
heartbeats as they
waited for the firing to begin again.
Thunder pealed across the sky, opening up the
heavens. The soft
sprinkle that had begun only moments before
suddenly turned into a
deluge instantly drenching the soldiers as they
climbed back into the
skins they'd jumped out of as the thunder'd
abruptly broken the
"Think they di di'd, Sarge." Roo whispered, then
shouted as he
realized the rain was drowning out his voice.
Sarge nodded affirmatively but signaled everyone
to hold their
"Doc! Get over here!" Sergeant Anderson
bellowed to the medic that
had crawled to the RTO a few feet away. "Lt.?
Lt.? You still with
Lt. Goldman moaned.
Nothing. Myron lay motionless in his Sergeant's
arms. Zeke gently
pulled up the Lt.'s fatigue jacket and shirt as
the medic crept up
"How's Turner?" Sgt. Anderson asked, referring to
the fallen RTO.
"Gone, Sarge." The medic responded.
"And the radio's totally Fubar, Sarge!" Percell
shouted, holding up
the damaged radio.
"Doesn't matter, not even McKay would fly in this
responded glumly, muttering under his breath,
"Terrific! A cherry
medic and no damn medevac."
The Sergeant glanced up from the wound in Myron
chest just in time to
watch Ferguson's face fall as he caught sight of
the injury on
right side, just at the bottom of his ribs.
Looking back down, Zeke
puzzled at the small amount of blood spilling out
bullet but have gone through his lung.
"Do something quick, Doc! We're not hanging
around!" Sgt Anderson
shouted at the newbie.
The young medic opened his mouth to speak, but
the Sergeant cut him
"Just do something!" Zeke ordered as he pulled a
rain poncho out of
his pack to shelter the Lt. while the Doc worked.
The expression on the Doc's face had said enough.
The kid figured he
was in over his head, Sgt. Anderson hoped he was
wrong. Zeke had
plenty of wounds like this and knew there was a
decent chance Myron'd
make until their pick-up in the morning, as long
as the newbie didn't
screw up too badly.
Reluctantly, the Sergeant let Johnson take over
providing shelter for
the Lt. The Doc was nervous enough without Zeke
standing over him.
Moving with as much efficiency as the
rain-slickened surface would
allow, he quickly surveyed the men. They'd come
out all right,
- cuts and bruises, mostly. The Lt. and Turner
had gotten the worst
Ferguson looked up, feeling the Sarge come up
behind him as he pulled
a needle out of his bag. The Sergeant waited
patiently for the medic
to relieve the pressure that had built up against
the damaged lung
then knelt beside Myron as Ferguson replaced the
Lt.'s soggy clothing
over the fresh bandages. Wrapping a quick bandage
around the gash in
Lt. Goldman's head, the Doc nodded to the Sgt.
"We'll need a stretcher, Sarge."
"I'll carry him." Zeke responded, picturing two
guys trying to haul
the rain-ladened stretcher across the slippery
"I'll walk," Lt. Goldman croaked, weakly.
"Sir, I..." Ferguson began.
"I'll walk," Lt. Goldman repeated more
Shrugging his shoulders, Ferguson backed out of
the way as Sgt.
Anderson carefully helped his Lieutenant to his
"Let's get moving, Sergeant," the Lt. ordered,
any more help from Zeke and he tried to steady
The shout pulled at the wound and Myron flinched
Catching it out of the corner of his eye,
Ferguson pulled a morphine
surette out of his bag. The Lt. waved the medic
away, his head was
spinning enough as it was.
"Come on! Let's go! If we don't get in another
couple hours, we'll
miss our pick-up," Myron elaborated, trying to
prove to the men that
he was fine.
"Let's move! Johnson, you're on point. Percell,
bring the radio,"
Zeke ignored the skeptical glance that Danny
threw his way before the
tossing the radio over his shoulder. The
Sergeant wanted to get a
look at the radio himself before writing it off.
Rounding up the
Lieutenant's helmet, Zeke handed it to him,
watching as the Lt.
carefully shifted it around so that it wasn't
resting on the tender
gash in his head. A chill ran down the
Sergeant's spine as the
cock-eyed helmet gave the officer the appearance
of a little boy
playing soldier. Pulling out Myron's rain poncho,
Zeke tossed it over
the Lt's head and they began to move out.
The Lieutenant gave his Sergeant a disapproving
glance. Myron knew
the Sergeant would be hovering around him like a
mother hen. Myron
appreciated the sentiment, but having Zeke
mollycoddle him wasn't
exactly gonna fill the men with confidence.
The torrential rain didn't let up at all as the
soggy band slogged
way through the dense foliage, but at least it
had kept Charlie away.
Sgt. Anderson, shivering as the breezed puffed
through his damp
fatigues, was thankful for that. He knew Myron
would be feeling
weather worse than he was and wished he could do
more for the boy.
Myron had managed somehow to keep up without
letting men see the
strain of the injury. He'd even managed to toss
out a few
words as the weary men trudged on. Following
example, the men had grumbled less than the
Sergeant would have
expected under the circumstances, and he was
proud of his guys.
"What do you think, Sergeant," Lt. Goldman asked
shakily, unable to
keep the pain and exhaustion out of his voice any
"It'll to do, sir," his worried Sergeant
The shallow overhang wasn't much, but it was
nestled well enough into
the lee side of the ridge in front of them to
give the men a dry
to snooze as they rotated off the perimeter.
Zeke was relieved
that they were stopping, even though he knew the
Lt. had hoped to get
it a few klicks closer to the LZ. As the injury
wore at him, Myron
had managed to keep the strain that was etching
deeper and deeper
his face hidden from the men, but he hadn't been
able to hide it from
Zeke. Each time they had stopped to let the Doc
check his wound,
Myron been a little slower getting back to his
feet and Zeke knew
the boy didn't have much more in him. He needed
some real rest.
"Maybe you ought to have the Doc check that
bandage, sir," Zeke
suggested, glancing at the wet, dirty bandage
peeking out from under
"Ferguson!" the Sergeant bellowed. The damn kid
seemed to have a
of not being around whenever Zeke looked for him.
"Sarge?" Ferguson responded, pushing his way
wearily through the
of soldiers massed into the small, dry space.
"Nice of you to join us, son," Zeke responded
coolly, darting his
eyes towards the Lieutenant. Ferguson shuffled
over to tend the
wounded officer as Zeke moved off to set up the
"How's it look, Doc?" Roo asked cautiously as
the medic removed the
gauze from Myron's head.
"I'm fine, Roo. Nothing to worry about." the
Lt. responded, trying
to smile reassuringly.
Ferguson kept his focus on the Lt. The cherry
medic didn't want the
others to see the despair he was feeling. From
the moment he'd
his gear on his bunk back at base, he'd noticed
how tight the men in
his unit were. They were a family, and that
included Lt. Goldman.
The guys were gonna hold him responsible if the
Lt. didn't make it
the newbie worried about what that would mean for
the rest of his
tour. Hell! He'd only been in Nam a week, and
besides, he was just
supposed to bandage the guys and load them a
Sgt. Anderson woke with a start, needing a minute
to orient himself.
Then the Lt. moaned again, pulling the Sergeant
back into reality.
"How ya doin', sir?" Zeke asked softly before
realizing the officer
was still asleep. Creeping over to the Lt., he
noticed Myron was
breathing in short, labored gasps.
Ferguson, dozing a few feet away, responded
"Ferguson! Get over here!" Zeke persisted.
The young medic stumbled towards his patient.
Zeke didn't much care
for the new medic. The kid didn't seem much on
the ball, but
a medevac, there wasn't any choice. The Sergeant
had to leave Myron
in the kid's hands, but he didn't have to be
pleased about it. Zeke
watched as Ferguson fumbled sleepily with the
Lt.'s fatigue jacket.
Myron flinched as Ferguson tugged at his damp
"Sorry, sir," Ferguson whispered as the Lt.
sleepily blinked his
"Hmmm," Myron responded, glaring up at the
"Nnneed tto check your wound , sir" Ferguson
as he squirmed under the hostile stare of his
Despite his worry, Zeke smiled to himself as he
couldn't really blame the kid, the Lt. was
looking none to pleased
about be woken up. The Sergeant watched closely
as the skittering
young medic peeled back the Lt.'s damp clothing
the pressure that had once again built up against
injured lung. Ferguson looked as though he
expected to be
court-martialed for his efforts, but the Sergeant
impressed by the kid's skill. Maybe he'd
underestimated the newbie.
Apparently satisfied with the result of his
effort, the medic pulled
Myron clothing back down.
"Looks fine, sir," Ferguson mumbled as he
quickly grabbed his gear
and backed away.
Zeke watched as Myron fell back to sleep,
breathing more easily.
the Sergeant carefully weaved his way through the
soldiers. Most of the guys had fallen into a
light sleep. Leaving
them to their dreams, the Sergeant moved out to
the perimeter to
on the guys stuck on watch. Touching base with
each of the men, he
provided a few encouraging words before slowly
making his way back to
"How's he doing, Sarge?" Roo whispered, rubbing
the sleep out of his
bleary eyes as the Sergeant passed him.
Anderson shrugged his shoulder.
"Come on, Sarge." Roo pressed.
"He hangin' in there."
Ruiz glanced woefully at the Lt. before nodding
his head in
acknowledgment and moving over to settle down
protectively next to
Frustrated by his helplessness, Anderson settled
down on the other
side of Myron, resting a comforting hand across
the Lt.'s shoulder.
Eventually, the exhausted Sergeant drifted into a
"Sarge! Sarge! Wake up?" Roo prodded, "It's
Sgt. Anderson shook the cobwebs from his head and
focused on the
wounded officer. The Lt. had begun to tremble
violently and was
"It's all right, sir," Zeke whispered
soothingly, cradling Myron in
his arms, "I've got ya, you're gonna be all
"What do we do, Sarge?" Roo asked desperately.
Sarge always knew
what to do.
"Doc! Get over here!" Zeke bellowed, ignoring
The urgency in the Sergeant's tone had been
enough to get the sleepy
medic moving without hesitation this time.
"He's going into shock! Do something!" the
Ferguson quickly examined the Lieutenant. He was
pale, but not
alarmingly, and his skin wasn't clammy. His
heart was racing but his
pulse was strong and didn't seem to be having
more trouble breathing.
Peeling up Myron's shirt, the medic checked the
bandages. The chest
wound still looked stable, so he moved to the
head wound. The
bleeding had stopped some time ago, leaving a
lump. Ferguson checked his pupils, everything
"It's not shock, Sarge." the medic informed his
shrugging his shoulders.
"Lieutenant? Lieutenant Goldman, wake up!"
Ferguson gently prodded
his Lt., "Come on, Lt., wake up!"
"Hmmm," Myron finally responded sleepily, "what
do you want now
"He's doing fine, Sarge," the medic stated
Myron glared at Ferguson as the medic settled
back down to sleep.
Lieutenant was convinced that the newbie had
woken him up just to
"Sorry about that Lt.," Zeke tried to divert his
attention away from the Doc.
Brushing the Sergeant away, Myron went back to
"Try and go back to sleep, Roo." The Sergeant
instructed the shaken
youngster staring up at him with huge, teary
"Go on, Lt's doing fine now," Zeke felt for Ruiz
as he watched him
wrap his arms around his knees and rocked himself
back to sleep.
Listening to the sounds of his sleeping men, the
against the cold rock and stared out at the
mist-shrouded night. He
felt his eyelids drooping as an old memory
tickled at his
sub-conscious. A shudder ran through him as he
drifted into an old
"Take cover! Move it! Move! Move! Move! Move!
Move! " Sgt. Anderson
Zeke paused as the heavy fire neared him,
scanning the ridge quickly
to be sure all the men had reached cover.
Strong arms were pulling him deep into the gully,
away from the
shards of rock and bullets. His head ached and
his shoulder felt
it was on fire.
Sgt. Anderson looked hazily into the deep brown
eyes of his savior.
Zeke startled awake.
"Damn dream!" Zeke repeated it several times
under his breath as he
tried to force himself to stop shaking. It had
been a long time
he'd had that nightmare. Trying to pull himself
away from the
lingering memory, he turned towards Myron. The
Lt. had begun
trembling again and was muttering something about
Sgt. Anderson jumped as Lt. Goldman screamed and
his eyes flew open.
"Zeke! Zeke!" Myron screamed again, flailing his
arms and grasping at
the air. "Zeke! Your gonna be all right! Just
hang in there!"
"It's all right, sir. I'm all right." The
his trembling Lieutenant.
"Zeke?" Myron whispered, blinking a few times
before coming around.
"Yeah, I'm here." Zeke responded, shakily,
looking down into the
brown eyes of his savior, "everything's fine,
sir. You rest."
Unnerved, Sgt. Anderson moved away from the
Lieutenant as Myron
settled back into a deep, restful sleep.
Ferguson, startled awake by
the commotion, made eye contact with his
"Nnothing to worry about, Doc. Everything's
ffine," Zeke stammered
Ruiz, also awakened by the Lieutenant's screams,
watched with concern
as the Sarge backed away. The frightened,
confused look on Zeke's
face scared the young soldier. It was unlike
anything he'd ever seen
in his Sergeant's face before, and it shook him
down to his toes.
stayed awake watching as emotions played across
It had been a long time since Zeke had thought
about that disastrous
day, not since meeting Myron for the first time
back at Chu Lai.
Anderson shuddered, again, as he look down at Lt.
peacefully. It seemed a life time ago when he'd
he rested against the cold rock and waited for
the sun to rise and
burn off the mist. Over and over he remembered
the bullets pounding
the hill around him, the arms pulling him into
the gully, those eyes
staring down at him - Myron's eyes. No matter
how many times he
over it, those eyes were always there as he faded
"Forget it, Zeke," the Sergeant ordered himself.
The memory wasn't
possible, it couldn't be real. He was tired and
confusing things in
Pushing it all away, Zeke rose as the mist around
him began to glow
with the light of the new day. He paused only
for a moment as he passed the sleeping Lieutenant, then hurried to get the men up and
moving towards the LZ.