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The fiery relationship between Captain David Eliott and beautiful lover and wife Sonny creates a drama that will cross continents. She is the light of his world and suddenly disappears under the worst circumstances, which causes David to again become the man that he swore to forget. This military drama is full of intrigue and redemption.
Phil Davidson’s book Dreamer is dedicated to preserving the bond of brotherhood that military members commit to, shows the power of faith in overcoming life’s most adverse situations, shows the strength of families working through challenges, and the healing from trauma that occurs by becoming bold enough to face the enemies of your past.
Alexandria, Virginia – March 1, 1982
In the black void of his mind, David could see them again.
Like hunted animals, they scurried through the knee-deep rice paddy water, slipping and falling, cursing, and gasping for breath. Above, unseen in the darkness of night, fast-moving clouds unleashed a torrent of monsoon rain that fell across them in heavy rippling waves.
Suddenly, they froze. Overhead, sizzling noises broke the dull drone of the rain as the sky became filled with yellow flickering candle flares. He dove into the filthy water and fitfully pawed his way along the muddy bottom of the paddy until he reached an earthen dike. Lying with his face against the muddy slope, he could only sense the desperate gathering of the gray silhouettes of his men as they one by one pressed up against the dike.
He looked down at the luminous dial of his Rolex. They were fast running out of night. Before the sun came up, he had to lead his men across this vast expanse of flat rice plain to an obscure island of jungle where they could hide during the day and then escape as night fell.
One by one, the flares died out and the sky became dark once more. Cautiously, he raised his head. Had they been quick enough? Or had they been seen, caught in the open dark statutes framed against the paddy waters’ sparkle.
He turned to his men. He knew they were exhausted. For the better part of an hour they had been moving at a dead run. In the distance behind them, the fires from the burning village gave of a faint shimmering glow.
But it was not how exhausted they were, or the barrage of the rain, or Keaton’s labored breathing that most troubled him. It was Jude’s haunting face. Even in the darkness, he could see it, could feel Jude watching his every move, waiting for what he knew was coming, for what he knew David would soon have to do.
“Where am I?” he asked the darkness.
“On course,” answered a voice, powerful and alluring. He reached out to touch the voice, but could feel nothing there.
“Dai Uy, why did you have to bring him with us?” Force asked as he crouched next to him in the filthy water.
He grabbed Force’s shoulder strap and pulled him close to his face. “Get the hell back, Sergeant. We couldn’t just leave him there,” he hissed.
“I was afraid we were lost,” he said to the darkness.
He lifted the lensatic compass that was securely tied around his neck and flicked open its cover. The rain was coming down so hard it was impossible to read its dial, so he took of his beret, held it against his forehead, and brought the compass up close to his face. He smiled. The two illuminated dots had nestled correctly between them the compass’s arrowhead indicating that he was guiding the team in the right direction. He closed the compass, let it fall, and climbed to the top of the dike. In the darkness, he could hardly make out the huddled figures of his men who had spread themselves along the dike in various dark contortions
“It felt good,” he explained to the darkness.
It did feel good. He could feel the ooziness of the rice water inside his jungle boots and the trickling rain water flowing inside his tiger fatigues, uninhibited by useless underwear.
His web gear was hooked securely across his back and chest and carried everything he needed to survive in the jungle: knife, first aid pouch, flashlight, and grenades. His canteen was half full and his Webley was resting securely in its holster. Across his chest was strung his faithful Car-15 still awaiting his command. He had forgotten how good it felt to be on a battlefield.
“Keaton?” He quickly turned over. Keaton was too old for his now. Why was he here? “Keaton?”
Even above the incessant drone of the rain, he could hear Keaton’s heavy breathing. He sloshed his way to the end of the formation where Keaton was guarding their rear. As he squatted down breathlessly beside him, Keaton’s rock face turned and he spoke. “Dai Uy.” Keaton’s voice was deep and gravelly. After he spoke, he coughed and spit. “How you holding up, Sergeant?” he asked, getting his wind. “My Ranger tabs keepin’ me warm,” Keaton said under his breath.
“Yeah. Can you see anything out there?” he asked, squinting into the rain.
“They can’t be too far behind. My guess is they’re fanning out, hoping to get a scent or to hear something.”
“Has Jude been talking to himself,” he said, dropping his head.
“Dai Uy, I didn’t know,” Keaton said as if trying to explain, but he stopped him.
“It’s not your fault. It’s nobody’s fault,” he said evenly, trying not to meet Keaton’s eyes. No. It’s my fault, he thought. I’m their leader. I’m responsible for everything. Then he returned his attention to the moment. “How far away you guess the jungle is?” he asked.
“Not far . . .” Suddenly, red tracer rounds flew over their heads like a swarm of mad hornets followed the sound of random drum-roll bursts of gun fire. He chuckled, and Keaton coughed again.
“They’re recon’n by fire. They don’t know where we are,” Keaton said with a raspy laugh, hope evident in his voice.
“Let’s don’t let them get lucky,” he quipped. “I’ll get us moving.”
He made his way back to the head of the formation, and grabbing Force by his arm said, “Help Jake carry him.” Force and Jake lifted Jude by the shoulders and with the rest of the men followed him into the gray mist that had begun to rise off the paddy water.
Behind them, not far, fierce warriors pursued. Men with different moralities, different truths, different needs. Men who had forsaken emotion and inhibition. Men who understood the meaning of sacrifice. Men who would stop at nothing until they had killed them all.