illiam was in his own world.  It was a place on a mountain, looking west into the clouds, looking at a white hot sphere sitting just above a sharp mountain peak.  It was leaking radiant, brilliant rays of white hot heat . . . no, spewing . . . beauty as it filled the clouds with golden light, splashing the scene with such a beautiful landscape certainly few had witnessed and even fewer could describe.

There was a longing which was beginning to develop within his heart; a yearning to see his beloved America restored.  The desire to put America right again filled every void in his chest.  He ached for it.

His life from the early and tender pre-pubescent period, was a love for America; and her flag.  He felt such pride in the early parade days as units of military marched by, following the banner unto which they'd sworn their lives to honor and protect.

His heart swelled to what felt like bursting status, and tears would dim his eyes as he saw old soldiers struggle with what little strength they possessed to stand and honor it.  Their vow to protect it from enemies foreign and domestic still burning just as hot as it was on the day they first took it in their prime.

He had also been keenly impressed by anything to do with law enforcement.  He'd always had a badge somewhere close and of course the old .44 Colt revolver replica cap pistol, exchanging that one for a real one as soon as he was old enough and could afford one.  But he still had that first .44 - as well as the replica he carried as a youth.

In the few years since the computer . . . . . . .  that was a time he'd rather leave buried within the deep confines of his memory.  But eventually his druthers became the beloved Springfield XD .45 service model.

But back to my story.

William had also seen the wolf, but he knew the wolf.  No, he didn't know the wolf as his ancestors had, but he was familiar with it.  It had come to him a couple of times in very near death experiences, and within days he'd be back on his feet, gaining strength on what seemed like an hourly basis.

When he had awakened from this particular incident, he felt a longing to see with his physical eyes what he had seen with his 'dream laden' eyes.  In his mind he had fought many battles of the will; wondering about that view, that mountain, that dream . . . was it his dream?  Or had he just tapped into and hitched a ride on the dreams of someone else?  Perhaps, one of his ancestors??

One day, he would see it.  But where to look?  He hoped to find it and locate it, perhaps be buried there.  He shook his head in an attempt to clear it.  Now where had that come from?  He was feeling very melancholy these days, attempting to hang on to his life, his dreams, his responsibilities, his marriage, his honor, his country and his God.

But at the same time, prepare to meet his God as his life on this earth was nearly spent.  Was it getting close for him to exit this life?  To evacuate this body?  To cross old chilly Jordan?  From where had these thoughts originated?  The veins of melancholy and soul searching?  Of longing for something he'd never experienced in this life . . .  And what did he mean by "this life?"  Had he lived another time?

William suddenly felt it was time to return to his dream.  Once again there he looked toward the beauty of the sight in the heavens, gazed upon the splendor in which he stood awed with mouth open and of the golden clouds resplendent with the unspeakable glory of God.

Suddenly he heard voices.  "Now what would voices be doing on this mountain top and in my dream?  Who could it be?"  He could feel his body, his hands, his feet as he moved, he smelled the beautiful aroma of hot coffee, eggs, ham and hash browns.  What a welcome experience, but one he almost resented because it had broken into the vision many of his ancestors had experienced.

He turned back to look once more at the clouds and saw nothing.  It was gone.  But the memories of that golden cloud scene would stay with him until one day he drew his last breath on this earth, at which point he would be carried to his very own Valhalla.  He would look for that mountain.  And he would be buried there.

William was lying on his right side, secured there to prevent the tearing of the tube from his lung.  He had taken a small caliber shot, probably a .22 or .32 through the left side of his chest.  The path barely passing through the corner of his lung.  The velocity of the round, being such a small caliber, had merely punctured the lung collapsing it but had passed on through coming out his back between his ribs.  It had not broken the ribs, but it had definitely bruised them.  They would be sore a long time.

The .22 long-rifle round is quite a fast round although small in diameter, less than a quarter inch.  But it is deadly.  Many assassins liked the .22 short for close range work.  Especially if one was right up next to the target.  One could be shot in the head with a 'short,' and although having excess power with which to enter the skull, would not have enough momentum to exit.  Instead it would bounce at least once inside the skull making a royal scramble of the brain.

Plus, it was relatively quiet, and with a silencer the report of the explosion could be silenced down to little more than what sounded like a chuff of air.  And they were small weapons, some even being small enough to hide in your hand or pocket.  These were referred to as "pocket pistols."

But something was beginning to rankle: who would be shooting a .22 in a situation such as the gauntlet?  That was added on top of the list of things that were beginning to clog his brain.  When one is in a fight like the gauntlet, they want some fire power!  Something that would absolutely take a persons head off.  Something that would pass through the door of a pickup truck and still wreak havoc on a body.

That little wisp of information was sidetracked into a shelf in his brain from which it would not be easily withdrawn.  But withdrawn it would be!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Chapter II