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Hero (part 1)
There once was a little boy named Billy Pertey. He had short, brown, curly hair, and blue eyes. He was raised by his mother, as an only child. His father had gone to war for the colonies at the age of 16. He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill, when he was shot in his chest. He was left at the battlefield to die. But thatï¿½s not what happened. His mother was a nurse at the time and she went back to help the wounded. When she found him, she nursed him back to health, but he suffered a deadly heart attack just before Billy turned 6. Billy had always wanted to serve in a war to follow in his fatherï¿½s footsteps. When he turned 20 the Civil War had begun. He enlisted and 5 days later he was fighting side by side with his fellow Northerners.
He was assigned a dog, which would help him fight against the enemy. She would become more help then he would ever imagine. The pup was only 8 months old, but she had pulled a firefighter out of a burning building, earning her a role in the Civil War. She was a black collie, with white spots. Billy never believed the pup was good for anything. She was always in the way.
Billyï¿½s first battle was in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a major battle, if the Union won, it would be important, and the same for the Confederacy. Billyï¿½s job during the battle was to bring the wounded to the doctor on the other side of the field. The battle began around sun up. Billy carried so many soldiers, that by the time the sun was directly overhead, he couldnï¿½t feel his shoulders, arms, or legs. He was just about to pick up a rifle and start to shoot, when he heard another cry for help. He put the gun down and looked out onto the bloody field. He couldnï¿½t believe that at sunrise the field had been green. ï¿½Hadï¿½ being the key word here. Now it was littered with bodies of young boys, boys Billy had come to know. He crawled on his stomach, using his elbows to pull himself toward the wounded. He noticed the soldier was on his stomach, so he pulled him over. He hadnï¿½t realized that before he turned him over, he was a confederate soldier. Billy rolled him over onto his back. The boy had red-brown hair, with brown eyes.
Billy recognized this face. He was totally stunned. He took a double take and said ï¿½Samï¿½.
Sam was Billyï¿½s next door neighbor when they were growing up. Theyï¿½d been best friends since they were 3 years old.
ï¿½Billyï¿½, the boy said.
ï¿½Sam, what are you doing, fighting for the Confederacy?ï¿½.
ï¿½Billy, after you left, my Pa took me down to Georgia and made me sign up down there. He said he didnï¿½t believe in the Northernerï¿½s causeï¿½.
Billy had forgotten that Sam was injured, that is until Sam lurched toward his leg as a jolt of pain went through him.
ï¿½Sam, I have to get you out of hereï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½I know you think you can do everything, but this time Billy, youï¿½re wrong. Iï¿½m a part of the Confederacy, youï¿½re a Union soldier. Theyï¿½ll never help me, theyï¿½ll let me dieï¿½, Sam said, as he lurched in pain.
ï¿½Well I wonï¿½tï¿½, Billy said. And at that he stood up, and began pulling Sam toward the medical tent. He pulled and pulled, as gunfire missed his head my inches.
ï¿½Billy just leave me here, youï¿½ll end up getting shotï¿½, Sam shouted through the noise of moaning boys, and loud bangs.
Billy shook his head. He wasnï¿½t going let his best friend die. He stopped pulling, and leaned over the top of Sam. He laid him down on the blood-covered ground and walked around to face him.
ï¿½You listen to me, you stubborn thing. You are not gonna dieï¿½, Billy shouted. He pulled Sam up to him, and put Samï¿½s arms around his neck. He lifted him up, and hauled him onto his back. He ran across the battlefield weaving in around the wounded on the ground. He ran to the tent and laid Sam on a cot.
ï¿½Doc, I need some help hereï¿½, Billy yelled.
The Doc ran over and took one look at the boy, before he walked away.
ï¿½Doc, I realize that heï¿½s a confederate soldier, but you have to help him. Heï¿½s my best friend, I grew up right next door to himï¿½, Billy said, following Doc through the tent.
ï¿½Billy, one Iï¿½ll get firedï¿½ï¿½and 2ï¿½ï¿½, Doc said, his voice trailing off, while he was helping another soldier.
Billy grabbed the Doctor and pulled him around so that he was facing him. He grabbed the collar of his shirt. ï¿½Whatï¿½s the second thing?ï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Billy, thereï¿½s nothing that I can do for your friend. The main artery in his leg has been gushing blood. Heï¿½s lost too muchï¿½, Doc said turning back around to his other patient.
ï¿½Doc, I wonï¿½t let him dieï¿½, Billy said turning him around again.
But this time the Doc was ready. He grabbed Billy and held him still. ï¿½Listen, I know losing your best friend isnï¿½t easy. I suggest you go and be with him as long as heï¿½s still hereï¿½, he said in a stern voice.
ï¿½How long does he have?ï¿½, Billy asked.
ï¿½Iï¿½m guessing between 2 and 3 minutesï¿½, the Doc said.
Billy ran back over to Sam and sat by his side.
ï¿½Do you remember the time we buried treasure in my backyardï¿½, Sam asked weakly.
ï¿½Yeah, I was washing my hair out for the next week, because it got so sandy. Whyï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Because, right next to it, in the knot hole in the tree, thereï¿½s a box. In that box is the deed to the house, and my will. I need you to give that to my parents. Pleaseï¿½ï¿½I need to know it will get taken care ofï¿½, Sam said, fighting to keep his eyes open.
ï¿½Of courseï¿½, Billy said choking up.
ï¿½Thank you, Billyï¿½, Sam said.
ï¿½But why do you need me to do it, when youï¿½re going to be thereï¿½ï¿½?ï¿½.
Suddenly, Sam jolted with pain, as his eyes closed for the last time. Billy watched his friend die on the bloody battlefield cot, tears running down his face like a brook. He watched as the lights went out in his friendï¿½s eyes, as Sam died.
The pup had been with Billy the whole time. But now, when he turned around, looking for her, she was no where to be seen. He got up, wiping the tears from his eyes. He looked out on the battlefield to see the commander walking towards him, with the pup in his arms.
ï¿½Commander, Iï¿½m so sorry, I lost track of where she was, my best friendï¿½
The commander cut Billy off. ï¿½Billy, I donï¿½t care if youï¿½re dying, you need to keep track of her, sheï¿½s your pupï¿½, he said angrily.
ï¿½Where was she, Sirï¿½, Billy asked.
ï¿½Your pup wandered out into open fire, and was running around like it was playtimeï¿½, the Commander answered. ï¿½You need to look after her better, have more responsibilityï¿½.
The commander noticed the dead confederate soldier lying on the cot. ï¿½Why is he here?ï¿½, he said.
ï¿½Thatï¿½s my best friend, Sirï¿½, Billy answered.
ï¿½Take him to the shed with the rest of them. When you find time, bury himï¿½, the commander said to a man that was covered in blood. He was standing next to a wheelbarrow with dead soldiers in it. The man nodded and started over to Sam. He leaned over, and began to pick him up.
ï¿½No, heï¿½s my best friend, I brought him here. I want to bury himï¿½, Billy argued, shoving the man away from Sam.
ï¿½Fine, itï¿½s one less body to buryï¿½, the Commander answered. He walked away with the man, pointing at dead bodies. Then he walked out toward the battle, again, leaving the pup, Billy, and Sam alone.
Billy looked down toward the pup, and gave him a stern look. ï¿½Sometimes I wish Iï¿½d never been the one to get a dogï¿½, Billy said harshly. He walked back onto the field, followed by the pup, leaving Sam alone.
The battle ended after sun down. The Union soldiers had won, but had been hit very hard, casualty wise. They had lost about ï¿½ of their men. After the battle ended, Billy carried Sam to a spot he felt was suitable for his best friend. He went back, getting a shovel, and then returned. He dug, and dug, and dug, until he had huge calluses on both hands. He still had a long way to go, but his hands hurt, terribly. Finally when the hole was ready, Billy looked at his hands. The calluses had gotten about 2 times the size they were before. He picked up Samï¿½s body and drug it into the hole. The hardest part, for Billy, was watching as Sam disappeared beneath the earth. When he was done, he sat by the grave and reminisced old times. He remembered burying the treasure, and building the tree house. He even remembered going to their secret lake after school, and swimming, and jumping off trees into it. Heï¿½d had so many good times with Sam, it was hard to leave the gravesite. Billy ended up falling asleep by the trunk of the willow Sam was buried under.
Billy was sitting on the front porch of a red brick house. He was looking at the front door of a house when it opened. A little boy with short red-brown hair and glasses ran out.
ï¿½Come on Billy, the shovels are out backï¿½, a high ï¿½ pitched voice said.
Billy got up and ran behind his friend, through the gate, and out into the backyard. The boys bent over and each grabbed a shovel. They began to dig, until they thought the hole was deep enough. Then the pair sat down under the oak tree right next to the hole.
ï¿½What did you bring?ï¿½, the boy said.
ï¿½No Sam, you go firstï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½I brought my best marble, my paper airplane from yesterday, my rock, and a picture of Lizzyï¿½, Sam said, laying the items on the ground.
ï¿½You have the biggest crush on Lizzy donï¿½t you?ï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Maybeï¿½, Sam said. ï¿½What did you bring?ï¿½.
ï¿½I brought my favorite book, a shiny penny, and my mom and dadï¿½s wedding pictureï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Butï¿½ï¿½thatï¿½s your only picture of itï¿½are you sure you want to put it in there?ï¿½.
ï¿½Yeah, at least then I wonï¿½t lose itï¿½, Billy said.
All of a sudden there was a loud BANG!!!!
When Billy woke up, the sun was almost above the horizon.
ï¿½Shootï¿½, Billy shouted. He picked up the pup, and carried her back to camp. He ran as fast as he could through the woods. When he entered camp he heard someone yell ï¿½Billy, where have you been, I was just about ready to send out a search partyï¿½. It was the commander.
ï¿½I fell asleep by my friendï¿½s graveï¿½, Billy said quietly.
ï¿½Well, at least you didnï¿½t lose your pup againï¿½, he said.
Billy shook his head, and walked toward his tent.
Billy never thought of the pup as a hero, he didnï¿½t even believe she had saved a life. She was just a pup they needed to win the war, and they had made up a story to go along with her.
Within the next month Billyï¿½s unit had moved about 15 miles away from where Samï¿½s grave was. They were on the outskirts of a main southern town.
One evening Billy was sitting behind a mound of dirt, over looking the camp. It was very chilly, and the moon was covered up by cloud cover. Billy felt like his hands were about to freeze off. He could hear the creek running a few yards away. Suddenly he saw a black figure moving towards him, coming from the woods. He quietly picked up his rifle and aimed. Then he slowly lowered his weapon. It was the pup.
ï¿½What is it with you and wandering off?ï¿½, Billy said to the pup. The pup just looked up at him with fearful eyes. Billy looked toward the tents. He was on duty to guard the camp, for they were to lead an attack on the enemy tomorrow at dawn. He heard something coming from the woods again. He looked down and saw the pup start to growl. He looked back over at a bush and saw a shape behind it. ï¿½Stayï¿½, Billy said to the pup. She instantly lay down and looked back over at the bush. He crawled over the mound and over behind a tree. Billy saw two shapes now, and heard them talking.
ï¿½Iï¿½s told you there was a Union camp hereï¿½ï¿½.Iï¿½s told you,ï¿½ the first man said.
ï¿½I guess youï¿½s right. We should go tell the commander bout this,ï¿½ the second one said.
A cloud moved out of the way of the moon, and Billy could see their features. The first man had dark hair, and he looked like he had a white piece of horsehair above his right eye. He was tall, and skinny as a pole.
The second man was somewhat short and was plump like a blue berry. He looked like he had darker hair then the first, but had no white spot.
ï¿½Hey, Horace, Iï¿½s think weï¿½s got us a spy on our tail,ï¿½ said the first man. Billyï¿½s eyes opened wider as he realized heï¿½d been seen. Billy felt as though he had turned bright red, and he felt like he was running a fever.
The second man turned around and saw Billy immediately. He walked over to him, and pulled him by his shirt, out from behind the tree. He threw him on the ground and kicked dirt in his face. When Billy brushed the dirt out of his eyes, he looked up. There was a gun pointed at his head, and the first man was walking over to him.
ï¿½Sam, pick em up, so Iï¿½s can shoot him. Put em against that there tree,ï¿½ Horace said.
ï¿½Samï¿½ as he was called, walked over and picked him up. Billy realized that it wasnï¿½t a white piece of horsehair, it was a scar above his right eye. He shoved him up against the tree, and ï¿½Horaceï¿½ pointed the gun back at his head.
ï¿½Any last wordsï¿½, Horace said, getting ready to shoot.
ï¿½COMEï¿½, Billy yelled.
The pup came running over and attacked Horace. He let go of the gun, and went flying down into the creek, as the gun flew to the ground. Sam put his hand around Billyï¿½s neck, and began to choke him. As Sam began to bend down, towards the gun, the pup was coming back up from the creek. She shook the water off of her coat.
ï¿½Iï¿½ll get you for thatï¿½, Sam said. He reached down and picked up the gun. The pup instantly attacked him and he fell hard against the ground. Billy slid down the tree, trying to catch his breath. Sam got up, and picked the pup up, off the ground. He threw her against a tree, and she yelped. She slid down the tree, and landed on the ground, about 3 feet away from Billy. Billy walked over to Sam and raised up his arm to hit him. Before he could even strike at him, Sam punched Billy in the eye. Billy fell backwards, and looked up.
ï¿½This isnï¿½t over, boy,ï¿½ Sam yelled at him. He ran down into the creek, picked up Horace, hulled him up onto his back, and ran away off into the distance.
As soon as they were gone, he got up and ran over to the pup. He saw her having trouble getting up off the ground. He leaned down and picked her up. Billy walked back over to the hill and sat down, putting the pup beside him. He looked back over towards the woods, wondering what they had really wanted.
Suddenly he felt something in his lap, and turned around. The pup was lying in his lap, sleeping peacefully. Her fur was as soft as a fleece blanket. Billy couldnï¿½t help but love the pup from then on. And in every battle they were in after that night, the pup and the boy were side by side the whole time. The pup helped whenever she could. Whenever he needed more ammunition, Billy put a sack on the pupï¿½s rope collar. He would send her to the commander, get her loaded up, and she would return. She would do anything for Billy, she loved her master.
In the next battle, Billy was running through cannon fire trying to help the wounded out of their foxholes, and the trenches. He was just about ready to go back to the hospital to help, when he heard a whine. He looked over by a trench and saw the pup standing there, whining.
ï¿½What is it, girl?,ï¿½ Billy asked.
She barked and ran into the trench. Of course, Billy followed, afraid for her safety. When he got farther into the trench he saw a man. He was lying in a heap on the ground. Billy saw that he was a Union soldier so he went over to him. He rolled the man over, seeing that he had gotten shot in his chest, and in his arms. Billy could see that he was in rough shape.
ï¿½What is it, girl, this manï¿½s dead?ï¿½, Billy said. He stood up and walked toward the opening of the trench. He heard another whine.
ï¿½Girl, Iï¿½m telling you, heï¿½s deadï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Help, help meï¿½, Billy heard someone moan. It was the man that the pup had pointed out. Billy scrambled toward him and saw he was alive.
ï¿½Sir, can I help youï¿½, Billy asked.
ï¿½Yes, please, but I donï¿½t think my arm is connected to my bodyï¿½, the man said.
Billy looked at his right arm and saw it was very limp. ï¿½Sir, Iï¿½ll be right back, I have to go get a sling to wrap your arm in before I can move youï¿½, Billy said.
The battle was getting worse, Billy could tell. He ran back to the hospital tent and grabbed a sling. The pup had stayed with the man, to guard him from danger. Billy couldnï¿½t help but hope she was okay. Billy ran about 20 feet, to where the opening of the trench was. He crawled inside again, toward the man.
ï¿½Iï¿½m backï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Do you hear that?ï¿½, the soldier asked.
Billy listened. He heard like a moaning sound coming from above them. He recognized that noise. It was a cannon. Billy knew he couldnï¿½t crawl any farther.
ï¿½Okay, Sir, you need to grab onto my pupï¿½s collar with your left handï¿½, Billy said.
The man flung his arms around the pupï¿½s neck. ï¿½Okay, good, now hold on, Iï¿½ll do the restï¿½, Billy said calmly. ï¿½Girl, comeï¿½. The pup jogged to Billy, careful to make sure the soldier stayed attached to her. Once she got to Billy they ran for cover, toward the hospital tent. They were about 11 feet away, when Billy saw the Doc come running out, toward a soldier. He picked him up and began to drag him to the tent.
Suddenly Billy shouted ï¿½Doc, no, stopï¿½. The Doc looked up. There was a colossal burst behind him. The hospital tent, with hundreds, maybe even thousands of wounded soldiers, blew up.
ï¿½Stayï¿½, Billy yelled to the pup. He ran toward the tent to see no sight of Doc Lee. All that could be seen was a mammoth ï¿½ sized cloud of dirt, and dust. ï¿½DOC, DOC LEEï¿½, Billy yelled. The ground was covered in limbs and blood of men. Without warning something grabbed his ankle. He instantaneously looked down to see Doc Lee.
ï¿½Doc, thank God, I thought you were a gonerï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Well thanks to your warning Iï¿½m still hereï¿½, Doc Lee said. ï¿½You saved meï¿½.
After the battle was over, Billy counted 430 dead, just from the hospital exploding. They had lost a total of 546. The Union soldiers had ended up retreating, carrying many wounded upon their back, evacuating, what seemed to be a death sentence. The pup carried 3 men back to the camp, and Billy made 13 trips back to the grounds, saving 33 people. That night he was advanced to a higher rank.
The next morning, Billy got up right at sun up to see what shape the soldiers were in. Then he went back to the field that they had lost so many on the day before. He walked over the grass and couldnï¿½t believe the sight he saw. He retreated back to the willow tree that Sam was buried under and preyed. He prayed not for himself, but for others. He prayed that Commander Clark would be all right, since he had been shot in his ribs yesterday. He prayed for Doc Lee, and all of the wounded at the hospital too. He even prayed for the men they had lost the day prior. Then he sat at the gravesite, and thought of the scene he had encountered yesterday. He sat in the shade of the willow, as tears started to form in his eyes. The pup laid down next to her friend, and put her head in his lap. They sat like this for hoursï¿½ï¿½until they heard a loud boom. It sounded like it came from the camp. Billy jumped up with fright, as he remembered the Confederate soldiers he had encountered a few days ago.
ï¿½Iï¿½s told you there was a Union camp hereï¿½ï¿½.Iï¿½s told you,ï¿½ the first man said.
ï¿½I guess youï¿½s right. We should go tell the commander bout this,ï¿½ the second one said.
Billy felt a shiver of fear run up his spine. He took off running toward the camp, sprinting as hard as he could. He ran through the bushes, and the trees, getting scratched by the branches, and sharp leaves. He kept going, until he finally stopped at the field. A small group of Union soldiers, and Confederate soldiers were fighting, and shooting, and blowing cannons at each other. Billy saw what he feared. A Union soldier fell to the ground, as a gun fired at him. Billy knew that it was his job to save the injured men, but how was he supposed to get out there without being seen by the enemy. Then the situation got even worse. The pup knew that it was her job to save the soldier, since it was too dangerous for Billy. She took off running toward him, as fast as her legs could carry her.
ï¿½No girl, come backï¿½, Billy shouted. But he couldnï¿½t even be heard over the growing cannon and gunfire. He watched as the pup got shot at, and as she dodged everything they fired her way. Then suddenly she disappeared. Billy became very afraid, thinking that she might have been shot. Then he saw the unbelievable. The pup jumped out of the ground and ran towards the injured soldier. She bit down on his collar and began to drag him away from the death match. Billy felt a sigh of relief run through him, as she drug him closer and closer. Then panic rose in Billy as he saw her get shot. She let out a huge whine, as she let go of the man. Then she reached down and bit on his collar again. She drug him over to a hole in the ground and let him drop in. Then she fell into the hole, as weak as a rag doll. Billy didnï¿½t even realize what he was doing until he fell into a hole. He had started to run towards the hole that the pup was in, when he fell into a hole he hadnï¿½t seen before he was in it. He landed hard on his stomach and got the wind knocked out of him. He rolled over on his back, knowing that every moment he was down there, catching his breath, could be one less for the pup. He laid in the dirt, thinking about all of the things theyï¿½d been throughï¿½ï¿½then he remembered how she had done everything to save him when he was in danger. He wasnï¿½t going to let her die. He stood up in the hole, but hadnï¿½t quite caught his breath yet. He was about 10 feet from the hole that the pup had fallen into. He put his fingers into the dirt, and pulled himself out of the hole. He crawled towards the hole, having a hard time breathing. By the time he had gone 5 feet he felt like he was going to die. But he kept going. He knew what he had to do, it was just the matter of doing it. He crawled further and further, until he put his arm in the side of the hole and pulled himself up to it. He looked into the hole, and started to shake with fear. He saw the wounded man, shaking very hard. Then he looked over at the pup. She was lying on the floor of the hole, completely covered with dirt. Her once snow-white fur, was now a chocolate brown. Billy pulled himself into the hole, careful not to land on his stomach. He made sure the man was all right first. He was just about to move over toward the pup, when he heard someone whisper to him.
ï¿½Billyï¿½, they said.
Billy looked up towards the top of the hole to see the commander. ï¿½You did real good Billy, you need to get him back to the hospital thoughï¿½, he said.
ï¿½Itï¿½s over, the fightï¿½s over?ï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Yeah, our side won, we took the enemy soldiers captiveï¿½, the Commander said.
ï¿½Oh, Sir, could you take him back for me, the pup, sheï¿½s
ï¿½Billy, I know I tell you to be careful with her, but this man, taking care of him is your job, and your job comes firstï¿½, he said.
ï¿½Yes, Commanderï¿½, Billy said worriedly. He scrambled up onto his feet, and so did the man. He had a deep cut in his forehead, and a bullet shot in his knee. Billy put him on his back, and carried him back to the camp. He laid him on the first open cot he saw, and then took off back towards the last battlefield. He ran directly to the hole and slid into it. He landed, not only in dirt, but also in blood. He looked over at the pup and saw a puddle of blood by her chest. He struggled over to her and put her head in his lap. Her eyes tried to open, but then shut again.
ï¿½Oh, please Girl, donï¿½t do this to meï¿½ï¿½not now, not after all weï¿½ve been throughï¿½ ï¿½, Billy whispered.
There was no movement, she didnï¿½t even whine or wag her tail. Billy draped his head in agony. ï¿½Why didnï¿½t I go after herï¿½, he thought to himself. He closed his eyes, as he felt a tear, slide down his cheek and drip off of his face.
Just then he felt something move. He opened his eyes to see that the pup had opened her eyes, and was trying to get up.
ï¿½No Girl, youï¿½ve done enough. Iï¿½ll do the restï¿½, Billy said.
The pup must have understood, because she let herself drop down onto the ground. Billy put his arms underneath of her, and picked her up. Moving towards the outside of the hole in the ground, he started to lose his balance. He placed the pup up at the top of the hole before falling backwards. He hit his head on the ground, and felt lightheaded. The pup must have understood that he was hurt because she started to get up.
ï¿½No, Iï¿½m all right, just lay downï¿½, Billy said. The pup listened. He placed his hand on his head, then put it on his chest. He felt a wet, sticky substance. Moving his hand away, Billy looked down. There was blood all across his shirt from the pup. His whole body began to shake as he realized he might lose her. He jumped up off the ground and ran over to the side of the hole. He jumped out, picked the pup up in his arms, and began to sprint to the camp. He ran across the battlefield, through the brush, past Samï¿½s willow tree, and straight to the hospital tent.
Billy ran into the tent, and laid the pup down on a bed. ï¿½Stayï¿½, he told her. Then he ran through the hospital to find Doc Lee.
ï¿½Doc, are you free?ï¿½, Billy asked when he found him.
ï¿½At the moment yesï¿½, Doc answered, turning around. ï¿½Oh my good golly jeez, what happened to you?ï¿½, Doc said.
Doc cut him off saying ï¿½Now just relax, tell me where you were shotï¿½.
Doc interrupted again saying ï¿½No, thereï¿½s no need to panic Billy, just hold still and Iï¿½ll fix you upï¿½
This time Billy interrupted Doc Lee. ï¿½Doc, would you stop talking and listen to me. This isnï¿½t my blood, its not even human bloodï¿½its animal blood, dog bloodï¿½.
ï¿½The pup?ï¿½, Doc Lee asked.
ï¿½Sheï¿½s over hereï¿½, Billy said. They walked over to her and laid her down on her side.
ï¿½I canï¿½t tell if it went into her stomach, kidney, lung, I just canï¿½t tell, itï¿½s too dirty and bloody. The only way to tell is surgeryï¿½.
ï¿½Then do it. Do whatever you must, just donï¿½t let my dog dieï¿½.
ï¿½Iï¿½ll see what I can do, Billyï¿½.
Doc Lee began to perform the surgery, with Billy right by his side. When the procedure was finished, Doc Lee told Billy where his dog had been injured.
ï¿½Well, consider her lucky, Billyï¿½.
ï¿½Why? She didnï¿½t get shotï¿½.
ï¿½Oh, she got shot all right, but it missed all of the vital organs. It didnï¿½t even hit a blood stream. Itï¿½s just sitting in there, or it was until I pulled it outï¿½.
ï¿½Is she going to be okay?ï¿½, Billy asked.
ï¿½Sheï¿½s going to be fine, you can go on in and see her now, if you likeï¿½, Doc answered.
Billy nodded and rushed in to see his dog. The pup was all right, just as the Doc had said. She even had high spirits. When Billy bent over the top of her head, she leaned up and licked his cheek. The day after she got out of the hospital, Billy gave her a bath, and the chocolate brown, was replaced with the creamy white again.
A few weeks later, Billy was lying on his bunk, late at night, when he heard a whip crack. He sat straight up, and saw the pup had heard it too. He leaned over the bed, and pulled his shoes to him. He put them on, and walked out the tent door, followed by the pup. They walked towards the sound, and then hid behind a tree.
Ever since the unit had been together, they had had some free blacks as their helpers. They made food, and brought water onto the battlefield.
As Billy sat behind the tree he saw something he had feared.
A man with a Union uniform on was standing behind one of the helpers. The helper, named Nan, was tied to a tree, and the soldier had a whip in his hands.
ï¿½Where is the Commanderï¿½s plans for the South?ï¿½, the man asked.
ï¿½Isa swear I donï¿½t know where its atï¿½, Nan said. The man raised the whip, and cracked it on Nanï¿½s back. Nan cried out in pain as the man got ready to do it again. Billy didnï¿½t remember standing up or shouting but he must have, for he was now standing and he heard someone shout, ï¿½How could you?ï¿½.
ï¿½What do you mean?ï¿½, the man asked.
ï¿½Youï¿½re a Union soldier, and youï¿½re not following the beliefs of one. Nan is a man just like you and me, only with a darker skin color. How could you betray our thoughts and feelings, and still serve for us?ï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Iï¿½ve been an undercover Confederate soldier this whole timeï¿½, the man said. Suddenly the pup ran out from behind Billy and up to the man. The man raised his whip, and got ready to strike.
ï¿½Thatï¿½s the last strawï¿½, Billy thought. ï¿½Youï¿½ve betrayed our army, youï¿½ve lied to us all, but NO ONE messes with my pupï¿½.
Billy ran towards the man, and knocked him to the ground. They both went tumbling down the hill, and down into the creek. Billy came up to the surface, and looked around. He swam to the shore, and pulled himself out of the ice cold water. Billy felt his muscles tighten, but he could hardly feel his body. He looked around as his vision started to go blurry. He blinked a few times, and then looked over to the left. The man with the whip was floating upside down in the water, and blood was on his head. Billy pulled himself back into the frigid water and swam over to the man. He pulled him out of the water, and laid him down, face up, on the land. He looked down into the mans face, and realized what had happened. When he had rolled down the hill, and landed in the water, he had hit his head on a rock.
ï¿½Williamï¿½ï¿½Perteyï¿½, the man said. Billy had thought the man was younger, but now realized he looked to be pretty old.
ï¿½How do you know my name?ï¿½, Billy said, shocked. He had never seen this man before in his life.
ï¿½I thought thatï¿½s who it wasï¿½ï¿½ï¿½, the man stammered, trying to catch his breath. ï¿½Youï¿½re the spitting image of your fatherï¿½ï¿½I had read he had married the nurse who healed himï¿½ï¿½but I didnï¿½t know he had a sonï¿½ï¿½ï¿½.
ï¿½You knew my father?ï¿½, Billy said, breath taken. He had barely met his father before he passed away. He could hardly remember him at all. All he could remember was that he smelled like smoke from his cigars.
ï¿½Of courseï¿½he was the best soldier in our troopï¿½, the man said. ï¿½The best one I ever ledï¿½.
Billy was getting ready to ask him what his father was like when the man said, ï¿½Now if youï¿½ll excuse me, I really have to go see your fatherï¿½.
ï¿½But heï¿½s deadï¿½, Billy said.
Suddenly the man began to shake. At first Billy didnï¿½t know what was happening, but then he realized the man was going into shock from blood loss. Billy couldnï¿½t feel his body at all. He started to get up, but then fell back down. He hit his head on the ground so hard, and he was so cold he passed out.
When Billy woke up, he was lying on his bed in his tent. He tried to move, but he was too sore. After many tries, he finally managed to sit up. He moved his left leg over and began to slide off the cot. He began to lose his balance, and figured heï¿½d end up on the floor. As he began to fall, he felt someone grab him, and pull him back up.
ï¿½Iï¿½ve been assigned to your tent for your day offï¿½, a young lady said.
ï¿½My day offï¿½, Billy asked, confused.
ï¿½The commander, and Doc think you need today to rest. If your pup hadnï¿½t come to me in the middle of the nightï¿½youï¿½d be deadï¿½, the woman said, as she covered Billy up with blankets.
ï¿½What happened to Nan? Whereï¿½s my pup? What ever happened to the man I met last night, thatï¿½
ï¿½Too many questions at onceï¿½, she began. She pulled a chair over to him and sat down. ï¿½Nan is fine, and is recuperating in her barracks. Your pup is out helping in the battle that is taking place just a few miles away. The man you met last nightï¿½we donï¿½t think heï¿½s going to makeï¿½heï¿½s lost a lot of blood, too muchï¿½.
ï¿½I must go see himï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Why would you want to go see a traitor like him?ï¿½, the woman questioned.
ï¿½Heï¿½he knew my fatherï¿½ï¿½ Billy said.
ï¿½But you knew him too, did you not?ï¿½, the girl said.
ï¿½I didnï¿½t know himï¿½or at least not well. Heï¿½he had a heart attack shortly before I turned 6. I donï¿½t even remember what he looked likeï¿½, Billy said. They were quiet for a moment, and then Billy broke the silence. ï¿½What is your name?ï¿½.
ï¿½Why do you need to know my name?ï¿½, the girl questioned.
ï¿½Well I need to know the name of the woman who took care of meï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½My name is Elizabeth Stantonï¿½, the girl said. ï¿½Now if you excuse me, I have to go get some bandages so we can change the old onesï¿½.
ï¿½The old onesï¿½, Billy said, befuddled.
ï¿½You see, after you passed out, the man you metï¿½he went into shocked, and he kicked you back into the waterï¿½you got cut up pretty bad on your left leg. If we wouldnï¿½t have gotten there in time, you wouldï¿½ve diedï¿½.
She walked out the door, and disappeared from Billyï¿½s view. Billy looked down toward his left leg. He pulled the covers backwards and pulled his pant leg up. There was an immense bandage from his ankle to his knee. The blood was seeping through it, and his blankets were starting to turn red. Elizabeth walked back in, just as Billy threw his blankets back over his wound.
ï¿½Is something wrongï¿½, Elizabeth asked.
ï¿½Ughï¿½I think I have a problemï¿½, Billy said. He threw the blankets down, and showed her the blood on the sheets, and his bloody wound.
ï¿½Iï¿½ll just change your bandage, and your sheets, and youï¿½ll be fineï¿½, she said.
A few days later Billy was out in the battles again with his pup, and was rescuing people again.
Billy was running through a battle, with the pup trailing behind him. Billy had the hardest job during this one. He had to run up to the front of the battle line, bring dying soldiers all the way to the back of the field to the hospital, then repeat. He had just finished bringing back an elderly man, and was resting. He put his head in his hands and wiped the sweat off his forehead. He felt like he was running a fever, and was sweating like a horse. He brought his head back up and looked out onto the field. There was so much smoke, and so much yelling and screaming he could barely tell which side the wounded were from. He listened and heard a boy yelling, ï¿½Union, Union soldier downï¿½. Billy sprang to his feet, and took off towards the front line again. The pup wasnï¿½t far behind. Billy ran and ran, until he felt someone tug on his ankle. He turned around and looked down to see the commander down on the ground. His leg was covered in blood and he was sweating intensely. Billy bent down on his knees and held the pup close to him.
ï¿½Sir, we need to get you out of hereï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½I heard someone cry farther up, and I was going up to get himï¿½, the commander cried. ï¿½You canï¿½t waste your time with me, you must save themï¿½.
ï¿½Iï¿½m not leaving you here to dieï¿½, Billy said sternly. He grabbed the pupï¿½s collar, and took the commanders hand. He slid the hand through the collar, and told the commander to hold on. Then he turned to the pup.
ï¿½Listen girl, I need you to take the Commander to the hospital. Stay there and wait for me until I get backï¿½.
The pup barked.
ï¿½Now off with youï¿½, Billy said.
The pup took off slowly towards the hospital, dragging the commander behind her.
Billy stood up and darted forward, narrowly avoiding bullets. He looked around and all he saw was death. It was capturing so many victims. He bent down so he could see better.
ï¿½Union help here, who needs itï¿½, Billy shouted.
Billy was getting ready to turn back, when he heard, ï¿½Here, Union help hereï¿½.
Billy sprinted towards the plea for help. He was about to continue running further, when he felt another tug on his ankle. He looked down to see a little boy. He couldnï¿½t have been much older then eleven or twelve years old. His chest was covered in blood, and his face was stained with tears.
ï¿½Itï¿½s ok, Iï¿½m going to get you out of hereï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½I donï¿½t wanna die, I canï¿½t dieï¿½, the little boy yelled. Tears filled his eyes, as he said, ï¿½I already saw my Papa die, I donï¿½t wanna dieï¿½.
Billy felt a sensation to tear up, but he held it back. ï¿½Thatï¿½s a good thing, because Iï¿½m not going to let youï¿½.
And with that Billy hoisted the boy up onto his back, and darted back across the field. The boy was spurting blood, and Billy could feel it trickling down his neck as he ran to safety. He was about 20 yards away when he felt it. It felt like someone had stuck a knife through his calf. He collapsed to the ground, knowing he had been shot.
ï¿½Are you okï¿½, he yelled to the boy.
ï¿½Iï¿½m ok, but what happenedï¿½.
ï¿½I got shotï¿½ok, climb a top my back, and hold on to my neckï¿½, Billy instructed. The boy did as he was to, and climbed on top of Billyï¿½s back. With all of his might he lifted the boy up, and carried him until his leg gave out. They were about 5 yards from the hospital. Billy was on his knees, when he tipped the boy off of his back and to the side of him.
ï¿½Hold on a little bit longerï¿½whatï¿½s your name anywayï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½My name is Nateï¿½and I donï¿½t know how much longer I can waitï¿½ï¿½.
ï¿½I knowï¿½hold onï¿½, Billy said. ï¿½PUP. PUPï¿½.
The pup must have heard Billyï¿½s cry for help because she came running.
ï¿½Ok girl, I need you to take Nate to Doc Lee. Then you can come back for meï¿½. Billy took Nateï¿½s hand and slid it under the collar. ï¿½Hold on Nate, weï¿½re gonna get you to that hospitalï¿½. Billy pushed on the pup and off she went. Billy collapsed into a heap. He lifted his head to see Doc Lee taking Nate off the pupï¿½s collar. As soon as the boy was free of her collar she hastened to Billyï¿½s side. He grabbed hold of her collar and before he knew it a doctor was working on him.
ï¿½Well young man, good newsï¿½the bullet is out, but you are losing a lot of blood, so weï¿½ll have someone sit here and put pressure on the woundï¿½, Doc Lee said.
ï¿½Iï¿½ll do itï¿½, a young lady said. Doc Lee turned around, and saw Elizabeth standing behind him.
ï¿½Very well, just be sure to apply pressure to the wound, and clean it a lotï¿½, Doc said as he walked away.
ï¿½Wait Docï¿½, Billy yelled after him. Doc Lee turned around. ï¿½What ever happened to the little boyï¿½.
ï¿½Look beside you, a few cots overï¿½, Doc said walking away.
Billy looked to the right and didnï¿½t see Nate, so he turned to his left. A few cots down, Nate was lying on a cot. His eyes were closed and he wasnï¿½t moving.
ï¿½Noï¿½, Billy whispered. He leaped out of the cot and walked over to Nate.
ï¿½Billy, lie back downï¿½, Elizabeth said.
Billy kneeled beside the cot, and looked down into Nateï¿½s face.
He didnï¿½t answer, he didnï¿½t even move.
ï¿½Nate please answer meï¿½, Billy said.
ï¿½Billy, heï¿½s deadï¿½, Elizabeth said. ï¿½Did you know himï¿½.
ï¿½I was carrying him when I got shotï¿½, Billy said. ï¿½Itï¿½s all my fault he diedï¿½I promised him he wouldnï¿½tï¿½but I got shot and I couldnï¿½t get him here fast enoughï¿½.
ï¿½It wasnï¿½t your fault, he wouldï¿½ve died anywayï¿½he had severe blood loss even before he got hereï¿½, Elizabeth said. ï¿½Donï¿½t blame yourself for something that you had no control overï¿½.