Meeting Lizbeth - Chapter Four Part IV

Doug

He was scheduled to do two tours in Afghanistan. He learned a lot about life from the death around him. He never expected the horrors he saw day after day. A life destroyed in a matter of seconds.

Doug had always been an easy going kid. Never any fights or quarrels, everybody liked him. He did well in school and was a treasured member of the football team. They knew they could always count on Doug. He was a real team player and when he had the ball they knew there would be a touchdown. He could run like lightening and weave in and out of the other team members without being tackled. He liked the sport and the challenge but felt there was more to life.

When he told his parents he wanted to join the military they had mixed feelings. They were proud of his desire to serve his country but afraid for his life and safety. They knew all too well about the casualties of war and he was so young at only seventeen. They had to sign for him to be able to enlist. They were a middle class family and he didn't want to go to college so they finally agreed.

Doug liked basic training. Oh he didn't like drill sergeants screaming orders in his face or being awakened at three in the morning for a three mile full pack run, but he enjoyed the discipline and the camaraderie. He was the youngest in his barracks but it didn't matter, they were all in this together. When he got his orders for his first tour, he was given a two week leave to go home and visit his parents. He didn't have a girlfriend so that wasn't a problem. Telling his parents where he was going was. His mother cried and his father fumed, but they wished him good luck and sent him with their prayers. Even his sister kissed him good-bye.

The fighting was brutal. The enemy was everywhere and you never knew who or when they would strike. One particularly bad day they were out in the field fighting for their lives. They were under heavy enemy fire when he saw his friends go down. He knew he had to get them out of there. He carried first one then the other to safety. He was unable to save his other two friends. Mortar fire was too heavy and the enemy troops were advancing too rapidly. The smoke was so thick you could hardly see where you were going and the smell of death filled the air. He knew it was hopeless but he tried to get back to them. It was impossible, he couldn't make it back. He never realized he had been hit, the only pain he felt was for the two soldiers he had left behind.

The nightmares started that night. He could see the two soldiers lying there just out of his reach. Each time he got a little closer a bullet whizzed by. Then the bullets began hitting his friends and they were beyond saving. He'd wake up screaming or in a cold sweat. Some nights the guilt was overwhelming.

While Doug was going through his own personal hell, his parents and sister were perishing in a house fire. The Fire Inspector believed it started in the basement. By the time the flames reached the second floor there was no way out and his family died in the fire.

Doug never got deployed a second time. He was honorably discharged after receiving a Medal of Honor, only fifteen months in the service. He attended the funerals of his family and then realized he had nothing. He had no body. He spent a few nights at the YMCA but his nightmares and loneliness drove him out. He took up residence under the bridge because he was too proud to admit the state he was in. He spent long hours thinking about all that had happened to him and what he had left. He thought the best place for him was here, homeless and alone. He didn't want to connect to anyone ever again. The pain of losing friends and loved ones was more than he wanted to bear. In spite of his pain and bitter heart he still helped those around him. One particular night when an elderly homeless man was being attacked, Doug came to his rescue fighting off the drunken teenagers. When the police arrived they told Doug they were impressed with his tactical training and abilities, and asked if he would be interested in taking the test for the police department. Doug had never thought about being a policeman. Actually, after his discharge he hadn't thought about much of anything. At only eighteen and a half he would be one of the youngest men to enter the Academy. He thought about it for a few days then accepted.

He took the test and passed with flying colors, so much so the officers were impressed. He had shown physical ability and now mental as well. He spent six months in the Academy, maintaining the top spot in his class throughout. He graduated, with honors. Three days after his nineteenth birthday he returned to his home under the bridge as an undercover officer, there to help the homeless. They were all well aware this could be a dangerous post but due to his age the department thought this would be a good place for him to learn. He met with two officers once a week and patrol cars kept an eye on him as well. The department was never sorry they made the investment of time in Officer Ahearn.

Meeting Lizbeth

Lizbeth showed up almost a year later. Doug had performed his duties well and saved more than one homeless person from the cruelty and beatings they had been suffering from for years. The Chief told him, like the Army, his stint under the bridge would be limited to two years. The things he learned and how he handled himself would be of good use on the streets as an officer. Of course, as an undercover officer he was not at liberty to tell Lizbeth the truth, at least not yet. He sincerely hoped she would stick around, but was aware that might not happen. She was a beautiful, young, rich girl and certainly had prospects that didn't include a homeless man living under a bridge.

Her first appearance had shocked him and made him suspicious. Why would this girl be here? Then he thought she might be involved in some charitable organization to help the poor. As time went on and they talked more, he realized she was just looking for something on her own. He wasn't sure what until several weeks went by. Then he realized she was honestly trying to find out what it was like to be poor so she could try to understand her mother. It just proved people are the same with or without money. It also proved he was very attracted to this lovely young girl. He often wondered what the future held, for both of them, singly and together. Could there be a together? He was only a police officer and she was a very rich young lady.

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25 comments

always exploring profile image

always exploring 20 months ago from Southern Illinois

Well, this was a surprise! Looks like there's an attraction on both sides. Interesting episode. I liked his military action. Well written Mary. See you next time...


billybuc profile image

billybuc 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

A match made in heaven? Let's hope so. The battlefield action was real. The pain unavoidable. Well done, Mary!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Ruby, I wanted Doug to be interesting to us and Lizbeth. Thanks for following my story.

Thank you Bill, still trying to spread my wings.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 20 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Well, there is a twist I had not expected. Your story has so many tentacles.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

I hope that's a good thing Mike!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 20 months ago from Central Florida

Mary, this is the best chapter yet. I was totally surprised to learn Doug is an undercover cop. Also, that his background is so full of pain. I surely hope he and Lizbeth hook up. I think she's beginning to have feelings for him.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

I do too Sha. Looks like they may wind up together but in Lizbeth's tortured world only time will tell.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 20 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Oh! What an interesting twist with Doug. I knew there was more to him than meets the eye. :-) Once again, you weave such interesting tapestries with your characters, Mary. We all await the next installment.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 20 months ago from southern USA

Oh, I am so glad Doug was valued by the officers and he was accepted into the Police Academy and now has something going on in his life. I am sure that many soldiers feel the same after witnessing all that he had at such a young age, but then also losing his family. It would be easy to go down that rabbit hole where it is dark and never see the light again.

Your writing of the horrors of war is excellent and real.

I am looking forward to seeing what develops with this interesting relationship.

Well done, Mary!

Up awesome and interesting, tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Peace and blessings


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Genna, I really like Doug and think he will do great things.

Yes, Faith. Our young boys go through so much and often get little support when they come home. I wanted to things to work out for Doug. Thank you for reading and following. Hugs. Oh, and thanks for the votes and all the shares.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton

the intro to doug's darkness was fantastic.. detailed and very important..so far you have a tightly wrapped combination of a good tale unfolding bravo Til.. bravo


Melissa Orourke profile image

Melissa Orourke 20 months ago from Roatán, Islas De La Bahia, Honduras

This chapter is great. I love the fact Doug is a cop. Can't wait to see him and Lizbeth fall in love..... I'm a sucker for romance and happy ever after!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

I'm so glad you find it important and keep coming back to read more. Your bravo resounds in my mind!

Ah, Melissa, only time will tell what happens with Lizbeth and Doug.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

It's nice to get to know who Doug is. I met a homeless man in San Francisco when I visited there for a short vacation. The man had been a professor with a nice house and family, yet he lost it all because he was an alcoholic. Does anything surprise me? It hasn't for years. This is a great story with a lot of appeal and I hope you will make an attempt to publish it, as I think others will enjoy it, too.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Deb. I am going to try to publish it. I'd love to see what happens. That will be my surprise!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 19 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Very authentic in that every homeless person has 'a story'...I love Doug's and am also rooting for a more permanent connection between Lizbeth and Doug - a terrific twist, dear Mary.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

Again, thanks Maria. Your interest makes me want to keep writing. Doug and Lizbeth could go places, maybe.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 19 months ago from Massachusetts

You keep surprising me Mary. Did not expect this but I like the turn of events. Great job.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Bill. I hope I keep surprising you.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 19 months ago

I am so glad Doug found purpose in his life. I seem to be reading backwards, I did not realize that I missed so many episodes.

Voted up, UABI and shared.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

Shy, I really appreciate you taking the time to catch up. I appreciate the votes and share too!


annart profile image

annart 19 months ago from SW England

This is picking up pace and I'm in the story, deeper and deeper.

Still some to go! Brilliant stuff, Mary!

Ann


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

I don't want to repeat myself, but I will. I'm thrilled you're enjoying my story! Thank you.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 19 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Til...I hope you forgive me. I'm sure you know how easily I am confused. I don't know where I am in your story and where I am not.....but I'm soon to figure it out! It only takes a tiny thing to throw me off......"Chapters AND parts"...and I'm a gonner. I know I've missed some along the line, but never fear.

This installment has touched home with me. Having had a son in the military and especially during wartime, pulls me fully into a story. You are taking this to serious limits and I applaud your fabulous creativity and skills. Doug now has my heart.

Just whose heart will he steal next?....UP awesome, shared. Paula


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

Dearest Effer, having you here makes me happy, no matter what chapter or part! Doug is now an important part of Lizbeth's life. Thanks for the votes and shares.

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