1988, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
The dream was back. It surprised Danny when it began. The experience was different now after all the years-no twisting in his guts, no ache in his heart. It felt like coming home. He was back in Nam, sitting in a bunker, alone, waiting. The sandbags were torn and drooping. Red dust dribbled from gaping rips in the fabric like dried blood. The beams were rotten and termite-infested. The whole structure was well on its way to
oblivion. He found comfort in that.
Light began to brighten the timber-framed doorway. Wisps of ground mist crept in, swirling across the floor. He loved the dawn Dawn meant he had survived another terror-filled night. Dawn
promised a chance to survive another day.
In the dream he examined himself, knowing what he would find, but pleased to find it. Jungle fatigues and combat gear, everything as it had been, everything but the pain. He had missed this dream. As real as it seemed, he knew it was a dream, but that was okay. The dream was all that was left.
He waited, comfortable with the dream, expectant yet calm content, savoring the anticipation.
One by one, his buddies shuffled in. With sparkling eyes on the brink of laughter, each one acknowledged him with a grin and a nod.
“Hey, Mulvaney,” someone said, “you back for another tour?”
Unable to speak, he nodded. His brothers were with him again. Even the dead were healthy, young, and happy in this dream-the way he would always remember them. He stood. They pounded