Shuddering as I left the house, I considered the close call I had had in becoming involved with Glenny. I knew that perhaps I could have influenced her to change, but somehow, since God had warned me away from entanglement with her, that if she were to become a Christian, it would take someone other than myself to do it. Perhaps the fact that I had turned away from her would begin to wake her up. Anyway, I felt a great urgency to get to the small town where Sgt. Finley had gone a few years earlier.
Walking briskly toward the rooming house, I encountered the man walking his dog. Once again, we nodded at each other, silently, and I wondered who he was.
Arriving back at the rooming house, I entered the house quietly, but, yes, there was Mrs. Walsh coming around the corner of the living room and I knew I needed to tell her I wouldn't be staying the month as I had planned.
"Hello, Zeb! Back already?"
"Hmmm, yes, I didn't stay very long. Say, speaking of staying, I won't be here the month I had planned on. I need to be on my way south and see if I can find my friend, Sgt. Finley. I'm sorry to be leaving so soon. I'll be leaving day after tomorrow. I have enjoyed my time here with you all, brief as it was."
"Oh, well, er... ah...I'll go to the bank and get money to refund to you for the time you didn't stay. I'll have to run out early Monday morning. Will there be time? I'm afraid I've already used your money to pay some bills today."
"Hmmm. I'll tell you what, why don't you just forget it. Make me up a lunch on Monday morning to take with me on the bus? It is my own doing to leave ahead of time and I can't penalize you for that. Okay?"
"Oh, my! You are too kind! Thank you so very much. You are a Godsend."
"You're welcome. I will be saying good night now. I'll see you all in the morning."
Entering my room, I felt exhausted. It had been a day filled with all sorts of experiences, and my energy seemed drained from my body. I decided to take a quick bath, then to bed. I knew I had taken one only the night before, and I didn't want to waste a lot of water. I knew the Walshes lived on a very strict budget. I made it quick and then on to bed.
Sleep came quickly, and with it the nightmares. I seemed to be drowning in a quickmire of mud, with my buddies. We were trying to get to men who were caught in crossfire. The enemy was picking us off, one by one. There was screaming, crying, shouting, and blood everywhere. Bullets were flying. I could hear myself shouting and it seemed there was thunder booming.
All at once I awakened to the banging of fists on my bedroom door. I was sweating profusely, and shaking all over. Sitting up in bed, and swinging my feet over to the side of it, I placed them on the floor.
"Mr. O'Hanlon....Zeb...are you okay?" There were several voices shouting at my bedroom door. I got out of bed and walked over, opening the door.
"Yes, yes, I'm okay. Sorry to awaken you. I must have been dreaming, I guess."
"Come downstairs with us, Zeb. I'm getting ready to make some hot chocolate. These kids just have to have some before they go to bed sometimes. Will you come down with us?"
"Yes, come with us!" Katy grabbed my hand.
"Let me put on my bathrobe first," I smiled at her.
She stood and waited for me, not trusting that I would come along.
We soon trooped down the stairs and sat at the kitchen table, where Mrs. Walsh was setting out some mugs.
(To be continued)