Shadows and Regrets (Tendown's version)

Derrick always was an odd bird. Even when he was hurt, he wouldn't say much of anything. When he first got to the Wilson's he kept pretty much to himself. Sometimes, if I snuck up on him, he'd be working on one of the tractors, normal as you please, but as soon as he knew somebody was there, man he'd start talking to himself as if he'd been having a heated discussion about something.

Sheriff said he'd been mugged, and since he didn't seem to have any family, the Wilson's took him in. A few days later, Max Danvers showed up at school sporting a black eye. Didn't take Davy, Corndog, long to figure out who'd mugged our new little brother.

Talking to Derrick, when he'd let me that is, I found out about his watch. Only thing the kid had or cared about, was a watch that had belonged to his dad. And it wasn't like the Danvers were in need, no, Max and his cronies just did it because it was fun and exciting. Bet they didn't figure that kid was a scrapper.

Well, I of course told Davy, and we knew what we had to do. You should have seen the kid's face when Davy handed him his watch. I got two cracked ribs in the deal, but the look on Derrick's face was well worth it.

Mrs. Wilson may have worried a bit about Derrick, but she didn't have to. He was bright and I think most of his 'oddness' was an act. And if she had any fears about how he'd be around the younger kids, well that disappeared when one of the neighbor's dogs got loose. Davy and I were in the Army by then, but she was so proud of him she had to write both of us. Seems Derrick saw the dogs long before Sissy did and he just dove in between them and her. Gina and the others came running, but not before he'd been bitten. Took twelve stitches, but the dogs never got close to Sissy.

We were glad he enlisted, Davy and I both figured it would be good for him. Mrs. Wilson was never so proud of her 'boys' as when we all were tapped for the Ragin' Devils. We all owe a lot to the Wilsons, and when Mr. Wilson passed on, I'll bet half the armed forces were there for the funeral. I knew the Base Commander was surprised about the number of enlisted men who where asking for leave to attend their 'father's' Funeral.

Davy gave the eulogy, and he summed it up for the rest of us. 'He was a father and a friend, and he raised his children up right.' I don't think there was a dry eye in the house, but it was like he said. Mr. Wilson was our father. Mrs. Wilson now runs an official home for orphans, but once you're there, you aren't an orphan anymore.

When I got my commission, she pinned my bars on. She also tried to tell my dad, but he'd given up on me a long time ago. I don't know what he said to her, but I know it was hurtful. Mrs. Wilson could see it in my eyes though and she just said, "let it go son, he ain't worth your spit. You just keep on like you are and make me proud.

Davy was proud of me too. I think he was happier about the promotion than I was. As much as the Wilson's were my parents, Davy was my brother, to the fullest extent of the word.

Davy and I never talked much about my family, it was as if we'd agreed that I was born the day I showed up at his place. I was so scared when I saw the anger in his eyes that day, after my dad, I was afraid I'd be chased out, or beaten, or both. But Davy just stood there apologizing for what my father had done. Like it was his fault.

All of us Wilson kids stick together and we're closer than most families, but Davy and Derrick are the closest. At least we were when the shit hit the fan.

All I knew was the team had gone in and something had gone wrong. That's when I'm supposed to come in. My brothers are missing and the C.O. wants me to stand-down. Well, he knew I'd go after them, I should have known it was a set-up. Then I was forced to choose. Davy's life or the possibility of rescuing Derrick. It was the hardest choice I had ever made, and I made the one that I knew Derrick would want. I had hoped to go after him after I got Davy to safety, but the C.O. was waiting and I was in the stockade before I knew what was happening.

I don't know what was worse for Davy. His own injuries and knowing that he'd never serve again, or the fact that his rescue may have cost Derrick his life. I know what the worst for me. I had failed my brother, plain and simple. Davy was alive, but there was nothing I could do for Derrick.

He showed up almost a week later. I've seen what they've done to a person in a matter of hours, and these bastards had had him for almost a week. At least they won't be doing it to anybody else.

But that's water under the bridge now. We're together again, and now we're calling the shots. I hear my father died not too long ago. And I hear his estate is in contention, but I'm not going to cross that bridge again. He's my blood, and I've paid back that blood back in my own, I don't need any more from him. I don't want anymore.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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