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.Why did he see that? Why did the image taunt him?At other times, he was tormented by the sight of the mother watching him, her eyes half closed in drowsy passion, her body naked, slender and graceful beneath his larger frame.It was little Cassie Colder that wrote to him, but with each line about her mother, each description, each phrase concerning the Momma who looked after her, Dash’s need grew.His sense of possessiveness, his hunger, his inborn knowledge that somehow, some way, Elizabeth and Cassie belonged to him, began to strengthen inside him.Yes.The name Dash was a good name for a daddy.For Cassie’s daddy.But it was also a good name for a mate.Elizabeth ’s mate.And once again the inborn instinct of the animal raised its head.His senses became sharper as he fought against the fog of pain and medication then.Twisting shadows of violence and the dark bloody stains of death began to emerge and coalesce around Cassie and her momma.They were his, and they were in danger.He had to live.My Momma says you must be a very kind man.Kind men don’t hit little girls.Do they?So innocently phrased, yet with a wealth of meaning.He strained within the dark agony that filled him, fought through the layers of pain to find consciousness, to heal.To live.Cassie and her Momma needed him.My Momma says there might not really be fairies but it’s okay if I think there are.Cause nothing don’t exist if you don’t believe in it.And if you believe in it, then it’s real as sunshine.I believe in you, Dash…Why did he keep hearing a cry? It was inside his head, a woman’s tears and muffled sobs.But it was the child’s words his Major read to him as he fought his way back.A battle he often feared he would lose.My Momma says Leprechauns should be real.That gold at the end of the rainbow sounds really nice.I promise, Dash.I know a real fairy.I told Momma and she smiled and said I could ask her in for cookies and milk if I liked.I had to tell her that fairies don’t eat cookies and milk.They really like candy bars…The fairy eventually got to share the candy bar with Cassie.But still, Dash heard a woman’s muffled sobs.* * * * *The kid’s letters became a lifeline through long, bitter months of recuperation.It gave him something to hold onto.He had no one.He was a man alone in the world and he had thought this was the way he wanted it, until one little girl’s letters touched his soul.They were often peppered with amusing, cute little displays of affection toward a mother who apparently loved her daughter very much.And the daughter showered him with a sprinkling of the love her mother gave.Sometimes my momma is sad.She sits alone in our room and stares out the window and I peek through my eyes and I think I see tears.I think she needs a daddy too, don’t you?The soldiers who had accompanied the Major that day had ribbed him over that one.But Major Thomas had shushed them quickly and continued to read.Dash was conscious now, but still weak and had a long road ahead of him.But he fought.Fought like the animal he was, because of the woman’s tears and a little girl’s fears.I wanted to send you a sparkling present for Christmas.But Momma said we just didn’t have the money this year.Maybe for your birthday, she said, if you will tell me when it is.So I emailed Santa instead.I told him exactly what he was to get you, but I bet your other little girls already thought of it too.I wanted a bicycle, but Momma said Santa might not make it this year.I told her he would.This year, Santa would know I’m big enough for a bike.I’m seven years old.Seven years old is a good bike age, I think.She wrapped around his heart, with her youthful wit and humor and her belief in everything good in the world.He wanted her to have that damned bike.He wanted her to know Santa looked after good little girls who saved worthless hides like his.He wanted her to know he was coming for her.He sent her the bike.So she would be comfortable when he arrived.So she wouldn’t be scared…She was a matchmaker, though.Major Thomas finally started reading her letters without the presence of the other men who visited.And Dash finally got around to speaking, finally managed to give her a letter in return.It was short.He tired easily but he wanted the little girl to know what her letters meant to him.I got my bike, Dash.Momma was really surprised.On Christmas day I was sure Santa didn’t trust me yet.My bike wasn’t under the tree.Then the doorbell rang, and when Momma answered the door, there was my shining red bike.It had my name on it.It was just for me alone and it was brand new.And it had a helmet.And I have little gloves.And I have elbow pads.And I have knee pads.And there was even a present for my Momma from Santa.Can you believe it, Dash? It was the best Christmas ever.Santa even remembered my Momma.Of course Santa remembered.Dash had smiled and roughly thanked the Major for taking care of his request.The long robe would keep the mother warm until his arms could do the job.Cassie had said her momma was often cold…* * * * *Then the letters stopped.A month before he was released from the hospital, his eyesight back, his legs working once again, his strength back at top peak, they had stopped.Concerned, he had asked Commander Thomas to check into it.To find out what happened to the bright, cheerful little girl whose momma had raised her to give her love so freely [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]