Hero (part 2)

By
Billy recovered once again, and was out saving more Union lives then he could remember. He never forgot Nate, and never let himself get over the thought that he was the one to blame for his death.


“The biggest battle is to be held this night,” Billy told the pup. She was still recovering from being shot, but she had gotten her stitches out the day before. “If we just keep doing what we’ve been doing we’ll do fine”. Billy was out patrolling, with the pup trailing behind. They hadn’t been separated in over 3 months. It was a cool morning, but the sun was starting to make it hotter. Billy was walking on a dirt road that outlined the camp. He had walked this path for about 3 hours, and had seen nothing. He walked around a bush to see something coming his way. He suddenly ducked down behind a tree. He looked back out onto the dirt road, and saw them. Two enemy soldiers heading right for the forest. He instantly recognized them as Horace and Sam. He grabbed the pups rope collar and held her close.
“Listen to me pup, get out of here while you still can”, Billy said. The pup looked at him as if he was condemning her to death. She let out a little whine. Billy felt the hot, coarse rope in his hands, as they began to tremble with fear. The last thing he wanted was the pup to be around, if they attacked him. He didn’t want to put her in danger.
“Get out of here, girl. Warn the others. Save yourself,” Billy said. The pup turned and ran through the bushes, stopped, and turned back around. She looked at her master, with fear in her eyes, and then took off running toward the camp.
Billy turned around just in time to see a hand reach around the tree. The hand grabbed his shirt and pulled him out of the bush. Billy felt his head hit the hot dirt. He pulled his head up, and touched his hand to his forehead. He felt something wet touch his hand in return. He pulled his hand away and saw the red liquid.
“I’s told you there was a stow ‘way ‘round here somewhere,” Sam said.
“I s’pose you’re right,” Horace said. Sam walked back over to the trees and looked for more Union Soldiers. He picked up the soldier on the ground and tossed him on his back. Horise’s eyes lit up, and a smile spread across his face as he said, “Well looky here Sam, it’s the spy that was watching us before”.
Sam instantly swung around. He picked Billy up off the ground, so even his feet weren’t touching as he gave him a powerful punch in the stomach. As he did so, he set him back on the ground. Billy lost his footing, and landed on his back. Horace and Sam took turns taking revenge on the boy. One would punch him, one would hold him by his neck, they would even put him against trees, only to strangle him for a minute, then put him back down. Billy was in trouble and he knew it, but he couldn’t help but think about his pup. She was all he had left, since his mother passed away last month. He loved her so much.


The pup ran as fast as her legs would carry her. She ran through the tents, right over the top of the beds and, soldiers lying in them, and straight to the commanding officer. She barked.
“What is it girl, did Billy leave you again. Well go find him,” he said. She barked again, and this time ran back a little ways.
“What is it girl,” he asked.
She barked again, ran up to him, bit down on his shirt and pulled. “You want me to follow you,” he asked. She barked and ran back towards the woods. She ran, with the commanding officer right behind her.
“I wanna do it,” Sam yelled at Horace, reaching for his gun.
“No, I get to,” Horace yelled back.
The pup and the officer had just started running through the trees and bushes when there was a loud BANG. The pup sped up and ran through the bushes and out onto the dirt road. There lying there, with his head down in the dirt, was Billy. She looked down the road both ways, but the other soldiers were no where in sight. The officer ran through the bushes and saw Billy lying in the dirt. He ran over to him, and pulled him up so he could see his face. While rolling him over he saw a huge stomach wound.
“Billy, Billy, can you hear me”, the officer said. He said this about twenty-five times until he had a gut feeling, Billy was dead. He slowly started to walk away, down the path when he heard a growl. He looked down and saw the pup looking up at him, teeth bared.
“I tried girl, he’s gone,” he said. She looked up at him, whining and moaning, and then growling and barking again. She ran back towards her master and lay down next to him, her paws on his chest. She lay her head down on top of her paws and whined. The commanding officer walked over and picked her up. She was heavy, but still light from being a pup. He started walking away with her in his arms, when suddenly he heard a groan, and it wasn’t coming from the pup. The pup must have heard it too, because she instantly sprung out of his arms and ran back, barking. The man turned around and saw Billy moving. The officer ran back to him, and started to talk, but before he could say a word Billy was talking to him.
The officer hulled Billy up onto his back and started to carry the wounded soldier back to camp. The pup was only a few feet behind, waging her tail. When they got back to the camp, Billy went into the hospital. The pup went with him. She wasn’t going to let him out of her sight again. But that didn’t work too well for the doctor. The pup was always trying to get up in the bed with Billy, when the doc was trying to check up. And whenever Billy would moan in pain from the doc’s poking and prodding, she would growl. He finally got so fed up, he had her removed from the hospital.
Billy was in so much pain……his stomach hurt constantly. He lay in the bed, thinking of his mother, and his father, but mostly about his pup. He wondered if she would be his after the war was over. He hoped so, because he couldn’t bear to live without her.
The nurse that was taking care of him had blonde hair. She also had the “prettiest blue eyes this side of the Union states” Billy would tell her. She was very nice, and civilized. Her name was Elizabeth Stanson. Every night she would stay with him, and they’d talk for hours about their lives back home, pets, their families, pretty much anything. The pup would get let into the hospital every night after Doc Lee left, and let back out before his shift started the next morning. Billy could tell that he was following in his father’s footsteps because he was falling in love with Elizabeth. Whenever she came near him, even if it was just to change his bandages, or to check up on him, he got this feeling inside that told him she was special. He had dated 2 girls back home. One called their relationship off after 2 months, and the second, Billy had caught cheating on him with another man. But Elizabeth was different, he could just tell.
A few days after she began to stay after with Billy, he brought it up. He told her that his first relationship was with a brunette from Virginia. It hadn’t lasted long, only a few months or so. Then he told her about the skinny, dark haired girl that he dated. He thought that she was the one for him. He was going over to propose to her, one August night, but her parents said she was out in the barn. He tried to sneak over to it, to surprise her. When he rounded the corner, he saw her kissing another man, who looked to be about 4-5 years older then he himself was. He stood there for about a minute, which was when the other man had noticed him. The girl turned around and saw Billy. She ran over to him, but he didn’t feel her grab his arm, like he had seen her do. He felt completely numb. Then, without a word, he got back into his buggy, and drove away. He hadn’t seen her since.
“Oh my god, that’s horrible”, Elizabeth said.
“What happened to you”, Billy asked.
“How do you know anything happened, I don’t recall ever telling you anything”.
“Well, that’s probably because you didn’t. But I can tell, just the way you act around all of the men here. You act like how I did after I caught her cheating”.
“I………”.
“Come on, you know you can tell me”, Billy said.
“I know…I’m trying to think of how to explain it”, she said.
“C-h-e-a-t-i-n-g”, Billy spelled.
“No”.
“B-r-o-k-e U-p”, Billy spelled.
“No”, she whispered, as tears left her eyes. “D-e-a-d”.
“Oh…oh my god……”.
“About a year ago……he was shot right outside our home in Pennsylvania”, Elizabeth explained. “He was shot by a drunk man passing by the house. He had come up to the door to ask for money, but then it turned into a hold up. My husband and him got into a fight, when the man grabbed our gun, sitting on the………”.
“Its ok, you don’t have to continue”, Billy said.
“Billy, that’s the thing, I haven’t talked about him in so long……this whole time I’ve been pretending that I’ll go home after the war, and there he’ll be standing……on the porch, smiling at me”, Elizabeth said. “But, that’ll never happen again……”. She put her head down on the bed and began to sob. Billy reached over to and pulled her face up. It was all red, and covered in tears. Billy wiped off her cheeks, and held her head between his two hands.
“You know what the really sad part is, Billy. After he shot my husband, the drunken man, got back up into his buggy, and rode away. I ran down to my husband, who was lying on the ground, and put his head in my lap………he looked up at me……told me that he loved me……and died in my arms”, Elizabeth said, trying to hold back the tears.
“Come here”, Billy said.
Elizabeth climbed up onto the bed, and Billy sat up, and wrapped his arms around her. She laid her head on Billy’s shoulder, and grieved.
“Elizabeth”, Billy said. She pulled her head up, and looked at him. “I would never hurt you”, he said.
“I know……I think that’s why I’m falling in love with you”.
Elizabeth got up off the bed, and walked over to her bag. “Elizabeth………”.
“Yeah”, she said.
A smile spread across Billy’s face as he said, “I love you too”.
Elizabeth looked up at him. She smiled, as she walked out the door.

One night, when Lizzie, as Billy would call her, was getting ready to fall asleep beside Billy’s bed, there was a loud CRASH. Lizzie and Billy both jumped and turned around. It sounded like it came from the supply room, behind them. Elizabeth had heard from Doc Lee that the Confederates were running out of medical supplies such as pain relievers and bandages. She had also heard that they were starting to steal supplies from the Union hospitals, but she hadn’t taken it seriously. Billy didn’t know what was going on, but he could tell that Elizabeth was scared. Her eyes had become wide, and her face, white.
“I’ll take care of it”, Lizzie said, getting up.
“No, I’m not putting you in danger, because you want me to stay safe”, Billy said, grabbing her hand.
“Billy, you don’t understand……I lost my husband because he got shot……I’m not going to let that happen to you……I love you too much”, she whispered. She pulled her hand from his, and walked into the supply room.
The room was completely dark, except for a spot of moonlight shining from a hole that was torn in the tent. Lizzie looked from side to side, then up and down, as she walked over to the hole.
Billy sat up on his cot, ready to sprint toward the door if he heard anything peculiar.
Lizzie walked over to the hole and stuck her head through it. She didn’t see anything, except for the smoke from the recently extinguished fire, outside. She turned around and……………
There was a scream from the supply room.
Billy jumped off the bed, and tried to run, but he couldn’t keep his balance long enough. He fell to the floor, grasping his stomach. He tried to think of a way to get there, but he knew he didn’t have enough strength. And Lizzie hadn’t let the pup in……………but she had broken through a door before, why not again.
“Come here, girl. COME HERE PUP”, Billy yelled. He heard a bang come from the door, and saw the pup’s shadow. Billy heard another scream from the next room over. He panicked. “PUP COME HERE, COME HERE GIRL, HERO, COME HERE HERO”, Billy yelled. The door burst open and the pup came running inside. “Go find Lizzie, and protect her until I can get up. Go now, girl”. The pup dashed through the door, and started to growl and bark. Billy heard two men talking and then the pup’s whine. He knew something was wrong. He grabbed the side of a bed, pulled himself up, and with all his strength he ran into the room. He grabbed the side of a table and looked over by the hole. He saw two outlined figures, staring at each other. He saw one holding the pup, and the other had Elizabeth in his arms, and had his hand over her mouth.
“We can take the girl to a hospital, and she can work for us, and the pup can be used as meat for the upcoming feast”, a familiar voice said. Billy knew the voice, he had heard it a lot.
“You”, Billy said.
The men turned and saw Billy trying to hold himself up.
“I’s thought we’s got rid of you’s”, Horace said, grinning.
“Yeah, I’s shot you myself, with my own gun and everythin”, Sam said.
All of a sudden Billy felt a shot of pain go through his body. He jerked with pain, as he realized he hadn’t taken his medication for the pain yet. He grasped his stomach, as he tried to keep himself conscious. The pain was unbearable, but he wasn’t going to let them take his sweetheart and his pup. He felt lightheaded as he took a step toward the Confederates.
“I’ll……I’ll”
“You’ll what, kill us with your stutt, stutt, stuttering”, Sam mocked.
Billy looked down at the table and saw a gun behind it. If he only could get to it. He kept stuttering as to keep their attention away from him moving toward the gun. When he got close enough to reach it, he swung it around the table, aimed at Horace, and fired. A jolt went through his body, as it crumpled and landed on the floor. The pup was free, and boy did she take advantage of it. Sam bent down to see if Horace was ok, when the pup ran over and bit his hand. Sam let go of Elizabeth, and bent down to look at Horace. Then he looked up at Billy, and said “You, you killed him, you killed my brother, and now I’ll kill you”. Sam started to walk toward Billy, when Elizabeth grabbed a surgical knife and stabbed his foot.
“YOW”, Sam yelled. He looked down at Elizabeth and kicked her hard in the stomach. Billy saw this and got so enraged that he aimed at Sam and shot him once, twice, and a third time before he hit the ground, dead. Billy began to shake really hard. He felt the gun slide out of his hands, it hit the ground followed by him hitting the ground next. Elizabeth scooted across the floor to her loved one. She put his head in her lap, just like a few years before with her late husband, and looked down into his eyes.
“No, I lost John like this, I’m not going to lose you too, not when you convinced me that I love you more then him”, Elizabeth said.
“Lizzie……no matter where I go, I’ll always be with you………right here”, Billy said pointing to her heart. His hands were shaking twice as bad as before. Billy watched Elizabeth cry, as the world around him went dark.
“NO, NO I WON’T LOSE YOU, NOT NOW, NOT AFTER EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN THROUGH”, Elizabeth yelled. “WHY DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE HIM NOW……WELL I DON’T CARE IF YOU WANT HIM, YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM”.
And at that Elizabeth picked Billy up, by his torso, and drug him out of the supply room, and back into his bed. She ran to Doc Lee’s tent, and woke him. They both went back into the hospital, and treated Billy.
The next morning Billy woke up to Elizabeth’s face over his.
“It’s ok, Billy. You’re ok, now. Please go back to sleep”, Lizzie told Billy.
“What was wrong with me, why was I shaking so bad”, Billy asked.
“I……I forgot to give you your medication……you could’ve died from the pain……it was that bad……”, Lizzie said. “I could’ve killed you………”.
“Lizzie………its all right, I’m alive aren’t I”, Billy said.
“Yes……yes you are………now please go back to sleep……”, Elizabeth said, bending down toward him. She bent over, and kissed him, as he fell asleep.
Billy got better, and better, until he was almost released from the hospital.
A few days before he was released, Elizabeth stood Billy up, and they walked to the willow tree where Sam was. Billy explained what had happened, and why he came there. Then they walked over to the stream. They sat down, and talked for hours. The sun began to set and Billy watched as his true love gave off a kind of glow. Her hair glittered in the sunlight, and her face became even more beautiful then it already was. Billy thought that she looked like an angel sent down from heaven. After the sun had gone down, they walked back up to the hospital. Elizabeth laid Billy down on his cot, and went to get his medicine. While she was gone, Billy took a box out from his pocket. He opened it to reveal a beautiful ring, with a pearl on it. Elizabeth walked back in the room as Billy carefully put the box back in his pocket.
“What was that”, Lizzie asked.
“What was what”, Billy asked, slyly.
“What was in the box”, Elizabeth said, reaching for his pocket.
“It’s the pin……my father wore……when he met my mother. He was a soldier on the front lines, when he got injured. My mother was a nurse that restored him to full health”, Billy explained.
“What happened to them”, Elizabeth said, sitting down on her knees.
“My mother and father got married after he got well, and bought a home in Maine. Then they had me. One night, when I was 5 years old……all I remember is lying in my bed, and hearing a loud thump by the staircase. I got up, and ran down the stairs to see my mother standing over my father, sobbing. I ran to her, and asked her what happened”.


“He fell, Billy, he fell”, she told Billy.
“Why”, Billy asked.
“Billy……would you go into the kitchen, please, I have to see something”. Little Billy ran into the kitchen, then his mother called for him. He ran back into the room. He saw his father with his head propped up, on the floor. He walked over to him, and sat beside him.
“Billy, I want you to promise me, that you’ll take care of your mother……”, his father said, trying to breathe.
“I promise, Daddy, but why do I need to when you’re gonna be right here”, Billy said.
“I’m gonna go away for a while……but I’ll see you again someday, ok. I love you Billy”, his father said.
His father looked over at his mother now.
“Lilly, I love you with all my heart. I gotta go now………but I’ll wait for you……I love you……both of you……”, he said. His eyes closed, and he stopped breathing.
“Billy………Billy……”


“Billy, Billy…………”, Elizabeth said. “What happened to him”.
Billy hadn’t thought about his father’s death in over 10 years. He was his best friend, and his father, they had been very close. He felt a tear trickle down his face as he said, “We found out a few days later, that he had died because of a massive heart attack. I lost my best friend, and father that day”. He laid his head facedown in the pillow, as Elizabeth started to cry too.
“Billy……I love you……”, Elizabeth said.
Billy raised his head up as he said, “I love you too”.
“What happened to your mother”, Lizzie questioned.
“She died a few years ago………from missing my father too much. Her last words to me were, “I love you Billy, and I’ll be seeing you soon”. I watched both of my parents die……I……I was all alone in the world, before I came here……Sam was my only friend. But I came here……and my father was right……everything that does happen, happens for a reason. I got shot, but it brought me to you……and I enlisted which brought me to you”, Billy said reaching down to the pup. “Because of this terrible war……I found true love and happiness……I found my girls……”, Billy said.
Elizabeth smiled, and kissed Billy, before leaving the hospital for the night.

Billy’s last night in the hospital would be an unforgettable one. Lizzie and Billy had their talk, like they normally did, and Billy took his medicine. When Lizzie was getting ready to leave for the night, Billy grabbed her hand.
“Wait……Lizzie……I was going to wait until I got out of here, but I can’t……”, Billy said.
“What is it, Billy, what’s wrong”, Lizzie asked. She dropped down onto her knees so she was down by the cot.
“Lizzie, I know I’ve only dated two girls before you, and they both weren’t the greatest, but you’ve blown them out of the water completely. And I know I’m never going to find a girl that matches up to you, because no one could be as good as you………”.
“What are you trying to say, Billy”, Elizabeth asked. She noticed that he looked like he was running a fever. “Billy, do you feel okay, because you don’t look so good”.
“Yeah, I’m fine………Elizabeth”, Billy said holding her hand. He reached into her pocket and pulled out a box while saying “What I’m trying to say Elizabeth is………will you marry me”. Elizabeth’s eyes widened as Billy opened the box, to show a ring with a pearl at the top. Billy took it out of the box holding it in his hand.
“I only know that I can’t live the rest of my life without you………”, Billy said.
“Of course I’ll marry you, I’ve loved you since the first time we talked”, Elizabeth said.
A smile spread across Billy’s face as he slid the ring onto his fiancé’s ring finger.
“I’ll be back first thing, tomorrow morning”, Elizabeth said. She picked up her bag, and walked out the door. As soon as she was out the door, the pup laid her head on Billy’s chest.
“What do you think about that, little girl……I’m getting married”, Billy said.
Elizabeth walked into her tent, and laid down on her cot. She put up her left hand and looked at her ring. She couldn’t see it in the dark, but she remembered exactly how it looked. It wasn’t the fanciest ring she’d seen, but it was the most beautiful.
The next morning Elizabeth walked into the hospital, let the pup out, and checked on her other patients. Then she walked over to Billy’s cot.
“Good morning Billy”, Elizabeth said.
There was no reaction.
“Billy”. Elizabeth bent down over him, and noticed he looked very pale and like he had a high fever. She felt his forehead, and pulled her hand away fast. He’d gotten very hot.

The pup laid just outside the door waiting to see Billy. All of a sudden the door burst open and Elizabeth came running out. She went to Doc’s tent, and ran inside, then back out again. She ran towards the commander’s tent, with the pup right behind her. She ran into the tent, and back out again, not even noticing the pup. She woke so many people, the pup had a hard time keeping up. So when all of the people went into the hospital the pup was left outside. Elizabeth came out first and sat with the pup. The rest of the people slowly came out crying. The commander came out last.
“Oh Doc, we forgot someone”, he said, tears streaming down his face. The doc opened the door for the pup to come in. She went in, her tail draped downward, heading for her master’s bed.
When she got in the hospital, it was only her. All of the other patients had been moved. She weaved slowly in and out of the beds looking for Billy. Finally she found him at the far end. His hand was sticking out from under the blanket, and he was very still. She walked over and put her head under his hand. There was no response. She pushed up on the hand. It slowly began to move, and started to pet the pup.
“How’s my girl,” Billy kept saying. Finally, the pup realized what was happening. She jumped half way onto the bed, and laid her head on his chest. They laid like this for what seemed hours. Suddenly Billy began to speak. “You know, I’ve been in here so long girl, I made you something”. The pup perked up, and looked into her master’s face. His eyes were once so blue, and now they were so gray, and dark. Even his hair had gotten darker.
The boy reached over onto the night table stand and opened up a drawer. He reached inside and pulled out a new collar. He slid back over toward her and took off her old collar. He tied the new one on, and looked at his dog. She had gotten so big, bold and brave since she had gotten there. He laid there for awhile just petting her. Slowly, he stopped. The pup looked up and licked his face. There was no reaction. She got down off of the bed and laid on the floor, hoping that he would come back to her.
About three hours later the commander came in. He walked over and peered at his soldier. He had become so mature since he had enlisted. The commander heard a quiet moan, followed by a whine. He looked down at the floor and saw the pup lying there, eyes looking up toward Billy. He reached down and picked her up. “What’s this”, he questioned looking at the new collar. He noticed a dog tag on it. He flipped it so he could read it. “Hero” was engraved on the tag. “He really did love you, little girl”, he said, looking into her eyes. He walked out of the hospital, the dog in his arms. He took her to his tent and he went to sleep.
The next morning he noticed that the pup was gone. He got up, threw on his boots and ran toward the hospital. There was a huge crowd of people standing, looking in the window.
“I said no one comes in here”, the doc shouted. The commander walked toward the door, and doc let him through.
“What is it, doc”, he asked.
“Look for yourself, Commander”, he answered. The commander walked towards Billy’s hospital bed, and saw Elizabeth sitting on the bed beside him. She had her head in her hands, and was sobbing. There was a lump beside Billy. He slowly realized what had happened. He walked over to Elizabeth.
“I lost him, but I didn’t need to lose her too,” Elizabeth said.
The commander walked over to Billy and pushed back the covers. There lying there, eyes closed, dead, was the pup.
“She was so sad, and decided she couldn’t live without him,” Elizabeth said through tears. “Maybe I should do the same”. She bent down next to Billy, and held his hand. “You know what the worst part of it is……he proposed to me last night”. The commander looked down at Elizabeth. He walked to the door and called for Doc Lee. The Doc came in and picked Elizabeth up off the bed. “No, I can’t live without him, I have to stay with him,” Elizabeth yelled, as she fought back. But Doc Lee won, and he carried her out of the hospital. The commander was alone with Billy and the pup.

“Oh little girl, he would have wanted you to live……but maybe its better this way. The boy and his “hero” together forever”.
The commander walked out of the hospital, and left the pup, and the boy, together.

That evening, as the sun set Elizabeth carried the pup out to the stream. She dug a hole, and put her in. She thought it was unfair……she had found true love twice, and both times it had slipped between her fingers, like sand on a beach. And then she had lost the pup too. She buried the pup, by the tree where she had saved Billy, so many months ago. She walked back to the hospital, and walked to Billy’s bed. He had been covered up by Doc Lee, head and all. Elizabeth knew she wasn’t ready for this……she never would be. With tears dripping from her cheeks, loneliness in her soul, and sadness in her heart, she uncovered Billy. She leaned overtop of him, and kissed him. She burst into tears, and thought back to all of the times they had spent together. She closed her eyes.


She remembered the evening on the beach, the willow tree, when he saved her life from the Confederates, all of the nights that they had spent together, just talking. She remembered every memory, and every detail, until she got to the memory when Billy had proposed to her.
“Yeah, I’m fine………Elizabeth”, Billy said holding her hand. He reached into her pocket and pulled out a box while saying, “What I’m trying to say Elizabeth is………will you marry me”.
She played the memory over and over again in her head, until everything was perfect.


She opened her eyes, and saw Billy, pale, but still the same Billy. She held his hand, and wished that he were there. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move. She turned and saw two shadows. One was a boy about Billy’s size in height. The other was a pup. She stood up.
“Billy”, she said, trembling. She had a feeling in the pit of her stomach that it was him.
The shadow looked at her, and then walked away, through the supply room, and disappeared, followed by the pup, waging its tail.
Elizabeth looked back down at Billy. She picked him up the best she could, and pulled him to the spot at the stream where Billy and Lizzie had sat. She laid him down, while she dug his grave. Then she pulled him into the hole, and climbed out. Elizabeth closed her eyes and said, “Give me a sign that your all right……give me a sign that you’ll stay with me”.
She felt the gentle wind against her face. Then she felt like someone was coming up behind her, but she kept her eyes closed. She felt something reach around her waist, as she put her head back. She opened her eyes to see nothing. She cried as she poured the first shovel full of dirt overtop of her love. She watched as he got buried. All alone, Elizabeth walked back to her tent.

“Where’s my pup, is she all right, did she make it to you,” Billy asked. Before the man could answer the pup was licking Billy’s face, and running around, joyful that he was alive.
“You better believe she did, Billy, she saved your life”, he said.
The officer hulled Billy up onto his back and started to carry the wounded soldier back to camp. The pup was only a few feet behind, waging her tail. When they got back to the camp, Billy went into the hospital. The pup went with him. She wasn’t going to let him out of her sight again. But that didn’t work too well for the doctor. The pup was always trying to get up in the bed with Billy, when the doc was trying to check up. And whenever Billy would moan in pain from the doc’s poking and prodding, she would growl. He finally got so fed up, he had her removed from the hospital.
Billy was in so much pain……his stomach hurt constantly. He lay in the bed, thinking of his mother, and his father, but mostly about his pup. He wondered if she would be his after the war was over. He hoped so, because he couldn’t bear to live without her.
The nurse that was taking care of him had blonde hair. She also had the “prettiest blue eyes this side of the Union states” Billy would tell her. She was very nice, and civilized. Her name was Elizabeth Stanson. Every night she would stay with him, and they’d talk for hours about their lives back home, pets, their families, pretty much anything. The pup would get let into the hospital every night after Doc Lee left, and let back out before his shift started the next morning. Billy could tell that he was following in his father’s footsteps because he was falling in love with Elizabeth. Whenever she came near him, even if it was just to change his bandages, or to check up on him, he got this feeling inside that told him she was special. He had dated 2 girls back home. One called their relationship off after 2 months, and the second, Billy had caught cheating on him with another man. But Elizabeth was different, he could just tell.
A few days after she began to stay after with Billy, he brought it up. He told her that his first relationship was with a brunette from Virginia. It hadn’t lasted long, only a few months or so. Then he told her about the skinny, dark haired girl that he dated. He thought that she was the one for him. He was going over to propose to her, one August night, but her parents said she was out in the barn. He tried to sneak over to it, to surprise her. When he rounded the corner, he saw her kissing another man, who looked to be about 4-5 years older then he himself was. He stood there for about a minute, which was when the other man had noticed him. The girl turned around and saw Billy. She ran over to him, but he didn’t feel her grab his arm, like he had seen her do. He felt completely numb. Then, without a word, he got back into his buggy, and drove away. He hadn’t seen her since.
“Oh my god, that’s horrible”, Elizabeth said.
“What happened to you”, Billy asked.
“How do you know anything happened, I don’t recall ever telling you anything”.
“Well, that’s probably because you didn’t. But I can tell, just the way you act around all of the men here. You act like how I did after I caught her cheating”.
“I………”.
“Come on, you know you can tell me”, Billy said.
“I know…I’m trying to think of how to explain it”, she said.
“C-h-e-a-t-i-n-g”, Billy spelled.
“No”.
“B-r-o-k-e U-p”, Billy spelled.
“No”, she whispered, as tears left her eyes. “D-e-a-d”.
“Oh…oh my god……”.
“About a year ago……he was shot right outside our home in Pennsylvania”, Elizabeth explained. “He was shot by a drunk man passing by the house. He had come up to the door to ask for money, but then it turned into a hold up. My husband and him got into a fight, when the man grabbed our gun, sitting on the………”.
“Its ok, you don’t have to continue”, Billy said.
“Billy, that’s the thing, I haven’t talked about him in so long……this whole time I’ve been pretending that I’ll go home after the war, and there he’ll be standing……on the porch, smiling at me”, Elizabeth said. “But, that’ll never happen again……”. She put her head down on the bed and began to sob. Billy reached over to and pulled her face up. It was all red, and covered in tears. Billy wiped off her cheeks, and held her head between his two hands.
“You know what the really sad part is, Billy. After he shot my husband, the drunken man, got back up into his buggy, and rode away. I ran down to my husband, who was lying on the ground, and put his head in my lap………he looked up at me……told me that he loved me……and died in my arms”, Elizabeth said, trying to hold back the tears.
“Come here”, Billy said.
Elizabeth climbed up onto the bed, and Billy sat up, and wrapped his arms around her. She laid her head on Billy’s shoulder, and grieved.
“Elizabeth”, Billy said. She pulled her head up, and looked at him. “I would never hurt you”, he said.
“I know……I think that’s why I’m falling in love with you”.
Elizabeth got up off the bed, and walked over to her bag. “Elizabeth………”.
“Yeah”, she said.
A smile spread across Billy’s face as he said, “I love you too”.
Elizabeth looked up at him. She smiled, as she walked out the door.

One night, when Lizzie, as Billy would call her, was getting ready to fall asleep beside Billy’s bed, there was a loud CRASH. Lizzie and Billy both jumped and turned around. It sounded like it came from the supply room, behind them. Elizabeth had heard from Doc Lee that the Confederates were running out of medical supplies such as pain relievers and bandages. She had also heard that they were starting to steal supplies from the Union hospitals, but she hadn’t taken it seriously. Billy didn’t know what was going on, but he could tell that Elizabeth was scared. Her eyes had become wide, and her face, white.
“I’ll take care of it”, Lizzie said, getting up.
“No, I’m not putting you in danger, because you want me to stay safe”, Billy said, grabbing her hand.
“Billy, you don’t understand……I lost my husband because he got shot……I’m not going to let that happen to you……I love you too much”, she whispered. She pulled her hand from his, and walked into the supply room.
The room was completely dark, except for a spot of moonlight shining from a hole that was torn in the tent. Lizzie looked from side to side, then up and down, as she walked over to the hole.
Billy sat up on his cot, ready to sprint toward the door if he heard anything peculiar.
Lizzie walked over to the hole and stuck her head through it. She didn’t see anything, except for the smoke from the recently extinguished fire, outside. She turned around and……………
There was a scream from the supply room.
Billy jumped off the bed, and tried to run, but he couldn’t keep his balance long enough. He fell to the floor, grasping his stomach. He tried to think of a way to get there, but he knew he didn’t have enough strength. And Lizzie hadn’t let the pup in……………but she had broken through a door before, why not again.
“Come here, girl. COME HERE PUP”, Billy yelled. He heard a bang come from the door, and saw the pup’s shadow. Billy heard another scream from the next room over. He panicked. “PUP COME HERE, COME HERE GIRL, HERO, COME HERE HERO”, Billy yelled. The door burst open and the pup came running inside. “Go find Lizzie, and protect her until I can get up. Go now, girl”. The pup dashed through the door, and started to growl and bark. Billy heard two men talking and then the pup’s whine. He knew something was wrong. He grabbed the side of a bed, pulled himself up, and with all his strength he ran into the room. He grabbed the side of a table and looked over by the hole. He saw two outlined figures, staring at each other. He saw one holding the pup, and the other had Elizabeth in his arms, and had his hand over her mouth.
“We can take the girl to a hospital, and she can work for us, and the pup can be used as meat for the upcoming feast”, a familiar voice said. Billy knew the voice, he had heard it a lot.
“You”, Billy said.
The men turned and saw Billy trying to hold himself up.
“I’s thought we’s got rid of you’s”, Horace said, grinning.
“Yeah, I’s shot you myself, with my own gun and everythin”, Sam said.
All of a sudden Billy felt a shot of pain go through his body. He jerked with pain, as he realized he hadn’t taken his medication for the pain yet. He grasped his stomach, as he tried to keep himself conscious. The pain was unbearable, but he wasn’t going to let them take his sweetheart and his pup. He felt lightheaded as he took a step toward the Confederates.
“I’ll……I’ll”
“You’ll what, kill us with your stutt, stutt, stuttering”, Sam mocked.
Billy looked down at the table and saw a gun behind it. If he only could get to it. He kept stuttering as to keep their attention away from him moving toward the gun. When he got close enough to reach it, he swung it around the table, aimed at Horace, and fired. A jolt went through his body, as it crumpled and landed on the floor. The pup was free, and boy did she take advantage of it. Sam bent down to see if Horace was ok, when the pup ran over and bit his hand. Sam let go of Elizabeth, and bent down to look at Horace. Then he looked up at Billy, and said “You, you killed him, you killed my brother, and now I’ll kill you”. Sam started to walk toward Billy, when Elizabeth grabbed a surgical knife and stabbed his foot.
“YOW”, Sam yelled. He looked down at Elizabeth and kicked her hard in the stomach. Billy saw this and got so enraged that he aimed at Sam and shot him once, twice, and a third time before he hit the ground, dead. Billy began to shake really hard. He felt the gun slide out of his hands, it hit the ground followed by him hitting the ground next. Elizabeth scooted across the floor to her loved one. She put his head in her lap, just like a few years before with her late husband, and looked down into his eyes.
“No, I lost John like this, I’m not going to lose you too, not when you convinced me that I love you more then him”, Elizabeth said.
“Lizzie……no matter where I go, I’ll always be with you………right here”, Billy said pointing to her heart. His hands were shaking twice as bad as before. Billy watched Elizabeth cry, as the world around him went dark.
“NO, NO I WON’T LOSE YOU, NOT NOW, NOT AFTER EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN THROUGH”, Elizabeth yelled. “WHY DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE HIM NOW……WELL I DON’T CARE IF YOU WANT HIM, YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM”.
And at that Elizabeth picked Billy up, by his torso, and drug him out of the supply room, and back into his bed. She ran to Doc Lee’s tent, and woke him. They both went back into the hospital, and treated Billy.
The next morning Billy woke up to Elizabeth’s face over his.
“It’s ok, Billy. You’re ok, now. Please go back to sleep”, Lizzie told Billy.
“What was wrong with me, why was I shaking so bad”, Billy asked.
“I……I forgot to give you your medication……you could’ve died from the pain……it was that bad……”, Lizzie said. “I could’ve killed you………”.
“Lizzie………its all right, I’m alive aren’t I”, Billy said.
“Yes……yes you are………now please go back to sleep……”, Elizabeth said, bending down toward him. She bent over, and kissed him, as he fell asleep.
Billy got better, and better, until he was almost released from the hospital.
A few days before he was released, Elizabeth stood Billy up, and they walked to the willow tree where Sam was. Billy explained what had happened, and why he came there. Then they walked over to the stream. They sat down, and talked for hours. The sun began to set and Billy watched as his true love gave off a kind of glow. Her hair glittered in the sunlight, and her face became even more beautiful then it already was. Billy thought that she looked like an angel sent down from heaven. After the sun had gone down, they walked back up to the hospital. Elizabeth laid Billy down on his cot, and went to get his medicine. While she was gone, Billy took a box out from his pocket. He opened it to reveal a beautiful ring, with a pearl on it. Elizabeth walked back in the room as Billy carefully put the box back in his pocket.
“What was that”, Lizzie asked.
“What was what”, Billy asked, slyly.
“What was in the box”, Elizabeth said, reaching for his pocket.
“It’s the pin……my father wore……when he met my mother. He was a soldier on the front lines, when he got injured. My mother was a nurse that restored him to full health”, Billy explained.
“What happened to them”, Elizabeth said, sitting down on her knees.
“My mother and father got married after he got well, and bought a home in Maine. Then they had me. One night, when I was 5 years old……all I remember is lying in my bed, and hearing a loud thump by the staircase. I got up, and ran down the stairs to see my mother standing over my father, sobbing. I ran to her, and asked her what happened”.


“He fell, Billy, he fell”, she told Billy.
“Why”, Billy asked.
“Billy……would you go into the kitchen, please, I have to see something”. Little Billy ran into the kitchen, then his mother called for him. He ran back into the room. He saw his father with his head propped up, on the floor. He walked over to him, and sat beside him.
“Billy, I want you to promise me, that you’ll take care of your mother……”, his father said, trying to breathe.
“I promise, Daddy, but why do I need to when you’re gonna be right here”, Billy said.
“I’m gonna go away for a while……but I’ll see you again someday, ok. I love you Billy”, his father said.
His father looked over at his mother now.
“Lilly, I love you with all my heart. I gotta go now………but I’ll wait for you……I love you……both of you……”, he said. His eyes closed, and he stopped breathing.
“Billy………Billy……”


“Billy, Billy…………”, Elizabeth said. “What happened to him”.
Billy hadn’t thought about his father’s death in over 10 years. He was his best friend, and his father, they had been very close. He felt a tear trickle down his face as he said, “We found out a few days later, that he had died because of a massive heart attack. I lost my best friend, and father that day”. He laid his head facedown in the pillow, as Elizabeth started to cry too.
“Billy……I love you……”, Elizabeth said.
Billy raised his head up as he said, “I love you too”.
“What happened to your mother”, Lizzie questioned.
“She died a few years ago………from missing my father too much. Her last words to me were, “I love you Billy, and I’ll be seeing you soon”. I watched both of my parents die……I……I was all alone in the world, before I came here……Sam was my only friend. But I came here……and my father was right……everything that does happen, happens for a reason. I got shot, but it brought me to you……and I enlisted which brought me to you”, Billy said reaching down to the pup. “Because of this terrible war……I found true love and happiness……I found my girls……”, Billy said.
Elizabeth smiled, and kissed Billy, before leaving the hospital for the night.

Billy’s last night in the hospital would be an unforgettable one. Lizzie and Billy had their talk, like they normally did, and Billy took his medicine. When Lizzie was getting ready to leave for the night, Billy grabbed her hand.
“Wait……Lizzie……I was going to wait until I got out of here, but I can’t……”, Billy said.
“What is it, Billy, what’s wrong”, Lizzie asked. She dropped down onto her knees so she was down by the cot.
“Lizzie, I know I’ve only dated two girls before you, and they both weren’t the greatest, but you’ve blown them out of the water completely. And I know I’m never going to find a girl that matches up to you, because no one could be as good as you………”.
“What are you trying to say, Billy”, Elizabeth asked. She noticed that he looked like he was running a fever. “Billy, do you feel okay, because you don’t look so good”.
“Yeah, I’m fine………Elizabeth”, Billy said holding her hand. He reached into her pocket and pulled out a box while saying “What I’m trying to say Elizabeth is………will you marry me”. Elizabeth’s eyes widened as Billy opened the box, to show a ring with a pearl at the top. Billy took it out of the box holding it in his hand.
“I only know that I can’t live the rest of my life without you………”, Billy said.
“Of course I’ll marry you, I’ve loved you since the first time we talked”, Elizabeth said.
A smile spread across Billy’s face as he slid the ring onto his fiancé’s ring finger.
“I’ll be back first thing, tomorrow morning”, Elizabeth said. She picked up her bag, and walked out the door. As soon as she was out the door, the pup laid her head on Billy’s chest.
“What do you think about that, little girl……I’m getting married”, Billy said.
Elizabeth walked into her tent, and laid down on her cot. She put up her left hand and looked at her ring. She couldn’t see it in the dark, but she remembered exactly how it looked. It wasn’t the fanciest ring she’d seen, but it was the most beautiful.
The next morning Elizabeth walked into the hospital, let the pup out, and checked on her other patients. Then she walked over to Billy’s cot.
“Good morning Billy”, Elizabeth said.
There was no reaction.
“Billy”. Elizabeth bent down over him, and noticed he looked very pale and like he had a high fever. She felt his forehead, and pulled her hand away fast. He’d gotten very hot.

The pup laid just outside the door waiting to see Billy. All of a sudden the door burst open and Elizabeth came running out. She went to Doc’s tent, and ran inside, then back out again. She ran towards the commander’s tent, with the pup right behind her. She ran into the tent, and back out again, not even noticing the pup. She woke so many people, the pup had a hard time keeping up. So when all of the people went into the hospital the pup was left outside. Elizabeth came out first and sat with the pup. The rest of the people slowly came out crying. The commander came out last.
“Oh Doc, we forgot someone”, he said, tears streaming down his face. The doc opened the door for the pup to come in. She went in, her tail draped downward, heading for her master’s bed.
When she got in the hospital, it was only her. All of the other patients had been moved. She weaved slowly in and out of the beds looking for Billy. Finally she found him at the far end. His hand was sticking out from under the blanket, and he was very still. She walked over and put her head under his hand. There was no response. She pushed up on the hand. It slowly began to move, and started to pet the pup.
“How’s my girl,” Billy kept saying. Finally, the pup realized what was happening. She jumped half way onto the bed, and laid her head on his chest. They laid like this for what seemed hours. Suddenly Billy began to speak. “You know, I’ve been in here so long girl, I made you something”. The pup perked up, and looked into her master’s face. His eyes were once so blue, and now they were so gray, and dark. Even his hair had gotten darker.
The boy reached over onto the night table stand and opened up a drawer. He reached inside and pulled out a new collar. He slid back over toward her and took off her old collar. He tied the new one on, and looked at his dog. She had gotten so big, bold and brave since she had gotten there. He laid there for awhile just petting her. Slowly, he stopped. The pup looked up and licked his face. There was no reaction. She got down off of the bed and laid on the floor, hoping that he would come back to her.
About three hours later the commander came in. He walked over and peered at his soldier. He had become so mature since he had enlisted. The commander heard a quiet moan, followed by a whine. He looked down at the floor and saw the pup lying there, eyes looking up toward Billy. He reached down and picked her up. “What’s this”, he questioned looking at the new collar. He noticed a dog tag on it. He flipped it so he could read it. “Hero” was engraved on the tag. “He really did love you, little girl”, he said, looking into her eyes. He walked out of the hospital, the dog in his arms. He took her to his tent and he went to sleep.
The next morning he noticed that the pup was gone. He got up, threw on his boots and ran toward the hospital. There was a huge crowd of people standing, looking in the window.
“I said no one comes in here”, the doc shouted. The commander walked toward the door, and doc let him through.
“What is it, doc”, he asked.
“Look for yourself, Commander”, he answered. The commander walked towards Billy’s hospital bed, and saw Elizabeth sitting on the bed beside him. She had her head in her hands, and was sobbing. There was a lump beside Billy. He slowly realized what had happened. He walked over to Elizabeth.
“I lost him, but I didn’t need to lose her too,” Elizabeth said.
The commander walked over to Billy and pushed back the covers. There lying there, eyes closed, dead, was the pup.
“She was so sad, and decided she couldn’t live without him,” Elizabeth said through tears. “Maybe I should do the same”. She bent down next to Billy, and held his hand. “You know what the worst part of it is……he proposed to me last night”. The commander looked down at Elizabeth. He walked to the door and called for Doc Lee. The Doc came in and picked Elizabeth up off the bed. “No, I can’t live without him, I have to stay with him,” Elizabeth yelled, as she fought back. But Doc Lee won, and he carried her out of the hospital. The commander was alone with Billy and the pup.

“Oh little girl, he would have wanted you to live……but maybe its better this way. The boy and his “hero” together forever”.
The commander walked out of the hospital, and left the pup, and the boy, together.

That evening, as the sun set Elizabeth carried the pup out to the stream. She dug a hole, and put her in. She thought it was unfair……she had found true love twice, and both times it had slipped between her fingers, like sand on a beach. And then she had lost the pup too. She buried the pup, by the tree where she had saved Billy, so many months ago. She walked back to the hospital, and walked to Billy’s bed. He had been covered up by Doc Lee, head and all. Elizabeth knew she wasn’t ready for this……she never would be. With tears dripping from her cheeks, loneliness in her soul, and sadness in her heart, she uncovered Billy. She leaned overtop of him, and kissed him. She burst into tears, and thought back to all of the times they had spent together. She closed her eyes.


She remembered the evening on the beach, the willow tree, when he saved her life from the Confederates, all of the nights that they had spent together, just talking. She remembered every memory, and every detail, until she got to the memory when Billy had proposed to her.
“Yeah, I’m fine………Elizabeth”, Billy said holding her hand. He reached into her pocket and pulled out a box while saying, “What I’m trying to say Elizabeth is………will you marry me”.
She played the memory over and over again in her head, until everything was perfect.


She opened her eyes, and saw Billy, pale, but still the same Billy. She held his hand, and wished that he were there. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move. She turned and saw two shadows. One was a boy about Billy’s size in height. The other was a pup. She stood up.
“Billy”, she said, trembling. She had a feeling in the pit of her stomach that it was him.
The shadow looked at her, and then walked away, through the supply room, and disappeared, followed by the pup, waging its tail.
Elizabeth looked back down at Billy. She picked him up the best she could, and pulled him to the spot at the stream where Billy and Lizzie had sat. She laid him down, while she dug his grave. Then she pulled him into the hole, and climbed out. Elizabeth closed her eyes and said, “Give me a sign that your all right……give me a sign that you’ll stay with me”.
She felt the gentle wind against her face. Then she felt like someone was coming up behind her, but she kept her eyes closed. She felt something reach around her waist, as she put her head back. She opened her eyes to see nothing. She cried as she poured the first shovel full of dirt overtop of her love. She watched as he got buried. All alone, Elizabeth walked back to her tent.

People who lived in Atlanta, Georgia during the end of 1864 to 1865 have told many people about seeing shadows by a willow tree, or a stream. They always seem to be the same……a boy and a pup, walking alone. This was reported until the end of 1865. Then suddenly, the shadows disappeared, and were never seen again.


After the war ended, Elizabeth Stanson went back to her little home in Pennsylvania. No matter how much she tried to forget Billy and the pup, she couldn’t. So finally she drove up to Maine and asked around to find out Billy’s house number. Most of the townspeople said that they didn’t remember any Billy. Elizabeth was getting ready to go home, when a general store manager told her where he used to live.
“2 house down, that street there”, the man had said. “But you won’t find him……he died—
“I know……I watched him die”, Elizabeth said sadly. “Thank you for your help”. Elizabeth found the house abandoned, but went in anyway. She walked through the kitchen and up the stairway remembering Billy’s memory of his father’s death. She couldn’t help but feel a presence in the old home. She looked for the shadows, but never saw anything. In December of 1865, Elizabeth Stanton Pertey died. She never married, and the people in her hometown say that she died of a guilty and broken heart. She always blamed herself for what happened to Billy. She died at the age of 26. After her death there were no sightings of the shadows. You can make up the rest of their story.
Doc Lee became a major doctor after the war ended and got named “The Best Doctor” in 1870, before dying of cancer. He was 47 when he died.
After the war Commander Clark moved out west, into Oregon with his wife and 2 children. He built a farm from scratch shortly before dying in 1874, at 81 years old.





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