In the Confusion of a pre-dawn encounter with enemy troops, four men are killed by friendly fire; the most devastating and haunting killed in action their loved ones can experience. But the war dead have a message and, through repeated visitations, they are determined to deliver it.
Beyond The Battlefield: A Message From The Fallen is about the personal cost of war and the message from those who have paid the ultimate price
These are not obvious realizations that come to family members visited by men and women who were killed in action but through repeated visitations these war dead finally get the message through.
Cindy Johnson is one of the family members grappling with not only seeing her husband Roy after he was killed by friendly fire on a Mid East battlefield but also holding him. After witnessing Roy a second time, in front of two military officers, she begins to contact other families of soldiers killed in action who have had similar experiences feeling that there is more going on than hauntings.
Sergeant Gabriel Gordon, who is recuperating from war wounds in an American Military hospital, is coming to terms with the knowledge that his men Roy Johnson and Joe Williams, who were killed in action, are standing by his bed every night. He sees other deceased soldiers standing by the beds of every wounded man in the ward and begins looking into the reason why these men are not at rest.
What Cindy Johnson, Gabriel Gordon and others are about to find out is beyond their control and the message is being delivered all over the world.
Johnson turned, took his rifle and pointed it in the direction of the shadows. One of the shadows fell as his first shot struck home. The other three returned fire. Johnson ducked into the hole, holding on to his helmet, as bullets hit the dirt just above his head.
The truck stopped briefly and then resumed its trek across the field. It was about forty feet from the post and accelerating, rocking back and forth from the strain of too much speed on a too old machine. Johnson shot a look its way before pulling his gun close and squeezing off another round, which dropped one more shadow and prompted heavier return fire.
Williams raised his hand to Johnson, then grabbed the munitions belt and tried to throw it. It fell short, landing a good away from Johnson. The two remaining shadows on the other side of the field split, one running right and the other running left. Johnson took a chance and made a dash for the belt. After grabbing it, he scooted back as fast as he could. No shots were fired. He pulled bullets out rapidly and reloaded. Gordon heard footsteps to his left. Johnson heard them also and pulled his gun to his shoulder, his helmet falling off as he moved. Then, with the quick thud of a round, the side of Johnson’s head pushed out. Blood and brains flowed, spilling down to his shoulder.
The footsteps stopped, leaving an awful silence. “Oh, no,” Gordon heard an American voice start to cry. “Jesus Christ, no, God, please, please, no. Fucking, no!” One of the shadows ran past Gordon, falling to his knees and sobbing over Williams, upper body convulsing until he threw up. The other went to Johnson, dropped his rifle, fell to his knees and held what was left of Johnson’s head in his lap. The truck got to the post, turned right quickly and sped away.
“No, no, come back − come back,” the first shadow screamed. Many shadows crossed the field and arrived at the scene. “Call the lieutenant,” someone shouted. “Call the fucking lieutenant.” In a few moments, a smaller figure approached. “Quiet down,” was the order. “What happened?” “Friendly fire,” someone yelled back. ”Friendly fucking fire. We killed our own!” A quick recounting of the previous moments followed. “Two over here, two over there—four dead…friendly fucking fire. We killed our own, killed our fucking own.”
It was the man holding Johnson’s head, stroking it as if comforting a sick pet. “I knew him from high school, from high school,” he cried, rocking the dead soldier in his lap. “This is Roy Johnson; he married my sister.”
“Get him away from that soldier.” The order was given in a voice cracking from emotion. Three other shadows ran over to him. No, I won’t let him go.” He was scratching at the dirt, trying to pick up pieces of Johnson’s head. He screamed again. “Leave me the fuck alone; let me be with him. Don’t you realize? I just killed my brother-in-law.”
“Get him away from the soldier.” The voice no longer cracked.
Three men pulled the hysterical soldier to his feet. “Jesus Christ, get him sedated. Call the medics in here. Now, fucking now.” “Search the area.” Same voice giving orders. “Make sure we have everyone accounted for, dead or alive.” Twelve soldiers split up in pairs to start searching. “This one,” a soldier said, pointing to Williams, “seemed to be crawling toward him.” He pointed to Johnson’s dead body.
“Or away from him.” A redheaded soldier with a deep Southern accent gestured at Gordon, who had started crawling out of the hole he was in.
“Oh, no, not another. That means five; we have five dead now.”
“No, this one is still alive, barely. Get some medics in here now. We’re not losing another,” the lieutenant said sternly.
“Where’s he hit?”
“Looks like both legs got tore up pretty bad; lost a lot of blood. Where the fuck are the medics?” There was the sound of a quickly approaching vehicle bouncing over the holes, rocks and pits in the battlefield, doors opening and shutting, footsteps, more doors, and men running.
“Medics, over here!”
“What happened?” “This one here is alive; save him.”
The air was cloudy, foggy in the rising sun. Gordon felt hands on his legs, heard sighs and soft sobs from the men clustered around him. He recognized Johnson and Williams, standing in full dress uniform.