The excitement of the teenage lovers’ false alarm was soon forgotten as the team settled back into their defensive positions. So far, this “battle to the death” had been a big letdown. Marshall wondered whether they were all just wasting their time and missing valuable sleep, waiting for an attack that would never come. When nothing else happened, their collective alertness steadily declined. The major left the command post hourly and trooped the line to make sure his men were alert and not snoozing. Marshall tried not to think about the possibility that Paula had just made up what she’d heard from her brother. It would be just like her to do something like that. Maybe they had all acted on bad intelligence.

Just when they really felt that the effort was probably one big joke, the bottom fell out. The threatening rain moved in at 2:00 AM (Sorry, 0200 hours) when the heavens opened up and water poured down in buckets. The major had thought of ponchos and rain gear, but they were of little use to someone sitting right in the open.

They each huddled under their ponchos but were soon soaked. A wall of water engulfed Winston Park for about thirty minutes, after which the skies cleared and stars were twinkling everywhere. During the downpour, it was impossible to watch the woods in front of them. Visibility was zero, and, of course, no one would try to attack under those conditions. Of course?

As the rain let up, Marshall brushed back his rain hood and glanced to his right across the front line. His mouth dropped. He was startled and could not believe what he saw. Standing there in the middle of the brush not twenty yards from where the Top was laying was the largest human being he had ever seen. The man wore only a black tee shirt that clung to his wet skin and accented his tree trunk-like biceps and forearms. His huge thighs strained against his blue jeans as he trudged toward the memorial through the drenched underbrush. He wore a stocking cap mask he pushed to one side to better take in the memorial. He was obviously trying to figure out exactly what confronted him.Suddenly, the walkie talkie squawked. “Wooley Peter! Fire at will. Fire at will!”

Excerpt from The Battle of Sam Jacinto

Marshall Morris joins the marines.


Author of Great Books