Infectious wounds can make everything seem off kilter. Asher was lying still on a cot not sure exactly where he was. The pain in his leg was excruciating. With that in combination with the fever, he was in and out of consciousness. When his body reached a point that he could sleep, scenes from the battle would fill his dreams. Awake, again; pain, again.
Sometimes, however, he would dream about Jane. This was odd since the woman was not yet born. Right now he was Stokes McRae, not Asher. However, the feverish dreams would bring her laughter and her dry sense of humor to his mind and he would have relief. Then the battle would take it all away: gunfire, artillery, mortar fire. All he had was a bayonet on the end of a rifle with little ammunition. Artillery blast. Awake. Pain.
Couldn’t they give him something for the pain? Maybe even put him out of his misery? He believed he would die in that bed. Through the fog of his mind, he saw a face.
“Water, Major?” Water. He guessed that’s all they had. Asher took a sip and returned his head to his pillow. “You can have more, sir.” The young corporal held the cup into his field of vision.
“No, son. That will be more water for the other men. I’ll take some on your next round.” Asher’s words sounded lucid but his mind was not. He had memories from two different centuries roaming in his brain and he never knew which ones would pay him a visit when he closed his eyes.
Smoke. Gunpowder. Marching. Shouts. Explosions. “Asher?” He heard Jane’s voice through the smoke. Jane’s face. Artillery explosion.
Asher woke up choking on gunpowder and Jane’s head resting on his shoulder. Asleep.