Davy Walker kept a journal. In the journal he detailed his day-to-day activities. It was a safe space, some place that Davy could write down exactly how he felt about everything. Annabelle had gotten herself in trouble with her mother, and Davy had feelings about it. “It takes a demented person to harm a child.”
There was a fine line between disciplining your child and abuse. Davy looked at what he had written and shook his head.
“I should have done something. Anything. I did nothing and Annabelle paid the price for my inaction. Her mother, if you could call her that, was always high and in bouts of sobriety she revealed the darkness in her heart.
It should have been as plain as the nose on your face. I missed the signs. Call it apathy or a lack of empathy. I did nothing. It should not have fallen to Billy to confront the darkness alone. It is as I have always feared. I am a monster.”
Davy stared at his reflection in the mirror. He checked his tie and made sure the knot was in line with his gig line. Then he pulled on his jacket. His marksmanship badge and medals were within the guidelines, his shoes were shined to the maximum.
Billy’s funeral was held on a cliff overlooking the Tombigbee Waterway on the outskirts of Fredericksburg. Friends and family stood around the casket. Annabelle gave a small wave to Davy. He nodded to her. She sat in a wheelchair; her broken leg stuck out like a large eyesore.
Davy could not look at her. He could not look at Billy who had died trying to protect Annabelle. He could not face his failure. The minister stood beside the casket and made his remarks.
“In this time of grief, the Lord shows us His comfort. We do not know why Billy decided to fight against the darkness alone, but we do know that Billy took a stand for what was right. The right thing should never be confused as the easy thing. It takes guts to stand your ground. I am sure the Lord has welcomed Billy to His side. Heaven is a better place because Billy is there.”
People walked by and put their hands on Billy’s casket and muttered a few words. Davy was the last one to visit the casket. He placed a Silver Star on the lid.
“I’m sorry Billy. I should have done something, but I was too focused on my past. You paid the price for my inaction.” Davy got choked up with emotion and he paused. A small hand gripped his, it was Annabelle.
“It’s okay, Davy.”
“No. No it’s not okay. A child should never have to die for any reason.”
Annabelle and Davy stood by the casket in silence. There were no words to convey what was in their hearts. Dark clouds loomed on the horizon. The air smelled of rain.
“Did the cops find your mother?”
“No. She must have realized what she had done and took off. I don’t know where she would go, but I hope she never comes back.”
“I should have done what Billy asked me to do.”
“What did he want you to do?”
“It’s nothing. He wanted me to do something, and I told him no.”
“I wish she had died instead of Billy.”
“Yeah. Life is full of regrets and all too often injustices.”
“We should go.”
Davy pushed Annabelle to the car that brought her to the funeral. He helped her in and waved goodbye. She waved back. Her aunt got in the driver’s seat. She gave Davy a disapproving look.
Davy turned and walked back to Billy’s grave. There were some things he needed to get off his chest. The graveside was empty.
“I know you can’t hear me, son. I am terribly sorry I failed you. I am going to make this right. Annabelle will be safe, no more harm will come to her. I promise you, Billy. I will unleash the monster war turned me into so I can protect her. Forgive me for failing you.”
Billy was gone and there was nothing Davy could do about it. Dorthey had killed Billy. It was time for Davy to return the favor.