It didn't seem real when Davis got wounded. A man like that wouldn't get shot. He was too good at taking cover. He was a marksman. There was no way he would get shot, unless he was going out of his way to save a fellow soldier. But that couldn't happen. There was no way they could do it without him.
That fellow soldier was Lester Van Tassell.
Lester had been too close to a grenade when it went off. He'd been blown nearly twenty feet and landed out in the open, right in the enemy's sights. He landed on his back, and lay there gasping: unhurt but winded and ears ringing. Lester knew that he had to get up-- fast, but the grass and trees swam around him eerily instead of staying steady.
Arms fastened around his waist and pulled him back, dragging him behind the trees again. Lester couldn't hear anything, but felt the impact of the bullets that slammed into Davis' gut and leg. Davis stumbled, and they both fell to the ground. Lester looked around and saw Davis wince, as well as the blood that started coming out of his wounds. He followed Davis on the stretcher, trying to thank him, and praying that he wouldn't die all at once. Lester didn't see how he would survive the gut shot.
Davis was gone, whisked off to the nearest medic and hospital available. Their division moved on. Billy Saunders became the new Squad Leader. It became a much deeper level of hell, and boy, did Saunders love his part as the devil.
Slander after hideous insult spattered against them everyday. If Lester had a dime for every time Saunders called him a useless, millstone-of-an-idiot, he would have retired to Paris after the war. When left alone, the men decided to refer to their new leader as “Slaunders.” It was funny until he knocked the teeth out of the first man he heard it from. Saunders may not have been too sharp, but he was a large man that knew how to fight, and it was safe to say that he was hated by both the Axis and Allies. Lester blamed himself for Davis being gone more than anyone else. That he was partly responsible for Slaunders being in charge only made it worse.
But Davis was alive after all! He'd made it out! Lester-- well, Mac wished that he had known before he left the army. Not that it would have made much of a difference. Even if Davis was alive, he wouldn't have been there to stop what happened. One wounded man couldn't have gone against Billy Saunders and the whole squad.
“You look awful upset for only being mistaken for another man,” Davis' voice said right above him.
Mac jumped. Davis had entered the break room without his noticing, and was standing next to where he was sitting, leaning a hand against the wall.
“I'm not him,” Mac said.
“Oh, can it,” said Davis. “I'd know that pale, peaky look anywhere. You're Lester Van Tassell, alright, and scared stiff. What happened to you, buddy?”
“I'm not the man you knew.” He felt sick. “I'm called Mac, not Van Tassell.”
“Don't tell me you got amnesia and a new name?!”
Mac put his face in his hands and laughed. He couldn't stop. Hoots and guffaws came right out of him as if he had no control. When the storm of convulsions stopped, Davis handed him a glass of water, while grinning.
“You say you're not the same man. Okay. But you know me. I know you know me. You're still not a very good liar. Tell me what happened to you, Mac,” Davis said.
Check back tomorrow to see if Mac will tell him anything!