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In the Crosshairs of a Mother's Eye

By Rebecca Crawford

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Copyright 2003 Rebecca Crawford




       Lee went back to his house with Liz.  When they walked in, Robin was sitting on the couch while Dayla watched cartoons. When Robin heard them, she went to the kitchen, “Well?  Did you get the lunatic?”

       Lee hugged Robin and backed away got a drink from the fridge.  “He wasn’t there when we went back.  The police did a full search, they couldn’t find him.”

       “Oh, God, no.”

       Liz laid the gun and bullets on the counter.  “Lee took me to get a gun.  We’re going to do some target practice.”

       “Liz, I need to talk to you about Dayla.  Come to the table and sit down.”  Liz and Lee went to the table; sitting with Robin.  “Liz, what else happened out there?”

       “Wasn’t all that enough?”

       “That’s not what I mean, Liz.  Did you see some kind of light?”

       “How did you know about that?”

       “Dayla saw it.  She told me all about it.  She said she saw Grandpa and a lady in the light.”  Liz looked at Robin then at Lee.  “Yes, there was a bright light.  It blinded this sicko long enough for me to stab him, when I turned around to look at it, I saw my mother and Grandpa, then it faded away.  I thought I was hallucinating, but apparently I wasn’t.”

     Lee placed his hand on Liz’s.  “Through the Indian teachings of my mother, I have learned that the spirits always surround us.  Your mother and Grandpa may not walk the earth anymore, Liz, but in spirit they see you.  It’s a rare occurrence, but I have heard of similar incidents when spirits appear to their loved ones.”

       “Thank God for it.  We could have been killed, Lee.”

       “It’s not your time.”

       “It’s not going to be anytime soon, if I can help it.  Let’s get out there and get some cans up.  Robin, can you take Dayla to Grams or something?   I don’t want her to see or hear this.”

       “I’ll take her for ice cream in town, then to Grams.”

       “Thanks, Robin.”

       “Hey, what are friends for?”

       “Please tell Grams to keep the house locked up.”

       “Oh, don’t worry I plan to.”  Robin went in; gathering up Dayla, “How about an ice cream cone?”

       “Okay.  Did they catch the bad man?”

       “Not yet, but they will.”  Liz kissed Dayla.  “I’ll be home in a little while.”

    Robin and Dayla headed to town.  Lee and Liz mustered up some cans and bottles, lining them up outside.  Lee showed Liz the proper stance in holding the 38 pistol, then handed it over to Liz.  “I’ve handled and fired M-16s.  I think I can get a feel for this baby.”  Liz stood, aiming the 38; taking her first shop and missing the bottle.

       “Liz, it was off to the left.”  Liz aimed again, taking a shot and obliterating the bottle, “I think I got it!”

       “Yeah, I’d say.”

    Liz fired at all the cans and bottles, reloading as needed.  On her first firing round, she shot ten out of fifteen.  After an hour, Liz became accustomed to the feel of her new weapon. 

       “Liz, let’s call it a day.  You can come out tomorrow and we’ll shoot some more.  Not that you need the practice, seems like you got it down pretty good.”

       “It never hurts to be at the height of proficiency.  Tomorrow sounds good.”

       Lee smiled at Liz.  “I know I’d hate to be that guy right now.”

       “Well, let’s just hope I don’t have to use this.  I’ve never shot anyone before.”

       “Be careful, Liz.”

       “I will.”

       Liz left heading for home.  She arrived; unlocking the front door to get in.  Liz came in locking the door behind her, when she turned around a man sat in the dimly lit living room.  Liz couldn’t make out his face.  Her heart pounded in her chest.  She pulled the pistol from her purse; pointing it at him, “You bastard, I’m killing you this time!”

       “Hey!  I thought you’d be happier to see me.”

       The voice was distantly familiar.  Not the voice of the stalker, Freddie McClaine.  “Who are you?”

    The man got up grabbing his cane and walking closer to Liz.  When his face came into full view Liz fell numb, her voice weakened, “Calvin?”    

       “Hi, beautiful.”

     Liz just stood their as if she were seeing a ghost, she disengaged the trigger on the 38 lowering it to her side.  “You’re not real!  You’re dead!”

       “No, baby, I’m very much alive.  My leg got a little busted up, but I’m alive.”

       Liz’s fingers lost the grip causing the 38 to fall to the floor beside her.  She ran to Calvin embracing him and then touching his face cried, “It is you!  You’re real!   Oh, God!  They told me you were captured, tortured then burned to ash.”

       “I was captured.  They kept me imprisoned moving me around from place to place with a blindfold on.  Kill me?  No, I was a useful tool in their thinking for future trade offs.  Special ops finally intercepted intelligence information giving reports of my captivity and whereabouts.  Three weeks ago they invaded the town rescuing me and three others.”

       “Why didn’t anyone call to let me know?  I should have been informed!”

       “Liz, special ops is just what it is, a highly secure and secretive military organization.  I had to go through debriefings, informing counter intelligence about what I’d seen and knew.  At least now my record doesn’t read missing in action (MIA).  I had to be thoroughly checked out both mentally and physically.  There’s still a lot I can never talk about, Liz.”

       “Remember the last night we were together you promised me and the baby you’d come back?”

       Calvin sat on the couch in shock, “The baby?  Oh, Liz, the baby.”

       “She’s beautiful Calvin, she looks just like you!”

       “What do I say to her?  How will she accept me after all this time?”

       “You won’t have any problems there.  The picture we had made the night before you left has always hung on the wall.  Since Dayla was born I’ve told her all about you, what a good man you are.”

       “Dayla, what a pretty name.”

       “The day I had her was a day of love for you and me, so I named her Dayla.”

       “I don’t know if I want to ask this, but I have to.  After all these years did you go on with your life?  I would have never expected you to be alone, Liz.”

       “If you’re asking me if I remarried or have a boyfriend, the answer’s no.  I loved you so much!  I could never find anyone to measure up to you.  I kept myself busy with work and Dayla.  I guess I didn’t want there to be room for anything beyond that.”

       “In every dark nasty cell I thought of you, Liz, you kept me driving forward.”

       Liz held Calvin, tears running down her face, as well as, Calvin’s.  “You’re never leaving me again!  Do you hear me?”

“Don’t worry; my tour of duty has been fulfilled.  I don’t plan on going anywhere without you and Dayla.”

       Liz kissed Calvin for a long moment.  “So, what do you plan to do with me now?”

       Calvin smiled at her.  “I’ve had five years to think about that, and lady you are in trouble.”

       Grams walking in saw that the reunion was going well.

       “Grams, why didn’t you call me, or Robin and Lee?”

       “Calvin asked me not to.”

       The shock of what had happened earlier that day flooded back into Liz’s mind, “Oh, God!”  Liz jumped up.  “Calvin, Grams, he’s back!  He tried to kill me and Dayla!”

       Calvin got up quickly turning Liz to face him.  “Who’s back?  Is that what the gun’s for?”

       Grams became alarmed.  “Gun, what gun?”  Grams saw the gun lying on the floor close to the front door.  She walked over carefully picking up the pistol.  “What in God’s name happened today, Liz?”

       Liz went over all the terrifying details with them.  “They still haven’t found him.  The police are going to have a unit patrolling the neighborhood.  I bought the gun for protection.”

       Calvin walked over to his duffle bag rummaging through it.  “I can’t believe this warped bastard tracked you down!”  Calvin pulled out a 44 Caliber.  “I go nowhere without this.  I’ll die before I let him hurt you or Dayla, Liz.”

       Robin’s car pulled into the driveway.  Liz took Calvin’s 44 from him.  “Give me the guns; I don’t want Dayla to see them!”  Liz grabbed the 38 from Grams running upstairs, putting them in the night stand, and then coming back down.  “I don’t need her anymore worried then she already is.”

       Robin knocked on the door, Liz opened it. 

       “After we had ice cream, I took Dayla shopping with me, I hope you don’t mind.”

       “Not at all, come in.”

       Dayla had already run into Grams who was hugging her.  As Liz and Robin stood talking, Dayla looked at Calvin, smiled and walked over to him.  “You look like my Daddy; I have a picture of him.”

       Calvin’s eyes filled with tears.  Liz and Robin grew quiet watching from the door.

       “I a.m. your Daddy.”

       Dayla kissed him on the cheek grabbing his hand.  “See Mama, it’s just like my dreams!”

       Yes, baby, but it’s not a dream anymore.”

       Calvin stroked Dayla’s dark hair then loudly crying; pulled her into his arms.  Everyone in the room cried in the midst of the reunion.

       “You look like me, Daddy!”

       “Yes, I look like you.”

       Liz took Robin over; introducing her to Calvin.  Robin hugged him, “Welcome home.”

       “Thank you.  It’s been a rough five years.”

       “I have to call Lee.  He has to meet you!”

       Liz laughed, “He’s not going anywhere, Robin.”

       Robin giggled, “I can’t wait to tell Lee, he won’t believe it!”

       Robin ran to the phone calling Lee.  She turned as she hung up, “He’s on his way over, and said don’t start the party without him.  I’m going to get us some beer.  What about you, Grams, what do you want to drink?”

       “My spirits are lifted enough.  I’ll stick with a hot cup of tea.”

       Robin left the house headed for the beer store.  Liz walked over; sitting next to Calvin who now held Dayla on his lap.  She laid her head on his shoulder listening to him and Dayla talking.

       That night after the party was over Dayla lay asleep next to Calvin.  Calvin picked her up, “Where do you want me to put her to bed?”

       Liz went over taking Dayla from him.  “How do you expect to carry her with that bad leg?”

       “I’d do anything for her, Liz.”

       Liz took Dayla upstairs into Grandpa’s old room and put her into bed.  When she came out she went over to Calvin and put her arms around him.  “Looks like Dayla and Grams are tucked in for the night.  I’d say its time for you to pay up, Calvin.”

       Calvin grabbed his cane.  “Take me to your bed, beautiful lady.  I’m more than ready to pay.”

Liz led Calvin upstairs to her room.  She ran her hands over him feeling the strength of his body; then started unbuttoning his shirt.  “I never thought after all this time I’d ever get to run my fingers through your hair, Calvin.”

       “I love you, Liz, you’re my world.”

       They stripped off their clothes.  After two hours of touching and lovemaking they lay next to each other, perspiration covering their bodies from the intensity of their coupling.

       Liz rolled over; wrapping her arms around Calvin as sleep slowly took her away.  Calvin lay in the darkness thinking of Liz and Dayla and remembering his thoughts when he had been a prisoner.  He had lived each day not knowing if he would be shot or tortured to death.

       An hour went by, and Calvin was still wide awake.  He had problems sleeping since his return to the states.  The military doctor had prescribed him some strong sleeping pills.  He hadn’t taken them everyday, but tonight his anxieties would not let him rest.

       Calvin slowly released himself from Liz’s grip.  He went to his duffle bag and got out his pills; then went down stairs as quietly as he could not to wake anyone.

       When he reached the bottom of the stair case Calvin heard glass breaking in the kitchen and then the door being opened.  He quickly put himself in an attack position by the kitchen entrance wall.  Calvin knew in his heart it was Liz’s stalker, Freddie McClaine, and he was taking him out or would die trying.  Calvin stood very still listening to the soft foot steps growing nearer to the doorway.

       Suddenly the stalker walked through the doorway and before he got a chance to look around Calvin grabbed him by a throat hold.  The struggle was on as they knocked over tables, breaking and knickknacks.  The moonlight filtered through the living room picture window, letting Calvin catch the reflection of the knife’s blade that the stalker held just in time.  Calvin grabbed his wrist before the stalker could jab him with it.

       Liz appeared at the top of the stairs with the 38 in her hands.  Dayla suddenly stood at the doorway of her Grandpa’s old room.  “Mama, what’s wrong?”

       “Dayla, go back in your room and shut the door!”


       “Now, Dayla!  Do it!”

       Dayla did as her mother asked shutting her door.  Liz raised the gun aiming at the struggling pair below.  She needed a clear shot, she grew frantic.  Finally Calvin stumbled on his bad leg.  Liz could see the stalker clearly in the moonlight; remembering what Lee had said about the gun sight being off to the left, she aimed slightly to the right of his head firing off a shot.

       The stalker fell to the ground.  Calvin got up turning on the overhead light.  He could see brain parts scattered on the wall and floor around the stalker, blood pouring out into a pool around him.  Liz had hit him dead on in the forehead killing him instantly.

       Liz ran down to Calvin.  “Are you alright?  Did he hurt you?”

       Calvin slowly went over to the stalker’s lifeless body.  “Liz, unless you have a strong stomach you had better not come over here.  Go and call the police.”

       Liz went to the phone placing the call with shaky hands and then coming back into the room.  “Calvin, I have to see his face.  I need to know it was him.”

Liz walked over and looked down at the stalker.  She placed her hands over her mouth at the grotesque sight.

       “Is it him, Liz?


       Calvin grabbed Liz leading her toward the kitchen.  Grams stood at the top of the stairs holding Dayla’s hand.  Liz looked up at them.  “Its over, he’s dead, Grams.”

       Grams looked at Liz feeling no remorse for what she had to do.  “You did what you had to, Liz.  I will stay with Dayla in my room while the police get their job done.”

       When the police arrived they took Liz and Calvin’s statements.  Other police officers and the forensic team took pictures of everything before removing the body from the house.

       The sergeant sat at the table with Calvin and Liz.  “We’re sorry we didn’t get him first, Mrs. Richards.  These psychopathic types are unpredictable making them dangerous.”

       Liz knew that from the first encounter with him.  “Sergeant, he said something to me in the grove earlier today about other women he had raped and buried.”

       “Yes, well, it seems he’s been traced to several cases from Kansas to here, we’ll be able to confirm that with DNA samples.  It seems the forensic team has cleaned up the mess pretty good.  If you have any other questions let me know, here’s my card.”

       Liz took the sergeants card.  “I think all my questions have been answered.  I’m just glad it’s over.”

       “We have counselors available if you need to speak to one, Mrs. Richards.”

       Liz glanced at Calvin.  “I have all the mental support I need.”

       The police finally cleared out leaving the house quiet again.  Liz went over and sat on Calvin’s lap.  “What were you doing up anyway?”

       “I couldn’t sleep.”

       “Thank God for it.  We could have all been killed, Calvin.”

       “Where did you learn to shot that pistol so well?”

       “Let’s just say it was one shot I wanted to make.”

       “How about getting away together for a week or two, Dayla can stay with your Grandma.”

       “After all this, I think it would do some good; so, where to?”

       “Remember the Inn we stayed at the night we got married in Savannah, Georgia?”

       “Of course, I always wanted to go back there!”

       Calvin kissed her; looking at her with his icy blue eyes.  “Let’s start over.”

       Four days later Liz and Calvin were packed and ready to leave for Savannah.  Dayla was in Calvin’s arms.  Liz pulled out a necklace with her mother’s ring on it placing it around Dayla’s neck.  “This was my mother’s, your Grandmother’s.  You take care of it while were gone.”

       “It’s pretty Mama!”

       “Yes, baby, and very special like you.”  Liz kissed Dayla; smoothing her hair.

       As Liz and Calvin pulled away from the house, the only thing Liz could think of while looking back was the cross hairs of the gun ending the fear that had came into her life. 

       Dayla stood waving good bye while holding the new puppy Calvin had gotten for her.

       Liz turned back facing the road ahead, smiling and feeling complete once again.



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