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In the Crosshairs of a Mother's Eye

By Rebecca Crawford

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Copyright 2003 Rebecca Crawford





     School started Monday after the required physical training that morning.  Classes lasted from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. everyday, except the weekends.  The first day was spent accumulating class books, the teaching sergeants made their introductions and familiarized the soldiers with what their training would cover.  They let out for lunch break at 11:30 a.m.  Shameca raced toward Liz catching up to her.  “Girl, did you see Sergeant Ramsey?  He’s one fine black man.”

     “Shameca, you know you can’t date an NCO that’s over you.  That’s fraternizing.”

     “No girlfriend, its not that you can’t date them, it’s that you can’t get caught.”

     “Be careful testing those waters.”

     Shameca had that love struck look in her eyes.  “Oh, I will!  I haven’t failed no test yet.”

     Liz walked with Shameca laughing all the way to chow hall.  After lunch they went back and finished up the day.

     Later that evening, Liz returned to her barracks.  Calvin called; the private on duty came knocking at her door to let Liz know he was on the hallway phone for her.   Liz filled Calvin in on the day’s events.  “Do you miss me, Calvin?”

     “More and more every day, did you get your name tags changed on your uniforms?”

     “Like the speed of light.”

     Calvin laughed.  “Now you can carry me with you every day.”

     “How is advanced schooling at Fort Bliss?”

  “Great!  I’m in the military intelligence battalion.  We’ve already doing a lot of war simulation exercises.  I find it exciting and challenging.”

     “It sounds interesting, Calvin.”

     “My scores and performance are high and should allow for placement into a special ops unit.”

     Liz knew that special ops meant this could cause Calvin to deploy into danger zones, but Calvin wanted this.  Liz knew she would support and back him all the way.  “Calvin that’s wonderful!  I knew I married an intelligent man.  When I get closer to graduation I’ll be requesting permanent duty at Fort Bliss.  If you have any connections there see if they can maybe put in a good word for me with the out processing division.”

     “I’m one step ahead of you, baby, I’m already doing that.”

     “Good I hope it works!”

            “Don’t worry your pretty head about it.  I think it’s basically handled, but keep that between us.”

     Liz stood grinning.  “My lips are sealed.”

     “They won’t be when I get a hold of you.”

     “I may make an exception where you’re concerned.”

     “Oh, I’ll make you want to.”

     “Don’t get my temperature up Calvin. You’re too far away right now.”

     “Take a cool shower, baby.  I better get off now.  I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

     “I’ll be waiting, Calvin.”

     They exchanged good byes and hung up.  Liz stood leaning against the hallway wall thinking of Calvin.  Maybe a cool shower would shed some steam..  Liz went to her room grabbing her towel and sweats and heading for the bathroom.

     When she got back to her room Tiffany was there sitting on her bunk with her head down in her hands.  “Hey Tiffany, what’s wrong?”

     Tiffany looked up at Liz her eyes puffy from crying.  “My brother, he’s seventeen now, just got hurt in a jet ski accident.  He’s in intensive care.  They’re not sure if he’s going to make it.  He’s sustained bad head injuries.”

     Liz sat down holding Tiffany.  “Try to stay positive.  Did you get released for emergency leave?”

     “Yes, I’m supposed to be packing right now.  It’s just so hard to believe this is really happening.”

     “Pull yourself together, Tiffany, for your brother’s sake.  Now I’ll help you, let’s get you packed.”

     Liz packed up Tiffany’s bag, while Tiffany was changing into her class ‘A’ uniform.

     “Have you already got a flight booked?”

     “Yes, the company battalion’s officer did it for me.”


     “They gave me a week’s leave of absence.  It’ll sit me back in my schooling, but I could really care less right now.”

     “Tiffany, just hang in there.  I’ll see you when you get back.”

     Liz gave Tiffany a hug.  “I’ll go call a cab for you.”

     Liz went to the barrack’s phone, calling a cab.  She came back and escorted Tiffany to the sidewalk; waiting on the cab to arrive.

     “Thanks, Liz.”

     “You bet.  Try not to worry too much; I’m here if you need me, just call.”


     The cab rolled to a stop in front of them.  Liz gave Tiffany one last hug.  “I’ll be praying for your brother.”

     Tiffany nodded; climbing into the cab.  Liz stood watching as the cab disappeared just like the day Calvin left.

     Shameca came walking up.  “Girl, here you are again staring down the road.  Is this weird or what?”

     Liz turned facing Shameca.  “Yeah, it is, especially with you walking up again.”

     “So what’s going on now?”

     “I’ll tell you all about it on our way back to the barracks.”

     “Damn, girl, here we go again.”

        Liz gave the details to Shameca about Tiffany’s brother.  With such sad news, their hearts felt heavy that night; leaving them little else to talk about.  Liz said a prayer for Tiffany’s brother before falling asleep that night.

     The next three weeks seemed to fly by.  Liz buried herself in her studies during the day enjoying the hands on training of the equipment she was being trained to repair.  Calvin never missed a night calling her, except when she had to pull chow hall duty.  Liz really didn’t care for the smell of the cleaning agents mixing with the aroma of the food; it made her appetite diminish for a few days afterwards.

     Tiffany came back.  Her brother had pulled through and was in stable condition before she returned.  Tiffany had got to talk to him; which brought her much relief, but she was set back a class and no longer was in Liz and Shameca’s group.

     The months of training moved along swiftly, pleasing Liz.  She was ready to be back in Calvin’s arms.  Toward the end of the fourth month of schooling, Shameca and Liz were sitting outside in the break area.

     “Liz, remember how you told me to be careful testin’ the waters?”

     Liz looked up knowing exactly what Shameca was referencing to.  “Yes, I remember.”

     Shameca looked around making sure no one else was in ear shot of their conversation.                        

     I’ve been testin’ them for two months now, and, oh, does it feel good!”

     “Shameca, you mean Sergeant Ramsey?”

     “The one and only.”

     “I hope you’re being discrete.  I would hate it for both of you if you were caught.”

     “Oh, he’s sly, Liz, we usually meet off post in our civilian clothes.”

     “I would have never known, in class he treats you like you barely exist.”

     “I know, pretty good, huh?  We exchange hidden glances.  No one ever has caught that.  Girl, he is so fine!”

     “So is this just something to pass the time or what?”

     “Shoot girl!  I don’t know what we have.  He’s a cool guy, and I like him in every way.  He just seems to hide his feelings.”

     “Why don’t you try the old fashion way, ask him.”

     “Well, I have a greater problem than that right now, Liz.”

     “And what’s that?”

     “I think I’m pregnant.”

     “What!  Are you sure?”

     “Liz, I’m pretty sure.”

     “Okay, so what’s your next move?  You’re going to tell him aren’t you?”  Shameca became very quiet.  “Shameca, Aren’t you?”

  “I don’t know yet.  You have to understand, Liz, I’m from a big family.  Most of my brothers and sisters didn’t even graduate high school, and ended up with bad jobs and low pay.  My mother was so proud of me when I did graduate and join the Army.  She had such high hopes for me, Liz.  I just can’t stand the thought of letting her down.”

     “I think you should tell Sergeant Ramsey, see what he says about it before you make a decision you may regret.”

     “I hope it works out.”

     “One way or another it will.”

     Shameca left that night for her secret rendezvous with Sergeant Ramsey.  Liz talked to Calvin after Shameca left.

     Shameca never returned that night.  She came strolling in the next morning at 6:30 a.m.  Liz was dressing for their routine morning PT workout.  Shameca went to her locker with a grin, just waiting for Liz to ask.

     “I gather by the smile on your face it means good news.”

     “Yes, it does!”


     “We met up last night for dinner and then got a room in town.  He could tell there was somethin’ on my mind, so I told him I thought I might be pregnant.  Liz, he was such a gentleman!  He grabbed me up holding me close.  He was so happy!  It really surprised me.  He suggested I get a pregnancy test, so we went to the drug store and picked one up.  We returned to the hotel room, did the test, and can you believe it was negative?  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I’m goin’ down today to get on sick call to see what’s up.”

     “Things still okay between you two?”

     “Actually, better than ever, I finally was able to see past the barrier he kept up.  We talked a lot last night and he really expressed his feelings about us.”

     “What about when you finish school?”

     “Girl, I’m not thinkin’ about that until I have to.  I’m just gonna let life take its course.”

     “I’m just glad you’re happy.”

     “Me, too, Mama would have kicked me in the seat of my pants!”

     Liz went to PT, met up with Shameca after sick call and then they went to their classes for the day.  That night Shameca slipped off to town as usual.  Liz had just finished her call with Calvin when she heard her stomach grumble.  She set off for chow hall before it closed.  On her way back to the barracks, she kept getting an eerie feeling that someone was following her.  It was dark out; the street lights were spread out causing some areas to be darker than others.  Liz quickly turned around catching a glimpse of someone slipping behind one of the buildings not far behind her.  Liz turned around and started walking at a faster pace.  She felt the presence again and broke into a dead run to the barracks.  Liz leapt into the barracks entrance clearing the steps.  The soldier on duty nearly fell out of his chair behind the guard station desk. 

       “Geez, Private Richards, what are you trying to do?  Scare the crap out of me!”

     Liz stood at the desk trying to catch her breath.  “Sorry, Private Quinn, I just thought someone was following me.”

     Private Quinn got up and hurriedly looked around outside.  “I don’t see anyone.”

     Liz stood with her hands on the desk trying to regain her composure.  “I’m telling you someone was out there.”

     “If there was they’re not anymore, don’t be so paranoid.  It was more than likely another soldier on their way back from chow.”

     Liz thought it out.  “Yeah, you’re probably right.  I’m over reacting, sorry for scaring you.”

     He laughed nervously.  “Hey, no problem, I’m not sleeping anymore.”

     “Good night, Private Quinn.”

     Liz went to her room.  After changing into her night shirt and climbing into bed, she lay there thinking about tonight’s scare.  Maybe it was just a coincidence.  Liz shrugged it off and went to sleep.

     During the next week, every night after chow when she wasn’t walking with someone, it seemed that her imaginary follower was always lurking behind her.  She couldn’t say for sure he was following her, which left her without proof to go to anyone with.  Liz thought of a plan to test the situation.  Tomorrow night she would leave the chow hall building and wait.

 The next day at class, Liz and Shameca sitting across from each other; were testing resistors and capacitors.  “Shameca, if I were to tell you that I thought someone’s been following me the last few weeks, what would you think?”

     “I would think you already have one man.”

     “Shameca, this is for real and it’s kind of freaky.”

     “Girl, are you serious?”


        “I guess I would say that’s strange.  Maybe it’s just a soldier with a crush.”

     “No, Shameca, I get an eerie feeling about this.”

     “Can you prove it?”

     “No, not yet, but I’m going to check it out tonight.”

     “You’re crazy!  Not me, no way.  This black girl ain’t into doin’ nothin’ like that.  You’re spookin’ me, girl.”

     Liz saw the fright in Shameca’s eyes,  “Hopefully, its nothing.”

     “Liz, surely nobody would pull some crazy shit on the base.”

     “Let’s hope you’re right, Shameca.”

     Liz dropped the conversation; continuing her testing.  Deep inside she had no idea what to expect tonight.

     That evening before Liz went to the chow hall she grabbed her small travel size can of hairspray, tucking it into the pocket of her BDU uniform just in case.

     She went to the chow hall trying to act as normal as possible.  The anxiety she felt didn’t help her appetite, but she ordered the normal portions in case this person was watching.  Liz started wondering maybe she was blowing this out of proportion, if so, she would feel like an idiot.

     Liz left the chow hall.  After she cleared the exit door she darted behind the back of the building in the dark waiting.  Twenty minutes went by and she had seen nothing more than your normal scene.  Liz let out her breath thinking how the mind can play tricks on you.  Once the feeling of sheer stupidity left her she headed back, but thought a walk around the PT field might do her some good in clearing her mind.

     The tension eased as she approached the field, it was dark but the distant street lights gave it a soothing glow.  Liz had just cleared the shrubs that surrounded the field.  She strolled along thinking of her new husband and the future that lay ahead for them.  Before she realize what was even happening an arm encircled her neck making it hard for her to breath, and a long blade glistened in her eye as she felt the coolness of the metal against her jugular vein.  The voice was low and raspy.  “Don’t move or try to scream, unless you want me to split you from ear to ear.”

     Liz’s heart pounded hard against her chest as the fear gripped her.  “What do you want?”

     “You bitch; I want you, all of you.”

     “Please, just let me go!”

     “Oh, how your cries for release make my dick hard.”

     Liz knew she was in no position to resist him, so she would do as he requested.  “So what, are you going to rape me?”

     “That’s just the start of what I’m going to do to you, Liz.”

     “How do you know my name?”

     “I know everything about you, everything.”

     The attacker stepped backwards pulling her with him into the shrubs.  “You prance around the base with your long legs enticing us men, making us want to fuck you.”

     Liz just let him talk without saying a word.  Her mind was frantically thinking of what to do.  She knew if she didn’t think of something fast he would rape and murder her getting away with it.  She remembered the hairspray in her BDU pocket.  As he drug her back, Liz pleaded with him for her life, knowing it would keep his mind on his erection.  She slowly reached down grabbing the hairspray from her pocket.  It was small enough to fit in the palm of her hand.  She waited for the right moment.

     He made Liz lay down on the cool ground.  She kept her hand at her side out of his view.  He straddled her waving the knife close to her face.  “Keep quiet, cunt.”

     He the ripped her BDU top open and used the knife to cut her t-shirt open and bra off, exposing her breasts.  His breath quickened as he reached for her pants.  When he shifted his eyes to look around the field one last time, Liz lifted the can spraying him in the eyes.

     He fell off of her; rolling around on the ground, “You fucking bitch!”

    At that moment, a soldier hearing the ruckus; ran to the scrubs in that direction of the noise.  He saw Liz’s condition and the knife the man still held.  He jumped on the bastard beating repeatedly at his face.  He grabbed the knife and turning to Liz yelled, “Go get help!”

     Liz got up, closing her top and holding it she ran.  She came upon two soldiers.  “Help, there’s a man back there, he tried to rape me!  Another soldier is trying to keep him pinned down!”

     By the looks of Liz’s uniform they knew it was true.  One soldier ran to call the base military police (MP), while the other stayed with Liz.  “Are you alright?  Are you hurt?”

     “No, but that soldier needs some help in restraining that crazy lunatic!”

     “You stay here until the MP’s arrive.”

     Liz was mentally in shock, “Okay.”

     The soldier ran over to the scene to help.  It wasn’t long before the MP’s had the scene surrounded.  They took the abductor into custody.  When he walked past Liz in chains and shackles; he twisted his head toward her.  Liz could see the facial contusions and bruises that the soldier gave him.  “I’m not through with you bitch!”

     The base MP’s brought her a blanket to wrap herself in.  “Private Richards we need you to come with us so we can get your statement.  Do you want to see a doctor first?”

     “No, I, uh, I’m okay.”

     Liz got into the MP vehicle along with the soldiers who witnessed the event and was taken in.  She gave the investigative MP her full report, from the time she felt that someone was following her until now.

   “Why didn’t you come to us sooner, Private Richards?”

     “Because I didn’t have any real proof that the guy was stalking me, and you can’t arrest people with just an assumption.”

 The MP Sergeant looked at Liz.  “I’m really sorry this happened to you, but I can assure you that attempted rape and assault with a deadly weapon charges will put this boy away in Leavenworth for two to ten years.

     “There’s one thing I would like to ask?”

     “Go ahead, Private Richards.”

     “He said my name, he said he knew everything about me, how is that?”

     “He worked in our records division at the in processing building.”

     Chills went up Liz’s spine.  Just the thought of this crazy maniac knowing all her personal information made her sick.

     “We contacted your husband’s commander; they’re allowing him a few days leave time to fly down to be with you.”

     Liz’s eyes filled with tears as the realities of what had happened consumed her.  “Thank you, sergeant.”

     “You better thank yourself.  If you wouldn’t have had the hair spray, you might be dead right now.”

     Liz was taken back to her barracks accompanied inside by an MP.  “You’re safe now Private Richards.” The MP handed Liz his card, "If you think you may need counseling to deal with this trauma, just contact our office.”

     “Thank you, but I think I’ll be alright.”

 That night Shameca tried her best to support and comfort Liz.  Shameca couldn’t believe it had happened.  She had always felt safe on the base.  It made them both realize that you’re never really safe anywhere you go.

     The next day Calvin arrived.  It was Friday and Liz was given a day off from school to rest and regroup.  Calvin approached her; wrapping his arms around her.  “Liz, why didn’t you tell me something was going on?”

     “I wasn’t really sure there was anything going on until I saw the blade at my neck.”

     “Thank God you’re safe!  You could have been killed!  From this point on I’m going to teach you fighting techniques so you’ll be better equipped.”

     “Right now all I care about is getting a room and spending the weekend with you holding me.”

     “Whatever you want, baby.  I do have a bit of news that might cheer you up.  My commander pulled some strings and has requested that your permanent duty station be Fort Bliss, so we can be together.”

     “Calvin, that’s great!  I really need that news right now.”

     “I have already put us on the base housing list, so hopefully by the time you get there we’ll have our own place.”

     Liz kissed Calvin enjoying the warmth of his lips, feeling safe in his arms.  “We had better get going and get a room for the weekend.”

     They left the base in a cab headed for Savannah.




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