Cotter’s nightly dream of his father started as usual.
“We’re learning a lot about surgery and medicine in this war, Jacob. We’ll pass on our skills when we return to Yale.” Dr. Cotter took off his blood-stained operating gown.
“I hope the war ends soon father.” Jacob washed up and put on a clean gown.
“The killing and maiming is man’s folly. Are you still planning to join Charles Garrison in Texas after you finish your MD degree?”
“Good. The quality of medicine in our developing states and their towns is years behind the times.” The elder Cotter donned a new white gown. “Let’s get back to work.”
A fog-like mist clouded the scene and now a roar of coalesced gunfire punctuated with cannon booms emerged. Cotter could smell the cordite. Several Confederate horsemen mustered the surgical teams outside their operating tents.
“Which ones are the doctors?” A gruff voiced mounted soldier waved his pistol in the air.
The three surgeons moved forward identifying themselves.
“Okay. Shoot them. You kill one of them, you kill a hundred Yankees.” The man shot the doctor to the right of Cotter’s father and then fired two shots into Dr. Cotter’s chest. Cotter ran to his father as the man took aim at him, too.
“No time left for the others. We have to move.” The other Confederate assassin motioned the mounted rebels away.
“Father, father. Oh God no.” Cotter shouted in his sleep and woke up with a pounding heart.
Cotter looked around his room. It was the dream again. It occurred whenever thoughts of his father were near. Dr. Randall’s recollections must have triggered it. He fell back on his sweat-soaked pillow.
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