See No Evil, Feel No Evil

By:

Wendy

w-m-b@worldnet.att.net

Murph

  Big_Tmurph52@yahoo.com

and

Dakota

dakota@lindbergcomputer.com

Assistant District Attorney Alex Cahill sat at her desk rummaging through papers and files. She stopped momentarily to glance at her watch. “Just 45 minutes,” she thought. She was scheduled to appear in district court in 45 minutes for two arraignments. She thought they would go smoothly after which she planned to leave work for the day.

She and her fiancée, Texas Ranger Cordell Walker, were spending more and more time together after work. Rarely now did they eat dinner alone. But, Alex always got excited about meeting her love for a quiet dinner at home. 

Although they made it a practice to cook dinner together, Alex planned to get to her apartment early to begin preparing the salad. “That,” she thought, “would give us more quiet time together.”

Alex glanced again at her watch, sighing that only five more minutes had passed.  The sudden ringing of her phone interrupted her thoughts. She was startled at first, but recovered quickly to pick up the receiver. “Alex Cahill,” she said.

The voice on the other end was that of Texas Ranger James Trivette. Alex could tell there was a lot of commotion in the background. She heard sirens and talking.  Trivette tried to speak loud enough for Alex to hear him, but the noise in the background muffled his voice.

“What?” Alex shouted in the phone. “Jimmy, is that you?”

Trivette shouted louder, but Alex could only understand a few words.  “Walker………explosion…….Methodist Hospital ……..hurry.”

Alex needed no more details. She knew something happened - something bad happened to Walker. She quickly gathered the files on her desk and darted out of her office. She stopped by her supervisor’s office long enough to hand off the files and to explain where she was going. Her supervisor accepted the files telling Alex to keep him informed about the situation. She smiled, turned around and ran out of the office.

On her way to the hospital, Alex grabbed her cell phone. She dialed Jimmy’s number. It was busy. Two blocks later, she tried again. And again, it was busy.  “Dispatch,” she thought, “would know what happened.”

She dialed the Ranger Dispatch. “Texas Rangers,” a voice said.

“This is Assistant District Attorney Alex Cahill. I heard there was an explosion involving some Rangers. Can you tell me what happened?”

“Alex?” the voice responded. “This is Nancy.”

“Nancy,” Alex responded. “What happened? How’s Walker?”

“We received a call from Ranger Trivette for backup. The next call we got was Ranger Trivette indicating that an officer was down. We don’t know the details yet, but every available law enforcement officer was dispatched.”

Alex took a deep breath. “Any details about Walker?” she added. 

“All I know is that the EMT’s are taking him to Methodist Hospital.”

“Thanks, Nancy.” Alex said as she disconnected the call and re-dialed Trivette’s number. Still busy. In frustration, Alex threw her phone on the passenger seat and pushed down on the gas pedal. In what seemed like an eternity, she finally saw Methodist Hospital. She pulled up to the lot near the emergency entrance and darted in.

Alex ran to the emergency waiting room, but no sign of Trivette. She turned around and ran to the nurse’s desk. “Cordell Walker,” she blurted out. “Texas Ranger Cordell Walker, where did they take him?”

Alex fumbled around trying to locate Trivette as the nurse looked at her computer screen. “I show him in Trauma Room 4. The waiting area for the trauma rooms is down this hall. Turn right at the end and go straight. You can’t miss it.”

“Thanks,” Alex said as she darted down the hall. Once she turned right, she could see Trivette pacing the floor. “Jimmy!” Alex shouted.

Trivette turned to see Alex running toward him. They exchanged a quick hug before Alex pulled away. “Walker? How’s Walker?”

“We’re not sure yet,” Trivette responded. “I mean….he’s going to make it.  He was conscious the whole way in…it’s just…”

“Just what, Jimmy” Alex jumped on his last words. 

“We don’t know what kind of damage was done to his eyes,” Trivette started to look downward; away from Alex’s eyes.

“His eyes?” she paused. What happened, Jimmy?” Alex moved her head to regain eye contact.

Trivette fumbled with his hands as he slowly looked up. “Well,” he started. “We got a tip that this slime Marco Pearson was set up in the warehouse district.”

Trivette took a breath and proceeded, “We went to check it out. When we got there, I called for backup.”

Alex looked attentive, but nervous.

Trivette gathered his thoughts; “Walker and I went to get a closer look. We checked the windows and saw nothing.”

Alex’s apprehension was building. “And?” she responded.

“Well,” Trivette continued. “Since we saw no movement inside, we decided to take a peek. Just as I was opening the door, Walker seemed to react to something. He pushed me aside and then there was an explosion. It was obviously a set up, Alex.”

Alex glanced downward offering no response. 

“Alex,” Trivette looked right at her. “Alex, I’m sorry.”

Alex gave Trivette a painful, but heartfelt smile. “It’s not your fault, Jimmy.”

“Yeah, well, it doesn’t make me stop wishing I was in there instead of Walker,” he responded as he began to pace again. 

Alex smiled, then turned her head toward the waiting area. She crossed her arms and started her own pacing pattern. Trivette inched away; across from Alex carefully making sure he never interfered with her path. They paced and paced in unison stopping periodically to glance at a notice or picture on the wall. They froze for a moment when a doctor finally entered the waiting area.

“Alex Cahill?” he asked.

Those words cued Alex and Jimmy to rush over to the doctor stopping when they were about a foot apart.

“I’m Dr. Phillips. Ranger Walker said you’d be here,” the doctor said. 

“How is he, doctor?” Alex didn’t miss a beat.

“Well, we have given him a sedative. That should keep him calm and quiet…at least for awhile.”

Knowing that wasn’t what Alex or Trivette was waiting to hear, he continued.  “Ranger Walker received some bruises and cuts. He sustained flash burns to the area around and including his eyes.”

“Flash burns?” Trivette asked.

“Yeah, we have bandaged his eyes. I am hoping they will heal naturally. They need to remain covered for at least two weeks. After that, well we may need to re-evaluate the situation. If his vision doesn’t return, we may be able to restore some vision through a series of progressive surgeries.”

“Some vision?” Alex interrupted.

“It’s hard to tell what kind of damage has occurred here. It could be temporary.  After two weeks, his vision may be fine.”

“Or?” It was Jimmy’s turn to interrupt.

“Or we may be able to restore some vision.” The doctor paused, took a deep breath and continued, “Or, he may be permanently blind.”

Alex and Trivette exchanged worried glances. The doctor quickly interjected, “Look, it is way too early to start drawing to any conclusion here. Until then, we are faced with a greater challenge…”

Alex broke her glance at Trivette and looked directly at Dr. Phillips, “What else?” she asked.

“Well,” he started. “This is not an easy adjustment for any patient. Ranger Walker needs to remain calm and positive. He doesn’t know yet that he could be permanently blind.”

Alex and Trivette looked at each other again. Dr. Phillips continued, “I don’t know what Ranger Walker is like, but this is an incredibly scary thing to face.”

Alex and Trivette didn’t move. Alex took a deep breath. “What are the chances?”

Dr. Phillips responded, “We really don’t know. It was apparent that his eyes suffered a tremendous trauma, but we cannot evaluate anything until his eyes have a chance to begin to heal from the burns.”

Alex and Trivette hung onto every word. “Ranger Walker should remain here for a day or two. If everything else seems fine, we may need to admit him in a rehab center or, at minimum, get him some home health help.”

“No need,” Alex responded. “I’ll take time off from work.”

“This is not like taking care of someone with the flu, Ms. Cahill. There is a lot physical and emotional care required. The changing of bandages is the minor part of his care. You do need to play a huge part, but it is a lot to handle.”

“I can handle it, doctor,” Alex responded.

Trivette chimed in; “I’m in too!”

“Well, looks like Ranger Walker has an excellent support system,” Dr. Phillips smiled. “That helps a lot. But, I’m still not sure this would be the right thing to do.”

There was a moment of silence before Dr. Phillips began again. “Well, if you want to help right now…”

Alex interrupted, “Yes! What?”

“Then Ranger Walker should not be alone when he awakens.”

“Got it covered, Doc. We’ll take shifts, Alex.”

Alex nodded at Trivette. She turned toward the doctor; “Can we see him now?”

“Absolutely.” Dr. Phillips began to lead them to Walker’s room. He stopped after a few steps, turned to them to once again offer more guidance, “I really do need to emphasize how difficult it is helping someone who is facing the possibility of a lifetime with blindness. He may react in ways that may surprise, shock, and even hurt you. It may be difficult for Ranger Walker to adjust to the amount of help he will need. He may become stubborn. He will need your patience more than you know. Bear with him, and I think you will get through this.” 

Trivette tried to add some humor for Alex, “Walker? Stubborn? Nah!”

Alex ignored his attempt. “Okay,” she responded. “We understand.”

“Well,” Dr. Phillips added. “Just remember, you both have help here when you need it.”

“Got it, Doc, and thanks.” Trivette said. 

The three of them began walking again.

********

Alex glanced at the window. The rising sun began to peek through a small space separating the drapes. Trivette tried to take over a shift, but Alex wouldn’t budge.  She needed to be with Walker as much as Walker needed to know she was there when he awakened. 

She had sat there the entire night, not once looking away from Walker. She kept his hand firmly in hers, periodically stroking his arm, then his beard. His face was bruised and swollen, and thick, white bandages covered his eyes and circled his head. She finally rested her head on his shoulder. “Walker,” she whispered, “I love you so much.”

“Is this what I need to do in order to wake up next to you?” Walker whispered back.

Alex jumped up, “Walker!”

“Hi,” he responded.

Tears began to fill Alex’s eyes, “Hi yourself!”

Walker's hands went to touch his face, where he felt the bandages. “So when does this stuff come off? Walker questioned. “I want to see you!”

“Walker?” Alex began. “Do you remember what happened?”

“Yeah,” Walker responded. “We opened a door, and I saw a flash.”

Alex continued, “Anything else?”

“No...just everything went black...then I remember the ride in the ambulance...and thinking about you."

“Me?”

“Yeah, worrying about you worrying about me and….”

“And?”

Walker hesitated at first, then added, “…and how much you mean to me.”

Alex leaned over to carefully place her hand on a part of his face that wasn’t bruised. She placed her lips over his and began a long, passionate kiss.

After Alex leaned back, Walker whispered, “I hope that is part of doctor’s orders…”

Alex smiled, “Absolutely!” She placed her lips a second time on Walker’s. Both enjoyed the increasing passion that the kiss brought. Alex moved her head to once again to reclaim its place on Walker’s shoulder. 

Walker broke their silence.  “Alex?”

“Yeah?” she replied.

“When do I get to see you?”

“Well,” she hesitated. “We hope in about two weeks.”

“Two weeks?” Walker asked. “Hope?” he added.

Alex could feel his body grow tense. She sat up and began to stroke his beard. “Your eyes suffered flash burns from the explosion.”

Walker jerked his head to avoid Alex’s hand.

She pulled her hand back. “We’re hoping your vision will be fine after the two weeks.”

The air seemed chilled. Walker pulled himself up to a sitting position. His voice increased in strength. “And if not?”

Walker and Alex heard a knock at the door. Walker remained still. Alex turned toward the door to see Trivette walk in.

“Thought I’d better knock,” Trivette joked. “Didn’t know how I’d find you two.”

Alex gave Trivette a serious look. Trivette nodded as if he understood things were growing difficult. 

Sensing Alex and Trivette were communicating to one another about him, Walker broke the silence. “If you two would rather talk alone…”

“What?” a confused Trivette answered. “No, man.”

“Fine,” Walker’s voice remained cold. “Then would somebody tell me what happens in two weeks if I can’t see?”

“Walker…” Alex began.

“Don’t soften it, Alex,” his voice stung her. “Just tell me.” 

“Hey, Walker…” Trivette tried to help. “If you can’t see after two weeks, doesn’t mean you won’t. Doc says we have some options.”

“And just what are OUR options, Trivette?” he asked.

“Surgery,” Alex stepped in. She tried to get close to Walker by placing her hand over his.

Trivette’s voice carried from a different part of the room, “Doc says surgery could restore some of your vision.”

“Could?” Walker responded. Both Alex and Trivette noticed Walker’s attention as he tilted his head to the left. “Where are you now Trivette? Still moving?” he snapped. 

“What?” Trivette replied. “Just finding a comfortable place to sit.”

Walker kept his head still, his voice cold, “And are you comfortable too, Alex?”

“Walker,” Alex responded lovingly. She placed her hand on Walker’s beard, but he jerked his head away. 

“If you don’t mind,” he added, “I think I want to be alone.”

“Walker,” Alex continued. “Let me get the doctor. He’ll explain things better.”

“What? That I’m blind?” Walker responded. “I think I understand.”

Recalling the words of warning, Alex planted herself on the chair next to Walker.  “Well, then understand this, Cordell Walker, I’m staying right here.”

Alex’s resistance stunned Walker. But he was not to be topped. “Fine,” Walker added. “Think I’ll try sleeping. Stay if you want. I really don’t care.”

********

Alex remained still for several hours while Walker slept. She noticed his breathing grew heavier and heavier. He began to turn from side to side and suddenly jolted up. “Alex…..Alex,” he shouted. “Are you here?”

Alex jumped to his side, placing a hand on each shoulder. “Darling,” she said, “I’m here, I’m here.” She lowered to voice to a calming whisper, “Shhhh! It’s okay. I’m here.”

Walker tried to catch his breath. “I dreamed you left me. I couldn’t find you. I looked everywhere for you. I just wandered in the dark, but couldn’t find you.”

Alex sat down on the bed as Walker pulled himself up. She placed her hand softly on his face and began to stroke his beard. “I’m right here, Walker. And, I not going anywhere.” Alex was relieved when Walker accepted this gesture with calmness. She drew herself closer to Walker. “You can’t get rid of me that easy, Cowboy!” she whispered.

“Then you’ll stay?” Walker asked.

“Forever,” she responded. 

Walker raised his hand; moving it from side to side until he found Alex’s face. He slid his hand across her cheek to assure himself it really was her. Not knowing what to expect, Alex held her breath as she placed her hand behind Walker’s head.  She felt no resistance as she gently guided his head on her shoulder. As Walker’s head rested, she continued to stroke his beard. Walker added, “Forever?” 

Alex smiled, “Forever.” She closed her eyes as tears began to trickle down her cheeks.

********

Walker and Alex had been at the ranch for a couple of days. At first they were inseparable, enjoying the closeness of time alone. But soon, each began to respond to one another with guarded words and actions. Walker felt like a stranger in his own home. He felt like a bigger stranger in his own mind. Alex struggled to help guide him and make sure nothing was in his way. She fumbled several times trying to decide what Walker needed to do by himself and what was acceptable for her to help him or do for him. They continued to try to work together. But it seemed the harder they tried, the more difficult things got. 

There was more silence than usual during breakfast. Walker left most of his food untouched. After breakfast, Walker went through the usual ritual of thanking Alex. 

Clearing the table, Alex leaned over and kissed Walker on the lips. “Anytime, Cowboy!” But, she felt Walker pulling away. 

“Alex,” Walker began.

“What is it, darling?” an apprehensive Alex responded.

“Ever think what it would be like to be married to a blind man?”

“I don’t think we need to talk about this right now. We still have over a week…”

Walker interrupted, “Come on, Alex. Just answer me. Ever think about what it would be like married to a blind man?”

“No,” the attorney in her replied. “I only dream of what it would be like being married to you.”

“Well, I think about it, Alex. I think about it all the time.”

Alex tried to lighten up the moment by making a joke, “You think about what it would be like married to a blind man?” She wished she could take back her words when she saw despair on Walker’s face. Alex knelt beside Walker, “Honey,” she began, “I don’t think about it because it doesn’t matter to me. I love you.”

“Well, it matters to me,” Walker stood and began to feel his way out of the dining room.

“I don’t understand, Walker.” Alex followed him. “Would it matter to you if I were blind?”

“Oh course not,” he responded. “But this is different.”

“Why?”

“It just is, Alex.” 

Alex tried to give herself some levity by recalling Jimmy’s reaction in the hospital.  “Walker? Stubborn? Nah!” she thought. But her attempt quickly dissipated. She tensed up watching Walker move with certain uneasiness.  

Walker took a few more steps and a huge breath. “I think…for now…we should call off the engagement.”

“What?” a confused Alex froze.  

“Look, Alex,” Walker continued. “I appreciate all your help here. I’m doing better.  I really am. But, I see things clearly now, even for a blind man.”

“What is it you see, Walker? Two people, who could find happiness together, but choose to be miserable apart? Because that’s what I see.”

“No, I see an incredibly beautiful woman free to find someone who is complete, who wouldn’t keep her trapped in his dark world.”

“We don’t know anything for sure, Walker!” Alex pleaded. “And even, if you are blind, it wouldn’t…”

“Don’t say it, Alex, because it does matter,” snapped Walker. “It matters to me.”

When Alex remained silent, Walker continued, “Accept it, Alex. I’m blind, and I don’t want you around.”

“Look,” Alex offered a compromise, “why don’t I just give you some space right now? I’ll go do the dishes. Then we can talk.”

“I don’t want to talk, Alex. Fact is I'm blind. I’m different. My life is different.”  Walker’s voice became louder, “And, I don't want you around.”   

“Walker?” Alex interrupted.

Walker’s voice softened. “Really, Alex. Leave. I’m fine here. So just leave now!”

“Wait!” Alex began.

With this response, Walker bent down searching for something; anything. His hand located a cup on an end table. He picked it up and threw it across the room; in a direction he knew was opposite of where Alex stood. “Just leave,” Walker demanded.

“Let me just clean this up,” Alex begged.

“Alex,” Walker snapped back, “leave it alone. Just get out of here.”

Not wanting to upset Walker any further, Alex scrambled to find her purse and headed toward the door. She struggled with her next move; not wanting to leave.  She turned around to see Walker bowing his head. Alex said, “You’ll call if you need anything?”

“Yeah,” a broken Walker responded. “I’ll call if I need anything.”

From inside the house, Walker listened to Alex's footsteps echoing on the front porch. “I should stop her,” he thought. “I don’t know if she knows how much I love her.” His bandages absorbed the tears that began to build as he felt his heart collapse within his chest. He managed to find a spot in front of the fireplace. This place, that was always an entrance to peace and harmony, now opened up to his dark, cold, lonely world. He knelt down. “Alex,” he whispered, “Alex, I love you….” But soon his voice grew loud and deep. “Damn it!” he shouted. “Damn everything!”

Alex sat her in car crying. She stared at the house wanting to barge in and demand that Walker listen to reason. But she also knew he was not ready to talk.

She decided she would not leave, she would remain in her car in case Walker needed something. As she sat there staring at the house, she heard the call of a large bird circling above. She looked up to see a huge white eagle overhead. The eagle had broken her concentration momentarily, but she quickly returned to staring at the house. Yet, the eagle persisted to fly over her.

“Annoying white eagle,” she thought. But suddenly, Alex had a spark in her eyes.  She glanced once more over at the house, looked at her watch, and then started her car. Within moments, the ranch was no longer in view.

In the house, Walker heard Alex’s car drive off.  He clenched his fists and began to toss whatever was in his way. “She’s gone,” he thought. “She’s gone for good.”  Walker sighed and just sat alone as his dark world seemed to get darker and very cold. He had felt alone before; when his parents died, when Ellen died, when Uncle Ray died. But this emptiness delivered a sharper pain that his heart had ever felt. He was defeated. He was lost. He was alone.

Several hours passed. Walker remained silent and still.

********

As Alex and White Eagle approached the ranch, White Eagle asked Alex to stop the car. “I will walk the rest of the way, my dear,” he said.

He got out of the car and turned to Alex. “You showed great strength to seek me, Ms. Cahill. The spirits see clear the love you have for Washo and are very pleased.  But a warrior on guard has clouded trust. Washo needs to feel he has summoned me.”

Alex smiled at White Eagle, “Thank you, White Eagle.”

As White Eagle closed the car door behind him, he turned once more to Alex, “Return to your office and don’t worry about Washo. His mind is filled with clouds, but his heart is clear and strong. And, the spirits are with him. ”

Alex gave White Eagle one last smile as she drove off.

********

White Eagle approached the ranch. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs leading to the porch. He looked up at the sky, raised his arms and began offering a prayer to the spirits. When he was done, he proceeded up the stairs and knocked on the door. “Washo!” he said. “Washo, it is White Eagle.”

When no sound came from inside the house, White Eagle opened the door and walked slowly in. He looked around to see papers on the floor and a chair knocked over. Once again he called out, “Washo, it is White Eagle.”

White Eagle turned to see Walker sitting on the floor beside a turned over end table. He sat in silence as White Eagle moved closer.

“You have summoned me, Washo. The spirits tell me you feel lost.  But, you can never be lost when the spirits are with you.”

“I am lost,” Walker finally broke his silence.

“Why do you feel that, Washo?”

“Just look at me, White Eagle. I am a man, a Texas Ranger who seeks justice.  Now, I cannot see the injustices to fight.” Walker took a deep breath. “I…I am man who has found true love in life. But, I cannot offer love as a whole man. I cannot let Alex be with a…broken man. I appreciate your concern, White Eagle, but I do not feel the strength of the spirits.”

“I know,” White Eagle replied as he bent down to reach for Walker’s hand. “And that is okay, Washo.” He placed his hand on top of Walker’s hand and soon took a firm grip of it. “Come with me, Washo,” he added as he began to pull Walker up off the floor.

Not wanting to show disrespect to his spiritual leader, Walker stood up. “Where are we going, White Eagle?” Walker asked with hesitation in his voice. “I really don’t want to go anywhere.”

“That is okay, Washo. But you will come. You will come with me to see the light.” White Eagle led Walker out the door.

********

White Eagle, with Walker holding onto his arm, walked further and further away from the house. And, Walker seemed more and more apprehensive with each step.

“I don’t know where we are going, White Eagle,” Walker exclaimed after they had walked for quite awhile.

“Washo, which way did we head once we left the porch?”

“To the left,” Walker responded.

“Then which way are we walking?”

“South.”

“And, what is south?”

“There is a stream about a quarter of a mile.”

They continued to walk. Periodically, they would stop to listen to the sounds of rustling from animals darting among the leaves. Walker would stand there tilting his head a little to the side. 

“Listen to the sounds, Washo.” White Eagle advised. “Be with the sounds.”

Once the sounds faded, White Eagle would begin their walk again.

“And, how long have we been walking, Washo?”

“Maybe five-ten minutes.” Walker froze. “Hey wait!” 

White Eagle could sense energy entering Walker’s body. “What is it?” White Eagle asked.

“Do you hear that?” Walker replied.

“What do you hear, Washo?”

“I hear the stream; the water moving over the rocks. We are close to the stream!”

“Yes we are, Washo. Now, we need to find a place to sit.”

As White Eagle led Walker to his left, Walker stopped suddenly. “There’s a tree to our right, a huge native elm tree, right?”

“How do you know, Washo?”

“I can hear the leaves talking to each other. And, I can feel the broken light from the sun filtering through the leaves. It feels different on my face.”

“Let’s stop here for a moment, Washo.” 

Walker stopped but remained tense and alert; absorbing all the different sounds surrounding him.

“I’m going to turn you around a few times, Washo,” and just as he finished his sentence, he spun Walker around three times. When he was done, he let go of Walker’s arm and took several steps away from him.

Walker just stood there frozen. White Eagle watched as his shoulders began to relax. 

Walker pointed toward his back and said, “The stream is back there…I can hear it.”

“Where is the tree, Washo?”

Walker’s head swayed back and forth only for a moment before he pointed toward his right. “It’s over there, right?”

“And, where am I, Washo?”

Walker pointed straight at White Eagle. 

“How far away am I, Washo?”

Walker stood still for a moment before saying, “About ten feet away. Is that right?”

“That is right, Washo. Now walk to me.”

Walker started to step very slowly in White Eagle’s direction. After each step he would stop for a moment; his head tilting from one side to the other while he assessed the situation. After taking a third step, Walker stopped again to listen, smell and feel. “There is a log right in front of me, isn’t there?” Walker questioned White Eagle.

“How do you know that, Washo?”

“I can feel it right in front of me.”

“Then you must check, Washo.”

Walker bent down and, after a few missed attempts, placed his right hand directly on the fallen log. He kept his hand on the log and carefully stepped over it, then proceeded to walk toward White Eagle. He stopped about six inches in front White Eagle.

White Eagle placed his hand on Walker’s shoulder and said, “Washo, you see things very clearly. Let us now make a fire. We shall both gather wood for the fire.”

Walker turned back toward the log. As he carefully took a step, he would listen to the noises from the ground. As he stepped on a branch, he could feel it beneath his shoe. He bent down and picked it up, then took another step. Before long, Walker had his arms full of branches and twigs. He stopped for a moment to regain his sense of presence before returning to the area where he had left White Eagle. White Eagle soon joined Walker carrying some branches of his own. 

“That is fine, Washo!” White Eagle exclaimed. “Let us place everything here. You can build the campfire.”

Walker bent down and first took inventory with his hands of the branches and twigs the men had gathered. Without a hesitation, he began to rearrange the wood in the structure that would support a campfire. White Eagle placed rocks around Walker’s structure to better confine the campfire. 

“Washo, sit facing the stream.” 

Walker stood and listened for a moment before moving to his left. He bent down to touch the ground, then sat with his legs crossed in front of him. White Eagle handed Walker a bandana. Walker rolled it up, placed it across his forehead and tied it behind him. Once Walker was situated, White Eagle lit the fire. He sat to the right of Walker and began chanting.

********

Just as White Eagle suggested, Alex went to her office. She felt the responsibility to follow up on the cases that had been disbursed among her co-workers. As soon as she stepped off the elevator, she all but bumped into Trivette.

“Alex,” a confused Trivette said. “What….where’s Walker?”

“It’s okay, Jimmy,” Alex smiled. “White Eagle is with him. Things were not going well. I thought maybe White Eagle may help him.” 

“Good idea! He’s always been a help to Walker.” Jimmy’s voice of concern felt comforting to Alex. “What happened?” he added.

“I don’t know, Jimmy. One minute he seems fine, the next minute he gets angry, then he seems lost and then we start all over again. I tried to help, but…”

“This is just what the doctor told us, Alex.” Trivette interrupted. “It’s a normal reaction.”

“I know,” Alex responded. “But, sometimes I feel so helpless. I don’t know when to help him or let him stumble. And…” Alex interrupted her sentence with a deep breath.

“Well,” she continued as she turned away. “I need to check on some cases.”

Trivette grabbed her arm to stop her from leaving. “Hey, hold on a sec. And what?” he responded.

“Nothing, Jimmy.” Alex remained facing away from Trivette.  

“Alex…” Jimmy continued.

With tears building in her eyes, Alex turned to face Trivette. “And, he said he wanted to call off the engagement.”

Trivette offered Alex a smile that indicated support and understanding. “He don’t mean it, Alex. He’s just hurt - confused right now.”

“I know,” Alex tried to break a smile, but they both new it was only a disguise of the pain and hurt that was building inside of her.

“Let me bring you up to date on the explosion,” Jimmy offered as a diversion.

“Okay,” Alex replied as she wiped away her tears and began to follow Jimmy into the Rangers’ office.  When she entered, she froze for a moment to stare a Walker’s empty desk. Sensing her drift of thoughts, Jimmy immediately broke the silence.  “We were able to trace the tip we got.”

Alex’s eyes drifted from Walker’s desk. She struggled, but managed to focus both eyes and thoughts on Trivette. “And?” she asked.

“It came from a cell phone number registered to a Sylvia Bennett.”

“Who’s that?” Alex inquired.

“Better question is who’s her brother,” Trivette replied.

“Okay, Jimmy, who’s her brother?”

“Well, her brother is Peter Silvers. He did some time for dealing hands guns, mostly small stuff.”

Alex looked puzzled. “But get this,” Trivette continued. “Silvers served in the same cell block, at the same time as Marco Pearson.”

“You think Silvers help set you guys up for Pearson.”

“That’s what I’m thinking, Alex.” Trivette responded.

“So if Silvers helped Pearson set you guys up, why use his name?”

“Well, Trivette,” continued. “Walker and I led a major bust about 10 years ago.”

“I remember,” Alex interrupted. “It was a good bust. You guys recovered enough arms for a small war.”

“Yep,” Trivette reaffirmed. “And, according to my snitches, this ring was one of the leading suppliers for Pearson.”

“So you guys recovered arms that were purchased by Pearson?”

“Looks that way, Alex.”

“So why use Pearson’s name as a set up?”

“Maybe ego.” Trivette said. “Maybe Pearson wanted us to know he was stopping us.”

“Sounds promising, Jimmy.” Alex replied. “But this is all circumstantial; nothing that would hold up in court.” 

“I know, Counselor.” They stopped in front of Jimmy’s desk. “I got a copy of the call to dispatch with the tip. Dan is checking it out now.” 

He sat down and continued, “We hope to extract some voice patterns that would identify Silvers. Enough to bring him in. And, who knows what else Dan can find.”

“Okay,” Alex added.

“Just in case,” Trivette added. “I have every law enforcement officer out on the streets looking for Pearson and Silvers. We want to get them both in clear sight.  I don’t know if they’ll try again.”

“You think Walker’s in danger?”

“Not for the moment,” Trivette reassured Alex. “I think Pearson just believes he succeeded in stopping Walker and me from interfering in his operation. He sent us a pretty strong message.”

“You’ve got to find him, Jimmy.”

Trivette smiled, “We will Alex. Don’t worry about that. He’s as good as gotten!”

********

As the fire began to build momentum, Walker’s head slanted slightly to each side.  He listened to the crackling of wood that offered harmony for White Eagle’s chanting to the spirits. He could smell the distinct aroma mixture of the burning wood and White Eagle’s only blend of herbs and leaves. It brought back memories of the many paths of life he and White Eagle have traveled together. 

The odor continued to have a reassuring effect on Walker; who began to feel a calmness of being in a very familiar place.

White Eagle stopped his chant. “Washo,” he began. “I want you to picture the flight of an eagle.”

Walker just sat there.

“The eagle, Washo, is gliding across the sky. He is your guide now; as he has been many times before. Find him, Washo. Where is the eagle?”

After a few more moments, Walker said, “I see the eagle, White Eagle. He is flying alone in the sky.”

“Are you sure, Washo?”

“Yes. He is alone, White Eagle.”

“Is not the wind with him, Washo? Does not the sun give him direction during the day; the stars at night? Do the animals below give him a sense of what is happening around him? His strength, Washo…where does he get his strength?”

Walker remained silent, as the vision of the eagle became clearer and clearer in his mind.

“The eagle could not survive without the strength of the spirits and the strength of his own spirit. He relies on the wind to fly, the tree for shelter, the sun for light and energy, streams and lakes for water. If the eagle rests on a tree and does not fly, does his purpose in life stop, Washo?”

Walker seemed attentive, but confused. “I don’t know his purpose anymore, White Eagle.”

“His purpose is no different, Washo, whether he flies or remains in the tree. And, your purpose, Washo, is the same. Your eyes bring you images of your world.  But, they do not create your world.”

“What do you mean, White Eagle?”

“The stream, Washo. Was it not here waiting for you? Did you not find it, hear it, feel it, sense it?”

“Yeah.”

“The sun, Washo. Does it shine only for eyes to see?”

Walker blurted a soft, “No.”

“Then you, Washo. Why would you be any different with or without your eyes.”

Walker remained silent.

“Do you still care about fighting justice?”

“Yes, White Eagle. I do!” Walker replied.

“Is justice something can actually see and have to see to believe in?”

“No,” Walker replied.

“And, Alex, Washo. Is it her sight that you only love?”

“No, White Eagle, it’s much more than that.”

“Your spirit and Alex’s have joined to become one. You two share a single spirit now, Washo. Have you ever seen that spirit?”

“No.”

“Then, how do you know it is there?”

“I can feel it, White Eagle,” Walker responded.

“Then why would this love be directed by sight?”

“It’s not, I guess,” Walker stumbled over his words.

“But you choose to turn it away because of it?”

“I just don’t want Alex to be held back...” Walker began.

“The only thing that holds her back, Washo,” White Eagle interrupted, “is you.  You, when you hold back your love and acceptance of love.”

White Eagle continued, “If the eagle does not fly, does he stop the sun and the wind and the stars?” 

There was silence.

“No, Washo,” White Eagle added. “Even when standing, the eagle gathers strength from the spirits and all the offerings of the spirits.”

Walker’s breathing was getting more and more soft.

“And Alex, Washo, offers you much strength, love and energy as do you to her.  You give your heart to Alex, but life’s biggest gift is not always what you offer, my son. Sometimes the biggest gift you can give is to let others give of themselves to you.”

“White Eagle,” Walker questioned, “do the spirits still see Alex and I as one.”

“The spirits blessed you and your union with Alex many moons ago, Washo. But it remains in your power, Washo, your power and Alex’s to honor this blessing.”

“But I was so cruel to her, White Eagle.”

“She knows you are hurt, Washo.” White Eagle continued, “And she knows she will give you her heart if you just lift your hands and your heart to her.

Walker sat there in silence. White Eagle finished his chant. He put out the campfire and stood in front of Walker. “Come, Washo!” White Eagle commanded. “It is time to go.”  

“Now where are we going, White Eagle?” 

“Not we, Washo….you. The eagle has shown you the way. The spirits remain with you. It is now time for you to go back to renew your life.”

“Yeah,” Walker smiled. “I want to go back. I have a call to make.”

White Eagle led Walker back to the ranch. He let go of his arm once they reached the front door. “You have a life to reclaim, Washo. This is a journey you must begin yourself. You have love to give and love to receive. All other parts of life pales to this strength. Embrace it, Washo, for it is the greatest blessing from the spirits.”

“I will, White Eagle,” Walker nodded in response. “And, thank you.”

White Eagle pulled Walker’s head forward to offer him a kiss on both cheeks. He turned and began his journey back to the reservation. Walker remained on the porch seeing White Eagle’s image fade in his mind, as his footsteps grew faint.  Once White Eagle was gone, Walker guided himself to the front door and stepped inside. He made his way to the phone and began to feel the placement of the buttons. Walker punched several numbers until he heard the signal of a phone ringing.

After several rings, Alex’s answering machine kicked in. "Hi, I’m not home right now…” Walker hung up the phone. “Alex,” he whispered, “where are you?”

Walker picked up the receiver again and began to locate the numbers representing Alex’s office phone. He punched in the numbers, then took a deep breath.

“Alex Cahill,” the voice said.

Walker smiled at the sound of her voice. “Is that offer for help still open?” he asked.

“You bet, Cowboy!” Alex voice grew in excitement. “I’ll be right over.”

“And, Alex….” Walker began.

“Yeah,” she responded.

“Hurry!” he added.

“I will!”

“You smiled right then, didn’t you?” Walker asked.

“Yes, I did” Alex offered her answer.

“See,” Walker added, “Now, I really can see clearly.”

Tears began to flow down Alex’s cheek, “You sure can, darling. You sure can.”

With that, Alex hung up the phone and ran out of her office.

********

Alex’s car soon sped toward the ranch. She could see Walker pacing on the porch.  As the sound of her car carried the message of her arrival, Walker stopped. His heart was pounding; his entire body felt waves of excitement, anticipation and fear. He turned toward the approaching car and felt his way to the stairs. 

Alex parked her car at her usual place, barely taking the time to remove her keys from the ignition before rushing toward Walker. By that time, Walker had found the stairs and carefully stepped down upon each one until he was certain he had found ground again.

Alex quickly wrapped her arms around Walker. Walker welcomed the embrace, the closeness; for it was at that moment, he knew things would be all right between them. And, Alex knew it, too. They just stood wrapped in each other’s arms...frozen in time...for several minutes. No words were spoken, but no words were needed.

Walker finally began to loosen his embrace. He pulled back just enough in order to place his face in clear sight for Alex. “I’m sorry,” he began to say.

Alex raised her hand and placed it ever so gently over Walker’s lips. “Shhhh!” she responded in a soft, lovingly tone. She moved her fingers downward, barely touching Walker’s lips. She moved closer replacing her fingers with her lips. Her top lip firmly rested on Walker’s while her bottom lip began to gently caress Walker’s bottom lip. Walker immediately responded increasing the passion of their kiss and their embrace. Her kiss, his kiss, their kiss grew more and more passionate. Walker’s tongue soon began its own exploration. Alex responded with a moan of approval and pleasure. She could feel every part of Walker’s body screaming out to reclaim their love. And, her body met his with the same excitement and anticipation. Still embraced in each other’s arms, both lovers soon were breathing fast and heavy.  

Alex and Walker both stopped to catch their breath at the same time. “Shouldn’t we go inside?” she asked.

“Not yet,” Walker replied. “It just need to stand here….” Walker placed his hand over her face, “…and look at you.”

“Look at me?” Alex’s breathing was getting more and more rapid with every touch. 

“Yep,” Walker’s hand now traveled down to her neck. “And know what I see?”

“What?” Alex responded.

“Here, close your eyes.”

Alex, trusting her man more than anything or anyone, quickly complied. Walker took Alex’s right hand in his left. “Now keep your eyes closed,” he insisted.

“I will,” Alex promised.

Walker guided Alex’s hand across his face. He circled his face several times before moving her hand down to his neck. He guided her hand between the opening at the top of his shirt. He took his right arm out from around Alex’s waist to unbutton the rest of his shirt, then quickly placed his arm back around her to draw her body closer to his. He continued to guide Alex’s hand as it explored his chest; feeling the fine hairs that covered it.

“What do you see, Alex?” he asked.

Alex struggled to breathe evenly. “You. I see you and me. I see us.”

“Me, too!” Walker responded. “I see us, too!”

After Alex enjoyed a few more minutes of caressing Walker’s chest, she turned her hand to take hold of Walker’s. She guided his hand up her shirt and rested it on her right breast. “Can you see what I want, Walker?”

“I can, Alex!” Walker responded with a kiss. Alex placed her hands round Walker’s neck. She could feel Walker’s growing desire. Walker removed his hand from her breast, but Alex quickly reacted to stop his movement. She grabbed his hand and placed it back. Walker took his other hand and slid it beneath her shirt, along her back. He unhooked her bra only to slide his free hand underneath to feel her other breast gather in his hand. 

But, something seemed to be echoing in Walker’s head; he began to hesitate. He had taken many steps toward Alex, and they felt right. But there was still a voice deep inside of him that questioned whether his blindness would be fair to her. He was starting to feel unsure; scared he began something he wasn’t able to finish.  He feared that his blindness would make him clumsy and Alex would not be satisfied. "I don't know if I can do this Alex...." he began.

Alex removed her hand from behind Walker’s neck. She continued to keep Walker’s attention as her hand traveled slowly down his chest and over his stomach to find to top of his pants. She continued her journey on his bare skin, moving her hand lower and lower. She whispered, "Oh, trust me, Cowboy, you CAN!"

Walker felt his love for her growing. “Maybe we better go inside,” Walker said as he leaned over to kiss Alex again. 

********

Feeling renewed contentment with one another and a strengthening of their love, Walker and Alex sat on the porch as the sun set. Walker had changed into an old pair of sweat pants. He sat with his shirt still open to accept Alex’s caresses on his chest. Alex had put on an old T-shirt of Walker’s. Wearing his shirts always made her feel safe. They continued to embrace one another as newfound lovers and old, trusting friends. 

“I know I don’t say it often enough, Alex, but I do love you,” Walker said.

Alex smiled as she continued to caress his chest. “I love you too, Walker…so much.” She moved up to meet his lips once again. 

“Thank you,” he said.

“For what?” Alex asked.

“For bringing White Eagle here today.”

Not knowing what to say, Alex stumbled over her words, “But, I…”

“It’s okay, Alex,” Walker helped her out. “I guess I was blind when it came to letting you help.” 

Alex pulled herself closer to Walker.

“White Eagle showed me the light,” he continued. “And, with that light, I saw us, as a team. Suddenly, it felt right having you help.”

“I sorry I couldn’t…”

Walker offered her no room to interrupt. “Wasn’t you, Alex. It was me. Guess sometimes I can let my stubbornness get the best of things.”

“But we are here now,” she said.

“Yes we are,” he replied. “And, I have learned a lot about me, about you and about us.” Walker took a deep breath, “And, if you are still willing to consider possibly marrying a blind man…”

Alex looked up at her man being careful not lot let go of their embrace. Tears began to fill her eyes. “What are you saying, darling?” 

“Well,” Walker began. Just as he started to speak again, his words were interrupted by the sound of an approaching car.

“Sounds like Trivette,” Walker shrugged. 

Trying not to let her emotions of joy and frustration explode, Alex looked over to see Trivette get out of his car. “It is,” she grunted to Walker.

Trivette approached the porch with a guarded care. He didn’t know what mood Walker would exhibit, but wanted to be prepared for anything. As he got nearer, he saw Walker and Alex sitting in silence, but wrapped in each other’s arms. This relieved the tension building inside. He let out a sigh of relief that caught Walker’s attention.

“What’s that?” Walker tried to relieve any apprehension for his partner. “Getting exhausted by the short walk from your car to the porch? Sounds like we need a workout, Partner.”

“What? Huh?” Trivette tripped on his words. 

“Be careful, Jimmy,” Alex warned. “He may be wearing a bandage over his eyes, but his vision is stronger than either of ours.” Walker and Alex enjoyed a private laugh.

Trivette interrupted. “Does this mean everything is okay?”

“Well,” Alex responded. “Could have been a bit better if you had hit a few more red lights…”

“Huh?” Trivette replied.

Walker gave Alex a quick squeeze. “Better than okay,” Walker replied. “In fact, I feel so good that I think I’ll help you solve this case.”

“Great,” Trivette exclaimed. He sat on the empty chair across from Walker and Alex. He shared all of the details of the case so far. 

“Well,” Walker said. “First of all, we need to check around with some farm supply companies. Find out whose inventory is missing some ammonia nitrate.”

“Ammonia nitrate?” Alex asked.

“Yeah,” Walker responded. “I smelled it at the warehouse.”

“Is that what clued you in that there was an explosive?” Trivette questioned his mentor.

“Yeah, Trivette,” Walker began, “but not quick enough.”

Alex offered a loving smile even though she knew Walker wouldn’t see it. She placed her hand in his. This was the smile Walker needed. He squeezed back, moved his head closer to Alex and said, “It’s okay, hon.”

“I know,” Alex continued to hold his hand.

“Okay, I’m on it,” Trivette’s voice jumped to life. “Anything else?”

“Was Dan able to decipher the voice patterns?” Alex asked.

“Not yet,” Trivette answered. “There was a lot of background noise. He should have it done soon, though.”

“Any luck finding Silvers or Pearson?” Alex kept the interrogation going.

“No,” Trivette replied. They seemed to have vanished.

“Welllllll,” Walker began.

“Oh, I don’t like the sound of this,” Alex interrupted. 

“Shhhh, Alex,” Trivette said. “Go on, Walker.”

“Well, if we can’t get to them.” Walker hesitated, then resumed, “Maybe they can get to us.”

Trivette leaned back. “Okay, now I don’t like the sound of this!”

********

With each passing day, Walker and Alex grew more and more confident of each other and themselves with one another. Walker began to accomplish more and more tasks by himself. And, Alex encouraged that. They prepared meals together, just like did before the explosion. And, afterwards Alex would offer Walker the option to wash or dry. 

They brushed and fed the horses together and even enjoyed horseback rides to the stream. They talked of love and hope for the future. Walker seemed more relax and free to express feelings of love. And Alex, certainly, accepted this change with a greater contentment of the love and trust growing between them.   

After dinner and the washing all of the dishes, Walker and Alex sat of the couch.  She sat close to him to snuggle. Walker placed his arm around her. “You know,” he began, “the bandages come off tomorrow.”

“I know,” Alex replied.

“It’s kinda funny, Alex.”

“What is?”

“I have had my eyes shielded for two weeks now, but I see things clearer now then I have ever seen them before.” Walker paused only for a moment. “Would it make sense if I said that I pray I get my vision back, but losing it was an incredible experience?”

“It makes sense, Walker.” Alex began stroking his beard. “I feel guilty thinking about how much I have enjoyed this time for us and sharing the little, everyday moments with you.”

“You know, Alex,” Walker began. “We never did get back to our conversation.  You know, the one we started right before Trivette came in.”

“Yeah, I know,” Alex continued to stroke his beard. “I just thought, well, if you ever wanted to talk about it.”

Walker stepped in, “Well, I do.”

Walker turned toward Alex. He placed his hand on hers and brought it down from his face to rest on his thigh.

“Sight or no sight,” he began. “I want to marry you…marry you soon!”

Alex leaned over to kiss Walker. He placed his hands around her and pulled her down on top of him as he stretched across the couch.

“I want you as my wife,” he whispered. “You are already my lover and my best friend.  But, I need you as my wife.”

“I love you so much, Walker.” Walker felt Alex’s hands beginning to unbutton his shirt. Her lips soon began to dance around his chest.

“Does this mean you’ll marry me soon?” he asked as her touch began to take away his breath. 

Alex continued to caress his chest with her lips. She worked her way up his neck to his waiting lips, but not without placing her leg against Walker’s manhood; that was calling out for equal attention. 

“Yes,” she whispered in his ear. She continued to offer Walker kisses on the side of his neck.

“I want to marry you,” she added.

Walker guided Alex’s hand to the center of his desire.   

“I want…” Alex’s words faded as Walker turned to position himself on top of Alex.  Their clothes offered only temporary interference. With a cooperative effort, they quickly proceeded to remove each other’s clothes. Walker laid his hand gently on her knee and slowly began to move it upward. His fingers curled around the waistband of her panties, slowly pulling them down over her trembling thighs.  Alex couldn’t wait much longer. She removed her top to expose her waiting breasts. 

They continued to focus on each other. Alex touched and caressed every part of Walker’s body. And Walker began to kiss and caress every part of Alex’s; visualizing her beauty with every touch. Her moans of pleasure indicated that she wanted him, wanted them to become one. As Walker reached her waiting lips, Alex reached down to guide him inside her. They both let out a sigh of pleasure as they become one.

At first, they laid still; enjoying the sensations of becoming one. Alex freed her arms and wrapped them around Walker to draw his chest and head closer to her.  His chest stroked, then rested on her breasts delighting each with waves of sensations brought by the feel of each other’s skin; their hearts beating furiously in conversation with one another. Walker nestled his head in Alex’s neck and began to smother her with long, stroking kisses. 

Signaled by moans of pleasure and declarations of love, they gradually began to move in rhythm together; slowly at first. Ever so slightly, Walker began to increase the speed and depth of each thrust. He would continue this new pace until Alex’s breathing and cries of pleasure beckoned for more and more of him he readily offered. He would thrust faster and deeper still. Alex arched her back; her arms flung over her head so her hands could grasp the arm of the couch. She leaned her head backward and pushed her hips to meet Walker’s movement.  Their dance of love continued; the outside world fading as their passion mounted and neared its peak. Suddenly, their breathing stopped for a moment as the whirling sensations exploded in a mutual climax; Alex felt Walker's love released inside her.

They continued to lie in each other’s arms as one; neither wanting to separate their bodies. As soon as they felt renewed strength, they began their exploration again. The night was theirs to share, and they did not waste one single moment.  They did not know what tomorrow would bring, but the challenges that awaited them didn’t matter. They were one soul, one body and shared one love. 

********

The next morning came too quickly for Walker and Alex. They awakened still in each other’s arms and stole a few precious moments before showering. They avoided much discussion. Each knew what the other felt, what the other thought.  Words seemed pointless.

Walker finally broke the silence. “So, Trivette and I will meet you at the hospital at 2:00. Right?”

“Walker,” Alex offered a last minute plea. “I just wish you would wait until tomorrow to set your trap.”

“It’ll be fine, Alex. Besides, the story already ran in the paper.” Walker deepened his voice, “Blind Ranger identifies Marco Pearson and Peter Silvers.” His voice returned to normal, “They’ll be looking for me now.”

“Well, I just wish you would have waited until you could look back.”

“Hey, we want to be realistic!”

“Not that realistic,” Alex snapped.

Walker adjusted his shirt. “How do I look?” he asked.

“Perfect,” Alex responded as she placed a soft kiss on his lips.

“Are you trying to make me late?” he chuckled.

Alex placed her arms around Walker’s neck. “Worth a try,” she responded.

Walker placed his arms around Alex’s waist. They began to lean toward each other, but a knock at the door stopped them. A familiar voice calmed an immediate concern of who stood on the other side. “Hey, it’s me…Jimmy.” 

Alex breathed a sigh of relief. She left Walker’s hold to open the door. “Remind me to buy you a watch, Jimmy!”

“I already have a watch, Alex…see.” Trivette pulled up his sleeve.

“Well, I think it needs a new battery because your timing stinks!”

“Don’t mind her, Trivette.” Walker broke in. “She’s a little nervous about today.”

“A little?” she chimed in.

Walker laughed, “Okay, a lot nervous.”

“No need,” Trivette offered her some supportive words. “We’re all set. Alex, we’ve got your protection ready; just to be safe. ”

“Oh goody,” she said as she grabbed her briefcase.

She walked over to give Walker a kiss. “Please be careful!”

“Aren’t I always?” he insisted. He then adjusted his bandage and added, “well, almost always.”

Trivette started to chuckle, but Alex’s piercing glance silenced him immediately.

Alex stopped as she got to the front door. She turned toward Trivette. “Just make sure you keep Walker safe.”

“Promise,” Trivette raised his right hand as if he was taking an oath.

********

“Damn it!” Trivette yelled in his cell phone. “How did this happen?”

Trivette snapped his receiver shut and began to quickly pace. “Where would they go? Where would they go?” he thought.

He quickly got in his car and headed toward Ranger Headquarters. His thoughts began to rehearse what he would have to tell Alex. “Alex, we blew it….” 

He shook his head. “Um, Alex, they got Walker….” No matter what words he tried to combine, none of them seemed right.

His cell phone began to ring. He grabbed it and yelled, “What?” Trivette listened.  “Oh, Dan,” Trivette lowered his voice. “Sorry.”

“I’ve got it!” Dan exclaimed.

“Got what?” Trivette asked.

“The background.”

“The background? What have you got?”

“A grain elevator and a train whistle. It was the elevator that threw me off.”

“A grain elevator?” Trivette questioned. “Like where they store feed for cattle?”

“Or big enough to store fertilizer,” Dan interjected. “Fertilizer…ammonia nitrate.”

“The explosive!” Trivette added.

“Exactly,” Dan continued. “Well, I tracked down the time of the train whistle along with the train schedules throughout the Dallas area for that day. Then I applied projections of where they would be and which trains would most likely use a whistle based on their projected location. It took some time, but I have two possible locations for you.”

“Okay,” Trivette proceeded. “Where are they?” 

“Well,” Dan responded. “The one I think you are interested in is just four blocks from where you and Walker were set up.”

“Great job, Dan!” Trivette exclaimed.

Trivette pressed on his brakes and turned his steering wheel all the way to the left.  He left dust behind his car as he began to race in the opposite direction. Dan gave Trivette the exact location. Trivette then requested that Dan direct officers to the other location. He thanked Dan for his help, disconnected the call and dialed dispatch.

“This is Ranger Trivette…” Trivette requested backup to meet him one block from the targeted grain elevator. “And, no sirens,” he insisted before hanging up.

********

When Trivette reached his meeting point, several officers were already there.  Trivette jumped out of his car. “Okay, guys,” he began. “I think they have Walker held up somewhere near that grain elevator.” Trivette pointed to the tall structure a block away. 

“We need to go in now, but we need to be careful. Remember, they have Walker, and Walker can’t see them or us.”

Trivette offered further directions, and the officers disbursed toward their assignments.

As Trivette approached the first building, he bent down low to avoid placing himself in front of a window. He took each step with caution holding on to his gun with both hands.

He signaled to two officers to approach one building, while he headed toward another. Nothing. “Where would keep him?” he thought.

Trivette looked down to notice fresh tire tracks. They led to a small garage on the other side of the elevator. He began to signal the other officers of his hunch.

Trivette and the officers surrounded the garage. He peeked in the window and saw a dark blue van. With care, he crept toward a side door. Trivette began to open it just enough to take another peek. He saw nothing, but heard a moan.  “He’s alive!” he thought with great relief. Trivette took a deep breath. He opened the door enough to slip inside. An officer followed him in. Both men swung their guns from side to side. 

Trivette moved slowly toward a van that rested in the center. Walker’s jacket lay beside the van. He picked it up to check for blood. His breathing grew faster. He placed Walker’s jacket back and proceeded toward another door.

Trivette positioned himself on one side of the door; the officer on the other. He placed his ear next to the door. He could hear some movement. Trivette nodded and began to shake his head…once…twice. After the third shake, Trivette turned and kicked in the door. He entered the room bending down; his gun positioned in front. “Texas Rangers,” he shouted.

“What took you so long?” a voice responded. Trivette lowered his gun as he viewed Walker standing over three men lying on the ground. All the men were tied and gagged.

Trivette approached Walker. He waved his hand in front of the still bandaged Walker as he examined that the bandages were still in place. “What? How?”

Walker pointed to the men, “Silvers, Pearson and Drake; their driver.”

“How did you do this?” Trivette asked.

“A kick here, a punch there.” Walker smiled. "What time is it?”

Trivette glanced at his watch. “About 1:30,” he said.

“We’re gonna be late,” Walker responded. He reached for Trivette’s arm, and Trivette proceeded to lead Walker out the door. The other officers had sealed off the area and began to take the suspects out.

“My coat,” Walker began. Trivette left him standing alone as he glided over to pick up Walker’s coat. 

“Boy,” Trivette said as he offered Walker his arm for guidance. “Alex is gonna be so angry with us.”

Trivette began to lead Walker again out of the garage. As they passed the last door, an officer crossed in front of them. “Hi, Stanley!” Walker blurted.

Trivette stopped. “I knew it! I knew it! You can see!”

Walker smiled, tilted his head back to peek below. “Yeah, I can see!” he exclaimed.

“Well keep it on!” Trivette insisted. “Don’t know what the sunlight will do. Besides, Alex will kill us if you walk in without it!”

“Good idea!” Walker responded as he took the patches out of his pocket. “Better get these back in place too!”

********

Alex was pacing in front of the hospital as Trivette and Walker pulled up. She opened the door to help Walker out. “Where have you been?” she asked.

Before either could speak, she offered her own answer. “Never mind,” she said.  “Maybe I don’t want to know.”

“Probably not,” Walker chuckled.

Trivette just sighed in relief. He wasn’t going to face Alex about Walker’s kidnapping; at least not now.

Walker and Alex walked arms linked together. They stopped at the elevator. Alex pressed the up button.

“We got Pearson and Silvers,” Walker said.

“I don’t care,” Alex replied. “Not now.” She shifted nervously up on her toes, then down on her heels. She pressed the button again. 

“Calm down,” Walker whispered.

“I can’t,” she replied.

“It’ll be all right, Alex.”

“Yeah.” She pressed the button again. The elevator doors opened, and the three of them stepped in.

Alex looked at her watch. “It’s nearly 2:30.”

“Well,” Walker responded, “I was a little tied up.”

A guarded Trivette looked up at Walker; fearful that Alex might catch on.

The doors opened and the three of them stepped out. Walker stopped. “Trivette,” he began. “Can you leave us alone for just a minute?”

“What?” a startled Trivette answered. He recovered his composure. “Yeah, sure,” he said as he walked away.

“Alex, you need to know something,” Walker began.

“What?” Alex responded.

“With or without my sight. I want us to be married as soon as possible.”

Alex smiled, “Okay.”

“I mean,” Walker continued. “I love you. And, if I see again, I just want you to know...well that I would marry you either way.”

Alex kissed Walker on the lips. “I understand.” She began to lead Walker toward the door. She leaned over toward him and whispered, “I love you, too!”

********

Once the bandages were removed, the first sight Walker saw was Alex smiling, laughing and crying all at the same time.

Dr. Phillips completed his exam. “Your eyes are well on their way to recovery,” he said. “Use these drops, wear sunglasses outdoors and don’t overdo it.”

Alex grabbed Walker’s arm. “Oh, he won’t!” she insisted. 

When they got to the waiting area, Alex left Walker with Trivette. She proceeded to go to the reception area to make the next appointment for Walker.

Trivette leaned over; his hands clasped behind him. “Man, I got you over a barrel,” he teased in a singsong voice.

“What do you mean?” Walker responded.

Trivette’s voice shifted to a whisper. “Behave yourself or I’ll tell Alex you took off your bandages early.”

“Trivette, what do you think will upset her more; the fact I found out I could see or that I got kidnapped in your care?”

Trivette straightened up. “Never mind.”

Alex grabbed Walker’s hand, and they started to leave the office.

They stopped at the elevator. Trivette pushed the down button.

The elevator doors opened. All three got in. 

“Now,” Alex began, “what happened today?”

Walker laughed as Trivette looked away from both Walker and Alex. The elevator doors closed.

The End