We halted for a moment. She looked so tired, so worn, so give out. But she managed to smile, and said, "I'm so glad you could be here, my son. Otherwise I would have felt so alone. You're good, you know. You always came when I needed you. You are so much like your father, rest his soul."
All I had been told was that she was a traitor, had given the enemy much valuable information about our local forces, had done devastating damage to our cause. I still could not believe it. A part of me did not want to believe it.
The captain of the guard detail called us to a halt. He saluted me and said, "This is as far as you go, major," then he allowed her to approach me, and we hugged. God, it was all happening so fast!
They led her away, directed me to return to my duties; so I started back down the pathway to my waiting car, which would return me to camp.
Just as I came to the guard post building, a volley of shots from up the hill rang out, but I did not hesitate; did not look back. I kept walking, returned the guard's salute, and stepped into the back seat of my car. As the car drove away, I could do nothing but stare out the windows, seeing only shadows and thinking about how empty everything felt.
It was much too soon for me to mourn, or know grief, or to feel anything at all.
That, I knew, would come later. And it did.