Dameon was walking down a long, empty, and inexplicably bright hallway. He was wearing his full dress uniform, holding his hat under his left arm. He seemed to have forgotten his sword, but either had not noticed its absence, or had decided that it was totally unnecessary.
He was walking quickly, as if he was required to reach the end of the hall by a certain time, and was running late. A short time later, he came to a large door situated at the extreme end of the passage. Just as with the corridor itself, there was nothing striking about the door besides its unusual brightness, as if a lamp which had been built into the wood had been turned on. He tried the handle. It was locked. Knocking twice, he waited.
After a few moments, the door was opened by none other than Joseph Sponsler. But, instead of moving aside to let him enter, Joseph spoke, saying “How came you here? You have not been summoned yet.”
After a moment, Dameon heard himself reply “I wished to come here, so I did. Why can I not enter?”
“I am not permitted to answer directly. I am permitted to say only this: go, your wife wishes to speak to you. She has already come to us to ask when you would come.”
“What?! My wife’s been dead for five years now! How can I speak to her?”
“Now do you see? You saw Coinhara shoot me with your own eyes. I am dead myself. So are all these others.” At that, Dameon recognized the faces of half a dozen other men he had known. “We can not start without you, but you may not pass through the door before your time has come. Your wife will be sent to you. Then, you may enter. Go back now.”
As Joseph began to close the door, Dameon asked quickly “May I ask you one question?”
“One question, and no more.”
“You gained admittance here because you died without defending yourself. Must I do the same?”
“Those were my orders. I have heard of no similar orders concerning your admittance. Yes, you may fight to the last. You will not, however, gain immediate admission until your wife comes for you. Keep yourself alive until that time.” With that, Joseph closed the door. It, surprisingly to Dameon, did not make any sound.
Dameon stood beside the door for a minute or two, taking in what had been said. Then, he suddenly turned and began to run down the hall, his heavy boots making no noise in the silent passage. But he did not pause to wonder at this, instead continuing onward as fast as he could go, back toward however little time on Earth was left to him, secure in the knowledge that he would know when he was to walk through this hall again. And that time, the bright door behind which sat seven or more men he had liked throughout his life, would open for him, and he would pass through.
When Dameon woke from his dream, he saw that the Spanish troops were already up and had almost completed the minor preparations necessary prior to leaving the camp. Raising himself from his prostrate position, he leaned his back against the nearest tree and looked out upon the world.
The world. The Earth. The place which God had made as the place of Man’s residence whilst he endeavored to earn his way back to the place where he truly belonged. Man truly belonged there, but not all men understood, and not all men who understood tried to gain entrance. Dameon knew well which party he stood with, and gained immeasurable satisfaction from the knowledge that he had both tried to gain to gain entrance and been granted it. But even as he sat there somewhere in Spain, knowing full well that his doom would come soon, he began to wonder if he really wanted to leave the world so soon. He wished that he had been allowed to see his house, his land, and his brothers once more, all together. He wished he could tell them all why he had decided to go on to certain doom. But then he remembered: He didn’t truly know himself why he had decided that he wasn’t meant to go home with the others. And then he remembered another point: It was because of the call. The call that he had been reminded of in the dream he had just come out of. His time was drawing to a close. It was not his lot to return home and pass on peacefully in the company of friends. Instead, he was called to pass on while surrounded by foes, fighting to the last. At the conclusion of this thought, he rose and went toward the horse which had been saddled for him. Mounting silently, he sat straight in the saddle, determined to give a good account of himself to the last minute of his time.
As he sat upon the horse, the leader of the Spaniards approached him, saying “Another day’s ride and we shall reach the capital. Then we may see how well you dance at the end of a rope!”
“I ask too late, but why are you sure that you must hang me?” Dameon replied, looking down at the Spaniard, who was astonished that the American had never shown fear, regardless of how many times he been threatened with this awful mode of death.
“Why? Because you are an American, and you have brought war against us, and you have done this without making the proper declarations!” shouted the Spanish Captain, recovering his composure a moment too late.
Restraining the mirth he felt after hearing his enemy’s first statement, Dameon calmly replied “Really? I was not aware that I had to tell all the world I was an American. What you do to me if I told you I am also Scottish? Would that merit a hanging, or just being shot right here? As for the other reasons, my actions were due to my orders. As a military man yourself, you can hardly blame me for doing what my orders told me to do.” Seeing no response to this last statement, the Spanish captain mounted his own horse, shouted “Move! To Madrid!” and rode off to the head of the column.