Another week, more words. And guess what? These are new words (and unedited so ignore any gaffs)! Today’s theme is **RING**. So many avenues to explore with that word. Me? Well…keep reading and you’ll see which direction I took it. To set the scene, these events happen way back in the beginning–back before Hannah met Mac. But this isn’t about them. It’s about Duke Reagan and Dalton/Surfer-boy. It’s about what happened to the SEALs in the Nevada desert. Sort of.
Treading water in the massive tank, Duke watched Dalton. Only a red exit light illuminated the room, but the other man’s face appeared pale. “No pressure. No underwater shit.” He raised his hand, stretching his arm to full length above his head. “Air.” He dropped his hand and his palm slapped against the surface, spraying water. Dalton jerked his head away. Yeah, the guy was totally freaked. Motherfuckers.
Duke pushed his head back and brought his hips up so that he was floating on his back. Now that the salinity levels were correct, this was as easy as basking in a tidal pool. After very long minutes, Dalton followed suit. Duke knew the rest of the men well. Hell, they’d started BUD/s training together—only to have it interrupted when they volunteered for this god-forsaken bullshit. He didn’t need to add air quotes. His team received orders to report to the desert of Nevada and here they were. He knew their strengths and their weaknesses, because he made it his mission to know. They didn’t have an officer, had no one to take their backs. So being him, he stepped up.
Dalton had come after. After one of the original test subjects allegedly washed out. Duke knew better. He was combat hardened, the reason he signed on for SEAL training. He knew what burning flesh smelled like and the incinerator had worked overtime two days after Gardner supposedly washed out. A week later, Dalton was dumped on them. And he had to go through all the medical bullshit alone.
Their silence drew straws to see which of them would break first. Duke wasn’t surprised when Dalton’s voice whispered across the water. The kid’s question? That shocked the shit out of him. “Did you ever want to ring the bell?”
While he knew the kid would break first, that was not the question Duke expected. During BUD/s training, and especially during Hell Week–which occured four weeks into the course, any trainee could quit. All he had to do was go ring the bell. Literally. There was a bell with a rope attached to the clapper. Only honesty would get this kid through their current predicament.
“Yeah. I thought about it.”
More silence stretched before Dalton spoke again. “There’s no bell here.”
“No, kid. There’s not.”
“Only life or death.”
“And a lot of hell in between,” Duke agreed.
I have to admit, it’s kind of fun to revisit the SEALs and Hannah, Mac, and the whole crew and follow along their time lines. And I love being able to add cut scenes and brand-new scenes to the books, tying them even closer together. So, writers, any ring words? Readers, what sort of ring do you like to read about? And yes, it’s a trick question because there are wedding rings, bell rings, fight rings, ring-around-the-rosies, one ring to rule them all… 😉