DEADLY DREAMS by Tom Gladwell

by Tom Gladwell


    When young Tommy was a child, as with any other person, he would dream at night. For Tommy though, he began experiencing not so ordinary dreams. Time after time, in a reoccurring dream, Tommy would find himself deep within a raging battle. He dreamed of artillery shells flying in all directions, yells of commands, men shouting and cursing, and carnage everywhere. He then found himself on a large boulder covered hill and, after more fighting, they compelled him to leave his boulder protected domain. Facing the intense barrage of deadly fire coming his way, he made a heroic charge down the rocky slope of the hill shouting and simultaneously, listening to the ever-increasing number of bullets whiz by his body, he took his last step, as a well directed bullet found its victim, killing Tommy.


    When Tommy had these disturbing recurring dreams, he never really knew where the battle was taking place, or for that matter, in what war he was unwillingly placed. What he did know though, was the scenario was repeatedly identical, and the outcome was always the same. The years went on, and Tommy was no longer a child, yet the puzzling dreams remained with him, very much a part of his life.


    On one very eventful day, the puzzle would begin to take shape as, Tommy, traveling through the area and, by chance, happened to stop in Gettysburg.  It was just an ordinary day, or so he thought. With nothing special planned, and some free time on his hands, Tommy decided to tour the Gettysburg Battlefield. After stopping in the Visitors’ center and obtaining a battlefield map, Tommy, just as millions of other tourist do, began looking at the monuments and looking at the inscriptions. Impressed with the vast number of monuments and immense size of the battlefield, Tommy slowly made his way through the winding roads, frequently stopping to read more of the monuments inscriptions. The next stop would be one Tommy will remember the rest of his life and finally solve his mysterious puzzle.


    As he pulled into the parking area atop Little Round Top, he looked around at the dense number of trees. As he looked, he envisioning the battle, then followed the short trail leading to the summit of the hill, overlooking the beautiful countryside. In the distance, was the Wheatfield, Peach Orchard and at the bottom of the Valley of Death and the boulders of Devils Den. Taken in by the beauty and serenity of the scene, Tommy felt a strange sensation urging him to walk down the front slope of Little Round Top. Gazing up, for one last look at the stoic monument of General Warren, Tommy began his decent, carefully stepping on, over, and across the many rocks and boulders embedded in the slope of the hill . Suddenly, after walking down part of the hill Tommy froze in his footsteps as if running into a brick wall. An instantaneous sweat broke out, while his heart began speeding up, at that very instant in time, Tommy knew why all his life the same recurring dream haunted him. Unable to contain himself, he blurted out "Here it is.  This is where I was killed!"


    Although he does not know what his name was during the battle, Tommy firmly believes, that they killed him there, in that very spot, on the slopes of Little Round Top. His dream no longer puzzles him. Because of his experience on Little Round Top, Tommy now feels a bizarre sense of peace. Tommy's one and only wish is when he departs this world. is to be cremated and his ashes placed on that very spot where he died over 130 years ago.


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