The morning sun shone brightly onto Walker's face waking him up from another restless night of sleep. He took a deep breath and smelled the familiar aroma of french toast drifting up from the kitchen. A smile crept across his face knowing his wife was once again making breakfast for all who had made camp at the ranch.
He slowly got up, stretched the kinks out then slipped on a t-shirt. Today he will began laser treatment to help with the scarring on his back. A few weeks ago he had surgery to repair his vocal chords which helped get his voice to a whisper. Unfortunately he still had to go through speech therapy but at least he was able to talk again.
After he went to the restroom he made his way down the stairs and toward the kitchen to see Zadok Abijah at the dining room table. It was strange to have his friend staying here, but it helped the FBI keep a watch on both men.
"Hey Walker." Zadok waved for Walker to have a seat across from him. "How are you this morning?"
Walker gave his friend a shrug before sitting down with a sigh. "Doing all right." He took a quick glance at a newspaper to see the front page story was about the Montana ranch. "Have ya read this article yet?"
"Yes, and it's about mass graves found on the property. Ten bodies have been found so far." He shook his head. "FBI say there could be several more hidden within the woods."
"Have they found Bulldog?" Asked Walker, his voice quieter than he wanted it to be.
Zadok shook his head. "Not yet." He nibbled on his bottom lip then took the newspaper from Walker. "You don't need to read this."
Walker knew not to argue with Zadok and decided to go have a walk around the property. He slipped on a thin jacket, made his way out the back door and began his usual trek near the fence line. On occasion Walker would run into an FBI agent who would then join him for a few laps. One in particular, Jason would even teach him sign language.
Today, Walker found himself alone to enjoy the crisp spring air. But after a few minutes his mind began to drift back to his time living at the Montana ranch. There were many days where he would walk the fence line there, wishing he was with his family. And now that he was he found there presence some what stifiling.
After about two hours Walker made his way back towards the house, his mind still on the events happening up in Montana. What he had been through, what he was forced to do made him wonder about himself. Once back in the house he sat back down at the dining room table not knowing what to do before his appointment.
For several months he has lived a life according to a set schedule and strict rules so without them he felt completely lost. Is this how prisoners, just getting out of jail felt like? Could he ever really be able to live a normal life again?
Alex sat down opposite him, a plate of french toast in her hand. "You left before getting something to eat."
His wife gave him a nod as she slowly got back up knowing he needed his space. "I'll leave the food here, just in case you change your mind."
Walker slowly nodded at his wife before his eyes dropped to his right arm. Though hidden by the jacket he could still see the large numbers forever emblazoned on his skin. Unfortunately if he was to remove it one of Case's men will find and kill him.
"Hey Walker." Gage slowly sat down beside him, a smile on his face. "How is everything?"
"All right, I guess." Walker pulled the plate towards him, not really sure if he will it the food or not. "How's work?"
Gage gave Walker a shrug as his left hand fell on his tattoo. "Just wish I could hide it, you know?"
Walker pulled the jacket sleeve until he saw his numbers, 0535 on his inner-forearm. "Even in Montana they called me 0535. Everybody else had names except for Z and I. Only the other fighters called us by names and even then mine was false." He took a deep breath before turning to face Gage. "I need to talk to you about that day in the ring."
"I know, you had to do what you had to." Gage put an arm on Walker's shoulder, a gentle smile on his face. "I forgive you."
"Thanks." Walker took a deep breath in the hopes to control his emotions. "Been thinking about that day alot, I just...with young kids..."
Gage gave his friend a hug. "It's all right, I'm sorry that I let my emotions get the best of me." He pulled back to look Walker in the eyes. "Have you taken your meds today?"
Walker shook his head a bit frustrated at Gage's question. "Not yet." He quickly got up and went to the backdoor. "I need some time alone."
"Walker, please you can't run away from this!" Gage went up to Walker and took hold of the latter's arm to stop him. "Do you think I'm doing okay? I'm not! Daily I have thoughts about what I had to do to survive! It's only human!"
"Do you take your medication?" Walker asked, his voice quieter than usual.
Gage nodded. "Daily, if I don't I'm not sure if I'll even be able to function."
Walker slowly made his way to the kitchen counter where four pill bottles sat. "Doctor's say that I have severe PTSD." He took out five pills, got some water then brought his attention back to Gage. "I feel like I'm loosing my mind. I'm seeing and hearing things that aren't there." Walker couldn't stop the tears as they fell from his eyes. "I feel so out of place here."
After taking the pills Walker gave his friend a gentle pat on the shoulder before making his way back to the table. He knew some of the meds needed to have food with them so he began to eat the now cold french toast.
"Hey dad." He felt Angela's arms wrap around his neck as she gave him a kiss on top of his shaved head. "How are you this morning?"
"I'm doing all right." Walker quickly wiped at his eyes, hiding the moisture from Angela. "What do you have planned today?"
Angela sat down next to him with a huge smile on her face. "Jackson is taking me to Six Flags."
"That's great to here." Walker gave his daughter a huge hug then continued to eat his french toast. "Any adults coming with you?"
"Dad, I'm fifteen!" She saw his father look and let out a big huff. "Yes, Landon's dad is going to be there. Happy?"
Walker nodded. "Yes, I am."
This got him a playful punch from Angela as she stood back up.
"Well, I should get ready. Jackson will be here in thirty minutes." She gave Walker another hug before going back up stairs.
Two Hours Later
In the waiting room, Alex sat with Walker as he waited for his laser surgery appointment. He will have to go through several treatments in order to get some of the scarring down and even then there will be some muscle damage. But that was only physical, what worried her the most was the deep, emotional trauma Walker went through.
Ever since her husband came back, he has never been the same. At night she will hear Walker murming in his sleep as the constant nightmares made it hard for him to get any rest. During the day it wasn't much better. He will hide himself for hours on end, rarely if ever talking to his family. Instead he would walk or just sit on the porch lost in thought.
Alex took a deep breath, looked at her watch then brought her attention to a stack of magazines beside her. On top was a parent magazine but when she moved it aside she saw the TIME cover with a man's arm, the tattoo of, 0150 emblazoned in black ink. Even after several months the 'Numbered Men' were still a huge story especially since it seemed Case kept a close eye on them.
"Mr. Walker, Doctor Simmons is ready to see you."
Walker slowly got up, still savoring his left leg as he went to the nurse. "Can my wife come?"
"Sure, right this way."
Alex followed the nurse until they came to a large room with a chair situated in the middle. Walker was told to take off his jacket and shirt so he could put on a gown. When the door closed he did just this then sat down in the chair.
After a few minutes, an older gentleman came into the room with a huge smile on his face.
"Okay, each session will last only an hour." He sat down on a stool so he could look through a folder. "All right, I'm going to start off slow so you can get use to the laser. If you feel any pain let me know." A nurse came in with a tray and some glasses. "Okay Walker, I need for you to sit with your back towards me."
As the treatment began Alex took hold of Walker's hand in the hopes it'll help comfort him. After ten minutes Walker began to murmer and it took a few seconds for her to realize he was saying something about a landmine. Instantly she knew he must be having a Vietnam flashback which, ever since he came home were mixed with those from the fight ring.
Doctor Simmons shook his head as he stopped the treatment. "Must be the smell that's triggering it."
Alex gently ran a hand against Walker's arm as she gave his hand a squeeze. "It's okay, hear my voice and count back to ten." Her husband continued to mumble so she repeated herself until he eventually began to respond to her. "Good, stay with me. You need to go through this treatment, okay? Just hang in there."
With Alex by his side Walker managed to make it through the hour long treatment but he was embarrased that he had a flashback. For many years he was able to control his mind, to hide away the darkness he saw in Vietnam. What did the fight ring do to him? Why was he so weak?
Walker was about to walk out into the parking lot when he realized the numbers were hidden on his arm. He let out a deep sigh before pulling the sleeve up on his jacket. Surely Case couldn't keep an eye on all of the men and yet he managed to kill five fighters so far. How could this be possible? How deep did his connections really go?
He felt Alex take hold of his hand and turned to give her a smile. "Thanks, for helping me."