Heat And Dust
The man thought that he was hearing things. The heat of the desert was getting to him. He was on the call with his wife and he heard something else on the phone. Was it Deja Vu?
It wasn’t a voice that he was familiar with either. There was something wrong about the scene that he heard at home.
In the desolate expanse of the Iraqi desert, a lone soldier, 30-year-old Dallas Brosnan stood amidst the shifting sands, his thoughts a turbulent mixture of duty and longing.
He had been sent to Iraq in the call of duty. But his mind was not focused on the field at all. There was something that had been worrying him for a while.
A Mission To Complete
A year had passed since he had bid farewell to his beloved wife, Sarah, and their precious 5-year-old daughter, Alice in Wisconsin. His wife was also pregnant with his second child when he had left.
It was an emotional time, but he had no choice. He had a duty to fulfill. His country needed him and he was ready to serve.
Not Ready For This
Although he was a serious soldier, his heart was at home with his family. He longed to be back with them more than anything else. But there was still a year to go.
Through letters and the occasional call, they had bridged the physical gap, but Dallas’s heart ached for their warmth, for the laughter that once echoed through their home.
Dallas clung to their letters and phone calls as lifelines to his distant world. He teared up when his wife sent a sonogram of their baby. He was going to be a father of two.
The nights were the hardest, when the loneliness bore down on him like the weight of his heavy gear. But the thought of his growing family kept him growing.
As the relentless sun beat down, Dallas found himself increasingly haunted by a distant yet persistent male voice that seemed to weave through his thoughts.
Was there someone else in his house? Was his wife keeping something from him? It was an ethereal presence, like a whisper carried by the wind, elusive but undeniable.
Dallas decided to talk to his wife the next time she called. He was ready to find out the truth of what was happening in her home. As a soldier he felt insecure that he even had to question his wife’s loyalty to him.
He confided in Sarah during one of their rare conversations, but she just brushed it off like he was hearing things.
A Bigger Man
Dallas didn’t want to upset his pregnant wife, so he let it be. He was going to find out on his own. But his ears were on high alert.
As the months crawled by, a peculiar phenomenon began to infiltrate Dallas’ calls with his family. He was sure of it and it was definitely another man.
A Jealous Man
There wasn’t anything else that Dallas could do. He felt hurt and left out of his own family. His mind was perturbed by ways in which he could find out what was going on at home.
He felt like sending a spy back home. He wanted to get a CCTV system set up at his house. He was going crazy thinking about what was happening in his home.
Affecting Your Duty
Dallas was getting more worried and his General Donald started noticing. He was late every morning. The soldier was losing focus and skipping meals.
He was losing his form and interest in his work. “ The pangs of back home getting you down soldier,” General Donald said. But the soldier just made an excuse that he was feeling sick.
On The Road Again
Dallas didn’t get a chance to deal with his feelings because they were sent to site. As the soldiers were packed in the army vehicle like sardines. He questioned the decisions of his life.
They left the army base and headed off on a 3-hour drive to the makeshift army setup. Dallas knew he wouldn’t be able to speak to his wife for a while.
Home Away From Home
He was deployed to a temporary base in a small village in Iraq, Dallas was on guard. He barely slept and was on high alert at all times.
He missed his wife and longed for a touch of home. And it was as if something in the Universe felt his pain, but he received a call from home.
News From Home
He eagerly answered the call. It was his wife; she had an emergency with the baby. But everything was okay now. She would explain in detail in an email.
When he inquired who was with her, Sarah brushed it off saying she got some friends to help her out. Dallas felt a pang of unease but trusted his wife’s explanation.
The tired soldier never forgot the voice that lingered in his mind. A faint, unfamiliar male voice occasionally echoed in the background.
But the voice persisted, an eerie undercurrent to their conversations. He asked again, “Who is that there with you?” But Sarah deflected, only to be reassured that it was nothing more than the voice of their family member.
The soldier eventually returned to his main base in Iraq, there was still a year left of his service. As the days stretched into weeks and then months, the voice grew more distinct, its intonations more unnerving.
Dallas couldn’t shake the feeling that it harbored secrets, concealed truths that clawed at the edges of his consciousness. The voice rang in his head.
Talking To Home
The soldier took advantage of having a cellphone and phoned back home more often. One evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon casting long shadows, Alice’s innocent voice reached across the miles.
“Daddy,” she said, her voice a fragile thread of connection, “I can’t wait for you to meet my new dad.” The soldier was speechless.
The Little Girl Said
Stunned, Dallas felt a chill crawl up his spine. What did his daughter mean? His mind raced, searching for explanations, for a logical way to unravel this disconcerting puzzle.
He pressed Alice for answers, his heart pounding as the darkness of uncertainty closed in. But the little girl didn’t understand what her father meant. She was just happy.
Dallas tried to get information from his daughter. But she couldn’t give him the answers she wanted. “Who is taking you to school honey?” Dallas tried to prompt his child.
Then, one day, Alice’s innocent utterance pierced through the crackling phone line. “Daddy, I can’t wait for you to meet my new dad,” she said with a child’s innocent excitement.
Daddy Number Two
The words struck Dallas like a thunderbolt, confusion and alarm surging through him. What could Alice possibly mean? His heart raced as he contemplated the possibilities, the thoughts tormenting him during the long nights in the barracks.
Through the phone line, her voice trembled, “He’s nice, Daddy. He takes care of us when you’re away.” Who was this man?
Alone And Betrayed
Fear clenched Dallas’s heart like a vise. He had thought of Sarah every day and had believed in the strength of their love. How could she have done this to him?
The relentless sandstorms of Iraq were nothing compared to the storm of emotions raging within him now. He felt betrayed by the woman he loved most, and he was ready to wreak vengeance on her and the unknown man. But he had no idea what he was in for.
She Always Lied
Tears burned behind his eyes. What was he supposed to do about this? His wife lied every time he tried to ask her about it, and his daughter was too young to explain the situation. Dallas was shattered.
For all his life, he dedicated everything to his family. He wanted to give them the best lives possible, and this was what he got in return.
He Needed Answers
He tried to get more information out of Alice, but she was more interested in telling him about her time in school. He had to speak to Sarah about this, but he wondered if she would tell him the truth.
But why would she do this to him? Did she feel neglected or betrayed by his absence? He had to get to the bottom of this.
How Could She?
“Alice, sweetie, could you pass the phone to Mommy, please?” He spoke gently, careful not to alarm his young daughter. She remained silent for a moment before finally responding.
“Mommy isn’t home. Only dad is. But mommy said that he wasn’t allowed to talk to you,” She said casually, clearly not understanding the severity of the situation. His heart dropped. How could Sarah have done this to him?
He felt defeated. There was nothing more that he could do. He simply had to let this go. After all, there wasn’t much he could do while he was this far away from his wife and children. It felt like his entire world was falling apart, and he didn’t know how to fix it.
“Okay, sweetie.” He breathed, feeling absolutely destroyed. “I’ll speak to you later.” His biggest fear was coming true. He was losing his family. What was he going to do?
The Weight of Duty
Dallas hung up the phone, his emotions swirling in a tumultuous storm. Betrayal, anger, and heartbreak all battled for dominance within him. Duty had called him away from his family, but now it seemed that duty had cost him his family.
His thoughts turned to his comrades, the soldiers who relied on him in the field. Could he afford to let this turmoil consume him? His duty to his country was still paramount, but the personal crisis gnawed at his soul.
A Soldier’s Resolve
As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, Dallas knew he had to compartmentalize his pain. He couldn’t let his personal anguish jeopardize his mission and the lives of his fellow soldiers.
With a steely determination, he threw himself into his work, pushing aside the tormenting thoughts whenever they resurfaced. He couldn’t allow his emotions to compromise the safety of his unit.
Couldn’t Think Straight
But he couldn’t even think straight with all the thoughts and scenarios going through his mind. Even though he fully immersed himself in his duties, that male voice lingered in his mind.
At times, his team found him sitting with his head in his hands. They sensed that there was trouble back home. They had seen it before.
Many of the soldiers had lost their marriages. It became too much for wives to wait for their husbands. They needed the support of having to look after children, and they couldn’t do it alone.
But most army wives stuck it out and stood by their husbands, waiting for the day they would come home.
Hoped And Prayed
Dallas had hoped and prayed that Sarah was one of those loyal army wives. He hoped that she would be standing on the tarmac waiting to receive him when their plane touched down on American soil.
But he felt a pang of doubt, especially after the last call. He looked at pictures of them on his phone in happier times.
Tears sprung to his eyes as he pressed the power button on his phone. He watched the screen turn black before shutting his eyes tightly. He was watching in real time as everything came crashing down around him.
He thought Sarah was his endgame, but now he realized how wrong he was. Was she just waiting for him to leave before inviting this man over? Suddenly, he doubted everything they ever had.
A New Dad
The remaining year in Iraq became a test of endurance, the suspense in his heart mirroring the volatile landscape around him. Sarah was pregnant with a boy.
The news excited and crushed him all the same. He’d always wanted a boy, but now he was wondering if he would even be in the child’s life. What if his family was actively replacing him? He didn’t know what to do.
Despite the turmoil within him, Dallas knew he couldn’t let this uncertainty fester any longer. He needed answers, closure, and the truth, no matter how painful it might be.
Late one night, as the harsh desert winds howled outside his barracks, he decided to take a drastic step. He contacted a close friend back home, John, whom he trusted implicitly. He confided in John about the strange occurrences, the voice on the phone, and his daughter’s unsettling words.
John, a former military man himself, took the matter seriously. He began discreetly investigating the situation. He visited Sarah and Alice, trying to gather information without raising suspicion.
What he discovered was deeply unsettling. There was indeed another man in the house. Sarah and this man seemed to have grown very close. John just didn’t know how he was going to break the news to Dallas.
The news shattered him. But he wasn’t surprised. At the back of his mind, he already knew. But now, having the truth laid bare to him made it hurt even more.
How could it be that he was on the brink of losing his family? A wife he only loved with all his heart. Someone he thought loved him, too.
He regretted asking John to investigate. Now, he couldn’t stop thinking about what was going on in his house behind closed doors.
Even his little daughter was involved. It crushed him when his precious princess called someone else “daddy.” How could Sarah have moved on so quickly? Did their vows not mean anything to her?
But maybe there was a perfectly good explanation for everything. He understood that being pregnant and having to take care of another child was hard, but why would she move on to another man without even expressing her feelings of loneliness to him?
He knew all too well how lonely it could get in the desert, but yet all he could think about was surviving to get home to his wife.
He tried his best not to think about it too hard. He was going to have a baby boy soon and he had to ensure that he would be there for him.
He faced the dangers of combat with renewed determination, driven by a singular purpose: to return to America and confront the enigma that had infiltrated his family. He was fighting his own personal war.
The months were passing fast, and he was channeling all of his pain and anger into his work. He felt like he had something to prove. He was excited yet terrified to return home, knowing that another man had moved into his home.
His last few conversations with Sarah were tense. He never asked her about the man, but he still heard him over the phone, playing with his children.
An Inner War
As his deployment finally neared its end, his anticipation mingled with dread. How was he going to handle the confrontation with his wife and her new flame?
The thought of reuniting with Sarah and Alice was a beacon of hope, yet it also cast a spotlight on the mysteries he was about to confront. He had to be brave.
He often spoke about the situation to one of his closest friends in Iraq, Simon. He felt for Dallas, after all, he had lost his wife to another man too. Simon kept telling Dallas not to assume anything.
“You don’t know the full story yet,” He would say with a pat on Dallas’s back. Weeks quickly turned into days, and before they knew it, it was time to go home.
Back To The USA
The day of departure arrived, the airplane carrying Dallas homeward bound. His heart raced as the distance between him and Iraq grew, but anxiety clung to him like a shadow.
He envisioned their reunion—embraces, tears, and long-awaited laughter—but he couldn’t shake the lingering questions, the unsettling feeling that everything he knew was about to unravel.
Since he left, he’d imagined what it would feel like to come home to his wife and children. But over time, his expectations changed.
He envisioned their reunion—embraces, tears, and long-awaited laughter—but he couldn’t shake the lingering questions, the unsettling feeling that everything he knew was about to unravel.
On Home Ground
At long last, the day of his return arrived. The aircraft touched down on American soil, his heart pounding as he descended the gangway.
He once longed for this moment to come, but now, he was terrified of what would happen when he saw his wife’s beautiful face. He wasn’t ready for what was to come, but he couldn’t put this off any longer.
A Long Journey
He nearly shed a tear as he said goodbye to Simon. Unlike him, Simon’s family had come to the airport to pick him up. Dallas had to get a cab home. The journey to his house seemed to last a lifetime, but eventually, he made it home.
As he walked up the porch towards his home, a mixture of joy and trepidation welled up within him. The front door swung open, and there they were: Sarah and Alice, radiant and expectant.
His eyes glowed in happiness that he was looking at his darling child. But his feelings were confusing toward his wife.
Sarah looked as beautiful as ever, and he couldn’t help it as his heart leaped at the sight of her. For all his life, she was all he ever wanted. Suddenly, he forgot all about the pain. He wanted to embrace his wife and daughter.
Alice ran toward him, and he quickly scooped her up in a tight hug, “I’ve missed you so much,” he said into her ear before releasing her.
But as he stepped across the threshold, his ears caught an unfamiliar resonance – a man’s voice resonating within the walls of his home. He had the audacity to be in his house even on the day that he arrived?
Someone In My House
Dallas entered his house with Alice running close behind. He entered the living room and stopped dead in his tracks. A man was laughing somewhere in the house, it sounded like it was coming from the kitchen.
His eyes darted towards the source, and there, in the heart of his sanctuary, stood a stranger. A shiver of discomfort ran down Dallas’ spine as their gazes locked.
The man casually placed his drink on the counter and stepped closer to Dallas as he extended his hand out to him. “Hey there, I’m Steven,” He said with a silly grin on his.
Dallas took a hesitant step closer to the man and shook his hand awkwardly. That was the voice he’d heard over the phone for all those months. But who was the strange man?
Dallas didn’t say anything at first, they were left staring at each other as Sarah pushed into the kitchen, taking Steven’s arm with a wide smile. Dallas didn’t like the way she was touching him. How could she do that right in front of her husband?
“Steven here has been helping out a lot while you were gone. He’s been helping me with the kids and the house chores,” She grinned proudly. Dallas felt sick to his stomach.
Who Are You?
“Right,” He coughed up, clearing his throat, “And how do you know each other?” He frowned, making it very obvious that he did not agree. How could Sarah be so blatant about this? And why was his daughter calling the man ‘dad’?
Sarah flashed her ever-charming smile, “He is my sister’s husband. But he’s been staying with us since you left?” He had to stop himself from throwing a fit in front of everyone.
He Didn’t Trust Him
“Come on, let get your things all packed out. Steven prepared us a wonderful dinner with all of your favorites,” Sarah smiled and walked ahead, leading her husband out of the kitchen.
But before he left, he glanced at Steven who flashed him a subtle smirk. This didn’t sit right with him. Something was up and he was going to let this go. Little did he know that Steven wasn’t going to leave any time soon.
Days turned into weeks, and Dallas observed with a growing sense of unease as the man ingrained himself into his family’s daily life.
The closeness he shared with Alice, the camaraderie he had with Sarah, all of it felt like an intrusion upon Dallas’ rightful place. He longed to reestablish himself as the head of the family, the protector and provider.
The Bigger Man
ummoning all his courage, Dallas invited his brother-in-law Steven for a drink. The words came out with a force he didn’t expect. “Are you having an affair with my wife?” he blurted out, the tension hanging in the air like a thick fog.
Steven’s eyes widened in shock, and he vehemently denied the accusation. Instead, he revealed a truth that pierced Dallas to his core – he had been acting as a father figure for Alice in Dallas’ absence, filling the void that had inevitably grown.
Nothing To Worry About
Dallas couldn’t refute Steven’s explanation, the bitterness of realization mingling with gratitude for his brother-in-law’s role. He thanked Steven for his help, though his unease remained unshaken.
He tried to mend his fractured relationship with Alice, to reclaim his place as her father, but the chasm had grown deeper than he anticipated. Would they be able to rekindle their relationship?
Fighting For His Life
In the end, Dallas faced a heart-wrenching truth. The war he fought on foreign soil was nothing compared to the battle he waged within his own home. As he watched Alice laugh and play with Steven, he wondered if he would ever truly find his way back to her heart.
The question that haunted him was simple yet profound – would his daughter remember him as her real father, or had the war stolen not only his presence but his place in her life?
A Fragile Truce
Weeks turned into months, and a fragile truce settled within the walls of the household. Dallas, Sarah, and Steven found a way to coexist, each playing their roles in Alice’s life.
Dallas, though pained by the loss of his daughter’s complete affection, decided to be the bigger man. He accepted that Steven had stepped in during his absence, and Alice had grown attached to him. He didn’t want to disrupt her life any further.
The Unspoken Tension
But despite the veneer of normalcy, an unspoken tension lingered in the air. Dallas couldn’t help but feel like a stranger in his own home. His relationship with Sarah was strained, and he couldn’t shake the suspicion that there was more to their story than met the eye.
He spent nights lying awake, wondering if he had made the right choice by allowing Steven to continue being a part of their lives. The doubts ate away at him, leaving him feeling like a prisoner in his own home.
Unable to quell his inner turmoil, Dallas decided to seek closure. He confronted Sarah, demanding an honest conversation about what had transpired in his absence. He needed to know the truth, no matter how painful it might be.
Sarah, her eyes filled with regret and sorrow, finally confessed. She had leaned on Steven for support during Dallas’s deployment, and their bond had grown stronger over time. However, it was not a romantic affair as Dallas had suspected.
A Heartfelt Apology
Sarah admitted that she had allowed Steven to take on a fatherly role for Alice, not realizing the lasting impact it would have on their relationship. She deeply regretted not communicating with Dallas about the situation, and she acknowledged the pain she had caused him.
Tears streamed down both their faces as they bared their souls, sharing their fears, doubts, and regrets. It was a painful but necessary conversation that brought them closer to understanding each other.
A New Beginning
The family, scarred but stronger, embarked on a new beginning. Dallas cherished the moments he spent with Alice, working to regain her trust and affection. It was a challenging journey but one he was willing to undertake.
With time, Alice began to see her father as a constant presence in her life, and her love for him deepened. Sarah and Dallas learned the importance of open communication and supporting each other through the trials of life.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.