© Copyright Joseph A. Hughes 2004, 2005, 2006. No part of this webpage can be reproduced or used by others in any way, shape or form unless by express written permission of the copyright holder.
The old man dipped the wooden pail in the creek, and handed it to his grandson. Dipping the other pail, he took his granddaughters hand, and headed up the bank. Looking at him with her big blue eyes Molly asked, “Grandfather would you tell us some more of the story?”
With a smile he replied, “Let me see. Where was I at?”
With excitement the boy informed, “You were at the part where the two guys were driving the beast through the woods.”
With a pat on the head, the old man began, “Yes Ryan, it is good that you remember. Well let’s see they made it to that washed out spot in the road, and then they decided to get some sleep. Jim snored pretty bad, so Doug got a sleeping bag out of the back. Then he laid it out under the truck, and went to sleep there.
“Now remember that young man that had the angel came to him?” Their grandfather asked.
“Anthony,” the little girl shouted.
“Thank you Molly,” the old man affirmed. Then he went on, “Well when Anthony got to Seattle, the lines were so long at the gas station he thought he would wait until morning. He got a motel room, and slept there for the night. In the morning he found he had to stay another day. The date was September 8, and that was an even day. His license plate ended with a three and that was an odd number, so he had to stay there one more day.”
In the woods, Jim awoke to find Doug looking over the washout in the road. Rubbing his eyes, he opened the truck door, and stepped from the cab. Looking up Doug shouted, “About time you got up sleepy head.”
Jim smiled as he walked down the bank to the creek. Looking over the washout he suggested, “Its only about thirty feet across, bet I could hook the wench to a tree and drive across.”
Doug looked at the creek, then at Jim and questioned, “You don’t think that Beast will rollover when it gets down here? Do you?”
Looking at the angle of the creek Jim responded, “I don’t think so, I’ve had the truck at this steep of an angle before, but just incase maybe you better wait on the other side. That way there is someone to save me if it dose.”
Doug shook his head and replied, “Looks risky to me, but we don’t seem to have any other choice. Fire that beast up, and I’ll pull the wench cable across.”
Jim started the truck. Then got behind the seat and pulled out the control for the wench. At the front of the truck he plugged it into the wench, and Doug took the end of the wench cable. He pushed the button that said out, and Doug walked the cable to the other side. After wrapping the cable around a large tree, he walked back to the truck. Jim handed him the control, and told him not to let the cord get under the front tire. If you let that happen it will jerk the cord out of the plug. With a nod, Doug took the control, and walked up the washout pulling the slack out of the cord.
Jim slowly let the front wheels drop down into the washout, as Doug ran the wench. The front of the truck was about halfway across when the backend slid down the wash. It jerked the control out of Doug’s hand, and the cable made a twanging sound. Doug and Jim stared at each other for a moment, and then Doug got the control and pushed the button. The wench made a growling sound, and the cable went twang. Jim put the truck in the lowest gear, and pushed the gas peddle to the floor. The truck jumped and jerked as it threw rocks and mud. Slowly one jerk at a time the truck climbed up the washout. As the front tire climbed the bank the truck leaned to one side. This was not the angle Jim wanted to take, but it was the only option he had. The truck rocked and bucked as the first tire climbed up the bank. Jim’s heart pounded with every sway of the truck, and he was almost sure it was going to rollover. Finally, the other front tire climbed up onto the road, and his worry passed as the truck leveled out.
Ray pulled the wagon into the camp, and brought the horses to a stop. Looking around he saw the place was hopping with movement. Most of the crates had been opened, and were piled next to the building. Everyone seamed to be doing something, except Tom and Jeff who were sitting in the Explorer.
Ray handed Steve the rains and headed to find Bill. Inside the Meeting Hall Ray found Bill with a group of men. There were rows of boxes lined by the wall, and a row of control panels in the center of the room. Bill had his laptop sitting on top of one, and was looking at something with Tom. Walking around he saw each panel was a work station a lot like the ones at the Pentagon. Looking up Bill announced, “Box 12b.”
With that Keith started looking through the boxes, and Bill turned to Ray.
Ray asked, “Where is Jim? I need help with the horses.”
Bill responded, “Jim isn’t here, he went with Doug to get supplies, but Clay and Betty are out back. They’re helping put up the satellite dish, but I’m sure they can help you.”
With a nod, Ray headed for the back door. Outside he found Betty and Clay standing by the generator talking, and saw Andy laying out parts for the dish with Crag. With a smile Clay announced, “See you made it back old man.”
With a chuckle Ray responded, “Why don’t you make yourself useful Grandpa, and do something with those horses.”
Clay smiled and gave Ray a wink as he informed, “I don’t know much about horses. Maybe you should check around for some one that dose.”
Betty shook her head and mumbled, “Men, there all alike, and the old ones are the worst. Let’s go and I’ll show you how to unhitch the team.”
Following about ten feet behind her Clay whispered, “Like playing cards don’t you think.”
Ray just smiled as they got to the wagon, and Betty started unhooking the team. Then she instructed Steve to get the rope from under the wagon seat. After lifting one side of the yoke, she looked to Clay and Ray for help. Ray lifted the other side, and out of instinct the horse lowered its head. Slipping the yoke over the horses head, they let it fall to the ground. Taking one end of the rope Steve was holding she tied it to the horse. Then she unhitched the other horse, and tied the other end of the rope to it. Stretching the rope out by the middle, she walked the horses over to a small tree, and tied the rope to it. Then looking at Ray and Clay she barked, “Now throw down a bale of hay for them, and get two five gallon buckets out of the horse trailer. Fill them with water, and put them over here for the horses.”
Then she walked off and left them standing next to the horses.
Ray smiled at Clay and snickered, “Some poker player you are. I’ll get the hay, and you can get the water.”
On the Track Line, Jim gave the cord on the chainsaw a pull, and after a few struggling pops it started. With the vibration going up his arm, he slowly pushed it into the log. He let the chainsaw drop as it went through the last log. Wiping the sweat from his head he looked back at the beast and thought, hope you get us out of here old friend.
Doug rolled the last log off the road, and walked to the old beast with Jim. Heading back down the old track line Jim announced, “We only have about five more miles to go, and then we’ll be to the logging road.”
The next mile was scary, because the old track line went along the side of a cliff. Jim drove as close to the bank as he could, and the beast was scrapping the rock wall at times. What they didn’t know was how narrow the road was, and that was probably a good thing. If they knew that the outside tire on the back was hanging over the edge, they most likely would not have tried to drive down it. Then the supplies wouldn’t have made it to the Church Camp, and things might have turned out a lot different.
Washington D.C. Walking into The Oval Office the President saw his aid waiting for him. Stepping behind his desk he questioned, “Where are we at on the time line?”
With a grin he responded, “Right on target sir. We have civil unrest in most every city, and panic buying everywhere. I’m sure we are ready to move to phase three and declare marshal law.”
“Good,” the President replied. Then he added, “Setup a news conference and I will make the announcement. Then get me an update on the states of the bio marker ID’s.”
Shaking his head the aid responded, “That is not going to good. A lot of people are calling it the mark of the beast, and refusing to get the ID.”
With a smile the President informed, “That’s OK; when they get hungry they will think different.”
In Seattle Anthony was putting his bag into the car, and that is when he saw it. Across the street was a big sign that said, “out of gas,” hanging over the gas station. He knew getting gas was the most important thing he had to do, but it was not looking good. He drove around for a little while, but the stations that were open had lines blocks long. Then he saw a gas station with only a few cars, but there was a sign in the window that said, “Gas with rationing card only.” He like most people feared this card, as he thought it was connected to the mark of the beast. Now troubled and not sure what to do, he turned to the only one he knew could help him. Seeing a church he stopped and went inside.
He walked to the front of the church, and sat in the first pew. Then he prayed, “Oh Lord, one that has power over all things. Forgive me for I have fallen short and not done your will. Oh Lord I’m lost and don’t know what to do. I’m putting this in your hands, and letting you guide my way.”
Then he felt a hand on his back, and heard a voice ask, “What is it that you need to do the Lords will?”
With his head still bowed Anthony disclosed, “I need gas to make it to where he’s sending me.”
Taking his arm and giving it a tug, the Priest informed, “Your prayer has been answered. Now let’s get that gas.”
Then the Priest explained that he had a church member that owned a construction company, and he had a truck with large fuel tanks for his equip. After walking to his office the Priest gave him a call, and he came and filled up Anthony’s gas tank. Then he was off to the Church Camp.
The old man sat on a round of wood in the woodshed, and watched Ryan load wood into the wheelbarrow. Then he lifted Molly up onto his lap, and asked, “Remember the two agents that were getting the guy’s wife and kids.”
With a smile she responded, “Yes, it was a boy and girl. Just like Ryan and me.”
“Very good Molly,” the old man informed. Then he went on, “Well they used the code, and got his wife and kids to go with them. Then took them up into the mountains to a hotel, and got two rooms. Judie and her two kids Amber and Alex stayed in one room, and the two agents stayed in the other room. Their plan was to stay there two days. This would give everyone time to have the camp setup by the time they got there. The two days had passed, and it was time to head for the Church Camp. Issac, one of the agents was putting on his shoes when he saw himself on the TV. Then a moment later he saw his partner Lance.
Lance appeared from the bathroom rubbing his hair with a towel, as someone started pounding on the door. Looking at Lance, Issac announced, “I just saw us on the TV. We’re hot as hell, and have no cover.”
Lance took his gun and stood behind the door, and Issac held his gun behind his back. Then he slowly opened the door. Pushing him to one side, Judie stepped in the door. She was hysterical and yelling, “What the hell is going on? I just saw you two on the TV, and it said you were terrorist.”
Issac took his pin from his pocket, and stabbed it into her shoulder. She looked at him wide eyed as her legs went limp and she fell to the floor. Lance set his pistol on the dresser and declared, “Great Issac, now what the hell are we going to do about the two kids next door?”
Setting his briefcase on the bed he responded, “I didn’t have any choice. Rick told me not to let anything happen to them. That they were the insurance to make sure we have an inside man in the Pentagon, and you know we have to have an inside man.” Then he twisted the pen that was a syringe, and removed the glass vile. Opening his briefcase, he removed another vile, and held it up as Lance slipped on his shirt. Then asked, “What do you think Lance, about a half dose for a kid.”
Staring at Issac with a look of disbelief Lance questioned, “You’re not going to drug the kids? Are you?”
Shrugging his shoulders Issac responded, “Don’t have much choice the way I see it. Besides it’s not like we never drugged someone to complete our mission before.”
Lance stuttered, “But, But, these are kids.”
Draining out half of the liquid, and tossing the vile on the bed Issac instructed, “Put that vile in your pin.” Then pulled another vile from his briefcase, and started draining liquid from it. Issac noticed that Lance was not moving and staring at him. Taking a deep breath Issac informed, “Ok, I don’t like it anymore than you, but maybe you can explain to the kids why their mom is not moving and looks dead.”
Reluctantly Lance pulled the pin from his pocket, and picked up the vile from the bed. He removed the full vile from his pin and replaced it with the half-filled one. He watched Issac put the silencer on his gun. With out saying a word Lance set his briefcase on the bed and did the same. Then put on his shoulder holster and coat. Slipping his pistol in the holster, he looked at Judie. Then bent down and gently pulled her foot from under her knee, and laid her leg out straight. Issac took the key from her pocket, and walked to the door. Out of instinct, Lance pulled his pistol and put his back to the wall behind the door. Then he gave Issac a nod. Opening the door a few inches Issac scanned over the parking lot and the small one-story rooms across the way. With only seeing one other car in the lot, he opened the door a little farther, and gave Lance a nod.
Issac slid the key in the door as Lance watched over the lot. Opening the door Issac saw Amber and Alex sitting on the bed watching the TV. He walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, as Lance closed the door. Then Lance sat on the other side of the bed as Issac asked, “What are you watching?”
Alex responded, “We were watching you on the TV, but Mommy got mad and left.”
Pulling the pin from his pocket he informed, “I’m going to leave a note for your Mommy. Will you give it to her when she gets back?”
Before Alex could respond, Lance nodded and they both stabbed the children with their pins. Issac placed his hand on Alex’s back and let him gently down on the bed, as he watched Lance do the same for Amber. Then Issac gave Lance a nod and looked to the door. With out hesitation Lance knew what he had to do, and went to the door. He opened the door a crack and saw it was clear, so he went out and opened the car door. Then went back and stood by the door as Issac carried Alex to the car. After Issac placed Amber in the backseat next to Alex, they went back to their room. Gathering their things they took them to the car with out a word, and returned to the room for Judie. With Issac kneeling on one side and Lance on the other they pulled her up, and put her arms around their necks. Then they stood up pulling her to her feet. Walking to the door her head was bobbing back and forth, and her feet were dragging. At the car, they set her in the back seat. After lifting her legs in the car Issac shut the door, and Lance went back to leave the key and close the door.
Washington D.C. Stopping to knock on the open door, the Presidents aid entered the Oval Office. Looking up the President ask, “Is everything going as planned?”
“Yes sir,” the aid replied. Then went on, “But we have a small problem sir. It’s the internet. People are using it to coordinate against us. It looks like it could turn into a problem.”
He nodded and picked up the phone. Then after a pause he announced, “Engage operation Reboot.”
Ryan looked up at the gray bearded old man and asked, “Grandpa, how come you only talk about one President? What happen to the other Presidents?”
The old man rubbed his grandsons head and responded, “Back then we only had one President Ryan. It wasn’t like it is now with five Presidents. We only had one President, and he had absolute power over all things.” He wanted to tell them more, but he knew they were too young to understand. When they got older he would explain how if the President made something extremely Top Secret, then even Senators and Congress Men could not see it.
Then the old man went on, “Now Issac and Lance were on the highway headed to the Church Camp. About five miles from the logging road they came on a road block. Issac slowed down and studied the layout. There was one State Police car on each side of the road, and they were pointed nose to nose. There was a gap in the middle just big enough for a car to fit through. Pulling his gun from his holster and putting it in his lap Issac announced, “Roll down your window.”
Issac came to a stop about thirty feet back from the roadblock, and watched as an officer stood behind each car. Then the other two walked up on each side of their car. The one on Lance’s side pulled his gun, and held it with both hands pointed at the ground. Lance did not take his eyes off the gun, as his training had taught him this was his main threat. On the other side of the car Issac was watching something else. He was watching the eyes of the officer with his hand on his gun. He saw what was coming in his eyes before it happened, and out of the corner of his eye he saw him start pulling his gun. Then he heard him yell, “I think we have two of them.”
Lifting his gun from his lap, he put a bullet in his head, as he fell to the ground the other officer looked. This was Lance’s chance to pull his gun and shoot the officer on his side. As he fell Lance opened his door, and stepped behind it. Looking at the two officers behind the cars, he could tell they were trying to let their mind catch up with what was happening. Because of their silencers they had heard no shots, and were not reacting as fast as if they had. That only lasted a few seconds, and they were drawing there guns. By the time Issac opened his door Lance was taking his first shot. Then boom, boom, boom, the officers were shooting back. Out of the corner of his eye Isaac saw Lance fly back, and knew he had been hit. Out of anger and determination Issac made the next two shots count and took out both of the officers.
Running to the other side of the car Issac knelt down next to Lance. Listening to him gasp for air as he tore his shirt open. Then with a sigh of relief Issac announced, “Your vest stopped it.”
Still gasping for breath Lance nodded. Then Issac went to check the other two officers. They were both dead, so he drug one to the back of one of the cars. He opened the back door and shoved him in. Then he did the same with the other officer. By this time Lance was up and walking around. He walked over to the Police Car, and told Issac he would ditch it down the road. He drove the car down the road to a level spot, and pulled it off behind some trees. Then he stopped at the road and looked back to make sure it couldn’t be seen.
Back at the road block Issac had put the other two officers in the other car, and pulled it off the side of the road. Then drove his car down and picked up Lance. After ditching the other Police car, they headed for the logging road.
On the Track Line Jim brought the beast to a stop, and looked at the big boulders in the road. They were close, but they had to overcome this last obstacle. Getting out Jim and Doug went to check them out. Standing next to one of the boulders Jim and Doug could see the logging road on the other side. Pointing to the smallest of the three boulders, Jim suggested they put the winch cable around it and try to pull it out of the way. Doug agreed and pulled out the winch cable. After wrapping it around the boulder, he got in the truck. Jim tried to back the truck and move the bolder, but he was just tearing up clumps of grass and digging holes with the tires. But try as he did it wasn’t working, and the boulder did not even budge. Looking at Jim Doug asked, “You think if I cut down that big pine tree you can drive around?”
Pulling the beast forward Jim responded, “I don’t think we have much of a choice. This sure isn’t working, and we need to do something. A few minutes later Doug was cutting on the tree. Soon he heard a crackling sound coming from the tree, and jerked out the saw. He ran back out of the way, and watched the tree fall across the logging road. At that very moment Issac and Lance were coming down the road. Seeing the tree fall in front of them Issac slammed on the brakes, and skidded to a stop next to the tree.
Seeing the car Doug thought, Damn I almost fall that tree on a car. Then he went to check and make sure everyone was all right. As he reached the side of the road he saw Issac and Lance get out of the car. Seeing Judie and the two kids leaning over in the car Doug asked, “Is everyone all right?”
Issac thought for a moment. Knowing that he was only about a mile from the Church Camp Issac thought, This might be some men Bill or Rick sent to block the road. With that thought he responded, “Looks like you knocked the apples out of that tree.”
Doug questioned, “You sure you don’t mean the apple fell from the tree?”
Issac relaxed and let his hand slip from the butt of his pistol. Then he inquired, “Bill and Rick?”
Doug answered, “Their at the Church Camp. They sent us for supplies and we had to drive around a roadblock to get back. That’s why I fell this tree. We need to get back on the logging road.”
Not sure of what was going on Jim walked up with his rifle and asked, “Is everything all right?”
Doug replied, “These are the two agents coming from Seattle.”
Looking in the car Jim asked, “The woman and kids in the back are OK?”
Reluctantly Issac declared, “Unfortunately we had to drug them, but they will be all right in a few hours. It might have been a good thing though. We had some trouble on the way and had a shoot out, so it might have been better that the children didn’t see it.” Then looking at Doug he suggested, “If you start cutting the limbs I’ll drag them out of the way. Then we can cut this tree up and get out of here.”
“Sounds good to me,” Doug replied. Then started the chainsaw, and went to work. Soon he was sawing the stump close to ground so Jim could drive out the beast.
At the Church Camp Betty leaned close to Steve and whispered, “Mandy stayed up all night waiting for you. I finally got her to get some sleep, and she is over there in that cabin.” She informed him as she pointed to the cabin closest to the Meeting Hall. Then she gave him a push and walked away with a smile.
Steve walked over to the cabin, and paused by the porch to pet the horse tied to the post. Under his breath he whispered, “You did good girl. Thanks for bring my love back safe.” He straightened out the hair on her mane as he stepped up on the porch, and gave her a pet on the neck. She jerked her head up as to say you’re welcome. Steve smiled as he opened the door and stepped in the cabin. Inside he saw wooden bunk beds on each wall. Two bunk beds on each side and one in the middle in the back. He stood there and starred at her lying in the middle bunk, as he thought about all Ray told him. On the way back Ray had told him everything he knew, and it was just now starting to sink in.
Len came running down the road yelling, “In coming!”
Everyone scattered grabbing their rifles, and took a place watching the road. Rick picked up the Rocket Launcher and kneeled next to the Explorer. Then the Beast emerged from around the corner and Cliff yelled, “It’s our supplies.” Then he walked out to meet them. Everyone gathered around the Beast with excitement. Except Bill, Ray, and Rick which were more interest in the car behind them. Issac stepped from the car shaking his head as they approached.
Rick questioned, “What’s wrong Issac?”
Issac implied, “I screwed thing up. It all went good until this morning, and that is when it all started going south. I had to drug the package to get them here. Then we had a shoot out with the Police down the road, and Lance got hit. I think he’s got a couple broken ribs, and he is hurting bad.”
Ray looked in the back seat and asked, “How long until they wake up?”
Issac confessed, “About six hours for the mother, and I’m not sure about the kids. I gave them a half dose, but they might sleep until tomorrow morning.”
Ray looked up at the Beast and shouted, “Betty over here!”
She set down the box from the truck and walked back to Ray. Then asked, “What do you need Ray?”
Pointing to the backseat he informed, “I’m putting you in charge of the woman and the two kids. Take them to your cabin and don’t let them out of your site. They won’t wake up for at least six hours, so that will give you time to get some sleep.”
Betty gritted her teeth and mumbled, “Great a baby sitting job.”
Ray snapped back at her comment, “Listen, I gave you this job because there isn’t a man here that can do it. When she wakes up, she is going to be scared and mad as hell. It is going to take a strong woman to handle her, and that would be you. There are just some jobs that are best left to right person, and you are that person.”
With out saying a word Betty went to the back passenger door. Rick stepped next to her as she open the door. He reached in to help Betty pull the mother from the car, and felt her hand grasp his wrist. She gave it a squeeze and pain shot up Ricks arm. Letting go of the grip from hell Betty growled, “Get the kids from the other side!”
Rick stepped back as Betty pulled her up over her shoulder and stood up. Rick just watched as Betty carried her like a sack of potatoes to the cabin. Rubbing his wrist Rick walked to the other side of the car. Cliff walked up as he opened the back door and informed, “I saw that. Don’t take it personal Rick, she treats everyone that way.”
Bending down to pickup the little boy he replied, “I thought it was something like that.”
In the cabin, Steve opened his eyes as Betty laid Judie on a bunk. He felt Mandy squeeze him tight and laid his head back down, but was still watching. He saw Doug come in the door carrying an arm full of sleeping bags. He was followed by Rick carrying the little boy. Without a word Betty held up her hand and gave Rick a look. Then took one of the sleeping bags and rolled it out on the top bunk. She unzipped it and flipped back the top. Then stepped out of the way and let Rick lay the boy down. Then she insisted Rick to get the girl, as she rolled out another sleeping bag for the girl.
Kneeling down the old man stacked the wood in the wood box, as Ryan handed it to him from the wheelbarrow. Looking up he announced, “Now Anthony drove past where the road block was, and had turned off onto the logging road. At that same moment Issac, Ray, and Bill were going over what to do about the roadblock. They knew when they found what happened at the roadblock. They would start searching the area hard, and might find them at the camp.
Then Lance walked into the Meeting Hall and saw all the equipment. Pausing for a moment in disbelief, he just stared. Then he finely commented, “Holy crap is this what I think it is?”
Looking at Lance Brian informed, “That depends on what you think it is. For instances, if you think the first station is a Sitcom Center you would be right. From here, you can control every satellite we have government or civilian. The next station is the Com Center, and from here, you can control or listen in on any communications. Phone, radio, satellite, you name it we can tap into it from here. The next one is for our nukes. From here, you can change launch codes, reprogram targets, and even send a command to a sub to launch one. The next two are standard workstations and that one down on the end. Well I don’t have a clue. I can’t find any documentation on it other than its called Time Factor. Now if that is what you thought this was you were right.”
“In coming,” echoed through the camp as Len ran down the road.
Once again, everyone grabbed there rifles and took cover watching the road. Then an old Toyoda came skidding to a stop. Out jumped Anthony waving his arms and yelling, “I’m here to help you. God sent me to help.”
Everyone started stepping out and Anthony saw all the guns point at him. He kept his arms up and thought, What have you done to me Lord? Have you sent me all the way out her just to bring me home?
Issac step forward and shouted, “Take this to your God.” Then pulled up his pistol and pulled the trigger. “Click,” the round did not go off, and Issac quickly pulled back the slid. The round ejected then the gun jammed on the next round. Ray stepped next to Issac and put his hand on the pistol. Then Ray gently pulled it from his hand and softly whispered, “If God sent him do really want to go against that?”
Issac responded, “I don’t buy into that crap, and we can’t tie up all are people watching everyone that shows up. Besides, my gun probably got damaged when I dropped it at the roadblock.”
Ray pulled his pistol and handed it to Issac and informed, “This one works, try it and see what happens.”
Lance took the pistol from Ray, and pointed it at Anthony. At that very moment, a gap opened up in the clouds, and a beam of sunlight came through. It shined on the mirror of the Explorer and reflected right in Issac’s eyes. He was blinded by the light, and could not see Anthony to shoot. Ray snatched his gun out of Issac’s hand and informed, “He lives! The decision has been made.”
Ray walked over to the young man and asked, “What is your name son?”
With out hesitation Anthony replied, “Anthony sir, I think God sent me here to help you stop the mark of the beast.”
Ray smiled and informed, “Well that is what we are trying to do, but we call it dictatorship.”
Ryan looked wide eyed at his grandfather and asked, “What is a dictatorship grandpa?”
Sitting back in his chair the old man thought for a moment. Then he leaned forward and softly replied, “You know when your mommy tells you to do something you don’t want to do, and if you don’t do it you get in trouble.”
Ryan hesitated for a moment and replied, “Yes.”
The old man went on, “Well it is kind of like that, but its one person telling everyone what to do all the time.”
Ryan looked at him with the question still in his eyes, and the old man knew he did not understand. It was very complicated and he knew Ryan would have to be older to understand. With that thought the old man continued, “Ray had had enough delays and knew he had to do something about the roadblock. He rounded up Bill, Rick, Jim, Doug, and Tom. Then he laid a map on the hood of the Explorer, and pointed to a spot on the highway. He told them that’s the spot where Issac said the roadblock was. What the plan is, I’ll take that old Junker of a Toyoda, and put some C4 with a remote detonator in it. I follow Rick and Tom who will be driving the Lost Lake Truck. After we leave, I want Jim and Doug to fall a few trees over the road to camp. After you do that, I want Jim to bring me a horse to get back. Ray pointed to an intersection with another highway thirty miles away. This is where Rick and Tom will dump the truck. Then travel cross-country to this logging road to be picked up. Then Ray asked, “Anyone have any questions?”
Rick said, “I’m getting the truck.” Then he walked off with Tom.
Bill informed, “I’ll get what you need,”
Jim affirmed, “Two trees coming down.” Then waved at Doug to come along and headed for the Beast.
On his way to the truck, Tom grabbed the rocket launcher and two rounds. Looking at Rick, he suggested, “Just in case we need something big.”
Rick nodded his head in agreement, as they got in the truck. Pulling the truck around the car Tom watched Bill and Ray in the back seat. Then he switched to the mirror, and saw Jim pull the Beast up behind them. Rick stopped the truck in front of the car, and looked in the mirror. He saw Bill walking off, and Ray waving for him to go. Rick pulled out with Ray and Jim right behind. Jim and Doug stopped short of the logging road to fall the trees, but Rick, and Ray keep going on their mission.
Ray followed Rick on the highway as he looked at the detonator on the seat next to him. Then he started going over the plan in his head as he drove down the highway. He thought, Boy hope this works and leads them away from us. With that thought running though his head, he heard the air horn blow. He looked in his mirror and saw lights flashing in the trees behind him. They were about a mile back, but they were coming fast. He looked back up and saw Rick pulling away from him. This was it, like it of not, this was the spot. Ray slammed on the breaks and skidded the car sideways in the road. Then jumped out and ran as fast as he could into the woods. About a hundred yards into the woods Ray pushed the button on the detonator and through himself to the ground. He knew he was way to close, but he didn’t have much chose. If he waited much longer, the Police cars might be coat in the blast.
Then there was a bright flash, and the sound of the blast echoed all through the woods. The loud sound of trees cracking and falling trees surrounded him. The branches of trees were snapping off and falling next to him. A million things were running through his head, and Ray was trying to sort them out. This was like no mission he had ever done before. He was usually the hunter tracking down the bad guy. He would have communications, a support team, and a helicopter or what ever else he needed. This was different, he was being hunted and had nothing. He was all alone in the woods with no one to back him up.
As the branches swayed he heard a voice mixed with the sound of the falling debris. “Chris, come look at this creator they blew in the road. The damn thing is huge.”
“I called in the blue truck. I’m sure it’s the one they are looking for.”
Down the road, Tom informed Rick they had picked up a tail, and it looked like a State Police chopper. Tom ordered, “Stop the truck! If Ray wants a decoy then I’m giving him one.”
Then Tom pulled the rocket launcher out of the sleeper, and Rick brought the truck to a stop. Tom climbed down out of the truck and waited as he thought, Come on bring it around one more time. You know the drill, identify your target. That’s it baby. Got ya!
Tom pulled the trigger and watched the rocket streak up into the air. A moment before the impact he turned and climbed in the truck. He knew it was a hit and didn’t have to see it. Then with Tom’s door still half open Rick took off. Tom took the last rocket and loaded it into the launcher. About a mile down the road Rick blurted, “I don’t like it. That copper was on us way to fast. I’m ditching the truck.”
Tom confessed, “I’ve been having that same feeling myself. I’m with you on what ever you want to do.”
Coming down a hill Rick announced, “There that’s the spot. I’m ditching the truck in that ravine at the bridge.”
Tom agreed as Rick slowed the truck and stopped by the bridge. Rick waited for Tom to get out then he put the truck in gear and jumped out. Tom walked around the back of the truck, and off into the woods with Rick. They never looked back. Not even when they hared the sound of scraping and crunching metal. As they climbed the small hill, they heard the sound of another chopper. Tom stopped and looked through a gap in the trees, and saw an Apache Longbow. His heart pounded and a smile came to his face. Then he announced, “I’m taking it out.”
Looking down through the gap in the trees Rick confessed, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. That damn thing is armed, and if you miss it, he will take out the whole side of this hill to get us.”
With excitement Tom begged, “Come on Rick. I can do it. Look at that thing. We’re looking down on it, and the tail of it is pointed right at us. They will never see it coming.”
Tom knelled down on one knee and look at Rick. Rick put his hands up in the air, as to say whatever. With that, Tom almost insanely fired the rocket. He watched as it streaked down over the bridge and in to the ravine. The Apache Longbow started to lift up as the rocket blew off the back half of it. Tom shook his fist in the air and boasted, “Yeah, am I good or what. That was the perfect shot. Take that you bastards. The freedom fighters are here.”
Rick shook his head as he headed over the hill with Tom.
At he Pentagon a Marine put his hand over the mike of his head set and announced, “General they have spotted the truck in a ravine.”
The Colonel entered the command center, and walked over to the General. Then he whispered, “I need to talk to you Sir.”
With out looking up the General insisted, “Not now we have the Tiger penned down and are about to close this thing up.”
The Colonel insisted, “Sir that is what I need to talk to you about. Things might not be as they seem.”
The General ordered the Marine to keep with it, and stepped off to the side to talk with the Colonel. Then he demanded, “What is it that is so important it can’t wait Colonel.”
The Colonel disclosed, “This team that Ray has put together is the team from hell. Every one of them is top notch, and would give their life in a heartbeat to complete their mission. What bothers me the most is Lance. He is a disinformation and decoy specialist, and I think he might have us looking in the wrong place. Then there is Tom, he is a weapons specialist and he’s the best. He could use any weapon, Russian, Chinese, it don’t matter he knows them all. Hell this is the kind of guy that can make a bomb out of the stuff under your kitchen sink. Then kill you with it. Now Issac, he is a trained killer and snapper. Hell, his kill record is over three hundred and that is just the ones we know about. Do you want me to keep going?”
From behind the General the Marine informed, “Sir we have lost contact with Black Cap two.”
The Colonel nodded his head at the General and informed, “See, that’s what I was trying to tell you. You don’t chase these kind of people, you let them come to you.”
The General turned to the Marine and ordered, “See if we have a fighter in the area and have him do a fly over. If not get one in the air.”
On the Highway Ray laid there for what seamed like hours, as pain shot up his leg. He was half covered with branches, dirt, chucks of blacktop, and what ever else the explosion had through in the air. Looking at his watch he saw it had only been about an hour as he thought, Damn this is bad. I should be half way to the pickup point, and I’m ten miles away.
He knew it had been some time since he heard anything, and was sure the Police had left. But he wondered if he dare take a chance and get up. He pushed some of the branches to the side, and lifted his head. He did not see anything, so he sat up. Then pain shot up his leg again, and he thought it might be broke. One by one he lifted the branches off his body. He grabbed one small branch about a half inch around, and so much pain shot up his leg he almost passed out. He wanted to scream, but feared it might give him up if anyone was out there. He shoved his wrist over his mouth and moaned for a few. Looking at his leg he saw his worst fear. The branch went right through next to his shin bone, and came out his calf in the back.
He took off his coat then his shirt, and took out his knife. He cut the sleeve off the shirt, and put it back on. Then picked up a small branch, and put the end of it in his mouth. Biting down hard he put his hand around the branch in his leg. Giving it a quick jerk he pulled it out. Then pain shot through his body, and he rolled back and forth in agony. His eyes started seeing darkness around the edges, and he was having tunnel vision. He thought he was going to pass out, and fought with all he had to keep focused on his leg. Taking the sleeve, he wrapped it tight around the wound and tied it in a knot.
Jim pulled back on the reins, and looked up through the woods. Then he looked up and down the logging road. Thinking, This must be close, as he thought about what Bill had told him.
Pulling the horses head to the side, he gave her a gentle kick, and headed up into the woods. He rode north at a trot stopping only to check his compass. Giving the horse another gentle kick he went down a slope to a dry creek bed then up the other side. Jim pulled back the reins, and look to make sure of what he saw. It was the road for sure, and Jim thought of what Bill had told him. Bill had told him the explosion happened way too soon, and was too loud for Ray to have made it to right place. He instructed Jim to go to the road, and follow it until he found the spot where Ray blowup the car. Then back track to the logging road looking for Ray.
He followed the road for about two miles staying in the trees just off the side. Then he pulled back on the reins, as his eyes almost popped out of his head. There was a creator in the road about thirty or forty feet across, and every tree within fifty feet was blown down. Out side of that, the ground was covered with branches and debris. His heart pounded hard in his chest, and his mind had trouble taking it all in. Slowly he guided the horses around the blast area, as he starred intensely. He could not take his eyes off the devastation. He had never seen anything like this in his life, and it consumed him. He was almost in a trance like state as he starred.
Ray opened his eyes, and thought he must have passed out. The last thing he remembered was trying to get up. He knew if he stayed he might die, and he had to make it to the logging road. Fighting the pain he sat up, and thought he was having hallucinations. He saw what looked like Jim riding a horse with another in tow, not sure if it was real or his mind tricking him he called out, “Jim.” But he kept staring in a trance like state, as the horse stopped jerked her head up and neighed. It snapped Jim out of his trance like thoughts, and he patted her on the neck and reassured her. Ray softly called out one more time, “Jim.” His Horse jerked her head up and neighed again. Jim had thought he heard something and looked around. Then he spotted Ray’s head sticking up through the pile of branches around the blast. Jim petted his horse on the neck and whispered, “Good girl.”
Jim climbed down from his horse and looked over the area. There was no way he could take the horses. It was too much of a risk with the down branches. Jim picked what looked like the best route to Ray. He stepped over branches and threw them out of the way as he went. Kneeling next to Ray he saw the shirt sleeve around his leg, it was soaked with blood and Jim could not tell how bad it was. Looking at Ray he asked, “Can you walk?”
Ray responded, “I don’t think so. Not on my own anyway. I tried to get up and I think I passed out. I might be able to walk a little if you help me.”
Jim informed, “I should really build a travois and drag you back, but I didn’t bring anything for that. Guess we will just have to make do with what we got. I’ll put you on my horse and I’ll ride Sugar. Just give me a minute and I’ll clear a path, and get things setup.”
Ray chuckled, “I ain’t going anywhere.”
Jim started throwing branches out of the way and cleared a path to the horses. Then he picked up a small stick and walked to his horse. Lightly taping it on her backside he whispered, “Down.” Then the horse sat like a dog. Stepping next to her head he put his arms around her neck, and put his head next to hers. Then softly whispered, “I need you to do the best job you can. Do it for me, OK.”
Then he stepped back and taped the stick on her head, and the horse kneeled down with her belly on the ground. With that, Jim went to get Ray. He kneeled next to his bad leg, and pulled his arm over his shoulder. Then Jim helped pull him to his feet, slowly they worked their way to the horse. Then with Ray standing on one leg Jim turned and faced him. Then he informed, “I’m going to lift your bad leg over the saddle. You are going to have to hold on to me the best you can.”
Ray nodded and Jim lifted his leg, as soon as it cleared the saddle Ray flopped down and grabbed the horn. Then he leaned over it in pain, as Jim walked in front of the horse. Taking the reins in one hand Jim petted the horse’s nose with the other. Then he whispered, “Easy girl.” As he pulled up on the reins and she sat up like a dog again. Then pulling forward on the reins he whispered again, “Easy girl,” and the horse gently stood. He praised her and petted her as he tethered her to Sugar. Then he climbed on Sugar and slowly headed for camp.