The road ahead is going to be rough, and sadly we may not all make it, but in the end, it will all work out, Doc said quietly, as she boarded their boat to take a nap, and Red nodded.

Doc woke violently from another nightmare of what was to be and knew she needed to fully recharge soon if she wanted to be up for the journey ahead.  Red was sitting at the end of the bed.  Looking down at his hands.  “Can I do this? Can we do this?  Such a long road, we could stay here.”  I’m great with being responsible for you, Red said to Doc, “but being responsible for them as well.”  I mean besides you, because you are right here, I want to be sure my/our kids are ok”.  “Our family, even the ones I don’t like, Red said playfully.  Sorry just thinking out loud”.

Coughing a little to clear his throat and wipe the moisture that built up around his eyes.  “Okay, we leave at 4 am; that’s 13 hours.  We are all going to leave the lake together.  Once we hit Wickenburg, Arizona, we can all go our own direction, except Ben and Justin, who go the opposite direction at lake road”.  “Okay,” said Doc, you good with this Doc said, looking Red deep in his eyes.  “This are going to be great; we’re going to get off this lake without a problem.”  We got this, let’s get out their smoke, listen to some music, and make dinner.  Do we have everything packed up that we’re taking?  About that, said Red, “we have to leave the boat.  It’s too loud”.  Doc nodded, “I need to recharge tonight before the rough journey ahead. I’m so tired.”  Doc said as Red laid her back in bed. Rest, said Red, as he kissed her forehead gently.

Doc woke to a loud crash and some giggling.  Mary, Beth, Tammy, and Andy we’re in the kitchen starting dinner.  “Tonight, the Chef De Andy with the assistance of Mary, Beth, and Tammy,”  Tammy said as she and Beth clanked two big pots together and giggled.

Doc emerged from the boat 5 minutes later giggling, listening to the girls call everything out being dramatic and goofy “hamburgers called Andy.”  Hamburgers repeat Tammy and Beth.” This was exactly what this group needed tonight.  Doc had a couple of bags tucked under her arm and over her shoulder.  Shane ran over, grabbing at the bags to help Doc, and he grabbed them in one fair swoop.  Shane walks them over to the table, placing 1 bag side by side on the table. Doc started unpacking each bag and stowing the empty bag under the table.

Laid out across the table were 5 water bongs (2 flower and 3 Concentrate), several pre-rolls, a few edibles provided by Ben and Justin, and 4 mason jars mostly full of flower and concentrate.  Doc again went through the strains, quickly explaining in regard to effects.  Doc then steps aside and says, please enjoy.  The Dinner crew went first, out of respect, watching each one relax on the exhale.  They made steaks with baked potatoes for dinner, a little left-over potato salad, chips, and of course, our fake beer.  In anticipation of the ruse that night, Red dumped the beer cans, cut the label all the way around the cans out, and disguised soda, water, tea cans.  We never saw Art leave the shore across the way when Andy and JR left this morning.  By putting on this show, maybe we can catch Art and figure out what the hell is going on,” Red said to Doc. Doc nodded, touching his cheek, “let’s smoke and eat.”

As everyone sat with their food in their laps, talking, the music playing, when Justin looks up, he raises his hand as if to signify he was asking a group question.  Ben sitting next to him, nudges his with his elbow, “you don’t have to raise your hand here, dumb ass. This isn’t school.”  Everyone starts to chuckle a little, and Justin bursts out, and says’s “No disrespect, but Red told us that you are a healer. How does that work? Healer or something like that. I’ve never seen someone glow before, and I’m kinda freaking out a little.  What are you?  Justin stumbling over his words.   Nobody said a word, just quietly looked around.  Not sure if any offense was taken.

Doc said after a long silence. Everyone nodding their heads, not sure where this was going. You’ve heard of Yin and Yang, black and white, good and evil, or conspiracy theories, all political conspiracy theories for sure. Everything in this world must balance; Yin and yang, their two opposites, continue to co-exist while always keeping nature balanced.  Black and white are the soul partners.  Good and evil are pretty explanatory, I think, said Doc and then conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories are harder to pinpoint because of the sheer amount of them, but I think we have someone here tonight that might be able to shed a little bit of light on a conspiracy theory he happens to know as facts.   Everyone looked at Shane.  This time not as the goofy drunk that “missed the bus.”

Shane clears his throat, “I knew you were going to ask; I don’t know if I spilled anything while I was drunk but here goes.”  “My family purchased tickets several years ago, you know with the rest of the first-class rich people, to kind of have a sealed bunker under Washington in the “sealed bunker systems.”  “The bunkers are crazy cool everything is digital; it works with this chip in my hand.”  Shane lifts his hand; it lets you open doors to get food and personal needs. Some people pay extra for their animals to accompany them.  They have these large domes that have digital skis, day and night, parks, libraries. It’s a big kid’s paradise.  The chips in my hand don’t have the ability to track, and in order for it to, I would have to be in their facility to receive the update.  All these dome pods have 8 domiciles attached.  You can interact with anyone in your dome, and you can take trains between domes.  Right now, I know Washing DC has it, and somehow it connects to the California and New York domes for vacationing or business purposes.  Shane goes on. I’m not really sure how? They are completely digitally connected to every dome and domicile via a digital signal.

Shane stops a moment and does a whispered run down as not to forget anything.  Is that all said, Mary.  Yes, yes, the vaults will seal January 2023 or if Trump is ever reinstated as President.  “Trump,” says Beth, “why, why Trump, the sexist pig!”  “Trump, Trump is on the people’s side.” Said Shane.  “So many truths, so many lies how do you tell them apart?” mumbled Shane

Shane stops for a moment and says’s take it from me, Trump can hurt them, us, them?  I don’t know. I was raised in it I didn’t understand, and honestly, they convinced me to only look at 1 side.”  “Now I see 2, they all know more than you think, and they are all complacent,” said Shane “who,” said Beth, “who is they?’  “You know who they are?” said Shane, and he sat back in his chair, holding both hands around his Beer/Soda, repeating, “I’m sorry.”

Doc looks at Shane with very caring eye’s “it will be okay that I promise you,” said Doc.  Doc rose at that, apologizing, “I need calm and rejuvenation before tomorrow.”  “Red will go over the plan and assignments.”  “Please remember to watch out for each other and always stay in pares. We don’t know who’s out there.”  “Sweet Dreams,” said doc as she floated down the beach to the boat.

Red started, Dave and Jase, I’ll have you on the first watch with Nathen at the peak over here.  Last night we could see for miles there.  I will walk up and help you get set up tonight.  Kevin and John, I’m going to have you guys watch the camp whoever wants to go first or flip a coin. I don’t care. Said Red

Mary, Beth, Andy, Tammy, and Justin are taking Dave’s boat to the dock to get everything loaded that we are going to need to get off this lake and to Wickenburg for us and Bullhead City for Ben and Justin.  There is a list to make it easy on the smoke table.

Matt, Tom, Don, Ben, and Richard, you guys will be the first to wake at 3 am.  You guys have the most important job of the night, waking everyone up quietly and getting them to Dave’s boat quietly, swiftly, and one at a time.  Stay down, minimal action. If Art is out there, he’s going to notice if we’re all moving around.”  Said Red.  “Any questions.”

Justin deciding his earlier question was answered for now, but he still had questions.  “Who’s Smoking,” said Red as they all made their way to the smoke table, taking part in smoking and some edibles.  Nathen flipped through his phone, finding Mozart playing one of his piano concertos, cleaning up after dinner, and making everything look like we were getting ready for breakfast in the morning as not to raise any suspicion.

Doc emerges from the haul of the boat wearing a white tankini and a satin cover about 30 minutes later.  Without a word, Red holds up a hand, helping Doc down from the bow of the boat.  In one solid motion, her hand touched red’s cheek, floating past and into the water.  Red picks up the left-over towel and table clothes he had put down to help Doc off the boat, and in a rugged swoop, he was on the boat and ducking into the cabin all in one fluid motion.  Red put the towels and table cloths in the laundry and made his way to the back of the boat.

Checking the engine, plugs, and wires, Red watches Doc in the lake.  Mozart’s Piano Concerto plays softly in the background as Doc swims, turns, and floats, almost dancing to the music.  One by one, Mary, Beth, Andy, and Tammy stop almost mesmerized by the dancing water and the lights.  Nathen looked at Tammy, and trying to get her attention, he tapped on the speaker outside his boat and pointed toward the lake.

As doc swam, she could feel her energy slowly replenish. As she turned underwater, the light became brighter.  Shane was the first to make it to the back of the boat where Red was watching Doc.  Shane sat down in one of the seats, resting his head on his hand, and quietly watches Doc in the water.  He feels a calm come over him as he watched.  As the rest of the group makes it to the back of the boat, they shuffle close as to watch the dancing and light show in the water, like excited kindergarteners getting ready for storytime.

They sat there for a few minutes while Red fiddled under the hood.  Red looking around “hey guys, give me a sec to put the back deck down over the engines.  He uses a rag nearby to clean his hands off before touching the controls.  Red and Doc just put thousands of dollars restoring the boat, and if he had a cloth diaper and distilled water, he would use it to clean.  Guys and their toys, am I right? Said Tammy giving Nathen a little rap on the shoulder and giggling.  I suppose you are here for another storytime, said Red, Doc is much better at storytimes than I am.  She always says she’s the nicer one, and she’s right but here goes.

When Doc turned 40, and I mean to the minute, she inherited these powers, she can heal people as I told you, but she can see into the heart of anyone.  She can see someone’s; I don’t know someone’s path or destiny, and she can help show them how to get back on the right path.  You have good elementals, or Eles, that serve the earth, but there are bad elementals as well to balance the Eles. They must balance the earth; they are called unassociated elementals or UE.

There are many stages of war, Explains Red.  We have seen first-hand; we have no rights, nor have we had any rights in many years.  We are just a player in a much bigger game, and sadly most don’t fully understand or see it.  Man is by far a perfect being, but the game we are now playing, we are playing to save our way of life.  I’m not a political man, nor am I a religious man.  I am a family man that had his wife touched by I don’t know what said Red.  I will protect her to the end of my days.

This brings us to Doc.  She has a job to do, explained Red. Nobody gave her instructions; she just seems to know.  Doc has no way to protect herself; you see, Eles have to follow the laws of nature; they can’t harm anything. However, UE can their laws are opposite.  Eles are assigned protectors, and in most cases, the Eles partner up with their protectors before either of them knows anything about this world.  The Protectors or Watchmen like me can harm or kill to protect their Eles because they are connected if an Ele dies, their Watchman die as well. One can’t survive without the other.

Doc, however, is different. Her rules have been changed. Her replacement, for example, hasn’t been born yet.  He or she should have been born when Doc was tapped, as we call it said Red.    We even found this website online, and it was beneficial, but the elementals are different than us, and if the world is ending, I would prefer to be as far away from UE’s as possible.  There are some real nut cases out there, and that was when the world was “normal” if there ever was one.

Doc is more powerful than any other Elemental we’ve seen in history.  Each “Ele” only has the power to control Earth, fire, wind, water, or void within their elements.  They can’t cross over, nor can they see more than their intended journey, but doc can see her path, her replacement’s path, as well as the rest of the Eles.  Can the UE see their paths or other paths, asked Ben?  We’re not exactly sure, and we don’t think so. We think they can only see their paths as well, said Red.  Doc can see several steps ahead, and I have enhanced warrior skills to protect her.  Doc shares the steps as they need to be shared and not before.  Futures can be changed, but most of the time, not for the better.

Doc tried to change a future event once; it backfired several people died, now she only shares 1 step at a time and only with the people that need to hear it, said Red.  I hate it, it’s like she always has something on her mind struggling between good and evil, and I can’t help her.  But I can tell you that since Doc lost those people, she doesn’t take anything lightly. She explores every aspect, and then she discusses it with me.  We agree before any risk is taken. I tell you this as Red looks at each person. When Doc tells you to move or do something, please listen to her. She is getting you to the path with the highest probability of life.  Oh, Mary said, Like that movie NEXT or something.  No, not NEXT. Doc gets one chance to look at the plan and remember it without changing anything, said Red.  If you don’t follow her directions to the T, she cannot guarantee your survival.  Red lowers his head a moment and say’s “I know this is a lot, and I’m pretty blunt or a dick as I’ve been called, but we don’t know what we’re going to run into out there, we could get off this lake and everything be fine, or we could be the only one’s left.    Beth wide-eyed says, ya not like NEXT, but I wish it was now. Red chuckles a little and says’s “me too.”  Everything will be fine, Red said.  “When did she see the plan,” asked Kevin?  Red looks at the water with the beautiful light show, dancing waters, and this bright glowing women mermaid figure dancing in the middle.  “She’s seeing it now.”

The dishes were cleaned and put away, the camp had been cleaned and carefully staged for a mock breakfast in the morning, Red had made his way to the front of the boat sitting on the sand.  When Doc re-emerged from the water, leaving it calm and dark.  Red reached out a hand, and Doc fell into it with tears in her eyes.  Red, knowing that look, held her on the shore for several minutes.  What time is it? Asked Doc. It’s almost 1:30 am. Oh My God, Gasped Doc, I kept you up all night, and now we must leave, and you’ll be tired.  I’m so sorry.”  I’ll rest when I’m dead, Red said, Kissing Doc’s head.  “Are you ready?” said Red, “just about,” said Doc.  “Shane stays with us,” demanded Doc.  “You’re the boss,” said Red helping Doc into bed for a little while.  “stay with me,” Said Doc, Red relaxing in the bed next to Doc and nodding off a moment.

“Pssst… Red…Red… you awake?” whispered Shane.   Pssst…Red…Red?  Yeah, yeah what, I’m up.” Whispered Red, “What time is it?”  Shane whispers, “I’m sorry, it’s 2:30 AM” “Shit, ok, I’m up. Let’s get things started,” whispered Red when Shane interrupted Red.  “Um sorry, Red Um, I’m sorry, but um, Ben is missing.”  “what,” said Red “what do you mean missing.”  “like Jerry,” said Shane well, except his boat is still her,e and so is Justin.” “Boat and Justin still here,” mumbled Red, “ok, ok, I’m coming” Red stopped and looked at Shane. “Does Justin know his Uncle is missing?”  “Yes,” said Shane reluctantly.  “Shit, Shit, Shit Okay, I’m coming.  Red said as Doc started to stir in the bed next to him, “let’s find Ben,” said Red. Just then, the cabin door opens, Tammy peeks her head in, like the roar of an engine starts.  Justin said he saw something across the lake, jumped into his uncles’ boat, and left to investigate.

Just then, Doc sits up in bed, startling Tammy, and says, “it’s time, we leave now, or we don’t leave.”  A little shocked, everyone turns and looks at Doc.  “This is our distraction,” Doc Explains. “Justin knew he would be the distraction.”  “He sees his path, and now it’s time for us to take ours.”  The 3 of them look at Doc as if frozen.  “NOW” cried Doc.  That sent a chill down Tammy’s spine as they all jumped to attention and started moving towards the door.

Doc and Red were the last ones to board Dave’s pontoon boat, and with 15 people on board, it was rather tight.  With Dave at the wheel, they started their very slow, quiet trip to the inlet to the river, Red at the bow and Nathen at the stern.  All the lights were dark except a slightly blue light, Red used to light the way.  Just inside the lake inlet was what Alo called a living wall. It looked like a lot of debris and vines that can be pulled from one side to the other to hide this little paradise.  Red, Shane, and John took positions on the boat and both sides of the wall; quickly and quietly, they pulled the wall over and secured it.

“Did anyone see Justin and the boat?” whispered Tom. Everyone looked around. “No,” said Nathen, “Keep an eye out for the boat and Art.” Said Red, “I know he’s out here someplace,” said Red. “We need to see him before he sees us.”  Doc sat back quietly, watching and listening.  This was the worst part of the river, and every turn was a blind one, so they all quietly watched.  As the boat hit the peak of the second turn, Red saw the shimmer of something metallic in the water just ahead of them.  Red holds up his right arm with a fist to signify to Dave to slow down and cut the engine.  They sat there, the only light, the ¾ moon overhead, and they waited.  After about ten to fifteen minutes of nothing, Red signaled to Dave to move ahead slow.  As they putted along carefully, they saw Ben and Justin’s pontoon boat floating in the middle of the river.  Red used his blue light to try signaling the boat, but nothing.  Red and Dave decided to get alongside the boat and investigate. Maybe they needed help.  The engine on the pontoon boat was still puttering away; however, she had no passengers.  Shane and Don grabbed onto the other pontoon boat as Red jumped onboard.  Red, looking around, say’s “Nothing,” everything looks perfect. The boat is in neutral, no signs of a struggle or that there was ever anyone on it?”  “strange,” said Red.

Red jumps back onto Dave’s pontoon boat and signals to Dave to keep going.  “The river gets a little rough up here,” said Red as he motions for Dave to stop.  Red turned to all the passengers on the boat and said, “This is the last turn before dropping into Lake Almo and then to the docks.”  “We’re not all going to fit in the same truck.” said Red, “so I can fit 4 more people.”  “I can fit 7or 8,” said Kevin, “I have an excursion.”  “I can fit the remainder,” said Nathen.

Doc quietly clears her throat, and everyone turns and quietly waits.  We have three people or at least three people that we know of, on the docks. I’m assuming Art is back at the docks, judging by Ben’s boat.  Assume the worst and be surprised, as I always say said Red. Yes, said Doc.  We dock the boat on the furthest dock and quietly sneak in.  We must pass the general store on the left and the first aid station on the right that will put us on top of the ranger station.  Red will lead us through, as he’s snuck past them in the past and knows the best routes.  Our truck is at the top of the hill in the main lot. Said Red.  Kevin and Nathen were parked in the same lot making the mad dash for vehicles much easier.

Dave’s boat and its passengers spill into the main lake.  Tammy whispers, “I thought other people were on the lake?”  “What do you mean “asked Nathen. “Well,” Tammy explained, “Andy said we were the furthest campers out, but that he had several stops on the way back from us.”  “Yeah,” said Nathen snippy, “Where are the other campers, you moran? I didn’t see anyone or any other boats on the river and look around nothing, none, no boats.” “where are the other people?” asked Tammy “good point said Nathen as they slowly made their way to the docks.

It was almost 5 am when Dave’s boat pulled alongside the furthest dock, making pretty good timing for floating in the marina for almost 30 minutes, watching for movement on or around the docks.  The docks had been quiet. The only light was the rays of moonlight that shimmered off the metal rooftops and sparkled in the water.  The docks were filled with boats, mostly speed boats or houseboats, with the occasional pontoon boat stuffed in between.  Dave pulled in between a sleek craft speedboat and a houseboat like he was meant to be there.  Red and Shane jumped off the boat, tying the front then back of the boat. “Wait here, Said Red Shane, and I are going to check the dock.

Red and Shane disappear into the darkness of the dock, returning quickly.  Red instructed Dave to pull out and follow the shoreline about a mile in half down the beach where Red paused.  Dave said Red, how attached are you to this pontoon boat?  Dave looked at Red and said, “Um, we’ll do what we need to do?” “What do we need to do?” said Dave.  Red looked at Dave and quietly said, “we’re going to take everyone drops them on the beach, and then you, Doc, and I will swim ashore.”  “ok,” said Dave, “it is what it is.”

Standing on the bow of the boat, Red held up a fist signaling Dave to stop.  They were about a half-mile offshore, and Red turns to face the passengers of the boat. He cleared his throat and said, “okay, Dave, Doc, and I will drop all of you off on the beach.  I need all of you to high-tail it for the tree line and wait for us there. We will be bringing the boat back here and sinking it.” “sinking the boat,” Jase said.  “dude, you worked so hard to earn this boat, are you sure about this?”  “It is what it is,” said Dave.

Dave puttered onto land to drop most of the passengers off.  As they exited the pontoon boat, Red instructed, “follow in each other’s footsteps, so it only looks like one set of tracks.”  As they jumped off the bow of the boat, Red told Shane, “I need you to watch out for everyone get them to the tree line.”  “You good?” said Red. “I got this Red,” said Shane. “I won’t let you down,” he called as he jumped from the bow of the boat and followed in everyone’s footstep.

As Dave came to a stop a little more than a half-mile from the beach, he put the boat in park and turned off the engine.  “Drop the anchor,” said Red, and Dave did.  After a heartfelt goodbye, Dave, Red, and Doc unscrewed the end caps on each side of the pontoon.  Doc remembering, she left a bag they would need on the boat. She jumped onto the bow of the boat, ran to the back, and grabbing the bag.  The water was up to Doc’s knees when Red, out of nowhere, grabs Doc, and together they jump from the boat and watch as she goes down.  Red turns to Doc. “Dare-deviling it, I see.”  “You know you make my job harder when you do shit like that.” Scolded Red.  Doc just smiles, and says’s “You got me; I feel it.”

Dave, Doc, and Red swam for what seemed like hours arriving on the beach about 30 minutes later.  Finding the other footprints in the sand, they followed them up to the tree line, where Shane waited patiently.  Red had asked Shane to find a branch or something that can be used to wipe their footprints away.  Red made his way back down to the beach with the branch in tow that Shane found.  Red now making his way back up to the treeline, erasing all signs of their passage.

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