Red, Shane, and Nathen enter the main cabin, where everyone except Richard had congregated. Red walked over to the sliding glass door that opened to the deck outside. Slowly and quietly, Red opened the door, and Richard emerged. Red clears his throat and starts. It’s a quarter to 6 now, and the sun should be set within the next hour. Red looks around, seeing a coffee table across the room. He crosses the room, grabs the table, pulls it to the middle of the room, removes the map out of his backpack, spreads it out, and points to the dry storage lot on the map. He says, we are here, and we need to be here in the upper parking lot. Red seeing little colorful stones around the cabin, grabbing them, he places a few in the parking lot. We are parked here, and the exit of the parking lot is here. Taking the two vehicles, we agreed on. We will need to disable any vehicle being left behind to give us the best chances to escape. Red moved his finger around the map. We are here, and we need to get to the other side. We will stop on that side of the lake. There is a small water inlay that is actually pretty deep here, points Red. We have to stop so Doc can heal.
The inlay is at the lake’s highest point, with trees and cover, so we will be well hidden while Doc does her thing. Umm, says Jase, how long will that take? As long as it takes, said Red looking back down at his map. Once DDoc’sfinished, we will be going off-roading about 2 miles over the mountain and through the reservation here points Red. Any questions asked, Red? Red looks around. Awesome, we leave in 10 minutes as long as it’s still clear, so go to the head, grab a few supplies, pass the joint, and let’s get her done!
As everyone left the main cabin to collect the few items they needed, red putting his hand over DDoc’squietly asks, you good. Doc nods her head wearily, her eyes heavy, her voice shakes II’mgood she repeats. Red rubs Doc’shand, Shane will get you to the gate, and I will take over there. With her eyes closed, Doc nods her head, Shane to the gate and then you to the parking lot, she repeats. Red sat on the love seat next to Doc, with her resting her head on his chest. We will be okay said Doc; we will be okay.
Ten minutes had passed, and Don and Beth were the last 2 to return to the main cabin with a couple of cloth bags. Beth hobbling to the bar, she started going through the bottles finding flavored vodka shot bottles that she quickly dropped into her bag and looked up as everyone was looking on. What? Asked Beth, you never know, she said matter a factly, I’m just thinking ahead. She snickered. For what? Said Don. Medicinal reasons, said Beth, it’s excellent anesthesia if anyone else gets hurt, or barter if we need it. As Red said earlier, we have no idea what we are going to stumble onto. The room became quiet, and still, you could have heard a pin drop when Don spoke up. No shit, baby, I love that you are a functioning alcoholic said Don as he walked over to the bar. One by one, they all found small bottles of alcohol, over-the-counter pain medications, hard candy, and miscellaneous items that could be used for trading.
One by one, they crawled out from under the boat cover and over the swim deck and out. Richard remained on the main deck to keep an eye on the group through the gate where Shane would be waiting and keeping guard for him. Shane waited for Richard just inside the gate to the dry storage lot as the rest of the group made their way to the top of the hill. Red carrying Doc over his shoulder at this point led the group to a small grouping of trees just across from the top parking area.
The sun had started setting, leaving streaks of gold, red, pink, purple, and gold across the sky. The group left the dry lot a little earlier than they were initially expected to. Hoping they would be able to see where they were going as not to have anyone else injured. Red kept a watch for Richard and Shane; using binoculars, he watched the main gate as Shane and Richard slipped out and around the wall, when Red saw lights, bright lights dancing up the hill about a mile below dry storage. Come on; guys get a move on it, Red muttered to himself, peering through the binoculars. Richard and Shane just turned the corner of the wall when a razor flew through the main gate like a bat out of hell. Red watched as the headlights danced around the Dry storage lot. Red checking on Richard and Shane periodically muttering, move it, guys, move it!
Shane was the first to reach the group of trees with Richard just behind him. Red, still glued to the eyepieces, watched as the lights continued to dance, back and forth, up and down, speeding up around the corners. What the hell whispered Don, is that our people? Red looking back, answers, No, I don’t know who the hell that is, but they sure are tearing it up out there. Yes, murdered Red still looking through the binoculars. Did Shane and Richard make it to the gate? Asked Don? Yeah, they are almost to the tree line said Red. The lights stopped dancing around the small buildings, they were quiet and still, and the occupant or occupants’ red couldn’t quite tell. Good job, guys whispered Red as they disappeared into the trees.
Red and Don watched the side-by-side. Did the driver get out yet, Don asked? I don’t think so, replied Red, but I’m not getting a clear view. Red trying to get a better view, makes his way to the top deck, hoping to get a better view and see what’s going on over there. With Don behind him, Red started scanning the area in front of the side by side. The headlights are making it hard to see, said Red. I’m going to have to go check it out. What, you’re going to what stuttered Don? Here said Red handing Don the binoculars, says cover me I’ll be right back, and without warning, Red disappears down the stairs and under the boat cover. Cover me, muttered Don. What the hell am I going to do if he gets caught? The group will kill me.
Red is ducking behind boat after boat making his way towards the lights when he sees the driver exit the side-by-side. Jr whispered, Red, what are you up to? Jr made his way to the side door of building B; he unlocked the door and turned back to the side by side. Red watching Jr gets something from the passenger side of the side by side and heading back towards the building. Red suddenly gasps. It wasn’t something but someone. Jr re-emerged from behind the side by side with this smaller figure beside him. He couldn’t tell if they were male or female. It had what looked like jeans, a t-shirt stained with what Red could only assume was blood, tennis shoes, and a box where the head would be. It was a homemade iron box like the one Art was making. Okay, so you all come up here whispered Red as he maneuvered his way across from the open door. The room was small, like a supply closet. Red had missed this door earlier, and now, peering into the room, he knew he needed to get his group out of there ASAP.
Red, having made it back to the boat, grabs Doc and looks at the group. We gotta go. We have overstayed our welcome said Red. Red stables Doc on her feet and says, we go together now. Don looking intensely at Red. What the hell scared Red thought Don falling in line watching each of them disappear under the boat cover. Red fastens the cover, handing Don the tree branches. Don, I need to have you at the rear of the group, whispers Red use these branches to erase our footsteps. As they all make their way towards the gate, they hear a blood-curdling scream coming from the back of the lot in what Red could only imagine what was going on. Red turned to the group and waved to get a move on it. Weaving around the parked boats, they make it to the gate.
They stop at the gate and scan the area for anyone else or side-by-side that could sneak upon them. Red, holding up one hand silently, giving everyone instructions. Without a second thought, they all filed through the gate, with Don taking up the rear, still erasing their footprints. On this side of the dry storage, there wasn’t much for the group to take cover behind if anyone showed up, so Red took a longer way to the tree line. Following the wall to the back of the dry storage lot, they heard another scream followed by banging and the sound of some power tools, a women’s voice begging for things to stop. Jr cursed at her when Kevin tripped over something hard just in front of him, landing face-first in something gooey, cold, sticky, and smelly. Oh, boy, was it stinky. Red sees this play out let’s go of Doc and drops down next to Kevin, holding his hand over his mouth silencing them. Red holds Kevin there for a second so he can regain control and quietly get back up. Red motioning to Kevin to look at him and not break eye contact. Red helps him up, and in a swift movement as if they were dancing, Red pulls Richard to his feet and around the back of the wall. Tammy was still holding Doc up when Red returned to her side, and they all disappeared behind the wall when they heard the side-by-side startup. The lights beamed over the back wall. Red looks at Kevin. They were all watching the lights when Red hands Kevin a shirt from his backpack. Put this on, Kevin whispered. Red, don’t look down, just drop the shirt, and we leave. Following Red’s instructions, Kevin pulls off his t-shirt, drops it, and pulls the shirt over his head. They all head up the hill, disappearing in the tree line one by one.
The group caught up to Shane and Richard, who were sitting against a couple of trees, watching as the lights continued to dance around the dry lot. Holy Shit said, Shane. You have no idea how happy I am that we are all up here. I don’t know what he’s doing, but he is pulling around to the side of the dry storage wall. Holy fuck whispered Beth. He’s right there. We were just there, does he know, do you think he suspects asks Beth stammering for words? I doubt it said Don I erased our footprints. What the hell is that? Said Tammy, a little louder than she expected it was going to be. They all turned and quietly watched as Jr pulled a body from the bed of the side-by-side. Is that, no way it can’t be said, Tom?
Everyone looked at Tom in anticipation of what he was going to say next. That my friend is having a bad day, said Tom, and that’s an iron maiden. Art had been making iron maidens and using them on the other people on the lake, well, at least whoever is still here. Tom walked over to Red and said, we need to get out of here fast. Several years ago, in the year 2021, when the whole insurrection happened, there were ritual killings, he used homemade iron maidens to torture his victims. He was as sadistic as they come. Okay, said Red, Tom, Shane, and I are going to scout up to the trucks. We will be a little while, and then we will all get the hell out of dodge. Sounds like a plan, said Red as they disappeared, leaving the rest of the group to wait. They made themselves comfortable and waited for the guys to return.
Red, Shane, and Tom made their way over the small hill that overlooked the parking lot. As they scanned the lot, he noticed eight vehicles. Two trucks were in front of the lot, and it would provide cover for us to get through, said Shane. Red, nodding, agreed, but we need to get to the lot on the top of the hill. Looking around, Red notices a dirt path. Motioning to Shane and Tom, they started up the dirt path. If this goes all the way around this, maybe our best escape route said Red, but we need to scout the area and ensure there isn’t someone staying in the parking lot.
Shane, Tom, and Red follow the dirt path, past the lower parking lot, until they see a T in the path. The upper parking lot should be that way, said Tom. Agreed said Red as they turned to the right and towards the upper lot. As the hill disappeared under their feet, they saw the upper lot. It was quiet, dark, and it looked to only have four vehicles, one being Red’s and Doc’struck, but one was a lake patrol or park ranger truck. Red whispering to Shane and Tom, first we need to check that truck and make sure it’s empty. Then we check the bathrooms and the other vehicles. We are also going to have to disable the vehicles we aren’t going to use, just to be sure they can’t chase us down. Any questions? Yeah, said Shane, what do we do if there is someone in the truck? Well, one of us will head back to the group and have them bunker down while we keep a watch out. When it’s safe, one of the other two will get the group and catch up. Okay, follow me said Red as they slowly made their way to the ranger’s truck.
Shane, Tom, and Red duck behind a tree about 20 feet from the ranger’s truck. Without, a word Red holds his hand up and points in the direction of the truck. Tom was instructed to put his hand on SShane’sshoulder and Shane would put his hand on RRed’sshoulder, and they make their way to the truck. The truck was quiet, and still, no lights were beaming through the windows. Red made it to the passenger side of the truck. They were standing with their backs against the bed of the truck, slowly creeping their way to the passenger window, and Red peeked in. Red gasps quietly, staring through the window. This made Tom and Shane release one another and peer through the window.
All three of them couldn’t believe their eyes. There was blood splatter all over the inside of this truck, along with what we could only assume to be one of the rangers laying across the bench seat in nothing but his whitey tidies and undershirt. “Oh, fuck exclaimed Shan. Is he still alive?” ” do you see the amount of blood spray? I’m pretty sure that all this blood should be on the inside of his body, so no, I’m pretty sure he said. Said Red. Okay, let’s check the other vehicles and get back to the group. The first truck they came to was NatNathen’sburban. Looking through a window, they determined it had been sitting here since Nathen parked it, and it didn’t appear to be tampered with. The third vehicle was a Ford truck black-on-black beautiful truck that was only a couple of years old. The fourth truck was RedRed’sodge Dooly. As they approach, they notice something on the front of the boat trailer. A small box wrapped in only funny pages from the Sunday paper and twine. Red looking around and scanning the darkness, picks up the box and gently shakes it. Clank, clank, it sounds like something metal like keys or something, said Red as he checked the box for any unsealed sides or corners. Pretty strange this was left here, and no one messed with it, said Tom. Agreed said Red, fumbling with the twine. Hey, your stone is glowing said Shane excitedly. Red looked down at his shirt. We got to go said Red as he shoved the box into his jacket pocket. Red, Shane, and Tom started to make their way to the bathhouse. It was a small building. The guy’s bathroom was on one side and the women’s on the other.
First, the girl’s bathroom said Red. They quietly open the door; everything is still and calm. Red clearing each stall notices something written on the stall door and chuckles. For a good time, call Lora at 555-2121. Another was Becky was here! And Shit or get off the pot. Brings back memories chuckled Red as he shook his head. Okay, this one is cleared now for the men’s bathroom. Red headed towards the door as they took their positions. Out and around the corner to the men’s bathroom. Red cracks the door a little and peers through the crack. They wait a couple of seconds, and Red pushes the door in, and they enter. They cleared each stall quickly and quietly as to wake the dead.
Tom, Shane, and Red took a minute to use the facilities and get cleaned up a bit. Okay, we have five minutes, and that’s all said Red as he headed into the last stall. Tom, already in a stall, whispers 10/4 good buddy with a soft chuckle. Shane takes to the sink to clean as much of the smell as he could. OMG, this is amazing. It feels so good said Shane softly when Tom speaks up from inside the stall. I’m asking, so don’t, but if you need a few minutes alone with your thoughts, we can give you a minute, chuckled Tom. Get your mind out the gutter said, Shane. The water is hot and feels so good on the hands and face I wish I could make myself small and crawl into it moaned Shane as they all quietly giggled.
Tom, Shane, and Red finished within five minutes, and again they took their positions in line, holding each other’s shoulders. Red peaks through the door and not seeing anything open the and are face to face with an older man in his 60 to 70 years old, bald, thin, stood about six feet tall and looked like he’s seen better days. As Red stares into his eyes, the man quietly pushes them back into the bathroom.
The bathroom door closed, and they all stood there for a minute quietly watching when the man said Hi, my name is Jack and holding out his hand. Hi, said Red holding a hand out to shake with Jack. My name is Red, and this is Tom and Shane. Nice to meet you said, Jack. Nice to meet you as well, said Red, but who the hell are you? Are you here alone or are you with the people and the marina? Jack was looking back and forth between the guys I’mI’mone. I came out to do a little fishing. I got here shortly after 3 am Saturday morning, I launched my boat, tied it up to the dock, and parked my truck, and by the time I parked my truck, I was getting out, I heard a blood-curdling scream. The ranger was stripped down and massacred, and I mean, it was a very slow and painful killing. So, I ducked down in my truck, I actually crawled into the back of the SUV, so they wouldn’t notice me if they checked. I fell asleep in the truck until the sunrise, and by that time, the world fell apart, Jack solemnly said, looking down. I heard the announcement repeating on the lake, so I checked radio stations. Most of them were dead air, but there was one that said this was a terrorist attack and stay put until further notice, so I bunkered down in my truck. Have you been here in the parking lot this whole time? Asked Red. Yes, said Jack, I pretty much have run of the parking lot. They haven’t been back up here since the killing. Why have you stayed here? Asked Red. Honestly, safety in numbers, and I don’t have numbers, replied Jack. Makes sense said Red. What are your plans, Jack? Red said as he scanned the parking lot. Not much, and I really don’t want to stay here alone, said Jack. There’s more of you. I won’t be in your way if you let me tag along. Red turned to Shane and Tom, and without a word, the two men quietly turned and started to clear the parking lot.
Red and Jack quietly collaborated, and Red followed him to his truck as he pointed out and explained what he saw the day of his arrival. Jack’s Tahoe was sitting at the top of the hill across from Red’Red’ste Dodge truck. Jack opened the back doors to reveal a makeshift bed that Jack had obviously been using, a small ice chest, a cloth bag with dry goods, a small garbage bag, and a gallon jug with what Red could only assume was his pee bottle. Red walked around to the truck’s passenger side and opened the door, carefully inspecting the front and back seats. There were more food wrappers, empty soda and water containers, a small bag with clothes peeking through the open zipper, a few books and a map, one of those foldup maps that can never be folded the same again, and a few medicine bottles were thrown about. Looks like you had a nice little hiding spot here said Red. Yes, however, this isn’t the best part, said Jack as he started walking, motioning Red to follow. I have an advantage here, one that has helped keep me alive, said Jack. Curiously Red looked around, seeing Shane and Tom approaching from the far side of the parking lot. Red followed Jack as he got more and more excited like a child showing off his favorite toys. Shane approached Red on one side and Tom on the other. Clearing his throat, Shane looked at Red and quietly motioned that something didn’t feel right. Red agreed as he turned to follow Jack once again. The four of them approached the railing on the edge of the parking lot. Red looking out over the lake, turned to Jack, okay said Red, I saw this when we arrived. Jack quickly interrupted, no, not here; there Jack pointed at something just below the guard rail. Red, shaking his head in confusion, said again, okay. Just then, Jack leaped over the railing, motioning to the others to follow. He started walking while periodically looking back at the other men. Red jumped over the railing with Shane following close behind and motioned for Tom to hang back and keep an eye out.
By this time, it was fully dark, probably close to 7 or 730pm and Doc, who had been leaned up against a tree, jumped, her arms flailing, legs kicking, a low muttered NO, NO! as she jerked awake startling Tammy, who hadn’t left her side. Are you okay? Asked Tammy as she handed Doc a bottle of water. Yes, where’s he? Doc asked in a panic. Monster Called Doc. It’s okay, Tammy started. No, No, it’s not something wrong. What’s wrong? Asked Tammy. I’m I’mure I feel something like never before, and I’m not sure if it’s good or bad, said Doc as a tear rolled down her face. I’ve felt this explained, Doc. Tammy helped Doc to her feet. Doc looked around; we need to get closer to the parking lot. Nathen on one side and Tammy on the other help Doc to the little hill that overlooked the parking lot with their group in tow and their road to safety when Doc saw movement by the railing. Tom whispered Doc. They stood there in the dark silently watching, when Andy noticed lights dancing behind them. Two or three side by sides were dancing in the dry storage lot behind them. We have to get off this lake for Fucks Sake said Andy, and now! Agreeing, Doc moved the group towards the Rangers Truck. Wait, said Nathen. Let me scout the ranger’s truck and find Red and Shane take cover behind the hedges. I’ll be back. He said as he disappeared into the darkness. Tammy gave a little chuckle and looked at Doc. I just remembered the rules to survive a horror flick. Doc snickers a little. Yep, that sounds about right.
Jack was bobbing and weaving through the brush with Red close behind. We’re all there said Jack pointing it’s just over there. Jack moving some brush around, uncovered a cave of sorts. Here, over here, said Jack as he climbed a latter that took the two of them into what reminded Red of a hunting blind. Tom situated everything and started moving branches and debris out of the way, revealing a perfect lookout. Red looked around in amazement. He could see the docks, the ranger station, most of the trails, dry storage, and the headlights of the side by sides moving almost rhythmically below them. Jack hesitantly, I saw you guys, your group, moving along the shoreline in the boat. I saw you sink the boat, which was pretty fucking genius if I do say so myself. I even saw one someone enter the boathouse and three leave. I saw the canoe disappear into the fog and the lights shining from the windows of the boathouse. I saw all of you head into the dry storage lot where impressively, your group was never seen even with the crazies coming and goings, but I didn’t over here until I saw you at the ranger’s station. Honestly, I was afraid to reveal myself. You never know if someone is good or bad.
I stay away from the ranger’s truck together. It makes my skin crawl and freaks me out. I wanted to help him, but there was only one of 5 of them and me and me, and they are crazy, believe me, said Jack. Wait, what five of them? Repeated Red. Yes, five, four guys and a girl, and let me tell you what, I would be more afraid of her than I am of them. She had no remorse, no care, no fucks given, pure evil! said Jack. However, the best part of this is we can see all the way around us, but they can’t see us, and I’ve tested the theory, but they haven’t been up here since they did what they did to that range, dude.
Okay, said Red scanning the area, let’s get up to the lot and get the fuck out of here! Red looked at Shane. You know what vehicles we plan on taking. Shane nods his head quietly. Cool, disable what we plan on leaving behind instructed Red, and then meet us by the railing. Shane turned and disappeared into the darkness. Jack fidgeting with a tree branch, looks at Red. Do you mind if I tag along, hesitantly asked Jack? This lake is getting more dangerous by the day. I don’t make that decision said Red, but I can take you to the group and go from there. Decisions are made by all of us as long as Doc approves. Yes, yes, that would be awesome, said Jack. Okay, said Red, let’s get the group up to the parking lot and get the fuck out of dodge. The rest of the group said Jack looking stunned, yes, we have a group of good people trying to get to safety, and we all decide our fate together. With safety in numbers, we might just live through this, said Jack. Something like that said Red something like that.
Jack and Red made it back up to the parking lot where Shane was anxiously waiting. Don’t go, whispered Shane, but the group is already here. They are just beyond the Rangers truck, waiting for directions. Damn it, Doc! Whispered Red. Does she always have to be a daredevil? Shane snickered at the comment and turned towards the truck.
The group gathered just outside the parking lot. Okay, said Red first, this is Jack. He has been surviving up here in the parking lot, so welcome. The group will have a few questions for you just to put everyone’s mind at ease, said Red. Jack nodded as he looked at the group. Shane, do you remember what we talked about? Shane lifts a thumb and nods his head. Okay, we have the two trucks ready to go. The other vehicles have been disabled so that we will move quickly to that white Dodge dooly, and that brown Tahoe said Red as he pointed towards the back of the parking lot.
The lights dancing below them are behind dry storage, said Nathen, and it looks like they are headed this way! Doc slowly tries to stand. We leave now said Red. Our window is quickly closing. Without missing a beat Red swiftly and quietly head towards the Rangers truck, don’t get separated reminded Red, and keep it tight. The group strategically made their way across the parking lot, stopping to hide behind each vehicle so as not to be seen. The lights danced across the hill and into the sky as they quickly approached. I thought you said they don’t come down there, said Shane. No, said Jack. I said they hadn’t been here, not they don’t come here. Sdon’tshaking his head, semantics Jack semantics. The truck and Tahoe were sitting at the back of the lot, and the group had loaded into the vehicles when the lights came crashing down on the parking lot. The groups now in the vehicles of their choice took cover as close to the floorboards as possible. Red occasionally peeking through the driver’s windows. Did you disable the ranger’s ranger’s truck Red asked as he looked over at Shane?
The blood drained from Shane’s face. I didn’t. They wouldn’t try to use it to go after us in a truck looking like that. Reasonable people wouldn’t, crazy sons of a bitches, I don’t know said Red I don’t know. Side-by-sides playfully racing around the parking lot, weaving in and out of the vehicles, hooting and hollering as they came to a stop. The woman was the first to the truck looking in through the driver’s side window, pretty fucking gross, she said as she opened the driver’s door. Stepping back and choking on the stench, this one is fucking ripe, she said, letting out a squeal of happiness as she jumped up and down, clapping her hands. Did you check the door first? cried Art. Yes, Mr. bossy pants, the string hadn’t moved. Who the fuck would even want to open this door anyway. Well, someone other than us, of course, she said happily, bouncing up and down. For fucks sakes guys, said JR, let’s go! They looked around as if taking inventory. Fuck it, let’s go, let’s I’ll race you back, said Art as they jumped back into their side-by-sides, and away they went. First, round the parking lot for what seemed like forever, racing in and out of the vehicles as if playing a fast game of chicken before taking off as fast as they could down the hill and back into dry storage.
That was close, said Red as he sat up looking around the truck before locking eyes with Doc. We’re safe now said Doc lets go. Red looked at Doc with concern growing in his eyes. You good Doc asked Red. Good replied Doc, good, but I need to heel whispered Doc as she slowly faded into the seat between Red and Nathen. Heal, okay, we can do this. Red and Don stood in front of the trucks with a map and a small red light flashlight. Red instructed Don on where they needed to be. Doc needs healing time and water, and sadly this is the only place for miles that can help heal her. We are going to take this road, Amo road, around to the back of the lake, Red said, pointing at the map. Once we get here, we will have to walk about a half mile in order to make it to the hot spring. There’s a hot spring here? Asked Don. Yes, it’s not well known and mostly Indian used, so we will be safe there until morning when we’ll leave during the early morning. It’s safer during the early morning hours when the fog is thickest and the lights from the vehicles can’t be seen well. Sounds good, said Don, as the two shook hands and remember Don No headlights, lights can be seen for miles around here, so we drive by moonlight. I will lead said Red. They looked around one last time, locating the dancing lights from the side-by-sides.
The two trucks slowly made their way out of the parking lot. Looking in both directions, Red pulls out onto Amo Road with Don closely behind. It was about 9 pm and completely dark. The only light to guide their way was an almost full moon. The vehicles made their way down a windy road, over two bridges, and through the desert before reaching an unnamed gate with a simple sign attached reading. This is a private frontage road. Do Not enter without prior authorization. Red, exiting the truck, tells Shane. I need to piss wait here. Shane leaning in through the opened truck window, reaches in and gently brushes Doc’s hair aDoc’srom her face and asks How’s it hanHow’s Doc opens an eye and cheerfully says “hanging” and smiles Red making it back to the truck looks at Shane. Can you close these gates once we are thorough, and we need to brush away any tracks we’ve made? No problem, said Shane as he headed for the fence, picking up a couple of branches on his way. Shane opens the gate, waits while the trucks drive through, then closes the gate and sweep away the tracks within 100 feet of the fence. He then sticks the branches in a nearby tree to help conceal them. Shane then gets into the truck, and off they go towards the hot spring.
The group walked for about 40 minutes when they came across a small clearing resembling a large dried-up watering-hole with several downed trees along the opening. “A perfect place to rest.” Said Red. Red having extensive tactical training, decided to scout the area. It was about 5:30 am, and dawn would soon be breaking the mountain top, and the morning fog started to roll in. “Okay, everyone,” said Red. “It’s going to be daylight soon, and we’re going to pass close to the dock and the ranger station to get to the parking lot, and we can use the fog as cover. We know nothing about what’s going on, on the shore, so I’m going to scout out a bit, you guys’ rest.” Red made sure everyone was settled. “I’ll be back,” said Red. “Shane, keep an eye on the group, and if Doc needs anything, “I got this,” replied Shane, “I got this.”
Red disappears into the trees as the group takes cover in the dry pond. Tammy looks at Doc for a long minute as if deciding whether to ask a question or start accusing of some wrongdoing in the group. Tammy softly clears her throat and asks, “Red has shared some of your journeys with us, and it’s cool and all, but can you tell us some?
Doc looks at Tammy for a long couple of minutes and says, “sure, what would you like to know? Tammy shrugs her shoulders and looks at Doc.
Doc starts chuckling and says’s. “A few years ago, we were camping up in the white mountains when this child came out of nowhere. The boy looked about 12 or 13, very friendly and polite, but he didn’t feel right in his skin. He’d had been hiking in the mountains alone most of the day. All he knew was that he felt someone or something that could help, and he needed to find them. I talked to him for several minutes when I started feeling this sharp stabbing pain in the side of my head. I excused myself, thinking I was getting a migraine, and I went and laid down in our RV. About 30 minutes passed, and my head was feeling better, so I went out to rejoin the group.
As I approached the group, the sharp pain in my head started to throb, and the migraine felt like it would burst through my skull. Said Doc. I lost consciousness and dropped, hitting my head on a rock which brought a migraine out, but there was something else just lingering in the back of my head. EVERYONE WAS STANDING OVER ME when I had come to, but the boy was almost hiding behind a tree, taking in slight glimpses before ducking back behind the tree. Suddenly, a question I hadn’t thought to ask him surfaced in my head. Red helped me up as he always does. He sat me in my chair, where the boy had a few questions of his own but was afraid to leave the tree.
“Can you help me? Asked the boy before he disappeared behind the tree only to re-emerge less than a minute later, only to ask, is it you I’m feeling? Can you send me home? The group went silent. I asked where home was, but I think I already knew it wasn’t here. The boy fidgeting behind the tree, almost afraid to come out, slowly takes steps towards her. I held my hand out and slowly approached the boy. With every step, I saw a new vision of him playing with other children, talking with his mom, and even being so sick he couldn’t stand. I slowly started to understand what help he needed, and Doc saw his death and his mother crying over his grave.
The boy wasn’t only lost. He was stuck and afraid. He walked over 100 miles to meet her there in hopes I could help him move on. The boy died almost 30 years prior of brain tumors. He stayed close to his home and family and acted as their Guardian Angel until he felt the rebirth of the Elementals. Elementals like me said Doc, have the power, no, no, a duty, to help set a situation straight even sometimes to our elementals, peril. Did you help him said, Tammy? I’m getting there, my sweet, Doc said as she smiled and patted Tammy’s hand. The boy named Heath had died before his 25th birthday, and he reverted to the age of enlightenment. For him, that was the age of 12 or 13. Heath was a child prodigy in the medical industry. He worked on cures for several different cancers, headed up some of the leading research and development at John Hopkins Research Center until the treatment took his life.
He started working on different projects about his type of tumors that showed promising results, until one day, he just up and died. He didn’t fully know how he died or what happened, and he chalked it up to dying in his sleep. As Heath reached out and touched my hand, I could see what had happened to him. “I saw his death,” said Doc, “like a movie in my head, but he had to see it too.” Doc looks down at her hands in her lap, rubbing them together. With a tear in her eyes, she reached out and touched Heath’s hand. Heath worked in a top-secret lab that he shared with Dr. Linda Patel, and their relationship was a competitive one very competitive.
Heath and Linda had been working on a new class of drugs that used tech to trick cancer and tumor cells in the human body, allowing safe healing without poisonous drugs like chemo and radiation. They started seeing great results with the trials, and they decided to move on to human testing before they got approval. In the end, it began to threaten their work, especially since Heath chose to do the human testing on himself. The trial, however, didn’t react how they expected, and Linda was afraid of being overshadowed, or worse, Heath shutting the trials down. Linda shared their results to a large grant funding panel, headed up by none other than the tech mogul himself, then poisoned Heath staged his suicide, and he was found dead in their lab the following day by security.
As I watched the whole thing like a movie in my head, I knew what I had to do. Heath needed help moving on, but he had unfinished business. He died before he could ask Linda to marry him. Heath even had the ring. He was holding on to her to stay here because he thought she needed him. Heath and I sat on the edge of a cliff for hours, watching the view, not saying a word. Red had taken a post about 100 feet behind us and kept a lookout. After what seemed like a lifetime, Heath looked at me and said, hum, I guess I didn’t die in my sleep? I guess not… “What’s next? said Heath. Anything you want, said Doc. Heath and Doc stood up at the edge of the mountain and hugged for a long minute. When Heath looks at Doc and Says, “Anything?” Doc shakes her head with tears in her eyes and repeats “anything….” Heath turns and salutes Red, and with one step back, he vanishes over the side of the mountain.
Red from over Doc’s shoulder says, “that was fucking freaky,” as he softly puts his hand on Doc’s shoulders. Doc looks up at Red as if they were having a conversation no one else could hear.
“The thick fog started rolling in from the lake,” said Red as he came peering over the dirt mound. “I found Adam and JR in the ranger cabin. JR was sleeping, and Adam was sitting at the desk. I think he’s asleep too, but not sure” What about Art ? said Tammy. He seems to be more dangerous than the other two? Yes, said Red. I didn’t see him at all. Is there anyone else there? Asked Nathen Yeah, two other guys sleeping on cots inside the cells with the doors closed. I don’t know if they are prisoners or partners, so we go with the worst-case scenario. There are possibly four people to avoid at the docks and Art floating around someplace.” Everyone needs to keep their eyes open and be as quiet as they can. We are going to slip by with the fog as cover. Well, that’s the plan anyway.” Said Red
As the sun started cresting over the mountain, the fog drifted through the trees turning everything a grey-white, concealing the group as they reached the trail 132A that would take them ultimately to safety. Red, leading the group, held up a hand to stop the group. I heard something said Red. In a short distance from them, they could hear someone or something moving around in the fog. Doc seeing something out of the corner of her eye, slows down, allowing the group to pass in front of her. When Tammy looks at Doc and says, “Your stone isn’t glowing, it always glows.” Doc looks down at the blood diamond. Quietly Doc motions to Tammy to rejoin the group just ahead as Doc veered off towards the beach and ranger station. Doc started placing several rocks in a row between the ranger station and the group making light tapping noises to resemble wild animals with an occasional wolf or coyote noises.
Red, noticing Doc wasn’t in the group anymore, holds a hand up. He looks around, stopping the group to take a headcount. When Tammy looks at Red and says her stone wasn’t glowing, Doc’s stone wasn’t glowing, clarifying whom. Red motioned to Shane to hold the line as he slowly maneuvered towards Doc’s direction, who was still making slight animal noises. Red reaching up to Doc in the fog. Grabs her, and they drop to the ground. Art passed by a short 10 feet from where they were laying and 30 feet from the rest of the group. “Doc,” said Red forcefully really, no dare-deviling didn’t I say that?” Yes, but Doc nearly gets out when Red asks. “You promised,” said Red as he pulled her close and whispered. My stones went dark. We were in danger, the whole group was in danger, and I had to try to throw whomever off. Red looks at Doc and says, ‘s it’s Art. Artlookedated Doc, I couldn’t get a reading on him. Red looked at Doc and said, “he’s the leader. He sits back and watches his dogs do his bidding. “I believe he’s the one pulling the strings, in this case, said Red. Let catch up to the rest of the group.” Doc looked down at her blood diamond “not yet,” said Doc, Red stopped and looked at her. “There is something else I have to check,” said Doc. Red repeating pitter-patter with a slight giggle, said, “well then, pitter-patter, let’s get at her.”
Doc slowly and quietly made her way to the ranger’s cabin and the ranger station. Peeking in the windows of each building, not entirely sure what she was looking for, while Red quietly followed Art. The first building appeared to be storage; it was a small building with floor-to-ceiling shelving. The shelving held some food, office supplies, ropes, life jackets, floatation devices, extra boat supplies, and on the bottom corner of the building was the CPR practice or certification dummy when Doc had an idea. Doc makes her way around the building to the door. Building 2 was on the water and, from what Doc could tell, was a boathouse or where they maintained the patrol boats… Doc makes her way quickly and quietly to the far side window as to not get caught.
Grabbing a create to stand on, Doc cautiously peaks into the window, scanning from side to side for movement. Just then, in the corner of her eye, Doc sees something or someone tied to a pole. Please don’t be locked; she repeated to herself several times before reaching the doorknob and turning it. The door was unlocked when she twisted the doorknob, but it was stuck, really stuck. Doc looked around for something that she could wedge under the door to pop it open. She walks to the far corner of the building. There was a pry bar sitting against the building. Doc Wedged the pry bar under the door, then stepped and jumped on the pry bar until finally lifting the door up just enough to slide the door open. Doc was able to get the door open with minimal effort. She slipped inside grabbing the duffle bag that had the dummy inside, and quickly entered the building. Closing the door proved a bit more challenging. Doc ended up leaving the door ajar for fear of being heard and made her way to another building.
Doc makes her way around the boathouse, looking for a door, and she finds the door facing the other buildings. Doc takes a moment to watch that whole side of the building, noticing another window just around the corner. The window was dirty, and it looked stained from the sun and dirt. Doc wiped off a small corner of the window and peeks in, “yep, that’s a person,” thought Doc as she scanned the area for a guard or something. Everything was still.
Inside the boathouse, there was a dock for the patrol boat with decking all the way around on the far side of the boat, a toolbox with a workbench on either side of it, a large metal shelving that appeared to be boat parts, oil, a couple of gas cans, tarps, rope, even an extra anchor. The back of the boathouse had a figure tied up to a pole in the far corner, in the middle had another shelving system with every type of floatation device ever made, and a BBQ grill in the corner closest to Doc. Along the wall where Doc was standing just outside the building, there was several paddles, two canoes, a couple of paddleboards that looked like they hadn’t been used in over a decade, a half a dozen camping chairs, two bicycles, and a partridge in a pear tree Doc quietly thought. Doc reached her hand out, trying to stay as close to the building as possible, and checked the door. “Two for two,” Wisper’s Doc, as she slowly opens the door. Slipping through the door, Doc takes cover by the canoes. She watched for movement in the dark corner. Doc waited a few minutes, and still no movement, so she slowly made her way towards the BBQ grills. In darkness, Doc remained in the corner watching for any movement or sound…still nothing. Doc makes her way by the shelving on the back wall when she notices a jacket on the ground in front of her. It was a green camo jacket with a familiar patch on the side. She slowly picks it up, only to realize her worst fear. This was her friend Alo’s jacket. Doc looks at the figure in front of her, still no sound or movement. Doc takes a deep breath and lunges forward towards the figure when the figure lets out a hushed moan. Doc recognizes the sound of her friend and softly puts her hand on Alo’s shoulder. Alo jumped, he looked up at Doc, and the tears started streaming down his face, happy and surprised to see Doc. Doc puts the duffle bag with the dummy inside, down next to Alo, and helps untie him. Alo looked a bit rough for the weather. He had a black eye, cut open lip, a couple of broken ribs, cuts and bruises all over.
Once Alo was untied, they quickly pulled out the test dummy and set it up as a decoy. As Doc and Alo were leaving the boathouse, Red appeared around the corner of the building. “We got to go, people,” whispered Red. “Art is two buildings down. We have to go now!” Alo looked at Red and said, “I have to get back to the reservation. I have to warn my people. Red looked at Alo and asked, “where’s your ride?” I’ll take one of the canoes I know how to get out of here without being seen. Besides, I don’t have a large group like you.” Red, Alo, and Doc snuck back inside the boathouse, “Who the hell is that, said Red, as he pointed to the corner that the dummy sat tied up in. That’s the dummy, said Doc. Red looked confusingly between Doc and Alo. “I’ll explain later said Doc, as they started getting the canoe down as quietly as possible. Red nodded, definitely later said Red look at Doc. The three of them quietly released the canoe and set it in the water behind the patrol boat. Red told Alo to get in the canoe, Doc holding a rope and the canoe while Red made his way to the boat’s engine sabotaging it and giving Alo the best chance of freedom as possible. Red pulled the spark plugs and wires out, throwing them in the lake behind the boathouse. He then made his way over to Doc and Alo. Red helped launch Alo’s canoe, grabbed Doc, and swiftly exited the boathouse and back up to the tree line. Alo quietly floated out of the boathouse and into the thick fog as if never being there.
Red looks at Doc for a good minute and finally asks, “Do you always have to be the hero?’ “It’s not about being the hero. It’s about knowing I’m protected, and I can protect them.” Said Doc as she started stumbling around like every bar patron on New Year’s Eve. She was getting weak at the knees and became faint. Red grabbed on to Doc, looked at her, and asked, did he need to be healed? Doc, Doc, did you heal him? Doc nodded her head faintly “he was dying,” said Doc. “I couldn’t let him die.” When suddenly, Doc dropped to her knees, repeating, “I couldn’t let him die.” Red looked towards the lake, in the direction Alo was headed, watching the fog slowly retreat and dance with the shoreline and hiding Alo from the shore.
Red re-emerges from the forest and ranger station with Doc’s lifeless body in his arms. Setting Doc down on some brush against a tree. Seeing Red with Doc in his arms, Tammy grabbed a water bottle and sat down next to Doc, looked up at Red, and asked, “what happened to her?” Red said she’d be okay. She needs some rest; can you sit with her?” Tammy nods as Red heads to the front of the group and finds Shane. Shane jumps up, saying, “We ready?” In a minute, said Red, I’m going to have to carry Doc out of here. Shane spoke up Doc,? What happened to Doc. She’ll be fine, but she is out of commission for a bit, said Red. I’m going to head the group out from here said Red pointing along the path. However, instead of walking up this trail were going to take the back way through the dry storage lot. There are five down at the ranger station if Art made it back down by now, but I didn’t see him, and we don’t know if they are going through what’s in there. We may run into a couple of people in there. Once we get into dry storage, I’m hoping to find a place to lay low with the sun coming up. They are going to be able to catch up to us fast. “Awesome,” said Shane, “do you do this kind of thing a lot? Red looks confusingly at Shane shaking his head. Yaa, this is what I do for fun on the weekends. No, I’ve never done anything like this before, I’ve done different things, but not this said Red as he chuckled a little shaking his head and saying I do this all the time as he pats Shane on the back “you crack me up snickered Red, I even like your movies I just don’t watch a lot of TVs.” “You’ve seen my movies, said Shane, almost giddy as he hopped along beside Red to the rest of the group. Yep, and if you tell anyone, I’ll deny it said Red. I have a reputation to uphold. Shane looked at Red, with a big grin on his face, like being a little kid sneaking downstairs on a frosty Christmas morning. Red waves an arm in the air to get the group’s attention, everyone quietly looks at Red. “It’s time for us to move up the mountain towards the dry storage. Keep your eyes open I don’t know if anyone is up there. We are going to find a place in dry storage to lay low for a little while. Doc needs some time to recover, and we need to disable any vehicle they could use to catch us. Most of the fog has started retreating over the water, and we already disabled the patrol boat so they couldn’t go after Alo. Still, they will more than likely try to pull another patrol boat out of the lower water storage if they have any available.
Red bends and picks Doc up, and Tammy helps hold her head steady. As Tammy looked at Doc, worried because she was lethargic and unresponsive, she noticed out of the corner of her eye, Doc’s Blood Stone was glowing again. As she looked closer, she noticed there were a total of three stones, and only one looked like it burned, but upon closer inspection, she noticed it looked like it was alive. Just then, Red looks at Tammy and nods, and they head to the front of the group and quietly head up the mountain using the tree line as cover.
It took 35 minutes and a sprang ankle to make it across the lot to get into dry storage. Red again sat Doc against a tree. The lot was about 100 yards wide with some desert plants and rough terrain with several large boulders to scale and then home free into the dry storage lot. Red turned and looked as everyone gathered around. Red cleared his throat and said quietly, we are almost home free, across this lot. Red pointing towards the empty lot. This is the only way in or out of the dry storage lot. We have Doc, whom I will carry, and Beth with her ankle that Don will help. We will go first. I want the rest of you to pair up and cross the lot two at a time.
First, Shane and I will check out the lot and make sure it’s safe and figure out where we are going to hold up together until dark. I was hoping to get the hell out of dodge this morning, but I don’t think it’s safe to cross, especially now that we set their almost dead prisoner free and disabled their patrol boat. I’m sure they have others down at the docks and the patrol dock. They shouldn’t need or want anything up here in dry storage, but we need to stay vigilant. Beth sat down on one side of Doc and Tammy on the other side.
Red and Shane quietly started crossing the lot and scaling the boulders, disappearing halfway across the lot within minutes. They make it to the gate, and Red lifts his hand around the corner, telling Shane to stop. They take cover by a beautiful white and black houseboat. Listening for sounds in the storage lot as they carefully look around. Red taking the back half and Shane the front, they both make their way around the lot, looking for a place to take cover for the day and stay concealed from any unexpected company.
The dry storage lot was the size of a football field with boats, RV’s, tractors, and a small workshop, and with it being the end of October, the lot was full. As Shane and Red completed their sections working towards each other, they stumbled upon a large yaught in the middle of the lot. The yaught was covered with a boat cover and large tarp as Shane and Red circled the boat looking for any signs of it being tampered with. There was a wood swim deck at the back of the yaught that a tarp was secured to. It looks safe said Shane as Red looked at the ropes and the tarp, making sure he could hide any signs of them being there. “And,” said Shane looking at Red, We are good? I think we are good said Red repeating I think we’re good.
Red and Shane slipped out of the storage lot and reappeared over the boulders about 30 minutes later. Okay, we found a houseboat in the middle of the storage lot. There is a good-sized yaught in the middle of the dry lot. It should fit all of us comfortably. Remember we go through the lot two by two, said Red. We will wait on the other side of the fence until everyone makes it across and go to the houseboat together. Keep your eyes open and quiet. The lot appeared empty, but if you hear something or someone take cover, the best you can, and when the coast is clear, Shane and I will find you! Red made his way over to Doc and said, “it’s you and me, baby,” he squatted down, picking her up like nothing. First, the boulders proved to be more challenging than he thought, having to put Doc down on one of the boulders, climb up himself and pick Doc up again. Red and Doc make it around the fence and signal for Don and Beth. Don and Beth were next to start scaling the boulders, Beth’s ankle gave her some trouble, but they made it around the fence as well in record time.
It was going on at 9 am when Shane brought up the rear and made it around the fence. The sun was bright, it was a beautiful 77 degrees, and it was eerily quiet. The group made it to the yaught in one-piece, Red-handed Doc to Shane, and started carefully untying the rope on the swim deck. Red lifted the tarp and disappeared inside, re-emerging a few moments later, giving Shane the thumbs up. Shane handed Doc back to Red as they disappeared under the tarp once again. It was a beautiful 4 level, six-room suit, with staff quarters, two formal living rooms, a formal dining room, game room, and a cinema room houseboat. Tammy and Nathen were the last to make it on board. They all made their way inside the boat, finding a place to relax a little in the main cabin. Red had laid Doc on the couch and instructed everyone to remain as quiet as possible while Nathen, Shane, and himself clear footprints and resecure the tarp to the swim deck, and off they went. Tammy and Beth again sat with Doc while the others explored the boat some.
Did you see Doc’s Stones, Tammy asked Beth? Yes, they’re pretty, said Beth. I think they’re alive, Tammy whispered. Okay, said Beth. Now that’s cool. We’ll have to ask. In the distance, you could hear the rustling of the tarp and the screeching of the trailer as people moved around and in the distance was a soft ping-ping sound of a colt 44 with silencer practice rounds the distance. Red, Nathen, and Shane re-emerge from under the tarp and head straight for the main cabin. Red sits on the couch next to Doc. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m exhausted whispered Red. We can’t leave here until dark, so I’m going to take Doc to bedroom two, cleanup a little, and take a nap. I suggest you guys get some sleep as well. I don’t know if they will come up here or not, so quiet is critical, and please keep in mind movement causes the trailer to squeak and squeal, and it will draw attention if anyone is around. I recommend staying on board the boat, especially since we’ve covered up all our footprints and retied the tarp to the swim deck.
We need to check the kitchen for any food and or water, said Jase, and maybe some Tylenol if we’re lucky. Oh, yeah, I can second that one, said Dave, as they quietly started downstairs. The stairs were rustic iron spiral staircase that had a small platform on each landing. Red started his way up the stairs with Doc over his shoulder. The staircase was too narrow for him to carry her any other way. When Red made it in front of bedroom 2, he opened the door slowly as not to make a sound and entered. The bedroom was freshly cleaned. The furniture was covered with white sheets. Mahogany and cedar filled the room. The light was dim under the tarp, perfect for a nap. Red heads towards the bed and gently lays Doc down on the left side of the bed furthest away from the door. Red was old-fashioned and very protective of Doc, putting himself between any danger and her.
The bed had four large, beautiful mahogany bedposts with white netting draped over them. Red pulled back the covers and softly got into bed, falling asleep almost immediately.
Red woke up to a loud crashing sound that sounded like it was coming from outside their window. He sat up quickly, checking on Doc, “I’ll be right back, baby.” Red whispers, and he quietly disappears through the bedroom door. Red passed a couple of windows but couldn’t see out. He made his way to the staff quarters. Red turns the corner into the kitchen, seeing Matt and Andy kneeling on the benches and peeking through a small hole in the tarp. Red nods as Matt holds one finger up, making his way to the small hole. Red peaks out, great Art, Red thought, motioning to Matt and Andy to keep an eye on him. They nodded as Red disappeared as fast as he appeared. Making his way to the main cabin, he ran into Don and Beth, both looking through a small rectangle window in the hallway. Red nods at Don and Beth; Don motions to Red that it’s Art and he’s doing something outside the boat. Red peaks through the small window, “what is he doing?” Red whispered. Red could hear the banging getting louder as Red moved through the boat, with occasional buzzing from power tools, even the occasional hushed cursing.
Red made it to the main cabin, where he found Nathen, Tammy, Dave, Jase, and Kevin all peering through tiny openings in the tarp over the windows. As Red peaked through the window, he could see Art below him. “What are you up to, Art?” Red thought. Tammy quietly whispered in Red’s Ear, “Is Doc okay? Is she awake? Red whispers to Tammy that she is still in and out and still in the room. “I’ll go stay with her in case she wakes up.” Said Tammy. Red thanked her as she disappeared up the stairs. “Where’s Shane? Red quietly asked as Kevin pointed to the outside deck.
Red quietly slipped through the door open; looking back at the group, he held up a finger, squeezing through the crack in the door Red could see Shane and John on opposite ends of the deck. Red slowly approached Shane, making sure each step was calculated and silent. Shane pointed over the deck, just below him. As Red looked down, he could see Art with a small pile of wood, a small pile of scrap metal, a worktable with some tools on it, and something Red couldn’t make out. Red points to a small area with water, a couple of wooden crates, and something else, something alive? Shane as well unsure of what was just behind him, shakes his head no. Red double-checking the knots on the swim deck, he slowly makes his way along the outside deck, ensuring nothing looks disturbed. Red, Shane, and John reappear in the doorway of the main cabin, where everyone had assembled. Red motioned for the group to follow him. They made their way to the wheelhouse and the captain’s office.
The captain’s office is a small room just off the back of the wheelhouse, as they all follow Red in and close the door. The room was a 10 X 10 box. It had a small desk and chair, a cute captain wheel lamp, and a small map bench in the back corner with a filing cabinet next to it. The walls were covered with vintage maps and topped off with a “Don’t Tread On Me flag” on the ceiling. Everyone except Tammy and Doc filed into the small room and closed the door. Red quietly starts, “first, we can whisper in here; this room is sealed kind of like a panic room, we can even lock it from inside here, and no one can break in without the key.” “Did anyone see anyone with Art?” they all shake their heads no. “Okay, did anyone get a good look at what Art was doing?” Shane looked at Red and said, “I think he’s building something right outside the boat, but why in the middle of the lot? And Why here?” “Because he doesn’t want the rest of them to know what he’s up to,” said Red. “But what?” Beth sitting on the floor, looks up and says, “he’s going to go after them when he’s finished with all of us.” “Being outside this boat is a coincidence; that’s why he hasn’t come on board yet, but the question is, will he?” Don put his arm around Beth, “he’s not coming on board. Think positive people.” Red is looking down at his watch, 11:32 am. The sunsets around 6 to 630pm, so we will need to take shifts keeping an eye on Art while he’s working on whatever he’s doing. I think the view from the main deck is the best, Red continued. We need to stay in pairs for safety reasons. Doc is still on the mend, and she needs a bit more sleep, some cannabis, and water she can submerge in so her body can rejuvenate.” “Doc has “connected” with each of you, you can feel her, and she can feel all of you, as well as Art, Andy, and Jr. She can keep us hidden in plain sight.
Doc wears 3 Blood diamonds at all times. One is to alert her of any danger by glowing or not glowing if danger is near. The second connects her with nature, and the third allows her to see into people’s hearts. She cannot take them off, but her blood creates new ones. There is a hole in her abdomen, and when Doc connects to the heart of someone, or she heals someone, a new blood diamond is born for that person, and it hatches from that hole. Shane feeling like this was a cue, stands up and pulls a chain out from under his shirt and, sure enough, a small blood diamond. The blood diamond was about 3 centimeters long, clear white, and when you look at it close-up, you can tell it’s alive. The blood diamonds will not only protect you but needs your energy to grow continually. That’s why Doc’s are more prominent. “Thank you, Shane,” said Red as he sat back down.
Okay, pair up. I will check each floor’s windows, doors to the outside, intercom systems, and make sure all power is off, said Red. I’ll go with you said Shane to Red. Awesome, now remember this is the only room that seals, so if you need to talk, do it in here. There are fewer chances to be heard said Red and opened the door. Red and Shane started in the wheelhouse, all the windows were closed and sealed for the winter, covered furniture, boxed up linens and fine China, boxes of canned goods and cleaning supplies, and staff uniforms cluttered the staff hallway. At the end of the hall, before you leave the wheelhouse, is the captain’s bedroom.
The captain’s sleeping quarters were decorated plainly. There was a small bed in the far corner of the room with a simple desk facing it. A small TV was hanging on the wall opposite the bed with an old coco clock hung next to it. The wall above the door and closet had all kinds of hats hanging in decoration or for safekeeping. The cabinet and the footlocker were empty for the winter, and the hooks looked bear behind the door. All personal belongings and memorabilia were missing, leaving a cleaned and covered area. Red made his way to bedroom 2 to check on Doc when Tammy heard a scream followed by cursing and loud banging outside the window.
Shane made his way to the outside deck just before all the commotion started saw as Art smashed his hand in the metal box, he was building. Blood gushing from his hand, he threw the metal saw and started making his way to the shed just inside the dry storage lot fence. Shane motioned to Red to join him on the deck, whispering he’s gone, but you know he will be back. What the fuck is he making Red whispered to Shane. Shane shrugging his shoulders, leans over the side of the deck, trying to get a better look, “what is it?” questioned Red as he was making his way towards the bow of the boat. Shane struggling to get a better look, notices Art has made several 2x2x2 boxes. Some were made of wood and some of the metal. You could tell the quality of each box was slightly improved from the next, but what the hell. In the close distance, they could still hear the hissing and hollering of Art bellowing in the shed with the occasional banging of him throwing everything he could find.
Shane and Red stood frozen, listening to the distant cries of Art as they slowly faded into the distance. “Do you think he left” Shane looked up at Red? “I can’t know,” said Red, “you never know with these cityites” “Cityite?” repeated Shane. “Yes, you know an idiot from the city.” Shane snickered, muttering, “Cityite, I have to remember that one.” Red looked at Shane and said, “it should be easy. You’re a cityite,” chuckled Red. Shane shook his head, and with a large shit-eating grin on his face, both men entered the main cabin and closed the door. By this time, everyone except Doc, Tammy, and Beth were still upstairs in bedroom two waiting for instructions. Red looked around; he quietly took a seat in the chair at the head of the table and quietly started.
Okay, Art is here, in dry storage, and he is the worst of the bunch. I don’t know what he’s making, but I promise it’s not for fun and games. Don you Shane and I will check it out, and we need to find a good lookout point and take shifts covering. Normally I would have us rotating shifts in a different location from the rest of the group but not with this group. I know a few of you are veterans a have had combat experience. That is not what this is. We keep the group tight, quiet, and safe; we’ll rotate every 2 hours until sunset. Remember, we are no longer on our island paradise, and they will find out sooner than later. Tammy and Beth are with Doc, so I’ll take the first watch. The rest of you, get something to eat, rest up, and don’t turn anything on. I know how tempting a shower would be, watching tv, listening to music, or cooking, but we will be off the lake tonight and away from whoever these people are.
One by one, they started making their way back to the rooms they borrowed for the day while Red, Shane, and Don exited back onto the deck. Red looks at the 2 of them and say’s in a low deep voice. We need to find the best lookout spot so we can see Art and whatever he’s building. We may need to make additional small unnoticeable holes in the cover, but we will decide together where to place them. Both Don and Shane shook their heads and started looking down the side of the boat pulling at the cover until Don motioned for Red and Shane. Art is coming back, What said Red, maneuvering around him to see. Shit said Red. Shane and Red enter the cabin, gathering anything left out by the current residents as they rush to meet everyone except Doc, Tammy, and Beth in the Captions quarters, where they sat for almost 2 hours while Art welded metal. Sanding the wood boxes, even burning words, they couldn’t make out down one of the sides of the wooden boxes he was designing.
The air was still, the noise outside was quiet, and Red deciding he needed to check on the girls upstairs, got up, holding his finger over his mouth. Motioning to Richard to follow, Red Says, “We will be right back. I need to check on the girls and Richard. I need you to check the main deck and see if you can hear anything or see anyone.” “Jase, I need you to head up to the captain’s deck and check the area around us. See if you can see the main gate and anything suspicious in the dry lot. This boat is the tallest here, so you should be able to see everything around us. If you see Art or any fake lake patrols, take note of where they are and what they are doing. It’s 1:30 now. We will meet back here in, let’s say, 10 minutes. Everyone else stays comfortable until we return. All three men head through the captain’s door, instructing Don to lock the door behind them. All three head down the main corridor. When they reached the stairs, they split up. Red headed to the second bedroom, which was conveniently located on the same floor. Jase took the stairs up as Richard headed down a floor.
Red standing in front of Bedroom 2 door, he knocks three times and slides his hand down the door to signify safety. Tammy opened the door, letting Red in. How’s she doing? Asked Red? She’s still sleeping, replied Tammy, Beth’s asleep as well. Good said Red as he approached the 4-poster bed. I think Art left said Red. Tammy shook her head and said, “yeah, I saw him walk out the front gate about ten minutes ago. He was moving at a swift pace, said Tammy, right after he had a call on the radio.” Did you hear the call? Asked Red, No said Tammy, and he didn’t have that much to say either.” Red sits on the side of the bed, pulling the covers over Doc’s shoulders. “I’ll get you into the water soon, babe. I know this is hard. Tammy looks at Red and says, “Okay, you can tell me to mind my own business, but I have to ask why does Doc has three different stones, three different colors, and one glows? You said her body makes them as she helps people? It’s a long story that I don’t have time to share right now, but the short version is yes, her body makes them for specific people, including herself. All the stones glow for different reasons, even the stones that she makes for others. It’s meant as a warning to each owner for a variety of troubles. When Doc disappeared into the woods this morning, “when Doc’s stone started glowing? Interrupted Tammy. Yes, replied Red. She ran into Alo, and he wasn’t doing so good, and she helped him putting her body into jeopardy. She will recover, but she needs water, it’s rather beautiful to watch, but that puts us back on the lake. I need to meet the others in the captain’s office. I will be back. Said Red, looking at Doc. I’ll be here with these two said, Tammy. I rather enjoy this job. Tammy smiled and sat in the chair opposite the bed.
Red, Richard, and Jase met back at the office with the others. Okay, Red started Richard what, yeah got? Nothing said, Richard. There was no one outside. I believe Art is gone, but the boxes he was making are very odd. He has five metal and five wood ones; I still can’t see what’s written on them, but they all have an inscription, and all the inscriptions look different. I didn’t see anything else, but something was missing if more than Art is working here in dry storage from where I was standing. I only see his footprints or only one shoe tread design anywhere on the ground around the boat. Red, shaking his head, turns to Jase and motions for him to go next. Jase sitting on the edge of the desk clears his throat and says’s.
I saw Art leave through the front gate. He was walking like he was pissed and on a mission. I didn’t see anyone else at or near the front gate to the dry-storage lot. I couldn’t tell if anyone else has been working in here with Art or if they even know he’s up here working at all. Art had a radio hooked to his belt loop. I saw him pick it up to his ear, but he never said anything into it. However, the strange thing was a side-by-side at the front gate that wasn’t there when we went through it, but Art walked right past it. Why would it be there if Art wasn’t using it or if someone else is in here with us? Maybe it ran out of gas said, Mary. Perhaps, but isn’t there a fuel tank in here he could have filled the side by side up with? Red looking around starts okay these are good points, and we may need to investigate, especially why Art may be pissed.
Doc and I found Alo in the boathouse, he wasn’t doing well, and well, Doc did her thing. After healing Alo, they switched a CPR dummy for him, we put him in a canoe, and he headed back to the reservation. Now, if one of them noticed Alo MIA, I’m sure that would piss Art off, but there are still a million reasons for this to happen, so we need to stay vigilant. Tammy is in with Doc and Beth, who’s still sleeping. Tammy said she heard Art’s radio; she couldn’t hear what was said, but it appeared Art was pissed when he left. She confirmed only seeing one set of footprints and no one else around the boat said Red; Red, pausing to think a moment, I think we need to take a better look around. Shane, Nathen, and I are going to check things out a little better. We need to be prepared for anything if we’re going to get out of here tonight said Red.
Red, Shane, and Nathen crawled out from under the boat cover, Richard standing on the captain’s deck looking out towards the gate and watching the guys congregate at the back of the boat peering around each side as if back in high school smoking behind the gym and watching for teachers as not to get caught. Red looking at Shane and Nathen raises a hand pointing in different directions. Nathen takes off towards the gate, checking around each boat before carefully climbing in to check them. Shane took the middle of the dry lot, checking around each boat before quietly climbing in when he stumbles on a small fishing boat, it had a small tight cover, and when Shane started pulling it away, he revealed something that just about stopped his heart. The boat he was staring at looked precisely like Jerry’s boat. As Shane pulls back the cover, he reveals a story that painted a very different story than what the group was told. Shane shuffled around in his pocket, pulled out his cell phone, and started taking a few pictures before moving to the next boat. Red was checking the back of the lot. There were a few boats in this section, along with three small buildings. Red decided to work his way in, headed straight for the first building. The first building looked like a tool shed that someone had thrown tools around everywhere. How the hell does anyone find shit in here?
Red mumbled to himself. Digging around, Red found a couple of flashlights, unopened water bottles, a first aid kit, and a large crowbar he could use as a weapon if needed. The second building looked like a small makeshift office with a desk, filing cabinet, a small handheld radio, and a phone that Red quickly picked up to find nothing but dead air on the other side. Red found a backpack that he quickly emptied and filled up with the supplies that would fit. Red, heading towards the third building, notices a razer on the far side, a gas pump, several unopened quarts of oil, and something moving in the window. Red ducks down slowly and quietly makes his way to the building, checking around him as much as he could. Red peers through the window, his heart pounding in his chest. He sees what could only be described as a gruesome horror story. Red taps on the window. Is anyone alive in there? Red thinks as he squints, looking for any kind of movement. He waits a moment and taps again. Scanning the building, he sees no signs of life.
Red, not seeing any movement, decides to enter the building. He slowly opens the door again, waiting for any signs of life. Nothing. He opens the door the rest of the way, lighting up four hanging bodies. Red looks around and carefully enters the building. Pulling out the flashlight in his backpack, he checks the first body. It was a state trooper, and it looked like he was assassinated with one bullet in the head. The officer’s firearm was missing along with his radio, badge, and finger? The second body was a very familiar one. Jerry hung there lifeless and stiff. I guess we know where you ended up, my friend. I’m sorry said Red and moving to the third body. He looked like he may have been the mechanic that resided here day after day. He was an older thin man with a significantly worn face. Awesome thought, Red when he looked up at the last person hanging. It was a plain woman with dark curly hair, wearing a pair of cut-offs and tank top, one of her shoes was missing, and she looked like she had been put through the wringer before she died. Red saddened exited the building and headed back towards the boat when he felt a warm sensation on his chest. He ducked behind a boat. Pulling his collar open, he noticed his stone had started to heat up and glow. Red understanding, he was running out of time, heads towards their boat quickly wiping away any footprints he had made.
Red and Shane made it back to the boat at the same time. My stone got really fucking hot, said Shane. Yeah, so did mine. It’s a warning, Red said, looking around. Have you seen Nathen? No, said Shane. Did you wipe your footprints asked Red? Shane nods his head said I must show you something. Not yet, said Red. I need to find Nathen. You stay here and keep an eye out if Nathen gets back here before me. Get on the boat. If you hold your stone, and it will get hot, it will send a warning to me; however, don’t let go of the stone until it cools down or you see me. Shane nodded his head and watched as Red disappeared.
Nathen made it to the front gate, first checking the side by side for keys and fuel. It appeared to be a dry storage side by side. It was a 2-seater with a little bed on the back. It had about half a tank of fuel. Curious and Curiouser whispered Nathen, why didn’t he take it with him? Is there someone else here with us? Thought Nathen. Nathen was checking each boat, not finding anything. He peered around the back of one of the boats to find a petite woman kneeling on the ground. Nathen, stopping dead in his tracks, watches the woman for about 10 minutes, trying to figure out what she was up to. Nathen was trying to get a better vantage point, rounds the other side of the boat. He quietly watched. Still not seeing much, Nathen looked around. If he went back the same way, a few boats over, he could maze through to the other side and maybe see what the hell she was doing. Nathen, quietly turning around to try his new route, comes face-to-face with Red almost nose to nose. Nathen’s heart skipped a beat, and it was all he could do to not scream like a little girl. Red, holding a finger over his mouth, motions to Nathen to follow him, and they make their way back to their boat.
Seeing the two men approaching, Shane climbed under the boat cover and held it up for Nathen and Red to slide under. Red tied the cover back up and retreated to the main cabin. Red held two fingers up, motioning to the boat’s inhabitants to the captain’s office. The group quietly made their way into the small office while Red and Shane retrieved Richard. Shane, stopping Red before they entered the office. I need to show you something. Red studied Shane’s face shaking his head. Shane pulls the phone out of his pocket and shows him the pictures he took. Red nodded his head. They enter the office.
Red sat on the edge of the desk for what seemed like a lifetime. Choosing his words carefully, Red starts, We are not alone. There’s a woman in the front of the lot doing God only knows what. However, she seems to be very focused on what she is doing. Shane found Jerry’s boat, and I saw Jerry along with three other bodies. They weren’t pretty. I don’t know who these people are, but they aren’t friendly, and the sooner we can safely leave this area, the better off we all will be. Can Doc help them? Asked Tammy quietly, entering the room? Sadly, no, they are beyond her help, said Red. Is she okay, Red asked as he stood up? She’s awake and asking for you. She said it was urgent. Okay, everyone, get some food and rest. We leave here at dusk.
Red quickly rushes to bedroom two as everyone else heads to their area of the boat. Red sits on the edge of the bed, gently sweeping Doc’s hair behind her ear Doc’s eyes open and a slight smile breaks her lips. Are you okay? Asked Doc. Yeah, why baby, replied Red. Your stone was hot somethings wrong said Doc as a hot tear streamed down Doc’s cheek. Red, softly wiping it away, looked deep into her eyes and spoke. It’s okay. I’m okay, baby, don’t worry replied Red. Everyone’s back on board and safe. Don’t leave again, pleaded Doc something isn’t right; this place is broken, unfixable broken, Doc said as the tears welled up in her eyes. I know, Red said, I know. Red laid down on the bed next to Doc and Beth, who was still sleeping. Red blinked a couple of times before closing his heavy eyes. Tammy sat in the recliner on the other end of the room, keeping a close eye on the 3 of them.
The sun was starting to set when Red opened his eyes. He sat up, stretching quietly. He looked at the recliner to find Tammy fast asleep. He turned his body to get out of the bed to find ten people stretched out all over the floor. Some were sleeping while others either read a book or magazine. He looked over at Doc, who was writing in a small journal she kept in her bag. She looked tired and weak. Her face looked like she had aged ten years since he fell asleep. Are you okay asked Red? Doc, looking up at Red. A small smile breaks her lips as she nods. Have you eaten anything Red asks Doc as she continues writing in her journal? Doc shakes her head no when Tammy jumps up from the recliner, grabs a tray with cut-up fruits, vegetables, and some crackers, brings it to the bed, and sets it down. I was hungry a little while ago, said Tammy, so I made enough for all of us. Well, as much as I could find, whispered Tammy as all the bodies on the floor started to move around quietly, stretching, closing their reading material, and placing it back where they found them. They all sat on the bed, sharing the snacks Tammy so kindly made.
Shane starts, Art left the dry lot for the last time about 2 hours ago, and we haven’t seen or heard anything since then. We’re not sure when the lady left in the side by side, but it hasn’t been back either. Nathen is on the captain’s deck, keeping an eye out. I’ll relieve him and get his report. Okay, said Red, hold on, Richard go with Shane, and relieve Nathen. Shane, I want you and Nathen to meet me in the captain’s office so we can make a plan and get the hell out of dodge. They nod as they leave the room. Everyone else gets cleaned up and meets us in the main cabin in 30 minutes. Everyone agrees, and Red looks at Doc, and without saying a word, Doc looks at Red and says, I’ll be okay. I’ll eat a little more and get ready to leave this hellhole.
Nathen and Shane enter the captain’s office, closing the door behind them. Red sat behind the small desk in the middle of the room. As Shane looked at Red, he started to notice the dark circles under his eyes, the tired gaze his eyes held as he examined a map in front of him, and the sweet smell of cannabis burning in the ashtray in front of him. Red looks up at the two men. He picks up the joint, takes in a deep inhale, and passes the joint to Shane, who inhales a couple of deep drags, trying to catch as much lingering smoke as he could and passing to Nathen. As Nathen inhaled, Red looked down at the map and said, this boat must belong to the owner or operator of this lake docks. I found this map on a shelf, and it gives us an updated map of the dry storage, the docks, the ranger station, storage, the lake, and the parking lot.
As Shane and Nathen sat around the little desk, Red pointed towards the dry storage lot. We are here said Red in the middle of dry storage, and we need to get here the upper parking lot. Now there isn’t another exit for this lot, so we will have to scout it out before moving the group. I will scout the exit first said Red. I’m not sure if Doc will walk, so Shane, you will help get her to the gate. Red’s finger follows the outside fencing of the dry lot up to the top of the hill. Here is going to be our best vantage point. We should be able to see the parking lot and the docks and lake below and anyone catching up to us. Shane and Nathen were nodding their heads. When Nathen says it’s going to be dark soon, I know we have flashlights. Will we be able to use them? Red, shaking his head, answers no, we should have a full moon tonight, so we will have to make do with the light from the moon. Any extra light can be seen for miles and will get us caught, especially if they use side-by-side. What about the ranger trucks? Do they have them here? Good question, said Red, thinking, I’m not sure, but if there are other vehicles in the parking lot, we probably should disable them, so we need to grab the bag of tools I left on the swim deck. Red stood, rolled up the map he borrowed from under the bed, and put it in the backpack.
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.
Shane slowly slid the cabin door open, looked at Doc, and jumped down the steps into the cabin. Doc closed the door behind him, “we can see out, but no one can see in,” declares Doc “look at Andy when he comes around, have you seen him before?” Shane stands motionless, watching when Andy comes walking into camp with two guys behind him, “this is Art and JR,” says Adam. Art was an average-looking guy, not tall but not short with a shaved head. When Andy introduced him, he had a nervous laugh, sounding like he was forcing the laugh, (very fake and creepy). JR looked like a younger version of Art, very quiet, looking around as if taking a tally of who and what was there. According to the thermostat on the boat, the sun was high overhead, it is 94 degrees, and Andy, Art, and Red were talking by the kitchen area we built. JR was making his way around the boats when Shane gasps. He claps his hands over his mouth. Doc turns and puts her finger up as if to shoosh Shane, “that’s him. He dumped me in the desert, only he was on a razor, and there were bloody rags in the back.” Shane starts yelling in whispered tones, Doc covering Shane’s mouth and cautiously peeking through the window. JR stopped a moment and looked up at the boat window, Red catching JR in his peripheral vision, belts out, “Doc, my wife is in there changing. She’ll be out in a minute.” Andy and Art both turn to look at JR, “oh ya, I didn’t see Doc. How’s she doing this morning.” “I’m good, and you Andy,” says doc as she leans in and gives him an uncomfortable hug. “Nice to meet you, Art and JR right,” says Doc as she moves a chair next to Red and sits down. JR stands next to Art, and Andy pulled a chair over and sat down next to Doc. “I see you guys lost a camper and his boat,” says Andy trying to make small talk, “ya, we woke up this morning, and Jerry and his boat were gone, we figured he just went fishing, and he would be back, he left his ice chest and stuff here.” Andy interrupts, “oh ya, do you guys know where he was going? We have to check in with all the campers out here and report it to our bosses.” “No idea,” says Doc “should we be concerned? should we go look for Jerry?” “no, no, we will look, you guys stay here, and we’ll be back, Replied Andy. Art and JR started making their way towards the kitchen quietly mumbling and looking around, Doc holding eye contact with Andy, stumbles a little as she stands up, Red lunges over gently grabbing Doc’s arm keeping her upright, Doc giggles a little and say’s “Sorry but I believe it’s time for medicine and a nap,” Doc smiles up at Red, Andy looking around gets up “okay, well, do you guys need us to bring anything back?” asked Andy as he follows Red and Doc towards the kitchen area, Art and JR had already disappeared behind the bend. “No,” said Mary as she was pulling a soda out of the cooler next to her “we’re good,” she stated, turning to Richard.
Doc and Red disappear into the cabin of the boat. Andy disappeared around the bend, Tammy standing over the speakers singing “call me on my cell phone” as the music softly trails on, small groups of chatter spill over the island. Shane had sat down on the back of our boat and proceeded to guzzle the beer he found in a small ice chest under the back seat. Finishing the last of the six warm beers he started with, he stumbles off the back of the boat, landing on his face in the sand. He lifts his beer in the air, and says, “didn’t spill a drop” he laid there still for several moments, turning over onto his back sun beating down, he softly mutters “I missed the bus” as he drifts off.
Red jumps out of his seat as a scream comes from the cabin of the boat, “Doc,” Red yells as he’s running and jumping onto the boat. As Red throws the door open, he sees Doc sitting up in bed, her pale skin shining in the light from the window above. He stands frozen. Doc’s, cheeks moist, tears in her eyes, without a word drops her head, Red drops on the steps into the cabin as if the air was too thick to breathe, he collects himself and crawls into the bed next to Doc, holding her hand, he softly says “It will be ok, you will find them, I know you will.” Doc, taking a few deep breaths, looks at Red, “we need to get off this lake, Doc said, standing up, “Tuesday morning we leave, before the sun comes up, Doc starts changing into a long colorful sundress. She looks at Red and says, “we will load up all the boats, close off the river to this lake, and make our way down river to Lake Alamo.” “We will start anchoring boats just off the river at the opening of the lake.” “We have to be completely off the water and out of the marina by 4 am Tuesday. We will be leaving our truck and boat close to the reservation entrance, and Alo will collect it for us.” “Premonitions have started, and I see what I need to do,” Red said as he was loading a bowl with Serious Happiness. Doc nods without a word, slightly opening the door and sitting on the couch across from Red. Red hands her a small brown and orange glass pipe as Doc holds it to her mouth and flicks the lighter, taking in a long slow breath. A small trail of smoke becomes visible from the crack in the door. Ten minutes had gone by, and the sweet and musky cannabis smoke billowed out of the cabin of the boat as Doc opened the door. It gave her a golden aura as she emerged from the smoke and the cabin of the boat. As everyone watched Doc gracefully emerge off the back of the boat, she smiled and looked around.
Doc sat down at the table with a notebook and a pen. She wrote a few sentences on the paper and walked away. Instinctively one by one, each camper walked over and read the paper. Some wrote short sentences after her. The note read: We are leaving early Tuesday morning. Over the next 48 hours, slowly start compiling the things you absolutely need and keep it close. Red and I will let you know what we are doing at that time. Don’t discuss plans openly for now, as we don’t know who the enemy is, keep the music playing and acting as normal and happy as possible. Shane sobering up, reads the note, looks around “really, I told you there were bloody clothes in the Razor with those guys, they are killer’s, bad people, don’t you understand that,” as Doc gently put her hand on Shane’s shoulder, he turns to face her, “Shane we need to stick together and not freak out just yet, Doc calmly states, “We will make it out of here, but I need you to trust me,” proclaims Doc “I know where we need to go from here.” At that, the fear in Shane’s eye’s started to fade. As he looked at Doc, she forcefully announced, “Shane has had his last beer until we leave here.”
Red and the men started tinkering on Tom’s boat. Tom had decided it was time for some fishing. He wanted fresh fish for dinner. Doc started wrapping potatoes in tin foil, then tossing them into the fire. Tammy turns up the stereo, and everyone just danced and sang along to the music. Tom fished off his boat in the middle of the open water just in eyeshot of the island, evening comes quicker these days as we move into winter. The days are shortening meaning less time in the day to get what we need to be done. Essentials were loaded back onto boats quietly and slowly as to not to give Andy’s crew an idea we knew who they weren’t, Shane slept most of the afternoon and is still passed out on the sand by the fire pit, like normal for him.
Tom had returned with 5 fish as the sun was setting, and the women decided they were going to cook dinner while the guys were going to clean up and check the boats and tidy up. For dinner tonight was steak and fish if the world was coming to an end we were going to go out with a bang one good fun night. Red set up the smoke station as we lovingly called it. Everyone smoked or enjoyed an edible at their leisure. Shane woke at the first smell of food and this time in a much more stable condition, “Doc,” “Doc,” cried Shane, “There was a lot of blood on those clothes I found in that dude’s and son’s razor.” “I told you not good people.” “I know,” replied Doc “it’s cool. Just tell us your story.”
Shane starts, “OMG, I missed the bus, you see there is a bunker, well several bunkers and our families paid for a spot, they paid millions for a spot. No one told the public, but we were told the bunkers were by invitation only, and other instructions, however, I was fussing over the elections and Trump being president that when the shit hit the fan, I go and miss the fucking bus.” Shane’s voice trails off in his sniffles and tears. Doc starts, “Shane did you guys know this was going to happen? Were we the United States responsible?” as Doc says. She knows those are not good words to say, those weren’t good words to think.
Shane sat staring at the fire and picking at his dinner like someone had killed his best friend or like his best friend had killed the world. Doc knew pushing him any further tonight wouldn’t help matter’s, so she relaxed and smoked with everyone dancing and singing a little here and there, close in mind that they needed to get out of there very quickly and quietly.
The party had started to wind down about 11 pm, the dishes were done, and everyone broke off into groups, getting settled in for the night. The guys decided it was Red, Matt, and Nathen would stand guard for the night, we set up a place for Shane to sleep on our boat on the back couch, but he decided to stay awake with the guys and stand guard.
Red walked Doc back to the boat when Doc stopped suddenly. “I need recharge time”. she explained. She entered the cabin of the boat and immerged a few minutes later with a long flowing bathing dress. It was a beautiful satin white flowing cloth that covers a white bikini. Doc slowly entered the water, kicking her feet around a little to get used to the temperature of the water, walking into the water up to her knees the white satin flowing dress floating in the water like a white ribbon, now waste deep, Red sitting on the bow of the boat keeping watch out towards the water. As Doc submerged deeper in the water, the campers gathered closer as if watching a movie unfold in the water. As Doc rolled and turned underwater, there was a glow that started to brighten around her, the white flow of her dress and the long golden brown hair swirling around as if telling Doc’s very tragic tale.
Doc was born to a very sick woman, and instead of her mother seeking professional help, she self-medicated, leaving Doc’s childhood hard, and as a healer, Doc had the power to heal others but no clue how to use it. Doc healed several by accident but really had no real control or clue how to use her power or really that she had any power at all, just a regular girl next door type until she had turned 40. That birthday was definitely an eye-opener. It started with the premonitions, little things at first knowing the phone was going to ring and who it was, then healing small things with other people Doc came in contact with. There was, however, 1 condition, for every aliment Doc healed she would also suffer. Water was the one true balanced medium. Doc could submerge in fresh or saltwater for up to 30 minutes at a time to rejuvenate her mind and soul to help keep her balance. Doc can never be healed of these ailments. She repairs slowly, and water can only rejuvenate her body to keep her on her journey, but her journey will have to be completed before the sun breaks over the new century. Everyone quietly watched as Doc slowly arose out of the water, the water gliding down her golden-brown hair down the satiny white trailing dress. She slowly walked back onto the beach, with the white cover hugging the curves of her body and everyone slowly and quietly making their way back to their space looking at her as inconspicuously as possible.
Red tucked Doc into bed, kissing her softly on the forehead. “I love you,” said Red. “Love you more,” said Doc. It’s going to be a good night; he said as he was closing the door behind him. Red settled into one of the chairs for the night. Shane looks up to Red and asks, “she ok” Red nods, and the guys chill there for the night, talking softly about anything from cars to baseball. Red being diligent, saying everything is done in pairs because of the night before. I don’t care if you have to take a shit, Red Said very sternly. We stay in pairs, got it! everyone nodded.
The night went off without a hitch. Red and Shane went into bed around 4 am, Matt and Nathen went into bed after breakfast. Monday was a quiet day, and we didn’t see Andy’s crew until almost 11 am again. The guys were up the hill a short way and saw Andy’s crew coming through the lake entrance from the river. Shane was already sleeping in Doc and Red’s boat. As Red could see the patrol boat better, he noticed only 2 people in the boat, Andy and JR. Red told Matt and Tom to keep a lookout, and he took off at a steady pace back to camp. Arriving just in time to meet Andy and JR’s boat. Hey hey, said Red, a little out of breathe. How is this beautiful morning for you two? Where’s Art not joining on rounds this morning? Asked Red. No, no, you know Millennials these days don’t want to do shit except sit around and play video games, as they all started laughing. Na, he’s back at headquarters keeping an eye on the radio and making sure we don’t have any unexpected visitors, Andy chuckles. We brought you some ice said JR, as he’s holding the bag in the air. Do you guys need anything else? It looks like we’re going to be here a few more days. The cities are being locked down, and you can’t get through the small towns without worrying about the infected that are still alive violently attaching people. These things aren’t like the zombies on TV. These fuckers can think, plan, organize and manipulate people until it’s too late. Be happy you are in this paradise because the world is falling apart.
Matt and Tom had been sitting on the hill for close to half an hour. Andy and his companion were still in camp, but across the water on the closest beach to our camp, someone was standing there just inside the tree line. Matt pulled the binoculars out and started scanning the shoreline until yep, that’s their buddy, Art, said Matt. Do you think he’s been out here all night, or did they drop him off on their way in? A cool feature of these binoculars is you can take a picture on your cell phone while looking through them, so matt did. Matt and Tom watched as the lake patrol boarded their boat and started putting away. Andy and JR pull up to the beach that Art was at. They get out of their boat “to piss” and it looked like Andy started talking to someone just outside of eyeshot and inside the tree line. Matt watched very carefully for a glimpse of Art to no avail. Andy and JR loaded back onto the boat, looked around, meeting eyes with Red, Andy tips his head, loads up the boat, and off they went to the next camp, we assume.
We had everything cleared off from breakfast. Doc and Beth were working on the dishes dancing and singing into a spatchala and wooden spoons. In trying to erase some of the stress, anxiety, and bullshit we’ve been faced with, today is the day to listen to music, eat some good food, drink like tomorrow doesn’t exist, and have a good time. I will keep an eye on Art. Have fun!! Doc said with a big smile, you guys deserve it. Get it all out because our new journey begins soon, and I need your help to win this war. Doc stood and watched everyone for a few minutes before getting pulled onto the dance floor by the love of her life, Red. They held one another close, knowing this may be the last party for all of them.
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.
Doc had a rough night, bad dream after bad dream. Red said Doc talked in her sleep all night, a loud crash abruptly waked Doc up, sitting up looking around, and there was no sign of Red. she had a shorts pajama set on. She jumped up out of bed, rushed to the door, opened it, and slowly peered out. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for. Still, she didn’t see anything or anyone, so she opened the door and crawled out, staying low but periodically sticking her head up to see, when she saw Red walking towards the boat laughing and people sitting around the fire, which was smoking this point. She stood all the way up as if she wasn’t doing anything and said, “good morning to Red. As Red boarded the boat, he motioned to go back in the cabin, so she did, and he followed her.
“So, Jerry is gone, we don’t know when he left, but he took his boat.” Said Red. “Maybe he went fishing; you heard him yesterday,” said Doc. “No, this doesn’t feel right,” said Red. “I have a bad feeling I want you to stay with me and the dogs, period. You are my priority,” Red very seriously demanded. She nodded quietly, “what happened? What was that loud crash?” quietly whispered Doc “that was Dave and Jase’s boat they were pulling it over, we decided to put all the boats closer together so we could move the ice chests along the bank at the front of all the boats, and they bumped into Kevin’s pontoon boat, it’s ok they didn’t break anything.” “What do you mean Jerry is gone, and you have a bad feeling?” “How do you know Andy and Matt didn’t do anything?” “Red looked very seriously at Doc and said, “Andy knocked on the side of our boat about 4:30 this morning they said they heard something, and they were going to investigate, so I got up to go to the bathroom, and Jerry was standing by the fire, his boat tied up over there when I got out of the bathroom him, and his boat was gone.” “I stayed up and watched Andy and Matt come out of the tree line. They had no idea what was going on.” “Jerry and his boat disappeared in the 10 minutes I was in the bathroom, without a sound, and we’ve all seen Jerry can’t seem to do anything quietly.” Doc just nodded, quietly turned around, and started pulling out her black yoga Capri’s with a wild hot pink design down the legs, a bright pink sports bra, and a black zippered jacket. Red pulls up the end of the bed, pulls out a long black yoga mat, and hands it to Doc. Doc picks up her phone and pulls some headphones out of the drawer under the couch, and climbed through the window and onto the bow of the boat. She laid the black yoga mat at the front of the bow between the bow running lights and the first popup window. Doc sat cross-legged on the mat closest to the open window and started shuffling through her phone. As the earbuds disappear into her ears, she closes her eyes and slowly starts stretching, laying completely over her legs, the group silently watching in the distance. It looks as if she had been folded in half. She slowly rises to the beat of a silent song, looking peaceful.
Beth and Mary stop a moment looking at Doc, then Red as if not sure what to do next when Mary says, “Hey Beth, let’s make coffee and start breakfast, it’s already 6 am,” Beth Agreed. Andy and Matt had made their way to the larger tent saying good night as they went, after being up all night and Red now taking over for them. “You can’t be too cautious. We need to stay vigilant. We watch this island 24/7 until we know what’s going on and who we can trust” It keeps playing over and over in Doc’s head as she’s going through the downward dog position. Who do we trust? What do we trust? Doc sitting in the middle of her black mat, legs crossed, her right arm pulled over her left side stretching. She opens her eyes to see a small canoe paddling towards her. She lifts her hand above her brow to help adjust her eyes. She keeps looking back towards Red as she sits there, watching as the canoe is getting closer. She was able to get Red’s attention. As Red approached the boat, he walked along the side and into the water instead of getting on the boat. He noticed there were 2 passengers in the canoe, and they looked very familiar.
As Red was grabbing the front of the canoe, a familiar voice “you guys missing a boat over here.” “Alo,” yells Red, “It’s great to see you, man.” “Alo is the chief of the Indian police around here. His name means protector,” introduced Red to his companions. He was a tall, slender guy with an unusually big beer belly as he clumsily got out of the canoe, splashing his passenger. “This is Shane. He is a famous actor. We found him drunk and wandering the desert. Can you and Doc take him? Our leaders have locked our borders down. No one is in or out,” Alo said as he and Red had a hold of his arms and dragged him out of the canoe. They dropped his wet, limp body in a chair next to the fire. Beth and Mary recognized Shane and started excitingly chatting and pouring coffee, which got Tammy and Nathen’s attention, who was quietly peering out of a small opening in the tent door. They slowly opened the door the rest of the way, as they were arguing movie titles he had been in. Red and Alo still standing over Shane, as if waiting for him to strike, but nothing no movement, except him sitting up and shouting incoherently, falling back into his chair to sleep off the rest of his drunken stupor, “ya we got him” replied Red laughing.
Doc jumped off the boat, the dogs start barking, and Shane starts his drunken jabber, “dogs, what, Dogs? I want to play with the dogs.” Red whistles loudly, and the dogs jump off the back of the boat and stand on either side of Doc. Mary hands Doc a cup of coffee in her large white and black malamute cup, and she walks over and Hugs Alo “it’s so good to see you, Alo, how’s the reservation? Are your people ok?” Doc and Alo move a couple of chairs next to the small table and sit down. Alo sits and collects his thoughts a moment, then says, “My people are ok the ones left, that is, when did you and Red get here?” “Red and I set up camp here Friday night,” replied Doc. “How much do you know?” Alo replied while nervously looking around. “Very little,” said Doc.
Alo looked around as everyone was walking closer to listen. Matt and Andy came stumbling out of the large tent looking very curiously at our guest as he starts “It happened sometime Friday Night, Saturday morning some time people were mysteriously getting sick, really sick, by 10 am Saturday the hospitals were overflowing, and they started announcing not to go to the hospital, stay in your homes, stay away from large crowds of people that it was a virus and spreads very quickly. Then the President of the United States, President Trump, came on the radio and claimed it was worldwide. President Trump must be going out of his mind because his tweets are getting wilder and wilder. Doc apologizes for the interruption “did you say he’s tweeting? Is the internet back up?” “ya, the internet was only down for 12 hours. Things are still running. Once you leave this canyon, you’ll have phone service.” Doc looks at Red; he nods and walks back to the boat. “President Trump’s first tweet when service was restored was where all have the 1% gone.” Alo was interrupted very abruptly by Shane’s drunken jabber this time, he was able to get out of the chair, as everyone turns to watch Shane, he starts very incoherently singing “and then another one bites the dust” as he starts dancing, moving closer to the boats, “it’s hard to lose a chosen one.” Tammy starts flipping through her phone. Once she finds what’s she looking for, she walks over to Nathen’s boat and plugs a cord into her phone, the sound of an electric keyboard and a women’s voice singing over the speakers it was Sia Elastic Heart. We watched in silence as Shane danced around the sand. This went on for several minutes. When Shane just stopped and walked back over to a chair, he sat down and tearfully watched the fire.
Doc looked at Alo, “I have no idea if he’s taken anything other than alcohol,” Alo reluctantly said. “I can’t take him back with me. You know the rules,” said Alo apologetically. The music still playing in the background, “I’m alive, I’m still breathing,” Alo and Doc continued their conversation. “Ok, so some celebrities and most politicians vanished between Friday night and Saturday morning. It looks like they packed up and moved out. No one has taken credit for it, and I don’t think anyone group could do this, so people’s imaginations are coming up with some pretty crazy ideas.” Doc looked at Alo quietly asked about the boat. He found Alo, looked at Doc, and quietly described the small fishing boat. It was, in fact, Jerry’s. Alo said when he had gone past, the boat was up against some brush just off the shoreline, and it looked as if it had floated there. Alo saw it as he came around the bend, no one was around, he stopped to make sure everything was ok, but the boat wasn’t tied or anchored, there wasn’t anything in the boat, and when he walked around the area, he only saw animal tracks, giving him the thought that the boat floated away from camp.
Alo had been coming to the island for the last couple of weeks looking for us, and he knew it was our year to clean up the island and lock the river down for the winter. The tribes use the island during the wintertime. They have a very devote religious heritage. They are even more devoted to the earth, so Red and I are only allowed on the island via invitation during the wintertime. Red and I have attended a few rituals where they praised Mother Earth. We planted the cherry trees that year. They had come into full bloom during one of the rituals, the white and purple blooms floating through the air and softly landing in the water, the sun setting behind the mountains and the gold and red ribbons of light streaking across the sky, the sweet smell of cherry blossoms and vanilla overwhelmed my senses. If I could only go back to this moment, safe, free, happy, fulfilled, and with my best friend, Red.
Everyone is now gathering closer and all the way around the table, leaving Shane still sitting staring at the fire. Red walks up behind Doc and puts her black and white bag on the table. Doc pulls out a white and black dab mat and a bright yellow and red glass pipe. Alo smiled and pulled a small wooden box out of his backpack. Alo places the wooden box on the table, Doc, Alo, and Red bowed their heads. Himmat said a few phrases in an unknown language, Red and Doc, in unison “Peace be with you, my friend.” Alo picks up the colored pipe, and says’s “I can’t believe you guys still use this thing. You guys know it was a joke, right.” “ya,” as they are all laughing and passing the very colorful peace pipe. “This pipe was given to Doc and Red during their first ritual here on the island to remind them always to give back to mother nature.” Alo said, “and it was a complete joke we don’t pass the peace pipe anymore, with outsiders,” still laughing.
Shane gets up with a loud commotion, bumping into things and mumbling. Calvin Harris’s “This Is What You Came For” starts playing on the stereo. Everyone turns to watch Shane as he is frantically searching through the ice chests. This reminds Doc, “Hey Alo, have you seen Adam” “Who” replied Alo, “you know the lake patrol Adam guy.” Alo taking Doc gently by the arm, “lake patrol doesn’t have an Adam.” “Excuse me,” belted Beth. Looking directly at Doc and Red, Alo asks, how well do you know these people.” Without any pause, Alo continues, “there hasn’t been any lake patrol this weekend, so if anyone comes around claiming they are lake patrol be very hesitant, the only lake patrol guys we have during the winter is Patrol Scott’s crew, and you know all of them.” Alo standing up and scanning for Shane, shaking his head as he sees Shane hunched over one of the ice chests guzzling a beer, “Uh Oh I Got Stamina” by Sia whispers in the background. Tammy had put her phone down, still hooked up to the stereo.
Doc gets up and quietly walks over to Shane and takes the beer out of his hand “hey,” yelled Shane, I walked 50 miles for that beer.” Doc, frustrated, turns back to Shane, and with a hushed stern voice, says’s “Get your shit together, Shane, I know who you are, and there aren’t any special treatments here, have some coffee and sober the Fuck up! Shane, Looking startled, nods and takes the coffee that Beth was holding out for him. He sat down and quietly took a sip.
Alo thanked us for taking Shane off his hands and boards his canoe, Red holding the canoe as he gets his legs in and looks at Red “you guys good” “ya were good,” said Red “I’ll be back in the morning, be cautious of everyone my friend.” Red and Alo shook hands, and Red pushed him between the boats and onto the lake.
Doc looked around; everyone stood there silent with anticipation, and “how do you know Alo? I thought this was the first year your boat was on the lake, but you’ve clearly been here before.” At that, the small groups of chatter opened up. Doc looks around a moment and says, “Yes, we’ve been coming to this island for about 5 years now, I met Alo on Facebook 6, or 7 years ago when I started gardening at home we occasionally talked online, I was planting Cherry Seeds that year, and he was having problems getting his seeds to grow, so I brought my seeds out and met Alo at the T in the river on some friends boat, we followed him here we planted the cherry seeds probably in late September 2012, and we’ve been coming back ever since this was just the first year this boat has been running.” Doc looks down at the time. “It’s already 8 am. Thank you, Beth and Mary, for making coffee. I’m going to start breakfast if anyone is hungry,” Doc walks towards the first Blue and white cooler. Tammy quickly walks over to Nathen’s boat and picks up her phone. As the sound gradually loudens the sounds of base and xylophone, the sound of a woman singing, “oh uh, running out of breath, but I’ve got stamina.” Nathen starts twitching his head up and down. He jumps up and starts lip singing “don’t give up” and dancing, briefly bending over and grabbing some sand and rubbing it down his cheeks. Tammy joins him, smiling and laughing, recreating the music video. As some danced, Doc, Red, Matt, Mary, and Beth start working on breakfast. Red grabs the firewood as he is slowly putting small pieces around the edge of the fire, he’s softly whistling tapping his foot, Beth hands Doc the freshly peeled potatoes, she can hear Doc softly singing as she looks around, “just a moment of normalcy is what we needed.” Doc says, smiling. By this time, the sun was just above the mountains. The sky was an ocean blue except for two small white puffy clouds.
As Shane stumbled back to his chair with a plate of food in his hands crashing over the arm of the chair, potatoes, and eggs hitting Raffey on the head, Tigger jumps up and starts cleaning Raffey’s head. Shane finding this quite amusing, occasionally drops smaller pieces of egg on his head and quietly giggles. Doc clears her throat and looks over at Tammy. Without saying anything, Tammy handed her plate to Nathen. She slowly walks to the boat, “I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again,” starts playing softer and softer to a whisper in the background. “As you all have been curious, I’m,” Doc Paused a moment. “I’m a writer, and I have been writing short stories and articles for the New York Times for several years now.” “My brother is a famous Muay Thai fighter, and my son is an up-and-coming DJ, or at least they were. We all have traveled the world for the last couple of years.” Doc Continues, the island was silent with anticipation, “I think this is bigger than any of us. It’s Sunday Morning. We haven’t seen Adam, “the lake patrol,” Doc motions quotes as of yet.” I don’t think Adam knows about Alo yet, and Adam has already told us we can’t leave the water until Tuesday at the earliest.” “Listen for the lake patrol boat. When we hear it, Shane, you need to be in the tent or the cabin of our boat. If they see you, they will know someone has been here.” Shane lifts his arm and salutes as he goes back to dropping a small piece of eggs on Raffey’s head giggle quietly to himself. It’s Storytime “I’m a healer,” Doc professes, “at any given time there are 5 primary elements Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void, yes void.” “Like these elements, there are 5 Elementals that can manipulate these elements within their environment, and there is always 1 elemental, but never more than two for each element. An Elemental is born in human form every 40 years. The last elementals were born in 1974.” Doc slowly Continues trying to explain fully, “An elemental is never born of the same family, and can only be identified by an elemental or their protectors.” Earth is a solid element stone, hard, and resolute. The elemental for this element is purity, new growth. This Elemental is for the Earth, and they will always do what is in the best interest of the earth. Water represents flowing and purity, life, new beginnings, this elemental, is a healer, me, we can see into the very soul of humanity, this Elemental or me, can’t harm a living thing to our peril, we see your soles all the way through from beginning to end, and it’s not as black and white as you think, people are both good and bad,” chuckles Doc. “Fire representing force, and energetic energy they are protectors, they protect all the elements and Elementals.” “Wind representing spreading, expansion freedom of movement, this Elemental protects thoughts and ideas, he or she would document and record history.” “Last but definitely not least, Void representing sky or heaven, this elemental protects pure energy, every living thing feeds on pure energy, he or she would protect that energy.” Beth waving her hand, says, “Have you ever met another Elemental?” Doc shakes her head softly and hesitantly says, “not yet.” “There are rules for us, and I can heal others but not myself. We feel when other elementals are in pain, hurt, sad, happy, close, and we feel when they are born and when they die.” “We have to have protectors, we don’t have the skills to protect ourselves, and people will naturally accept an Elemental and gravitate towards them, a feeling of trust and purity.” “Three years ago the next generation of Elementals were supposed to be born, but they were born Friday Night, three years late, legend says humanity and the earth will be tested, Elementals will die without being able to pass on their knowledge to the next generation, there isn’t a lot of information about this period of time, it’s referred to as the dark ages, and it’s never happened before now.”
The silence was broken by Shane fumbling out of his chair, dropping his plate onto the fire, looking around, “what? Breakfast was good if I help clean up. Can I have that beer back?” Doc, Mary, and Beth start dancing and laughing in the kitchen area while washing the dishes. Shane was dancing and collecting plates and cups, mostly to drop crumbs on the dog’s heads. Matt and Andy start 2 stepping, Red watching out over the lake, tapping his foot, and whistling along, always watching. Nathen lets out this blood-curdling scream, everyone spins around and stares at him, “Tension release” Nathen giggled, I’m sorry, things are too tense. Can we lighten things up for a little while,” everyone looking around started shaking their heads and laughing, and Tammy walked over to her phone and turned up “it’s going Down, Timber,” starts pounding.
Red jumps up, looking intently at the lake opening from the river. He starts waving at Shane to get in the tent as he approached the water. Tammy turns down the music as everyone else starts walking towards the shoreline. “Hey guys,” yells “Andy,” “we’re going to pull over here and park. See you in a minute,” says Andy as he slowly sputters past. The closest Andy could park the boat was around the bend. Doc told tammy to have Shane meet her on their boat and turned to board the boat.