This blog is dedicated to the stories I've written over the years. Sometimes I get some time and add a story. Grab a hot cup of something and enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mountain Movin - Epilogue


Hi all, Erin here. It’s been a long time since I’ve read this. Let me fill in a few details. Brock, Kevin, Roni and George went on to see about Roni’s sister, Emma a few months after they came home. Tracey and I stayed with the family. Everyone agreed that we would be safest there. Of course there was the wedding and I personally think that my new mom and dad wanted to have their honeymoon with no kids tagging along. Now that I’m a wife and mom, I agree they did the right thing.

Mom and dad made it home safe and sound with plenty of good news about Aunt Emma, she even came and visited for awhile and when I was two we all went there and I got to meet my Aunt Gracie. Uncle Kevin fell for her like a ton of bricks and they were married within a year! She had ridden to Aunt Emma’s on a TRICYCLE! Uncle Kevin has been the only one she will ever get into a vehicle with.

Tracey and I did go back to where I was born and found the house still boarded up. I know, we couldn’t believe it either! We found a few things that we decided to keep but we both knew that THIS is home for us now. We planted some rose bushes on the grave of our parents and we both went there for our own honeymoons. It is a great place for a hunting lodge and our dear friend George has set up a business there with his wife and five kids.

Brock and Roni (aka: Mom and Dad); had 8 other kids besides me and Tracey and believe you me, Tracey played the role of eldest (and bossiest) to the hilt. Kevin and Gracie have seven kids of their own but they moved back to Arkansas before they were all born. We had plenty of kids running around the ranch and of course plenty of competition.

One game I remember well was when Mom put our names on these little wooden signs that she made; each kid had one sign with their name on it. Then she put little hangers in the garden and would place a sign on each. The signs said “This piece of our life is tended lovingly and honestly by >insert the kids name<”. Now THAT set off one of the biggest rounds of competition ever! Our parents never had to tell us to weed at all! None of us wanted our names to be in a piece of the garden that was full of weeds!

Time rolled on and we all grew up with our bumps and bruises and there was some mishaps and sad times. Our dear Gramma passed away one bitter winter but she has left all of us a legacy that we refuse to let die. (And personally, I think that my little sister Carrie, has inherited all Gramma’s quirks; she goes around talking to the animals all the time! And has been doing that since she could talk….she even talked to one of the dogs before she ever talked to any of her ‘people’ family!)

Oh yeah, I guess I should tell you about Mike and Michelle Striker. They stayed on the Ranch for a few years, until things got “more normal” and eventually went back and rebuilt and restarted their business and they still make a killer breakfast special that you can get anytime of the day.

Our extended family may be spread out all over the country now, and I think that is a good thing! Gives us good excuses to go traveling! And we do like to travel. Mostly it’s on horseback since cars haven’t really made a comeback yet. We as a country seem to like how we have settled into a more “live with the land” kind of view. We value family and good friends more now and from all I’ve heard, we had lost that in the years before the “event”.

So I’ll leave you now. I hope you and your family has made it through this “rough patch” our country has gone through. I have many hopes for our country and all the people that live here. And ya know what? I think they are all coming true!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mountain Movin - Eleven

Chapter Eleven – On the Road Again

The Strikers and George all decided that there wasn’t anything left there for them and told the brothers and Roni that they were coming with them whether they liked it or not. So it was a slightly larger caravan of vehicles that set out again for Colorado two days later.

After all the action that had been going on, the rest of the trip to Durango was almost boring and no one complained one bit. The group had stopped in one town that had a Wally World and stocked up on some things like diapers and they were able to pump up gas from the gas station with the generator on the RV the Strikers had taken to drive. They had thoroughly cleaned it before claiming it. They had found some cash, drugs of course which they had destroyed, and a few weapons but not much else they could use. There was a lot of electronic stuff they just dumped out. It was now filled with supplies from Wally World.

The store hadn’t look like it had been scavenged at all so they felt pretty safe as they made the rounds of the aisles. The guys stood guard while the women went in and shopped. Roni took Tracey in and they found a neat little snuggler in the baby department that they put Erin in. So then the three of them had fun filling the shopping carts. They would fill one and push it to the front where Brock would load it in the vehicles and trailers. When asked if they were done, they just smiled and grabbed another cart and some bags and went off back into the store. Brock lost count at 8 carts. But with some clever packing, he managed to fit everything they brought in the truck and trailer. Some stuff went into totes that were then strapped down on the bike trailer along with the now filled gas cans. All the food went into the RV though. Michelle did a great job of cleaning out the health and beauty aids section. She didn’t forget to stock up on all the OTC meds, first aid supplies, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and various other necessities.

It was a good thing that George was riding his bike since by the time everyone was done shopping; there was barely any room left in the RV for Mike and Michelle! The trailer was fully loaded and so was the back of the jeep and the trailer that it was pulling. And since they figured that they should be at Brock and Kevin’s parents place that day, even Tracey gave up her small space in the back of the pickup and they loaded it up with baby things and some things that Tracey had picked out.

They were finally back on the road again with George scouting ahead on his bike and keeping in touch by some walkie talkie’s they had gotten from Wally World. They were amazed that they even worked but every vehicle had one and plenty of batteries. After George came the truck pulling the trailer with Brock, Roni, Tracey, and Erin in it. Then came the RV with Mike and Michelle and following in back was Kevin in the Jeep pulling the small trailer.

It was a weary group that pulled into the Stetson Ranch and was met by at least a dozen guns pointed right at them.

Kevin had taken over the lead about ten miles outside of the Ranch so he was first to step out of the jeep with his hands up.

“Is that anyway to greet long lost family members?” he shouted. From behind what looked like very large gun barrels, a female voice called out “We shoot varmints that come around here. We turn them into Gramma’s secret stew.”

“Well, we sure could handle a few bowlfuls of that stew and maybe even a hug or two from our sisters! Get yer tush over here Rachael and give me a hug!”

The young woman flew into her brother’s arms before anyone could stop her. “So how many mountains did ya have to move to get here big brother?” The rifles lowered and were slung out of the way as the two brothers were welcomed home.

Kevin and Brock both answered “All of them!”

Roni stood off to the side at first but Brock drug her and the girls with her to his side to introduce her to his sister. “Roni, this is my bratty little sister Rachael and Rachael, this is Roni; the woman I moved the mountains with and the one I’m falling in love with.”

That announcement about sucked the air right out of Roni’s lungs and she barely got the “pleased to meet you” out. Brock laughed at her expression and grabbed her up and gave her a soul pounding kiss that made her go so weak in the knees, he had to hold her up.

The laughing and clapping brought them back to their senses and of course Erin who was still in Roni’s arms. Tracey was giggling like crazy and when Roni looked around, there was only warmth in everyone’s eyes. She smiled sheepishly and then began to laugh with everyone else.

Dinner that night was a party that lasted well into the night. Roni met all of Brock’s family including his crazy Gramma. They all had been welcomed with open arms and made to feel part of the family. Erin was passed around and awed over and Tracey found that Alexandria, Brock and Kevin’s other sister; had a daughter just her age and they became fast friends.

They had a night of celebration; a celebration of life and a hope for a new beginning.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mountain Movin - Ten

Chapter Ten – Quite a Story

“Can I put my hands down first?” he asked.

“Brock why don’t you frisk him real quick.” Said Mike and the big guy warned them that there was a boot knife in his left boot but no other weapons.

Brock got the job done and relieved the big guy of the knife and found that he had been telling the truth, no other weapons were on him. He also picked up the gun off the counter as he walked by.

The big guy began his story after lowering his arms.

“You may not believe this but I promise that this is a true story. I’m a Federal agent and have been under cover for 2 years trying to bust this gang that was trafficking drugs up from Mexico. I was still in deep cover when ‘THIS’ happened,” he made a sweeping arm movement that encompassed the whole world going down the toilet and then continued “I have no family and couldn’t make contact with anyone in the FBI, so I decided to coast in my role and stay under cover. I haven’t been able to make any major difference in the violence that this gang has been spreading but I’ve managed to take out one here and there in gun fights so that the gang thought they were killed by the others. There were fifty when it all went down but I never have killed any innocent and mostly acted as slightly ‘not quite smart’ grunt. The Strikers can vouch for that.”

Brock and Kevin looked at the Strikers, but Roni kept her eyes on the man. Both of the Strikers were nodding their heads and Michelle said “We both thought he was a slow one, he just would carry the heavy things around. He never did anything violent, it was the others.”

Tracey piped up again “and he protected me when that man tried to touch me.” She said as she pointed at the dead man named Bubba on the floor.

The man continued “My real name is George Passen and I would really like to NOT die today.”

Brock, Kevin and the Strikers all talked for a few moments and none felt like killing him in cold blood; but were leary since they had no way to confirm his story except for him killing Bubba to protect Tracey. It seems that Bubba was getting fresh with Tracey at the same time the battle went down on the front porch. George had come in from the back, saw what was going on, and simply pulled him away from Tracey and shot him dead.

“I’m wondering how you managed to get in with this gang by playing a mentally challenged fella….” Inquired Roni, who had by now taken Erin from Brock and was gently rocking her. Erin was finally calming down and was almost asleep on Roni’s shoulder.

“That was much easier than I thought it would be. I pretended to be ‘in love’ with Candy and once Candy realized how I ‘doted’ on her; I wasn’t let out of her sight. Mandy made me Candy’s protector and let me tell you, if the world hadn’t been turned upside down, I would have demanded hazard pay at least five times higher than what is normal for that job.” They all had a giggle at that because after what they had seen of Candy, it couldn’t have been an easy job.

“Well, we still don’t know if we can trust you or not, but it’s obvious we can’t just kill you in cold blood either; so we are going to tie you up for now and then decide what to do with you.” Mike said. Both Brock and Kevin tied George up.

They then looked around and thought about the porch outside and promptly untied him and told him he was going to help with the clean up first.

It was a long evening for all of them. They never did bother to tie George back up since he not only had many opportunities to run away but there was a couple times he could have grabbed any one of them and made them a hostage. They really began to believe his story when Mike saw his tattoo on his left shoulder blade when he took his shirt off to wash up after all the bodies had been taken care of.

The tattoo told the story of a soldier who had seen combat and survived. Mike had a similar one on his shoulder blade. “I only know of two companies that got these tattoos and I had a good buddy in the one that wasn’t mine. He didn’t come home after the War. His name was Tom Holder.”

“Tickin’ Time Bomb Tom?” exclaimed George. “He saved my butt over there more than once. I was there when he was hit, did what I could do to make him comfortable but he was gone when the medic got there. There was just nothing else I could do to save him, he had been hit bad.”

That cinched it; the nick name was only used in the company and between Tom and Mike.

Mike and George set off by themselves for while talking about Tom and the war.

Tracey had fallen asleep sitting up in a chair, so Brock went over and picked her up and Roni followed with Erin as he went outside. They got the girls settled in the truck for the night with the windows down some for fresh air. They made up their own beds right beside the truck but Roni scooted hers right next to Brocks and fell asleep with her head on his shoulder.

Kevin and George took first watch.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mountain Movin - Nine

Chapter 9 – Sticky Situations Need Some Elbow Grease.

“So now that you have been captured, I don’t feel so bad about ending up tied up to this here post. Wanna tell me how you got caught?” asked Brock.

“Not really, it’s embarrassing and full of stupidity on my part.” retorted Roni “I really was an idiot! I was changing Erin’s diaper before we were going to go hide and Tracey was in her little cubby. Well, I had just gotten Erin back in her seat with a pacifier and was walking around to get into the drivers seat. I just happened to glance into the side mirror and got a glimpse of a dude behind me with a gun raised above his head. I just didn’t move fast enough. Next thing I knew, I was here tied up next to you.”

“Don’t feel bad, I also got caught with my pants down, so to speak. Wasn’t paying enough attention to my surroundings; a couple of guys from this gang here crept up on me while I was spying on the place. Although I didn’t get knocked out; I was quite embarrassed to be caught like that.” Brock sighed deeply and continued “So I reckon we got less than an hour for Kevin to make an appearance…one way or another.”

“Let’s hope he is a bit smarter than we’ve been.” giggled Roni. “Listen to us, here we are tied up, for now, our babies are in there with who knows who and here I am giggling my butt off.”

“Sounds like a nervous giggle to me. I know how worried you are, I am too. Somehow I’ve come to love those girls as if they were my own! I would gladly give my life for them. And we will figure out a way to get them away safe and sound! So don’t give up hope now!” demanded Brock.

A strange look came over Roni’s face just then. Then they both could hear a soft whisper
“I’m going to cut your ropes, but pretend you are still tied. There is some guy watching you from the window.” Kevin proceeded to cut the rope that was tying Roni’s wrists. They could just barely hear a soft slithering sound and a few moments later Brock’s wrists were also free.

While this was happening, they kept up a soft chatter of worry about the girls. Hoping that it was loud enough to cover any sound Kevin may be making, but not so loud that it sounded false.

They ended up being free and each had a knife pressed into their hands. Then Kevin was gone. They only had to wait about fifteen minutes before a couple of the biker guys came out, they were arguing with each other.

“I’m telling ya Peanut, Critter and Snag should have been back ten minutes ago.”

“JimTom, they are probably off jerking around somewhere.” Then Peanut’s attention was drawn to Brock “Well, are ya comfy there fella?” Then to be mean he walked over to Roni and ran his hand over her chest “Is this your woman? I’m gonna love teaching her new….” was all he got out as Roni’s foot connected with his private parts and he keeled over in pain, not even able to get a whine out.

JimTom pulled Peanut out of the reach of Roni’s foot and started screaming at her. Both Brock and Roni had a hard time keeping their hands behind their backs looking like they were still tied up.

The door was yanked open and Mandy and two of the bikers were standing there. “What the hell is going on out here?” She demanded. Candy pushed herself between the two bikers and to Roni’s horror she had Erin in her arms. It took all of Roni’s inner strength to NOT move and rip Erin out of Candy’s arms.

Since Peanut still couldn’t speak, JimTom started to say something but Roni quickly gained control of herself and broke in with “That creep tried to feel me up and so I put him in his place! I don’t let ANY man touch me that way! He needs to be put down for daring to treat a woman like trash!”

Mandy looked from Roni to Peanut and said “Serves you right Peanut! You have no business touching her until I give her to you. You forgot your place in the way of things and so you should be glad that I don’t discipline you further. Get his ass out of here JimTom and I don’t want to see his sorry face around until morning. You two can pull guard duty all night long!” She then swung her gaze back to Roni who was looking at Candy and Erin. She followed her gaze and said “Doesn’t my sister make a good mom? We are going to keep them and raise them up to not take crap from anyone. Oh yeah, we’ll be changing their names, too.”

Before she could say anything else, an arrow landed in the chest of one of the bikers standing at the door way. As Candy watched the growing red circle surrounding the arrow, Roni and Brock sprang into action, keeping low Brock grabbed Erin out of Candy’s arms and jumped off the porch since he was the closest to her. Roni grabbed Mandy as another arrow found the throat of the other male biker. He went down trying to scream and only gurgled blood.

Mandy began to scream for the others but Roni grabbed her hair, pulled her head back and up, and slit her throat. She went down gagging on her own blood. Candy went hysterical and began chasing after Brock and Erin. Roni barely managed to stick a foot out and trip her up as she started toward the stairs at a full run; she tripped and landed at an odd angle on the ground at the foot of the stairs.

There was a gun shot from inside and Roni ran for the doorway, thinking of Tracey. She skidded to a stop about five feet inside when she realized that Mike Striker had a gun on a big guy who she hadn’t seen yet and as she glanced down, she saw Bubba, the one who had caught her, was dead on the floor. The big guy had his hands up and was silent. There was a gun on the counter not far from him.

Michelle had Tracey with her over in a corner of the big room that they used to serve customers in. The place was a wreck. Roni ran over to Tracey and put her arms around her and gave her a big hug! She didn’t even realize she was crying until Tracey asked her why there were tears on her face. “I’m just very glad to see you and know that you are ok.” Just then Brock came into the room with Erin crying loudly and Kevin following him.

“What about those two, Peanut and JimTom that she sent out?” asked Roni.

“They are no longer a problem.” replied Kevin.

“So what are we going to do with you? You seem to be the last one of this here gang.” asked Mike of the big guy.

Tracey broke away from Roni and ran to the big man, “His name is George and he’s my friend! He shot that bad man who wanted to hurt me.” She declared.

Brock was desperately trying to get Erin to quiet down and Roni was trying to get Tracey to let the big man’s leg go. Michelle Striker spoke up and said “He did protect Tracey, and he is the one that killed that fella over there” as she nodded over to the dead biker “Maybe we should listen to what he has to say.”

Roni turned towards the big man who had no hope in his eyes “Ok, what’s your story?”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mountain Movin - Eight

Chapter 8 – When the Going Gets Tough, You Need a Secret Weapon.

narcoleptic - a person who has narcolepsy
narcolepsy (närk-lps)
n. pl. narcolepsies
A disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations.

There were ten motorcycles in front of the mom and pop shop. The Striker sign looked like it had been shot up and was hanging down on one side. There was a RV off to the side of the parking lot and a heavily tattooed and muscled man was walking out of the door saying something to someone behind him. But the person didn’t come out and he shut the door. There were three guys that were also tattooed and dressed like bikers, watching a skinny blonde woman yelling at one of the posts of the porch. After a few more shouts and a shaking of her fist; she collapsed across the steps in a heap. No one bothered to check her and the show over, they turned their attention elsewhere. The RV door opened and another blonde woman stuck her head out and Brock could clearly hear her yell “Bubba! Pick her up and at least put her on the porch!”

The first man finished walking toward the porch and not so gently picked the limp woman up and half carried and half dragged her all the way up on the porch and over until she was under one of the windows.

‘Hmmmm, wonder what that is all about,’ thought Brock as he continued to watch the scene below. He had seen both Mike and Michelle Striker just about fifteen minutes ago come out of that RV and they didn’t look like they were their happy go lucky selves. Their hands had been tied together and “Bubba” had taken them into the store before he went back to the RV.

So far he had now counted five different male bikers and two blonde females but he figured that there had to be more since there were ten bikes. It looked like the blonde in the RV was the one in charge and if he wasn’t mistaken the two blondes were sisters. He had been on this hill for just under an hour and he needed to get back to Roni and Kevin within the next thirty minutes or they would begin to worry and have to come up with plan B.

It was the “Pick a Number” game that kept Roni from scouting ahead. The adults were not quite, but almost arguing about who was going to go when Tracey said “Pick a number between one and twenty”. Roni picked 13, Kevin picked 5, and Brock picked 15; the number was 16 so Brock “won” and was relieved to know it wouldn’t be Roni.

The pressure on his head and the click of a hammer being pulled back brought Brock abruptly back to the present.

“Weeeeeellllll now, what do you think we’ve got here, JimTom? It looks like some kind of yeller bellied snake in the grass,” came the voice behind the hand that held the gun to Brock’s head.

“Weellllll, I don’t rightly know, Peanut. Think we should drag it back to Miss Mandy alive or dead?” was the reply.

“It’s your lucky day, mister. We are gonna take you to Miss Mandy alive!” remarked the first voice that Brock now knew was Peanut’s.

“Or Unlucky day!” laughed the one called JimTom.

Brock’s heart went from his throat to the bottom of his gut at the laugh from JimTom as they pulled him to his feet, relieved him of his gun, and then half pushed him down the hill.

Back at the truck, Kevin and Roni knew something had gone wrong since Brock was 45 minutes late.

“Knowing my brother, I’m sure he is in some kind of mess. I’m going to get him out.”

“Kevin, just how much self defense or training do you have?” asked Roni.

“None. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to fight and I’ll have my gun with me.”

“Ok, if you want to go; I won’t stop you. Help me get the truck and trailers hid then you can take the jeep.”

Working quickly, they found a likely spot to stash the trailers but the truck wouldn’t fit in that same spot so they covered the trailers with the camouflage netting they had brought and Roni took the truck and Kevin took the jeep. Kevin heading towards a dirt road that went off of the highway to find a place to park it and then he was going to head to the store on foot.

It was about thirty minutes later that Kevin was lying down on top of a hill and looking down into the small valley where the “Striker’s Restaurant and Gift Shop” set about thirty feet from the road. He could clearly see his brother tied to one of the posts of the porch and there was evidence that he had been knocked around. There were two blondes standing in front of him on the porch and one was acting like she was tripping on drugs, with all her hollering and gesturing and then she would get real close to Brock and start running her hands all over him. The other blonde didn’t seem to be paying too much attention but Kevin could see that she was asking Brock questions and wasn’t getting the answers she wanted. Every once in a while she would slap Brock and the other woman would laugh hysterically.

Kevin’s heart sank when he saw the truck that Roni and the girls had been in pull up to the front of the store. All heads turned to the sound. A big burly man got out of the drivers side and said something to the Boss Blonde and Kevin saw Brock tense up and try to pull at his bonds.

Helpless, Kevin watched as an unconscious Roni was pulled from the passenger side of the truck. Then Tracey was giving heck about something, probably her baby sister. Sure enough when they pulled Erin’s car seat out, Tracey was right there over seeing the safety of her sister. But the big man was very gentle with Erin and Tracey. They tied Roni up onto another porch post and took the girls into the store. The Blondes went inside also.

Kevin was beside himself and slowly backed off the hill and headed back to the Jeep. He was going to rescue his brother and new friend and the girls if it was the last thing he did. Once at the Jeep, he dug around until he came up with two handguns and four extra clips for each. He already had one knife strapped on but he slid another one down his left boot in a special holder that was built into the boot. At the last minute he grabbed one of the bows and a handful of arrows.

The sun had gone down behind the mountains by the time that Kevin got back up to a good position to view what was going on. Roni was awake now and just by her body language, Kevin could tell she was ticked off. He couldn’t see the girls anywhere but the Boss Blonde was talking with Roni and Brock and the other blonde was what looked like sleeping on the porch off in one corner. Looking around, Kevin could see at least two people walking around on the other side of the restaurant going up the hill in the back. Figuring that they would eventually work their way to where he was, Kevin decided to meet them half way and try to even up the odds somewhat.

Roni was livid, the blonde called Mandy, who seemed to be calling all the shots; was refusing to let Roni see the girls.

“I just want to know that they are ok.” Roni insisted “I can hear the baby crying, she is probably hungry. Please let me go to her and feed her.”

“All in good time, the child isn’t going to die unless you try something. Now I want to know if there are any more people out there that I need to be worried about. And please tell me the truth, or those precious girls you care so much about will be the ones to suffer.”

Roni was saved from answering because the other blonde suddenly woke up and was demanding a hit of something.

“Calm down Candy. I have what you need, come on with me to the RV.” said Mandy but to Roni she exclaimed “Don’t think I’m through with you yet.” And the two blonde sisters went over and into the RV.

Roni and Brock locked eyes. Roni was at a loss as to what to say. She didn’t want to get Kevin hurt, but she was not going to do anything that would harm the girls. There wasn’t anyone on the porch right then. All the male bikers were in the store. They could hear Erin crying and Tracey singing to her trying to sooth her and at the same time complaining to everyone in there that her baby sister needed to eat!

“Go ahead and tell her, Kevin will understand. I’m hoping that he is working on a way to help us out here. Even if we tell about him, he can still be our secret weapon.”

They heard a gruff voice inside “Here, I’m going to untie you. Feed that baby so she will shut up!”

A soft voice answered “I don’t have any baby milk,” Roni could tell it was Michelle speaking and the voice softened as she spoke to Tracey, “Honey, is there any bottles in the truck for Erin?”

“Yes, and diapers and everything she needs but the mean men won’t go get anything and Erin is very hungry and she is starting to smell.”

Brock and Roni could hear Michelle again as she asked to be able to go get the bag and a couple of moments later her and a biker walked out onto the porch, a quick look passed between her and Brock. Roni couldn’t help but plead for them to take could care of her daughters.

“Please let me see my girls. I promise I won’t try anything, I really need to hold my baby!” She was ignored as the pair walked down the stairs of the porch, retrieved the diaper bag with bottles and formula out of the truck and went back into the restaurant.

Mandy and Candy came back out of the RV and both Roni and Brock could tell that Candy was rip roaring high. She was talking a mile a minute and practically bouncing towards the restaurant instead of walking. She came right up to Roni and began talking.

“I think I’m going to keep those girls I always wanted to be a momMandydoesn’tcare andiwillbeagoodmomIjustknowIwill, I’llbeamuchbettermomthanourmomwastous!” she rattled on and as she spoke she spit all over Roni. Candy’s eyes were dilated so much that Roni could barely tell what color they were.

It looked like Candy had a Meth habit and that her sister somehow didn’t mind her having it.

“You get your own sister high? What is wrong with you?” asked Brock while observing how Mandy and Candy were interacting. Mandy actually looked amused at her sister’s actions and he could tell that Candy knew she was pleasing her sister!

Mandy decided to answer Brock with “My sister has a medical problem, she is a narcoleptic. By giving her Meth, she is able to stay awake for awhile. Otherwise she will sleep for literally weeks at a time. This way she only falls asleep when I want her too or when the Meth wears off. The only bad thing is she is needs a larger dose of Meth and at smaller intervals. So you see; I do this because I love my sister, not that I’d expect you to understand.”

“Now I’ve seen everything: a narcoleptic meth head!” remarked Brock.

And this remark got him a slap across the face by an angry Mandy who shouted at him “Do NOT EVER make fun of my sister!”

They all stomped inside and slammed the door shut!

Brock looked over at Roni with a grin on his face, she also had a grin. Mandy had just told them her weakness. They had a new secret weapon!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mountain Movin - Seven

Chapter Seven -- It’s Just a Bump in the Road.

After driving for four straight hours, Kevin decided that they needed to find a safe place and get out and stretch a bit. Tracey had fallen asleep for the past two hours, but now was awake once more and announcing that she was indeed hungry enough to eat a horse, not that she would…. but she was just that hungry and she REALLY needed to go “potty”. In the truck, Roni had come to the conclusion that she and back seats just did not get along real well even though she had rearranged the back seating area five times, she just could not stretch her legs out. So she was relieved when she saw that Kevin had put on his blinker.

Both vehicles pulled over to the side of the road. Erin was sleeping in her seat since Roni had just taken her out and changed her diaper and fed her a bottle.

Kevin was helping Tracey out of the jeep as Brock and Roni stepped up to the trailer on the back of the jeep.

“I think it’s time for some lunch” remarked Kevin as Tracey jumped up and down nodding her head and saying something about looking for a horse. Roni wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about but convinced her to come around to the back of the truck where Tracey told Roni of her need for a bathroom.

Roni spied some bushes off to the side of the road, grabbed a few Kleenex, and told the guys to keep an eye on Erin since she and Tracey had some business to attend to.

It didn’t take too long and they were back at the truck where, after washing their hands with some bottled water and a bar of soap, together they got some thick ham sandwiches made up and grabbed a big golden delicious apple for everyone, except Erin of course. They only had water to drink, but it managed to refresh them. As they munched on the apples; Roni, Brock and Kevin looked over one of the maps that was in the glove box of the truck. They had a map of Utah stretched out over the hood of the truck. Tracey had crawled in the truck and was in ‘her room’ looking at some picture books and sounding out words in them. It had took a bit of wiggling because Erin was right in front of the window but she managed without disturbing her baby sister.

“I’m sure glad that this isn’t summer time, that last stretch will be really hot in a couple more months” said Kevin.

“Are you having any trouble getting up these hills?” asked Brock.

“No, not yet anyways. What I’m worried about is getting more gas. We haven’t passed any cars at all for the past two hours. I figure we have enough in the cans to top the jeep and truck off and then we really need to find some more gas. I think we should go ahead and top the jeep off, but use the gas in the extra tank in the truck and save the cans for the jeep.”

“Good idea and since we decided to stay on the 6, there is a little Mom and Pop store just before we get to the next set of hills. I figure it’s about 20 more miles. And at the rate we are going, it will take us not quite an hour to get there. They have gas tanks and a small restaurant. When I would come this way, I would always stop and have a meal. They used to make a mean breakfast special that you could get any time of the day” said Roni. “I really think we should seriously consider stopping there and resting up somewhat. I am hoping that the owners are still around. But with how things are now, we may end up with nothing. I would be inclined to think they are so far out of the way that no one has bothered them, but after what happened with Tracey’s family; well, I am having my doubts.”

“I know the place you are talking about.” responded Brock. “I know the owners, they are Mike and Michelle Striker and I was hoping to check on them as we came through here anyways. But I think the smart thing to do would be to check the area out before we go in there blindly”

Roni volunteered to drive the jeep and go in alone first but both Brock and Kevin protested that it was too dangerous. Roni just stared at them and then calmly told them that the girls’ safety was most important and that she felt better knowing that they would be safe with the guys.

Just then Tracey came back up and announced that Erin had woken up and was needing to get out and stretch her legs too. Roni laughed and walked back to the truck and gathered Erin into her arms.

Brock was hit hard by the sight of Roni carrying Erin; somehow it shook him to his core. Roni seemed to glow with a deep, serene confidence that clearly showed she was indeed now Erin’s mom. He walked around the hood of the truck to Roni, gently lifted her chin up to face him with his fingers and ever so softly kissed her mouth.

Tracey broke the moment by giggling.

Brock and Roni pulled away from each other; slightly red, but both grinning widely. Kevin slapped his brother on the back and couldn’t help but say “If you’re done, we really need to figure out how to handle this little bump in the road.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mountain Movin - Six

(because five was so short)

Chapter Six— On the Road Again.

A few evenings later Brock and Roni were sitting on the scrubbed front porch steps sipping on hot coffee. They all had worked hard to get ready and they were going to pull out in the morning, bright and early. They had gotten the truck started and found an enclosed trailer to hook up to it.

They filled all the gas cans they could find, both tanks in the truck, and the jeep with gas from the upright gas storage tank that sat next to the barn. They also found a small flat trailer made for pulling motorcycles and had hooked that up to the jeep with Roni’s bike on it.

It had been hard figuring out what to take since they all doubted that they would be back anytime soon and they also had to decide whether to leave the place standing in case Tracey or Erin wanted to come home someday or burn it so no one would trash the place.

They knew they didn’t have room for everything; yet, they wanted to take keepsakes for the girls in case they didn’t want to come back. So in the end they decided to board up all the windows they could and lock up as best as they could. And if someone broke in, then someone broke in.

It was decided that all the weapons would go, although there wasn’t many; just a few rifles and two compound bows plus all the ammo and arrows they found.

All the food would go except that in the freezer. Most of the food was already canned. There was mostly meat in the freezer and it wasn’t full, only about half way. They ate the steak for every meal while they were there. They cleaned out both the frig and freezer and fit all they could in the four coolers they found. The venison was tossed into the woods for the animals since it wasn’t really fresh anymore.

They took all the clothes they could find for Tracey and Erin plus some blankets and pillows. Tracey was going to cram all her favorite toys, books, and special things into the back seat of the truck, claiming that spot for her own; but since she was so small and there was a shell on the back of the truck, Roni took the mattress off of the crib and made a small bed area up against the window of the shell. The mattress was placed on top of some totes that held food and there was a clean sheet put on it and blankets. It was down right cozy and just the right size for Tracey. The only way in was through the window from inside the truck cab. That is where Tracey put most of her things, although she also put some of them in the back seat where she could sit and watch over her sister.

Of course, they also took everything they could find for Erin. The diapers, bottles with the liners, formula, and extra clothes were within easy reach on the floor in the back seat area of the truck.

It had been a busy week, but finally they felt they were ready to leave. Erin’s cord had fallen off and she was eating really good and healthy. Tracey had gotten over the worse part of the shock of losing her parents, and although she had been bothered by nightmares the first few nights, the adults were hoping that the worst was over.

Still sipping on the coffee, Roni and Brock could hear wolves howling and snarling at each other off in the distance. They both had grins on their faces.

“I don’t think that they found the venison yet.” murmured Roni.

“I can’t think of a better ending for the creeps who made those adorable girls orphans.” commented Brock.

“Brock Stetson! You and I think too much alike. That just might be dangerous!” exclaimed Roni in a teasing tone.

Brock gave a deep warm laugh at her words. Roni felt warmth begin to grow deep in her own chest. Their eyes locked onto each others and electricity seemed to course between them. Kevin coughing in the door way broke the spell they seemed to be under and they looked away from each other, both were blushing slightly and grinning.

“Well, both Tracey and Erin are sleeping like angels. I think that Tracey likes me reading to her.” Kevin said.

“Must be because you love to make up voices for all the characters.” remarked Brock. “And I volunteer for the first watch, because somehow I don’t think I’m going to get to sleep anytime soon.”

Morning came peaceful and quiet, and saw the small group, which now was family, safely on their way. A family bonded together by blood, death, grief, tears, and the hope that a tiny little baby brought them.

Kevin was driving the jeep with Tracey safely buckled in the front seat next to him begging for stories. Brock was driving the truck following behind with baby Erin making cute baby noises and looking around with wonder in her car seat in the middle of the back seat, safely buckled in. Roni was riding in the back seat next to Erin playing with her tiny fingers and hands.

No one looked back as they drove down the driveway. They only stopped to replace the log across the faint driveway.

Mountain Movin - Five

Chapter Five – So Hard to Say Good-bye

Roni had gone upstairs to find diapers, clothes, and all kinds of stuff that babies seem to need when they get cleaned up. She came back downstairs with her hands full, including a baby carrier.

“Ok guys, I’m going to get Erin cleaned up and fed. Will you two go get our vehicles; do you think you can find the driveway again?” She was worried they might get lost.

“I think we will do fine, I paid attention to the odometer when we were going from the driveway to the rest area and I am pretty sure we can find the jeep and bike.” said Kevin.

It didn’t take the guys too long to get back and begin to clean up the yard. The first thing they did do was dig a large grave for Lana and Marcus. The rest of the bodies, they drug out into the woods, far away from the house. They used Roni’s motorcycle to do that; so it didn’t take long.

They had gone through all the pockets of the bad guys and didn’t find too much. Some cash, a couple of knives, and some ammo for the guns they had been carrying.

After burying Marcus and Lana, they all gathered by the grave and Tracey laid two big roses on top that she had clipped from one of the bushes in the garden by the back door, with just a little help from Kevin. Roni was holding Erin and said a small prayer. Tracey quietly said “Good-bye for now mommy and daddy. I’ll see you again when Jesus wakes you up. Sleep tight. I love you and I will take care of Erin for you.”

None of the adults had dry eyes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mountain Movin - Four

Chapter Four—Smiles through the Tears.

“In here!” Roni cried as she ran to the bed to check her friend, she found a faint pulse. The guys stepped into the room and immediately Roni began to bark orders.

“Kevin, go find towels and see if the water is on, the bathroom in that way, I need clean water, lots of it and many towels. Brock, come over here and help me. Tracy honey, is there anyone else here now?”

“No, mommy made me hide but when she got hurt she called me and said it was safe because no bad guys were left.” Tracey managed to get out through her tears.

“Ok honey, now I need you to be really brave, just like you have been. You can help me get your mommy cleaned up and fixed up ok?”


Roni and Tracey cleaned and checked Lana over and found where the bullet went in. The small hole was just above the round belly that was now taunt and tight. Lana was in labor. When Roni gently rolled her over, she found the exit wound and it didn’t look good. The mattress was soaked in blood. Kevin came back in from the bathroom with towels and a pan of water. Lana started to groan and weakly opened her eyes.

Roni took her face into her hands and told her that she was going to do everything she could to help her. Lana gripped Roni’s hand and said “Save my baby!” And then she passed out once again.

“Kevin, will you take Tracey into her room and help her pack her a bag please? Tracey, this is a good friend of mine and his name is Kevin. I want you to go with him to your room and pick out a few favorite toys and your favorite clothes. And see if you can’t find a picture of your mommy and daddy too, ok?”

Tracey solemnly nodded her head as Kevin said “Sure we’ll take care of that, Roni” as he led Tracey out of the room.

“Is it that bad, Roni?” asked Brock.

Roni took a deep breath and said “She’s not going to make it. The wound is too severe; and she has lost too much blood. We have to get this baby out of her. I can’t let them both die.” Then they heard a deep sigh, a slight gurgle, and then silence. Lana was gone.

Roni sprang into action and slid her knife out of it holder at her side, she ripped open Lana’s shirt and began to cut into her belly right under the lower part of the bulge. One minute later, she was handing Brock a wiggly baby girl that was screaming her lungs out at the shock of the light in her wide open eyes. Brock tenderly wrapped her in a towel and looked at Roni. Both of them had tears streaking their faces. The new baby was perfect in every way.

Kevin and Tracey came in after Roni had cut the cord and wrapped the new baby up in a big towel. Brock had covered Lana with a blanket. Roni showed them the tiny baby girl.

“Tracey honey, you and your new little sister are going to come with me. Your mom and dad would want you two to be safe.” said Roni.

“Mommy’s dead isn’t she?” asked Tracey.

Never one to lie, especially to children; Roni tried to soften the double blow that Tracey had by saying softly “Yes sweetie. Your parents are resting in death now. We will make sure that they are taken care of and their wishes followed. I know exactly what to do.”

Tracey looked deep into Roni’s eyes and said “The next thing that they hear will be Jesus calling them and telling them to wake up won’t it?”

“That is exactly right, sweetheart.”

“Can I hold my new sister? Mommy and Daddy were going to call the baby Erin, because it means peace”

Tears came to Roni’s eyes at the irony of that name. She said “Let’s go downstairs and sit you in your dad’s big comfy chair and you can hold Erin.”

The three girls headed downstairs. Brock and Kevin looked at each other. “We need a bigger vehicle now; no way am I leaving those three alone. And there is no way we can have a new baby in the open air of the jeep.” Brock said.

“I agree” said Kevin. “Let’s go down and talk with Roni and see what she has in mind. Everything has happened so fast, but somehow I think she knows already what she is going to do.”

The two guys followed the girls downstairs and found them in the front room. Tracey and her new sister were snuggled up in a big blue recliner and totally fascinated with each other’s faces. Roni was standing over them.

“They will probably sit like that for awhile” said Roni “Now we need to get things in order. Marcus has a king cab diesel truck out back in the big garage and I’d like to see if it will run. If one of you will keep watch, I’ll go do that. I’m hoping that this place is far enough away from any of the hit areas that any EMP wouldn’t have affected it.”

“I’ll stand watch and keep an eye on the girls.” said Kevin.

“Thank you. If you pull a chair up here,” Roni motioned to a spot that was by the front door “you should be able to keep an eye on the driveway and the girls. We also need to go get the jeep and bike. Maybe we should do that first, what do you think Brock?” Roni asked.

“Do you want Kevin and I to go get them, since Tracey knows you best? Plus, I’m not quite sure what to do if Erin cries.”

“That sounds great; just give me a minute or two to see if there is any milk at all around here. Lana was going to breast feed, but she may have gotten some powdered formula just in case her milk didn’t come in right away.”

Kevin stayed with the girls and kept watch while Roni and Brock went into the kitchen to search for formula. In the well stocked pantry they found two cases of formula.

“Wow, they were really stocked up, weren’t they?” asked Brock.

“Yes, Marcus and Lana both believed in being prepared. This just may cause us a problem since I don’t think I’ll be able to take everything and I don’t want to stay here. You do realize don’t you, that I’m taking the girls, but I would still like to travel with you until we reach Durango.”

“Yes, Kevin and I would never abandon you and we had already decided to stay with you and the girls. We would never dream of leaving them or you.”

Roni smiled softly at his words and Brock felt something crack in his heart.

“You know I think that Eddie took them by surprise since he would be someone they would ask questions of first- then shoot. That’s what it looks like out there, he surprised them and got off that first shot and hit Marcus. I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if it was Lana that got Eddie and since it looks like Marcus died instantly, Lana was the one that got the rest of them too.”

“You could tell all that in just the few moments we were out there?” asked Brock incredulously.

“Sure, I was raised to be very observant and I made it a game to be able to ‘see’ more than my sisters. I was a lot better at it than them. I’ve been told I have a photographic memory.”

After digging through all the cupboards, they found an assortment of bottles. They were the Playtex kind with the disposable bags to hold the milk. Roni went ahead and washed her hands and arms well under the running facet and then fixed up a smaller bottle with some bottled water she found. She was glad that Marcus and Lana had propane so she was able to light the stove and warm the bottle up a bit. Turning the facet back on, she started to fill up one side of the sink.

“How come they have running water here?” asked Brock.

“They have a gravity flow system. Their water comes from a spring up on the hill behind the house. When the generator is on, the water pressure is stronger, but it flows pretty well when it’s off. I’m going to go get the girls and clean Erin up and try to decide what to take.” She poured the hot water she had used to warm the bottle up into the side of the sink that was half full after setting the bottle on the counter. Turning off the water; she said she would be right back and ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Brock followed her out and stayed in the living room waiting for her to come back down.

Everyone seemed content to look at Erin who was napping in her big sisters lap. Tracey had a grin as big as Texas on her face even though tears were sliding down her cheeks at the loss of her parents.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mountain Movin - Three

Chapter 3-- Losses and Gains

The smell of hot coffee tickled Roni’s nose and slowly brought her out of the depths of sleep where the nightmares were of the walking dead. Not being any kind of rational person before coffee; she slipped out of her sleeping bag, sat up and reached over to her bag and pulled out a cup and held it out to Kevin since he was the one who had the pot in his hands pouring himself a cup.

“I see I have another non-morning person to deal with.” he said, laughing softly, as he nodded over in his brother’s direction. Brock was also barely out of his sleeping bag and already held a steaming cup of Joe between his hands and was sipping on it.

“Bless you Kevin” whispered Roni as the warmth began to flow through her from the cup she held.

“You are gonna really love me when I tell you that the showers are now working over there in the bathrooms. As you can see, I’ve already availed myself of them.”

Roni squinted up at him with one eye open, and saw that indeed he looked freshly laundered. That perked her up almost as much as the coffee was. She quickly downed the rest of the cup, handed it to Kevin and said “I’ll be back in ten.” And grabbing her bag, off she went to the bathroom. As the hot water began to ease the aches of sleeping on the ground, she briefly thought about having to ask him later just how he had gotten them working but for now, she was going to get clean!

The three had gotten to know each other the previous night as they ate venison steaks and hot peach cobbler. Kevin and Brock had both been employed at Scaled Composites, a small company at the Mojave Airport and had worked on the Voyager and the new prototype private space ship. Their mom and dad lived in Durango, CO and they were hoping that their two sisters were there already since they lived a lot closer. Their mother’s mother also lived on the farm with their parents.

Last night, during supper, they told many stories about their crazy Gramma, her childhood with 13 brothers and sisters, her remarkable ability to find lost items, and how she loved being a pack rat. But Roni could tell they loved their Gramma especially when they told how she was the one that instilled the love of bugs, lizards, bats, and snakes in them. Roni had to grin when they spoke of all the concoctions their Gramma would have them drink when they got sick. That got her to talking about how her and her sisters had been orphaned at a young age and split up, but how they were able to meet together at Momma Sue’s and how Momma Sue taught them all about the world of plants and healing. She even told them about her window and how hard it had been to make and how it was destroyed.

Breakfast was hot instant oatmeal and more coffee while the three of them decided just how to go about scavenging the campsites.

“I think that we need to check all the vehicles for gas first and see if we can’t find a cooler to put the rest of the meat in.” said Brock, while trying real hard not to stare at Roni.

“Sounds good, what other things do we need to be looking for?” asked Kevin.

“Any canned goods, blankets, tools, and things like that.” spoke up Roni. “But I really don’t think we will find too much that we will be able to use since to me, it looked like whoever did the killings also took all the usable things.”

The three of them did decide to go ahead and get out of the park that day and that they would check the campsites that lay between them and the east exit of the park. They all thought they would feel much better getting out of the park with all the dead. They just went ahead and wrapped up the extra meat as good as they could and hoped they would find a cooler. When they stopped for the night, they would just go ahead and cook and eat as much as they could anyways. They ended up putting the extra gas cans of Roni’s into the back of the jeep, but she wouldn’t part with anything else.

They did manage to find some gas that had gotten over looked by whoever had killed everyone. There was some left in one of the auxiliary gas tanks of a truck that was hooked to a fifth wheel camper. They had just enough to top off the jeep’s tank and one of the extra gas cans.

They also found a cooler that had the lid broke off, but otherwise intact. A couple of bungee cords held the lid down and the rest of the venison fit inside nicely.

The death and destruction in Yosemite Park was long behind them by late afternoon when they stopped to find more gas. They had followed the 120 all the way to highway 6 which they followed into Nevada.

“I hope we are able to get enough gas out of these cars to fill all our tanks up.” Said Brock as they looked around at the three lone cars that were the first ones they had seen in almost an hour. They ended up with a full tank for Roni’s motorcycle and just over three fourths of a tank in the jeep. But their extra gas cans were empty.

“Well, it’s only about another hour to my friend’s house. We should have enough.” said Roni as they finished gathering all the gas. “And we may just find some more cars on the way.”

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starving.” Said Kevin “Let’s go ahead and get us something to eat and rest for a bit.”

“I know I could use some more coffee, I’m needing a caffeine jolt in a bad way.” said Brock.

“Ok, that is a good idea, I’ll need my strength also because my friends tend to be a bit paranoid and we may have to convince them we are friendly.” Roni said in a teasing tone.

After a quick, but nourishing meal, complete with hot coffee, thanks to a small can of sterno; the three loaded back up and headed back up the road. Roni was taking the lead since she knew where the cut off was to her friends house.

About 30 miles down the road, Roni began to slow down. They hadn’t seen any other vehicles at all. Kevin and Brock could see that she was looking for something in the south side of the road. They watched as she pulled off onto a faint dirt road that was barely visible and the guys wouldn’t even have seen it if she hadn’t pointed it out. Roni waited as the guys pulled up next to her in the jeep.

When Roni lifted her visor, Brock could see right away that she was worried. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I’m not sure, there usually is a log that lays across the road…that log right there as a matter of fact.” she said as she pointed to a long log at least seven feet long and about half a foot wide. “That log is ALWAYS across the road.” Roni got off the bike and walked over to the log. She bent over and ran her hand over the farthest end of the log. When she stood back up, she had a wire in her fingers.

“This is supposed to be hooked to an early warning alarm system with a bell at the end. It has been cut. I think we need to stash the jeep and bike and walk in very carefully and be ready for anything. You guys don’t have to go with me, but I have to check on my friends. Lana is pregnant and I reckon she is due in about a week. If everything was ok, they would have already fixed this.”

Brock and Kevin looked at each other and then Brock said “Where do we stash the vehicles?”

Roni gave them a relieved smile and said “Follow me.” She then got on her bike and got back on the road and led them to a small rest area that had another faint dirt road that led off the back. They only drove about 15 minutes and they were in a very small clearing. They parked the jeep and bike next to each other. Roni went off into the brush for a moment and came back with a bundle of camouflage netting. She just grinned and the guys didn’t even ask how she knew it was there.

After covering the vehicles, they decided what to take. Roni took her backpack with the first aid kit in it and her gun and whip. She asked the guys if they wanted the guns that she had taken from the creeps who broke her window and they said no, they had their own. She kept them in her pack. They all took water bottles and then set off. Roni took the lead and followed a small game trail. They ended up going into a canyon and climbing the back wall of it. She stopped at the top, crouched down. Brock and Kevin joined her and they all caught their breath. Kevin let out a low whistle as the three looked down into the next canyon.

It would have looked like the Garden of Eden itself, if it weren’t for the dozen or so dead bodies laying around the yard.

“Oh my God, that is Marcus there on the porch. And that one over there by the Ford Truck looks like Lana’s ex husband- Eddie.”

“What ever happened, it looks like it is over and we should get down there and check it out. But still let’s try to be quiet and quick.” said Brock. And the three of them went down into the canyon as quietly and quickly as they could. When they got to the yard, they checked each body as they came to it, they all were dead. It looked like the gun fight had just happened that morning. All three had their guns drawn and ready to fire. Roni climbed the steps to the front porch and checked Marcus. He was also gone. She headed into the house.

“Lana!? Tracey!?” she hollered. Tracey was Lana’s and Marcus’s four year old daughter. Kevin and Brock came in right behind her and together they cleared the first floor and then headed upstairs.

“Lana!” Roni called again and she heard a small whimper coming from the master bedroom. She quickly went in and stepped to the side scanning the room. Tracey was there by her mothers side on the bed, crying. There was blood all over the bed.

Tracey cried “Aunt Roni, help mommy! Please.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mountain Movin - Two

Chapter two – This one’s for the Bears!

The only road through Yosemite Park was the 120, also known as Big Oak Flat Pass that turned into Tioga Pass. Roni hated having to take it since if there was anyone in the park that is most likely where they would be. There were many campsites on that road. But she was hoping that most of the people would be gone by now. The ride to the Park had taken all of yesterday and had gone fairly smooth. There were a couple of old dirt bike trails that had cut off much of the highways and she tried to stay on them except for when she had to find gas. But going through the park, she would have to stay on the road, it was simply too dangerous to go off trail. Plus it would take too much time and gas. She hoped to go straight through the park and be well on the other side by lunch time.

By finding a spot off road just before she got to the park on the 140/Yosemite year round hwy; Roni had managed to find a couple of cars with gas still in them and one even had an extra gas can. She kept that and managed to figure a way to hook it on the bike. Not that she liked having ONE gas can at her back, let alone TWO!

Roni was making good time when she got to the White Wolf camp ground. She slowed down to almost a crawl when she noticed that there was something wrong with the site. She turned into the camp ground to do a drive through lookie-loo. Her blood ran cold when she noticed the first bodies. It looked like a family of five had been camping when the EMP hit and their site was totally trashed. But it was human hands that had tied the family up to a large tree and it wasn’t hard to see that the four-legged animals had came after the two-legged ones had left.

Roni slowly made the rounds. It was the same story at four other sites. Two of the sites had worthless RV’s still parked, but ripped apart. How in the world did this happen? Did they simply wait their turn to be killed? Or was there simply too many bad guys and they hit all the sites at once? The latter seemed to be the only reasonable explanation. Was the gang still in the park? Were they still ahead or had they left?

All these questions swirled through Roni’s head until she placed them in the part of her brain that would allow her to stay aware of the danger but not let the horror of it all stunt her abilities to keep her wits about her.

She didn’t even stop at the last site because of the family of bears that were “cleaning” it up. She barely was able to keep the granola bar she ate an hour earlier down.

After debating for just a moment on whether she should move on or see if there was anyone or anything at the Yosemite Creek campground, she turned off the main road towards the site. As she traveled down the road, she noticed that the plant life was already trying to reclaim it. This was hopefully a good sign, meaning that no one had traveled the road in a while. Well, that turned out to be a myth, for when she turned into the site she almost ran over a man standing in the road with a shotgun leveled at her.

OOPs! Too late to turn tail and run away!

The good news was that he hadn’t shot her yet. She skidded to a halt about twenty feet in front of him.

Slowly Roni took off her helmet after turning her bike off. Her long black braid slid over one shoulder. She set her helmet on the gas tank and crossed her arms over it.

“Well, I guess we’ve got two choices here,” she said to the man still holding the gun on her. “You can go ahead and try to shoot me or I can break out a couple cans of peaches, a bit of sugar and flour and whip up a peach cobbler to go with whatever that wonderful smell is that you’ve got cooking.” Then she gave him her best ‘I’m such a good girl’ smile and waited for him to say something.

Brock could not believe his eyes! The woman in front of him either had balls of brass or was crazy to be acting like she was, but man was she a knock out! There was a rope of black hair falling over one shoulder that seemed to glow with a life of its own and her deep blue eyes were direct and honest looking, although wary. Before he drowned in their depths, he decided to take a chance with her and he slowly lowered the gun. And by God are those three freckles dancing on the bridge of her nose?

“I guess I can’t pass up peach cobbler and I think it will top off the venison we’ve got cooking nicely.” Brock said as he walked closer and held out his hand. “My name is Brock Stetson and my brother over there is Kevin.” When his hand grasped hers, what felt like a solid spark was felt by both of them. Both were startled but tried to cover it up.

Kevin came out of the trees as Roni was shaking Brock’s hand and so to try to gather her wits and shake that... whatever it was, Roni introduced herself. “Nice to meet you two, I’m Roni and I’m just passing through on my way to my sister’s place. But I am hungry and will keep my part of the bargain. I can make a mean cobbler over the fire, if I do say so myself.”

For some reason Roni thought she would be able to trust these two. It wasn’t their looks, although they both were very good looking. But more like something in their eyes. There was a kindness despite the haunted look; a deep goodness that seemed to go right to their soul. Roni got off her bike and pushed it closer to the camp site and shook Kevin’s hand.

“So what has been going on here, I found a lot of dead people out there. Is it safe to be here?”

“Well, we didn’t kill them that’s for sure. We only got here this morning and since there was no one at this camp ground we decided to rest up and get better organized.” replied Brock. It seemed he wasn’t able to keep his eyes off of Roni and so he decided to keep talking to her so he wouldn’t seem rude. “We are headed east to see if any of our family made it. We were just north of LA in a town called Mojave when everything stopped and we saw the glow from LA when it was hit. We figured that Edwards Air Force Base would be hit and so got the hell out of there as fast as we could. Thankfully, Mojave had an airport with a lot of steel buildings and we have a friend who kept his vehicles in one and had an extra jeep that he let us have. He took another one and headed out himself. We stocked it up with what we could find and got out of there. We stayed with another friend for awhile but decided to hit the road again to check on our family and here we are. What about you?”

“I’m from Carmel on the coast and a bunch of punks took over the town, killed my best friend, and ruined my window.” Roni deeply sighed with the memory. “I decided it was time to go to my sister’s home and I hit the road yesterday and here I am today hoping to get a bite of that venison soon. Do you mind if I start that cobbler? It will need to cook for a while.”

The three of them settled around the fire as Roni mixed up a cobbler out of a few cups of flour with some sugar tossed in a Dutch oven she pulled from one of her panniers. She topped off the mixture with a couple cans of peaches and set it in some coals she had scraped out of the fire off slightly to the side. She put the lid on top of the Dutch oven she made the cobbler in and scooped up some more coals and placed them on the lid.

Talk turned back to the dead people out there and Roni ended up asking “Do you think whoever did that is still around? I’ll be glad to take a watch tonight.”

Brock again was the one to speak up “We haven’t heard or seen anyone since we got here this morning. We went all the way through the park, but came back here to when we realized that this was the only camp ground with no dead bodies in it.”

“You mean that at the rest of the campgrounds there is the same death and destruction” Roni asked.

“Yes, and it is even worse. These people have been dead for at least two days if not longer and the animals have gotten to most of them. We didn’t find any survivors. We were going to rest up today, get the jeep reorganized and leave tomorrow at first light. Then Kevin here had a shot at this deer that he couldn’t pass up so we decided to try to dry what meat we don’t eat tonight and that may make us stay here another day.”

“Have you gone and seen if you can find a cooler at any of the camp sites?” Roni asked.

“No we haven’t had the stomach for it yet, we just went through and looked for anyone alive; but since we now will be staying tomorrow, we might just go through the sites more thoroughly and see if there is anything we can scavenge. They sure won’t need anything anymore.”

“Do you mind if I stay with you and look around myself? And if we are all headed east maybe we could travel together, safety in numbers and all.”

“We are headed to Colorado, Durango to be exact to check on our family. So you are welcome to come with us that far.”

“That would be perfect, I have to go through Durango to get to my sisters place anyways and I know a couple that lives on the way; they won’t mind us stopping and resting. I sure hope that they are still around.”

Talk slowed down as they ate their dinner and topped it off with some delicious peach cobbler that had Brock and Kevin praising Roni and her culinary skills. Afterwards it was decided who would take which watch. Once the sun went down all the way, they were ready to get as much sleep as possible.

Roni took the first watch and at midnight she woke Brock up and then hit her sleeping bag. She slept like a log! Her last thought before she drifted off was “I sure hope I don’t snore tonight!”

The bears left them alone since they were busy elsewhere.

Mountain Movin - One

Mountain Movin’
- Veronica’s story

Chapter One –Hit the road, Jack!

“Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!” Muttered Veronica under her breath, “I just knew I should have left sooner!” Anger flushed through her as a crash in her living room sounded through out the house. She knew it had to be the stained glass window she had finished and installed only one month before the fan got hit with the fecal matter. It was such a beautiful window too; sparkling in all that sunlight as the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean. She had been working on that window for almost a year!

She peeked around the corner of the hall wall into the living room; a grin crossed her face since the jerk that broke the window still couldn’t get in with all the metal work that she had done with the picture. Such a lovely picture, it was two angels one female and one male, holding three young girls in their arms; wings outstretched yet embracing at the same time. All the people had smiles on their faces.

Now Veronica decided she was good and angry! Usually of the most mildest of tempers, not much got under her skin; but the destruction of the one piece of Art she had made in her parent’s memories flipped on her anger button big time! Standing up she stomped over to the whip she kept on the stand by the front door and taking up the spare magazine for her gun that she had at her back, she shoved the clip into her back pocket and shook out the whip while ripping open the door. Yep, she was ticked off all right!

The jerk trying to smash in the window was unaware of Roni’s presence until the whip wrapped around his neck and jerked him off his feet. The crowbar that was in his hand went flying through the air and caused the other two punks with him to duck. The whip lashed out again and struck one of the punk’s hands causing him to drop the gun he had.

The three punks looked her way as Roni said “You just bought that window with your lives. By the way, the front door was unlocked.” then with the whip in her right hand and gun in her left, she fired three shots.

She didn’t really feel any regret over the killing of the punks, since she recognized them as the same three who had broke in and killed her one great friend, an older lady, Mrs. Tammy Beauford.

Things had been going fairly well here since the EMP went off, but when the gang came down from San Francisco just under two weeks ago and killed the sheriff and almost all the rest of the law enforcement here, crap had been being flung far and wide. Mrs. Beauford was a lovely older lady who never bothered anyone and was always happy to see Roni. She had bought a few of Roni’s Art pieces and when she commissioned her to make a bust of her dear husband about five years ago, they became fast friends.

Roni had been trying hard to make sure Mrs. Beauford was protected, especially since the gang had come, but Mrs. Beauford would not move from her home. She thought she was far enough from town to not be noticed. She was wrong and when Roni had not been there, the same three that she had just killed had found the house, broke in, terrorized then killed Mrs. Beauford. When Roni got there, the three were roaring down the road in an old truck that was filled with many of Mrs. Beaufords belongings. She would have gone after them right then but she thought that there might be a chance Mrs. Beauford was alive and needed medical help.

She threw up for a full fifteen minutes when she got there.

Now Mrs. Beauford rests in death in her back yard in her rose garden. A simple marker stands at the head of the grave. “Beloved wife and friend. Tammy Beauford”

Roni shakes her head and brings herself back into the present. After taking the weapons that were on the bodies, wrapping them up in one of the slimy jerk’s bandana, and letting the ‘coke’ she found blow away in the breeze coming off the ocean; Roni decided to leave the bodies there and to move up the day for leaving town to today.

Yes, it was time to go. She hadn’t been able to get any more messages to either of her sisters. Emma was in Colorado and Gracie was in Arkansas. She had been able to only get one message to each. Gracie’s friend Tucker had told her she may have to leave her beloved ocean and he also gave her some good ideas on how to get her motorcycle running and what to pack. His warning about sticking to back roads was clear in her mind, but she always took the back roads when she would go visit Emma. She liked the scenery and she had a couple friends along the route that she usually stayed with for a day or so, to break up the drive.

Turning around, with the three handguns, four knives and one pair of handcuffs tied up in the bandana, her gun back in the belt at her back, and her whip coiled up once again, Roni went back into her house, closed the door, locked it and walked straight through to her kitchen. The knives were pieces of junk so she broke the blades and tossed them in the trash. The guns weren’t much better, but she figured they may come in handy even if they only had the bullets that were in them. She hadn’t found any extra ammo on any of the bodies and she didn’t feel like looking for any vehicle that they had come in. She thoroughly washed her hands after pouring some water in a big bowl, using a lot of soap. Those creeps made her feel dirty. She then finished the last of the salad she had made from the veggies that Mrs. Beauford had had in her garden. She had only taken a couple of bites when the punks had tried to break in.

Roni didn’t have much in the way of material things. Her small house only had two bedrooms, kitchen with an eating area, one bath, a living room, and a very small garage attached on the side that held her motorcycle and not much else.

Until the “DAY”, she had spent most of her time at her gallery where she had a room that she worked in creating her Art. The gallery had been trashed the second day that the gang arrived in town and she hadn’t the heart to go back there since. When she saw the extent of the damage and that it looked like it was done simply for fun, she was very grateful that she had not been there when they broke in.

Roni rinsed out her bowl with some water. She walked through her house making sure that there was nothing left that she wanted to take and actually could take. Placing the full duffel bag and back pack inside the garage, Roni went back into the kitchen got all the non-perishable food and the two jugs of water and took them out to the garage also. She packed the food and water into the two panniers that she had on her bike, a small Dutch oven fit on top nicely. The duffel bag got strapped down on the rack that connected the panniers. The duffel bag now contained the guns and handcuffs she had so recently acquired.

Going back into the house, Roni went to the cupboard that was over the small washer and dryer that was in the corner of the kitchen, and grabbed her tightly bound sleeping bag that also had a tarp in it. She took that out and strapped it with the duffel bag. The last thing she strapped on was the extra gas can that was filled with gas. This had its own special rack over the back fender. With her over-sized regular tank and the extra gas, she could ride for just under 350 miles before she had to refill. Since she would be taking her usual route, she hoped that the places she normally would stop for gas would be there but she had a small hose with a bulb that she could use to siphon gas out of tanks of the vehicles she figured she would encounter on her way.

She was already wearing her most precious possession, her dad’s dog tags. Emma had gotten her dad’s wedding ring, Gracie got their mom’s and she got the dog tags. They meant the world to her and she never took them off. These three things were the only things that the girls had of their parents.

After making sure she had all she wanted, Roni clipped the whip on the belt at her waist, stuck her gun in the holster she put on, and before she stepped into the garage and almost closed the door behind her -probably for the last time ever; but she decided that she needed to get the rest of the anger over the window out of her system. So she proceeded back into her home and began to empty all the glass dishes out of her cupboards and break them. When they were all broken, she stepped over the shards and left her home no longer angry.

Just before Roni pulled onto Ocean Ave to head towards highway 1, she looked at her beloved ocean one more time and vowed to come back again one day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Small Town Survival -Epilogue


From the journal of Samantha Cooper Flannery:

“Well, I hope the story of that fateful time reaches the eyes and ears of future generations. I ended up marrying Matthew Flannery, son of Patrick and he is a most wonderful husband and father to our five kids.

The kids from St. Jude’s all are healthy now. How can one not get healthy with Momma Sue looking after you? She stuffed them with Essaic Tea and many other herbs and concoctions. Boy did she have many go a rounds with Dr. Rutherford. But of course in the end, Momma Sue won a new admirer and between the two of them, they managed to educate many in the healing arts. As a matter of fact, healing is learned by all here. Although Momma Sue has since passed away, she sure managed to cram her knowledge into all of our heads, so now we each carry her in our hearts and minds always.

All of us kids grew up in a wild and dangerous time. We had many problems to tackle. But as a community, we tackled them. We had some losses and we had some troublemakers and yep FEMA did come but didn’t find much. Granny Gibbs managed to put about another half dozen bad people in their graves before she fell asleep in death.

It was an EMP that hit the world that day. It seems that Korea was to blame and since China and Russia didn’t have a clue what was going on, they set off all their missiles.

Many of our major cities were hit, why Memphis wasn’t; I don’t know but I am thankful since that is where my Matthew was. The US government managed to set off all of our missiles also and let’s just say that in another couple hundred years, we may just get to rediscover the east.

About a year later, a real bad flu swept the country. Thanks to our isolation, we managed to escape it. Our friends in Payneway also faired well.

The signals off of the cell towers are still used today, even though Payneway now has two doctors of their own. Mostly they are now used to signal for gatherings and good times.

Daniel, the young boy who managed to hook himself to Doc; well he was and is a real sweetie. He began talking about one month after Doc brought him home and has not shut up since! He also ended up marrying my name sake; Abigail, who I’ll talk a bit about in a moment.

Things are quite different now. Oh yes, we are still the United States of America, but I like to think we are a better country. We now once again value the good things like dignity, honor, and integrity. We value each person for their strengths and help all to over come any weaknesses. No we are not a perfect country, but with the help of our Creator, maybe someday we will get pretty close. There is a lot less greed in the world now. People are more content with the basics and good company. Children are once again considered a great blessing and we have lots of kids running around town now a days.

Our little community has grown to a whopping 1500+ and we all help each other out with the planting and harvesting. We still tend to keep to ourselves for the most part.

We have a school again, although not like any government school there ever was. We teach courses that allow the kids to live in this new world we find ourselves. Much learning is done at home from the parents and everyone is welcome at school. The rule is “you’re never too old to learn something new” and we all take it seriously.

Every so often one of us will go out into the world and come back with new stories to tell, new books to share, and usually a bride or groom. But we all come home. Even Miss Gracie came home. See a couple of months after my mom and dad got home from Memphis; our house was struck by lightening and burnt to the ground. Miss Gracie gave us her home to live in and she went to Colorado to check on her sisters. She packed her a few things on her bike, and gave us everything else she had, including the kids! We sure missed her. She was gone for two years! During that time I got a new baby brother, Randal Gavin Cooper, Randy for short.

Back to my namesake: the baby girls that Miss Gracie helped Mrs. Montgomery deliver were named: Victoria Grace and Abigail Samantha. Would you believe they ended up having two more boys after that? Lord, bless them!

Maggie and Tucker took in four of the kids from St. Jude’s and even managed to have four more of their own!

Brooke raised JJ and JP and after just a year, they sent her back to Memphis to find herself a husband! She agreed to go and wouldn’t you know it, she came back with a really neat guy that was just as awesome at martial arts as Brooke was! They were a perfect match and JJ and JP welcomed a new baby brother shortly after Brooke married Lance.

Did I mention that Gracie came back with a husband also? Well, I’ll mention it now. She found this guy in Colorado, seems he is ‘Rony’s husband’s brother. And since Kevin has come into Miss Gracie’s life, she is even more content and happy than I’ve ever seen her. They had a brood of kids of their own, seven to be exact. The youngest was named Sammie Sue…..I guess that means I have two namesakes.

We all are older, wiser, and happier now. A new generation of kids roam freely and unafraid through out our community. And they are welcome at every home. Life is sweet and life is good. Life is worth living.

Now I’m going to close this journal, mostly because I hear many of my grandkids hollering for me. I wish all happiness and peace.

Sincerely, respectfully, and peacefully

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Small Town Survival -Thirty One


Gracie and Sammie were traveling a well known path that led from her house down to an old creek bed that only flowed in the early spring, but stayed muddy all year long. After carefully crossing it over some rocks put there for that purpose; they found the small game trail that led to where the best berries grew. The trip to the briar patch took about 45 minutes of careful walking with Gracie making sure that Sammie was also looking at their back trail to keep herself feeling secure that she would know the way home. After checking the berry bushes and seeing that they would indeed give many blackberries in just a couple short weeks and that the blueberry bushes also would be giving a great harvest, they decided to go check on the Montgomery’s. This was a family that rarely came to town. Mrs. Montgomery was pregnant with her seventh child and due in only about a week or so. She had given birth to all her kids at home with her husbands help. They weren’t in town the other day nor did they come to the hoedown, so Gracie thought she should let them know what was going on just in case they didn’t know, especially since they lived off grid and had no TV or radio.

Gracie and Sammie had just come out of the small strand of trees that bordered the back of the Montgomery’s property when they both heard a sharp, loud, agonizing scream. They both quickly looked at each other, and Sammie whispered “what do we do?”

Gracie thought for just a moment and then said to Sammie “ok, here’s the plan. We don’t know what is wrong, so you have to stay here and be my best hope. I’m going to leave my bag here and only take the radio and my knife. I’m going to sneak up to the house and then see if I can find any danger. You just leave your radio on and listen, do not answer the radio or talk into it unless I say ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’. So no matter what else I may say, if I don’t say that, don’t answer, ok?”

“Ok, Miss Gracie. I won’t answer unless you give the code.” replied Sammie.

“And if I tell you to run back home, you better run back home. Do you understand me?”

“Yes ma’am” Sammie could tell that this was serious business.

“Ok, now I want you to hide yourself real well, turn your radio on low, and wait and listen. I love you.”

With a quick hug and kiss and a slight push to go hide, Sammie scampered off and hid herself under a fallen tree with both the packs. Two of the kids went with her, Spice and the General, the oldest of the Sheppard's. The other two Sheppard's were alert at Gracie’s’ side. As soon as Sammie was out of sight, Gracie began to edge forward towards the house. She could still hear screaming going on, and as she got closer, she could hear arguing and children crying. She almost tripped over one of the families beloved dogs. He was dead. It was a gruesome sight. Someone had taken a knife to him. He looked like he had been dead for at least a day. Max and Georgia softly growled deep in their throats. But the sound didn’t carry over the cries coming from the house.

Now Gracie was totally ticked off. No one should treat an animal like that. They made it to the back porch without anyone in the house knowing they were there. With a quick hand signal, the two dogs slipped into the back door that Gracie had slowly opened. She was careful to have her knife ready. Now that she was in the house, she could hear the argument.

“Let me go to her, she is in labor and needs help. She isn’t due for another week and the baby may not be turned right. My God Mike, don’t you have any heart?” yelled a man that Gracie quickly recognized as Frank Montgomery. Then she heard a voice that chilled her to the bone.

“I don’t give a damn if she lives or dies! And you better shut your brats up or I’ll start killing them.” shouted Mike Tanner.

Gracie was now filled with righteous anger. It seemed to her that Mike Tanner didn’t give her warning enough serious thought. And it seemed that he now was in control of the Montgomery home. Well, not for long; she thought.

Slowly easing around the door way that separated the kitchen from the short hall that lead to the living room and also back to the bedrooms, Gracie peeked around the corner. She could see Max sliding behind Mike who was standing about six feet into the room with his back to her. Max glanced back at Gracie for some sign that he could jump him. Gracie gave the sign for no since she could see a gun in Mike’s hand. It was hard to miss since he was punctuating his words with jabbing motions of the gun. There was no sign of Georgia and so Gracie could only conclude that she went to Mrs. Montgomery side.

Gracie placed a finger to her lips as the oldest child; Frankie Jr. caught sight of her.

Then Mike must have sensed something was not right and slowly turned with the gun. Quickly Gracie ducked back but Max sprang and clamped his teeth on Mike’s gun hand. The gun went off and a shot flew threw the doorway and into the wall right where Gracie’s head had been. Whipping around the wall quickly and into the living room Gracie hollered “Release!” Max instantly released Mike’s wrist that the gun was still in.

“I told you I never wanted to see you again, Mike. And I wasn’t kidding.” With those words Gracie threw her knife and it slide through Mike’s ribs and found his heart just like they were butter. The gun slide from his hand and as he looked her in the eye, he dropped to his knees and then fell face forward, driving the knife even deeper.

"Is there anyone else here?" asked Gracie quietly.

"No it was just Mike" replied Frank.

Gracie apologized to the Montgomery family for them having to see her actions. She retrieved her knife from Mike’s body and quickly cut Frank free. “Mary needs you, she is having a hard labor and I think something may be wrong with the baby, please go to her” he cried.

Gracie pulled her radio out of her pocket and said “sugar and spice and everything nice, come to the house Sammie.” She then released the button and said “Sammie is here with me, she is coming to the house, Frank do you think you and Frankie Jr. can move this piece of trash out of here? I’ll need Susie, Cindy, and Sammie’s help now. You girls come with me.” She looked at the younger kids and said “Will ya’all start up the stove and start heating some water? And make sure Sammie brings my bag into your mom’s room?” All the rest of the kids solemnly nodded their heads and Gracie and the two oldest girls ran to Mary’s room.

Georgia sure enough was there and Mary had her head buried in the dog’s soft fur.

“Mary, it’s ok. The danger is over and I’m here to help you. Let’s get you cleaned up and get this baby into the world.”

Mary lifted her head and a flood of relief, gratitude and then pain crossed her face. “Girls, will you find a clean gown for your mom and bring me all the clean towels you can find, ok?” With quick nods of the head Susie ran to the dresser and dug into one of the drawers for a fresh gown. Cindy took off out the door but was back with a minute with a stack of towels that was over her head.

“Now will you go wet a couple of the towels for me to use to clean your mom up?” asked Gracie and Cindy took two towels and went back out the door.

“Mary, I need to examine you and see how the baby is sitting. Susie, can you go find some clean sheets so we can get this bed changed?” Again Susie nodded her head and was out the door and back almost before the question was done being asked.

Together the three of them cleaned Mary up and got her into clean sheets and a clean gown. After examining her, Gracie told her the bad news.

“Honey, I’m afraid the baby isn’t turned right and he or she is trying to come into the world wrong way first. I think I can turn the baby, but it won’t feel good. Sammie had come into the room during Susie and Cindy’s running around and spoke up “Miss Gracie, here is your first aid kit, are you going to use the needles?”

Gracie smiled at Sammie and said “yep; they will help Mrs. Montgomery deal with the pain of having a baby. Thank you Sammie very much for remembering the BOB’s earlier.” Taking a slender tube from the first aid kit, Sammie looked Mary in the eye and said “You and your baby are going to be fine, now let’s get you on your hands and knees.”

Gracie quickly inserted the needles at the correct points to stop Mary from feeling the pain and thanked God for the studies in acupuncture that she almost didn’t take when the course came up at the college a couple of years ago. And for the wise old Chinese teacher who worked with her after class also until she had perfected the 'needles'.

With Mary on her hands and knees, Gracie was able to reposition the baby by external and internal manipulation and just shy of two hours later, Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Cindy and Susie both had been taking turns going out for fresh warm water to dunk towels in to use for the birth process and cold water for their wiping their mom’s forehead and anywhere else she wanted a cool cloth. They gently helped Gracie wash their new sister off, cooing over the little one. Mary gave a yelp, and Gracie glanced over. “I think that must be the afterbirth, let’s take care of this.”

But with one big push, it was another baby that came out, not the afterbirth. This baby girl didn’t cry like the first and wasn’t breathing. Gracie quickly grabbed a towel and started rubbing the baby quickly and when the slightly rough treatment didn’t seem to be working, gently blew puffs of air into the small baby girl. With a couple of fingers she pushed onto her chest above the heart.

Cindy, Susie, Mary, Sammie and Georgia held their breath, daring not to breath. Even the first baby girl seemed to know not to cry and quietly gurgled. Then in a rush, the baby took in a deep breath and let out a howl and brought smiles and tears to the others.

Gently the girls helped to clean up this baby too and after they had Mary and the two babies cleaned up and the bed remade again, both Mary and the two babies began to doze on the bed together.

“Cindy will you go get your dad? Susie, would you go make a pot of tea out of this for your Mom? She won’t sleep for very long right now.” And Gracie handed Susie a small packet of tea from her first aid kit.

“Well Sammie, I don’t think we will be making the town meeting today.”

“No Miss Gracie, I don’t think so either.” They both looked at each other with dorky grins on their faces, then they gazed at the two adorable babies sleeping so comfortable at their mom’s sides.

Frank was dumbfounded with he came in and saw two babies in his wife’s arms. Then he couldn’t help himself, he got a dorky grin on his face too! Mary opened her eyes as Gracie, Sammie and Georgia slipped from the room to give them some privacy.

Between Gracie and the kids, they managed to get supper fixed, they found some homemade soup that Mary had canned, in the pantry and since they already had the cook stove going for the water that Gracie needed, she made two big sheets of biscuits and everyone got fed. Mary drank the tea with her supper and soon after the babies nursed for the first time, mom and babies were sound to sleep.

Frank and Gracie sat at the kitchen table after supper drinking some coffee talking quietly. While Gracie had been in the bedroom helping Mary give birth, Frank and the rest of the kids had kept busy cleaning up the mess in the living room including taking burying Mike’s body; and now the kids were piled in there with Gracie’s “kid’s” and sleeping also.

Gracie got up and told Frank they had better get going if they were going to make it home by dark. With grateful thanks and big hugs, and promises of letting them know what the babies names were going to be; Gracie, Sammie and the kids set off for home. And when they got to Gracie’s Sam and Sandra were waiting anxiously with open arms that Sammie slid right into.