Time of Isolation, Chapter 9, Part 2

Here is the USA we are celebrating Thanksgiving, and entering into the Christmas season. Every year since beginning this blog I’ve written a short story for the season, and have been posting links to these past stories in the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas. And this year will be no different. First off let me state that there are plenty of “feel good” stories out there. I know that for many that their stories are anything but pleasant or good. So my thoughts were to write the short stories from this other perspective. So don’t be surprised if they bring a tear to your eye. Still they are good stories, at least I think so, but I am after all the writer, and conclude on a high note. Recently I saw an animated adaption of The Match Girl, and it reflected much of the same atmosphere as these short stories. This one written for Thanksgiving is titled, Returning Home.

While I’ve written more for Christmas, I did write two, one for Thanksgiving, and one for Halloween. And this week I’ll be providing  a link back to this short story written in 2013. And yes, I’m presently writing a new short story for Christmas which will be presented Christmas day since it falls on Saturday, the day I normally post. So before reading this week’s post as we continue our tour through Time of Isolation, look back if  reading such a story appeals to you:  https://windmillsmetaphor4writing.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/returning-home/

And with November coming down to the wire, and I continue to have issues with The Harsh Lands. I’m close to final submission, but still are dealing with issues that might push the release back to early December. At this point I have everything together for the paperback release, but am dealing with issues for the EBook release. So once these issues are resolved then I can complete the submission process and have the novel available. Again when I have a firm date I will announce it here, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and my webpage. Now on to this week’s post:

It is before dawn when the next two, who are up and heading out to explore and search for those elusive hot springs, leave. Saige is there to see them off, and wishes them luck. Their food supply is critically low and any of the teams heading out need to be successful in either locating these suspected hot springs, or find the  location where the herds have gone once winter arrived.

He watches until the two are out of sight, and remains outside watching the suns rise above the horizon. Eventually, chilled, since it is really  cold, he heads back inside. The team that has just left will be out two days, and it is here, after those two days, where we pick up part 2. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past, plus soon to be released, The Harsh Lands, are/will be available from your favorite EBook retailer.):

The next two days flew by, and that truly was a surprise. But it had remained clear and cold, and from what they could see it might remain that way for at least a few more days allowing a couple of additional teams out. While not desperate he had the short supplies on his mind constantly trying to come up with some solution, and he knew that he was not the only one. It was to main topic of conversation anytime people got together to talk. They all realized their plight. He heard one of the women who was outside scream, and then heard her yell for Saar. The whole camp spilled outside to find out what had happened. Once outside they found Steen bloodied and broken, without Sojar. It was obvious from his condition that he barely made it back. Saar arrived and immediately took over the care and signaled for a few of the men to carry him in and place him by the fire. Steen’s breathing was ragged, and there was a slight froth on his lips. He was immediately placed by the fire, and then Saar did a quick examination while he ordered some items, and then he shooed everybody away saying that until he had a chance to really check the injuries that it would do none of them and especially Steen, any good to hang around. Turning around to leave Saige spied Sorrel and she was white as a ghost. Looking over at Shellian he saw that she was looking with concern at Steen and was about to leave. Going over to her he said. “I think you need to go talk with Sorrel. She looks really bad right now and I think she’s going to need some support.”

“What do you mean? She’s been really strong throughout this . . .” Turning and looking at Sorrel she said. “Oh . . . I see what you mean. Of course I’ll go comfort her.” She then left immediately and was at Sorrel’s side with her arm around her shoulders. She led her away and then out of sight. He knew that when she found out what was going on with Sorrel she would pass it on to him. Right now he needed to know what had happened out there, but knew that it would be some time before any answers would be forthcoming. He glanced over where Saar was working on Steen and then at Steen and realized that he was out cold. Shaking his head, he needed answers and he needed to know where Sojar was.

* * *

It was hours later when Saar came to see Saige. Shaking his head Saar said. “I tried to save him, but without my equipment that I had available in the city there just was no way. He had internal bleeding, and I think a broken rib had punctured one of his lungs. All I really could do was comfort him while he slipped away from me. It’s a miracle that he got back here at all.”

“Did he tell you anything at all? I’d really like to know what happened.”

“It was pretty garbled, but I think I got the jest of what he was trying to tell me. First off he said that it was their fault that it happened. Both of them got careless since they were getting close to the camp. I think that’s why he made it back. They were only less than a half-day’s hike and were eager to get back. He said that they didn’t find what they were sent to locate, but that there had been a great number of tracks from the grazers, which in his mind meant that they were on the move. Plus while he had to admit that he had coupled with Sorrel it had become plain as time had continued that she was favoring Sojar, and he her. So he thought that soon Sorrel would not be offering her body to anyone but Sojar. He said that they had stopped and had not considered where they had stopped since they had felt safe. Then like down below when that predator attacked us and missed, another one or maybe the same one attacked them and had grabbed Sojar, and at the same time it’s shoulder had hit him hard in the chest. He said all he got was a glimpse at the creature and it was huge. He said that it was gone and he heard Sojar screaming as the predator disappeared and suddenly the screams just stopped, and he knew that Sojar was dead. When he tried to get up he hurt everywhere, and he felt broken up inside. He knew that he was severely injured and was trying desperately to get back here to both get help, and to hopefully live. And that’s about it. After that he sort of just went back to sleep, and never woke up.”

Looking down at the small fire he had built, Saige thought. We’ve been so careful. We made it this far without any serious injuries or death, and winter is almost over. Now in one incident we lose two. I wonder if that predator was following the herds and saw the two of them. Heck all of this winter we haven’t even seen any sign of the beast. Other than the large tracks we found lower down we’ve never even seen one. Now what? “Thank you Saar. I know that you did the best you could.” Shaking his head he asked, “Why now? We have almost beaten our first winter here.” Then more softly more to himself than Saar he again asked. “Why now?”

“I know that you really aren’t asking me that, and even if you were I have no answers for you. I’ve been asking that question . . . what’s that?” He asked when there appeared to be a sound of approaching people. Their tone was ugly.

Schylar came over from the far side of the cave with eight others of the group. There was triumph written all over his face, and with a sneer he said. “We’ve put up with you, your sister, and you Saar, and even though Stone isn’t here he is included in this.” He then pointed to Seirra and said. “You, since you have been sweet on him can join them,” which she quietly did. Saige could see the fear in her eyes and realized what was coming down. Schylar had convinced the rest that it was time for a change in leadership and any who had been in the inner circle of the present leadership would have to go. “We’ve not liked the way you have been leading us for a long time. And now your leadership has caused the death of two of us, so we decided it was time for a change. In the morning the five of you will leave and never come back.”

Softly Saige said. “Don’t you mean that you’ve decided Schylar? It has been obvious all the way back when the city was first attacked that you did not like the way Shayne had done things. And he then proved to you that he was right. But even that did not sit right with you. It has been obvious from the beginning that you have wanted to be in charge. Isn’t that it?” He then looked over the rest that stood with him, giving them a hard stare.” He could tell they were uncomfortable with the action, but at the same time were unwilling to go against him. Then to the group he said. “So that’s the way it is.”

Schylar answered. “Yes Saige that’s the way it is. If I had my choice I would have put you out tonight to fend for yourself, but they convinced me to wait until morning. So at first light you will leave, and from that point on you will not return under threat of death. It’s just that simple.”

Saige knew that they were outnumbered even if four of the group were women carrying. But it would do no good to start a fight since it was obvious that sometime earlier that they had taken all of their weapons so that they were now unarmed. It would serve no purpose since Schylar had somehow convinced the rest that he would be a much better leader. So taking him down now would not change the feelings that had grown against them. “To prevent any others from getting hurt we will do as you demand.” Then turning to the rest again he said. “I really hope you know what you are doing. Because I think you are putting yourselves in a very bad situation.” Then turning back to Schylar he asked. “Are at least going to allow us our share of the food, and some of the weapons, or is that going to be denied also?”

Sneering again he said. “Of course, and that has already been done, and as far as I am concerned your getting more than you should. I would have put you out with nothing.”

Looking at him in pity now Saige said softly, “I’m sure you would, I’m sure you would. Anything to cement your power, and it would be easier just to kill us off, wouldn’t it?”

“Enough! Everything that needs to be said has been. We will see all of you out of the cave in the morning. Until then have a good night, your last in this cave.” He with the group who followed him turned to leave when Saige interrupted them once again.

“Sorrel,” He asked gently, “You can join us and leave in the morning. I believe you would do better this way – would you do that?” Looking closely at her he could see that she was still quite white. She didn’t say anything, but the accusations that he was responsible for the deaths were in her eyes. She just turned and left. He knew that Storme had been working on the other women, and there would be no help or mercy there.

Shortly Schylar with the rest turned and left them alone, but they knew not totally alone. They were sure that there would be someone spying on them all night. “I hadn’t realized that it had gone that far.” Saige stated. “Did any of you sense it at all?” They all looked at him and just shook their heads. Taking a deep breath he continued, “I guess we have no choice. So gather your gear and join me back here. I do not think it is a good idea to be apart tonight. Just because we have been promised that no one will be hurt or killed we cannot be sure of it. So from this point on we need to stay together. And that is everywhere including nature calls.”

When he had stated it, they realized that he was probably quite correct. That any one of them could become victims and their injuries or death could be chalked up as an accident. So quickly they went as a group to each of their sleeping areas, collecting Stone and then gathered their equipment and returned to the area where Saige and Shellian were. “This is such a big mistake.” Saar said. “I am the only doctor. Don’t they know what they are doing to themselves?”

“No doc, I don’t think so.” Stone answered. “But when someone like Schylar makes this type of move he believes he is so much better, but we know that they have just doomed themselves.”

“I know . . . it’s just that I took an oath to heal and protect life, and they have knowingly just thrown all that away. I worry about these women, but even more about their unborn children. Yet, they all have thrown in with him.” Then shaking his head he continued, “I just don’t understand . . . not at all.” None of the others had any answers to give him.

* * *

And with winter almost over, their world comes apart. The two sent out to explore is attacked by one of those lone predators who are rarely seen. The predator kills one outright and leaves the second mortally wounded. The second barely makes it back to the cave and before he dies he lets Saar know what happened and that it was their fault as they had gotten careless. Schylar uses this incident to overthrow the leaders, and with the backing of seven others with Sorrel on the sidelines, they allow the disposed leaders one more night before they and the ones who have worked with them will be cast out. And with this we close out part two: Have a great week, and God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

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Time of Isolation, Chapter 9, Part 1

Two weeks ago we left the team with additional problems coming to light. They are running out of food. With this knowledge it changes the direction of the team as the leaders now must focus on finding additional sources of food. During this period we find Saige standing at the entrance contemplating all that’s happening when he hears someone approach. Believing it to be his sister he begins to make a comment and realizes that the person approaching is Seirra and not Shellian.

There is a brief conversation between the two, followed with the first real physical contact. This leads to a revelation, and before either can respond a rather loud argument is heard between some of the women. Saige breaks contact with Seirra and heads to the source and with help from Shellian breaks it up. But there are accusations flung about, and conclusions made that have no basis in fact. And with the argument over we end chapter 8. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, A Taste of History Past, and soon to be released, the novel The Harsh Lands, are/will be available from your favorite EBook retailer) And with this introduction and refresher we move on to the beginning of chapter 9:

Seirra sighed as she looked across the cave to where Saige, Shellian, Stone, and Saar were in deep conversation. It was at least seven days ago when the two of them had finally made the first physical contact, and Saige had briefly let down his guard. Then came that fight and since then he had avoided her. When he had held her it just felt natural and good and when he had the physical reaction to her closeness it had surprised her. And when she looked up she could see the surprise in his face also. But even that felt right. Now he was cold and distant. She remembered what he had said and realized that it was something she hadn’t considered – that any leader was under the watchful eye of the group more than any other individual. So somehow she needed to find a way to move this relationship further along. The one thing she knew for sure, that after her first real physical touching of him, and then the way he and Shellian handled the situation afterwards, made her more determined that he and she should be a couple. But now with what had been revealed could it ever happen? She took a deep breath and continued to work the skin into clothing and was at a loss as to what to do next. She had to find a way . . . she just had to.

But she now also knew that it was obvious what her feelings for him were. Shaking her head she thought. If I could only have controlled my emotions and not have blushed like I did. And I know it had to be really bad since my face was hot both times. Now not only does he know but so does everybody. And while it was true they were not a couple and they had not slept together, from her reaction, the rest, even with the denial, could easily assume that she had. Again what could she do?

Glancing over briefly from their meeting Saige knew that he wasn’t being fair to Seirra, but he felt that right now he had to keep his distance to reinforce to the rest that there had been nothing going on between them. But the rumors of their relationship kept coming back. If only she hadn’t turned so red when the accusations were thrown out, he thought. But at least he now knew what Shellian had told him was quite true. No doubt that Seirra wanted to be with him. But for now it just couldn’t be. Turning back to the other three in the group he said. “Sorry, a little distracted, what was it that you asked?”

Shellian smiling back at him said, “Never mind dear brother. We can see that you are distracted, and you have been through much of what we have been discussing. So why don’t you just go over there and talk with her. It’s out in the open anyway. Not that anything has really happened between the two of you. But with the rumors and stories flying around here, the two of you have been coupling for quite a while. So why not just make those rumors come true? It was obvious to all that she really does have feelings for you. And your denial, while I know it is true, didn’t fly with the rest. No, I’m not talking about Stone or Saar who are our seconds here, but the remaining ten, well I don’t know if all of them do, but the majority appears to believe it. And Storme, with the encouragement of Schylar, is pushing it for all it’s worth.

“It’s obvious that Schylar is trying to drive a wedge between you and the rest. And while we all knew it, this is the first time he has come out in the open to push like this. If you think back to when the attack first came back at the city he was the one who was questioning Shayne. Of course Shayne had confronted him and made him go up and view that attack. But he has always been a pain, and he has always wanted to be the leader. Although I know that it would be a disaster if he led anyone.”

“Yeah”, Stone said, “he is the greatest of leaders in his own mind, that’s for sure. But it would scare me to death to have him in charge of anything. Incompetent really is too weak of a word, but it’s the one that comes to mind right now.”

“Anyway this is off the subject. We need to get our teams back out and locate that possible geyser area. It quit snowing about two days ago and so far the suns have been shining. But there has been no heat in them up here. So I am hoping that shortly it will warm enough to allow the next team out. Hmmm . . .” She said as she was looking at her notes. “It appears that Sojar and Steen are due to be the next exploration team out. So where do we need to send them? I know the information that we got from . . . ahhh . . . you know who, was pretty vague. But at least we know the general direction they had traveled since it is written in our logs. Of course this trip out is to try and locate those possible hot springs. If found and the grazers are there, then we can send in a hunting team. Any that we have sent out so far have come back empty.”

“I think we probably should have them go out in the morning. We can’t wait very much longer. Food isn’t an issue yet, but from what we have discovered it will be soon and I don’t want us to reach that point. Do any of you have any better ideas?” Saige asked

Pausing a moment, Saar asked, “So how long should they be out before reporting back in?”

“Good question. It seems to me that we were running one-day explorations at the time, so I would guess two days only.” Looking around at the others Saige asked, “Does that sound good?” He looked around at the other three once again and they nodded their heads in agreement. “Okay with that solved what do we do with this deteriorating situation here in the cave?”

* * *

With it announced at the supper meal, Sojar and Steen prepared their supplies to leave at first light. Looking around at the rest of the group Saige could see suspicion on many of the faces. Shaking his head, he really had no idea how to defuse the growing animosity against both he and Shellian. Yet somehow it had to be done if they were to stay together. Again shaking his head he wondered if maybe it would be easier to just let the team fall apart. But he immediately put that thought out of his mind. Shayne had trusted the two of them to keep them together, and no one said it would be easy. He knew that there was only so much one could do when trapped within a cave for this long winter. So it gave time for such rumors to fly, to build, and to be believed. It did not matter that there was no truth, if repeated often enough, they took on a life of their own and became the truth. So he knew that for the present that he could not, would not, make any move to reinforce these rumors. That left Seirra out in the cold so to speak, and he hoped that she understood why he had to do this for now. With the coming of spring and the work that spring would entail he felt that much of this would just flow away as the ice did when the spring rains hit – something about busy hands, if he remembered correctly. Tired he decided to go to sleep. While there may have been idle time for many there had been none for him and he had to admit he was tired. Tomorrow would bring a whole new set of problems, and they hadn’t cleared the ones from today. Oh well, he thought, tomorrow is another day.

 

He was up before dawn to give last minute instructions to the outgoing two. Pointing out on their rough map he made sure that they knew to cover some of the earlier explored areas. They had to find where the grazers spent the winter. Standing outside the cave in the cold morning air with their breaths coming out like smoke, created by the crisp clear air, he watched them until they were out of sight. It would be two days before they returned. Then it would be time to put out the next team. So far they had been lucky. Other than the incident of falling into that old lava tube there had been no serious injuries. All he could do was hope that with winter nearing its end that it would remain that way. This first winter here in the mountains had been rough. They barely had time to prepare for it, and now with winter still upon them, they were beginning to pay the price of insufficient preparation. Even though it was very cold out, for the moment, it really felt great to be out and in the fresh air. It helped clear his mind, and since the cave had been closed up it had begun to take on an odor all its own. And it was not the best of smells, but he found that one got used to it. It was only when one came out into the fresh air did one really realize how bad it had gotten inside the cave. One thing for sure when spring came, there would have to be a major cleaning and airing out. Right now it stank of bodies not bathing enough, urine, dirty clothing, smoke, and who knew how many other things. So lingering outside to watch the suns rise over the horizon, he finally chilled enough that he needed to go back in to get warm.

* * *

For Seirra that brief physical contact only confirmed her desire to be with Saige. Still with the situation as it is, he has since kept his distance. With the confrontation over, and the resulting conversation with the verbal combatants and the leaders she’s learned things she hadn’t been aware of and now has a better understanding as to the whys. It doesn’t make it any easier.

For the  leaders they have to make decisions that affects everybody, and with a decision made, they decide to extend the time away for the ones out exploring, and searching for that elusive food source.  Being responsible Saige is at the entrance as the two prepare to leave. With last minute instructions he watches them until they are out of sight. He finds the cold crisp air refreshing, before the chill drives him back inside. And with this we close out part one. Have a great week, and God  Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

The Harsh Lands, Available in November

theharshlandsWith chapter eight “in the books” so to speak and with chapter nine beginning next week, it’s time to present the “between chapters” post. And here I thought I’d talk about the next novel I’m releasing. The title of this novel is, The Harsh Lands. This novel is actually a trilogy all in one book. The name of the trilogy is Survival and consists of the three books I’ve been listing, and for which these posts have been originating from. In other words this first novel, Time of Isolation, is the novel the chapters I’ve been presenting here are coming from, and is the first in this trilogy. And no there are no plans of presenting the other two novels here at this time.

For this release I’ve gone completely through all three novels. I’ve updated and revised all of them. Originally books one and two were released back in 2012, with the third in 2014. In the past all my releases were exclusively EBooks, but not everyone prefers their reading materials this way, and I can understand that. I prefer hardcopy, (in reality paperback is my preferred choice) myself. Still when one is on vacation where reading may be one of the planned activities E-Readers allow you to pack as many as you like and only require that one small device. So there are advantages to both. And with future releases I’ll be including paperbacks with those EBooks, other than this one as the page count is too high to allow using POD (Print on Demand). And when I have the release date I’ll be posting it here on this blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and my webpage, http://www.fdbrant.com.

I’m a self-publisher, so all the costs, all the aspects of producing the final copy falls to me. There are obvious advantages, and disadvantages to doing it this way. First off, by being an indie author I don’t have the sources, or resources to run a full advertising campaign, or even the expertise to be honest. And I must incur all the costs, planning, and releases myself. And with the amount of new material being published every year to even become known is next to impossible. It has been stated that there are over a million new publications added each and every year. That’s a lot. So this means that with this amount of new material out there for someone like me to even be seen or become known is next to impossible (Not that this prevents me from trying).

Yes, there are many (probably too many) sources out on the net, and in the world to assist one in reaching their goals (for a price of course). And one of the things that is finite for most of us, and more so for an indie author, unless he or she has been one of the lucky few who happened to hit the right trend and their works were discovered, is finances. Money is pretty much nonexistent. And what you have you must be so careful as to where and how you spend it. For example my costs at this point for this release, and I’m far from done with these costs, is around $1000. And I don’t have that kind of money to be throwing around and spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

This is why I use as many free services as I can, such as this blog on the Wordpress side that costs me nothing. In truth I probably  wouldn’t be here, or on Facebook, or have a Twitter account, other than the fact that these are the only real avenues and sources I have to present to the world what I have available, and is out there. Yes, I maintain a webpage, and this isn’t free. I pay for the use of the server that my  site is on, and like on your home computer must maintain antivirus software which has an additional cost. Still I am responsible for the creation, and maintenance of that webpage. Again I cannot afford to pay a webpage designer to create and maintain my  site. This makes me, as the old phrase goes,” head cook and bottle washer”. It means that I must be, “A jack of all trades”.

As I have said in the past my writing style is, “meanwhile back at the ranch”, and according to the story the novels can be chapter, as this one, timeline, as in The Woman in the Snow, or episodic, as in the yet to be released, Unexpected, Unplanned, and into the Unknown. With, The Harsh Lands, my plan was to have it released by the end of October, but due to some minor technical issues it has been delayed. And for whatever the reason, many of my novels seem to end up being released in November, and with the delays I’ve faced with this one, it will be same.

Okay, enough on this. Since this worked out as I hoped, I’m including the cover image with this post so you will know what to look for. If Time of Isolation has been something you’ve enjoyed so far, then the complete trilogy is for you. Yes, I know, I’m a bit prejudicious since I wrote the trilogy, but I feel the story gets better as you continue through the series. In fact in the second novel you get up close and personal with the primitives. You learn of their world, their beliefs, their society, and actually the reason for their attacking the hidden cities. And yes we continue to follow all of the people from the first novel as they continue to face all those impossible odds, problems, and the truths they’ve learned.

Oh, I guess I should say that the overall length of this novel, the combined Survival Trilogy, is over 1150 pages, if it is a paperback. For whatever the reason an EBook has a smaller page count. Enough to cover a long weekend where one wants to read a good book. And again, personally, I think it is! And I’ll close this out with the back cover blurb. Still if you’ve been reading the story as it has been presented here in this blog, you already know what it states:

Their history spoke of a great war where their ancestors had left their lands, and created their hidden cities, deep inside the desolation. A place where no one could live let alone the tribes or clans. This great war returned the survivors outside the desolation to a primitive state. The primitives to this day continue to fight among themselves, with no apparent knowledge of their true advanced past. And because of the harsh lands where the cities dwell, they felt safe with their advances and their illusions. The cities knew they’d remain untouched, unknown, and undiscovered. Yet, something has changed and cities have gone silent. No warning, no sense of impending doom or disaster. Is it a natural catastrophe? Or is it something more . . .

And with this above stated blurb, this post, the presentation of Time of Isolation, within this blog, and the cover, this is the introduction to this release in the genre of science fiction adventure – the complete Survial trilogy that actually covers over a millennia of time. The Harsh Lands, a story of survival and triumph over overwhelming odds. A story where the unknown past becomes known. And with this revelation it changes all their lives forever. Have a great week, and God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

Published in: on November 12, 2016 at 7:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Time of Isolation, Chapter 8 Part 5

And with the links I’ve provided in the last few weeks, this is probably the most critical and important. Take heed to what is said, and understand there has been enough time since this testimony to completely modify and improve what is revealed. We need to understand what this means and how it allows individuals or the government to place whomever they desire into office. And for the voting public, understand that after the election, it appears that the results of the election are the true results, when in truth, the results of those elections are “fixed” and the outcome is already known before any votes have been actually cast:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky-YXvxYbck

And the problems continue to build as the knowledge of their meager supplies hit home. Saige, standing by the entrance, is running over their situation in his mind and believes his sister is approaching, so he begins to make a statement, only to realize it isn’t her. He turns and finds Seirra standing there and she is obviously  concerned. Unconsciously he reaches out and hugs her, and finds that this seems right.

Surprised by a second physical reaction he can see that she is aware also and she clings tighter to him. Before either can comment or separate they hear a heated argument between some of the women which has become quite loud. He breaks his contact with Seirra and begins to head in the direction where the argument appears to be taking place. And it is here where we close out part 4. (The Survival trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, A Taste of History Past, are all available from your favorite EBook retailer.) And with this introduction this week we close out chapter 8:

It appeared that their emotions were always on the raw edge, and anything would set one or another off on some tirade. While the cave system they were living in was not necessarily small, this constant chaffing from these imagined slights made it seem much too small. He arrived at about the same time as Shellian and they saw two of the women, Storme and Sabryn, ganging up on Sorrel. At the point where they had arrived, the argument or fight, had become quite loud, and anger had flared between the three of them.

It was obvious from the vindictiveness that was being thrown at Sorrel that they did not like her lifestyle and were letting her have it. He suspected that because Sorrel was free with her body that maybe she had coupled with their men. With no proof other than the fact that the two men in question had probably looked at Sorrel, it was still enough to make these women suspicious. He was pretty sure that nothing had gone on, and Shellian had been monitoring the situation closely. But Sorrel had one of those bodies that men just naturally looked at. And of course she knew that, and had taken full advantage of it. And because she liked an open free relationship she had not settled on any one man – making her the target of the three women who had. Plus it appeared that as the women got deeper in their pregnancies and their bodies changed to accommodate the growing fetuses so did their emotions, doubts, and it never took much to bring these doubts out. So looking over the scene he finally had to raise his voice to be heard. “Storme! Sabryn! Sorrel! Enough! Let’s end this here and now. Listening to the two of you, Storme and Sabryn, I think that you are making accusations where you have no proof, and we, Shellian and I have been watching things.”

Storme interrupted and said. “Right, and if you have watched things as well as you say you have then who is the father of her child? For all I know it could be my man Schylar or hers”, as she pointed at Sabryn. The way she throws her body around I wouldn’t be surprised if she has coupled even with you Saige.”

Before he could say anything Seirra said with much emotion. “No he has not coupled with Sorrel!”

Storme turned and faced Seirra and asked. “Why is that Seirra? Have you been warming his bed at night?” And with those questions asked Seirra’s face flushed red. Then in triumph Storme said. “So that’s the way it is.”

“No Storme that is not the way it is.” Saige answered. Although he knew that they would not believe him. But from Seirra’s reaction he now knew that she had wanted to share his bed, and that Shellian had once again been correct. “In fact, it seems that you are accusing any man including yours, of sleeping with any of the women, so is it you who is cheating on Schylar? Since I have found that the ones who usually make such accusations are usually doing it themselves, and because they are, they suspect that all are guilty of doing the same thing. Is that what it is Storme?” After asking he could almost see the truth in what he had asked. But he suspected that while it may be something she may have contemplated, he felt that it was something that she probably could not be successful at doing. Since she had a tendency to want to do what Sorrel had done so successfully she then felt that all would be that way, and because she couldn’t or wouldn’t, it frustrated her more that some other woman could, and then to have such a physical draw on her chosen man. “This ends now. We are not going to be throwing unproven accusations around just to heal our hurt pride. You two have no proof of anything you are accusing Sorrel of doing.” Seeing the rebellion in both of their eyes, he continued. “No, it ends here and now. We have to live together and while I cannot keep you from disliking each other, these confrontations are to end now.”

“So what are you going to do if we don’t want them to stop?” Storme asked defiantly.

Smiling at her he said, “Very simple Storme. It really is. You see we have no choice here. So if one decides that they don’t want to live with the rest then we simply will put you out. In this case it would include Schylar since the two of you have decided to couple. And with the discovery of these other caves there would be a place to send you. Does that answer your question Storme?”

Looking at his face and then at the faces of the rest that were now present she could see that he was quite serious but wanting to get the last word she said. “That may be so, but this isn’t over, and there may come a time when you and Shellian are no longer the leaders. I think then Schylar will be, and we will see who is put out.” And with that statement she turned and left, leaving Sabryn standing there by herself, with Sorrel still standing defiantly across from her. Saige had to admit even with her late in her second third she still was a beautiful woman, and would still turn the head of any man. Then gently he asked, “Sabryn, do you understand what was said here? Do you understand that with the way we have to live right now that it must be this way?”

With her shoulder slumping in defeat she just shook her head, sighed and said. “Yes, Saige . . .” Then looking across at Sorrel she said with strong emotion. “But She!” Pointing her finger at Sorrel. “She had better stay away from my man!” Then a little more softly she asked. “You two aren’t coupling are you?”, as she pointed to Seirra, and he.

“No . . . no Sabryn, we are not coupling. Although from Seirra’s reaction here I suspect that it is something that she would like to see happen eventually.” Once again Seirra’s face reddened. He took a deep breath and continued “I have not coupled with any as I have felt that it would look like I was using my position as one of the leaders, and to be truthful I have been just too busy to even consider a relationship at this time – so even the accusation of me coupling with Sorrel is really a joke. If any member of this group is under scrutiny it is Shellian and I. Since we are the leaders we are constantly in contact and observation by everyone. Don’t you think that if something was going on that all would be aware of it in a short time? And as far as Seirra goes, at the present we have barely had a conversation, let alone discussed anything about coupling or becoming a couple, so put that out of your mind also.”

At this point Sabryn just shook her head, and then like Storme turned and left the area where the confrontation had begun. Shellian looking around at the rest still standing there, with most looking down at the ground, she could tell that the rest were uncomfortable, she then said gently. “Okay, I think this is over for now. So let’s get back to whatever we all were doing before this outburst.” Then seeing little movement from the gathered group she said. “Let’s move, unless one of you wants to discuss something here and now?” Then looking around and making brief eye contact each shook their heads and then slowly drifted off. Shellian looking at her brother said. “I was afraid that something like this was eventually going to happen. Something about ‘we’ women who are emotional anyway, it becomes much worse during pregnancy. So I would be surprised if this did not happen again in some form or another. So dear brother be prepared. I suspect it will be very tough a number of times between now and when we will have new lives joining us. And then it probably will get worse.”

“Worse? I thought this was bad enough. How could it get worse?”

Smiling she said. “I can see you haven’t been around too many babies. The ones who will have these new lives will have their lives run completely by them. There will be too little sleep, distraction when they are away from their children, tempers, arguments as they come to terms with their offspring.”

Laughing he said. “You make it sound like it’s the worst thing that one can do.”

“Yeah I guess it does sound that way. But from what I have seen, well I know you have never been allowed around at birthing time. But all of us women share it. At that time there is much work, after all it isn’t called labor just for fun, much pain, and they say it is like trying to eliminate a large rock, and actually some tearing of the tissues, so don’t be surprised to hear screaming when it comes to that time. But after it is all over and the child is born then you can see that almost immediately that what the woman has just gone through is forgotten and all she can see is that child and the love for it just pours out of her very soul. I don’t know if I can explain it better than that, and I haven’t gone through this yet so I can only tell you from what I have observed.”

Silent for a moment as he took in everything she had just told him, Saige said, “Ouch! I guess we men are just on the sidelines and, well how can you women want to go through such a thing? I mean I understand why coupling. It is the way of life. After all if it hadn’t happened in the past we wouldn’t be here now. But knowing that you are taking a great chance to be on the road that will lead to being uncomfortable for the time that you are carrying the child inside of you and then knowing that sometime in the future you cannot avoid all that pain and suffering . . .” Shaking his head he continued, “Well I just don’t know if I could do it.”

“It’s all there, but there is also wonder . . . and I guess I really can’t quite come up with the words for it. But from the beginning, when you have sickness in the mornings letting you know that you are pregnant, which fortunately goes away in the first third, then in wonder you watch your body begin to change. Of course we are not necessarily happy about that, but it is part of life. Then comes the time when you first feel the baby move inside of you. It is an unbelievable and happy time. You know that your baby is alive and now you actually can feel and see it move. But as you reach the end of your third-third, you are tired, you feel like a large fish, you cannot keep cool, and because the baby is taking so much of the inside of you, you find that nature calls are very frequent. At this time you are very ready for this to be over, but still fear that time. So I guess that’s just about it. Well, then the labor starts, and you are scared, because you know it is time, and you cannot stop this until it’s over, and you have your new child in your arms.”

“Well for not finding the words I think you did a pretty good job. And you are looking forward to this sis? In a way it sounds like something that should be avoided.”

Laughing at him she said, “I think when it finally happens to me, and of course to whomever you eventually couple with, that you will have a different view.”

* * *

It is an interesting question that Saige puts forth. Being male myself I’ve assisted in two deliveries of our sons who are grown and on their own. I married into an AMF (Already Made Family), and she had two daughters from that previous relationship, so she had been through labor before. And it’s called labor for a reason. It’s tough and once it starts there’s no end until the child is born.

And when Shellian explains the process to Saige he wonders how a woman would want to  do such a thing. Why put oneself through such pain and agony? She attempts to explain it as best as she can, saying that it is something that has always been. And with the argument over, his sister’s explanation, and Saige seeing the reaction of Seirra, we close out chapter 8. Have a great week and come back for the “between chapters” post where I present a special post and announcement. God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

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