Time of Isolation, Chapter 10 Part 5

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

And it appears that the tragedies continue to fall upon the remnant of the scout team. When Stone enters into the cafeteria he encounters Seirra who has been crying. The news from the infirmary isn’t good and it’s obvious that Sorrel will lose her child if not her life. Meanwhile and unknown to the ones who are desperately attempting to save Sorrel’s life, there appears to be a group heading up the trail that leads to this recently discovered facility. And with this knowledge Saige heads out and attempts to cover their tracks making it more difficult for those approaching to locate where they are presently. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past, and as stated above – The Harsh Lands, are available from your favorite retailer.) And with this we close out last week and open with part 5:

Coming over to her he offered her his arms, which she gladly accepted. Then once again while in his arms she began to cry all over again. They stood there silently while the tears flowed, and finally when they stopped she said. “Thank you, thank you Stone. I really did need a shoulder and someone to hold me. And Saige wasn’t here.” Then taking a deep breath she said. “Look, if Sorrel survives this she’s going to need some serious support. I know that both Shellian and I will be there, but I suspect that someone like you would be a good thing also. Now don’t give me that look that you don’t think so, I know better than that. It will be a shock to her when she learns of her loss, and it is something that could cause her to give up completely. We . . . we can’t have that. There are so few of us now and to lose any more of us would be so devastating.”

Silent as Seirra talked, his first thought was, the last thing he needed was to become involved, but as she talked he realized what she said was very true. He also suspected that when she finally met with Saige that she would say much the same thing to him, if Shellian didn’t beat her to it. So taking a deep breath he said. “You’re right, and I, we, can’t afford any more losses. I’m sure the reason you are here is to take a break and get something to eat. Well, so am I. I’ll go get something from the kitchen for both of us. Once I get back I need to tell you something also which is not going to improve your mood.” Seeing her about to ask he held up his hand telling her to wait, and then headed off to the kitchen to get something for them. It just goes from bad to worse. But there is nothing we can do but see this through. Oh well, Saige was right in worrying about the others trying to find us and now with a pathway almost to our door, and with everything that’s been happening – well I don’t know if we will survive this. Enough! Shaking his head he needed to keep his thoughts more positive. From one individual set of skills and as a group they had survived and would continue. Grabbing the disposable plates he brought out the food to the two of them. “Seirra here you are, and I’ll grab a couple of glasses of water. Look, the situation may be getting worse. We, Saige and I, are tracking four of the group who threw us out. And with the trail that Sorrel left and then when we went and rescued her . . .” Shaking his head before he continued. “A baby could follow the trail that we left. So it will be no problem for them. Saige went out earlier and tried to confuse the trail up to the entrance on the top, but how successful it will be I just don’t know. So when you go back into the infirmary pass it on. I’m sure that the three of you are taking breaks one at a time. And from what you have told me this appears to be something that will involve all of you for quite a while. So Saige and I will continue to monitor the situation, and if it gets serious, not that what’s happening now isn’t, then we will come in and inform all of you or at least put it over the system. But until then just pass this on and worry about what the three of you are trying to do.” She picked at the food, eating a little of it, but he could see that everything that was happening was bothering her. “Look you need to eat, just as I do. If you don’t then you’ll start to weaken and then you may find yourself in the same situation as Sorrel. No not pregnant and about to lose your child, but if she wasn’t as ill as she is then there could be a great possibility that she wouldn’t – lose her child that is. So if you don’t eat you could become just as ill. Besides if you don’t I’ll sic Saige on you.” He finished the statement with a smile. He had just finished his meal himself. “Okay, I’ve got to go back to the security office. We both are there, so if something comes up, you or any of the others can find us there.” He left and entered the security office and then related that he had met Seirra in the eating area taking a break and that he had passed on to her what they knew at this moment. “Anything new since I was gone?”

Shaking his head he said, “No, nothing. I’ve not learned to read lips and they are only facing the camera now and then anyway. Plus I haven’t taken much time to scan this manual yet. It’s quite thick, really thick. Anyway the four of them appear to be arguing about something. You can tell from the animated movements and the facial expressions. I don’t know if it has to do with staying there before continuing or something else. It really sucks not having any voice. It sure would make this easier and either increase our tension or make it go away. We really have no idea of what their intent really is, and that is a real bother. I guess at least at the moment with them still at this cave we know that they are still far away from us. So again, what did Seirra relate to you?”

“First let me say that she was depressed, and it’s understandable. Sorrel is deathly ill, and right now it is touch and go. She stated that Sorrel has gone into labor and it’s much too early, so she will definitely lose her child. But as bad as that is, Saar is worried that she may not make it either. So from what I could gather, the three of them will be in there with one taking a break now and then, until she either dies or the crisis is over. So we will be on our own – I know great timing. So once again because of the pending situation we are once again outnumbered by our opponents.”

“I know I said it earlier, but does it ever get any easier? Here we find this facility and I feel that finally something has broken our way only to see that once again we are facing unknown dangers and unpredictable problems. I just don’t know why, and I just do not understand any of this. Okay Stone, I guess enough on this, look I’ll continue to cover this for a little while longer. Head out and get yourself some air, and maybe relax for a while. Come back in four hours and then with that change we’ll continue to switch off every four hours. That way at least we will be more alert. Does that work for you?”

“You’re the boss, and I think it will work out fine. Maybe in that time you might find out more about this security system.”

Smiling and shaking his head once again Saige said, “One can only hope . . . yes, one can only hope.” Then taking a deep breath he said, “Now go and get away from here for a while. See you back in about four hours then.” Stone nodded in agreement turned and left the office and was gone. Saige then turned back to the monitors and saw that the four, who they had been monitoring, seemed to reach some type of agreement. From what he could see it appeared they were going to stay there. It made sense really – as the day was close to over and there was no need to be traveling in the dark. But not knowing what had been said or why they were there he had no idea what their need or agenda really was.

* * *

For the next two night and day cycles the ones in the infirmary continued to minister to Sorrel. While Stone and Saige continued to monitor the group heading their way. At this point they had traveled to the last cave. From there they were less than half a day away from the facility. As he suspected, the tracks that had been left in the snow made it easy for them to follow. And it would have been obvious to the group that at some point that Sorrel would have picked up some help. At the time that the two had rescued her, there had been no thought of or way for them to cover their trail, and now it was coming back to haunt them. He knew that once they had reached the final two caves those additional tracks would reveal more of them. So with Sorrel at this point, there would have been at the least, five sets of tracks. He had backtracked to the first or last cave earlier and tried to hide the trail that he and Shellian had taken on that fateful day of discovery, and later that same day the rest of them, to this hidden valley. He tried to make the path that Saar, Seirra, and Stone had taken to be the one they all had taken. But with some work it would not take the four of them long to figure out that, that was a false trail. All it really was more of a delaying tactic. And once they figured out the correct direction both he and Stone would need to be in the better position offensively.

* * *

Do the problems ever end? With a force greater than their own it leaves the two of them vulnerable. The other three team members are desperately trying to save Sorrel’s life and cannot assist. So this leaves this problem to Saige and Stone. And because of the need to move when they rescued Sorrel, there was no thought of covering their trail or their tracks, and now it’s coming back to haunt them. So, for now, it’s a waiting game hoping with what little Saige could do to cover their tracks, in the end, it will be successful. Have a great week, and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

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Time of Isolation, Chapter 10 Part 4

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

After returning to the rediscovered facility Saar has taken over the care of Sorrel while the rest of the team takes a break. It is during this time that Saar returns requesting the assistance of the two women. He states that Sorrel is close to death and will probably lose her unborn child. And for the team this means that the tragedies are still coming and appears to be never ending. This leaves only Saige and Stone to cover while the other three attempt to save Sorrel. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past, and now in a single novel, The Harsh Lands, are available from your favorite EBook retailer.) And now onto part four:

Stone reached the security office and found the door wide open and the room vacant. He had expected that, and so entered and began to monitor the area. He saw Saige leave and then followed him as he entered the meeting room, and watched him as he exited that room to go outside. He hadn’t said much, but it worried him that Saige had felt so personally responsible for what had happened. He could tell that it weighed heavily upon him. Shaking his head, he knew that he had no answers and from what was happening in the infirmary, the tragedies were still coming. While he knew from observation that Sorrel appeared to be a strong woman, he did not know what the loss of her child, following the loss of the one she apparently loved, would do to her. While, from what Saar had said, she would lose her child, would they then lose her too? He looked back up at the numerous screens and then consternation furrowed his brow. Could it be? Turning to the intercom system he paged Saige to come to the security office, and continued to monitor the screens while he waited.

In a very short period of time Saige arrived breathing hard. “What’s up Stone?” He asked.

Pointing to the monitor that had rotating images from the cave system on it Stone just said, “Watch. It will take a moment for it to come around again but I need you to confirm what I thought I saw. I think this is the first cave past the one we wintered in.” They both waited while the images of the other caves flowed past and finally the one he was waiting for flashed on the screen. “See!” But then the images moved on. “Darn! I haven’t figured out how to lock this on the images I want. Do you know anything about it?”

Shrugging Saige said. “No, not yet, but remember we’ve not been here very long and really haven’t had much time to figure anything out yet. But I think I saw what you did. We’ll wait until it comes around again and see if they are still there.”

“Do you think that they could be looking for Sorrel?”

“I don’t know . . . just not enough information here – but from the brief look I think there are only four of them and two of them are women. Again because it was so brief I cannot even tell you who they are. Wait . . . it’s coming around again.” They both concentrated on the monitor as it once again flashed briefly on the cave before moving on to the other cameras. “Yes definitely four of them. Darn! Wish I knew how to stop this so we could really look.”

“Know what you mean Saige. Now what? I mean we don’t know if they are out just to hunt for more food, or are they trailing Sorrel, or what their intentions are at all.”

Shaking his head before saying anything, he stated, “Okay Stone, I guess all we can do is continue to monitor their progress and see if they head our way. The only good thing we have right now is that we are equal in numbers with that group, and they have no idea that we can watch them or that this facility even exists.”

“That’s true, but it hasn’t snowed and I’m sure the trail that Sorrel left will be plain as day, and then when our tracks show up, they will know that we are out here and that we came and picked up Sorrel . . .”

“. . . Which means that they would be able to follow our tracks right back to here, great! Another problem while we are dealing with this serious health issue.” Shaking his head Saige continued. “Okay, point taken, but for the life of me I don’t know what to do about it right now. At least the way into this place isn’t obvious. I’ll go up and brush away any of our tracks leading to the entrance up top, and I guess all you can do is keep monitoring them. They are a couple of days away yet, and there’s still a chance they will just turn around and head back. At least we can hope.”

“Do you think we should inform the rest of them?”

Thinking for a moment, Saige shook his head. “No . . . no, they have enough going on right now, and really do not need anything distracting them. I know that Saar has turned off the camera and mic in the infirmary so I would have to go in person. I suspect that what is happening there does not need to be observed. And it is why he asked for Shellian and Seirra to assist him. No unless they appear to be a threat, we will just keep it to ourselves for now . . . Ah, anything else before I see what I can do to wipe out our tracks?” Stone just shook his head no. “Okay then, I’m on my way to clean up the tracks. Don’t know how long I’ll be gone, so I guess you have it here until I get back.” Saige left and headed out through the large cavern – a cavern they had yet to discover its true purpose – up the ladders and then out through the hologram.

He returned several hours later glad to enter the facility. The air still had a bite to it and to be back inside where it was warm felt wonderful. He immediately headed down to the security office to be updated by Stone. Walking into the office he found Stone waiting for him. “Saige glad you’re back!” As he continued to monitor the screens, Saige looked and was surprised. “How’d you do that?” He asked.

“This time, with the amount of time I would be spending in here, and knowing that there had to be a way to set this monitor to watching a particular cave, I just started checking things out. Actually found a manual buried deep in one of the cabinets over there. Fortunately it was a training manual that somehow had been left when they abandoned this place. Anyway the way this system is built, it’s set up to be able to stop at any particular cave you want, and when you do that, one of the other monitors takes over the role of scanning the rest.” Then pointing to the screens to make his point he then continued. “I’ve been watching the next one in the series that leads up here once they went out of sight from where I first saw them. Interesting stuff in this manual, I think we all need to read it. And I mean we can read it. This is another confirmation that we are dealing with our own ancestors here. Unless there was another common language on this world then this is just too much of a coincidence.”

“Yeah I know. I’ve kept trying to resist it and be skeptical, but there is just too much evidence that this place was built by our ancestors. But as to why I just don’t know. And was it built before the war or after? And why in the Sacred Mountains? There are just so many unanswered questions. So I guess the real question now, since I’ve been gone long enough, is . . . have they shown up at the next cave yet?”

“No, but it could be any time. I’ve been going between the two of them – the first one where I saw them and then the next one in line. Oh, it says in the manual, that at one time there were more monitors set up to watch the trails, but eventually they were removed since the primitives appeared to avoid the mountains except for an isolated hunting party now and then.”

“Okay, any word from the infirmary yet?”

“No, and no one has left it either. The monitoring system is active in the hall and has shown nothing at all. So I guess whatever is happening in there has to be very serious.”

“Okay Stone, I’m going to get something to eat and then come in and relieve you so that you can get a break. When I come back you can show me what you have learned. I’ll be in the cafeteria or lunchroom or whatever we are going to call it. If anything new shows up or the infirmary contacts you let me know.” He then turned and headed out. He hoped that the work he had performed outside would be enough. He almost turned around and headed back to the security office when he realized that he should have asked if the caves were wired for sound, but thought better of it and went to get something to eat.

Sitting alone there, all he could do was shake his head. Don’t things ever get easier, and why does it seem that the problems just continue to pile up? Well he had no answers for that. So with the meal finished he headed back to the security office. Stone hadn’t contacted him, and with silence from the infirmary he could only hope that it meant that it was still good news. As he entered the office he saw Stone staring intently at the one screen that had the cave system on it. “What are you seeing Stone?”

“I’m not sure as of yet, since the camera angle isn’t the best. But I thought a caught a flash of something . . . there! It happened again.” Looking harder and closer at the screen and with Saige joining him Saige asked. “Can you bring this up on one of the other monitors?”

“Yes, yes I can. Give me a sec here.” Stone then fiddled with some of the controls that were part of a pullout shelf and then on the far side one of the monitors that showed the valley changed to reflect the same image that Stone had. “There, now you can see if you can catch whatever it was I saw.”

“A pullout”, shaking his head and smiling, “Something I wouldn’t have even considered. Well, I guess it makes sense considering how tiny this place really is.” He then took the seat on the opposite side of Stone and began staring at the screen. Presently nothing was happening and then like Stone he caught a flash. Glancing over he could see that Stone had seen it also. Then before their eyes the four came into view. The two of them looked at each other and Saige said. “Well I guess we can now say that they are definitely coming our way. Okay for now I have it, so go get something to eat. Then when you are finished come back and show me how to make all of this work.”

“Ah, Saige I don’t know how to work all of it yet. In fact I’ve barely figured out what I have so far. But I must admit that getting some food would be nice. But this is becoming serious. I’ll go get something and bring it back here then I can show you what I have learned, and you can at least read some of the manual also.” He handed it to Saige. “See you shortly and no not a word from the infirmary.” Stone left and headed for the cafeteria to put together a small meal and when he arrived he saw Seirra sitting there. She appeared to be beat and down a little. She hadn’t seen him enter as her back was to him, so not to startle her he made some noise. She then turned and faced him. Yes, no doubt about it, she had a defeated look on her face, with puffy eyes showing that she had been crying. “Seirra, can you fill me in, or has Saar decided to wait before passing on anything?”

Shaking her head as she sighed, she then took a deep breath. “Stone, this is so tough – probably more for a woman than a man, since we carry the lives inside of us.” She began crying softly again just for a moment and then got her emotions back in control. “She’s definitely going to lose the baby. She’s still unconscious and not doing very well and she has gone into labor. I think it’s a situation where it will be either her or the baby and her body has made the decision that it will be the baby. But from what she looks like I can’t say that we are going to save her either.”

* * *

With everybody involved, instead of things looking up, it appears just the opposite. When Stone returns to get some food he finds Seirra and from observation can tell she’s been crying. He gets a update and the news isn’t good. Sorrel has gone into labor, and it’s much too early to be able to save her child. While Sorrel remains unconscious and is unaware of anything, which for her is probably for the best, the problems continue. And from what little Seirra can pass on there’s still a good chance they will lose her too. Earlier, back at the security office, the two – Saige and Stone – have begun to track someone coming up the trail, and what their intentions are is unknown. Still Saige heads out to try to eliminate any local tracks that could lead the ones they are monitoring to their door. And with this we close out part four. Have a great week and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

Time of Isolation, Chapter 10 Part 3

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Last week we left with Saige and Shellian arriving at the last (from their present location) of the caves finding Sorrel unconscious and in bad shape. It leads to many questions for which they have no answers. Their plight is complicated by the fact that they are now out of communications range and cannot relay to facility Sorrel’s true condition. So after some thought they improvise. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past, and now as stated above The Harsh Lands are available from your favorite Ebook retailer.) And now on to part 3:

The twin suns were rising in the sky and Sorrel had yet to wake. Her breathing had eased and she appeared to be resting now, but sometime soon they would have to try and wake her and move on to the next cave. They had no way to know if the message they had put on the wall was received at all. So once they began the journey back they would continue to try to make voice contact once again. The problem with these devices was that they were line of sight only. And in these mountains there were few places where it was line of sight. Both of them standing by the entrance looking outside were deep in conversation when Sorrel said in a very weak and surprised voice asked. “Where . . . where did you come from? When I found this cave I thought that it was the end. I was scared to death, but I had nothing left – just nothing left at all.” She then began crying softly which shook through her whole being.

Shellian immediately went to her side, put her arms around her shoulders and said, “It’s not important Sorrel, not important at all. We are here and we are going to do all we can to get you through this.” Turning to Saige who was still standing at the entrance she said. “Well, just don’t stand there Saige, get us something to eat. See if that broth we had prepared for her is still hot from our morning fire, we need to get some food into her now, and then move.”

“Sorry sis, I was just surprised that she was awake. Be right back!”

* * *

It was mid-morning before they could begin their return trip. Both Saige and Shellian took turns in supporting Sorrel. There was no doubt that the trip just to the next cave would take them all day. Sorrel had no strength at all, and leaned heavily on the two of them as they continued their trek. It was a miracle that Sorrel had made it as far as she had, let alone finding the path that led by the caves. The trip back to the next cave was an ordeal. Sorrel was now running a fever and ranged from semi-consciousness to short periods of ramblings about nothing at all. They half carried and half supported her the whole distance. It was now obvious to them that if they had not come to rescue her she would probably have died in that cave. It saddened both of them with that thought. There had already been way too much tragedy and death in their group, and to be close to that once again was something they did not even want to consider. Eventually close to dusk they saw the location of the cave in the distance.

As they got closer they saw two emerge and come towards them. As they got closer they relaxed recognizing Stone and Saar. Not that it was likely, but there had been a slight possibility that it may have been someone from the other group. Stone arrived first and said. “Here let me take over. I’ll carry her and Saar will monitor as we move.” Then looking close at Sorrel he continued saying, “She really looks bad. I hope we’ve gotten to her in time. I wonder what happened?” Then Saar joined them with deep concern on his face he studied Sorrel for a moment.

“Let’s get her inside. She really is much worse. We really need to get her back to the facility, but it is almost dark and we haven’t located any of the lights that we could use to see our way. So I guess we are stuck here for this night.” Then looking at Saige and Shellian he said. “You two look like your all done in. Look we have a fire going and food already hot. Why don’t the two of you go get something, we can handle this for now. I think we will be carrying her on a stretcher tomorrow.” Shaking his head he said. “I really did not think she was this bad. The screens surely did not do her justice that’s for sure.”

That night she never regained consciousness, and the next day they carried her on a stretcher, for which again, she was totally unaware of anything. Eventually, with all four of them rotating the job of carrying her, they finally reached the facility early in the afternoon. There they took her to the infirmary and Saar began to work on her. Seirra stopped by briefly before returning to the security office. Since she had been the only one left at the facility, she had locked herself inside the security office while they had been gone. Once the chaos was over they would again work it in shifts. Now Sorrel’s survival was in the hands of Saar, and in the inner strength of Sorrel. Saige, Stone, and Shellian headed for the cafeteria area to get a meal and to relax for a short time. “I really wonder what has happened to force her out like this?” Shellian asked.

Shaking his head Saige said, “I know you did not expect an answer, but I have no idea. Something must have gotten pretty desperate down there to make her leave.”

“You mean she didn’t tell the two of you anything at all?” Stone asked

“She was only coherent once and since then has either been unconscious or delirious. When we showed up she was out cold, and it wasn’t until later that she opened her eyes and asked how we had gotten there. But that was just about all. We all but carried her all the way to the cave where we met you and Saar. And from there she never regained consciousness. So in reality you know just about as much as we do.” Shellian said quietly. They all were silent for a while, and then Saige got up and started pacing. It was obvious that there was restlessness there, but the other two remained silent.

“I wish we could have seen it coming.” Saige said.

“See what coming Saige?” Shellian asked.

Waving his hands in the general direction from where they had come from, he said. “Oh that conspiracy that split us up. If we had then there is a good chance that we all would be here, and all the women who are carrying now would be better for it since there is better food and actually a place to take care of them. Instead we have what we have now – no idea what’s going on down there, one of the women running away from it and endangering her life . . .”

Shrugging she said, “Well we didn’t. And unlike some of the exercises we did back in the compound, we can’t go back and try again to get it right. We’ve been over this again and again, and we probably should have seen the signs, but we didn’t or if we did we ignored them with too many other things demanding our attention – so, quit putting yourself down for it. We have to live with what we have now and we cannot change a thing.”

“You’re quite right. I keep seeing Shayne lying there on his deathbed staring up at us, pleading that we take care of what was left of our small band, and then to have it end up like it has. I just feel like we have failed him, and ourselves.”

“I can understand that. But remember we are not the mother and father of the ones who are not here with us. So they had a right, at least as far as they were concerned, to do what they did. If they felt that our leadership was so poor, then they should have made it known. But as you know they didn’t. Instead they chose to do it the way they did, and any bashing you do of yourself is not going to change that at all. I know it’s a difficult thing, but we need to move on. We still haven’t been able to find out what caused the primitives to do what they are doing, and that was originally what we were to do. Instead we have been fighting just to stay alive. We’ve now been here almost through this long winter, and being isolated as we are, I have no idea what has happened down below. As far as I know all of the cities may have fallen by now or maybe only a few more. I think . . .”

Saar entered as she was finishing her statement and interrupted. “Shellian I need you now, and I’ve already grabbed Seirra. I think that Sorrel is going to lose the baby, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I need both you and Seirra’s help now if I’m to save her life. Hurry!” He then turned and left leaving silence and concern behind him. Shellian got up quickly and headed out of the cafeteria to head for the infirmary, leaving Stone and Saige alone. Saige, shaking his head, said, “I don’t understand it, I just don’t. We were doing okay and had made it through most of the winter when the breakup happened. While things were not the best, we were doing okay. Now there’s a possibility that we will lose another one, and from the worry on his face I’d say it’s a guarantee that she’ll lose the baby.” Then taking a deep breath he continued. “Well Stone, I guess it leaves you and me to keep the watch in security, so why don’t you go and take the first watch, and then later I’ll relieve you. I’m sure whatever the outcome from the infirmary we’ll know as soon as they know.”

Stone rose from one of the tables, and nodded in agreement, but did not say anything, heading out and towards the security office, leaving Saige completely alone. Once again taking a deep breath he thought. What’s going on? Is everything going to continue to unravel? Or will there eventually be some good news out of all of this? Looking around, his thoughts continued to flow. Well, I guess I have to admit that by finding this place that this is something in the right direction. But even finding this place was a complete accident. Then laughing and shaking his head as his train of thoughts continued, Yeah, an accident caused by an accident. Enough on this I’ve got to figure out what we need to do from here. I mean we really know very little about this place as of yet. He got up, and with no clear destination in mind, walked out of the cafeteria, and then found himself in what they were calling the executive meeting room. Sitting there at the large table he stared out through the windows to the outside world, finding that he couldn’t sit, got up and went outside to walk the small hidden valley to try and gather his thoughts.

* * *

With a difficult journey back to the facility, and with the additional help from Saar and Stone they are able to get Sorrel back to facility even with her poor health. And because of the speed that is required they have left a trail to their door that any can follow. And with Sorrel in the infirmary Saige complains about what has transpired up to this point for which his sister points out that they cannot go back and repeat like in those training exercises they used to do. It is here where they are interrupted by Saar as he requests the two women to assist him. He feels that Sorrel is close to death is probably will lose her unborn child. They head out immediately leaving Saige and Stone with Stone heading for the Security office, and Saige returning to the small hidden valley to continue dealing with his inner thoughts and issues. And with this we close out part 3. Have a great week, and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

Time of Isolation, Chapter 10 Part 2

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Last week we left the surviving team members rediscovering this abandoned facility hidden deep inside the Sacred Mountains. As each new discovery is revealed it only deepens the mystery. And with the discovery of the security office, and the fact that it still appears to be monitoring the abandoned facility they learn its true size and it is much larger than imagined. And with each new discovery it only leaves them with that same question – “Why is it abandoned?” During this time Saar is assigned to the security office to monitor the surrounding cave system. It is during this time he requests all the teams to return there and they learn of Sorrel and her plight, and decide to mount a rescue. With this we close out part one. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past, plus, as stated above The Harsh lands (which is also available as a paperback) are available from your favorite EBook retailer.) And now onto part 2:

The two of them had pushed hard to get down to Sorrel. At the same time they continued to test their portable communication devices to be sure that contact could be kept. Sorrel had shown up on the screens about mid-morning and it had taken another thirty minutes to get everything together. They fairly trotted to the first cave covering the distance in only a couple of hours, but the day was advancing, and they wanted to find her before night where it would be much too easy to miss her. Again, what had happened back there to make Sorrel take off with nothing but what she was wearing? And how had she been able to follow the almost invisible trail that had originally led them to the hidden facility? However she had done it, could she continue to do it? So far the information they had received back from Saar, who remained on duty back there, stated that she had found the cave and was presently inside of it. He then reported that the other two were attempting to figure out if there were listening devices set up inside these caves and tied into the security system, but so far they had been unsuccessful. So there was no way to really know what Sorrel’s condition truly was. But the images they were receiving did not give him much confidence. Sorrel looked pale and drawn, and from the images her breathing was heavy and ragged.

Saige and Shellian continued to push as the day rapidly flowed past them. Then Saar contacted them. “I think she has passed out. She hasn’t moved from that cave and she appears to have slumped over. You need to hurry! I really don’t know how long she has. I’m also giving this over to Stone so he will be your contact. I need to take a break and then go to the infirmary and prepare for your arrival. If it was only she to worry about it would be bad enough, but she is carrying a child, and with the stress she’s putting on herself right now, there is a good chance that she’ll lose it. I want to do all I can to prevent that from happening. Stone will keep me informed of your progress, and Seirra is preparing some meals while we are busy here.”

“Okay, this is Stone so I have it now. So how far are you from reaching the second cave?”

“I don’t know for sure”, Shellian replied between the breaths as she tried to catch her breath. “But I would guess that we are between the first and second from this direction, which would put us between the third and fourth from the other direction. We are still a few hours out, and with us trotting we are covering a lot of distance, with a lot to go, but we think that we will be there just before dark. I really hope she can hold on. What really sucks here is that we haven’t found any way to let her know that help is on the way. Yes, and I know right now she is unconscious so it wouldn’t matter anyway. But it’s just that if you know that someone is coming for you it gives you hope where there may have been none before.” Turning and looking at Saige she could read the determination in his face. She figured that hers looked much the same. “Well brother shall we pick it up again? At least there has been no new snow so that it won’t be hiding any new traps for us.”

“True, but I just thought of something that worries me. Like you, I have really enjoyed this nice weather, and am hoping that spring is just around the corner. But Sorrel is leaving tracks that will be easy to follow. And we are now doing the same thing, which means we will be leaving an easy trail for any to follow right back to the facility. And with this situation being desperate, we will not be able to cover any of our tracks. So we will be giving away our location.”

“Yeah, but what can we do, leave her to die out here?”

“No, you know me better than that. But this is putting us back at risk. It’s just another one of those things that makes it so much more complicated. I almost wish for a storm now to cover both her tracks and ours, but what will be, will be right now. She is more important anyway. Okay, done with our brief break let’s push on through this time. I think if we continue alternately walk and run that we should just about make it before dark. Darn!” Saige exclaimed, “I wish we had figured out if there is a way to communicate with the caves, it would make it so much easier.”

As they trotted there they received no new updates and hoped that no news was good news. Finally as the suns began to set and the shadows overtook them they could see the location of the cave in the distance. At this point the portable communications devices were becoming inconsistent. But at least they were able to make one final contact so that the ones at the facility would be aware of their approach. Of course they knew that shortly they would be visible on the screens as they came into the hidden camera’s range. And then finally, they saw the mouth of the cave. The communications from the security center now was almost unintelligible, but they could at least tell that they now were visible to them. Taking a deep breath they walked into the cave and found Sorrel half lying on the floor unconscious. She looked worse than the images had shown them back at the facility. Looking at each other Shellian said, “Now what? We won’t be able to move until the morning. Look I’ll set up a bed for her. Why don’t you go out and gather some wood and start a fire. I think we are going to have to nurse her back a little before the morning, and from what I am seeing here we will probably have to watch her closely tonight.”

“You’ll get no arguments from me Shell’. From what I see here if we are able to move tomorrow I suspect that it’s going to take us all day just to move up one cave instead of all the way back.” He began his way outside stopped, turned and then asked in a tone that showed he really wasn’t expecting an answer. “Shell’, I wonder what happened back there after we left? It had to be something really serious for Sorrel to take off like this with no preparation.” He then left to gather some firewood and to light a fire.

Once he had left, and under her breath more to herself she said, “Yes, Saige, I do wonder.”

It was a sleepless night for both of them, as Sorrel remained unconscious and continued to look pale and drawn. They had tried to get some broth down her but were unsuccessful. This was a very serious situation and now once again they were too far out to be able to communicate. If indeed they were able to move tomorrow then once they came back into range they would have to let them know of the seriousness of the condition. “Saige, do you have anything that we can write on? I know with our need to leave it was something I did not even consider.”

“Why sis?” Then he just said, “Oh.” He thought a moment and then shook his head. “No I don’t remember seeing anything like that. Maybe we could take one of the burned sticks and use the charcoal on the end to write on something. Then we could at least let them know what we need.”

“My thoughts exactly. Now, we need something to be able to write on, any suggestions?”

Looking around inside the cave neither could see anything that would work. Knowing from the view of the cave on the security screens they looked at the wall across from its probable location.

Studying it for a moment Saige said. “I wonder . . . be right back.” He then headed outside where the fire was burning grabbed a burned stick or two then returned inside. “Now let’s see if this can be seen.” He then tried marking the cave wall and with the soft glow and some experimentation he found the size of letters needed to be visible. It was going to take a few more sticks, and he knew that the message would have to be very short and to the point. Turning around he could see Shellian studying both him and what he was trying to do. “What do you think?” He asked.

“Well it’s a little hard to read but I guess it will have to do. What do you want to say?”

“This is a little more serious than what we first thought. So I was thinking that we need Saar to meet us at the next cave. It’s not something I really want to do, but neither you nor I are doctors and her condition is beyond us. I just hope that we can move on in the morning. I really have no idea if any of the others are following her or not. I just don’t like this.”

“You want to say all of that?” She said as she interrupted him.

“No just thinking out loud there, sorry, just these few words. ‘Need Saar at first cave tomorrow.’ I hope that’s enough.”

“Me too.” Then turning back to her patient, when Sorrel moaned softly, she said again with a slight edge of desperation in her voice. “Yeah, me too.”

* * *

Saige and Shellian push hard to reach the cave where Sorrel is. They know from observation and updates that she is presently unconscious, and from what little they can gather she is in bad shape. Eventually they reach a point where they are out of communications with the facility and when they arrive they find that indeed Sorrel is actually worse. With what they observe they know that Saar will have to meet them along the route if they want to keep Sorrel alive. So they put together a small message made of charcoal written on the wall so the cameras can relay the message. And with this we close out part 2. Have a great week and God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

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