A Celebration of Life

At the beginning of February we joined family and friends in the celebration of life for one who has passed away. It is during such celebrations that one learns, from the many who knew them, who and what this person represented to each individually, and how many lives she touched. (And one thing that became clear is that she really loved people.) For us as we go through our lives this is something we really don’t think much about. Here I mean the influences we may have left on individuals be it positive or negative. And here in such a setting we begin to see just who the one who passed away was and the many she did touch. If we think about it we play many roles during our lives. First off it is as a child having to deal with our parents and siblings – let alone that bully down the street. Then from that time on these roles grow to cover the many different aspects that is us. And many times at such ceremonies we learn about a different side or aspect of the one who has moved on that we were never aware of, and can be surprised by what is revealed. It is important to remember that for most of us those influences we leave behind are generally unknown to us, and sometimes these influences are seen from afar leaving us with no idea that we’ve left this legacy behind.

I believe that a little background is necessary, especially from one who came into this family from the outside. In other words I married into this family, as my wife married into mine. Still with her family, whenever family gatherings were held it would be at her brother’s home. And his wife Pam would be gracious, always smiling as the hoards would descend upon her home and chaos would reign supreme. So it became a tradition, and they had a pool, so the children loved to go there since they could swim to their heart’s content. Pam would interact with all of us, with that infectious smile of hers, and she always seemed to have a good word for any and all who would invade her home – in a good way of course. So we would always have fond memories of our time spent there.

What is it that makes a person this way? In many ways to find the answer is beyond me. If we had more like this woman, then there would be less strife, less commotion, less ill feelings, probably less demands, and maybe in the end a better world because of it. She, like the untold millions, will never be remembered beyond her family and friends, leaves a legacy that will be hard to follow or to live up to. No she’s not an angel or is she a perfect individual. Still what she had would give any of us a lofty goal to attain.

While this isn’t true of all men, most of us want to protect our women, and strive to do so. If we honestly think about it, because of the demands of the modern world, this protection is more of an illusion than fact. Because it requires both individuals in a relationship to work, it means a good portion of any day we are separated from our mates and then they are beyond that protection we want to provide. Still as the years pass by us, much too fast to be honest, we reach a point in our lives that we know that one of us will pass on before the other.

And if anything, the statistics show that it is the fact that women generally outlive men. So we, as men, try to make sure that if we are the first to pass on we leave our spouses in such a way that they won’t have to depend on others to make it through the day-to-day routine, and much of what is required will be taken care of and provided. And because her husband Dan, my brother-in-law, had almost died from the very same cancer years earlier, he felt – no, he knew he’d pass before she did. Only to learn, after doing everything necessary to make her time alone after he passed on, easy, it was not to be. It was discovered that she had a GBM, and it was already stage four. And two months later it took her life.

What can one say? What can one do? When all you have planned for, with the reality that you face knowing that it is you who will leave first only to learn you are completely wrong. Now it is he who is sitting in that lonely home after more than half a century of being together. How does one reconcile such a loss? At least for Dan, he has a loving family, and a rather large group of friends, who will continue to check in on him and assist him in his needs. And at times his home will be filled with the joy and laughter of his grandchildren – a blessing in itself. Yet on the other side of all of this will be the times when he will be alone, which are the toughest of all.

You see, when he learned of his cancer, none of his sons were married and if things held true he would not live to see any of his future grandchildren. And then within ten months all three were married, and as is the norm each added to the extended family, and he was able to enjoy those grandchildren. He was given the gift of seeing the future of his family, and the daughters-in-laws who joined his loving family. Since the cancer he has usually means that within two months he would succumb to the disease, in truth it is a miracle he’s still with us. In fact during the time of discovering the GBM he “flat-lined”. Yet here he is over six years later. Yes, all of us know that in the end it will take him for it is the nature of a GBM. It can only be suppressed and will return to finish what it started. There is no cure.

This leads one to think about the home they were living in as a loving couple and a family for all those wonderful years together. Any of us can relate to the fact that when we enter into someone’s home we can immediately sense the influences of the ones living there. Some homes invite you in making you immediately comfortable, and others leave you with the impression that the sooner one can leave the better. Theirs definitely is the former.

In the past I wrote a post dealing with a home, and how it goes through stages until sometime in its future it is replaced with something else. I looked at this from the point of view that when someone lives in that home it becomes a personal representation of them. And when you come to visit their history is there for you to see. And you know the warmth, the friendliness, and the love that is there. And I can say it is definitely here in their home. Still, sometime in the near future it will become empty as his time comes to an end as all of ours will someday.

Then, as family descends upon that home, with so many good and happy memories, slowly, as it is emptied of those keepsakes from the past, it will transform from a home to just a house, becoming vacant with nothing to remind any of all that has happened within its walls. Nothing to talk to any of the love, and joy that was there. No history of the past. At this point it becomes a blank slate waiting for a new family, and new memories to created. We all know it as the circle of life.

So what can really be said here other than the fact that we will see this happening right here in their loving home. When we are in the present, and we all live in the present, even with our ability to remember our past and attempt to see our future, this is something that is furthest from our minds. We love the time together as a loving couple, as a family and with friends. And at those special times we let the future become what it may. And then suddenly that future is the reality we are facing, and you see your loved one pass on ahead of you. And in most cases it is much too soon. Yet, in the end, all of us are only given so much time here. And the lesson we should take away from all of this is the fact that the most precious commodity we have, and we seem to do a great job of wasting it, is time. From what little I knew of her, Pam, like the rest of us, probably did waste a lot of time, but in the end before her time ended, she saw her children grow into responsible loving adults, and she absolutely loved her extended family and the growing family filling her home with the laughter of her grandchildren. And from her interaction, with that infectious smile, she held every one of these young lives in her loving arms. What will those same grandchildren’s memories of her be, well only they can say. Still from the images left for the future generations I’m sure it will be fond loving memories of their grandmother.

In this we cannot forget the adding of three women to the family, which had to be a nice addition for Pam since she had been surrounded by four males making her the minority. So to finally balance it out had to be wonderful for her. To have other women who became family must have filled her heart with joy. And for her the transition seemed effortless. Still, from what I can determine even towards the end you could see the love she had for her family.

And in the end we, in our time, will follow a similar path leaving memories of us with our family and friends. I guess the obvious question here is this: What will those memories of any of us be when it is our time? It is said that we die twice. The first time is our physical passing, and the second is when all who knew and loved us have joined us. At that point there is no one to remember or to know who we were. May it be for Pam, and Dan – when his time comes – that this second one will be a long time in the future. They truly deserve these loving memories. God Bless!

Advertisements
Published in: on March 25, 2017 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Time of Isolation, Chapter 10 Part 8

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 Saige fighting an inner battle unaware that Stone has arrived. Stone, because of his location, isn’t privy to the conversations between Saige and the four who were part of the conspiracy. Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in situations that may or may not be a result of our past decisions. And with no clear direction presented the chances are great that whatever the decision we make to alleviate this issue in front of us it will be wrong. And it is such a situation that Saige faced, leading to that inner struggle. As we know sometimes there are no right answers muddying the waters even further. Finally Saige realizes that Stone is there next to him and asks the obvious question. (The Survival Trilogy first edition is available from your favorite book retailer. And in the near future the first two: Time of Isolation – being presented here – and Desperate to Survive will become available as second editions, completely updated and revised and will be available in the three most popular formats: paperback, kindle, and EPub. The third A Taste of History Past is also available at your favorite book retailer, and as stated above the complete trilogy is available as a single book titled The Harsh Lands.) And with this introduction we close out chapter 10:

Not quite sure as to how to respond Stone paused before answering. “Saige, I’ve been here for a little while. Just what is going on here? I mean I could see all of you but heard nothing and now they are gone looking like death warmed over and you are like this.”

Sighing Saige said softly, “I sent them away.”, as he stared once again off into the distance. Why are these decisions so hard, and why am I having this internal fight? It really sucks to be in charge, and have to make the tough decisions. It would be so much easier to just follow. But I wasn’t given that option. And I guess the real question is, was I in the right to do what I just did? “I just sentenced them to death . . . they have nothing at all and winter is not over . . .” Was he really seeking revenge, or maybe retribution for what had happened to Sorrel? But the longer he thought the more he felt that the decision that he had made was wrong. These people had once looked up to him for their direction, but with what he just did he was no better than the leaders who led the conspiracy. Shaking his head he said. “Stone, I just don’t know. When I sent them away it seemed right at that moment, but now . . .” He trailed off once again.

Helpless and not sure what to do Stone stood there and waited. He knew that if they did not go after them shortly that there would be a good chance that they couldn’t catch them, and with night approaching they would be easy to miss. None of them knew the area that well, and the cameras were not set up for night vision. So once the suns set and darkness arrived, then there would be no tracking or viewing. He knew that they would probably try and push through to the cave but again he knew that it really was too far to go. Especially in the condition the four of them appeared to be in when they slowly passed by his hidden position. “Saige, we need to go get them before they completely disappear. We need them as much as they need us. Just what did they tell you anyway that led you to send them away?” Looking at Saige he could see that he wasn’t going to get an immediate answer since that far away look was still in his eyes. Stone could tell that he was fighting something deep inside of him.

Saige looked up and then at Stone and asked. “What did you ask? Sorry Stone but I am trying to make this right in my mind – to understand what happened here and to come to a right decision.”

“That’s all well and good. But if we wait too much longer then we will have lost the opportunity of going after them and bringing them back. And losing that opportunity in the end may weigh heavier on you, then you standing here frozen out of any action at all. Come on! Let’s go get them, unless there is a specific reason or danger from them that you haven’t told me. Is there?”

Shaking his head he said. “No.”

Grabbing Saige by the arm he said. “Okay then, let’s go and prevent another tragedy here, and one that we would in the end regret.” He needed to get moving as too much time had passed and with each passing moment the four were getting further away and increasing the odds that they would miss each other. Then Saige seemed to have come to a decision, looking into the eyes of Stone and said. “Okay, Stone, you’re right. Let’s go find them and bring them inside.”

* * *

When Saige had refused them it was a complete shock, although not completely unexpected. In silence the four of them, feeling death upon them, left. Not one of them turned around to see what Saige might be doing. Now time was against them. While winter would be over soon, it wasn’t now and they needed to find shelter for the night. They were too far from the cave to be able to get there and traveling at night in this unfamiliar broken land was not an option. So they began to search for a place off the trail where they could get out of the cold winds that were beginning to blow. The two women had quietly been crying the whole distance, and there was little the two men could do to comfort them. It was over – finished, and who would have thought that it would have ended this way? Shortly they found a likely place to pull off the trail that was surrounded by boulders that at least broke the wind. Plus here they were almost invisible to any of the night predators that roamed these mountains. Seve and Staven left their temporary shelter to get firewood, while Starr and Sabryn stayed. The two women went through their meager supplies, and knew that they barely had enough for this night, let alone the time that was left until the end of winter.

Eventually they had a small fire, and by choosing this location they and their fire would be invisible unless someone was very close. With a voice filled with failure and dread Sabryn said. “I was hoping . . .” Then taking a deep sobbing breath she said, “I was hoping that they would take us back. It really was our last chance.” It was silent for a while as no one wanted to speak, and what she had stated summed it up quite well.

“Yeah, I know. But what did we expect? I mean we threw them out, so why should they care about us? Are we not getting exactly what we deserve?” Staven asked, not expecting any answer. Again it was quiet. Now what could they do? There was no food, and no place to go. No time to find their way back down the mountains where they were sure it was now spring, it appeared to be completely hopeless, and thusly the deep silence each with their own thoughts. Again with the silence both Starr and Sabryn began to softly cry. With all the strife, and difficulties that they had endured up until now they had been ecstatic when they found they were carrying new lives inside of them, but now it wouldn’t matter. Whoever these new individuals were, they would never become, live, or have a chance in this world, and these thoughts were tearing the two of them apart. Staven and Seve could only watch helplessly as their women cried. And to know why, and to be able to do nothing to change it, ripped them apart inside. It was as if a dark fog had settled over them and even the light from the fire could not penetrate the despair that the four of them felt. Let it end, and let it end quickly, but even here they knew better. They were not the type to take their own lives, but ones to fight on to the very end. What truly was to become of them?

It was now fully dark and the cold closed in on them. With inadequate clothing and bedding they got as close to the fire as they could, but the fire did not appear to be putting out much heat as they shivered with the increasing cold. The wind had increased and every time a gust would find them they would try to huddle even closer together. It was going to be a miserable night and none of them were going to get much sleep. They felt that if they tried that there was a good possibility that they could die from exposure anyway. Maybe that would be the easy way out. Just let the cold take them, but once again they knew that they would fight – fight for life. But why . . . why not just let it end here? There had been so many more when they had started on this journey, it would be easy now to just join the many who were no longer with them, the ones who had perished along the way. They had thought that they knew so much, and would be able to go through anything and come out alive, but now they knew better, so why not let the cold take them? It was during these thoughts that they suddenly realized that they were no longer alone. Turning around they found on either side of them Stone and Saige. But even seeing them stand there initially did not register. They were too deep in their misery and self-pity to realize what they were seeing. “Are the two of you real?” Starr asked incredulously.

Stone and Saige looked at each other and then at the four and then Stone said softly. “Yes we are real. Now gather what you have and follow us. It is much too cold for any of us to be out here tonight. We have better shelter not too far away. Would have gotten to you there earlier, but we could not find the place where you had left the main trail up here. In the failing light of dusk we missed your point of leaving so had to carefully backtrack once we realized that you had.”

Still not believing what they had both seen and heard Sabryn asked. “Are you sure? Are you sure you want us to come with you, and that both of you are nothing more than a wish for something different and that I’ll wake up and find it all a dream?”

“No Sabryn”, Saige said softly, “this is not a dream, although it would be nice to find out that this whole adventure that we are living was no more than a dream, and I would awake back in the compound thinking – wow it seemed so real. But it is real and so are we. Now let’s get moving before it gets any colder.”

* * *

As we close out chapter 10 we follow both sides. With Stone’s urging they decide to go after the four that were sent away. Then we shift perspective and follow the four as their last hope at both survival and redemption is dashed and taken from them. As they head back down the trail, and with the lateness of the day, they decide to pull off the trail and find a sheltered area to wait out the coming of a very cold night. And as night descends so does the temperatures. The four feel, with everything collapsing around them, that there’s a good chance they will not survive the night, which includes the two unborn. It is at this lowest point that Saige and Stone finally locate their hidden camp, and it takes a moment for the four to realize they are there and are being rescued. With this we close out chapter 10. Next week I present my “between chapters” post. Have a great week and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

Time of Isolation, Chapter 10 Part 7

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.

Sorrel remains in critical condition and there seems to be slight signs that she has turned towards recovery. Still in the end this could be only a brief turn and she still could die, furthering the tragedies the team has faced. Unknown to her is the fact that she has lost her unborn daughter as her body determined it would have to be this way if she is to have a chance at surviving.

Meanwhile, as if this isn’t enough of a problem for the small team to face, Saige and Stone have been monitoring a group of four from the original scout team who are part of the conspiracy that threw the five members out of their original winter lodging. And with three members totally involved in trying to save Sorrel that only leaves Saige and Stone. Eventually the conspirators work out the trail and Saige leaves to confront them and to learn what their intentions are. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past, plus The Harsh Lands as described above are available from your favorite EBook retailer.) And with this introduction is part 7:

Looking them over, he could see that none of them had their weapons even out of the sheaths. And from his observation there did not appear to be any interest in bringing their weapons to bear. “Yes, but just be careful. I don’t want something to happen to all of you because one of you got careless.”

“No problem Saige . . . and we understand.” Seve responded. The four then slowly turned around and faced Saige and he immediately saw their surprised reaction when they saw him. After all, he was no longer in the animal skins but the disposable clothing from the facility. He obviously was well fed, and clean. Silence reigned for a short time while both sides sized each other up. Once again Saige could see the poor condition that they were in. “Okay would one of you please explain why you are here?” Sabryn stepped forward and before any of the others could say anything she signaled them to be quiet.

She then said, “Saige, first off let me say personally I am sorry for what transpired back in the cave. Storme and Schylar convinced us that they would be the better leaders. Every time any of you would do anything he or Storme would show us how it could have been done so much better if only they were in charge. Eventually they convinced us and then the five of you were ejected. Now looking back I can see it was a mistake. From that moment on the two of them did nothing but demand that we wait on them hand and foot, and continually remind us that they were in charge. They started to be more demanding and put more pressure on Sorrel and were demanding that she and Sajan live together. Sorrel wanted nothing to do with it. It was then, as retaliation, they began to hold food from her. So in desperation she left, snuck out. We wanted to go and get her, but now the three of them demanded that we stay. Somewhere and somehow once again they ended up with most of the weapons and we were at their mercy. Then once again they started rationing out the food with the three of them getting the greater amount, while the rest of us got next to nothing. No matter how we reasoned or pleaded it was to deaf ears. So the four of us got together when we could, and decided that like Sorrel we had to get out of there. So, on some excuse each of us went outside of the cave at different times on different errands and then never returned. As far as I know the three of them are still there in their kingdom with no one to rule. I, for one, am glad to be away from them.

“Then once away we could only go in the direction that the five of you, and we suspected that Sorrel went. But all we ever found were tracks in the snow. Some of them newer, which we assumed were Sorrel’s, and others that were much older which we guessed, were you and the others. We were afraid that we would come upon Sorrel’s body because at the time she left she was in pretty bad shape. Her tracks confirmed that also, since they weaved a lot. And we just followed the tracks and here we are now facing you.”

At no point during the story, as it was passed on to him, did Saige interrupt. Then shaking his head he asked. “So what is it that the four of you are wanting of us? After all you were part of the group responsible for kicking us out. Why should any of us care what happens to any of you now?” He was asking hard questions, and he knew it but he needed to know if they could be trusted enough to be able to bring them inside the facility, or just to leave them to themselves and the elements. There was silence and a look of defeat on their faces. He waited and still silence. Then taking a deep breath with his hands on his hips he asked. “Well, is anyone going to answer me or are we going to just stand out here and enjoy the sunshine?”

“What is it that you want us to say Saige?” Seve asked. “We all have paid a heavy price for our belief in Storme and Schylar.”

This angered Saige. “No, not close to the price that Sorrel has paid. All of you have cost her, her child and maybe her very life. Right now she is fighting for that . . . and how she will be after this ordeal is anybody’s guess. So, not one of you have come close to paying the debt that you now owe at least to her.” He was mad, and wanted them to know it. So as he had stated the facts he put as much of his feelings into the statement as he dared. He could see them flinch under his hard questions and statements. “Again why should we bring you back into our group? What is to prevent you from doing what you did again once you have recovered?” Again he could see the complete slumping of their shoulders as his hard words and questions struck them. If they had appeared defeated before, it was nothing to how they looked now. They looked at each other and without a word turned to leave, with no obvious place to go. It struck him to his very soul to see it. Should he invite them in or just let them go to what he knew would be their deaths. He watched them as they began walking away with indecision riding him. Did he just let them go, or what? He had no answers. And because of this indecision riding him and the war within himself as how to solve this dilemma, he was frozen to inaction. After all they had come close to killing them, and now if he let them go he would be putting the sentence of death on them. Damn, what I am supposed to do? I really don’t want them to die out here. We were put in charge of these people, but they rebelled. But if I bring them in they could again. They were almost out of sight as they headed back towards the cave again with complete defeat in every step they took. Not once did they look back. For them it was over, finished, and they could not change anything. This warring going on inside of him continued to freeze him into inaction. One side saying, that they were only getting what they deserved, and the other saying, that they had learned their lesson – why let them die?

Stone, from his position inside the facility, could only see the interchange between Saige and the group. From the animated movements the conversations had to be somewhat heated, but suddenly he could see complete defeat in the four, and defiance in Saige, and then something else. He could see the four leaving and from a brief view of one of the women he thought he could detect a tear running down her cheek. Just what had happened out there? Saige appeared to be frozen where he was standing with his arms crossed. Once they were out of sight he quickly got down from his position and headed outside to find out what happened. As he approached Saige he saw that Saige was just staring. There was an obvious battle going on inside of him, and Stone was not sure that interrupting him right now would be a good thing. But he needed to know – what happened out here? Standing there he could see that Saige was not even aware that he was there, what to do? “Saige,” he spoke softly, “Saige what happened? I could see all of you but could hear nothing. Why are they leaving and having the look of death on them?” Expecting an answer all he got was silence. And still Saige stood there silent and far away.

So are you going to lower yourself and become what Schylar and Storme did to you and the rest that are with you? Saige thought. Or are you going to admit that you are wrong here and go get them. You do know that you just sentenced them to death. It was obvious that they had nothing, no food, no additional clothing, and no real weapons, almost like you did when you were thrown out. Does this revenge really make you feel good? After all that’s all it is. And if it does what does that make you? He was so deep in the internal fight that he did not even see or hear Stone approach. Finally through the fog of the inner struggle he heard Stone ask him something. Seeing him stand there made him jump slightly. “When did you show up?” He asked in a distant voice.

* * *

This week we deal with the conversations, hard questions, anger, and the decision to send the conspirators away. During all of this Stone can only see what is happening but not hear what is being said. So what the conversations between the two sides are is an unknown. Eventually he sees the four leave and it is obvious from their body language that they are defeated, and so much so that there is the fear of death upon their shoulders since what seems to be their last attempt at redemption has failed. Stone arrives where Saige is standing and sees he’s fighting some type of inner struggle and is completely unaware that Stone is there. Eventually Saige realizes that Stone is with him, leaving him to ask the obvious question. And with this we close out part seven. Have a great week and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

Time of Isolation, Chapter 10 Part 6

Before I get into this week’s post I’d like to mention my son who I’ve encouraged to begin his own journey in writing. We have always been impressed by his natural ability to write. A little background here is probably important: When he was young – very young he had a reaction to the DPT shot, and his development stopped there. It was at the time where one begins to speak, but for him it stopped there, and the speech therapist felt that sign language and maybe six words is all we could hope for. Yet if you met him now you’d never know that any of this happened. And with his history again one would think that such a severe reaction at such an early age would leave him handicapped in many areas, but again if you met him you’d never in a million years know that such is in his background, So as he begins his journey as a writer – not that he didn’t begin this a long time ago – here is the link to his blog. I suspect you will be impressed by his ability as much as we have been: http://practicalpersonality.com/2017/03/02/one-knew-nothing/

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.

As we close out part 5 last week we find that Sorrel is still barely clinging to life, and unknown to her she has gone into labor and will lose her unborn child. Meanwhile both Saige and Stone are monitoring the approaching group hoping that they won’t work out the trail that Saige attempted to confuse. Yet both know that what work Saige performed will be no more than a delaying tactic. (The Survival Trilogy: Time of Isolation, Desperate to Survive, and A Taste of History Past, plus The Harsh Lands as stated above are available from your favorite EBook retailer) And now on to part 5:

Still no final word from the infirmary, and the brief contacts they had still placed Sorrel on the edge of death. She had finally aborted and her stillborn child had been a girl. He could see with the brief meetings with the two women that it had affected them deeply. Both were crying at the loss, but really couldn’t say much – From such a good beginning another tragedy. Just when would they end? Maybe with the death of all of them, and then the silence of this facility would return, quietly waiting until it once again was rediscovered. Watching the monitors both Stone and Saige could now see that the ones they were monitoring had met once again back at the cave after following the false trail and were now heading in their direction. All the delaying actions were now over. At least the trails leading into the facility had cameras covering the whole distance. They would know when to be ready to face them, and it would be today and towards evening. Saige sent a voice message to the infirmary to bring them up to date, and then a tired Saar answered voice only. “I think we are close to a resolution here. There have been some subtle changes that could mean that she is going to recover. But it is still very much in doubt. I wish I could send you some help, but this still requires all three of us. And to be honest one of the girls is asleep right now, and the other is quite exhausted. There has been absolutely no chance to be away from Sorrel. It’s just that close. If we were not here, then she would have died, not that that outcome couldn’t still happen, because it could. But at least she has a chance now. But I just don’t know how she will be mentally when she finds out all that has happened. I know, we’ve got to get her body healed and then face that later. Good luck, and I mean that. All of us in here are counting on what the two of you do. And when this is over I think I’ll sleep for at least a day myself.” He then signed off and it was quiet once more.

The two of them looked at each other for a moment. Stone had to agree it would be nice to have all this nastiness over with but it continued to be with them. “That’s good news, I think. I mean at least there is a slight sign that she’s made the turn to recovering. Okay Saige how do you want to handle this?”

“I really have no idea. I think taking a wait and see position for now is the best. If they come up and do not find the side trail that leads through the hologram, and just head up to the edge of the cliffs, then they will probably just head back thinking we had to have gone in a different direction, no matter what the tracks show. Since the other side was a false trail, they might come to the same conclusion. After all we were exploring in many directions when this place was located by accident. Whoever placed it here knew how to hide things. I did notice that there are a couple of places built into this facility that allows defenders to be above any hostiles. So if it looks like they are coming this way I guess you and I will have to go there. Until then . . .” He trailed off and shrugged. So far the four that were approaching had only been seen from a distance, so no real intent could be assessed. Why only four instead of the full seven?  Again, no answers. “Stone, I’ll cover here for the next couple. Head out, relax, get something to eat, or whatever. Then come back and I’ll take a break. Once they get close we’ll both be here and monitor the situation, and if it appears they will be heading for the facility then we will go and meet them.”

* * *

Evening was approaching and after monitoring the group up close and personal, Saige felt that they were not looking to attack anybody. In fact they looked tired – whipped actually. There was a sense of depression that lay on the four. Their body language seemed to say, we give up. What had happened back there since they had been kicked out? Whatever it was couldn’t have been good. Since right here in this facility they had Sorrel and she was in serious condition, and now these four, while healthier than Sorrel, did not look much better. Turning to Stone he said. “I don’t know about you but I don’t think they are here to attack us. They look like hell, defeated, and at the end. Go up to one of those points for defense. I think I am going out to meet them and see what I can find out. No I’m not going out into the open where I can become a target, but something is just not right here. I mean look at them.”

“Yeah they look pretty bad. But it could be a ruse.”

“And that’s why I need you to be where you can watch the whole thing and defend both me and the facility if need be. If one of us doesn’t make contact and they continue to work the area, then they may discover this place when we are not quite as prepared as we are now. Yeah I know, just two of us is really some preparation.”

“Got a suggestion Saige, let’s send the image to the infirmary since both of us will be away from the security office, and that way they will know what’s happening.”

“You can do that? I didn’t realize that these images could be transferred.”

Shaking his head and smiling Stone said. “Yes, it’s in the manual, although it wasn’t easy to find. I think whoever worked here in the past probably was trained for it, so some of what is in the manual is not explained, but assumes that whoever is reading it is familiar with the subject.”

“Saar, this is Saige. The ones outside are close. We are leaving the security office now, and Stone will transfer the images from here to the monitor there in the infirmary so that you can watch from there. Hope to be back shortly.” Stone and Saige then left the security office not awaiting a response from Saar, and headed for their different positions. Saige would wait until he got a signal from Stone saying he was in position before heading out. And then carefully make the approach to the ones outside. At no point did the group of four approach close enough to a hidden camera to be recognized. Both Stone and Saige thought they knew who the four were, but until Saige was close enough to positively identify them they would wait. Saige waited at the top of the platform until he got the signal from Stone that he was in position, and then waited for the signal that he could see the approaching group. He knew that they were getting close, but not so close that they would be there immediately. So the waiting dragged on for what seemed like forever. Then he got the signal from Stone and left the facility through the hologram and carefully worked his way towards the main trail, if it could be called such, which he and Shellian had followed in what seemed so long ago.

With the countryside being as broken as it was here, there was no problem finding a place to remain out of sight and to be able to observe the trail. Shortly he heard a conversation and knew that they were now approaching his position. He continued to observe as they came in sight, hiked even to where he was, and then continued on apparently completely unaware that he was there. What he saw disturbed him. They, on closer inspection did look like hell. He recognized them immediately. Although he had to be sure he was right. As they were quite dirty, appeared to have not eaten well, and the two women in the group both pregnant looked drawn and tired. This definitely was not a war party. Taking a deep breath Saige asked.” What are the four of you doing here? And do not turn around as we are watching and have you covered with weapons.”

He could see their reaction in the scrunching of their shoulders, but then when they recognized the voice their shoulders slumped. “Saige? Saige is that you?” Starr asked. There was a trembling in her voice and he could tell that she was close to tears.

Then in a softer, gentler voice Saige answered. “Yes, yes Starr it’s me.”

“Thank the stars and heavens!” She exclaimed. “We have been desperately looking for you or Saar or any of you. Can we turn around?”

* * *

With the comments coming from the infirmary, there is slight hope that Sorrel has finally made the turn towards recovery, but it still could end in tragedy and her death. Meanwhile the group that Saige and Stone has been monitoring have worked out the trail and is approaching the rediscovered facility. And it is obvious that either he or Stone must go out and face the conspirators. And Saige decides that it will be him with Stone monitoring the situation from afar. The four in the group then pass the hidden location where Saige is watching from. And once past he confronts them. And we close out this week when Saige makes contact with them and the first words are spoken between the two sides since the conspiracy. Have a great week and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

%d bloggers like this: