Destruction Aftermath, Book 4 - Cover

Destruction Aftermath, Book 4

Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy

Chapter 11

June and Claire stopped and we tried to fade even more into the vegetation.

The same voice called, "Who are you two? What do you want?"

Claire responded, "We are from Flagstaff. We were rescued by an exploration group from Preservation in Georgia and are helping them look about in the area."

I could hear the words, "Preservation" and "Georgia," being discussed by the folks behind the barrier. I had the radio on and the transmit key pressed during all this. The buzz died down and the voice said, "Who is in your party from Preservation?"

"Janice and Bennie are behind us. The rest of the party is back at our camp."

"I am Will. I know of some people from Preservation."

I whispered into the mike, "Do you know a 'Will, ' Jim?" I released the key.

I had the speaker to my ear and heard Jim say, "Ask about Sheila. If she's there, or if Will knows her, that's them."

I whispered to Janice, "Let's go forward." We stepped out of the shadows and allowed ourselves to be seen. I walked up beside Claire and June. "If you're Will, how is Sheila?"

I heard a woman's voice. "Who knows my name, Hun?"

Only I heard it and I remained impassive as to the information. I wanted to find out what was next from the other side of the barricade.

"Sheila is my wife and is here. Who are you and how did you know her name?"

"Jim told me from camp."

I heard the woman say, "Jim, we haven't heard from him or anyone in Preservation in years. I think it's them. Let them in and let's talk."

"Okay, folks. You can come forward and we'll talk. If you're really from Preservation, then we can be friends."

We came forward with our hands open and not obviously close to a weapon. An opening was made in the barricade and we entered the camp.

A woman said, "Where's Jim? Why isn't he with you?"

Janice responded, "He and his wives are back at our camp with his daughter and grandson."

A tall man stood next to her and said, "Let's sit down and talk a bit. I'm Will and this is Sheila."

"I am Bennie and this is my wife, Janice. We're from Preservation. Claire and June were in Flagstaff and we rescued them from a group there who were holding them in slavery.

"We are looking for the Salt Lake people. Jim wanted to do that. So did Jack and Shirley but they are still the leaders in Preservation and couldn't get away. Their son, Mike, and his wife and child are in our party, also.

"Tell us. What happened to you guys? We haven't heard from you since you were going to leave Salt Lake City."

A few others were coming up including a gray haired man with close cropped hair... "I'm Jam Henderson and lead this group."

Janice gave him a hug. "Jam," she said, "it's good to see you again after all these years. I'm Janice and this is my husband, Bennie." She pointed at me.

His eyes brightened considerably. "Janice, it is good to see you. We've had some rough times but are now located here. There's only fifty of us and we're ringed by some bad groups who raid us. They take the women and children and any crops or livestock they can find. Moving is on our list but we are not sure where."

"Tell us what happened." Janice said.

He responded, "Where is the rest of your party?"

I responded, "They're taking it easy up at lake Pleasant Park. It isn't a big group; just a small party to look for you guys. We need to decide what to do. Do you want to come up to our spot or should we come down to you?"

"I think we will go up there. We haven't been there in years and staying here is not good. We are under heavy pressure from the east plus some from the south. We're almost packed for a move. We just didn't want to go north again and west is not through the best of land."

They spent the day getting ready and we all left the next morning with Janice and I in front and a large guard taking up the rear. The trip was uneventful and Mike and Jim met us part way with empty wagons to help speed the trip. We hid the evidence of our passing with a bit more care than before. Janice and I stayed out and watched our back trail for a while just in case. We saw and heard nothing for a long time. We were ready to start back when I heard something shuffle. I touched Janice's arm and looked in the direction of the sound. We waited silently. I heard and Janice saw a shape at the edge of the road. We had purposefully made marks to suggest we had continued north. The shape resolved itself into a man, who was furtive and fearful. Janice concentrated upon him while I listened for any others who might be following him.

He continued closer to the turn-off and continued on for a moment and then turned back returning to the junction. He cast around there for a minute and then walked down the road. Janice went to get in front of him and I readied myself to be on his rear for when Janice showed herself. After a minute or so, she did. He stopped abruptly standing at one side of the road. I said, "We don't want to hurt you so don't try anything and force us to do just that."

"He raised his hands palms out and just stood there. "That was pretty good, sneaking up on me like that. I thought I was good in the woods. You folks are real good, hide he trail well, too."

"Why were you following us?"

"They keep my wife and son to make me scout out people for them. They are east of here and are some bad people. They had me looking at those folk who were barricaded to look at their defenses. I think they were planning to attack. I can report back that you'll went west. It will help you some but they'll catch you in the end."

"How many of 'them' are they?" Janice asked.

"There's about a hundred fighters, pretty much all men. They move slow because there's a lot of women and children with 'em so they have to guard them as well as move 'em. It don't work well.

"My and my wife just want to be shut of 'em but they guard her and the boy pretty closely."

"Janice, let's sit a spell and talk this out. Maybe, we can work out a solution for you and your wife as well as for our group. What's your name?"

"Name's Caleb. My wife is Wendy and son's Jason."

"Okay, Caleb, let's get comfortable and see if we can figure out a solution to your problem that leaves us safe."

Caleb wanted to get away from the group but said his wife and son were hostage. We would have to deal with that issue with some reasonable hope of success. If we could do that, he would be on board happily. We talked about how to get his family out when his group was on the attack based upon another group's presence. That group left a small guard on duty when they were attacking. A small, well-organized party could be successful in charging in, taking the guards out, and rescuing Caleb's wife and anyone else who wanted to get away. Caleb wasn't expected back at any certain time so we checked in with Jim and Mike telling them what we intended and left with Caleb to set an ambush that our size group could handle safely and to look at their location and determine how to take out the guards and rescue anyone who wanted to be rescued

After going to the camp and looking it over, we decided upon a reasonable way to take it once the warrior group had left and only the guards were there. We found a place for an ambush. Caleb said that they didn't use point guards when moving to take another group. However, he had to walk with the leader. He might be killed before we could do anything. He explained that he understood the risk butt that his wife was raped repeatedly while he was gone and she would kill herself soon if he couldn't put a stop to the situation. We looked a bit longer and devised a small trap door that he could try to use and his sue of the drop would be the attack trigger.

The three of us returned to Pleasant Valley to talk with Mike and Jim. We met with them and with Jam. Mike and Jim did not want to get involved if we could avoid it. Even to rescue Caleb's wife and son did not justify starting a war. Mike suggested we try to sneak in, grab them, and sneak out. Jam was the only one willing to take on that group which he called the Marauders because they had killed some of his people in running battles over the past two years. After a lot of discussion and pleading from Janice, they finally agreed to do it. Caleb looked troubled and grim by all this. He could see that the rescue the only reason there would be an attack. After reaching that reluctant agreement, they went over planning for the attack. They liked our plan and enlisted everyone to help. We left a good guard to protect our non-combatants and set out. We had radios except Caleb as he worried that it would be spotted and cause problems.

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