Jake and Mallory were at the point of running on fumes as they trudged wearily through the unending mountain wilderness. Dusk was setting in. On a couple of occasions over the past five or six hours, the rebels had had to conceal themselves in the bush as NAP helicopters scoured the ground trying to locate them.
“Hopefully we’ll make it home tonight,” Mallory said weakly.
“I hope so too. Not too struck on spending another night under the stars. Anyway, let’s rest for a minute.”
Jake and Mallory plunked themselves down on the forest floor. The forest floor was soft and covered in a blanket of pine needles. Mallory was beginning to have second thoughts about what she had done.
“It is my sincere hope that that man was a Christian. It would crush me to see anybody, even an NAP officer, spending eternity in Hell.”
“That’s exactly where each and every one of those bastards belongs,” Jake rejoined. “Seriously Mallory, those jackbooted thugs invaded our city, killed innocent civilians, suspended Habeas Corpus and the most pressing issue weighing on your mind is whether that piece of shit is in Heaven? Come off it. I’m not religious per se, but I do know that any true Christian would not be party to such evil.”
“Jake, do you believe in God at all? Were you ever a member of a church? I was raised in the confessional Lutheran faith, Lutheran Church Canada on this side of the border. We’re conservative but keep some of the liturgical traditions from Catholicism. We strongly believe in the Bible and are strongly opposed to such things as same-sex marriage and abortion.”
“That’s good to hear.” Jake, dog-tired, was hoping that he would be able to catch his second wind. “I’m a lapsed Lutheran. Haven’t been to church in ages. Parents took my sister and I growing up. That is until they divorced. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in a higher power but I just cannot, for the life of me, get into organized religion.”
Kevin had spent a good portion of the day constructing a timer with a fuse attached that could be set off via cellular phone. The fuse would enter through a small hole drilled into a foot-long piece of threaded water pipe. It would then be attached to a propane cylinder. While Calvin and Neil cleaned up the kitchen, Sarah Jane was getting tired washing clothes and old-fashioned way. That is, washing them in a metal tub and hanging them out on the clothesline in the yard to dry.
“How are you getting along?” Kevin asked her.
“Not too bad,” Sarah Jane replied.
“Do you still have your cellular phone?”
“Of course. We just took the batteries out of them as Jake had instructed.”
“I’m going to need one of them.”
Sarah Jane went out into the sheltered yard and began clipping the soaking-wet clothes to the clothesline. It was a warm, dry night. Stars dotted a pitch-black sky. Sarah Jane flinched at hearing a sound coming from the forest. The shadows of two individuals emerged into the open. Sarah Jane’s eyes lit up with joy when she saw who it was.
Before a worn-down Mallory even knew what was going on, her best friend rushed over and hugged her. It felt good to be back home safe.
“I wasn’t sure if you were coming back or not,” Sarah Jane said.
“We got our mission accomplished. Got my first ever kill.”
Sarah was immediately turned off.
“Mallory, what’s gotten into you? You’re not the same person I met two years ago. It’s like you’re becoming violent.”
“Sarah, regardless of how things work in your airy-fairly little world, we are currently at war,” Jake stated. “I watched as Mallory took out that NAP lieutenant. She did a damn fine job of it too.”
Kevin, Neil and Calvin walked out of the cabin.
“I see you made it back in one piece,” Kevin smiled as he greeted Jake.
“We made it out of there by the skin of our teeth. But other than that, everything is peachy. And you? How did you fair out?” Jake asked.
“I got the pipe bomb and timer finished,” Kevin stated.
“Kevin, I’ve been giving this quite a bit of thought. As you well know, we aren’t going to stay in this one location forever. Considering that we’ve already poked the proverbial bear, we’re going to have to relocate-and soon.”
“Where do you think is the best place to go?” Kevin asked.
“Up north. Possibly in High Lakes Basin or one of those provincial parks. Plenty of caves in that area to protect us from the enemy’s infrared capabilities.”
“Yeah, I guess we are going to have to do that,” Kevin replied. “It would be wise to start planning now.”