The group members came to an agreement that it was simply too risky to stay where they had been for close to a month-and-a-half. Over the previous week, the guerrillas had been busy moving whatever provisions they had to their new location, the entire time constantly at risk of being spotted by the enemy. It was more than an hour north; an abandoned mine located between the Trans-Canada Highway and Wells Gray Provincial Park. Although the mine wasn’t quite as cozy as the cabin had been, it was a much better location in the sense that it was very isolated. In addition, the interior of the mine, where the group would be living, was quite expansive.
The mine had two entrances; a small opening in the west-facing side of the mountain where an unknown mining company had closed the operation more than three decades earlier and a large entrance that would enable the freedom fighters to drive vehicles in and out. By now, each of them was quite familiar with almost every back road and trail that ran through their particular area of the vast wilderness. The evening before, Jake, Kevin, Sarah Jane, Mallory, Calvin and Neil had stored all of their food, ammunition and explosives on shelves in the cool dryness of the old gold mine. On a recent foraging expedition, Kevin and Calvin had found a working generator as well as an entire tank of fuel in an abandoned country estate. Having finished up a busy morning, they group sat around eating a lunch of canned soup and bread.
“I sure hope we can get that generator up and running,” Calvin said. “This has been the first time in my life that I’ve had to live without electricity.”
And you’re surviving alright?” Jake said.
Neil finished up the remainder of the soup in his bowl.
“I wonder how old Shamus is doing. We ought to take a jaunt over to his place again soon,” Neil stated.
“No, that’d be too risky,” Jake said. “Unless this guy is completely off the radar, the authorities will most likely be monitoring him as well. We jeopardized our safety going there the first time.”
At that moment, Sarah Jane and Mallory climbed down from the blanketed-off room they’d made for themselves on the loft. Both young women were carrying bags with shampoo and towels in them.
“Where are you ladies off to?” Jake asked.
“The lake,” Sarah Jane replied. “God, it’s been at least a week since any of us have washed.”
“Alright!” Calvin exclaimed happily. “Neil and I will join you momentarily. We finally get to see you girls in the flesh.”
“Not a chance in Hell!” Sarah shot back at him. She pointed at her breasts. “I wouldn’t let you see these for all the money in the world.”
Not long after moving to their new home, the rebels, upon one of their hikes, had discovered a small lake half a kilometer or so away. The thin flip-flops Sarah Jane and Mallory wore on their feet provided scant protection from rocks that were strewn liberally amongst the narrow hiking trail. It was an amazingly bright and sunny afternoon. Hot but comfortably dry. By the time the two reached the shore of the lake, they were sweating. The sun caused the lake’s shimmering blue waters to sparkle. The snow-capped peaks of nearby mountains were reflected in the lake. The entire scene was so tranquil and inviting.
“This is place is just beyond beautiful. It’s a travesty that a war is going on all around us.” Mallory had a hint of sadness in her voice.
“It pains my heart too, Mal. All we can do is just survive the best way we can.”
Sarah Jane took off her flip-flops. She dipped the big toe of her left foot in the water. The chilly temperature caused her body to react.
“Is it cold?” Mallory asked.
“It’s a known fact that many of the lakes around here are glacier-fed,” Mallory stated.
Sarah Jane and Mallory quickly took off their clothes until they were wearing just bras and panties. Sarah Jane slowly entered the lake. Soon, she was up to her waist. Mallory, nervous, was hesitant to join her.
“Come on, Mallory.”
“It is at first. But once you’re in, it only takes a minute or two to get used to it.” Sarah Jane dunked her entire body in the lake. Seconds later, she emerged, shocked but invigorated. “Woah! That’ll definitely wake you up after a long night of partying.”
Mallory ever-so-slowly entered the water. The shock of the water hit her. Sarah Jane began soaping her body as her close friend made her way over.
“The lower half of my body is numb,” Mallory said.
“You gotta dunk your head under.”
Mallory took a deep breath.
“Okay, I’m going to do it.” Mallory forced herself to go under. “That’s so cold!” she shrieked as she emerged.
“Here you are,” Sarah Jane said as she handed the bottle of body wash to Mallory, who began rubbing it all over her.
“I wonder how Bobbi, Marcia and Arianna are doing,” Sarah Jane said as she and Mallory floated on their backs.
“I haven’t heard from any of them since the end of school. Hopefully they’re safe. Arianne lives all the way out in Atlantic Canada. Saint John, New Brunswick, I think. Sarah Jane, imagine us years from now. Old women telling everyone what we did to help restore freedom in North America.”
“I’ve already done my part,” Sarah Jane replied. “For a while, I was basically a professional protestor,” she said with a laugh. “But I will not use violence to achieve my goals. Violence is something that stands against everything I believe in.”