The Defiant: An Unbeaten Path

BOOK: The Defiant: An Unbeaten Path
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                     THE DEFIANT

AN UNBEATEN PATH

BOOK TWO
THE DEFIANT SERIES

John W. Vance

Copyright © 2015 John W. Vance

No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

For information contact:

[email protected]

www.jwvance.com

All rights reserved.

ISBN:
10:
1514106477

ISBN-13: 978-1514106471

Table of Contents

PROLOGUE

Outside of Oklahoma City, Texas Federation

Not too distant future

Abigail paced the wood floors of the kitchen. The sun hadn’t yet graced the windows of her home, but soon would. Sleep had been impossible for her. All night she’d tossed and turned from the anticipation of answering questions she didn’t really want to answer.

It was natural for Alexis to want to know where she came from and who her father really was. She just hated that it was thrust on her at a time she didn’t choose. She had always planned on telling her, but as Alexis grew, it became more and more acceptable in her mind to put it off. Year after year she would rationalize a reason for not telling her, but deep down she knew she was making a mistake by not being honest with her. When pressed by her late husband’s brother, Phillip, to come clean with Alexis, she refused, citing that Alexis needed to be protected. His question was, “Protecting her from what?” It was a question she couldn’t really answer.

Abigail at first didn’t want Alexis to grow up thinking she had been abandoned, and with Samuel around, why confuse her. For all intents and purposes, Samuel was her father, daddy, dad, papa, etc. He was all of it for her and she knew no different. Telling her at a very young age would only confuse her, she had thought. But when Alexis turned thirteen, Abigail had thought about sitting her down and confessing, but she again thought it might confuse her.

It had taken Alexis a long time to come to grips with losing Samuel, and just when she was coming to terms with his death, Abigail thought it not a good time to tell her about Luke and what happened to him. The last thing Abigail wanted for Alexis was to feel she had lost two fathers.

All of it was confusing and no time ever seemed right, but regardless of all of her past refusals to tell her, it came up. Now she wanted to control just what information Alexis heard. However, that would be hard, as Phillip thought it best to tell children everything so that they be better prepared. While Abigail tried to protect Alexis, Phillip’s view was that a child shouldn’t be coddled. She didn’t do that with Alexis, but her instincts were to ensure she was shielded against unnecessary emotional burdens.

Abigail paused and looked out the window. The orange dawn glow lit the morning clouds and began to cast its light upon the rolling fields. She looked at her garden and the land she called home beyond it. This was her home and she loved it. Besides his deep love and affection, her house and rich land was one of Samuel’s greatest gifts to her. Samuel and Alexis had turned that house into a home and she would forever be grateful. She had several men to thank for her blessings in life, her father, Samuel and Luke. Sadly all three were gone, taken away when the storm clouds of a long civil war came.

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Alexis blurted out from the doorway of the kitchen.

The question jolted Abigail and brought her back to the present. She turned and smiled at Alexis. “Good morning, sweetie.”

Alexis sauntered in the kitchen and sat at a small circular table. She picked a tomato from the bowl that sat in the center and began to roll it from one hand to the next. “So why hide it from me?”

Abigail sighed and quickly took a seat at the table. She reached over and took one of Alexis’ hands. With a firm grip she again sighed. Her eyes welled up with tears as she fought to find the
right
answer.

“I just don’t understand why you weren’t honest with me,” Alexis lamented.

“Oh, sweetie, I didn’t do it to hurt you, you must believe that.”

“I know that, Mom, I just want to know everything. Can we start now?”

“I’ll tell you more, but how about we have some breakfast first,” Abigail said.

“That’s not what I meant.”

Abigail furrowed her brow.

“Can we start being completely honest with each other, about everything? You know the world better than I do. I’m not a child anymore and I think we need to be honest.”

Abigail tightened her grip and smiled. “How did you become so wise?”

“I don’t know where. Where did I?”

“It wasn’t your father, I mean your biological father, and it definitely wasn’t me, so I’ll have to say it came from your grandparents.”

“I wish I could have met them.”

“You did, you just don’t remember them,” Abigail said, looking down; a deep emotional pain crept into her expression.

“I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have brought them up.”

Abigail wiped away a few tears and said, “It’s okay, it just makes me sad is all. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here, but you know that already. I think I tell you almost daily.”

“I like hearing it, makes me appreciate where I come from and just how fortunate I am.”

“Starting right this second, I swear to you I’ll never hold anything back. You’re everything to me and all I thought I was doing was protecting you. I was wrong.”

“How did you meet?”

“I owe that story to you, don’t I?” Abigail said, admitting that the stories the day before never touched on Luke.

“Yes, you do owe me,” Alexis joked.

“How about some breakfast first?”

“I’m not hungry and I think you’re stalling.”

Abigail smiled and wiped a few more tears from her eyes. Alexis was right; it was a stall tactic because she didn’t know where to begin.

Alexis leaned in closer and whispered, “I’ll be fine, Mom, with whatever you tell me. I’m a big girl now.”

Abigail patted Alexis’ hand and said, “I know you are, I know that. It’s just I don’t know how to begin.”

“How to begin? Just start from the beginning. Don’t try to spin it, just tell me everything.”

Abigail took a deep breath, exhaled and said, “The beginning it will be, then.” Abigail hesitated because the first time she met Luke was a very violent tragic day. For several years she thought it a chance encounter, but as the years wore on and Alexis grew, she came to believe that their meeting wasn’t chance but destiny.

“Mom?” Alexis pressed, seeing her mother drift deep in thought.

“Sorry, I’m trying to collect the memories.”

The first rays of sunlight penetrated the clouds and streamed into the kitchen. One beam landed on their grasp and began to warm them. They both took notice and smiled.

“Look at that.” Abigail laughed.

“I love you, Mom.” Alexis smiled.

“I love you too, sweetheart,” Abigail said, beaming with intense love for her beautiful daughter. She cleared her throat and said, “I met your father not a week after where I left off yesterday. That day is seared into my memory; it was horrible, truly horrible.” Abigail paused and looked away.

“Please, Mom, don’t hold back. I want to know everything.”

“You won’t like your father too much, so please have some context.”

“Just be honest.”

“I’m just worried you’ll think him a bad man. He was just trying to survive in a world that was only beginning to fall apart.”

“Mom, I’m not here to pass judgment. I just need to know where I came from.”

Abigail looked back at Alexis and said, “What happened that day would lead me to witness firsthand just how barbaric humans can be.”

                                                                                                                         CHAPTER ONE

“If history repeats itself and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from his experience.” – George Bernard Shaw

U.S. Highway 91, six miles southwest of Wellsville, Utah

Colin slammed on the breaks, forcing the old Suburban to an immediate stop. All inside slammed against their seatbelts; those riding in the trailer they were towing weren’t as prepared. The sudden and unexpected stop tossed them like rag dolls.

Nicolas, who had been napping in the front passenger seat, cried out, “What? What’s going on?” His saucer-wide eyes spotted the reason, a teenage boy standing with his arms held high directly in the middle of the two-lane road.

The boy was frantic and wide eyed. He waved his arms back and forth and screamed out, “Stop, please! We need help!”

Colin looked over at Nicholas and asked in his deep Louisiana drawl, “What do you think, boss?”

Sitting behind Nicholas, Becky leaned up and said, “He looks scared.”

“Try to go around him,” Nicholas ordered.

Colin turned the wheel and slowly accelerated, but the boy ran up to the Suburban and planted his bloody hands down on the hood. “Please help us!”

“Want me to run him over?” Colin asked.

Nicholas grunted and said, “I need eyes looking all around. This could be a trap.”

“He looks genuinely terrified,” Becky responded.

Nicholas scanned the area, but unfortunately there wasn’t much to see. They were located near an S turn in the road with a rocky steep hill to their left and an equally steep drop-off to the right. Looking to his right, Nicholas saw the hill ended twenty feet into a thick forest of pine trees.

“Please help!” the boy cried out and slammed his hands into the hood again.

“Enough!” Nicholas fired back at him and opened his door.

“I’ll cover you, boss,” Colin offered.

“Becky, get behind the wheel, and, Colin, I told you, stop calling me boss.”

Nicholas stepped away from the door and closed it. He slung his AR-15 and placed his hand on the back strap of his holstered Sig P239.

The boy turned to him and cried, “Please, you need to go help my sister!”

“Listen, I don’t know who you are, but please step aside,” Nicholas said, his left arm extended out in front of him just in case the boy rushed him. Now outside, Nicholas could see the boy’s face was covered in blood and so was the front of his soiled clothes.

The boy stepped away from the front and took a step towards Nicholas.

“I wouldn’t do that, son,” Colin recommended.

The boy spun his head and cringed when he saw Colin’s towering physique not five feet from him.

“I’m not here to hurt anyone; I just need someone to help my sister. She was attacked by some dogs. She’s bleeding badly!”

Colin walked past the boy and stood next to the guard rail. He peered into the tree line below, looking for anything suspicious .

“So that’s your sister’s blood?” Nicholas asked.

“Yeah.”

“Did you kill the dogs?” Nicholas asked.

Ignoring Nicholas, he replied,“She’s close by. Please help me.”

“What’s this?” Bryn asked, walking up behind Nicholas.

“The boy jumped in front of the truck. I almost hit him,” Colin answered.

“You should have,” Bryn replied and continued, “Nic, this could be a trap. Look around, not a bad place to ambush us.”

Not taking his eyes off the boy, Nicholas responded, “I realize this isn’t the most ideal location to stop, but running him over wasn’t prudent either.”

“Hmm, let’s hope you’re right.” Bryn smirked.

“Can you help me, please?” the boy asked.

“When did this happen?” Nicholas queried.

“About an hour ago. I saw the road and ran up; then I saw you coming,” the boy replied.

“What was her condition when you left her?” Nicholas said.

“She was alive, but she’s been badly hurt.”

Bryn looked at him suspiciously and tapped Nicholas on the shoulder.

Nicholas leaned back.

“I don’t trust this fucking kid. Something’s off about the whole thing,” Bryn whispered.

Nicholas nodded and asked the boy, “How did you come to be attacked by dogs?”

“I don’t know, we were hiking and they came upon us.”

“What kind of dogs?” Nicholas pressed.

“Um, I don’t know, big dogs, probably pit bulls,” the boy answered.

“It’s funny that every bad dog nowadays is a pit bull,” Bryn snarled.

“Nic, we need to help,” Becky said from behind the steering wheel.

“Please help. She’s not that far and she needs me,” the boy replied and pointed towards the trees to the right of them.

“Nic, we’re a day’s drive from the ranch. This isn’t a good idea,” Bryn blurted out.

BOOK: The Defiant: An Unbeaten Path
11.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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