Authors: Blair Smith
After two decades of fighting terrorism around the world, the United States exhausts its finances. Politicians tax rural areas to support the infrastructure and appease urban voters.
Sixty New Hampshire Cub Scouts enjoying a hike are suddenly attacked by an automated weapon; the government's attempt to stop smuggling across the Quebec border ends in disaster. This appalling incident and subsequent cover-up propel nationwide support for an insurgence by New Hampshire Covenants (collaborative groups originally organized to solve supply problems peacefully). The President orders Army Regulars to rout the civil uprising from the North Country.
This story champions Americans' resilience in the face of an oppressive government.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. --
About the Author
BLAIR SMITH was born at home in the heart of Amish country in Holmes County, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio Northern University majoring in Technology and Education, later obtaining a Masters in Technology Education from the University of Vermont. A writer for ten years, the author has completed six novels that range from Science Fiction, to Thrillers, to a Middle
. Other novels can be viewed at
-- Dixville Notch, New Hampshire (August 12)
Chapter 2 -- Butch Clawed Out
Chapter 3 -- Colebrook, New Hampshire four days after the massacre (August 16)
Chapter 4 -- In the hall, General Paz
Chapter 5 -- Colebrook, New Hampshire (Evening of November 10)
Chapter 6 -- Washington, D.C. (December 4)
Chapter 7 -- Dixville Notch, New Hampshire (December 10)
Chapter 8 -- Max's Deer Camp, New Hampshire (February 5)
Chapter 9 -- Chaos' Company Traveled in Groups
Chapter 10 -- Old Boston, late evening (March 15)
Chapter 11 -- Washington, D.C. in the early morning (March 17)
Chapter 12 -- The Attack Packs from the JFK Building
Chapter 13 -- Helen in the warehouse
Chapter 14 -- Colebrook, New Hampshire (April 27)
Chapter 15 -- Dixville Notch, New Hampshire (May 13)
Chapter 16 -- Dixville Mountain, New Hampshire (August 6)
Chapter 17 -- In Wonderment, Steve Morrison
Chapter 18 -- Blood Soaked ... Surgical Gown
Chapter 19 -- Nearly Dark ... The Gray Light
Dixville Notch, New Hampshire (August 12)
Random sunbeams popped through the forest canopy making the water from the cascade sparkle and dance as it plunged over rocks and logs at the upper end of Mohawk Creek. Light green, algae-coated stones lay beneath the water in quieter side pools. And above the surface on rocks or stumps, darker shades of moss added another green hue to the forest tapestry.
Barry jumped to a boulder in the middle of the stream and yelled at Thad and Butch to follow. Only his lips could be seen speaking; tumbling water drowned out the words. Barry stood daringly on the rock, his face shadowed by his oversized Scout hat. Chestnut hair and hazel eyes his trademark, he stood four-six at eleven years of age and looked out over the torrent from a delicate face with long eyelashes. Damp fragrances flowed up, and like the sound, were absorbed by the greenery of the forest.
Barry was a Christian boy. Baptism at birth saved him from eternal fire. His mom, a solid Congregationalist--his father too, before the divorce. Barry was honest, or at least tried to be, and swore very little, certainly not as much as other boys his age. Today, he took off on a Scout Troop adventure with the Rousell brothers, Thad and Butch, ages eleven and twelve.
The Rousells, on the other hand, were French-Canadian. Catholic. Butch, pug-faced and stocky, thought they were part Indian but he hadn't said so openly because he wasn't sure who their real father was. The two boys lived a half-mile down the road from Barry in a rundown mobile home along Mohawk Creek. The Rousells didn't go to church. Their mom never told them when to wash or go to bed; the two fixed their own meals. Butch and Thad would often sleep in a hut they had made in the woods if whomever their mom was sleeping with at the time wasn't of their liking. They were survivors.
Their friendship with Barry developed out of convenience. They grew up together, explored the woods together, rode to school together. They started out in Cub Scouts, then Webelos; Butch would be a Boy Scout in the fall. Their favorite caper was to get up early Saturday morning and fish, or catch crawdads, in the pond of an exclusive resort near their homes, the Balsams.
If you asked Butch what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would tell you: an Eagle Scout. Though he didn't do so well in school, Butch excelled at what he loved. The Scout Manual had become his textbook. He couldn't recite the state capitals but he knew the Scout Oath, Law, and Motto by heart. Bold, and at times bombastic, Butch often got in trouble at school. If caught, he always told the truth.
Scout Pack leader Mr. Ronolou was the reason the boys loved Scouting. He led New Hampshire's Pack 220 from Colebrook, the best Scout Pack in the region. Mr. Ronolou pushed the boys and insisted they do their best. As a seventy-year-old man, Ronolou had little patience for foolery. Through the tone of his voice and his stern look, he insisted on respect. His name was Mr. Ronolou, or Sir; no one called him by anything else.
Thad was small, and slender as a sliver. More timid than most boys, he followed his brother without question. Butch, being the oldest, set the pace. He never led them into any really serious trouble--nothing that needed parental intervention or payment of fines. Butch jumped to the rock. Then Thad leaped from the bank to a stone, then leaped again to Barry's boulder where they stood grasping one another for balance. The three of them jiggled and grabbed and laughed.
They spoke loudly to one another. Even though other Scouts in the Pack surrounded them, none heard. "Do you believe this shit," said Butch.
"We're standing in the middle of the river. You won't see anyone else gutsy enough to do this shit," Thad piped in with a broad smile on his face.
"My Mom says I can't say 'shit' anymore or I can't hang around with you guys," Barry stated to his friends. They still clung to one another on the rock. Spray from the rushing stream misted them. It felt good after the long hike. "She said my soul might go to hell, or something like that."
Thad laughed, "So you can't say 'shit'?" Butch repeated the jibe, chuckling as well.
"That's right, I can't say, 'shit.' At least not in front of Mom."
Charlie Ronolou watched it all as a shepherd would. Cub Scouts often taunted injury by climbing boulders, ledges, and the like. Charlie didn't mind; the boys of Pack 220 had hiked for over an hour; it was their time to cut loose. And if someone did get hurt, the troop might get some hands-on experience at first aid. Charlie cared all right, but to suppress the boys constantly was not natural.
Charlie had been the Akela of Pack 220 for almost twenty years, long after his sons had grown up and left Scouting. Now, despite his arthritis, he still made the traditional climb up Dixville Notch.
Scouting wasn't always popular in Colebrook. During the 1980s and 90s, Pack 220 had dwindled to as low as seven boys. Previous Akelas had attributed the downturn to a new karate school in town, or sports. Then Charlie Ronolou took over and stuck with it, giving the Cubs the consistency they needed from the ranks of Bobcat to Bear, on up through Webelos. He had initiated the annual Dixville hike and turned Scouting in Pack 220 from meetings in civic halls into an outdoor adventure. It paid off. Colebrook's Pack 220 was 66 members strong, outnumbering local bands at Memorial Day parades, Veterans' Day parades--even the Fourth of July.
Ken Minsen, a parent volunteer for the day, turned and looked at the boys. Then he spoke to Charlie, "Someone's going to hurt themselves. Those Rousell boys are pushing the limit."
"Don't worry about them. Those kids have gotten more bumps and knocks than you and I combined."
Minsen didn't comment but he could hear the fatigue in Charlie's voice. "Why do you run the Pack year after year, Charlie?"
"I would like to give this up but I haven't found anyone to take over. I'll be quite honest," Charlie continued with a sigh, "I'm getting too old to be doing this anymore but it's too important to drop. The oath these boys take about honesty and duty to parents and country; I think it becomes a part of them, if only a small part. You've got to build character early in boys, or the man in them only looks out for himself. Now look at Barry over there. I think he's a good influence on those Rousell boys. That's another part of Scouting; the boys have an impact on one another. Barry's influence might save those boys, might pull them out of this imp phase they're in."
"Sounds like you're in it awhile longer," said Minsen
"If I could convince someone to take up the job of Pack Leader, I'd be gone tomorrow." Charlie waited for a response from Minsen.
Minsen understood the implication, "I couldn't put the time in. I'm struggling now to make ends meet with two jobs." The nation had been in economic ruin for a decade. Fighting terrorism throughout the world strained the nation's treasury, so much so, that the standard of living America once enjoyed was no more. This nation continued to maintain her military strength, but at an extreme cost. Like the Soviet Union in the 1980s, America now experiences ideological, racial, and ethnic strife.
It had been a bad year for Minsen's family. In these times, parents often had several part-time jobs to pay bills. "You gotta make time," said Charlie. "Gotta make time."
Minsen took the lead and headed up the trail toward the summit. He called back to the pack to get started again; some of them heard over the rushing water, others straggled behind as they noticed boys leaving around them. Charlie took the rear, coaxing dawdlers, preferring the slower pace.
Barry, Thad, and Butch leaped off the rock. Though Butch was the largest of the three boys, all but Thad caught the water with a foot. With his tight, wiry physique Thad could outrun anyone in the Pack.
The three had their disagreements of course, but they always reunited at Pack meetings or special Scouting events--too innocent to carry a grudge for long, too childlike to get into foolery without a supportive audience.
They relished the outdoors and attacked every aspect of boyhood with disregard to etiquette, making spears and bows, throwing knives and hatchets. They even killed a groundhog together. Barry's dog Tater caught it away from its hole and blocked the groundhog's retreat while the boys punctured it with spears and threw kitchen knives at it. It was a frenzied bloodletting. The wooden-tipped spears did a poor job of penetrating the thick hide, killing the animal inhumanely. Ultimately, the three boys pummeled the creature with dull tips that bruised and broke bones inside. The passion of the moment wouldn't let them stop. When the thing sat up on its haunches to face Tater's snarling teeth, Butch caught it with his throwing knife in the soft underbelly. It fought and crawled after that, but Butch's tossed blade signaled the end. Five minutes later the animal lay convulsing with body shakes, urinating, and defecating involuntarily. The three of them stood silently around the beast with bloodied spears and blades in hand, wondering why they did it. Only Tater knew.