Authors: Jacqueline Druga
Beginnings Book 10
The Horse Soldier
Beginnings Book 10
By Jacqueline Druga
13 by Jacqueline Druga
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Thank you so very much to Cindy P for all your help with this book.
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO THE US ARMY FOR THE COVER ART PHOTO OF THE CAVALRY.
While the photo is courtesy of the United States Army, The US Army does not endorse this product.
THE PLAN . . .
The sergeant that led the raid for the Society army stood off from his waiting men. He spoke on the phone to Jeremy Lyons, George’s go between while George did business. “We’ve arrived
. It’s almost sunup now.”
“I trust that when I hear from you again, you will have made the raid
“Good,” Jeremy said, “then I will inform the president when he calls that our victory over this UWA is imminent.”
“Yes Sir.” The Sergeant ended the call and turned to his corporal.
“You didn’t tell him.”
“The trip isn’t a complete failure
,” The sergeant said. “Maybe we got lost somewhere.”
“The sign said Kingman.”
“I know.” The sergeant tapped the phone. “Corporal, if you were five hundred men, where exactly would you hide?”
“Yes. That’s exactly what they’re doing. They’re hiding.” The Sergeant paced away from the corporal. “We just have to find them.”
Joe’s hand rolled over his face as he sat at his desk staring at an upbeat Danny Hoi. His hand went from his hair, across his forehead, to his nose. His fingers pulled the skin drastically as he listened. “Danny, look . . .”
, hear me out.” Danny held up his hand. “Frank Avenue.”
“Danny!” Joe’s hand slammed down on the desk. “Can a week not go by in this community without you coming up with ways to change it?”
“Make it better,” Danny corrected. “You people are gonna be awfully glad I arrived. I’m only trying to make it cooler here in Beginnings. I mean, if we’re all gonna live here, we might as well love it and have a good time when we’re not working.”
“They do call me Mr. Fun.”
“I thought they called you, Mr. Resourceful, Mr. Perky
, and the Hero guy.”
“Those too. Wow, am I the name guy. Anyhow
, I have to keep up with the reputation I established, right? I can’t let people down.”
“That would be a tragedy
,” Joe said with sarcasm.
“Yes, it would.
Just wait until you see the plans I have for a public pool next summer. But don’t worry. I won’t bother you with it now. I still have details to work out.”
“A pool.” Joe sat back. “Danny, what the hell does street names have to do with making things more fun around here
“Oh Joe, for security alone it will be a blast.”
“Really. O.K. Watch.” Danny stood up.
“I get a visual?”
“It’s seven in the morning
ked at his watch. “That it is. Ready?”
“Sure.” Joe lifted his hands then cupped them behind his head. He watched Danny grab a radio.
Danny deepened his voice. “This is Eagle One. I’m on that, you know, road that swings around to the front gate. I’m gonna head into town on that road in there. Where can I meet you, Steve?” Danny switched the radio to the other hand and scooted over, turning to face where he stood before. “This is Steve, Eagle One, I’m on that road that comes from town and I’m doing my rounds. I just finished the second and third street on the right side if you’re facing town. How about I meet you on the fourth street, three houses in?” Danny went back to his other position. “Roger that Steve-O. This is Eagle One out.” Danny held up his hand. “But . . . if we do my plan.” He did his deep Robbie voice. “This is Eagle One. I’m on Garfield heading east into Main. Where can I meet you, Steve?” Danny switched position again. “This is Steve, Eagle One, I’m on Main right now. I just finished Elm and Tennessee, two hundred block. How about I meet you on Crest? 208.” Danny grinned. “See Joe. It’s easier, not to mention all the air time saved and we don’t sound like bumbling idiots.”
“Are those the names you chose
“Nah. I have the names written down on the map I drew. I can start erecting the poles today when I’m done with my other work, of course.”
“And we’ll paint the signs. They’ll be up by this week. Come on Joe, what do you say
“Give me the map.” Joe held out his hand. Danny gave it to him. “Go ahead
. Do it. You do have a copy of these names so you don’t change them on me and make me nuts?”
“Yep.” Danny nodded with excitement. “Thanks
, Joe. You won’t regret this. The first street is called Frank…just for you.”
“I see.” Joe looked. “I also see you named every road we have
I have to. I’ve gotta run. I have a lot to do. Thanks again.” Danny hurried to the door. “Oh Joe.” He spun around. “Any thoughts to giving me that run so I can start renovating the empty storage into a Bowling Alley?”
Joe just peered up.
“Just asking. Later.”
Joe moaned some as Danny left. “Street names.” The map dropped from Joe’s hand as he looked at it. “Now how
in the hell did I know this would be a name of a street?” Joe shook his head. “Hoi Avenue.” Then he smiled.
It looked almost as if Hal was crazy
as he walked across the empty field in his uniform. He spoke loudly as he walked tall with his hands behind his back.
rules,” he spoke strongly. “Look at this as a game. I want no man taking out his anger on his brother here. If you do, you deal with me. Sgt. Ryder, Sgt. Evens, and I will referee and will tap you when we deem you a causality. No weapons. Hands only. Ready?” Hal walked back off the field to the side where Sgt. Ryder and Sgt. Evens waited. “Begin.”
Sgt. Ryder blew a whistle and moments after
its loud ear piercing sound, from both ends of the field, from beneath brushed, behind trees and dug into trenches at least a hundred men charged on foot. Fifty on each side of the field and they raced to each other. Vocally they cried out as they ran and as they met up with each other, the fighting began.
With a clipboard, like judges in a dance contest, Hal, Sgt. Ryder
, and Sgt. Evens walked through the battling men. They would see one fall and they would tap him out. The fallen man would leave the field and go off to the sidelines.
Hal seemed to enjoy watching the men in their sparing attacks.
He grinned widely because he knew he not only was watching the training, he was watching to see which men he would choose to scout for the Wild Cats and Mathias’ men.
The grin did not remain long on Hal’s face
. When he felt the tap on his shoulder and turned around, his stomach churned. Before him was one of the guards that watched the large white house of the hidden.
“Yes?” Hal swallowed as he asked.
“Sir.” The man saluted. “Gr . . . . Gr . . .”
“Don’t say it.”
Geez!” Hal cringed. “What? Don’t tell me she needs to speak to me?”
boy.” The man shook his head as he blew out slowly, causing his cheeks to puff. “Oh boy.”
“Christ.” Hal rubbed his forehead. “I knew it. I knew it. All right. Tell Gr . . . Gr . . .”
Hal cringed again. “Yes, tell her it will have to be in a few hours.
I’m training the men and then I have a meeting. I’ll send for her.”
“Can I write her a note?”
the man asked. “Do I have to speak to her personally?”
“All right.” The man saluted and ran off the field.
Hal looked for Sgt. Ryder. “Elliott
,” he called to him, summoning him over.
“I know the men have a day off, but I need to speak to those twelve who were chosen. Seems, Gr... . Gr . . .”
“Yes.” Hal ran his hand down his face. “She wants to meet with me.”
, so find them I need to recap their night. I have to be prepared.”
“Right away.” Sgt. Ryder trotted off the field.
“And you aren’t leaving me alone with her!” Hal shouted and received a raised hand from Sgt. Ryder. Then Hal went back to what made him feel better, watching his men train.
Ellen could hear the music playing in the lab before she even entered it. It was at a low volume and a little slower than she remembered, but nice. She leaned on the lab doorway watching Dean do his normal thing, racing about the lab, a scientist on a mission. On the long counter was the tan sack and spread out were all the grass samples she and Robbie had brought back.
walked in quietly so as not to be heard. She sneaked up behind Dean in a rare occurrence of his standing still. “Morning,” she whispered at him.
“Hey.” With a smile he turned around. “You’re not working, I hope.”
“Don’t you want to work with me?”
I don’t want you to work yet.” Dean laid his hands on Ellen’s waist and pulled her closer. “It’s nice to see you in here.” He kissed her. “I missed you.”
“No you didn’t.”
“You don’t think? Johnny is worse than you at times.” Dean shook his head and stared at her. He blinked harshly to bring himself out of his daze, kissed her quickly, and returned back to his work.
“I’m getting wrapped up.”
“In your work?”
“No, in you.” Dean walked to the samples. “Especially after these. I can’t afford to do that.”
“What do you mean?” Ellen asked him. “Dean?”
“Taking advantage of Frank’s absence is one thing. Having you all to myself eventually is another.”
“Why do you say that
? You piss me off.” Ellen lifted a sample of grass. Dean lightly smacked her hand and she put it back down.
“El, history tends to repeat itself. I get you
then Frank takes you.”
“No, Dean. Besides, I was living with you
, right? Well now, you gave me a really cool house.” Ellen brought her face close to Dean’s. “Even if I hate you, I’m not going anywhere. Hell, I’m the envy of all the women. I love it.”
“Well if you’re gonna stay at the house
,” Dean spoke trying to hide his snicker as he worked. “there are a few conditions.”
“What?” Ellen asked.
“Now this is based on the fact that you’re only staying with me for my house.”
“O.K.” Ellen leaned against the counter “What are the conditions? I can pay up. Hey, I want the house.”
“All right. You have to make all the beds.”
“Yuck.” Ellen cringed. “Doable. Go on.”
“You have to take turns with me bathing Joey.”
“Aw.” Ellen tried not to smile. “He splashes and never gets out. But . . . for the house, I can handle that. What else?”
“And . . . you have to make love to me at least once a week.”
“Now you’ve gone and crossed the line. Forget it.”
Dean raised his eyes, watched Ellen smile
, and kissed her.
Robbie’s clearing of his throat preluded his speaking. “When Frank’s away, Dean does play.”
Still close to Ellen, Dean whispered, “It’s a Slagel thing isn’t it?”
Ellen nodded and moved away from Dean. She faced Robbie and Joe who
just walked in. “Morning.”
Joe merely pointed and smiled. “You look different.”
Robbie slightly rolled his eyes. “She probably got laid last night. Now . . . she would be glowing had she tried to hit on me yesterday.”
,” Ellen called his name.
,” Joe said sternly.
“What did I miss?” Dean asked. “Hmm? No, wait. He’s a Slagel
and trying to fill in for Frank. I don’t want to know. But . . . I will tell Frank.”
Robbie took a step to Dean. “I’ll beat you up.”
“I’ll give you a virus.” Dean smiled.
,” Joe interrupted. “Dean, you just said you’ll tell Frank?”
“When we find him
,” Dean said.
“Does that mean?” Joe asked and saw the look on Dean’s face. “It does.”
“Yep.” Dean pointed to the samples. “It was Frank’s blood consistently on every sample. They took him Joe. Going by where Ellen said Frank was shot, I know he can probably handle a lot more than that. And . . . going on Ellen’s theory, if they took him, he must be alive. Why would they take him if he were dead unless they discovered a new thing I don’t know about, I doubt it.”
“So you think by where he was
shot, he may still be alive?” Joe asked.
“Like I said, from what Ellen described, chances are good
,” Dean answered.
Joe was pleased and he looked it. “Excellent. This goes no further than this room. Not even Henry is to know. Got that? The less people who know
, the better. I’d like to include Henry and Andrea, but . . . Andrea is still on the suspect list and Henry is an iffy. I’m going to start making the preparations for a paper run for recycling. I went through history. We haven’t hit the area I want to search.”
“Joe, how are you going to get away with that without letting it be known you’re looking for Frank?” Dean asked.
“One man will know,” Joe said. “The others will just think it’s a run. Robbie’s um . . . roommate will be the one who knows. I’m certain, because of all he told us and how long he’s been here, he’s not on the inside.”
When he comes today for testing, I’ll speak to Jess about the sort of things he should look for,” Dean commented as he re-wrapped the samples. “You know, evidence that will indicate where they stopped with Frank.”
“Why are you testing Jess?” Ellen asked. “Is he sick?”
“No, not at all.” Dean noticed the clueless look on Joe’s face too. “You don’t know either? I thought that the Slagels had a rare mutation causing the immunity to be passed on more easily, because most cases were one parent, one child. I’ve never seen brothers. I stopped questioning and testing survivors after I found the similarities in your . . .”
“Dean!” Joe yelled. “Quit rambling
. I hate when you explain something medical. You ramble. Get to the point.”
Ellen gasped. “Joe, are you rude.”
“Yeah I am. Go on, Dean.”
“Jess has you guys beat
,” Dean said. “Not only did his father survive the plague but so did his two brothers. However they died of other circumstances.”
Joe was speechless.
Ellen was not. “So do you think they may be related to Joe?”
Dean snickered. “No. I think that our community is so small that all we would have seen was the Slagel occurrence because of the rarity. But there are other families out there
. We just haven’t come across them until now. I’ll know more when I test Jess.”
Joe looked very seriously at Dean. “Did you tell Jess?”
“Tell Jess what?” Dean asked.
“What all he has to give up?” Joe spoke with a raised eyebrow.
“Or rather . . .” Robbie interjected. “How much he has to give up.”
“What are you guys talking about?” Dean asked.
Robbie decided to clarify. “Try this. No dirty magazines, just a cup and the words of advice ‘enjoy’.”
Dean scoffed. “All of you make
too much out of it. Too much.”
,” Robbie said his name firmly. “I was a young guy. You made me feel as small as my sample.”
Dean swayed his head. “You guys whine too much. Almost every male did it. It’s
no big deal.”
“Did you?” Robbie asked.
“Um . . . yeah. I gave a sample.” Dean started working again.
Robbie snickered in shock. “You had help.” He shifted his eyes to Ellen. “Did you help him?”
“I plead the fifth,” Ellen said. “Anyhow, this is going to be interesting because I’ll be involved in the Jess testing. I didn’t know when you guys gave your sample. Boy . . .” Ellen paused to think, looking so serious and tapping her lip. “I wonder if I’ll be able to look at him with a straight face when he steps out of the back room with his cup.”
“Ellen.” Joe winced.
Ellen ignored Joe. “Dean, will you let me know if you see the classic signs on my face that I’m about to laugh.”
,” Joe said her name stronger. “All right. Me and Robbie are out of here. We have to plan the run and get ready for the memorial service.” He took a deep breath. “Gonna be even harder knowing what we do know. So Ellen, grieve.”
Ellen gave a thumbs up as Joe and Robbie started to leave. “Joe, Jason has that video camera in his lab to document his experiments
. Would people think I’m odd if I taped Frank’s memorial service.”
Joe just stopped and spun around,
He back handed Robbie in the gut when Robbie laughed. “Ellen, why in God’s name would you video tape it? That’s sick, not to mention morbid.”
“Joe, we can tell Frank all about it when he gets back
, but don’t you think it will be worth it watching him watch it.”
Joe took on a thinking look. “Actually, that’s not a bad idea
and we can get away with it. Yeah, let’s do that for Frank.”
“Thanks Joe. I’ll get it
from Jason.” Ellen smiled as she watched Joe and Robbie leave. She turned to see Dean staring at her. “What?”
“Video taping Frank’s service?”
“Oh yeah. Trust me Dean, if I knew we were going to go back in time and bring you back from the dead, I would have videotaped your service as well. It was so nice.”
Dean didn’t know what to say. “Thanks.”
Still a little in disbelief, Dean returned to his work.