Read The Last Stand (Book 3) (The Repentant Demon Trilogy) Online
Authors: Samantha Johns
The Repentant Demon
Book 3: The Last Stand
This is a work of fiction.
All names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons either living or dead, as well as any events or locations is entirely coincidental.
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Chapter 5. Surprises—Good and Bad
Abigail hadn't had many great Christmases that she could remember. Those few good years with her adopted family, from ages ten to fifteen were almost forgotten in the wake of the tragedy of losing them all. But now, viewing the beautiful snow-laden mountains as she made her approach into Wyoming, she felt encouraged to anticipate a white Christmas with the man she loved beside her. That vision might even have been possible if not for the things that would happen on this coming Christmas day; events that might destroy the future for herself and her beloved country, if not the whole world.
She saw the runway, surely built recently, as this hadn't normally been a place frequented by air traffic. The advertisement for the sale of the 7,000 acre ranch had not described such a feature. Homeland Security, no doubt, had installed this improvement in anticipation not only for her use, but of the military's needs as well. Her hopes for a quiet few days alone with her new husband were quickly being dashed as she spied some tanks near the edge of the woodland growth. They could only be seen as she was landing. This should have made her feel safe, but it did not.
“Welcome to Willow Creek Ranch,” Rick Foley said, greeting them pleasantly as Abigail and Cal climbed from the plane. “You will be staying in the guest cabin. It's just downhill from the main lodge. There is over seven thousand acres of woodlands, mountains, and lakes surrounding you, so be careful not to get lost. A gravel road leads directly to the front door. I wouldn't recommend wandering far from it. You are welcome to use the government van which should arrive soon with your packed belongings from Saint Louis. You have a forty-acre lake for fishing, a view of the Wind River Mountain Range, and access to hunting, if you like that sort of thing. We want you to make yourselves at home.” He sounded more like a tour guide than a federal agent who more or less had them in his custody.
like a paradise, though it might not seem like one once the war begins. And that's in less than two weeks from now,” Abigail reminded them. “I hope we do get to enjoy some of this beautiful area… for a little while anyway. Are we free to come and go as we please? As long as we're careful about not getting lost?”
“Well, sort of,” said their old Homeland Security colleague, “You can go wherever you like until December 24. Drive into town, see the sights, and shop to your heart's desire. But once the first strikes
, you will need to stay put indefinitely within the compound for your own safety.”
“What about the couple that owns this place?” Cal asked, “Are they still in the main house? What were they told about us being here?”
“They are still here, but you needn’t be concerned about them,” said Rick Foley, a little irritated.
“I'm getting a little tired of our arrangement, Mr. Foley,” said Cal, “You trust me to translate all your highly classified intercepted material. You wouldn't even know about this plot against our country if not for me, yet you can't be straight with us about anything.”
“Things are kept from you only for your own protection,” said the officer. “It's standard operating procedure in our agency. Everyone is always treated on a need to know basis, Cal. It's nothing personal.”
“Well maybe we might need to know what the owners were told,” said Abigail, “so that we can keep the story straight in case we run into them. What if we're fishing together or run into them in town? We could say something wrong if we don't know what they've been told about us, or about what's happening.”
“You're not going to like it,” he said, “So let's drive over to your cabin. I'll explain everything there. It's too cold to talk out here in the freezing temperatures.”
Rick Foley drove them in his black SUV over the gravel road through a wooded area to the small cabin which would be their home indefinitely. They passed construction crews installing surveillance equipment to twelve-foot high security fencing; another improvement courtesy of the U.S. government. Perhaps all of this will be reassuring once the battle begins, Abigail thought. But right now it just seemed like a big prison to her. A very big
“I think you should know that we are expecting a baby in July,” said Abigail. “Of course, I hope this will all be over by then.”
“We know about your pregnancy,” said Rick Foley, “and we have a doctor
part of our team, along with some other medical professionals for emergencies of any kind.”
“You knew?” she said, shocked and angered. “How could you know? I haven't even seen a doctor yet. We only know because of the test kit I bought. Did you actually watch me peeing in the cup? I don't know how much of this I can take.”
“We need to know everything about you,” he answered. “That is our job. Like it or not, we are looking out for your best interests. And no, your apartment was not bugged. We were listening to you at the dinner you almost had to celebrate getting your pilot's license combined with the new baby announcement. That's how we found out.”
Cal was relieved to know the government
overheard the visit in their bedroom from the angel Ashriel, although it wouldn't have surprised him
if they had
. That, to him, was
more private than peeing in a cup. So that secret pen-shaped listening device has not only been used on the Syriac-speaking Islamists who plan to destroy our world… they had also used it on the two of them.
The quaint log cabin would have made a sweet romantic getaway for them under different circumstances. Abigail carried their little white dog, Angel, to the side of the house so she could relieve herself before going inside. The woods and mountains beyond seemed immense, and she feared for such a small defenseless creature in this environment. She couldn't even imagine what an acre was, much less seven thousand of them. They were city people. And this was a city dog.
“Even though it seems pretty peaceful out here,” warned Rick Foley, waiting patiently
as Angel sniffed out the perfect spot.
“I would keep that dog on a leash. She could get lost, and there are wolves, bobcats, and bears nearby. Besides the all of Willow Creek Ranch, this land is surrounded by national forest, making over a million acres of unending wilderness. Please, don't take my warnings lightly.”
Once they were inside, the room seemed a little chilly for an indoor space. Cal read her expression and inspected the fireplace, wondering how to use it. Abigail had at least been camping as a child; he knew nothing of the outdoors.
“Let me show you how to turn on the heat and hot water,” said Agent Foley, “I apologize for not having someone do that ahead of your arrival. You're on propane power for cooking and heating. Your electricity is from a gas-powered generator. There is enough stored in the shed to last over a year. If you want to use the fireplace there is plenty of firewood
out back. Just open the damper so you don't end up
with soot pouring out all over
It can even seep into your closets and soil your clothes.
During blackouts, if we have any, you shouldn't use the fireplace because of the chimney
“Your refrigerator and pantry are stocked,” he continued, “but it may not be to your tastes. If you want anything else, here's a credit card to use. We don't expect you to pay for anything while we're here. This is all courtesy of Uncle Sam. Cal will receive a generous stipend for his consulting work, and it will include back pay for your time in Saint Louis.”
“I just hope we all survive this,”
Abigail, “so we can
to Saint Louis. We've lost the lease on our apartment, but I still want to go back there. That's the place we call home. Maybe we've seemed a bit irritable, Agent Foley, but it's not personal. We know none of this is your fault. It's the damn terrorists' fault.”
“I do understand,” he said graciously, “I need to tell you how everything works. And you're right about the McFarlands. You need to know about them.”
They followed him to the kitchen table located in the corner of an L-shaped open room that comprised the living room on one end and the kitchen at the other end of the L. A bedroom and bathroom opened from a door to the rear of the living room. It was a comfortable and quaint guest cottage decorated in typical northwestern style that included a lot of log furniture, antlers on the wall, and a red Coleman-style lantern light fixture over the dining table. An old roll-top oak desk sat between two windows framed with red and blue plaid curtains to match the upholstery on the sofa and lounge chair.
“Will we have Internet?” Abigail asked, taking her seat. “I mean, for a while anyway?”
“You are hooked up to our satellite,” said Agent Foley, “and that's about as reliable as it gets.
You can’t beat the feds on communications systems.
There should be no interruption in service
matter what happens. I can't guarantee what television stations you'll be able to get after Christmas. It depends on which stations are destroyed, when and if they are,
and which might be operable.
“If the terrorists succeed in even half their targets,” he continued, “we face the possibility of fifteen meltdowns, with potentially that many nuclear plants turned into hydrogen bombs. All are in the eastern half of the country, but the affects on communications and transportation could be devastating. Not to mention what that will do to the economy. There could be radiation danger as well, depending on the wind direction. We have sirens, and you are to go into the basement if you hear them, or
the large underground facility. There is food, shelter, and a make-shift toilet in the basement that should be survivable for up to two weeks, though it won't be a pleasant time. We have a flashing light on the wall to signal an all-clear down there, so you'll know when it's okay to come out.