Castle Roland

Scout's Own

by Eric Aune


Chapter 7

Posted: 31 Aug 15

Scout's Own

Copyright © 2015 by Eric Aune and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Scout's Own LogoThe sound of someone moving around roused Cole from where he was sleeping on the living room floor. He groaned and stretched a bit as he opened his eyes. He was feeling a little stiff from sleeping on the floor, even with the sleeping pad underneath him. He looked around the room and saw Arlo following Henny through the dining room and into the kitchen. He rubbed his eyes and slowly got out of his sleeping bag. He picked up his t shirt and put it on before standing up and heading to the bathroom. When he finished he went into the kitchen. Arlo and Henny looked up and smiled.

"Good morning young man. You're up early." Cole shrugged. "I guess it was just time to get up." He looked outside and saw that there was just a slight lightening to the sky. "I don't know if you drink coffee, but there will be some in just a moment." Cole shook his head. "No thank you Ma'am. I guess I better start getting everyone up, we've got to get an early start." Henny handed Arlo a cup of coffee. He thanked her and took a sip as he looked at Cole. "What are your plans son?"

"Well we were looking at the map last night and we figure it will take us about four days to hike to the next stop. So we'll start early and go as far as we can each day. There looks to be plenty of stands of woods where we can camp overnight along the way and then move on the next day." Arlo looked at the wall like he was thinking of what Cole was telling him, and nodded as he listened to Cole's plan. When Cole finished, he looked at him. "Why don't you get your map and let's take a look at it. I've lived around here my whole life and know the country." Cole nodded and left the room.

When he returned to the kitchen, he opened the map and placed it on the kitchen table in the breakfast nook. He began to explain what they had discussed. Arlo looked at the map and followed Cole's finger as he traced the route that Cole laid out. Arlo didn't say anything as he looked at the map. "Where is your next stop?" Cole pointed at the approximate location of the next spot. There were notes on the map describing what the location would look like. That way, any other conductors would know they were in the correct location, when they got there.

"I have an idea. I'll be back in a few minutes. Why don't you get your crew together, get everyone ready to go. Henny here will get something warm in your bellies and I'll be back in a little while." Cole nodded and Arlo finished his cup and grabbed his coat before going outside. They heard the truck start up and drive away. Cole folded the map back up. "Once you get everyone moving, would you mind coming and giving me a hand dear?" Cole smiled at her. "Of course, I would love to." She patted his cheek and turned around to start getting everything ready for breakfast.

Cole started moving around the house waking people up. Some of them had already started to wake up, so it didn't take much to get them moving with their help. When he saw that people were up, he returned to the kitchen to help Henny prepare breakfast. She was fixing a huge pot of oatmeal. She had him get bowls out of the cupboard and once the oatmeal was going she had him start making toast while she put milk, butter, and brown sugar on the table. About the time that everyone was ready, the oatmeal and toast was ready to be served. Everyone got in line and Cole served them a bowl of oatmeal. There was coffee, juice and milk available to drink.

About halfway through breakfast, they heard a vehicle pull up into the yard. Moments later Arlo came in the house and entered the kitchen. "Morning folks." They all returned his greeting. Henny handed him a cup of coffee. "Cole here and I were talking this morning and he told me your plans. It sorta gave me an idea. I had to make sure my idea would work out and it does. Cole why don't you join me outside." Cole nodded and stood up to follow him.

When they went outside, Cole saw an RV parked in the yard. It was an average sized RV, about thirty feet long. Arlo turned to them. "I remembered that a friend down the road owned one of these and I went and borrowed it. I thought Henny and I would give y'all a ride to the next place." Cole looked at him and grinned. "That would be great sir. But I wouldn't want to put you and Missus Wiggins out." He gave Cole a dismissive wave. "Don't worry none about that. If you boys could give me a hand with the morning milking, then we can load everyone up and get going." Cole shook his hand. "That's a deal sir. As many of us as you need will be glad to help you out." Arlo smiled. "That's all I ask."

They went back inside. "Mister Pickens we're not going to have to hike to the next station. Mister Wiggins is going to give us a ride there in an RV that he borrowed." There were a lot of happy faces and a few relieved ones. "Thank god." They looked at Elise, who had said that, with amusement on their faces. "What? I'm not an outdoorsy person and wasn't looking forward to three or four days of hiking with a pack on my back and then camping in the woods. I'd do it, but I wasn't looking forward to it."

"Well then, I'm glad I could help. Finish up your breakfast and then we're going to get the morning milking done. I should have thought of it yesterday, but I've got some overalls y'all can wear so that your clothes don't get so dirty." Everyone finished up. Arlo handed out some overalls and explained that some had belonged to his son, who was at college for an agricultural degree. Some of the shorter boys had to roll up the cuffs quite a ways so they didn't trip over them, but in moments, most of the guys followed Arlo to the milking barn, including the men. Amy and her mom decided to stay back and help Henny with the breakfast clean up.

In the milking barn, Arlo had those who had helped last evening, do the same as they had done then. The men had not gotten into overalls, so they stayed outside of the milking area and just watched or helped with putting hay in the trough for the cows. With so many willing hands they were done even faster this morning.

Back at the house they took off the overalls so that they could be cleaned. When they got there, they saw that everyone's bags and pads were neatly stacked in the living room, ready to be attached to their backpacks.

Arlo looked at his wife. Well Missus Wiggins, would you like to go for a little drive?" She smiled. "Why of course Mister Wiggins. Let me get my coat and purse and I'm ready to go wherever you'd like." Arlo smiled and gave her a peck on the cheek. "Well folks I guess it's time to get you where you're going." Everyone picked up their bags and pads and went out to the barn to attach them to the packs. They carried the packs into the RV and placed them in the upper bed that was over the cab. They were able to get all of them stuffed up there. Everyone else found a place to sit in the back. Arlo and Henny got in the front and Cole sat in one of the chairs right behind them.

Arlo swiveled his chair around to look at everyone. "I'd like you folks to make sure all the curtains are closed, so that no one can look inside. I'm going to close the curtain that is between the cabin and the rest of the RV. Cole you're right where you should be, in case I need some directions." He looked at everyone and they nodded as some of them moved around to make sure all the curtains were closed. Once everything looked good, he pulled the curtain closed separating the cab from the rest of the RV and started it up.

He headed west to Highway 70 and then southwest on that to Spring Creek, where they turned on State Route 152 to Medina. When they got to Medina, Arlo saw an Army truck and some soldiers as they drove through the center of town. He told Cole about it and everyone in the back kept quiet while they drove through the town. They followed the road until they neared Humboldt. As Humboldt was a bigger town, he made sure he didn't go through the center of town, but stuck to the State Route going around the edge of the town.

They were about halfway across the edge of town, when Arlo saw a small line of cars ahead of them. They exchanged glances and slowed down at the end of the line. "Cole. Have everyone be quiet, there's what looks like a checkpoint up ahead. We can see a couple of police cars with a couple of officers manning it." Cole peeked through the curtain before turning to the others. "We need to be quiet. There are a couple of police cars up ahead running a checkpoint." There were several anxious looks exchanged when they heard that.

They were almost holding their breath as Arlo made his way to the front of the line. When he got there, they made sure they were completely still as they listened to the conversation on the other side of the curtain.

"Good morning. Where are you folks headed?"

"We're heading home to Dyersburg. We were in Knoxville, visiting our son at the university. We thought it would be best when we heard about the President's order of martial law, and the curfew and all that we should head home. So that's where we're headed."

"That's probably a good idea sir. You haven't been driving at night have you?"

"Oh, no sir. That's why it's taken us so long to get back home. If it wasn't for the President's orders, we would have traveled later each day, but the law is the law and we don't want to break any laws. So we made sure we found a place to pull over and park for the night. We figure we'll be home in just a little while."

There was a short silence and then. "Well you folks drive safe and have a nice day."

"Thank you Officer. You too."

As Arlo drove away, everyone in the back let out a sigh of relief.

"Well that went okay, but we'll have to make sure we don't come back this way, just in case that officer sees us. It shouldn't be long before we get to the next place. Everyone okay back there?" Cole looked around and saw relief on their faces. "We're okay sir. How'd you come up with that story so quick?" Arlo chuckled, "Well part of that is true. That is where our son is at school right now, and Dyersburg is past where y'all are going, so it wasn't too hard."

They passed through Humboldt with no other obstacles and Arlo continued due west before calling to Cole for some directions. "Cole what town is the next place near to?" Cole checked his map. "Crockett Mills. Off State Route 188 to Finch Road." Arlo nodded. In the back they felt the RV slow down as Arlo made the turn on 188. A short time later Arlo called out to Cole again. "What was the name of that road?"

"Finch Road. The description says that the house is on a private dirt road that heads north from Finch Road."

"Ah there's Finch. Is it very far on Finch?"

"No sir not far at all. I think it's about a third of a mile" Arlo looked ahead and glanced down at the odometer. He passed a few houses that were located near the road, and when he had gone about a third of a mile, he saw a road that led north. It looked like a well maintained gravel road. He turned on to it and he could see a large house in the middle of several large pastures. There were quite a few horses grazing in the pastures. Some of them that were grazing near the gravel road looked up when the RV drove by. Arlo let out a low whistle. "Nice place. Are you sure this is it Cole?"

Cole peeked out of the curtain and then checked the note on his map and opened the curtain farther and looked around. "I think so sir. The note says a big house surrounded by horse pastures." Arlo looked around and nodded. "That seems to fit. Well only one way to find out." Arlo pulled up in front of the house's garage and stopped the RV.

He looked at Cole. "You're on son." Cole nodded and made his way to the side door and let himself out. He looked around. Now that he was outside, he could see that besides the house and the large detached garage, there was also a large horse barn, with the name Bradshaw Farm painted on it.

He could see some people working around the barn and wondered if he should go over there, but decided to go up to the house. Having made that decision he started to the front door but stopped when he heard the clip clop of hooves. He turned toward the sound and saw a lady come riding around the corner of the garage. She brought her horse to a stop nearby and got off, taking a glance at the RV. "Can I help you folks? Are you lost?"

"Um, no Ma'am. We're uh, looking for a woman named Moses." The lady chuckled and walked over to him with her hand out. "Well I guess that'd be me. I'm Kelly Bradshaw. Welcome to Bradshaw Farm." Cole shook her hand and Arlo told the others that this was the place. The side door opened and everyone piled out of the RV. Kelly looked at them all with her hands on her hips. "Well there sure are a bunch of y'all." She introduced herself to everyone and invited them in for lunch. Arlo and Henny joined them.

The inside of the house was beautiful. As they entered the house, a man came from another room and greeted them. She introduced him as her husband Ken. She then gave them a tour of the downstairs and told them a little about herself. She was from Texas originally and grew up around horses on her father's cattle ranch. She and her husband met at college. When they finished school, they got married, and came here to help run his family business of raising and training horses. When Ken's parents retired, he took over running the farm. It had been in the family for several generations, reaching back into the 1800's. They owned most of the nearby land. A lot of the other farms in the area leased the land from them for farming. They got their hay from those farms. As they were given the tour, Kelly also introduced them to some of the household staff who were bustling around the house, cleaning.

The two owners brought them all to a large dining room and a lady came out of the kitchen. Kelly told her that they would have guests for luncheon. "Will sandwichs be alright Missus Bradshaw? I can whip that up quickly." Kelly nodded. "Thank you Jo. That'll be perfect." Jo turned around and went through the door that she had entered from. Kelly turned to the group and gestured to the table. "Please make yourself comfortable while we talk."

They explained to them who they were, and why they were going west. Cole further explained about the information that Evan had given him. When he heard that Cole had the information with him, Ken asked that he get the jump drives while he went to get his laptop. It took Cole a couple of minutes to get to his pack from where it was stored. When he returned Ken had the laptop open and he turned it over to Cole, who quickly downloaded both jump drives into the laptop. When he was done, he put the jump drives back into the bag he carried them in and put it in his pocket. He turned it so that he could show them. He first showed them the unedited Breckenridge video, then the two press conferences and finally the other information that Evan had been sent showing all the things that Ashwood was doing. When that was finished, he showed the next set of videos and information. While they had been watching all of this, Jo had come in with lunch and ended up looking over Kelly's shoulder as she and Ken watched the videos.

When they had finished Kelly sat there wiping her eyes because of what she had seen in Breckenridge, and then the wounded children in the second of Bryce's press conference. She got up and started pacing. You could hear the steady clop of her boots as she walked back and forth on the hardwood floor. When she looked at them there was fire in her eyes. "Ken, we have got to get this information out to our friends, well at least those friends who don't like that evil idiot who's illegally sitting in the Oval Office. Maybe we can even persuade some of those who think that he's an alright President. This should prove how evil he is." She looked at Cole. "Thanks for showing us that. You can be sure if any others need our help to do what you are doing, we got your back."

"I don't know if there will be any others, but thanks. If there are others that need help, you may see some of us again. Well you certainly will see some of us when we come back this way after getting this group to safety."

"You make sure you do. I'll drive you all the way back for another batch if we have to. I'm so damn mad. If I thought I'd get away with it, I'd drive right up to the White House and…." She looked at Ken. "How did George C. Scott say it in Patton?" Ken thought for a moment and then smiled as he remembered. "It was when a soldier asked him where he was going and he answered. 'Berlin. I'm going to personally shoot that paper hanging son of a bitch.'"

She smiled, "Yeah that. I'd like to be the one who pulls the trigger on that evil bastard." Her mouth was a thin line as she stood there before shaking it off and looked at them. "Sorry, what you just showed us really pisses me off! And HE, did THAT, to kids in my home state. Arrrgh. Just let me get in range and he's done. But enough of that. We should see to making you comfortable. Why don't you get your gear and bring it inside. I'm sure we have plenty of room, if you don't mind sharing." She saw them shake their heads. "Good then."

Arlo and Henny stood up as well. "I guess we should be heading back too, before it gets dark. Wouldn't want to be caught out after curfew." They all walked out and grabbed their gear from the RV and then said goodbye to the older couple. The Bradshaws shook hands with the Arlo and Henny, "If you'd ever like to come and spend a weekend, once all this foolishness is over, you'd be welcome." They thanked them, wished Cole and the others good luck and got in the RV, giving them one last wave as they drove away.

"Well let's get your things inside and then you can relax." They led them inside and showed them to the available bedrooms. They were used to this by now and quickly paired up. As the Bradshaws had said, there were plenty of rooms for them to choose from.

Once everyone had put their packs in their chosen rooms, they went to meet with their hosts but found only Ken waiting for them. "Kelly's gone back to the horse barn to stable her horse. We thought you might want to see it, so if you'd like, I can take you out there." They looked at each other and there were several nods, so Ken smiled and gestured for them to follow him. They went out the front door and he talked more about the ranch as he led them over to the barn.

Inside there were a large number of stalls. There were a few men and women working around inside the barn, either cleaning stalls or taking care of the horses. The stalls had sliding doors on the inside and each was numbered. Each stall also had a door to a small fenced corral on the outside of the barn. There were forty stalls inside, twenty on each side. There was a good sized tack room/workshop in a corner of the barn. Near that room was an office. There was also a feed storage room where they kept such items as oats and other supplemental feed that was given to the horses along with hay. There was a concrete lined area that was used for giving the horses a wash down when it was too cold outside. There was a large hayloft above the stalls. Ken showed them how they lowered the hay from the loft down to the main floor. The entire operation appeared to be well run and the horses all well cared for. Kelly came out of the office to join them.

"So how do you like it?"

"This is a really nice place you have. What kind of horses do you have?"

"We don't own all of the horses in here, because we board horses for some folks. So there are a few different ones in here." She waved for them to follow her and started walking through the barn. "We have a few Tennessee Walkers, a couple of Irish Hunters, a couple of Arabians, some Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Morgans and Appaloosas. Most of those are owned by others, but we raise mainly Tennessee Walkers and Morgans. We've been thinking about getting some American Paints, but haven't gotten around to doing that yet."

As she had walked along, they looked at the horses that were in their stalls. Some of the horses had come to the bars to investigate all the people that were walking by. "Do you have any of those big horses like on the beer commercials?" Kelly smiled at Nick and shook her head. "No those are draft horses. They're bred to haul wagons and things like that. That's why they are so big, so that they can pull those big wagons. Ours are riding horses. If you want to look around, feel free. If you need a snack or drink, just ask Jo in the kitchen. Other than that just relax and enjoy yourself, we'll see you at dinner."

Kelly and Ken left them to do what they wished. They walked among the stalls looking at the horses and were even able to coax some of them to come to the opening, so that they could pet them. Some of the horses kept their distance. The hands working in the barn were friendly and answered their questions. After a little while the adults decided to head back to the house, while the kids continued to walk around and look at everything. Amy stayed with Cole. Most of them headed out to where they could look out in the large pastures and watch the horses in the fields.

Back at the post office in Cedar Grove, Grace was talking with one of the customers who had come in for his mail. "Good afternoon Reverend. How are things going?"

"Very well Grace. How have you been?"

"Good, thank you for asking. How is your wife?"

"She's good. Thank you. Well, good day to you Grace." He turned to leave. "Oh Reverend do you need any fresh milk or butter or anything like that for after Sunday's service?" The man turned back. "Why Grace I'm sure that would be very nice. Thank you."

"Oh don't mention it, I'll go visit my friend Henny, she and Arlo always have the best stuff. I just thought of that when I saw you because I went by their house yesterday to get some, since I was out. I didn't stay long, because she had some out of town company visiting. They seemed like such nice people. They were very friendly and polite, especially that one boy, Cole. He was very nice…"

By this time the Reverend was trying to get away and take care of other things that he had to do. He smiled at her. "That's very generous of you Grace. I'm sure everyone will be very happy with your donation. Well, I must be going. See you on Sunday Grace."

Grace sort of ran out of steam. "Um, okay. See you on Sunday Reverend." She had her hand up to wave as he walked outside. Reverend Gordon was relieved he got out of there as quick as he could. He knew Grace could talk your ear off. He got in his car and sat there sifting through the mail he had picked up. One was a slightly larger manila envelope and he recognized the return address. He put the rest of the mail to the side and opened that one. Inside there was a couple of photographs and a letter. The pictures were of two teenage boys. He put them back in the envelope and put it with the other mail as he opened the letter.


I hope this letter finds you well. The two photographs that are included with this letter are of two young people that are missing. Their parents are very important around here and of great help to me and are supporters of our President and all of his policies. The boy's names are Coleman and Cooper Anderson. They may be in an old, well maintained, green pickup truck with wood railing around the truck bed. We don't know where they may be, but if you could ask your parishioners to keep an eye out for them, or their truck, just in case they come through your area. I would appreciate any word of their whereabouts. If you hear of them or see the truck, please find the nearest military unit and have them contact me back here in Nashville. Let the officer in charge know that I work with Congressman Gallivan in Nashville.

Yours in Christ,
Dr. Josiah Campbell

Alexander folded the letter back up and picked up the envelope to look at the pictures. He studied them for a few moments before returning them and the letter. He put his keys in the ignition and started the car. He turned around to look where he was going and started to back up, but something suddenly jogged his memory. He looked up and then glanced at the envelope on the passenger seat. He pulled back into the parking place and shut the car off. He grabbed the envelope and pulled the two pictures out of the envelope and got out of the car to go back into the post office. He saw Grace talking to another customer. She looked up at him with a little surprise.

"Did you forget something Reverend? You need some stamps or something?" Alexander shook his head. "No Grace, I just need to ask you something." She nodded and turned her attention back to her customer. "It's been very nice visiting with you, Meredith. We need to get together for some tea and have a longer visit. I'll talk to you later." The lady at the counter smiled and turned to leave, giving Alexander a smile as she walked by. Alexander walked up to the counter. "What can I do for you Reverend?"

"You mentioned some people that you met at your friend's house yesterday."

"Yes, they were very nice people."

"Did you say the name of one of them was Coleman?"

"Cole, but I supposed that's just a nickname for Coleman. Sometimes when people shorten their names, I think it takes away something. I mean their parents gave them that name…."

"Please Grace. May I show you a couple of pictures?" She nodded and he put the two pictures down on the counter. She looked at them and picked up the one of Cole. "Oh yes this is that nice young man that I met, Cole. He is a nice looking young man isn't he?" Alexander smiled at Grace as he took back both pictures. "Thank you Grace. You've been very helpful." He said that as he backed out of the post office. Grace still had her hand up as if she was holding the picture of Cole, but Alexander had taken that out of her hand as he left. She was left looking at the closing door. "Don't mention it….." She shrugged her shoulders and sat down on her stool wondering what that was all about.

Alexander was smiling as he got back into his car. He knew where to go, the Army plant just up the road. It didn't take very long to get to the plant. He was stopped at a gate and he showed the guard the letter. The guard called it in and a minute later Alexander was waved through and given directions to the plant's main office. He parked out front and went inside. There was a soldier at a desk. When Alexander told him why he was here, the soldier at the desk directed a nearby soldier to escort Alexander to the communications room. In the room, Alexander was told to wait at the door while the soldier went to an officer and talked to him. The communications officer looked up at Alexander and nodded to the soldier before getting up and following him over to where Alexander was waiting.

"What is it you need to do sir?" Alexander showed him the letter and the pictures. "I received this letter today from Doctor Campbell near Nashville. He is working in the administration of the President in the Nashville area being run by Congressman Gallivan. He asked that if I have information on these two boys that I am to contact him immediately. He said that I should find a military unit nearby and send the information that I have to him." He held out the letter to the officer who took it and quickly read it before handing it back.

"Right this way sir." Alexander followed the officer over to a bank of military communications equipment. "Corporal, contact Fort Campbell. We need to get a message to the Nashville area, particularly Congressman Gallivan's people." The corporal turned to his equipment and started transmitting. They contacted Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the nearest base to Nashville.

"Fort Campbell, this is Milan Plant, over."

"Milan this is Campbell, over."

The communication's officer took the mic.

"This is Milan, I have priority traffic for Congressman Gallivan in Nashville."

"This is Campbell, Roger. Go ahead with your message."

"Campbell, wait one for the message."

The officer handed the mic to Alexander. "It's all yours sir. Just press here and speak into the mic. Alexander took the mic and pushed the button.

"Uh, this message is for Doctor Josiah Campbell, part of Congressman Gallivan's staff. Tell him that I have information concerning Coleman and Cooper Anderson. Tell him that it came from Alexander Gordon from Cedar Grove."

He handed it back to the officer. The officer keyed the mic.


"This is Campbell, roger."

"Campbell this is Milan, out."

The officer looked at Alexander. "Well that's it sir."

"Okay. Well thank you. How will I know if there is an answer?"

"Come back tomorrow morning and check. Unfortunately the phone service is still not working, but if you check back, we may have some information for you."

Alexander thanked him and shook his hand. The soldier who had escorted him took him back to the entrance of the building. He went back outside to his car and drove away. He waved to the soldier as he left the base and before long he was back home.

At Fort Campbell the soldier who had received Alexander's message delivered it to the supervising sergeant. The sergeant routed it to the soldier handling communications with the Army Headquarters overseeing the Nashville area. The message was sent to the Army National Guard Headquarters in Nashville. They received the message and added it to a small stack of messages that were to be delivered to Congressman Gallivan's staff. The messages for his staff were collected and delivered several times a day. The only ones that were delivered immediately were flash messages. At the appropriate time, a courier picked up the messages and delivered them to an aide to Congressman Gallivan. The aide sorted through them and had some interns deliver them to the correct persons.

Doctor Campbell was in a conference room with Congressman Gallivan and others of his staff when the message was delivered. The room had large maps of the Nashville area pinned on the wall along with other maps. Josiah nodded his thanks as he took the message from the soldier. He continued talking to the two men for a few more minutes. The three men shook hands and the others left the room. Josiah went over to his desk in the corner of the large conference room and sat down. He put the paper on his desk and reached for the can of Coke that was on the desk. After taking a drink from the can, he picked up the folded paper and opened it. As he read it, his eyes opened wide and he quickly stood up. Josiah walked over to a large map of Tennessee.

He stood in front of it and after searching for a bit, he found the Army Ammunition Plant in Milan. Looking around the area, he finally found the town of Cedar Grove. Placing his finger on the town he traced the roads that led from Nashville to Cedar Grove. He saw that I-40 was within a few miles of Cedar Grove. The distance was a little over one hundred miles. He then looked beyond the area trying to figure where the two boys were driving to. I-40 went to Memphis where they had heard that there was fighting going on between Bryce's forces and those loyal to Ashwood. He knew that the boys had not used the interstate because it had been blocked off to all but military and law enforcement vehicles. So they must have been using the back roads.

He tapped the folded message against his lips as he looked at the map and tried to figure out where they were going. West obviously, but what did they hope to accomplish? Where were they going? Then a thought occurred. That friend of theirs, Tyler. They had been searching for the two faggots who called themselves his parents. In searching for information about them to try and find them, they had found out how the boy had been placed with them. The kid was a fag too and had been cast out of his home when his parents found out about his perversion, as any good Christian should do. Cast the devil out of their home. The two fags had been allowed to adopt him, probably to use as their sex toy so that they could fully indoctrinate the boy into their perverted lifestyle. Had the Anderson's told their son about his plans. He didn't think so, but perhaps they had found out somehow and were already under the spell of the perverts, so they told them. Maybe they had seen something around the house and it gave them information about their plans, which they passed on to the perverts.

He let out a sigh as he thought if only the parents had tried harder to show young Tyler the normal way of life when they found out about him, instead of allowing such perverts to have access to him. If they had, they may have saved him so that he could enjoy a good normal Christian life. They should have gotten him into conversion therapy as soon as they found out, rather than casting him out. Josiah feared that it was too late now for young Tyler. He had been in the clutches of those perverts for two or three years now. Josiah thought that since he was young, he might be brought back to God's grace, but it would be hard to do. Well, anything worth doing wasn't supposed to be easy. They would try to help him, but if he proved too much under the control of the fags, then he would have to be sent to one of the camps.

His worry now was that Coleman and Cooper may have been abused by the two men and made to take part in their perverted activities. He knew that with such parents as they had, that it had to be the fags who had corrupted them. Josiah, nor their parents, had ever noticed anything abnormal about them, so perhaps they hadn't been under the unholy influence of those perverts for very long. They could probably be saved very easily and shown a normal way of life. Josiah could easily make sure that they met with the right kind of doctor to help them get over what happened to them. He nodded as he put all of this together.

He moved up closer to the map once again focusing on the area north of Memphis and traced along the Mississippi River. That is where they were headed, he thought. The faggots would want to get where that fag loving terrorist Bryce's forces would be. He was looking for bridges, although Robert had told him that Ashwood's forces had destroyed most of the bridges that crossed the river. He didn't think that they would be driving very far to the north to try and cross. The perverts would want to get to the river and find some way to get across as quick as possible.

Josiah had little doubt that they would resort to stealing someone's boat to cross the river. He started looking in the area of the river around Dyersburg. It was remote enough that they may think that they can get across the river in that area because it was away from any large cities. There was the one bridge in the area, that was where the I-155 crossed the river, but it had probably been destroyed or at least it was heavily fortified by their forces to keep Bryce on the other side. The boys wouldn't know that, so they might actually drive right up to it and Ashwood's forces could get them. However, if they found out about the bridge then they would probably head north from there and try to find another way across.

Josiah thought that there were probably several of the people that lived along the river who would have boats. So there may be lots of places where they may be able to steal one and use it to cross the river. He thought they might try somewhere north of Dyersburg, once they found out the bridge was guarded or destroyed, so that is where he would concentrate his search. His decision made, he went over to Robert.

"Robert can you get me some soldiers? I have a lead on those faggots who escaped our round up, Grant Lindsay and Damon Grayson. You know Wayne and Evelyn. Their two sons have been missing since this last weekend and those perverts may be forcing them to help them get across the Mississippi. A colleague of mine in Cedar Grove spotted them and contacted me. If I can, I would like to take one of the units under your control and go and try to get the boys back and take those perverts into custody."

Robert flipped through several papers on his desk before writing something on another paper and handing it to Josiah. "Take this to Major Harkness and request the men you need. I don't know how many he can spare, but that note should get you what you need." Josiah thanked him and left the room to find the Major. He found him in another conference room where several members of the command staff were working.

"Good afternoon Major. I have a request from Congressman Gallivan." He handed over the note that Robert had written. The Major read it and handed it back. He got up and went to a chart on the wall and looked it over for a few moments before turning around. "I can allow you to take a platoon of one of our guard units, and then another one of the President's militia units." Josiah nodded. "Thank you Major." The Major went back to his desk and wrote out the orders and handed them to Josiah. "Show this to Captain Locke and he will get the men ready to leave." Josiah took the paper from him. The Major looked at one of the runners who were nearby waiting for assignment and waved him over. "Take him to Captain Locke." The young soldier saluted and led Josiah out of the room.

Their headquarters were on the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard complex near Oak Hill. They left the main building and headed to the grassy area where the guard had a small city of army tents set up for the soldiers. The soldier led him to one of the tents. Inside, he brought him to the desk of a Captain. "Are you Captain Locke?" The runner left Josiah and returned to his duties.

"Yes, I am. And you are?" Josiah put out his hand. "Reverend Doctor Josiah Campbell. I am part of Congressman Gallivan's staff and I am here to request your assistance in a matter of utmost importance." Josiah handed over the paper that the Major had given him. Captain Locke read it and put it down on his desk. He looked at one of the enlisted men in the room. "Sergeant, find Lieutenant Willis and have him come see me." The Sergeant stood up. "Yes sir." Captain Locke invited Josiah to have a seat while they waited. A short time later the Sergeant returned with another man. The man went up to the desk and saluted. "Lieutenant Willis reporting as ordered sir." The Captain returned the salute. "Willis, you are to take your platoon and one of the platoons of militia and go with Reverend Campbell here and do as he directs." Willis saluted. "Yes sir."

He turned to Josiah who had stood up now. "What is the mission sir?"

"We are going to rescue a couple of good Christian boys from the clutches of a couple of perverts who we believe are trying to spirit them to the west." Willis nodded. "We will be ready in thirty minutes sir."

"Excellent. Let me get my things and I will be ready to go."

"We will be in front of the headquarters building and pick you up there sir." Josiah nodded and after thanking the Captain, he headed back to the headquarters building to get his bag.

Thirty minutes later he came out of the building, dressed now in jeans and flannel shirt instead of the suit he had been wearing earlier. He was met by Lieutenant Willis. Parked in front of the building were four M-35 trucks and a Humvee. "Sir, if you will come with me, you can ride in the Humvee. Josiah nodded and followed the officer to the Humvee. Willis showed him where to stow his bag and they climbed in. Willis in the front passenger seat and Josiah behind the driver. Willis looked over his shoulder. "Where to sir."

"Cedar Grove. It's a little over a hundred miles from here. Just a little north of the I-40. It's near the ammunition plant." Willis nodded and waved for the driver to go. Within moments they were on their way.

The sun was low on the western horizon when the small convoy pulled into Cedar Grove. A little west of the town, the convoy stopped at a house. Just as Josiah climbed out of the Humvee Alexander Gordon came out of his front door. He waved to Josiah when he recognized who it was. "Josiah. Nice to see you, will you come in for some coffee." Josiah shook his head. "I'm more interested in what information you have for me on the two boys."

"Oh. One of my parishioners saw them at a friend's house."

"It's important that I talk to this person right away, if possible." Alexander nodded. "She runs the post office in town." He checked his watch. "She may still be there. It's not five yet."

"Let's go. You can ride with us." Alexander made sure his front door was closed and followed Josiah to the Humvee. The convoy turned around and headed back the short distance to town. There was an open area next to the post office that they parked in and the two walked over to the post office. When they arrived, Josiah saw an older lady just locking up the front of the building. "Grace!" The lady turned around and smiled when she saw him. "Reverend Gordon. Twice in one day. I was just locking up, but if you need something, I can let you back in."

"That might be a good idea Alexander. Let's go inside to talk." Alexander looked at Josiah and saw the serious look on his face and nodded. "Yes, do you mind Grace if we go back inside the office?" She waved dismissively. "Pshaw. Of course not. Come on in." She turned back to the door and opened it up, ushering the two men inside. She flipped on the lights and went behind the counter. "Well what can I help you with Reverend?" Alexander gestured at Josiah. "This is a colleague of mine. Reverend Campbell. Josiah, this is Grace." The two shook hands. "Grace, Reverend Campbell has come here to ask you about the young man you met." She smiled. "You mean young Cole. A very polite young man."

"Grace, may I call you Grace?" She smiled. "Of course Reverend." Josiah gave her his best smile. "Grace. Alexander told me that you met Cole and his brother Cooper?" She nodded. "Yes, he was such a polite, well-mannered boy. You can tell he was brought up right in his courtesy to his elders. He and the people he was with all were very nice."

"So he was with some other people?" She nodded. She was about to say more, but Josiah put his briefcase on the counter and opened it, he took out some pictures and showed them to her. "Where these people with them?" The pictures that he put on the counter were of Damon, Grant and Tyler. She picked each one up and looked at it before nodding. "Why yes, they were there." Josiah picked the photos back up and put them away. "Did you see what they were driving? An old green pickup truck?" She pursed her lips as she thought for a moment. "No, I don't recall a truck, but it could have been parked somewhere else."

"Did they say where they were going?" She shook her head. "No, just that they were visiting my friend's."

"Can you tell me where these friends of yours live?" Grace nodded. "It's Henny and Arlo Wiggins. They have a farm just a little bit outside town. I get my milk and butter from them. Theirs is so much better than what you get in a store. I've told them that they should sell it in the store, but they say they just like to sell to their friends when they need it….." Alexander held up his hand to stop her from continuing. "Thank you Grace."

Josiah took a map out of his briefcase and put it on the counter. "Can you show me where your friend's house is on this map?" Grace looked at the map and then pointed out where the place was located. Josiah folded it back up and closed his briefcase. He smiled at her. "Thank you Grace. You've been very helpful." He shook her hand before they left. "Oh Reverend, since you're out there, you can ask Arlo if he'll give you some of his milk and butter, like we talked about earlier. I'm sure he will." Alexander nodded in acknowledgment as he followed Josiah back to the Humvee.

He showed Willis where to go and a few minutes later they pulled into the Wiggins property.

Arlo had just cleaned up while Henny was making supper. They heard the trucks pull into the yard and went to see what was going on. What they saw made Henny let out a gasp as they watched three men climb out of the Humvee. Two were in civilian clothes and one was in an army uniform. One of the men carried a briefcase. They recognized Reverend Gordon, but the other two men were strangers to them. They were a little nervous as the three men approached them standing on their front porch. As the three men walked over to them, Josiah was looking around to see if he could see Cole's truck.

Alexander spoke up as they neared the house. "Hello Mister and Missus Wiggins."

"Reverend. What brings you out here?" Alexander gestured at Josiah. "A colleague of mine wishes to ask you about some guests you had the other day. "Guests?" They had reached the couple. "Yes, Grace was telling us that she met some nice people who were visiting with you, yesterday I think?"

"Oh, um, of course, yes. Won't you come in?" Alexander nodded and they followed the couple into the house. "Can I get you gentleman anything?" Josiah shook his head. Alexander introduced the two other men. "I'd like you to meet Lieutenant Wiggins." The officer nodded "And this is a colleague of mine, Reverend Campbell from Nashville." They shook hands and the two pastor sat down. Willis remained standing. "I wanted to hear more about your visitors. Have you known them long? Friends of yours?" Henny shook her head. "Oh goodness no. We just, um, felt sorry for them."

"Sorry for them? Why?"

"Because they had a flat tire on their car and they needed help changing the tire. Their jack was missing from their trunk so I got my big jack out to help them get the tire changed." Josiah looked at Arlo. He reached into his briefcase and brought out the pictures. Arlo took them and after he looked at each one, he handed them to Henny. "Are these the ones who were here?" Arlo nodded. "Yes, they're the ones. Is there something wrong?" Josiah shook his head as he took back the pictures. "No, it's just the two boys have been missing for several days, and their parents are very worried."

Arlo feigned a look of surprise. "You mean those men weren't their parents or guardians or something like that?" Josiah shook his head and frowned. "I'm afraid not. I have reason to believe that they may have been kidnapped by those two perverts."

"Perverts?" Josiah adopted a pious and sympathetic look. "Yes, it seems as if that may be the case. Those two boys come from a good Christian home and those two men are faggots. The boys are friends with the boy that the two faggots have custody of and may have used him to lure these two good Christian boys into their web of perversion. I believe that they are trying to turn them into perversions much like themselves. They are obviously trying to escape into the west where the international terrorist Jack Bryce, who is trying to destroy this country and everything it stands for, has for a time held back the forces of our great President Ashwood from freeing the rest of America from his iron grip. But it won't be long until they will be reeling back from the righteous forces of President Ashwood. We want to rescue these two unfortunate boys from the spiritual torment they are being subjected to, and from what these men are probably doing to them."

"We had no idea. They seemed to be okay."

"The poor boys have probably been brainwashed by those faggots. Did they say anything about where they were going?" Arlo shook his head. "No Reverend. Nary a peep. Henny here made them a quick snack and they said their goodbyes and drove off."

"What kind of car were they driving? Was it an old but well-kept green pickup truck?" Arlo shook his head. "No it was one of those big Ford SUV's."

"What color was it?"

"Hmm I think it was a dark blue. I remember it being dark colored. I think it was blue." Josiah nodded and stood up. "Well, I thank you for your information. We must be on our way." Arlo and Henny walked them out and stood there to watch as they got back into the Humvee. Inside the Humvee Josiah took out his map and the three men looked at it. "Lieutenant, I think we should head to Dyersburg. We'll put up there for the night and we'll make plans for tomorrow. When we get there, we'll get the word out to be on the lookout for a dark blue Ford Expedition." He looked at Alexander. "Alexander, thank you for your help. We'll drop you off back home and then be on our way." Josiah signaled for Willis to head out while he sat back and folded the map. Henny and Arlo let out a sigh of relief as they drove off.

"I'm going to try to contact the next station and let them know what's going on." Henny nodded as Arlo headed to his workshop and radio room.

At Alexander's house the two men said their goodbyes and the convoy roared off into the darkening sky to the west. It was about fifty miles to Dyersburg. It took a bit more than an hour to get there since they had to use some back roads until they hit the larger highways. It was dark by the time the convoy rolled into Dyersburg. When they arrived in town, they checked in with the military unit. Willis and his soldiers bedded down with the other soldiers who were camped in a large grassy area near the center of town.

At the Bradshaw Farm, the kids were either in the barn petting the horses or outside watching the horses in the fields. The farm workers were finished up for the day and headed to their homes nearby. The full time farm hands lived in homes or trailers that surrounded the main property. All of the property was owned by the Bradshaws. The older teens worked part time and lived with their families. They worked at the farm to make a little extra money. Some were still in High School, others came and worked on weekends, because they were taking college classes at the community college in Dyersburg

The foreman and his wife lived in one of the houses next to the main farm property. As the foreman, he lived there rent free. Jason Ingram had worked for the Bradshaw's since before Ken took over for his parents. He had served in the Navy back in the 70's and when he got out he came home to Tennessee. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do at the time. He had the GI Bill available to him, but he wasn't interested in going to college. He had always liked working with horses when he was younger and he was able to get a job working on the farm for Ken's family. He stayed with them, working his way up to being foreman. He helped the Bradshaws run the farm and when the elder Bradshaws retired, Ken was glad for his help when he took over the business.

The foreman had been a Radioman in the Navy and one of the skills he learned was Morse Code, that was when it was still being used from time to time, mostly in communicating with submarines. He had enjoyed working with the radios while he had served and he kept that interest when he got out. He eventually got his Ham Radio license and built his own radio. It was from him that the Bradshaws heard about Cole and his group and they had readily agreed to help. When he got home that day, he decided to go down into his basement and check his radio for any news.

He turned it on and sat down. He switched to the channel that was being used to communicate with the others that were helping with the Railroad. He wanted to let the others, back down the line, know that the group had arrived safely. He was just about to send something when he heard Morse Code on the line. He listened and he heard his call sign being sent. He put his hand on the key and acknowledged it. As the message was sent he wrote it down on a message pad he kept nearby. When the message was finished he sent an acknowledgement that he got the message and got up from the radio after he turned it off. In the kitchen he saw that his wife was working on supper.

"Hi Hon. I've got to head back over to the main house for a minute. Got some news that they need to hear. Be back in a little bit." He gave her a quick kiss and grabbed his truck keys off the hall table.

At the main house, the Bradshaws and Cole's group were sitting in the living room relaxing before supper. Jason came into the house with the message in his hand.

"Sorry to bother you Mister and Missus Bradshaw. Got a message for your guests. Just came in."

Cole stood up and Jason handed it over. Cole read the message and they could tell that something was wrong.

"What is it Cole." He looked at Tyler's dad Grant. "It's Campbell." Grant's eyes opened wide in surprise. "Reverend Campbell?" Cole nodded. "Somehow he found out we're in this area. Mister Jennings says that Campbell came and visited them, he was asking about us. He seems to know only about us and you folks Mister Lindsey. Mister Jennings told them it was just us and we were driving in a blue Ford Expedition. He hoped that would be enough to cause him to be chasing shadows. Mister Jennings also said that Campbell had some soldiers with him."

"Soldiers?" Cole nodded. "That's what the message says."

"What are we going to do."

"Head to the next station. That's all we can do. If he thinks it's just us and that we're in a Ford Expedition, that's what he will be looking for. So we should be able to make it to the next station while he's looking for the Expedition."

"What's the plan to get there?" Cole glanced at Elise. "We'll have to get the map out and see what the best way to get there is." At that point, Jo came in to tell them that supper was ready. Ken stood up. "I propose that we hold off until after supper and then we can talk further about this." He looked at Jason. "Jason, thank you for bringing the message. Will you stay for supper?" Jason shook his head and smiled. "No sir. Vicky'll have supper ready by the time I get home." Cole went over to him and shook his hand. "Thank you sir." Jason put his finger to his hat in a sort of salute. "Glad to help. Y'all be careful."

Everyone went into the dining room. As they ate, they talked about the news and what it meant to them. Ken and Kelly asked about Campbell and Cole told them all about what sort of person he was. Once supper was over and the dishes cleared away, Cole got his map out and they spread it out on the table. Ken went into his office and brought back some maps that they had as well. The maps were spread out and they looked them over.

The first thing that they were sure of was that they needed to stay away from Dyersburg, since it was the largest city in the area. They knew that the next stop was near Ridgely. They needed to get there as soon as they could but Cole wasn't sure how they were going to do it. He felt that since Campbell was in the area searching for them, it was going to be harder to make it through. There was still a lot of land for him to search if he was going to find Cole and the others, but if he had enough soldiers, then he may be able to cover a lot of ground and be able to find them.

Cole stood there leaning on the table as he looked at the map and shook his head. "I don't know what to do. Maybe the best thing would be for Cooper and I to let ourselves be found and then maybe they'll quit searching for the rest of you. He'll probably just take us back to our parents. None of the rest of you would be caught. Mister Pickens, you can get the boys back home safely. We can tell them that you let us go and were going to go to Kentucky or maybe down to Alabama or Mississippi."

He looked at his brother. "We can do this Coop. It'll let everyone get away. Tyler would be safe and later you guys can get together. I just don't know how to get everyone there any other way." Cole turned away from the table and went to look out the glass doors that led to the back of the house. After a moment, Cooper went over to his brother and put his arms around him. "I'll go with you Cole. If it means Tyler will be safe, I'll do it." Cole looked at his brother. His eyes were shining with unshed tears. "I'm sorry Coop. I thought we could make it. Maybe we just tried to take too many people with us at once." The brothers hugged for a few minutes before turning around.

"Mister and Missus Bradshaw. Do you think you can give us a ride to a town nearby? From there we can find someone and they'll probably get word to Reverend Campbell. That way the rest of you can get to safety."

Everyone looked at the two brothers. "No boys. You've come too far. Kelly and I will get you to where you need to go." Ken looked at Cole's map and saw the final station's location. He then looked at one of the highway maps of Western Tennessee and between both maps he traced the roads. He directed their attention to the map.

"If we go north of New Bern, there is a road that crosses the I-155 right here. It's just a regular road that is far enough away from other towns that we should be able to get over the interstate. Once we are over that, then there aren't a lot of people around other than farmers. We'll have to do a lot of zig zagging on back roads to get there, so it will take us some time, but I think we can do it."

"But how?"

"One of our tenants who competes in equestrian events, keeps a big trailer here at the farm. It is divided into two parts. The front is where their tack is kept and it is set up like a small camper where she can go to relax in between competitions. I think that we can get all of you in there. It will be tight. Some of you will have to ride in the big truck we have. It has a crew cab, so we can fit maybe three of you. The rest will have to hide in the trailer.

"Well that won't be the first time we've had to ride in a trailer. We'll make it work somehow." Ken looked at Grant and nodded. Let's go out to the trailer and see who we can fit in the inside."

They followed the Bradshaws outside. Parked near the garage was a real nice looking horse trailer. Kelly went inside the barn and got the keys. She unlocked the door on the side of the trailer. She opened the door and looked inside. It was a good sized trailer that needed a big truck to haul it. The front area was actually bigger than they had thought. It was like a real small one room apartment. There was a sink with a small fridge and stove. There was a bed in the upper part of the trailer that went over the trailer hitch. There was a bench seat on one side and across from it was a small table with a couple of attached chairs on either side of it. The only thing missing was a bathroom. Overall it wasn't fancy, but it looked like it might be comfortable. Toward the rear of the area was a large cabinet. When Kelly opened it, there were places to hang the saddles and tack that she would use for competition.

"It's not luxurious, but it is pretty nice. Well let's see how many of you can fit." She stepped out and the group filed in the room. They didn't all just file in at once, but instead allowed someone to find a place to sit and then another person would go in and so on, until they had everyone inside. It was pretty cramped, and most of them had to sit on the floor, but they all fit, barely. Kelly looked in from the door.

"Well it looks like everyone fits, but we can take a couple in the cab of the truck, so that'll give you a little room."

"What about the backpacks." Everyone looked around. They opened the saddle compartment. "We can fit some here and then up on the bed there. That should work." Cole pointed out.

"So who will ride up with us?" Barry raised his hand. "I will. Normally I'd say Cole, like he has most of the time, so that he could see where we're going. But with Campbell looking for him, it would be best if he stays out of sight, just in case." Cole nodded his agreement with what Barry was saying. "Probably a good idea."

"Well it looks like this will work." Cole walked over to the Bradshaws. "You know, if you do this, and they find us, you folks could be in a lot of trouble." She patted him on the arm. "I'm not worried. We'll get you through. I can't let you give yourself up to that evil bastard. Reverend my butt. He's a bigoted ass and you don't want your brother to have to be always looking over his shoulder. Don't worry. You'll get to the next stop and from there it's across the river to safety." Cole nodded. "Okay, let's head back inside." She locked the trailer and they went back inside the house.

Back in the living room, Ken offered the adults some adult beverages. For the younger ones, something less adult. Ken held up his drink. "Good luck to you all when you get to safety." They all raised their glasses in a toast.

With a plan in mind now, they were more relaxed than they had been when they heard about Campbell. They were able to go to sleep that night with little problem.

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