Castle Roland


Escape & Evasion

by Roland

Completed
Chapters:

Chapter 2

Published: 15 Jun 17

Escape and Evasion

Copyright © 2017 by Roland and the
Revolutions Universe Partnership
All Rights Reserved


Escapr and Evasion Logo"You know, I'm proud of you." Pat said as he walked next to Sheldon. It had been two days since the gunfight at the barn. Two days since Sheldon killed. Two days since he slept the entire night through.

"Thanks." Sheldon said, feeling bad for someone being proud of him for killing people.

Pat must have known exactly what was going through his mind, since he put a hand on Sheldon's arm, stopping him, and turning him. "I'm not proud that you killed someone, Shel. Never that. I'm proud that you didn't freeze. I'm proud that when I needed you the most, you were there, and you came through. It's never a good thing to kill, never. However, as you know, there are times we need to."

He let go of Sheldon's arm, and started walking again. The two of them were walking a good distance ahead of the main group, watching for any signs of the enemy. "I know you heard about what happened to the family they captured. They were just sitting in their house, as they were told to do, and the soldiers came in and took them. You helped save them from that."

"I'm glad Alisa came out of her funk and started to help the youngest girl. She won't let anyone else near her. Well, other than her family and Pastor Mary." Sheldon replied, eyes watching the woods from the old dirt road they were on.

"Yeah. The whole family is gonna have a long road to recovery, but at least they get the chance."

Sheldon was quiet for a long moment before he started to talk again. "I just can't understand how people can do things like that."

"That's a good thing kid." Patrick said, then looked over and threw an arm around Sheldon's shoulder. "Nope… I was wrong."

"What?" Sheldon asked perplexed.

"You're not a kid anymore."

"I don't think I really want my rite of passage to have been killing people."

"It wasn't." Pat said as they continued walking. "It was doing what needed to be done, no matter how scared you were. That's what makes a man. I know guys that washed out of Ranger school because they didn't have what it took to reach down into themselves and pull out the last little bit they had to push further. That's what it takes. That's what you did. You reached down inside yourself and pulled out what it is to be a man.

"The el-tee, Lieutenant Davis, he washed out of Ranger school. But that's 'cause he blew out his knee. Technically he's in charge, 'cause he's an officer. But he knows enough to understand that he's not the best one to be in charge out here. That's why Sarge is. That's an example of someone who has a brain, and knows how to use it. That's someone who sees where his skills lay, and where they don't. To me that deserves more respect than just about anything else. That's what I see in you."

"I… I don't understand." Sheldon's weak voice was barely heard.

"I know you don't. But look at it like this. You like Scouts, you like camping, but you know you're no good when it comes to sports. So would you ever volunteer to teach little kids how to play football?"

"No."

"Exactly. In the barn, we all knew you could do it. Dad knew, I knew, but you didn't. But you also didn't run away from it. That's what I mean by digging down inside. The kind of courage you showed is something very few people will ever have, let alone show. You gained a lot of people's respect that day. Mine included."

They were both quiet for several minutes before Pat looked over and grinned. "So tell me," he waited for Sheldon to be looking at him before he continued, "what part of Terry turns you on the most?" He laughed as Sheldon stumbled and almost fell.


Later that day, the group found another building to hole up in, this one a large hunting lodge. It didn't take long for their group to get a fire going, and for people to warm up. Yes, they were in the south, but it still got cold at night. They had to keep the fire small and smoke free, since they didn't want to attract attention, but still they were able to make a hot meal, and even warm up water a bit for people to wash with.

After Sheldon was done eating, and washing up, the sarge pulled him off to the side. "You mind taking watch for Pat, that way he can wash up?"

"Sure."

"Good. If you think you're up to it, I'm not gonna bother having someone else with you, just make sure you take a radio."

"Okay." Sheldon's eyes raised in surprise, but he quickly got his rifle, radio, and went up stairs. "Hey Pat. The sarge says it's your turn to eat and wash up."

"Cool!" Pat said as he stood up and lifted his rifle. "Everything's been quiet." Without saying another word he was gone.

Sheldon settled down and looked out the window, wondering just how bad things were in other parts of the country.

"Well at least you don't have to lay on the floor this time." Terry said as he walked into the dark room. "How the hell can you see anything in here?"

"It's dark out there." Sheldon said without turning around. "If it were light in here, they'd be able to see us, and we wouldn't be able to see them."

"That makes sense." Terry said as he grabbed a chair, and brought it over next to the window. "Still having nightmares?"

"Yeah…" Sheldon scanned the woods, buying himself some time, hoping he wouldn't have to have this conversation. Thankfully it seemed Terry understood. "Any idea where we're at?"

"Not really. I heard Pat say yesterday that we're making good time, but he never said where we are." Sheldon glanced over his shoulder to see what Terry was up to. The other boy was slowly walking around the room, looking to see what was there. With no real light, it was difficult.

"I guess it really doesn't make a difference. I mean what does it really matter as long as we're behind enemy lines." Terry said without really looking back at Sheldon.

He looked back out the window, letting his eyes walk along the tree line, trying to get the courage up to talk to Terry about what he learned from Pat. He really couldn't believe it was true. He had dreamed about Terry for a long time, but never thought it could be true. But now that Pat said it was, Sheldon was more scared of talking to Terry about it than he was the other day in the barn. Then he thought about what Pat said about courage, and doing what needed to be done, no matter what. He took a deep breath, scanned the woods one more time, then started to turn to look at Terry when the other boy exclaimed. "Oh my God!" Thankfully he had kept his voice somewhat quiet. "I can't believe someone would leave you leaning against a wall like this!"

It took Sheldon a moment to figure out what Terry now held in his hands, but then saw that it was a guitar. Sheldon couldn't help but grin knowing how much his friend loved to play and sing. Seeing him stand there, literally petting the guitar, forced all the bad things from Sheldon's mind. "How does it sound?" Sheldon asked, forcing his friend to find a place to sit, then put the guitar on his knee and experimentally strum the instrument.

Terry sat there strumming and tuning the guitar for close to five minutes, before the door opened, and Pat, and Lt. Davis walked in. They both looked at Terry who spoke up quickly, with a guilty tone. "I found it up here."

"Can you play?" The lieutenant asked.

"Oh yeah." Both Pat and Sheldon said at the same time. They all laughed a little, and Sheldon could just imagine the blush on his friend's face.

"Cool." Lt. Davis said, and Sheldon could almost see the broad smile on the man's face. "Why don't you take it downstairs, and see if you can't brighten the mood of everyone. Oh yeah. See if there's a strap or anything. Bring it with you, if you think you can carry it."

"Really?" A shocked Terry stammered out. "What about…"

"Trust me." Pat interrupted. "The people that lived here, won't be needing it anymore."

"Oh…." Terry shook his head sadly, than stood up, looking around for a strap or case.

Pat turned and looked at Sheldon, who was still sitting in the seat by the window. "Hey Shel, you got the night off, the el-tee and I'll cover it."

"You sure?"

"Absolutely." Davis said as he moved over. "Can I borrow your rifle?"

"Yeah." Sheldon said while handing the military rifle to the man. "My dad gave it to me, but I'm not sure where he got it. It's not one of his."

"It's one of ours." Davis said with a smile. "However, it's yours now. Pat said he's already showed you how to clean it?"

"Yes sir." Sheldon said with a nod. "He made me do it right after the…"

Davis nodded, and patted Sheldon on the shoulder. "It's okay son." He paused as he looked the rifle over. "Looks like you did a good job."

Pat jumped in while throwing an arm over Sheldon's shoulder, and leading him to the door. "Head on down, Shel, Dad needs to talk to you."

"Okay." Sheldon led Terry down the steps, and into the small living room area, where everyone was sitting on the sparse furniture, or on the floor.

Sheldon's father saw what was in Terry's hands, and grinned. "Here Terry." He said as he got out of the chair he was sitting in. "I think everyone could use a pick-me-up."

Terry grinned, while blushing again, then sat down. Sheldon's dad walked over to his son, and put an arm over his shoulder. "Let's go for a walk." The boy just nodded, and as they both walked out of the room, they heard Terry start playing a soft country song. Soon his voice joined in, as well as several other soft voices.

Pat Sr. led them into a small room near the back of the house, a room that looked to have been a small bedroom. "What's up Dad?" Sheldon asked as he sat on the edge of the bed next to his father.

"We need to talk." Pat said in a very serious tone. "I…" He hesitated for a moment before he started again. "I just want to see how you're doing."

Sheldon sighed deeply, not really sure how to answer. He spent time last night talking with Pastor Mary. She was able to help him sort out a lot of the feelings he had, but... "All things considered," Sheldon finally said, "I'm doing okay."

"I talked with Pat, and with Pastor Mary, they both said you're handling things really well." His dad said with a sad smile. "However, we all know that it'll hit you sooner or later. I went through years of training, and before the other day, I've never had to pull the trigger in the line of duty. Pat's also had years of training to deal with what we've had to deal with recently. You haven't."

"I know." Sheldon said as he looked down at his hands sitting in his lap. "I really don't know how I feel." He finally said. "Part of me says I should be… I don't know, a wreck? But I'm not. Another part of me says I should be happy that I killed them. I mean they're part of the reason that Mom died…" His voice halted, and he had to reach up to wipe away a stray tear. "But I can't be that either."

"Good." Pat Sr. said quickly. "Never be happy that you killed someone."

"Yes sir." Sheldon said softly, than looked up at his father, tears still brimming his eyes. "Why?" He asked, almost pleaded. "Why's this happening?"

The sheriff shook his head, and sighed. "I wish I knew for sure."

"I've seen you and the Army guys talking." Sheldon said, desperate for something. "Do they know?"

"They know some." Pat Sr. sighed deeply, trying to decide how much to tell his son. Finally, after a few moments, he decided Sheldon deserved to know it all. He had to grow up a lot quicker than he should, and he deserved to know why.

"President Ashwood decided not to give up power. I guess he's being backed by some South American countries, since we've been running into them out here." The man paused, then looked down at his son, and met his eyes. "How much of this do you want to know? I'll tell you everything, if you really want to know. You deserve no less."

Sheldon hesitated. His father had done this sort of thing before. Letting him know that he was willing to tell him what he needed to know, but also letting him know that he wouldn't like what he could learn. It took him almost a full minute before he met his father's eyes, and nodded. "I need to know it all."

Pat Sr. nodded, then pulled his son close to his side, as he began to speak. "The Army guys have been able to find out a lot. The radios are picking up scattered reports of what's going on, and then there's the guys that we were able to question at the barn." Sheldon went stiff for a moment, he didn't know that anyone had survived, let alone were questioned. He was about to ask what happened to them, but then stopped himself. He really didn't want to know.

When he felt Sheldon relax, Pat Sr. inwardly sighed, happy that he wouldn't have to answer the questions that he knew were going through his son's mind. "Ashwood's forces also launched several attacks against the western part of the country. What we've heard is hard to believe, and we don't know what is accurate, and what isn't, so I hesitate to mention anything."

"That's okay." Sheldon responded to his father's unspoken questions.

"What we do know is that the country is in a state of civil war, this time though, the lines are east and west, not north and south."

"You know where we gotta go?" Sheldon asked while looking up, hope in his eyes.

"Yes. The Mississippi River is the line. We just need to get there, figure out a way across, and we'll be home free."

Sheldon was quiet for several minutes as he digested what his father had said so far. The very idea of a civil war in the US was almost more than he could handle. Had he not lived through the last several days, he wouldn't have believed it. Hell, sometimes he still expected to wake up, and find that this had all been a bad dream. As he let all this play through his mind, another thought came to him. As soon as he realized what he was thinking he went stiff. "Why'd they come after us?" He asked.

"What do you mean?" His father's voice wavered, which told Sheldon he was right.

"Don't Dad." He said softly, "They came for us. They came to the house." He paused, as another realization hit him. "Pat knew. That's why they came to rescue us. They knew that we were being targeted."

"Sometimes Sheldon, I wish you weren't so damned smart." Patrick said with a humorless chuckle. "You're right. They did come for us."

"Why?"

"Lt. Davis found out that our names were on a list that Ashwood had put together, a list that told his troops who to arrest. He saw my name, and since Pat's name is the same, he went to him to find out if he knew us. After that, well, they all agreed to come help Pat rescue us."

"Why were our names on the list?" Sheldon asked, his heart sinking as he thought of why.

Pat hesitated a long moment before he sighed. "It's a list of so called undesirables. It included people who spoke out against Ashwood, people who donated to Bryce's campaign, like your mother and I did. The fact that I'm in law enforcement put me to the top of the list."

"Who else?" Sheldon asked, knowing that there was more.

"Scholars, doctors, people who had important jobs, and weren't part of Ashwood's group. Also people who didn't fit into his more religious world view."

"Like gay people?" Sheldon asked, praying that he didn't get the answer he knew he was going to.

His father didn't say anything for several moments, and finally Sheldon had to look up at his face. There were tears streaming down his father's face, confirming what Sheldon already knew. The fact that his father nodded, only made it worse.


Wednes Thursday, November 15, 2012.

According to my watch it's after midnight now, so it's really Thursday.

I know I should be asleep like just about everyone else is but I just can't. I mean how can I sleep when I found out that I'm part of the reason that my mom's dead. Because I'm gay.

Dad actually yelled at me when I said it. It's been a long time since I seen him that mad. He kept saying over and over that it wasn't my fault it was Ashwood's fault, and the soldier's fault. He said it's not my fault since it's not like I asked to be gay. Which I guess he's got a point.

It was weird talking to dad about this since this was the first time we talked about me being gay. He knew. Of course he knew. I can't really believe I thought that I could hide something from him. He always knows.

He also told me that mom knew. She actually knew it before he did. They decided that they would wait for me to come out to them before they talked to me about it but well I'll never get that chance now.

The one thing is though mom knew and she never treated me differently. This whole time I was so worried about them treating me differently when I told them and then I find out that they knew for a long time. According to my father they first talked about it when I was twelve. That was before I really knew!

But it doesn't really matter now.

After dad left me Pat came in to talk to me too. He confirmed what dad told me and said again that it wasn't my fault. I don't know if I really believe him or not but I wasn't about to argue with him.

I fell asleep for a few minutes earlier but woke up almost right away. I dreamt that I had the gun and I saw Ashwood. Although when I pulled the trigger in my dream I cheered when the bullet hit. But then I looked again and it wasn't Ashwood it was mom.


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