DISCLAIMER: This is an original story and may not be reproduced in any manner although copies for personal enjoyment are allowed providing title, author, etc remains on the copy.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: my Beta Reader did this to me. I am in middle of writing 3 other works and she just mentions, 'What if ' and sends me off on another tangent. Send virtual shaking of finger at her and tsking at her at firstname.lastname@example.org or myself at SDerkins61@yahoo.com
WARNINGS: Some dark tones, f/f action, some bad language, all the typical things that may be offensive to individuals then avoid reading story.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
And a Door Opened
Story Idea by Golden_Ruhl
Cierra ran for several seconds before she realized she how stupid she had been. She should have gone with Tracy, who was armed. This was the God damned wilderness you idiot! She could hear the large bear already gaining on her. Panic gave her a burst of speed as she headed for the nearest tree.
With a leap that would later astound her, she scrambled up the trunk and began screaming bloody murder. She only hoped that help would arrive before the bear followed her up the tree and had her for lunch.
Several hundred yards away the work crew heard her screams.
"Oh shit!" Carey yelled as she grabbed the rifle from its holder on the bulldozer. Several others did the same and Cyd pulled her pistol from its holster. They began running towards where Cierra and Tracy were working; praying no one had been killed.
Carey reached the scene first by mere seconds and saw a huge grizzly lunging up the trunk in his attempts to reach the terrified human who dared trespass in his territory. The woman put the butt of the rifle to her shoulder and took aim, firing into the animal's shoulder. The bear bellowed in pain and stumbled to the ground. He was wounded but far from dead. Carey shifted her aim even as the automatic rifle kicked out the spent shell, firing another shot towards its chest as it turned in her direction.
A shot rang out from her left and the bear dropped when the third shot managed to tear through its ribcage and strike the heart. Carey turned to look over at JP, who lowered her rifle and studied the bear for any signs of life.
JP looked at her friend with a disgusted look. "She gets a guard from now on. That was too close for my peace of mind," she said with a growl and turned away. The others stood there and most of them felt a shiver along their skins. If Cierra had died then they would have been stuck there with no way to get back. JP was correct; Cierra had been taken for granted and allowed to work alone without being armed or trained to protect herself.
In the meanwhile, JP was stalking in the direction of the woodpile and angry enough to commit murder. She met Tracy halfway there. The young woman was pale and on the verge of tears.
"JP, I'm sorry! I swear I hadn't been gone more than 2 minutes!"
The woman's blue eyes turned icy as she grabbed Tracy by her shirt. "Two minutes would be enough time for that bear to maul her to death." the angry woman snarled ferociously.
Tracy repeated how sorry she was as the tall woman stalked away.
Back at the tree one of the women watched Cierra inch her way down the narrow trunk as another was fetching the backhoe. They were going to haul the carcass away from the work site and let the scavengers eat it.
Once the brunette was close to the ground Carey reached up and helped her down.
Cierra looked up at the worried eyes of the survivalist. "Guess that was too close, huh?" she mumbled.
"Yeah, too close. Um," Carey glanced over at her long time friend who was standing several yards away. She had never seen JP so angry before. "I think you had better calm JP down. I know she is acting angry but its fear talking, okay?"
She nodded and walked towards the woman who was standing so rigidly next to a pile of dirt. Cierra's legs were still a bit shaky but her heart was finally calming down from her ordeal. A few paces away she stopped and looked at JP's ramrod straight back.
"JP?" she said softly. The woman didn't answer at first or even turn around. Cierra almost walked away when JP finally took a deep breath and spoke.
"I had never been more scared in my life, you know that don't you? Without you we're lost. This dream would be nothing but a memory for the others back home and an exile for those here if you were killed." JP before speaking again. "Will you do us all a favor? Stay behind. Bring us here then go back where it's safe. You can fetch us for meals and at the end of the day but I want you out of harm's way."
"Please," JP begged her voice tight and gentle.
Cierra felt the fight leave her. She didn't need to see the woman's face to know she was fighting back tears. She placed her hand on JP's shoulder and whispered, "Okay, I'll come back in a few hours and bring you all home. I'm sorry JP." She reached for her talisman and jumped.
"You okay JP?" Cyd asked. She knew few could read the quiet woman's features like she could after so many years. Cyd was considered unflappable but JP made her look like a hyper chipmunk. Seeing her almost lose it with Tracy had left her shaking in her boots. It was so unlike her. But Cyd suspected it went much deeper than nearly losing their transportation.
"Want to talk about it?" she asked when her friend didn't answer.
"About what exactly?"
Cyd almost laughed. Few would hear the denial the lanky woman was attempting but she did. Suspicion was now belief but she was unsure how to approach the subject. Cyd ran a hand through her short haircut and tried to rehearse the words in her head.
"Well, we almost lost Cierra. I know that shook you."
JP sighed heavily. "Yeah," she said simply.
"And I think you've grown to think of her as a friend too. She a likable person. Cute too, with those big brown eyes and that dimple of hers," Cyd said, hiding a grin when JP swallowed hard. "I'm sure you were scared for her and you tend to be protective of your friends."
The tall woman merely nodded and crossed her arms. At least she hadn't walked away so Cyd continued. "Well, Cierra is feeling a little vulnerable right now. She's broken up with her girlfriend and now involved with all of this. I bet she feels a little overwhelmed and could use a good friend right now until she feels more confident about things. Someone she can talk to and lean on. Don't you think? Well, I had better get back to work. That bulldozer won't run by itself. See ya." Cyd tossed her work shirt over her broad shoulder and whistled an off-key tune as she walked away, confident that JP would open up a little more with Cierra.
At the dinner table Laura brought up another suggestion that Cierra didn't like.
"Ever since what happened earlier my mind has been racing. We've been terribly naïve for a group of educated, intelligent women." Laura took a deep breath and wrapped her hand around her coffee mug. Everyone around the table looked at the science teacher from Colorado. The woman certainly knew how to grab people's undivided attention after twenty years of teaching. Laura let her blue-gray eyes move from person to person then grimaced at her coffee mug for effect. She put it down carefully, ran a bony finger along its rim then spoke.
"JP has already asked Cierra to remain here at the farm rather than remain at the colony site during the day. But it's not enough." Laura brushed aside a strand of graying blonde hair from her eyes and settled her gaze on the Jumper. "There's dangers here also. We've gotten responses from all over but what if someone who arrives is mentally ill or a criminal? We have got to establish a method to screen everyone who wants to join us. That's the second step. The first step is to have a bodyguard for Cierra."
"A what?" Cierra protested, "In our home? For Pete's sake, what do you think will happen?"
"I don't know and neither do you. Too many people already know of this location and anyone could just waltz in here. What if it's a psycho with the idea of going on a killing spree? We all need to tighten our safety habits but Cierra needs to more than anyone else does. She's the key to this whole business and we can't afford to lose her. Agreed?" Everyone nodded.
"Good. Now we have to deal with the influx of people trying to join our group. I suggest getting Kelly Patterson to organize it. She's the legal assistant from Los Angeles who will be joining us next week. She has experience and connections. She can set up a site online where people can give us info on themselves and she can do background checks on them. The last thing we want is someone who has been in and out of mental wards or prisons.
Thirdly, we need a safe house."
"Why?" Jenny asked.
Laura smiled without humor. "What happens if the authorities find out about us and raid the farm? Cierra could escape in seconds along with anyone with her at the time. Now, the authorities can hold the remainder for questioning but will eventually have to release us. If that happened Cierra wouldn't dare return to the farm. A tranquilizer dart could be waiting for her if she did. So we need a second site for jumping. One we all vow to keep secret even if threatened. It could be nothing more than a rented apartment located on ground level somewhere or an empty storage room. Just a place she can jump to safely. Then anyone not identified by the authorities can still bring supplies to the colony safely. Once we finish the others can go there and transport. Of course, we'll need a third spot yet just in case. That we can do tomorrow. Cierra can jump from there and mark the location."
"And who do we have guard Cierra?" JP asked.
"I haven't figured that out yet. I suggest we all keep weapons handy indoors and that Cierra never goes outdoors without someone armed. It would be a good idea for her to stay on the farm and not go into town."
It had been a standing joke with the group that Cierra couldn't stand touching guns. She'd squeal and refused to handle one. Now it wasn't funny anymore.
Tracy stood outside and stared at the sunset. She was still upset about what had happened earlier and was seriously thinking about just packing up and leaving. Maybe joining the group had been a pipe dream and she was deluding herself, feeling a lot of self-pity. Then she heard the squeak of the screen door as it opened and closed. She wiped a tear from her tanned cheek angrily, ashamed of crying like some weak fool.
The sound of footsteps approaching made her stiffen. Someone was now standing off to her side, slightly behind her.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you today, Tracy. I was scared and took it out on you but it wasn't really you I was mad at," JP said is a quiet tone.
"It's okay, don't worry about it," Tracy replied.
"But I do worry about it. I see you out here isolating yourself and can guess what you're feeling."
"Oh? And how am I feeling?" Tracy asked defiantly.
"You are thinking about leaving us. That you think you're a burden even though you're not."
"Maybe not a burden but certainly not worth much. I'm just a convenient store clerk. I don't know shit. I'm just a nobody," Tracy insisted.
"There you go, holding onto that Old World thinking. I thought the purpose of moving on was to get away from all that crap. The only thing that matters in the colony is whether or not you work to pull your own weight, which you do and then some. I had no business yelling at you because Cierra is a grown woman and she should have stuck to you."
"So you were mad at Cierra," Tracy guessed.
"Yeah, but she looks at me with those big puppy dog eyes and I can't stay mad at her. I was scared and ended up taking it out on you. For that I'm sorry. Please don't leave, we need you too. You not only work damned hard, you do it with a smile and with enthusiasm. People like you will keep morale up when the going gets tough. You're special Tracy, and don't you forget it."
Tracy gave her a watery smile. "Thanks, it's nice to hear it once in a while. I think it's time to go in. Tomorrow will be another long, hard day."
JP opened her eyes and looked around. It was just after 2 AM and everyone was asleep. She crawled out of bed and walked quietly out of the room. She had something to do and wanted no witnesses until it was too late to stop it.
She went into the small office and shut the door carefully and sat down. Pulling out her cell phone she dialed a number long unused.
"Hey, it's me, JP."
"Boy, I haven't heard from you in a long time. What's wrong?"
JP chuckled. "Always figure I'm in trouble, eh? Well, it's not really trouble but I do need a huge favor and about 6 months of your time at least. Do you still take on private security jobs?"
"Sure, but not very often. What's up?"
"This is strictly confidential," JP reminded her friend, "and one you'd do well never to keep records on if you take it."
"Uh oh, this sounds like big trouble. Is this legal?"
"Well, it's not illegal but it is something we'd like to keep away from Big Brother. Interested?"
"Do I get paid for this?" the other party asked.
"How about the pink slip to my Harley, plus room and board? We might come up with a little cash on the side too," JP offered. "If we need any equipment we pay for it."
"Ah man, another charity case Jasper? You are gonna owe me big time for this you know."
"Yeah, I know. Got a pen and paper? Here's where you go "
"Oh. My. God! I don't know who she is but I call dibs!" one of the women exclaimed as she looked out the living room window.
The sound of running feet on wooden floors sounded like thunder as they lined up behind the first like keystone cops. "I think I'm in love!" another squealed.
JP was still sitting in her chair reading the newspaper. She didn't need to look out the window to know who it was. Robbie always caused a stir wherever she went. She was a tad under six foot-three with long natural blonde hair of several shades and curves to spare under all that athletic muscle. She looked like a fitness model even though she was pushing forty years old. The survivalist never did find out if Robbie was straight or lesbian and never had the nerve to ask.
She supposed it didn't matter because Robbie kept her private life close to the vest. The rumor was that she was nicknamed 'The Robot' by the people of secret service because she never flirted or accepted dates.
The blond knocked sharply on the front door and waited. The door was flung open and the women watched the tall beauty stay several feet away and look them over carefully. When no one spoke, she removed her sunglasses, exposing sea blue eyes.
"Is JP here?" the woman asked in a husky voice. The women blinked several times before someone recovered enough to admit to JP's existence.
JP stood up and waved at her friend over the heads of the herd of women. "Come on in Robbie. It's okay, they don't bite much," she teased. The blonde wove her way through the crowd and JP saw how she was dressed. No wonder the women were drooling. Robbie was wearing a snug white muscle shirt sans bra and tight blue jeans that had been washed at least a hundred times.
"Want some java? It's not the sludge you usually make but not bad," she offered.
"Sure, then you can tell me why I am in the middle of wine country at 6 AM in the morning."
"That can be a long story. Come into the kitchen then I think its time you met everyone."
Robbie walked into the kitchen, her eyes darting everywhere, studying the house and people.
The cooking crew was nearly finished preparing breakfast and a few women were just sitting down. JP didn't see Cierra and asked one of the other women to hurry her and anyone else still asleep downstairs as she poured her guest a cup of coffee. She placed the mug in front of her along with a spoon and sugar bowl. Robbie spooned several heaping spoonfuls into the mug and stirred it.
A moment later, a small group of the work crew came downstairs in various stages of dress. Once everyone was seated JP began.
"Everyone, this is Robyn Stevenson. I asked her here because she's a security expert and an old friend of mine. I think we could all do with some pointers and good advice. And no, she doesn't know what we are doing here and I leave it up to all of you if you want to tell her or not. I'm sorry I didn't warn you in advance," JP said with a guilty shrug of her shoulders.
They women were quiet at first. They had to admit it was a good idea but JP really should have asked them first before sending for her.
Laura spoke up first. "Well, without knowing her better I am reluctant to discuss our business here. Exactly did you have in mind concerning Ms Stevenson?"
"Well, I thought she'd teach us some good security habits and teach anyone who wants to learn on gun safety and such. Maybe install alarms or anything else we might need. I have to admit what happened yesterday left me nervous and she's the best there is. We might consider hiring her on as a body guard for Cierra as well."
Everyone's eyes looked at the quiet brunette at the end of the table.
Cierra cleared her throat. "Do you think that's really necessary? I already agreed to stay near the farm and not wander."
"Yes, I think it would be a good idea. Let me tell you why. I thought about it and realized how unfair it was to keep you a virtual prisoner here. Sooner or later you'll resent it all. She could just take the precautions needed and stay out of your way as much as she can. That way if you want to go shopping or something there'd fewer risks."
Cierra sighed. "Okay, if the majority here agrees we'll accept her services providing she doesn't send us to the poorhouse. Our funds aren't limitless after all."
JP turned to her friend. "Well, think you'd be interested in the job? Like I said, it could last 6 months or more."
Robbie pursed her lips while she thought it over. "I'm not happy being in the dark about exactly what you're doing here," the security expert saw most of the group fidget nervously, "but as long as I have your word it isn't illegal I won't demand explanations." Robbie looked around the table. "She called me last night and said you needed my help but wasn't real forthcoming with details. She said it wouldn't pay much but I'd get a bed and meals with the deal and you'd pay for any equipment I thought vital. Do you all agree?"
The women blinked and thought about it for about all of five seconds. It was a heck of a deal if the woman was willing." They all nodded and murmured their acceptance.
Robyn grinned then patted the table. "Good, then I think breakfast is in order. It takes a lot to keep me fueled. You may regret tossing meals into the deal," she teased. The women laughed and the support crew began serving up breakfast.
The group gathered to head for the barn. Robbie was following them to get a feel for their habits but was told she wasn't allowed inside other than a peek before their work began. JP had wanted her friend to see for herself there wasn't anything like a crack lab inside for her peace of mind then the woman would leave and wait for Cierra outside. Robbie wouldn't be able to see inside since the windows were covered.
Carey unlocked the barn doors and slid one of them open. Everyone went inside and watched as Robbie strolled through the old brewery and looked around. The only thing of interest was the open trailer with a load of mortar and cement mix. Against one wall were drums of fuel. There were some old wine barrels on ancient wooden shelves but they were empty. Satisfied, she walked outside and the door was shut behind her. Unwilling to just wait and knowing Cierra wasn't expected to join her for at least 15 minutes she decided to walk around the structure.
The building was at least a century old and need quite a bit of repair. She strolled slowly, looking around carefully, unsure if anything she noted would be of future use. On the backside of the barn she noticed a tiny gap between the stone wall and the wooden sill of the window. Curiosity always won out so she leaned forward and tried to peek inside. The tiny gap didn't allow for much view but from where she stood she could see the center of the enclosure and the front doors.
She blinked and peered again. There was nothing to see. That included the all-woman crew and the trailer. The trailer had to be horribly heavy considering the weight of the load but all she could see was the cement block that had been propping up the hitch end. None of the women could be seen nor could she hear anyone speaking. The barn was eerily quiet. Now extremely curious the woman continued walking the parameter hoping to find another break in the wall.
Finding none she stopped at the front doors and waited in a position that would allow her to peek inside when it opened. Several long minutes later Cierra slid open the door and once again the security expert couldn't see anyone.
Where were they? She didn't recall seeing anything resembling stairs or a trap door in the floor but they must have one since they obviously didn't walk out of the barn.
What were they doing? Perhaps they were building a bomb shelter or something.
Several days later Robbie had more questions than answers. Such as why did the work crew need Cierra to escort them back and forth to the Barn? And why did the small brunette need a bodyguard? Robbie had used her laptop and did a little background checking but found nothing unusual about the woman. Until recently she lived with a woman in San Diego and worked as a mail clerk at an office building.
No hints that she was of any importance or related to anyone with wealth or power. Her buddy from San Diego said that the woman wasn't protected by the WPP as far as he knew. So what was the secret?
Robbie had spent several days setting up hidden cameras in the house and on the grounds. Alarms had been installed on the doors and windows. She had given them the basics on how to be aware of what was going on around them along with a few self-defense classes. She actually had a lot of idle time since everyone else seemed to work around the clock, teaching only between dinner time and sunset, when everyone went to bed. The only actual duty she had was escorting Cierra when the woman left the house.
The free time was getting to her, leaving her antsy. She offered to help with the cooking chores out of sheer boredom but she was as good in the kitchen as an infant was. She was shooed from the kitchen and left to wandering the property.
Sharon watched the security expert wander around the yard and knew she'd leave soon if not given something to do. The cook thought it over and asked Cierra to fetch a pad and pencil to make a list.
"Okay, got them. What kind of things have you thought of now?" Cierra smiled. The cook often made notes of things to buy for the colony as she remembered tidbits told to her by her grandfather. Cierra had done quite of bit of research online and also found suppliers for hard to find equipment.
"I think its time we started buying a few things and smuggling them back to the house. We sure as hell can't buy things all at once or people will talk. Let's make a list and you can choose what to find in town randomly," she suggested.
"Okay, shoot," Cierra grinned. She hoped she'd have an opportunity to go into town. She was getting bored doing only household chores.
The began, making lists of books, specialty and antique style tools, seeds, canning supplies, wrought iron for welding, ropes, hinges, antique cooking gadgets, at least one wringer washer, etc. The things the cook suggested filled several pages in addition to items other people suggested occasionally. Cierra already had a smaller list that she had started when she had done research online. Starting a pre-electric colony took more planning and skills than she had first imagined.
They had to preserve and store food. They had to build a cistern and dig wells, build brick ovens or find old iron stoves for cooking. Relying on this world to provide everything was impossible and the colony had to learn how to do it the old fashioned way or do without.
The group had been thinking of ways to use the natural resources to build homes but didn't want to revert to log houses or sod. One woman had suggested adobe and so Cierra had consulted the net and found that adobe, while easily available, took months to build because the bricked needed to be sun dried or baked. That led to researching kilns, then homemade mortars, plumbing, weatherproofing, etc. The list was endless. No doubt the group would learn by trial and error and would discover other items or skills they needed in the New World.
For every new question there were dozens more connected to it. Sharon suggested several types of books to buy for reference.
"If you leave now you'll have 2 hours before you have to fetch the girls for lunch." She watched Cierra stand and reach for the car keys. "Don't forget to have Robbie go with you!" the woman chided. She chuckled as the Jumper rolled her eyes before walking out the door.
Cierra found Robbie under the apple tree at the picnic bench, rolling an apple between her hands, clearly as bored as herself.
"C'mon, we're going into town," she said cheerfully.
"Great. Let me get my jacket so I can hide my holster. I'll be just a minute."
Robbie jogged to the house and retrieved her jacket from the coat rack. Cierra was already pulling the car into the driveway when she left the house. Her eyes narrowed with determination. There was no way she'd allow her client to do the driving. She walked to the driver's door and opened it. "Move over, I'm driving," she ordered.
"What? I am quite capable of driving us into town Robbie, so get in," she countered.
"Nope. I have little enough to do as it is and I'm not going to do that little bit badly. I'm your bodyguard, remember? I'll expect you to follow what orders I give you without question for your own safety. If I say drop, I expect you to hit the ground. I'll try to stay out of your way but you have to give me the freedom to protect you. Now move over," Robbie ordered firmly. Cierra huffed then squeezed over the center console and into the passenger seat.
Cierra sat there silently as she watched the bodyguard adjusted everything then buckled up. The tall blonde glanced at Cierra's seatbelt until she too strapped herself in.
Return to Original Fiction
Return to Main Page