"The End"

The End

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

The world had been going to hell in a handbasket for years and Sinne Lewis' father had just bailed on them when she was sixteen and her mother was a worn-out hag at forty-two. Of course, not all women at that age were in Cynthia Lewis' shape. Her marriage to Sinne's father was a rough haul.

Hitcher Lewis, was a womanizer and didn't care if his wife knew it. She was a cold woman and thought her days for sex were over...they were, but her own choice only. The doctor had explained it to Hitcher. Some women didn't like it in the first place and gave themselves an excuse as soon as possible to be left alone.

To be fair to Hitcher, at 37 years-of-age Cynthia began telling him she was going through menopause and moved into the spare bedroom.

Sinne was so tired of their constant fighting and screaming. She began to plan to leave this dump laughingly called home and take herself someplace warm and glamorous - and where there were no parents!

Hitcher was spending a weekend with his girlfriend so at least Cynthia was drunk and sleeping. Maybe this was the perfect time to leave...

Sinne was going through her few raggedy clothes and trying to decide which to pack when sirens began to go off everywhere. Both the radio and television began to blare some kind of warning. Sinne ran for the basement and locked herself in...running to a corner where potato sacks and old blankets were stacked.

There was banging on the door, but she dug herself into the corner and covered herself with everything there. "Mom!" she thought - oh my God, her mother was asleep upstairs, or passed out. She should go get her and figure what the sirens were for. But she didn't. The t.v. had been yelling for weeks about the war here and the war there. China might drop bombs, and there would be food shortages...probably toilet paper again too.

Sinne was terrified and kept burrowing further into the stack of blankets. It was so warm that she finally fell asleep and didn't hear the bombs that did fall. They lived in Boise and the nearest bombs fell in Seattle. When Sinne did wake she needed to pee - bad. She rooted herself to a far corner and made a toilet out of a bucket.

She was hungry but too tired to search for anything. It was morning when she awakened again. A deep silence filled the world and Sinne wondered if the buildings were bombed flat. She ran a filthy rag over a basement window and peered out. Everything looked the same and she was eager to go find her mother.

Heading up the main stairs to her parent's bedroom, she smelled a putrid odor and was afraid of what it might be. Carefully pushing open the bedroom door, Sinne looked in. She could not understand what she saw. Hitcher was still gone, but Cynthia's body looked like all the stuffing had been sucked out. Wrinkles in a vaguely human-like form were all that was left of her mother.
How could she have become desiccated like this in one night?

Sinne was so dizzy and ill that she lay down on the rug where their dog Lancelot usually slept...then she cried, she would miss the dog. As she drifted in a daze she felt a tongue on her face and felt dog lashes on her cheek. Jumping up she was stunned. There he was and Sinne hugged him tightly.

"Come on, not so tight Sin," a voice said.

The girl screamed and pushed him away with her feet. "What is going on! Since when do you speak, except to go, woof?"

"I dunno," Lancelot said. "I didn't know I could talk human. Must a been those exploding bright lights?"

"What lights...what happened?"

"I ain't good at time - probly a coupla days ago.
they was loud too. It's been quiet as a graveyard since."

"Mom looks like she has been...gone for a while."

"Well, where did she go...I need somethin to eat, Sin"

"I mean, dead, you stupid dog. I will help you get some food."

Let's just watch our mouth, girlie - I ain't stupid."

Chapter 1
Sinne and Lancelot go on a trip

By Sherry Asbury

Sinne awakened to doggie kisses and tried to sit up through the stiffness that held her hostage. "You still have doggie tendencies, Lancelot. How are you?"

"Hungry as a bear...let's go find some food. I know you are hungry too."

"As a she-bear!" Sinne replied, levering herself to a standing position.

"Lancelot, I think we should also look for someplace else to live. Someplace with sofas or beds that don't have "shrivelies"."

"Well, Lancelot replied wagging his tail until his whole rear end was in action, let's get goin woman!!"

"I have to go up to my parent's bedroom first." Sinne shuddered as she said it.

"Okay, I'll be your lookout, but hurry up, girl."

Sinne pulled herself up the stairs, dodging the enthusiastic dog. She wanted to see if her Mom had any pepper spray or other things they would need.

Lancelot nosed the door open wide for his mistress then sat on alert. Sinne followed him in and tried to avoid looking at the bed. She went to the dresser and was surprised to find a good leather backpack. Looking in it she found what she was looking for. Her mother had it packed as if she was going to war. Sinne bowed her head and said a prayer of thanks to the shell that drifted on the bed.

She found pepper spray, tasers, hunting knives of a wicked size, and some bandages and antibiotic creams inside the backpack. Going to the side pocket Sinne pulled out a roll of money she couldn't stop to count, but it had to be a lot. Along with the money was a picture of her Mom and Hitcher in happier days. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she replaced the photo in the bag.

Lancelot pretended not to notice, giving Sinne a chance to use a tissue.

"Okay, Lancelot, let's go."

It was June and the air was warm, they had to accept the smells that would not be blown away, or snorted away through Lancelot's nose. Sinne felt sorry for the dog - their noses were so much more sensitive, but the dog didn't complain.

They had just passed the Simpson's stone barn when Sinne stopped and then shouted, "Get to the barn, Lancelot!"

Dog's ears were sharper too and Lancelot had heard that noise before. He whizzed past Sinne and put his feet on the barn door. It was ajar and he made an opening for Sinne. "Run...girl, run", he called.

Sinne skidded through the opening and saw hay bales everywhere. She shouted, "Lance, behind the bales!"

The whine became an explosion that rattled Sinne's teeth. Lancelot whimpered. Sinee put her body over the dog's and they huddled, frightened and witless.

When both girl and dog decided it was over, they crept to the door and looked out. It had been one of the strange new bombs that made shrivelies out of people, but the hay had protected them both.

It was some time before Sinne was willing to leave the shelter of the stone barn. She found an old bucket and made use of it to pee. Lancelot went just outside the door and emptied his bladder.

They were both still hungry - now starving, but decided not to eat anything they found because it might be contaminated. Stomachs grumbling, they walked on. A rabbit ran in front of them and said, "Scarrreed, me is..." Then it jumped high and shrieked - not knowing it could speak. "Don't eat me...I is tough and tasteless. Why these talking noises coming from me's?"

Sinne took the time to think, then said, "I think those bombs do more than shrivel people...they activate the vocal cords in animals."

Lancelot and the rabbit didn't really get it but sat quietly.

Then the rabbit shook its head and asked, "More boomies?"

Sinne didn't lie, she said, "I think there will be...Rabbit go down your hole where it is safe, okay?"

The rabbit shook itself and said, "Me goes, me gone."

Sinne and Lancelot walked on, nervously listening for more "boomies".

Author Notes I hope you enjoy this chapter. I am having great fun writing this book!

Chapter 2
Fly for food

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

The day became a weary treading down asphalt that was becoming so hot it burned Sinee's feet through her thin tennis shoes. Poor Lancelot literally danced down the road. "Ooch, hot, hot, burn me feetsies Sinee, burn!"

"I know, old too. Let's move over into this field and try that, okay?"

Lancelot zoomed over to the weedy field and lay down, panting. Sinee plopped down beside him and patted his head.

Soon both were sound asleep in the weeds. The trek had sucked out all the strength they hadn't had food for two days, and scraps at that. A thin whine awakened both Sinee and Lancelot...they jumped at the sound and stood up.

"Oh, puppy - it's one of the bombs - run, run..."

"Can't run much...far...ther." Lancelot was barely able to stand up.

"Oh, no...please, God..." Sinee stumbled and almost fell.

The girl felt a burst of air behind them and knew they were goners. There was another whine, only this one was different...more intense. She started to turn when arms grabbed her from behind. She fought.

A voice said, "Relax, sweetheart...I'm trying to get you to safety!"

Lancelot was not so reluctant and divebombed through the door in the...thing.

As soon as Sinee was inside a door slid down and the craft began to rise. She was too tired to fight whoever had grabbed her and prepared in her mind to die with dignity.

She was put in a seat and hands buckled her snugly. "Hang on, sweetheart, we are ready to get the hell out of here!"

The rise of the craft pushed Sinee back in her seat and she got her first look at her rescuer. "Oh, my goodness - Tommy this a dream, or the greatest day of my life..."

"Yeah, I get that a lot. I may look like Tommy, but I ain't him. My name is Lucas Haines...good to meetcha, darlin."

"Oh," Sinee said, the disappointment heavy in her voice. Tommy Tucker was the hottest actor ever. His t.v. show "The Vampire" came on every Friday and Sinee would be glued to the set.

Lucas was used to the disappointment when chicks found out he wasn't Tucker. He even contemplated pretending he was the star. But falsehoods weren't in his heart. But this girl was fine and he wished for a moment he was the star.

"Where are we going?" Sinee asked.

"Somewhere with food, I hope," Lancelot added.

Lucas shook his head..."Won't never get used to the talking animals, I won't."

Lucas reached under his seat and found an energy bar, unwrapped it and tossed it to the dog, who caught it and gulped it in two bites.

"Sorry, girlie, that was the last one for now."

Sinee smiled to herself. Giving the bar to Lancelot was a kind thing and she was pleased. "Now, where are we going, Lucas?"

"After the blasted bombs kept coming - and nobody knew from where...they formed a council and established safe havens in places that never got bombed for some reason. My haven is on the Coast of Maine. There is safe housing there, food, medicine...whatever you need."

Lancelot perked up his ears and said, "Food, flyboy, did you say food?"

Lucas laughed and reassured the dog there was plenty of food.

"How do you know for sure you won't get bombed?" Sinee asked, a tremor in her voice.

Lucas reached over and took her hand, "Cause it seems there is a pattern to where they drop their stinkin' bombs. Haven 5 has been in operation for several years now and there has never been a bombing. I'll see you are taken care of, love."

"My name is Sinee, it's Scandanavian...something my mom read in a book. And I would really appreciate having my hand back, please."

Lucas reluctantly let go of her hand and asked, "What's the pup's name?"

"My name is Lancelot and I can answer for meself, thank you very much. Just you fly for the food..."

Chapter 3
Fly Away, Fly Away Home

By Sherry Asbury

Sinee and Lancelot have been pulled aboard a strange craft that is carrying them to a destination unknown to them, but away from the bombing. The craft is flown by Lucas Haines, who is a dead ringer for the actor Tommy Tucker.

Lancelot was doing his doggie thing, sniffing every inch of the craft.

Lucas said, "Dog is really hungry, ain't he?"

Lancelot snorted..."Flyboy, you got that right...thought I might sniff me out a crumb or two."

Lucas chuckled, still not used to a talking dog. "Look, pretty girl, I got me a lunch in that pouch right there...give it to the doggie, would ya?"

Lancelot's tail was wagging like a flag as he said, "Don't 'doggie me, Flyboy...memmmbmbmb..."
The huge sandwich was gone in seconds, as Lancelot tried to talk around his food.

"Lucas, how long till we get where we are going?" Sinee asked.

"About 20 mins is all - this thing has a jet engine of sorts. Ya gettin tired of my company?"

Sinee smiled to herself. "Not yet, Flyboy, just aim this thing instead of looking around so much."

Sinee could see the trees thinning and looked around with curiosity. This must be the Haven 5 encampment. As soon as they flew over the last of the trees Lucas brought the Hovercraft to a stop and the machine began to lower slowly until it landed with a small bounce. "Here we be folks." Lucas pressed a button near the opening and the side of the craft lifted and a stairway came down.

Lancelot nearly knocked Sinee down in order to get out. He leaped over the steps and landed snout down in green grass. He shook his head and Lucas and Sinee laughed because he had ended up with a green mustache.

Lucas grabbed Sinee's hand and led her toward a center building that was bustling with activity. "This here is the center of the Haven...we need to check you and Groucho Marx here into the system..."

A pneumatic door whooshed open and Sinee saw many people there busy with duties. To her left Sinee saw a man she recognized from films and this time she was sure who the man was...Anthony Wharton...probably the most handsome man ever!

Needlessly, Sinee asked Lucas if the man was Wharton. "Oh, yeah, it's him. I suppose you think he's dishy?"

Sinee blushed, realizing she was acting like a silly girl. "'s know..."

"Yeah, I do know." He let go of her hand and went to check on the hovercraft. Sinee was left to stand in the middle of the floor like a fool.

Sinee felt someone standing behind her and when she turned, she was staring into eyes so blue they could have been sapphires. "Hi, I'm Tony and it's my job to get you settled in. You are Sinee?"

"Uh, mm - yes, that's me and this is my dog, Lancelot."

"Howdy there, dude. Nice little set-up you got here," Lancelot said as Wharton practically fell over.

"Ah, ain't heard a dog talk, huh?" snickered the dog.

"Don't seem fitting to me..." Wharton said.

Lancelot planted a juicy slobber on the actor's face.

"Better get used to it pal...we seen a talking rabbit yesterday."

Wharton gathered his wits together and guided them through the many rooms, talking a mile a minute.

Author Notes Haven 5 proves to be a complicated place with the work and efforts of many included.

Chapter 4
Like Peas in a Pod

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Anthony Wharton, big star and gorgeous hunk, who went by the nickname Tony, was apparently the head of Haven 5. He busily buzzed like a drunk bee around the office area as Sinee and Lancelot found chairs and waited their turn.

Sinee was a pretty girl, naturally, with waves of auburn hair and beautiful brown eyes. Her curvaceous figure was partly hidden by her baggy clothes. These were the last of her clean clothes and she had lost weight on the journey. Plus, it had been three days since food had passed her lips. She was impatient and wanted to know if she would be accepted in Haven 5 - or shipped out somewhere else. Lancelot paced like a robot in the bit of free space they had around their chairs.

"Hey you, buddy...whatcha doing with my chair?" Lancelot snapped as a man in a Haven 5 uniform made a grab for it.

"We need this one for a "human" person. Dogs don't need chairs...lay on the floor like a real dog."

Before Sinne could call Lancelot off, the scrappy little hound leaped forward and grabbed a mouthful of the uniform leg, shaking it and growling fiercely.

Sinee ran for Lancelot, calling him off. "Cool it, Sin - all I got was cloth. And you, moron boy, don't you never call me just a dog!"

Tony had run over to cool the situation. "We don't allow violence here, Lancelot - even if his insults seem to call for it. And your mouth with residents!"

"But she don't live here and dogs should be banned." The Trainee's face was purple with rage.

"She does live here - her papers have just been drawn up and approved by the committee...the same committee that will be having a talk with you, Trainee. Lancelot was approved also...he has shown what new ability he has and we want to explore this. So, you are confined to quarters until I say different."

The trainee hung his head and dragged his feet as he left the hall. Lancelot followed behind him, making a laughing sound.

Sinee was on cloud 9... she ran to Tony and gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, which startled them both. Tony was blushing but looked oddly pleased. Lancelot ran in circles and said, "You are all right actorboy!! Yeah, thank you, thank you!!"

Tony was smiling when he said, "All your belongings, including bones and a tennis ball that is almost torn to bits, that would probably be yours, Sport, have been taken to Pod 11. I have asked Lucas to take you there and help you get acquainted with how things work."

Just then Lucas swaggered in, dressed in a Forest Green tunic and tights. Sinee took a deep breath...two gorgeous hunks..." sigh".

Tony held out a booklet for Sinee and a packet for Lucas. "Lucas is my Senior Aide and acts in my stead. So any questions, ask him first. Any questions right now?"

"Yeah - when's dinner. My girl here ain't ate in a few days."

Both men were startled and Tony said, "Just go to your pod with Lucas and he can get you fed."

"Thanks, Chief," Lancelot said and headed for the door.

Pod 11 proved to be just a few feet down a path paved in smooth stones. Lucas dug keys out of the packet Tony had given him. Sinee noticed Pod12, where there were plantings in cartons and pretty pictures on the walls. "My neighbors surely will be pleasant...I garden too and love it. I expected something more utilitarian."

"This guy is Bohemian and wants to stand out. Do you really like what I've done with the place?"

Sinee put her hand on her heart and was thrilled. "You are my neighbor. That's great, and I love what you have done with your Pod."

"Enough about me. Does your dog dig up flowers or bulbs?"

"Here now, Fairy boy - if you have questions about me - kindly ask me!"

"Oh, dang it, I forget you understand and speak...sorry. And don't say things like fairy around here...we are all one family and stuff like that is really inappropriate, Lancelot."

"Sheesh...ain't you the politic one." Lancelot trotted over to a painting near the door of Lucas' Pod and lifted a paw, pointing... "So, proper dude - what is this?"

Lucas looked and sighed, "It's a fairy."

"I rests me case."

Chapter 5
Peace in the Pod

By Sherry Asbury

After Lancelot's fairy joke Sinee said, "Very funny, be good and let's where we live, inside! Lead on, Lucas."

Full darkness had descended and it was hard to see until Lucas pulled an LED light from his bag and attached it to the front of his shirt. His green tunic took on a soft hue and the landscape was brightly lit.

Lucas showed Sinee a button and told her it would collapse the stairs and make going down to the door easier and safer. He had her press it and as soon as it felt her touch, the stairs began to lower and straighten into a flat surface that then rose up to a height for approaching the door.

"Now, the "key" is this indentation, see how it even looks like a finger?"

Sinee looked at it carefully.

"Now, love, what you do is simply put your finger in there until you feel a fit. The sensors do the rest. But, it won't recognize you if someone is with you...might be a bad sort. So your guest must stand on this lucite square until you are inside. If you stand there for 30 seconds, the lucite sensors will grab his feet and call the guard. It's good protection, but not a toy!"

Sinee was fascinated with all the technology, but she asked Lucas if they could go inside now...there was an unpleasant chill to the air.

He stood on the stunner square while Sinee fit her finger to the key. There was a pneumatic whoosh and the door slid up soundlessly. Sinee waited for Lucas who hurried behind her. Lancelot was already inside.

Lancelot took a look around and woofed, then said, "Holy
Premium Kibble! This thing is fancier than one a them luxury hotels!"

Lucas laughed, but Sinee was stunned. It was that pretty and fancy and, well - a queen should live here, she said softly. She felt arms around her and Lucas whispered, "A queen does live here."

Lucas turned Sinee toward him and placed his warm lips on hers.

Sinee didn't know what to say so she just let the kiss happen and deepen till her womanhood glowed.

Lancelot said, "Sheesh, you two, get a room will ya!"

Lucas chuckled and said, "We, well Sinee has a room you mangy mutt!."

"Them's fightin words Flyboy!!" With that, he ran around Lucas in circles until dizziness made him flop down on the tile floor.

The next problem...also Lancelot's, was how to let him in and out. "You are probably breaking a serious law here."

"Relax, Lance, and follow me."

Lucas headed toward the back of the Pod. By the back entrance, which was a decoy and did not work, Lucas pointed out a small rubber circle. "This is an emergency outlet. You crawl in there and it adjusts to your size...follow it and you will come to the outside. Do your business and then squeeze back in."

"Whew - thought for a minute there you was trying to get rid of me."

"Listen, Lancelot, you're a good fella and I like you a lot - but if you tell anybody - no special kibble for you, my man. Your ability to talk is gonna come in handy...we just have to take time and see if you have any other special traits."

When they went back up front Sinee was exploring every gadget she found, but not touching anything in case it blew up!

"Sinee, this thing's got a place where I can get in and out, great huh?"

That's great Lance - but please be careful when you go out...there will be animals and who knows what!"

"Lucas, along the way someone stole my clothes..."

"Awe, sweetheart, don't worry. I have a lot to tell you, but first, let me show you the bedroom..."

"I don't know how safe that would be..." Sinee smiled at Lucas.

"You'll be safe, I promise...just want to show you some things."

Sinee followed him to a room toward the back of the Pod. Lucas touched something on the side of the door and crystals lit up on the beaded curtain. It shone like a starry night and Sinee said, "They sure did some job."

Lucas blushed and said, "I had that put up for you..."

"Really - oh, Lucas, thank you, it's beautiful...really beautiful!"

"Was easy, I just called in a few things while we were in the air...thought you deserved pretty things because..."

Sinee went to him and kissed him on the cheek. "I haven't ever had pretty family was pretty poor."

"Well, you will have everything you want now! Look in the closet."
Lucas showed her how the doors opened, saying, "Everything is inset so as to make the most room for the pod.'

Sinee entered a literal cave that stretched back as far as she could see. There were shelves to the side and drawers and every manner of storage. At the front hung dresses and on the shelves were folded pants and sweaters. It was awe-making.

"Okay, Sinee, ready to see your bathroom? Oh, by the way, that closet has room at the back to store anything and everything."

Lucas pushed another button and the loo door slid back. Marble everywhere - mirrors of all lengths - a shower stall and of all things a hot tub. Sinee looked at Lucas who blushed bright red.

"I thought you might enjoy a soak now and then..." he mumbled.

Lancelot trotted into the bathroom. "This is a pleasure palace, huh...better have a do not disturb sign for the door."

Author Notes Sinee and Lancelot now have a home.

Chapter 6
Pod Problems

By Sherry Asbury

Sinee looked around her in wonder. Her pod was a dream! She had expected some root-cellar type dwelling with bits of dirt falling on her head all the time.

"Lucas, this is a palace...I didn't expect anything like this!"

"Well, there is a reason for all this. See, a group of rich people wanted a getaway, but there had been serious warnings of impending war - so they wanted a safe place to hunker down if the time came. This was a safe of them anemones that happen."

Sinee thought hard - an anemone was a sea creature?? Then it came to her! "Oh, Lucas, you mean an anomaly of nature...something different in the way it relates to its surrounding environment."

Lucas turned bright red. This chick was smart...maybe too smart to be interested in him. "Yeah, that's it - I just forgot for a minute."

Sure you did, she smiled to herself. He didn't have to try to impress her.

"So, anyway, they formed a company called, 'Pods for People' and managed to buy up all the land that was in this anomaly...they had these pods built and since they were so rich it stank, they had the pods modeled after the finest homes. But, they all really lived in other places, and when the first bomb strike hit...and this was five years ago...they was all wiped clean out. Then they, some other folks, was wanting to make a movie and they leased out the whole thing and moved in...that's where we got Anthony, Smart Pants, movie hunk!"

Sinee heard the venom in Lucus' voice. Lancelot danced around him and said, "A little green-eyed Lucas?"

"No, smart-ass dog - he just lords his looks over everybody - and the fact that he is stinkin rich too...come from some rich family in Australia. THE Whartons of gold-strike fame."

Lancelot lifted his leg and said - "Like some lord it over because they look like Tommy Tucker, eh, Lucas?" Then he peed on Lucas' leg. "OH, excuse me guvnor, that were an accident."

Lancelot ran for the doggie door with Lucas in hot pursuit..."You stinkin, vermin-ridden - animal - wait till I get me hands on you!"

Suddenly realizing Sinee was witnessing all this humiliation, Lucas hurried to the main door and let himself out.

Sinee laughed until her sides hurt. Then she searched out the disinfectant and wiped up the puddle Lancelot had left. Poor Lucas, she thought to herself. She really needed to apologize. She decided to go see Tony and ask him if there was a flower or gift shop on the grounds when there was a loud roar that shook the pod, which was buried deep; in the ground. She lost her footing and fell gracelessly to the floor.

Sirens began blaring and shields came down over the door with a loud thunk. She was trapped - alone. Then a streak of white and black lightning shot down the hall from the back of the pod. Thank goodness, it was a very rattled Lancelot. "That weren't Lucas for sure - what was it, Sinee?"

Just then a speaker squawked and a trembling voice spoke: "Attention: everybody stay where you are if you are safe, otherwise go to one of the shelters and wait for further instructions. We are making every effort to..." The voice was cut off by another roar, "SINEE, THIS IS HITCHER, YOUR FATHER. CAN YOU HEAR ME?"

Sinee gulped - but had no idea how to answer. She thought to herself, "Daddy, I am so glad you are alive, but tone it down a few notches, will you?"

A loud laugh came through and then a quieter voice said, "Sorry, Bumpkin...don't know me own power."

It WAS her father - he had called her Bumpkin from childhood.

Author Notes Nothing come easy or goes as smoothly as we would like.

Chapter 7
Lancelot Gets Revenge

By Sherry Asbury

Sinee was so happy to hear her father's voice that she ran out of her pod, looking around to see him...but no Hitcher. "Look up here," Hitcher's voice boomed. Putting one hand up to shade her eyes, Sinee caught a glimpse of a roundish object. Lancelot had run out, tail wagging so hard his rear-end danced.

"Where's daddy, Sinee? Where is he?? Huh, huh..."

"I'm up here you stupid Mutt and I am not your daddy! I told the geneticist making them able to talk was a big mistake!"

"Well, you are my daddy and I want you to be nice to Lancelot."

Hitcher's grumblings came through the intercom, but Sinee knew he loved the little dog.

"Is that a hovercraft, Daddy?"

"Listen, Sinee - you know that pond on the edge of Haven 5?"

"Sure, Daddy..."

"Okay, come there so I can land and talk to you. Be sure to bring Lancelot for protection, just in case."

Lancelot did his doggie dance, tongue lolling and spit going everywhere. "Oh, boy - I getta go, go, go!"

Sinee was exasperated with Lancelot's very doggie demonstrations and snapped, "In just about a minute you will be going in a doghouse for a time out!"

"AWWW, come on, Sinee...don't be mad at me..."

The girl looked at his bright eyes and knew he loved outings. "Okay, behave like the special dog you are, and let's get going."

Lancelot sniffed at the ground and trees but managed to behave himself as they got closer to the pond. Soon, they could glimpse the gigantic spheroid that was the top of the hovercraft. Lancelot put himself between Sinee and the craft, growling low in his throat. "What's wrong, Lance?" Sinee didn't see or hear anything that might be a danger to them - but the fur bristled along Lance's back and he moved slowly until he saw Hitcher coming out of the door of the hovercraft.

"Hey, dog!" Hitcher called to Lancelot - but the terrier kept looking into the trees. Hitcher hugged his daughter and gently pushed her toward the ramp of the hovercraft.

Sinee sensed his urgency and did not hesitate to climb aboard. "What is it, Daddy? Is something wrong?"

I have so much to tell you, and please listen carefully because it is all-important."

Hitcher put his index finger on his lips and reached around to pull closed the steel covering. "I keep thinking I hear rustling out there but never see anything. But if Lancelot hears something too - I gotta consider it's real."

"Oh, Daddy, it might be in your imagination. There are a lot of animals out there now, and they make dens in the brush."

Hitcher took out a handkerchief and wiped his forehead.

No more was said about the noise and Hitcher brought out snacks and soda pop which they enjoyed while sitting around the furniture arrangement in the small lounge. Hitcher got a saucer and piled it high with lunch meat and goodies for Lancelot to enjoy, though the dog was still leary about the space in the trees.

Sinee, I'm so sorry to be deceptive with you, but it has been necessary. Now don't shout out and try to stay calm ..."

Sinee felt a presence behind her and when she turned - there stood her mother, Cynthia. It was a good thing Sinee was sitting down because she felt like she was going to faint. "Mom? Is that really you?"

"Hi, honey...we have so much to say to you..."

Sinee stared at the woman and all she could think of to say was, "But, Mom, you were a shrivelee...I saw you..."

Hitcher spoke up and said, "It's a long story and we don't have much time. Your mother and I are counter-agents for the Havens. There is a race of "Things" that wants the earth to populate with their own kind - and we are not going to let that happen!"

Cynthia spoke up, "The shrivelees are real, Sinee, just not in my case. Your father and I knew we had to disappear and so we did what we had to do. We inseminated Lancelot with human DNA and the ability to speak so he could take care of you for us."

"But we have heard other animals speak..."

HItcher said, "Someday soon all animals will be able to speak. They will be invaluable help against the B'Nai, those aliens."

Sinee was stunned. This was not something she had expected at all. "But Daddy, Mom, won't we be in terrible danger?"

"No, Sinee - you and Lancelot are staying right here in Haven 5... we paid a great deal of money to have you guarded and taken care of while your Dad and I do what we have to do."

"But, I will miss you so, especially now that I know the truth..."

"Just rely on Lucas Haines for company, dear - but watch out for others..."

A look of deep disappointment passed over Sinee's face., "You mean Lucas is just doing his job...I thought he liked me...a little."

Hitcher laughed and said, "We paid to have him genetically altered to look like that Hollywood crush of yours - to ease things...but turns out he has a big thing for you."

Cynthia frowned at her husband..."We weren't going to tell her all this, just let things develop, you said!"

"Come on, Sinee is way past that TommyTucker crush stuff. Sinee, you watch out for that Anthony Wharton though, we don't know why he came here or where he stands."

There was a beep from some piece of equipment on the panel of the ship and both parents became alarmed. "Okay. baby girl that is a warning signal that means we have to get going. Remember, your Mom and I love you, and all this has to be our secret."

Sinee and Lancelot ran down the boarding ramp and headed back toward Haven 5. Sinee turned to wave and discovered the huge craft was already high in the sky. Lancelot kept urging Sinee to run faster and she tried to keep up. Both of them nearly ran down Tony Wharton, who stopped them and asked, "What are you two doing running around here?"

Lancelot offered, "You could do to jog some too. Sinee was just talking about that bulge you are carrying."

Wharton glared at the dog and patted his flat stomach, "Still weigh what I did in college you mangy mutt."

Lancelot ran around the man several times, singing, "Fat, Fat - the water rat..." Wharton picked up a pine come and chucked it at the dog, but he seemed to have forgotten what he wanted from them, and Sinee opened the door to their pod and they ducked inside as Lancelot hurled, "Fatty, fatty - two by four, couldn't get through the bathroom door - so he peed on the floor." The lightning-fast little dog ran up to Wharton and peed on his leg...then darted to safety as Sinee slammed the shield shut.

Author Notes My stories grow on their own - ala-King, Stephen King that is. I just want them to be liked by readers.

Chapter 8
Cautious is as Cautious Does

By Sherry Asbury

When Sinee was sure everyone was away from the door to her pod, she turned to scold Lancelot, who was examining one nail like a metrosexual and she just didn't have the heart to take away his satisfaction with himself. She did say though, "Lance, you best think before you pee again...on somebody, that is. You are going to get us into trouble."

"Awe, Sin, all these men around here got the hots for you. There won't be no trouble I can't get us outta."

"Lance! Shame on you. Besides nobody has the "hots" for me and don't be crude!"

Lance turned his snout up in the air and pranced back to his doggie door.

Sinee had noticed that she still had her mom's special backpack and got on the satphone to ask Cynthia about it. They talked until Hitcher told them he had to make a buzz by and needed all communications off. They said their goodbyes with Cynthia assuring her daughter that she had outfitted another pack for herself and telling Sinee to keep that one close, "just in case".

Sinee decided to go to the canteen and see how the store worked. She didn't bother to call Lancelot, afraid his victims might still be carrying a grudge. But the shifty little dog caught her out in front of the pod and noticed she was wearing Cynthia's backpack, so he danced around her, begging to be taken along. "Okay, but listen to me first." Lancelot sat down and pretended to listen carefully.

"I'm sure Lucas will forgive you...he is a tease himself anyway. But, I'm not so sure about Tony and Dad seemed to have reservations about him. So if we run into him, you say you're sorry, okay?"

"But, Sin - I ain't one bit sorry. Somethin smells off about that bloke."

"Something smells off because you peed on him, Lance!"

"You know what I mean, but I don't want no trouble so I will do whatever you say."

"Thanks, Pal - now let's go see what they have for sale."

There was a uniformed guard stationed at the top of the steps to the Canteen who demanded Sinee show him ID. When he saw who she was he politely welcomed her and started to open the door. "Sorry, Miss, but the boss says no animals in the store."

"But Lancelot is very good and won't bother anyone. My dad told me to keep him close."

Sinee argued a bit more and was about to have Lance wait outside when Lucas opened the door. "It's okay, Leon...I can vouch for the mutt. He is just like people."

Tony walked up on them and looked from Sinee to Lucas to Lancelot, sighed and said, "It's okay Leon, he's part of the family- but you, dog, one motion that you are gonna lift your leg and you are permanently banned - got it?"

Lancelot put on his best sad face and said, "Sorry about earlier, Tony - don't know what got into me. But, I promise to be good from now on."

That seemed to pacify the actor and he stepped away but kept his eye on the dog.

Sinee saw that the store was well-stocked with provisions of every sort, and said so to Tony - who looked smug, " We got the best providers for anything you want. If you don't see something you have a hankering for, just tell me and I will put it in the register."

After looking around, Sinee went up to Tony and told him about some special dog food that she wanted for didn't come in a can but was wrapped and kept in a fridge. Tony meticulously noted it down and promised her he would have it in the next couple of days.

Sinee found that she had two baskets loaded to the top and thought to ask a clerk if it would be spendy. Tony overheard and came over to where they stood. "Don't worry about paying...your Dad made arrangements for you to have anything you want anytime."

Sinee wasn't sure what to say to such generosity, but thanked Tony and got in line at the register. After the huge baskets were packed with Sinee's purchases, she noticed a bouquet of red roses atop one basket. "Oh, I didn't pick these out...sorry, can you put them back?"

"Oh, those are from me, Sinee - to thank you for shopping here."

"But, Tony, that is too nice of you. There isn't anyplace else to shop anyway."

"Lots of folks drive into the army canteen and spend their money there, so we appreciate your business. Come on, I will help Will wheel your baskets home and unload them..."

It was bordering on dusk and Sinee just wanted to work on putting things away by herself, but Tony insisted and was out the door before she could think of an excuse.

Will, the clerk, was a nice young guy who quickly set her purchases where Sinee indicated. Tony seemed to dawdle and take his time. Soon both baskets were empty and Will wheeled them back toward the canteen.

"Tony, thanks so much for your help. I don't want to keep you from the store though..."

When it became obvious that Sinee didn't want more from him, Tony leaned in and kissed her cheek. "Hope everything is okay and if not, just let me know."

The intrusion of the kiss had startled Sinee and she moved away from him slowly. Lance was growling softly and Sinee worried about the dog going for the actor. As soon as Sinee closed the hatch the little dog growled louder and said, "Now that was uncalled for...excuse me, love..." He ran for his dog door and would not come back when Sinee called him.

Author Notes I hope all of you are enjoying this is a hoot to write.

Chapter 9

By Sherry Asbury

In the last chapter, Tony Wharton used his influence as the head of the canteen to insinuate himself in Sinee's life. Lancelot, the little dog, has run out of his doggie door after Tony. Sinee tried calling him back but the dog ignored her. It was obvious Lance was bothered by something about the actor.

Later in the afternoon, the satphone rang and it was Cynthia who told her daughter it was just a friendly buzz. Sinee knew better. She could tell by her mother's voice that she too had a concern. But she just gossiped and chitchatted, not mentioning anything specific, until Sinee thanked her parents for the grocery help. She went quiet for a moment and then Sinee heard her saying something to her father.

Hitcher came on the line and asked her if Tony had mentioned the groceries to her. Sinee told him yes, and thanked him again. "Okay, babydoll - we are more than glad to take a worry off your shoulders. You buy anything you need, you hear?"

"Thank you, Daddy - but I won't take advantage."

"I know you won't - you have always been a good girl that way. But, listen, about Tony watch yourself with him, okay?"

"Daddy, what is it with you and Lancelot? I can tell Lance doesn't trust him."

"Oh, honey - you know how fathers and dogs are - a suspicious bunch. It's just that he's much more...sophisticated than you...older too. I sort of got the idea that Lucas kid and you were friendly?"

"Daddy, please - I am old enough to make up my own mind. Lucas is sweet and fun, and I do like him."

"Well, Sinee, I'm not trying to run your life. It's just that things are not always what they seem."

"I am sure finding that out, Daddy- you and Mom for instance?"

Hitcher made a noise in his throat and said, "Well, your Mom and me have reservations for dinner, so I gotta go. Be a good girl, now."

"Okay, Dad, and thanks for everything..." But the phone went dead and Sinee wondered why her father didn't want to talk anymore.

Sinee wandered around the pod, straightening up. Then she saw Lance's bowl and realized she hadn't fed him his supper - and realized she hadn't seen him in a while. Grabbing a jacket from the coat rack Sinee shrugged it on and went out the door. She was glad she had picked the quilted and padded coat because it was quite chilly in the Maine air.

Sinee called quietly for Lancelot, but there was no sign of the dog. She walked out beyond the tree line and past the canteen when she heard voices, several of them. Out of nowhere Lancelot bounded over to her and stopped her from going further. "What..." Lancelot shushed her and made the silent command he had learned as a puppy in training. Sinee thought about ignoring him, but there was something serious in the dog and the gesture.

Suddenly someone came up behind Sinee and clamped a firm gloved hand over her mouth. She jumped but was quiet - Lucas whispered, "It's me - we need to be really quiet."

Lucas pulled at her and she followed him half a block to a low grove of bushes where they hid. Lancelot disappeared but Sinee kept quiet. "I'm gonna take my hand away, but PLEASE, Sinee - don't say anything - Sinee nodded, yes, and stood very still.

After a few minutes, the group broke up...some coming the way where they would pass close to Sinee and Lucas. Lucas pulled her close again and gestured for her to squat. If the men got too close they would see Lucas and Sinee. Then Sinee almost made a noise of surprise as she saw Tony and Will, along with two other men she had seen at the canteen.

When the group was well down the street, Sinee turned to Lucas and mouthed, "What is going on?"

Lucas mimed for them to leave and head for the pods. Sinee was puzzled and a bit miffed at being kept in the dark. As soon as the hatch closed on Sinee's pod, she looked at Lucas and Lance... "Okay, what is this all about?"

Lancelot and Lucas tried to talk at once and Sinee crossed her arms - giving them a dirty look.

Lucas spoke up, "I didn't really hear's Lancelot that slunk on them and saw who they were."

The little dog was so excited he chased his tail until he realized he was too advanced to be doing such a doggie thing. "He, they...oh man!"

Sinee said, "That isn't very helpful, you know."

Lancelot jumped into Lucas' lap, which seemed to calm him some and he began to talk coherently, "Listen, I'm not sure just what they are up to...but it smells bad. The part that worried me was about Sinee..."

Lucas frowned and encouraged Lance to go on... 'Well, old Tony there he was talkin that he has Sinee 'under his thumb' and not to worry. Said he had kissed her and she had swooned, yuck, blech!"

Sinee stood up and shouted, "He just pecked my bloody cheek! My Gram has kissed me with more enthusiasm than that!!"

Lucas looked crestfallen and said, "But why did he kiss you, to begin with?"

Sinee looked in his puppy-dog eyes - then into Lancelot's puppy-dog eyes and felt like a harlot. "Come on, guys. I was just buying groceries and stuff and he put a bouquet of roses in my basket and...and yuck - kissed my cheek."

"Roses and a kiss?" Lucas said plaintively.

Sinee was touched by Lucas' forlorn attitude and walked over to where he stood.
She took his hand and kissed him on the cheek, watching emotion bloom in his green eyes. He really is a sweetie, she thought to herself. Lucas turned and she knew he was going to kiss her cheek, but instead, he turned to her mouth and placed warm lips on hers. Sinee's heart flip-flopped and Lucas deepened the kiss, sending hot flashes through her body.

They said goodnight like teenagers and Lucas promised her he would come by the next day and see if Lancelot had remembered anything more the group of men talked about.

Sleep didn't come easily that night as Sinee thought about Lucas' sweet attentions.

Morning came and Sinee jumped out of bed - eager for the new day. She went to feed Lancelot first thing as she always did. Two steps into the kitchen and she screamed. Little Lancelot was lying on his back on the kitchen floor...something green and awful leaking from his mouth. He was unresponsive and Sinee was sure he was dead.

Author Notes Things are taking a new direction.


Chapter 10
Native Medicine

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

In the last chapter, Lancelot was found in the kitchen by Sinee - he was on his back and she thought he was dead.

Sinee's screams were heard throughout the Haven, she hadn't known how to put the pod on mute to soundproof it. She knelt by her dog and fainted.

Lucas was the first through into the kitchen and found Sinee in a dead faint, but he wasn't sure what was wrong with Lancelot. He went to Sinee first and managed to rouse her. She sat up and the first thing she saw was her little dog and nearly passed out again. Great huge tears began to spill from her eyes and sobs racked her body. "Lancelot, oh, God, he's dead."

Someone came into the pod after the hatch was locked open. The man knelt by the dog and began palpating his little chest. "Someone has poisoned this little guy..."

Lucas and Sinee looked at the man and said at the same time, "Who are you?"

"I am Jericho of the Anishinabe Ojibwe...pardon my intrusion, but I heard the girl's screams."

He was a very young man dressed in buckskin pants and a flannel hoodie.

Lucas jumped to his feet and took out a small pistol from somewhere in his jacket..."You just hold it right there, guy."

"I am not a bloodthirsty Indian after your woman. I want to help the little dog."

"Lucas, please - put that thing away. He said he wants to help Lancelot - and I'm sure every second counts."

"Please, go ahead, Jericho. How did you know he was still alive?" Sinee asked.

"I am a tribal paramedic, I could feel a slow heartbeat and tiny respirations. Do either of you know what substance he was fed?"

"What?" Lucas asked.

Sinee was getting angry with the delay. "That green stuff, for God's sake - do you know, Lucas?"

While Lucas took time shaking his head, Jericho was retrieving a bag that apparently held some medical supplies. He took a length of sterile tubing from a plastic bag and a bottle of some kind of liquid, which he upended over the tube...sliding in down the dog's throat slowly. When there was no response Jerico began light depressions of the pup's stomach. After what seemed like an hour Lancelot regurgitated the contents of his stomach with a loud burp.

"Oh, thank God. Jericho, will he be all right?"

Lucas walked over and made to pick Lancelot up, but Jericho stopped him. "I still have some things I need to do before he can be handled."

Lucas bristled and moved away. His eyes were hot with resentment. "Look, that dog knows me and he don't know you..."

At that moment Tony Wharton ran into the room and looked around wildly. "What the hell is going on here? Whoa - who are you, injun joe?"

Sinee threw Tony a dirty look and jumped in. "Tony, I don't allow talk like that in my home or in my presence!"

"Well, missy, we don't cater to people like that." He pointed a long arm at Jericho, who silently tended to Lancelot.

Sinee was so furious she couldn't speak. She looked at Jericho who gave her a signal to let it go.

Jericho said, "You are mistaken, Lucas, this little guy, and my tribe know each other well."

Meanwhile, a flood of men with weapons drifted into the pod, looking to Tony Wharton for direction. Tony smirked and said, "Looks like you are outnumbered, move it."

In the hatchway appeared several Native American men and their leader said, "Maybe it is you, Wharton, who is tribe is right outside - all of them, paleface."

"Excuse me, excuse us, please..." That voice sounded familiar and Sinee's heart filled with hope

YES, it was Hitcher and her mother. "Mommy, Daddy - please come in before something awful happens."

Hitcher was dressed in some kind of official-looking regalia and looked in charge and splendid.

There was a television-like display that came on suddenly, startling everyone except her parents, who looked raptly at the screen. On the screen was Protean, Andrew Saginaw...the highest power of any man in officialdom. He spoke:

"I come to you today to make clear the objective of our pod system and Havens, such as #5. It is imperative that we have peace among us as there is a great danger that may be awakened by discord and the need of some to feed their egos.

"This is the law: Hitcher is Magistrate in direct succession to me. His word is that which shall define all directives and decisions." Tony Wharton began to speak, overriding Saginaw.

"But, great Leader, I was told I was in charge in this Haven...

Saginaw's voice raised many decibels as he proclaimed: "You, blithering were told you were in charge...CHARGE, not control of the canteen...period. Now pack your belongings, and only what you came with, and nomad it!"

Wharton stood in shock and when he did not move, soldiers appeared and escorted him out of Sinee's pod.

No one else moved except Jericho, who was still tending to Lancelot.

"And, now my dear niece, Sinee," The girl did not move a muscle, frightened, and not knowing if she was really his niece...Hitcher had been secretive about much of his life. "I know this comes as a surprise to you, but your father and I needed it to be that way. I am proud of you and want you to know how happy I am that you are such a sensible and loving girl. Oh, look there, my nephew Jericho has little Lancelot up."

Sure enough, Lancelot bounded, clearing the mess of his stomach on the floor. He ran right to Sinee and jumped up to doggie kiss her. "Oh, boy - yuch...that was pukey!! But Jericho had cleared everything with some sort of minty drink and even doggie kisses were sweet.

Author Notes To keep the interest of any wonderful readers, and because I am always dreaming, we have shifts in the story and characters. I hope the story will still be enjoyable!

Chapter 11
Happy Trails

By Sherry Asbury

The Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux are Anishinaabe people in what is currently southern Canada and the northern Midwestern United States. According to the US census, in the United States, Ojibwe people are one of the largest tribal populations among Native American peoples. In Canada, they are the second-largest First Nations population, surpassed only by the Cree. They are one of the most numerous Indigenous Peoples north of the Rio Grande.

In our last chapter, we met Jericho, a member of the Ojibwe tribe who inhabit the Great Lakes region. The strange occurrences, bombs that fallen and wreaked havoc on the land have driven many people to the Havens that seem to be free of harmful effects. The Pods, as the underground dwellings are called, is a piece of land where Pods were built for war safety, but were abandoned and then taken over by a corporation of builders who specialized in High quality, and very elite housing. Now the Pods are used as housing for a variety of people chosen by a Lottery. Sinee Lewis was chosen in the New Jersey lottery and expected to live in one of the many dormitory Pods but found herself in a private pod.

Sinee has a genetically altered dog, Lancelot - who can speak - and does he ever speak! Someone had poisoned the little mutt and caused havoc in Haven #5. A group of Ojibwe, the Native Americans who inhabit the Great Lakes area, have come to the Haven. Jericho, a young paramedic saves Lancelot.

There is havoc everywhere as Hitcher and Cynthia Lewis, Sinee's parents come and the elder statesman or Prolean, steps in and relieves Tony Wharton of all rights and duties...the actor is told get his things and "nomad" it - which means to get on down the road and walk.


Lucas Haines wondered where he now fits in with the eerie changes and he edged out the hatch and disappeared.
Jericho's help for Lancelot was over, with ecstatic results, and he looked at Sinee, "I feel in the way, so I shall go,"

"No, please stay - you saved his life, and I ... I want to thank you." Sinee gave Jericho a bat of eyelashes and wondered if that worked as well on Native Americans as well as ... well...they were all men and she had that "come hither" look. Apparently, it didn't matter what color the outside was, Jericho, blushed and smiled shyly.

Hitcher and Cynthia turned off the message screen and looked pleased with how things were going. "Hey, son, don't hurry off. We need to celebrate." Hitcher went to Jericho and slapped him on the back - then hugged him.

Jericho looked lost but smiled sweetly at Sinee. Lancelot wobbled a bit from his turmoil but walked over to Jericho - causing several people to call out in concert: "Don't you pee on his leg, Lancelot."

The dog looked put upon and muttered, "I weren't gonna do that to my friend and fellow hunter...just wanted to lick his hand for savin me life!"

Jericho grinned and reached down, taking the pup in his brawny arms, whereupon Lancelot plastered a rain of doggie kisses across the warrior's face, causing everyone to laugh with glee.

Sinee watched with joy - glad Lancelot was well, and glad Jericho had come into their lives.

Chapter 12
Things that go Bump in the Night

By Sherry Asbury

Things That Go Bump in the Night #1

In the last chapter, we saw everyone happy and glad things were changing. Jericho is a young Native American who saved the poisoned Lancelot. We are still waiting to find out who poisoned the sweet little pup. Sinee and her parents are delighted to have their daughter back in their lives. The obnoxious Anthony Wheaton has been given his "nomad Papers" and sent on his way. Lucas Haines has gone into hiding for now.

It was well-past tea-time in the Haven and thoughts began to turn to tummies that grumbled.

Hitcher finally groaned and said, "Well, folks, is anyone else besides me hungry?"

Sinee spoke up, "Me, Dad...and it is past Lancelot's dinner time. How about you, Jericho, hungry?"

Cynthia, Sinee's Mom, came into the main room and said, "I have been scrounging in the pantry, but my daughter seems to have mostly healthy stuff - still we can make a light meal for now."

"Light meal," Lancelot growled. "I want me some meat."

Jericho had been quiet during the late afternoon hours, but now he spoke, "I have a salted side for bacon and some buffalo chops...well if any of you eat buffalo?"

Lancelot jumped up straight and began leaping around the room. "ME, me, me - buffalo yum."

Sinee laughed until her sides hurt. "Lancelot will eat anything. Tell Jericho you would appreciate such a contribution to a meal."

Lancelot did a somersault, a backflip, and crash-landed in Jericho's lap. "I think that is a yes, Sinee," Jericho laughed.

It was almost as if Jericho and Sinee were the only two people in the room and her parents looked knowingly at each other. Both had been afraid she would end up in a relationship with Wharton, which they would have fought...and were not any more thrilled with Lucas Haines.

Sinee helped her mother, and Jericho set up a grill outside for the buffalo and bacon slabs.

Hitcher and Howling Wolf, chief of the Ojibwe tribe cleared around the edges of the pods. What they were doing seemed to be a quiet project. The men murmured amongst themselves and watched out into the coming night.

When the food was ready everyone took a plate and helped themselves, then hurried inside where it was warm. Jericho found himself a place next to Sinee and Lancelot squeezed himself between them. Sinee and Jericho fed tidbits to Lancelot, not wanting him to overeat. Before long the little dog's eyes were sleepy and closing. When everyone was full there was a peaceful feeling in the air and everyone sat still. Jericho leaned toward Sinee and she leaned back toward him. Out of the stillness, little Lancelot raised up yapping as loud as he could. From outside came a fierce rapping that lifted everyone off their cushions.

"What the hell!" Hitcher shouted and there was an unearthly riot of noise. Hitcher grabbed his wife and held her close - and with his other arm grabbed Sinee, who was also grabbed by Jericho.
"Lancelot, what is it, boy?"

"I don't have no idea, Boss - it just started buffer-, jees - makin a noise in my ears."

The noise quit suddenly and everyone in the room looked around themselves. The Hatch chime sounded and Hitch looked out the spyglass to see who was there. It was Howling Wolf and his other sons, Soaring Eagle and Quiet Horse.

Hitcher quickly pressed the Hatch Open switch and told them to come inside where it was safe.

None of the Ojibwe knew what the noise was, but had left armed warriors around the camp for safety. The Native Americans believed in the Windigo - a horror who often came off the lake and called someone's name loudly -meaning that person would die.

Quiet Horse was the youngest of the sons in the Pod and after hemming and hawing, spoke up. "I heard a name," he said.

Then there was chaos as everyone, even the whites urged him to say what the name was.

Swallowing, the boy choked out..."Striking Snake..."

His father turned white with fear. Striking Snake had killed Howling Wolf's first wife, Delicate Rose, by raping her until she bled to death. Howling Wolf did not fear Snake, but feared his passion to kill the man for what he had done. No Ojibwe would have such a thing go unpunished; such was their honor.

There were legends that a giant snake lived on the banks of the lake where the Indians fished for their food. Many had claimed to have seen it, been chased by its writhing coils or eating pets and hunting dogs. Mothers were forbidden to take their young children to the areas of the lake where it could be said the snake lived.

Hitcher made an immediate mandate that all within his daughter's Pod and the area of Haven 5 stay inside and take the Native Americans in for the night hours. No one disagreed.

"Jericho, you have been our honored guest and a friend to my daughter and her dog...I insist you stay inside with us."

"Yeah, yeah - you can sleep in my bed...," Lancelot said and started arranging his blanket.
Jericho glanced at Sinee and laughed. Hitcher jumped in, "That's mighty nice of you Lance, but I think he needs a bigger space. Hitcher needed to cover his mouth to keep from laughing. "Look, Sinee's lounge turns into a double, so maybe Jericho could share that?"

"Well then, I can sleep right atween em!" That was what Hitcher had hoped for all along - no hanky pank with the dog between them!

"Well, now then, thanks Lancelot - that would save space and all."

It was a happy note to retire on!

Author Notes I must thank the author William Kent Krueger who has given me many hours of happy reading for my interest, nee fascination with the Anishinaabe and other citizens of that area.

Chapter 13
In the Night #2

By Sherry Asbury

If you are offended by relationships outside of one's race, this may not be the continuation you would want to read. I grew up in a bigoted family where I learned that Brazil Nuts were called Nigger Toes. I am appalled by the things my father believed - and my mother before she left us when I was four years old.

It has been a long ride to my current beliefs. Some of it was a long bus ride in the South with Martin Luther King when I was quite young, but invited to leave my father's home because I was not the kind of "girl" my father cared for: in other words, I was smart, very smart, and knew things and would speak of them. I learned that the bigoted things my father spouted were heinous and I said so - so I had to go...he did not care where. The final incident was when I was in seventh grade...there was a school dance and he agreed to drive me (spy on me). He stopped the car and said, "You mess with that injun and I'll kill you - got it?!

I was watching for the boy I had a crush on. His father owned a garage outside of town and he was a "sweathog" of the unclean in self and manner. He was white, under the grease at least. I had not noticed the Indian boy from the rez - not because I was bigoted, but because I wanted my crush.

From that time forward, my mind began to work in a different paradigm... slowly but surely time passed and since I was thrown out like yesterday's rubbish, I fell in with some freedom riders and went with them to Selma, where I fell under the spell of that great man who is my hero to this day. I have a scar over my left eyebrow from a police dog who took a bite out of me - I consider it a badge of courage, as Martin grabbed me and shielded me from worse damage.

SO - I have given you fair warning...


Sinee was a decent girl so welcomed Lancelot between her and Jericho. No one was in a romantic mood by any means anyway. There seemed to be darkness to the night that was deep with bad vibes.

Sometime around 4:00 am Lancelot was pumping his little legs in a dream and whining. Jericho awoke and petted him, to soothe him. His little whining turned to yips and Sinee awoke. Her father asked what was wrong, but it was more than puppy dreaming.

From somewhere far away there were noises that shouldn't have been there. It was faint and could have been anything...but Howling Wolf arose and went to the periscope each pod was equipped with - just for this kind of thing. Though the old chief tried to be very quiet, it seemed almost everyone was awake.

"What do you see?" Hitcher asked in a whisper.

Howling Wolf spoke sotto voce..."There are shadows out beyond the camp of my people."

They kept the lights of the Pod off so that anyone trying to look inside would see nothing.

Something moved forward in the night and suddenly light as bright as the sun in spring came on and its arc was a horrific sight. Someone was seemingly nailed to a cross in the yard. The person was alive but appeared to be drugged. Howling Wolf howled as he said, "That is my wife, Sweet Water...oh, my god - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!"

In synch with his howl came a voice: "Injun - you listen and listen good. Your woman ain't dead...yet, but if you defy our demands, I will slaughter her right here."

Hitcher turned on the loudspeakers and said, "Who are you and what have you got against Howling Wolf? Let the woman go and do it now!!"

"Now, we went to your buncha tribe last night and asked them nice-like to give us twenty girls of birthin age. Ain't no women out here who are clean or safe and we want to populate the land again."

Hitcher switched off the loudspeakers and sagged with tears in his eyes. Jericho made for the hatch but his brothers stopped him. "I can't give some unknown, wild men young girls - especially for what they want."

Jericho and his brothers whispered together and then dispersed to exit the hatch one at a time, hopefully unseen. Hitcher did nothing to stop them. That was their mother, whose health was not good, she needed to be brought in.

Using hand signals the brothers spoke to each other and gathered along with others of their tribe who were going to get the woman back come hell or high water.

As Hitcher watched out the periscope, he choked and held his heart - with Cynthia and Sinee scared his heart was giving out. "Oh, my, god, you won't believe this. I saw a couple of faces that seemed light to me and I was right. It's Wharton and Lucas, dressed like those men, and holding firearms - the filthy traitors!"

Sinee hurried to where her father stood looking out and pushed him aside. It was the two men.
Her father wanted a shotgun, but Howling Wolf dissuaded him. Gunfire would be too dangerous.

Just then the hatch popped open and several people entered, hurrying to close the opening. It was Sweet Water and her sons...two of whom were wounded and bleeding. The old woman fell into her husband's arms and he carried her to a couch and tenderly laid her down. Her hands held bleeding crucifiction wounds and her feet were bloody and torn.

Gunfire erupted around the Haven and bodies were falling. Only morning would show the extent of the damage.

Sinee looked for Jericho and found him hovering over his mother. He reached up a hand to hold Sinee's.

Lancelot came in his doggie door at the rear of the pod...heaving breaths jostling his little body. "Sinee, I bit them on their butts, I did...hard. And I never told ya about the rattlesnake nest I finded...well I got them buggers riled up and the crawled out - fangs at work."

He was so tired his eyes were sagging closed and Jericho picked him up and he and Sinee cradled him till he was fast asleep. Trouble would come again, but at the moment it was quiet.

Author Notes We are all just biological organisms and our skin color comes from many different factors. It matters only what the heart feels and what the conscience decrees. Love each other.

Chapter 14
Sorrow Runs Deep

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

In the last chapter, we saw Sweet Water crucified on a crude cross by the mysterious and cruel men who showed up asking for girls of birthing age to repopulate the decimated earth.

Sinee awoke to the pitiful moans of Sweet Water. Jericho was kneeling by the bed, examining the crude nail job one man had done. Apparently, the nails had bent under his hammer and instead of replacing them with a new set, he hammered them in bent, causing Sweet Water excruciating pain.

Both of the old woman's feet were broken and bloody from being dragged on the bare and stony ground. Sinee moved Lancelot, which awakened him and he ran for his dog door. Sinee met her mother in the hallway and they began putting together items for taking care of Jericho's mother's feet.

All of the men in the Pod were debating the best way to remove the nails with the least damage to Sweet Water's hand. Hitcher spoke to the room or maybe to God: "I swear on this dear woman's head that I will find these sons a bitches and make them suffer till they wished they were dead."

The room was quiet, as everyone agreed silently. Life in America and the surrounding countries has been going to hell in a handbasket - no one wanted more trouble, but it was obvious it had arrived. There was no talk of tribes or armies, the unspoken understanding was that there was an enemy and all must fight that common enemy.

There was a jewelry maker amongst the Natives and he had small tools that the men felt could be adapted to pry the nails from Sweet Water's hand. It would have been better had she cried out with the pain, but she bit her lip and stoically endured. It made every person in the Pod more determined to end the outlaw group.

Everyone in the Pod took turns wiping sweat from the old woman's brow and holding her arm so she did not jerk at the wrong time. Lancelot whimpered and once in a while, a long, mournful howl would break out. Those times Sinee and Jericho would take turns petting him and murmuring softly to him.

Sinee and Cynthia took turns wiping the blood from Sweet Water's hand, then changing off to tend to her ruined feet. The last nail was most embedded in the woman's hand and had to be pried took a very long time and for the first time elicited a cry from her dry and desiccated lips. There was no one there without tears.

When at last the deed was done, a communal sigh of relief ran through the room. Howling Wolf took a flask from his vest and dribbled a bit of whiskey into his wife's mouth. Soon she was asleep and her husband lifted
her gently and took her to a back bedroom, where he lay down beside her and wept.
There was much discussion as to where they should start a search for the group, who had called themselves God's Warriors - though Godly was the last thing anyone would call them. One of the young tribal men joked they should be called Godless Weenies which started Lancelot prancing around and singing his anthem to them. In the end, they were The G.W's...

There were two days without signs of the GW's and hope had begun to rise that they were gone on to fresher territories. Then a young man on yard cleaning duty found a burlap bag and looked inside. His terrified screams were howls of horror. Hitcher was outside and reached the boy first. He looked in the bag and fell to his knees, vomiting and hardly able to breathe.

Inside the bag was a dead baby - a horribly deformed and mutated baby with a face in its shoulder and his spine a jag of spines. Some of the people wanted to burn the whole thing, but Howling Wolf wouldn't hear of it. He found a note pinned to the bag and it read: "Injuns and Injun Louvers - this is what is bein borned out here. You want this for a son or grandchild? Give us the girls we done asked for and we will come to an agreement..."

As one, the Podders screamed no and versions of the same - not one was willing to accept the GW's demand. Hitcher drew in a breath and yelled, "How do we know this little one was not just a genetic accident? We will bury him according to God's laws and you will respect our wishes..."

A voice called from the inner trees... "No way - no how...this here thing is a warning from your so-called God. Give us what we want or more of your women will be hangin...somewhere."

Author Notes We will see a rebirth of patriotism and hope in the human race.

Chapter 15
We Shall Not Kneel

By Sherry Asbury

In our last chapter, we saw a confrontation with the group calling themselves God's Warriors, who had crucified Sweet Water and were challenging the Pod groups to surrender girls of the age who could give birth, which was absolutely shot down unanimously by all.

No one in the Pods of Haven 5 could do anything but worry. Hitcher called a meeting inviting all Pods, their new friends...Howling Wolf's tribe and almost anybody who wanted to be included.

"Friends, on behalf of us all, since we have no organization formalized yet, I stand before you to ask how we should deal with this situation. I absolutely will not deal with terrorists of any kind, especially ones who crucify sweet old women of any race!" He had to raise his hands and quiet the chorus of agreement being shouted out.

The loudspeakers were on, as a swelling crowd of other residents of Haven 5 was gathering and not all had been aware of the recent happenings. Hitcher took about twenty minutes and brought everyone up to the present. "Now, this is my thinking: these godless men have been gathering recruits...two of our ousted members have joined their ranks. It's time Americans decided how they want to live...under coercion and hate - or as free people with morals and values..." the crowd went crazy with voices of agreement.

But HItcher wasn't finished. He had been talking to people and getting their ideas. "Now is the time to decide! If there are those of you who want to leave rather than work on a new nation...please feel free and there will be no recriminations!"

A terrible silence covered the crowd as they waited to see who left, as they might next see them in a group of GW's holding guns.

Sinee's voice came singing, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me..." others gave their voices to the song, "With all men as my brothers, let me live with my brother in perfect harmony..." hands were clasped and tears ran.

Jericho stood and spoke, "My friends - my brothers, you know this fight against tyranny won't be easy...lives will be lost and darkness may cover the sky. But I want freedom!" And so did the burgeoning crowd around him.

Howling Wolf clasped Hitcher to himself and said to the crowd..."We will not kneel - die on your feet and spit on the GW's!! Then it was utter chaos as hope surged through the crowd of people who had been living in fear and darkness.

Hitcher and Howling Wolf knew the GW's were in the line of trees and they hoped the solidarity shown by their group would give that bunch pause to think.


It was a long day and everyone worked to feed the people...then excused themselves to talk.

Jericho offered, "Since the Green Weenies have a name and a bit of government, I feel we should do the same."

Hitcher agreed and invited the women to come to sit in with them - equality was necessary - women were more than cooks and cleaners... they had fine, intuitive minds and this was a new world coming.

"Does anyone have suggestions as to what we call ourselves?" Cynthia spoke shyly.

Sinee offered, "Maybe the PP's for Pod People...everyone laughed and Lancelot danced wildly.

"Seriously...How about Safe Haven?"

"Or maybe ... no - I like that," Hitcher said. "Or maybe just The all are included?"

"Then we could call ourselves the 5's," Quiet Horse offered.

"All those who agree, so signify..." Cynthia said to a rousing roar of approval.


And thus was born a new nation The Haven, and its citizens - the 5's.

Author Notes I am an old lady who craves peace and equality...loving all my fellow people...and this is the way I must achieve that, in a fantasy sad.

Chapter 16
Lancelot to the Rescue

By Sherry Asbury

In the last chapter, we saw a new tentative government being born.

Everyone involved in the changes, which was everyone who wanted to participate felt a rising new hope for the ragged world. As they traded ideas a flaring light lit up the darkening sky, and a voice boomed out - obviously on a high amperage loudspeaker.

"Jim Jones wannabe, listen up."

Hitcher knew this meant him. It was not the first time someone had compared him to the charismatic leader who led his group to death with tainted Kool-Aid. It hurt deeply, but he refused to debate the matter. Time would tell and he would never ask anyone to die like that.

"I know that voice. Once an actor, always an actor...what do you want, Wharton?"

"Now, now Hitcher, let's be civil. I want to prevent needless pain and bloodshed, then the loudspeaker whined and Tony Wharton let loose a string of profanity..."You damn mutt, I'm gonna kill you and feed you to the dogs for this."

The loudspeaker had fizzled and hissed - and died.

Hitcher returned to the Pod and through the doggie door zoomed the little dog.

Sinee asked Lancelot what had happened. He shook his leg and grinned a doggie grin at her. "Well, sometimes a man's gotta pee, and I guess that loudmouth and his speaker box was too close to me...or somethin..."

"Lancelot, you didn't".

"You bet yer bladder, I did - right on Wharton's new boots and that blasted blaster!"

Everyone burst into laughter and Lancelot made the rounds for an ear scratching and a pet.

Sinee giggled but then spoke somberly..."Lancelot, you have made a dangerous have to be careful!"

All those in Haven's Pods took turns caring for Sweet Water, as she was deteriorating right in front of them. Her moans were pitiful, and though she tried hard to be stoic, it wasn't easy for her. It would be Lancelot to the rescue in the end.

It was late one night when Jericho was awakened by Lancelot's feet on him. He roused up and turned on a dim light. The dog had dragged in a crushed box. Sinee woke up and turned over, scolding him for dragging garbage into the Pod.

"!" Lancelot persisted. Jericho sleepily picked up the box, read the label, and threw the container into a canvas tote nearby...he then rushed to the water source, picked up the bottle of bleach, and began scrubbing.

By now everyone in the Pod was grousing at the early hour and why their sleep had been disturbed. Sinee reach for the tote, but Jericho kicked it out of her reach, yelling, "Nobody goes near that tote!"

Everyone was staring at him as if he was not Jericho and Hitcher demanded: "What the hell is wrong with you?"

Jericho tried to answer, but it took him a minute. "It's that new stuff - synthetic cyanide..." the room was silent. "It was developed by some idiot in that new lab. It will kill you if it even touches your skin. In a watered-down form, it can be injected by a hypodermic needle, just like drugs and is almost undetectable."

Jericho was a trained paramedic and had worked with doctors, so everyone trusted his opinion. Then he went to his mother, Sweet Water, and began examining her. He wore surgeon's gloves to protect himself as well. Finally, he reached her damaged feet and found an injection site between her toes, a popular place Junkies used so they didn't have track marks on their arms.

Howling Wolf had tears in his eyes as he asked his son, "Is Mama gonna die, son?" Jericho had tears held back in his own eyes as he answered, "There is an antidote, Father, but I don't have any idea where to get we will have to do our best for her...make her comfortable and love her while she is here."

Lancelot came back in through the doggie door...dragging a bag with him. Sinee was about to scold him again when Jericho looked in the bag and whooped. He picked up Lancelot and whirled him around the room. Lancelot finally said, "Put me down you big lug...afore I puke, and not on purpose."

Lancelot to the rescue...somehow he had found the antidote and sneaked out with the bag. Everyone petted him and gave him doggie bones. Chewing, he mumbled, "I is lirrlwe and who pays attenwon to a dog?" Bits of the cookies were flying everywhere and Cynthia translated...

"He said, he is little and no one pays attention to a dog..."

"What a smart little spy and he can sneak anywhere," Jericho added.

Now the hard work began. Jericho read the instructions on the antidote box and filled a syringe with it...inoculating Sweet Water in her thigh. It hurt and the men had to hold her down as she had seizures. In about two hours the antidote seemed to let her calm down and actually sleep.

Author Notes
Guardian Angels come in many forms.

Chapter 17
The Littlest Spy

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

In our last chapter we saw Lancelot able to sniff out the cyanide poison with which Howling Wolf's wife, Sweet Water had been dosed - and its antidote - taking them to Jericho, her son, who was able to concoct an antidote for his mother. After a few days, the woman began a welcome recovery.

The enemy group that called itself, God's Warriors had begun small forays into the Haven 5 territory, destroying water supplies and intercepting food deliveries. Supplies were running short and the Pods were desperate. Christmas was just five days away and it was looking like a bleak holiday. Hitcher and his committee had it on good info that a train of goods had been hauled in loaded aboard a train that waited on abandoned tracks, but it was heavily guarded.

Hitcher and his wife, Cynthia as well as Sinee and Jericho were sitting outside around a campfire, discussing what would come next.

Sinee had been deep in thought, then spoke up, "You know we have someone here in Haven who is a born spy and very good at what he does."

Everyone sat up and tried to think who she meant. Seeing the group come to attention, Lancelot ran around each person, his tail wagging a mile a minute. Sinee said, "See, he knew we were talking about him - didn't you boy?"

Lancelot stopped in his tracks... "Nah, I just want a treat!"

Everyone laughed, but then Jericho offered, "Sinee is right. The little bugger would be a perfect spy. He is little enough to get in about anywhere...and so smart. Look how he nosed out the cyanide. I think we should see if we could train him..."

Lancelot shook himself and scratched an ear as he retorted, "Now, look here you lot. I don't need no training to spy on anyone. I spy around all you's in the Pods...if'n I can do that, I can spy on those Godless Weenies, I can."

The dog had a point. And, as Jericho said, "Who notices a dog?"

Hitcher said, "But you would have to be careful and not arrogant about your abilities - those GW's have some smart folks with them. And if you show up often enough in places, someone
WILL notice you. We don't want to lose you."

"Aw, Hitcher, old son - you say the nicest things..."

"And you pick up every accent you hear..." Hitcher frowned.

Lancelot threw himself on the ground at Sinee's feet for a belly rub, grinning as only he could also earned him a round of treats.

The G.W's may have called themselves Godly, but their actions certainly proved otherwise. As the folks outside around the fire were earnestly discussing the next move something sailed through the air and fell into the fire, sending a disgusting smell into the air and sparks flying.

Jericho and Quiet Horse managed to fish it out of the flames, only to find a rubber doll doused in chemicals and a crude crown forced over the rubber of its head. A voice from the G.W's loudspeaker broke the silence, "Here is your christly king, you lot of papists...cross us and we will find the real thing the next time."

Hitcher hurriedly switched on Haven's loudspeaker, "Listen to me, you sick won't defeat us with your dolls...and we are not papists...we are free people who want a decent world to live in and we will root you out if it has to be one by one!"

In answer to this, a rock wrapped in cardboard sailed over the fire, and written in what looked like blood was this message. "Yr god don't exhist you fools. He ain't got no mercy on sissykissers...we will own this land and lay your flesh open on your backs, rape yr womn an take everything you got. Yr crosses will be broke and burned an the pituers of yr chist pissed on..."

There was an outcry from every pod that heard the challenge.

Author Notes When decent men and women want freedom and a society that is safe to live in, they must work to have that goal. Oftimes it is necessary to fight for rights.

Chapter 18
Doing What Must be done

By Sherry Asbury

In our last chapter, we saw a quasi-attack by the God's Warriors in the form of a doll being thrown in the outside fire where 5's were talking. Then a loudspeaker assault and note denigrating the religious beliefs of 5ers. Taunts from tiny minds.


Author editorial: Our PT (present time) is rife with hatred, killing, and unrest. Much of this is touted on public media, adding fuel to flames. It stirs anger and fear in many who wonder what will happen next. Turmoil is rampant, and people, by nature, will seek strength, finding who they feel will end this danger. The person they should be looking at does not exist. Do not look to hatemongers, nor those who are obviously not tracking well in their own minds. Each man and woman must make themselves strong and educated in truth.


Jericho led everyone back to the Pod where they sat and discussed what they would do next. No one wanted war or armed conflict, but the GW's seemed determined to cause trouble.

It was late when a commotion was heard outside the Pod. The light for the plate where visitors were required to wait for entry through the hatch was blinking. People rose from their chairs ¢?" hands seeking any makeshift weapon. Sinee went to the periscope to look outside before anyone could stop her. Seconds passed and she suddenly gasped, threw the switch for the hatch, and ran outside, Jericho right behind her and Lancelot flying by them.

Sinee yelled for Jericho to press the plate switch. He refused and she ran to it herself, pressing it, releasing the person standing on it, and weaving. Jericho tried to reach the hatch switch, but Lancelot jumped in fury, snarling and keeping Jericho away.

Sinee held the figure upright and called for Jericho to help her. By this time Hitcher had come out and when he saw who she supported he pushed her away. Sinee was about to protest, thinking Hitcher was going to leave the person outside. But her father picked up the visitor in his arms and took him to the Pod. A hail of stones and knives and hatchets were thrown but hit the metal of the Pod as the hatch closed.

Hitcher's burden demanded to be put down. He faced Sinee and she screamed. Lucas stood in front of her and tried to smile. His face had been slashed and whip marks were visible through his shirt. "It's me, Lucas..." he managed.

There was a melee as everyone tried to speak at once. Hitcher raised his hands and spoke, "Let the boy be for now. We can see how wounded he is and given the circumstances of his leaving, we deserve some answers. But he was once one of us and for Sinee's sake I won't turn him away without a reason."

Just then Lucas collapsed to the floor, bloody and beaten and scorned by many. Hitcher called for Jericho to help him with the boy...but there was no sign of the warrior. Cynthia stepped in and helped lift Lucas to a couch.

Chapter 19
I Spy With My Little Eye

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

There are many illnesses that can plague the earth. Hatred is a virus that worms its way into the human heart, killing goodness and nurturing evil. For Haven and the 5's, this has not happened, but for the God's Word group, there is no God, but hypocrisy and violence. They will not stand still in the face of good...they will seek to destroy.

In our last chapter, we saw Lancelot and the group discussing if the little dog might not be their best spy, as they needed information about the group, their movements, and plans.

Sinee looked around the room. Poor Lucas lay with bandage cloths on his ruined face and there was no sign of Jericho. Only Lancelot seemed in good spirits, but that was his general demeanor.

Hitcher was worried about Jericho. Not only was he fond of the boy, but Jericho was a Paramedic and needed to tend to Lucas. He was glad to have Lucas back in the fold...temporarily...until he answered a few questions.

"Lucas, son, I hate to have to do this, but we need some answers from you."

"It's okay, Hitcher, I expected as much...shoot..."

"First, how did you get away?"

Lucas looked at Lancelot and smiled, "Your turn, pooch...

Lancelot danced and pranced and then spoke... "Me, me, me...I sneeked up and chewed the cow they had on him...chewed it clean off so we could run."

Hitcher looked askance and said, "The 'cow' they had on him...???"

Lucas spoke, "They had me hogtied with leather straps and handcuffs...that's his 'cow', but he quietlike chewed until I could break free. He's a real little hero!"

Lancelot ran around the group of people expecting a treat and he was not disappointed. Though he could talk plain as anyone - it was not hard to remember he was a happy little dog.

That sealed the decision to use him as a spy and see how it went.

"Now," Hitcher said quietly, "tell us about your face and back."

Lucas took a deep breath and began. "The GW's said my face was a sacrilege because I got that face change...they had one of their women try to peel it off...said it women's work..."

Everyone had turned pale and kept their eyes down. It was hard to imagine the pain. If only there was a plastic surgeon in Haven 5!

"As for the wounds on my back, once they saw I wanted out, they treated me like a dog, sorry Lancelot - worse than a dog and if I didn't do things right, I got the whip, wielded by a master, believe me!"

Lancelot turned tail and left through his doggy door. He hadn't mentioned where he was going, or what he was going to do when he got there. That shut down any more discussion about the spy business - at least for the evening.

It was about 9:00 p.m. when everyone heard a ruckus outside and the hatch bell rang with a strange burst of noise. Hitcher went to the periscope and looked through it, shaking his head. "It's Lancelot, but how did that little bugger reach the bell. Why didn't he use his doggy door!"

Hitcher cautiously raised the hatch, shining a bright light out to see if the enemy was nearby, but it was just Lancelot, who held a jawful of suit coat attached to someone who lurched and almost fell.
Rather than have the pair outside with the hatch open, Hitcher pulled the man inside and told the dog to sit. "Now what the hell is this?"

The man was eased into a chair and breathed whiskey fumes like a cloud over Hiroshima. He tried to speak, but couldn't find his words.

Lancelot spoke for them both. "You see, Boss, this here fella is one a them doctors you needs for Lucas there."

Hitcher and the group looked at one another... "What Lucas needs is a plastic surgeon, Lancelot."

Sinee petted him but he pulled away, indignant in every hair... "You wanted a them and I got you one. This here is Gregory Newsome...then some letters..."

Sinee said, "But Lancelot the man is drunk!!"

"I knows that, but let me explain, will ya! See he was given all the drink he wanted to keep him quiet."

Hitcher asked, "Quiet about what?"

"See they be sick with some kinda ... well sickness. They don't want no one to catch on and panic is all over. He is one a those as can help Lucas, but they used him for regular stuff."

"Lancelot, how do you know this?" Hitcher asked the little dog.

"Ain't I gots ears and eyes? I sneak in there and listen and watch. If anyone catches me I do me doggy thing..."

"You mean you pee on them?" Sinee giggled.

"I does and they put me down quick-like and I have to dodge a kick or two, but I am fast as the wind."

"But what are we going to do with this drunk?" Cynthia asked.

Hitcher answered - "Sober him up and keep him hidden."

"But, Daddy, if there is to be help for Lucas...well, we don't have anything it would take..." Sinee's eyes filled with tears.

Lancelot stood up and danced and whirled, to make sure he had everyone's attention...

Author Notes I am trying to compile a cast list, so here goes
Hitcher Lewis - head of Haven 5
Cynthia - Hitcher's wife and helpmate
Sinee Lewis - daughter of above
Lancelot - genetically altered dog that can speak
Lucas Haines - recently returned
Jericho - Objibwe warrior

Chapter 20
About Face, Lancelot

By Sherry Asbury

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Last time we saw Lancelot drag in a drunk, who turns out to be a plastic surgeon. Lucas, who was almost Sinee's guy, turned up horribly scarred and his face has been cut and peeled. Before he met Sinee he had had plastic surgery to make him look like a well-known heartthrob movie star. This sort of thing was popular among young people in Hollywood. Now they have to sober up this doctor to find out if he really is a plastic surgeon and can restore Lucas's face.

Sinee had to give Lancelot his dinner to calm him down enough to talk about what came next. "Now you be a good boy because this is really important. We want to help Lucas and we need to find Jericho."

Lancelot got very serious and told them, "Them GW's got Jericho when him went to look after the know the place around the pods. Them jumped out and tooked him."

Hitcher raised his voice as he said, "Lancelot, you should have come and told us!"

The dog looked abashed and hid behind Sinee.

"Dad, we don't need to speak harshly to Lancelot. He had to get the surgeon here and he didn't have any idea how to do it. He was a good dog." Sinee patted Lancelot and her father wiped a hand across his face.

"You're right, honey. He is an amazing fellow and a lot of help to us. I'm sorry little guy."

Lancelot peeked around Sinee to be sure Hitcher wasn't going to punish him. Instead, Hitcher gave him a doggie biscuit and petted him - so peace was made.

As Lancelot finished his cookie the loudspeaker of the GW's blared, "Hey, injun lovers, look out here."

A blinding spotlight lit up the night and everyone rushed to see what was going on. The GW's stayed far back in the trees, but they had put up a crate that now held Jericho. All at once, a volley of shots rang out and Jericho collapsed.

The women were crying and the men were in a fury of rage. This outrage and slaughter was the final line in the sand.

Lancelot has raced out his doggie door and would not come when called. After several minutes he came back in with a mouth full of straw. "It ain't Jericho...ain't him in really. See this's a stuffed know, one a them...whatchacallits..."

Sinee wiped her eyes on her skirt and said,
"Lancelot, do you mean a dummy?"

"Jericho he ain't no dummy...him real smart!"

Sinee almost smiled as she explained that a dummy was a mannequin, a fake person.

"Yeah...a pretend fake Jericho...that's what it is."

The voice came on again..."Now, we got the injun right here and if you don't want him full a bullets you'll give us what we want."

Hitcher turned on the Pod loudspeaker and spoke.
"Give us our friend as a sign of good faith and then we can talk."

"You're a lyin sack a shit, man. You ain't getting him back whole unless we get women. You got one hour to give us an answer."

Their loudspeaker went quiet and the Haven 5's turned to Hitcher. "Okay, we have to decide what to do and what sacrifice is acceptable to everyone.
If we give in to these animals our world will live in darkness. Do any of you have something to say?"

Howling Wolf spoke up, "Hitcher, folks, we will stand with you. That is my son and if he is going to die then we must make it worthwhile."

"Now Howling Wolf, don't give up just yet." Hitcher tried to think how to comfort the old man.

Sinee broke in, "If we don't stand up and fight they will keep killing freedom worth fighting and loss? I say YES, Hell YES...we have all been through hell for almost two years - we won't kneel to these cretins!"

Everyone in hearing distance cheered and shouted their approval and support.

There was a banging on the hatch and the first thought of everyone there was that it was GW's. Hitcher managed to get the periscope around to see the front of the Pod. He slapped his knee and hooted as he opened the hatch.

Jericho stumbled in, escorted by the little dog. All the inhabitants cheered and Howling Wolf grabbed his son in a bear hug. "How did you get away, my son?"

Jericho's mouth had been damaged so he just picked up Lancelot and held him over his head.

"Aw, put me down, ya daft idjit. I just chewed him loose...gettin to be a regular thing that is."

Hitcher spoke up, "Now there's no rest for us. We have to be ready to defend ourselves because we for sure aren't giving those animals any women!"

Lancelot snorted and growled and danced around
Sinee like she was a maypole.

Author Notes Although this is fiction, I call to all of you to help this sad world recover. Do not listen to false prophets or idiot mongers who support poor behavior. We must make America strong again - the right way!

Chapter 21
So Shall It Be

By Sherry Asbury

This will be the ending chapter of this book. Thank you to all of you who faithfully read our adventures. There will be a future book with a more fantasy-type story. It will feature our little hero, Lancelot, so if you enjoyed him please watch for the first chapter.

Outside of the Havens were gathering the GW's in masses. There were hourly taunts and flashes of irreverent pictures and blasphemous speeches. Hitcher tried to protect his people as best he could, but it was becoming flagrantly obvious that the Havens were in peril.

No one knew what to do. None of the people in the Pods wanted out and out warfare - and they knew they would be overwhelmed if it started in their camp.

"Dad, have you seen Lancelot?" Sinee asked as she searched for the little dog.

Hitcher answered in the negative and joined her in searching. Cynthia went to the back of the Pod and had no luck finding Lancelot there.

A loud blast came from the GWs loudspeaker and a voice laughed raucously, "Okay, Jesus Freaks, we have your little dog and he is going to feed a bunch of us for dinner. I want a leg and my slave will get its entrails..."

"NO!" Sinee screamed and ran for the hatch. There was such turmoil and weeping that she almost made an escape, but Hitcher and Lucas both grabbed her and held her still. There were tears streaming down Hitcher's face and no one knew what to do.

There were negotiation pleas and outright begging for the little dog's return. Then somehow Lancelot's voice was heard clearly by all. "I is fine with this sac -ri- fice. I listened to you talk about Jesus and His sacrifice...let 'em eat me and they'll get the poison balloon I swallered..."

"Oh, Daddy, please do something. Either way, he will die."

"Honey, there is nothing I can do. How would we ever get to where he is or get out with our bare skins?"

Hitcher knelt and put his hands in prayer position - unashamed. Everyone else followed his lead and those who outside did the same when they saw the vid-screen. "Father God we thank You for Lancelot's valiant efforts and ask only that Your will be done. We put ourselves in Your hands of mercy, Father and if the little hero must die, make it quick is all I ask."

Hitcher prostrated himself and the others followed suit. A complete hush came over the entire area...not a pebble could be heard to move.

Then upon the came a brilliant light, but not the spotlight of the GW's...a light from the heavens to the Haven. A swarm of darting lights struck the earth beyond the perimeter of the Pods and there were screams of fear and agony. No one moved.

A mighty voice spoke: "There has been enough war and hatred, killing and perversity upon this earth I gave man to inhabit. Any man or woman who has a dark blight upon their soul shall perish this night. Evil shall no longer be tolerated, thus I say and thus it shall be! If a man cannot live in peace and harmony with his fellow man, he shall be sent to Lucifer, who will gladly accept such filth. Long shall be the days of this small creature called Lancelot, for he is blessed in the sight of your Lord. Worship him not, but see to his creature comforts and follow his good examples. I will watch from my Heavenly home, but you are the people who must husband yourselves and make this earth once again prosperous and whole."

Seemingly as from a cloud, Lancelot's little feet touched the earth and he ran to Sinee for a doggie pat and a biscuit.

Author Notes God's angel's swept the earth of evil and gave mankind a chance to bring the earth back to its glory...if only that could be true for us. But every step we each make for good will be a thread in a new tapestry.

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