Fantasy Science Fiction posted February 26, 2017 Chapters:  ...15 16 -17- 18... 


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The fugitives are discovered by Cougar Kin guards.

A chapter in the book Humanity Project

Ambush

by davisr (Rhonda)


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.



Background
After finding out horrific news about the Hufacs, the team goes to sleep. Sani, however, remains on guard throughout the day. Archie wakes up to hear footsteps above their enclosure. The fight is on.
End of last chapter:

Archie, Ayala and Sani read the Hufac Manifesto in The Humanity Project book... a book that detailed the purpose for the Hokee experiment. Koko woke up just as the others finished discussing their findings. They quickly became protective of their pregnant companion, and decided to keep the news about the genetic experiment from her.

*****

"What's it about?" Koko asked.

"We don't know for sure," Archie said. "We just got started reading the introduction. We were about to look at the Coyote House chapter to see if you and Ayala's names are there. It says that all the kids and their parents are listed. Do you want to look with us?"

"Oh, that would be great." She leaned forward, resting a free hand on her midsection.

Ayala's eyes met Archie's as they exchanged unbidden concern for the condition of her unborn child. They both blushed. Koko, mistaking the reason for the exchange, smiled warmly. Archie opened the book to chapter 8, Coyote House.



The story continues that evening about dusk.


Archie awoke to confusing sounds on the desert floor above him. At first he was disoriented, the effects of a lifetime of living in the city, but came to his senses in a matter of moments.

Sani reached out a hand and restrained Archie from rising to his feet. He pointed upward. "Don't say a word," he mouthed. "Cougar Kin."

Archie nodded and leaned back, his ears straining to hear footsteps and voices above. Sani continued to sit quietly, his grizzled head cocked to one side.

Aware of movement around her, Ayala roused as well. A sinking feeling came over her as she thought about the book and its horrific revelation about her heritage. Now she knew she wasn't an orphan . . . she was a genetic anomaly . . . the product of an unholy experiment. She started to speak, but Archie put a finger to his lips.

He whispered the simple word, "Cougars." Ayala closed her mouth and leaned back against the earthen wall as though blending into it might, somehow, make her invisible.

After a few tense moments, Sani nodded his head, signaling danger had passed. Ayala sighed and leaned her head forward onto her knees. She wrapped her arms about her legs, seeming to form a protective cocoon around her body. Archie reached over and patted her on the back.

"Don't let all this get into your head. You're still the same person today you were yesterday."

"I hate animals."

"I know, but only because you were trained to feel that way."

"That's right," Sani agreed. "Leander and the other scientists might have decided how you started out in this world, but you get to pick how you live in it. At least you found out you and Koko are real sisters. That's something encouraging."

Ayala looked over and smiled. "Yeah, and twins, just like we thought. . . and I'm the oldest." She leaned over to hug Sani, but lost her balance and bumped into Koko. She awoke with a start, an alarmed cry piercing the silence of the cave.

Ayala clamped a hand over her sister's mouth and pointed upward. She didn't even have to mention the Cougar Kin. . . Koko understood.

They all waited in pensive silence, hoping the scream had passed unnoticed. At first, they heard nothing, not even the stirring of air, but then Sani held up a warning finger. In the amount of time it would take a desert snake to strike, the protective grass mat was jerked off their enclosure, and two brawny men dropped inside.

Archie reacted with his usual quick reflexes, busting one in the jaw with a quick right. This brawnier man didn't go down as easy as the one in the Hawk house, the day before. He took a second blow, but it didn't come from Archie.

Archie heard a thunk, saw Ayala with the Humanity Project book held high, and then watched as the guard dropped to the ground.

The man's companion grabbed Ayala around the neck and whirled her in front of him. A huge bicep pressed against her throat. "Step back, or I'll break her neck."

Whack... the second man went down. This time it was Sani who stood behind him, his knapsack still in motion. "Grab your things, kids, we've got to get out of here. These two weren't alone."

Ayala rubbed her throat with one hand and grabbed her bag with the other. Archie helped her out of the hole, then turned to Koko, who had just picked up the discarded Humanity Project book and stuffed it in her backpack. She wasn't sure what it said, but was clever enough to realize its contents had upset her companions. She would read it later.

After all four fugitives crawled out of the cave, they faced their oldest member to await his instructions.

"It's all over for us, isn't it?" Koko asked. "We spent so much effort making shelter, and I ruined it."

"You did nothing of the sort," Sani said. "We got a good day's rest, while the Cougar team hunted in the heat. That gives us the advantage. Of course, we'll run, and they'll follow, but we must be swifter."

Koko's face betrayed guilty concern, but she nodded her head and followed the others as they took off north. As they had the night before, they fell in behind Sani like desperate little ducklings following their mother to life-giving water.

The way was treacherous, the setting sun uncomfortable, and the rocks beneath their feet dangerous, yet they pressed on with no sign of pursuit.

"We need to slow down," Archie said as he watched Koko stumble for the third time. "Koko's exhausted."

"Hold onto her," Sani responded. "We must make it to the highway before the Cougars."

"Why the highway?" Archie asked. "Have you changed your mind, and decided to flag down a car?"

"No, we still can't do that, not if we're going to make it to the mines ahead of Leander. We're going to the highway because we aren't afraid to cross it."

"What?" Koko asked.

"Hufacs are forbidden to go past it," Sani explained. "Anyone who crosses is considered a fugitive, and subject to be shot on sight. While we're willing to take that chance, I'm betting the Cougars aren't."

"How do you know this?" Archie asked.

"It was in the book. You should have finished reading it like I did."

"Really?" Ayala asked. "When did you?"

"Oh, after you kids went to sleep." Sani grinned. "It was pretty interesting. The best way to defeat an enemy is to know his heart and intentions. The book was all full of both."

"What's so special about it, besides a list of names?" Koko asked. "From what we read in the chapter on Coyote House, there was nothing but descriptions on how to run the house, and a list of kids inside."

Rather than answering her question, Sani stopped short. He held up a cautionary hand, and they all fell silent once more.

"Run!" he cried out. "The road is just ahead."

On both sides, Cougar guards poured out from behind clumps of sage bushes and boulders. It was an ambush. Archie and the others ran.


Book of the Month contest entry

Recognized


A special thanks for the artwork, "Cougar" by suzannethompson2.

A note on the purpose of the animal DNA discovery. This book is intended to be Science Fiction and Fantasy, but it has an underlying theme. There have been groups of people throughout time that have been treated as less than human, even experimented on in some cases. it's also to bring up any discrimination against other groups of people. It happened in the past, and is still happening today. The poor, ethnic groups, sexual orientation, mental illness, people from other countries, etc. There is a lot of different types of experimentation where we try to "cure" what we don't understand. It is my intention to use a fantasy environment to teach cultural tolerance, while telling a yarn. Thank you to those of you who look beyond the story.

Summary of the book so far:

Archie Franklin is a United States Senator from the State of Texas. He's also the President's son.
He was traveling the west, scoping out New Mexico for a committee he was on, when a deer ran in front of his Ferrari and caused him to crash.

He was rescued from the desert by a group from a cult-like village called Hokee. In this town, the people are part of an experiment to improve the human condition by taking orphans and raising them isolated from many of the modern conveniences that make mankind weak.

The children, as young as 5, are placed in houses named after animals, but otherwise taught animals are dangerous and unclean. Each "house" has a particular job in the community based on the attributes of the representative animal.

The leader, Leander, chooses what children are brought to the village. He doesn't want anyone to know about the compound so they can maintain isolation. Archie is now a prisoner, but has befriended a young lady, Koko, whose husband has come up missing, and is assumed imprisoned in a penal mining colony.

Working against odds, the two hope to escape and protect Koko's unborn child. Having babies at stage one of the experiment is forbidden by the scientists in charge. Teens are sterilized at puberty to avoid pregnancies, but occasionally one will be conceived. Standard operating procedure is to perform an abortion, but Koko is willing to fight against all she's grown up to believe to give her child a chance at life.

Now, Archie, Koko and Sani have escaped the complex after the old miner, Sani, set off an explosive distraction. On the way through a fence, they ran into Ayala, Koko's "sister" who tried to stop them. In order to ensure her silence, they tied her up and took her with them.

After traveling all night, they stopped at dawn to dig a shelter under the sand. Covering themselves with a blanket they wove from plants, they are resting from enemies and the heat of the day.

Archie and Koko begin to read a book Archie rescued from Hokee before they left. It is the story of the experiment called The Humanity Project.

These are the 12 houses of Hokee:

Hawk: Where Leander Jr. lives. They are the strict rulers of the compound, answerable only to Leander Sr..

Cougar: The strong arms of the Hawks. They dish out whatever punishment is required, even to sending miscreants to another settlement they have up North in the mines.

Coyote: The one Archie and Ayala are in: Job: Teachers and professors. Allowed more knowledge of the "outside world".

Ant: Considered unclean, these people tend meat and fur animals outside the village

Tarantula: Architects, and menders

Donkey: Transportation and communication

Wasp: Prepare and serve food

Deer: Sports and entertainment

Hare: Make and distribute clothing

Rat: Childcare

Snake: healthcare

Buzzards: Clean up crew, maintain sewer and custodial chores


General Summary of the Book:

Young Texas Senator, Archie Franklin, finds himself marooned in the desert with a group of people who are more than they appear to be on the surface.

Hokee: Name of the village Archie is held in. It means, "The abandoned."

Characters:

Archimedes (Archie) Franklin: High energy, main protagonist, who is, also, a Senator from Texas, and son of the President of the United States, Andrew Franklin.

Ayala: Female head of household in the house Archie finds himself imprisoned.

Andrew (Andy) Franklin: President of the United States, and father of Archie.

Koko: Ayala's best friend in Coyote House, close as sisters, born on the same day.

Todd: Koko's husband

Sani: Old man. Used to be a miner up north. Another trapped refugee from the desert. An ally in the quest to escape.

Leander: Head scientist in charge of the structure of Hokee. His son, Leander, is in charge of daily operations.

Junior: Leander's son, who lives in the Hawk house. He's personally a coward, but rules Hokee with an iron fist.

Others to be listed as they appear in the book.
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Artwork by suzannethompson2 at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2017. davisr (Rhonda) All rights reserved.
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