Grace felt like she was coming up out of a fog or waking up from one of those times her allergy meds knocked her out. Then she realized her head hurt and she wasn’t quite sure why. Wait, weren’t they in a car chase? And a firefight? Oh, not good at all, where was she? A blanket of some kind was covering her head. She started to try and sit up when she heard a soft voice whisper in her ear. “Lie still little one, it’s ok, I’m here.”
Grace turned her head towards the voice. “Morgan?”
“Well who else would it be?” her sister replied.
“Oh, I don’t know, Yoda the bar cat maybe?” was Grace’s snarky reply.
Grace heard a quiet snicker. “I think mom would be horrified that we know about the bar cat, or that he comes to visit us on occasion.” Then Morgan continued, “She’s probably more horrified that we’ve been kidnapped.”
“Is that why I have a headache and can’t see anything?” Grace then tried to move her hands and feet. “Or move anything?”
“Yep. Some goons grabbed us after crashing into the car. You were knocked out when you hit your head on the dashboard after a second car hit us. We were both grabbed when your pistol ran out of ammo.”
“What about yours?”
“I never got it out of my purse” said Morgan, as she simultaneously dug her chin into her sister’s shoulder.
Grace got the unspoken message immediately; Morgan still had her pistol. “Gotcha. Well I hope my peashooter served you well.”
Suddenly the blanket that was covering the two of them was jerked aside, and both girls gave a startled yelp. “Quiet!” barked a gruff voice.
“What do you want with me and my sister?” questioned Morgan in a sharp voice.
Both girls flinched and cried out again as a hand swung down at them. “I said quiet,’ growled the goon staring down at them. “It’s time you learned your place in the world, and that includes knowing when you can and can’t talk. This is a time when you can’t.”
Morgan just stared up at him. She could feel her Glock in the thigh holster even if she couldn’t get to it. Knowing it was there and knowing that the family had been practicing ‘just in case’ because of the threat that this Neanderthal represented, gave her a quiet confidence that he would not be able to shake. She knew that any bluster or back talk would just antagonize him for no positive return, so she did the next best thing. “May God Bless you, Sir” she said as evenly and sincerely as possible.
Hearing those words and the tone in which they were spoken, the Neanderthal blinked hard. It was obvious that was the last thing he expected to hear from someone that didn’t follow the teachings from Gilead. Then his look went from one of bewilderment back to anger and he reached back to take another swipe at them. As he did another hand grabbed him by the wrist and the girls heard a different voice.
“Stop. The Commander wants them unblemished.” The Neanderthal turned his head to glare at the new voice, then he twisted his entire body back towards the front of the vehicle and dropped his hand down. “Those wenches need to learn their place” said Neanderthal. The new voice replied, “true, but it’s not our place to train them, the Commander will handle that after we return to Gilead. We’re getting close to the port now, so relax or we may draw undo attention to ourselves. If that happens and we don’t get them out of here, then their uppity attitude will be the least of our worries.”
Grace looked up towards the rear windows, but all she could see were clouds and the occasional power lines. She had no idea where they might be but she was guessing it wasn’t that far from Wick as she was hungry but not its-been-hours-I-need-food starving. She looked at Morgan who just shrugged and then whispered really quietly “I don’t know where we are. I’m pretty sure we haven’t been driving long enough to get out of Scotland, but past that I have no idea.”
“How are Mom and Dad going go find us?” Grace whispered back, desperately trying to keep her emotions in check.
“I have no idea, little one,” she replied, “but we have to have faith. God got us away from these jerks two years ago, he can do it again.”
Grace smiled, that was just what she needed to hear. “Thanks. I’m so glad I have you for a sister.”
Morgan replied “Of course you are. Who else do you know that’s dashing and daring, courageous and caring…”? Hearing those words and the tune behind them, Grace giggled as quietly as she could. Both girls loved the Disney cartoon series ‘The Adventures of the Gummy Bears’. Their original DVDs had been left at Ft. Carson, but their Father had found the complete series on Blue-ray during one of the first raids that he went on with the Renegade. As he put it, a certain Russian gangster had no more need of them after he had attempted to double-cross Captain XO, so their Dad had claimed them, along with the rest of the Disney cartoon collection that was collecting dust on a shelf, when the XO declared the mansion open for ‘prize collection’. The girls were a little shocked that no one else wanted them until their dad explained that everyone else was after the contents of the wine cellar.
Quietly, the girls started singing different Disney songs so they could pass the time. Morgan recommended they stay away from Praise and Worship as they did not want to antagonize their captors. Grace agreed so they began to work their way through selections from Frozen, Beauty & The Beast, Tangled, and Mary Poppins. Eventually they felt the van they were in start to slow and exit the highway. They still couldn’t see where they were, but they were pretty sure that the end of this part of their ‘adventure’ was getting close.
The van that the girls were in also had 4 members of the ‘Eyes of oGd’. These were the only ones to survive the ambush that they had set up in Wick. The team leader, who went by Micah and was the one that stopped Efraim from striking the girls, still wasn’t sure what went wrong. Their information was that the family that had escaped from Gilead was living in the town of Wick, Scotland, and there was nothing special about them. The fact that he had lost 12 other members of his team meant that the tip that led them here was incorrect. He had no idea where a former Army officer with no special training could have learned to shoot like he apparently did. Obviously, the females had some rudimentary training, none of them shot themselves after all, but he couldn’t imagine one man being able to shoot so many of his ‘Eyes,’ especially since they were all enhanced by the Commander. No matter he thought as he spied a road sign stating they were only 7km from their chosen port, we shall be on the airship soon. He didn’t look forward to the Commander’s reprimand for not bringing the girl’s mother with them, but he was confident that he could convince the Commander to give him another chance.
With that, Micah sat back and watched the green countryside pass by them as they got closer to the port at Greenock.
10 minutes later and the van pulled up to the port terminal gate. The driver handed some paperwork to a bored looking guard who barely gave them a glance after taking the bills that were included, and then they were through, taking a direct route towards the airship that would carry them back to Gilead.
As the van passed through the streets, one stevedore noticed something. Hmmm, he thought, could it be? He pulled out his phone, snapped a quick picture, and then went looking for a higher spot where he could see if the van stopped at one of the docked airships.
Morgan and Grace felt the van stop. The leader made a comment about needing to wait until the sun went down and the trucks left. So they continued to lay in the back of the van, quietly singing through the entire musical version of “The Little Mermaid,” until finally they heard the front doors open. Less than a minute later and the back door opened, and they felt hands pulling their feet towards the opening. The zip ties around their ankles were cut, and they were both pulled to their feet. Micah looked at both of them, pointed at one of his men, and said “follow him.” The girls had discussed that obedience was a good way to lull their captors into making a mistake, so for now they acquiesced to the command and followed the nameless goon across the well-lit dock, towards the waiting airship.
The party moved up a boarding ramp and into the waiting airship. The girls didn’t know what kind it was, but it was not built like the Renegade. Morgan was thinking it was probably a cargo vessel, which almost made their kidnapping a bit insulting. They continued through the interior until the lead goon opened a door and motioned them inside. Then they were confronted by the only lady they had seen since coming aboard.
“Ah, you must be the two betrotheds that we were sent to retrieve” she says. “Both of you come in. Brother Aaron, please remove their restraints and then step outside. I need them to change out of their heathen clothes and into more appropriate attire.” Their escort pulled out a knife, cut the zip ties on their hands, and stepped to the door. “I’ll be in the corridor if you need anything Aunt Sarah.” With that he stepped into the corridor and closed the door behind him.
The girls watched him go, then they turned their attention to ‘Aunt Sarah.’ From what they had learned since escaping from Utah, an ‘Aunt’ was someone in charge of training new female members of Gilead. The TV show said they only trained Handmaidens, but the truth was a bit different.
“I am Aunt Sarah. You will address me as such, and you will only speak with me for the duration of our trip to Gilead. Do you understand?” Both girls nodded, to which Aunt Sarah shook her head. “No, no, no. When someone in authority in Gilead asks you a question, you answer them. In this case, you answer ‘Yes Aunt Sarah’, or ‘No Aunt Sarah’. Now do you understand. I hope you do as I do not like to repeat myself.”
Morgan spoke first “Yes Aunt Sarah.” Grace quickly followed.
“Good” she replied. “Now you will change out of those heathen clothes and into the proper garb of a betrothed of Gilead. The closet behind you has your clothing. Change now.”
The girls replied in unison, “Yes Aunt Sarah” then they turned around and went to the closet. Opening it they found dresses in two different colors and in various sizes that looked just like the ones that were in their room at the lodge two years ago. Grace thought fast, knowing that if ‘Aunt Sarah’ was watching, she would see Morgan’s thigh holster with the Glock, and that would be the end of their one advantage. She took a turquoise colored dress down and moved into the center of the room, putting herself between Morgan and Aunt Sarah.
“So, there are turquoise and blue dresses here, and your dress is brown. I’m guessing that’s significant?” Grace used one hand to fan out the dress to the side, hoping to further obscure Aunt Sarah’s view of Morgan.
“You are correct child” replied Aunt Sarah. “Those of my order wear brown. We are the teachers. Those who are wives, or betrothed, can choose between blue and turquoise, though your future husband has the final decision on what you wear. In this case, he is being gracious and allowing you to choose. You should be thankful.”
“Oh, we are” said Morgan as she stepped around Grace, wearing one of the blue dresses. “They are a bit scratchy, but decently comfortable. Do you need some help with yours little one?”
Before Grace could answer, an alarm began to sound.