Tuesday, December 31, 2013

//Without Cause// //Chapter Four// //Midnight Highway//

//Without Cause//

//Chapter Four//

//Midnight Highway//


   Getting up at 7:00 in the morning has never been a pleasant task for me, let alone getting up at 3:00. But by the time we started getting shot at by that crazy lady, I was wide awake. Even now, as we pulled onto the highway and headed south, there was no way could fall asleep again. 
   It was still dark, being only 4-something in the morning, and Kylie was ready to fall asleep again, as Mum and Dad discussed a bunch of different stuff in low voices. Kylie eventually put one of her pillows on the middle seat and curled up, stretching her seatbelt at an odd angle. Just when I thought she was asleep, her voice broke into Mum and Dad’s conversation.
  “Ok, I’ve got a question.”
Dad peered into the rearview mirror. “Shoot.”

 “If all the people we’re running from are so smart, couldn’t we be being tracked? Or followed?”

“Well,” Dad answered. “Yes, and no. There could be spies in any one of these vehicles, or they could have the truck locked on a sidelight. But I have faith—“
   “Ok, we get it. Angels will protect us.” I mocked with sarcasm.
Kylie punched my knee. “Can’t you ever just shut up?” She whispered.

   Dad glared through the mirror. “Actually, I was going to say, I have faith in our people at Cause, whom are trying their hardest to keep out tails covered. It’s not an easy task when your opponent has equal, maybe better, resources.” He paused and thought for a second before finishing. “But yes, I also do have faith, not in angels, but in an almighty God.”
  I clenched my jaw and stared out the window.

  We sat in silence for a while, before I had to ask, “So… Did you say we were going to Oregon?”
   Mum nodded, clearing her throat. “Yep, Portland. And from there, we’ll be getting a ride to the ole base.”

“What kind of ride? Who’s driving?”
   Mum smiled. “It’s flying, and the pilot’s name is David Stahley. He’s our main pilot at Cause. He’s nice, you’ll like him.”

   “Can you tell us about some of the people there?” Kylie inquired. I acted like I wasn’t interested, but I really did want to know. “For starters,” she continued. “who’s that J.G. person?”
   Mum chuckled. “I wondered when you were going to ask about that. J.G. is a missionary. The initials stand for July Groot. She’s such a sweetie. Her, and her twin brother, Jace, who is not so much of a sweetie, are heads of the communication functions. Meaning, they’re the ones who arrange the pick-ups and drop-offs, and deliver news.

   “Like yesterday, they sent us a note, warning us that their sources suspected James had found our house and wasn’t wasting time trying to reach us. I thought we’d have a bit more time, but after you saw that person by the library, who I assume was Shannon, she’s never been too good at hiding, we knew it wouldn’t be that long.
  “Last night, or a few hours ago, Cause was able to contacted us through a new device I’ve been working on, and barely had time to warn us that James and his hoodlums were closing in on the house.”

   “Wait, wait, ‘a device you’ve been working on’? What does that mean? You… invented something?” I asked, my eyes wide with surprise.

   Mum scoffed with a smile. “Of course! I’m not a total loser.” She opened up the glove box and pulled out the tablet-like device she’d used earlier. She pressed her hand on the screen. “It scans your hand, and you type a password using these buttons on the side, then, if you’re accepted, it lets you access the internet, or whatever files are on it.” She handed it back to Kylie, who cradled it with both hands. We watched as the black screen faded into a blaring bright blue, quite a change from the dark cab of the pick-up.
    I looked away and blinked hard. “I think you just burned my retinas out. My eyes are screaming…” 

Kylie ignored me, and kept talking. “Can’t it be tracked, like all our other stuff?”
  “No, that’s the beauty—”

“I think I’m blind…”
   “—of me inventing it. I, or we, control everything about it. Cause has been working on linking up their own network, and recently finished, allowing us to communicate freely, using our own devices without worry.”

   I rubbed my eyes and tried to adjust to the light of the tablet thing. “So you basically made your own mobile network, like Verizon or T-Mobile?”
   I didn’t, the workers at Operation Cause did.” Mum answered, pausing as I squinted to try and take a better look at the tablet. “Your father and I, along with a handful of other people, are the inventors. I created the master plans around 10 years ago, and we’ve been experimenting with different sizes and devices since then. Only last year did I finally come up with something that would be compatible with our network. It’s a very complicated process.”

  I leaned over towards Kylie as she waited for a page to load. “What’re you doing?”
  She shrugged. “I didn’t do anything, it was like this when Mum gave it to me. What’s it doing, Mum?”

Mum twisted in her seat to face us. “Right now, it’s acting as a homing device. The other people at Cause are watching us, so they can get to us if something goes wrong.”
   Kylie handed the tablet to me. “How long will it take to reach your secret bunker place?”

Dad laughed at that. “It’s anything but a secret bunker. To be honest, I’m actually surprised it hasn’t been discovered yet.”
    “Why? Where is it?”

“You’ll see when we get there.” He smiled at us through the mirror.
   I thought about it, and the thought of meeting and interacting with a bunch of goody-goody missionaries was not particularly at the top of my list of things to do today. But I figured they’d be nice people, and let me have my space. I gathered it’s a great moral organization, but I really hoped Mum and Dad wouldn’t make me participate in any of it. Sure, that God stuff is nice, if you’re into it. I was raised around it and don’t have a problem with it, as long as you keep it to yourself.

   Mum and Kylie were discussing the network and tablet a little more. I pulled my mobile phone out of my jacket pocket and studied it. “What about our phones? Aren’t those the main things that can be tracked?”
   Kylie pulled hers out as well, handing the tablet back to Mum. “No, I rigged those up when you weren’t looking. If you had internet on your phones, things might be different. But since you use the computers at the library, we can’t really be tracked through that.” Mum began to tap and press more buttons, but soon just looked at the screen like she was reading.

   “Whatcha reading?” Kylie peered over her shoulder.
 “Some verses a friend just sent me.”

   “What kind of verses?” I knew Kylie was going to ask that, and wished she wouldn’t. I didn’t want to hear a sermon this earlier in the morning.
   “Oh, a bunch of different kinds. Mostly ones about strength and perseverance.”

 “Why do you need verses like that? What about that thing about God never giving you more than you can handle?”
   “That statement is not biblical. There is nowhere in the Bible that says that. There are many places where He assures us He will help us through tough spots, but nowhere does He say He’ll never give us more than we can handle.

  “If God never gave us more than we could handle, how would we ever be drawn closer to Him? Why would we need to ask Him for help, if we have everything under control all the time?”
   “I never thought of it that way.”

 I gave an annoyed sigh. “I didn’t know you thought about it at all.”
   She gave me a you-will-die-a-death-of-flames-if-you-speak-again look.

 Dad’s voice made us all jump. “Ethan, I don’t want to hear you start arguments again, and stop acting like this is going to be a torture festival.”
   “Yes, sir.” I mumbled, turning my gaze out the truck’s window and putting my headphones in.

   Beautiful colors danced over the tops of trees and hills as the sun started to rise. Clouds were moving in quickly, and I knew that it would probably rain before the day was over. More cars began to appear on the roads, and traffic increased slowly, then more quickly. Soon, we were going so slow, I swear I could crawl faster through peanut butter. We moved at the same snail pace for an hour, and the traffic thinned a bit.

   I kept my headphones in, drowning out the sound of everything. At around 11:30, we were in Oregon, driving through Portland. My stomach growled, and I pulled out my headphones. “I’m hungry. When can we eat?”
   Dad motioned to a restaurant a block away. “We can eat there, but we can’t stay too long. After everyone’s settled, I’ll come back and sit with Fili and Kili.”  When we pulled to a stop outside the restaurant and Dad scanned the area with Mum’s tablet. He finished and put it in the glove box, an alert, focused expression on his face. “Okay, let’s go. Don’t forget to lock your doors.”

   Kylie stopped before she closed her door. “Weew be back een a meeneet, sweetsies!” she cooed to the dogs.
   We followed Mum and Dad into the restaurant, and were shown to a corner booth. Dad and Mum remained standing as Kylie and I slid into either sides of the booth. “Order anything you want, your Mum and I will be over by the door talking. If you need anything, do not hesitate to come get us.” Dad lowered his voice. “Ethan, watch your sister. No running off. Stay here, stay together.” Kylie and I nodded.

A few minutes later, a pretty brunette waitress took our order. After she left, Kylie sunk deep into the bench.
   “What?” She crossed her arms and looked around.

 “I’m in my pajamas!” she hissed.
   “Don’t you have clothes in the truck?”

“Yeah, but Dad told us to stay here. I can’t believe I’m the only one not properly dressed, in a public place.”
  “Why don’t you go ask if you can go out to the truck and get your clothes?”

 She watched Mum and Dad on the other side of the restaurant. “Fine. But you have to come with me, Dad said you can’t leave me alone.”
   I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. I’m not your babysitter.” We were about to get up when I spotted our food coming. “Wow, that was fast. Kylie just run over there real quick, I can watch from here.”

“Just tell Dad I needed to stay with the food.”

   “Ugh! Why do you have to make everything so difficult.” She pushed her way out and walked towards Mum and Dad, anxiously looking around her.
   As the waitress brought our food to the table, I had to do a double take. Then, I just stared. The girl looked just like Kylie! She smiled “Something wrong?” I looked behind her at Kylie and my parents, then back at her, than back at the others. Mum was on her way out the front door with Kylie, I supposed they were headed to the truck to get Kylie’s clothes. “Hello?” the waitress asked.

  “What? Huh? Oh, no, nothing’s wrong, you just… you look like someone I know, that’s all.” The waitress wasn’t wearing a name tag, which I thought unusual, but maybe she was new.
   “Ah. So is it just you, or is there anyone else at this table?” She asked, distributing the plates of food.

   “No, I’m here with my family.”
 She looked up. “Your whole family?”

   “Why?” I asked, cocking my head.
  She smiled again, “No reason.” She grabbed the empty food tray, turning on her heals and fast-walking to the kitchen area. Weird.

   Kylie was just coming in with Mum, carrying a plastic bag with a change of clothes inside. She headed to the restrooms and returned shortly dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt with a plaid button-up over it. She came back and sat at the table, running a hand through her hair, but Mum and Dad stayed where they were by the door.
   “Kylie, you’re never going to guess what just happened! The waitress who brought our food looks just like you!”

   “Really? Where is she?”
“She went back there,” I pointed in the direction of the kitchen.
 Kylie bent into the isle trying to get a glimpse of the waitress, but then her face scrunched up and she pulled herself back in. “Do you smell something burning?” 
 I sniffed, then coughed. “Wow, yeah, what the heck is that? It smells like the building’s on fire!” People around us began waving napkins and covering their mouths and noses with their shirts. 
Kylie coughed a few more times. “I think it is!” My nose started to burn and I covered my mouth and coughed. I scanned the area , but now the place was filled with smoke, I couldn’t see Dad or Mum anywhere. People screamed and shouted and ran in every direction, but the doors wouldn’t open.
   “Kylie!” I croaked, grabbing her arm and pulling her to the ground. No sooner had I done that when a deafening sound and a blast of fire and debris exploded from the front of the restaurant. Kylie screamed and I yelled (guys don’t scream, remember), covering our heads, as pieces of glass and wood fell on us. I had no time to react before strong, menacing arms grabbed my hands and handcuffed them behind my back, then pulled me to my feet by my hair and slapped duct tape over my mouth. Another person did the same to Kylie, pointing a knife at her back. “Move quietly.” He growled through a gas mask. Kylie looked at me, her eyes brimming with tears from the smoke and full of terror. We were pushed toward the back of the restaurant, Kylie practically being carried, and out into the light of day. A fire alarm sounded from across a street at a different establishment, making me wonder why the restaurants own alarms didn’t go off. We were marched through a small parking lot toward a white minny van, parked, but still running. The waitress who looked like Kylie stood off to the side, a big smile on her face.

   We were shoved in the van, which had no seats and the front was blocked off by a metal sheet. The windows were painted over. Kylie was shoved in first, making her hit the other side of the van. She curled up and shut her eyes tight. A rage swelled inside me. I glared at the guy who threw her in, and swung my leg hitting the backs of the guy’s knees. He cried out and hit the pavement. The guy who had me kicked me in the van. I face planted right next to Kylie, and the door slammed behind me.

  So there it is! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, stuff has been super busy around here, with the Holidays and all. Last time I posted, I didn’t include the things I’m thankful for, so I’ll do that this time. J I have a long list, but I’ll narrow it down to five. (P.S. I apoligise for all the big spaces in between lines. I write my story on Microsoft Word, and then copy and past it onto Blogger, which screws stuff up. So it will look perfect on MW, but it looks weird on here. Sorry if that's annoying. :/)

-C.A.U.S.E., to whom all the glory goes. My main inspiration. This story would literally be nothing without Him. I try, and struggle, and fail, daily, but I’m learning to love and lean on Him more and more each step of the way.
-My amazing Mum. She has the patience to deal with 7 kids, 19 chickens, 4 goats, 3 dogs, and 3 cats, and still be mostly graceful at the end of the day. She reads and helps edit my story, while encouraging me. You rock, Ma!

-My awesome siblings, who put up with my weird ramblings whilst I blast my Lindsey Stirling CD and wish I could play like ThePianoGuys, and for all the times I’ve had breakdowns at the hands of a Fandom…

-Mah bestie, Darrion, who, alongside Willow, came when I needed it most. They helped me out of a dark spot, and caused me to look at the brighter side of things. They inspire and encourage me in everything. D and W, I love you girls! Thank you so much for being there and being a friend to me! J

-And for all of you, thank you for reading and letting me know your thoughts on this book. You girls/guys (do guys even read this blog??) are awesome! Thank you!

For the Will of Cause,


Postscript // Note from Willow // Ammelia asked me to look this over yesterday {her regular posting day} and like an idiot I totally forgot, so that's why you're reading it a day late. So if you see this, Ammie, I'm really sorry. We were watching Dr Who, and the Master might've warped my brain...


  1. This is so good, Ammelia!!
    I love it! So suspenseful!!!! I can't wait to read the next chapter! You are an amazing writer; I love reading your stuff!!!

    1. Thank you! I'm so sorry I haven't finished your book yet... I have four chapters left, I think. Have you talked to the guy at your church about publishing it yet?

  2. Hey, nice chapter, Ammelia (can I call you Ammie?)!
    I like the suspense in this one. Nicely written, as always :) I like the way Ethan works, with his protective nature and all. It reminds me of Mason (from T.W.F.). I wonder how they would act if they ever met each other... ;)
    *sniff sniff* You're so sweet! I'm glad you could be my friend, too :) It's so fun to have a friend (which I didn't have before you girls!).
    Any New Year's resolutions?

    1. Thanks, D!
      That would be really cool if they ever met. ;)
      :) Love you girls!
      I usually try to make resolutions that I know I can keep, like eating or reading lots of books. But this year, I decided to do a real one, which is, I'm going to try and be diligent about reading my Bible and sticking with this Bible study Mum, Billie, and I are doing. How 'bout you?

    2. Yeah, I thought so too.
      But anyway, wow, you're way ahead of me :) I don't really make new years resolutions... so I'm doing great ;) But those are good ones. Good for you, Ammie (I can call you that, righto?)!

  3. Ammelia, Hi. I've been following Megan Jane and Darrion with their stories for a while. Then, I found yours. I LOVE it! You're such a good writer:) I can't wait to read more chapters. I can't wait to find out what happens to Ethan and Kylie. You did a great job on this chapter. I think this chapter was my favorite one.

    1. Hi, Sarah! Aw, thank you! I'm glad you liked it. :)


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