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       Uprising, p.1

           Shelly Crane

  Uprising - A Collide Novel - Shelly Crane

  uprising A Collide Novel - Book Two

  Shelly Crane

  Every rebellion implies some kind of unity.

  -The Rebel

  Copyright @ Shelly Crane 2010

  This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved, including resale rights: you are not allowed to give or sell this book to anyone else.

  Any trademarks, service marks, product names or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if we use one of these terms.

  Editing services provided by Jennifer Nunez .

  Printed in paperback August 2011 and available in Kindle and E-book format as of June 2011 through Amazon, Create Space and Barnes & Noble .

  You can find the author at her website

  ISBN-10: 1463759347

  ISBN-13: 978-1463759346

  This novel is dedicated to my father, JR. If not for him pushing reruns of Star Trek and Quantum Leap on me when I was a kid, I wo uld never have gotten into the Paranormal and Sci-Fi. Thank you, Dad.

  Part 1

  Where There’s a Will

  Chapter 1

  Cain and I walked out through the restaurant where he worked. The place I was only supposed to be in for a few minutes to give them a flyer and instead was heading to the Jeep where Merrick was waiting for me, but I was bringing a guy along with me. A guy who had just kissed me. Cain stopped to tell someone he was taking his break.

  Merrick looked frazzled, as I had expected, as we reached the parking lot of the diner. He hopped out of the car and walked to the passenger side, pulls me up into a hug before even acknowledging Cain, a protective and possessive hug at that. I’d been gone inside too long and had him worried.

  After a bit of macho sizing up on both sides, I convey the whole story about meeting Cain in the diner, he took me in the stock room and explained that he was not with the Lighters and that he had family for us to meet. Everything except the kiss. That little tidbit wouldn’t help anyone right now. In fact, I was still boiling from it myself. Then they introduced themselves formally.

  “Merrick, Sherry’s husband,” Merrick said, extending a hand for Cain and he was no longer hostile looking.

  “Cain. Nice to meet you,” he said sincerely.

  “Nice to meet you too. long do you have left on your shift? I gotta say. I’m pretty excited by all this.”

  Cain nodded his head in agreement.

  “Two hours. Come back then and I’ll take you to my family. They are gonna be ecstatic,” Cain said with a wide smile.

  Cain went back in to finish his work shift and we would wait for him. He said it would not be wise to go without him as everyone is pretty trigger happy these days. We totally understood that one.

  So Merrick drove us to get some lunch at a local burger joint, reminding me of the funny place we first ate at together. We ate overlooking the river. The weather was perfect. The sun was shining bright and the trees gave us some shade so it was the perfect in between of cool and warm.

  It was weird just how normal everything looked and felt out here.

  If you were plopped in my seat, you’d be eating a burger and fries with raspberry tea, sitting next to your gorgeous wonderful husband on the hood of your Jeep, overlooking the never changing river. You’d think this was bliss not hell. In some ways, I guess it still is.

  “ you doing lately? I haven’t seen you much since I’ve been spending all my time working down in the hall. The new guys ok? Treating everyone good?” Merrick asked me as he shoved in a mouthful of ranch dipped onion rings.

  “Yeah, everything’s fine. The newbie’s are great. Miguel is hilarious. Josh is so sweet. Danny is jealous of him. Can you believe that? Him and Celeste seem to be getting back to their lovey dovey selves. Trudy’s acting better now, too.”

  Mrs. Trudy had been a sort of recluse since her son, Phillip, had tried to force himself on me and then high-tailed it out of there with my car a couple weeks ago. We hadn’t seen him since. It sucked for her, knowing what he tried to do and then leaving like that.

  “Good.” He smiled. “You and you’re hamburgers with extra mayo. You’ve got some on your lip, cutie,” he says and wipes it with his thumb, then puts it in his mouth to lick it off.

  “Thanks for that,” I said with a smirk.

  “And you? Not thinking about things...since Phillip talked to you...”

  Although, Phillip had left that day, he communicated with me once in my mind this morning and Merrick had been extra sensitive about it. We were a little puzzled as to how he did that since he’s not a Special.

  “No. I’m fine with that. I promise. I know it sounds bad all honesty I dealt with so much of Matt’s crap and...I just feel safe with you. I’m not traumatized. I’m not worried. I’m not scared. He’s gone. Ok?”

  “Ok. If you can say it then it’s true,” Merrick said as he pulled me closer to him on the hood of the Jeep.

  “I was scared today though. Cain scared the crap outta me! But I am glad we found more of us. Though, where the heck are we gonna keep putting these people, I don’t know?” I laugh as I speak thinking of us all tunneled up under the store like gophers.

  “Well, we have Mike now, he is a basement constructor,” Merrick says as he rubs the ring on my finger with a little smile playing at the corner of his lips.

  “Yeah, that was wicked lucky.”

  “Yeah it was. And we keep getting all these guys coming in so, we’ll have plenty of help with all the work and labor that has to be done. It’ll work itself out and be ok.”

  “Yeah, you’re right. You’re always right.” I smile against his chest and can feel his smile too, yes it’s possible. “This is so nice. Being completely by ourselves. I know we have our closet but...this is so much nicer with a way better view than concrete.”

  “I know. I’m sorry you can’t have it your way. And my way. My way, we’d be at our own house right now, on the deck, that I helped design and build along side Jeff, whom we hired. You’d have a garden outside, up to you what you put it in but I’m assuming because of you’re parents you’d want flowers not vegetables.” He looks sideways at me with a knowing smile and he’s right, I don’t want a veggie garden, simply on principal to spite my hippie parents.

  I think he’s done but he’s not. I continue to listen.

  “You’d also have your VW Rabbit back, fully restored, by me, because I know how much you always loved that hunk of junk. Danny and Celeste would visit and bring our niece and nephew along as well as their dog. Our dog hates their dog and though both are male, they fight like girls.”

  I burst out laughing as he continues, but he starts to get serious now, he places an upside down hand on my collarbone and twirls my curls in his fingers.

  “We spend all day Saturdays in bed, only getting up to order take out. You have your own photography business after realizing that Travel Journal was never good enough for you anyway. Everyone loves your work and you are very busy during the week, with all your bookings lined up. Ryan could be your assistant.

  “I start my own business with Jeff doing small construction because it’s all we Keepers know how to do. We are always home on the weekends, never late to dinner at night, and we never, ever fight. Except...for when I’m making you late for work because I can’t keep my hands off of you.” Merrick nuzzled his face into my neck and kissed my collarbone and throat, pulsing the electricity.

  “I’d love that,” I say breathlessly, tears threatening.

  I want to cry to see that Merrick’s dream of our li
fe would be the exact mirror of mine if we could have it. I want it so badly and it hurts even more to visualize it and know we’ll never have it.

  Merrick’s wandering lips and a hand squeezing on my hip is pushing any lingering sadness away and replacing it with something else completely. His hand slides lower along my thigh and then...his watch beeps. The timer he set for us to go meet Cain.

  I hear and feel the frustrated grunt against my neck as he pulls back and gives me a face. I can’t help but giggle at him.

  “Oh. My pain is funny, huh?” he says with playful eyebrows raised.

  He pulls me from the hood, throwing me over his shoulder and lapping the Jeep in a blur a few times, me squealing and laughing more than I have in a long while. He pats my bottom, playfully spanking before putting me down and helping me into the passenger seat. He reaches over me to buckle me up, then kisses my nose before heading over to his side.

  He cranks it up and we start towards the coffee shop. I massage his neck and shoulders for a bit, trying to ease some of his frustration and anxiety mixed together. I know he likes it because he can barely drive straight, lolling his head back and forth.

  Hopefully this meeting will go smoothly, with no incidents. It is just the two of us after all, one of us with extremely back luck. But my protector is here and we’re fed, happy, actually had a couple hours all alone and on our way to meet others to join us.

  I’m grateful and excited beyond belief.

  We follow Cain in his silver extended cab Dodge Dakota up the bend and around the hill a few miles out of town. The Jeep has no problem with the steep hill but I can definitely see what he was talking about when he said no one ever went up there looking for them. Any other car we would have brought would have never made it and we would’ve had a heck of a walk.

  It is secluded and well hidden by a full apple orchard on the hill. Perfect except for the fact that the cabin can’t be more than four hundred square feet, including the front porch. Four people living there together with what can’t be more than one bathroom and no personal space?


  The flower and vegetable garden they have to the side is gorgeous, I can’t help but see that the whole place is gorgeous.

  There are jasmine vines all over the lattice up the side of the house. Huge sunflowers out by the fence and mailbox and I wonder how they made it so well with the crazy weather. There is a small red barn in the back with a perfect spot for the Rabbit to park in I think. I miss my Rabbit.

  I can’t help but think this could be the little house from Merrick’s fantasy. Perfection in the small and quaint and secluded.

  The old man sitting in the rocking chair on the porch doesn’t move as we pull in behind Cain. Just keeps rocking, hands in his lap, eyes closed.

  Merrick waits for me to come to his side and laces our fingers. As we get closer the old man still doesn’t move. I see Cain’s mouth open to speak, the man beats him to the punch.

  “Cain. Got company do we?” the old man speaks, eyes still closed.

  “Yes sir, Pap. This nice lady and her husband are part of the resistance,” Cain said and he emphasized the last word and looks back to wink at us.

  “Is that right? Well how ‘bout that.” His eyes pop open and I see they are the grayest eyes I’ve ever seen that matched his completely gray almost bald head and full beard. His extreme southern accent blends with the calm country setting and I can’t help but think his torn stained jeans and slack attitude are perfect for someone named ‘Pap’.

  “Yes sir. This is Sherry and I’m sorry, I forgot your name,” Cain says and turns to look at Merrick.

  “Merrick, sir. It’s really nice to meet you.” He doesn’t release my hand but pulls me protectively forward with him so he can shake Pap’s hand.

  “Nice firm grip, son. That says a lot ‘bout a man. And you sure got yourself a pertty little thing now don’t ya. Hello, ma’am. Very nice to meet ya,” he says as he leans forward on the edge of his rocker to take my hand and he actually kisses my bent fingers.

  “Uh...thank you. It’s very nice to meet you too, sir,” I say through my slight embarrassment, feeling the blush in my cheeks and down my neck.

  “Pap, they have a bunch of people that stay with them out away back from town. They are here to talk to us about maybe joining them,” Cain said as he leaned closer and spoke loudly. I could see Pap turning his head to the side as if to hear better.

  “Well son, we are at war. We need all the help we can get. Ya’ll come on in, now,” he said as he got up and waved for us to follow him inside.

  It was blazing hot in the cabin. Not because lack of A/C but because of the unnecessary roaring fire in the fireplace in the middle of the day. The sun was actually shining here too making it a beautiful and warm day.

  The other two men and one woman were sitting at the kitchen table right in the middle of the main room. They didn’t seem alarmed at our presence either. The woman was reading a book and the men were playing chess. From my point of view there wasn’t a TV or radio or anything else electronic in the place. The only light was the windows and an oil lamp on the table.

  “Maggie, Frank, Simon. These here folks are here to ask for our help in the resistance,” Pap said as he went over to sit in the rocker by the fire.

  The one Pap pointed to as Simon comes over to hug Merrick. He has a pile of dark red curly hair and a huge scar across his face, that’s about all I see as I look away trying not to be rude. I understand that this is traditional between Keepers to hug brotherly with fist pounding backs but everyone else kinda looks a little weary at it. I remember that they don’t know Merrick is a Keeper. Then Simon walks back over to resume his game, wordlessly.

  I lean over to whisper to Cain.

  “Uh...What’s with all this resistance talk?”

  “Just let him go with it. And he’ll pretend that he’s helping you instead of the other way around. Just get used to it. These type of people have too much pride to accept charity from strangers,” he whispers as I nod my understanding.

  “So Simon is your Keeper?”

  “Yeah, but he doesn’t talk much and his body is sixty years old or so I think, so he’s kinda sluggish,” he said and winked. “He’s withdrawn. I haven’t really needed him much since he’s been here. I think he feels useless.”

  He leans forwards and speaks louder to Maggie.

  “Mrs. Maggie, this is Sherry and Merrick,” Cain told her and she rose from her chair.

  “Well! Goodness gracious! I am so happy to see there is another woman in this world that ain’t a zombie!” She cackled. “I was beginning to think I was the only one left wit’ sense. Come on in here and sit yorselves down. I’ll make you up some sweet tea.”

  “Maggie. You know good and well, she ain’t the only woman left in the world now. Don’t go exaggerating. Exaggerating is just lying’s ugly cousin, now,” Pap said as we followed Cain to sit on the couch.

  “Now, Pap! I never said she was the only woman left in the world. I said the only one left wit’ sense. Don’t go puttin’ words in my mouth you old grump. And exaggerating ain’t nobody’s cousin. You call lying was it is...old coot...dang it all... always trying to...” She kept going even as Pap started his own rant back at her as she began to make the tea.

  It was a battle of wits and volume and it was slightly hilarious and took all I had not to laugh out loud.

  Cain leaned over and rolled his eyes, yelling over them about how they always do this and just ignore them. That they’d been married for 53 years and this was nothing new.

  I wondered if they were his grandparents. I also thought his statement must be true because the other two men kept on playing chess as if nothing was going on at all.

  We drank our extremely strong and sweet but delicious iced tea and chatted back and forth with introductions and intentions. And I finally got a really good look at Cain as he went to stoke the not needed fire.

  He was nice looking. Very nice looking. His hai
r was brown and seriously short. His eyes were blue green, like seawater. He looked very much like he was maybe ex military.

  He was built very nice under his tan ‘Got Coffee?’ t-shirt and blue jeans. I’m sure that the shirt is his work uniform. I didn’t see Cain as the funny t-shirt kinda guy. And I was thrilled that I hadn’t even noticed how hot he was until now. Not even when he kissed me.

  I wanted to tell Merrick “See! A hot guy kissed me and I didn’t even care because I love you so much!” But then I remembered that probably wasn’t a very good idea seeing as how I did want Merrick to like Cain.

  As stupid as Cain’s kissing diversion was I understand he was trying to keep me and him safe and under the radar. The other guy would’ve asked me what I was doing in their stock room. I get it. But I still didn’t like it. However, Cain had been nothing was polite in a very natural easy way every sense.

  As we talked and it began to get darker, I felt I could hold off no longer on telling them that Merrick was a Keeper, as well as my husband, especially with their whole honesty and lies and cousins bit from before.

  So, I gradually and casually listed the Specials in our group and their gifts, which they knew nothing about the gifts and were very intrigued, and then I listed the Keepers.

  When I said Merrick’s name last Cain’s eyes went wide for a second and then adjusted, but it took the rest of them a minute to catch up. I just smile, nod and hug Merrick’s arm like I always do and wait for the downpour of negativity pointed right at us.

  Oddly enough, I could see the recognition show on their faces but no one says anything until Maggie.

  “Honey, I completely understand. Anymore you have to look elsewhere’s for a good man. God knows all the men left here on this earth, present company excluded, ain’t worth the price of a wooden nickel in a lumber yard.”

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