Dead Road: The Collected books. Geo Dell: All the books and the unreleased book as a bonus you can get nowhere else…
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This excerpt is used with permission and is not edited for content
The Far Future
“It’s finished then,” Bear said softly. He said it softly on purpose to hold their attention for a moment longer. “Before the celebration begins I will explain why it had to be now. When Candace and her OutRunner team leaves I will be going with them to Alabama Island. I will leave tonight with them, and I do not know if I will return. My wish will be to return, but that old dog age is nipping at my heels, and who knows, maybe I will reach the warmth of the sea and wish to stay there.” He waited for the laughter to die down. “You needed a leader now. A leader that can take you to the next place the Nation needs to be. The same place we have all worked to attain, togetherness, healing, advancement. A man or a woman grows, or they die. The Nation is the same way. We forgot that back in the wars. I have remembered it now. Rain has never forgotten it,” his voice fell even lower. “Something I only wish I could claim. Something I am proud of to see living within her.” He met as many eyes as he could.
“God willing I will see you all again,” Bear told them. He turned and embraced Rain as her tears fell and then his eyes fell on Candace where she awaited him. He kissed Rain’s eyelids, told her he loved her and wished her all the best there could be, and then he joined Candace. A moment later they were making their way through the tunnel to the Eastern side of the mountain where the OutRunners had their own quarters. The laughter and cheers of congratulation falling away behind them.
“You surprised me,” Candace said as they walked.
“I surprised me,” Bear agreed.
The OutRunners were ten all in all. He found that impressive. The first group he himself had formed had been only four. And what they had then was nothing compared to what they had now. Weapons, vehicles, armor and more bags of tricks, some Bear was sure he himself didn’t fully understand the implications of.
They turned from the main tunnel way into a wide open area filled with large trucks and bustling with activity.
“Ten minutes…” Candace faltered, unsure how to address him. For so long she had addressed him as Leader, grandfather, when she had been younger, she didn’t know what to do now that he had turned his reigns of leadership over so quickly.
“Bear will do,” he told her as her face colored. “Or grandfather.”
“Ten minutes… Grandfather,” she said at last. Bear nodded and turned his attention to his own preparations for leaving as he waited. He pulled his pouch from one wide pocket and rolled a cigarette.
“Roll me one,” Billy Jingo said as he walked up. “That was so fast, Bear.” Billy told him. Behind Billy, leaning against the wall from the tunnel, Pearl gave a hand wave and Bear smiled and waved back before turning his attention to Billy.
“Shit will kill you,” Bear said as he rolled a second smoke and passed it to Billy.
“So I hear, yet I’m still alive.” He studied Bear for a few moments. “Took me completely by surprise. I thought it would be this… The easy life right to the end, Bear.”
Bear sighed. “So did I, to be honest. Things sometimes do change fast though. And that is what happened here. I had a chance to do the right thing, and I did it. Doesn’t make up for all of my life… A bit though.”
“I have always liked Rain,” Billy said. “She’ll make a good leader.”
“You’ll support her?”
“With everything I am,” Billy agreed. “Pearl, Dani too.”
“Bear,” Candace said as she approached. “We need to get going.”
Bear took the hand Billy offered, and then bear hugged him, pulling him to him. “Been a long road,” Bear said huskily.
“It has. I for one believe you will be coming back. Don’t make me wrong,” Billy told him as he followed Candace to one of the huge trucks. Bear stepped inside and then turned back. “Give Rain a big hug for me… I will be back if I can, Billy. If I can.” He turned back, the door hummed and then disappeared. Billy stepped back as a moment later the truck came to life, and began to roll near silently across the floor to a huge metal door set into the wall. A second later that metal door began to lift, revealing the swirling snow outside. A few seconds later and the truck was gone. The door down, the floor wet and steaming. Billy turned and found Pearl behind him, she took his hand and together they walked back to the long tunnel that lead back to the main cave…
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