Author’s note:I wrote this chapter months before I discovered Mark Twain was being censored.His work is now available in a ” revised” edition. I created my character Huck as a new age Huck. The boy and I carefully pulled into the dirt road of our hideawaywith the headlights turned off surveying the driveway with night vision glassesto make certain the coast was clear. It seemed to be but I still had thatknawling feeling of uncertainty as I streered the car into neutral andswitched off the motor gliding into the hidden parking spotunder a tree about a half mile from the safe house. From here we would have to hike up a steep hill and crawl in through the basement. We take precaution to the extreme. It was almost a sacred ritual with us to crawl into our destination. Jacob and I teased each other about it in the old days when things were still light hearted and exciting. “We seem to spend most of our times on our knees”, I said to him early in our relationship. This is the moment I fear the most, the moment when we haveto go home. The moment of our vulnerability. Home. Where we sleep and love and eat. Now, in this moment of fear, alone with this tiny vulnerable boy beside me in the car, my instinct is to turn the car around and drive far away so I try to feel Jacob’s presence. Where is Jacob now, scaling the mountain? Hiking the old road on his way home? Pray God , he is safe, protected from the view of prying eyes and helicopters. It is an old technique, a kind of meditation or remoteviewing where one attempts to use ESP in order to locate thelocation of your target through the use of your imagination. I am concentrating on Jacob as the red haired boy beside mestudies me with a minor amount of suspicion. ” So what now?” He asks dismissively. “This boy has nerves of steel”, I think to myself. Either that, or he is a thrill seeker which is an ominous thought. Thrill seekers have no regardfor their personal safety and make big mistakes exposing the whole group to arrest if he is captured. I much prefer cautious frightened comrades to daredevil young boys. ” Why did they send me this boy?” I think to myself. Why not a seasoned traveler who comprehends the danger at hand. Does this mean we have run out of adult messengers? Or is this boy being trained to fill our shoes one day. It is baffling but there is no other choice but to see this mission through to the end. Boy or man, this is the messenger sent to me. I turn to the boy with a deep sigh letting all anxiety drain from me. It is an yoga technique to restore peace of mind. I am after all, a former housewife, not a trained soldier. The boy looks a little baffled. I can see he is not all that thrilled to be exiled on a mission with a former soccer mom. ” OK, this is where we gather our stuff and move to the house. So you take your backpack and I’ll get the rest.” “Needless to say, (I continue talking as calmly as possible to give myself strength as well as to warn the boy), there may be intruders at the house so be very quiet and careful. Just follow my lead and stay about 12 feet behind me. In case there is danger, run in the opposite direction and hide until one of us can locate you. If someone captures me, don’t try and be a hero. ” I’m not the hero type.” He says sardonically twisting his thin lips into a crazy curl. ” Good, because I much prefer a realist to a wounded young warrior.” ” Don’t worry lady. If I see figures jumping out at me, I’ll be the first one to run back to the border. I want to reach puberty.” ” You’re a weird boy but I’m beginning to respect you.” ” Ditto”. He winks at me. And with one long fluid move, the boy grabbed his pack and slid out the door onto the dark. I followed, grabbing my pack, and gesturing him to run along the path lined in oleander trees. Suddenly, an arm reaches out and grabs mine from the bushes. Instinctively, I turn to punch him. We struggle for a moment, all arms and shoulders and I reach up in horror to claw his eyes and secure my freedom… I realize that my attacker is Jacob. I fall to the ground as if the wind is knocked out of me. ” What the hell is going on here?” I gasp. I turn to see where the boy has gone. I want to scream “It’s OK, come back…but Jacob stops me. Jacob covers my body with his, tucking me in back while he whistles. The boy , who was momentarily paralyzed in his tracks, turns and with a look of fear takes in the situation. Then he calmly walks towards us. ” Why didn’t you run” I admonish him. ” You should have run. Those were my orders. ” I was assessing the situation” he replies in a mature serene voice. Jacob is bemused by the boy’s quiet insolence. ” And what did you conclude? “That this was a domestic situation. Police don’t reach out and grab criminals by the arm” the boy replies. ” The arm is a personal space reserved for friends and family. So I figured you must be with us. When I saw her face it confirmed my suspicions. She knows you– and she stopped struggling.” ” But what is she knew me and I was still the enemy?” Jacob asked. ” Then running would be useless as you know our habits. ” Jacob is impressed with the boy. “Have you studied with the masters then?” ” I have been tutored to act with reason and not panic. Panic will get you killed, and lead others into the snare. I don’t want to die nor do I want to put others in harm’s way. ” Jacob nods with appreciation. ” We are very fortunate Eden. e have been sent a leader in training. This young man is our future generation.” Jacob shakes his hand and stares into his eyes. The boy meets his stare as an equal. Neither Jacob nor I ask the boy his name or his hometown. It is by design. If we knew his name we might be forced to tell it under interrogation. Each time a messenger is sent to us, we invent a new name and identity for him. ” We shall call you Huck.” I say to the boy. Jacob nods in agreement. The boy just shrugs. Names are the affectionate labels of adults. It is of no importance to him whatever he is called. The boy is growing impatient to be on his way. Huck has the restless energy of a brilliant mind which doesn’t require rest, only constant stimulation. ” Perhaps I should tell you the message now? In case, we are interrupted by the police? Is that why you stopped us here?” ” No, I stopped you because I believe our safe house is not that safe. Jacob responds. We will have to back track on foot and spend tonight in a cave.” ” Oh, merde.” I love to curse in french. Especially when it involves my sleeping arrangements. “Really Jacob? A cave? Can’t we take the tent from the car? ” No, it’s not a good idea to be caught by the car. Sorry Eden, but we have to move northwest and quickly. I’ll carry the packs.” ” Oh please, Jacob, we can carry our own packs, but thanks anyway. Let’s go.” It was a long and hard walk to the cave. I figured it took a good three hours. By the time we reached the cave, we were exhausted. Jacob struck up a fire and we stretched our sleeping bags a few feet back. Sleep came fast and we met repose, like a strange little family, for a few hours before the sun rose and Jacob was already up making coffee and roasting nuts for breakfast. Jacob always ate nuts in the morning. It was healthy but also a superstition with him. He felt the nuts kept him alert like a rabbit’s foot he held them in his pocket at all times. They sustained him through long treks into the unknown. I still love the smell of roasting coffee grounds and nuts. It makes me think of Jacob of course. The smell of nourishment and independence , the fires of freedom for us. I could not have known how hard life was to get for all of us, and how memories are sometimes the only thing that sustains you. The scent of caves and nuts and a strange little boy are a fond little episode in my mind that protects me from my more tragic side when I think about the sacrifices and all we have lost since then…..and my mind drifts back to coffee and roasting over a fire. I focus on the warmth of the fire and the feeling of complete peace and satisfaction. I try to etch this feeling of comfort in my mind knowing that everything I love can be stripped away in a moment. I have already lost my husband, my children, my identity and my nationality. I know the power of loss upon the mind. I am struggling to build my desire to persevere in this new life and to keep alive the loves I have built in the ashes of my former self. And the one thing they can’t take away — without a lobotomy of course– is the memory of what you cherish. Even after death, I imagine the familiar scents of what used to be linger in your unconscious mind. Nuts and coffee will linger in mine. When Huck awoke a few minutes later, we took the message out of the bottle and attempted to brief each other on the state of things in our new world. The sheet of paper bore a series of lines, a visual picture of pockets of resistance. A map of the world as it might be if people asserted their rights and revolted against the world government. (Because this was a new concept it was a fragile peace accord and the powers that be were very sensitive to quashing revolt before it became a wave of opposition. To counter this, resistance fighters around the world had adopted ” sister” cities in order to try and send support to any block-aided town. It was a complicated operation involving goods and services changing hands so many times the world government could never keep up with it. By design, it was a sophisticated black market operation and towns were well fortified long before they cut themselves off from their czars.) Huck pointed to the map,” Here in Prague, we have been told by their sister city Davis, California that a section of the town actually managed to successfully separate and they are negotiating with the government for more rights before they agree to rejoin the city. In reality, it is a stalling tactic, they don’t intend to allow government officials back into town. ” Amazingly, Huck and his photographic memory went on and on identifying at least 300 pockets and the results of their efforts. It took most of the afternoon and early evening. I recorded the information on a mini cassette tape from the 90’s and then buried it in the secret hiding space we kept at the entrance of the cave under a crystallized rock. So this was why the boy was chosen. He was undeniably an intellectual savant capable of retaining large amounts of data, dates and names. When he finally paused to take a swig of Gaterade from his backpack, Jacob and I exchanged looks of confirmation. This boy was one of the most precious assets to the revolution and his safety was parliament to the cause. ” I can’t believe they let this boy just roll out of a car, we can not allow him to continue with this, his mind is too sacred.” ” I agree” responded Jacob. ” He must be better protected.” I turned to look at Huck. ” Huck, you are amazing and we are eternally grateful. Let me cook you dinner and then we have to form a plan for you. I’d like to transfer you to our more fortified places in California where we can protect you. We took some utensils and packs of mris to cook. ” I thought I would return to Utah. Huck responded. “No luck Huck your talent is too important to the cause. It appears you will celebrate sweet 16 in Universal City.” I tousled his hair against his will and smiled in condolence. ( Universal City,once the popular tourist destination for movies was now a monument to the major cities of the world with movies from China given the same attention as American classics. But who cared when you were riding on the ” Shanghai Express” rollarcoaster? It was still fun. Just different.) We ate in silence and then quietly retreated back to the cave. ” We’ll get an early start, about 4 in the morning, we should be on the road before the sun rises.” With that Jacob picked up his pack and we settled down to catch a few hours rest before the most dangerous part of the journey began. Los Angeles had become the seat of West Coast government and ironically returning there was one of the hardest places to cross the border. However, once inside we had conservative pockets everywhere with armed guards outside our most heavily fortified retreats in the desert. We had some prominent citizens and movie stars who supported the cause and their high profile existence in Palm Springs allowed us to move in relative comfort. Once we hit the checkpoint, we had travel passes to visit Andy Triggs, a famous former star of film and TV, as long as no one recognized Huck as a border runner, we would be OK. I was pretty sure there were no surveillance cameras at Needles and no pictures of Huck. Furthermore, I sincerely doubt the soldiers noticed his ball of energy rolling out the door. But Jacob didn’t want to chance it and he decided we should pass Huck in through a desert opening. ” Jacob, I don’t think it’s any safer to try and smuggle him through the desert. He could collapse in the heat or be bitten by the snake.” I remonstrated. ” Now you sound like the mom and not the tactical leader Eden. He must not be seen by the border patrol and besides do you think I am going to allow anything to happen to Huck? How many times have you and I crossed the border uneventfully? Trust me this is the safer route. We’ll drive to Lancaster, rejoin at Palmdale, and then cross up highway 18 to Palm Springs.” “OK, we’ll see how it goes. We should get going now.” I was too sleepy to argue. It was a dark and arduous trek through the desert pass. It terrifies me every time. We had small Led flashlights which helped a little but it is brutal and almost suicidal to hike in the dark. Fortunately this is fairly straight uneventful land. Three hours later we were back at the car and on the road.