Layla's life changes radically when she contracts a bizarre disease that renders her stronger ...and thirstier than ever. In an effort to understand her disease, Layla turns to a local scientist Miranda Leben for help. Little does Layla know the dark forces stalking her and soon Miranda is taken hostage with the only ransom demand being that Layla comes to take Miranda's place. Layla embarks on an epic quest to rescue Miranda from the kidnappers and soon learns the dark ambitions of those bent on 'militarizing' her disease.
"She closed her eyes and pictured Miranda tied up, terrified and in pain as Mr. Shades, or some other goon just like him, menaced over her. Layla looked down sadly. There was only one thing she could do to rescue poor Miranda.
She pulled out her cheap burner phone and began to dial. The phone on the other end only rang once before it cut to open-line. No voice spoke. Layla swallowed hard and said “This is Layla.” A deep man’s voice answered “Figured it would only be a matter of time before you called.” Layla frowned “Look, I don’t know what you are expecting out of this, so let’s make it simple. I have ten-thousand in cash right now and I have no motivation to involve the police. Return Miranda alive and well, and that money will be yours. Flat, simple, easy money. All I need is Miranda back. Deal?”
The voice on the other side stayed quiet for a short while. Then he said “You seriously think I’m that stupid? You can keep your paltry cash. Ten thousand is chump-change compared to what you have to offer.” Layla took a deep breath “And that is?” The voice said, menacingly “You.”
Layla gasped. The voice continued “You are incredibly valuable, Layla. I will let Miranda go, if you follow my instructions exactly.” Layla said “And those are?” The man said “Take Kentucky Avenue south, past Raymond Street heading towards the Maywood area. Turn left onto The River Lane and follow it all the way back.” Layla frowned and said “You mean Rudd Equipment?”
The voice on the other end paused.
The voice spoke again, sounding thrown off slightly by Layla’s remarkable grasp of Indianapolis geography, “uh…Ummm… You’re close. The place you are going to is behind them. Keep taking River Lane all the way. You will see a sheet-metal building marked number thirteen. Come with no cops, and we will let Miranda go unharmed.” Layla asked “How do I know she is still alive.”
Another pause. Layla heard dark whispers in the background of instructions. The sound of tape ripping came over the phone followed by a whimper. Miranda spoke hoarsely and quickly “Don’t do it Layla!”
Layla said “I have to rescue you.” Miranda replied, speaking as quickly as she could “No, stay away. If they kill me, they kill me. If they get you it will be…”
Suddenly Miranda’s voice muffled quickly as the man returned gruffly “Talking time is over. You know she’s alive. If you want to keep her that way, come to the building I told you about. Come before midnight tonight!” The phone line went dead.
Layla trembled lightly as she raised a hand to brush a wisp of hair back from her face. “Oh Miranda…” She whispered lightly. Her hand trembled as she thought about what had just happened.
The man had just ignored her offer of ten thousand dollars like it had been nothing. Layla shook her head. She couldn’t understand what kind of person would do that, but then just demand that Layla herself show up alone. Layla closed her eyes and pictured the area where she would be going. Sure, it lay inside the I-465 loop, but in no way did it resemble any part of the city. She had seen it before from Kentucky Avenue. A large, expansive quarry surrounded by heavy equipment and piles of aggregate that could be purchased by the ton and shipped on a rail-car. It butted up against the back-side of the city dump. If it was a trap, then clearly the man on the other side of the phone had multi-tasking in mind. By going to such a remote location, Layla would practically be helping him hide her own dead body.
Layla fumbled in her purse. It felt natural and served as a comfort. She wrapped her lithe hand around her beat-up and tiny Ruger LC9 pistol..."
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After her parents mysteriously disappeared at the age of thirteen, Evangeline Evans has been on her own. As a military pilot for Olympus, the most powerful and technologically progressive Citadel of the new world, she keeps her reasons for finding them a secret. Without warning a terrifying disease that could destroy civilization begins to infect citizens across the city.
Only the race known as Angels—who brought advanced technology to Earth—seem to be immune to its devastation. Evangeline and her husband Jack, an Artificial Intelligence designer, are swept into a secret war between the Dissidents in the Low Technology Zones and The Quorum of Zeus. The Human race is on the precipice of Extinction. Who will prevail? Angel or Human? High Tech Olympian or Low Tech Dissident? But the better question is… Who SHOULD prevail?
Freeda sat in the chair across from me and leaned back, her eyes probing mine. “I had a dream about you last night. You were running through the mountains in your wolf form, but you were being chased. I woke up before I could see if you were caught.”
I choked on a drink of coffee. “M-my wolf form?” I asked while coughing to dislodge the liquid from my windpipe.
“You already know it’s possible. The glow of your magic has changed.”
Angel’s house, Encino, Ca: April
“Nigga, you know I’m a thug!” Angel said without a smile on her face. “You need to quit trippin’ and get the fuck outta my face! I’m about through with yo’ ass anyway!” Angel snapped. “Bitch, who you think you talkin’ to?” Donta snapped. Angel kept her eyes glued to the TV screen, watching the college basketball national championship game between the USC Trojans and the Duke Blue Devils. “Angel! Bitch, you hear me! Who the fuck you talkin’ to?” Donta asked, on the verge of extreme agitation. He was now standing between Angel and the TV, blocking her view intentionally and pissing Angel off in the process.
“Move, Donta, I can’t see my fuckin’ TV!”
“Girl, my brother just got smoked a few days ago and you hollerin’ about some TV? Fuck that TV!”
Donta screamed at the top of his lungs. Angel could see Donta was wound up now. There were rumors Donta snorted heroin. Looking at the subtle brown flakes in the corner of his nose, Angel knew the rumors were true. Donta was the kind of dude grown ass men were afraid of and every other bitch would have been shaking in his presence, especially with him being upset, high and unpredictable—that is, everyone except Angel, who was a self-proclaimed thug and stood behind her claim with both feet. When it comes down to it, Angel was really not someone to mess with. Angel was sick and tired of Donta’s shit—from the verbal abuse, to the rumors of infidelity and drug abuse—so whether or not he had just lost his brother, she was done with him; and now seemed just as good a time as any to let him know she was through with him and ready for a change. She honestly didn’t care what he thought about it and surely didn’t give a damn about his feelings on the matter.
“I’m gonna tell yo’ bitch ass one more time to move away from in front of the TV. I can’t see my baby daddy!”
The fuck she say that for? Donta lost it then! He threw the nineteen inch TV across the room and in one motion he turned and faced Angel. He reared back and savagely backhanded her across the face with such force it caused her nose to bleed instantly. Donta had reacted instinctively, but through his heroin-induced high, he somehow had a moment of clarity: he realized his actions and became immediately apologetic.
“Baby, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it!” Donta had gone off on Angel in the past, but even through all of his rants and verbal abuse, this was the first time he had ever put his hands on her and he knew he had fucked up big time. When he saw Angel’s reaction, he knew this was a critical mistake. “Mothafucka!!! Nigga, have you lost your motherfuckin’ mind??!! No, Hallman, Koffi you didn’t just hit me! Nigga, you have until I count to ten. I’m getting my gun and if yo’ bitch ass is still here by then, I’m gonna put some holes in your mothafuckin’ ass!” Donta knew without a shadow of doubt, Angel was serious.
Angel stormed past Donta and headed upstairs, counting out loud. By the time Angel got to five, Donta was pulling down the street of their Encino home. Angel let off two shots from the second floor bedroom window. The first shot hit the sunroof, while the second shot hit the rear windshield of his Mercedes S500 as he floored the powerful German automobile down the street, around the corner and out of sight. Angel proceeded to take a towel and ice from the freezer to stop the bleeding of her nose. Afterwards, she went into the living room and turned on the seventy-inch plasma HDTV on the wall to continue watching the game. Placing the chrome .380 on the marble table, she picked up her cell phone and called her older brother, Adam Charles Evans, or ACE as everyone called him. He was a thug for real, who loved Angel with all his heart and since the death of their parents in a fatal car accident a year ago, the other was all each one had—and she was his heart! Ace picked up on the second ring and after seeing the caller ID, was very cheerful when he said, “Hello? What’s good, baby sis?”
“Hello… ACE?” Angel said, sounding nasal.
“What’s wrong, baby sis? You sound all funny ‘n shit—you got a cold or somethin’?” Ace said.
“Naw… ya fuckin’ boy… that crazy-ass nigga actually hit me!”
“You okay, girl? You hurt?” Ace said, now sounding genuinely concerned and inquisitive.
“I’m cool! I don’t even know why I told you…. I’m just mad I guess.”
“Where that nigga at now?” Ace demanded, now sounding serious and calculating, like the coldblooded killer he was.
“Oooh, calm down, brother, I put two slugs in his precious Benz, so he probably gonna come see you and try and get that shit fixed.” Pausing, Angel managed a little smile and a slight chuckle when she continued with, “Shit, I’ll bet he would have rather I put a slug in his ass instead of his other girlfriend; his precious little car!” She laughed again, a little harder this time and said, “Ace, promise me you won’t do anythin’! Don’t get me wrong: I’m through with his punk ass, but you know how you get when it comes to me and I don’t need you doin’ extras and gettin’ into trouble”
“Angel, you trippin’, girl… why y’all get into it?”
“Cuz I told him I’m leavin’ his punk ass for my baby daddy! Oooh, he is lightin’ Duke ass up!!”
“Yeah, I’m watchin’ the game now…. Oooh, so he your baby daddy now? Girl, you a trip!”
“Ace, I’m dead serious! We getting’ married! He already my man.
Don’t even trip on that, big brother, I got this! Nigga, you know I’m a thug!”
“Girl, you a trip! I’m headed over there after a while.”
“Ace, I’m so serious—don’t touch him! Promise me you won’t touch him!”
“All right, girl”
“I’m serious, Ace! Promise me!”
“Dang, girl, all right! I won’t lay a finger on that nigga, you got my word. I won’t touch him! Shit… you cookin’?” Ace asked, trying to change the subject.
“Nigga, you better make Terri’s ass get in the kitchen! I’m your sister, she’s ya bitch!”
“I bet if I was your baby daddy you would…,” Ace started to say, but never finished.
“Yeah, but you ain’t!” Angel said, cutting him off. “That’s nasty, boy…. Bye, brother!”
Angel quickly hung up the phone before Ace could respond. She was giggling to herself, thinking how pissed Ace must be as he hated to be hung up on. When he called back, she broke out into full laughter of the possible messages he would leave on her machine after she refused to answer the phone. Watching the second half of the game, Angel saw one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA history as the USC Trojans came from seventeen down at the half to winning by eleven, led by their All-American shooting guard, her “baby daddy” number twenty-one. He scored twenty-five second-half points for a game-high of thirty-five to go with fifteen assists, eleven rebounds and seven steals. He was given game and tournament MVP honors after leading the USC Trojans to back-to-back national titles, making himself all but a shoo-in to become the number one pick in the upcoming NBA draft lottery occurring in two months.
“William Charker, for your part in the burglary of the dwelling of Thomas Evans at St. Mary Lambeth and stealing goods to the value of £33.60 you are hereby sentenced, along with your accomplice, to 7 years transportation to the colony of New South Wales.”
William Charker was born in Winchester, Hampshire, England on 16th of December, 1774. The fourteenth child of a family of fifteen, his father, Edward Charker, a Tallow Chandler and his mother Elizabeth (nee Barr). The Charkers were wealthy traders and yeoman farmers and so William well educated and independent. On the 7th of December, 1800 he inexplicably became involved (with an accomplice) in a substantial burglary at the dwelling house of Thomas Evans at St Mary Lambeth stealing goods to the value of £33.6.0.
The two were arrested and tried on 25th of March, 1801 at the Surrey Assizes. Each sentenced to only seven years even though their crime being a capital offence. At his trial, his name given as William Charker, alias William Chalker, was is the first known use of the alias which became his general name in Australia, except on Legal Documents and Government Correspondence where he always used Charker.
William had known a little about New South Wales. He had said to Thomas “my knowledge amounted to little more than that after being discovered by the explorer James Cook in 1770,” New South Wales had become an alternate for transportation destination of convicts as the Americans were no longer willing to have convicts dumped there after their War of Independence in in1776.
Transportation had become a viable alternate both physical and financial to storing the excess prisoners that there was no longer room in the overcrowded prisons. The short term solution of holding prisoners in prison hulks moored in the rivers of southern England.
Hulks were retired naval or merchant ships that would still float but considered unseaworthy. In most cases, all the upper superstructure (Masts, etc.) had been removed and most of the below deck space converted into gaol cells. Because of the poor condition of the hulks, more guards were necessary as well as the continual outbreaks of disease created an unacceptable risk to the greater population.
Transportation costs would be about the same cost as keeping prisoners in hulks but once they arrived in New South Wales they could be put to work and the colony would become self-sufficient in a short time. Additionally, as there was no danger of escape back into the English general population, it became possible to cut a large number of guards.
On the 6th of December 1785, Orders in Council were issued in London for the establishment of a penal colony in New South Wales, on land claimed by Britain by explorer James Cook in his first voyage to the Pacific in 1770.
The First Fleet is the name given to the 11 ships which left Great Britain on the 13th of May 1787 to found a penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia. The fleet consisted of two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships, and six convict transports, carrying more than one thousand convicts, marines and seamen, and a vast quantity of stores. From England, the Fleet sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving in mid-January 1788, taking two hundred and fifty-two days from departure to final arrival.
William went first to the County Gaol and then on to the prison hulk HMS Protée. Protée started as a sixty-four gun ship of the line of the French Navy, launched in 1772. Captured by the Royal Navy on the 24th of February 1780 and converted to serve as a prison ship in 1799, then finally broken up in 1815.
William surveyed his surroundings and later he would recall to his children.
“The conditions on board the floating gaols were appalling; the standards of hygiene were so poor that disease spread quickly. The living quarters were so bad that it was like living in a sewer. The hulks were cramped, and we had to sleep in fetters. We had to live on one deck that was barely high enough to let a man stand. The officers lived in cabins in the stern.”
“When on arriving on board, we were all at once stripped and washed in two large tubs of water, then, after putting on a suit of coarse slop clothing, we were put in irons and sent below with our own clothes being taken from them.”
“We now were poorly dressed as well as unhealthy. They were supposed to give us a linen shirt, a brown jacket and a pair of breeches but the men who controlled the ships usually pocketed the money the government had given for our clothes.”
“Six-hundred of us were confined in this floating dungeon nearly, most of us were double-ironed, and I saw the horrible effects arising from the continual rattling of chains, the filth and vermin naturally produced by such a crowd of miserable inhabitants, the oaths and execrations regularly heard amongst them…. The sick were given little medical attention and were not separated from the healthy.”
“I felt elated when finally in January 1802, I was transferred to the convict transport Coromandel. Us convicts were housed below decks on the prison deck and often further confined behind bars. In many cases, we were restrained in chains and only allowed on deck for fresh air and exercise. Conditions were cramped, and we slept in hammocks.”
“We departed from Spithead in company with the Perseus on 12 February 1802.”
As soon as they cleared, England conditions aboard improved. They were now no longer considered a threat of escape, and so the restrictions were somewhat eased.
As they sailed south to and past the Canary Islands, the daily routine was beginning to set in. At four in the early morning, the prisoner cooks (three in numbers) were admitted on deck and at five-thirty. The captain of his division (the convict nominated as a senior convict) joined the other captains on the upper deck for the purpose of filling wash tubs while the remaining prisoners commenced taking up their beds and hammocks. By six, William and the first half of the prisoners were admitted for the purpose of washing their person. Within half an hour the other half were allowed to wash. Breakfast was at eight and during breakfast, the ship’s crew were cleaning upper deck and water closets
While heading southwards across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro, they ran into the first of many storms.
William managed to keep his food down, but the ship became awash with vomit. The seasoned sailors joked about how convicts predicament. It must be realised that the majority of the convicts had never been to sea and were still recovering from the cramped conditions aboard the prison hulks.
Aboard the Ship were several families of free settlers, but as they were kept separate from all the convicts, William knew nothing about them. He wondered what people would voluntary take their family to this unknown place that reportedly had very few refinements and facilities.
“The clouds seem to rise from the water, turning day into night. Then suddenly the wind began to howl, and initially the ship lurched dangerously to starboard before the helmsman could correct the list. I thought that we were goners. Then came the driving rain, It was so fierce I was sure it was cutting into the deck timbers above them. The unbearable stench of the vomit from my fellow prisoners seemed to cover the whole deck. We would have preferred to be on deck instead of in that hell hole we were confined.”
The storm abated after about 10 hours and then the weather calmed. The days were becoming warmer as the travelled through the tropics and the many tropical storms did not seem as bad as that first one not long after they sailed past the Canary Islands.
The daily routine continued and to Williams first surprise as well as cleaning and general “housekeeping duties” there was a regular schooling and religious instruction. He could not figure out if this were to subdue the convicts and keep discipline or did the authorities think that a better education and religious training would cause them to “change their bad habits.”
Not long after he sighted land off Brazil, he noted that the course turned to south-eastward and followed the westerly winds across the Atlantic to the Cape.
The seas were beginning to roughen up, and the temperature had dropped, but it was still a lot warmer than when they had left England.
The journey across the southern Atlantic was reasonably uneventful until they drew nearer to the Cape. The wind increased dramatically causing the ship to pitch and roll. Even the sight of land on the port side did little to raise the spirits of William although after they had sailed a day into the Indian Ocean, the weather improved.
It was during this time that one of the convicts became violently ill and despite the efforts of the crew, he passed away.
It amazed William to how all the crew and every convict lined the decks while the poor soul was given a decent burial at sea.
“We all lined the deck. Prisoners, officers, crew as well as the free settlers. The body was on a plank leaning over the side and covered with the Queen’s flag. As the captain said those words that committed the body to the sea, two of the crew raised one end of the plank, and the lifeless body slid from underneath the flag and into the deep.”
In reflection, William pondered as to how different the voyage was as compared to the horrific stories that had been circulation in the gaols and prison hulks in England.
He noted that the crew at no time had acted as guards, and a few of the crew showed great symphony for the convict’s predicament. He had also admired the respect that the crew had shown the female convicts and how some of them entertained the children of the female convicts.
By the end of May they had crossed the Indian Ocean and at times over the next few weeks, they kept seeing land to the north of the port beam.
The land kept on appearing as they turned north and there was an air of excitement mixed the in trepidation of what lay ahead.
Finally, on the 13th of July 1808, they sailed into Port Jackson.
As they sailed through the heads, the captain decided to allow groups of convicts on deck. Each group was allowed fifteen minutes. The captain knew that if he kept them confined he would run the risk of rioting because if they saw a glimpse of their destination, they would start to relax and possibly an air of excitement would replace the feelings of despair some must have been feeling.
“It was unbelievable.” William later recalled “This big harbour that seemed to go for miles. The soft green grass behind the mixture of rocky shores and small golden beaches and the thick bushland behind the shores made this place seem like paradise.”
They had sailed nonstop, the first convict ship to do so, Governor King on the 9th August 1802 was so impressed with the treatment and the condition of the prisoners that he wrote the following report:-
“The healthy state in which the Coromandel and Perseus arrived requires my particularly pointing out the masters of those ships to your notice. It appears by the log books, surgeon's diaries and the unanimous voice of every person on board those ships that the utmost kindness to the convicts. This, with the proper application of the comforts Government had so liberally provided for them and the good state of health all the people were in, induced the master of the Coromandel to proceed without stopping at any port. He arrived here in four months and one day, bringing every person in a state of high health, and fit for actual labour.And although it appears that the Perseus necessarily stopped at Rio and the Cape, yet the convicts were in as good condition as those on board the Coromandel. Nor can I omit the great pleasure felt by myself and the other visiting officers at the thanks expressed by the prisoners and passengers for the kind attention and care they had received from the masters and surgeons, who returned, an unusual quantity of the articles laid in by Government for the convicts during the voyage.”
William’s first sight of Sydney Cove was as they were disembarking at the rickety wharf.
“I was amazed at how the settlement had developed after only 14 years. Although rudimentary it was a thriving village.”
William was at first extremely unsteady on his feet due in part to a long sea voyage on rolling seas but also with the cramped conditions on board.
“The smells of shore are amazing. Clean, crisp air, the pleasant aromas of real food cooking but most importantly the lack of stench from humans living so close for so long. I could begin to see that it wasn’t going to be as bad as I had thought to live in this so called hell hole. I see that it may be possible eventually to have a real life in this colony if I behaved myself.”
Much of the town's buildings and infrastructure were centred on the military. The stores and trade were managed mainly be members of the New South Wales Corps and the whole town had a “garrison town” feeling about it.
“My initial thoughts are that the officers New South Wales Corps, seem to have too much influence over the running of the colony and appears that the governor’s office is just to rubber-stamp their decisions. Even the granting of pardons, as well as the allocation of land, seemed to be in the hands of the Corp’s officers.”
“My first night on land is an eerie experience. The lack of movement of the sea along with the entirely different sounds makes falling asleep terrible.”
“Awaking in the morning to the sounds of the native birds chirping along with the clatter of a bustling colony preparing for the task of the day was music to my ears.”
William was assigned shortly after his arrival, to work as a farm labourer for Jonas Archer and Mary Kearns at Mulgrave Place in the Hawkesbury district.
As he travelled to the farm, he was bewildered by the sights and sounds that he encountered.
“My first glance of kangaroos and other native animals give me discomfort although the aboriginals are causing me even more.”
As it turned out before long, he would build a bond and understanding with the local tribes that would lead to a long and peaceful relationship. It was unfortunate that all the settlers were unable to establish this relationship, and distrust disintegrated into bloodshed on many occasions.
Mary Kearns had been convicted of theft in Dublin in 1792 and was sentenced to 7 years transportation. She arrived in Sydney on 17 September 1793 aboard the "Sugarcane".
After completing her sentence, she was granted 65 acres of land in the Hawkesbury area at Green Hills, now known as Windsor.
She had been joined by her lover Jonas Archer and together they had started up clearing for the farm. Jonas was subordinate to Mary as he probably was reminded on many occasions that it was Mary’s grant and, therefore, her farm.
“It was incredible that in two short years, Mary and Jonas were able to clear the land and build a moderately successful farm on these river flats about 20 miles away from Sydney Harbour. Mary was a hard worker, and yet at the same time a very attractive woman, who was trying to build a real future regardless of her poor start.”
Having William assigned to their farm was a Godsend. William was a hard worker and built trust with them. He was always able to make positive improvements, and because he had been raised on farms by his yeoman farmer parents he had a natural gift for mixed farming. “If we plant the vegetable patch between the house and the storage shed, we should have more control over where the animals may roam,” he remarked to Mary shortly after his arrival.
Jonas, on the other hand, had a dislike for farming as well he was proving to be a liability with an extremely bad business attributes.
This untimely led to in 1803, Jonas Archer fled to avoid his creditors and Mary became the sole owner of the farm. Mary always had a liking for William, so it was no surprise that in a short time after Jonas left, she married William. The farm was then known as Chalker’s Farm.
The Rum Corps vs. Governor Bligh
Governor William Bligh reached Sydney on 6th August 1806. He had been sent to replace Governor King, who was looking forward to returning to England. (It was thought that he was disappointed that during his time in office, the officers of the corps had overridden his authority and left him somewhat dejected.
Bligh had a reputation for being extremely autocratic, and he did suffer insubordination from anyone at all.
Losing control of the HMS Bounty to his crew 20 years previous had made him even more ruthless.
Bligh had discovered to his dismay on his arrival that the New South Wales Corps ran most of the commerce under the command of Major George Johnson with the close cooperation of a former officer and now grazier and merchant John McArthur.
Resident farmers of the Hawkesbury region, in particular, had complained to Bligh about the high prices being charged by the Corps for staple goods. The restrictions on availability of mutton by McArthur and, therefore, the high prices for meat further raised their concerns along with the fact that the Corps had attempted to introduce alcoholic liquor (that the Corps had full control of) as a currency. This led the Corps being often referred to as “The Rum Corps” The name being a misnomer as whiskey was the only alcohol used as currency.
Bligh started to attempt to stop these practices and tried to restrict the commercial activities of the Corps but had little success. The impasse continued until on the 26th January 1808 Major Johnson (egged on by McArthur) led a troop in full military regalia accompanied by the regimental band to government house and arrest Bligh. Major Johnson installed himself as the acting governor.
For just under two years Bligh remained under guard until Lachlan Macquarie arrived to assume the position of Governor.
Macquarie was the first non-naval governor and just before his arrival the New South Wales Corps (now known as the 102 regiment of foot) was recalled to England and replaced by the 73 regiment of foot. Major Johnson was court marshalled in England while McArthur was put on trial in Sydney.
Through all this William mostly ignored what was happening in Sydney as he was still a convict and he needed to keep away from controversy for fear of being relocated to another work area. He did, however, hold contempt for the Rum Corps and even more for Bligh, who seemed too weak to control them.
By 1806, they were prospering, but all was about to change with a devastating flood in March of that year in which the settlers lost everything that could not be quickly moved to higher ground. William was driving his stock when he heard the call “HELP.” Looking toward the overflowing river, he saw three of his neighbours struggling in the torrent along with a small child. Without pausing, William ran to the riverbank where his little boat was tied up and rowed out to the middle of the river. He rowed to the child first and after he was aboard William then rowed to save the three men in turn. When it overturned, the adults drowned, but William swam to the shore with the child on his back.
He was rewarded with a Conditional Pardon in August 1806. Conditional pardon meant that although free he was not able to leave the colony until his pardon became absolute. To be pardoned said that William was no longer to be regarded as a thief sentenced to 7 years, but instead, a free man whereas Mary was always to be considered as an ex-criminal.
The Blue Mountains
After the harvest of 1806-7, their marriage ended with a legal separation notified in the Sydney Gazette of July 1807.
The marriage had endured only three years. When it ended, William left took only his horse and left all other property and goods with Mary.
William was granted an Absolute Pardon on April 7th, 1808.
He was now free to return to England but instead chose to remain and enter employment with Gregory Blaxland as his farm overseer, probably at his Brush Farm property and later at his more extensive South Creek holding. William made a good supervisor and had built himself a reputation as a hard worker and a very honest employee.
Along with his Absolute Pardon, William received a grant of 30 acres of land at the Cooks River but did not take up the grant. Instead, in August 1812, he applied for and received a grant of sixty acres at South Creek. The South Creek farm was used mostly to raise cattle while he pursued his other sources of income.
After leaving the employ of Blaxland, he also worked as an overseer for William Lawson at Prospect from 1810 to 1814.
Lawson and Wentworth, as well as being neighbours, were good friends. They were both visionaries who saw the need for the colony’s further expansion in the area. The Blue Mountains to the west had become a barrier to this development of the settlement which was now requiring more farming land to meet its needs, particularly after the droughts of 1812 and 1813.
“The local Indigenous people know at least two routes by which to cross the mountains,” William told Blaxland. The first was along Bilpin Ridge, later followed by Archibald Bell with the assistance of the local Darug people (now the location of Bells Line of Road), and the second was along Cox’s River.
Unfortunately too many of the landholders and free settlers would not believe William as they had all come to distrust the aboriginal people.
Some even believed that the aboriginals were of a sub-human race and therefore not capable of knowing such things. William had long since made friends with a lot of them and as such he appreciated their knowledge of the land. However, he was unable to influence those around him to allow the aboriginals to show the way.
Until 1813 however, the settlers remained unaware of how to cross the mountains, despite several attempts, including two by Blaxland himself. Early in 1813 Blaxland, who wanted more grazing land, obtained the approval of Governor Lachlan Macquarie and approached Lawson and Wentworth to secure their participation in a new exploratory expedition following the mountain ridges.
“Mr. Lawson was able to go with the other two knowing all too well that his farm was being looked after by me,” William told his son at a later date.
Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson led an expedition party, which included four servants, four pack horses, and five dogs. Two of the four men who assisted the party have been identified as James Burne, a guide and kangaroo hunter, and Samuel Fairs, a convict who arrived in Australia in 1809. The two others also thought to be convicts, remain unidentified.
The party left from Blaxland's South Creek farm near the modern suburb of St Marys in western Sydney, on 11 May 1813 and crossed the Nepean River later that day. They made their way over the mountains, following the ridges, and completed the crossing in twenty-one days. The explorers' success has been attributed to the methodical approach and decision to travel on the ridges instead of through the valleys. The three explorers and two of their servants would set out each day, leaving the other two men at their campsite, and mark out a trail, before turning back later in the day to cut a path for the horses and allow the rest of the party to progress.
The party first saw the plains beyond the mountains from Mount York. They continued to Mount Blaxland 25 km south of the site of Lithgow, on the western side of the mountains. From this point, Blaxland declared there was enough forest or grassland “to support the stock of the colony for thirty years,” while Lawson called it "the best-watered Country of any I have seen in the Colony.” The party then turned back, making the return journey in six days.
At the next corner, pedalling toward him came an aged postman moving barely fast enough to remain upright.
‘Station Road beach, I do,’ the postman said as though preparing for conversation.
Tony was soon consuming the man’s life tale, and listening lifted him. He felt his spirit lighten, like this stranger was re-igniting what he believed was lost. Maybe these were his people after all, he thought, maybe he was closer to home than he believed: how they danced all over you, sang to you, felt you worthy of their stories, of their trust and time, and seemed not to doubt you’d feel the same for them; how they made light of the hard outer world at every opportunity, and when there was no opportunity how they invented one; they played with what others called suffering until it wasn’t suffering but something essentially good for you, a redeeming purgatory ordained by God. They seemed at one with the mill of living. And as for those he’d called liars the day before, they now seemed in some way saintly; maybe equally saints and liars. As a race, there was no denying it, these people inhabited a realm beyond him, a holy place that he might rise to, this Irishness.
‘Remember now what I told you: go past Macker’s field, bear left into Eamon’s Lane, and at the end take a sharp left and Station Road beach will be staring at you, and may God go with you because I can’t.’
Abel Lewis is a city slicker and a dandy and completely out of his element in the frontier of 1881 Arizona, nursing saddle sores and wishing for a soft bed. But Lewis hides a skill, and as he seeks to find an evil power in the deserts and small towns of the Southwest, he'll need all his abilities and all his cunning to survive. And a friend with a Winchester is mighty useful, too. From Tombstone to San Francisco, Lewis is on the trail of a dark force that has its own devastating plans for the Old West. Will Lewis survive his confrontation with the over-powering malevolence of the terror of Tombstone?
Dinorah Green was the exact opposite of me. There was not a single personality trait which was the same between us. She was the yin to my yang, the opposing side of me. I had done a paper on Chinese culture earlier that year. My research indicated that the dark and light weren’t good and evil but simply opposites. I was suddenly dark, living the life of light, ice in fire’s world.
That was not a comforting thought, though. I wanted back in my own world. I wanted to get out of Dinorah Green’s life. I wanted to be Dinorah Winthrop again. I was desperate to have my friends around me and my mom, who hugged me every morning before school. She had never given me the kind of look that Dinorah Green’s mom had given her . . . me, whatever.
The cartels murdered his father. For former SEAL Rob Kincaid, the War on Drugs just became personal.
As the leader of the Red Squadron Security Agency, Rob is used to working under the radar - taking on government jobs that wouldn’t exactly pass congressional oversight. Being thirsty for revenge, he’s more than willing to take on Operation Snow Plow, a clandestine FBI plan to eliminate the cartels once and for all.
But as Rob digs deeper into the plan, he realizes this isn’t a typical government black op. Instead, he uncovers a shocking web of lies and conspiracies that can be traced back to the very core of Operation Snow Plow.
As he attempts to unravel that web, he finds himself plunged into a high stakes game of odd man out, where he has been targeted as the odd man.
Bruno runs to the platform between the train cars chasing Jack and smashes him across his face with the big pistol. Jack falls back against the rail separating the cars and slumps to the steel floor. The train lurches and Bruno stumbles backward against the door trying to keep his balance. He grabs the door to steady himself and charges back toward Jack. The train slows and then speeds up as it crests a hill. Bruno stumbles on the uneven steel plates of the platform. He is off balance again and comes toward Jack with his head down and his arms outstretched to catch his fall. Jack pulls his knees to his chest, his feet catch Bruno in the stomach. Using Bruno’s own momentum, Jack pushes his legs up and vaults Bruno’s helpless bulk over the rail. The scream abruptly stops as he plummets under the thundering steel wheels.
Maddy bursts through the door and helps Jack to his feet.
“I was sure he was going to shoot you Jack, he seemed to go over the railing in slow motion and then get sucked under the train. That was awful but I could not take my eyes away.”
Jack puts his arms around Maddy and hugs her to him tightly. “It’s ok now baby, we need to think about getting off this thing before we get to the next station. We can’t be far from the border now. We’re coming into another turn let me see if I can see what’s up ahead.”
As the train goes around the turn, Jack can see past the line of cars.
“We are going up another hill with a turn at the top of it. The train will be going pretty slow as it makes the turn. It looks like a hay field on the outside of the turn. That should make for a pretty soft landing. Make sure you clear the road bed.”
Maddy looks down as the countryside flashes by at what seems to her to be an impossible speed. She looks back at Jack with her eyes wide. “What, Jack? Do you think I am going to jump from this train?”
“We’re gonna have to jump off this thing. Don’t think about it, just jump when I tell you. Let’s go, Maddy. Roll when you hit the ground. Come on, get ready it’s slowing down. Jump!”
Juliet Adams is as normal as an Oregon thunderstorm, but working as a nurse allows her to live vicariously through the past adventures of her favorite patient, giving her hope for her future. However, when her fiancé dumps her six months before the wedding, that hope crumbles.
Brokenhearted and in dire need of support, Juliet gives into her sister’s request and agrees to spend a week on the coast. Unable to escape the reminders of her loneliness, she stumbles upon a mysteriously glowing cave and an equally mysterious man.
This chance encounter with the magnetic Marsh Darrow sends her on a whirlwind adventure, filled with myth, legend, and creatures beyond imagination. As her idea of normal falls apart, Juliet discovers an inner courage that shows her she is more than she ever dreamed— the prophetic key to a war that centers around centuries-old secrets.
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Tastes Like Murder (Cookies & Chance Mystery #1) by Catherine Bruns Narrator: Karen Rose Ritcher Series: Cookies & Chance Mystery #1 Published by Gemma Halliday