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"The Fire Within The Cult"

Prologue

 “Excellent. If you see someone you don’t recognize, I want you to shoot them,” said Kevin, handing the now loaded rifle back to me. “Just aim through the scope and pull the trigger.”

“You can’t be serious.” Mom grabbed the firearm from my hand.

“Unfortunately, Grace, I am.”

“But she’s only ten!”

“Edgar told us they trained her to handle guns at the militia house you stayed in. So well, in fact, she is a better shot than most of us. We don’t want to kill anyone, but we’ve experienced enough thieves and government agents on our land that we’ve developed a shoot-now, ask-questions-later approach. The more people we have armed, the better,” Kevin said.

Mom pointed the rifle toward the front gate of the compound and glanced through the scope. “Oh, you mean like the FBI, who are rolling up with their tanks right now?”

We all looked in the direction she pointed. Several armored vehicles, with the letters FBI on the sides, were making their way along the fence line before coming to a stop. I turned to Mom and noted that she was holding the gun sideways, with her finger curled around the trigger of a loaded weapon pointed at the FBI.

And I’m the one who’s not allowed to use a gun.

“Yes, exactly like that. Quickly, follow me to the house,” Kevin said.

As we made our way inside, people started running toward us from all directions. They must have had some way to communicate quickly, because in a few minutes everyone living in Freedom Township was in the big meeting room.

“All right, guys and gals, listen up,” shouted Kevin over the noise. “This is the day we’ve planned for; no one is allowed to leave the ranch right now, as it poses a risk and could jeopardize this whole operation. It’s time to protect our land. So for your safety and ours, please don’t set foot off the property.

“As for food and water, we have enough to feed an army for several years. The ten silos are full of wheat and corn, and the springs give us plenty to drink. Plus, we have a few skilled hunters in our ranks.

“Right now, those parasites need to see the children. They know we won’t go down without a fight, and they have a lot more firepower than we do, with those armored vehicles. The FBI won’t put the kids in harm’s way, which means they’ll keep their distance and not force their way in.”

“Mommy, what are they talking about?” whispered Eva.

I knew what they were talking about. It was the bus all over again. They were going to make me, Eva, and Melissa walk out there so the FBI could see us.