Chase's father Jack is a highly trained sniper in the US military, and all he had ever wanted was to be just like him. His father relents, and from a young age trains Chase how to survive in the wild. As he grows older he will also teach him the many secrets of his deadly trade.
After spending eight months in a bomb shelter, Chase will take his first step in the daunting 2600 mile trek from Hartford Alabama to Fairfield Idaho. There he will hopefully find his father waiting for him at their family's cabin on Soldier Mountain.
He won't be making this harrowing journey alone, though. Along the way he will meet a colourful cast of characters; and under tragic circumstances, one very special dog that he will raise from a pup.
In an endless struggle against man, animal, and nature, will Chase have what it takes to survive? To protect the ones he loves?
Take the breathtaking journey, but be prepared to be emotionally exhausted by the time the book reaches its heart wrenching conclusion; one that will leave you wishing that the tale didn't have to end...but at least you will be able to stop holding your breath.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.96(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Richard Jesse
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Richard Jesse
All right reserved.
Chapter OneNo matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich. ~ Louis Sabin
Fifteen Minutes Before The Nuclear Holocaust
Oh, shit! Oh, shit! Oh, shit! I thought while panicking in bowel loosening fear.
"This is an emergency broadcast. All citizens are asked to take cover in your basement, or to proceed to the nearest city shelter!"
Oh, shit! Oh, shit! Shitty shit shit!
Sixteen year Chase Forrester was trembling with terror inside his basement, inside an altered bomb shelter. Alone and scared, he fears for his life.
"This is not a drill. There is an imminent nuclear attack inbound!"
Dad where are you? Please be OK.
"This is an emergency broadcast. The impact of a bomb will be felt in less than fifteen minutes."
Dad? I don't want to be alone.
Chase looked at his dad, then at his watch, his dad, his watch; trying with all of his brainpower to send his dad a telepathic message.
"Yes son. Something on your mind?" Jack asked.
I looked up at my dad, and debated the wisdom of speaking my mind. More than anything, I hated it when I disappointed my dad. "Weeelll dad ..."
My dad gave me, The Look. It's the same look every dad worldwide, seems to have naturally perfected. The one that made every son or daughter feel scared and ashamed at the same time. "Don't whine son! Never whine!"
Jack held, The Look, for a moment longer, and then softened his face, letting his bottomless love for me, his only son shine through. "Now, what would you like to tell me Chase?"
"Dad it's ten o'clock. I'm tired and my arms are killing me. Come on dad, I'm only nine." I replied, concentrating hard not to whine.
"Besides, why do we even have to build this stupid bomb shelter? All of my friends laugh at me and say you're crazy."
"Well let's see son. First of all, no matter how sleepy you get, you will have to train your mind not only to stay awake, but also to be aware of what you are doing, and what is going on around you.
"Secondly, there will be times in your life when your body is sore; even more times when your body will hurt. Then you have to use your will power to work past the pain, or even function while being injured."
Jack put down his shovel, sat down on the ground, and patted his knee. He invited me to come and sit on his lap. Once I settled in comfortably, he tenderly wrapped his arms around me and whispered, "Son you know your dad is in the army. But what you don't know is, I'm a sniper ..."
"You mean like the ones in the movie?" I inquired, while my eyes widened with a look of deep admiration.
"Kind of like the ones in the movies; however, snipers in real life are a lot different. Your dad has to shoot people, killing them and taking away their life. Most of them don't even know I'm there, watching their every movement. It is hard not to let my job change me, not to see the men I have killed in my dreams, and not to become a ruthless, insensitive animal. Do you want to know a secret?"
I nodded sleepily, feeling comfortable and safe in the protective circle of my dad's arms.
"When I'm away and have to follow my orders, I think of you, how much I love you, and how much I know you love me. It keeps me grounded. It keeps me human. Son, because of my job, I am forced to see just how bad the world really is, and it is only getting worse. Most people don't even know it because they live in a privileged country, mostly untouched by the cruelty of war.
"It's because I love you, and it's my job to protect you that we're building a bomb shelter; just in case war ever rears its ugly head at home. Now do you understand?"
Instead of answering yes, I just gave my dad a big tight hug, and nodded my head against the crook of his neck.
"Good boy. Now go and take that last pail of sand outside, and then you can go to bed."
"Yes dad." I responded obediently. "And dad?"
"I love you dad."
"I love you to son. Goodnight."
Chapter TwoA dog wags its tail with its heart. ~ Martin Buxbaum
Ten Minutes Before The Nuclear Holocaust
"This is an emergency broadcast. There is an imminent nuclear attack inbound!"
"OK, what would my dad do right now?" I asked to no one but myself.
"He would close his eyes and think of me."
"This is not a drill. The impact of a bomb will be felt in less than ten minutes."
While closing my eyes, I pictured my dad in my mind, and hoped like hell, the bomb shelter we made will protect me. I hoped even harder that my dad is somewhere safe.
"Come on sleepy head, get out of bed! We're going to finish the shelter today." Jack yelled up the stairs.
"Awww daaad, it's my birthday today!"
"Stop complaining! Get dressed, and meet me in the basement!"
It was never a good idea to keep my dad waiting; he can get so impatient! Once that happened, it seemed to take forever for him to get back into a good mood. I quickly threw on a t-shirt and my favourite pants, authentic jungle combat trousers. I flew down the stairs and barely touched every third one.
Jumping from the fifth stair onto the basement floor, I lost my balance, and crashed head first into my dad's stomach.
It felt like I had run into the bomb shelter's steel submarine door. My dad's in really good shape! I don't even think he felt me hit him!
"OK, now open the door, get in there, and get to work!"
I grabbed the big wheel in the center of the door, turned it three times, and pulled.
The first thing I noticed when I got the door open was that my dad had finished the rest of the work by himself. However, what really stood out was the long, rectangular, plain cardboard box with a bow on it, lying in the middle of the floor.
"Thanks dad! Not only do I not have to do any work, but also you got me a present for my birthday! Can I open it now, pleeease?"
"In one minute son, now that the shelter is finished I have something important to tell you. If I am ever away on a mission and there is an alert on the TV, radio, or if someone calls from the army, I want you to get immediately into our shelter, seal, and lock the door! No matter what you hear, or how scared and lonely you get, you stay in the shelter, and do not open the door for any reason! You will have enough food and water to last about eight months. I want you to stay in the shelter until ALL of the food and water is gone. You understand me?"
"Yes dad, but ..."
"NO BUTS! I have purposely moved us to a low priority target area, so the worst you should ever have to worry about is a shockwave. Even still, you WILL stay in the shelter until your supplies run out. That way if there is any fallout, it will have time to settle. Don't worry son, starting today, and every chance we get, I am going to teach you everything you will need to know to survive on your own. Have I made myself clear?"
"Yes dad, you have, but please don't be away if anything happens."
"I'll try my best son, but if I'm not with you, and something happens, we'll meet each other at our cabin in the mountains."
"Holy crap dad, it takes us four days just to drive there, and another full of day hiking up the mountain! How am I supposed to get there on my own?"
Jack replied tenderly, "Hopefully you will never have to worry about it."
Then with iron conviction, Jack explained how he expects Chase to reach the cabin. "If the day should ever come son, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you get there, and you don't let anything stand in your way. Now hurry up and open your gift!"
Chapter ThreeMoney will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail. ~ Josh Billings
Five Minutes Before The Nuclear Holocaust
"This is an emergency broadcast. All citizens are asked to take cover in your basement, or to proceed to the nearest city shelter!"
I kept my eyes squeezed tightly shut. "This is just great! A nuke is about to go off, it may be the end of humanity as we know it, and I can't remember the last time I told my dad I loved him."
I opened my eyes and looked around the twelve by twenty four foot bomb shelter, which my dad and I had built together. While I'm sitting on one of the two folding army cots, I looked around my tiny prison. I started at the airtight submarine door, and then circled to the left. There was the other cot my father would have been using if he had been here. Stacked next to it there was enough food and water to last for eight months.
Across from the food, and next to me, are outdoor supplies; including a Gregory Palisade 80 Backpack with an eighty-eight litre carrying capacity. Already loaded in the pack are; a compass, a small first aid kit, water purification pills, fishing line and hooks, topographical maps of the areas needed to get to the cabin, a sewing kit, five days worth of MRE's. Also packed are flint and steel for starting a fire, and a spare change of clothing. Attached to the outside of the pack were; a hatchet, a MEC Hybrid sleeping bag rated for minus twenty, a canteen, and a hundred and twenty feet of Millet Sliver Triaxiale climbing rope.
"This is not a drill. The impact of a bomb will be felt in less than five minutes!"
Along the back wall was where all the weapons were stored. Starting from the corner, there were two USMC Ka-Bar combat knives with seven-inch Parkerized blades. Next to the knives was a compact ammo reloading kit with boxes of shells, powder, and bullet tips. Three other important items were bolt-action rifles, two of which were US Army M24 sniper rifles. The remaining rifle is the first one I had ever owned; it was a birthday gift from my dad when I had turned ten. I began to reminisce and feel overwhelmed by feelings of nostalgia.
"Now hurry up and open your gift!" Jack exclaimed with a big grin plastered on his face.
I didn't waste any more time, or wait for a second invitation. I ran to the box, tore the top off, and looked inside. Nestled in foam was a brand new .22 calibre bolt-action rifle, complete with a scope. I just stared at it; it was all I could manage at the time. It was my first gun and it was beautiful!
My dad, using his military voice, gave me a weapons briefing. "It's a Cooper 57M Classic; it has a black walnut stock and a premium match grade barrel. I have already attached a Leupold 36x scope, and sighted it in for fifty yards. However, by the time you are ready for a new rifle, I will have trained you to shoot much further than that.
"The next rifle I will train you on will be the one I currently use in the army. It's a U.S. Army M24 SWS .308 bolt-action sniper rifle. It features a five round internal magazine, and an HS Precision adjustable stock. You will be aiming through a 10x42 Leupold Ultra M3Atelescope sight, with Mil-Dots. By the time I'm done training you on using the M24, you'll be able to shoot over eight hundred and seventy five yards, just like your old man."
"Wow Dad! I don't know what to say! Except, can we go and shoot it right now? Pleeease?"
Jack smiled, looking almost as excited as his son did. "Pick up your rifle and get in the truck. Well, what are you waiting for?"
We piled into the truck and drove to the local shooting club, where my dad holds all of the records. He has never cared much about the records, but it seemed to make the other member's proud to be in the same club.
As we came to a stop in the parking lot of The Hartford Shooting Range, I took my rifle and my dad grabbed the ammunition.
"Chase, today I'm going to teach you how to hold your rifle, and the five main firing positions. Don't worry about how well you shoot today; your accuracy will only get better with practice."
Sitting outside the office in an old beat up rocker, was the equally old, and beat up owner, Bob.
"Mornin', Jack." Bob drawled, with a voice that sounded like gravel grating against sandpaper. "It's gotta be your son's tenth birthday today, cause normally I never see a smile that big, crack that ugly mug of yours."
"You're one to talk Bob; when parents use the bogeymen to frighten their children into behaving, it's you the children see."
Bob frowned and scrunched up his face, making it look like a jar of squashed prunes. He then broke into a big, gapped toothed grin. "Chase it's too bad you look like the spittin image of your pa. You have the same black curly hair, worn military short of course. The same sky blue eyes and a hard square face that looks like chiselled granite.
"Oh well, it could be worse, you could have been a twin. All kidding aside, it's good to see both of you again. I've reserved the last lane on end for you two today, and the two lanes next to it. You will have plenty of privacy today."
"Thanks Bob. Come on Chase, let's go."
Once we got to the last lane, my dad turned to me and started my first lesson on how to shoot. "The first thing you need to learn son, is your natural point of aim. Now hold your rifle, and aim at the target I have set at fifty yards."
I do as he says, "Now what dad?"
"Close your eyes for two seconds, and then open them again."
Again, I do as my dad instructed and when I opened my eyes; my aim is waaay off target. "What happened dad?"
"You are no longer lined up on your target. It's because originally the target wasn't at your natural point of aim. You're fighting it. Now shift your body just slightly back towards the target, and try again."
I move my body and aim again, but this time when I opened my eyes, my sight is almost perfect! "Wow, cool dad! What's next? Can I shoot now?"
"Hang on, Hang on. Hold your rifle up again. Now do you feel exactly where your rifle and your right thumb are resting against your cheek? OK, don't move for five minutes and memorize where the rifle and your thumb are resting against your cheek. From now on every single time you pick up your rifle, you will be holding it in precisely the same position. This is called the spot weld."
After about three minutes, my arms started to shake and shudder as they did after my dad made me do a whole bunch of push-ups.
"Dad my arms are starting to get shaky, I don't know how much longer I can hold it up."
"Chase this is very important, don't give up yet." Jack encouraged.
"OK, now you can rest for five minutes, and then you can take your first shot in the standing position."
"OK dad I'm ready." I responded confidently as I lifted my rifle and executed a spot weld.
"Now relax every muscle you can, and take slow deep breaths. Watch how the sights rise as you inhale and sink as you exhale. As you exhale and your sights start to sink towards your target, slowly and smoothly squeeze the trigger.
"Go ahead son, take your first shot."
Doing everything my dad has told me, I pulled the trigger.
Overwhelmed with feelings of disappointment and embarrassment, I lowered my gaze and uttered quietly "Sorry dad, I missed the bull's eye."
I felt terrible, as if I let my dad down. I looked over at him, and instead of seeing the expected frown, my father has a big smirk on his face.
"Are you kidding son? It was your first shot ever and you hit the eight-point ring. You're a natural, just like your old man! Take another shot. Let's see how consistent you are!"
Feeling relieved by my father's praise, my embarrassment quickly dissolved. I am eager now to keep shooting. I spot weld the rifle to my cheek, relaxed my muscles, took a couple of slow deep breaths, and slowly squeezed the trigger.
Excerpted from KNIGHT by Richard Jesse Copyright © 2011 by Richard Jesse. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Im not one for writing or talking but this is the best read i have had in years. It was a little childish in some parts but it was through a 17 year old eyes. Cant wait for more about chase and knight