When Jake pulled up next to the line shack, Sarah was already there, sitting on the wooden stair in front of the door.
"So .. it was easy, driving up the wash, right?"
"Yeah, Jake, it was. There was a couple of nasty jolts driving over some of the rocks down there, but for the most part it was pretty flat."
"Nuthin' I can do about those rocks. They change every time the wash fills up with water - that's usually only two or three times a year - but as soon as you memorize the bumps, it rains up in the hills and the water washes out everything down there and you have to start all over again. After a while, you'll learn to see how the rocks hide under the sand and you'll be able to avoid most of 'em anyway."
Sarah opened her mouth to speak, but speech was forestalled by a loud, sharp report, followed by a rumble that rolled across the desert.
"Damn, Jake, what was that?"
"I don't know, Sarah. At least, not for sure. I'm the only one anywhere around here with enough explosives to make that much noise - the question is whether it was the shop or my place. Either way - there's trouble now. I expect The Sons blew up one or the other - probably my place, now that I think of it - they wouldn't blow up the shop because all the big weapons and ammo are there."
"All what big weapons?"
"Mortars, machine guns, bangalore torpedoes, all that stuff."
"What are you gonna do, Jake, start a WAR?"
"It's a long story, Sarah, but yeah, I guess we are. Or were. I think this is pretty much gonna put paid to that idea. Look, I'll explain all that later. Right now we gotta figure out what we're gonna do."
"Yeah, Jake. What ARE we gonna do?"
"Okay - here's the deal. Do you think you can find your way back to the shop from here, again? Driving, I mean, 'cause it's gonna look different from behind the wheel than it did on foot."
"Yeah, Jake, I can find my way."
"Good. Go down there, and if the shop is still standing, then go in there and tell Two Feathers to call some people up from the Res and pack that store up. Today. I want everything out of there before the sun goes down tonight. And that includes the stuff in the cellar. He doesn't know about that - you'll have to show him."
"Okay - what're you gonna do?"
"I'm going back to Ma's. Every one of those guys knows how close me and Ma are. If they're gonna come lookin' for me, they're gonna start there."
"They wouldn't hurt Ma, would they?"
"I'm not gonna let that happen. You better give me that machine pistol out of that bag in the Jeep. I got everything else I'm gonna need in my trunk."
"There's a part of me that wants to ask ... and another part of me that's afraid to ask. Just be careful, Jake."
"Don't worry 'bout me. Just keep your eyes open goin' down there. When you get done, come right back here. No matter what you hear, no matter what you think is goin' on - you come back here. Clear?"
"Don't be a smartass. I mean it. This is no time for playing games."
"I'm not playing games, Jake."
She reached out and grabbed the back of his neck and pulled herself close to him and kissed him, hard.
"You come straight back here, too, Jake."
She went over to her Jeep, opened the duffel, and threw the machine pistol to him.
She sped off, across the desert, toward the shop. Jake watched her drive away, and slowly drew the back of his hand across his mouth.