This novelette was written to fascinate and intrigue readers. It begins where Flashes of Insight ends, revealing the ongoing exploits of a family, the Cunninghams, smitten by tragedy and cursed by a dying king -- but brought closer together by a living BOND that empowers all who dare to LOVE or HATE without measure! It explores the typical motives and potential of everyday men, women, and children who find themselves in atypical (gut-wrenching, heartfelt, or otherwise dire) circumstances. It dares to answer the question: What course of action(s) is a family allowed to take in defense of its own? And, it answers it in heroic fashion!
Here is the prologue which brings the reader up to date as to the driving circumstances:
Rage and Retribution
Through the shrubs of the deep woods, fervent cries echoed and probed hour after hour – whether for justice or vengeance, who can say? The Cunningham Clan had been violated. One of its dearest, most delicate members, Yuly -- the one with the intrepid spirit -- had been violently taken. She’d been playing her hunting game (as five-year-olds are want to do), armed with her dad’s unloaded Winchester, and tracking her pretend game over half-crusted leaves in the forest near their home. There, she was found on that early morning by vile men that claimed her as their own spoil. The men of the Cunningham Clan came to know of her absence by the persistent complaints of Leah, her twin sister. After knowing this was more than the daily game-prank played by the teasing babes, the Cunningham men prowled amid that greenish brown. Tex, their adolescent canine, led them. They took with them neither gun nor blade, for haste and horror had covered their eyes. They saw not the needed tools of a violent rescue. By and by, they found their young treasure in the heart of the deep woods, curled in a fetal ball, with hand-covered eyes that made the bad things go away. Through happenstance, wisdom, and courage they restored her to the family fold. However, in the doing, they enraged her brutish captors, who swore an ungodly oath of vengeance to undo this right thing which had been done.
This Cunningham Clan, after resettling to some semblance of normal living, became innately aware of a change that had come over them. It wasn’t an obvious, clearly seen change. No – it was a subtle, almost secret thing. If it were not for the tell-tale sign in their eyes, it would have borne no physical trait at all. Indeed, their eyes bespoke some difference in them. This difference had found its life through the strain and struggle of the rescue effort and the contemplations of bloody justice that a family’s heart sometimes knows when one of its beloved members is brutally wronged. It was a bond that had formed in them. It gave them an understood sense that their lives and preservation were their sole concerns under Heaven. And, it gave them, with the least conscience, the power to uphold that belief.
While the Cunningham men, Clint and Junior -- along with their maturing half breed pet -- were away, a company of these vile men from the mountain came again. It had been six months to the day of their last attack. They took, this time, all of the Cunningham women – Sherry, the mother who would kill or die to protect her babies; Yulanda, the wild spirited one who was taken before; and sweet Leah, the one whose heart loved every living thing. The Cunningham men launched their second rescue attempt. This one was fraught with deep violence, and tested the very nature of their civility. Nonetheless, through a fated show of bond-driven might, the entire Cunningham Clan had valiantly walked away from the lair of the vile men, and this time had left a bewildered king to grovel in the dust before his subjects. As his inevitable end drew near, he cursed forever the destiny of these, his righteous conquerors, and in his rage uttered a dying oath of retribution that wouldn’t be forgotten.