Sorry for the late posting. Accidentally wrote Chapter 1 Scene 3 first =P
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AM November 3, 1962
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Jack and Lillian Forrest parked their Willys Jeep at the campgrounds of Norris Junction.
Lillian sighed to herself. “You know what, Jack? I reckon those crazy folk with the motorised toboggans have it right. With so much of the park shut down over winter, everyone’s missing Yellowstone at its most beautiful.”
Jack chuckled at the visual. “Maybe if there was a reliable one built, it would be okay. That Sno Traveler model that the Polaris guy ran across the Alaskan wilderness wasn’t able to keep it at ten miles an hour. He was lucky the wolves were scared off by the noise.”
“There’s that other guy up in Quebec making snow vehicles. Bomber something?”
“I know the one; let me think for a moment.” Jack narrowed his eyes as he thought. “Bombardier! The Ski-Doo guy. We need a few of those; supposed to be miles ahead of anything Polaris produces.”
Having seen their daughter Emma off to school, the park rangers entered through the East Entrance. Starting at the Lake Village, they were on a day-long loop around the Central Plateau. The winter shutdown was expected any day now, and visitors were trying to get the most sightseeing done. With the colder weather and snows came the animals, heading for lower ground and better protection from sub-zero temperatures.
Putting on their ranger hats, they headed towards the nearby picnic area. A group of people were sitting at the bench, sharing a large thermos of coffee.
“Good morning. How are we all today?”
The group cheerfully raised their cups. One of them asked, “Would you like one, rangers?”
Jack held up a hand. “Thank you for the offer, but we’re fine. Just letting you know that we are right on the edge of the winter shutdown, so be prepared to leave if the call goes out. Which entrance did you head in from?”
“The North Entrance. We headed down from Livingstone in Montana, so we could enjoy the last bit of the park before it gets closed off below Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt.”
Lillian nodded. “It’s good to hear you know what goes on with the winter shutdown. Just be careful if you have any picnics here, as the bears in the park can be brazen once they head down from the heights.”
The group chorused their acknowledgement. A man within the group said, “That was the first thing the Ranger at the entrance gate warned us for. He asked us to keep an eye out for a pair of bears if we are going near Wraith Falls.” He began shaking his head. “Bears with a jelly addiction. Weird stuff.”
Jack and Lillian gave a cursory glance around the rest of the picnic area, seeing there was no-one else nearby. As they headed back to their Jeep, they heard the crackle of the radio.
“Jack! Lil! This is Smithy, over.”
Jack reached in and grabbed the handset, looking around the campgrounds as he spoke. “This is Jack. What’s going on, Smithy? Over.”
Static crackled through the speaker. “Sorry to cut your round short, but we got a few people gathering at the Lake Village. Some activists are protesting the culling of the elk population in the park. While you head down there to provide some backup, I’ll call in some police from Cody, over.”
The rangers listened intently. “How many? Over.”
“The guess is thirty to fifty. They’re a wide range of age, some teenagers up to the early thirties. Over.”
Jack looked over to Lillian, the look in her eye telling him they were thinking the same thing. “The teenagers. Anyone they recognise?”
There was a pause. “It was not mentioned. I’ll check back to see, and let you know. Over.”
“Thanks Smithy. Over and out.”
The pair jumped in the vehicle, turning around to head back south.
Lillian looked over to Jack, seeing the brewing storm. “Don’t be surprised if she’s there.”
Jack stared at the road. “It’s all well and good that she’s concerned about the environment and all the causes that have popped up since Kennedy won, but is it too much to ask that she not skip school for every protest that passes through town?
“She’s a teenager, Lil. She’s a smart kid, but she at least needs to save this activist stuff for when she gets to college. She jeopardises even getting to college if she doesn’t keep up with her schoolwork and turn up. Then where will she be?”
She rubbed his arm, understanding his concern. “We can try to guide her until we’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day it’s up to her. She’s a teenager; they think that the rules don’t apply to them.”
“They apply to everyone.”
The snow began to fall steadily as they drove. Looking to the sky, Jack thought the shutdown would be called by the end of the day.
A burst of static from the radio. “Jack! It’s Smithy, over.”
Lillian reached over for the handset. “Smithy, it’s Lillian. What’s the word? Over.”
“Hi Lil. Just checked in with the rangers. They are positive that your daughter is among them. Over.”
Jack scrunched his eyes shut for a moment.
“Also letting you know, the Goldsworthys rang the Park Headquarters. Emma did not show up at their house as expected. At least we know why. Over.”
Lillian sighed. “Thanks, Smithy. Call in another pair of rangers. We’ll need to take Emma back into town. We will have to go see the Goldsworthys to apologise. Over and out.”
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