RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure

Resolution-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have told them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn, your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

The Last Excerpt from RESOLUTION

Jim Bridger

He was Huck Finn, the celebrated lawman. In his day, back when the frontier was still wild, he had tracked men through fiery deserts, up impassable mountain trails, and into places no sane man would venture. He’d been shot at and wounded; his blood had marked his back trail. Once, in the Sonora Desert, he went without water for an agonizing four days and had almost died of thirst. But he had always traced his man and brought him back to face justice, or if the hombre put up a fight—buried him where he had found him. However, he was younger in those days. Time had not taken as much a toll on him as it does on some men. But all men slow down with age, and yes, even Huck Finn.

He walked the valley as in a dream. He would halt his forward movement every five steps. And standing knee-deep in the snow, swaying back and forth like a sapling in the wind, he would wait for his life-force to return. He had set that measure for himself. Five steps at a time. No more, and certainly no less.

Bright, frustrated with the slow pace, ran up ahead and then back to urge his master on. Huck smiled at the dog and thought, Good boy. Keep me going, don’t let me stand still for too long. So much depends on me—and on you, old friend.

He lost track of time and before he knew it, it was dark, though his situation was not entirely dire. There was sufficient light from the stars and the borealis to allow him to find wood enough for a small fire. He had to attend to his feet. They were like blocks of ice and almost as white as the snow that he crouched in. Another few hours and they would have started to turn black. After vigorously rubbing them with snow for a hour, the feeling started to come back. As the painful tingling moved from his ankles to his toes, he moved his feet nearer to the fire. Then he had to deal with his blackened and scarred face.

Will I ever feel warm again?

With blood once again flowing to all parts of his body, he took a moment to raise his gaunt eyes to the heavens to take in the wonder of God in the form of the aurora borealis. He was not a religious man. He hadn’t had much truck with God over the years, but on that night he said his first prayer in many a year. He prayed that he might live to get to Jass’ cabin. He had no concern for himself. He had to live for Molly and John. If not for the thoughts of them, he would have lain down in the snow a long time ago and fallen off to his final, blessed sleep.

When Bright had finished his last ration of bird and weasel bones, Huck stood up,  and on pure willpower, he plodded on—he trudged on—to the west . . . always to the west.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Huck & Molly (RESOLUTION)

Jass

Jass cleared his throat then said what he had to say. “It’s gonna be real slow getting through that snow, even for you two. I’m just gonna hold you up. If I fall behind, I don’t want you waiting up for me. The trail is clearly marked from here to my cabin. So you go on and I’ll see you there. I got my matches, and if you leave me with a little of the flour and sugar, I can mix them in melted ice and live off that for a week . . . easy.”

Huck looked over at Molly. “Did you hear somethin’?”

“Nope. It must have been the wind.”

“I reckon so.”

Jass was not amused. “There ain’t no wind. There never is when it’s this cold. And I won’t be put off. I won’t let you jeopardize your lives haulin’ a cripple seventy miles through some of the worse country in Alaska . . . and . . . when it’s 102 degrees below freezing!”

Huck threw another thick spruce branch on the fire and waited for the ensuing sparks to die down before speaking.

“Look here, Jass. You gotta know one thing about Huck Finn and Molly Lee McMasters, and that is when we say we’re gonna do something and we give our word on it, then we do it or else we die tryin’.”

“But . . .”

“Ain’t no buts about it. I’ll break trail as best I can. Molly will follow me, and you, Jass, you’ll bring up the rear. The three of us are gonna make it, or the three of us are gonna die together in this godforsaken country. You understand?”

“But what about the baby? You’re gonna chance his life?”

Huck looked to Molly. He wanted her to answer Jass. “John has thrown his lot in with us. He had no say about it, but that don’t matter none. The four of us, and that includes John, are leagued for better or worse. Now do you understand?”

Jass nodded, but said nothing.

“Alright,” said Huck, “that’s good. Now let’s get going. I’ll carry the pack holding the food, I put the gold in there too. Molly, you, as you have been, are in charge of the baby. And Jass, after Molly and I have trampled down the snow a mite, you should have no problem keeping up.”

Jass struggled to his feet, and once steady on his crutches, he looked Huck in the eye and said, “I ain’t movin’ until you hand me that pack. No man is gonna carry my gold for me. Least of all, you, Huck. It weighs thirty-five pounds! If you don’t give me that pack, then you might as well sit back down, ’cause we ain’t going nowhere.”

Huck gave Molly a side glace and she nodded her answer. So Huck shrugged and took off the pack. After handing it over, he said, “Now can we get going?”

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Resolution

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Huck Finn mushed his dogs, he had a one-legged man he had to get back to his wife in time for the birth of their child. Molly Lee McMasters hugged a six-month-old baby to her breast. The temperature was fifty-eight degrees below zero and falling fast. In the far distance, loomed the mountain they had to cross—shrouded in ominous gray-black snow clouds.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Resolution (Excerpt)

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They swung out onto the river. The snow was deep enough to protect the dogs’ paws, but not too deep to inhibit movement. The northern lights were playing havoc in the night sky. Huck stood on the runners, hung on tight to the handlebars, and threw his head back to enjoy the wondrous sight as the miles passed under his sled. If we weren’t running for our lives this might be enjoyable.

Neither Molly nor Jass spoke as the dogs strained in their harnesses. Huck’s face was caked with ice. He rubbed his nose and cheeks frequently to bring the feeling back. Frostbite turns the skin black and leaves deep scars. If he lived to see Circle City, he wanted to be his old handsome self. Then he laughed at the thought as the lights over his head turned from green to white, then spun clockwise, exploding into every hue in the rainbow. “Come on, Bright, make them miles,” he said aloud, but not loud enough for anyone to hear—as they ran for their lives.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Resolution (excerpt)

 

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The sled was the only thing moving. Except for the commands Huck issued to Bright, there was no sound. While mushing, the silence was not so evident, but when they stopped to let Jass get his blood flowing, it descended and enveloped them. The country became bigger; they became smaller—insignificant beings in an enormous universe.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

Resolution by Andrew Joyce {Excerpt)

Molly's Gun

Huck looked at Molly and nodded.

She stood with such force that she knocked her chair backwards and it started to fall. She had her gun out and in her hand before the chair hit the floor. The scraping noise of the chair as Molly stood turned the men’s attention from the gold to the table. It was the last act of their lives. Molly had a bullet into each one of them before they knew they were dead.

Jass couldn’t believe it. He took the bottle of Three Star, tilted it to his mouth and drank a goodly portion. Then he sat down and wiped his brow. In spite of the cold, he had been sweating.  Huck went to Molly and gently touched her cheek with the back of his hand. “Good girl,” was all he said.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee