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A New Day, The Other Me chapter 10

2022-07-05 00:00:04

Jim: Days after the Detective visited

“The police? You got one detective coming into your business and telling you she suspects the police are looking to build a connection case by going for a weak link and you’re not removing the weak link right now,” Mulligan is asking me as we’re at his ranch having a private conversation.

“So just kill off forty or so young men and women to make things safe and put the operation back at square one,” I reply and he shrugs.

“Square one or jail, not a tough choice really and I know Sid wouldn’t be debating this,” Mulligan says it and it is a bit offensive.

“Sid would also be taking off the top whether you approved it or not. Sid would be selling to people we deemed unfit and Sid would probably be allowing more drugs through the city,” I recount a few of Sid’s decisions.

“Fair point and your boys are loyal? Do time in jail if needs be loyal,” Mulligan asks leaning forward in his chair.

“They are built for loyalty and what happened with that kid you wanted watched out for they’ve proven they aren’t talking,” I state and he nods in accepting my statement, but now I have to bring up the problem,” Our biggest problem might be the kid himself.”

“What the hell did I say about the kid, I want him left out of this,” Mulligan is pretty pissed off about me even bringing the kid up, must be a damn good lawyer.

“I agree except he’s putting himself in the center of it and somehow he’s curbed the Faces of Fear. That sick preacher fuck Gabriel, he said one thing to him and now Gabriel isn’t just camping out, he’s preparing for something,” I explain and Mulligan is interested.

“That kid brought Gabriel to heel? If someone else was telling me this I’d call them a bullshit artist but… what did he say,” Mulligan asks and I shrug.

“That’s the thing, nobody is sure what he fully said but Gabriel and the Faces of Fear are watching and waiting. We need to wrap this up before someone outside the situation gets hurt,” I tell Mulligan who agrees.

“One thing though, this detective? We sure she’s on the level or do I need to put her down in a few weeks,” Mulligan asks and I shake my head.

“She believes in the system, enough time she’d understand ours and believe in it too but for now we’re keeping her on our radar,” I tell Mulligan and nods again.

Guy: Friday evening at home, two weeks after Detective Escalante’s visit

So I agreed to spend three hours or so with Gwen… not one of my personal favorite decisions recently but it’ll get her off my back and get Mark a date. I’m helping his love life? That feels weird on levels that I can’t even begin to describe. I’m relaxing with my massive video game/entertainment system when my door opens and Gwen pokes her head in and smiles at me.

“So ready for our big day tomorrow,” she asks and I shrug,” Come on Mark told me you agreed to spend a whole day out with me.”

“A whole day… funny that’s a lot longer than the three hours he told me,” I state and she gives me a very puzzled look.

“Well we’ll need the whole day if I’m gonna have a chance to win you back,” Gwen says and I chuckle.

“Win… not win back. You never had me in the first place,” I clarify and she has a look on her face that seems a little familiar,” I agreed to spend time with you and give you a real chance to talk and explain everything so that we could attempt to function as siblings, this I agreed to.”

“Well yeah that’s what Mark said he asked you for. It was nice of him to offer to ask you,” Gwen says and I have to think about it for a second.

“And there’s also the date you are going on with him for asking,” I say it and she gives me a confused look.

“Who said anything about a date? I was trying to talk to your sisters and he offered to talk to you for me,” she says it and I believe I might have seriously underestimated Mark.

“So now I’m roped in for an entire days worth of whatever you want to drag me to and I have to listen and give you the opportunity to basically convince me that water isn’t wet and the moon is Swiss cheese,” I state and she has a bit of a hopeless look on her face.

“Yeah, but it’ll be a good day. I’ve got some fun things planned for us,” Gwen says and she’s actually worried about this.

“I will be there, willingly. I will be there and I will partake of as much as of your events as I’m able and I’ll listen,” I state and I’m being honest,” But Gwen, I hope for your sake you’re not lying about Mark not wanting a date with you for this. Because if you back out of this deal and with that on the table nothing you say will change my mind. It’ll just make it worse.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to Mark just to be sure,” Gwen says and leaves closing my door.

I’m pretty sure someone either left something out or made something up but I’m not sure who, a mystery for later as I resume killing terrorists.

Hmmm, I wonder who is playing who in this.

Waste… of… time…

Really? I’m pretty sure I’ve been reading the playbook and you need to catch up on a few things.

If it’s not chaos, destruction and bodily harm I’m not interested.

I’d read up, we’re going to be teaming up here soon.

I finally get some sleep and am almost rudely woken up at fucking four thirty in the morning by energetic knocking on my door.

“Come on baby brother, we got stuff to do today,” Gwen says with a lot more happiness than I care for this early in the morning.

I let her explain what I need to wear, which is clothing I used to wear before my change and it already feels like a bad idea. I’m committed to it wearing one of my black t shirts, beat up blue jeans and a flannel shirt with boots because my sneakers won’t have grip according to Gwen. I’m in our Father’s truck and we’re on the road. She’s drinking coffee and I’m sitting here with absolutely nothing in my stomach but I’m wide awake. This is psychological warfare and I’m ready, I’ve had worse. We’re heading out of town and I’m just waiting patiently when we pull up to a family restaurant after spending an hour plus on the road. First thing I realize is that my phone isn’t in my pocket and immediately I’m not happy getting out of the truck.

“Where is my phone,” I ask and Gwen looks a little embarrassed,” You took it.”

“Actually I had Mark take it last night before I came in,” she informs me and I’m really not starting out my day well.

“So I’m not supposed to have any way to contact my family in case of an emergency,” I clarify and she realizes a bit of her error.

“I have a phone if we need it,” She holds up a flip phone, a fucking flip phone,” Besides we’ll be too busy to make a lot of calls.”

We get in the restaurant and order quietly waiting for food while she sits there looking for some sort of an opening to talk to me. I don’t need to say anything right now so it’s in her court.

“Don’t you want to know what we’re doing today,” she asks and I shrug,” I found a place kind of like mine and Papa’s ranch up in Montana. We’re gonna do some work then we get to ride some horses. Then some lunch… you don’t like horses.”

“You mean the couple thousand pound glue bag on legs,” I say it and immediately she sours at my words,” I don’t have any experience with horses.”

“Well I’m gonna teach you today,” she is upset with me now, one comment and now she’s mad.

“Don’t like me talking about horses like that,” I ask and she is waiting for me to say something mean,” Okay I’ll stop.”

“You can think what you like but when you’re on the back of one things change,” Gwen informs me very sure of herself,” they are special creatures.”

I nod a little but really they aren’t much as far as I’ve ever seen, also I’m not a girl and don’t have that magical connection to horses that most girls seem to have. We eat and continue in the truck for another hour or so and we arrive at a large patch of land that has been turned into what appears to be a farm house with barn and large building that I’m guessing houses horses. We park and she meets up with someone I assume is in charge, a heavy set man in flannel shirt, jeans and cowboy boots. Gwen motions towards me and says ‘brother’ and the guy looks at me and chuckles a little.

“You brought a greenhorn to help out? Boy brought the wrong boots to stall mucking,” the man tells me and I have to wonder what fresh hell I am being subjected too.

“Well I’m trying to show him what it’s like to work like I’ve been working for the past few years,” Gwen tells him and I am wondering what the hell this has to do with us as siblings.

We get shown tools; mostly a couple of wheel barrels and each of us get a shovel and a pitchfork before being shown to our stalls and immediately I hate my life. There is a base layer of mud with straw on top and shit, two good sized piles of shit. Gwen tells me about keeping the wheel barrel close to the door so I don’t have to walk carrying shit and making a bigger mess and heads into her stall to get things cleaned. I spend what can only be described as an hour of hell getting all the straw out before tackling the pile of shit, how the fuck do you pick up straw with a fucking pitchfork? It falls through and doesn’t hold. Gwen has been done and tells me she’ll be getting her horse ready and where to meet up. I get done and hear someone whistling behind me and turn to see a pair of ranch hands, I think that’s what they’re called, trying to get my attention.

“So where is your hose,” one asks me and I look around confused,” you need ta wet down the mud in there before putting in new straw so it stays.”

“Here we’ll get you a hose,” the other says and off he goes.

I wait and after a few minutes the second ranch hand return with a hose. They walk me through the basics of setting up the stall and leave me to my work.

Gwen: half an hour later

I got two horses, an older gelding for Guy and mare for myself as I wait for my baby brother to get done with his stall. I know it’s taking him a bit but I want him to understand how I hard I work and the reward of what I do running the ranch. He’s been in there for a lot longer than I thought and I hear people laughing and turn to laugh myself for a bit as my baby brother has mud all over him with patches of straw stuck to the mud and no boots. He looks ridiculous and I don’t know how it happened but aside from mud all I can see is his blue eyes. We’re laughing and it’s hilarious, he has to see how funny this is.

“I’m glad you find this so funny,” Guy says and his voice is perfectly flat.

“Baby brother what happened,” I ask trying to figure out how he did all that to himself.

“Two of your friends,” I stop to figure out who he’s talking about cause I barely know most of these people,” told me about how I need to wet down the mud before laying down the straw by hand.”

“What the hell are you talking about,” one of the hands asks as he and a couple of his boys laugh, it’s funny.

“Baby brother you don’t wet down anything, I didn’t and I was right next to your stall,” I tell him trying to calm down from laughing.

“No you were out here with horses, I was in there,” Guy points at the stables and a patch of mud flies off him and everyone laughs harder.

It’s so funny but I am trying to get it under my hat when the ranch owner and I think his daughter come by to see what the holdup is and immediately they both have a little bit of a laugh as my brother is covered in mud in his bare feet. Guy is just standing there in front of everyone as they laugh and I see it, I never saw it before but his eyes change. They’re still blue but something is wrong when the ranch owner moves up to Guy and reaches out to help him away from the scene.

“Come on son, let’s get you cleaned up,” the nice man tells Guy and that’s when I hear it, his voice chills my bones.

“Touch me with that hand and you’ll need to find a partner if you ever plan to clap for the rest of your life,” Guy says it and the ranch owner freezes in place.

“Guy he’s just trying to help,” I try to tell my baby brother and that is when he turns his eyes on me.

“Help? I think we’re all pretty sure I’m beyond help at this point so let’s just sit back and have ourselves a laugh why don’t we,” Guy tells me and people stop laughing and Guy looks at the ranch hands,” what’s wrong? I thought this was funny to you? I thought you wanted this? I’m here; I’m still covered in mud, straw and shit. Why aren’t you laughing?”

“Listen son they were just having a bit of fun,” the owner tries to calm my brother but I’ve never seen anything like this before,” It’s just a little harmless fun and that’s all. It’s nothing personal now come on and we’ll get you cleaned up and some fresh clothes.”

“Oh like these clothes,” Guy asks before pulling off his shirts and dropping them on the ground,” Or how about these?”

Guy strips down to his underwear, boxer briefs and while my brother is fit and trim he’s got scars all over his chest and back, and a couple on his arms. A couple people are a looking away and the ranch owner is trying to get my brother to stop but Guy is so angry. I didn’t think people could get this angry.

“Alright everyone show’s over get back to your work… NOW,” the ranch owner yells at his people and they run like he’s got a whip before getting back to my brother,” It was a joke but it’s over and we’ll get you cleaned up and some fresh clothes and you can take your sister riding.”

“And why the hell would I want to continue this disaster of a day,” Guy asks and I speak up.

“We made a deal for a day… and I want a ride a little while with you so we can talk. It was a bad joke Guy but it’s over and we’ll get you cleaned up and we can go riding,” I remind him of the deal and his shoulders drop a little.

“Right, I made a deal,” he says and turns to follow the ranch owner and his daughter to their house for some clothes.

I get a bag and go to find his boots but they look like a lost cause buried up to the tops in mud. He got the stall cleaned though. I wait with the horses and Guy comes back with some loose fitting jeans, a button up flannel and cowboy boots.

“You look good, almost like a real cowboy,” I praise him and he just stares at me,” I know it was a bad joke but we got some horses and a lot of space to ride.”

He doesn’t respond or even show any real feelings as I try to smile at him. I walk him through how to properly mount a horse and wait for him to get up, it takes him a couple tries, but he’s up and sitting uncomfortable on the gelding as I hop up on the mare and lead him out down a trail. I chose the gelding because he’s a follower horse, basically he will follow another horse almost perfectly from what I saw a couple weeks ago when I was helping out. We’re about a half hour into the trail and I look back to see my brother staring at me and I have to say it’s almost, no it’s worse than when he was mad. When he was mad I was able to know a bit of what was going on. Now I have no clue what he’s thinking and that worries me. I get us to a creek the ranch owner had bridged and stop in front of it to let the horses take a quick break. They don’t need it but I think I do.

“The horse isn’t even tired,” Guy says and I nod a little.

“Yeah, listen I’m sorry about the boys back there,” I try to apologize and he shakes his head.

“I don’t care if you’re sorry or not,” he says and I have to think.

“I remember when you were a baby. I was so happy to be a big sister,” I get it out and immediately regret it.

“Are you still happy now… big sister,” Guy asks me and I nod.

“I got my family back. I thought you and momma and daddy were dead for years and then he, Dad, came for me and I kept asking where you were or where Momma was. I mean if he came back then you two had to be out there,” I explain and he stands there listening, I actually have him listening,” I asked Daddy all the time when we were going to get you and he said you were better off without him and that it was just the two of us.”

“That would be his shame talking,” Guy states and I shrug, I didn’t think about it like that when I was a teenager.

“I hired an investigator to find you,” I say it and he looks at me and I think he’s interested,” the asshole wasn’t very good but he found you and that’s mostly what brought us down here.”

“Except our Father knew where I was. He’s known for years,” Guy says it and I nod.

“He told me that too after I told him I wanted to come get you. I heard your life was shit and figured coming out and seeing your big sister would fix things like when you cried as a baby and I would crawl into your crib,” I tell my baby brother and he’s still listening to me.

“I don’t remember a thing about you beyond when I first saw you in the sitting room at home,” Guy tells me very flat and cold,” I don’t feel anything when you’re around. I don’t feel a closeness that I would if I had bonded with someone when I was a baby.”

“Well it happened, I was there and I used to count the moles on your back and sing TV shows to you while you slept,” I tell him and it hurts that he isn’t interested.

“I’m not saying it didn’t happen. I’m saying that I don’t remember it and I don’t have any,” he moves his hands back and forth between us quickly,” emotional bond. Chalk it up to my budding memory cells.”

“I hoped you would or something. We were so close then I got taken and I lost you,” I am beginning to cry and Guy is just standing there looking at me.

I rub my eyes and try to keep from crying while my baby brother stands there watching me and all I can do keep it under my hat. We stand there for a while and he finally speaks.

“It’s weird for me… someone wanting me. Honestly wanting me before all this happened,” he waves his hand at himself.

“I always did, you got to believe that,” I tell him and he nods.

“I do, that’s the sad part. I know you’re telling the truth. I know everything you have said and feel is the honest truth but I don’t feel it,” Guy says and I don’t understand.

“How can you not? I’m here giving you everything I have and I hurt so much because I’m trying everything I know to let you feel something between us,” I yell at him and he stops and looks at me like he’s doing math or something,” What is wrong with you?”

“I’m not a good person. I was once I think but I’m not. You said you did this today does that include me losing my boots in the mud,” Guy asks and I shake my head,” Okay, I believe you. How do you feel about the two that set me up like that?”

“They were just having a little fun but I don’t know,” I tell him and it’s confusing.

“They’re fun, my expense. How do you think I feel about the two of them,” he asks and I shrug, I want to cry and he takes my hands,” Gwen listen to me because I need you to understand who I am now. The people who laughed at me, they could die… right now… screaming and I would smile. They’d deserve it for my humiliation.”

“Guy you don’t feel like that,” I tell him and he looks me straight in my eyes.

“I do, more so the ranch owner… I’d burn his house down with his daughter inside it just to help him understand how much pain I’ve suffered. The two who thought I was a great mark for some ‘harmless’ fun? I’d skin them alive,” Guy is scaring me but I don’t let go of his hands,” I’d let them all die horribly if I was told they would and only I could save them. I’d let them die and I’d watch.”

“But why? Why be so cruel? Why spread that on everyone else,” I ask him and he smiles, a sad little smile.

“Because it’s what I know, pain is all I’ve known for years and it’s all they deserve,” he tells me and I don’t know what is so broken in my baby brother.

I hug him, I get to hug him for the first time in almost twenty years and it’s like I never left him. I don’t know why but I feel like everything will be alright. At least for us. He’s hugging me a little but he’s holding back.

“I wish our parents wanted me as much as you did. Hell I wish they wanted me half as much as they wanted you,” Guy says and I pull back from him a little bit.

“They do want you,” I tell my baby brother and he smiles that sad smile.

“They don’t, not in the same way. See Dad went after you because he loved you and was going to get you back because you were taken from him. He promised me he would take care of me and protect me and when I was taken from him he ran away,” Guy explains stepping away and looks at the bridge.

“Our Daddy went after me but Momma was there for you,” I say it and remember some of the stories,” I mean not like she should have been but she was there.”

“He ran after you, not me. He didn’t want to see me at all until you dragged him down here and as for my mother she can’t even remember what my preteen years were like thanks to drowning herself in enough alcohol to kill India. But you show up one time and she’s instant recipe mother for you. It took me years to get to where she actually acknowledged me as her son and I was living with her, it took you seconds. No, they may love me but it’s filtered with guilt. You they love because you are their perfect first born,” Guy says and he’s not being mean to me about it but it hurts to hear him say it.

“They feel bad because instead of the sweet baby brother I knew you’re this thing. It’s cruel and horrible and it’s not you,” I tell him and he stops.

“Then you don’t know the real me, this is who I am,” he pulls away and stares into my eyes,” I don’t have time for things like love and compassion now. People need to be made to suffer they will.”

“Like Mom and Dad,” I ask and he gives me an ‘excuse me’ look,” They were the worst according to you so you’re going to make them pay.”

“If I wanted them to hurt, and I mean really hurt,” Guy tells me and smirks,” I wouldn’t be so subtle.”

I’m a little confused but he’s talking to me, he believes me but we’re just starting and I have more for us today. We talk a bit more as I get into what we do at mine and Papa’s ranch, chores and customers, simple things really. He listens and doesn’t really ask any questions about it, I leave him space to ask but he doesn’t and I don’t understand why he’s not interested so I figure turn the tables.

“So you’re into music, that’s what Beth said,” I ask as we’re back on horses and further down trail.

“I sing, people say they like it but not enough to put up the money to train me so I’m leaving it as a useless hobby,” I heard the bitter in his voice, that makes him unhappy.

“Well I say use it and shove it in their faces if you want to really burn them,” I tell my baby brother who shrugs.

“I did a bit of that already. The approval committee wanted to talk me into a few of their schools and I told them to fuck off,” Guy says with a smirk before continuing,” I wanted it for me, no family help. Just to do it on my own and they took that away because our Mother married rich.”

“Well she’s happy with him, I know she misses Daddy but she is happy where she’s at. I keep getting asked not to beat up your step sister,” I tell Guy and he nods.

“Ever want to see me again,” he asks and I nod back,” Never touch them, they’ve done shit to me yes but they’ve done more for me than you have and they are my family. Whether I liked it or accepted it they are.”

“I wasn’t gonna do much and besides she was picking on my baby brother. Had Daddy come down sooner like I kept telling him he should I woulda stopped her shit years ago,” I tell Guy and he nods with a smirk, I got a smirk.

“I tried to find him, couple years back. He was gone and won’t tell me where he was,” he says it like he’s curious.

“All I know is that when Daddy leaves bad people don’t come back, I don’t know who the bad people are but he told me first time he left and I’ve never asked a question about it since,” I tell Guy who doesn’t react,” It wasn’t cause he was avoiding you. I’m sure if he knew you were looking he would have come.”

“Except he knew more than he said and didn’t come,” Guy argues and I think he’s a little right.

We get done riding and the owner offers us lunch at in his home but Guy doesn’t want to be around him and it makes me worry. The owner’s daughter comes out to announce that our lunch is ready and as I try to lead Guy to the house he won’t move. It’s bad and the owner notices.

“Listen kid it was a joke and it’s over, this is a peace offering and an apology,” the owner offers and Guy looks at him and I see that flicker in his eyes.

“Did you tell them to do that to me,” Guy asks it and I have to step in.

“Guy he didn’t tell anyone to prank you it just happened, sometimes the hands like to prank the city folk. It was just a bad joke,” I explain to my brother but he’s not budging, hell he’s not even looking at me.

“You eat Gwen, I’m going to take walk… clear my head,” Guy says and begins to walk away.

“Let him cool off Miss, seen it before plenty of times,” the owner Henry says leading me away.

Lunch is good and Henry is a pretty nice man, we talk about my favorite subject… horses. I’m only there for a half hour when I see Guy sitting down in the shade outside the house staring at the land. I swear I have no rightly clue what is in his head but it’s not always good. Mr. Henry sees me watching my brother and shakes his head.

“Something very wrong with that boy,” Henry says and I nod.

“I just wish I could figure out what it is,” I reply taking a sip of sweet tea.

“It’s hate. I’ve seen it more than a few times to know it when I see it,” Henry says and I must be looking for an explanation because he continues,” that boy is full of hate. Something happened to him and all he has left is hate because everything else has been burned out of him.”

“So there’s nothing left, that what you’re telling me,” I ask and he shakes his head.

“In people like him all the feelings are little people and hate is a firebug. When there is a flash fire around the farm house and nowhere to run, like that boys head, they all run for cover in something all us good farmers keep,” Henry explains and I know this answer.

“A tornado shelter or like a basement. Hell my Daddy and I got one of those,” I don’t tell him about the weapons in ours.

“Right, everything he has is locked up waiting for the fire to burn out. That’s the biggest problem if you want to know. Only things that can stop it faster than it burning itself out is what he’s keeping locked up. It drives him to do things he wouldn’t like stripping down in front of over twenty strangers,” Henry says it and it makes some sense.

“Okay Pa but what about him burning out, what does it take for that to burn out,” Henry’s daughter asks and I need that answer too.

“When everything that it feeds off of is gone then the fire burns out. He’ll go until there isn’t anything left of whatever started the fire,” Henry says and that puts me back to square one.

I take a sandwich and a glass of milk out to Guy and he takes them from me before nodding and beginning to eat. He’s so quiet I can’t tell what is going on but I have an idea, it’s gonna ruin my plans for later but after that Beth girl told me about some of the things people were doing to him I figure this might just tip shit in my favor. I figure we’ll head out and I say goodbye to Henry who is a really nice man but when he tries to shake Guy’s hand my baby brother just stares at him before turning around and walking to our Daddy’s truck. I apologize for him but Henry just nods and shakes his head at my brother before turning to his house. I catch up to Guy who is waiting at the truck and in two shakes we’re back in and heading back into town. Another couple hours gone by and we’re in the city and that’s where my questions begin. I just ask about the different things that happened, I ask him about the little things like the beatings and everything before he got stabbed. I stop at a gas station and let Guy use the bathroom before sending off a text message to one of the step family for directions. I get my phone put away by the time Guy gets back from the toilet and do a little driving when I figure I’m in the right spot by the sound of the loud base and Spanish music. I see a few cars and more than a few Mexicans, I know they’re legal but they don’t fly the American flag. I pull up and park hard before getting out and marching my way over to their little circle and I hear Guy following me but he’s keeping back. A couple people look at me as I march up and push through a couple people and see some of them talking, I don’t know who is who but the 5’8” Mexican chick has about forty pounds on me and is a good place to start.

“What you doing here,” some skinny kid with a chip on his shoulder asks and I smirk.

“This,” and I punch the girl in the nose.

I feel her nose crunch and as her head goes back I grab her shoulders and bring my knee into her gut. She hits the ground and everyone stops as I’m standing over the
girl and take off my belt.

“Didn’t your Daddy ever tell you about being a bully,” I ask and crack goes my belt on her back.

I get about five or six good swings in when someone grabs my arm and I turn and cold cock his brown ass right in the jaw. I might not know how to fight like Daddy, I’ve seen it a couple times and it’s scary, but I know how to knock someone on their ass and farm work don’t make a girl weak. I hear a few guns cock and that’s when someone decides to speak.

“You might want to stop before my people drop you where you stand,” I hear one of the boys and turn to see yes there are a few pistols pointed at me.

It’s the laughing that makes everyone freeze, one laugh over all the violence. It’s from my brother and when he steps into the ring that’s when I see they’re afraid of him and weapons go down without a word.

“Now we’re getting somewhere. Oh don’t lower those on my account,” Guy tells the leader, the one who stopped me,” I mean we’re just getting started. You hit me, you hit me again and now here I am in your face with all your numbers and your guns and you stop now? You can stop me Carlos. You can stop us right now.”

Guy is standing over the girl I belted and I watch everyone as they get nervous when he kneels down next to her. He brushes her hair off her face and looks up to this Carlos and smiles. I don’t know what it is about my baby brother right now but him being gentle to the bitch I just kick the crap out of is scaring the gang.

“Guy I know shit happened and my people are to blame and me more than them because I didn’t stop it but we can end all this,” Carlos tells Guy and Guy laughs a little.

“Yes, yes we can,” Guy stands up and holds his arms out leaning his head back,” Ready when you are.”

He wants them to shoot him, my brother is trying to get himself killed and I almost try to pull him back but they aren’t aiming at him or me for that matter. Nothing happens and now I see what Henry was talking about, he wants all of them to suffer. One of them, one who looks like he’s had his ass kicked a little bit and he’s standing in front of Guy.

“No, we’re not playing your game. You wanted a fight and I gave you one, you beat the shit out of me but we’re not coming after you. You won and made us look like assholes, isn’t that enough,” the kid asks Guy as he lowers his arms and I can see him smiling.

“No, you’re still here. See that’s what you don’t understand so I guess I have to explain it for the unenlightened. You broke me; year after year you sat there and humiliated me. You ruined any sense of escape I had and the whole time you laughed and thought nothing of it. Then ‘someone’ tries to kill me and all of a sudden everyone is calling you good people. A neighborhood watch group that is keeping the streets safe,” Guy begins and a few of them are embarrassed,” You’re not are you? Even after everyone knew what had been done to me they just wouldn’t believe you were anything other than good boys and girls looking out for their streets.”

“Guy we get it, alright. We were bad and nobody confessed to stabbing you or torturing you but maybe that’s because it wasn’t us. We’ve tried to talk to you, we’ve tried to reason with you…,” this kid with the beat up face is telling Guy and Guy stops him.

“How reasonable were you to stop when I said something about the beatings I took for three years? How much talking did you do to make peace with me before I was left for dead? See it’s only when there was a real consequence that all of you,” Guy turns his attention to the group.

“So what do you want, you want all of us to suffer and bleed because you did,” the beat up kid asks helping up the girl I belted.

“That would be the appetizer; I’m onto the entrée now. Next time you won’t see me, you will see your worst fears come to life and this will be marred in your memory as the last chance you had to stop all this,” Guy says it before turning around and smiling at me,” Sis it’s time to go.”

He strolls, I have to call it that, right up to me and holds his arm out for me to take and I do before we walk through the group and back to Daddy’s truck. We get in and drive away, the whole time I’m waiting to see who follows us and after about three streets Guy looks over at me and smiles.

“I love you, you are so not me it’s scary and I love that,” my baby brother says it and I have to keep from slamming on the brakes.

“You love me, after that you love me,” I ask and he nods lazily.

“I mean you have been so honest with me and I know I’m not alright in your mind and it makes no sense but you don’t care. You just stand there and go ‘okay, he’s my brother and let’s do this’,” Guy is resting his head on the window before he starts chuckling,” You took a belt to her.”

“I know, it just came to me,” I tell him and try not to laugh.

“Like their parents should have years ago, I get it, it makes perfect sense,” Guy is laughing as he tells me,” Better proof than DNA testing I figure.”

“You needed DNA proof,” I ask confused and he shakes his head.

I wanted to do a little more but Guy says head for home and I figure our day is pretty much over anyway. No cops or anything considering I beat the shit out of someone and punched a Mexican ganger in the face, they must not like calling the police which makes me ask why the fuck didn’t the police do shit about all this when my baby brother was bleeding in the street? We pull up to the house, his home but for me it’s the house my Momma lives in. I have a home up north and I’m gonna get my baby brother up there if it kills me. We’re not in the door for ten seconds when Mom comes out of the kitchen wondering why we’re home so early. I explain a little bit to Mom while Guy goes after Mark for his phone which he gets back. Mom and I talk a little more about where we went, I’m leaving out the ass kicking I gave a couple people obviously, and she doesn’t need to hear about that. We sit down to dinner and everyone is talking and going on about their days while my baby brother listens and smiles, he’s smiling and he’s having a good time. Everyone finishes their food and I find out that Dad was handling some business in town, ranch business and I immediately need to look over the papers. Daddy is a good man but his head for horses and business isn’t that great.

Henry Mulligan: Sunday Morning

My veterinarian is losing his shit and a few of my cows are laying down ready to die as my workers, the legitimate ones, can’t seem to figure out what the hell is wrong with my cattle. I have a couple of my hired hands looking into what the fuck is going on as I’ve got Jim on his way out to pay me a visit at home. I called him to come out because I hate heading into town for just one thing. My vet is on his way up to me and considering he’s sweating like a pig and it’s only nine thirty I’m pretty sure his fat balding ass has some answers.

“There’s something in there, not sure what but it’s in their water,” the vet informs me and I shake my head.

“Well can someone explain to me who the hell got onto my property and had enough time to poison the water,” I ask and I see a few hired hands looking at their boots,” About as useful as a horse with no legs.”

“I’m pretty sure whatever it is it was diluted by the water in the tower,” the vet explains and I have to ask.

“What do you mean the tower? Why weren’t you using the pumps,” I get the question out and one of the hands is quick to answer.

“They’re working on the pipe up the way so we have to use the tower,” the young hand informs me and I’m about to beat the lazy out of them.

“The tower is for emergencies like a damn fire. Not for watering animals, you get some buckets or a fucking hose and run it from a different spot. Who the fuck told you to use the tower,” I ask and again with the feet staring,” I don’t get an answer I’m gonna start firing people.”

“I did sir, the hose was a little messed up after the kid cleaned the stall yesterday,” the hand, a dirty faced young man, states and now I know part of my problem.

“So you used a perfectly good hose to pull a practical joke on the city boy and now my cows are sick? Am I getting all this right or do you want to add,” I ask and hear a hard worker calling from the water tower.

“Mr. Mulligan! There’s antifreeze in here, like five things of antifreeze,” and to prove it they come falling down from the top of the tower landing with a thud each one.

I don’t lose my temper often but this is someone screwing with my peace of mind and I’m not keen on shit like this happening at my home. In the city is fine but at home is unfuckingtolerable. I march over to the bottles and kick one, it’s nearly empty.

“So someone just walked around the grounds… got into a shed and took five bottles of antifreeze… then climbed up the top of the tower and dropped them in hoping to poison my cattle,” I ask and I really don’t think anyone should answer, however.

“Well we was using that one yesterday for a little clean up. It was after the kid we messed with was off with that girl who brung him,” the younger hand says and I want to punch the boy, I’m waiting for the right time.

“Doc, anything you can do about antifreeze,” I ask and he nods,” Don’t tell me just do it.”

I have the hands drain the tower into a basin to boil the water before dumping it; doc says boiling it will kill the antifreeze inside. Not sure if it will but dumping it straight will be worse. I’m walking through the stables and I see the calamity stable, I call it that after the boy lost his boots. I know that boy, he’s Delauter’s kid, and I knew it yesterday once we got his face cleaned up. That girl who brought him said they were related and she knew her stuff around a farm. I’m about to sit down for lunch when I hear a vehicle pull up to the house and only four people are allowed this close to the house. Jim is at my screen door with his granddaughter Vicki, she’s always been a good kid and my Helena looks at her like a role model, could do a lot worse. I have the girls make themselves scarce while Jim gets down to business.

“Things are quiet once again and we’re moving goods. Police are back doing their jobs and not getting in the way of our business,” Jim relates the good news and then says something I don’t quite understand,” I got a visit from the detective, the one that was looking into that boy who got stabbed.”

“Well shit, what the hell are we dealing with now? How far is she looking,” I have to ask and he shakes his head.

“That’s just it, she ain’t looking at me. She ain’t even looking at my runners. She came into the shop and cleared house before going into her theory about our boy. She thinks it was a few of her fellow officers that did the deeds,” Jim explains and I almost laugh.

“Really, is she grasping at straws or the brass ring,” I joke and he doesn’t laugh,” Oh don’t tell me you buy into this crap?”

“A few months ago I wouldn’t but after shaking down every single piece of shit and having a hunter brought in from up north just to make sure we find the people who helped start some of this shit we’ve been dealing with and even he’s turning up nothing. Add to it the victim is more dangerous than we thought and I’m thinking the detective might be onto something,” Jim sits back and I think for a moment.

“He was here yesterday. Came it with a girl who’s been coming by every couple days to ride. She was showing him the ropes of working with horses and a couple of the boys decided to mess with him when nobody was looking. Everyone had a good laugh till he opened his mouth. Even after cleaning him up and serving him lunch he wouldn’t even give me the courtesy of a ‘no hard feelings’ handshake. That boy needs a scapegoat fast or he’s going to do something that will get him killed,” I tell Jim and he nods.

We make a plan, the detective is off the list but I’m going to tap a few people through some people they owe and I’m going to get a few names as to who would do something like this just to get at Jim and the Union. We get things in order about the time Vicki and Helena come through the door with all the energy two young ladies would. Jim’s only been her an hour and he’s already heading back to town and I sit alone have to think before turning to my daughter.

“Helena, that boy yesterday? What did you think of him,” I ask and immediately she has to think.

“Well he was cute, but so angry. I mean it was a joke and he just couldn’t take a joke. So he lost some boots and his clothes were pretty much done but still it’s a joke,” my daughter relays her thoughts.

“I got a bad feeling about this kid. This is exactly why I didn’t want you in public schools,” I joke a little but it’s true.

Guy: Late Sunday afternoon

A little time, care and planning. Okay a little more than before but I didn’t get a lay of the land and now I am getting ready. Time with Gwen was good, I get to say that and mean it too. She was so honest and we completely understand each other and how our parents screwed shit up for our family but still they care and that’s important.


More important than you think and you were cheering his sister when she was all over that girl.

Yeah because shit was getting done, now shit isn’t getting done.

How many times do I have to tell you read the playbook?

Right now I have a date I’m preparing for and I figure my blue suit and red tie should do nicely but a black shirt just to keep things neutral as I make my way downstairs. Mom knows I’m heading out and I see Mr. Delauter and Dad, again with the weird factor, talking as I say when I’ll be back and get in my car and head off to pick up my date. I don’t have to wait in the car when I get there and I don’t instead opting to greet her at the door. As always she’s is dressed to kill this time in a one piece black dress and her hair done in pulled back curls. I escort her to my car and then we go for our drive. I don’t know where we’re going just yet as she asks the most obvious question.

“So you said we had something to do before dinner,” she asks and I nod.

“I need you to meet some people, they’re kind of like us and you need to remember who I am and decide who you need to be because scared female won’t save you and neither will I tonight,” I tell her and watch her shift in her seat out of the corner of my eye.

I don’t say anymore, she should have figured that when she stated she saw things my way that my way wasn’t just for one night and if I’m going to get any real support for what comes next then I need the worst working for me. I find where they are, it’s difficult since I’m not a genius at finding crazy.

Can I just say that I love this.

You have… at great length… and I am tired of it.

Well get used to it. I fucking love this.

I step out of my car and don’t wait long for the almost forty bikers and generally unwashed masses surround me. I recognize the tall black one with the white face paint and the one that looks like he’s crying but I’m waiting for their leader and before long they part and he makes his way over to me in all his bearded crazed glory.

“Almost thought you weren’t ever coming,” Gabriel says running his fingers through his oily beard.

“I heard you, more than a little. When you pray you’re doing it wrong. I don’t hear prayers I hear screams,” I tell him as the passenger in my car opens her door and steps out.

I can feel them watch her; she is breathtaking after all as she steps forward. More than a few of Gabriel’s people are staring but it’s the big black one with the bad face paint is first to move towards her. He reaches his hand out towards her and she turns her gaze on him and smiles.

“I’ll take that hand little one,” Jenna tells him with a smile,” You’re makeup is running.”

Talk about self conscious, Jenna says four words to him and he’s holding his face and backing away from her. I smile and Gabriel looks between Jenna and I and now he’s smiling.

“You brought a demon with you,” he says and I keep smiling.

“She’s… special, she has that way around others,” I tell Gabriel as Jenna makes her way to a cowering giant.

“Bring me your things, we need to fix your face… don’t we,” Jenna asks him forcefully and he nods before running off.

His run is more of a panic and he comes back with a sack, a plastic sack of what could be either makeup or paint. Don’t care which as she has him kneeling so she can work her magic.

“Now the key to being beautiful is the pain. You love it but then you ran from me because your face was fading. Now we’re going to keep that face, that’s your secret isn’t it,” Jenna asks and he nods,” See admitting it to others like you is good. Now let’s put a smile back on that face.”

I let her work while I pull Gabriel aside and explain to him how good it was that he recognized me when he did. He asks me about his father and I just smile. I had that suspicion and it’s paying dividends. I come to the crux of my problem and he’s all ears.

“I am not as strong as I would be if I were… home. I will need you soon but you need to keep your heads down and not make waves,” I explain and he cocks his head to the side curious.

“Point us and we will lay a river of blood where they live,” Gabriel offers and I see several of his people nodding.

“Fear is a powerful thing is it not? Did you know there is no fear in hell,” I say it and everyone stops,” You don’t have anything more to fear because you know with all certainty what will happen. You know the fire will come. You know you will be ripped asunder. These are the same as breathing is here. I want them afraid and when I call I want you to remind them why there is fear on this world.”

They like that; especially Gabriel who smiles big and I check Jenna who shows me the tall black one’s face. She’s done a pretty good job making look more like a clown and not the friendly kind. I nod approval and she returns his ‘make up’ to the bag and smiles down at him.

“Now you are beautiful, just like me. Run along and remember, smile,” Jenna takes to this very well, she definitely deserved that scholarship.

I bid Gabriel farewell and hand him a burner phone so I can reach him directly when I need him before getting the door for Jenna and once both of us are in my car we head out to dinner. I take Jenna back to the Hilton Hotel Restaurant and we’re seated and just ordered when she stops everything placing her hand on mine.

“They were insane. I’m not saying like you, you’re refined and focused. They are animals,” she says and I smile.

“And I’m going to use those animals to take care of my problems. I can’t use them for everything but I am certain that they will have a use,” I explain and she smiles a little.

“So you have enforcers now but you still haven’t started any real fires,” Jenna calling me out on the floor?

“No and I won’t accept an ‘A’ for effort either. But I did expose that false boyfriend of yours,” I counter and she is quick to respond.

“Ex-boyfriend… and yes you did and you did damage to Carlos’s little crew but there is no blood or fire. Why not just start the damn fire and let them come for you,” she says and we stop as we’re served.

“Because they’ve been coming for me for three years, I’m going to put myself in their faces and watch them back down,” I tell her before cutting into my steak.

“Good, I know you are eager to get things done but I just like to hear you say it. And earlier was fun, a little frightening but fun never the less,” Jenna answers with a wicked smile.

Why aren’t we fucking her?

Too easy and she doesn’t make him feel like other’s have.



I dare you to say that again knowing what I am capable of.

And I dare you to not tell me about the ‘softer’ emotions as you call them. I have never stepped into your world of violence and pain. Do NOT overstep into mine.

Alright, there’s some fire in you. Glad t