Later, all the adults had no choice but to leave the hospital. The powers that be were just too strong. They all met back at Grandma Bennett’s house. As they gathered in the living room, Brielle wiped away tears.
“Jesus God!” she cried as Malcolm took her in his arms.
“Brielle, honey, listen! Now, you have to calm down. It’s gonna be alright! Those brutes finally stepped over the line tonight and, just like old Johnny Crabtree, they’ll get theirs! Honey, The Lord’s got us! It’s going to be alright!” Grandma Bennett pleaded anxiously.
Brielle turned and looked at her grandmother.
“Really, Grandma? Is it really going to be alright? My job is burned to the ground! My fifteen-year-old daughter has had weed planted on her, then gotten into a car wreck with her boyfriend! She’s now in the hospital, and, along with her boyfriend, about to be charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell. And the law around here won’t let me see her! They won’t let me be with her! My daughter is in the hospital…alone! But they won’t let me see her! And all this shit has happened in one night! One night, Grandma! CPS and the Truancy department have been breathing down my neck over my homeschooling the kids and accusing me of keeping them out of school when they know damned well that they’re in an accredited home school! They’re looking for any reason- any reason to take away my kids!” Brielle went on pitifully as her voice continued to break, “And you stand there and tell me that it’s gonna be alright! Well, I don’t think so!”
Brielle’s Faith is Shaken
As Brielle talked, tears streamed down her face. Grandma Bennett calmly continued.
“Honey, you read the book, they did the same thing to Shannon McGregor. They took her kids too, but she got them back, Brielle. She got them back, honey!” Grandma explained.
“Yeah, she did, Grandma! But I’m not Shannon McGregor, Grandma! I don’t have the money that she had! Hell! I’m not rich! I’m just a middle-class, divorced, single mother busting her ass, trying to eek out a living to support my kids and put them through home school! And don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Shannon had the resources to fight for her children and get them out of here before anything bad happened to them! I’m glad she got them all to safety and I’ll never begrudge her for that! But I don’t have those kinds of resources! I can’t pay for some marine warhorse and some ex-CIA guy to come rescue me and my kids! Shannon had the resources and the connections to fight those bastards! I don’t!” Brielle cried, “They burned me out of a job and Atticus out of business! All I have now is a house, a vehicle, and a four-thousand-dollar monthly child support check to keep us all afloat! That’s it!”
“Sweetheart, it could be worse. Just remember that, okay,” Grandma said softly.
“You’re right! It could be worse! And there’s possibility that it could get worse! What if they decide to burn my house down like they did Shannon’s? Yes, Grandma. I’m very aware that things could get worse…a lot worse. And to tell you the truth, I’m bracing for it!” Brielle said as she sat down on the sofa, put her face in her hands, and began silently sobbing. Her back and chest heaved with each sob.
Brielle Realizes that She is Powerless
Marcelle sat on one side of Brielle and pressed her head against her chest as she cried. Malcolm sat on the other side of her and rubbed her shoulder. Grandma knelt in front of her and placed a loving hand on her knee.
“I understand, honey. But pray about it. Just pray, Brielle! Get down on your knees, baby! And pray to The Lord and let Him handle it. Let Him be the One to rescue you and these babies,” Grandma gently suggested.
“I don’t have time to wait on God, Grandma. Sometimes, He runs a little slow! And sometimes He doesn’t act at all! I’ll try my best to believe but that’s all I can muster right now,” Brielle sobbed.
Brielle then leaned forward and put her elbows on her knees.
“They always go after the kids, don’t they? If they hate you, bully you, and can’t get you to bend or break, the next thing they do is come after your babies. They come after the people you love most,” she said as her voice trailed off, her eyes glazed over, and she seemed to drift off into space.
Upstairs, Jesse, John, and Jerome opened the gun cabinet. Jesse took out one shotgun.
Jesse and the Boys Prepare for the Worst
“Here ya go, Dad!” he said as he tossed the shotgun to him, before taking out another and handing it to Jerome. They opened the chamber to see two shells nestled inside, then closed it. Jesse took a third shotgun and also checked the chamber. He also took out a Glock nine and checked it too. He then looked at the other two men.
“I don’t know guys, but I have a feeling things are about to get reeeeal ugly,” he said in a dreadful tone, “we need to stay on guard around our homes at all times. I’m going to go fetch my wife, then be posted at Brielle’s house. Dad, you take that gun and stay with Mom. Jerome, you go get your wife and bring her here. Both of y’all can stay here with Grandma. If you see anybody strange poking around, don’t shoot but watch them. If they do any funny business or come inside any of these houses, you know what to do. But make sure they’re all the way in the house before you blast their ass!”
Jesse looked at the clock. It was three in the morning.