Meanwhile, Jane, shivering in the chilly morning air, ran deeper and deeper into the woods, making sure to stay away from the roads just in case the wrong people were to drive by and spot her. Her body warmed up as she ran faster. A sense of panic flooded her head. She knew that her mother had escaped jail but did not know where she was. She had to get to someone she trusted. She had to find her way back to Grandma Bennett, Uncle Jesse, Kim, Popeye, someone she knew who would protect her in her mother’s absence. And she had to tell them where they could find Olivia, Roxie, Bruce, Brenda, Andy, Kelsey McGregor, and several others who were who remained locked away in an underground dungeon near Opaque Lake. Then they had to find Baby Kennedy!
Jane on the Run
When Atticus and Jo arrived back at the house, the sun was rising, and they prepared to get some sleep. Jo slept upstairs in one of the guest rooms. Atticus, suspecting that the law might show up, looking for Brielle, slept downstairs, on his living room sofa. And sure enough, his suspicions were correct.
Atticus was sleeping soundly when he was startled awake by the beating and pounding on the door. He shot up on the sofa and looked at the clock on the wall. It was just after two-thirty in the afternoon. He and Jo had been asleep for approximately eight hours.
“Sheriff’s department! Open up!” called the voice of Ashton Childers.
A Knock at the Door
Atticus rubbed his eyes, then swung his legs and feet off the sofa and unto the floor. Dressed only in a tee shirt, boxers, and socks, he reached for his pants, which were crumpled on the floor beside the sofa with his belt still in the belt loops. The belt buckle jingled loudly as Atticus quickly put on his pants and began fastening them.
Jo sleepily crept down the stairs in her pajamas. Atticus looked to see her.
“Go back upstairs,” he whispered while waving her away.
Then, another cluster of loud fist pounds against the door.
“We ain’t gonna tell you again, Carpenter! Open the goddam door!” Bobby shouted from outside.
On the Hunt for Brielle
“Why don’t you give me time to get to the door, you fucking assholes!” Atticus yelled back as he finished zipping and fastening his pants, then buckled his belt. He then threw on his flannel shirt but didn’t bother to button it before answering the door.
He opened the door to find Bobby, Ashton, and three more deputies on his front porch. Bobby and Ashton looked Atticus up and down.
“Damn, Atticus! You look like hell!” Bobby remarked.
“No shit, Bobby! I was taking a nap! Now, what do you assholes want?” Atticus shot back.
“We got a fugitive on the loose. She escaped my jail last night. You know her, her name’s Brielle Markowitz. You wouldn’t happen to know where she is, would you, Atticus?” Ashton asked in a suspicious tone.
The Sheriff Questions Atticus
“How the fuck would I know where she is? Hell, if she’s smart, she’s probably out of the county by now!” Atticus answered rudely.
“Oh, I doubt that. She wouldn’t leave this county without her kids,” Bobby said, “Now, where is she?”
“I just told you I don’t know!” Atticus thundered, “Have you tried Mrs. Bennett’s house?”
“We just came from there and she’s nowhere on the Bennett property. Mind if we come in and take a look around and search your property?” Ashton asked.
“Damn skippy, I mind! ‘You got a search warrant?” Atticus growled.
“Nope. But we can get one!” Bobby said with a smirk.
“Then get one! And until you do, get the hell off my land!” Atticus smart-mouthed before backing into the house and slamming the door in the crooked lawmen’s faces.
Sheriff Bobby Kicked off the Property
Atticus stood a few feet from the window as Jo came downstairs and joined him. They watched through the window as the multitude of squad cars left the property. As soon as they were out of sight, Atticus turned to Jo and gently took her by the shoulders.
“Get dressed and stay here at the house because you can be sure those assholes will be back in an hour or two with a warrant. In the meantime, I’ve got to head to Memphis. Shannon and the Bledsoe’s plane will be landing there at about five o’clock. If the sheriff and his minions come back, shoot me a text. The last thing we need is for me to pull up with the Bledsoe’s and the cops be here,” Atticus told her.
Malcolm and Atticus Partner Up
He took out his cell and dialed. Then placed the phone to his ear and paused before speaking.
“Malcolm, it’s Atticus. Are you ready to go?” He asked.
“Okay. We’ll need your truck. There will be six, maybe seven people to pick up at the airport. I won’t be able to fit them all in my truck and their luggage. I’m gonna need an extra vehicle. I’ll meet you in Bush County at the old Wagon Wheel restaurant, then from there, you can follow me to the airport. I would have you meet me here, but just in case someone’s watching this place, it’s better that you leave right now, and be at the old Wagon Wheel when I get there. I should be there about five to fifteen minutes after you. Got it?”
A strategic Plan
Atticus hung up and stuffed his phone in the case that was clipped to his belt. He then buttoned up his shirt and tucked it into his pants before taking a comb out of his pocket and running it through his hair. He looked at Jo.
“Remember, text me if the cops pull up. If they show you a warrant, let them in. If they need to search the property, let them do so,” he instructed.
“I just thought of something, Atticus. If they search the property, what if one of them walks across the bunker doors? If that happens, you know they’re going to feel a difference in the ground,” Jo reminded.
A Cop Behind Malcolm
“Just pray like the dickens they don’t, Jo. I don’t have the answers to everything, Sis. There are some things you just have no choice but to leave in God’s hands,” Atticus said before grabbing his keys.
Atticus nonchalantly walked out of the house, got into his vehicle, and started down the driveway.
Meanwhile, Malcolm was headed down Highway 72, not far from Bush County, when he looked in his rearview mirror to see a sheriff’s car following close behind the back bumper of his pickup truck. Though the deputy’s emergency lights were not flashing, it was little consolation to Malcolm.
“Aww, shit! What the hell?” Malcolm groaned as he picked up his phone and dialed.
As Atticus pulled onto the road, a call came through. He grabbed his cell from the case on his belt and answered after three rings.
“Malcolm, what’s up?”
“Atticus, I’m driving down Hwy 72. I just passed the Sugar Village exit and I’m about six miles from the Bush County line,” Malcolm’s concerned voice sounded on the other end, “I got a cop on my tail, a sheriff’s car.”
“Shit! Does he have his lights on?” Atticus responded.
“Nope. He’s just following me and he’s riding my ass,” Malcolm answered.
“Then keep driving and act natural. Don’t let him rattle you. They’re out looking for Brielle so, they’re keeping an eye on us all- me, you, Grandma Bennett, Jesse, Kim, everyone who’s associated with Brielle. Just make sure you’re driving the speed limit. Once you cross the Bush County line, he’ll turn around and head back the other way,” Atticus advised, “I just left the house so my ETA at the Wagon Wheel should be about twenty minutes. Just hang tight.”
“Gotcha, Atticus. See ya there,” Malcolm said before hanging up.
Minutes later, Malcolm crossed over into Bush County. He looked through his rearview mirror and, sure enough, the deputy turned around and headed back the opposite direction, prompting him to sigh with relief.