The Second Vow of Chastity Baker C2

Group of happy friends cheering with wine and beers at boat party. Diverse men and women having drinks at sunset yacht party.

Chapter 2

A New Life

 

The next morning, the newlyweds took a flight to the Florida Keys for their honeymoon. Having only flown once, plane rides was still a new experience for Chas, and she loved it. Charlie made sure to give his new wife the window seat. The flight from Memphis to Miami was a two-hour flight giving Chas plenty of time to admire the view of the clouds and earth below. Just a few years before, she never thought that she would see outside the city limits of Memphis and now, having been to the Maldives with her girlfriends just four months prior, she was getting the privilege of flying to another tropical destination.

Chas could not keep her head out of the window. She stared in awe at the sea of billowing clouds just below them. The morning sun shone brightly in the East.

“Oh, Charlie look at those clouds! It looks like there’s no end to them! “Chas said in amazement.

Charlie just sat there and smiled, enjoying seeing his new wife gaze out of the window and stare out into the vast sea of clouds with child-like wonder. He beamed, pleased to be the man who was giving Chas the pleasure to experience things she had always dreamed of experiencing but had never had the chance. He watched, feeling very much like a superhero as Chas continued gazing at the world below, cooing over the view.

“Wait until you see the ground. It looks nice too!” Charlie told her.

Off on Their Honeymoon

Soon, the clouds had reduced to only a few white speckles and Chas could see the earth below.

“Wow!” She marveled in a whisper.

The ground looked like a vast quilt with squares, rectangles, and other shapes of different colors of green, brown, red, and orange. The roads were just tiny, bright white lines drawn across the squares. She could also see bodies of water which looked like small mirrors of glass reflecting the sun. Then she looked across the blue sky to see the occasional distant white trails of vapor left behind by other aircraft that had left their mark. Chas could not get enough.

She couldn’t see any people or automobiles because they were too far up. But during the descent before landing, Chas could finally focus on the automobiles that moved down the veinous network of highways and roads below. They reminded her of a long trail of ants from an anthill, looking for a picnic.

The Flight

After they landed, the newly married couple rushed through the crowded airport, through the exit and finally caught a cab. It would be a few hours before their Cessna was scheduled to depart for Key West and they decided to do some shopping at a few of the marketplaces near the airport. On the way back to the airport to board the Cessna, Chas stared out the window, mesmerized by the outside surroundings.

“My, gosh! The last time I saw so many palm trees was in the Maldives with Tori and the girls back in December! Oh, I just love palm trees!” She gushed with the excitement of a child on Christmas Morning.

Charlie smiled, loving the fact that Chas appreciated life more than most women. Because she had experienced such a hard way in life, she never took anything for granted like most people tend to. Her appreciation for her new blessings was as pure as the heart of a newborn babe and Charlie only wanted to give her more.

“Wait until we get to the beach!” He said softly, running his fingers through her curls.

The overweight but friendly cabby looked at them through his rear-view mirror.

I take it that it’s your first time being in Florida,” he chirped.

The Florida Keys

“It is.” Chas answered back.

“This is our honeymoon. I’m taking her to the beach this afternoon,” Charlie told him.

“Congratulations, both of you,”

“I just bought a swimsuit, cover and a couple of beach towels,” Chas chirped as she dug through her shopping bags and took out one of the pretty beach towels to show Charlie.

Charlie’s father had given them five thousand dollars spending money for a wedding present. Soon, the couple boarded the Cessna and were in the air again. Chas did just as she had done during the flight to Miami. She could not stop gazing out the window.

During the first day of their honeymoon, they checked into their hotel, then went shopping at a nearby shopping mall. They ate their meals in the hotel cafeteria. Later, they went to the beach. Chas had only seen the beach once and once was not enough. She had become addicted to the sights of white beaches, clear blue water, palm trees and sunny skies. Unable to keep her eyes off her new surroundings, Chas eyed the palm trees, then looked back at her husband.

“Where are the coconuts?” She asked him.

The Beach

“I don’t know. Either it isn’t the right season for them, or we’re not far enough south. I think we have to be within the tropics and closer to the equator to see coconuts, honey,” he told her.

As they walked across the hot sand, Charlie carried two lawn chairs and Chas toted a bag carrying their beach towels, suntan lotion, and sunshades. He stopped and set up the lawn chairs, covering them with the beach towels while his bride stared in awe at the ocean in front of them. She could not believe how blue the water was. The ocean was a beautiful aqua color. And the sand on the beach was a snowy white color.

After setting up their spot on the beach and slathering each other down with suntan lotion, Charlie and Chas ran toward the ocean and got into the water, jumping the waves and bodysurfing. Wading chest-deep in the ocean, Chas looked down at her feet, completely amazed. The water was so clear, so free of sediment, it was as if she were looking through glass. She could see her feet and the white sand beneath them so clearly! She watched as a huge school of tiny fish swim around her ankles with their silvery scales and fins seeming to glisten in the light of the sun. When they grew tired of swimming, Charlie and Chas walked along the beach, hand in hand, listening to the seagulls cry and the crashing wave.

Beautiful Sounds of Seagulls

The newlywed couple spent their second, third, and fourth days on the beach, where they both sunbathed and swam, taking small breaks in between to rub each other’s backs down with suntan lotion. On the fifth and sixth days, they spent their time at an amusement park, riding roller coasters and eating cotton candy. The last night before going back to Tennessee, Charlie and Chas took a twilight stroll on the beach.

It was a beautiful night. The stars twinkled in the sky as the ocean breeze blew gentle gusts through their hair. A full moon lit up the sky like day and glinted beautifully on the ocean. They both felt inner peace while hearing the waves roll onto the sandy beach.

“Oh, Charlie! This is such a beautiful place. I don’t want to leave,” Chas cooed.

“I don’t either, honey. But we must go home tomorrow. We must pack so that we can move to Nashville to be near my family,” Charlie replied.

“Oh, well. Who knows? Maybe we can retire here one day,” Chas gushed.

“Ya never know,” Charlie said as he slipped his arm around her shoulders and they walked on.

Moving From Memphis to Nashville

The next morning, Charlie and Chas prepared to leave the Keys. It would be a honeymoon that they would never forget. The next two weeks were spent packing to move to Nashville. Charlie gave a notice of transfer to the MPD. He would be transferring to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

On his last day at the Memphis police department, Charlie was given a going away party by his fellow officers. His fellow officers would miss him very much. Charlie and Chas had already moved their belongings to Nashville, where Charlie’s father had them put into storage. Early the next morning, the happy couple left for their new home. On the way, Charlie and Chas talked and looked at the scenery. They made several stops along the way, Cuba Landing on the Tennessee River, Loretta Lynn’s place, the Buffalo River, all for sight-seeing.

“Before I left for the Maldives with the girls last December, I had never been outside of Memphis. Traveling is such a new experience for me, and I love it. I have always wanted to travel, to get out and see the world. And praise God! It’s happening now!” Chas said, beaming with excitement.

The Trip

“Well, you and I are going to do a lot of traveling over the next few years. I promise you that,” Charlie said with a smile as he glanced at Chas off and on while driving down the interstate.

After about four hours of driving and making frequent stops, Charlie and Chas arrived in Nashville at about noon and spent the night in a hotel. After a refreshing nights’ sleep, Charlie and Chas drove to the home of Charlie’s’ family at around nine the next morning.

Chas was surprised to find that Charlie’s’ family was very wealthy.

Charlie drove out of the metropolitan area and into a countryside of rolling rolls and windy roads. After fifteen minutes of driving through country, Charlie made a turn and pulled onto a long driveway which was about a half-mile long. Chas looked ahead and could see a huge white plantation style mansion with swimming pool. She paused and gave Charlie a puzzled look.

“Is this where you grew up, Charlie?” She asked in amazement.

“It is,” Charlie answered with a smile.

A Huge Surprise

The mansion sat on a huge dude ranch with several beautiful horses. In the front of the house was a huge porch and balcony, garnished by several white pillars. The Riddick’s owned well over three hundred acres of land. The vast acreage was a huge green carpet of grass. Off to the east of the house, on a hill sat a huge red barn with white trim. At the foot of the hill, on the east side of the barn, was the shady lot and stables where the horses were kept. The rest was just flat countryside for as far as Chas could see, with foothills barely visible on the horizon.

Maurice, Charlie’s’ father, was a big-time businessman. He was co-owner of Jarrett & Riddick Advertising. Charlie introduced his new bride to the maids of the Riddick household, Anita and Celestine. Chas was amazed but managed to contain it. She greeted the maids with a ‘hello’, smile and handshake, then looked at Charlie and smiled, wide-eyed and full of anticipation of their future together.

Afterwards, Charlie led Chas upstairs to their new bedroom, and the maids entered, carrying their suitcases and sat them down at the foot of the Alaskan king-sized bed before excusing themselves. Chas looked around the huge bedroom and noticed the fireplace, the huge bed, the huge private bathroom and the French doors which led outside. Chas walked over to the French doors and opened them to reveal a beautiful veranda furnished with white, wicker-style patio furniture.

Getting to Know the In-Laws

“Oh my gosh! This is beautiful!” Chas gushed. She then turned to Charlie and he walked up to her and put his arms around her.

“Charlie, you never told me about any of this. I had no idea that you came from privileged beginnings,” she said in astonishment.

“You never asked,” he reminded her.

“Of course, I did. Remember? Off and on, I asked about how you grew up? What values you were taught, what school you went to…you know? Things like that,” Chas continued.

“But you never asked about our lifestyle and I just didn’t think to tell you,” Charlie replied.

“True. But anyone worth their salt wouldn’t ask questions like that. So, is this where we’re going to live?”

“For the time being. Until we find a place of our own.”

Charlie grabbed a blanket and took Chas around the estate. He showed her the stables where the horses were and introduced her to the ranchers who worked for the family. Chas was taken by the horses.

“The horses are beautiful,” Chas said as she stroked the mane of one of the horses.

“Maybe after dinner, we can go horseback riding. Are you game or lame?” Charlie offered with a grin.

The Ranch

“You know I’m game,” Chas chirped, “But I don’t know how to ride a horse, never even been on a horse.”

“I’ll teach you how or you can take lessons,” Charlie assured.

Charlie took Chas to the lake, where they sat on the blanket and talked, while watching the ducks swim on the water.

“Wow! I’m totally floored by all this! Back in Memphis, you and I both lived in crummy apartments, and I figured that when we got married, we’d live in just another crummy apartment,” Chas admitted. “Your family has so much, Charlie. I can’t help but wonder how they felt about your living in a two-room apartment?”

“Well, they didn’t like it, of course. But I’m not the type of guy who lives off my family’s fortune,” Charlie told her, “And besides, Mom and Dad haven’t always been this well off. Believe it or not, they both came from poverty. They grew up dirt poor.”

They got up, before Charlie took up their blanket and led Chas to the big red barn, where the two climbed up to the hay loft. There, Charlie spread the blanket across the plush, sweet-smelling hay. He and Chas laid across the blanket and nestled against one another. Charlie wrapped his arms around her and drew her nearer to him.

Charlie Tells Chas about His Years Growing Up

“My dad went into partnership with a guy he grew up with and they started a business together. My dad worked his tail off…I mean busted his hump to get us where we are now. It wasn’t always easy. My dad worked long hours to get the business of the ground…sometimes up to eighteen hours a day. There were years when dad was hardly ever home and it was hard on my mom and my older siblings.”

Chas listened attentively as he talked about life growing up. Charlie then looked down at his new wife and ran his fingers through her hair. As their lips touched, he cradled her cheek with one hand. Chas unbuttoned his shirt and pressed her lips against his chest. He loved her tenderly, caressing and cradling her as he showered her flawless face with kisses until she felt dizzy. Chas ran her fingers up his back and through his hair. After lovemaking, they lay beside each other in the afterglow and took a thirty-minute nap.

When it was close to dinnertime, Charlie and Chas got dressed and walked back to that thirty-six-room house. As they walked, Chas had some questions to ask Charlie.

“Charlie, I don’t understand. Not that I don’t appreciate your being a cop, but your family has so much. Why didn’t you just become a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a business man, like your father? I figured that most people that came from wealthy families usually followed in their parents’ footsteps,” she said softly.

Charlie, the Blacksheep of the Family

“Well, it’s funny you said that. My parents did want me to go into the business field like Daddy. But my dream was to become a police officer. Ever since I was a small boy, I have wanted to be a cop,” Charlie said.

“I’ll bet that your parents were disappointed when you told them that you wanted to be a cop.”

“Yes. They were. But I couldn’t pick a career that I wouldn’t be happy with. No. Cops don’t get paid much. But it’s what I do best. It’s what I enjoy,” Charlie explained.

They stopped walking and gazed into each other’s eyes. Charlie cupped Chas’ face in his hands. Without saying a word, they continued to gaze into each other’s eyes.

When the happy newlyweds arrived back at the house, Anita was just putting dinner on the table. Charlie’s’ mother, Isabelle had already started to worry about them.

“Where have you two been? I haven’t seen hide nor hair of you two almost all day,” Isabelle complained.

“I was just showing Chas around the property,” Charlie replied.

Charlie had a large family. The entire family lived in the same household. There were Maurice and Isabelle, Charlie’s’ parents, and his oldest and alcoholic brother, Jim and his wife Lucretia. He had a second oldest brother, Jake and his wife, Katrina. And he had two sisters, Chelsea, who was married to Christopher, and Brooke, the baby of the family, who was single and in college.

A Large Family

“Charlie, son! Glad you and Chas could join us for dinner,” greeted Maurice.

They all sat down to dinner. After saying grace, the family enjoyed lobster, boiled shrimp, stuffed peppers, and zucchini squash. For dessert, Anita served cheesecake with blueberry topping.

The Second Vow of Chastity Baker, C1

The Second Vow of Chastity Baker

Chapter 1

Preparations

“Okay! The church is booked, the reception is booked here at The Rotunda, the wedding cakes are ordered, my bridal gown and the bridesmaids dresses are ordered and ready, I have Charlie’s wedding ring…Oh Lord! What else? I know there are things I’m forgetting! Ugh!” Chas cried out of frustration, running around with the checklist in her hand, “Tori, what am I forgetting!”

“Chas! Calm down! Just sit down and rest, honey! We’re working on it! It’s all coming together! You’ll see!” Tori called back while helping to decorate the ballroom at the Rotunda.

“Great! And I want to make sure the wedding cake is complete in time!” Chas called back from the kitchen.

“Come on, Chas! Relax, girl!” Camille, another lady from the group urged. A third woman from the group, Emily gently grabbed Chas by the shoulders while Sandy, a fourth, pulled out a chair for Chas to sit in. Emily took Chas by the shoulders and gently guided her to the chair.

Pre-Wedding Day Jitters

“Sit down! Rest! We’ve got this!” Emily urged as Chas took a seat, sighed and rubbed her forehead.

“I just want this wedding to be perfect!” She sighed.

“A perfect wedding is like a perfect world- there is no such thing,” Sandy reminded her.

“Oh, come on, I need positivity around me right now,” Chas whined.

“Girl, if you don’t hush, we’re going to have to put you on the next episode of ‘Bridezillas’!” Emily began.

Chas chortled.

“Alright, alright. You ladies are doing a fantastic job. I guess I’m a little nervous,” Chas admitted, chuckling.

“Honey, you’ve just got the pre-wedding jitters. We all get those.” Tori chirped, “My sister was a nervous wreck during the week before her wedding. Trust me, what you’re feeling is completely normal. That’s why we want you to take a breather.”

A Spring Wedding

It was Springtime in Memphis and there were two weeks left before the big day arrived. Chastity Diane Baker, soon to be Mrs. Charles Riddick, was busy checking off her checklist of wedding necessities. Tori and the ladies from the S.A.S.H.E. (Students Against Sexual Harassment Everywhere) a group from the college Chas attended and whom held meetings every first Saturday of every month on campus, was busy helping Chas prepare for her upcoming wedding.

To save up for the coming wedding, Chas had taken a second job at the hospital as a nurses’ assistant. On top of two jobs, she was looking forward to starting Nursing School at the University of Tennessee – Nashville in the fall.

Finally, the big day arrived. Charlie’s’ family had make the three-hour trip from Nashville to Memphis, to attend the wedding. At eight that morning, Chas rose from her bed and walked over to her mirror and stared at her reflection for a moment, feeling blissfully happy. She could not believe that the most special day of her life had finally arrived.

“I’m finally going to be Mrs. Charles Riddick. Hmmmm, Chas Baker- Chas Riddick. That definitely has a nice ring to it. Chas Riddick!”

The Day Has Finally Arrived

It was a beautiful morning with the sun shining brightly in the sky. The flowers were blooming and the sweet fragrance of spring filled the air. Birds were singing sweetly in the trees. Chas concluded that she and Charlie could not have picked a better day to get married.

She had to be at the church at ten o’clock. Earl would arrive to pick her up at nine thirty.
She showered and fixed her hair into a French bun and wisps of bangs in the front. She put on her make up, then slipped into her gown and put on her veil. Chas wanted to look perfect for this occasion.

When she was finished preparing herself for her husband to be, she looked in the mirror. Chas loved what she saw. She was decked in a snow white long flowing satin wedding gown with a laced bodice, long train, and V-shaped collar. Her veil was made of white pearls and lace. Before long, Earl arrived to take Chas to her wedding.

There were several guests at the wedding, including Lt. Jenkins and some of Charlie’s’ fellow officers. Sandra was there also.

When the wedding ceremony began, Earl escorted Chas down the aisle as the organist played ‘The Bridal March’. As Chas slowly walked down the aisle, she thought of her brother, Ricky.

Missing Ricky

“I wish he could be here for this,” She thought sadly, “My little brother should be walking down this isle with me. He should be the person giving me away to my husband, not Earl.” Chas had tried so hard to get her brother out of the situation he was in. She never believed for a second that Ricky wasn’t trying. Every time she had gone to Memphis to visit her brother, he had lost yet another crummy job and was still living with his girlfriend. And now he was so broke that he could not make the trip to be at her wedding and she knew Ricky really wanted to be there. How her heart ached! Chas only hoped that having to bounce from job to job was the worst of his problems.

The organist began playing Clarke’s “The Prince of Denmark’s March”. As she slowly made her way down the aisle between the rows of pews with Earl escorting her, Chas could see a beaming Charlie waiting at the alter with the minister, decked in his formal police uniform. When Earl and Chas arrived at the altar, Charlie joined arms with his bride and they both faced the minister. She slowed her breathing as the butterflies swarmed in her stomach.

The minister opened his Bible.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and this woman in the holy bonds of matrimony…” began the minister.

Wedding Vows

As the minister continued, Charlie and Chas looked at each other and smiled. They were full of anticipation, so full of hope of things to come. Their future together looked so bright. The happy couple were so eager for the minister to get to the part where Charlie would kiss his bride. They were overwhelmed with happiness. Chas stood there and cried tears of joy.

When the ring bearer presented the rings, the happy and hopeful couple each took one and Charlie placed the wedding band on his bride’s finger before saying his vows. Once he was finished, it was Chas’ turn to say hers. She looked lovingly at her husband-to-be as she took her vows.

“…I now pronounce you, husband, and wife. You may kiss the bride.” said the minister.
Charlie took Chas in his arms and kissed her gently.

During the reception, the entire Riddick family got to meet Charlie’s’ new bride. A huge luncheon was held at The Rotunda. The inside of the ballroom was decorated with huge white bows in every corner. Each table was covered with a white satin table cover and topped with a beautiful white candle surrounded with baby’s’ breath in the center. Everything was garnished with pink and white roses and baby’s’ breath. Candles were lit, giving off a romantic setting and there was plenty to eat. A long buffet contained barbecued and fried chicken, pork chops, country style ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, beef steaks, and other foods. Desserts and beverages were also among the smorgasbord of different foods. A huge wedding cake sat in a corner behind the buffet, trimmed with yellow roses and surrounded by bowls of nuts, mints, and wedding punch. The sounds of beautiful music filled the air.

The Reception

Charlie and Chas took the first slice of cake. The newlyweds fed each other their first bites as the guests took pictures. Then, they picked up their glasses of wedding punch and gave each other a sip of the other’s glasses.

Chas reflected on the night she’d met Charlie, just a few years earlier, which was the night he’d arrested her for drugs and prostitution. It was amazing how things had changed since then. Chas had matured from a young, teenage junkie and prostitute, who loathed cops and had a bitter outlook on the world, to a blushing bride who realized that the night Charlie had arrested her had been the night he had saved her life.

The arrest had been just the swift kick in the pants, she needed to make major changes in her life and redirect her path. Charlie had lit a fire under Chas. He had opened her eyes and made her realize that if she didn’t make changes soon, she would likely end up in prison, or worse, dead in a ditch somewhere.

It had taken a while, but miraculously, Chas had gone from hating Charlie, to loving him, to marrying him. It had not been the typical start to any relationship. Not by any stretch.

When the reception was over, guests threw rice at the newly married couple as they both exited the church. Chas turned around.

“Get ready, all you single ladies out there!”

Just Married

She tossed the bouquet in the air. Charlie’s’ youngest sister, Brooke caught the bouquet. Next, Charlie removed the garter from Chas’ leg and threw it into the crowd of single men and several of Charlie’s brothers from the Memphis Police Department cheered, whistled and clapped as a smiling Earl leapt in the air, reached for the flying garter and caught it before holding it up for all to see. Lt. Jenkins gave Earl a thumbs’ up.

In front of the church, sat Charlie’s new SUV, a black Ford Explorer, decorated with shaving cream and streamed with bunting. Cans hung from the back of the SUV and the words, “Just Married” were boldly written with soap on the back windshield. He and Chas got into the car and drove off, waving at the cheering guests. They had made reservations at The Blues Hotel, a first-class hotel in downtown Memphis.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C14-4

Ashton unlocked the set of steel double-doors and opened them. Brielle was led into what looked to be an underground cellblock. She looked into each cell as she passed. Suddenly, Big Bruce McCauley, who was imprisoned in one of the cells, jumped up from his raggedy bunk and ran to the bars, gripping them.

“Brielle! Oh, my God, Brielle! Have you seen Little Bruce!” He cried.

“Mr. McCauley!” Brielle cried out.

Suddenly, Ashton drew his nightstick back and smashed Big Bruce in the face through the bars.

“Shut the fuck up!”

Big Bruce let out a loud grunt as he fell backwards.

“Nooo!” Brielle screamed before Ashton came running out and backhanded Brielle across the face so hard, it nearly spun her head.

Another Prisoner in the Underground Dungeon

Out of reflex, Brielle delivered a fast front kick to Ashton’s crotch, causing him to scream in pain, grab his manly area, and fall over sideways. Misty then shoved Brielle to the ground from behind and Bobby came across Brielle’s back with his nightstick. He continued to hit her until she passed out. With that, Bobby and Misty grabbed each of Brielle’s arms and drug her limp body into the cell before slamming the door and locking it.

Later that morning, at Atticus’ house, Grandma Bennett was the first to wake up at after nine, which was late compared to her usual wake up time, which was at about five a.m. She filled the coffee maker with water and ground coffee, than pressed the brew button. The house was full of people. With Shannon and Chris in one upstairs bedroom, Miles and Cindy in the other, Daniel and Jesse in the third upstairs bedroom, and Alexandra and Jo in the other. Grandma Bennett had slept in the sofa’s hide-a-bed and Popeye, Alvin and Oliver had gone home for the night.

Grandma Bennett the first to awaken

When Grandma heard a knock at the door, she looked through the peep hole to see Popeye, then opened the door to let him, Alvin, and Oliver in.

“Most everyone is still asleep. They should be waking up anytime. I’ve got coffee brewing. Do you want me to fix you each a cup?” Grandma asked.

“Oh, yes! I need something to warm me up!” Alvin answered.

“Absolutely you can,” Popeye said.

“I sure ain’t gonna turn down no coffee!” Oliver said before Grandma and the other two chuckled.

One by one, others in the house awoke and came downstairs one by one. Grandma Bennett cooked a huge breakfast and they all sat down to eat.

Underground, Brielle woke on the floor, she sat up. She looked around to see another woman in the bed, stirring. The woman looked injured. Brielle crawled over to her and immediately recognized her.

Raina is Brielle’s Cellmate

“Raina?” She cried.

Raina opened her eyes and looked over at Brielle.

“Brielle?” she woozily uttered.

“Don’t talk, Raina. Just rest, okay?”

“Brielle, how did you get down here?”

“Those crooked cops brought me here.”

“How’s Paul and the kids? How’s Kim?”

“They’re fine, Raina. But they’re so worried about you, sweetie. But I’m doing to do my damnedest to get us both out of here and find those kids! You can take that to the bank!” Brielle swore.

Brielle tore off the sleave of her shirt and cared for Raina’s scrapes, bruises, and abrasions about her face. She then looked down and notice a huge blood spot on Raina’s crotch area.

“Oh, God. The baby!” She said under her breath.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C14-3

Back at the Carpenter estate, Atticus, Grandma Bennett, and the rest gathered in the living room after Jane cried herself to sleep.

“We’ve got to find Brielle!” Grandma said in an urgent tone.

“What if they’ve found her first?” Kim asked.

“We’ll check the jail first thing,” Chris suggested, “If she’s not there, then we’ll know.”

“Maybe not. Those tunnels that Jane was talking about, what if they took her there?” Shannon asked.

“Well, at least we know where to start from- the courthouse basement. We follow the underground highway to where it ends- at the foot of the bluff, in the bottoms. Now Jane said that they were near the shore of a huge Lake,” Chris said.

“Opaque Lake. It’s got to be,” Grandma Bennett said.

The Secret of Opaque Lake

“Yep,” Atticus agreed, “That place is posted- deemed private property. ‘Has been for about thirty years. Now that you mention it, there have been rumors that there’s a Luciferian cult down there and that’s why they’ve blocked it off. The place is heavily secured. Outsiders are strictly forbidden to trespass there.”

“Atticus is telling the truth,” Popeye confirmed.

“Then that’s got to be the place,” Daniel concluded.

“And this underground road is the only way you can get there?” Miles asked.

“Nope. There’s another way. Take County Route 16 West, toward the river. Go down the bluff to the bottoms, then drive about three to four miles and you’ll see the Lake off to your right. You’ll look across a clearing then see trees and little glimpses of the lake beyond them. There will be a gravel road that will take you to the shore of the lake and there will be lake houses high on stilts there because it’s a very flood-prone area. But, like Atticus said, the place is off limits to outsiders,” Shannon told them.

Private Property 

Suddenly, Alexandra and Jo came through the back door.

“Whew!” she said as she took off her hoodie to reveal a white tee shirt.

Everyone turned around to see her.

“Well, Alex? Did you and Jo hear anything?” Chris asked.

“Oh, we heard a lot. But not a peep about where the kids are. But I did see a couple of deputies in one of the restaurants I sat in. One of them got a call and when he hung up, I heard him say, ‘They got her! They finally found the bitch,’” Alex informed them.

“My gut tells me they were referring to Brielle,” Jo added.

“Oh, they had to have been talking about Brielle!” Kim said.

“So, how are we going to get inside the jail to see if she’s there?” Shannon asked.

Another Plan

“I’ll go there,” Popeye volunteered, “I have several cousins and friends that have been in and out of there. In fact, a cousin of mine was just released the day before yesterday. And most of the jailers are young rookies and they know me, so they trust me. I can take a change of clothes, some food, something in there and make them think I’m there to deliver it to a relative of mine. They usually have a list of inmate names on a huge whiteboard on the wall just behind the desk where you leave stuff for the inmates- one list for males and the second for females. They have you wait there while they check your stuff for contraband. And, even if he’s not there, I’ll still have time to see if Brielle’s name is on the inmate list.”

“That doesn’t sound like the jail I spent time in six years ago when I was here,” Shannon recalled.

“They’ve revamped everything in the county jail since you were there, Shannon.” Grandma Bennett said, “After Johnny went to prison, Sheriff Crawford did an overhaul of the jail inside the sheriff’s department. He fired most of the jailers there and replaced them with new blood. Yeah, Bobby’s got it now, but it still isn’t quite as bad as it was when Johnny had it.”

Shannon Remembers her Stint in Jail

“Awesome! Popeye, you and I go to the jail. I’ll wait in the car while you go inside and do your thing,” Chris said.

Grandma Bennett brought a big basket of freshly baked blueberry muffins to Popeye.

“Take this. I brought these from home when I got here. They were for everyone to eat here. But they’re the perfect food to take to the jail and will be the perfect cover,” she said.

“It’s awful late. You can’t go there this time of night. Hell, it’s after midnight!” Atticus told them.

“There’s people dropping stuff off at that jail at all hours,” Popeye said.

“Even after midnight?” Miles asked, barely able to believe it.

“It’s a small Podunk town and a small, Podunk jail! It’s not like the big city. Some things, they let fly around here,” Popeye replied.

“Oooo-kay,” Chris said, “’You ready to boogie?”

“Let’s boogie,” Popeye answered.

Getting the Information 

Two hours later, Chris and Popeye returned. Popeye handed the basket of muffins back to Grandma Bennett. Jane had awoken, hardly able to sleep.

“Is she there?” Grandma asked.

“Nope. Her name wasn’t on the inmate list,” Chris answered solemnly.

“Believe me, I looked that list up, down, and sideways. Her name wasn’t there,” Popeye swore.

“Then where could they have taken her?” Kim asked, worried.

“Do you think that maybe they might have taken her through the underground tunnels too?” Cindy asked.

“It’s likely,” Chris said.

“I just thought of something, y’all.” Popeye said, “Halloween’s tomorrow night.”

“Yep, the cult will be doing their annual Halloween Rituals. We’ve got to find Brielle and Raina, and we’ve got to find those kids!” Kim said.

“Well, let’s get some sleep. After we wake up, we formulate a strategy. After dark tonight, we do some snooping. Maybe they can send more people to help us out. Then at five tomorrow night, we move out,” Chris said.

Daniel’s Government Connections

“In the meantime, I’ll see if I can’t contact a few politicians and old CIA buddies, a few of the good ones left who I know are fighting against child trafficking. This is a pretty big job, Chris. We still don’t know how many local big shots are involved in this and they may have connections to even bigger people.” Daniel added.

“That might not be a bad idea,” Atticus agreed.

“Jane! Come here for a sec!” Chris called.

“Yes?” Jane responded as she approached.

“Do you remember the route the sheriff took to get to the dungeon where you and the rest of the kids were held?”

Jane Describes the Layout of the Secret Tunnels

“We took the underground access road. There were tunnels but they loaded us all into a van and took us to an exit via the access road. We didn’t take any of the tunnels,” Jane told them. The access road only took us to a set of double doors. When the doors opened, we were outside and the area around us was flat. I look back and we’d come out of a huge bluff from what I could tell and the doors were covered with trees and bushes. The untrained eye wouldn’t even know those doors were there. We pulled onto a dirt road, drove about, I’d say 50 yards, then turned until a two-lane highway. I remember passing a highway sign with a shield and a number 16 on it. We crossed a bunch of bridges over creeks and streams, then came to a field and pulled onto a gravel road. I noticed that the field had a bunch of hey bails in it. And there was a pile of hey on that gravel road. The front of the van we were in was pointed toward the lake. One of the deputies got out and cleared the hey off the road. He uncovered some sort of platform. After he cleared the hey, we pulled onto the platform and stopped. That’s when we were lowered underground to another access road. Once we got going again, I noticed that we were driving downward, like going down a steep hill. I could feel the gravity pull. And we didn’t make any turns nor go around any sharp curves, so I think we were actually driving under the floor of the lake,” Jane explained, “It was somewhat lit down there until we got to the dungeon. The dungeon was dimly lit with torches and hanging dim bulbs, and it gave me the creeps!”

Bobby and Misty Take Brielle Down into the Catacombs

Brielle sat in the van as Bobby, Ashton, and Misty drove her through the tunnels. She looked outside the window at the eerily lit tunnel. Her stomach lurched and felt as if it would drop through the floorboard. Where exactly were they taking her? She remembered being escorted into the courthouse and down into its basement. She then recalled being forcibly led through a trapdoor in the courthouse basement floor and down into this dim, dank place. And during the entire time Brielle had grown up in this town, she had never heard any mention of any catacombs or tunnels underneath Thomasville until she finally saw it for herself just minutes before.

Brielle did not have a good feeling about this little trip. She feared the worst. They would kill her, and nobody would ever find her.

Finally, Misty turned around and ended the eerie silence.

“You wouldn’t happen to know where Jane ran off to, would you, Brielle?” she asked.

“If you do, you’d better speak up!” Bobby demanded loudly.

Brielle Gets Welcome News

“No! I don’t! That’s the gospel truth! But if I did, I’d never in this lifetime tell you! Sounds like she got away if you’re looking for her! And you know what? I’m damn glad she did! I always knew my baby had a good head on her shoulders and could take care of herself! And I’m damn proud of her!” Brielle shot back as tears flooded her eyes.

“Well, she may have escaped, but that doesn’t do you any good. Because now, we got you. But we will find that child. Don’t think we won’t find your sweet Jane.” Bobby growled, “Hell, we’ve already got Olivia and that sweet little baby Kennedy! So, we’re hoping Jane comes looking for you. And we think she will. She may not be much but she’s a headstrong little firecracker. Willful as hell! And it will be her undoing. You see, Brielle. Willfulness and so-called independence are dangerous characteristics to have when you live in this county. Here, it’s in your best interest to go along- just roll over and play dead. And I don’t know what you taught that child nor how you raised her, but you may have unwittingly facilitated her demise. And we already know you’ve been a troublemaker since you were knee high to a grasshopper!”

Brielle Continues to Stand Up to her Captors

“Better than being a Devil worshipper and living in an open marriage!” Brielle quipped.

Misty flinched before spinning around to look back at Brielle.

“Really! So, you think I’m a Devil worshipper, huh? And you would know about my open marriage, wouldn’t you, you little slut, who’s screwing my husband!” Misty shot back.

“Hey! Newsflash, Misty! Not every female in this town wants your ugly-assed husband! He isn’t all you hype him up to be! Of course, with the way you and all your buddies twisted minds work, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if every one of you were devil worshippers. And Devil worship is the worst thing you can do!” Brielle fired back.

“Hey, sweetheart! In case you’ve forgotten, sin is a sin to God! It doesn’t matter what it is! No sin is worse than another to Him! But everyone has their pet sins, now don’t they! And now, we know what your pet sin is!” Misty fired off.

“You’re absolutely right! And your pet sins are worshipping the devil and killing innocent people and animals!” Brielle jibbed.

“No one is innocent, honey! We’re all born in sin and shaped in iniquity.”

Even the Devil Believes in God 

“Oh, that’s right! I almost forgot! Even the Devil believes in God and knows the Scriptures! Gee! Thanks for the reminder, Misty!”

When they finally got Brielle to the entrance of the holding cells, Bobby took her by the arm and violently pulled her out of the van. Next, Misty and Ashton got out.

Misty got nose to nose with Brielle, sneering at her.

“You’ve been away from Thomasville for way too long, girl. ‘Move off to California, then come back here with an uppity attitude and an overinflated opinion of yourself! But you know what? I’m going to enjoy killing you and your little spawn!” Misty growled.

“That doesn’t surprise me in the least! You’re sadistic! You’re evil! You always had been, you just grew bigger.” Brielle bit back.

“Oh-ho-ho-ho!” Misty sarcastically laughed, “It’s gonna give me great pleasure to silence that smart mouth of yours once and for all! You should’ve stayed your ass in California! Because, to come back to Thomasville with that smug, overconfident attitude was your worst mistake! And it’ll damn sure be your last!”

Bobby looked at both Misty and Ashton and grinned.

“She’s definitely gotten smarter over the years; I’ll give her that.” He said sarcastically. Ashton was unmoved. Bobby turned back to Brielle.

Uppity Brielle

“You know, Brielle? You’re in no position to be so brainy. You’re in a lot of danger.”

Brielle looked at Bobby with contempt.

“Around you? No shit,” she quipped.

Bobby looked at Aston again.

“Let’s dumb her down a little- teach her some respect.”

Brielle ignored the threat.

“Where are my kids, I know you three have got them somewhere and you know where they are,” Brielle asked in a defiant tone.

“Oh, don’t worry, Brielle. They’ll be well taken care of. Especially sweet Jane when we find her.”

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C14-2

Back at the Lindsay residence, Brielle was now tied to a chair in their basement. Bound and gagged, the only thing she could do to fight back was to fight with her eyes. She looked up at Bobby and Misty with eyes that blazed with justified anger.

Sheriff Bobby reached down and tore the duct tape gag off Brielle’s mouth. The pain was such that Brielle thought for sure that he’d ripped her lips off along with the gag.

“Ow! You sadistic sonofabitch!” Brielle shouted, flinching in her chair. The binding zipties were taut around her wrists, preventing her from grabbing her mouth out of reflex.

Sheriff Bobby looked down at Brielle and sneered.

“I just want to let you know that there’ll be some charges coming.” He warned her.

“What kind of charges?” Brielle asked.

“Escape from legal custody is one of them. The rest, I don’t know yet.” Bobby answered.

Misty’s Revelation

“What do you mean you don’t know? What are you going to do, go back to your office and trump them up? Look, you either know what charges you’re going to file or there are no charges. You make me aware that I’ll be charged but don’t know all of what I’ll be changed with? Well, then the law must not exist. How much sense does that make?”

Just then, Misty knelt in front of Brielle, getting level with her. She then grabbed a hold of Brielle’s chin and jaws with one hand, squeezing the lower part of her face so hard that the grip contorted Brielle’s lips and forcing Brielle to look at her.

Years of Stalking and Spying

“I want to let you in on a little secret, Brielle. Something you never thought was happening all those years you were away in sunny California,” she sneered, “We’ve had our eyes on you all this time- all these years. Oh, yeah, even after you moved, we found out where you’d moved to, and we kept track of you. ‘You see, we believe in the old saying, ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer.’ And, for the last 20 years, we’ve kept your ass reeeeal close, sweetheart. We knew when you got married, we knew when you had each of your kids, we know that you got your online college degree shortly before you separated from your husband. We also know where you got it from. Oh yeah, we knew all of it. Because, you see? Births? Marriages? Deaths? Graduations? All that’s public record, darlin’, and damn easy to…um…dig up. Hell, it was easy to find back when we graduated, only it’s gotten a lot easier to do since.” Misty sneered before letting go of Brielle’s face with a hard shove that threw her head backwards.

Brielle glared evilly at Misty.

Misty Unknowingly Reveals Much About Herself and the Thomasville Elites.

“So, you’ve spent all this time being so obsessed with me and what I was doing? How sick is that, Misty? Did you ever have a life?” Brielle said with sarcasm dripping from ever word.

“It’s not about having a life, Brielle. It’s about power. You see, Brielle, our god is the prince of the air. And he is not your god.”

“(Scoff) I’ll say! And I’m glad!” Brielle shot back.

Misty continued.

“Well, you shouldn’t be. ‘You see? Your God is a God of love. Of peace. Of mercy. But our god, he’s a god of power! Pure, raw power! Your God gives free will and freedom to choose. Our god is a god that demands and expects total obedience and absolute loyalty! He shows no mercy because mercy is for the weak and timid.”

“Then you underestimate the True Living God, Misty! You don’t know Him at all! And in return, He…doesn’t…know…you! And I sincerely hope you change your ways before it’s too late!” Brielle growled back.

Misty’s Satanic Connections

“I don’t think so, Brielle. Our god is a god of blood and sacrifice. And soon you will witness the full power of his might and the pain of his wrath against you and your spawn, sweetheart. And you will witness it through us!”

“You know, Misty! I don’t doubt that you serve the devil! And I’m certainly not surprised, because you are the devil- in human form,” Brielle said in a low, gravelly, and taunting voice.

Misty sneered at Brielle.

“You know what we’re going to do to you eventually, don’t you, Brielle?” she said plainly

“I have pretty good idea. But you won’t get away with it,” Brielle told her.

Misty’s Veiled Threat

“Oh, we won’t do it right away.  ‘You see, Brielle? We can’t just kill you right off the bat. No. That would be too obvious and would cause more trouble for us in the long run. So, we laid the groundwork years ago. We had to get rid of your support system first- make everybody hate your guts. We had to make you trash in the eyes of everyone else in this town. You see? Killing must be done delicately- carefully- slowly. It must be done subtly and step by step. There are channels you must go through- little bitty steps you have to take- gradually and in itty-bitty bites! You have to make it a slow kill. ‘You see? It’s like this. To prepare a good roast, you have to bake it on lower temperatures and get that slow burn. That’s what this is and has been. And now that you’ve lost everything and everyone- now, we can kill you and your sweet little daughters because nobody will give a damn. Therefore, they won’t care to even look for you because they won’t care less what happened to you. They’ll just be so glad you’re gone. So, why would they even investigate it? You’re just another missing person= another needle in a stack of needles!”

The Sinless

Misty got eye to eye with Brielle.

“In this county, we don’t have to follow any rules because we’re sinless! In other words, the rules don’t apply to us because we can do no wrong. Therefore, we’re untouchable. That’s why no one fucks with us! They knew better than to fuck with us in high school and they damn sure don’t fuck with us now! You see, Brielle? There are certain people in this town- in this county- that you just don’t fuck with! Certain people here can do whatever they want to you and anybody! And what are you going to do about it? Nothing! Not a damn thing! The only thing you’re going to do is keep your mouth shut and take it or we make it worse on you! And not only will we come for you, but we’ll also come for your family! We’ll come for your kids, your spouse, your parents, your whole fucking family!”

Bobby Gets a Call

“Oh, no! I haven’t lost everyone, dear heart. And speaking of my kids, where are they, Misty? I know they were brought here. But it’s awful quiet in this house so I can only assume that they’ve been taken somewhere else,” Brielle said in a stern voice.

“Let’s just say that they were taken to a very secret and secure location,” Misty said with a smirk on her face.

Suddenly, Sheriff Bobby’s cellphone rang, and he removed it from his beltloop case. He then looked at Brielle, shook his head, and put his index finger to his lips before answering.

“Hello?”

Suddenly, Bobby’s eyes widened, and all the color seemed to drain from his face.

What!!! Okay! You hang out at the office until I get there! I’ve got some personal business to take care of, but I’ll be at the office as soon as I can get there!” he shouted before he hung up.

He then gave Misty a serious look.

“We’ve got big problems!” he told her, “Let’s haul this bitch on to jail!”

Suspicious Detour

Misty and Bobby untied Brielle from the chair but left her hands tied in the zip ties. They pulled her to a standing position, then took her upstairs, out of the basement.

Minutes later, Brielle sat zip tied in the back of the sheriff’s car as Bobby drove and Misty sat in the passenger seat.

“Ashton and Aaron will meet me at the station. You stay with Brielle,” The sheriff said.

Brielle cocked her head.

“What’s the hell?”

Suddenly, she noticed that they drove right passed the jail.

“Hey! I thought you were taking me to jail!” Brielle shouted from the back seat.

“Nah! We’re taking you to a special kind of jail. One where there are no visitors and that hardly no one knows about,” Bobby said giddily.

Misty only giggled maniacally.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C14

Chapter 14

Another Secret Revealed

Grandma Bennett held Jane in her arms. She then let go. Atticus put his arm around Jane and led her over to the sofa.

“Have a seat, sweetie. And we need you to tell us everything. Okay?” Atticus gently told her.

Jane looked at Kim, then at Popeye.

“I know where they’re holding Olivia and Bruce, and the rest! And maybe Kennedy!” she cried, “And they’ve got Kelsey McGregor too! I saw her! I met her! She talked to me and told me who she was!”

Shannon gasped and rushed over to Jane before taking her by the shoulders.

“Is Kelsey, okay? Oh, please tell me they didn’t hurt her!” she pleaded as tears flooded her eyes.

Shannon Receives Welcome News

“I don’t know. I think she’s okay. She didn’t seem like she was hurt. She was just scared to death,” Jane anxiously told her. As Jane spoke, she shook like a leaf.

Chris knelt in front of her.

“Jane, this is Shannon Crooke McGregor- now Bledsoe.” Chris said.

“Oh, my God! The writer?” Jane asked, shocked.

Daniel and Miles knelt beside Chris. Chris placed his hand over Jane’s.

“Yes. I’m Chris Bledsoe and these are my brothers, Miles, and Daniel. This lady over here is Mile’s wife, Cindy. Now, listen, Jane. Do you know where these kids are and how we can get to them?”

Atticus, Popeye, and Malcolm knelt down as did Kim, getting level with Jane. Grandma Bennett sat on one side of Jane and Jesse, the other. Cindy sat on the arm of the sofa.

Jane looked at each of them.

Jane Speaks of Abuse at the Hands of the Lindsay’s

“After court, they put us in a holding cell. I didn’t know where they took Bruce and the rest. But aftervthe holding cell, they took me and my sisters to the Lindsay’s house. They were to be our foster family. They made me and Olivia do all the household chores- cooking, cleaning, mopping, sweeping, all the laundry. They even made us wash all the windows and scrub the baseboards with old toothbrushes. They worked the hell out of us- like slaves! We had to go without supper because Olivia accidently spilled bleach all over their clothes! She was so nervous she was shaking! She shook so bad she kept dropping and spilling stuff! Oh, God! They were horrible people! And Breanna and their other kid- their son, Mason is his name, I think!”

As Jane continued, she began to calm down.

More Secrets of Abuse

“They never missed a chance to needle and poke at Olivia and me. This past week has been hell living there! Then the other night, I was doing laundry and Mr. Grant Lindsay snuck up behind me and grabbed me. He put his hand over my mouth and started to fondle me. That’s when I used my training and fought him off! Then I grabbed Kennedy and me and Olivia got out of there. I ran deeper and deeper into the woods, and oh God! It was cold! I’d been in the woods for a while and ran into Bruce- he had escaped from the Crabtree’s. Me and my sisters stuck with him until the sheriff found us. They then took us to the courthouse, where more deputies had gathered with Andy, Brenda, and Roxie. They took us down to the basement, then through a trapdoor in the floor. I couldn’t believe it! They took us to some kind of underground room with tunnels everywhere! There are underground tunnels under the courthouse- under Thomasville, period!” Jane informed them.

“Underground tunnels?” Grandma Bennett cried.

The Number One Town Secret Revealed

“Yes!” Jane cried, “There’s also an underground road. They led us into one of the tunnels to the underground road. Then, they loaded us all into vans and drove until we came out of some kind of cave in the side of a huge bluff. It was dark, but I could tell that we were in the bottoms. Next, we were near a huge lake. The vans pulled on a steel platform in the ground. It was some kind of elevator. We were lowered underground again, and they drove us through another tunnel. I think it’s under the lake. When they stopped again, we were all put in underground jail cells. Then, the sheriff took me back out of my cell. He told me that someone wanted to ‘make my acquaintance.’ They drove me to a hotel just outside of town and the sheriff took me inside. I could hear someone showering in the bathroom. When the water was turned off and the door opened, there was Grant Lindsay…in a bathrobe! Dripping wet! I thought I was going to puke- the creepy way he looked at me! I thought my skin would crawl right off my bones! Then the sheriff pulled out his gun and aimed it at me while Grant Lindsay forcibly stripped me down to my underwear. Finally, the sheriff left us alone. That’s when I saw my chance to get out of the situation that I was in. So, I put that creep in a sleeper hold and he went out like a light. Then I went into the bathroom, jumped into my clothes, and crawled out the window! I got the hell out of there!”

The Bennetts and Bledsoes Learn about the Secret Tunnels

“Way to go, Jane!” Cindy cheered.

“You did so good, honey!” Grandma Bennett gushed.

“Such a brave girl!” Atticus shouted with pride.

“That was badass!” Popeye told her.

“Maybe that’s where they took Elizabeth when they had her,” Elsa said somberly.

Just then, Jane looked around suspiciously, then looked back at the people before her.

“Guys? Where’s my mom?” she asked.

Everyone exchanged uncomfortable glances and Jane noticed it right away.

“Okay! What happened to my mom?” She asked, her voice shaking.

“Your Mom is out trying to find you and your sisters. She left without us even knowing, Jane,” Daniel told her.

“What??? You mean she’s out there somewhere? She’s going to get nabbed by that creepy sheriff?” Jane cried.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C13-6

Bobby soon arrived at the Lindsay home. He entered into the house to see Brielle sitting on the sofa, with Misty standing over her as was Ashton, with his gun trained on her.

“Well, where have you been, Brielle? We’ve been looking everywhere for you, sweetheart,” he said as he drew back and backhanded Brielle across the face, causing her to fall over on the sofa sideways.

Brielle shot back up with blood dripping from her lip and gave Bobby a look of utter hatred.

“Oooh, I guarantee you wouldn’t have had the balls to do that if this creep over here didn’t have a gun aimed at me, now would you, Bobby?” Brielle growled.

“Maybe not, but as it stands, you’re shit out of luck.” Misty said before she threw her hand back and began laughing maniacally.

Bobby Attempts to Violate Brielle

Bobby looked down at Brielle, smiling evilly as Misty stood behind him, laughing like a hyena. As he stood threateningly over her, Bobby slowly unbuttoned his pants, then unzipped.

“Alright, you little strip-whore! I’m undoing my fly and you’re gonna take what I’m about to give you! And you’re gonna take all of it, girl! Then, for dessert, I’m going to pound you like you’ve never been pounded before!” He said with a mixture of glee and contempt.

Brielle only looked up at Sheriff Bobby defiantly.

“Anything you put in my mouth, you’re gonna lose!” She growled, gritting her teeth, “Go ahead! I’ll bite it off and spit it out!”

“I’ll kill you if you do!” the crooked sheriff warned.

“You may kill me, but you won’t grow another dick, you son of a bitch! And when I bite it off, I’ll chew it up before I spit it out! I’ll make Lorena Bobbitt look like a softie! You’ll be a eunuch by the time I’m done with you!” Brielle bit, gritting her teeth.

Brielle’s Threat

“Well, I’ll just skip that part then and move on to the next level,”

“You’ll be raping my dead body, you douche nozzle!”

Ashton burst out laughing. Bobby paused and slowly turned his head, looking at Ashton as an angry look crept across his face.

“Shut the fuck up!” He yelled.

Ashton clammed up.

“Don’t you ever laugh at me, boy! Especially on the count of this bitch!”

“I’m sorry, Bobby!” Ashton said sheepishly.

“Goddam right, you’re sorry!”

Bobby then looked at Misty.

“Misty, take my zip ties. Tie her up and gag her! I don’t want to hear anymore of her smart-assed mouth!” he growled.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C13-5

When the men arrived back at Atticus’s estate, they came in the door.

Shannon jumped up and hugged Chris.

“Oh, I’m so glad you’re back safe!” She gushed.

“We found something!” Chris told her, “Jane was in the hotel room. But she escaped!”

“Oh, thank God!” Grandma said as she looked up and clasped her hands together.

Chris and the rest noticed that another elderly woman sat beside Grandma Bennett. Grandma stood up. The strange elderly woman followed suit.

“Chris, this is Elsa, she’s Elizabeth’s grandmother and she has something for you,” Grandma told them.

Elsa reached into her oversized purse and pulled out a book with a lock on it.

“My granddaughter’s diary. If it’ll help you find the creeps that had their way with her, you can have it! But please, keep it safe! Lot’s of people are looking for it because it implicates so many big wheels in what happened to her while she was in CPS custody and the foster program,” Elsa pleaded with tears in her eyes, “I want you to avenge my granddaughter! Please, avenge her! Avenge her!”

The Diary

Grandma Bennett put her arms around Elsa.

“Come on, let’s go upstairs and I’ll introduce you to my granddaughter, Brielle,” she told her. And she led Elsa up to the second floor of the house.

Chris passed the diary to Daniel and Daniel opened it and began reading and taking pictures of each page with his phone. Suddenly, Grandma Bennett rushed back downstairs with a piece of paper in her hands.

“Brielle’s gone. She’s gone looking for the girls!” Grandma said as she burst into tears and waved the piece of paper..

Daniel paused from what he was doing.

“What!!!” Chris, Popeye, Miles, Atticus, Jesse, and Malcolm all cried aloud.

Alvin went over and looked over Grandma Bennett’s shoulder at the note.

“She just slipped out!” he told them.

“She left a note! It’s all right here!” Grandma Bennett sobbed.

The Note

Chris took the note from Grandma Bennett and he and Shannon read it. It said,

“To my family, friends, and especially the Bledsoe’s, This may not be the smart thing to do, but I’m terrified! I just can’t sit on my hands while my children are God knows where. I must find them, and soon. I love you all. Please forgive me.

Brielle”

“Damn it!” Chris shouted as he threw a punch in the air, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!”

“Jiminy Christmas!” Jesse yelled. He then grabbed his head with both hands and run his hands back over his hair, pressing it down against his scalp. He then began pacing the floor.

Popeye just shook his head, plopped down on Atticus’s sofa, and put his face in his hands.

“Oh, Lord! What do we do now?” Kim cried.

Meanwhile, Brielle crept across the roof of the office building of the Glover County Child Protection Services until she found a trapdoor in the roof. When she twisted the knob and pulled on it, she was surprised when it opened to reveal a flight of stairs.

A Change in Plan

Quickly but carefully, Brielle climbed into the trapdoor, took a few steps down, closed the door behind her.  She then pulled a small, tactical flashlight and proceeded to creep down the stairs until she found herself in a hallway.  After passing through another door, she finally began making her way around the dark office.

Brielle walked slowly, passing a row of cubicles, then another row. When she came to the last cubicle nearest the director’s office, she sat down behind the desk and noticed a key card lying on top of it. She grabbed it and put it in the fanny pack she wore. She then grabbed a stack of papers out of the four-tier paper letter organizer and began sifting through them. When she was done sifting, she began reading by the light of her flashlight.

Sure enough, she came to a page with two column of lists, the first column was a list of children whose names were in the system. The second column was a list of the foster homes each child had been placed in.

Brielle Does Her Own Investigation 

The list of children was in alphabetical order and Brielle went down the list to the M section. There, she found the names of her girls and Bruce’s name. She then ran her finger across the page to the list of foster homes and bingo! She found where her children had been taken.

“Markowitz, Jane Elizabeth,”

Markowitz, Kennedy Cecelia”

Markowitz, Olivia Dominique”

And in the column beside their names was, “Grant and Misty Lindsay, 431 Marianne Cove, Thomasville, TN.”

Brielle jumped up, folded the paper and tucked it into the outside pocket of her fanny pack. She then turned around and started back toward the stairway.

An hour later, Brielle arrived at Grant’s and Misty’s address. It was just after one in the morning as she crept across the lawn to the side of the house.

Suddenly she heard the cocking of a gun next to the side of her head and stopped suddenly. Ashton Childers smiled devilishly as he aimed the gun right at her head.

“Well! Fancy seeing you here. We’ve been looking all over for you,” he taunted as he took her by the arm, “Let’s go.”

Recaptured 

Ashton took Brielle around to the front porch of the house. Holding her at gunpoint, he rang the doorbell before Misty answered the door.

“Greetings, Misty! Look who I found snooping around your house,” he told her, “Mind if we come in?”

“Not at all,” Misty said, eyeing Brielle with the most contemptuous of glares.

Ashton gave Brielle a hard shove, forcing her into the house. Misty closed the door.

Ashton took his gun-free hand drug her over to the living room sofa.

“Sit down!” He barked as he violently slung her down on the sofa.

Brielle only sat there, glaring at Misty, then back at Ashton.

Misty took her cell phone, pressed a button, and placed it to her ear. After about a five-second pause, she spoke.

“Bobby! You need to get over here right away! I have someone here you’re going to be happy to see!” she said before hanging up.

Back at Atticus’s estate, a state of panic had engulfed most of the occupants upon finding Brielle’s letter. Shannon spoke up.

Shannon’s Empathy for Brielle

“Now, look, everybody! You can’t blame Brielle! I would’ve done the same thing in this situation!” she scolded, “I know firsthand the terror she feels for her kids! Six years ago, I was right where she is now! And, at that time, we didn’t know there was any cult or human trafficking operation here. And the fact that there is only makes things a hell of a lot scarier for her! What I dealt with is nothing compared to what Brielle’s dealing with! I can’t even imagine the level of terror she’s feeling right now!”

“Well, what if the sheriff or his posse finds her before she finds the kids, Shannon?” Chris asked anxiously, “If they find her, they’re likely to kill her!”

“We know that Chris,” Cindy said.

Unexpected Arrival

“No, I don’t think any of you realize the severity of it!” Chris shot back, “These people- they’re Satanists, and human traffickers- mainly child traffickers, we’re dealing with! And like Daniel mentioned earlier, it’s big business and a lot of big wheels are either in on it, or they’re on the take! By exposing this shit and trying to get Brielle’s kids back, we’re screwing with their money machine- their very livelihoods! And if they find out about it, which they may eventually, they will kill Brielle and very single one of us! You think the Vita-Youth ordeal was bad? That’s tiddlywinks compared to this! We have got to lay low and go about this very carefully and very strategically, or it will all blow up in our faces!”

Grandma Bennett continued crying.

Suddenly, someone rushed through the backdoor! Everyone in the house jumped, spun around, and aimed their guns.

Jane screamed as she put her hands up.

“It’s me! It’s only me!” she shrieked.

“Jane!” Grandma Bennett and Kim cried as everyone lowered their guns. They ran over to her. Grandma Bennett and Kim hugged her tight and cried.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C13-4

Chris, Atticus, and Jesse went into the office where the night manager sat while Popeye, Malcolm, and Miles staked out the motel rooms.

The first three men stormed into the night manager’s office and Jesse slammed his hands down on the manager’s desk and leaned toward him, looking him dead in the eyes.

The manager had been sound asleep in his chair and when the men stormed in, they startled him awake. The manager’s eyes widened and he leaned backwards, away from Jesse.

“There are crimes that have been committed in your motel. Now, I want to see your list of guests. I want to know who has checked in or out of here within the last two weeks!” Jesse growled as his angry eyes drilled into the manager.

“I’m afraid I can’t give you that information,” The manager stuttered and stammered.

Searching for Jane

Atticus and Chris swiftly pulled out their guns and aimed them in the manager’s face.

“Try again, asshole!” Atticus fired back.

“Wrong answer, bub!” Chris warned.

The manager’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. Jesse continued.

“Now, you’ve had a bunch of perverted pedos frequent this damn place with kids- young girls and boys! And one of those kids is my niece!” he shouted.

“And likely my stepdaughter!” Chris growled, gritting his teeth.

“You just heard that, didn’t you! So, you had best cough up that guest log, even if you have to pull it out of your ass!” Atticus demanded loudly.

Still, the manager hesitated.

“Your business practices and the clientele you serve leave much to be desired, buddy! We will have a gander at your guest log for the past week or we’ll burn this place and you to the ground! It’s your choice!” Jesse threatened.

Grilling the Manager

Suddenly, Atticus noticed the manager, ever so slowly, easing his hand under his desk. He cocked his gun.

“Uh-uh! Nope! Pull that hand out where I can see it! In fact, let me see both of your hands!” He ordered.

The manager complied, raising his hands high in the air before speaking.

“The guest log is on the counter,” The manager told them.

Jesse went to the counter and grabbed the guest log. He opened it and began reading the list of names, running his index finger down the list as he read before flipping the page and starting again.

“Stand up and move away from the desk,” Chris instructed.

The manager obeyed, moving next to the far wall. Atticus kept his gun trained on the man while Chris carefully inspected under the desk.

“Well, just as we thought. This creep has a gun taped to the underside of the desk,” he said as he took the gun, pulled the duct tape off, unloaded it, and put it in the waste of his pants.

The Guestbook 

“I think I got something, y’all!” Jesse called from the counter.

Atticus stood, guarding the manager while Chris joined Jesse at the counter and looked at the guest book.

“Grant Lindsay! He checked in at about nine o’clock last night,” Jesse said as he pulled out his phone and took pictures of the list and log book.

“Room 223,” Chris said.

He pulled out his cell and dialed before pausing.

“Miles, have Malcolm stay in the car and be our lookout while you and Popeye check out Room 223. I think that’s where Jane may be!” He said in barely above a whisper.

Meanwhile, Miles sat in the back with his phone in his ear.

“Gotcha, Chris!” he said before putting his phone away and looking at Malcolm.

Room 223

“They think Jane may be in room 223! Malcolm, get in the driver’s seat and be our lookout. Popeye, let’s dance!” Miles said as he pulled his gun out, checked the chamber, then closed the slide, emitting a loud clacking sound.

Popeye did the same with his gun before he and Miles jumped out of the SUV and quickly crept across the parking lot, each holding their guns with both hands in the lowered position. When they got to the door of Room 223, Popeye and Miles took positions on each side of the door.

Miles reached and eased the handle back and forth. He then shook it. It didn’t budge. Finally, as hard as they could, both he and Popeye kicked it open and walked into the dimly lit room. Sure enough, they found Grant laying on the other side of the bed, unconscious and in his bathrobe. Miles pulled out his phone and took pictures of the unconscious man on the floor. He then took pictures of the bed and room.

An Unconscious Man

Suddenly, Grant began stirring.

“I think he’s waking up,” Miles whispered in a warning tone.

“Not for long,” Popeye said as he stood straddle of Grant, grabbed the collar of his robe, and drew his fist back. Just as Grant’s eyes popped open, Popeye delivered a vicious punch between his eyes, knocking him out cold again.

After he and Popeye searched the room, Miles crept into the bathroom with his gun drawn. He immediately saw that the shower was still running. He reach behind the clear plastic shower curtain and turned it off.

Miles then looked up and noticed that the window was raised and the curtains around it were billowing as the early fall breeze blew in. He took another step toward the window when he suddenly felt something under his shoe. Reflexively, Miles lifted his foot to see what he was stepping on.

Popeye the Sandman

On the floor was a small, golden hair pin with something engraved on it. Miles pulled out his phone and took pictures of it laying on the floor, then knelt, picked up the hair pin, and read the engravement.

“Jane”

“Pssst! Hey! In here!” He called in a low grunt as he took a closeup of the hairpin.

When Popeye came into the bathroom, Miles stood up.

“She was here! Brielle said that she’s blackbelt in MMA. I think she knocked that piece of shit cold, then escaped through this window!” Miles told him, giving him the hair pin.

“Then she’s out there somewhere and we got to find her,” Popeye said.

Miles and Popeye crept out of the hotel room and back to the SUV. When they jumped back into the vehicle and closed the doors, Malcolm turned around in the driver’s seat to look at them.

An Important Clue

“Did you find anything?” He asked anxiously.

“Yep! Jane was in that room, but she knocked old Grant Lindsay unconscious and escaped!” Miles said before pulling out his phone, pressing a button, then placing it to his ear.

“Chris, we’ve got everything we need! Time to blow this place!” Miles said.

Back in the office, Chris lowered his phone from his ear and looked at Jesse.

“We gotta go! Miles and Popeye found some things!” he whispered before Jesse looked back toward the office.

“Hey, man! We gotta go!” Jesse called.

In the office, Atticus looked at the frightened manager.

“Adios, asshole!” he said before backing out of the office with his gun still aimed at the manager. He then joined Chris and Jesse as they ran out of the hotel building, across the dark parking lot, and jumped into the SUV.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C13-3

It was one of Jane dressed in only her bra and panties. Brielle screamed and covered her mouth as the others flinched.

“Oh, God! Cindy, we need to take Brielle upstairs!” Shannon said as Jo helped a sobbing Brielle to her feet and the women took her upstairs, followed by Grandma Bennett.

“I swear to the Good Lord on High! I’m gonna kill every last one of those perverted bastards, mark my fucking words!” Jesse thundered as tears ran down his face. Chris and Miles sat him down.

“I don’t blame you. I totally understand the righteous anger you must be feeling. But Jesse, we gotta keep our heads on straight right now. Okay?” Chris softly suggested, “These people are sex traffickers, and they’re dangerous.”

Brielle’s Worst Fears

“I worked for the CIA for many years and one thing I know is this. Child sex trafficking is widespread and its big business. There’s a hell of a lot of money in that shit and we’re messing with their golden goose. There are a lot of powerful people that are involved in it, corporate fat cats, celebrities, big name politicians- billionaires. If they even suspect that we’re onto them, they’ll kill us, all of us.” Daniel somberly said, “And we’re also going up against a local Luciferian Cult to boot? I don’t think we realize yet exactly who we’re up against.”

Grandma Bennett came back downstairs.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” she said.

Everyone looked Grandma and she continued.

A Mysterious Suicide

“A girl committed suicide just after the Thomasville Conspiracy. Her name was Elizabeth Wilkins. She shot herself in her bedroom and her mother found her. Elizabeth had just gotten out of the state Psychiatric Facility the week prior. Before that, she’d been taken from her mother and father because of vicious lies that their neighbors told about them. In reality, they were good parents and they’d taken Elizabeth out of the public schools because she was being bullied. The school board didn’t like it when they moved her to a new school in another district and they made things hard on them. They got Glover County CPS involved and CPS took Elizabeth and placed her in a foster home. In that, they forced her to re-enroll at Thomasville High. For two years, Elizabeth was moved from one foster home to another. Then she ran away and when the law found her at home with her parents, they sent Elizabeth to a juvenile facility and her parents to jail. Eventually her mother and father finally regained custody of her after hiring a Memphis lawyer and they sued Glover County for violation of civil rights in federal court. And they won. But it was still too late. Elizabeth wasn’t the same after she returned to her parents. After she killed herself, her mother found her diary and read it. She found that a few members of each of her foster families had sexually abused and raped her repeatedly. When the parents reported to the news outlets what had happened to their daughter, the law came after them. Even some henchmen showed up at their doorstep and threatened to kill them if they didn’t keep their mouths shut and leave it alone. The law looked high and low for that diary but never found it. The parents had left the diary with Elizabeth’s grandmother. The grandma is still alive, and I know her. I can go talk to her and get her to bring us the diary,” Grandma Bennett told them.

A Dead Girl’s Diary

“Good idea, Mrs. Bennett. If you could bring the grandmother to us and we could get a hold of that diary and take pictures of each page, we’ll have more evidence.” Chris said.

With that, Grandma nodded, grabbed her coat, and left.

“I remember that,” Popeye added, “And, from what my sources have told me, the Crabtree’s are still searching for that girl’s diary even today. It’s widely rumored that Glover County Child Protection Services is deeply involved in the child sex trade. If the Crabtree’s find that diary, they will destroy it. Because they and many of their friends are implicated in it.”

“Oh, Lord Jesus!” Atticus grunted in a low voice.

“Remember Gina and Terry Fox? Terry was the former mayor. They were involved in it too. Also, they both had parents who were members of the Weather Underground, the American Communist Party, and The Citizens of Anarchy back in the seventies. These are domestic terrorist groups who have a lot of political influence and they’re hell bent on destroying America. Gina and Terry developed Vita-Youth not only to make a lot of money, but also to destroy this country with it. And they almost did,” Malcolm added.

Gina and Terry Fox’s Connections to Domestic Terrorist Groups

“Those were the people who had Shannon’s kids,” Chris recalled aloud. He looked back at the computer screen.

In the photograph, Jane looked to be on her knees, on a bed, with her hands tied behind her back. Beside the bed, was a nightstand. On the nightstand was a pack of matches with indistinguishable words printed on it. Chris sat down beside Daniel and joined him in looking at the picture for any clues that might be in the background.

“Hold up, Daniel!” Chris said, putting his hand up, “Zoom in on the matches on the nightstand.”

Daniel did as he was told, zooming in on the matches four times and sharpening the images. They were then able to see the words clearly, “The Cozy Corner Hotel.”

“Let’s go!” Chris shouted, “Malcolm, Popeye, Miles, Atticus, and Jesse, grab your guns and come along!” The chosen men did as they were instructed, grabbing their guns, holsters, and smartphones.

“Daniel, you, Alvin and Oliver stay here with the women. Also, Daniel, the hotel is bound to have a security system run by computer. Find it, sent it a virus, and disable it. Then let me know when you’ve done that. And, if anything comes up, shoot me or Atticus a text!” Chris ordered before they left in a hurry.

Alexandra grabbed her hooded jacket and put it on.

Springing into Action

“I’m going to go into town. ‘Sit in some of the restaurants and see if I can’t pick up some crosstalk. Or maybe hit a few of the dives around here and see if some sloppy drunk accidentally lets a few things slip out. Someone in town is bound to have a big mouth and I just might get lucky,” she told them. Atticus looked up after holstering his Glock nine-millimeter.

“I got a car hidden in my barn under some tarps. It’s a 2020 Chevy Impala. It’s unlocked and the keys are under the floormat on the driver’s side. You’re welcome to it,” Atticus said, “The windows are tinted and few people know I even own that car. They’re so used to seeing me in the Denali.”

He then looked at Jo.

“Jo, go with her. She may need you to be a tour guide.”

Jo grabbed her snub-nosed thirty-eight and stuffed it in her shoulder holster under her jacket.

“I’m out,”

“Thanks, Atticus!” Alexandra said, “We should be back in a few hours.”

And Jo and Alexandra left out the back door.

Glover County CPS- A Front for a Child-Trafficking Ring

Sadly, they had discovered that Glover County CPS had indeed become one big child sex trafficking ring- selling innocent children to the highest bidder. Most people had already known that Glover County was crooked and corrupt, but few knew how deep this river of shit ran. From the Sheriff’s department, all the way down to animal control, the corruption ran thick.

“Jesus!” Malcolm cried as they sped in Atticus’s SUV toward the hotel, “They might as well put razor-wire around this whole damn county!”

“What you just said!” Chris agreed.

“Amen, brotha!” Popeye seconded.

When they pulled into the hotel parking lot of The Cozy Corner, Chris’ phone vibrated in his pocket, emitting a short but loud buzz. Chris jerked his phone out of his pocket and checked it. It was Daniel.

“The security system is down, it’s safe to go in!”

“It’s a GO! The hotel security system is down!” he told the rest of the men.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C13-2

When Atticus arrived with the Bledsoe’s, Grandma Bennett and Jesse had also arrived. Atticus and Jo took their luggage upstairs and put them all up in the upstairs bedrooms. Chris and Shannon would sleep in one, Miles and Cindy in the second upstairs bedroom, Daniel in the third, and Alexandra, in the fourth. The fifth was Jo’s room and Atticus would sleep downstairs. Luckily, each bedroom in the house had its own bathroom.

Once they all got settled in and gathered back in the living room, Atticus spoke.

“You all wait here with Jo while I go get Brielle. We’ve got her hid in a secret underground bunker on the property.

Fifteen minutes later, Atticus returned with Brielle.

“I’ve never been so glad to see some people in my life!” Brielle cried as she burst into tears.

Grandma Bennett hugged her, then Jesse. Finally, Shannon, Cindy, and Alexandra each give her a long hug.

Atticus and Malcolm Make it Back to Atticus’s House with the Bledsoes

“My children! They’ve taken them and I have no idea where they are! If anything happens to them…oh my God!” Brielle sobbed, “I can’t wait any longer! We’ve got to find them! The longer we wait-“

Shannon put her arm around her.

“I completely understand, sweetie! I’ve been there! There’s nothing worse than having your kids taken and not knowing where they are and if they’re safe. But we’ve got to handle this very delicately,” she gently and lovingly told her, “My Kelsey is missing too. She might be here. But as much as I want to just run out and search for her, I know it’s not a good idea right now.”

Cindy placed a hand on Brielle’s shoulder.

“We will find your kids, honey. And you will see them again!” she assured Brielle.

Chris looked at Atticus.

“Who did you say the sheriff was?” he asked.

“Bobby Crabtree,” Atticus answered, “And the guy’s a weasel!”

Shannon’s eyes widened.

“Crabtree? Oh, that’s just lovely! What happened to Crawford?” she asked.

The Lowdown on the Late Sheriff Crawford

“He’s dead. The narrative around here is that he was on a hunting trip with Bobby Crabtree, who was deputy sheriff at the time. He was shot accidentally by another hunter in the woods- mistaken for a deer. But most of us know that Bobby had something to do with it, only we can’t prove it. Because, after Crawford died, Bobby slid right into his spot and then bad things started happening again.” Malcolm explained, “crime went up, drugs, crimes started going unsolved, and innocent people started being terrorized. Just like before.”

“No doubt he’s probably kin to Johnny somehow,” Chris mentioned.

“His younger brother, and he’s just as ruthless as Johnny,” Grandma Bennett told them.

“He’s also a little wuss! He’s got all these flying monkeys around to protect him as he hides behind that damn sheriff’s badge,” Jesse added, “I’m just waiting for my time to beat the breaks off that little tulip!”

“Well, you just might get your chance,” Daniel told him as he sat down, opened his laptop case, and took out his laptop. He sat down on the sofa, placed the laptop in his lap, and began typing quickly.

“We found some evidence online that the sheriff might be heavily into pedophilia. We found nude pics of young boys and girls- minors, when we hacked into Bobby Crabtree’s computer last night. We also think that Glover County CPS is involved. They take children and then put them in foster homes where they know there are pedos living. Also, there’s a Satanic cult here and a few people and several pets have come up missing,” Malcolm continued.

The Bledsoe’s Find that it’s Worse then What They Thought.

“What? A Satanic Cult? Child sex-trafficking?” Miles shouted in surprise.

“Oh, my God! You’ve got to be kidding!” Cindy said, stricken with horror.

“Yep. Shannon, when you uncovered what you did in this county six year ago, you only scratched the surface. The evil runs much deeper. And the rabbit holes we’re about to discover may lead to things none of us can even imagine!” Atticus told them.

“Well, back when I was growing up here, I had heard that this County had a Satanic or Luciferian Cult. But I always thought that all of it was only a bunch of wild rumors,” Shannon recalled.

“Unfortunately, the rumors are true, Shannon,” Grandma Bennett told her.

When Atticus’s phone rang again, he looked at the screen, then up at Shannon and Brielle.

“It’s Popeye Suggs. He’s good people. His brother was Willie Suggs, he and another friend of ours, Alvin, know a lot about what’s happening in this town.” Atticus told them all before answering the phone.

“Hello, Popeye,” Atticus said before pausing.

“Okay, I’ll see you all when you get here,” Atticus said before hanging up.

“Popeye and Alvin are on their way here now. Alvin’s brother Oliver is also coming. Kim is also on her way.” He told them.

Okay, I need to know who the evil people are in this town so that I can look them up on here and hack them,” Daniel said.

Old Rumors that Prove to be True

“Well, there’s Bobby Crabtree and his wife, Rita Winchester Crabtree. And they have two daughters Audrey and Giles. They also have a nephew, named Stephen, who they’ve raised since his father, Johnny went to prison. There’s Grant and Misty Lindsay, their daughter Breanna. Then there’s Ashton Childers, Aaron Hughes…”

Once Brielle named all the bullies in town, Daniel created a list with their names on it. He then went to work, looking up their social media accounts and emails, while taking notes in a notebook.

Atticus went upstairs. After about five minutes, he came back downstairs with a police scanner, set it up, and turned it on.

“This scanner will tell us where the cops are and what they’re doing. If they head this way, we’ll know it,” he said.

Suddenly, his phone vibrated. Atticus checked his text messages, then looked at the rest of the people in the living room.

“Popeye just texted. They’re here,” he announced.

Atticus opened the door and let the three African American men inside the house.

“What’s up, Atticus?” Alvin greeted as he shook Atticus’s hand.

Daniel looked up from his laptop.

Daniel Digs Up Imformation

“I just found the sheriff’s cell number and looked up the IP address of his phone. I installed spyware. And it should spread to the cells of the people he cohorts with. Once that’s completed, I’ll be able to eavesdrop on their calls, see their internet habits, and pin their locations.” He assured.

“Good deal!” Miles said excitedly.

Another knock at the door sounded.

Atticus opened the door and let Kim inside. Kim immediately embraced Brielle.

“I’m so glad you’re safe! I was so worried about you!” she cried. She then looked at everyone else in the room.

“Have they found any traces of Raina yet?” she asked.

“I’m afraid not Kim,” Atticus answered somberly.

Kim’s eyes welled up with tears.

Raina Still Missing

“Who’s Raina?” Daniel asked.

“Raina Carrier is Kim’s sister and Brielle’s best friend. She’s gone missing. Been missing for several days now,” Atticus told them.

Brielle sat beside Daniel to look at his screen and watch him work. The rest also crowded around Daniel to have a look at his computer screen. Daniel hacked into the computers of a few more of Brielle’s former bullies’ computers and discovered that they too were pedophiles. He continued to type feverishly, digging deeper and deeper into the Dark Web.

Just then, another picture surfaced.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C13

Chapter 13

Enter Shannon and the Bledsoe’s

That evening, at the airport, Atticus stood behind the last checkpoint, near the front exit, holding a handmade sign that read, “Chris and Shannon Bledsoe, welcome.” Malcolm stood alongside him. The airport was crowded, and the sounds of roaring jet engines could be heard, along with a female voice over the intercom.

“Flight 262 from Phoenix now approaching Gate 12…”

When a group of six- three women and three men, approached, pulling their rolling luggage behind them, one of the men spoke.

“Atticus Carpenter?”

At the Airport 

“Yes, and you must be Chris Bledsoe,” Atticus greeted as he stuck his hand out for Chris to shake. Chris shook his hand.

“That’s me,” Chris responded.

“This here is Malcolm Malone,” Atticus greeted, introducing Malcolm.

“Malcolm,” Chris greeted as he nodded and shook Malcolm’s hand.

Chris then introduced each of the people with him, pointing each person out as he went along.

“My wife Shannon, and my brothers Daniel and Miles. This lady here is Miles’s wife Cindy, and this here is Alexandra McGregor, Shannon’s oldest daughter,” he said.

“How do you do?” Atticus and Malcolm greeted as they went down the line of guests, shaking their hand.

Suddenly, Atticus cellphone vibrated in his belt case.

The Bledsoes Make their Introductions

“Pardon me for just a moment,” Atticus said before he grabbed his smartphone and checked his texts. As promised, Jo had sent a text message that read, “The cops just pulled up. They must have gotten their warrant. I’ll give you an update after they’re gone.”

After reading the text, Atticus looked at their new guests.

“Would you mind stopping in Bush County on the way? My sister, Josephine just texted. Those creepy cops just arrived at the house with a search warrant, and we don’t want to pull up with you all in the vehicles while they’re still there,” he informed them, “Jo will send another text to let us know it’s okay to head back once they’re all gone.”

“That’s certainly understandable,” Chris said. “When we get to Bush County, we can find somewhere to eat while we wait.”

Bobby and the Deputies Question Jo

Meanwhile, back at the Carpenter property, Jo sat on the living room sofa as Bobby, Ashton, and Aaron stood over her. Four more deputies scoured the grounds outside.

“Now, Jo, where has Atticus run off to?” Bobby asked.

Thinking up a good story, Jo answered cleverly.

“He’s gone on a date,” she lied.

The cops stood there and chuckled as they looked at each other.

“Did you hear that, Aaron? A date! Damn! I didn’t think that dry-dicked old buzzard had it in him!” Ashton laughed derisively before returning his eyes to Jo.

“Really? And where did he go to have this date?” Ashton grilled.

“Look, I’m his sister, not his damned shrink! He’s a grown-ass man! He doesn’t tell me where he goes when he leaves! All he told me was that he was going to meet a woman and they were going on a date! He doesn’t have to give me any further details!” Jo chided.

Aaron chortled and looked at Bobby.

The Crooked Lawmen get Personal

“Guess old Atticus has gone to get him some tonight!” he taunted.

Jo glared at the cops who stood over her.

“So, what if he has? It’s none of my business and it damn sure isn’t any of yours! He’s a red-blooded man and has needs just like every other man! And the last I read; this is America, not Iran! Having an occasional booty call isn’t a crime!” she shouted.

“It sure makes you wonder if he’s diddled Brielle a time or two, don’t it? He’s sure been awful friendly with that bitch!” Ashton said, looking back at Bobby.

Jo stood up and her glare at the lawmen became more intense.

“Well, I can assure you that he hasn’t! That much, I do know! But, if he had, it wouldn’t be any of your damn business now, would it?” she growled in contempt.

When all the other deputies came back into the house, Bobby looked up.

The Lawmen Get Insulting 

“What’d ya find?” He asked.

“Nothing. Brielle’s not here,” one of the deputies answered.

Bobby looked at Jo and smiled.

“I guess that bodes well for you, don’t it? You have a nice evening…Miss Carpenter.” he said pompously before he and the rest of the county cops left.

Chris sat in the passenger seat of Atticus’s SUV while the women sat in the backseat. Miles and Daniel rode with Malcolm after having loaded all the luggage into the bed of his pickup, which Malcolm covered with the truck bed cover. Because it was getting dark by the time they left the airport, they were able to stop in Bush County to eat. Once Jo texted the okay to come home, they left Bush County and drove over the County line. As they made their way back to Thomasville, Atticus and Chris looked to see that sheriff’s cars were parked at the county line, one at the junction of each side road and a few more at the Sugar Village exit.

“A Cop-cop Here and a Cop-cop There”

As they got closer to Thomasville, they saw several more squad cars. Chris looked at Atticus.

“There’s an awful lot of cops out tonight, Atticus. Are you sure they don’t know we’re coming?” he asked.

“Nope. They’re out looking for Brielle. I and few friends helped her escape jail last night. I’ll tell you the circumstances around that when we get back to the house,” Atticus told them.

With that, Chris continued to scan the landscape outside the vehicle as they drove down the highway as he began to sing a song parody.

“…with a cop-cop here and a cop-cop there…here a cop, there a cop, everywhere a cop-cop…”

Atticus and the women chuckled.

Luckily, they were able to arrive at the Carpenter estate under the cloak of night and without being spotted.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C12-5

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.

Another pause.

“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?”

Menacing Threat

“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.”

Relief!

“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.

“Whew!”

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C12-4

At four o clock the next morning, Grandma awoke Brielle.

“Brielle, get up, honey. Atticus, Jo, and Popeye are taking you to Atticus’ property to hide you in his secret bunker,” she told her.

Atticus’s SUV was parked in the backyard, next to the backsteps. He sat in the driver’s seat, with Jo sitting in the passenger seat with the motor idling as Popeye and Malcolm smuggled Brielle out the backdoor, down the steps, and into the truck before shutting the door. Malcolm flat handedly slapped the side of the SUV hard before shouting, “Go!”

Atticus slowly drove through the backyard and pulled unto Grandma’s private gravel road, which was called Bennett Rd. The bumpy road ran past Grandma’s barn and wound through a large cornfield before ending at County Route 16.

Atticus Hides Brielle from Bobby

Atticus then turned onto County 16, which took them across Hwy 72. They proceeded down 16 until they turned onto Landon Rd and drove past Crooke Hill and what was once 627 Landon Rd.

As dawn broke in the East, Brielle stared at the old Crooke property as they drove past, noticing that all that was left of the house was a tall, red brick chimney and some of the foundation with a cinder block-lined hole in the ground where the basement had been. She also noticed the charred remnants of the huge barn off in the distance. The heavily tinted windows of the SUV were enough to cloak the occupants within from any passers by who might have otherwise recognized Brielle sitting in the back of Atticus’ vehicle.

Atticus looked at Brielle through the rearview mirror and spoke.

Atticus’s Connection to Shannon McGregor

“Brielle, I bought the old Crooke Property just last year. Shannon sold it to me for seventy-five thousand dollars, all 20 acres. I still have her phone number on one of my business cards. It took a while, but I finally got in touch with Shannon yesterday. They think that her daughter Kelsey, who’s still missing, may have been brought back here to Thomasville. Her oldest daughter, Alexandra just quit the FBI after working with them for three years. She’s now working as a detective with a national watchdog group called, Watchers of the Watchmen. She’s coming too. You’re finally going to get some help. The Bledsoe Brothers, Chris, Daniel, and Miles are coming here to help you and find Kelsey. Mile’s wife, Cindy Wilkes Bledsoe will also be with them. They’ll all be flying into Memphis International this evening,” Atticus assured her, “Jo and I are going to the airport to pick them up.”

Brielle’s eyes widened.

Pieces of the Puzzle

“Don’t get me wrong, Atticus! I can’t thank you enough for this! But how can I possibly pay them? I have no job right now, my pet sitting business hasn’t even gotten off the ground. Raina and I were going into the business ourselves. But now, she’s missing. I’m living off four thousand dollars a month child support,” Brielle told them, “I’m thankful and blessed with what I do have, but I don’t have the money that Shannon had when Johnny Crabtree tried to destroy her family.”

“Well, this is a special case, Brielle. They think that Kelsey is here in Glover County somewhere and your case with the girls happens to be in the mix. They’re not going to charge you near as much. I’ve already filled them in on your situation so, they may only charge you for their flight expenses and any expenses they incur while they’re here. And if you need any help with that, I’m sure I can work something out,” Atticus assured her, “I may not have Bobtail Bud’s right now, but I still have The Black Trans Am. As soon as an opening comes available, I can hire you on there and take a certain percentage out of your weekly check if I front you. Heck! If I was rich and had money to play with, I’d give you the money and write it on my taxes as a business expense. But with the medical expenses from the attack last year and the deductible I had to pay for my business insurance to rebuild The Double Nickel and Bobtail Buds, it put me in a bind right now. I hope you understand.”

Hope for Brielle

“You don’t know what this means to me, Atticus. I can’t thank you enough and I’ll do whatever I have to do to pay you back. But hopefully, that won’t be necessary. The last thing I want is for you to put yourself out for me. I’m willing to pay for their expenses. I can do that myself. Worst case scenario, I may have to pay some of the money in installments, but I can make that. And I have a little bit of a nest egg put back. If they need up to a five-thousand dollar down payment for their expenses, I can handle that,” Brielle told him.

When they pulled into Atticus’ driveway, his two-story, ranch style house stood about a half mile from the road. Its roof was covered with solar panels. Atticus pulled behind the house, and continued to the back property line, which was lined with a neatly kept wooden fence and row of bushes.

“Wait here,” Atticus told Brielle before he and Jo got out of the vehicle.

A Secret Bunker

They went around to the passenger side of the SUV and knelt to the ground. Atticus and Jo then pulled at the ground, rolling back several rows of sod to reveal a set of steel double doors in the ground. Atticus eased his fingers under the edge of one of the doors and lifted it up while Jo grabbed the other door and they both pulled each door up and open.

Atticus then opened the back passenger door of the SUV and motioned for Brielle to come out of the vehicle. Brielle did as she was told and Atticus led her down the stairs into the underground bunker, using the light of his flashlight until they got to the bottom of the stairs. Jo followed behind Brielle.

Once they all got to the bottom of the stairs, Atticus shone his flashlight on the light switch and flipped it on. When the lights came on, Brielle looked around. Her eyes widened in amazement as she beheld the huge, brightly lit underground room.

Keeping Brielle Safe

The place looked like a huge man cave with kitchen and bar, two dart boards on the left wall, a flatscreen TV, and built in shelves and cabinets. In the center of the large room was a pool table. There were also two sofas in the room and a small kitchen table next to the kitchen and bar. The kitchen, living room, and entertainment area were all one room. Atticus looked at Brielle.

“The sofa’s each have a hide-a-bed,” Atticus said before walking up to the right-side wall of the underground room to what looked like four columns of built-in, tall cabinets.

He then pulled on the handles and pulled out a Murphy bed. Jo then opened a door next to the Murphy bed, walked in, then came out holding a set of bedsheets and a blanket.

“We’ll make you a place to sleep,” Jo said as she began putting the sheets on the bed.

Brielle pitched in to help her while Atticus went into the same closet Jo had and brought out two pillows.

In Hiding

“You’ll stay here until the Bledsoe’s arrive. Then we’ll figure out a strategy, do our own investigation, and go search for the children and others who are missing,” he assured her.

He then took Brielle through a door beside the large, stainless steel refrigerator that led to a pantry that was the size of a large bedroom with wall-to-wall built-in shelves which were stocked with canned, boxed, and dry foods and other nonperishables. Then the door on the opposite side of the entrance lead to a large walk-in freezer chock full of frozen meats, pizza’s and packets of frozen vegetables, all vacuum sealed.

Jo looked at Brielle to see that she was visibly stunned.

“Atticus is a prepper. For three decades, he’s been prepping for food shortages, natural disasters, foreign invasions, you name it. We’ve got enough food down here to last three years. Possibly four if we ration it to stretch it out,” she told her.

Emergency Food Storage

“Well, he’s certain got his work cut out for him,” Brielle said before turning to Atticus.

“Wow, Atticus! I really admire your preparedness,” she said.

“He also has solar-panels on his roof and a huge solar-powered generator that powers his house. It’s how he gets his electricity. He’s even sold energy back to the power company and gotten paid for it. He bought Crooke Hill just last year to have extra land to raise cows, pigs, and hogs on. And the Crooke property was adjacent to Atticus’s property so, now, it’s an extension of it,” Jo said.

“Wow! So, you were here when the Thomasville Conspiracy went down?” Brielle asked.

Jo Remembers the Thomasville Conspiracy 

“Jo was here overseeing my property. I was in Texas that summer,” Atticus told her, “I was there helping my mom and dad with some prepping. They’ve since passed away, so I had to go back to Texas after they died and bring their things back here.”

“Were they from Texas? Are you and Jo?” Brielle asked.

“Naw, we were all from here. But mom and dad left here and moved to Texas shortly after my wife and daughter died. I was in the service, and I couldn’t be here to protect them. So, I advised them to move away to keep from being targeted by the Crabtree’s. The early nineties were a dangerous time here for my family. This land belonged to my mama’s side of the family.”

Calling it a Night

“Well, it’s been a long night,” Atticus said as he gave a yawn and stretch, “We need to get some sleep and you do to. Jo and I are going to go above ground, put the sod back over the doors to the bunker, then go to the house and lie down for a while. You can stay down here in case the sheriff comes and decides to search my house for you. After all, he knows that we’re friends of yours. There’s a TV to watch, DVD player and movies. There’s also a laptop with internet on the desk, next to one of the sofas. We also have a bathroom and shower on the other side of the closet and plenty of fresh food in the frig if you get hungry. We’ll be back to get you when the Bledsoe’s get here.”

“I can’t thank you enough,” Brielle said.

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C12-3

An hour later, Jane was escorted into a motel on the outskirts of town. When the sheriff brought her into the room, she could hear sounds coming from the closed bathroom door. The sounds of water running in the shower.

When the sounds suddenly stopped, the sheriff looked at her.

“Now, you be a good girl and wait here,” he said.

Five minutes passed before Grant came out of the shower with wet, freshly washed hair and wearing only a bathrobe. Jane’s eyes widened and she recoiled as he slowly approached her with a creepy grin on his face.

Bobby Takes Jane to a Motel and a Waiting Grant Lindsay

Back at Grandma Bennett’s house, Malcolm continued to type feverishly on the computer as Brielle, Popeye, Atticus, and Grandma leaned over his shoulder to look at the screen.

Atticus looked at Grandma.

“You might want to hide Brielle. Because the sheriff probably already knows you’re gone and this will be one of the first places they look for her,” he suggested.

“No, I want to be here when Malcolm gets into the sheriff’s computer. I’m dying to see what he’s got in his files and where he surfs on the internet!” Brielle said.

“Yep! You can find out a lot about a person by digging into their computer and their surfing habits. That’s for damn sure,” Malcolm agreed.

“Oh, God! Please, Malcolm, hurry up and hack this bastard!” Grandma Bennett pleaded.

“I’m trying the best I can, Grandma.”

Malcolm Hacks into the Sheriff’s Home Computer

After thirty more minutes of typing feverishly, Malcolm’s eyes widened.

“I’m in!” Malcolm shouted cheerfully, “I’ve got his IP address and I just installed a keylogger to get his passwords and usernames,” Malcolm assured, “We’ll have to wait on that but I’ve got access to his files.”

He began to snoop through the sheriff’s files and folders. It took several hours for Malcolm to snoop through even a fraction of the sheriff’s private files. But once he came to a zip folder that was entitled, “Juvenile Delinquents,” Malcolm’s curiosity peaked.

However, when he unzipped the folder and decrypted the contents within it, they found something both shocking and horrifying.

“What the hell!” Atticus shouted.

A Terrifying Discovery 

“Holy shit!” Popeye yelled.

“Oh, Lord Jesus!” Brielle and Grandma Bennett both shrieked while Jo gasped, slowly raising a hand to her mouth and covering it.

“Oh, Lord! I knew the corruption ran deep but I never knew that it was anything even close to this!” Grandma Bennett said.

They discovered hidden files of dirty pictures. They were photos of naked young boys and girls no older than Olivia, with hairless privates and looks of horror and humiliation on their faces.

Brielle turnedher head and looked away. She began crying, “Oh, God! I can’t stomach this!”

She turned her back to the computer, put her face in her hands, and wept. Grandma Bennett and Jo consoled Brielle as Malcolm inserted a flash drive and downloaded the evidence onto it.

The pieces of this terrible puzzle were slowly coming together but something in Malcolm’s gut and everyone else’s told them that he had still only scratched the surface.

Unspeakable Photos!

Was this the reason CPS was wrongfully taking kids from good families? Kidnapping them, but using the legal system to do it? Accusing great parents of being unfit?

“We’ve got to get this to the proper authorities!” Malcolm said in an urgent tone.

“Proper authorities? Around here? There are none in this damned county!” said Atticus.

“You got that right!” Popeye agreed.

Suddenly, everyone looked around to see that Brielle was no longer in the room.

“Brielle?” Malcolm called out before they heard noises coming from the extra bedroom down the hall.

When they entered the room where the noises came from, they found that the large gun cabinet was open and Brielle sitting on the foot of the queen sized bed, loading a shotgun.

“I’m going to get my kids!” She swore furiously, “If Bobby’s a pedophile than you can bet that the rest of his cohorts are too! And if any of those perverts lays a hand on my kids, I swear on everything that’s holy, I’ll blow their damn heads off!”

Secrets of the Glover County CPS

“Brielle, no! Not like this, honey!” Grandma Bennett pleaded.

“Brielle, give me the gun, sweetie,” Malcolm gently advised, “Believe me, I don’t blame you for the way you feel. I don’t blame you for wanting to kill those creeps. But this is not the way to handle it. Okay?”

“Brielle listen, these people have a lot of power in this town. And if you go about it like you’re going to, they could turn everything around on you and send you straight to prison! Honey, it won’t do these kids a bit of good if you’re rotting in prison for murder. It’ll only make things worse for them!” Atticus cried.

Brielle sat there for a moment, then slowly handed the gun to Malcolm before breaking down into gut wrenching sobs.

“We gotta go get my kids! Please! We gotta get them back!”

“We will, Brielle. I promise you. One way or another, we will get those girls back,” Jo assured as she threw her arms around Brielle.

Brielle’s Horror 

After they got Brielle calmed down, Brielle lay down on Grandma Bennett’s bed and cried herself to asleep while Malcolm continued to snoop on the computer.

He dug deeper and found other photos as well, photos of naked and scantily clad minor girls with their ages, body stats, and prices quoted at the bottom of the photographs. He also went through the sheriff’s browsing history and found the website of Glover County Satanic Order.

“I think we just stumbled upon a local Satanic cult and a possible child sex-trafficking ring! Holy Jesus!” Malcolm said in a voice of terror.”

“I knew there was some hardcore Satanic evil in this town! I just knew it! People said it was all rumors, but my gut always told me that it was true, only no one could prove it,” Grandma Bennett said.

Back at the seedy motel, Bobby stood back, pointing his gun at Jane and daring her to make a move as Grant stripped her down to her underwear, then took silk scarves and tied her hands behind her back. The crooked sheriff then took a picture of Jane, grinning evilly.

A Sex Trafficking Ring

“Well, little lady, a good-looking thing like you is bound to have droves of suitors wanting to make her acquaintance,” he sneered creepily before leaving with the camera.

Once the sheriff was gone, Grant leered at Jane.

“Looks like it’s just you and me now, kid. Have seat and let’s get to know each other, shall we?” Grant said in a low, seductive voice that make Jane feel sick to her stomach. She didn’t say a word, only looked at Grant with disgust.

After Jane slowly sat down, she began sneakily working to free herself from the scarves that bound her hands behind her back. As she began twisting and turning her hands every which way and pulling at her binds, she pulled and loosened the scarves around her wrists, allowing her hands freer movement. She watched Grant closely as he stood over the small counter in the hotel and pulled a bottle of red wine out of a bucket of ice.

Grant Tries to Take Advantage of Jane

Her fingers continued to work frantically as Jane was now able to move one hand upward and snag the knots and loops of the tied scarf with them. Her meticulous fingers pulled at the scarves and managed to loosen them more around her wrists.

As Grant was now pouring red wine into two long-stemmed wine glasses, Jane suddenly freed herself and seductively walked up on him from behind.

“Hey, big boy!” She called out seductively as she put her arms around his neck and rubbed her hands up his back and over his shoulders, successfully winning his trust.

“Oooh, I like a young thing who’s willing! And that’s sexy!” Grant said in a gruff, seductive voice.

Then suddenly, in one split-second move, before Grant had time to move or even utter a word Jane tightened her grip around his neck, putting him in a sleeper hold, rendering him unconscious, then gently lowering him to the floor.

Jane Escapes her Would-be Rapist

She then grabbed her clothes and quietly rushed into the bathroom, closed the door, and turned the shower on full blast. As the shower ran, Jane jumped into her clothes, then opened the window over the toilet. Next, she took a long piece of toilet paper from the roll and used it to let the toilet seat down before discarding it and climbing up to stand on it. Finally, she crawled out through the widow and bolted away, disappearing into the night.