"The hell," Brett growled. "What was that ba-----'s problem?"
"He hit Grandma so hard that she fell to her knees, and he cut her cheek." Clora repeated. "What a evil man he was."
"I've always considered myself a Christian man, but I can't believe the rage I feel," Benny confessed. "I knew from the moment he spoke who he was. I should have shot him, but to my shame, I couldn't. If Inky hadn't gone for his throat, I would have." Benny stood with his hands in his pockets, leaning against Ev's pickup. He felt like a failure, he froze when he should have been in action. He had been unobservant when he should have maintained a high alert.
Benny thought he would have to have a talk with himself at a later date, he was seriously doubting his ability to be a worthy lawman. Lainey might think he was the best thing since sliced bread, but Ben didn't think much of himself.
"Brett, ya gotta know that Wayne may not make it through this round sane. He's a dude with nobody home."
"Burning the cabin might do it," Brett mused thoughtfully. "He put his heart into it," he shrugged with weariness.
"Grandma said to ask about Cheryl; and Brett, you might come visit Trey. He's asking for you constantly. By the way, he knows about Abby so you're not faced with telling him." Clora put her hand on Brett's shoulder, squeezing gently.
"Thanks Clora, I owe you a big one. Let me know when you are ready to head for home. I grabbed a duffel of my junk from the diner, so basically, I'm homeless if Grandma won't have me." Brett managed to look hopeful and pathetic at the same time.
"Lainey's Dad is totally on top of his game. He had a ambulance on the way here 2 hours after we hit Portland, so I'm assuming Cheryl is in good hands, but we haven't heard anything. Oh yeah, I've got Treys clothes and his bull. So I'll bring them out.
"Bull?" Benny thought he had heard wrong.
"Yeah, a stuffed toy longhorn that he sleeps with." Brett made a face, but didn't say anything more.
A piercing whistle reverberated through the evening dusk. Benny sounded two shorts blasts and turned to say, "J's got a problem, I'll see you guy's later."
Benny hot footed it over to the Sheriff's office, where J was plastered to the radio. "Hey there are some pissed off people high up on the food chain over Pete's death. Alan," he said with a catch in his voice, "seems to have been phased out without a backward glance. Expendable, comes to mind."
"Sorry man, that was a shitty way to die. I'm just plain sorry it was my dad." Benny said with misery in his voice.
"Alan was a ass, he nearly cost me my family," Jennings said coldly. "He never did say who was after us, or particularly why. Thanks for caring, but I feel like he deserved all that he got,"
There wasn't much that Benny could say to a statement like that, so he asked about the radio communication instead.
"The Feds are putting down martial law. No one out and about after dark or before dawn." J repeated verbatim. "Riots and gang violence is spreading. But then, we already think we have looters."