something is really wrong." Bron sat in the van with the
motor idling in the driveway. The rain had slowed to a slight
"The house is
too dark." Bron tapped the high beams on. The headlights
showed brightly down on the two barns as Bron searched the dark
for what seemed off. Bron turned the truck off and shoved the
driver door open. "Something isn't right."
took the kids to his Mom's. We've been gone almost all day."
Suzie grabbed her purse.
have called and told us to meet him there." Bron made her
way to the front door. "He knows we went shopping and that
I ditched Jake this morning."
is here. Maybe they went over to Scouts to get something to
eat." Suzie followed behind her.
"I don't think
so." Bron pushed the front door open. The alarm wasn't
set nor was the door locked. "Hey, I'm home," Bron
called out as she walked in the house without hesitation. She
stopped in the foyer. No kids, no adults, nor dogs came to greet
her. Bron waited a few seconds and then briskly walked to the
kitchen. Suzie reached for the light switch on the kitchen wall.
Bron stopped her with her hand. "Don't something is off.
My dogs aren't here."
right. Where the hell is the spit brigade?" Suzie was wide-eyed
in the dark. "Not that I missed being slimed as a welcome
Bron grabbed the
phone and began to trail through the dark rooms on the first
floor. Twice Suzie bumped into her. "Would you stop it?"
Bron looked over her shoulder. "Stop following so close."
"I didn't mean
too, my belly is getting in the way." Suzie took two steps
back. "Just because you've lost weight and don't have a
"Trust me, I
have one; you just can't see it. Let's try not to trip over
each other and both of us end up having an accident." Bron
headed up the stairs. Moonlight streaming through the two story
Palladian window provided the only light to see by on the staircase.
Bron went into each
room on the second and third floors, there was nothing. Nobody
was home and no dogs were around. Very few lights were on. She
dialed the phone for the office on her cell and it rang on Suzie's
desk as they stood next to it. "The phones weren't turned
over to the service."
Bron tapped her fingers
on the desk. Her nails click-click-clicking as she drummed her
fingers on the oak desktop was the only sound heard in the dark.
"Come on," Bron rushed out of the office and down
the office stairs two at a time.
"What the hell
is the matter with you!" Suzie was yelling since there
was no way she could keep up with Bron.
wouldn't think a damn month would make a difference." Suzie
huffed as she finally joined Bron in the kitchen. "But
Bron came out of
the pantry with a flashlight and shined it in Suzie's face.
"Stay here." Bron took off through for the dining
room. Suzie heard the door slam that led to the entertainment
Suzie heard loud enough that she thought the floorboards were
going to pop up in the dining room. Then she heard the door
Bron huffed as she tossed a sheet of paper at Suzie. Bron flicked
the light on as she reached the kitchen doorway.
Suzie squinted as her eyes adjusted from no light to four four-hundred
watt bulbs blinding her.
Bron ripped the paper
from her hands and read the note aloud for her. "Use your
silent mouth to call them. Look and look hard."
"This is Mc's
handwriting. Why the hell would Mc leave a note like this? It's
too cryptic." Suzie stared at the note that Bron had flung
on the counter.
for a reason. Follow me and bring the flashlight." Bron
split out the backdoor after snagging an object from key holder
that Kevin had nailed to the wall weeks ago since he was sick
of hunting for keys or asking Jake for them.
Suzie followed, uncomfortable
in the dark and feeling vulnerable. "Please tell me what
is going on Bron."
Bron went to her
own truck and pulled a crowbar out of the back. She went to
the back of Mc's truck with it in hand.
Suzie cast a suspicious
brow. Bron looked at her, "Hey, it's legal. It's on my
property." Bron stuck the end of the bar into the top seam
of the tool box and pulled down with all her might. It didn't
budge the first time, the second time she bent the metal all
the way around the lock as she pried the lid off.
"Remind me not
to piss you off when you have one of those." Suzie ambled
up to her.
Bron fingers groped for the flashlight. She moved things around.
"Bingo!" Bron pulled on a chunk of black fabric with
"What the hell
is that?" Suzie watched Bron struggle with it.
Bron pulled it out of the bin with both hands and let it drop
to the ground. She couldn't get a good grip on it since she
was perched on the bumper. She dug around some more and came
out with two slim black cases.
"What are those?"
Bron reached down for the vest. She held it up and turned it
around. She placed her arms through the holes. The weight almost
caused her to fall.
"What the hell are you doing? Are you crazy? Call the cops
Bron… What the hell is going on?"
"I can't call
the cops. Stevie has been here; he has my kids or my husband
or both. I know he has Mc for sure." Bron ended up taking
the vest off. It was too heavy and cumbersome. "The dogs
are searching too. Mc left them behind for a reason."
No. No. No. You need to stop. You stop right now. You need to
go in the house and call the cops, let them handle this."
Suzie started to walk away from her.
I can't do that." Bron walked back to her truck, reached
under her seat and pulled out her revolver. She smiled as Suzie's
mouth slowly fell to the ground. "Oh shut up. For weeks
we've been tooling around town with this. I always have it on
me and you didn't even know it. Hell, we've been shopping with
my insurance all day." Bron broke the gun down where she
stood and check the chamber.
Suzie crossed her
arms and shot her friend a murderous look. "I bet Kevin
doesn't know you have it."
Bron chuckled back
at her. "Oohhhh. I bet you're right on that one. I'm sure
he'll ground me when this is done and over with too." She
put it back together and looked at Suzie. Bron jammed the magazine
into the gun after counting how many bullets were in it. She
double checked the second magazine. "I want you to go in
the house and call Pete. Wait for him. Lock the doors, set the
alarm and keep your cell on."
Suzie pursed her
lips at her, "You don't know where they're at."
on the property. Stevie won't go far from me. He's probably
been here the whole time watching me. Most likely since we cut
Kaylin's phone off. I got another letter." Suzie's reaction
was exactly what Bron thought it would be one of pure shock.
Bron reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a button sized
object as she walked to the porch. She went in and flicked the
switch to the porch light on and waited. "Go inside now."
Bron waited patiently for Suzie to go inside. Suzie didn't budge.
"No! You come
in too." Suzie crossed her arms and settled them on her
"I can't do
that." Bron placed the disc in her mouth and blew. She
waited thirty seconds and blew three short breaths. Bron heard
him as he came closer. He flew across the yard and tried to
stop. He banged into Bron trying to stop his locomotion. Brit
came twenty seconds behind him. "Sguir." Brit stopped
dead in front of her. She spit an object out of her mouth. "Okay
I used my silent mouth. Good girl." Bron patted the dog's
head. Bron reached down and picked up the object. She stared
at the fabric as she rubbed it between her fingertips. "It's
a piece of Cooper's blanket," Bron whispered. She blinked
back the tears at the confirmation that her kids weren't too
far from her and that something was wrong.
Suzie saw the dirty
and torn scrap of fabric Bron rubbed between her fingers. "Oh
my God Bron! Please, let's go inside and call Pete." The
hysterics began to hit her full force. She grabbed onto the
porch rail. "Please come inside. He's crazy."
Bron tucked the two
spare magazines down in her boot. Bron looked her two loyal
companions in the face. She was counting on them to reunite
her family. She ducked inside and brought a water bowl out.
They both drank. "I know he wants me Suzie. I'm ready for
this. He's going to get me but not how he planned. I've been
preparing for this since we came back here."
like a crazy woman!" Suzie yelled at her.
Bron chuckled. "I've
been there too." The dogs drank their fill and sat down
in the dirt staring at her. Their tails making a splashing sound
on the wet earth. Bron looked at the dogs. "He has them
and you know where they are. That's where you were or you were
tracking them." Bron bent down and held the blanket scrap
out to each dog and let them sniff the fabric. "Gheibh…
Sàbhail…" The Dogs pulled their strong bodies from
the ground as Bron watched them. They turned and began a fast
pace towards the barn. Bron followed them to the barn. She took
one long look back to Suzie, "Go inside and make that call.
You are my best chance right now. I need Pete here."
Closing her eyes
tightly she struggled to keep her sanity together as the dogs
went out the back barn door. She couldn't figure out how she
would keep up with them. They sat at the door and waited patiently
Bron's eyes tracked
through the barn as she dismissed everything that would make
noise. Her eye settled on Fuzzy the horse. Having the surgery
and then going horseback riding was probably on her don't list
right now. "I'll walk." Bron shut the flashlight off
and followed the dogs. She didn't want the light to give away
her location. Even though the evening was miserable, she still
had the moonlight some of the time.
The dogs weren't
outright running but they were moving briskly. She trailed after
them as silent as she could. The dogs would stop and sniff the
air. Bron began to panic as the sounds of the night began to
play on her mind. Jus would come back and walk next to her or
Brit would and then they would switch leads. Neither of them
would leave her alone too long. Bron heard the night sounds
of bullfrogs, crickets, and somewhere off in the distance an
owl screeched. Clouds rolled over the moon covering it at times
as the spring storm continued to rolling in. The clouds seemed
to boil in the sky.
She was tired and
out of shape from the damn bed rest she had been put on. Not
only that, Bron was lost in the woods near her home. "I
should've never bought that asshole this mountain. Hell, I don't
even know if I'm on my own property." Bron stopped and
braced her arm on a tree. "I'm insane; who the hell am
I fooling? I'm lost."
Bron huffed and puffed
and pulled herself back to walking after her little meltdown.
She figured she had trekked at least four miles up the mountain.
She walked a little further and stopped. "I have to stop
guys. I'm sorry I need a break. It's been a long time since
I did a seven minute mile. Like seventh grade," she chuckled
down the trail from where she had just come. Bron whistled for
the dogs using the dog whistle and tucked herself behind a huge
Tulip tree. The dogs stood on either side of her. The truck
stopped right in front the tree. Bron sighed when the only person
getting out of the truck was the driver, who happened to be
Bron stepped out
from behind the tree. Suzie turned and pointed a flashlight
in her face.
Suzie spoke as she trained the flashlight on each dog. "You
"Get in the
Bron looked at the
passenger who had barked orders at her.
"I don't want
to know why she would call you of all people. I told her to
call Pete." Bron frowned at Suzie after speaking to the
person along for the ride.
"She did call
Pete… He didn't answer. Then she called Tim and Jerald. Tim's
not home but I answered the phone at Jerald's because he left
a little while ago when Tim called. She told me what was going
on. You are an idiot and Kevin is going to kill you. You know
the kind of temper he has."
"Oh and like
you don't know Kevin Scott Richardson has a bad ass temper.
I've seen the way you two look at each other. Shit has gone
down between you two, you just don't talk about it or he won."
Bron wasn't going to defend her actions to anyone nor would
she let this person change her mind.
Suzie's head bobbed
from one female to the other.
"He didn't win
every time," the woman snapped at her.
"I'm sorry Kristen
but you should've stayed home." Bron held the door open
as both dogs jumped in the truck. Bron decided riding for a
bit wouldn't be such a bad idea. Especially since the other
two were driving her truck.
Suzie shook the other
end of the flashlight at Bron. "You better shut up right
now. Because of her, we think we know where they are."
knows where Stevie has my kids, my business partner, my best
friend, and possibly my husband. I have no freaking clue where
Andrew is either."
Kris turned around
in the front seat and glared back at her. "Yes I do. You
know that little special place Kevin took you on your honeymoon."
Bron's lips pursed together. Her head tilted to the side and
then snapped straight. "No way, that place is hours away."
Suzie and Kris high-fived
each other in the front seat and started laughing.
"What the hell
is so funny?" Bron reached for the door handle. Something
wasn't right with these two. Bron saw Suzie tilt the rear-view
mirror at her.
"Park it Girlfriend.
It's only hours away when he takes you to the other side of
this freaking mountain to get there." Suzie shot her a
cheesy grin. "All that time you were camping you never
left your property."
"You're so full
of shit." Bron's eyes narrowed to slits when Kris turned
around again to face.
"There's a huge
Coffee tree there right by the stream. There's a big gray boulder
that Kevin likes to use as a diving board. The tree that he
swings from has a knotted rope-"
Bron growled from the backseat.
"I've been there-"
"I don't give
a shit where you've been with him."
pants on fire…" Suzie sang from the front seat.
"Shut up Suz!"
Bron snapped and then dogs barked since Bron had become upset.
Suzie fixed the mirror and looked straight ahead.
Bron's head popped
between the seats. Her head flanked by two huge dog heads with
wrinkles and spit. "I don't really care where Kris has
been with Kevin. They were together for ten years. I know they
had sex, we've talked about it." Bron shined her flashlight
in Kris's face. "Just get me to my family."
Kris nodded and pointed
straight ahead. "Let's get going. I'm sure Tim and Jerald
are there. We can only go so far in the truck anyway. We'll
hike the rest of the way in."
"No you'll park
your asses in this truck and the dogs and I will hike the rest
of the way in."
all here." Suzie turned the key in the ignition. Suzie
rolled her eyes at the two women who by all rights should be
bitter enemies but weren't.
Bron jammed her body
back in the seat and started to pout. "I won't bitch, I'm
glad you came. I was getting lost and tired."
to have a baby in a few months and you just hiked six miles.
I think anybody would be tired." Suzie maneuvered the vehicle
over the bumpy landscape.
Bron sat back and
patted Brit's head. "That's pretty good. I figured four
miles. I'm shooting for a seven minute mile." Bron snorted.
Suzie wrinkled up
her nose; Bron saw the reflection in the mirror. "Not for
someone who is on bed rest."
Kris looked to Suzie for confirmation.
left some things out. I would've told you but I didn't have
time. They sewed her cervix closed, she was dilating early."
Suzie's head moved from side to side as she spoke.
Kris frowned. "Now he's really going to kill us for sure."
Kristen's voice had
gone up three octaves right into a whine. Bron laughed, she
had to, and Kevin was really going to kill them over this.
They sat silently
as Suzie drove bit by bit over the rough terrain. Finally the
truck wouldn't take any more.
Kris called to her. Kris exited the truck and shined her flashlight
on the tree. The mark of an arrow showed on it.
Bron hissed as she recognized the arrow. She leaned closer to
the door. "Kris is this really our property?"
"No, this is
the part that borders back up against yours. This is old man
Bailey's place. Kevin wanted his place so bad it nearly killed
him. Bailey couldn't stand him and wouldn't sell it to him.
This marks the border between the two plots." Kris answered
Bron's hands went
to her head and she squeezed. "ERR, I bought Bailey's place
for that jerk."
Suzie started to
laugh, "Then I guess it is your property."
"I hope you
puke the next time you're on Nick's boat." Bron hopped
out and the dogs followed. "You two are going to stay here."
Bron leaned over the top of Justin and spoke to Brit after grabbing
the dog by the flews. She stared into the huge animals eyes.
"Uaireadóir… Gardáil… Cha tihg an deidh…
Suzie quirked her
head to the left listening to Bron speak an ancient language.
Kris stood next. Brit went and sat in front of Suzie and Kris.
The dog's tails thumped wildly on the ground. "Good girl,"
Bron winked at her.
Bron bent at the
waist with the tattered piece of blanket. She held it out to
Justin who sniffed and then danced. Bron held her finger up
to her mouth. "Sssh…. Gheibh… Sàbhail…" Bron
took off at a pace that she wasn't sure she could keep up.
Kris moved forward.
Suzie held an arm out to stop Kris from following Bron. "Let
her get ahead of us. In the mood she's in she might shoot us."
Kris gave her a shocked stare.
"No, not really."
Suzie sighed as she patted the top of Brit's head. "She
pulled a handgun out from under the seat of her truck."
They waited five minutes in the dark. "Brit will follow
her, don't worry." Suzie reassured Kris.
"Do you think
it's been long enough?" Kris questioned Suzie.
Suzie took one step and Brit growled at her. Suzie cocked her
head to the side. "You so did not just do that to me."
Suzie tapped the dog on the head. Brit wagged her tail and pawed
Suzie for more love. Suzie patted her again and took a step.
Brit rumbled even louder and moved in front of Suzie barring
her from moving forward.
"You don't think
she said something to this dog, do you?" Kris whispered
as if the dog understood her.
tell you. All I know is that it's Gaelic. The dog's commands
are always done in Gaelic so only Bron and Kevin know what they're
saying. I think Jake knows but I don't know." Suzie studied
the dog for a second.
Both of them moved
only to have Brit spin around and growl at them. Suzie's mouth
fell open. "That bitch told you not to let me follow her,"
Suzie growled back at the dog. Brit refused to let either one
of them move away from the truck. The growling and snarling
became intense as the dog paced back and forth in front of them.
Twigs breaking behind
them made both of them turn suddenly. "You better have
a damn good reason for being here woman." The words were
more of a sneer and not much above a whisper.
Suzie closed her
eyes and stifled a giggle. She knew the voice. Even Britney
knew the voice, she was wagging her tail.
Bron." Kris backed up next to Suzie swiftly.
"Like hell you
are. You get your ass back in the truck and back to the house
right now. I'll speak to you about this later." A finger
pointed in Kris's face.
Suzie lost it and
snort ripped out of her.
Kris sighed at her.
"Oh my God,
it runs in the gene pool. They all suffer from Neanderthalism."
Suzie couldn't control her giggling, her nerves were raw.
"Shut up Suzie
and get your pregnant butt back in that truck right now."
Tim spoke as he stood next to Jerald.
Suzie felt like she
was on a roll now, why stop. "Oh he's the pastor he doesn't
"Like hell I
don't and I don't want anything to happen to either one of you.
Get moving." Tim seethed the words out at her.
Kristen batted her
eyelashes at Jerald when he shined a flashlight in her eyes.
"She's going to get lost on her own. They went to the Coffetree
campsite." Kris gave Jerry a shove with her hand. "She
didn't even know she'd been camping on her own property. Your
brother is a jerk."
Suzie clamped her
mouth shut since she knew it was Kevin that Kris was calling
a jerk. The urge to say, "You'd know," was quelled
"She has one
of the dogs with her so she won't get lost." Jerald shook
his head, "Kevin is going to blow his mind because you
told her." Jerald wrapped his fingers around her shoulder
and began pulling Kris towards the truck. Tim started to do
the same to Suzie. Suzie threw her hands up in the air and went
to stand near truck on her own.
Suzie decided to
listen instead of arguing with the Richardson boys. Brit sat
down on her feet so she couldn't move. The dog swung its huge
head up at her. Drool dripped from the dog's mouth. "God,
I'm going to wring her neck when I see her."
you tell me why Tim called?" Kris was fishing for something
to save her butt and Suzie knew it. Bron did it all the time.
Kris was throwing blame right back on Jerald for not telling
"Maybe I didn't
want you tramping around the woods at night with my pregnant,
crazy ass, sister-in-law. She isn't the only lunatic running
around out here." Jerald was opening the truck door and
shoving Kris inside.
Kris slapped Jerald in the shoulder.
"What are you
guys going to do when you get married? Like, are Kevin and Bron
going to stand up for you guys?" Suzie could barely contain
barked simultaneously at her.
Suzie snorted again. Now even Tim was grinning. He stopped when
Jerald shot him a look that would have incinerated most humans
standing. Suzie giggled again. Kevin had shot that look a shit
load of times since she had met him.
"Well look the
Richardsons have decided to have a party in the woods half way
up the mountain." Pete's voice cracked the tension among
them. The standoff of Tim, Jerald, and Brit against Suzie and
Kris had a new player.
Suzie nearly mowed
Pete down as he walked up the trail with a rifle resting on
his shoulder. "Pete, I've been trying to call you. Where
have you been? Something is wrong. Kevin's gone- the kids- Mc-
Pete put his hand up. "I know all that. Tim and Jer called
me. All of you need to go back to the house. I got an odd message
from Mc. I stopped by to check on you and Bron." Pete leveled
a glare at all of them. "I told you two to go over there
with them so that Bron wouldn't leave the house. And you're
not there. Why is that?"
Tim groaned and offered
up his excuse. "I tried to tell him, but it's our brother,
our baby brother. Jerald wasn't going sit around and wait. Stevie
doesn't know these woods like we do. We heard some noises and
discovered these yahoos running around out here."
so now ya'll will go back to the house and wait. I have reinforcements
coming to help me out with this. We definitely have a situation
on our hands. Steve made his move when Kaylin went into the
barn after school. Stupid ass Kevin took the bait and Cooper
with him. Jake showed up after getting a text from Kaylin and
followed them. Thank God for the new pink Barbie phones because
now we have six people out here because nobody can stay at the
forgot Bron." Suzie crossed her arms when Brit nudged her
arm. "And she has Justin with her."
Pete groaned loudly
"How do you
know for sure all this happened?" Suzie hadn't moved and
she wasn't going to.
Pete took one big
step towards her and she backed up. "Suz, you're not dealing
with a Richardson here. Get the hell back to the house and sit
there. I'm not going to stand here and dispute the facts with
"I want answers."
Suzie stood with a cocky grin on her face after Brit snarled
at Pete. "Well, you don't have a choice."
Pete shined his flashlight
on her face. "Yeah I do. I'll arrest all of you and then
I'll call the press and invite them into the lockup so they
can take pictures of Nick's pregnant jailbird."
"Okay I'm leaving."
Suzie turned to the open door and jumped in the passenger seat.
Suzie watched Kris walk to towards some thickets. She leaned
out the window to call her back. Brit was jumping around the
truck like a gorilla after following her into the truck. "Kris!"
back here and head back to the house with Suzie." Pete
shined the flashlight on her.
pushed some branches aside.
"If you don't
I'll tell Kevin you've been sleeping with Jerry since the day
he left on tour. Pete waved the beam on her form. "Before
he met Bron."
lying." Jerald barked at him.
Pete shined the flashlight
in Jerald's face. "Who do you think he's going to believe
at this point? Me or you? Hell, he's so blind he sees nothing
because Bron covers for everyone."
Kris tramped back to the truck and got in the backseat. Tim
and Jerald joined Suzie and Kris in the front.
Pete shined the flashlight into the truck. "Now, where's
"She left at
least twenty minutes ago, maybe longer." Suzie stared straight
ahead and said a little prayer.
me for the house?" Pete questioned her.
Suzie shook her head.
Pete grumbled as he pulled a handset off his shoulder. "Okay,
boys, Bron is plowing around out here so check your target first.
She has one of her dogs with her. Be careful, that dog of hers
will do some damage to you if she can't or won't, in her case,
call him off. But whatever you do, don't shoot the dog; he's
Kaylin's dogs too."
Pete watched the motley crew back down the road. Somehow he
knew they wouldn't go back but at least they would be out of
the way. Pete knew exactly where Steve had taken Kevin and the
kids. Kevin would know but the kids, Jake, and Mc would be lost
out here. Above all of this Pete knew Bron would do anything
for her kids and her husband. The problem was Stevie knew it
too. Stevie was banking on it. He was drawing Bron to him. Kevin
and the kids as well as Jake and Mc were nothing more than a
tool to do so.
had done a complete turn around since Lenny was taken care of.
He had even run into her at the firing range with Mc. Mc had
pulled him aside later and explained to him why she was there
and not to tell Kevin. Pete knew that Kevin couldn't be everywhere
with Bron all the time. Neither could the rest of them. He decided
to keep quiet about it. At least she was being responsible about
it. Of course, he ran a check for a handgun permit and she naturally
had one, courtesy of Webster and company. Not to mention the
gun was a government issued weapon. He wondered at the time
who gave it to her, Webster or Mc.
Pete walked up the
trail hoping to run into Bron but doubted it. She would almost
be at the camp taking this route. He had a group coming in from
the other side to meet him especially since she had at least
a twenty minute lead on him. "Shit, this is a real damn
mess," he said to as he followed the path and speaking
to himself. "Seven people out are here. Which include one
pregnant woman, two kids, and one dog in the woods at night
and I thought this job would be easy."
This page © 2001 - 2009 Bronwyn
All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.
Used with Permission
No part of this text may be copied or reprinted
without the author's permission.
All Graphics © to Bronwyn