Summary: Response to the Finish the story challenge
Feedback: Positive and constructive
Vin walked away from the open door hoping no one noticed him standing there. While he knew eavesdropping was wrong, it had been an accident. Now he needed a place to think things through. It had to be a mistake... Surely he had heard incorrectly.
Entering the stairway, Vin knew the feelings swarming within needed more than rooftop air. Heading down, Vin picked up speed at each level the thoughts flying through his mind adding fuel to his flight, his need to be outside twisting at his heart.
"How could they? Did they really see it as a good trade? Is that what they thought of him too?" The thoughts whirling as he hit the door to the parking garage. Reaching his jeep, Vin gunned the engine and peeled out into the street. He never heard the men yelling for him, nor saw them take off running for the black truck and the old suburban. Vin drove not knowing where he was going, only the need for air on his face, fast, cold, hard, blowing air, anything to stop the words from burning into his brain, from stabbing into the very heart of his being. Taking a curve to fast he clipped the corner of the sidewalk, and then slammed on the breaks, cutting the wheel and sliding into a small alley. He sat gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles, never noticing the black truck fly by the small street. The chill and shaking within him had nothing to do with the temperature and everything to do with the knowledge of the wreck he could have caused and the words that had sen t him into flight.
Vin sat deciding what he should do. He couldn't call them he was already feeling to much betrayal. He couldn't go home, couldn't face those he always told he would protect that the law did work for them. Vin felt the emotions bubble up inside his chest, squeezing his heart so tight he thought it might burst. He knew he was feeling too much, too much hurt, too much betrayal, and too much anger. Jumping when a sharp ring broke the silence. Vin reached in and pulled out his cell phone, checking caller ID. The ringing stopping but the beep told him a text had been received. Looking at the message he tossed the phone into the passenger seat, "Not a chance in Hell!'
The phone's screen showed Larabee's message, "Call now."
A name popped into Vin's mind and he knew it was the right place to go. Vin was soon headed out of the city.
He parked in front of the house, as soon as he reached it. But didn't approach the door, instead he headed strait to the barn and grabbed what he needed, then headed back outside.
Dropping the nails and hammer on the pile of plank boards, Vin walked over to a thick stump used for chopping wood and swung the axe hard into its center. Leaving it there he headed back to the boards.
Nettie stood watching her boy before going out to him. "If your planning on fixing that corral let me give you a hand."
"No!" The usually soft gentle voice barked out.
"Excuse me?" A frown marred her face.
"Sorry Nettie, need to talk, but not yet. I'm too, too... Just need hard work right now."
Nettie's breath caught when she saw the look in his eyes. "You do what you need. I'll be inside when you're ready." She reached out and gave his arm a squeeze. "No matter what, Vin, you're always welcome here.
Nettie returned to the house and straight for the phone. She dialed then tapped her foot impatiently waiting, "What did you do to my boy, Larabee?!"
"Vin's there! Keep him there, were on our way." Chris stated, but Nettie's reply stopped him cold.
"Any of you set foot out here and I'll shoot you myself, and you know I will."
"Nettie, you don't understand."
"Then help me understand, explain to me why my boy's eyes hold more pain and hurt in them then I've ever seen since I've known him. Knew there was only one thing that could put that look in his eyes, so start talking?"
Nettie watched Vin hammering nail after nail into the planks as she listened to Chris. She could see Vin's disillusionment in each swing of the hammer, the hurt and anger in each strike on the nail's head. She heard Larabee call her name, "He's hurt and angry, Larabee. Fix it."
Vin nailed the last plank into place. He stepped back and looked beyond the fence toward the mountains, knowing Chris's place lay in that direction. His mind replayed the conversation he had overheard and he saw the man he thought of as a brother nod in agreement while the others stood by and said nothing. At least he knew why he hadn't been invited to the meeting; he had been deliberately omitted.
Throwing down the hammer, he went to the stump and grabbed the axe. Setting a log on the flat surface he sung the axe and chopped the wood in half with one blow then repeated the action, the rhythm he set allowing his anger and hurt out with each swing.
He heard their vehicles, knew the sounds of them by heart. He knew Nettie would call and they would come. He had just needed time to get control of his emotions, unfortunately he hadn't. The axe swung splitting a log as the six men rounded the corner of the house. Vin looked up as they approached the hurt stabbing at his heart anew. Refusing to acknowledge them he reached for another log.
"Vin, we need to talk."
"About what, Larabee, About why I wasn't asked to that meeting? Hey we know the answer to that one. Maybe about how a criminal can murdered a good kid, in front of me, and you decided to let him off because of what he might know about someone else. Oh no, not just let him off but give him a new identity. But hey, it's a good deal right? It was some kid from Purgatory; a nobody. Don't need to worry about a dead kid when you have a better deal."
"Vin, we didn't know the district attorney hadn't called you until we arrived. He told us about the deal and wanted us to tell you," Josiah explain.
"But once you did know, did anyone call me. No. You stayed there agreeing to let the murder of a kid be traded for information on some bigwig, with a hundred just like him waiting to take his place. Thought this was the side of justice, thought I knew ya, but hey I'm just another nobody kid from Purgatory."
"Vin, we didn't offer the deal or put it together. He wanted us to hear the information and see how we could use it to bring in Elliott, who the Federal attorney's office has been after for years," Chris explained.
"Could'a said no, could'a told them that a kid from Purgatory was just as worthy as any other, You could'a just glared at em, but you didn't. No, you stood there agreeing with that asshole DA. I saw ya, Chris saw ya when you nodded yes, saw all of ya just stand there and not say a damn thing." Vin's last words a broken whisper.
"Vin I wasn't agreeing with the DA," Chris explained. "Travis offered me a glass of scotch and I was nodding yes, and you're wrong we did say no. Told him that the kid deserved to have his killer locked up and we would back your decision. You want to fight it, we'll fight it."
"Ezra saw you take off. Chris tore into that DA as we all ran after you. How you beat the elevator down, I'll never know. We yelled at you to stop. We figured you only heard part of what was being said," Buck explained.
"Vin, we would never agree to something that would cause you pain. Be assured the DA has seen the error of his way and justice will be served for the murder of that young man. Thanks to Mr. Larabee the DA has seen the error of his ways," Ezra told his friend.
Vin saw the truth in their eyes and for the first time in hours felt as if a weight had lifted. "Sorry, Cowboy, fellas, I should have known better, I just..."
"It's all right Vin, we understand. You were blindsided. Any of us would react the same if we had seen and heard what you did." Nathan assured as the men gathered around their friend.
Vin looked at Chris, "You glare or punch him?"
Chris smirked and held out his hand to Vin and they grasped forearms, their bond being reaffirmed.
Doing what's right though the cost that's charged can weigh
Good over evil wins yet still your soul carries the stains
A hundred years given
Never a day is it ever forgotten or forgiven
One of importance an offer is made and deal is taken
An justice turns a blind eye in blood the price was paid